09 November 2014

04 November 2014

31 October 2014

13 October 2014

WTF | The Lady Is A Tramp


From Barcelona-based animation studio Dvein, via io9. See other "uncanny valley" examples here.

11 October 2014

Game of American Thrones

Click image to enlarge | Via FB


09 October 2014

Thank You | Animal Poison Control

There's no way to describe the feeling of returning home to find that your 9-pound dog has chewed up an ant-bait ... the one with a warning to keep it away from pets and children.

Bisou's vet referred panic-y me to the ASPCA-sponsored Animal Poison Control which quickly and efficiently researched the type of poison, consulted a vet, and assured me that the worst-case scenario involved only vomiting and diarrhea. They explained that ant baits are fat- or peanut-butter-flavored to be especially appealing to ants. Fortunately, the poison is targeted to insects, not mammals, and the vet was actually more concerned with how much of the plastic casing she had ingested.

Bisou is fine. She had to work pretty hard to get to the bait and I think she regarded it as another puzzle she had to solve to get to a tasty treat. The reason there is no dog-shaming pic here is that she wasn't in the least concerned or ashamed.

From the website:
We are your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
The $65 charge includes any follow-up phone calls and was worth every penny considering the circumstances.

And, just because ...

Beacoup thanks to Ms. and Mr. tomB for being such great step-parents.

08 October 2014

27 July 2014

23 July 2014

Brit Will Aim Giant Fart Machine At France


From Colin Furze:
On the 24th of july at around 6-7pm i will take this jet down to dover and see in the french can hear it. There are reports that in the war people could hear artiliry fire from northern france but will the french hear this. Its loud its very loud and glows like the sun so next after this is a giant bum to point it through.

18 July 2014

May You Always Be The Cat

YouTube | Jezebel

Cat pees (or poops -- nobody's sure) on mole's head.

TGIF | Tunak Tunak Tun

08 June 2014

Computer Passes Turing Test

Yesterday at the University of Reading in London, a computer convinced human judges that it was actually a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. By convincing one-third of the judging panel of its humanity, it became the computer ever to pass the famous Turing Test.
The Turing Test is a controversial test invented by Alan Turing in 1950. Turing believed that if thirty percent of humans could not distinguish a human from a machine in conversation, that would mean the machine is capable of "thinking." Until yesterday, a machine was never capable of convincing enough humans to be deemed artificially intelligent, though others have tried.
... the test was a five-minute keyboard conversation with someone or something on the other side. The questions are a free-for-all — no script is applied and there are no topics assigned in advance. It's meant to simulate a conversation with a complete stranger. The judges then determine if they believe they have been speaking to a machine or a human. As long as one-third of judges believe its human, the machine passes the test.
In 2012, a program nearly passed with 29 percent of judges convinced, but just barely missed the cut. Saturday's computer, who acted as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene Goostman, made the cut. Gootsman was created by a team of computer engineers, led by Russian Vladimir Veselov and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko ... Goostman told the judges that he likes to eat hamburgers and candy, and that his dad works as a gynecologist.
The Turing Test has been a point of contention among researchers, and some argue that it is not a valid way to determine if computers can think. Professor Kevin Warwick, a visiting educator at the University of Reading, explained that this version of the test was actually quite vigorous: "The words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world [but] this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted."
Goostman's age was crucial to passing the Turing Test. Developer Veselov explained that, "Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn't know everything." So if the judges asked him something he was not programmed to know, judges might write that off as a factor of his age instead of his lack of humanity.
If you would like to talk to the first computer capable of "thinking," you can chat with Eugene here
The Wire

Perceptronium | A New Way To Look At Consciousness

... MIT’s Max Tegmark is championing a new way of explaining [consciousness]: he believes that [it] is a state of matter.
By “matter,” he doesn’t mean that somewhere in the deep recesses of your brain is a small bundle of liquid, sloshing around and powering your sense of self and your awareness of the world. Instead, Tegmark suggests that consciousness arises out of a particular set of mathematical conditions, and there are varying degrees of consciousness—just as certain conditions are required to create varying states of vapor, water, and ice. In turn, understanding how consciousness functions as a separate state of matter could help us come to a more thorough understanding of why we perceive the world the way we do.
Most neuroscientists agonize over consciousness because it’s so difficult to explain. In recent years, though, they’ve tended to agree that a conscious entity must be able to store information, retrieve it efficiently, process it, and exist as a unified whole—that is, you can’t break consciousness down into smaller parts. These traits are calculable, Tegmark says. A case in point? We put labels on the strength of our current computer processing power. While they’re not human, some of our computers can operate independently, and we can use our knowledge of artificial intelligence to push these machines to new limits.
Tegmark calls his new state of matter “perceptronium.” From the Physics arXiv Blog:
Tegmark discusses perceptronium, defined as the most general substance that feels subjectively self-aware. This substance should not only be able to store and process information but in a way that forms a unified, indivisible whole. That also requires a certain amount of independence in which the information dynamics is determined from within rather than externally.
So if consciousness is a state of matter, he concludes, we might be able to apply what we know about consciousness to what we actually see.
[...] the problem is why we perceive the universe as the semi-classical, three dimensional world that is so familiar. When we look at a glass of iced water, we perceive the liquid and the solid ice cubes as independent things even though they are intimately linked as part of the same system. How does this happen? Out of all possible outcomes, why do we perceive this solution?
In other words, quantum mechanics dictates that the world we see is just one of an infinite number of possibilities. But why? Tegmark doesn’t have an answer, but his ideas demonstrate that there might be a more dynamic relationship between consciousness and other states of matter—that our ability to perceive the world is both a means to an end and also an end (an “object”) in itself.
Read more here. | Abstract

07 June 2014

Bitter Clown Tears With A Hint Of Suspicion

A prankster replaced official descriptions on wine bottle displays at a Tesco store in Brixton, south London with his own irreverent versions.


27 April 2014

Oxford Comma

Click images to enlarge

Shit Academics Say

19 April 2014

Happy Easter

More happiness here, here, and here.

17 April 2014

WP 2014 Peeps Diorama Contest

WINNER I I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. Addresses the Peeple

FINALIST | Selfies: A Retrospeeptive

FINALIST |  Everyone Peeps

Click images to enlarge

Visit Washington Post 2014 Peeps Diorama Contest for videos and interactive images of the all the finalists.

14 April 2014

12 April 2014

Pay Inequity By State

Click image to enlarge

The states with the largest pay gaps between men and women.

Via Think Progress

03 April 2014

01 April 2014

Puppy Feet


CakeWrexxx via CakeWrecks

31 March 2014

European Word Translator




Type one or two lower-case English words to see translations via Google Translate.

Link to EWT via io9

25 March 2014

Glass Brain

... It’s not possible to know exactly what another person is thinking, but neuroscientists from UCSD and UCSF are on their way. They created a “glass brain” software that shows a person’s brain reacting to stimuli in real time.
The implications for virtual reality and digital communication are tremendous, according to Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life, who has been collaborating with the neuroscientists. “We’re trying to identify which critical factors can most help people feel like they’re face to face,” says Rosedale, whose new company, High Fidelity, is currently working on a next generation virtual world.
The neuroscientists used an MRI to scan the brain of Rosedale’s wife, Yvette. Then, for the recent SXSW demo, they fitted her with a cap covered in electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes, which record brain activity. Sitting beside Yvette, Rosedale donned an Oculus Rift headset, which allowed him to see a 3-D picture of her brain activity. “In the middle of the presentation, somebody said ‘tickle her.’ I wouldn’t dare--she’d kill me. But I put my hand on her side and squeezed, and you could see the motor cortex activity lighting up all of a sudden,” he says.
This moment was particularly powerful for Rosedale, because it neurologically demonstrated the physical intimacy between himself and his wife. For him, that’s exactly why the glass brain software could be so useful. “There’s this theory of the brain that says we’re all kind of dancing together,” he says. “When I talk and you nod, you’re following the rhythm of my voice and guessing when my sentences will end. That’s something that we may be able to see with the EEG.” Rosedale says cell phone communication is “so terrible” because the delay, however small, disrupts this human interplay. “On the phone, you often can’t make a response sound like ‘mm-hm,’ close enough to the end of my sentence for me to feel it,” he says, “so one of the emotional elements of communication is lost.”
The glass brain software can similarly help improve the facial expressions and physical reactions of virtual reality avatars. “It will let us put a number on the quality of virtual communication and then compare that number to what happens face-to-face,” he explains. By hooking more subjects up to the glass brain and have them interact, “we can hopefully find out why video conferencing just doesn’t seem to work.” 
Even if we will never know exactly what other people are thinking, Rosedale believes that watching a brain’s real-time response can lead to greater honesty. Right now, people won’t put on EEG caps for business meetings, but he says that in the future, technology will make brain activity transparent to everyone at the table. As evidence, he points to an iPhone app that can measure heart-rate based on how the skin flushes. “What if I could show, based on what’s happening in your brain, that you wanted to interact with me in a intimate manner?" he asks. "You can lie on a phone call but it will be harder to lie in virtual reality because of how your body and brain will be moving.” 
Fast Company

19 March 2014

'Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy'

Click images to enlarge

Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy was published in 1990. According to author Doris Sanford:
... the words of the text and the objects and situations illustrated are based on months of intensive research into the nature and practice of satanic ritual abuse. Any child who has been ritually abused will recognize the validity of this story.
From the book's jacket:
When five-year-old Allison’s parents begin to see a change in her behavior at home, they seek professional help for her. They find that Allison and other children have been ritually abused at a day care center. Thus begins Allison’s recovery through counseling and through her parents’ affirmations that it was not her fault, that she is precious and loved, and they will keep her safe.
Vigilant Citizen via Christian Nightmares