Monday, August 29, 2005


amusing web tool for the curious or budding web comic stripper.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Visionary: We will live longer: Leroy Hood

Another scientist getting with the increased lifespan theories. Somebody get this man a subscription to Rejuvenation Medicine!

AvantGuardian from extropy-chat explains the significance:

"Wow... in scientific circles that is a pretty huge
endorsement of transhumanism. Hood is a big dog
amongst molecular biologists, immunologists, and

Google Talk

More Google.

They've launched an IM service, based on the open protocol Jabber, which uses your gmail contacts and will enable voice chat(if you're equipped for such).

They have a nice little client, but for the time being I'm still using my multiclient GAIM, which can connect to the service just fine.

It would be really cool if they managed to unify IM the way they've unified my other internetting, like search, blogging, email, etc.

I don't know how much money there is in IM for AIM and MSN, but I doubt they'll take it lying down anyhow. It will be interesting to see, but I'm sure the competition will lead to interesting stuff for this consumer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Arimaa - The game of real intelligence

Vaguely interesting. Arimaa is a game, playable with a standard chess set, which is explicitly designed to be difficult for computers. There is a moderate prize ($10k), and some interesting theory behind it, but other than that, it seems easier to just use Go as a 'harder and larger search space' for computers.
Google's Desktop Search adds Sidebar

Most people know about this, yet another Google related way of adding functionality to your desktop. An update to Desktop Search adds Desktop Widgets, rather like Konfabulor or Mac OSX.

It's interesting, but it's at most a marginal update to the way I do most things. I move some functionality from Mozilla to the Sidebar(which is convenient, since Firefox is often on the edge of crashing with all I load it in) and get slightly better indexing. Good things, but not amazing.

For someone who hasn't yet gotten desktop search, I'd recommend it highly. Very clever, and less resource intensive than other solutions which is good for older computers.

Review by Ars Technica at the above link.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Inference Group: Dasher Project: Home

Fascinating. I know someone is still working on wearables, even if I'm not. This is an attempt to make user interfaces and key-entry out of eyescans.

Keep plugging, hardware and softwear people, I need a wearable so bad.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Tao of Mac - Python/Grimoire

The Python Grimoire is a fantastic use of wiki for a very very useful resource.

I unfortunately don't use python often enough anymore to be entirely up on the best ways to do every little thing(not that I ever really did), and the Python Grimoire hits a very sweet spot for the occasional experimenter like me, who needs something that works for a problem small enough to do trivially myself, but large enough to need a proper solution.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can be in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it. An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves." [McCarthy et al. 1955]

It's interesting, to investigate the very roots of a field so varied and strange as AI. At the beginning, when people were just beginning to investigate the possibility of machine intelligence, there seems to have been a much wider and more interesting engagement with the concepts 'in theory'. But their ideas of implementations were like cartoons of even what Weak AI projects do these days. It's a terrible tendency, to generalize and simplify what you don't understand into what you think you do. It leaves you with giant floating concepts which don't actually attach to anything in a functional way.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Gamasutra -Technical Event Wrap Up - "SIGGRAPH 2005"

I am peripherially interested in video games. Partially because occasionally I do play them, but mostly because the technology is interesting, and I expect good physical simulators to eventually come out of video game development that are both fast, and accurate for anything I'm likely to care about.

My future plans include good physical simulators that are easy to interact with for a private person like myself, and it seems a far safer bet to count on the forces of game development, than the largesse of research science.

Besides, what I'm really interested in, is performance, and perception, which just so happen to be the raison d' etre of game development.

Convenient, no?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

danger + opportunity ≠ crisis

Fascinating. I personally believed this one too, I suppose I should have known better.

There are two basic reactions to the poorly understood. One is to assume equivalence (examples include popular misinterpretation of animal facial characteristics as representing human emotions. (a bad idea with chimpanzees, for whom baring teeth is a threat, not smiling.)).

The other is a mix of xenophobia and exotic idealization. The Foreigner is a character that both has strange knowledge and powers, yet does not qualify for many of the protective social dynamics. Chinamen were exploited for manual labor in america at the same time that novelists and newspapermen were making money hand over fist on sketchy stories of the Mysterious East.

It's easy to see eastern Martial Arts, and Sun Tzu, and their grand history of warrior culture, and imagine that the Chinese have some special lock on fighting, whether with hands, or with armies, or in schlocky manager-ese self help books with names like the Tao of CEOs, with the idioms like Business is War.

Antonio Banderas will sell many movies, now and in the future, to people who would vote for a President proposing to halt all immigration from Mexico.

It's hard for me to consider China with anything but a kind of reserved trepidation, with parallel intellectual historical awe. China is so obviously a country whose modernization threatens not only to change the order of the world, but also to force someone who wants to follow the thread of things in the most interesting places on the internet to learn chinese. I'm so used to an english internet, I don't really know what to think of that.

It's hard to remember that we are simply people, and the differences that divide us are miniscule, both when I'm wondering what it would be like to live in the second most important country in the world, and when I'm watching Hong Kong cinema, and decrying Hollywood as stupid and boring and old.

I suppose I'm not as comfortable with change of all kinds as I would like to be. Being a novelty seeking human isn't saying much, in the end. We are too used to exploiting the natural order of things to be steady on our feet when that order isn't reliable.

Monday, August 08, 2005

freesound :: home page

This is fantastically cool. As a non-musician, my uses of this are limited, but I fully expect a lot of interesting things to come of the project.

Potentially a rich place for procedural generation of sounds, like video games, automatic music, etc.

Saturday, August 06, 2005