Thursday, September 01, 2011

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

A few years ago, I had just finished my last semester in college. I got my final report card in the mail, only to discover that the professor for one of my online classes failed me. I was upset, as I had gotten A's and B's on all of my assignments. I called him, and he told me that I hadn't turned in the final exam, which was worth 40% of the grade. I looked in my sent mail folder and told him what day and time I sent it, and the subject line. He checked his mail again while I was on the phone and said it wasn't there.

Desperate, I asked, "Is it in your spam folder?"

He checked, and it was there. He apologized and told me he would turn in a revised grade to the school once he graded my exam.

My problem with the Arizona law as it is written is not that it send illegals back to the country they came from. My problem is that the AZ law has no provision for dealing with false positives. It is like the spam folder. Sometimes real messages don't get through, and sometimes real American citizens will get locked up.

Do you know how expensive it is to defend yourself against an unwarranted criminal charge? Thousands of dollars. This laws targets the poor of every race. If a cop doesn't like your attitude, all he has to do is ask you for your citizenship papers. Don't have 'em on you? You are under arrest.

Black, white, hispanic, whatever race you are. The law doesn't spell give an official direction as to what "reasonable suspicion" of being illegal is. Most people who are against the law assume it is having brown skin and speaking Spanish. The law is so vague, it could include "wearing socks with sandals" or "eating mayonnaise on french fries". This just gives cops another reason to arrest you for no good reason.

We need to build a wall to slow the influx (on both borders), because we are trying to bail out a boat without plugging the hole first.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Should we take action to mitigate the man-made causes of global warming?

It's a hot topic, debated on every news channel and internet forum. Is global warming (or its new moniker "climate change") really happening?* If so, are we causing it?

Those are the wrong questions. The questions we need to ask are:
  1. What will happen if we don't do something and man-made global warming is really happening?
  2. What will happen if we don't do something and global warming is real, but not man-made?
  3. What will happen if we don't do something and global warming isn't real?
  4. What will happen if we do something and global warming isn't real?
  5. What will happen if we do something and global warming is real, but not man-made?
  6. What will happen if we do something and man-made global warming is real?
I have taken the time to answer those questions in this handy little chart. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, so feel free to copy and share the image however you like.

Climate change global warming action decision matrix

* Scientific evidence from many different disciplines show that the Earth has been getting warmer every decade. The first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record, and this decade looks like it will be even warmer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Homeopathic cure for obesity

I just discovered a homeopathic reason for the obesity epidemic!

Starting with the 2 premises of "like cures like" and "water retains a memory of all substances that have been introduced in it", I will show how the "modern" practice of sewage treatment has contributed to the obesity epidemic.

First, what is the opposite of obesity? Starvation.

What cures starvation? Food.

What does too much food cause? Obesity.

Skeptics have pointed out that "if water retains the memory of what has been in it, then why doesn't it remember all the poo that has been in it?" Until now, homeopaths have tried to explain away this argument by saying that it does no such thing.

I argue that it does retain the properties of fecal matter.

Our modern diets are rich in nutrients that get passed through our bodies into our waste. that waste is deposited into the sewage system. that wastewater is "cleaned" and sanitized, and returned to the water supply where we drink it. But since the water retains the memory of the nutrient and calorie rich fecal matter that was once in it, when we drink this water, our bodies continue to grow fat, no matter how little we eat or how much we exercise

How do you avoid obesity caused by tainted water? Only drink unsanitized water from rain barrels. When it falls from the sky, it has never had the chance to be tainted by the "water supply".

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Internet is full of awesome

I'm not saying that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, and neither ate these guys. All we are asking is why won't he deny it?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Forget 2012. 2019 is gonna be AWESOME!

Once the realm of bad sci-fi movies, (and kickass tv shows) real life scientists are actually working on a simulation of the human brain. Seriously.
Excellent news for fans of computer technology, neuroscience, and people who think that humans telling the machines what to do is totally backwards. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, says we are ten years away from a functional artificial human brain. The Blue Brain project was launched in 2005 and aims to reverse engineer the mammalian brain from laboratory data.
"Ten years away" sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Like what someone would say when they really don't know how long something will take.

Hmm, like:
Competitive solar energy
Unlimited solar energy storage
3-D television
Spiderman (without all the radioactive spider bite nonsense)
Competitive Chinese cars in the US
Iran's ability to build a nuclear bomb
High speed rail service in the UK
Sony PlayStation 4
Legalized Drugs
Quantum Computing
Ford's plugin hybrid car
Realistic hydrogen-fueled cars
Inexpensive genome sequencing
A spaceport in Wisconsin
Recovery from Hurricane Katrina
A better green lightbulb
Open source speech recognition software
EU's Skylon space shuttle
Male birth control pill (still waiting on this one, 1976)
Cure for tuberculosis

Then again, sometimes they get it right, like this 1998 article mentioning HD-quality video. It was really only off by about 6 months.

At least Google is not involved with this one.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Google=Skynet Part 6: 'Cause I think we've seen that movie, too

When an article is entitled New Technology Portends 'Sentient Computers', its going to catch my eye. Not because I think, "OMG! The robots are taking over!", but because its usually some hack job reporter extrapolating some basic technology's ability to an exponential degree.

Not this time:
“Landmark recognition software” can correctly identify many popular landmarks on the Web throughout a range of perspectives and scenarios. This new technology “enables computers to quickly and efficiently identify images of more than 50,000 landmarks from all over the world with 80 percent accuracy,” the vendor claims.

This is working, now. A robot programmed with this tech would, 4 times out of 5, be able to instantly know where it was. And the vendor who created this amazing technology?

Wait for it...
Up until now, computers could “see” what we see only in a limited and imperfect way. But suddenly things are becoming clearer. Google claims to have made substantial progress in endowing computers with image recognition capabilities, often referred to as “computer vision,” a task artificial intelligence (AI) researchers have been wrestling with for 35 years.

Google. Why did it have to be Google?
Computers are good at solving complex mathematical problems, sorting through enormous amounts of data quickly, storing massive amounts of information, etc. As Ray Kurzweil pointed out at 22.28 in a 2006 video on the "Roots of the Matrix": “Machines can remember billions of things accurately, they can do logical analysis at extremely high speed… We are not very good actually at logical or analytical thinking. Computers are already much better than us at considering the logical implications of many different factors.”

They have detailed files.
Visual pattern recognition is something AI researchers have struggled with mimicking in computers. And Google is not the only major entity accelerating in this field. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is also a player. Face recognition is a component of programs such as iPhoto 09, where accuracy is about 50 percent to start with, and the program learns and the hit rate rises as more and more identifications are confirmed or rejected.

Although Google and Apple’s ambitions may appear narrow and of limited interest at the moment, a more advanced version of this software applied to the Web in general could be an enormous advance. When we add to the mix things that computers excel at -- rapid processing and prodigious memory -- we can begin to envision the potential magnitude of this budding tool, and it is like nothing we have yet imagined.

Actually, we have imagined it. It was made into 3 great movies and one shitty one.

Previous Stories:
I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin
Google = Skynet, Part 4
Jake's JK: This is not a good sign
Uh oh, Google is at it again
Google's Plan for Worldwide Domination