Ep 191: A few fragments



A few fragments

Though Phil is gone, his voice is not. Not quite yet. We spoke much more last time than made it in the episode. Some of what we talked about was interesting and/or amusing, so I stuck together another episode with it.
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Ep 190: A farewell to Phil



A farewell to Phil

Sadly, my brother Phil is leaving the show. We spent this episode just chatting about the show and a number of other things.
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Zombie code



I’ve come up with a mixed bag of modifications to my artificial life system. I’m trying to get my digital creatures, which I call “figures,” more stable, quicker to emerge from randomness, and better able to tolerate mutations. As far as quicker emergence and greater stability goes, the tricks are working out. The system as gone from requiring multiple runs of 8 to 12 hours each, just to generate one stable population; to a system that can make a stable population consistently in less than 15 minutes, usually less than ten, and often less than 5. As far as tolerating mutation goes, it still isn’t any better. One single mutation is still enough to kill off the entire population, no matter which trick or combination of tricks I use.
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Two entries from my project journal



22 :: Sunday September 2, 2018

I need to jot this down before I forget.

I only just yesterday got the fat ports to work. I’d been calling inner write on the baby figures before they were added to the realm. That meant there were no trackers connected to the baby figures when their safe random method got called. All that time, I was just running the system more or less like the fat ports weren’t even there. Once I fix that, it ran like a dream.
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Ep 189: The Miocene, the right teeth for the right job



The Miocene, the right teeth for the right job

Today we chat about the Miocene. During this epoch, kelp forest spread along the shoreline, creating habitat for otters and pinnipeds. The climate cooled and forest gave way to open grassland. Those grazing animals without the right kind of teeth died out, and the early apes diversified. Toward the end of the epoch, the branch of apes that would give rise to humans appeared.
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ep 188: The Oligocene, getting cold and growing huge



The Oligocene, getting cold and growing huge

Today we talk about the Oligocene epoch, when the climate cooled and forest gave way to areas of open land. Grass spread beyond the lake shores and river sides where it had been living, and began to spread across the landscape. Many animal types changed their bodies to become better runners, and we got the largest mammal ever to walk the earth.
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Searching for a kinder gentler mutation



I spent a couple of weeks testing a notion I had. I’m not going to bother explaining—it would take too long for something that I’m not going to use. So far as I can tell, what I did to try and increase the system’s stability made it even more fragile. For example, with the usual approach, as few as 5 mutations have wiped out an entire population. With the other method, what I called snapcom, the one I’m tossing out the window, one mutation was enough. I gathered some statistics, but the results were inconclusive. Still, even if it is somehow performing better, it’s not enough better.
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Ep 187: The Eocene, giant birds and proto-herds



The Eocene, giant birds and proto-herds

We cover the Eocene epoch, including early horses that lived in forests, but didn’t climb trees. We also had early forms of bores, rhinos, whales and primates.
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Ep 186: Why would Paleocene males lay eggs?



Why would Paleocene males lay eggs?

Today, Phil and I get back to talking about the history of life and evolution, with the Paleocene epoch. During this time the birds spread out and diversify, along with the mammals. We talk about the early versions of the hooved animals and elephants, and a few other creatures. And I misspell champsosaurus. Hurray!
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Now that’s evolution!



Remember six? She’s a small population of the digital creatures I implemented, called “figures.” Six has a population size of 6, thus the name, and no matter how much room there is, no matter what the maximum population size happens to be, she always has a population size of 6 figures. Meanwhile, each figure will make one copy of itself and then die. There’s a constant stream of figures being born and copying themselves and dying, but the population size never changes/ it’s always 6.

I put six in a larger world. There was enough room for 200 figures. As expected, she still stayed at a 6 figure pop size. Then I started mutation.

Like I said in the last entry, the mutations are nasty, and often kill off an entire population. If that happened, six would be reloaded, back where she started before all this “mutation” business started going on, and do it all over again.

The notion was to see if six could evolve into a population that grows, instead of just holding steady. I set it up so it would beep at me when the population size reached 200, and pause the system so I could take a look at what six had become. I had no clue how long the experiment would run, or if six could be mutated into a growing population at all. I was all set to leave it running in the background while I did any&everything else.
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