Monday, March 27, 2017

Be Very Afraid: We Are Already At the Mercy Of AI

If, that is, AI has any mercy at all.

You want proof? Here's proof, from today, that AI is already far ahead of us. Today, a computer, a machine, made this translation from Croatian to English:

"One famous German Der Spiegel told me quite a long week Commons Balkans. Now as to what would be the message, my loved ones, but that they do not they are willing to share with his neighbor: :: it's barely 48 hours later I was already contacted me for the first time the German and in the office of Der Spiegel and The expansion the muscle dijasporski Croat need to be trained to Croatia, with the part of the Balkans is no exception. No matter what the LOST theme incidentally designating the view that because of lot of problems sofisticiranijim Croatia in one direction or carrots just as some dismay that I express Croatian-German author solidarnom poured out of the Balkans in the case that the symbolic true meaning of its ( of course it is much harder to define). I'm trying here to read this e-mail, and remember how to describe them: Chestnut Scallion in one hand and a cigarette in the other pocket ... and a piece of lamb. Of course Mitteleuropa uljudjeni. Since writing this I agreed that Croatia Mitteleuropa, so he used the Latin Congress. , But today, as some Congress are pretty stupid. And I decide to check Jurich pavicic. He says that a Jurica jugonostalgičar. I just got a beautiful smile. Chestnuts, now song dedicated to him."

Now there's absolutely no way that a human could have done that!

Just keep this in mind:

Trump threatened the results if they will feel bad with the Republican and the GOP Obamacare and then clear the host Senators, senator. (News flash: Republicans are set to replace the current laws.)

What effect? The question I wonder if the Republicans smart. Rating trumpet sound, and 37% declines. According to the survey, only 3% of the voting sorry for him. I think it can look too much force. This is equally great, and how you and the people who complain they voted in 2016 to establish a presidential election Frank J. Garrod, Cicero, or someone else, for Hilary did not vote? More than 110 million votes to vote to vote 4,489,221 Cicero, Stein elected 1,457,216, and 1,884,459 elected Trump, Hillary, Frank J. Wilstach and general. This is the 117,830,896, than those who did not vote for Trump or on behalf of Hilary 's. What is your opinion of Trump? Do you vote for the future? Perhaps something could be missed, but it can not hurt the Republican Democrats, especially bad news near the end of Trump number of Republicans invent. Feel my skills, donkey donkey donkey donkey!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

More Than 30 People Are following Me On Instagram

I did not expect this. I only joined Instagram so that I could perv out on Ariel Winter's butt. I kept seeing headlines about how Ariel Winter had posted more pictures of her butt on Instagram. Usually I was able to ignore these headlines. When I wasn't able, the link often didn't even contain one of the pictures of Ms Winter's butt, or if it did I would've had to go through an enormously long webpage and/or Clickthrough Hell to see it.(In a thong. Not actually completely nude.)

Turns out that I'd already seen just about all of Ms Winter's Instagram pictures of her own butt, before joining Instagram. Apparently the Internet, or at least the part of the Internet which caters to old pervs such as myself, goes completely bonkers every time she posts one of those.

So I got an email from Instagram today mentioning that 30-something people -- that is: more than 30 people, not people who are 30 years old or older, although I imagine most of them are -- were following me on Instagram. That email, besides encouraging me to inform Instagram that I didn't want any more emails from them, also maybe me think that I should actually give my Instagram followers something to follow. And so, I thought I'd post this photo on Instagram --

-- along with the photo description: "This is my Seiko 5. There are many like it but this one is mine." I thought that maybe you, my Instagram followers, would get a kick out of that. (I love my Seiko 5.) However, I can't figure out how to post anything on Instagram. Unless I have figured it out, and I need to download the I-Tunes app so that I can download the Instagram app, and even then I'll only be able to Instagram with my phone and not with my PC at all.

I'm on my PC right now -- my laptop, that is -- and not on my phone or other mobile device. Almost always when I'm online, I'm on my PC and not my phone, except for sometimes when I'm just checking my e-mail. Old, dogs, new tricks, apps, pains in the ass, you know what I mean?

Well, as long as I'm here, I might as well tell you the latest about Grand Seiko. Grand Seiko are top-end watches made by Seiko. The best stuff that Seiko makes. For a long time they were only sold in Japan, and it was very difficult for people in other parts of the world to obtain them. This made Grand Seiko like a real watch-connoisseur insider sort of dealie. But the word got around and they started to sell worldwide. And apparently now Seiko is going to actively market Grand Seiko watches worldwide. And along with their decision to so so comes the latest news, publicized at Baselworld 2017 and whatnot:

Whereas up until now, Grand Seiko watches had the regular Seiko logo at 12 o'clock, and the Grand Seiko name at 6 o'clock, like so:

-- from now on, they will only have the Grand Seiko logo, at 12 o'clock, and they won't have the regular Seiko logo at all anymore. Like so:

So now you know. And let's be honest: do you get that sort of thing from Instagram? You know what? I bet that if you like Seikos and you use Instagram, that's EXACTLY the sort of thing you get from Instagram.

So nevermind.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


I've learned a fair amount about watches I can't afford: mostly made in Switzerland, although not in every case; and mostly selling for over $1000, although it may be that recently, increased competition by a huge number of new brands, most of them Swiss too, is driving down the cost of what you can legitimately call a top-end item. Or perhaps that is not the case, and all of these watches which have caught my eye recently and which sell for 3 figures -- still out of my price range -- are not really in the same class with the other stuff. I'm still learning.

If you want an example of a good watch in my price range: this is my Seiko 5:

There are many others like it but this one is mine. While one may not actually be able to call it a luxury watch, still, it, and by "it" I mean the particular Seiko 5 which I own, the one in these pictures, which cost me around $55 including tax, may just be the very coolest watch in the world. I love my Seiko 5.

I've learned that if I click on "suggested posts" on Facebook (ads which are positioned to make them look as if they were actual posts written by people), I will get to see more "suggested posts" of the same sort.

I used to comment on some of these "suggested posts" which advertise fine watches, and click on the links, taking me to ads from Omega or Jaeger-Lecoultre or whom have you. But lately I've gotten aggravated by many of the comments from other Facebook users: seems sometimes like most of the comments are either asking how much the item in the ad costs (If you can't find that out for yourself with 2 mouse clicks or so, it's probably not for sale) or complaining about how much the item costs. It's really getting old. I'm hoping that I'll still get these "suggested posts" from makers of fine watches if I just click on the ads and ignore the comments altogether. Maybe I'll get better "suggested posts," because the watchmakers will respect me for ignoring all of the comments.

Right now, both the 2017 Leipzig Book Fair and Baselworld 2017 are happening. The Leipzig Book Fair is one of the world's premier trade gatherings for book publishers; Baselworld is the main trade show or trade fair for Swiss (and other) watches. I've been interested in the Leipzig Book Fair since before 1990 when it was overshadowed by the Frankfurt book Fair. This is the first time that I've been aware of a Baselworld while it is actually happening.

Surely it's just a coincidence that the Leipzig book Fair and Baselworld are happening at the same time? They're not INTENTIONALLY keeping literati and watch snobs separate, are they?

I don't think I've ever been in a trade show except for an auto show or two when I was a small child, in a time when metal-flake paint was new and exotic.

I suppose it's just possible, if I continue to learn more and more about watches, and if I manage to write about what I learn in a less-than-utterly-senseless way, that I may one day actually attend Baselworld as the official, paid and expense-accounted correspondent and official watch snob of Cosmopolitan or the Detroit Free Press or Hot Rod or some other fine publication. Stranger things have happened -- to me personally. Maybe I shall become the first official Baselworld correspondent of the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

They Still Can't Do Math

The problem with Bernie Sanders' fans, in a nutshell, is that they're idiots. In an election post-mortem started yesterday, one of them stated, "The 3rd-party votes weren't enough to make a difference in any states, even if all of them had gone for Hillary." This got a lot of applause and no contradiction at all from other Bernie People. In other words, they're still not even close to being able to do the math. They are impaired.

Trump carried 30 states and won 304 electoral votes; Hillary carried 20 states plus the District of Columbia, and won 227 electoral votes.

Of the 30 states Trump won:

* He got 1,252,401 votes in Arizona and Hillary got 1,161,167, a difference of 91,234, less than the 106,327 Johnson got.

* He got 4,617,886 votes in Florida and Hillary got 4,504,975, a difference of 112,911, barely half of Johnson's 207,043.

* He got 2,279,543 votes in Michigan and Hillary got 2,268,839, a difference of 10,704, about 1/5 of Stein's 51,463.

* He got 2,970,733 votes in Pennsylvania and Hillary got 2,926,441, a difference of 44,292, less than Stein's 49,941.

* He got 1,405,284 votes in Wisconsin and Hillary got 1,382,536, a difference of 22,748, less than Stein's 31,072.

In none of those 5 states did I even need to consider both Johnson's votes or Stein's. One or the other was greater than Trump's margin of victory over Hillary. All together, those 5 states have 86 electoral votes, meaning that if Hillary had taken them all, she would have had 313 electoral votes to Trump's 218, and we would be busy working toward Hillary's goal of 500 million solar panels nationwide within a few years and strengthening the social safety net and pushing harder for equal pay for women and ethnic minorities, instead of wondering when enough Republican lawmakers will finally find a bit of decency and/or shame and/or sanity within themselves, so that we can impeach Trump and remove him from office. I also didn't need to consider the 111,850 people nationwide who wrote in Bernie, the 731,788 votes for Evan McMullin, the 203,010 for Darrell Castle, the 74,392 for Gloria La Riva or the 763,419 votes for others. If all of the 3rd party votes had gone for Hillary, it might well have swung more than 5 states.

And then there are the approximately 110 million people who had the right to vote but didn't. That's something to look into as well, those 110 million folks.

At least 2 things are abundantly clear: 1), in the 2016 Presidential election, 3rd-party and independent candidates most certainly did make a difference; and 2), the idiots who think they didn't make a difference in any states won't be convinced otherwise by this blog post.

Okay: maybe out of all of those millions of idiots, a handful might actually suddenly understand, because of this post. It's possible. By and large, however, they are math-proof. Concepts which seem so elementary to some of us -- such as that in a winner-take-all system, in an election where 2 candidates are far, far ahead of all of the others, you should vote for 1 of the 2 leading candidates if you can see any difference at all between them, because if you don't might get stuck with the one you like less, and that there is a huge difference between our horrendous mess of an election system and the system of proportional representation most countries are fortunate enough to have, where not voting for one of the 2 leading candidates actually does not always equal throwing your vote away, and where the Green Party is not a horrible joke -- concepts like that are beyond them. Over their dear pointy heads.

We're not going to get the votes of people who can't do math, with math. We're going to have to get their votes some other way.

Maybe if we consult psychologists who deal with infants and toddlers for a living. Ask them how the tykes are best persuaded to stop throwing their poop. Other than that, right now I got nothing.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump Is Threatening GOP Lawmakers

Trump is threatening Republican Congresspeople and Senators with consequences if they don't pass the messed-up GOP replacement for Obamacare, and pronto. (News flash: the Republican repeal-and-replace bill is going nowhere pronto.)

What consequences? That's the question those Republicans are asking themselves if they're smart, I think. Trump's approval rating is 37% and dropping. One poll says that only 3% of Trump voters regret voting for him. But I think people may be giving that poll too much weight. I think that questions which are equally important, or more, are: how many people who didn't vote in the 2016 Presidential election, or voted for Stein or Johnson or someone else, now regret not voting for Hillary? Over 110 million people eligible to vote didn't vote, and Johnson got 4,489,221 votes, Stein 1,457,216, and 1,884,459 votes were cast for someone other than Trump, Hillary, Stein or Johnson. That's over 117,830,896 people who didn't vote for either Trump or Hillary. What do they think of Trump? how will they be voting in the future? Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't imagine how the numbers add up to anything but good news for Democrats and bad news for Republicans, and especially bad news for Trump and those Republicans seen as especially close to Trump.

Let me repeat that Trump's approval rating is 37% and dropping. The Presidency of the United States is the brightest spotlight in the history of the human race so far, it's the position which gives its occupant less room to hide than any other, and although Donald has his niche, the more that humanity in general gets a good look at him, the less they like what they see.

Most of the Republican Congresspeople and Senators who are not with Trump and Ryan on this health care bill are from districts and states which were either close in the Presidential election or went for Hillary. For those politicians, it may be worse for them if Trump supports them than if he doesn't.

The special election for Georgia's 6th congressional district will be held on April 18, to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price, who resigned to become Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services. A lot of politicians are watching this special election very carefully. The 6th district has been Republican since 1979, since Newt Gingrich won the first of his 10 consecutive terms there from 1979 to 1999. A lot of those Republican wins since Newt won his first term have been quite lopsided. The 6th district in Georgia has been considered a very safe seat for the Republicans. But Donald Trump has a way if changing things. It looks quite possible that a Democrat, John Ossoff, could win the special election in April, despite the GOP spending a huge amount of money to try to keep the seat. If Ossoff wins, or even if he come close to winning, it could be seen as one more sign that Republican politicians don't need to feel threatened by Trump, except in the sense that being closely associated with him could hurt them.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update On My Struggle With Advanced Math

I got a book on Fourier series because I liked the way the cover looked.

Yesterday I started reading David Bohm's Quantum Theory and was encouraged by his assertion in the Preface that his approach de-emphasized a dependency on advanced math. But then on page 1 of Chapter 1 he mentions that, despite this approach, some familiarity with Fourier series cannot be avoided in order to understand the book. Then before he got to the Fourier series there was what seemed to me to be an awful lot of complex math for someone who was de-emphasizing math. For all I know it might have been a great de-emphasis indeed for a textbook on quantum theory.

My point is that I still hate math and that that is still hampering my study about things like electromagnetic fields and waves and quantum theory. Perhaps it's in part that 55 is a very advanced age to pick up mathematical studies which one broke off in the 10th grade. I think I know now what that capital sigma means in mathematical... equations. I don't know whether "equations" is the right term for all that weird stuff which Good Will Hunting and famous physicians scribble all over their blackboards.

I've been thinking lately about various math teachers of mine. I got along well with all of them. Maybe that had more to do with my talent than my personality. All of them were disappointed when they saw that I wasn't planning on an extensive career in mathematics. I feel bad about disappointing them. But such a career was never a serious possibility. There's only so far you can do, hating what you do. I imagine that successful mathematicians and physicists, when they see one of those blackboards covered with all of those squiggles, or a difficult paper or book on Fourier series or quantum theory or what have you, feel something somewhat like what I feel looking at an ancient text or a commentary on that text: intense interest, a strong desire to immerse myself in the subject at hand. I can't imagine that a person could get very far on ability alone, unaccompanied by a love for the subject.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Shaq Said The Earth Is Flat

Some of the leading thinkers of Western civilization over the past two and a half thousand years, and their opinions about the shape of the Earth.

Shaquille O'Neal has a podcast. Apparently it doesn't have a huge following, but all of a sudden it's getting a lot of attention, because someone noticed that back on the 27th of February, on his podcast, Shaq said:

“It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see and what you hear. In school, first thing they teach us is, ‘Oh, Columbus discovered America,’ but when he got there, there were some fair-skinned people with the long hair smoking on the peace pipes. So, what does that tell you? Columbus didn’t discover America. So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this s*** is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.”

Some are assuming he's serious, some wonder whether he's joking. Earlier in February, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving publicly announced that he believes the Earth is flat. As with Shaq, opinion is divided over whether Irving is serious or if he's just messing with people's heads.

Given the magnitude of Shaq's fame and his prominence on TV as a basketball analyst, I'm assuming that either we're going to be hearing a lot more about this or we're going to be seeing a lot less of Shaq. He has a BA from LSU, an MBA from Phoenix University and a Doctorate in Human Resource Development from Barry University. Will any of those 3 institutions have anything to say about this?