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Showing posts from August, 2015

Response to What Black People Want to Ask White People

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First, if you haven't watched the video above, I suggest you do, because this blog post is in response to those 24 questions.

Have you watched it yet?

Thanks!

Here are my answers to these questions:

Umm, horror movies are real life and don't reflect real life.  You really need to ask the Hollywood directors and writers about this, though I think you'll find that a group splits up to create tension and move the plot line forward.
I don't freak out when a black person plays a white fictional character.  In fact, I like when Hollywood takes previously all-white media and changes the line-up to better reflect real life.Umm, okay I stopped watching James Bond movies a while ago, but I might start watching them again if Idris Elba played Mr. Bond.  He's a fantastic actor.
I never heard this prejudice about big butts and big lips until right now.  Who says they're unattractive on a black woman?  
No, I never thought Miley created twerking.  But I also am not a Miley fan…

Wordless Wednesday: Camouflaged Pyramid

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Why We Need the Prime Directive

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While the original "Star Trek" TV show seems a bit campy these days, the show actually broke many social taboos when it first aired.  The very first show had a woman as second in command, a black woman in charge of communications, and an American-Japanese man as the navigator.  The show presented a world where money didn't exist yet people still had enough,

"Star Trek" also introduced the Prime Directive.  Instead of describing this, I found the exact wording:
As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Star Fleet personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Star Fleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship unless they are acting to righ…

Wordless Wednesday: My Kinda Treehouse

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How to Improve Gun Control: A Clarification

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After a few interesting conversation, I decided I need to clarify my earlier post about gun control.

First, I know that "well-regulated" means a well trained militia.  That would be accomplished through the licensing process.  In order to obtain a license, a person needs to show a complete understanding of the weapon, the ramifications of using said weapon, and the law pertaining to the weapon.  The range test would be a practical test, just like the road test is for a driver's license.

Side note:  I think the overall license fee needs to be small, such as $10, regardless of which weapon you want a license for.

Second, the militia class weapons would have strong requirements so that every Tom, Dick, and Harry cannot just load up on automatic weapons and tanks.  I think it is reasonable to required a person wanting to fly an Apache helicopter to have been a helicopter pilot in the Army.  In fact, I think the majority (if not all) of the arms in the militia class would on…

Wordless Wednesday: In Case of Fire

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How to Improve Gun Control

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After researching death by firearms, I decided to look into the actual wording of the Second Amendment:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Let's start by rephrasing the amendment into common terms:

"A well regulated Militia" refers to citizen soldiers whose activities/responsibilities/privileges are defined by laws."being necessary to the security of a free State" means citizen soldiers and the ability of citizens to become part of a militia is required to keep a democratic government from descending into tyranny."the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" refers to the power each individual has to own and use arms."shall not be infringed." means that Congress does not have the authority to disband a citizen's militia or stop individuals from owning arms. The Supreme Court of the United States issued two decision…

Guest Poet: My Dad

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Today, I'm featuring a poem by my Dad.  I hope you enjoy it!!!

“Of Destiny” According to one explanation kismet falls to predestination; no one opts for hell nor heaven as well, negating a rite exculpation. Some will chose predestination to posit a flee from damnation; the thesis herein courts virtue with sin and thus begets justification. What value is there then in pleasure if one has no merits to measure, what’s good or what’s bad, what’s joyful or sad are factors all humans may treasure. Though tissues of life are unknown, We color the weaves as our own; and it may appear we simply are here to harvest the seeds we have sown.

Copyright 1982 by Christian M. Yoder

AI Weapons? Just Say "No"

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On July 28th, the Future of Life Institute (FLI) announced an open letter asking the nations of the world to sign "a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control."  So far, over 18,000 people have signed this letter, including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, over 2,700 AI researchers, Noah Chomsky, and me.

The problem... let me take a step back.  The letter addresses the problem of weapons that need either no or minimal human intervention for the weapon to work.  Scientist don't really care of a gun can hold a riddle contest with Bilbo or quote Dylan Thomas, but they do care if a weapons works mostly autonomously.  With the prevalence of inexpensive computer parts, once we have sophisticated enough AI it would be easy for an AI arms race to begin.  Unlike nuclear weapons, which require rare materials to build, AI weapons will be an order of magnitude easier to build and use.


That brings me back to the problem - we've had autonomous…

Wordless Wednesday: Learn the Lingo

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Teaching Center

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The above video contains an amazing video by Key & Peele where they do a Sports Center parody using teaching and teachers.  While it's good comedy, I wonder - what would happen if we actually treated teachers like this?

What if school had to draft good teachers right out of college?  What if we based teacher's salaries on more that just test scores, and then paid them what they were worth to society?  Because teacher do hold the future in their hands, so why don't we pay them accordingly?

Part of the problem is taxes. Most people don't want to pay taxes, but that is where we get the money to pay teachers.  So lower taxes tends to influence teachers' salaries to the negative.

Another problem is that we don't have good measurements for teacher quality.  A classroom of students who come from families that value education will score higher than a classroom of students who come from families that don't care about education.  It doesn't matter who is te…