Sunday, October 19, 2014

Siri Helps Out


For John, BLUFMachines are very, very patient.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Over at The New York Times a Ms Judith Newman talks about her son Gus, who has autism, and how the iPhone App Siri is helping out.  The title of the article is "To Siri, With Love:  How One Boy With Autism Became B.F.F.'s With Apple’s Siri".  Here is the lede:
Just how bad a mother am I?  I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri.  Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his B.F.F.  Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn’t have to discuss them.  After a while I heard this:

Gus:  “You’re a really nice computer.”

Siri:  “It’s nice to be appreciated.”

Gus:  “You are always asking if you can help me.  Is there anything you want?”

Siri:  “Thank you, but I have very few wants.”

Gus:  “O.K.! Well, good night!”

Siri:  “Ah, it’s 5:06 p.m.”

Gus:  “Oh sorry, I mean, goodbye.”

Siri:  “See you later!”

That Siri.  She doesn’t let my communications-impaired son get away with anything.  Indeed, many of us wanted an imaginary friend, and now we have one.  Only she’s not entirely imaginary.

The Siri technology was developed by SRI International, where Mr William Mark is the Vice President for Information and Computing Sciences.  He noted:
See, that’s the wonderful thing about technology being able to help with some of these behaviors.  Getting results requires a lot of repetition.  Humans are not patient.  Machines are very, very patient.
Technology holds promise of helping us in many areas.  We just have to be careful about it being imposed irresponsibly.

Why my concern about misuse?  Because misuse and abuse are inherent in Government, and I don't mean one party or the other.  Both.

In today's Washington Post is an OpEd by Mr Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, titled "The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter".  It is about a Government Study being done by Indiana University, named, with a node to Steven Colbert, Truthy.

… and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”
Here is Mr Pai's pitch:
Truthy’s entire premise is false. In the United States, the government has no business entering the marketplace of ideas to establish an arbiter of what is false, misleading or a political smear. Nor should the government be involved in any effort to squint for and squelch what is deemed to be “subversive propaganda.” Instead, the merits of a viewpoint should be determined by the public through robust debate. I had thought we had learned these lessons long ago.
And, he is correct.  No business.

And, this is why seats at the FCC are divided up by political party, and on the local License Commission and Election Commission.  Diversity of thinking and interest.  Not perfect, but a fair approximation.

Regards  —  Cliff

This World and the Next


For John, BLUFWhat does God want of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This Sunday's Gospel ends with this quote:
So give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.
Matthew 22:21b
With some people trying to drive God from the market place it is sometimes hard to recognize what is Ceasar's and what is God's.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sex on Campus


For John, BLUFDo you think it will apply to Undertaker College?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



So, over at Mind the Campus we have "IS THE LEFT LOSING ITS MIND OVER CAMPUS SEX?", by K C Johnson.

The answer is Yes.


My question is, since my wife of 48 years and I are enrolled at UMass Lowell Continuing Education, are we subject to this Title IX Fascism?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Funding For Ebola Research


For John, BLUFThe Federal problem isn't so much total spending, but how it is allocated.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In this Day by Day cartoon (Chris Muir drawing) we see Damon and Jan discussing the accusation out there that the reason we are behind the power curve on Ebola is because the Republicans wouldn't provide the money the CDC needed.

This is one where I actually don't blame the President per se, but the many administrative units below him, each pursuing agendas that they have devised, in their belief that they have found the important points in need of study.

It is up to the members of the various Congressional Committees and sub-committees (and the ≈2,500 unelected staffers assigned to support such committees) to keep an eye on this.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Leading to the infamous "Sabre Dance".   Film Here.
  Yes, they do attempt to align with what they see as the current Administration's priorities, so as not to draw undue attention, or because of partisan alignment.  They are not dumb.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Name in Ring for 2016?


For John, BLUFUS Shale production is driving down the cost of gas at the pump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



An Inexperienced Law-Professor President Got Us Into This Mess, And It’ll Take An Inexperienced Law-Professor President To Get Us Out!
Law Professor Glenn Reynolds considering possible slogans for a 2016 run for the White House.

The rest of the blog post is just about the price of oil.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ticket Splitting Likely Rare in November


For John, BLUFFew mix their votes, between Rs and Ds.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The Pew Trust is out poking around in the psyche of potential American voters.  This Pew Report is wide ranging, but this section caught my attention, "Ticket Splitters Rare among Voters in Either Party".  In a somewhat biased article, Wikipedia describes "Ticket Splitting".  Here are the words from the article—graphics not included:
As voters become more polarized ideologically, fewer opt to select candidates from more than one political party when they go to the polls.  According to the American National Election Study, ticket-splitting reached an all-time low in 2012 with only 13% of voters selecting a different political party for the U.S. Senate than the U.S. House.

An analysis of voters living in areas with two or three major political contests this November shows that only 12% of registered voters say they are splitting their vote between multiple political parties.  About three-quarters of registered voters (74%) in these areas say they will select candidates from the same party for all major political races in their area, known as “straight ticket” voting.

When narrowed to those most likely to vote in the November election, about eight-in-ten voters (81%) choose a straight party ticket.  They are slightly more likely to select only Republican candidates than only Democratic candidates (43% to 36%).

Ticket Splitters and Ideological ConsistencyMajorities of Democratic (78%) and Republican (74%) registered voters are voting straight down their party’s ticket for major races.  Even among self-identified independents who are registered to vote, 65% say they will vote a straight ticket.  Independents are seven points slightly more likely to choose a straight Republican ticket than a straight Democratic ticket (33% to 26%).

Voters who hold consistent ideological viewpoints are highly likely to vote a straight party ticket.  Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) with consistently conservative views choose Republican candidates down the line, while 84% of those with consistently liberal views choose a straight Democratic ticket.

Even among voters with ideologically mixed views, most (61%) still choose a slate of candidates from one party; 18% split their tickets between parties.

And yet, Congress is split.  Is that due to the fact that it takes three election cycles (six years) for all Senators to come up for an election (vice one cycle, or two years for the whole US House of Representatives) or is the nation fairly evenly split and those few ticket splitters make a big difference?

And, does a state dominated by one party see more ticket splitting?  November may tell us.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Casinos on Ballot in Massachusetts


For John, BLUFPlease don't tell Mr Anthes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The Pilot the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, we have an article urging us to vote YES on Question 3 in the 4 November Election here in Massachusetts.  The article, "Bishops urge support of ballot casino repeal", can be found at this Link.
Casino tycoons assure Bay Staters that they will bring jobs and revenue here, but opponents call their pledge a bluff.  The people opposed to expanded gaming in Massachusetts, including the four Catholic bishops, urge citizens to vote "Yes" on Question 3, which would overturn the 2011 law that establishes three casinos and one slots parlor.  Question 3 will appear on ballots statewide on Nov. 4.
Regards  —  Cliff