10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Automation Improves Safety

The airports with their self-check-in kiosks and restaurants full of iPads are staffed by thousands of human workers (most using mano machine can do? Or, like operating an elevator and driving a car, is it because at first we don't trust machines to do a job where lives are at risk? Elevators became much safer as soon as the human operators were replaced. The human-hating Skynet from the Terminator movies could hardly do a better job of killing people than we do killing ourselves with cars. H...
Folksonomies: automation
Folksonomies: automation
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Kasparov was the John Henry of Chess

HE NINETEENTH-CENTURY African American folk legend of John Henry I pits the "steel-driving man" in a race against a new invention, a steam-powered hammer, bashing a tunnel through a mountain of rock. It was my blessing and my curse to be the John Henry of chess and artificial intelligence, as chess computers went from laughably weak to nearly unbeatable during my twenty years as the world's top chess player. As we will see, this is a pattern that has repeated over and over for centuries. Pe...
Folksonomies: automation
Folksonomies: automation
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25 FEB 2016 by ideonexus

 Sequencing and Confluence to Inspire Technological Innova...

...innovation often occurs through sequencing—building on prior innovation. Recall that suitcases didn't used to have wheels. Then someone created a suitcase with two wheels. Now many suitcases have four wheels. What helpful improvement on the suitcase might come next? I've pitched this question to students, who then produced amazing renditions of future suitcases, with elements like GPS tracking devices and built-in digital scales that check whether a suitcase is over a weight limit—or ...
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25 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Laura Betzig: Culture

What if the 100,000-odd year-old evidence of human social life—from the arrowheads in South Africa, to the Venus figurines at Dordogne—is the effect of nothing, more or less, but our efforts to become parents? What if the 10,000-odd year-old record of civilization—from the tax accounts at temples in the Near East, to the inscription on a bronze statue in New York Harbor—is the product of nothing, more or less, but our struggle for genetic representation in future generations? [...] ...
Folksonomies: atheism secularism cuture
Folksonomies: atheism secularism cuture
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24 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 The Painting "Las Meninas"

The painter is standing a little back from his canvas [1]. He is glancing at his model; perhaps he is considering whether to add some finishing touch, though it is also possible that the first stroke has not yet been made. The arm holding the brush is bent to the left, towards the palette; it is motionless, for an instant, between canvas and paints. The skilled hand is suspended in mid-air, arrested in rapt attention on the painter's gaze; and the gaze, in return, waits upon the arrested gest...
Folksonomies: art identity perspective
Folksonomies: art identity perspective
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07 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 How Los Angeles Regulates Air Pollution

Los Angeles is not really a city of skyscrapers. All around those skyscrapers is a flat expanse of one- and two-story buildings. This low-density urban development means you have to drive to get around in LA. Los Angeles’ sprawl is considered a classic case of failed urban planning.Los Angeles’ sprawl is considered a classic case of failed urban planning. Its public transportation has not been developed or utilized to its fullest potential. This has caused an inevitable increase in car o...
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Despite increased traffic.

09 AUG 2014 by ideonexus

 Human Respiration is Not a Source of Carbon Emissions

That's not a problem. The CO2 that's released by humans (and animals) is produced by metabolising carbon from food, and the food comes from plants that have been grown recently. During their growth, the plants have absorbed an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. Even when eating meat, the animals are typically only a few years old and were fed on recently grown plants. In contrast, the cars run on fossil fuels that are hundreds of million years old.
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03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Great Demotions and the Promotion of the Human Race

Sagan had talked of the “great demotions.” Humanity had learned, painfully, that it did not live on a planet at the center of the universe, and further demotions followed. We were not (in Sagan’s view) the purpose of the Creation, not specially chosen by a divine authority, and were in fact just one evolutionary twist in a complicated biosphere shaped by the mindless process of natural selection. If we were ever to make contact with another intelligent species, those aliens would in all...
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History has shown us how small and insignificant we are, but it has also revealed the profound impact we have on our own little world.