A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘computers

[NEWS] Three links about sci-fi and pop culture: Westworld and AI, machine learning, Janelle Monáe

  • This fascinating look at Westworld takes a look at how changing representations of artificial intelligence influence storylines in pop culture, as we shift from fear of AI to potential sympathy. The AV Club has it.
  • Machine learning these days is demonstrating an astounding ability to understand complex systems. Quanta Magazine has it.
  • io9 notes an upcoming queer Afrofuturist film from Janelle Monáe (also starring Tessa Thompson as a love interest) that sounds amazing.
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[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Anthrodendum recommends design researcher Jan Chipchase’s Field Study Handbook for anthropologists interested in field practice.
  • Architectuul investigates strange similarities between buildings built in far-removed parts of the world.
  • Centauri Dreams takes a look at TESS, the next generation of exoplanet-hunting satellite.
  • Crooked Timber investigates the connections between the spiritualism of the 19th century and the fiction of the uncanny.
  • D-Brief notes the many names, often delightful, that newly-discovered locations on Mercury and Charon have received.
  • Cody Delistraty investigates two exhibitions of French satirists, including Charlie Hedo’s Georges Wolinski, to examine the nature of satire.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the possibility of cryomagna leaving marks on the surface of Europa.
  • Drew Ex Machina takes a look at the strangely alien skies of TRAPPIST-1e. What would its sun look like? How would the other planets appear?
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the new prominence of multigenerational households in the United States. While a response to economic strains, it also looks back to past traditions.
  • Hornet Stories notes how, on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Monet X Change gave a decent explanation behind the surprisingly recent birth of the modern British accent.
  • Imageo notes how a massive blob of warm water is rising to the surface of the Pacific.
  • At In A State of Migration, Lyman Stone explores the unique population history of Maine, to my eyes easily the most Atlantic Canadian of the fifty American states.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper exploring why modern video games can produce such rewarding experiences for players. (We can get meaning from many places.)
  • Language Log takes a look at the complexity of Chinese language classifications with a song by Yishi Band. What exactly is Yibin Sichuanese?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes a look at an interesting question: When did Jews in the United States become white?
  • The LRB Blog takes a look at the baffling reasons behind the poisoning of the Skribins with Novichok, and the science behind it.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that this year, GDP per capita measured at PPP in Spain is higher than in Italy. (This probably says more about the disarray in Italy.)
  • The NYR Daily shares an interesting interview with cartoonist Art Spiegelman.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw tells of his experiences on a trip to the small Australian city of Armidale, in the region of New England.
  • Justin Petrone reflects on the tidy and clean, minimalist even, rural landscape of Estonia.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes brain scans that provide evidence of consciousness even in very young infants.
  • Drew Rowsome praises the Toronto production of the musical Fun Home, based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, although Proxima Centauri is far too active a star for Proxima Centauri b to be Earth-like, that world could still plausibly host life-supporting environments.
  • Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy suggests a recent deal at the federal level in the US between Trump and Cory Gardner has created space for states to legalize marijuana without fear of federal intervention.

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: HAL 9000, Space Seed on VHS, baseball on DS9, Civilization, AIs doing D&D

  • How did the movie version of HAL 9000, from 2001, come about? And why does HAL sound so Canadian? The National Post reports.
  • The official Star Trek website explains how the release of the episode “Space Seed” on VHS helped change the videocassette market of the 1980s, here.
  • Deadspin explains how the central role played by the sport of baseball in Deep Space 9 underlined the ways in which that show was atypical Trek.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun examines how many long-run civilization-building games, like Civilization, do a poor job of depicting stagnation and decline, and what this failure says about us now.
  • The idea that the game that artificial intelligences need to learn to play is not chess but D&D–that games involving roleplaying are good tests for general intelligence–seems obvious to me. Aeon has it.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait suggests that strange markings in the upper atmosphere of Venus might well be evidence of life in that relatively Earth-like environment.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly raves over Babylon Berlin.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, fifty years after its publication, Clarke’s 2001.
  • Crooked Timber considers Kevin Williamson in the context of conservative intellectual representation more generally.
  • D-Brief considers “digisexuality”, the fusion of the digital world with sexuality. (I think we’re quite some way off, myself.)
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers evidence suggesting that the agricultural revolution in ancient Anatolia was achieved without population replacement from the Fertile Crescent.
  • Drew Ex Machina takes a look at the flight of Apollo 6, a flight that helped iron out problem with the Saturn V.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas is not impressed by the idea of the trolley problem, as something that allows for the displacement of responsibility.
  • Gizmodo explains why the faces of Neanderthals were so different from the faces of modern humans.
  • JSTOR Daily considers if volcano-driven climate change helped the rise of Christianity.
  • Language Log considers, after Spinoza, the idea that vowels are the souls of consonants.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money engages in a bit of speculation: What would have happened had Clinton won? (Ideological gridlock, perhaps.)
  • Lovesick Cyborg explores how the advent of the cheap USB memory stick allowed North Koreans to start to enjoy K-Pop.
  • Russell Darnley considers the transformation of the forests of Indonesia’s Riau forest from closed canopy forest to plantations.
  • The Map Room Blog shares some praise of inset maps.
  • Neuroskeptic considers how ketamine may work as an anti-depressant.
  • The NYR Daily considers student of death, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
  • Justin Petrone of north! shares an anecdote from the Long Island coastal community of Greenport.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw considers the iconic Benjamin Wolfe painting The Death of General Wolfe.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Casey Dreier notes cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • pollotenchegg maps recent trends in natural increase and decrease in Ukraine.
  • Roads and Kingdoms talks about a special Hverabrauð in Iceland, baked in hot springs.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares his own proposal for a new Drake Equation, revised to take account of recent discoveries.
  • Vintage Space considers how the American government would have responded if John Glenn had died in the course of his 1962 voyage into space.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the belief among many Russians that had Beria, not Khrushchev, succeeded Stalin, the Soviet Union might have been more successful.

[NEWS] Five technology links: geoengineering, Nile, Long March 9, space internet, hacking

  • Wired reports on how climate change skeptics are starting to get interested in geoengineering.
  • BBC reports on the growing stresses being placed on the Nile, but countries upstream and downstream.
  • The Long March 9 rocket proposed for a 2030 date by China would be a Saturn V equivalent, capable of propelling people directly to the Moon. Universe Today reports.
  • Is it necessarily worthwhile to develop an Internet suited for space? Wired reports. Wired considers.
  • Are nuclear plants in Ontario at risk of hacking? NOW Toronto makes a case.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Anthropology.net shares in the debunking of the Toba catastrophe theory.
  • Architectuul features Mirena Dunu’s exploration of the architecture of the Black Sea coastal resorts of Romania, built under Communism.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of sleep hygiene and of being well-rested.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the filaments of Orion, indicators of starbirth.
  • Centauri Dreams notes how solar sails and the Falcon Heavy can be used to expedite the exploration of the solar system.
  • D-Brief notes the discovery of debris marking the massive flood that most recently refilled the Mediterranean on the seafloor near Malta.
  • Lucy Ferriss at Lingua Franca uses a recent sickbed experience in Paris to explore the genesis of Bemelmans’ Madeline.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money noted recently the 15th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, trigger of a world-historical catastrophe.
  • The LRB Blog hosts Sara Roy’s defense of UNRWA and of the definition of the Palestinians under its case as refugees.
  • The NYR Daily notes how the regnant conservative government in Israel has been limiting funding to cultural creators who dissent from the nationalist line.
  • Roads and Kingdoms uses seven food dishes to explore the history of Malta.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why, even though dark matter is likely present in our solar system, we have not detected signs of it.
  • Daniel Little at Understanding Society examines the field of machine learning, and notes the ways in which its basic epistemology might be flawed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the dropping of the ethnonym “Mongol” from the title of the former Buryat-Mongol autonomous republic sixty years ago still makes some Buryats unhappy.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.