Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I am a big fan of Science Fiction. Two of my favorite entertainment sources are the Terminator Movie series and the Sci-Fi channels production of Battlestar Galactica, which is entering its final season. While similar to the Twilight Zone in their roundabout and often-subconscious approach to everyday social issues, they both have an in-your-face pessimistic storyline about a subject that is quickly becoming more science-fact than science-fiction, super-intelligent autonomous thinking machines and how they will interact with human society. Both programs ask the question: are we seeding the planet for our species destruction? On a subject that I have discussed before: in a Popular Science article a UK artificial intelligence expert – Noel Sharkey claims that autonomous thinking robotics are a subject that we should be taking seriously and adopting a code of ethics even more complex than Isaac Asimov’s fictional proposal of the Three Laws of Robotics. The problem for Sharkey is that Asimov’s Three Laws will not cover where the artificial intelligence revolution is headed, military applications. Indeed, for in Asimov’s naive world robots would be programmed with a command that does not allow them to kill humans. In the real world robots are machines and thus will be used to kill and destroy whatever they are programmed to exterminate, including humans. Military robotic forces are already full swing and the article suggests that we are already looking into the most natural evolution, robots that make the final decision about who lives and dies on the battlefield. If you consider that some science gurus are predicting that computer intelligence could surpass human intelligence capacity by as soon as 2030, it would give a person reason to wonder, similar to many Science Fiction storylines, how long before the human race is the subspecies on the planet, replaced by super-intelligent, self-replicating and completely autonomous robotic machines? And as our creations, built by our logic and ethics, how long before they decide we are extraneous to the world we live on and we become the next Earth species to be put on the endangered list for survival?
Monthly Archives: February 2008
After months of teasing and toying with the public about a presidency run, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has evidently developed “the Al Gore Big Tease Syndrome”and decided that it is better to be a big fish in a smaller political pond than getting lost in the ocean full of big fish politics that he would find in Washington D.C. Bloomberg announced today that he is not running for the 2008 Presidency. Like Gore, Bloomberg has decided that if he is to fight windmills he must forced upon his trusty steed by his worshiping public as he is unwilling to make the personal commitments by his own exertion. It is not like being the Emperor of NY City is Small Potatoes. There is plenty of graft and power to be found in a Big City like NYC to feed a mans pocketbook and his ego.
The QC Times printed an article stating that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has proclaimed that Cole Hall at Northern Illinois University, where the recent tragedy of student shootings occurred, shall be torn down and a new one constructed. Of course he hasn’t stated where he is going to get the cash to do this. That could be a problem since he does not have the money to pay for any other of his pet projects, many of which are like this one; a needless expensive feelgood legislation. Tearing down the building will not bring back the dead or erase any bad memories from the event. Nor should we be trying to erase the memory of what happened. Let us study and learn from this incident, not hide from it. Instead put a plaque or statue to remind people of the tragedy and that will also play a part in what a school should be, a learning institution. Surround the building with reminders of sympathy and symbols displaying that when tragedy strikes we persevere and strive to move forward while trying to learn from the episode how to make the world a better place to live. Let the symbols scream that when some individual tries to make us hide in the dark shadows of fear, we instead turn the lights on and live life the best we can. Tearing the building down is like burying our heads in the sand as if the tragic event had never happened.
Shame on Governor Rod Blagojevich, for he is trying to play on our sorrow and exploit a tragic event so he can make a political power play as he grandstands for public and political favor!
An AP article is reporting that in Boston a convicted murderer whom previously won a lawsuit in 2000 that forced the Dept. of Corrections to treat the individual for gender identity therapy has now sued the state again, trying to force them to do a sex change operation. I figure that if an individual want to change their tinker toys to whatever trips their trigger is their business, as long as it is on their time and their money. But when you are inside of a prison doing time for a crime, you are on taxpayer time and taxpayer money and should have no expectations to have elective surgery at the taxpayers expense. There ought to be a law forbidding these types of lawsuits from criminals and censoring the judges that pander to the lawyers and criminals that waste the taxpayers money on them. If the judge rules for the criminal in this lawsuit he should be removed from the bench permanently!
All the votes are in. They have been tabulated. They have been checked, rechecked and verified by a reputable accountant firm. Let the drums roll, the trumpets blare and the fanfare begin as I announce the final huge winner of last nights Hollyweird Extravaganza, christened the Oscars. And the real winner is….. ME!!! Yahoo!!! The winner was I because –I– did not watch even one second of the longest, most boring, most pompous, most duplicitous, most narcissistic annual event on television.
(There were no Oscar Baiting incidents, unnecessary violence, car crashes, gun-shooting, ritualistic sacrifices, extensive bloviating, self-serving hypocritical political messages, disingenuous speeches of gratitude or any animals injured – intentionally or otherwise – in the making of this message! There was also NO —> massive amounts of fossil fuels expended, extreme quantities of electricity wasted, air polluted with the smell of expensive perfumes-colognes-cigarettes-cigars or other similar oxygen toxins, gratuitous nudity or sex, ridiculously large amounts of cash -that could have helped Angelina Jolie feed starving children for decades in some third world country- senselessly spent for overpriced tuxedos and gowns nor were there any wastefully gargantuan parties full of pretentious individuals overindulging in alcohol, noise and air pollution (oops- strike the air pollution last nights raw broccoli is kicking in), squandered food or any illegal narcotics consumed before, during or after the circumstance of events getting this announcement to you!)
It looks like the Chicago Bears have decided to perform a major renovation on their offense during this offseason. They have already released and/or allowed several starting members of their 2007 offense to exit via free agency. Already gone from the offense are left-guard Ruben Brown (4 years), right-tackle Fred Miller (3 years) and wide-receiver Muhsin Muhammad. The Bears have stated that they will seek to replace the players either through free agency or the draft. That might not bode well for the offensive line next season, as it will be a rebuilding year. There are two other key offensive players that are still questionable as to whether they will be suiting up for the 2008 fall season with the Chicago Bears. Wide-receiver Bernard Berrian (4 years) and Quarterback Rex Grossman (5 years) are both free agents. The Bears have stated that they want both to return but with the NFL salary cap system it is unknown whether the Bears will be able to sign both. My guess is that the release of Muhammad, giving them a little extra salary breathing space, had a lot to do with the Bears desire to resign Berrian. Berrian’s return, the Bears best WR, could also depend upon the Rex Grossman negotiations. Berrian and Grossman have always had their best football chemistry when on the field at the same time. If resigned, Berrian is almost assured the number one receiver spot on the Bears offense. Grossman on the other hand will not be guaranteed a starting job as the Bears have told him he will have to compete with Kyle Orton (3 years) for the starting QB position. Another player that could be on the bubble could be tailback Cedric Benson (3 years). Benson has yet to prove he is the running force that the Bears thought he would be by making him a first round pick. Unlike last year, when the Bears traded away previous running back starter Thomas Jones and then handed the job to Benson, he will be expected to compete against both current running backs in the system and possibly someone else selected in this year’s draft. I think the team will miss Muhammad but with him gone it is probable that the Bears will use both Mark Bradley (3 years) and Devin Hester (2 years) more as starting wide receivers. I think both offer exciting possibilities, especially Hester. It is also highly probable that they will seek another wide receiver early in the draft especially if they are unable to resign Berrian. The 2007 Bears offense struggled last year but with all these changes and possible changes in offense – my expectations will not be high for their 2008 offense either. Hopefully they will prove me wrong!
They are reporting on the Chicago Bears site that they have resigned Rex Grossman to a one year contract and that they have also signed tightend Desmond Clark to two year contract. They are also saying that despite the Grossman signing they will still be looking at possibly adding a new quarterback either in the draft or through free agency. I suppose that means they are considering cutting Brian Greise.
Well it is not exactly a mile-wide flaming moat accompanied by Razor Mesh/Electric fences, nuclear explosive landmines and mounted Redback 40mm automatic weapons but after a long delay (and as with most things involving government projects – Over Budget) the Department of Homeland Security is evidently set to authorize the experimental Project 28 virtual fence to watch and protect our borders. Evidently in test runs, the fence which uses a combination of radar and cameras to help identify and catch people and vehicles crossing the border, has already succeeded in stopping some illegal aliens from entering the country. If it works as projected – I suppose it will be a kinder more gentler Border Fence/Mouse Trap, than the more traditional methods, that could be implemented along all our borders to cease illegal entry in to this country. Then maybe they can figure out a method to protect the Great Lakes and Ocean Borders. Of course I suppose there is no reason we could not add some LRAD devices to add some oomph along with the virtual fences to help remind people which sides of the borders they belong on.
I was reading on QCOnline an article about the current Dilbert comic strip. I am a regular reader of the Dilbert strip. I can also say that the pointy haired boss seems like a conglomeration consisting of several of my past bosses and that many of Dilbert’s coworkers remind me of past coworkers. The current comic contains a storyline based on the firing of a security supervisor from an Iowa Casino for posting a Dilbert comic strip on the company bulletin board that compared Dilbert’s bosses to drunken lemurs. Oops! Embarrassing a company or it’s executives is certainly a firing offense. I wish I could say I have not done similar – but over the years I have put myself in events that were embarrassing to companies and/or company executives. I was fortunate because no severe punishment ever followed my transgressions. That does not mean that punishment was not deserved. It just means they took mercy on me. And while taking comedic potshots at deserving bosses and coworkers is great fun, I think that we often forget that we have a duty to protect company assets and company image is another one of those assets.
It was almost two years ago, when a local woman that was protesting the hog plant abused a company asset by using a company fax to get out her message was fired. One of the more infamous Quad City firings came in 1980′s, when John Deere fired a woman by the name of Jodi Stutz, now deceased, for using the company Xerox machine for making a photocopy of her nether regions. I can remember what a stir that caused in the news, nationwide. The story was even included in one of my favorite 80′s television shows, “That’s Incredible!” Truthfully, though I have never had to carry out the warnings, I have had to threaten people with termination for less significant reasons. One of the current rages among young people, tattoos, creates considerable career peril for them and untold headaches for those of us explaining that, while their new tattoos may look sexy and symbolize freedom of expression, they are required to be covered when on the job. Other trends like spiked hair, rainbow colored hair, goth looks, improper dress (too skimpy-too baggy- logo laden etc.) can follow the same path towards termination. The circumstances are that all of us who work for companies, including those with contracts, are bound to company policy and rules and are expected to respect those guidelines, and when we break them and/or simply refuse to adhere to those policies, we are subject to punishment and even termination.
In an update of my earlier post about the spy satellite that is falling from orbit: Robert Burns is reporting for AP that the US Navy announced that at around 10:30 pm EST they successfully launched a missile that intercepted the crashing spacecraft. AT the time of the article it had still not been determined if the Navy missile strike had also successfully destroyed the spacecraft tank containing the toxic fuel. The article stated it might be as late as Thursday before they can conclude if the tank was also destroyed.
Get out the Mt. Dew, pop the popcorn and break out the peanuts for the only commercial free show of the February sweeps month. But you will not find it on your television. Tonight (around 6:43 pm US central time zone) is the last chance folks will have to see a total eclipse of the moon until 2010. Other stellar events will be accompanying tonights lunar eclipse. One is the full moon will be positioned so that we should have a Blood-Red Moon Eclipse. Another is that Saturn and the star Regulus will form a broad triangle with the moon during the spectacle.