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Plenty of movies use some version of the “nerd experience” to create comedy and sympathetic characters. The lovable loser who learns to fit in with society — or who teaches society how to get along with him — is a standard archetype at this point.

But no other film nails the emotions of being a hardcore nerd like Zero Charisma. The film is the story of Scott, a domineering but lonely guy who controls his own little geek clique as the dungeon master of a long-running role-playing game. His minor social standing is threatened by the intrusion of the funny, good-looking Miles, a guy who seems to be everything Scott cannot become.

Zero Charisma is right on the money when it comes to capturing the personal interactions, obsessions, and insecurities of nerd culture. It can be uncomfortably familiar, but it is hilariously funny as it simultaneously skewers and embraces members of true nerddom. Check out a trailer below.

Zero Charisma is available digitally October 8, and in theaters October 11. Apple has the trailer.

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Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion

Max Headroom

Feeling too good about life? Then head on over to Reddit, the Internet’s misanthropic answer to Buzzfeed’s heart-warming listicles. One thread is currently attracting particular attention: ‘What is the creepiest Wikipedia page?’ Most entries are predictably about serial killers, rapists and necrophiles, but here are some which are genuinely uncanny. Abandon all hope, ye who read on.

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Last December, I participated in my first Ludum Dare 48-hour compo. Between participating in that LD48, improving the code for the game I made for it, and preparing for the next LD48, I've learned a lot about programming that classes couldn't teach me.

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Original author: 
Akshat Rathi

U Penn

In recent years, massive open online courses (MOOCs), through the likes of Coursera, have attracted hundreds of thousands of students from across the world. Many teachers are using a "flipped" classroom model, where students take lectures through videos at their convenience and spend the time in class delving into issues they don't understand.

But are they really improving learning? The evidence is not fully convincing. A 2010 meta-analysis of the literature on online teaching by the US Department of Education revealed that there are only "modest benefits" to online learning compared to classroom learning, but more rigorous studies were needed. After all, ease of access to the learning material comes with a bundle of distractions only a single click away. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that students suffer from attention lapses when learning through videos.

Given those findings, an improvement in students' attentiveness is bound to pay significant dividends. To that end, Karl Szpunar, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, might have a rather simple solution to rein in distractions, one that focuses attention in real-world classrooms: intersperse pop quizzes into the online lectures.

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Neural Computation: Markus Meister at TEDxCaltech

Markus Meister is professor of biology at the Caltech. He studied physics in Germany and then at Caltech, where he received his Ph.D. (1987). After postdoctoral research at Stanford, Markus moved to Harvard University, where he held the Jeff C. Tarr Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biology until 2012. Last summer he finally followed the siren song of Southern California and returned to his roots. Markus has been studying how large circuits of nerve cells work. In particular, his research opened a window onto the sophisticated computations performed by the retina. His long-term goal is a framework akin to electronics by which one can understand how structure and function of the neural circuits are related. He received the Lawrence C. Katz Prize for Innovative Research in Neuroscience and the Golden Brain Award for Vision and Brain Research from the Minerva Foundation. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) On January 18, 2013, Caltech hosted TEDxCaltech: The Brain, a forward-looking celebration of <b>...</b>
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Can We Expand Our Consciousness with Neuroprosthetics?: Malcolm MacIver at TEDxCaltech

Malcolm Maclver's formative years were as a grade four dropout living with his off-the-grid parents in a remote part of northern Ontario, Canada. He's since overcompensated by getting training in a host of disciplines including computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and engineering, and is now a professor of engineering and neurobiology at Northwestern University. He works on the relationship between how animals move and how they sense their environment. He also develops technology based on exotic movement and sensing capabilities of animals. He pioneered the development of a new sensor inspired by the ability of certain fish to sense using a self-generated electric field. This new technology holds great promise for enabling work around oil spills or in submerged vessels where ordinary vision is useless. He has served as science advisor for several sci-fi TV series and movies, blogs about science for Discover magazine, and develops science-inspired interactive art installations that have exhibited internationally. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are <b>...</b>
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Does anyone know any good articles/tutorials that talk about using neural nets in games? I haven't been able to find very much. Here are a couple of specific problems I'm having:

1) I don't know what to do with range inputs. Like, if I have health from 0-100, should I have each health state be it's own input node, or should I have one input node that maps the 0-100 to -1,1? Currently I have 10 input nodes for the 100 health(ie one for 0-10, one for 10-20, etc) that return a boolean -1 or 1 depending on if the current health is in that node's range or not.

2) I'm trying to do backpropagation training from the player's inputs. The problem I'm having is that the majority of the time, the player isn't actually doing anything. Even if the player is constantly hitting buttons, there's still like 30 frames happening between button presses where he's technically doing nothing. It ends up quickly training the AI to do nothing. I semi-fixed it by just adjusting the learning rate to be lower if a button isn't being pressed, but I'm wondering if there is a better way to handle this.

Thanks for any help, and sorry if any of that didn't make sense. I'm pretty new to neural nets.

submitted by Dest123
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