August 27, 2008 2008 Poor Sportsmanship Awards
Here’s our leading candidates for the 2008 Poor Sportsmanship Award:
Beijing Environment. Worries about air pollution so bad it will effect the outdoor competitions. Extraordinary restrictions on private vehicles entering the city, and a shut down of city industry for the duration of the Games. Plans to shot sand into the clouds to create a cleansing rain.|
|Wrestler Ara Abrahamian of Sweden, angered over receiving a bronze medal, leaves the award podium and leaves his medal in the middle of the wrestling mat and vows never to compete again.|
|Bob Costas and NBC. Televises preliminary volleyball matches in lieu of gold medal finals. Even *American* gold medal finals. Contributing factor: in a contest for the most juvenile pun with features commentator Mary Carrillo. Mitigating factor: interviewed George Bush in front of Mao portrait.|
|Tae Kwan Do athlete Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba, fighting with a broken toe during the bronze medal match, and is disqualified by Chakir Chelbat of Sweden for taking more than the maximum one minute medical time out. Matos kicks Chelbat in the face (with the broken toe). Banned for life from the Olympics and Tae Kwan Do. None less than Fidel Castro defends Matos’ actions.|
|Underage Chinese gymnasts. Five of six gold-winning gymnasts apparently identified as under age in an archived government website. This team was so deep they certainly could have found gold medal candidates above the required age of 16. The cover-up appears to involve the Chinese Olympic organization and the central government.|
International Olympic Committee Chair Jacques Rogge’s criticism of Usain Bolt for celebrating his amazing 9.3 second 100 m run instead of congratulating his opponents.|
|The Chinese government for suppressing dissent regarding the occupation of Tibet, pulling the visa of Olympian Darfur peace activist Joey Cheek, and the establishment of phony "protest zones". In spite of assurances of increased openness to public opinion, public dissent was restricted by permit only to "protest zones" away from Olympic venues. No permits were granted, and all who applied were detained, deported, or sent to work camps. Watch for "protest zones" at the US political conventions, G8 summits and the like.|
|Your write-in nominee.|
|Jacques Rogge at track and field.|
|Athlete arrives at Beijing Airport with pollution filter mask|
|Beijing air pollution on opening day|
|George Bush being interviewed by Bob Costas (not pictured)|
|Beijing shop ownere forced to clean up his act|
|Paramilitary officer photographs journalists|
|Suspected underage gymnasts|
|Sweden’s Ara Abrahamian leaves his medal on the mat in protest of placing third|
|Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba (red) kicks referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden|
|Women’s Marathon route|
|Security guards stop Hong Kong university student Christina Chan from protesting|
|Tibet protest at Olympic Park|
May 20, 2008 Making Business a Battle
Today we join Matt "Boom" Daniel in a long monologue on preparing for an aerial dogfight. Boom Daniel is an ex-Marine fighter pilot who runs a business coaching consulting firm that uses war as a metaphor for business. Everybody gets a whacky nickname before going off to get lost in the woods together.
Today's installment has Boom reading to us from the manual for 9-1/2 minutes before making the connection to business (you may not want to hire him by the hour). Below are excerpt highlights where he refers to the sun as "Mister Happy" and describes the "G-Lock Maneuver" which apparently is a forced loss of consciousness to "warm your body up" and "lock yourself out". WTF?
Check your six.
May 5, 2008 Official Portrait
April 16, 2008 Fuzzy Logic
I took a couple of classes on Fuzzy Sets and Fuzzy Logic in college. It's really useful stuff for characterizing probability, uncertainty, and belief.
In classic Set Theory, something is either part of the set, or it is not. Fuzzy Sets allow you to mathematically describe the *degree* to which something is a member of the set.
Simple examples can be found in cooking. Say a cake recipe calls for "a pinch of salt". Does it matter whether your pinch is one gram or three grams -- no. The cake will still rise and taste fine. But "handful" is outside of the "pinch" set, and your cake a failure.
Likewise, it's not terribly important to the Set(cake) whether you use 3-1/4 cups of flour vs. 3 cups, or medium eggs versus large. They all belong to Set(cake) but to different degrees.
A mathematical example can be found in the transmission of your Toyota -- it has a Fuzzy Logic chip controlling the shifting.
Your 1975 Oldsmobile Hydramatic transmission had mechanical and hydraulic linkages that shifted the transmission based on RPM. This sometimes caused it to "hunt" for the proper gear when you climbed a hill -- the engine would bog, downshift to 2nd gear, the car would accelerate raising the RPMs, it would shift into 3rd, bog again, and so on.
Modern transmissions with Fuzzy Logic chips "learn" as you drive up the hill. It recognizes that 3500 RPM is suitable for either 2nd or 3rd gear, but that 2nd gear is more appropriate during the hill climb, and stays there.
George W. Bush permanently scarred the concept in the 2000 Presidential debate with Al Gore. Bush claimed cutting taxes for the wealthy would stimulate the economy, while Gore said it would cause deep deficits. Bush then accused Gore of using "Fuzzy Math", a soundbite phrase he repeated several times.
Here's my personal Fuzzy Set story. I went to a lecture at U.C. Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall given by the Father of Fuzzy Logic, Prof. Lofti Zadeh. I took my not-yet-walking son, so it must have been late 1991.
Professor Zadeh's lecture was brilliant, and accessible, and truly enjoyable. He presented from an overhead projector on a table at the front right of the stage, which projected images onto a large, 15-foot-high portable screen at the back and left of the stage.
Prof. Zadeh was enthusiastic and inspiring -- but something was troubling him.
He kept glancing over his shoulder at the screen, where perhaps 10 percent of the image was missing the screen and falling uselessly on the black backdrop curtain. The lecture didn't stop, didn't even slow down, as Prof. Zadeh walked to the screen and pulled on its lower corner to position it in front of the projected image.
He did this twice. Once as a gross correction, once for a fine adjustment.
The lecture never stopped, no reference, complaint, or joke about the screen.
I think I might have moved the acetate slide, twisted the projector, or nudged the table. But to him, these parts of the Set(projection) were fine. It was the screen that did not conform to the parameters of the Set. To an acceptable degree.
March 11, 2008 Terry Collier, Robot Maker
Terry Collier is an artist, photographer, and robot maker based in Vancouver. This is cool, wonderful stuff. We have one of the robots at home and he always generates effusive comments. Terry is also a generous contributor of art to Where the Truth Lies. Visit his site and see what you like!
March 11, 2008 Terry Collier, Robot Maker
March 3, 2008 Don't Forget to Screw the Cat
To my Dear Correspondents,
I offer my sincere apology for dropping an F-bomb on you in my "Appointment Reminder" e-mail. This triggered spam blocks for some, and produced fear of opening the attached image in others. I try to be work-safe in my missives, but perhaps this went over the line.
See, it's just a Garfield comic, unaltered. Jon wonders aloud what he's doing today, and Garfield is shocked that he doesn't recall their hot man on cat love liaison planned for later that afternoon. That's it. A Garfield comic. Tame, innocent stuff.
I will endeavor to be less profane in my feline reaming correspondence in the future.
My life is forfeit.
February 27, 2008 Tax Service
Found a great new tax service in Sacramento near Arco Arena.
They are *amazing* at finding new deductions.
Did you know you can claim poodles as dependents?
Did you know you can claim your *neighbor's* poodles as dependents?
Their name says it all.