Friday, May 04, 2018

Second Thoughts about Robotics

It has been reported that Donald Trump "is working with a group of people to defeat an automated intelligence computer program set on destroying humanity."

If you've ever read the Terms of Service for Amazon, Apple, or Facebook, you know it's true.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Underwater Robotics Competition

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is the local sponsor of a national underwater robotics competition, and some students I know were participants yesterday.

The premise of the competition is that an airplane has gone down in the ocean. The robotics team must locate and retrieve the black box, as well as perform several other exercises in the wreckage.

Locating the black box is a math problem, and one of the team members here was entrusted with that. The math was flawless, as it had to be, because the robot can only be directed by the folks sitting at the monitors, who cannot see the robot itself. The team members who put the robot in the water are not allowed to speak to or signal the pilot. The robot had three cameras, though, and you can see their monitors in some of the pictures.

This was the first time this team had participated in the competition, and though they did not win or place, they did very well, considering. And since the entire team consists of freshmen and sophomores, the future looks good!

Update: Our favorite team came in fifth in a field of sixteen. WAY better than was expected for a first-time competitor.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Best Tweet of the Week

"Dear Amazon, I bought a toilet seat because I needed one. Necessity, not desire. I do not collect them. I am not a toilet seat addict. No matter how temptingly you email me, I'm not going to think, oh go on then, just one more toilet seat, I'll treat myself."

-- Jac Rayner @GirlFromBlupo

Who also says that her "opinions [are] those of the the last person I spoke to who was quite persuasive."

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Time To Take a Hard Look at Social Media

A YouTube app called YouTube Kids linked kids to wacko conspiracy videos that claim reptile-human hybrids rule the world. YouTube was apparently not aware of it.

Here's what they said:
The YouTube Kids app is home to a wide variety of content that includes enriching and entertaining videos for families. This content is screened using human trained systems. That being said, no system is perfect and sometimes we miss the mark. When we do, we take immediate action to block the videos or, as necessary, channels from appearing in the app. We will continue to work to improve the YouTube Kids app experience.
My favorite part: "This content is screened using human trained systems." How's that for gobbeldygook? For how many kids is it too late, and they've turned to FoxNews?


 Pay attention to this Cambridge Analytica story. Cambridge Analytica is owned by dark money billionaires. Nobody associated with it (Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, Wikileaks, Jared Kushner, the Trumps) is noted for personal integrity.

Two points:

Our computerized world has grown faster than our ability understand its dangers.

The problem with a STEM education is that you reach adulthood without understanding concepts like right and wrong, personal character, charity, etc.


Did a run around the cable news shows to assess coverage of the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

MSNBC had its hair on fire, especially because Trump's tweet is sure to be evidence in an obstruction of justice case. CNN was very upset. FauxNews reported it, then moved on.

Some of my favorite Twitter comments. David Axelrod's comment is related directly to Trump's tweet about it (see "A Cry for Help?"  below).

A former CIA director:

Boy, That John Kelly Is Some Classy Guy!

From The Daily Beast:
Reporters gathered at the White House on Friday were stunned when Chief of Staff John Kelly shared a very embarrassing story about outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The reporters were there with senior White House officials for an off-the-record meeting with Kelly, who was attempting to tamp down speculation about an impending administration staff purge. The Daily Beast was not invited, but was briefed on its contents by three sources with knowledge of the meeting.

According to those sources, Kelly recounted a very awkward conversation with Tillerson during which he informed the secretary that President Donald Trump would very likely soon fire him. The awkwardness was less a result of the contents of the conversation than its setting.

Tillerson, Kelly told the room, was suffering from a stomach bug during a diplomatic swing through Africa, and was using a toilet when Kelly broke the news to him.

A Cry for Help?

... or another psychotic episode.

The firings will continue until morale improves.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bring in the Clowns

I'm sure everyone will find this surprising.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

None Dare Call It Treason

As you've no doubt read, Fearless Leader has decided that it is treason (a crime punishable by death) not to stand and applaud him during his State of the Union address.  I guess he'll get ICE to start rounding up the suspects soon.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Outgoing Speaker of the House Lauds His Tax Cut

In fairness to the president of the Ayn Rand Fan Club, he deleted his tweet within an hour.

Ryan's "Tax Reform" passed on November 16. On November 29, the Koch brothers showed their appreciation by donating $247,000 EACH to "Team Ryan".

Thursday, February 01, 2018

How Many House Republicans Does It Take to Commit Treason?

The answer is apparently thirteen.  Here they are, the majority members of the ironically titled Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who are prepared to give aid and comfort to our enemies if only it will protect Donald Trump from the law. The press keeps referring to them collectively, by the name of the committee. They should be outed and shamed.

Our allies (maybe we should start referring to them as "former allies") will not share intelligence with a country that can't keep a secret.

By the way, treason is an impeachable offense.

Devin Nunes, Chairman
22nd District of California

Mike Conaway
11th District of Texas

Peter King
2nd District of New York

Frank LoBiondo
2nd District of New Jersey

Tom Rooney
17th District of Florida

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
27th District of Florida

Michael Turner
10th District of Ohio

Brad Wenstrup
2nd District of Ohio

Chris Stewart
2nd District of Utah

Rick Crawford
1st District of Arkansas

Trey Gowdy
4th District of South Carolina

Elise Stefanik
21st District of New York

Will Hurd
23rd District of Texas

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Morning Tweets

Truth in Advertising

Saturday night, guests at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., were greeted by projections on the hotel entrance.

Also projected were "Pay Trump bribes here", "Emoluments welcome", and "we are all responsible to stand up and end white supremacy”.  Read more here

Meanwhile, a New York bookstore has seen a marketing opportunity:

As long-time readers will know, this is a classy blog, and we don't use words like that here.