April 14, 2008

We now resume our regularly scheduled program, already in progress

So, sorry about that, Topography readers. Wasn't really in the mood for blogging for a few weeks. Or perhaps I was, but I was deluged with work and malaise.

But now, the work tide has (temporary) gone out, the Sox opening up Fenway has cleared away the malaise, and the sun is shining. Or it will be again, soon. So here is some of the junk that I bookmarked long long ago and never posted:

Subatomic Particle Plush Toys. I suppose a lot of people don't already anthropomorphize particles. This should be helpful to them. [Emergence]

Backreaction: Black Holes at the LHC - What can Happen? This is one of those retarded stories where news outlets get their hands on some sort of pseudo-factoid and run with it. If you are reading this, you probably know about the "LHC might create a black hole and swallow the Earth" thing. Some guys from Hawaii, who are NOT scientists (despite what I heard reported at least twice) sued to stop the LHC, pending some type of investigation into the likelihood of this catastrophe (which was actually conducted like 10 years ago). Backreaction does a good job of explaining why this is dumb. It boils down to this: black holes would only be created if there are large extra dimensions, which there almost certainly are not. And EVEN THEN it would be 1/1000th the size of a proton. And EVEN THEN it would only hit a few nuclei on its way through the Earth, and EVEN THEN it might not absorb them, but IF IT DID it wouldn't matter, since it would have a velocity well in excess of Earth's escape velocity. There is also a funny man-on-the-street video of people's views on the issue as well [via BA].

Eliza, Computer Therapist. I remember this as a DOS-based program on my family's 386. It is a psychologist with frustratingly naïve AI. Now, like all things of that era, available as online javascript, for free. Says the original (wildly erroneous) description:

Eliza will amaze you with its ability to ask probing therapeutic questions and then keep the conversation going. Based on the first computer therapist developed by AI expert Joseph Weisenbaum at MIT, this program will keep you, your friends or your family engaged in hours of conversation.
Well, at least it doesn't try to give you anti-depressants.



I'm glad you're back; I missed you. Eliza suggested that I be honest and tell you that.

Jere said...

Last night, when I was announcing, and I was all, "what's this two-sheds?", I was totally confusing you with someone else from like 3 years ago. For some reason. Myyyyy mistake.