Nota Bene #123: Behold the Chickenosaurus

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” Who said it? Continue reading

Impact of Fukushima continues to inch up to Chernobyl levels

New radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant spurred Japanese nuclear regulators to raise the level of how great an accident it is from five to seven (“major”). Since that’s  the highest on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s scale, it’s now on a par with Chernobyl.

Of course, Fukushima has emitted only a tenth of the radiation as Chernobyl, according to the Associated Press. In other words, if Fukushima is 7.0, Chernobyl was 7.999. But, AP writes of the Fukushima radiation leaks, “they eventually could exceed Chernobyl’s emissions if the crisis continues.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

My god – it's full of stars: 2001, Frankenstein and autonomous technology

I used to work with a HAL 9000. Back when I was at US West in the late ’90s we had a voice system into which we would record the day’s company news so that employees without Internet access could dial in and keep up with the latest events. As with any such system there was a dial-in sequence, buttons that had to be pressed in a certain order, etc.

One day, as I was working through the first stage of the sequence, our phone system apparently achieved sentience. For reasons that I still can’t explain, a decade later, and that nobody at the time had any clue about, the machine sort of … intuited what I was about to do. It performed an action or two that, put simply, it could not do. Continue reading