Happy New Year!

I know, it’s early for almost all of my usual readers, who tend to be in the United States.  But I won’t be near a computer at midnight.  Actually, I might be, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be sitting down to post something about it.  The wife and I are running late for a party at a friend’s house.  We were planning to leave ten minutes ago, and we are not walking out the door yet.  But that’s okay.

Anyway, it’s been a good year.  I’m not going to summarize now.  Maybe tomorrow.

Awesome playoff scenario

NFL.com – NFL News

**Packers clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over NY Giants if all of the following occur: ARI win, DET win, MIA win, MIN win, SF win, CAR loss, HOU loss, TB loss.

Because the Redskins and the worst defensive coordinator ever, Gregg Williams, couldn’t even begin to stop Tiki Barber and the Giants (He had TWO 50+ yard touchdown runs.  TWO!), Green Bay has a very slim chance to make the playoffs.  Eight games need to have exactly the right outcomes, or else the Giants go to the playoffs.  I think this could be the coolest playoff scenario ever.  Except that it will probably end up with the Giants going to the playoffs, and I hate the Giants.

The Redskins, on the other hand, should be embarrassed.  The Giants had lost six of seven games, were without one of their best defensive players (Michael Strahan), one of their best offensive players (Jeremy Shockey), and, for all intents and purposes, based on how he’s been playing, without their quarterback (Eli “The Whiner” Manning).

And the Redskins let the Giants come into their house and run for 250 yards.  Joe Gibbs is a Hall of Fame coach.  But that man on the sidelines is not Joe Gibbs.  I think a brain-sucking parasite had taken over his body and delegated all playcalling to a Ouija board run by a couple of chimpanzees who don’t even watch the games.

On behalf of the Redskins, I’d like to apologize to the NFC teams who had a shot at the playoffs if the Giants lost.  We let you down, and we’re sorry.

And to the Giants:  I can’t wait until you get knocked out of the playoffs in a three-touchdown loss to someone.  Have fun!

Soon you can eat a clone

FDA OKs Food From Cloned Animals – washingtonpost.com

Because scientists concluded there is no difference between food from clones and food from other animals, “it would be unlikely that FDA would require labeling in those cases,” Sundlof said.

I saw this today on Accidental Hedonist, and now on the Washington Post. The issue here is not safety, or how different or not different clones are from normal animals. The issue is that some people don’t like the idea of cloning, and don’t want to eat a cloned animal.

Personally, I don’t care if the animal was cloned. I don’t care if nano-scale assembly robots built my prime rib from individual carbon atoms. I’ll eat it either way. But I want to know what I’m eating. Give people the information to choose for themselves, and I’m happy.

All done

Golfing Benjamin While I was at my father-in-law’s over Christmas, I got a chance to hang out with my new nephews (New to me – they’re the sons of my brother- and sister-in-law). The older one, not pictured here, I’d met before. Benjamin, above, I’d met before, but he’s still pretty young. This is the first time I’ve hung out with him since he could really communicate. Two days ago, he was asking to play golf. There’s a nerf golf set in the basement, and the kids like to go down and play, but Benjamin is a little small to do it himself. I happened to walk by the kitchen as people were cooking dinner and Benjamin was looking for an escort into the basement. My wife told him to ask me, since I wasn’t busy cooking. So he did, and he and I went downstairs. He carefully set up all the little plastic holes. I put the flags on the sticks for him, and he put them in the slots where they belong. Then he hit the ball around a bit (His short game needs work, but he’s got the “put the ball in the hole” part down). Then he looked at me and said, “All done.”

And then, to my amazement, he started putting everything away. He gathered the holes (I had to help him remove the flags) and put everything back in the box. I only prompted him for one or two pieces that he forgot, and only after he had started cleaning on his own. When everything was put away, he said, “Go see mommy.” And we went back upstairs.

Watching little kids like that has always fascinated me.  I wonder about the thought process that goes on in his head.  Sometimes I think they couldn’t possibly be comprehending what it seems like they are.

I guess it’s good practice for when I have my own kids.

Im back

The Garreau Group

And I’m reading a new book.  I got a bunch of books from my in-laws, and I’ve started reading Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau. It’s about a group of fundamentalist Christian zealots who start blowing up buildings to protest the teaching of evolution in schools.

I’m just kidding.  It’s actually non-fiction about the marriage of technology and evolution, and whether we are approaching “The Singularity“, which is basically the tipping point beyond which there is a fundamental change in what it means to be human.  This is not the only view of the Singularity, but this is more or less the view he’s going with. So far I’m more or less buying it.  He makes some assumptions that I don’t think are true, but none of them are really important to his hypothesis.  It’s a little scary/exciting, because he and others he quotes are expecting huge changes in not just the way we live, but the way we are.  And they’re expecting them in the next few decades.

I’ll keep you all posted on how it’s going.  If I start getting a little existential here, tell me to take a break from the science and go watch some reality tv.  Nothing will destroy my faith in the imminent transcendence of humanity quicker than a few hours of prime time television.

What a nice way of putting it

Techdirt: Who’ll Pay For C3PO’s Social Security Benefits?

The paper admits we won’t be worrying about any of this for at least another twenty years, assuming robots can first hurdle the monumental task of self-sustained bipedal movement sans fatality.

This has been going around for the last few days – how will we handle things when we have artificial intelligences demanding citizenship?  Frankly, I don’t think it will be that big a deal.  Things are likely to be very different around here by the time robots are thinking enough to want citizenship, and this change will just be rolled into all the rest of them.  Not that we don’t have to think about it – we’ll definitely have to really examine the changes and figure out a long-term solution.  But it’s not like we’re suddenly going to have hundreds of thousands of thinking robots taking social security benefits all at once.

I posted this article rather than any other simply because of the “self-sustained bipedal movement sans fatality”, because I’m a dork.

Almost out

I’m at work until lunchtime today, and then home to finish packing and head off to the in-laws’.  It still sounds weird to talk about going to my father-in-law’s house.  This is my first Christmas away from home, so it should be an experience.  I’m a little sad to be away from my family, but this was inevitable at some point, and I’m excited to experience my wife’s family Christmas.  It promises to be more hectic than mine.

That said, don’t expect much posting until I get back next week.  I’ll have computer access there, but I don’t expect to use it very often.  And without my stored passwords, I may forget how to login here to post anything.  But I imagine most of you will be similarly busy with family and holiday celebrations and just not being at work.

So, happy holidays, whichever holidays it may be that you do or don’t celebrate.

Angry letter to Safeway

Well, it wasn’t really angry, exactly.  Puzzled is probably more accurate.  But it’s here, along with Safeway’s response.  Well, along with a summary of Safeway’s response, because their email to me had a “don’t share this with anyone or we’ll shoot you” note at the bottom.

_Note:  Safeway did not actually threaten to shoot me.  I just said that for effect. _