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Slashback: Bots, Time Travel, Turing 340

More on the Battlebots trademark dispute, proof that some of your are listening to Dr. Who on the Beeb, and a memorial -- finally -- for Alan Turing, in tonight's round of updates, corrections, and further info.

That eerie, eerie theme music will get in your head all day. sideshow-voxx writes: "The BBC has announced that there will be more installments of the Audio Adventure Dr Who - Death Comes to Time available on the web in the New Year."

This is cool news (the accompanying art is a nice touch with this Dr. Who presentation), but it would be nice if they would put the episodes into more audio formats as well.

Things always seem to get more complicated. Eric Molitor, ("Linux hacker and Builder of Violator - Linux powered BattleBot that competed in May") wrote about the BattleBots vs. Battlebots story of the other day, saying:

"As a BattleBot competitor I was horrified when I noticed your article but here are some corrections... BattleBots INC != BattleBots the show.

BattleBots INC is suing and not the TV show. (Comedy Central tapes the tournaments and airs portions of the finals on a TV show. But thats just like showing NFL games mostly. The TV company just pays a licensing fee to broadcast the event.)

Do a little research and the guy registered his domain at least a year after the first BattleBots competition in Long Beach. (Early 1998) In fact the battlebots.org domain was registered after BattleBots.com, and after BattleBots applied for their TM.

So this kid (running a script kiddie hosting service no less) registers a domain after somebody applies for the TM and then asks for $5K to give it up. Sounds like cyber-squatting to me. Also take a look at the dates on the website for the replies, etc. Things don't look right ....

Still BattleBots is dumb not to have registered the .org domain.

For a little history on BattleBots and the law suits, etc. that RobotWars got into that nearly destroyed this sport take a look at http://www.robotcombat.com/history.html.

Greg and Tray gave up a lot and everybody got together to dodge RobotWars/Profile records lawsuits to prevent the sport from happening. I'd hate to see them unfairly get a bad name."

Thanks, Eric.

Something to see in England. slathering wrote with news that the Alan Turing memorial written about in this Slashdot story has finally materialized. He writes: "I read about this in this months IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (who doesn't have a website). But I found the website for the memorial itself. Apparently funding was found for the Alan Turing Memorial since it was unveiled June 23, 2001 in Manchester, England. It was funded without any donations from the computing industry."

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Slashback: Bots, Time Travel, Turing

Comments Filter:
  • Re: Alan Turing? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bodero ( 136806 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @08:10PM (#2253738)
    Who is Alan Turing? No no no, honestly, I don't know! Should I?

    You should. Alan Turing is considered by some to be the father of modern Artificial Intelligence. A troubled soul whose contributions to the world included The Turing Test (to measure whether a program is artificially intelligent or not) and cracking the German Enigma cypher code during the war.http://www.math.sfu.ca/histmath/Europe/20thCen turyAD/Turing.html [math.sfu.ca] for more info.

  • by perdida ( 251676 ) <thethreatproject ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @08:18PM (#2253764) Homepage Journal
    there are many artificial systems designed to interact with humans even now that fool humans.

    One has to set different standards for different kinds of cognition, communication and interaction. An IRC user can sound like a computer if he or she is from another country and has a limited grasp of the language in which you and s/he are conversing, for instance.

    A human can compete with a chess playing computer and his or her experience with computers may have been limited, so without further input that chess playing human may mistake this computer for another live person.

    I think that artificial intelligence wpould be best measured with an understanding of emotion and ethics, so psychological and ethical examinations, such as those administered in Blade Runner.

  • Dr Who Remix (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @08:23PM (#2253769)
    The new Dr Who music is done by a duo called Orbital [loopz.co.uk], yeah, old skool.

    I'm sure many of you are already familiar with them... but I'm not sure if electronic, house etc are that big in the US despite the fact the Roland 303 first hit the streets of Detroit and SF.
  • Re: Alan Turing? (Score:5, Informative)

    by anotherbadassmf ( 159050 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @08:32PM (#2253793)
    Actually, I don't think he did much for AI, except for the turing test, which is more of philosophical theory.

    More acurately he is the father of Computing Science and he developed the "turing machine" -- basically the simplest model of a machine necessary to compute anything that is computable. He also determined what is computable by a machine and what is not computable, e.g.the halting problem [v-wave.com]

  • by 4n0nym0u53 C0w4rd ( 463592 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @08:44PM (#2253835) Homepage
    Bletcheley Park [bletchleypark.org.uk], where Alan Turing and others defeated the German Enigma (as well as other codes) during WW2 is also in some financial trouble. If you find yourself in England, it's worth a trip. Until then, they could use your support [bletchleypark.org.uk] (or you can buy stuff [bletchleypark.org.uk] from them).

    Having visited Bletcheley Park for the first time last year, I highly recommend the trip. If you have any interest in WW2, code breaking, or the history of computing, it is a great place to visit. You can really feel the history as you walk past the huts where Turing and others worked. If you've read Cryptonomicon or The Code Book, it's even cooler.
  • Some payback... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @09:01PM (#2253882)
    I have read some of Turing's papers. The man was *far* ahead of his time. He was a major factor in breaking Enigma. His work was the basis for computing as we know it today.

    If it was not for Turning, many of us would be speaking German. (And I have a bad enough time spelling as it is...)

    And as payback he was hounded to the point where he commited suicide because the narrow-minded twits who were/are in charge of Britian thought that being a homosexual was a "security risk". (The only people who were overly concerned about it were the ones in the Government. You can't be blackmailed if no one cares.)

    As Frank Zappa said "Drool Britiania".

    And even more shameful is that NO ONE in the computer industry is willing to honor the man in a way where their name will be seen. Are they that concerned about the blue-noses and busy bodies? Must be. Not like they don't owe him for Computer Science as we know it today...

    But they are not alone in the blame game. The ACM and IEEE should have been involved as well.

    Too damn much attention is given to preasure groups now-a-days.
  • by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @09:15PM (#2253916) Homepage
    Just follow the link here [bbc.co.uk].

    (Text padding to get past the filter.)

  • by decaying ( 227107 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @09:42PM (#2253989) Homepage Journal

    Enigma the movie is based on Thomas Harris' book of the same name.

    Tom Stoppard Wrote the screenplay for the movie.

  • Audio formats (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scooby Snacks ( 516469 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2001 @10:45PM (#2254148)
    This is cool news (the accompanying art is a nice touch with this Dr. Who presentation), but it would be nice if they would put the episodes into more audio formats as well.
    If you don't like RealAudio (and who does?), you might want to check out vsound [zip.com.au]. If you're wondering what it is, here are a couple words from the web page:
    "VSound is a sort of like a `virtual audio loopback cable'. That is, it allows you to record the output audio stream of a program (similar to connecting a loopback cable to the line in and line out jacks on the sound card, and recording the sound from the line in jack, but without the DA/AD conversion losses). One possible use for this application is as part of a RealAudio to wav file converter."
    It's pretty neat -- it uses the LD_PRELOAD trick to override certain library functions, allowing you to save the sound from an application like RealPlayer. I've used it myself before, and it works, and works well.

    If you have a Debian system, here's all you need to do:

    root@localhost:~# apt-get install vsound

    If you're on another system, you'll need to download the a href="http://www.zip.com.au/~erikd/vsound/vsound-0 .5.tar.gz">source and also make sure that you have sox [spies.com] installed. (vsound uses sox to convert the raw .au into wav format, which you can then compress however you'd like.)

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @12:58AM (#2254460) Homepage
    Not just libido-suppressing drugs... *estrogens* (back then, probably Premarin - a concentrate of equine estrogens made from the urine of pregnant horses... I believe it was the only estrogen on the market back then). There's a big difference. A male could get a bilateral orchiectomy or take a lot of androcur or spironolactone, and have a lower testosterone level than most women. Taking estrogens actually will not reduce a male's libido as much as androgen blockers that were known in his time. There's some counterindication between testosterone and the major estrogens, but in reality, the biggest effect of a male taking estrogens is *feminization*, not *devirilization*. I.e., skin, fat, and muscle changes, breast/nipple development, et al.

    -= rei =-
  • by quecojones ( 108609 ) <quecojones@@@quecojones...net> on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @01:01AM (#2254473) Homepage

    The IEEE Annals of the History of Computing site [computer.org] is at http://www.computer.org/annals [computer.org].

  • Re:Some payback... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @03:51AM (#2254698)
    And even more shameful is that NO ONE in the computer industry is willing to honor the man in a way where their name will be seen.

    You're kidding, right? The greatest award which a Computer Scientist can receive (since there isn't a Nobel Prize for computer science) is the A.M. Turing Award. Take a look at the list of past winners [acm.org] and you'll see all the great names (since the 60s, anyway).

  • Not only AI (Score:2, Informative)

    by tree_frog ( 113005 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @04:05AM (#2254715)
    Alan Turing also wrote a paper called "The chemical basis of morphogenesis" which is one of the key papers in explaining how morphogenesis can produce differnt types of cells and hence organisms with differntiated parts (arms, legs, tentacles), or patterned coats (zebra stripes, cow splodges, cheetah spots) etc, on the basis of sets of chemical reactions.

    A genius spanning several fields....


  • Re:Suicide? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ronin SpoilSpot ( 86591 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @07:24AM (#2254907)

    Another Slashdot post calls him the "Father of Computer Science". That's going a bit far, but CompSci does owe him a lot. And he probably rates as the first computer geek.

    Turing is, if not the father of computer science, then at least one of them, and while he might have been a geek, it is his theoretical work that he is most remembered for.

    His "halting problem" is as important a result as Gödel's incompletenes theorem and Russel's paradox. It puts a hard limit on the theoretical capabilities of computers that impacts most branches of computer science, e.g. any optimizing compiler is affected since the enabling analyses are necessarily limited.
    The turing machine itself, as a model of computation, has become the standard measure in complexity theory.
    The most prestigious award in computer science is the Turing Award (like for mathematics, there is no Nobel price :).

    Turing gave us one of the foundations of modern computer science, and I'm sure his name will be remembered long after everybody have forgotten who Bill Gates was... so I don't think it is wrong
    to call him a father of computer science.

    /RS - theoretical computer scientist
  • Battle Bots (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 05, 2001 @12:51PM (#2255949) Homepage Journal
    What is the obsession with having all the domain names? Its getting realy annoying, so some kid has got the .org? as long as he doesn't rty to convince people he's part of the battlebots that ComedyCentral airs, let it go.

    anybody who is looking for battlebots can find it.

    Perhap I should get a class action suit against battlebots. I have yet to see a bot(automated device). I see lots of RC cars with saws and hammers smashing into each other, but no bots.

    In fact they wouldn't allow me to enter an actual bot into there contest. Sad really.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson