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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shakespearean Insult Generator :)

Take a look at this...you lumpish milk-livered knaves!


Immortality and the human psyche

Guess most of you would've heard of Alcor. If not, its a company which specializes in preserving the bodies/heads of people after they die, in vats of liquid nitrogen. The people who opt for this pay a small fortune with the hope that someday in the future they can be revived. Ah, the eternal hope of eternal living....how many of us would say no? Not that there is any dearth of research work in this venture, the poster boy among scientists for immortality is Ray Kurzweil himself. He beleives that this is no more than 20 years away.....woo hoo! Thats not all, Kurzweil has turned himself into a guinea pig of sorts for testing his ideas about longevity of the human body. For what all these efforts are worth, (not meaning to play it down) they are certainly more tangible than ideas of afterlife. (note the skeptic in me here :) ) ....


Friday, February 11, 2005

Amazing Pics!

Check out these amazing pics from the Eye of Science website....they specialize in scientific photography -- of the microscopic world....


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Plagiarism? Nah....its only inspiration!

Measure the creativity index of our great Indian music directors from this website....


ID - The saga continues....

Intelligent Design continues to get even more media attention -- every major network has given it enough coverage (for that matter so has this lowly blog..:) ). The latest is this MSNBC article. It is REALLY unfair that a two-bit idea should get so much attention. Maybe I should just stop talking about it.......!



Frank O'Gehry's design prowess dipped a couple of points for me, when I saw this idea for his concept car. While I really like the whole project, I cannot imagine something that looks like it is straight out of barbieland being driven around. You can read more about this project here. (It is a collaboration between Gehry, MIT & GM)


The local and the global

When you win a Nobel prize (or become a bestselling futurist for that matter!), you can give your opinions on anything and people will believe you. Works best if you are a physicist...:) Seriously though, I loved the talk by David Gross (the 2004 Nobel prize winner for Physics) during the Future of Physics conference at KITP. (You can listen to an audio recording of the talk from the last link on the page) Some of the questions brought up -- Can we measure the onset of consciousness in an infant? Is quantum mechanics the ultimate description of nature? Do take some time to listen to it...its well worth it!


PS One of the topics discussed was why quantum mechanics breaks down at the level of complex systems. For me, this seems to tie into the idea of local effects and global outcomes (one of the backbones of complexity theory) I cant place my finger on it as yet though...

An interesting addendum to this post would be the Schrodinger's cat paradox

A.I., de novo

Attended an interesting lecture yesterday by Prof. Selmer Bringsjord called 'How to Build Smart Machines: Relax "Smart," or Pray' at RPI. While I am extremely skeptical of Prof. Bringsjord's logic-based approach to AI (mainly because I come from the opposing camp..:) ), he had some very valid points to make. Any debate on AI cannot go on without connecting to a zillion other issues -- and this was evident from the Q & A session that followed. In the end it boils down to what we define as consciousness, intelligence, and so on....

A summary of some of the topics that were raised:

> Prof. Bringsjord does not subscribe to the "emergent" idea of AI, because for him it is a leap of faith that does not hold much substance. While he does not deny that this has proved useful, it is only been so for the depth of the problem that has been defined. (E.g. Rodney Brooks's robots)

> The subjectivity of terms like intelligence, emotion, etc. E.g. is intelligence an "attribute" or a "commodity"? (Thanks, Leon!) A person may be extremely intelligent, but perceived as not so, because of the presence or the lack of some other traits, or maybe by certain behavior, or inability to perform other tasks well. This goes for vice versa too....A clever robot can fake all this, and trick an observer into thinking that it is actually experiencing emotions by reacting in certain ways -- but is it really experiencing them?

We could debate forever on these issues ....more later!


Thursday, February 03, 2005

New -- Links section!

Check out the newly added links section!


Blogarama - The Blogs></center>

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