February 8, 2011
“Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th.”
The X-47B made its maiden flight a few days ago at Edwards Air Force base. What's the X-47B? Just an autonomous, artificially intelligent, fully armed jet fighter. At the same time, automated, cannon-mounted human-seeking robots are patrolling the Korean DMZ. Previously
Descendents of early French Huguenots, the Ravenel family of South Carolina ranked among the most prominent members of the state's planter class. Arthur Ravenel, Jr. continued the Ravenel tradition of public service, serving in the South Carolina house and senate and then in the U.S. House of Representatives. He once referred to the NAACP as the "that organization known as the National Association for Retarded People" although he later apologized, but only to people with mental and physical challenges. He also once called for the military to shoot down any plane suspected of smuggling drugs. Arthur's son Thomas Ravenel had little contact with his father after his parent's divorce, became a self-made millionaire through real estate development, narrowly missed winning the Senate seat now held by Jim DeMint, was elected South Carolina Treasurer, was the subject of an investigation into his cocaine use (of which he was warned by his father), was indicted on a federal cocaine charge and resigned, and served 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine. On Saturday, Thomas Ravenel took to the pages of the Charleston Post and Courier to call for an end to drug prohibition, hoping the celebrity of being a former rising star in the Republican Party who went to prison will help advance his position.
Choices, death, life, destiny, hate, anger, purpose, living, boldness, regret and do or do not, no try.
Current TV has been pretty low on the media radar since it's founding by a forward-thinking former Vice President. As a network based around documentary-style journalism and viewer-generated content, Current has struggled to find both an audience and a solid direction, with it's largest headlines generated by a run-in with North Korea. This may change with the announcement that former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann (previously) has been hired as Chief News Officer and host of a new prime-time news program.
Excuse me, I ordered this Fixie medium rare, and this is obviously well-done. I'd like to send it back.
A man who has eaten an aircraft cockpit, and the whole plane, and some bicycles and other stuff as well: Michel Lotito aka Monsieur Mangetout aka Mister Eats All [ prev i ously ] • Sci-fi bonus: In 2050, scientists discovered the cause, and then the crazy genetic corporations did stuff like they are wont to do.
The mystery of American Raymond A. Davis, currently imprisoned in the custody of local police in Lahore, Pakistan and charged with the Jan. 27 murder of two young men, whom he allegedly shot eight times with pinpoint accuracy through his car windshield, is growing increasingly murky. Also growing is the anger among Pakistanis that the US is trying to spring him from a Punjab jail by claiming diplomatic immunity. from The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists [more inside]
Eugenio Arango, better known as Totico, a Cuban-born percussionist and singer who was one of the most celebrated figures in the drumming, dancing and singing culture of New York rumba, died on Jan. 21 in the Bronx, where he lived. He was 76.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released results from the joint National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/NASA study on sudden vehicle acceleration in Toyota cars requested Spring 2010 by Congress. Short version: NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents. [more inside]
Rediscovering WWII's female "computers". While researching a documentary in Philadelphia, filmmaker LeAnn Erickson came across two women with a story she'd never heard before: thousands of women with advanced mathematical skills employed as "computers", working day and night during WWII to supply soldiers in the field with precise ballistics algorithms. Some of those women also went on to program ENIAC, the first general-purpose computer (previously). Erickson turned their stories into Top Secret Rosies, a documentary released to theaters last year and to DVD this month. One of those programmers, Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, spoke at length to the Computing History Museum in 2008. [youtube, 1:07:19] [via]
Come for the Homicide, Stay for the Top Secret Beam-Weaponry Research: The daughter of a man killed along with two others in a slaying some link to the murder of Octopus researcher Danny Casolaro digs into the Web's conspiracy subculture; creates an elaborate online persona; succeeds, nearly thirty years after the murder, in tracking down a suspect via the Web; and then gets him arrested, put in orange jumpers, and hauled into court. Then, on the day of the hearing, Something Happens...
The Kingston Lounge is a photoblog about "guerrilla preservation and urban archaeology". Via How to be a Retronaut, which drew my attention to their excellent photoessay about North Brother Island.
Evolving English: The British Library's Evolving English exhibition runs until 3rd April but if you can't make it to London you can view the English language timeline, map your voice, or try this quiz on the website.
Is Jennifer Goodwin White really dead? The Alaska State Troopers say she is. Facebook says different. [more inside]
This Valentine's Day make love, not war... An Alabama sex shop is offering a handgun- for-sex-toy promotion for Valentine's Day. [more inside]
Generate the next Malcolm Gladwell book. Perhaps soothing if one is annoyed at Gladwell's piece in the New Yorker last week regarding the nonimportance of twitter in Egypt's turmoil.
The Baseball Prospectus' Wezen-Ball blog solves a riddle in Ferris Bueller's Day Off at Wrigley Field, explaining exactly which Cubs game Ferris and his friends attended during that fateful day off.
Social news site Reddit recently held their "Best of Reddit 2010" awards honoring key players in the site over the last year, including the progenitor of the Rally to Restore Sanity, the clever drive-by cartoonist Sure_Ill_Draw_That, unofficial image host Imgur, and feel-good story of the year "Today you, tomorrow me." But perhaps most interesting was the winner for Best Big Community: FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU! Originally inspired by 4chan's popular Rage Guy meme, F7U12 (for short) is a clearinghouse for user-made web comics, slice-of-life affairs that tell a story or share a common frustration using a small collection of crudely drawn yet highly evocative facial expressions. Several have become small memes in their own right -- the wily Trolldad, the doormat Okay, the prideful Fuck Yea, the melodramatic Gasp. And one comic, inspired by the warped text randomly generated by reCAPTCHAs (previously), has given us Lord Inglip -- god of a dark religion now rivaling FSM whose cryptic commands marshal loyal armies of gropagas, falcows, Sellicks, and... canary into exploits both monstrous and inconvenient (timeline, wiki). Obey him -- or else! More fun with F7U12: rage face origins, rage faces in real life, Twitter feed, search comics, create your own (alternate).
Filed under strangely fascinating: Popin' Cookin', powdered miniature sushi that one makes oneself and eats as a candy. Wait for the salmon roe at the end. There is a type of sweet in Japan that’s sold under the category of "intellectual education candy". These are sweets you must make yourself using the ingredients contained in the box. This way, children can enjoy the process of making candy, which allows them to develop their creativity. The non-edible version, Konapun. [more inside]
Stanley Kubrick liked things just so. Including cardboard boxes. (2:05 .wmv)
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." RIP Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation
"Kenneth Olsen, the computer industry pioneer who co-founded and led minicomputer king Digital Equipment Corp. for 35 years, died at the age of 84 on Sunday in Indianapolis." [more inside]
Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City "From a distance, it looks like a bunch of golden squiggles and spirals have been added, snaking whimsically across the facade. But get a little closer and you’ll find the real magic… The new design is made up entirely of keys, literally thousands, and thousands, and thousands of keys, twisting into wonderful assortment of swoops and twirls."
Research on RNA interference is losing steam. Biotech companies are giving the chop to RNAi, a gene-silencing mechanism once thought to have great promise for human medicine. [more inside]
For a number of years now work has been proceding in order to bring to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automaticaly synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo encabulator. [more inside]
Just what it says on the tin: KITTEN IN SLOW MOTION!!!
The 100th Berliner Sechstagerennen (Six Day Race) ran from Jan 27 to Feb 1 2011, continuing the local tradition started in 1909.