If one doesn't understand how something works, how does one control the entity in question? You can't.
Monday, February 27, 2023
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Friday, February 24, 2023
Thursday, February 23, 2023
Ah, frankenfoods, you know, the kind of crap we all love, devoured with extreme relish, particularly when the Super Bowl's on, AKA the worst food day of the year in America, is the root cause of obesity, a prime driver of related health problems killing millions all over the world 24/7. Channeling this fact relating to the alteration of our food, better known as the western diet, is more than just appropriate as frankenfood not only applies to meat and fish due to how said entities are processed (think antibiotics & steroids) but also to other commodities packaged to last eons thanks to modern technology as it's cheaper to produce these items than to depend on a diet of largely unprocessed foods like nuts, breads, veggie/herbs and fruit of all varieties.
For yours truly, MacDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's were the star-point of processed foods and why 69% of Americans are overweight, 36% of which are catagoriezed as being obese.
Hall’s study drew a clear link between junk food and excess calorie consumption, but it can’t tell us why people on the ultra-processed diet ate more. After he published the results, Hall was flooded with suggestions from other scientists. Some thought it was because junk food is more calorie-dense. Since processed foods are often deep-fried and high in fat, they pack in more calories per gram than whole foods. Or maybe it was because junk food was eaten more quickly; in the study, people on the ultra-processed diet ate significantly faster than those eating whole foods. Other scientists thought that additives might be playing a role, or that junk food changed the gut microbiome in a way that influenced calorie intake.
A big factor might be the effect that ultra-processed foods have on our brain. Alexandra DiFeliceantonio is an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine who studies how junk food interacts with the brain’s reward systems. “We know a lot more about fat, sugars, and carbohydrates, and how those are signaled in the gut and to the brain. We know a lot less about the role of ultra-processing in altering any of those signals,” says DiFeliceantonio.
Question, can anyone truly resist the allure of MacDonald fries?
Lest not forget GMOs.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
A blast from the past ... Everything's Alive, a video done by yours truly and good friend, Murry Christensen, was a personal take on tech, AI, education and its relationship to my hometown, Redding, CT. We were pretty spot on in 2007 I must say though I look much younger then without question. :)
Monday, February 20, 2023
Ada Lovelace, the first true programmer, was extraordinary to the nth degree.
In her notes, which ended up twice as long as the original article, Lovelace drew on different areas of her education. She began by describing how to code instructions onto cards with punched holes, like those used for the Jacquard weaving loom, a device patented in 1804 that used punch cards to automate weaving patterns in fabric.
Having learned embroidery herself, Lovelace was familiar with the repetitive patterns used for handicrafts. Similarly repetitive steps were needed for mathematical calculations. To avoid duplicating cards for repetitive steps, Lovelace used loops, nested loops and conditional testing in her program instructions.
The notes included instructions on how to calculate Bernoulli numbers, which Lovelace knew from her training to be important in the study of mathematics. Her program showed that the Analytical Engine was capable of performing original calculations that had not yet been performed manually. At the same time, Lovelace noted that the machine could only follow instructions and not “originate anything.”
Finally, Lovelace recognized that the numbers manipulated by the Analytical Engine could be seen as other types of symbols, such as musical notes. An accomplished singer and pianist, Lovelace was familiar with musical notation symbols representing aspects of musical performance such as pitch and duration, and she had manipulated logical symbols in her correspondence with De Morgan. It was not a large step for her to realize that the Analytical Engine could process symbols — not just crunch numbers — and even compose music.
The second programmer ...
In 1936, Turing wrote “On Computable Numbers,” in which he reformulated and advanced ideas first put forward by Kurt Gödel in 1931, positing the existence of what would be called “Turing machines” — an abstract computing device that was intended as an aid to exploring the limitations of what could be computed — and demonstrating that such devices could in principle perform any mathematical computation that was represented as an algorithm.
The Rabbit Hole beckons ...
I PROPOSE to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’ This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms ‘machine’ and ‘think’. The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous. If the meaning of the words ‘machine’ and ‘think’ are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, ‘Can machines think?’ is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.
The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the ‘imitation game’. It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either ‘X is A and Y is B’ or ‘X is B and Y is A’. The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B thus:
The kicker ...
We now ask the question, ‘What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?’ Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, ‘Can machines think?’ - Alan Turing
To be continued ...
The other thing most enlightening is the fact people liked to be asked, another notion not readily expressed in the uptight and frantic world in which we all live.
To whit ...
Ignorance may be bliss, but saying “I don’t know” out loud is often hard to do. It can be especially difficult if you’re in a position of leadership and your team comes to you for answers. However, saying “I don’t know” can actually be empowering if you reframe the concept, says Lizette Warner, author of Power, Poise, and Presence: A New Approach to Authentic Leadership.
This is not a big deal yet it is as possibility is the watchword here. Creativity is the art of asking questions and saying I don't know. The key here is, "but I'll find out", something Einstein did without question. :)
Sunday, February 19, 2023
Every once in a while, yours truly discovers a gem. This is one of them. :)
They're everywhere, variations of ChatGPT's whereby financial types license Open AI's tech in order to, you guessed it, make money even though many of these entities know nothing about said tech but ... if Microsoft invests 10 billion, why not us?
Segue to 2023 to see how ELIZA's descendent deals with conversation. Disquieting says it all.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, my family took a six-hour drive to Vermont. I drove; my wife and two children sat in the back seat. Our children are five and two—too old to be hypnotized by a rattle or a fidget spinner, too young to entertain themselves—so a six-hour drive amounted to an hour of napping, an hour of free association and sing-alongs, and four hours of desperation.
My wife took out her phone and opened ChatGPT, a chatbot that “interacts in a conversational way.” She typed in the prompt, basically word for word, and, within seconds, ChatGPT spat out a story. We didn’t need to tell it the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or which weapons they used, or how they felt about anchovies on their pizza. More impressive, we didn’t need to tell it what a story was, or what kind of conflict a child might find narratively satisfying.
To date, ChatGPT is not connected to the net butGoogle's Bard is.
It's all different now ...
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Friday, February 17, 2023
Tech is a petri dish for monopolies. If a platform become popular, it dominates. Think Windows in the 90's when Microsoft was king of the world with the only thing saving us rubes from remaining forever trapped by a crappy operating system was the fact Gates didn't understand the ramifications of the web. Now it's the web and tech behemoths like Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, along with good old Microsoft, ruling the roost thanks to open source and the ubiquity of the net but something's amiss as ethics, truth and competency are becoming increasingly scarce as we move further into the 21st century.
Take two of the backbones of the modern internet, Google and Amazon. I use Google so many times a day that I’m afraid to quantify it. It helps me find the weather, sports standings, pictures to post on my social media accounts, and a million other things. Amazon is similarly miraculous. It can deliver pretty much anything from vitamins to a dining room table to my house in 48 hours.
But these services have also gotten worse in ways that make it difficult to trust the seemingly miraculous things I get from them. Most people seem to think that Google is getting worse — it’s gone from seeming like “magic” to being cluttered with ads and SEO-optimized garbage. The company that is supposed to make it easier for us to find information is now profiting from making it harder for us to find good information. And Amazon, once a wondrous, straightforward shopping experience, is so cluttered with counterfeit crap, fake reviews, and shady sellers that I’m once again tempted to jump in the car and head out to Target.
Cory Doctorow has unforgettably coined this process “enshittification.” He argues that tech platforms are useful to users — at first. But once they’ve captured a user base and crushed their competition, they begin squeezing every last cent out of their users, which makes the platform gradually worse.
Remember, it's all about the money, always has been, always will be.