Dear Weather, Just No. Stop it.


As I’m sure you all remember, I reported yesterday that it was a nice 50 degrees at lunch and I was able to get outside and walk a few miles. You might also remember that I said it felt so good. It was 33 degrees at lunch today. And so…

I drove to the beer distributor during my noon break.

I know how it’s no fun to read about or talk about the weather. Sorry (not really).

Why it is not possible to regulate robots | Technology | The Guardian

Cory Doctor is one of my favorite fiction authors (read Little Brother, or Homeland or Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom) and also one of my favorite non-fiction writers as well. He has written an article today about the challenges of regulating robots now and in the future.

I don’t know how I feel about the future of artificial intelligence, or if robots will someday take over the world, enslaving humanity. I don’t really think about it, to be honest. It doesn’t scare me because it’s hard enough to envision us humans not causing our own demise first, I guess. But who knows, right? At least we know we have smart people like Cory Doctorow out there thinking of these things from all angles.

The distinction here is between a robot that is designed to do what its owner wants – including asking “are you sure?” when its owner asks it to do something potentially stupid – and a robot that is designed to thwart its owner’s wishes. The former is hard, important work and the latter is a fool’s errand and dangerous to boot.

A fool’s errand

It’s a fool’s errand for the same reason that using technology mandates to stop people from saving a Netflix stream or playing unapproved Xbox games is a fool’s errand. We really only know how to make one kind of computer: the “general purpose computer” that can execute every instruction that can be expressed in symbolic logic. Put more simply: we only know how to make a computer that can run every programme. We don’t know how to make a computer that can run all the programs except for a subset that, for whatever reason, good or bad, we don’t want people to run.

This is not a contentious statement among computer scientists – it’s about as controversial as saying “we can’t make a wheel that only turns for socially beneficial purposes” or “there’s no way to make a lever than can only be used to shift masses in accord with the law of the land.”

via Why it is not possible to regulate robots | Technology | The Guardian.



The temperature hit a scorching 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C) at lunchtime today, so I got my butt out there for a walk. Dude, it felt so nice!

Let me first say I live in the Northeast United States by choice. I don’t have to live here, but I do. I like it here. And I LOVE having seasons. I love the cold of Winter and the warm of Spring and everything in between. But at the edges, those seasons do take their toll. And as I get older more mature, I’m noticing those edges a bit more. -10 degree cold and 100 degree heat, I’m looking at you.

So yeah, it was really nice to get out in the fresh air. And it really only took about 5 minutes for me to feel an energy boost from being outside. It’s that same feeling you get when your favorite song from when you were young comes on the radiocomes on your iPod. Just an instant rush of emotions. Thoughts of outdoor barbecues, just chilling on the porch, throwing some baseballs at to the kids. Stuff like that. These are things I hadn’t though of in months, hadn’t realized I missed, but am so glad I’ll get to do soon.

I guess there is no real point to this post other than to say, don’t forget to go outside sometime and just walk around with no real purpose. Just be in your thoughts. Just look around. Hear the birds and sniff the flowers and all that crap. It’s good for ya.

John Madden hockey: The making of NHL ’94 – Read-Only Memory

NHL ’94 is probably the greatest videogame ever made. That might be hyperbole, but I stand by it. We played the crap out of my Super Nintendo copy of NHL ’94 in the dorms my freshman year of college. So many good memories of that game.

Anyhow, here’s an article with some details of how NHL was made.

“These games were resonating not only with a generation of sports fans, but also with the players themselves (see: Ken Baumgartner) and sometimes even their spouses. On one occasion, after shipping one of the Madden games, Brook received a call from the wife of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Eric Davis. She didn’t understand why her husband’s rating was so low and why he wasn’t featured in the starting lineup because, as she made very clear, he was a starter. Brook, who had done all the ratings himself, had to explain that the lineups (and ratings) were made before the season started, so congratulations to her husband for moving up the depth chart, but her husband’s depiction in the game was based on all the available information at the time. She was still not satisfied and hung up. A couple of minutes later, Eric Davis’ agent called and Brook had the same conversation with him.”

via John Madden hockey: The making of NHL ’94 – Read-Only Memory.

Mario Vs. Minecraft

When I come across cool stuff, I like to share them here. Well, this is cool, so I’m sharing. We just discovered it last night when my son said to me, “Dad, show me a Minecraft video.” And when the King makes a request, I fulfill it. So here you go. Mario Vs. Minecraft. We watched this thing like 10 times already.


Happy New Episodes of Community Day

So, two new episodes of one of my favorite shows, Community, released today. I haven’t watched them yet, but plan on it during my lunch break. You can watch them here: Community on Yahoo Screen.

It was a dark day last Fall, when NBC cancelled Community. Ratings weren’t great, but were stable. And I don’t think the current ratings system really captures how many people watch a show anymore. I mean, having kids, I can’t always be at the television at the exact moment a show “airs”. So I catch up on Hulu. Which doesn’t count on Nielson.

But then, at the last hour, Yahoo (not Netflix or Hulu) swooped in and saved the show. And they’ve actually been advertising the show and promoting it, as opposed to NBC. Obviously, I hope it does really well. But either way, we get at least a few more episodes.


Things The Kids Said This Weekend That Made Me Happy


It was a pretty good weekend. We didn’t have to travel anywhere, which is always nice. Sunday, after church we headed out to the rollerskating rink because the son really wanted to and it to be honest they needed to be out of the house for a bit. Here are a couple things the kids said that made me happy.

The daughter said:

“I just want to stay home and play video games all day.”

Why this made me happy:

I suppose it sounds odd, doesn’t it, that I’d be happy that my daughter would want to stay home and play video game all day. However, this girl reads. A lot. Like always has a book in her hand. And so, I think she can spare a day to just play a game she likes. Also, the game is Pokemon Ruby. It’s not Halo or anything like that. It requires her to problem solve and use her brain. And also, she still runs to her Pokemon book to read while she plays.

Also, I want my kids to enjoy some of the things I used to enjoy. And I hadn’t really found a game she could excel at before Pokemon. It makes me happy.

The son said:


Why this made me happy:

It was in response to my question:”What would you like me to make for dinner?” What can I say, the kid likes bacon as much as I do.

This of course led to the discussion of the source of bacon: piggies (don’t even mention that vile, disgusting turkey bacon to me) and also the discussion of how it’s better to just not think about the source of bacon.

The daughter for her part chose fruit, so she made up a lovely fruit salad for us to enjoy along with our bacon.

So yeah, it was a good time. Is it next Friday, yet?


Two Unrelated Things

RAIGN – Knocking On Heavens Door (cover)

This song played at the end of Season 2 finale of The 100. In the context of that episode it was quite powerful.

And I’m still reeling from Terry Pratchett’s death. I’ve read several remembrances in the past day, but this one was the best: There is no Past Tense of Terry Pratchett.

“All around us, people are trying to destroy the very possibility of that world. Some of them work with machine guns and some of them work with balance sheets, but Terry Pratchett was visible evidence that they all have to be mocked and scorned and hunted and fought. There can’t be Terry Pratchetts in the world they intend for the rest of us, which is proof enough that their world is a pile of shit.”

Lucky for us, I guess, that he left all those books behind.