Thursday, December 22, 2005

Building a better software muse?

I've long been interested in the notion of writing a software program that could, well... write! (Or, at least creatively translate). As philosophers and scientists have often said, there's little originality in most artwork nowadays, anyway. Not to mention Internet search engine Google's outstanding initiative that will digitize most of the world's great literature; they claim their worthy goal is information access for all- we'll see if that doesn't come with a price tag of some sort attached, be it "well-placed" ads or an eventual subscription price.

Imagine... a program skims the 'googlized' library, perhaps randomly selecting combinations of plots and subplots, narrative lines and differing points of view. The end result is mechanized creativity- digital insight into a multitude of possibilities.

What if Nancy Drew had agreed to paint the white picket fence? Or Owen Meaney- what if he'd been a pacifist? You take Carolyn Keane, add a dash of Mark Twain and a pinch of John Irving for spice. Isn't that what authors do, anyway?

As technology evolves at an ever-increasing pace, software companies continue to tout their wares as pivotal to the overall flexibility of a quality machine. A successful sales pitch always includes the words "all-in-one." It is in that spirit that some have wondered when 'human simulated' creativity will enter the OS mix. Can a machine learn original thought when we, ourselves, have essentially become parrots of earlier generations? Smack me if I am being too harsh here...

I've had my moments, after writing what I consider to be a beautiful passage, when I wonder if it was truly my handiwork. A subconscious theft? A barely audible case of deja vu? Whatever it was (even if it was just my muse shrieking by, on the lookout for someone with better hearing) I find it hard to believe the breathtaking pace of machine advancement can continue. Get ready for it- here comes the queen of all hackneyed expressions...

We've still so much to learn about the inner-workings of the human mind; how on earth will we explain it all to our machines?

So, for the busy professional, multi-tasking will continue. As for machinery, a tide of flexibility will surge across the landscape, no doubt improving everything in its path. But brief epiphanies will remain elusive. At least until Bill Gates digitizes my muse.

file it under: all booted up with no place to go.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Inconsistencies in intelligent design, as told by Bruce Wightman, Ph.D.

Evolution DOES NOT explain the creation of life on earth.

"When biologists talk about evolution, we are referring to mechanisms of genetic change over time to explain biological diversity. Prior to the first living thing existing, there can be no evolution since there can be no genetics without life. Evolution cannot be introduced to explain beginnings, only what happened after that."

notice Pauly Shore's t-shirt. it says 'That IS a banana in my pocket.' (click the image to check it out.)

Evolution DOES NOT negate the existence of God.

"It is unfortunate that atheists and materialists have used evolution as evidence that counts against the existence of God. This is not a logically defensible position. Simply because a natural process requires no supernatural intervention does not mean that no supernatural being exists. Evolution is no threat to God any more than gravity or electricity."

file it under: shoutout to Bruce: that IS a banana in my pocket ;P

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I think this deserved more media att'n than it got, amid the 3 ring execution @ San Quentin last night....

I know this is distasteful but it speaks to a lot of the back and forth in the media; people who "knew" Tookie yet spoke out against him, prison guards who said he was cold-blooded to the end- all of that. They said whatever they could to keep the spotlight on them.

One of Williams' victims was Albert Owens. In the days leading to the execution, Owens' stepmother Laura (the redhead with the glasses) made the talk show circuit repeatedly pleading for people to understand that she needed Tookie's death to have closure over the young man's early demise.

On Larry King late Monday night, King read a letter written by Owens' REAL mother and REAL sister. ACTUAL family.

The two stated unequivocally in their letter that not only did Laura Owens NOT speak for the family (they wanted Williams' granted clemency!) but she had barely even spent a measurable amount of time with Albert Owens during his short life.

file it under: forget redemption. 150 death row exonerations is enough evidence for me...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Everyone in favor of Tookie Williams' execution take one step forward.

Now that I have your attention...

What do you think our justice system is for? What should incarceration accomplish?

There are those who say Williams has not really changed. There are those who say "Twelve of his peers decided he deserved death." I say if that's your measuring stick, re-poll the jurors. Tell them what the founder of the Crips gang has done with his life in the years since they sentenced him to death.

One more question for those who are pro-death out there: Is there a "better" candidate for life imprisonment? No one in their right minds is suggesting that Williams go free- that the four murders he committed be forgotten. But allow him this small measure of grace- that he may spend his days helping others avoid his fate.

There is nothing on this Earth that is harder for a human being to do then to completely alter his seeming natural impulses. There is nothing harder and, at the same time, nothing more profound.

Through the horrific acts of his youth, Tookie Williams was granted access to a changed perspective, a brand new way to understand the world- and by extension, himself.

file it under: god help us...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

This is why I luv BBC radio:

You add the accents...

Commentator 1:Philadelphia is attempting to set-up a citywide online computer network. But some have security concerns that as they log on, the fellow next to them might somehow gain access to their personal information...
nuthin' like british radio

Commentator 2: (laughs) --Well, I have nothing to worry about, then. If anyone has a look at my bankbook, they'd get a chuckle out of it and nothing more!

have a listen, then file this under: an american would never admit say that...