2016 — 27 January: Wednesday

Pity poor1 Big Bro, sweltering in his NZ 30C (as also reported by Brack, last seen sporting a [metal] colander on his head).

More locally...

... the winter weather forces my predicted switch to Plan B (entailing rather less by way of rain-swept walking). And over in Croton-on-Hudson I gather my friend Carol is planning to flee the East coast snow for a few days in Iceland. ("Cold and dark", as she says.)

Having just switched...

... energy tariffs yet again (an ongoing irritatingly necessary process) I can report my electric kettle still prepares the necessary hot hydrated oxygen for my essential morning go-juice. All is thus currently right with the world of Technology Towers. Unlike the world of (slightly declining) Apple revenues (they are more a smartphone company than a computer one these days and, once everyone owns two or three of those, [see last night's "Disconnected"] where do they turn next?), or "my" Royal Bank of Scotland's latest provision of another £2,000,000,000 for their bad2 "behaviour" in the Wicked Days of Yore.

Faintly amusing...

... to hear the Benighted Kingdom is now once again reportedly in the world's Top Ten of "least corrupt" nations given the slightly-increased attention now being paid to financial misconduct. If you believe that. Which I don't.


... by the latest Ubuntu newsletter, I took a brief tour of the facilities being touted by the upcoming LTS "Studio" edition this April but saw little or nothing I wasn't already fully aware of. Still, it's good to see plenty of evidence of Life after Windows. One of my chums, meanwhile, has just embarked on the assembly of yet another supercomputer in pursuit of his gaming interests. Water-cooled, I gather, in this latest round. No sparks, I trust.

There's a fascinating...

... description of the painstaking work, and the extraordinary insights, that went into our 'modern' understanding of the K-T Boundary. Source and snippet:

They were concerned, however, that the scientific community was not well prepared to accept the impact hypothesis. They had good reason to be worried. For the previous 150 years, since the beginning of modern geology, the emphasis had been on the power of gradual change. The science of geology had supplanted biblical stories of catastrophes. The idea of a catastrophic event on Earth was not just disturbing, it was considered unscientific. Until the asteroid impact papers, explanations for the disappearance of the dinosaurs usually invoked gradual changes in climate or in the food chain to which the animals could not adapt.

Sean B Carroll in Nautilus

NotALot about this sort of thing is noted in your average bible, needless to say.


This made me smile:

Thinking causes insomnia

Delicately put, I felt.

Plan B...

... exceeded my wildest expectations. Proof? I need to update my A/V system diagram! To add in a "Chromecast".

Plug it in the spare HDMI input on the front of the Oppo Blu-ray player. Fire up the SHIELD Android Tablet PC, run the setup process, let the SHIELD and the Chromecast handshake, and off we go. Running YouTube on the SHIELD I picked a random hi-def video of the SloMo guys, tapped the newly-available "Cast" icon, and it played on the 60" Kuro plasma screen with audio on the main system.

More than a bit cool.

My 5xHDMI switch...

... will route all my hi-def sources (satellite, PC, and Chromecast) into one input on the Oppo and thus process each signal through the Oppo's onboard Qdeo video processor.

EarwigGO again...

"To interpret Go boards and to learn the best possible moves, the AlphaGo program ... first studied 30 million positions from expert games, gleaning abstract information on the state of play from board data ... Then it played against itself across 50 computers, improving with each iteration."

Just like me, then? Or, perhaps, a Cylon Raider. (Link.)



1  Old! Let's not forget old. He was born a mere 190 years after Mozart :-)
2  In the days of "Fred the Shred", they lent me the more manageable £35,000 that was the high water mark of my mortgage, and also allowed me to pay it off faster — saving oodles of interest back in the days when "oodles" was around the 15% mark.