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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

Email updates six degrees theory TRN 082703
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:06 am EDT, Sep  6, 2003

] The world has known about the small-world phenomenon
] since sociologist Stanley Milgram's 1967 study found that
] it took, on average, six exchanges among acquaintances to
] get a letter from a random correspondent in Omaha,
] Nebraska to a Boston recipient identified only by a brief
] description.
] ...
] Columbia University researchers have filled in the blanks
] by carrying out a larger, more detailed experiment over
] the Internet. The results match many of the broad
] conclusions of Milgram's work, but show that Milgram's
] conclusion about the importance of hubs -- people who
] have many connections -- may be off, at least in regards
] to social networks.

It turns out that social networks do not behave like the scale-free networks exhibited by web page linking. There is a cost to participation in a social network. Folks with fewer connections were more likely to pass on the message.

Email updates six degrees theory TRN 082703

Talk Like A Pirate Day
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:39 am EDT, Sep  4, 2003

Ahoy maties! Make sure ye observe the fairest day! ARGH!

Talk Like A Pirate Day

The Village Voice: Features: Cyborg Liberation Front by Erik Baard
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:59 am EDT, Aug 29, 2003

] Inside the Movement for Posthuman Rights -- When the World
] Transhumanist Association met for a conference at Yale last
] month, they discussed the future rights of those who will be
] half-man, half-machine. Erik Baard looks at uploading
] consciousness, bio-Luddites, and that nagging question: Who
] are we?

Cogent discussion of the ethical issues involved.

The Village Voice: Features: Cyborg Liberation Front by Erik Baard

EE Times - A veritable cognitive mind
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:48 am EDT, Aug 29, 2003

] But "the big feature of human-level intelligence is not
] what it does when it works but what it does when it's
] stuck," Minsky said. When faced with novelty, Minsky
] claims, human intelligence applies "reasoning by analogy"
] to make the most direct tap into the cognitive glue that
] fuses knowledge domains.

With Doug Lenat, Minsky proposes that common sense is the missing factor in developing human-level AI, and that reasoning by analogy is the essential element in common-sense reasoning.

EE Times - A veritable cognitive mind

Rise of the machines
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:48 am EDT, Aug 26, 2003

] Richard Samson, author of the forthcoming book called
] “The Human Edge”, is convinced we are teetering on the
] precipice of an employment revolution for only the
] second time in modern history. According to Samson,
] where the industrial revolution provided the means to
] automate hard manual labour, the electronics revolution
] is threatening to replace human brain-power.

The author of this piece in Electronics News combines Samson's assertions with those of several other thinkers to consider a scenario for "an apocalyptic future" where humans become "cyborgs in an automated world." The article is not very compelling but Samson's book might be interesting.

Rise of the machines

Search-Rescue Robots Test Their Mettle in Tournaments (
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:24 am EDT, Aug  8, 2003

] robots compete annually in two international
] search-and-rescue tournaments, measuring their progress
] in diabolically difficult arenas designed by the National
] Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
] With current technology, negotiating an unstructured
] rubble- and debris-filled environment is about the
] hardest thing there is for a robot to do. That
] researchers even attempt it shows how far robotics has
] come in recent years. That it always fails, and sometimes
] spectacularly, shows how far it still has to go.

It appears that sensors are a limiting factor. Each type of
sensor can be confused or disrupted by some aspect of the

Search-Rescue Robots Test Their Mettle in Tournaments (

The Scientist :: Call for big ideas
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:57 am EDT, Aug  7, 2003

] Researchers invited to bid for time on one of the world's
] top five supercomputers ...
] A total of 4.5 million supercomputing processing hours
] and 100 trillion bytes of data storage space on the most
] powerful computer for unclassified research in the United
] States is now up for grabs.

Total wall-clock time multiplied by the number of processors used. The IBM SP RS/6000, named Seaborg, has 6,656 processors.

The Scientist :: Call for big ideas

Sensors - April 2003 - A Sensor Model Language: Moving Sensor Data onto the Internet
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:13 am EDT, Aug  1, 2003

] Moving Sensor Data onto the Internet
] A new XML encoding scheme may make it possible for you to
] remotely discover, access, and use real-time data
] obtained directly from Web-resident sensors, instruments,
] and imaging devices.
] ...
] Members of the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC), including
] NASA, the National Imaging and Mapping Agency, and EPA,
] are developing a standard XML encoding scheme for
] metadata describing sensors, sensor platforms, sensor
] tasking interfaces, and sensor-derived data ...

Most interesting: SensorML aims to "archive fundamental properties and assumptions regarding sensor"

Sensors - April 2003 - A Sensor Model Language: Moving Sensor Data onto the Internet

ACM: Ubiquity - Talking with Terry Winograd
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:29 am EDT, Jul 25, 2003

] Terry Winograd is Professor of Computer Science at
] Stanford University, where he directs the program on
] human-computer interaction. His SHRDLU program done at
] the MIT AI Lab was one of the early explorations in
] natural language understanding by computers. His book
] with Fernando Flores, Understanding Computers and
] Cognition, critiques the underlying assumptions of AI and
] much of computer system design, introducing directions
] from phenomenology. He was a founder and national
] president of Computer Professionals for Responsibility,
] and is currently on sabbatical at Google, Inc.

ACM: Ubiquity - Talking with Terry Winograd Swarm Intelligence: An Interview with Eric Bonabeau [Feb. 21, 2003]
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:46 am EDT, Jul 23, 2003

] Eric Bonabeau, Ph.D, a keynote speaker at the upcoming
] Emerging Technology conference, is a leader in the field
] of swarm intelligence and has focused on applying these
] concepts to real world problems such as factory
] scheduling and telecommunications routing.

Perhaps there is a potential convergence between swarm intelligence and genetic programming. What if one could evolve the components of the swarm to improve the overall capabilities of the whole? Swarm Intelligence: An Interview with Eric Bonabeau [Feb. 21, 2003]

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