Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Answer to Developing Artifical Intelligence

As you may know, many websites now require you to look at an image of a distorted word, or CAPTCHA, and enter what the word is, to verify you aren't a machine. The point is to create a challenge that a human can solve, but not a computer.
However, the spammers and scammers of the Net appear to be cracking even this! See this article for an example, and this page.
One of the solutions mentioned in the Escape from CAPTCHA presentation is the use of logic tests. Such as, here are three animals, and you have to pick the one that is a fish.
However, greed knows no boundaries. Spammers and slimy marketers are cracking CAPTCHA. If the Net moves from CAPTCHA to logic tests, it will be no more than a decade or two before these slimebags develop full-fledged human-level AI in the pursuit of riches. I really believe that.
The only question is when sites will move from CAPTCHA to logic tests- or even if. CAPTCHA will be fully broken in another 5 years at most. Three years later, sites will have moved to something different. If it is logic tests, and we give the spammers 20 years to overcome the increasingly difficult logic tests that will be put out to combat their advances, we are looking at the development of human-level AI by 2036.
I can't wait!

The Right and Wrong of Right and Wrong

This is hilarious, and yet thought provoking.

Just a sample:

"Being right isn't always right if all you want is to always be right.
Being wrong can be right if you learn from being wrong.
So I would say being right can be wrong and being wrong can be right.
But it can be right to be right, and being wrong can be wrong.

At least thats what I think.
Am I right?"

And that's just scratching the surface.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Remote Desktop on Premium, Vista Network Tuning, and Firefox tabs

Remote Desktop:

Install Remote Desktop capability on Vista Home Premium (RTM or SP1)

Vista Network Tuning:

Vista includes a new feature called autotuning, where the operating system self-tweaks your internet connection (TCP/IP) settings on the fly to get maximum speed. Unfortunately, this prevents YOU from tweaking yourself. Vista's autotuning can be disabled though. Start by going to Start>All Programs>Accessories and right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator, then enter the following command:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

To turn back on, use:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal

However, Vista's autotuning is a great option. The problem is, some routers and servers don't work well with it, dropping packets or even connections, slowing your apparent internet speed. The best option is simply to have Windows Vista stay conservative about its tweaking by using this command:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=restricted

This way you can get some of the benefits of autotuning but at the same time avoid a lot of problems and slow-downs that arise with the default setting.

This next tip will definately benefit people with high-latency broadband connections such as cellular or satellite.
Windows has a special TCP congestion provider to better handle traffic on such networks, CTCP. To enable it, go to the command prompt like before and enter:

netsh interface tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp

While you are at it, enable TCP timestamps which are especially helpful in such cases:

netsh interface tcp set global timestamps=enabled

Enabling CTCP and timestamps don't have much effect if you are connecting to a modem at home or a company network.

Firefox Tabs:

If you run Firefox and open many tabs, you often have to click to scroll left and right through tabs. If you have a wheel mouse, you can just position your pointer over the tabs area and use your wheel to scroll through the tabs. It is not perfect, sometimes it won't go all the way over (at least as of FF with my Microsoft Intellimouse) but it is pretty neat.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What I am Looking at Today 3/22/08

The Most Poisonous Animals

Most poisonous snake:
Inland Taipan
From Wikipedia:
"A single bite from the Inland Taipan contains enough venom to kill as many as 100 human adults, or 250,000 mice. The average venom yield of this snake is 44 mg, with a 110-mg being the largest recorded yield. Its venom is 50 times more toxic than that of the Indian Cobra and 650 - 850 times more toxic than that of a Western- or Eastern Diamondback. The Inland Taipan has an extremely neurotoxic venom which can cause death to an adult human in as little as 45 minutes."

Most poisonous spider:
Brazilian Wandering Spider
From Wikipedia:
"These spiders are notorious both due to their toxic venom, and because they are not reluctant to attack people who appear threatening. ... Bites from these spiders may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks to full-blown envenomation. In either case, people bitten by a Phoneutria or any Ctenid should seek immediate emergency treatment as the venom is possibly life threatening."

Most poisonous sea creature:
Box Jellyfish
From Wikipedia:
"Box Jellyfish are best known for the extremely powerful venom possessed by some of their species. The Chironex fleckeri and the Carukia barnesi (Irukandji) species are amongst the most venomous creatures in the world. Stings from such species are excrutiatingly painful, either initially or as an after-effect, and are often fatal."

Most poisonous vertebrate animal:
Golden Poison Frog
From Wikipedia:
"This amphibian of the dendrobatidae family is currently considered the most poisonous vertebrate worldwide."

Monday, March 17, 2008

What if it was us? Chilling.

From a column by Tom Engelhardt:

"Imagine, for a moment, that you live in a small town somewhere near the Southern California coast. You're going about your daily life, trying to scrape by in hard times, when the missile hits. It might have come from the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – its pilot at a base on the outskirts of Tehran – that has had the village in its sights for the last six hours or from the Russian sub stationed just off the coast. In either case, it's devastating.

"In Moscow and Tehran, officials announce that, in a joint action, they have launched the missile as part of a carefully coordinated "surgical" operation to take out a "known terrorist," a long-term danger to their national security. A Kremlin spokesman offers the following statement:

"'As we have repeatedly said, we will continue to pursue terrorist activities and their operations wherever we may find them. We share common goals with respect to fighting terrorism. We will continue to seek out, identify, capture, and, if necessary, kill terrorists where they plan their activities, carry out their operations, or seek safe harbor.'

"A couple in a ramshackle house just down the street from you – he's a carpenter; she works at the local Dairy Queen – are killed along with their pets. Their son is seriously wounded, their home blown to smithereens. Neighbors passing by as the missile hits are also wounded.

"As it happens, there are no terrorists in the vicinity. Outraged, you organize your neighbors and march angrily in protest through the town, shouting anti-Russian, anti-Iranian slogans. But, of course, there is nothing you can really do. Iran and Russia are far away, their weaponry powerful, your arms nonexistent. The state of California is incapable of protecting you. This is, in fact, at least the fourth time in recent months that a "terrorist" has been declared "taken out" from the air or by a ship-based cruise missile, when only innocent Californians have died.

"As news of the "collateral damage" from the botched operation dribbles out, the Russian and Iranian media pay next to no attention. There are no outraged editorials. Official spokesmen see no need to comment further. No one is held responsible and no promises are made in either Tehran or Moscow that similar assassination strikes won't be launched in the near future, based on "actionable intelligence," possibly even on the same town. In fact, the next day, seeing UAVs once again soaring overhead, you load your pickup and prepare to flee. "

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Word on Words

Eph 5:4
Neither FILTHINESS, nor FOOLISH TALKING, nor JESTING, which are NOT CONVENIENT: but rather
giving of thanks.

filthiness - KJV
obscene (talk) - NRSV
* obscenities- impolite, rude, or offensive words- e.g. cussing
* also referring to behavior- aischrotes is not specific to words only except possibly
within the context of this verse

foolish talking - KJV
* foolish words - subject matter that is untrue or unrighteous

jesting - KJV
vulgar (talk) - NRSV
coarse joking - NIV
* coarse joking- obscene humor

not convenient - KJV
not fitting - NKJV
out of place - NIV

Obscenity is pretty clear. In today's society, one example would be cussing. Of course, as with dress and music, language norms are defined by society and change going forward. Perhaps 50 years from now f--- will be polite language, although I doubt it. It is only within the last century that pants have come to be considered acceptable for women.
How does the church respond in this environment? I don't believe it is the churches' job to be the progressives. The church should take a conservative position within society and instead of a knee-jerk reaction against societal shift should be open yet careful. In 20 years the progressives of today will be the conservatives, and the church will move with that to the extent Scripture is not explicit against it. This is not a bad thing. Just because something shocked our grandparents doesn't mean it is wrong. Shock is just as psychological as it is moral.

Discussion that is unrighteous is "foolish talk." As we remember from Pro 24:9, "the thought of foolishness is sin," and how much more sinful is the discussion of it? The difference between "sin" and "foolishness," Biblically, is very slight. If we rephrase that verse to say that the thought of sin is sin, most would be quick to reply that we are often tempted, and temptation is the thought of the possibility of sinning, but it is not sin to be tempted. So then foolishness is the carrying out of sin, which begins when we devise to sin and continues when we discuss how to sin and culminates when we commit the act.

Foolish talk then is that talk which commits itself to the idea of sinning. Foolish talk is not merely discussing sin but putting forth sinful words or plans to commit sins. Sin, of course, is anything contrary to God's law. Foolish talk would include high school guys discussing how to get a girl in bed. It would include tearing someone down. It would include spreading gossip. It would include discussing plans to shoplift.

Eutrapelia really refers to humor that would fall under the first two categories. So what is being said is, obscenities, foolish talk, and humor which is obscene or foolish is out of place for you (as Christians). The best translation is "coarse joking." You may remember Pro 14:9, "fools make a mock at sin."

Paul tells us that these kinds of words are not proper for us. The are out of character for the Christian and represent the opposite of what a Christian should be.

Mat 12:36
But I say unto you, That every IDLE WORD that men shall SPEAK, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment.

idle - KJV
careless - NASB/NIV
* not pertaining to serious matters

word - KJV/All versions
* content or subject matter of what is being communicated

speak - KJV
utter - NRSV

The interesting thing about this verse is that, contrary to popular perception, Jesus isn't saying "idle words" are wrong. This verse is similar to Mat 5:18 ("jot or tittle") and Mat 10:29 ("sparrows...shall not fall") in that Christ is placing attention on a small part of something to show us that He takes the whole very seriously.
In this case, even talk which is not taken seriously will be judged. No words we speak are insignificant enough to escape specific judgement when we stand before God.