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Comment: However, Total Recall 2070 was great (Score 1) 317

by Phil Urich (#49183983) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen
As a mashup of We Can Remember It For You Wholesale and Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, it was admittedly somewhat different in tone than Dick's works but still paid attention to his ideas and created an interesting, thoughfully constructed world to explore them through. And on the typical shoestring Canadian budget, to boot (and with an amazing theme, but that's another story). I think you're right that Big Ideas science fiction tends to flail and fail when squished onto the "big" screen, but TV is where you have enough room to breathe that these ideas can actually be explored.

Comment: Actually, Nolan+HBO might make a decent Foundation (Score 1) 317

by Phil Urich (#49183931) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

Good for Heinlein and Pohl (Gateway-wasnt that going to be on TV?) and Andy Weir (The Martian). Too bad there is nothing on the radar for the more lengthy series like Ringworld or Asimov's Foundation.

Be careful what you wish for.

Honestly, though, if anything Nolan's general failing has been in the emotional department, he's actually pretty good with grand, sweeping ideas. And anything to do with the Foundation series is going to work best as something along the lines of an HBO series, certainly at least in terms of budget and length (and we-don't-need-no-stinking-ratings). So although it certainly could go really badly, I think there's a chance that a Foundation series could work out.

Comment: Re:Good read (Score 1) 71

by Phil Urich (#49132849) Attached to: Facebook AI Director Discusses Deep Learning, Hype, and the Singularity

I enjoyed what this guy had to say, too, but I was curious about what he is going to do for facebook. For that matter, what AI can do for facebook. The closest I could find was this:

Facebook can potentially show each person on Facebook about 2,000 items per day: posts, pictures, videos, etc. But no one has time for this. Hence Facebook has to automatically select 100 to 150 items that users want to see -- or need to see.

I thought the whole point of facebook was to keep up with your friends. *shrug*

This is a "yes, but..." kind of situation. Yes, the point is to keep up with your friends (and to pay for this by interjecting ads inbetween), but the problem is once you cross a certain threshold, trying to read a strictly chronological timeline on your screen can become quite impractical. To make matters worse, people who use Facebook can have dramatically different levels of output; while some folks will only ever post text or a picture when it's truly important and/or generally interesting, others post everything that occurs to them from memes to cute things their boyfriends said. To make matters even worse than that, the people reading these posts may vary wildly in what things shared by their ostensible friends they actually care about.

So in practice, especially as/if folks' online output grows in volume, to keep up with your friends may (and for most people definitely does) require something more than the pure firehose of the chronological stream. At least, that's definitely the perspective Facebook is coming from here, and what AI can definitely help them with, because if there's anything more annoying than being overwhelmed by useless information, it's being denied the useful information, so a bad choice in what not to display to someone can leave the user quite upset with the 'dumb computer'. In a sense, the AI has to have learned enough to never make sure a mistake before it can truly prune down and tune the information presented to the user, and so investing in such AI research is a rather prudent move on Facebook's part.

In many respects, Twitter has succeeded because it's artificially limited in the size of the data packets you can throw out into everyone's timelines; additional data is offloaded to links. Facebook wants to be more multifaceted in the types and scopes of the data over its network, with the desire of being the underlying network for all communication, so they're (quite reasonably) very focused on how to intelligently predict and pick what to present to people.

Comment: Re: Feminism HURTS families (Score 1) 126

by Phil Urich (#49116435) Attached to: Inside the Business of Online Reputation Spin

Once violence is initiated, the original victim has the legal right (in all civilized countries) to defend oneself by stopping the threat violence. That always requires an escalation.

How does that always require an escalation? A person can threaten you with a knife while you're out around the BBQ and you can run inside and lock them out of the house, for example.

Comment: Re:Bill Nye, the Dogma Guy! (Score 1) 676

by Phil Urich (#49116317) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

The usual defence seems to mostly be pointing towards historical data and towards the relatively well-understood nature of atmospheric CO2. Also, the vested interests in quickly burning through fossil fuels (way better returns for the next quarter than any sort of long-term investment in renewable technologies) makes me skeptical of the motives underlying the so-called skeptics.

Honestly, though, do we really think spewing tons of extraneous particles into the air is going to be a good thing? The Earth is a complex, chaotic system, we're not likely to stabilize it or make it more hospitable through these emissions. If throwing all that CO2 into the air ends up being better for the world and/or humanity it'd be like winning the lottery while being struck by lightning on your birthday.

Comment: Re:Good grief... (Score 1) 676

by Phil Urich (#49116197) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
What alternate measures and models would you propose, though? I wasn't really aware of a great debate between "anglo-american" models and others in the present world. I'm not saying that the system in question is unquestionably the best (far from it, I think there are serious and systemic issues starting even just from how we conceptualize what 'education' is and does), but if there are alternate models out there that are considered by some to be successful then there must be justifications for their approaches, and I would honestly be interested to at least be pointed in the general direction.

Comment: Re:Good grief... (Score 1) 676

by Phil Urich (#49116167) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
It's definitely part of the education system here in Alberta, Canada. IIRC it was during Junior High, although I forget which grade, but I distinctly remember "learning" about it (being someone who was interested in science fiction, astronomy, and physics, I had learned about it on my own long beforehand).

Comment: Re:Good grief... (Score 1) 676

by Phil Urich (#49116153) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
Once, while I was working at a health food store, I trolled a demo lady who was trying to hawk "chemical-free root beer". She had nabbed someone she thought was a random customer but was actually one of the accountants working upstairs (this was the original store of a chain, and corporate headquarters was on the floor above).

"Chemical free? Hardly!" I proclaimed, smiling as I strolled up. "Why, for example, that root beer is chalk full of dihydrogen monoxide!" Confusion and concern on both their parts ensued, as did a growing anger on the part of the demo lady, who became very agitated.

"No, there's no chemicals in this! Look at the ingredients, water---"

"Exactly", I said, "water!"

Blank looks from both of them. "You know, H20." Still a blank and angry face on the demo lady, but flickers of recognition on the part of the upstairs accountant. "Two hydrogen, one oxygen..." I said while probably a smug grin spread across my face, and the accountant laughed and nodded, but this just appeared to make the demo lady angry and she suddenly stormed off, which made the accountant chuckle again before she wandered off to get back to work.

Later, i got called in by a supervisor. "One of the demo ladies says you lied to a customer about there being chemicals in the pop she was demoing?"

"Oh, hah! No, wasn't even a customer, it was one of the accountants from corporate. And I was talking about Dihydrogen Monoxide, which the accountant totally clued into after a bit."

My supervisor got it immediately and giggled a bit, but then turned mock-stern. "I get that it was all in fun, but you shouldn't do that again," she told me. "It's mean to make fun of people that dumb."

Comment: Re:Long live the Terminator! (Score 1) 264

by Phil Urich (#49114851) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons
In the (excellent) Sarah Connor Chronicles, SPOILERS the AI the main characters thought was going to become Skynet was actually working against another AI who seems more likely to have become Skynet. What I'm saying is, the true nature of systemd won't be apparent for another few twists and turns of time travel at least . . .

Comment: Re:Slippery Slope (Score 1) 231

by Phil Urich (#49022783) Attached to: Canadian Supreme Court Rules Ban On Assisted Suicide Unconstitutional

I believe poptarts are a renewable resource.

Possibly, but if that drives the price up due to increased demand, I'm gonna have to hurt someone.

Economy of stoned scale? Also, you seem to be an angry person. Here, I have a prescription for something to calm you down, although I should warn you that there are certain side-effects for at-risk groups like those who really enjoy poptarts, as this medicine has been known to amplify the consumption thereof.

The sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them. -- Nicolaides