Archive for the ‘ReBlogged’ Category

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Let’s see then

Heino Falcke, Radboud University Nijmegen - An astrophysicist reflecting on the world, the universe, and more …

Science in the era of Facebook and Twitter - a whirlwind of hypes and likes. Science in the era of Facebook and Twitter – a whirlwind of hypes and likes.

“Science is wrong, most of the time” – I am not sure who said that first, but I am sure someone did so well before me. This is a banality for those who do science at the forefront of our knowledge, yet sometimes it seems very difficult to also accept that view in the public discourse. Well, in the days of Facebook and Twitter it is plain obvious to everyone.

As an active astrophysicist I had to reflect on this, while a number of big and small events were accumulating.

It all started with a press conference at Harvard where astronomers announced that they found evidence for cosmic inflation. This news quickly spread over the entire world via Twitter and Facebook and it was hailed as spectacular evidence for the big bang by the regular press. Just…

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Behind the Rain, England

Posted: June 23, 2014 in ReBlogged

Searching for Albion

“English weather!” – heard at least five times during the course of wandering round the rain-swept town.

Does it always rain at the English seaside resort? The weather seems to always be at least inclement, at least as I recall. These last few days have gone by in such a blur that, were I not writing down everything I came across, I’d struggle to tell you where I’d been.

Great torrents of rain come down as I get up, disrupting any plans for the town’s visiting families during the school half term. For me it is an opportunity to observe how we spend our leisure, and spend more time talking to people about life here.

Day 7 001Day 7 002Day 7 003Day 7 004

The youth hostel here is well-kept and run by Neil, Alison, and their young family, who supply me with good conversation and information about the area, and suffer well my unusual requests. I put on…

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I wonder how weirdness affects the world.

The Red Pen of Doom

Every day, there are real stories in the morning newspaper that make you snort coffee out your nose or choke on a blueberry muffin. Note: This is why journalists call such pieces “muffin chokers.”

Yet the daily weirdness is more than funny. If you dissect these stories, you can learn deep storytelling lessons from the shallow end of the journalism pool.

Here’s a real story that just happened in my state: Man steals RV from Wal-Mart parking lot, leads police on wild chase. Swerves into sleepy little town where he knocks cars into front yards and such, then blasts through a house and crashes. Runs out, strips down to his underwear and invades a home to steal girl clothes. Cops catch him and haul him off.

This is pretty typical of a weird news story, and not simply because it started in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart — and yeah…

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UNESCO. someday.. someday.. 🙂

John Finn Photography

Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located about 12 kilometres off the coast of County Kerry. I have been going there once a year for several years now and the trip never fails to lift the spirit. It is Ireland’s Machu Picchu.

Skellig-Map6

Boats leave for the island from the village of Portmagee between April and September, weather permitting. It is necessary to book at least a day beforehand as demand for places can be quite brisk. The following are some contact numbers:

  • Pat Joe Murphy  – 087 2342168
  • Joe Roddy – 087 1209924
  • Casey’s  – 066 2371017

Others may be found by doing a Google search. In all, about 10 boats with a capacity for 12 persons each make the trip. They leave at 10am and the journey takes about 50 minutes each way. You are given a maximum of 2½ hours on the island. Expect to pay upwards…

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Bucket List

Steve Huff's Blog

Summer, 2010 Summer, 2010

After you turn 40, you’re supposed to graciously give in to gravity. Let the pounds accrue and let your ass gently carve curves in that one special corner of the sofa. After you turn 40, you’re supposed to let the young folks take over and forge ahead and sit back and reflect and plan the rest of the slide. After you turn 40, you’re not supposed to care anymore. After you turn 40, you’re not supposed to give a damn.

Not everyone receives these messages. I won’t claim they are universal, not these days. I can only claim I received them, and by the time I was 42 I’d taken them on as an unconscious philosophy of living. I was doing some things I liked with my life–writing for a living–and my depression could wait. My high blood pressure would succumb to medication, as soon as I found time…

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The Turing Test Doesn’t Matter

Posted: June 23, 2014 in ReBlogged

students lol

Scientia Salon

turing testby Massimo Pigliucci

You probably heard the news: a supercomputer has become sentient and has passed the Turing test (i.e., has managed to fool a human being into thinking he was talking to another human being [1,2])! Surely the Singularity is around the corner and humanity is either doomed or will soon become god-like.

Except, of course, that little of the above is true, and it matters even less. First, let’s get the facts straight: what actually happened [3] was that a chatterbot (i.e., a computer script), not a computer, has passed the Turing test at a competition organized at the Royal Society in London. Second, there is no reason whatsoever to think that the chatterbot in question, named “Eugene Goostman” and designed by Vladimir Veselov, is sentient, or even particularly intelligent. It’s little more than a (clever) parlor trick. Third, this was actually the second time that a chatterbot passed…

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