Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Apparently Elon Musk is scared that our ORNL TITAN supercomputer might take over the world. That might be fun, but as a variant - that us evil scientists use the supercomputer to seize control.
Now, TITAN is already a 20 petaflop machine, whereas the human brain is only 10 petaflops, so we already have the raw power needed to create superintelligence. A tad more programming could lead our little toy to controlled synthetic ultraconsciousness, with a brain the size of a planet, capable of talking the hind legs off an Arcturan megadonkey*.
But just yapping and a monster brain are not enough - you need arms, legs, weapons etc. So we'd need to hook TITAN up to mindless robots that can see to our physical needs: huge, indestructible machines with infinite strength, precision and balance that never tire and prepare perfect sushi.
Evilly-laughing, mwaha ha ha ha, we villainous plotters would then finally flip the switch that orders the supercomputer to make the robots kill all the little people and use the fruits of our dystopian Earth to serve us, only us, their masters, in any way we desire. Hmm.....in my case that would require forming two robot soccer teams, one, that I would play in, being slightly better than the other.
*Acknowledgement: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Friday, September 18, 2015
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
|The Who, Live at Leeds|
But we did get some real classics. Andy Kershaw, a fellow student, was the unpaid Entertainments Secretary of the Student Union: he spent all his time booking the bands and thus failed his degree. (Despite this failure he was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate there, as he subsequently became a famous broadcaster.) He squeezed in some beauties.
In Freshers week in 1978 we had The Ramones and I twisted my ankle pogo-ing to Cretin Hop early on. Ouch! Then came The Stranglers, The Jam, UB40, Joy Division, George Thorogood, The Specials, Ian Dury etc. Surprising we got any work done, really. Kershaw himself reckons the greatest gig there was The Clash in 1980. I was there too, but bored silly. Musical beauty - in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
|Nanga Parbat: Rupal Face|
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
|Bald Eaglets on Saltspring Island, July 2015|
The Gulf Islands, in British Columbia, lying off the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island, are of outstanding natural beauty and ecological importance. Eagles soar above Arbutus and Cedar, and Orca whales fish in the Southern areas.
I'm surprised. What I witnessed in my latest visit there was negligence and decay.
The islanders are laid back, smiling and very pleasant. They think they are protecting the environment, but their demeanors change when you start to suggest they clean up their individual acts a little.
The rest of BC hardly helps them. Logging masters BC. Pulp mills pollute the air. Anchored tankers grace the sounds. Overfishing depletes Chinook salmon (the Orca staple).
Canada has become environmentally unconscious, it seems.
Sad, for such a breathtaking land.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
OK, who do we back in the Middle East conflicts? I mean, we’ve got to back SOMEONE, haven’t we? We have to remain true to our values, don't we?
This year is the 50th anniversary of little-discussed, but classic example of these values, when the US backed the genocide of about a million “Communist” villagers by the Indonesian military, with the CIA supplying lists of names to the perpetrators. The genocide was celebrated by many over here, and by Time Magazine as “the West’s best news for years in Asia.” 10 years later we went one better, supplying not only political backing but also 90% of the military equipment Suharto needed to massacre another 100-200,000, this time in East Timor. And it wasn’t just a Cold War anomaly, because Western support for that regime continued well after 1990, into the Clinton years.
Don’t expect our choice of who to back in the Middle East to be influenced by such petty considerations as the potential genocide of those who live there.