Thursday, August 29, 2019

UNIX @ 50

ArsTechinica hits a home run describing the circuitous way UNIX came to be by brilliant guys working in a loose environment that allowed them to be smart and creative in ways that truly boggle the mind. :)

It gets better.

Scrounging for hardware ...

Sidenote, yours truly actually had one of these ... :)

Back in the day where America did things, amazing things like building UNIX, the OS that connects the world was the norm, not the exception, something that needs to be changed now without question.

Endnote, my gator was named Albert who also came in a box. Said predator started at 10 inches, grew to almost 3 feet before mercifully dying of natural causes. Hamburger, hot dogs plus any leftovers of the meat variety were on the menu for this incredibly intense animal. :)

2020 redux???

Could this fubar happen again? ... Absolutely given just how ignorant and passive people truly are regarding Agent Orange and the well oiled political machine striving to put him back in the White House for four more years after the upcoming election follies of 2020 have finally been put to rest.

Early evening, August, Cincinnati. The Queen City’s many bridges are sealed off, its sky is dirty with helicopters, and seemingly every cop for 100 miles is patrolling Pete Rose Way along the Ohio River. A crowd of 20,000 or more stands in punishing heat, waiting to enter U.S. Bank Arena. The evil rumor buzzing down the line of MAGA hats is that not everyone will get in to see Donald Trump.

“Can we just get in for a minute?” complains a boy of about 10 to his mother. There are a lot of kids here.

Donald Trump doesn’t visit Middle America. He descends upon it. His rallies are awesome spectacles. Gawkers come down from the hills. If NASA traveled the country holding showings of the first captured alien life-form, the turnout would be similar. The pope driving monster trucks might get this much attention.

Beyond Meat - Is now prime time :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ah ... Just Nuke It

Ah ... Just Nuke It, a notion the Donald floated to various agencies regarding the use of nukes to off hurricanes before they hit land has actually been around for over 60 years.

Well, why not ...

It gets better as Trump suggested this "wonderful" idea more than once.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The new land rush ...

Even Trump recognizes the reality of global warming by suggesting to buy Greenland, a region containing vast resources being slowly revealed by the melting of ice as we speak.

President Donald Trump’s much-mocked desire to buy Greenland, which was rebuffed by the Danish government to his great displeasure, might be the closest he has come to acknowledging the gravity of global warming—though hardly the sort of acknowledgment one might hope for. According to the Wall Street Journal article that first broke the news about Greenland, Trump’s interest was piqued when advisers spoke of the island’s “abundant resources and geopolitical importance.” The reason those resources—including reserves of coal and uranium—are available for exploitation is because of Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet. Its geopolitical importance has been greatly increased by the melting of Arctic Ocean ice, which has made new shipping routes accessible and opened up a new theater of strategic competition for the United States, Canada, Russia, the Nordic countries and, increasingly, China.

Trump probably doesn’t realize it, but he’s not the first president in recent years to look at the coming impact of climate change and decide to buy land. And with dislocated populations and scarcer resources looming on the horizon, he might not be the last.

He won't be as nothing is being done as we move toward climate disruption of the most pernicious kind.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fake News/rev XX

Fake news is everywhere. From Fox News to CNN, spin is part of the vocabulary of the news channels to 1, sell ads to the specific viewer demographic in question and 2, to shape public opinion as the real owners, so eloquently articulated by the late great George Carlin, don't want critical thinkers capable of understanding just what the hell is going on in a world spinning increasingly out of control. With that being said, more fake news is being generated by AI because 1, it's CHEAPER and 2, AI is getting better at it.

AI vs AI

AI can be used to spread fake news, write fake reviews and to create a pretend mob of social media users aimed at bombarding comments sections with specific agendas.

However, according to MIT researchers, it can now also be used to spot fake artificially-generated text — apparently, it takes one to know one.

But there's hope.

Though the technology for misinformation is advancing at a worryingly fast pace, the same broad toolset can thankfully be used to catch this type of misinformation. Fake news, deepfakes and twitter bots might have their days numbered by the very technology that helped create them.

Harvard University and MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab researchers recently developed a new tool that spots text that has been generated by AI.

The tool called the Giant Language Model Test Room (GLTR), takes advantage of the fact that AI text generators use fairly predictable statistical patterns in text.

While these patterns might not be easy to spot for your average reader, it seems that an algorithm can do a pretty good job at it. The AI tool, essentially, can tell if the text is too predictable to have been written by a human.

Factoid:  6 corporations own 90% of all US media.

The mind's eye ...

How we see is a mystery given how the eye captures and transfers visual data to the visual cortex via a tiny nerve channel, something akin to using a straw to drain water from an Olympic size swimming pool.

To whit.

This is the great mystery of human vision: Vivid pictures of the world appear before our mind’s eye, yet the brain’s visual system receives very little information from the world itself. Much of what we “see” we conjure in our heads.

“A lot of the things you think you see you’re actually making up,” said Lai-Sang Young, a mathematician at New York University. “You don’t actually see them.”

The mystery deepens ...

There are some things we know for sure about vision.

The eye acts as a lens. It receives light from the outside world and projects a scale replica of our visual field onto the retina, which sits in the back of the eye. The retina is connected to the visual cortex, the part of the brain in the back of the head.

However, there’s very little connectivity between the retina and the visual cortex. For a visual area roughly one-quarter the size of a full moon, there are only about 10 nerve cells connecting the retina to the visual cortex. These cells make up the LGN, or lateral geniculate nucleus, the only pathway through which visual information travels from the outside world into the brain.

Not only are LGN cells scarce — they can’t do much either. LGN cells send a pulse to the visual cortex when they detect a change from dark to light, or vice versa, in their tiny section of the visual field. And that’s all. The lighted world bombards the retina with data, but all the brain has to go on is the meager signaling of a tiny collection of LGN cells. To see the world based on so little information is like trying to reconstruct Moby-Dick from notes on a napkin.

“You may think of the brain as taking a photograph of what you see in your visual field,” Young said. “But the brain doesn’t take a picture, the retina does, and the information passed from the retina to the visual cortex is sparse.”

The visual cortex has a mind of its own. - Robert Shapley

The mind's eye indeed.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What if ...

Excellent visualization on what the earth would look like if all the ice melted, something that could definitely happen if we continue to burn fossil fuels at the rate we are currently doing.

As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world's major cities.

Pretty scary without question and we haven't even talked about the impact of same. Something to think about without question don't you think?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Channeling The Flying Crowbar ...

The Cuban Missle crisis almost blew mankind away. The flying Crowbar, a thankfully abandoned weapon of doom of America's making, could have done the same thing without issue.

To whit ...

At its core, Project Pluto was just a cruise missile. Well, not “just” a cruise missile. It was a cruise missile designed around a nuclear ramjet engine, and the acronym for it should give another big clue about the pants-filling nature of it: SLAM, for Supersonic Low Altitude Missile. That means that this giant, nuclear-powered beast would be screaming around at oh, treetop level or so.

The nuclear ramjet engine at the heart of Project Pluto is key to what made this weapon so horrific. A ramjet is a very simple engine design, with essentially no moving parts. Once the missile was launched with conventional rocket boosters, the air velocity going into the ramjet’s intake would be fast enough to let the engine function, and an essentially unshielded nuclear reactor would heat the air as it entered, where it would expand and be expelled out of the engine’s nozzle, providing both lots of thrust and plenty of radioactive material.

Kubrick should have highlighted this beauty in Dr. Strangelove, IMHO. :)

The Russians channelled this fubar but its version of this doomsday device failed, for now ...

A few days ago, on August 8, there was an explosion on a barge in the White Sea near Nyonoksa, Russia. That explosion tragically killed seven people, nuclear engineers and technicians working on a project. The project was described as “an isotopic power source for a liquid engine installation,” but let’s be completely clear here: they were developing the nuclear propulsion system for a genuinely brutal and terrible weapon.

That weapon is known as 9M730 Burevestnik, known to NATO as the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, but is perhaps best understood as a modern rebirth of a terrifying American weapon concept from the 1960s known as the Flying Crowbar.

A mysterious explosion at Russia’s Nenoksa Missile Test Site on Aug. 8, 2019 killed at least seven people and caused a radiation spike that sent everyday Russians hurrying to pharmacies to buy anti-radiation pills.

The explosion reportedly involved a small nuclear reactor that powers a new kind of long-range cruise missile.

“United States intelligence officials have said they suspect the blast involved a prototype of what NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall,” The New York Times reported.

“That is a cruise missile that [Russian president Vladimir] Putin has boasted can reach any corner of the earth because it is partially powered by a small nuclear reactor, eliminating the usual distance limitations of conventionally fueled missiles.”

An accidental explosion is exactly the risk that Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, feared when he described the SSC-X-9 as “batshit crazy.”

Batshit crazy kinda says it all, doesn't it?

Questions, Questions ...

Questions Questions indeed ...

The Great Unraveling ...

Thursday, August 01, 2019

An Epic Fail

An epic fail was Mueller's testimony as the esteemed Mr. Mueller was dazed and confused due to the fact he could not answer basic questions like ... who is Fusion GPS, the entity that kicked off the anti-Trump fubar known as Russiagate on behalf of the Clinton 2016 campaign and the DNC

To whit.

Mueller on the stand was a potted plant. Reporters saw Moses and Jesus.  If you need evidence we’re in a religious mania, look no further. This was a pure exercise in restoring an idol for worship.

It gets better.

The conspiracy tale has validated every Trump criticism about both crooked media and the deep state. The whole narrative is the brainchild of Clinton hacks, a handful of overzealous intelligence nuts, and a subset of the Democratic Party’s weakest elected minds, in particular, murine ex-prosecutor Schiff, a man who should be selling Buicks back in his hometown Burbank.

Take a good look at Schiff, at our paranoid outpatient of an ex-CIA chief John Brennan, and at excuse-making Clinton campaign chief Robby Mook (a.k.a. the captain of the Democratic Titanic), and ask if you really want to be re-writing history for those people.

They’re making the press accomplices in the most imbecilic effort at political opposition in recent American history. Hence the desperate public comments and the string of wacked-out stunts, like putting Mueller under oath. Impeachment will be the next adventure in doubling down blind.

An Epic Fail indeed.

Pitch Black ... for real :)

It gets better ...

So ... does LTT 144b experience night? One never knows, do one. Pitch Black comes to mind from this rube's perspective as the planet depicted in the flick also has 3 suns. :)

Are you afraid of the dark?