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What do the Beatles, Dr. Seuss, Emperor Norton I, Burger King and McDonalds, Frankenstein and Jurassic Park, Asimov's Revised Laws of Robotics, the freedom fry, and Charlie Chaplin have in common? They all stop in for a visit and help me discuss some of the ramifications of exploring artificial intelligence.

It's no secret that I've always been a fan of James Burke's Connections ~ more the column in Scientific American, but the show as well ~ and, with the spirt of that sort of thing in mind, I tackled the topic of artificial intelligence in the essay On Artificial Intelligence and Machine Men. The essay's been online since 2006, in a serialized hard-to-read format, but it can now be found in one spot on Green Man Envy right here at this link!
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I was reading this bit the other day, and it mentioned that Chavez had plans to create a union of the countries around him, and he was going to place himself in charge of the newly created state bank, and I started thinking...

Combining countries isn't new; plenty of stories feature a world government and do away with individual countries.

So I got to thinking, what would it look like if countries around the US became part of the US, with their states or regions becoming states. British Columbia would be a state, Ontario would be a state, Oaxaca would be a state, Sonora would be a state, and so on... each would have two elected senators and representatives based on populations, and everything else involved in full statehood.

Since the name United States of America would be even more applicable, it can stay. Pretend for a moment that the government, at least initially, is structured as the US is now. The senator from Magallanes has as much of a say in the federal government as the senator from Quebec, who has as much of a voice as the senator from Virginia. States will have varied power balances based on the number of representatives.

For the purposes of this exercise, "that situation could never happen for this reason or that" is not an acceptable answer. For the purposes of this exercise, it did happen, and the question it is: what does it look like?
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This, from the Onion. In January 2001.
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Okay, so let me get this straight.

Earlier, the stock market nosedived on account of a bunch of politicians refusing to hand over billions of dollars to the idiots in charge of the financial world, who, through questionable or downright illegal practices invested unwisely.

Now, after regrouping, the politicians sign over the taxpayers money, and the stock market nosedives because $700 billion may not be enough and there are these pesky economic problems no one could ever have foreseen (even if there's been articles about each and every issue behind this for years and years).

Thank you, senators and representatives: you just spent $700 billion - a portion of which was at one time mine - to no real effect.

The market still reacts to panic: fears and woes are it's stock in trade; don't let the money fool you.

That goes the same place it always did: into the pockets of the guys who pull the strings; the guys who are pulling the wool over our eyes; the guys who pull down the sky, cry loudly that it's falling, and then drive off in a limousine, looking back over their shoulders as it crushes the ones who were holding it up in the first place.

Bravo. Bravo.
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... or ...

Why It was a Good thing the Bailout Failed, and Why it will be Bad when a Modified Version goes through...

"The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

"Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

"In contrast, a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources."


~ and ~

"Talk of Armageddon, however, is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen.

"Further, the current credit freeze is likely due to Wall Street's hope of a bailout; bankers will not sell their lousy assets for 20 cents on the dollar if the government might pay 30, 50, or 80 cents."


-- both from http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/29/miron.bailout/, emphasis mine

I was just reading an article in an earlier issue of Newsweek that advised investors not to be guided by their emotions; that tendency tends to make for more loss than profit. Funny enough, that emotion-driven behavior - fear, specifically - is what turns a mild blip of an event into an all-out catastrophe. In this case, it's like a multi-blip pileup...
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McCain gets BarackRolled:

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So, I'm perusing the online version of the local paper's headlines, and I see that a local businessman was nailed in a large prostitution sting down in Arizona. As I know several "ex-Valley business leader"s, I figured I'd see if I knew who it was; maybe an ex-boss? =)

I never heard of the guy - and didn't really think I would have - but one of the charges against him caught my eye:

"the use of a wire or electronic communication"

Hmmm... that's a misdemeanor or a felony?

Land of the Free?

I suppose that, in addition to being involved in a prostitution ring, the guy must be a member of the electronic revolution...
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a fool and society soon shall part
by Everett A Warren
August 26, 1998

fallow lie the fields of misery
where the wise men seldom tread
where hopes and dreams thrive in wild desperation
withered and black within

name him they, the fool
for he wanders where e'er he may wander
see how his step does twist
finding the compass of his misdirection

and they, they name themselves
for being of such great stature it is their nature
see how names are needed
thus they claim to be society

an insular cell, they stick one to another
for in lack of strength, they find unity
together they stand undivided
a cancerous cell, with ugly favour

from ivory towers the wise watch them sink
for their field lies fallow and much to be avoided
so there they gather, all together now
as they taunt the fool who wanders free


Copyright (c) 1998 Everett A Warren

section 67

Mar. 30th, 2008 09:27 pm
ellyssian: (trees)

section 67
by Everett A Warren
May 18, 1999

when i was a child my father explained things to me
like how this was as it is and why that wasn't
how common street, through cushing square,
was made by following the cows home
how back in meadville every streetlight was a monument
because they only build them when someone died there accidentally
and i believed him
mostly
and i learned that this was as it is and why that wasn't
and a bit about what you could do about it
but i didn't buy the cows or the streetlights
no one could be as short-sighted as the latter and the former
well, that was unthinkable
because i knew there were not any cows living in the vicinity of cushing square
and then i met charlie the shoemaker who talked and talked
his wife was dying, he was dying
he was like a puppy dog who could only go out for walks
now that they didn't let him drive
and he talked and he talked about how good it was
when he made his special shoes for the firemen and the nurses
and how across from the shop before the movie theatre was built
but still within range of his memory was a pasture
and this brought the cows home for me
but still i was haunted by the streetlights
now i am older and know somewhat more than i did then
about how this was as it is and why that wasn't
and i know whatever reason is behind the bizarre geometry of cushing square
cows are more of a figurative way of looking at it
and i know the reasoning behind the streetlights is not far from law
for those who think they know
think they must deal in numbers
and every intersection is innocent
until proven guilty
and the sixty dollars for two stop signs
aren't worth the price
when the cost might be
a child's life


Copyright (c) 1999 Everett A Warren

Hey, Cool!

Mar. 28th, 2008 11:23 am
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The US is completing its slide into a third world country! Our money is now being refused at places in Amsterdam (and, I suspect, other places in Europe...)

I bet we'd have been in better shape if we'd had a conservative or a liberal regime for the last eight years. These spendthrift fascists really do a number on a country.
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There's a hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a hole, there's a hole
There's a hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's radiation, there's radiation
There's ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's a fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a fish, there's a fish
There's a fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's chlorofluorocarbons, there's chlorofluorocarbons
There's chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's an industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's an industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's an industry, there's an industry
There's an industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a synonym, there's a synonym
There's unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

There's a herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the
ozone leaking out the sky
There's a herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the
ozone leaking out the sky
There's a herd, there's a herd
There's a herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through the hole in the
ozone leaking out the sky.

There's a public led unwittingly by the herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through
the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a public led unwittingly by the herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through
the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
There's a poor fool, there's a poor fool
There's a public led unwittingly by the herd of politicians supporting the unscrupulous businessmen behind the industrial complex releasing the chlorofluorocarbons increasing the speed of the fish getting a tan from the ultraviolet radiation coming in through
the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

And we're all going to die from the chlorofluorocarbons opening up the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
And we're all going to die from the chlorofluorocarbons opening up the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky
We're gonna die, we're gonna die
And we're all going to die from the chlorofluorocarbons opening up the hole in the ozone leaking out the sky.

By Everett Ambrose Warren - feel free to pass it on!

ellyssian: (Default)
While yesterday wasn't technically a weekend or holiday for me, I know it was for some folks out there, so here's my annoying, repetitive helpful, friendly summary, mostly on account of neglecting to post it yesterday, presented here with a bonus item of breaking news...

For those who need a regular dosage of The Adurable, I give you some Brandonisms. For those who eat food, I give you Cinnamon Rum Candy Glazed Fish. For those who watch movies, I give you the first installment of the Monday's Thirteen guessing game (You can view last week's meme as the pilot episode =). For those of you who feel passionately about a certain computer software vendor's products, I give you Why Microsoft Products Rule the World.

And, best of all, I include quotes from an article in one of the leading green industry trade publications, in which the owner of Green Man Enviroscaping LLC is quoted regarding the importance of safety equipment.

Which is pretty cool because that particular owner would just so happen to be me. =)

Okay, so much for the summary updatia bits, here's the exciting news: Deb and Mr. B are meeting me for lunch. This is a wee bit out of their way after they drop [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas off at college. Of course, I'd be foolish to reveal the reason for them coming down here - so I won't mention this is the second day I've left my sunglasses in my other coat, or that I compounded things for today by also leaving my house keys and wallet there as well. Ooops.

Okay, so it wasn't all that exciting. I suppose it doesn't come close to matching real, live, breaking news, like that of Castro's stepping down from his presidency, but there you have it.
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Additional info and links over at Daily Kos - found via [livejournal.com profile] filkertom
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Apparently, waterboarding cows is torture while there's still some debate when it's done by the CIA.
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I'm not sure which is worse: Canada including the US on a list of nations that use torture in interrogation (Washington Post) along with luminaries of humanitarian care, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan and China, or Canada removing the US and Israel from aforementioned list (Reuters) on account of the countries not liking it.

Hmmm... I wonder if any Canadian diplomats needed to be tortured to make the change of heart?
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Although I'm not a Buffy fan - never saw more than a few seconds of it, if that - I know a bunch of folks on the ol' flist are.

By way of [livejournal.com profile] nebris, I give you The GOP Primary Field in Buffy Villians.

Outside of some visual simularities, I can't judge how accurate these characterizations are. Are they spot on or off the mark entirely? Discuss.
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Last night was Brandon's first time going door-to-door on Halloween. He went as a fireman, with his bright yellow jacket, a yellow helmet with visor, heavy coveralls, and big ol' boots. Deb made him an axe out of foil & a stick. Turns out you can (once again) buy tons of guns, soldiering, and policing type stuff at toy stores, but there was nary a playset or single piece of toy equipment for a fireman to be found.

On the way back to the house, Mr. B was excited to get down to the real business of the night: eating some of the two pumpkins-full of candy he collected. He turned to Deb and said "Dad seerily likes candy" in a very seeril, I mean serious, tone.

Rachel went as an artist - all paint-splattered and Jillyish - and her cousin Dariah went as an award winning gymnast. I asked both girls when they were going to change into costumes - Rachel is starting deny she can do artwork (although she limited her denials to watercolors) and Dariah is a gymnast, and if she hasn't picked up awards yet I expect she might sometime soon.

Justin and I handed out candy, and we had to close down shop about a half hour or forty-five minutes early on account of running out. First time in four years that we ran out of candy. Actually, one of the first times in my life. Even when we were in Bethlehem, we barely handed out stuff to more than two or three kids, even though we were just on the edge of a neighborhood that made those overly populated cinematic Halloween sequences look like ghost towns (seriously, I mean, seerily, most houses on one of the streets would run out of candy within a half hour or so... each house would have a line of kids waiting...)

This was also the first night in maybe a dozen years that trick-or-treating actually coincided with Halloween. Eastern Pennsylvanians are strange people, what with all this random date determination and all.

After we shut down, Justin and I took a look at the stars. The lights from the neighboring house still blazed bright, but we were able to pick out a lot more up there than I ever recall seeing before. Nice night for it.
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Peeps, made by JustBorn, just around the corner from here, has left the bunnies and duckies of Easter behind (for now), with a collection of bats, ghosts, and other things to celebrate Halloween.

So I'm eating spiders today... =)

~ ~ ~

In other news, our area's tradition of holding trick-or-treat on any day *except* that which it falls upon in all other sane portions of the world has worked against those in our city! The last Wednesday of the month, which is the mandated day for such festivities, just so happens to be Halloween this year.

It's been more than 10 years since I've been around trick-or-treating on some random, local government declared day - it will be nice to have it back where it should be.
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Today is the birthday of Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), American essayist and journalist, remembered for his insightful commentaries on the American dialect. But he was also critical of the political climate of his day. In Minority Report (1956) he wrote, "Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others." Mencken's cynicism can be traced back much further to his July 26, 1920 article "Bayard vs. Lionheart" in the Baltimore Evening Sun, in which he predicted of the presidency: "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - historical note from the Forgotten English Word calendar, by way of [livejournal.com profile] malinaldarose

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Everett

July 2014

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