Thursday, February 14, 2019

Uncanny Valley yet again ...





It gets better.


IN 2015, CAR-AND-ROCKET man Elon Musk joined with influential startup backer Sam Altman to put artificial intelligence on a new, more open course. They cofounded a research institute called OpenAI to make new AI discoveries and give them away for the common good. Now, the institute’s researchers are sufficiently worried by something they built that they won’t release it to the public.

The AI system that gave its creators pause was designed to learn the patterns of language. It does that very well—scoring better on some reading-comprehension tests than any other automated system. But when OpenAI’s researchers configured the system to generate text, they began to think about their achievement differently.

“It looks pretty darn real,” says David Luan, vice president of engineering at OpenAI, of the text the system generates. He and his fellow researchers began to imagine how it might be used for unfriendly purposes. It could be that someone who has malicious intent would be able to generate high-quality fake news,” Luan says.

Beyond our control seems to apply here, does it not?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

NYC @ Nite Yet Again


Reflection 2Step


Flatiron +


LCT @ Nite


LC Front & Center


Shades of Blue

Toons yet again :)


On your feet ... I stand corrected :)


Supersize me


On the road to perdition

 Monkey see, Monkey do


Put me in coach ...


Mailing it in ...

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Straight Cuts of a Different Kind :)



Straight cuts of a different kind starts by combining electricity with a brass wire (EDM) to mill metal with the kind of precision impossible to achieve by traditional means.

Traditional milling involves the mechanical shaping of a material—“applying a mechanical force against the workpiece to physically make a chip or remove material,” says Brian Pfluger, EDM product line manager at Makino, a machine tool maker. “Whereas with EDM we're not physically touching the part—we're machining with lightning bolts.”

First of all, that’s metal as hell. But more specifically, we’re talking lots and lots of little sparks. The “blade” in an EDM machine is actually a superfine brass wire through which electricity courses. Even though the machine is cutting through extremely tough materials, such as carbide (which is so tough that traditional milling techniques use it to drill through other materials), the blasts of electricity it uses are relatively weak. But the blasts come with extremely high frequency, something like 20,000 sparks per second along the length of the brass wire.


Some specifics ...




Cool without question. :)

Monday, February 04, 2019

Undercurrents



Reality is all about the transformation and transferral of energy from one place to another with as much continuity as possible as nature hates gradients and tries her best to eliminate them to the max. Winter is a great time to see how undercurrents work, in this case, at small scales. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Tax Rates et al ...


Now when you look at this graphic, check out how healthy the economy really was under Eisenhower and Kennedy as under Eisenhower, the government was in the black. Taxing the rich at the levels of Eisenhower and Kennedy really makes sense doesn't it given the enormous debt America faces in 2019. Thanks Alex for turning me onto this. 

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Opportunity has died AFAWK ...



For 15 years, Opportunity traveled on Mars, sending back pictures and data, something truly incredible as the original mission was designed to last 90 days, let alone 15 years. The only other mission comparable to this, IMHO, is Cassini, another explorer that delivered invaluable research about Saturn in a mission lasting 13 years instead of 4. Needless to say, the scientists and engineers shepherding these guys grew to love them as they became, in a very real way, family, not just hardware, a sentiment yours truly understands without question. 

The rovers moved like migratory birds.

Opportunity and Spirit arrived on Mars within days of each other, at different locations along the planet’s equator, in January 2004, equipped with instruments to study the rust-colored soil. During the Martian winter, engineers directed the rovers to north-facing slopes, so that their solar panels could soak up as much sunlight as possible each day. When one of Spirit’s wheels stopped working, it kept going by driving backwards, dragging the defunct wheel behind it.

But in 2009, the rover’s wheels broke through some crust and slipped into a sand pit. Engineers tried maneuvering the wheels this way and that, but the rover was stuck. For the first time, Spirit couldn’t make its way to a sunny slope.

“We saw it coming,” Steve Squyres, the principal investigator for the NASA mission, told me. “I knew from day one, if Spirit has to spend a winter on flat ground, that was going to be Spirit’s last winter.”

Spirit entered hibernation mode and never woke up. The mission was declared over more than a year after the rover’s last message to Earth and months of attempts to restore contact.

Now it could be Opportunity’s turn. The rover hasn’t called home in 237 days.

Last June, an enormous storm swept across the planet, clogging the atmosphere with sunlight-blocking dust, and the rover, unable to charge its batteries in the darkness, slipped into a deep sleep.

“I haven’t given up yet,” Squyres said.

I really hope I'm wrong about this.