Killer Robots By Accident or On Purpose?

There are companies like Lockheed Martin making autonomous killing robots, and there are companies like Google making self-driving cars (which kill people by accident or poor design). At least cars don’t tend to kill on purpose, and the Google self-driving car hasn’t had a deadly accident (or one it caused, of any kind). So, what’s worse? Intentionally creating machines that can destroy humans, or accidentally doing it? Let’s aim at neither.

Many people have seen the Sci-Fi movie Terminator and Terminator 2. They were made before the WWW, and before Skynet seemed like a possibility. Now we have 3D printers, we have walking and flying robots who can shoot, and we have a global intelligence network those machines connect directly to. We need to be very cautious in Artificial Intelligence development over the coming years, or a small group of people could make a mistake that could cost millions (billions?) of lives.

CVAF Can Visualize Angry Flames

It was the Cathedral Village Arts Festival today, a crowded street fair down 13th Avenue in Regina. It was hot, and it didn’t rain (like it does many years). I saw tons of people I knew, and many stopped by to talk at the Regina Car Share Co-op booth where I was volunteering. One of the police officers who gave me CPR walked by, so I obviously introduced him to the person I was talking to, and they shook his hand and thanked him for his service.

Slightly related to the sunny day… my solar panels have had near perfect days the past week. That’s how little cloud and zero rain we’ve seen most recently in May. A lot of Saskatchewan is experiencing dangerously dry conditions, and risk of fires remains rather high.

There’s risk of a fiery Love in Saskatchewan’s north (actually central region, but north of most people, so us southerners call it “north”, like Americans do to all Canadians, some of whom are further south than many Americans).

With Millions To Spare, Here’s How to Save Thousands of Lives

This rich couple is doing good with their money.

Regina caught sight of a jacket in the water during the cruise, and when she asked about it, she was told it might belong to a dead migrant who was trying to find safety in Europe.

While some Europeans criticize the rescue operation, saying it draws more migrants to the sea, Xuereb says that’s just not true. People are desperate, undertaking the journey to find a better life. They deserve to live, he says.

Last year, about 218,000 people made this journey — a record. Some 3,500 people drowned. And the numbers are growing.

Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and a common fantasy, like the Riders having a chance at the playoffs) together.

It’s frankly disturbing to think about how writing the paragraph above would get me killed and disgrace my family, if it was any earlier point in history. Hopefully, we don’t return to those dark days.

I’m not an atheist so much as an agnostic. I accept there may be super beings invisible and unknowable to human perception, but also it’s better to suggest that you’re open to belief in the unknowable. That’s in part to calm the fears of those who recoil at the thought of atheism, and partly because I think it’s wise to realize that what never seems possible, happens all too frequently.

Tweeter’s Block

I’ve a mild case of Tweeter’s block. I guess that means I need to write on my blog instead.

What’s going on? A whole lot of nothing, and a lot of somethings simmering. My to-do list is impossibly long as usual. At least some of them I’m really looking forward to. For instance a US vacation, and even a possible trip to Calgary coming up soon if weather co-operates. I also get solar panels installed in a couple months. I need to start seedling planting soon, and plan a community garden for my condo’s courtyard (which was delayed last year on account of my premature and short-lived death, and recovery.

And people keep asking me if I’m running for City Council again, which I can say with assurance that I’m on the fence and waiting to be pushed off one way or the other. I see umpteen others give up on improving Regina and move away, and that’s not an option right now, nor do I hope it becomes one. At least there are also good people still moving to here.

I got the basement cleaned up finally in preparation for the Spring flooding/leaking. Even managed to pick up the dehumidifier we need on sale last month. A friend in the city also pounced on the same deal.

With it being 2015, and with the City and country having made no progress on reducing carbon emissions or the energy efficiency of homes or businesses, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll be able to stop climate change. There’s probably still value in trying anyway, as a large part of the effort is in improving transportation quality, and building community, and doing those things will never go out of style.

I’ve more to say, but not sure if I want to share them with you right now.

Megamind Time Machine

We kicked off a Netflix addiction with “The Croods” [5/10] last night, and “Megamind” [8/10] this morning. At Christmas we replaced a tube TV with a more modern LED version that can get free broadcast channels and hook up to a laptop. Cutting the cable was made possible also with the prospect of Netflix, which I managed to hold off pushing the go button on until last night. My parents stopped by with some pencils for the kids, some cell phone stands for us, and some birthday cards from The White House for my Grandmas’ birthdays.

I’ve spent enough time transcribing my Grandma’s journal over the last month to get a jump start on February a little bit even. This comes at a slight cost of blogging my own thoughts, but I’m finding it interesting to learn about the mid 1980s from her perspective, and the arts and culture that I’ve never heard of in some cases. It’s fascinating to put what she was watching/listening-to on TV/radio and in theatres into Google and see what comes up on YouTube. Her journal is a perpetual time capsule set to ~30 years ago. I also find it amusing that I wasn’t the first in my family to write down which movies I’ve watched.

Fossils To Museums

I was an 8 year old awash in fossils, so I was a tad more generous than this former 9 year old PEI lad with his much more valuable fossil. I donated a lower mandible piece from a ~12,000,000 year old Saskatchewan rhino to the Sask. Natural History (now Royal Sask.) Museum in the 1980s. I too used plastic bristle brushes (AKA tooth brushes) to dust off fossils I collected from the surface of a gravel pit near Wood Mountain, SK. Many more fossils and fossil fragments from that pit have since ended up in cement in the area.

1988 Aug 16 Natural History Museum

Wood Mountain is one of two locations in Saskatchewan which weren’t significantly affected by glaciers from the last two ice ages. This left glacially tilled soil, rock, and fossil bits in the gravel pits of the area. When I was a boy, I’d sometimes play on the gravel pile my parents had brought in to make cement for our garage floor. I noticed odd rocks, and one that looked like it had teeth, so I set it aside, beside the south wall of the house. A year or two later, we took the biggest fossil to the RSM for them to look at it. They identified it, provided me with a copy of the ROM’s scientific description of the extinct animal, and accepted the fossil into their collection.

aphelops rhinoceros saskatchewan donation

A few years later I found a larger fossil from an older rhino, and they assembled it for me.

Wood Mountain fossils

UPDATE: