Metallica and Google

April 19, 2009

I picked up the Guitar Hero Metallica game yesterday, totally can’t wait to dive into it.

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In other news, Google Images just got really cool. Check out the new features they added.

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I love me some Google Images.

New Facebook Layout

March 23, 2009

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A week or so ago Facebook started a new layout. People really need to stop crying about how they miss the old layout. The site is free, and is insanely addictive. Personally I really appreciate how ever changing the site is. Whether or not you like the current layout or not, you have to appreciate that it’s not stagnant (ahem MySpace).

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I can’t wait for this movie.  Check out the trailer for the new Ray Kurzwiel joint, Transcendent Man :

Only the Strong Survive

March 15, 2009

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If you take the conservatism to the extremes, only the strong ones survive.  At birth, every able human being has a comparable amount of potential. If you only look at the child, potential is going to be similar across the board.  That potential is either nurtured or stunted depending on the socio-economic position of the family the child is born into.  Either way, beneficial or detrimental, conditions exist that sway the outcome of that infant’s future.  Right out of the womb this individuals future success is biased.  What happens if the bias serves the less capable?

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People seem to forget that a civilization is in fact a technology.  It allows individuals to become tools for everyone else, instead of having to re-invent the wheel every generation.  Civilizations are good for everyone included.  In ours we state that everyone is equal and therefore on this equal battlefield, we all compete to obtain a high quality of life.  Out of that competition the the winners then provide the best amenities for the rest of us.  If I can build the best house, then I get all the business, while the people get better houses, it’s a good system.  

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However, what if there’s a builder that’s better then me, who just couldn’t afford to get their company started (for reasons that don’t include incompetence)?  What if there could yet a better product out there then the one that I’m providing?  The greater good would be served if that ‘maybe’ better product was out there somewhere. 

Our government is the central component to the function of this civilization-technology.  Like a piece of computer software, the government keeps things as efficient as possible by  creating if-then statements for our civilization to then operate from.   Because society keeps evolving, the best hard-and-fast rules in which to govern it doen’t yet exist.  Until the magical formula for fairness/prosparity is discovered, we have no choice but to tinker or socially engineer, mainly when times are bad.

…I think anyway.

Listentoyoutube.com

February 25, 2009

Recently Ashley and I went on an extensive road trip. Before leaving I wanted to fill up my iPod with some Tim Minchin, the Australian musical comedian. For one reason or another, Tim Minchin music doesn’t seem to exist in the US.

In my desperation to get my fix I found this really cool website that allows you to pull music directly from YouTube. The website is www.listentoyoutube.com. You simply copy a YouTube video’s URL into this site and it rips the audio from any video and then makes it available to download. The site is free and efficient.

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Flock Vs. FireFox

February 16, 2009

About a week ago I started using Flock, the social networking web browser.  If your looking to have your internet world completely changed, enhanced, improved…. Flock most likely will leave you slightly disappointed.  However, despite it not being the Jesus Christ of web browsers, I have officially moved over to it.

Online reviews ofen talk about memory usage and file sizes, these descriptions were worthless to me.  Most browsers work, which brings things down to preference.  Based upon my experience thus far, this is why I prefer Flock:

*It’s prettier version of FireFox

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*It has a neat My World home page

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*Despite the social network integration being too busy to benefit from, it creates the illusion that all the sites are one

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*It does a good job by bypassing sign-in screens for websites

Siphoning the bulk of what’s popular on the Internet into one cohesive portal is no doubt a daunting task, and I don’t believe that Flock has fully acomplished this.  However, so far, this is the most social-networking-friendly browser yet.  And of course the porn works just fine on it too.

Singularity University

February 8, 2009

I just enjoyed a new episode of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe  to enjoy while I ate some lunch.  

The first bit of news on the show today was a discussion about Ray Kurzweil and his joint venture with Google and NASA: The Singularity University.  This uber-prestigious university is designed to groom really smart people (with lots of money) to solve major world-wide problems with ridiculously awesome technology.  In the video on their website, they provide the example of fighting world hunger with AI.  How exactly you do that, I don’t know, but I guess if you are cool enough to go to the Singularity University then you will.

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I’m so happy that the Skeptic’s Guide finally discussed their Skeptical view of Kurzweil.  I had requested through their website that they talk more on him, and I’m just going to pretend that today’s episode was for me. 

Ray Kurzweil predicts computers to surpass the sum of all human intelligence by sometime in the 2040’s.  He takes about 230 vitamin supplements a day to try and live forever.  He’s like a rock star he’s awesome, but totally wacko at the same time.  Steve Novella described him as today’s Nikola Tessla.   Basically, the SGU deemed him extremely optimistic on his time-frame, and downright foolish with his vitamin mega dosing, but in the end, he has an awesome brain and is worth listening to. 

I’m still desperately awaiting the The Singularity is Near Movie which is supposed to be out “early 2009.”

Snobby Sitcom Purists

February 3, 2009

My wife pointed out to me that Seinfeld looks way better then it used to so I check it out on-line. Sienfeld has been remasted in HD for TBS. They went back tot he original film prints and converted those to HD, also cropping the headroom so it can appropriately fit the frame. On message boards the snobbiest of the video snobs were complaining about the aspect ratio conversion. They complained about how the photography suffers as well as loss of resolution.

First off, we’re talking about Seinfeld, it’s not Lawrence of Arabia. On a sitcom such as Seinfeld, camera work is purely practical. It’s like a play on-screen, it’s only filmed because it has to be.

As for lowered resolution, that’s a bunch of bo-shit! The show was shot on film, you can blow the image up as much as you want and quality won’t change much.  Maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio would sacrifice lots of TV resolution. Would you rather to lose an undetectable amount of film resolution, or a third of your screen’s?  No, resolution is not a issue when cropping 4:3 film to 16:9 HD.

It’s my opinion that 16:9 video is a generally more pleasant then 4:3.  As long as important visual information is lost, and headroom looks natural, then crop away.

Over the past few weeks I have been earning my soul back from the devil.   However, today, I sold my soul once again, I got the number 10 large with a coke.

I’m planning on taking my birthday money and buying the new TiVo.  The plan is the TiVo HD Series 3 DVR with the external 500GB hard drive.  Currently, we are running an old SD TiVo along with an HD Motorola DVR from Comcast.  That’s right 2 DVRs, extremely wasteful and not sleek.  Along with this, we also subscibe to NetFlix.  So at any given time we have our recorded shows randomly spread across 2 DVRs and the red envolopes sprinkled all over.  The new TiVo will hopefull solve all this mess and allow us easy TV access to YouTube.

It seems like so far TiVo doesn’t have access to Comcast’s On Demand.  I am unimpressed by this, however, the loss of Comcast’s sloppy, confusing, and finicky VOD (Video On Demand) service could be gotten over by instant access to NetFlick VOD.

The Grey Area

January 14, 2009

I believe that all questions have a black and white answer. So-called “Grey areas” are times when we either have an incomplete logic system, or are not fully abiding by the one we have. However hypocritical, I seem to have fallen into a grey-area. What’s the value of life? Is exploiting animals okay? Currently, I’m in favor of all the advantages brought to us by exploiting humans as well as other creatures. I think abortion is okay, and I’m okay with the death penalty. What I’m unsure of is, should our goal be to eventually wean ourselves off of the exploitation of animals? My current logic corners me into an unclear answer.

With the understanding that there is no god, and therefore anything living or nonliving must be judged as relative to everything else. The value of animal life according to humans must be decided by humans based upon out selfish best interests.

In society, we protect ourselves by not allowing humans to kill other humans, this way an individuals vulnerability goes down which makes us all better off. When it comes to animals, we typically aren’t faced with any of the same dangers that exist when someone commits murder. An animal doesn’t seek revenge, doesn’t form gangs, doesn’t start wars, people are intellectually superior (which then also means we are physically superior) without too much personal risk. Okay, so from a survival of the fittest viewpoint, animal exploitation it’s okay.

But it still doesn’t feel right. Are people reduced to be compassionate solely because we feel empathy towards other living things? If a spider had a more familiar face and If I could see it, would I then not stomp on it when it creeps across the floor?

Okay, a spider doesn’t contain the same level of intelligence that a dog does, so is the value of life measured by how intelligent something is? So what’s the value of intelligence? Intelligence means that you have the ability to learn and therefore carry out more complicated tasks. So if we want to use animals to do beneficial work for us, we could also benefit from animals by exploiting them to death.

Animals work their way they live, they work our way they die.

Our way, we get what we want.

Their way, we get more living neighbors.

We don’t need neighbors, we need what we want.

So I guess it’s okay to exploit animals, logically it looks to be okay, but it still feels like a grey area.