GeekNights Wednesday - The Summit of the Gods (2021)

Tonight on GeekNights, we review The Summit of the Gods (Le sommet des dieux). Directed by Patrick Imbert, it's a French adaptation of a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi. A photojournalist's obsessive quest for the truth about the first expedition to Mt. Everest leads him to search for an esteemed climber who went missing. In the news, Naoki Urasawa is bringing several of his works to digital (in Japan only), Disney's Encanto (2021) is a fantastic musical, and Centaurworld is strangely compelling (and also a musical).

Things of the Day

Episode Links

Live Stream:

On Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/60489333

I’m Wordling now:
Wordle 194 5/6

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I selfied my walk down the entire length of Manhattan on Broadway*

  • minus the bit of Manhattan north of the bridge.

Wordle 195 3/6

:yellow_square::black_large_square::black_large_square::black_large_square::black_large_square:
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You want more good climbing content, Netflix has 14 Peaks:

The dudes are even more superhuman than the blurb would lead you to believe.

I liked 14 Peaks, I’m still stunned that he was able to do that.

I’d also suggest The Alpinist
https://www.netflix.com/title/81500204

We should try Wordleing by all starting with the same word, different one each day.

I’m using ARISE every day. You’re free to use the same word to compare yourself to me.

However, it’s starting to get too easy. I might do what a friend is doing and use a random starting word each day to increase difficulty.

Right, let’s all use the same random word each day.

Use the previous day’s word as the start word?

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Definitely doing this from now on.

I’ve very much enjoyed Wordle. It’s a perfect puzzle format, totally accessible, very well made, has a perfect community/social sharing and enjoyment mechanism…

But after 6 days I think I’ve got all the enjoyment possible from it!

If I’m lucky I’ll get the word in 3 attempts, and if I’m unlucky I’ll get it in 5 attempts. I got heavily into Scrabble for a few months 20 years ago, and since then there hasn’t been any changes in letter frequency or 5 letter words.

After 6 days, I realise I’m just running through a set pattern. Start with a word with an E and an A plus three of N, R, S or T. In the next lines eliminate I, O, U and Y if I still can’t find a vowel, plus L, D, G, C, H, etc. The answer will come, and it’s just random based on your starting word.

It’s not satisfying now to pick CANAL, and then on the next guess pick BANAL. Canal is the more common word, C is a more common letter than B, so of course I’m going to go with CANAL. But really, it’s a coin flip at that point.

It’s successful due to being accessible, so really weird word options aren’t going to show up. This is the opposite of Scrabble! In Scrabble, you use 5 letter words to get rid of your most annoying letters, not the letters you can easily use to make a 7 or 8 letter word. A quick search showed “The Top 50 Most Played 5-Letter Words in Scrabble” begin with:

  1. tranq
  2. qadis
  3. qanat
  4. niqab
  5. equid
  6. ainee
  7. faqir
  8. aquae
  9. talaq
  10. zoeae

I would hate Wordle if its dictionary included these words! And ultimately that’s why I stopped enjoying Scrabble, because I knew to improve I’d have to move on from learning the roughly 1,000 three letter words to learning the roughly 5,000 four letter words, before I even started memorising the 10,000 five letter words.

So basic word knowledge and basic letter distribution knowledge, coupled with a very simple algorithm, means you can reach optimal Wordle play within three days, and then’s it’s just luck.

My go-to starting word is “Great.” And if I strike out on letters from that, I go to “Pious.”

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Tomorrow (Monday 1/10) I’m also going to start using previous day’s answer as the starting word.

My problem is remembering what the previous word was.

A mathematician has a crack at a Wordle solver:

Despite what I predicted earlier in the thread, I’ve continued playing Wordle pretty regularly, mostly due to my girlfriend enjoying it and me joining in too.

And so far, it seems like I’m playing about as optimally as possible, given the above video’s conclusion. I’m hitting the word on my third guess more than any other result, and it’s mathematically not possible to do better based on logic and not guessing.

However, there is an extra step of intuition that I take, and that’s considering the target word isn’t set randomly by a computer, but by a human. And humans are very bad at being random. Today I had the hunch that “we’ve not had a double letter in a target word for a while” so focused on that. Turns out: a double letter turned up.

I can “feel” when the previous day’s word was too “common” so I guess the next day will have a QU or no vowel but a Y, and that kind of thing.

So I think it’s possible to play roughly as optimally as an pure computer algorithm, but also add in intuitive leaps to make up for any non-optimal choices.

There’s like 2300 days programmed into it, I would assume the order is random?

Wordle is run entirely locally. The entire game is just one JavaScript file and one minimal HTML page to include it. If you are concerned about the NY Times messing it up, just download these two files and you’ll have an untouched wordle forever, even if you lose Internet access.

Hard-coded into the JavaScript program is a pre-set word list. If you look at the word list in the source code it looks like this:

var La = ["cigar", "rebut", "sissy", "humph", "awake",...

This word list is clearly taken from some public source such as a spell checking dictionary, and then just filtered it to only 5-letter words. It also seems that it was randomly shuffled before being pasted into the source code, because any dictionary source would almost definitely be in alphabetical order.

How does it select the word for today from the list?

var Ha = new Date(2021, 5, 19, 0, 0, 0, 0);

    function Na(e, a) {
        var s = new Date(e),
            t = new Date(a).setHours(0, 0, 0, 0) - s.setHours(0, 0, 0, 0);
        return Math.round(t / 864e5)
    }
    ...
    function Ga(e) {
        return Na(Ha, e)
    }
    ...
    e.dayOffset = Ga(e.today)

It takes the current date from your computer. Then it subtracts it from May 19, 2021. Then it divides that by 864e5 and rounds it off. This gives a number which is an index into the word list. Even if the list of thousands of words were somehow hand-crated, the creator of Wordle could not possibly know the exact sequence these words would be selected from that list before writing this code.

Without cheating, any so-called intuition about today’s word is purely an illusion caused by the flaws of human cognition, mostly confirmation bias.

Also, absolutely nothing stops anyone from knowing what word will be selected on every single day forever just by writing a tiny amount of JavaScript in the console. Many people have done this already, and that is how come spoiler bots are possible.

Of course, even if the word were hand-crafted and downloaded from an API on a daily basis, as long as everyone gets the same word every day, spoiler bots are still possible. Someone can just solve it at midnight and then share. The only difference would be that there would be no way to know future words in advance.

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