Categories
Asides Politics

If God had intended for us to be naked…

Mark Twain

“If God had intended for us to be naked, we’d have been born that way”. ~ Mark Twain

Quote was referenced in the comments to article in KOMO News website about frequent flyer John E. Brennan stripping down to his birthday suit in protest of Portland Airport TSA harassing screening procedures.

Categories
Design Politics Science

AI is on it’s way and the Military will be using it first?

Robotics coming to warfare is a mostly obvious topic from following the increased use of unmanned drones in “Targeted Killings” and surveillance, along with the ability to defuse a bomb remotely through the use of robotics etc. etc. – the presence and dexterity of real life robotics in use in war and industry is evident. But complex tasks and decisions still require a human operator. What caught my attention in the Fault Lines program was around 17:45 minutes into the video – when the interviewer/narrator states that most experts they contacted seem to be in general agreement that “in just a few decades the robots that will exist in our world will be unrecognizable by today’s standards”.

Followed shortly by Roboticist Robert Finkelstein saying he thinks “the probability is virtually one, a certainty, that machines will be as intelligent as people, that we will have intelligent robots, that robots will be ubiquitous”. And that this Artificial Intelligence (AI) will happen in our lifetimes.

Experts often underestimate the difficulty of certain feats, and AI certainly has been one in the past, but more and more it seems what computer programs achieve are indeed the initial steps to real AI. Primitive cognitive processes that allow for stable walking, achieving goals… evolving. And with technological evolution so much faster than biological evolution the predictions of 2030-2050 seem rational. In other words, a good idea or not, humanity is entering the Science Fiction realm of machines that are smart.

Categories
Design Interesting People Politics

Thank You Mask Man by Lenny Bruce

The film was completed in 1968. Its audio is derived from a recording of Bruce’s routine. The short was made by San Francisco-based company Imagination, Inc. and directed by Jeff Hale, a former member of the National Film Board of Canada.

After years of saving a small town, its population is angered that The Lone Ranger never stays long enough to receive gratitude for his deeds. He stays, and finds that he likes hearing the phrase “Thank you, Mask Man”. When asked what the community could give him in return for his services, The Lone Ranger points to an Indian, Tonto, and says that he wants him. Asked why The Lone Ranger wants Tonto, he replies that he wants to have sex with him, explaining that he is not a homosexual, but that he had “heard a lot about it and read exposes” and would like to “try now to see how bad it is. Just once.” The Lone Ranger also requests a horse, suggesting that he wants to perform bestiality. The townspeople react in disgust as The Lone Ranger and Tonto ride off into the sunset.

Bruce intended to deconstruct homophobia and other issues explored within the routine.

– info sourced from Wikipedia

Categories
Interesting People Politics

Obama reaches out to US Chamber of Commerce

“A tiger doesn’t change it’s stripes and the U.S. Chamber is not going to start working for the President’s agenda,” and “are the largest lobbying group in the country, to put this in perspective, they are bigger than the next five combined, and number two, for the record, is Exxon-Mobil. They’re HUGE!” and “they are an extremely partisan organization that fights for Right Wing causes, and particularly fight for the causes that favor the very few wealthy corporations that fund their lobbying budget,” says Christy Setzer of U.S. Chamber Watch.

More GRITtv

Interesting links mentioned in Grit piece, alternative business groups to turn to, groups with better transparency and business policies to improve America. Distinguish themselves deliberately from US Chamber of Commerce:
Business Forward
American Sustainable Business Council
Business for Democracy

VS:
US Chamber of Commerce

Christy Setzer is spokeswoman for US Chamberwatch and is being interviewed by Laura Flanders of GRITtv.

Article produced by US Chamberwatch on the US Chamber of Commerce РHow the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Top Corporate Funders Dictate the Agenda for the 112th Congress

Categories
Politics

Tony Bruman from Al Jazeera, begs the question: USA censorship on a big scale?

Al Jazeera is available in Canada now, thanks to a grassroots effort to make it so.

You don’t need to love the program, or even watch it, to feel that some form of wide scale, highly visible and excepted censorship is going on in the USA when a big legitimate news service is denied access to most cable services across the States. Are you OK with that?

Or do you want Al Jazeera to be a news option available to you on your cable programing? If it isn’t, why isn’t it? Is US media self-censoring/censored? Are we free to think for ourselves or is there a self-selected group that control what and how news reaches us?

The Huffingtong Post covers the question in this article: Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S. – which include these links to take action if you want to see Al Jazeera available to all Americans, not just Canadians, South Americans and some people in Washington D.C. (ironic, huh?), Vermont and Ohio:

  • http://www.iwantaje.net/
  • http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/contactus/ContactUs.html
  • http://www.timewarner.com/corp/contacts_support.html
  • http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/content/contact_us

A good article by AlterNet: Will Al Jazeera English Revolutionize America’s TV News Landscape? – covers the same ground in more depth.

From the article:

According to the Pew Research Center’s annual State of the News Media report, coverage of international events by American media fell by about 40 percent in 2008. Thus has a bizarre situation arisen: at the most interconnected time in history, accurate and comprehensive news of the outside world is disappearing — and with it an informed public.

The news service is available online: Al Jazeera streaming live online