linkmachinego.com

July 26, 2010
[press] Overheard in the Newsroom

Editor to no one in particular: “Can’t we just have a normal murder?”

July 25, 2010
[brain] Why Minds Are Not Like Computers … a long article on the history of artificial intelligence research and why it might not be possible to create a thinking computer … ‘People who believe that the mind can be replicated on a computer tend to explain the mind in terms of a computer.’
July 22, 2010
[philosophy] The Philosophy Of Immanuel Kant in Three Minutes‘Kant. It’s a German name and I’m quite happy to sit here in silence until you’re mature enough to get over it…’
July 21, 2010
[comics] The Unwanted … a new comic from Joe Sacco on African migrants in Malta.
July 19, 2010
[weird] Go Look: No Big Deal – Just Dodging Traffic
June 24, 2010
[tech] A History Of Media Technology Scares, From The Printing Press To Facebook‘These concerns stretch back to the birth of literacy itself. In parallel with modern concerns about children’s overuse of technology, Socrates famously warned against writing because it would “create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories.” He also advised that children can’t distinguish fantasy from reality, so parents should only allow them to hear wholesome allegories and not “improper” tales, lest their development go astray.’
June 20, 2010
[press] Go Look: Builders Thwarted By Fish Eating Spiders [via twitter]
June 7, 2010
[funny] A list of Great Wisdom: WAYS TO BE COOL‘Helmets’

Ways To Be Cool

May 25, 2010
[funny] What have we today? … great collection of green ink letters written to newspapers in the early nineties … ‘My eight-year-old boy is a strange lad. He’s bothered about the planet and interested in butterflies and insects as well as other animals. He never watches football. Do you think he’s going to be gay? (Daily Star)’
May 12, 2010
[life] We Stopped Checking For Monsters…

We Stopped Checking For Monsters...

April 28, 2010
[life] On Black Elephants‘A “black elephant” […] is an event which is extremely likely and widely predicted by experts, but people attempt to pass it off as a black swan when it finally happens.’
March 18, 2010
[funny] ‘Come on ladies, skank it up! There’s no shame in being a whore!’Overheard in a School in Utah.
March 16, 2010
[hhgttg] The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy On Towels‘A towel… is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have.’ — Dougas Adams
March 3, 2010
[quote] ‘Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There’s genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ’s sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know crap about life.’ — Robert McKee in Adaptation.
[quote] ‘The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.’ — Scott Adams, Crazy or Disciplined?
March 1, 2010
[religion] God Watches You Google … a religious blog poses the question of how we should feel about the morality (or lack of) displayed in our search requests …

This woman goes from searching about pregnancy, to realizing that the father does not want to keep the baby, to researching abortion clinics, to researching whether she can, according to her faith, choose abortion, to dealing with a miscarriage. And at the end of it all, life goes on and she seems ready to be married.

What is so amazing about these searches is the way people transition seamlessly from the normal and mundane to the outrageous and perverse. They are, thus, an apt reflection of real life. The user who is in one moment searching for information about a computer game may in the next be looking for the most violent pornography he can imagine. Back and forth it goes…

January 21, 2010
[life] Two AI Pioneers. Two Bizarre Suicides. What Really Happened? … Wired on the story behind the suicides of two artificial intelligence researchers … ‘Singh was convinced that the potential of artificial intelligence was enormous. “I believe that AI will succeed where philosophy failed,” he had written on his MIT homepage. “It will provide us with the ideas we need to understand, once and for all, what emotions are.” According to Bo Morgan, a fellow student at MIT, Singh suggested that giving common sense to computers would solve all the world’s problems. “Even starvation in Africa?” Morgan asked…’
January 13, 2010
[books] I’m Not That Peter Robinson … Internet Hate Mob GO! … ‘Many thanks to all of you who have offered me your support in my time of difficulty – especially the person who said my wife was a homophobic slut who needed a good slapping around, and the other who suggested that I turn to Jesus Christ as my Saviour – but I must stress that I AM NOT Peter Robinson the politician, Northern Ireland’s First Minister.’
January 12, 2010
[life] What boyfriends and girlfriends search for on Google‘how can I get my girlfriend / boyfriend to trust me?’
January 5, 2010
[funny] Worth a look: Some QuestionsGive-A-Fuck-O-MeterCan Fail (Isn’t this a visual metaphor for life in some way rather than a fail?)
January 4, 2010
[batman] xkcd: Lease‘I don’t know what you just said because I was thinking about Batman.’
December 28, 2009
[motivational] Kurt Vonnegut Motivational Posters

Kurt Vonnegut Motivational Poster

December 9, 2009
[funny] New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths

“The most disturbing facet of this ubiquitous childhood disorder is an utter lack of empathy,” Mateo said. “These people—if you can even call them that—deliberately violate every social norm without ever pausing to consider how their selfish behavior might affect others. It’s as if they have no concept of anyone but themselves.”

“The depths of depravity that these tiny psychopaths are capable of reaching are really quite chilling,” Mateo added.

November 6, 2009
[comics] Rediscovered: Joe Matt’s How To Be Cheap (more…)
November 3, 2009
[funny] Worst-Case Scenario Fork Lift Truck Accident(more…)
November 1, 2009
[life] I Don’t Know What I Did Before The Internet… (more…)
October 27, 2009
[funny] Employment Wanted – Former Marijuana Smuggler‘During this time I also co-owned and participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of US$100 million annually.’ (more…)
[funny] Glanced At: Information Vs. Confusion
October 26, 2009
[weird] Meet the Georgetown University Sophomore Who’s Hiring a Personal Assistant‘Tasks such as doing laundry that involve a lot of waiting around (time when you could be doing other tasks or doing your own stuff) will be counted for the approximate amount of time it would take to do the labor involved. For instance, laundry will be counted for half an hour even though a laundry cycle takes 1.5 hrs to complete.’
October 25, 2009
[life] Things To Remember‘Absolutely nothing good can come out of overthinking things.’ (more…)
September 27, 2009
[funny] 10 Best Things We’ll Say to Our Grandkids‘Our bodies were made of meat and supported by little sticks of calcium.’
September 18, 2009
[999] History by numbers … a brief history of of the UK’s emergency number 999 … ‘On June 30, 1937 the Assistant Postmaster General, Sir Walter Womersley, told the House of Commons that the new emergency service would be trialled in London. For reasons now lost to history, MPs burst out laughing at the announcement that the number would be 999 (perhaps because, amid the gathering storm of war, it sounded like a German saying “no” three times).’
September 17, 2009
[work] Does your e-mail reveal how productive you are?‘When analyzing managers, Cataphora tries to determine who is passing the digital buck. One tendency of a bad manager is to forward e-mails with questions like What do you think of this? rather than offering specific ideas or meaningful instructions. In contrast, certain people in the organization collect and then answer many of these open-ended queries. They seem to be the people who are really making decisions.’ [via As Above]
September 11, 2009
[apollo] A List Of The 106 Objects That Apollo 11 Left On The Moon’33. Defecation Collection Device (4)’
September 8, 2009
[ads] The Classified Dating Ads of the London Review of Books‘They call me Mr Boombastic. You can call me Monty. My real name, however, is Quentin. But only Mother uses that. And Nanny. Monty is fine, though. Anything but Peg Leg (Shrewsbury Prep, 1956, ‘Please don’t make me do cross-country, sir’). Box no. 0473.’
September 1, 2009
[life] Some good advice: Are You Happy? YES/NO [via More(ish)]
August 9, 2009
[tv] Meth in the madness … Louis Theroux on Crystal Meth … ‘Meth is “ghetto Prozac” – a primitive and dangerous pain-reliever, which goes on to aggravate the very pain and chaos which people take it to avoid.’
August 6, 2009
[drugs] Risks Of Drug That May Have Killed Michael Jackson, Propofol, Or Diprivan, Emerge‘Wischmeyer began making informal inquiries, and was shocked by what he learned. “People would reach into the needle discord boxes full of used syringes and pull out old vials of Propofol, not knowing what patient it had been used on or whether it was spoiled. That’s pretty extreme,” he said. In another case, an addict fell asleep at his desk so frequently that his lolling forehead bore a perpetual bruise.’
July 31, 2009
[books] Forgotten Bookmarks‘I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books.’ [via MetaFilter]
July 27, 2009
[music] How it feels to be sued for $4.5m by the RIAA‘I came home from work to find a stack of papers, maybe 50 pages thick, sitting at the door to my apartment. That’s when I found out what it was like to have possibly the most talented copyright lawyers in the business, bankrolled by multibillion-dollar corporations, throwing everything they had at someone who wanted to share Come As You Are with other Nirvana fans.’
[life] Malcolm Gladwell On The Psychology of Overconfidence‘Running an investment bank is not, in this sense, a game: it is not a closed world with a limited set of possibilities. It is an open world where one day a calamity can happen that no one had dreamed could happen, and where you can make a mistake of overconfidence and not personally feel the consequences for years and years—if at all. Perhaps this is part of why we play games: there is something intoxicating about pure expertise, and the real mastery we can attain around a card table or behind the wheel of a racecar emboldens us when we move into the more complex realms. “I’m good at that. I must be good at this, too,” we tell ourselves, forgetting that in wars and on Wall Street there is no such thing as absolute expertise…’
June 12, 2009
[people] The Learjet Repo Man … an amazing article about a man who recovers jets and other big ticket items … ‘A good super repo man has a skill set that’s some mad hybrid of cat burglar, F.B.I. agent and con artist. And there’s real danger that comes with the job, not just ticked-off homeowners wielding baseball bats. According to the American Recovery Association, there are, on average, one or two repo-related deaths a year…’
April 30, 2009
[blogs] Texts from Last Night Blog‘my mouth tastes like poor choices’
April 7, 2009
[quotes] 10 Best Geeky Last Words … H. G. Wells: ‘Go away. I’m all right.’
March 14, 2009
[life] Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew‘Stated as succinctly as possible: the fundamental problem does not lie in any particular system but rather in systems as such. Salvation, if it is attainable at all, even partially, is to be sought in a deeper understanding of the ways of systems, not simply in a criticism of the errors of a particular system.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
February 22, 2009
[smile] A design for Life … Jon Savage on the Smiley Face symbol … ‘It may seem weird that such a bland symbol should be used to convey emotion, in such a way that creates as much distance as real empathy. But then there is something powerfully archetypal about an image of a happy face that resembles the sun. Infantilisation or greater communication, joy or horror: the Smiley can encompass everything.’
February 15, 2009
[funny] The Tiger Mike Memos … amusingly controlling management memos from an oil company in the 70’s …

tiger-mike-memos-toilets

February 12, 2009
[murder] My father’s murder: Taking his life in my hands … the sad story of a man facing up to his father’s murder and sexually murky past … ‘I sifted the contents of his house for another five months. After the trial I finally felt strong enough to empty it: the furniture, his clothes, my mother’s clothes, the nine video machines, the bamboo canes and the leather paddles and the blackboard. Then I started stripping and cleaning. I told myself it would help sell the flat. How could anyone think of buying it? But I also imagined that if I cleaned long enough and hard enough, the dull patina of dried blood that seemed to cling to every surface would finally go. I hoped that if I emptied the flat of its objects, and pared back its contents to nothing, I would uncover the place that I grew up in, before Ivor was the old man, before he was a legend. I couldn’t find that place, and I didn’t think I would find it in the boxes and among the papers either.’
February 11, 2009
[shopping] Stuck in the Lidl with you … a Guardian journalist on shopping at Lidl …‘If walking into Sainsbury’s is like walking into the middle of a massive children’s party, which it is, especially at the weekend, then walking into Lidl is like being mugged by the guy who makes balloon animals.’
February 9, 2009
[knowledge] Clive Thompson on How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge‘Normally, we expect society to progress, amassing deeper scientific understanding and basic facts every year. Knowledge only increases, right? Robert Proctor doesn’t think so. A historian of science at Stanford, Proctor points out that when it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases. He has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.” As Proctor argues, when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion…’