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Showing posts from July, 2010

Dog Soldiers DVD Review

Dog Soldiers: British horror cult classic
The Brits are no stranger to horror. Their classic Hammer films (such as Plague of the Zombies) rate amongst the best creature features in the history of cinema. Dog Soldiers carries on in this proud tradition. A no nonsense, splatter flick that manages to create tension and be entertaining while still sticking to the commandments of horror. No surprises, just stylish cinematography, lucid editing, quirky dialogue, blood, guts and werewolves.

Plot
Yes, there is some of that. I think.

Review
I accidentally stumbled upon the term Splat Pack on Wikipedia. This term refers to the new breed of directors who make excessively gory and violent films - as if there were such a thing as an excessively gory film.

What a ridiculous and absolutely unnecessary name for something that's already been labelled splatterporn or torture porn. Besides, the first Saw film can hardly be described as horror porn. Similarly, Neil Marshall's films can hardly be descr…

Artificial Intelligence Anonymous part Deux Ex Machina

This is my attempt at providing a brief introduction to another subject I know nothing about. Much to my dismay, I never took AI. Ignorance hasn't stopped me from blogging on topics before (see my Lojban, income inequality, lottery and capitalist ideology pages) and it surely isn't going to stop me now.
Artificial intelligence anonymous, part one.
Artificial intelligence anonymous, part two.

How do you make artificial intelligence?
To make intelligence is easy. You look at what Homer Simpson does and do the exact opposite. To make a machine realise that being intelligent means being the opposite of stupid all by itself is a different story, however.


Homer Simpson. Artificial? Yes. Intelligent? Well..

There are three main approaches to creating artificial intelligence. These are symbolic, sub-symbolic and statistical.

Symbolic AI is sometimes called Good Old Fashioned AI or GOFAI. This approach is based on the premise that human thinking is largely based on manipulating symbols. All o…

Artificial Intelligence Anonymous

This is my attempt at providing a brief introduction to another subject I know nothing about. Much to my dismay, I never took AI. Ignorance hasn't stopped me from blogging on topics before (see my Lojban, income inequality, lottery and capitalist ideology pages) and it surely isn't going to stop me now.
Artificial intelligence anonymous, part one.
Artificial intelligence anonymous, part two.

What is artificial intelligence?
Pope John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence for the Dartmouth Conference in 1956. The idea behind AI is that every learning process available to thinking, drinking, smoking and fucking humans can be described so accurately that a machine may also exhibit the same learning behaviour. It is thus artificial because it is a machine doing what humans tend to do (minus the drinking and fucking, although I do wonder where computer viruses come from). Or more precisely, it does what humans are supposed to do, namely learn.



John McCarthy. In the land of ho…

Respect the dead

WARNING: This post is about Death and entirely inappropriate. But you must be used to that by now.



The Chart of the Day death index from Business Insider. It shows the best spot for your final meeting with the Grim Reaper.

Why must we respect the dead?
In most cultures, it is bad luck to speak ill of the dead. When someone dies, everyone has to pretend to be upset, whether you are or not. Even if the person was a complete dud of a human being like Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who caused the suffering and death of many, we must pay respect and pretend that it's a sad event that this person passed away.

The only notable exception to this rule seems to be the Adolf Hitler biography. In that case, it was perfectly acceptable not to be upset but to call the spade a fucking shovel. His biography didn't change when he shoved off.

The dead cannot do anything to you
Unlike in films like the Poltergeist and Drag Me to Hell, the dead cannot do anything to you. They are not going to do unsolicite…

Hacking Lojban

Those familiar with Godel's incompleteness theorems would recall that certain formal systems that are sufficiently complex contain paradoxes. Two particular paradoxes are of concern, namely:

Such systems that are complete are also inconsistent (Godel's first theorem)
Such systems that are consistent cannot be complete as such a system cannot prove its own consistency (Godel's second theorem).

Predicate logic, how pretty delicate thou art
Natural language is not a formal system. Partially due to this reason, ambiguities arise which renders natural language somewhat inadequate for formal expression, but rather appropriate for planting memes in the impressionable. Ask Roman Polanski.

In an attempt to rid ourselves of the ambiguities of language, projects arose to establish language based on the principles of first order logic. That is, these projects aimed at formalising natural language by injecting a set of formal rules into a mixture of natural languages. Two of these projects …

10 Nerd or geek bands: Fanfare for the uncommon man, part 2

This is an ode to ten of the geekiest, nerdiest bands on the planet. If you like more than three of these, chances are your idea of a walk on the wild side includes a batch of energy drinks and retro video games on a Friday night. And you don't think that is sad.

Nerd bands, part 1.
Nerd bands, part 2.


Yes
Due to Jon Anderson's discouragingly high vocals, Yes has often been described as the most annoying band in the world. This did not prevent them from making music - and lots of it.

Definitely not the most accessible band in the world, Yes tackles what appears to be inane subject matter and takes it to new heights, or depths. For example, their Tales from Topographic Oceans is a double album based on the Autobiography of a Yogi. I can't think of any book more boring, except perhaps something written by the Dalai Lama.




The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. No drugs, no sex, no rock 'n roll. Chaste people remove themselves from the breeding populace. By the p…

The Demon of Morton

South African author Joan De La Haye offers Demon Friday. Surprisingly, it's each Friday and it involves a demon from one grimoire or another. She also greets us as 'freaky darlings', similar to Vampira. Top class!

This is my own take on Demon Friday, except it's not always on Fridays and it doesn't feature real demons or pictures of real demons. Sorry.

These are all my posts on demons:

The demon of Laplace, regarding probability.
The demon of Maxwell, regarding thermodynamics.
The demon of Descartes, designed to invoke skepticism.
The demon of Morton, designed to make one aware of confirmation bias.



"I knew I had a problem, and I couldn't admit it." - Lindsay Lohan, showing possession by Morton's demon.

Morton's Demon
This demon is similar to Descartes's demon in that it is a demon intent on fooling you. Except, instead of fooling you that the world is real and that you are wrong for not conforming to the world, Morton's demon convinces you th…