Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Tide - Deplorable Request

Not Country music by any stretch of the imagination, but perhaps a worthy anthem for a basket of Deplorables.

Shut it all down
The facts and the memories
I have been running around inside on this borrowed time
The medical poison
It stabilises and drags me back
Though it is against my will

Locked inside
This suite of flesh and blood
Stranded on clean sheets forever
With the parasites in my veins

I can hear your cries
I can feel your breath to the end
You have been visiting me for so long now

Erase the map of the past

I am fighting with my heart as an enemy
Falling through a black hole for eternity
Caught in an endless sleep with this hollow dreams
Capture the light and pour it over me
A benefactor forbidden to all humanity
Bring me a trail and please let me feel pain

Turn to the next page
Ease your depression
You will find it better when I'm gone
This will lead you insane

I can hear your cries
I can feel your breath to the end
You have been visiting me for so long now

Friday, September 30, 2016

Excellent translation

Any questions?

After 40 years, Artificial Intelligence still disappoints

Once more into the breach:
Google's computer vision software was attempting to evaluate my facial expressions, and to then infer my emotional state. In order for the machine to have a fighting chance, the menu of emotions was limited to surprise, sorrow, anger, or joy. 
The Googlers presiding over the demonstration urged a fellow attendee and me, to be surprised, sad, angry, and happy for the camera. The images of our grimaces and grins were then processed by the Cloud Vision API in an effort to identify our expressions. Were it a casting call, neither of us would have landed the role. 
The results were OK. The algorithm correctly detected the joy we were faking. But it mistook my attempt to feign surprise as more glee. My sad and angry faces left the algorithm uncertain and unable to render a decisive verdict on my theatrics.
So why such slow progress, for such a long time?  The short answer is that this problem is really, really hard.  A more subtle answer is that we really don't understand what intelligence is (at least being able to define it with specificity), and so that makes it really hard to program.

In some ways we are living in the future.  This Intertubes thingie is outstanding, and videoconferencing and Telepresence are cool.  But no AI or flying cars.  Or Moon cities.  And the article ends with some good advice:
As a development tool, the Cloud Vision API is a marvel. Being able to make a few API calls and identify an image has many potential applications. Some of them may even be useful. But the suggestion put forth by the Emotobooth minders, that companies could use the technology to evaluate customer sentiment, might not be the best way to engage with people.
Go home, AI.  You're drunk,

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Overheard in the office

This is not the future I was promised

Samsung exploding washing machines.

I literally do not have anything to add to that, and all y'all know how wordy I usually get.

Why is there so many successful cyber attacks?

It seems that the cost of a breach is a lot lower than people have been saying, and so it is a rational business decision to under invest in cyber security.  The implication is that we can expect more successful attacks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not bad. Not bad.

When the "Internet Of Things" attacks

They're heeeere:
The world's largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack has been clocked from the same network of 152,463 compromised low-powered cameras and internet-of-things devices which punted a media outlet off the internet.
It's cheap to put in Internet capability with crummy security.  It lets a vendor hit a price point that is attractive.  And it gets hundreds of thousands of dangerous devices out for J. Random Blackhat to play reindeer games with.

The attack threw a terabit of junk at the target every second.  That will knock most things off the 'net.

Class action lawsuits are in order.

If It Ain't Broke...

...fix it till it is.

The Marine Corps is considering replacing the current recruiting slogan. It's been "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" since 1977. It doesn't fit the narrative and the recruiting direction the Corps is taking.

I'm not opposed to change. I 'm just skeptical about what the advertising team and the perfumed princes in the Pentagon are going to come up with.

But if they want some suggestions, there are pieces of old quotes that I would like to see tried:

1. Marines. Tough as woodpecker lips.
2. Marines. Because it's good to win.
3. Excellence in combat.
4. USMC: The spineless need not apply.
5. No better friend — no worse enemy.
6. Did you want to live forever?
7. First to Fight (an old motto)
8. Honor before glory.
9. Make Friends With Your Rifle.

Feel free to add to the list in the comments. Really funny bad slogans are also welcome.

Perhaps "The New Marines: Political Correctness before Victory"?

Random debate thoughts

Trump had some serious missed opportunities to score some points against Hillary.  The time when she talked about how he wasn't releasing his tax returns and "what is he hiding" didn't get the trumping response I was expecting.  Same thing when she was talking about cyber security and he didn't bring up her email server.

She did better on not looking sick than I had expected.  However, her nurse was in the front row and immediately after the debate Hillary went right over to her and did the whole finger pulling thing.  There is something wrong with her health, although she handled herself well last night.

Trump's biggest job was to show that Hillary's main attack themes against him - that he's unstable and racist - were wrong.  I think he succeeded.  He didn't come off as unstable, just rambly and, well, a little boring.  Probably that was the intent.  I actually think that this is more important than a lot of people think.

Trump seems to learn as he goes.  I expect he will give a better debate performance next time.  It's hard to see how Hillary could improve, and there are a lot of scenarios where she could do worse.  If the goal is to peak right before the election, Trump seems to be in a better position.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The debate


Hillary is still a shameless liar. Trump rambles and won't get to the point. I'll be very surprised if this moves the needle.

Hillary exceeded expectations in that she didn't pass out. It's hard to see her improve her performance much in the next debates. Trump has more room to improve.

All in all, that's 100 minutes of my life I'd like back.

"A double charge of canister at ten yards"

Pickett's charge made it all the way across these fields from the opposite tree line. First the Union artillery and then the Union rifles picked the Confederates to pieces. Only a few made it to the monument you see in the foreground where they were obliterated by concentrated fire.

The charge broke and fell back. As the survivors streamed into their lines a trumpet played "Nearer my God to Thee". This guy did a beautiful rendition.

It was very quiet, looking at just how wide those fields are.

Antispam troll level: Grandmaster

Brian Weinreich has been trolling spammers for two years using a bot that fires realistic and ridiculous replies to the pervasive online salespeople. 
The founder of San Francisco firm Density created the bot as a means to waste the time of the blowflies of the internet after being affronted by a deluge of unsolicited sales pitches directed at his "sacred" inbox. 
Weinreich (@BeWeinreich) has posted 16 hilarious conversations in which his bot dubbed Sp@m Looper managed to engage spammers in lengthy chats.
The reason there are no anonymous comments here is that I turned it off 3 years ago - I was getting 100 - 150 spam comments a day and it was just too much work weeding the wheat from the chaff.  This flips the script - making the spammers sort out the wheat from the chaff.  Bravo.

Click through the link if you want his code to run it yourself.

Truth in advertising

The old ones are the best ones.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Josepha Barbara von Auernhammer - 6 variations on a Hungarian Theme

Josepha Barbara von Auernhammer lived in Vienna and studied under Mozart, who she fell in love with.  It was unrequited, and she ended up marrying someone else and having a fairly normal life - other than a minor musical career.  She wrote some good music which (as you'd expect) has a pronounced Mozartian influence.