||[Jan. 14th, 2011|04:46 pm]
IBM's been working on a system that can play Jeopardy! called Watson. It had its first practice match against champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and it won the brief game they played! Here's a liveblog with Q&A afterwards. You can clearly see in the video that Ken Jennings was trying to buzz in for questions that Watson got - I wonder how much the precision timing for hitting the button helps it? But still, being able to answer questions that quickly is dramatically impressive to me, even if it takes 10 racks of servers, 15 TB of RAM, and 2800 processors operating at a combined 70 teraflops. You can learn more about Watson at IBM's site.
One advantage to having to stay up late because of medicine: getting things done! Here are pictures from December, as well as socks:
I thought Obama's speech at the memorial in Tucson was very touching.
Comprehensive post about which states may take up same-sex marriage legislation this year - some good, some bad. Happy to see that my old state Maryland may at least get civil unions!
An interesting response from Senator Akaka (D-HI) about making election day a federal holiday - apparently it doesn't increase turnout in states that do it now, which I found surprising.
Neato Google Translate for Android into which you can speak English and it will say the corresponding Spanish (and vice versa). Universal Translator, here we come!
I found this post about working in an ICBM missile silo pretty fascinating. Also, the title is "Death Wears a Snuggie", which is a play on an actual patch they had, both of which are awesome.
Now that we're playing WoW again (and I hit level 85 last night!), I read this article about quitting WoW with interest. I don't think it's entirely fair, though - certainly people can get addicted to WoW and spent far too much time there, but if you use it as a source of entertainment I don't think it's any worse than watching TV or whatever. Not every waking moment has to be spent improving your life in some way...
The Dow Piano - data presentation through music!
WoW seems like most anything else -- possible to misuse, but safe in moderation. If you're refusing to buy your sick SO soup because "I owe it to the people in my guild to finish this raid," your priorities are out of whack. But if you just play it sometimes to have fun, there's nothing wrong with it. Know yourself and your limitations, is what it comes down to.
It *is* a lot like TV, actually. (Requiem for a Dream!)
Ugh, that article-writer lost all cred with me by pointing out that his/her WoW-playing non-paramedic friend was -- gasp! -- FAT. Oh, the horror!
Yeah, that was unnecessary and not really relevant...
It will take a loooong time before a computer will be able to accurately wreck a nice beach. ;-) But it's neat that the first steps are being taken, at least! (The margins of error in speech to text, machine translation, text to speech are *huge*.)