Monday, August 28, 2006

The Filthy Critic Reviews "How To Eat Fried Worms"

The Filthy Critic reviews "How To Eat Fried Worms". It's been a while since he's given a movie 4/5.

How to Eat Fried Worms is based on the book of the same name. By the way, it's a pretty fucking great kids book. Like it, the movie adaptation gets it just right when showing how young boys act. It's a genuinely rare movie that tries to entertain kids without giving a rat's ass about the parents or whether the people making it will look cool. That's no small feat for the self-absorbed Hollywood grassfuckers. Usually they make movie kids too smart and precocious, or some idealized carbon copy of the way they've seen kids act in other movies. Worms, though, has kids behave like kids.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

16 Common Myths About Atheists

16 Common Myths About Atheists

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CastingWords Audio/Podcast Transcription Service

Jon Udell mentions the audio/podcast transcription service CastingWords. Their website says:

  • URL Podcast transcription is 42 cents a minute. Podcasts are made searchable.
  • Uploaded file transcription is 75 cents a minute. Transcripts are not searchable.
  • Fast turnaround - often within 24 hours.
  • All transcribing is done by people, not machines.
  • Transcriptions are delivered in plain text, HTML and RTF formats.
  • You get an RSS feed of all of your transcripts.

YouTube Wants To Put All Music Videos Online

Slashdot -> BBC News:

Video sharing website YouTube is in talks with record labels about offering current and archive music videos.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen told Reuters news agency it was hoped that within 18 months the site would "have every music video ever created".

The company said it planned to offer the videos free of charge.
I think that'd be great if it happened. Not just as a resource, but for helping to up the ante for the sort of traditionally-offline content that's put online.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Five Lies, One Truth (about me)

Ricky passed me this task:

Of these statements about me, only one is true. Can you tell which?

  1. I’d describe myself as left-wing

  2. If I could take one show off television, it would be Big Brother

  3. I’d describe myself as right-wing

  4. Some of my relatives are well known people

  5. I don't think much of most science-fiction novels

  6. I dislike pop music

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Whole is Greater Than the Imagined Coming Together of the Parts

Some quick sketching...

People often talk about the whole being larger than the sum of the parts.

The truth of this is commonly seen as showing that reductionism is wrong, as something new has emerged. This is actaully a radical, extreme version of emergence, known as strong emergence.

There’s no evidence that strong emergence is true, and it’s not a very ‘respectable’ position. The whole isn’t really greater than the sum of the parts, because it isn’t just the sum of its parts: it’s a result of the combination of the parts in a particular configuration.

There isn’t anything genuinely new that emerges. It’s just a matter of the configuration or interaction of the parts. This is known as weak emergence, and seems to be really what people talking about emergence are talking about.

At other times, when people are talking about emergence, they’re not talking about the entitiy itself, but the effects of it. For example, saying that a fantastic painting is far greater than just the canvas and the paint it’s made of. This is making the mistake of overlooking the particular configuration of the paint, but it is also that when they’re talking about the painting they’re really talking about the effect when you are perceiving it.

What I think underlies these mistakes, and what doesn’t tend to be brought up, is that when people are surprised by a whole -- when they are likely to bring up the saw about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts -- they haven’t actually really calculated what the sum of the parts would be. If they had, they’d have known what the whole is. What is really going on is that the whole is greater than their intuitive conception of what the parts would add up to.

(This reminds of the criticism Dennett makes, in Consciousness Explained, I think, of things like Searle's Chinese Room arguement -- and some other philosophical thought experiments, I think -- that they invight you to imagine something, and draw conclusions based on your imaginings, but which you can't actually concretely imagine, but rather just have a vague impression from).

Simulations to Hit Home the Possibility of 'Unlikely' Situations for Drivers and Pedestrians

Just a few quick posts....

I would think that a lot of car and pedestrian accidents occur because people tend to expect only ‘typical’ circumstances - whereas there’s always the possibility of more unusual circumstances they’d brush off as too unlikely, and accidents happen when they do come up for someone.

For example, a lot of people think they can stay in control if they speed. And under normal circumstances they probably can. But they aren’t in full control - there are other elements of the situation that can be unpredictable, like pedestrians and other cars.

I think you could use simulations to help people get a more realistic picture of things. A simulation that schoolkids or people going for their licence could use. In the simulation you’d act as a car driver or a pedestrian who's travelling to some destination.

For example, as a pedestrian as you're walking a long you may have to cross a road that is just off a round-about, and you see a car that has its indicator on such that it’s going to keep on going around the intersection -- and not turn off onto the road you’re crossing. So, on the basis of that indicator light, it seems safe to cross.

But in fact, it does turn off. Perhaps the person changes their mind. Or in their usual habit they’d normally turn off but today they’re going somewhere different, and they get confused.

It would be interesting to also be able to, afterwards, see what was going on from the other person’s perspective to, to hit home how unlikely seeming things can happen.

Another thing that’d give this impact would be if the situations you face were based upon real cases, and after you’d faced them you could read a bit about the situation.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ultrasonic Tourniquet Concept That Can Stop Internal Bleeding

Technology Review reports:

Called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, it aims to create a cuff-like device that wraps around a wounded limb. Rather than applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, the device would use focused beams of ultrasound (sound waves above the audible frequencies) to non-invasively clot vessels no matter how deep they are.