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Our Fearless Leader

April 12th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

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Everyone knows (especially if you pull the transcripts from his rallies) that President Trump’s command of the English language is at a “tremendously” impoverished level (Can you imagine the profound intellectual conversations he has with Melania?)  I just pulled this off twitter:

New studies show that Trump’s depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is below that of a 6th grader.

 

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The Future – Artificial General Intelligence or The GOD Machine

January 9th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

 

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So if we don’t destroy ourselves i.e nuclear war and barring some sort of cataclysmic  event such as a flood, volcano, climate change, an asteroid hitting us, etc. or anything else that might eliminate all life on this planet we can expect our species to continue to strive to make things better for ourselves –easier. What makes life better and easier? AUTOMATION. We will continue to automate (we already have the technology for self-driving cars, and many other things) and innovate. Driven by free markets and Profit incentives big corporations will continue to invest in Labor saving technology –i.e. machines that will create and produce better consumer goods and services at a faster and more efficient rate. In fact, these machines will replace all forms of human labor. No more horrible factory or assembly line jobs. No more drudgery. Indeed we will have a machine that makes the machines. And this machine will more than likely be powered by sunlight so we’re only dealing with the cost of raw materials. Eventually we will not only replace blue-collar jobs with these efficient labor- saving machines but also artistic and scientific jobs. Yes AI Or AGI (Artificial Intelligence or Artificial General Intelligence) The super wealth-generating machine, idea producing machine or whatever we call it will eradicate the need for people to work at all. After this entire AGI machine can do anything and everything better, faster and more efficiently than any human being. And it rarely if ever makes mistakes. There is of course the hacking possibility but that’s another rabbit hole I’ll discuss later in another blog.

Yes we will have in our possession the perfect oracle – a GOD if you will. To think this is not possible is to be shortsighted. Again, look at where we are today and understand that we are advancing technology at an EXPONENTIAL rate. The growth is not linear – every 18 months technological improvements with miniaturization lead to the doubling of everything we learned before. At that rapid speed, the GOD  machine is inevitable. The REAL key to all this is the fact that this device is intelligence that will be able to make refinements to itself . YEP –the system will be able to make changes to its own source code and get better and better at learning and more and more knowledgeable with instant access to all human and machine intelligence. Just picture thousands of years of research every second. The sum of all human and machine knowledge doubling every day. That is a           GOD.  We are talking about a device so extraordinary that even a Stephen Hawking will simply not have the brain power to have even an inkling of understanding of the power it wields. And now imagine the GOD machine doubling its intelligence every week AND making improvements and refinements at doing what it does. Even if it were limited and just able to reach human level intelligence and no more and it was just faster, its circuits would be a million times faster than any biological system –and again that’s an undersell. The machine will be able to provide unimaginable happiness and we will never be sad. We’ll all be gods and goddesses and each of us will have perfect health because the machine will have figured out how to eradicate disease. Yes it can make you a new heart – one that beats forever because after all we’ll have attained immortality (if we want it). Lastly, along with all this we will undoubtedly have the ability to not only clone or make a copy of ourselves, but also the ability to create whole worlds with other people who are conscious just like us. YES we will be able to simulate our world  and the rub is that the simulated people in this simulated world won’t know that they’re merely a simulation. And to get really spooky, the programmer or simulator of that world might also be a simulation in someone else’s simulated  universe ad infinitum – as they say “it’s turtles all the way down”.

 

So WhadaYaThink ? Where are we going with AI OR AGI ? Is the GOD Machine inevitable ? Do  you want it ?

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Not Since The Time of Slavery, Have Republicans Been So Far To The Right

April 29th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

There are more young women than young men in graduate school, more female breadwinners, and more women in high – level executivelibby2libby3  positions than there ever have been in the history of this country. We have gay marriage, a black president and there is a greater than fair chance that our next president in 2016 maybe a woman i.e. Hillary Clinton. Though the United States is still in the middle of a horrible recession (thanks to greed and sub-prime mortgages), this nation has made tremendous strides in terms of equal rights and civil rights.
Just try to imagine how unspeakably bad & unfair it was for blacks (separate water fountains & bathrooms, back of the bus nonsense, & scarily literal lynching), women were treated like Barbie dolls … etc. LOOK how far we’ve come in just a half a decade. It is nothing short of miraculous!!! We as a country have accomplished so much in such a short period of time, but … The irony (or maybe it’s no coincidence) is that the republicans are more right wing than ever – why ???

I am a white male, and I am a liberal, and I couldn’t be happier with the progress this country has made in terms of the aforementioned yet in some respects, there is some sort of appalling backlash afoot. On the other hand, perhaps this is just the natural order of things when profound change occurs.

I will certainly elaborate in the future on each and every issue but you know the under 500 word blog format. So, WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Incidentally, over the weekend, as we all know… Donald Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers, made the most hateful and racist remarks I’ve ever heard. So perhaps we’re in a 1 step forward, two steps back time – I hope not !! What do you think?

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The Joe Rogan Podcast !!!

November 10th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

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Bar none, the greatest, most interesting, entertaining, educational, eclectic, thought – provoking radio talk show (terrestrial or satellite) is and has been for decades, The Leonard Lopate show formerly New York and Company on WNYC and NPR. There is simply not a talk show host, nor has there ever been a host for decades now that could even come remotely close in terms of the aforementioned superlatives (except for Brian Leher, Lopate’s colleague, who has his own show on WNYC from 10 am – noon, just before Leonard’s show) than the masterful  – Leonard Lopate. The only criticism some people may have about Lopate’s show , is that it is prodigiously “brainy” and yes that is awesome, but sometimes we just want to kick back and take in some good old entertainment, educational or not & take it easy; after all learning is essentially work (though I personally don’t see it as such).

However, I am not blogging about Leonard Lopate today. I am here to spread the word about a podcast that is so interesting and an absolute gem … I could listen to it all day and never, ever get bored and unlike listening to Leonard’s show – perhaps a lecture of sorts (admittedly, you do feel like you are in graduate school when you tune into Leonard). Joe Rogan (BTW, yes it is the same Joe Rogan who did that insanely dumb show ‘Fear Factor’ but obviously this is not “that Joe Rogan” – hey we all have to eat, so….) is relaxed, unpretentious, comfortable, extremely intelligent and informal as one can be (Joe curses a lot & I mean a lot) and he talks about the most interesting stuff imaginable & has great guests. Even if the guests aren’t great, Joe Rogan makes them sound great. As a matter of fact, Joe Rogan is such an awesome entertainer, he even makes the commercials fun.

For example, I just finished listening to one of the latest Joe Rogan podcasts with the lead singer of the band – Tool (incidentally a band I don’t even care about in the least), Maynard James Keenan, and I, quite frankly, can’t imagine having had been more glued, entertained, and more fun … well !!!

In a nutshell, here is a list of topics they talked about: Holy moly it’s a lot in 2 hrs. mind you:

The very weird music of Tool (BTW, it’s for the most part heavy metal music, but the lead singer is a genius – really, there is a lot of tongue in cheek & satire)

The meaning of life.

Jaguars migrating to the U.S. (yikes, how scary is that folks ???) You think a pit bull or a Wolf is frightening, just youTube a jaguar, it’s not even close.

Winemaking – I didn’t think I would enjoy this portion of the show, because I don’t drink wine, but WOW!!! What an interesting and fascinating process the making of wine is  – wow !!!

Jiu – Jitsu  & Mixed Martial Arts

The unfathomable mystery of why we become so immersed in a particular hobby.

The absolute drudgery and loneliness of being on the road & having to stay in motels/hotels if you’re a musician, comedian, entertainer, etc.  

Getting old

Getting sick

The creeps in N. Arizona, specifically in Sedona.

Sedona, AZ has more new – agey people who are into their crystals, chakras, & energy pathways than anywhere else in the country….weird!!! 

The cult hangouts in Los Angeles  

Those idiots who knocked over 100 million + yr. old rocks for s**ts & giggles …almost like knocking over Stonehenge  

Dumb people

The incredible wonderment of the desert.

  Just taking stock of the incredible rocks and weird formations out west in the desert e.g. wind and sand erosion structures that look like unimaginable forms.

Fascinating landscapes in the U.S.A.

Running out of gas in the desert (good luck – lol)

Following your bliss

Life is too short to not create with every breath you take.

Artists and motivated people.

Work ethic

Reality food shows                

The underrated sense of smell.

Evan Tanner – MMA fighter who died in the desert.

Self – discovery journeys.

Constantly testing yourself and pushing yourself to the limit.

Nature and living off the land.

Nature does not care about you – respect that !!!

The 10 – 80 – 10 rule: 10% of any given community is kind, caring, giving, and productive. 80% are mindless knuckleheads who are neither good nor bad and 10% are slime who firstly ought to be tarred and feathered and then be summarily run over by a heavy vehicle. 

Exotic meat restaurants e.g. lions, javelinas, etc.

The meanest, most conservative sheriff in the nation – Sheriff Arpaio who insists that all the county inmates wear pink underwear in order to humiliate them – lol.

Jan Brewer: The dumbest governor in the country – even stupider than our former president – George W. Bush.

Yoga

Bad movies/Good movies

Gender identity and transvestites

Stupid TV

Actors unraveling   

Art for art’s sake … doing something without any thought of being compensated.

Opiates/painkillers and the epidemic we have on our hands.

Kids and the internet.

If you live on the east coast and you’re a kid, there is nothing BETTER than a snow day …..YAY !!! NO SCHOOL – MAGICAL !!!

Being born rich is perhaps the worst curse in life.

Los Angeles is without question the most fake & unreal city in the country and perfect for movies and TV.

Psychedelic drugs e.g. peyote, mushrooms

Fasting

Zen

Physics/geometry/angles/molecules

Words

Samurai swords … the tradition, the process of manufacturing them with honor, etc.

Indigenous tribes that still exist

Soft life=soft people …answer, we must reset or reboot

The earth is a living entity.

We’re now dependent on everything either digital (0’s & 1’s) and electrical.

How about not even having a hard drive, just clouds….life in the near future is truly spooky !!!

We’re living in unfathomably strange times.

Does anything we do really mean anything in terms of the larger picture???

Microcosm vs. macrocosm ….we are all in our little universes e.g. making money, martial arts, the gun range, cooking, etc.

Seeking a higher truth from the seemingly trivial.

Vinyl records, books, etc …can we retrieve them if there is some sort of digital disaster???  

Edward Snowden – it’s so funny that we make fun of him for not having an advanced degree, yet we hear him in the news everyday & the NSA allowed him to have access to all this incredibly top – secret info.

Privacy issues.

Depth/movement/passion/uncertainty/fear  

Tattoos …who would have guessed what an incredible industry it has become now???

Japanese tattoos  

The military today.

Liberals and conservatives.


WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Joe Rogan is simply off the charts great!!! The topics I brought up are unbelievably from just one show!!!

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Art is The Very Essence of Our Being

September 29th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

artlascouxIngmar Bergman at an advanced age unbelievably got into a physical altercation with a man who criticized his work and until the day that he, Mr. Bergman died, never forgave the man who merely wrote a negative review about him. I saw an interview on a NetFlix special, and was shocked to hear Ingmar Bergman, many years after the incident, state that he continued to harbor hatred for this man, and flat out stated that he ought to burn in hell for eternity.

Believe it or not, I get it !!! My wife and I run a blog in which we both take tremendous pride. I, personally take offence when someone criticizes not the content (we actually encourage disagreement and debate) but rather denounces the style , etc.  – Worse still is when someone doesn’t even read what we wrote. Surely not everything we put up is a masterpiece, but it is a bummer when people just completely dismiss it – all the blood, sweat, and tears into every single word for nothing.

Every true artist wants everyone else to appreciate his or her work and except for a handful of artists like Woody Allen who genuinely, at this point in his career, really doesn’t care if people say something akin to “Your Last film sucked !!!” The fact is Woody Allen has been around more than a half century, has made dozens of masterpieces throughout his career, and is lucky enough to be absolutely secure about his work and his legacy.

Quentin Tarantino, the famous filmmaker, is in such an incredibly fortunate position in which making $$ or turning a profit means absolutely nothing to him. Of course, Mr. Tarantino wants his latest work to be a blockbuster so the producers, money – men, and investors are happy, but not unlike Woody Allen, he’s really concerned a whole lot more about chalking up another perfect gem for generations after his death so they can watch, enjoy, and appreciate it.

I was just reading a piece from the New York Times Book Review which basically describes how the American novelist, William Gaddis, became suicidal after getting negative reviews for his first novel, ‘The Recognitions’  –a book he thought would put him on par with the all-time greats of the twentieth century. Instead, he said, “Nobody even bothered to read my book (it was too long and difficult) …. America has odd ways of making one feel one’s self a failure.” Later, 20 years later, after Gaddis died, ‘The Recognitions’ was named one of ‘Time Magazines’ 100 best novels from 1923 – 2005.

This sort of contradicts what I’ve just written so far but, I sometimes wonder if it is even necessary that your art is seen, celebrated, and appreciated. Just think about the Lascaux Paintings which are paleolithic cave paintings painted circa 17,300 years ago. This work was obviously not meant to be seen by anybody (the pitch dark blackness and the art in a cave) but by the artists themselves and I suspect perhaps by whatever gods the people of that time were worshipping. So, WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ?

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What About Arts & Letters Daily as a Homepage???

September 14th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

arts&letters2I’ve had Yahoo as my homepage for more than a decade now because it’s light and breezy, it’s indeed a search engine though not as good as Google, right on the mark with timely  breaking news, and basically everything important that’s going on in the world can be found right there on the site. It’s 2013 and there’s essentially not a single piece of information that exists that cannot be found at your fingertips – both classified (WikiLeaks) and certainly all unclassified stuff .

Obviously , today we can find out anything about anything, anywhere – anytime and it basically comes down to what we want thrown in our face, first thing i.e. Justine Bieber and some real news – Yahoo, your basic no- nonsense best search engine that there is in Google, your work address (yuck, don’t bring work home), or something a little different such as a web portal which happens to be in my opinion the greatest place on the net, especially if you’re interested in an absolute treasure trove of scholarly information and beautifully – written essays of everything under the sun including: philosophy, aesthetics, language, literature, trends, breakthroughs, ideas, criticism, culture, history, music, art, disputes, and of course it includes a tad of gossip.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? If you haven’t visited Arts & Letters Daily http://www.aldaily.com/#google yet, take a look and enjoy !!! This morning I read a little something on Thomas Pynchon, Franz Kafka, Picasso, Shakespeare, on & on … life is short, art is monumentally long.

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Mankind’s Nemesis – Religion!!!

May 6th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

It’s 2013, the Human Genome Project was completed a decade ago in 2003 – the entire genetic make – up of a human being (which incidentally was initially estimated would take a century or so to sequence. It took 13 years. We neglected to factor in that science and technology moves exponentially not linearly), the internet as we know it is 20 + years old, and via stem cell research and cutting – edge biotechnology we ARE going to be able to manufacture vital organs, cure cancer, and have answers and solutions for a plethora of other dreadful diseases. Someday we may even understand what consciousness is or the very thing that makes you – you. Just imagine the possibilities!!! Immortality (I personally wouldn’t want to live forever but I don’t think I’d mind a couple of hundred more years or so).

Well if there’s any hope in living longer and enjoying better lives, one thing must go – The inane yet insidious fairy tale – religion. Okay my mother believes in Jesus/Christianity, etc and many other people I love cling to the myths – fine…. But the fanaticism must go, and one religion must go completely and that is Islam.
This killer kid, Dzhoklar Tsarnnaev, who incidentally I’m sick to death of reading and hearing about, could have had it all, but he threw it all away for make – believe stories that happen to be vicious violent nonsensical rubbish taken literally from the outlandishly, spectacularly, achingly and almost hilariously tome, the koran. Daniel Dennett, one of the greatest scientific minds of today calls religion cravenness. I love this word. The OED defines it as cowardly, contemptibly timid, and pusillanimous. That’s it – the fear of the fact that everything, and I mean everything including the great universe itself lives and will someday die. Why does that upset people???
So WhaDaYaThink ??? What do you think ? How do we become progressive and ultimately eradicate ignorance? I’m not overly concerned about folks who like Proverbs and the teachings of Jesus as long as it’s held in check. I mean DO NOT interfere with stem cell research, accept that evolution is a fact, and lets work together to make better lives for ourselves and our children.

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Human Life is Precious

May 7th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

How many times have I heard people say something to the effect i.e. “If there is no God, then life is meaningless. “This assertion has always left me scratching my head and utterly perplexed. “Why bother raising a family if they’re all going to perish and die someday… ” This sort of illogical thinking has reinforced my belief that man is a strange species indeed; smarter yes, but stranger than any other primate is. I hear this time and time again from Christian fundamentalists who make the claim that if we don’t live for eternity and there is no afterlife then life ceases to matter. One might argue that since our time is limited, then  life ought to be all the more important.
I’ve written  before about how living forever would be a Kafkaesque nightmare, and I now want to just touch upon how foolishly inane this notion of thinking that a life that goes on and on and on and on – forever and ever without end is the only existence that would render life important and meaningful. This is just nonsense. The fact that we will one day no longer exist should not nullify or marginalize our life one iota, no matter how long or short of a time we live.
I must admit that I have been guilty of this sort of wrong-headed thinking when I was in college after a friend of mine had died at a young age. That semester and the semester after that , my grades dropped precipitously. “What is the point of studying and getting good grades if we’re going to die someday?” I suppose the fact that my friend’s death was unexpected and premature – he died way too young; was really the cause of my angst. The real issue at hand was that anyone of us can die at any time, but since I was 20 years old, wasn’t diagnosed with a terminal disease, and dying from an accident or mishap was remote, my emotional response was inappropriate. There are no guarantees as to when and how long we live but the fact that we are going to die doesn’t make life meaningless. Having stated the aforementioned, I personally think that most people do however die too soon; life is so ineffably rich and beautiful (often – it can be awful and ugly too)that I can envision myself living for centuries (this is science fiction here but ..) even thousands of years without getting bored, as long as my body held up.
But, even if I died tomorrow, and there was no afterlife,etc. I would still be full of gratitude and would consider myself an incredibly lucky person to be born and had had a life at all.
I’m going to conclude this blog with a little something that Shelly Kagan from Yale put together to illustrate and put into perspective how mind-bogglingly amazing it is that you and I are here alive. Here we go – If there are 5 billion people in the world today and roughly  2.5 billion are men and 2.5 billion are women the potential birth algorithm would be calculated as follows: 2.5 billion women x 30 years of childbearing years x 12 eggs x 2.5 billion men x 50 sperm producing years x the unbelievable average of 40 million spermatozoa per ejaculation the number you end up with is 1.5 million, billion, billion, billion potential births and after this generation gives birth you would then end up with more potential people than all the particles in the known universe.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Just think if your great, great, great, great grandmother had a headache and perhaps had sex 5 minutes later, you would not be here.

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A Chicken is an Eggs Way of Making Another Egg

April 28th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

I bet you never heard the chicken and the egg debate framed in such a way, unless you happen to have the good fortune of stumbling upon Robert Sapolsky’s lecture series of Biological Psychology on YouTube. Many folks go on you tube for music, others for human pratfalls (boring), and still others for cute or odd animal behavior. I personally go on for 2 reasons: yes I play guitar and if you’re having trouble playing Steve Howe’s – ‘The Clap’ I can always check out YouTube and get a note for note lesson from the actual Steve Howe for nothing. Amazing ! Who needs to pay $30 per hour for a teacher? (Will YouTube eventually supplant the need for a real music instructor? For me the answer is yes, for beginner’s no but I’ve been playing for decades and that’s another blog).
I love YouTube for enabling me to play any song under the sun (accurately) for nothing. Yes, some people charge but if you really search, you can always find any song for zip. The second reason I am in love with YouTube is for purposes of higher education. Indeed, you can take an entire course, a full semester, at Yale for absolutely nothing; and the great part is there’s no homework and you’re not graded. For me this is a dream come true. Now I must admit you probably have to be at least 40 to be attracted to this wonderful feature (after 16 consecutive years of school, the last thing a 22 year old recent college graduate would want is more school) and furthermore the # of schools offering free classes is growing.
I can switch gears and go anywhere I want with this blog at this point e.g. why we hate school when we are young and later love it when we reach middle age, why having a lecture on tape is better than just attending, – simply because if your mind wanders you can always rewind and go back to what you missed (the ideal situation would be attend the lecture and then watch the tape), I have always loved learning but hated school because I, just like everybody else, was more concerned about what part of the lecture would be on the mid-term and final because after all, sadly getting an ‘A’ in the course is more important than absorbing and enjoying every morsel of what is said. The ultimate goal of every professor or teacher I have spoken with is to ensure the student 1. Grasps and understands the complete course and 2. most importantly the ultimate goal is to encourage the students to become interested in the subject enough to go further and continue learning about what he or she was taught. Finally I can elaborate on how a person should be graded – I would throw out multiple choice questions, stick only to essay, and lastly I would have the instructor or T.A. sit down with the student alone and ask him telling questions and the final question would be to ask what this particular person got out of the course and how the instruction affected one’s outlook in the real world. The aforementioned would take a lot more money and resources but so what ! – More jobs and a more educated populace.
I will in the future blog about everything mentioned in the last paragraph but for now, all I want to do is alert all the readers of this blog about what a goldmine YouTube is. BTW, this is not an ad – honest; YouTube is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hey and what was so great about sliced bread anyway. So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ?

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