dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:28am on 2007-06-23 under ,

[Alan Turing's birthday seemed an appropriate time two quote two fictional artificial intelligences discussing the design of their brains. :-)]

From the comic strip Freefall by Mark Stanley, 2007-05-30 -- engineer Florence Ambrose, a first-generation genetically-engineered "Bowman's Wolf" is describing her creator:

Florence Ambrose: "I'd love to say [Doctor Bowman] is a great human being, but he's been described as rude, arrogant, prone to act without considering the risks, and having a foul temper. On the plus side, he made sure our brains would have the self-control he knew he lacked."

AB2Y (a robot): "That does not make me happy. But for maximum flexibility ... a jerk with a conscience is not a bad starting point."

[For the immediate context of the conversation, you probably want to go back to 2007-04-09, but if you're not familiar with the strip, the larger context is really set up in the strips from 2002-11-18 to 2002-12-06. Some of us readers have been waiting quite a while for Mr. Stanley to give us more of the pieces to the puzzle introduced then.]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-06-23 under ,

[Alan Turing's birthday seemed an appropriate time two quote two fictional artificial intelligences discussing the design of their brains. :-)]

From the comic strip Freefall by Mark Stanley, 2007-05-30 -- engineer Florence Ambrose, a first-generation genetically-engineered "Bowman's Wolf" is describing her creator:

Florence Ambrose: "I'd love to say [Doctor Bowman] is a great human being, but he's been described as rude, arrogant, prone to act without considering the risks, and having a foul temper. On the plus side, he made sure our brains would have the self-control he knew he lacked."

AB2Y (a robot): "That does not make me happy. But for maximum flexibility ... a jerk with a conscience is not a bad starting point."

[For the immediate context of the conversation, you probably want to go back to 2007-04-09, but if you're not familiar with the strip, the larger context is really set up in the strips from 2002-11-18 to 2002-12-06. Some of us readers have been waiting quite a while for Mr. Stanley to give us more of the pieces to the puzzle introduced then.]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:28am on 2007-06-22 under , ,

"If you are male and you did want to clone yourself, and I mean clone in the sense of the word where the resulting organism has exactly the same DNA as you, it would require that the egg cell used for the cloning process come from your sister, mother, grandmother, mother's sister, sister's daughter. . . somebody with whom you share a matrilineal blood-line.

[explanation elided; see original]

"I was disturbed when I realized this, as it means creating my army of clones to bring about my total domination of the globe would require the cooperation of my mom, who probably wouldn't approve."

-- Zenaku, 2007-05-31 ( parent discussion)

[Hey, Conterpoint 2007 starts later today. I wonder whether I can get someone to write a filk song about this by the end of the weekend ...]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-06-22 under , ,

"If you are male and you did want to clone yourself, and I mean clone in the sense of the word where the resulting organism has exactly the same DNA as you, it would require that the egg cell used for the cloning process come from your sister, mother, grandmother, mother's sister, sister's daughter. . . somebody with whom you share a matrilineal blood-line.

[explanation elided; see original]

"I was disturbed when I realized this, as it means creating my army of clones to bring about my total domination of the globe would require the cooperation of my mom, who probably wouldn't approve."

-- Zenaku, 2007-05-31 ( parent discussion)

[Hey, Conterpoint 2007 starts later today. I wonder whether I can get someone to write a filk song about this by the end of the weekend ...]

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)

[... and a wee bit of experimenting with mirror-related layout]

Alrighty then, my body can stop playing this "crash hard only to be wide awake again an hour later not feeling rested" game, any time now, please. :-(

A thought I had earlier but didn't muster the energy to post at the time: Let's say we have an individual of an "uplifted" species -- genetically engineered by another species to produce sentience ... uh, sapience ... er, "human-like intelligence". (For example, Tayler's elephants, Stanley's Bowman's Wolves, Brin's dolphins.) And furthermore, let us suppose that members of the uplifted race are able to breed with their pre-uplift cousins. Would such a coupling constitute bestiality? Does it make a difference whether the offspring from such a mating would be sterile (like a mule, hinny, or zorse) or fertile (like mutts/mongrels, or like female ligers and tigons), or is sapience where the line is? Does it matter whether the normal mating signals -- pheremones, mating dances, calls -- are the same for the uplifted and non-uplifted races?

A related thought, that I thought it might be in poor taste to post while so many of my friends were in dire straits dealing with the recent trouble (but may be in even poorer taste now that some of them have been turned into zombies themselves): do zombies have sex, and if so, does it count as necrophilia if two zombies have sex with each other? Or is it only necrophilia if one of the parties is alive? And for that matter, what about vampires? Should there be a corresponding term for an obsession or interest in sex with the quick on the part of the (un)dead? (Uh ... 'biophilia'?)

[And how many of you stumbled a bit at my choice of the word 'quick' there? Although http://www.m-w.com lists that as the first definition and doesn't mark it obsolete or archaic, about the only time I hear anyone but me use the word that way is in the specific phrase "the quick and the dead". Is it used elsewise often and I just haven't noticed, or should I be more choosy about when I use it because it comes across as an affectation (or both)?]

Finally, what's that sloshing sound?

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)

[... and a wee bit of experimenting with mirror-related layout]

Alrighty then, my body can stop playing this "crash hard only to be wide awake again an hour later not feeling rested" game, any time now, please. :-(

A thought I had earlier but didn't muster the energy to post at the time: Let's say we have an individual of an "uplifted" species -- genetically engineered by another species to produce sentience ... uh, sapience ... er, "human-like intelligence". (For example, Tayler's elephants, Stanley's Bowman's Wolves, Brin's dolphins.) And furthermore, let us suppose that members of the uplifted race are able to breed with their pre-uplift cousins. Would such a coupling constitute bestiality? Does it make a difference whether the offspring from such a mating would be sterile (like a mule, hinny, or zorse) or fertile (like mutts/mongrels, or like female ligers and tigons), or is sapience where the line is? Does it matter whether the normal mating signals -- pheremones, mating dances, calls -- are the same for the uplifted and non-uplifted races?

A related thought, that I thought it might be in poor taste to post while so many of my friends were in dire straits dealing with the recent trouble (but may be in even poorer taste now that some of them have been turned into zombies themselves): do zombies have sex, and if so, does it count as necrophilia if two zombies have sex with each other? Or is it only necrophilia if one of the parties is alive? And for that matter, what about vampires? Should there be a corresponding term for an obsession or interest in sex with the quick on the part of the (un)dead? (Uh ... 'biophilia'?)

[And how many of you stumbled a bit at my choice of the word 'quick' there? Although http://www.m-w.com lists that as the first definition and doesn't mark it obsolete or archaic, about the only time I hear anyone but me use the word that way is in the specific phrase "the quick and the dead". Is it used elsewise often and I just haven't noticed, or should I be more choosy about when I use it because it comes across as an affectation (or both)?]

Finally, what's that sloshing sound?

dglenn: Cartoon of me playing electric guitar (debtoon)

They say that it is good to learn at least one new thing each day. Yesterday I learned that rush hour traffic exists (on I95 and the Capitol Beltway) on Saturdays. (Non, je ne comprends pas ... [how do you say 'either'?])

Today I learned that if you screw up badly enough, you can get Cheddar cheese to burn with a visible flame (yellow, by the way), instead of just quietly turning black and smoking. Surprisingly, breakfast was still rather tasty ... but unsurprisingly, the house now smells funny. (Sorry, B.)


The thing about falling snow is that even at its absofuckinglutely most annoying, it's still pretty. (The same cannot be said for already-fallen snow, as one of its more annoying modes occurs when it's all dingy and ooky-looking. *shrug*)


Cursed be those who use rare or nonstandard screw threads on things for which users will need to obtain large numbers of screws later. Fie on them! *ptui*


Apparently my bass is only too quiet when [livejournal.com profile] maugorn is present. Other times I'm told it's too loud. (The word I got last night was that the bass parts sounded really cool, but I drowned out the bouzouki and the drum. Whoops. In other news, the fingertips of my left hand are really sore now, after spending a big chunk of Friday night on bass guitar and the second half of last night's gig on double bass. (The marathon strip-the-willow set felt like it was going to kill my arm and/or a few of the dancers, who were having too much fun to stop dancing even as one of them later said he was trying to remember the location of the nearest hospital in case he danced himself into a heart attack.)


Related to the preceeding item, I've realized that completely filled mixers make me nervous, even when the mixer is filled simply because it's exactly the size we need. (And brand new, so having a channel suddenly die on us was unlikely.) I just get unreasonably twitchy knowing that there's no room left to plug in anything else. It worked out just fine (except for not turning up the drum and bouzouki when I started tugging at the bass); the 'problem' is a personal mental one.


I need more comfortable dressy flat shoes. The ones I wear to visit Mom and for coat-and-tie gigs (last night was coat-and-tie-and-kilt) are nowhere near as comfortable as my pumps, my medieval/Celtic shoes, or even my winter boots. I probably shouldn't wear shoes that make my feet hurt; I've got a surplus of physical pain in my life already.

Not that I'm likely to get around to doing anything about that until/unless I start needing to wear those shoes significantly more often than I do now.


And more 'news' than 'observation': I think Perrine has forgiven me for Friday. She was mad at me all of Saturday. But since what she was annoyed about was my having left her alone for so long and feeding her really, really, really late, she couldn't express her anger by snubbing me -- she needed her togetherness fix. So she sat on my hip in bed, and later curled up by my ankles, but glowered at me whenever we were both awake, and refused to take treats from me. Today she seems her normal self, even wanting to play a while before breakfast (despite having given me the "I'm hungry" signal as I woke up). Playing "pounce on the disappearing string" with her as I was falling asleep last night may have helped. (I poked a scrap piece of rawhide lace out from under the blanket and slowly reeled it back in, giving her a chance to pounce and grab it as it disappeared, thrusting her paws under the blanket to catch it. Perrine likes that game.)

So my cat was mad at me, but she couldn't punish me by ignoring me without making herself more unhappy. (Fortunately she did not reach the peeing-on-things level of feline annoyance.)

Let's see -- I left the house last Sunday and returned home on Wednesday. Then I dared to leave the house again on Thursday -- only for a couple of hours to get my guitar picks (er ... fingernails) repaired and shop (unsuccessfully) for screws (fie, I say!), but she didn't know that as I was leaving. Friday evening I went to [livejournal.com profile] silmaril's birthday party and stayed late, including the aforementioned missed feeding, and yesterday I bustled about clearly preparing to leave the house yet again. And Perrine hates it when I leave. (Yes, my cat is a bit clingy. When I first got her, she followed me around from room to room for several days straight, waking up to follow me if I stood up while she was sleeping. Abandonment issues? She was wearing a collar but starving to death when I found her on my back porch.)

What she'd do if I had a regular job, I do not know. Every time I take a shower, she tries to pin me to the bed with her cat-gravity before I can put clothes on, and gets all "I need to be Petted and Scritched a WHOLE LOT, Right NOW", because she knows that showering and getting dressed usually means Leaving The House, which she doesn't want me to do. This doesn't usually stop me, of course. It just makes me wish she coped better with my going away every so often, as most humans have to do.


And since I've mentioned cat gravity, I've been pondering a slightly different explanation than the one put forth by Robin Wood. I'm thinking that super-heroes are, in gravitic terms, anti-cats. That is, we often see super-heroes (and super-villains) performing feats that require not only the great strength so many super-heroes are known for, but also incredible inertial mass. No matter how strong you are, if you mass ten slugs (~300# on Earth) and get smacked by an automobile massing a dozen times as much (a couple of tons) going thirty or forty miles per hour, well regardless of how strong (and indestructible) you are, you're going to be accelerated ("flung" might be a better word) far more than the car will be slowed by hitting you. To stop the car, you'll need womdigious amounts of friction between you're colourful boots and the pavement (and crouch to line up the force vectors just right so that you don't just get knocked over or lifted into the air), or an inertial mass close to or exceeding that of the vehicle.

(Superman, and other super-heroes who can fly via unexplained propulsion or by gadgetry (so this would include Iron Man, but not Storm[*] or Angel) could be argued not to be constrained by this analysis, as they could counter the force of impact with whatever propulsive force enables them to fly. So we'll have to look for other evidence to determine whether Mr. Kent (and possibly Mr. Stark's powered armour) are similarly anti-feline[**].)

But these same super-heroes are often seen walking or standing on surfaces that would not be able to withstand the pressure of that much weight over the area of the soles of their shoes, and when they climb into an automobile we do not see the suspension bottom out (with the exception of a few individuals already known to be unusually heavy, such as The Blob). Therefore their gravitational mass must be much less than their inertial mass, precisely the opposite of the effect observed in cats!

(Again, those with the power of mysteriously-propelled flight are not covered in this argument, as they could counter their weight by "flying" at zero altitude. But here, Mr. Stark's boot-jets would not exempt him.)

Therefore, assuming that the different kinds of mass must add up to the same quantity over a large area, we should be able to predict approximately how many super-heroes -- at least of the non-flying variety -- there are, by counting up the feline population and measuring the average difference between feline inertial mass and feline gravitational mass and estimating the difference between inertial and gravitational masses of typical super-heroes. Once we determine how many cats are needed to cancel out one super-hero, we can estimate how many still un-heard-of super-powered individuals are waiting to come out of the closet er ... phone booth.

Hmm. This suggests that spay-and-neuter campaigns have the side effect of reducing the number of super-heroes and super-villains being born[***]. But that may not be a bad thing -- have you noticed how much of a mess super-battles tend to make? Cats can do a hell of a lot of damage to furniture and carpets and anything that can be knocked off a table, but how many cats would it take to smash as many cars as a typical encounter between Mr. Parker and Dr. Octavius?


In the future, we should also calculate the energy expenditures of super-heroes and figure out how much time they would need to spend eating in order to have that many calories of metabolic energy available to them. Anybody feel like tackling that one?


[*] Of course, Storm could summon a perfectly-timed tornado-force gust of wind -- more of a microburst -- to stop the speeding car, but that's a different sort of maneuver.

[**] What's the best word to use for this concept, "anti-feline", "contra-feline", "counter-feline", or something else? "Felinverse"?

[***] Or created through exposure to meteorites, freak chemical accidents, irradiation, or arachnid bites.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2006-09-06 under ,

"One of the advantages of being a captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it." -- Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) on the television series Star Trek, episode "Dagger of the Mind"

Bonus Trek-related quote today: "Kirk. Spoke. Like. That. ... Because he was training his speech-recognition software." -- quoted by [livejournal.com profile] aliza250, 2006-08-26, after she heard it at Worldcon

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:31pm on 2006-04-22 under , ,

I'm not a serious Dr. Who fan, and when I channel-surf past it I only get sucked in to watching the rest of the episode about a quarter of the time, but I've seen enough to have a basic idea what's going on and why so many of my friends like it, and I've enjoyed some episodes while getting bored with others.

I noticed that the episode showing on MPT at midnight is "The Three Doctors". I've heard of this episode -- it's one I recall friends mentioning by title in conversations both heard and overheard. But I don't remember what was said about it.

So here's my question: given what I described in the first paragraph, is this an episode I should go out of my way to watch (that is, set he VCR to grab it for whenver I start catching up on television again)? Or should I just treat it as any other episode, letting it go by or possiby getting sucked in if I happen to have the set turned on then, with no special effort one ay or t'other?

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