New Laws of Robotics proposed for kill-bots

Robot warriors should be allowed to mix it up among themselves freely, autonomously deciding to blast enemy weapon systems. Many enemy “systems” would, of course, be themselves robots, so it’s clear that machine-on-machine violence isn’t a problem. The difficulty comes when the automatic battlers need to target humans…

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Hoo boy! The ignorati rule the earth

I don’t know how anyone who cannot fix a Macintosh computer could ever hope to fix a problem on a Windows PeeCee. The dipper into many domains is the master of none. I’ve mastered no domains, but I have learned a few tricks. That’s why people think I’m smart. I’m not smart, just lucky. And throw in the few tricks too.

Dialectical,… indeed?!

Let’s say you got a guy, some guy, a fellow who’s pretty well educated. He’s spent a lot of money on his education. And he’s a good student, worked really hard followed all the rules recommendations, didn’t take the lazy way out. Then say there’s this other guy, equally well-educated and has common interests with the first guy, right? So the second guy wants to associate with the first guy, but not in quite the same way as the first guy wants. For instance, instead of finding a common ground for both on which to agree, the second guy wants the first guy to always see the flaws in his logic. Or better yet, the second guy wants the first guy to always see the multitude, or dynamic interplay of interpretations of the common ground they share. There is no dogma, there is no reductionism. There can only EVER be the dialectic.

So now, the second guy, the dialectician, he gets annoyed when the first guy makes a grand sweeping, dogmatic, reductionist observation now, about anything. Doesn’t matter whether or not the first guy is in the common ground the guys share even. It could be anything, and the second guy is there loyal to his mission of spreading the gospel of dialectic discourse. And yet, the first guy still resists, he doesn’t play along, he will not concede to the first guy. He will not see the reason inherent in the second guy’s argument. As David Byrne was wont to say, “Well, how did we get here?” My guess is a highly educated individual can have things they like to do, and don’t like to do. Strange as it may seem to the second guy, one of those things the first guy may not like to do is constantly be schooled by the second guy. In dialectics there always this guest and host relationship, a pointing and counterpointing, a teacher and a student, a master and a slave. Well the first guy says, “I’m not going to play any of your reindeer games”. And that’s the end of the story. Without the first guy, the second guy is this raving lunatic, sitting by himself pointing at things and there’s no response. If a dialectic occurs in the forest, does anybody hear it? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Great Global Warming Swindle

Martin Durkin has about as much credibility as any Holocaust Denial perpetrator, or more recently Kansas City School Board who wanted to discredit Evolution because it is considered a ‘theory’. Durkin can play these semantic games all night folks, and on into the next century but whither the children? Who will be the ultimate victims of the crimes we perpetrate now? Anyone who continues to argue that the variation in global temperature is natural, and proceeds to look at short, time scales is obviously not sampling enough data. A human time scale of say an adult would be around 72 years old depending on what country you live in. Meausring the rate of ‘natural’ temperature variation on that scale is capricous at best. That’s why so many climatologists have been digging ice cores at the South Pole. They need a bigger and more corroborated data set to determine how much fluctuation occurs ‘naturally’. And ice cores as such will move you well out of the ‘human’ time scale to the geologic time scale (thousands to millions of years). If a real scientist had produced this show in a format backed by real data, explained plainly it would be much more convincing. But throwing in all this crap about Sun spots and vague notions of scientists discounting things. That’s just typical YELLOW JOURNALISM practiced in a documentary form. Martin Durkin should be ashamed of himself as should Channel 4.

I would add that the ‘new’ evidence provided by the researchers at the Danish Space Center is itself the real hypothesis here, not Global Warming. I wouldn’t expect a group of researchers who are physicists doing research in the following:

Research areas: 1) compact objects and the accretion flows associated with these and 2) the formation and development of galaxies and galaxy clusters and the cosmological implications herewith.
Solar System Physics
Research areas: 1) Planetary and interplanetary magnetic fields and 2) electrical discharges in the Earth’s upper atmophere.
Research areas: 1) maintenance and development of geodetic infrastructure, 2) development of new techniques for surveying and mapping, such as GPS and Galileo and 3) new space-based Earth Observation techniques.
Research areas: 1) monitoring the northern cryosphere and 2) airborne mapping of the gravity field
Research area: the link between Earth’s climate and solar activity through effects of cosmic rays on Earth’s cloud cover.
Remote sensing
The primary research areas within remote sensing are: Techniques
Aerospace Instrumentation
The focus is to develop concepts, designs, implementations and verifications of the advanced high performance instruments for use onboard spacecrafts.

These are NOT the people I would put ALL my trust in de-bunking what Martin Durkin has called the global warming scandal. A bunch of space researches who devote so little research to actual climate research? Give me a break. Who are these guys? They certainly are not the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), who by the way are a bunch of physicists that DO study the climate all the time. Space scientists are not geologists, meteorologists, climatologists, or biologists all of whom are collecting the data on a ‘geologic’ time scale that was so conveniently left out of big data shown in Martin Durkin’s program.

In future, everyone should go out of their way to deny Martin Durkin a forum for settling the score, and making scientists into the ‘bad guy’s as he has been quoted as saying. Otherwise the War on Science will continue as it has always done. Johns Manville conducted the War on Science for the Asbestos. Big Tobacco companies conducted the War on Science for the Cigarette industry. GM conducted the War on Ralph Nader when he dared right “Unsafe at any Speed”. It’s no different now except for Martin Durkin is the wolf in sheeps clothing trying to kill off Global Warming in the old ‘death by a thousand pin pricks method of Chinese folklore. As for me, this is the only time I will weigh in as it is the biggest waste of my time and your time dear reader to engage with these know-nothings over the validity of Global Warming. They are like doomed survivors of the Poseidon Adventure who go the wrong way and are never seen again. They deny at their own peril.

The sad thing is Adam Curry of has done an episode of his podcast (the Daily Source Code) where he talks about the show. Unfortunately he’s bought into the complicated argument and slick presentation contained in the Great Global Warming Swindle. Adam seemed to be willing to listen to an opposing view point, no matter how ludicrous just as long as it ‘looked’ convincing. Durkin’s program more or less says humans are not responsible for global warming. So I guess the logical conclusion is, DO NOTHING. Well Adam Curry once went on a big rant about a year ago as he an another podcaster, Madge Weinstein, battled back and forth over the issue of homophobia. Adam’s rant more or less came out as and I’m paraphrasing here, “There are do-ers and there are talkers”. I guess Martin Durkin gets credit for doing a documentary, but gets double-plus ungood talking points for alaying everyones fears over global warming and saying, “It’s not your fault”.

Frontline: News War (Episode 3)

In this episode we discover the economics that drive the so-called ‘News Business’. Apparently up until 1968-69 the networks ran their news divisions in the public interest as dictated by the FCC. Everything changed when CBS with Don Hewitt at the helm created “60 Minutes”, which turned a profit for the news division. It was all downhill from there. Personally I kind of like ’60 Minutes’ as both an investigative news show and as entertainment. The proof that things had changed was when the Loews Corp knuckled under pressure from the ‘Cigarette Industry’ and buried the Jeffrey Weigand whistle-blowing expose on the research done on the effects of cigarettes and the correlation with cancer. I wrote once in an ironic way (probably ripped off of another article I read at the time) that this time Dan Rather’s vaunted eye of CBS blinked. That was proof that ’60 Minutes’ was not like other news programs. It had financial interests to protect.

And whither the old grey newspapers? When public ownership became all the rage and stockholders drove decisions at the newspapers, things took a turn for the worse. The financial obligation a publicly traded company has to its stockholders and the profit margins required outweigh any public interest the newspaper may serve. Knight-Ridder was profiled in its takeover of the L.A. Times and the what followed as the profit margin shot up to 20% year over year. Every quarter attempts were made to show stockholders that management was actively involved and that profits would stay high. Which requires constant publicly visible attempts to cut costs. This is the merry-go-round every company suffers from, and in the era before publicly traded Newspapers, was unnecessary. Families owned newspaper operations in the prior age, and didn’t require 20% profit margins year over year. And therefore, newspapers didn’t have to go through a quarterly charade of cutting costs to maintain profits and growth.

The measure of success for the public interest oriented newspapers and broadcasters are the St. Petersburg Times and National Public Radio. St. Pete is run as a non-profit trust and they are able to be profitable, but are not required to maintain year over year profits and growth in the range of 20% profit and 1% growth each year. As a result the St. Petersburg Times is the most popular newspaper in ALL of Florida, central and otherwise. The only thing I remember coming from the St. Petersburg Times is Dave Barry’s humor column. In retrospect, it makes sense that Barry would have found a comfortable home at this newspaper. The other measure of success is any news organization that is able to keep reporters permanently stationed in Baghdad since before the invasion began. As it stands today National Public Radio can count itself in the same league as N.Y.Times, AP, Reuters, etc. Very few organizations outside the newswires are able to bear the cost of reporting daily from Baghdad. And now NPR is counted as the most trusted broadcast news reporting organization in the U.S. with 26million listeners. Thank God someone is doing something right. Let’s hope private ownership and private trusts can reverse the trend of poorly managed publicly traded media companies.

I inform people against their will

Borrowed from the podcast of “This American Life” #326. Full attribution is a good thing. Mystery Hunt @ MIT. New Puzzles keep coming. There are no instructions but there is an answer. However in real life, outside of MIT, most problems don’t have an answer. Thirteen and half straight hours, 30 straight hours. Dave tells the story of his time at Hallmark in Kansas City, MO. He moved from humor to serious and couldn’t figure out why he was told not to use so many allusions in his day to day speech. “Ooooh, that’s the problem. I inform people against their will.” The thing that makes you annoying in the regular world is not annoying here. Some people have talents that require the right context in which to shine. Truer words were never spoken, thankyou Lisa Pollock.

Frontline: News War (Episode 2)

The subtitle to this whole episode should be Caged Heat: Reporters in Jail

Reporters are more and more being coerced into revealing sources for the stories they file at their respective newspapers and networks. Two reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle broke a story about the steroid scandal at BALCO (Bay Area Lab Coop), a vitamin shop down by San Francisco Airport. Well, in the reporting of what happened a lot of names were stricken from the public record, in the indictment from the Grand Jury. And this is where things go terribly wrong. The Bush Administration has taken the stance that ANY amount of information that leaks out of Grand Jury proceeding meets the ‘exigent’ circumstances as stated in the rules regarding subpeona’s for reporter’s sources on a story. The government is supposed to exhaust all other means of determining the source of the leak before they turn to forcing the reporter to name his/her sources. This according to interviews done with Justice Department employees is completely up to the interpretation of whomever has been appointed to whichever position at Justice. From political appointees to the full-timers they ultimately hire, THOSE are the folks that make the determination of ‘exigent’ circumstances. It should come as no surprise that any other group of individuals still under the title of “Department of Justice” could come to a much different conclusion. One administration determines that 18 subpeonas must be issued, the next administration never submits subpeaonas, and guess who pays the price of those stupid subpeona cases? You and me ladies an gentlemen. The vendettas being carried out against the press are costing you and me hard earned tax dollars.

Now I agree with most of the legal arguments that state Grand Jury testimony is not an indictment. You are not guilty just because you’re called to testify at a Grandy Jury proceeding. And therefore you wouldn’t ever be suspected of being a criminal because the proceedings are SECRET. It’s nobody’s business but you and the court. Under different circumstances, sometimes the Court decides the proceedings no longer are secret. Sometimes and individual decides their testimony is no longer secret. Sometimes information comes out. In the BALCO case, the court record of testimony made it out of the Court’s hands, and that’s whent he crime was committed. I personally come down on the side of following the rules of a Grand Jury proceeding. Best not to infringe on someone’s rights even if it may ‘resonate’ as the reporters of the Chronicle say over and over again. Resonance is by no means a justification for breaking a law. Next time, try to exhaust every means you can to get the same information. Don’t quote the Court Record. At the same time, why is the Justice Department being used as a blunt instrument to generally threaten the Press at large. Makes no sense to me. There’s a lot of blame to go around. Two wrongs (the reporters and the Justice Dept.) will not make this right.