#Spocking Living Long and Prospering

Relief for Canadians as the subversive act of “Spocking” $5 bank notes is declared legal by the Bank of Canada, per BBC News:

The Bank of Canada has said that it is not illegal to deface or mutilate banknotes.

The announcement was made after actor Leonard Nimoy’s death last week set off a craze of marking-up banknotes.

canada 5 dollar bill

The drawings make the country’s former Prime Minister, Wilfrid Laurier, look like Spock, Nimoy’s famous Star Trek character.

“#Spocking living long and prospering,” tweeted the Canadian Design Resource group.

“Boldly go ahead, doodlers: bank says ‘Spocking’ Laurier on Canadian $5 not illegal,” one tweet read.

Bank spokeswoman Josianne Menard did not encourage the practice, however.

“The Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride,” Menard told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an email…

[continues at BBC News]

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Is this life real?

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Mathew Francis at Aeon.co:

Our species is not going to last forever. One way or another, humanity will vanish from the Universe, but before it does, it might summon together sufficient computing power to emulate human experience, in all of its rich detail. Some philosophers and physicists have begun to wonder if we’re already there. Maybe we are in a computer simulation, and the reality we experience is just part of the program.

Modern computer technology is extremely sophisticated, and with the advent of quantum computing, it’s likely to become more so. With these more powerful machines, we’ll be able to perform large-scale simulations of more complex physical systems, including, possibly, complete living organisms, maybe even humans. But why stop there?

The idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. A pair of philosophers recently argued that if we accept the eventual complexity of computer hardware, it’s quite probable we’re already part of an ‘ancestor simulation’, a virtual recreation of humanity’s past.

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Bootleg Toys by “The Sucklord”

Have you ever wanted to get your hands on a pink Stormtrooper or a Sleestak in a business suit? The Sucklord has you covered. Meanwhile, watch this video where he talks about villains and such.

“The Sucklord” by Joey Garfield from ghostrobot on Vimeo.

From Suckadelic’s website: “SUCKADELIC is an evil arts organization specializing in Bootleg Toys, illicit remix records, and duffed out Supervillain Soap operas and is universally regarded as the sleaziest brand in the game. Ruled from a hidden Sweatshop by the intergalactic criminal and cosmic playboy, the SUPER SUCKLORD, Suckadelic has continued to pump highly addictive pop culture crap into the veins of willing victims since 1997.”

via Vimeo

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Cuba Part II: Ebola Solidarity & Castro’s Daughter on Gay Rights

On this special episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin highlights part II of BTS’ eight day trip to Havana, Cuba, starting with an interview with Cuban doctor, Katiel Llorente Izabelez, who explains how Cuba has managed to maintain such a high life expectancy rate, despite the lack of access to up to date medical supplies. BTS producer, Cody Snell, then speaks with students at the Latin American School of Medicine, an international medical school set up by the Cuban government that provides free tuition to low income individuals that want to become doctors. Abby then discusses how Cuba managed to send the largest contingent of doctors to fight the ebola crisis in West Africa, and how this is just the latest example of the country’s medical internationalism. Abby then goes over the US programs meant to encourage Cuban doctors to defect and how this undermines international health efforts. BTS wraps up the show with an exclusive interview with Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President, Raul Castro, and director of Cuba’s sexual education program CENESEX, about the biggest challenges facing Cuba’s gay community.… Read the rest

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Fear is the Mind Killer

Fear-is-the-mind-killer-Dune

Via Don Hazen at AlterNet:

“Fear is the mind-killer” – Frank Herbert, Dune

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. As numerous studies have shown, fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. For people who have suffered trauma, fear messages can sometimes trigger uncontrollable flight-or-fight responses with dangerous ramifications.

Yet over time, many interlocking aspects of our society have become increasingly sophisticated at communicating messages and information that produce fear responses. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid—very afraid.

In addition, television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life, as researchers have pointed out. And more recently, we have witnessed the massive militarization of local police departments with equipment, gear and attitudes that treat citizens as if they were terrorists, as recently evidenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Jürgen Schmidhuber to do AMA on reddit /r/MachineLearning

"Structure of the Universe" by NASA, ESA, and E. Hallman (University of Colorado, Boulder) - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/hst_img_20080520.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Structure of the Universe” by NASA, ESA, and E. Hallman (University of Colorado, Boulder) – http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/hst_img_20080520.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Jürgen Schmidhuber will be hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the subreddit, /r/machinelearning, this Wednesday (March 4) at 10am EST.

From Schmidhuber’s website:

Since age 15 or so, Prof. Jürgen Schmidhuber’s main scientific ambition has been to build an optimal scientist through self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI), then retire. He has pioneered self-improving general problem solvers since 1987, and Deep Learning Neural Networks (NNs)since 1991. The recurrent NNs (RNNs) developed by his research groups at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA & USI & SUPSI (ex-TU MunichCogBotLab) were the first RNNs to win official international contests. They recently helped to improve connected handwriting recognition, speech recognition, machine translation, optical character recognition, image caption generation, and are now in use at Google, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, and many other companies.

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