Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Basel Botanic

Basel university botanic garden, 2010-03-28
(enlarge, big screen version).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stray Dogs Using Subway

abc news: Stray Dogs Master Complex Moscow Subway System

Once joined the apartment complex with a cat named Moritz, who was using the elevator at his pleasure.

Via naked capitalism.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seung Sahn

From Open Buddha: “Completely Become One” by Zen Master Seung Sahn
After one week, my heart was only making one or two mistakes, and my doctors said, “This is wonderful! Most people take two or three months to come down to only one or two mistakes each minute!” So I said, “Thank you very much; you have helped me, so I can get better quickly. But this is only fix-your-body meditation. This is not correct meditation.”

“Why isn’t this correct meditation?” they asked.

“You can fix your body, your heart, your diabetes. In Korea, China, and India, there are people who do yoga. They go to the mountains and do breath-in, breath-out meditation. They can live 500 years and not get sick. Keeping their bodies for a long time is possible; even flying in the sky is possible. Trying this style body meditation, anything is possible. A body is like a car. Use the car a lot, and in three years, it is broken. Only keep the car in the garage, then keeping it for a long time is possible. But finally, after 500 years, then these yoga people die. Then what? Live a long time, then die; live a short time, then die–it is the same! Dying is the same.”

The doctors understood. “What is correct meditation, then?”

I told them, “I always try meditation. Meditation means always keeping one mind, not-moving mind.” They thought meditation meant only concentration and keeping your body still. So I said, “Meditation means keeping one mind. You must understand–What is life? What is death? If you keep one mind, there is no life, no death. Then, if you die tomorrow, no problem; if you die in five minutes, no problem.”

“What do you mean, no problem’?” they asked.

“Maybe you do fix-your-heart meditation. Then, ‘My heart is good; my body is good.’ It is very easy to become attached to this meditation. But, when you get old, and your heart is not so good, then you try this meditation. Maybe it is still not so good. Then, ‘Why doesn’t my meditation work?’ Then your body, your meditation become hindrances. If your meditation cannot help your body, then you don’t believe in your meditation. Then what? So, this style meditation is no good.

“Correct meditation means correctly understanding your situation moment to moment–what are you doing now? Only do it! Then, each action is complete; each action is enough. Then no thinking, so each moment, I can perceive everything just like this. Just like this is truth. Sick-time, only be sick. Driving-time, only drive. Only go straight–then, any situation is no problem.”

Reminds me of this exercise by Ken McLeod.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Google - Translating

BTW, if the article is not accessible directly, goto Google News, search for the title, and go from there. At the moment most pay per view articles are free for Google users.

BTW BTW, this will be an area very difficult for Apple to compete in. Thought Apple has the cash reserves now, they don't have the expertise and no synergies to other areas of their business. They try already to catch up for maps.

BTW BTW BTW, the biggest progress in terms of artificial intelligence (well, since the invention of AI, whatever) is IMHO the Google Search database/engine. It is maybe not much more than a big big memory, but memory IS a VERY big part of intelligence! And every further software/module/engine/project can be build on top of that, with whatever new results and effects that might bring! However, and here is the problem with any further global progress and with Google itself, you better work for Google if you want to have the means and to have access to the goodies. Google has a treasure with nothing comparable in human history (gold, oil, land, resources, money, people, armies, you name it). And as you can see below, they intend on using it.

NY Times article: Google’s Computing Power Betters Translation Tool
Creating a translation machine has long been seen as one of the toughest challenges in artificial intelligence. For decades, computer scientists tried using a rules-based approach — teaching the computer the linguistic rules of two languages and giving it the necessary dictionaries.

But in the mid-1990s, researchers began favoring a so-called statistical approach. They found that if they fed the computer thousands or millions of passages and their human-generated translations, it could learn to make accurate guesses about how to translate new texts.

It turns out that this technique, which requires huge amounts of data and lots of computing horsepower, is right up Google’s alley.

“Our infrastructure is very well-suited to this,” Vic Gundotra, a vice president for engineering at Google, said. “We can take approaches that others can’t even dream of.”


“This technology can make the language barrier go away,” said Franz Och, a principal scientist at Google who leads the company’s machine translation team. “It would allow anyone to communicate with anyone else.”

Mr. Och, a German researcher who previously worked at the University of Southern California, said he was initially reluctant to join Google, fearing it would treat translation as a side project. Larry Page, Google’s other founder, called to reassure him.

“He basically said that this is something that is very important for Google,” Mr. Och recalled recently. Mr. Och signed on in 2004 and was soon able to put Mr. Page’s promise to the test.

While many translation systems like Google’s use up to a billion words of text to create a model of a language, Google went much bigger: a few hundred billion English words. “The models become better and better the more text you process,” Mr. Och said.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Chinese Food

... in the West

TED presentation:

Jennifer 8. Lee hunts for General Tso

Thanks to Sharon for the tip.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

No Mouse

Oh yeah!!!

Inside Apple's iPad: iPhone OS vs Mac OS X
The thing that makes me frustrated is that so many users think that using the desktop version of os X is the way to go, and as you guys pointed out, doesn't work. What I think people are failing to see is that apple has finally figured out a way to make an OS that doesn't use a mouse. They designed it for the finger and they have done it very well. I think that apple should continue in this direction, and perhaps what they are looking to do is to eliminate the use of mice all together in favor of multi touch, and a keyboard. Could apple be using the iPhone/iPod touch OS as their map for mac OS 11? If that's the case then I'd say they are moving in the right direction.

I think the reason they don't allow for multi tasking on their mobile devices is because they are still seeing the iPhone OS as a beta for OS 11. They don't want to introduce multi tasking untill it is perfected, and can be done better then it has ever been done before. I hope other companies finally get the picture, and create finger friendly OSs.

I also beleive that there is more then enough evidence for OS 11 to be multi touch ONLY: apple has been moving their devices more and more towards multi touch, starting with the two finger scroll in their ibooks and ending on the computer end with the Magic Mouse and current macbook trackpads, and on the other side the ipad. If apple continues in this way, I beleive that the next step they have to take is to start making the iPad start eating the sales from their Macbooks when they come out with the iPad 2. If they can do this then we may see OS 11 be made just for multi touch and we will no longer need a mouse.....
But a keyboard still would be nice...