Thursday, January 30, 2020

Conundrums ...

This sentence is false.  Conundrum No. 1: aka the Liar Paradox; Conundrum No. 2: What if an AI doesn't do what is asked of it vs what if an AI does ... constitutes a conundrum of a most interesting perspective depending on how said AI responds to the question asked.

To whit ...

A now-classic thought experiment illustrating this problem was posed by the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003. Bostrom imagined a superintelligent robot, programmed with the seemingly innocuous goal of manufacturing paper clips. The robot eventually turns the whole world into a giant paper clip factory.

Leading one astray aka Rev 1.0 ...

The most alarming example is one that affects billions of people. YouTube, aiming to maximize viewing time, deploys AI-based content recommendation algorithms. Two years ago, computer scientists and users began noticing that YouTube’s algorithm seemed to achieve its goal by recommending increasingly extreme and conspiratorial content. One researcher reported that after she viewed footage of Donald Trump campaign rallies, YouTube next offered her videos featuring “white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.” The algorithm’s upping-the-ante approach went beyond politics, she said: “Videos about vegetarianism led to videos about veganism. Videos about jogging led to videos about running ultramarathons.” As a result, research suggests, YouTube’s algorithm has been helping to polarize and radicalize people and spread misinformation, just to keep us watching. “If I were planning things out, I probably would not have made that the first test case of how we’re going to roll out this technology at a massive scale,” said Dylan Hadfield-Menell, an AI researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

Any questions?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Bumblebees rule :)

Bumblebees rule :) Yours truly has taken many videos and pictures of these wonderful insects as they work tirelessly to visit/pollinate flowers while drinking nectar needed to keep the hive alive as said bees have to process the nectar by regurgitating their haul into wax receptacles called honey pots, so that the ones that stayed home can partake.

Read the NYTimes piece to see just how amazing these little guys are and ... thanks to a good friend for turning yours truly onto a truly terrific article. :)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Facial Recognition

Wired's fascinating and detailed history of Woody Bledsoe, the creator of facial recognition code, started 60 years ago.

Origins ...

Endgame ...

Disquieting is it not? Read the piece, fascinating to a fault without question.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ice Lines

In doing this video, yours truly kept thinking, is this the last winter to see ice at any decent level as global warming is impacting CT weather big time with intense rain, global vortexes, little snow and less ice. Think about this, I know I have. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Future ... looms

An excellent  NTTimes OPEd piece talks about the future and how today's toxic political and social atmosphere, driven mostly by Agent Orange, has impacted this country in ways both astounding and disquieting at the same time. Loss of civility, lack of critical thinking and incoherent anger tops the list along with a distrust of the future where tech is not what it seems to be while the environment unravels at speeds thought impossible until now. 

Seque ...

BRT has tallied about this dire situation at length as my loyal readers know. Can we survive? To yours truly, the answer is a qualified yes but it will be difficult to say the least. This is why 2020 looms as the most important election this country has ever faced without issue.

Fonts et al :)

The  NYTimes piece These People Really Care About Fonts brings back fond memories when yours truly taught computer graphics at Pratt Institute and did cooperate identity and collateral design back in the day. In doing this, one quickly finds out designing type is an exquisitely difficult process if one wants to create an art form both legible and beautiful at the same time. :)

Ed Bengutat taught an awesome course @ SVA back in the early 80's. Without question, one of the true greats in typography without question.

'Nuff said. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Coronarovirus - A deadly entity indeed ...

A deadly entity indeed. 

A deadly outbreak is growing. 
Thus far, 2020 is starting off far worse than 2019 ...

Definition ...

Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

As more data on the new coronavirus circulating in China emerges, it’s becoming clear that whatever the country is experiencing now—dozens of deaths, hundreds of people hospitalized, cities of millions quarantined—is just the tip of the outbreak.

On Friday, a team of researchers based in the UK and US reported in a preliminary paper that the number of confirmed cases at the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan reflects only 5 percent of people who are actually infected. That would mean that for Tuesday, the last day they included in their analysis, the real number of cases is not 440, as has been reported, but is more like 12,000. The paper, which has not yet undergone peer review, appeared on the Medrxiv preprint server. Already, since Tuesday, the number of diagnosed coronavirus patients in Wuhan has shot up to 729.

And so it goes - K. Vonnegut

A Design fail ...

Yours truly has a Galaxy 8, a great phone that has worked for two years without issue. The 20 looks really good and may be the one this rube chooses when doing the inevitable upgrade but when it comes to the Galaxy Fold, not a chance ...

The Galaxy Fold was supposed to be The Future™. Samsung, the world's leading display manufacturer, invested six years and $130 million to birth its ultimate creation: the flexible OLED display. And with the holy grail of display technology under its belt, Samsung would revolutionize the smartphone industry by introducing the "foldable" smartphone—a device that would be a portable, pocketable smartphone when closed and a multi-pane, multi-tasking, big-screen tablet when open. Samsung might have started the modern smartphone era as "that company that just copies Apple," but after surviving a thousand lawsuits, ushering in the big-screen smartphone, and eventually surpassing Apple in sales, Samsung would finally, indisputably plant its flag atop the smartphone market with the Galaxy Fold, a device that would redefine the modern smartphone.

At least, that was the plan. Things have not gone to plan.

Read the detailed Ars piece to see why the moniker A Design Fail applies to a company that should know better when it comes to tech like this. A folding phone's a really cool concept but not this one IMHO.

Betting pool ... Samsung will get it right as their tech, in the smart phone arena, is really outstanding.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

RR 2019/Amber Anchor

A blues tune most evocative and powerful in conjunction with a high-speed bluegrass jam delivered with wit and humor defines what Amber Anchor does with consummate style. Check this out as it's the right thing to do. :)

Friday, January 17, 2020

RR 2019/Bone Dry

Think Summer and Redding Rock'n Roots Revival 2019 with a touch of reggae and jam as Bone Dry delivers both with humor and style. Enjoy.

Monday, January 13, 2020

8:15 AM ...

At 8:15AM, August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was vaporized by Little Boy, the first of two atom bombs used against Japan in order to end the war. When reading  John Hershey's extraordinary account of this event from the personal perspectives of people who survived the bombing, one comes away forever shocked and dismayed as to just how quick and devastating this kind of warfare truly is.

Little Boy

Read Hiroshima in its entirety, it's the right thing to do.

The future of imaging ...

The future of imaging lies in light field tech and liquid lens as the former enables variable depth of field, in real-time, the later, an infinitely variable zoom lens without the weight and complexity of glass.

To whit.

The coming revolution in holographic video technology has been given a boost with the unique approach of Spanish start-up Wooptix. It has presented the first single lens light field camera capable of capturing light field video in real time and it does so using a liquid lens.

The camera is called SEBI and incorporates a hardware controlled liquid lens capable of capturing the same image at multiple depth-of-field settings. SEBI is also able to generate a depth map in real-time whilst recording. By using the depth map users can refocus at will within the scene. Blur and focus areas can be modified by controlling the depth of field. Alternatively, an ‘all in focus’ image can be displayed.

The company says its tech could have multiple applications including in film and TV.

Wooptix is the company developing the hardware while Google, having bought Lytro, is developing light field tech for smartphones.

And so it begins ... K. Vonnegut

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Pedal Steel ...

The Midnight Hour

The Midnight Hour has come. Trump did the strategically brilliant move of killing the number two man of Iran, thus creating the wonderful possibility of WW III in order to avoid impeachment by pandering to the forever war crowd in the senate to show how tough he truly is regarding Iran. Said move is needed as the Court of Southern NY waits in the wings to talk to The Donald about all things related to money laundering if said POTUS becomes a private citizen.

There are no more adults in the room.

After three harrowing years, we’ve reached the point many of us feared from the moment Donald Trump was elected. His decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s second most important official, made at Mar-a-Lago with little discernible deliberation, has brought the United States to the brink of a devastating new conflict in the Middle East.

It gets better ...

The administration has said that the killing of Suleimani was justified by an imminent threat to American lives, but there is no reason to believe this. One skeptical American official told The New York Times that the new intelligence indicated nothing but “a normal Monday in the Middle East,” and Democrats briefed on it were unconvinced by the administration’s case. The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who last year agreed with a Christian Broadcasting Network interviewer that God might have sent Trump to save Israel from the “Iranian menace” — has been pushing for a hit on Suleimani for months.

If only this issue was as funny as the original Midnight Hour flick.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Asleep @ the Switch ...

3 gems from Steve Cutts.

Had to add one more. LOL applies here. :)

Asleep @ the Switch  ... without a doubt.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

The hole card


Chris Hedges, an Arabic speaker, is a former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He spent seven years covering the region, including Iran.

So he knows a little bit.

His piece, War with Iran details the eminent blowback coming to the US, thanks to this incredibly stupid act of killing Qassem Suleimani, thus continuing a bankrupt foreign policy iniative started in 1953 with the assassination of Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mosedagh by the CIA in order to ...
  1. Give access to BP to Iran's oil and ...
  2. Install the Shah to ensure cooperation with the US. 
The assassination by the United States of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad’s airport will ignite widespread retaliatory attacks against U.S. targets from Shiites, who form the majority in Iraq. It will activate Iranian-backed militias and insurgents in Lebanon and Syria and throughout the Middle East. The existing mayhem, violence, failed states and war, the result of nearly two decades of U.S. blunders and miscalculations in the region, will become an even wider and more dangerous conflagration. The consequences are ominous. Not only will the U.S. swiftly find itself under siege in Iraq and perhaps driven out of the country—there is only a paltry force of 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, all U.S. citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country “immediately” and the embassy and consular services have been closed—but the situation could also draw us into a war directly with Iran. The American Empire, it seems, will die not with a whimper but a bang. 

Of Light & Water

The Cape is world-famous for its light and water as artists like Robert Motherwell and Edwin Hopper used to go to Provincetown to work due to the amazing qualities of late summer illumination of a most extraordinary kind. Enjoy.

Stupidity personified ...

BRT has written copiously about Iran and the ramifications of what it means if the US is stupid enough to start a war with this country. Well, it seems Agent Orange, under the control of the deep state, Israel and Saudi Arabia, along with the complicit press, is just that stupid, not understanding that a possible WW III looms, something akin to WW I whereby a totally avoidable catastrophe turned into a monstrous atrocity due to the same kind of stupidity we are witnessing today.

From one liar to another.

The question to ask here is ... who wins and who loses?

Conjecture. What is the possibility of Iran signing a defense deal with Russia and China as China depends on Iranian oil for energy while Russia needs Iran to keep peace with Muslims in Russia?

End game


A contrary opinion: let's hope it's the right one ...

Last but not least, here's a quick bio on Qassem Suleimani.

A dangerous and competent man without a doubt.