tourist visas – Are you planning to travel in Nepal?

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planning – Sahara in Morocco – Do we need 4×4 car?

You are planning a >2000km roadtrip across Morocco. You will be covering large cities as well as smaller rural town. You will spend most of your trip driving in rural, arid, areas. The road quality you will encounter will most probably vary from dual-carriageway asphalt to narrow strips of dusty roads. With all this in mind, I would have no doubts in opting for a 4×4 vehicle. Not a city SUV though, but a 4×4 vehicle geared for off-road (didn’t want to say jeep), with short gears, reinforced bits and pieces, proper suspensions and threaded tyres. For starters, these vehicles are made for unpaved roads and can therefore take a beating or two so you get the added versatility. Secondly you are likely to find binding clauses in rental car agreements prohibiting all driving on non-asphalt roads. By intuition I would think that a 4×4 rental agreement should not include such clauses. For completeness sake, note that a two wheel drive car might be enough for this trip. IMHO a 4×4 isn’t mandatory. Rather, I would recommend it.

As an extra tip, when renting, make sure you get unlimited mileage, accident insurance and a contact number in case something goes wrong.

elasticsearch – systems requirement planning

I am running Ubuntu server 20.04 LTS in a VM hosted on a NAS (Synology.) Primary purpose of this system is to ingest data for ELK. This is the master node.

Configuration is:

  1. Compute: Intel Celeron J3455 (4 cores allocated to the VM.) 1.5 (base) / 2.3 (burst) GHz
  2. Memory: 4 GB DDR3.
  3. Storage: 7200 RPM drive.

Virtualisation is propitiatory to Synology.

Following is the systems usage:

htop image

iostats image

I am planning to move this from the NAS to a workstation running:

  1. VMWare ESXi (free)
  2. Compute: Intel Xeon W 1290 with 10 cores (20 threads) with 3.20 GHz base and 5.20 GHz Turbo frequency.
  3. Memory: 64 GB DDR4 RAM @ 2933 MHz
  4. Storage: 7200 RPM drive + PCIe M.2 SSD (Dell Class 40)

I am a self-funded student and I need to use this system as part of my final year perusing masters in software and systems security. I wanted assistance calculating systems requirements if the load on the system remains consistent. I am using Elasticsearch stack on this system. I am facing following issues:

  1. System load is always over 4.0 is this due to IOPs issue? If so, will adding RAM during migration to another system help? Or does this require faster storage such as an SSD?
  2. Will providing following configuration help situation load and improve performance without over provisioning?

Compute: 3 processors x 2 cores per processor = 6
Storage will be local (SATA, 7200 RPM NAS grade drive.)

What steps should I take to ensure I am not over provisioning and able to use the system for other projects too?

Thank you.

UK Visitor Visa: Is the fact me and my girlfriend are planning to get married in her country good evidence she will leave again

I am a UK citizen and my long-time girlfriend is a Russian citizen. She has visited the UK once before a year ago on a visitor visa for a month.

In around 6 months we plan to get married in Russia, and then to apply for a family visa to stay in the UK. Until that time, I would like for her to stay with me for a few months on a visitor visa (I can’t go to Russia right now due to lockdown rules, and the family visa is too expensive right now — I’m starting a PhD in October which would give me the funds). Would it be sensible to be upfront on my visa application about my plans, and are these plans sensible?

Thank you

planning – What’s a good framework for a hackathon-style game development session?

I have a couple of buddies (3-4) that like programming. We thought it’d be fun to get together for a weekend and see what we can cobble together in that time. None of us have much experience with game development, but most of us study CS or something related to it.

What would be a good framework (or whatever it’s called) to quickly build something in a weekend? It doesn’t need to be fancy at all, but should preferably still involve mostly programming. Most of us have worked with a bunch of different languages, so we don’t have much of a preference in that regard.

ai – How should I handle interrupting the current goal with goal-oriented action planning?

I’m reading about goal-oriented planning for AI, but there I’m having difficulty finding an implementation so that I can address some questions that I have. Specifically, I don’t understand how to handle scenarios in which an agent is in the middle of a goal, but then another goal gets calculated as higher priority. For example, suppose I have the following goals/subgoals/actions

MineGold (goal)
|--> MoveToGoldMine (goal)
|    |--> MoveToPosition (action)
|--> SwingPickaxe (action)
|--> TakeGold (action) 
|--> DeliverGold (goal)
|    |--> MoveToTownHall (goal)
|    |    |--> MoveToPosition (action)
|    |--> DropGold (action)

AvoidEnemy (goal)
|--> MoveToHidingSpot (goal)
|    |--> MoveToPosition (action)
|--> Wait (action)

AttackEnemmy (goal)
|--> MoveToEnemy (goal)
|    |--> MoveToPosition (action)

When the game starts, my agent calculates its goal priorities and its highest priority is the MineGold goal. So it pushes the list of subgoals and actions for MineGold onto its planning stack.

Suppose the agent moves to the gold mine, mines the gold, takes the gold, and then starts to move back to the town hall. While it’s moving back to the town hall, an enemy soldier gets close enough such that the AvoidEnemy goal becomes higher priority than the MineGold goal. So now the agent pushes the AvoidEnemy subgoals and actions into its stack, ahead of the remaining DeliverGold subgoal.

While the agent is avoiding the soldier, an enemy assassin sneaks up on his team’s commander. The commander calls for help so the AttackEnemy goal becomes the highest priority. So AttackEnemy is pushed onto the stack ahead of AvoidEnemy.

Eventually the assassin is killed, so the AttackEnemy goal is no longer valid and gets popped off the stack. Now the topmost goal is AvoidEnemy to avoid the enemy soldier. But if my agent just attacked the assassin, it would be weird for him to then start running away from the soldier (or maybe the soldier is already far away and I don’t want to keep moving to a hiding spot), so I would rather him return to his original goal of DeliverGold.

Here are my questions:

  1. Am I correct in assuming that I should be periodically recalculating the highest priority goal and switching to the highest priority goal if it’s different than the existing goal?
  2. Am I correct that when a new goal becomes higher priority than the current goal, then I should be pushing that new goal onto the stack ahead of the current goal, as opposed to overwriting the current goal with the new goal?
  3. Assuming I’m correct that new goals are additive, how do I handle this situation where sometimes I don’t want an agent to return to certain prior goals? I know that I could accomplish this through a set of “mutually exclusive” flags or something, but that seems like an inelegant way and that it would start to return me to using finite state machines instead of goal-oriented planning.

Google is planning for the new algorithm to roll out in 2021 : The User Experience


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Planning to apply for F1 after F2 denials

I am sharing my visa experience with you here. Could you help me what is the better visa to apply in my case.
My husband is in USA with Day1 CPT. I applied for F2 thrice and got rejected with 214(b). I am planning to apply for F1 for fall 2020 intake.
What are the chances of getting my F1 visa approved this time? We don’t have any intentions to settle in USA as we have our entire family and properties in home country. We are very much worried and depressed regarding my visa rejections. This denials are really hard on my family. Kindly suggest and help us.

Thank you in advance.

What was Ahmaud Arbery doing inside a house that was under construction was he planning to steal something he obviously tresspassed?

The home owner said he might have been looking for a drink of water, which is reasonable if he was out on a jog. 

Wouldn’t you go to an empty site if you were looking for water. If you go to someone’s house, you can be shot or arrested for trespassing. 

language barrier – Planning to travel to South Korea for voice surgery, do you know of any good phrase cards?

So, once this COVID-19 situation dies down, I’m hoping to travel to South Korea to get voice surgery. Now, I remember hearing of these laminated cards that you could use to point to a phrase or something in order to help communicate. Do you know what these are called? (I called it a phrase card in the title of this post, but since NOTHING is coming up when I look for Korean phrase cards, I’m thinking it might be called something else). It might look something like this (but include a bit more information):

A picture of a page including phrases in English and Korean. On this particular page, it is a picture of phrases to use at restaurants and at the airport