2016 — 21 March: Monday

Since the final book in the "Hunger Games" trilogy1 was even more bonkers (Kermode's technical term) than the last (and my preferred) book of the "Twiglit" saga I put on the Blu-ray last night knowing pretty much what to expect. What I didn't expect was the 15 minute struggle to reset the Oppo away from Zone A so I could actually play the damned thing. And I pressed 'Eject' about an hour later at (I estimate) the point where the story was about to go into full-on CGI-fest overload.

Today's treat?

A walk and a chat — "Technical consultation" sounds far too dry — somewhere while discussing any recent issues arising from either Skylark's emergence from System Test or the Rotel pre-amp's insertion into my A/V life. And, no doubt, the road map for the next slithers of the Python that is slowly but surely encircling some of my digital data. Nor must I forget to snaffle the penultimate episode of "The Night Manager" at some point. Check the index of TV feeds to discover its number, and then just a quick burst of...

get_iplayer --vmode=best --get 1219

... and (the 3442.16 seconds of) the 720p video download is now incoming while I sip my second cuppa.

It's been a while...

... since I bought and read this:

Aesthetics of Computing

He's now written a thoughtful piece on AI and strong AI. Source and snippet:

But we don't have the vaguest idea what an IQ of 5,000 would mean. And in time, we will build such machines — which will be unlikely to see much difference between humans and houseplants...
Consider a best case. Human beings like butterflies, encourage their presence, don't push them around. Still, we can't tell one butterfly of any given species from another. They are so unlike us that their individual characteristics are beyond our discernment...
If supersmart robots treat us like butterflies, we will be lucky — but don't count on it. We can't support ourselves by browsing flowers, decoratively.

David Gelernter in WSJ

Thanks, Mr Postie!

This had been on my radar for quite a while now, awaiting either a round tuit or permission to land:

Men Women and Children DVD

Its arrival (while I was going walkabout) prompted me to peer cautiously into one of my email subfolders to see what else is due to show up. I have a number of titles on "pre-order" and would rather not place repeat orders.

Was it really...

... eight years ago that I was waxing philosophical about banks and bankers?

... in all probability, I will (like many others) suffer at some point down the road. But the idea of these people queuing up to borrow money (my tax money, by the way) from the central bank so they can more confidently and (no doubt) profitably carry on lending it to one another...

Date: 20 March 2008

And there are those who say the invention of double entry book-keeping rivals that of the wheel for significance.



1  I've long felt that teen / young adult fiction has been the vehicle for some of the best writing around in the last thirty years or so. Personally, for sheer entertainment, I'd certainly pick it over anything that's appeared on the Booker list of late; not that anything on that list generally even approaches the calibre of a Dickens, or an Austen, or a Trollope.