Tag Archives | Counterculture

Anyone Can Now Use IBM’s Watson To Crunch Data For Free

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via ZDNet:

IBM has launched the public beta of Watson Analytics, its set of cloud-based predictive and analytics tools.

The move to public beta for Watson Analytics on Thursday follows its private beta launch this September. IBM said at the time of the beta release the service will be made available under a freemium model through iOS, Android mobile devices and the web.

Watson Analytics is a cognitive service that’s meant to bear some of the load executives face when preparing data, while making it easier to run predictive analyses and use “visual storytelling”, such as using graphs, maps and infographics to illustrate a point.

Watson Analytics is one piece of IBM’s $1bn gamble that it can commercialise Watson. The company claims it has 22,000 registrations for Watson Analytics since launching in September.

Read More: http://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-watson-analytics-enters-public-beta/

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Ralph H. Baer, a father of video gaming, dies at 92

Baer is credited with developing the pattern-matching game Simon.

Baer is credited with developing the pattern-matching game Simon.

via Washington Post:

At the dawn of the television age in 1951, a young engineer named Ralph Baer approached executives at an electronics firm and suggested the radical idea of offering games on the bulky TV boxes.

“And of course,” he said, “I got the regular reaction: ‘Who needs this?’ And nothing happened.”

It took another 15 years before Mr. Baer, who died Dec. 6 at 92, developed a prototype that would make him the widely acknowledged father of video games. His design helped lay the groundwork for an industry that transformed the role of the television set and generated tens of billions of dollars last year.

Mr. Baer “saw that there was this interesting device sitting in millions of American homes — but it was a one-way instrument,” said Arthur P. Molella, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

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Who said it: Charlie Brown or Friedrich Nietzsche?

nietzsche charlie

via Mashable:

Good grief, Charlie Brown. You’ll never be able to kick that football because it is an illusion.

Everyone’s favorite bald-headed blockhead isn’t just the socially awkward loner the rest of the Peanuts gang make him out to be. His often nihilistic musings on life over the last 64 years make him a lot like 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

While Neitzsche may not have attempted to kick footballs in his lifetime, Charlie Brown certain has spent plenty of his life gazing long into the abyss. Not too shabby for an 8-year-old.

To play the game, go here: http://mashable.com/2014/12/08/charlie-brown-or-friedrich-nietzsche/

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In 179 fatalities involving on-duty NYPD cops in 15 years, only 3 cases led to indictments — and just 1 conviction

via New York Daily News:

A Daily News analysis of NYPD-involved deaths starts with the 1999 slaying of unarmed Amadou Diallo in a hail of bullets in the Bronx and ends with last month’s shooting death of Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn stairwell. Where race was known, 86% were black or Hispanic.

A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict white NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner — a black father of six — stunned large swaths of the city and added fuel to a nationwide surge of protests over police killings.

But history shows the odds were always in Pantaleo’s favor.

A Daily News investigation found that at least 179 people were killed by on-duty NYPD officers over the past 15 years. Just three of the deaths have led to an indictment in state court. In another case, a judge threw out the indictment on technical grounds and it was not reinstated.

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After 35 Years I Tried Magic Mushrooms Again—Here’s What Happened

Darron Birgenheier (CC by-sa 2.0)

Darron Birgenheier (CC by-sa 2.0)

via Reset.me:

Though I began researching Acid Test, a book about the revival of research into the use of psychedelic drugs for healing, in 2007, my interest in the subject really began 30 years earlier, when I was a college student at the University of Florida. The UF campus is surrounded by a rural landscape, including thousands of acres of palmetto and pine-studded pasturage used to raise cattle. My friends and I had learned to slip gingerly through barbed wire fencing and, keeping an eye out for shotgun-wielding ranchers, hunt for recently deposited piles of cow dung, from which sometimes sprouted the creamy, brown-tipped caps of psilocybin mushrooms. We plucked the mushrooms with rising excitement, as if we were pulling nuggets of pure gold from a mountain stream instead of fungi from cow shit. We knew the power contained within. Steep them in a pot with tea and drink, and before long we would see the world, and ourselves, from a novel vantage point.

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Why Elon Musk’s Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company

Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

via Bloomberg:

Climate: Now or Never

Here’s why something as basic as a battery both thrills and terrifies the U.S. utility industry.

At a sagebrush-strewn industrial park outside of Reno, Nevada, bulldozers are clearing dirt for Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s battery factory, projected to be the world’s largest.

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, sees the $5 billion facility as a key step toward making electric cars more affordable, while ending reliance on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At first blush, the push toward more electric cars looks to be positive for utilities struggling with stagnant sales from energy conservation and slow economic growth.

Yet Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model. The facility will also churn out stationary battery packs that can be paired with rooftop solar panels to store power. Already, a second company led by Musk, SolarCity Corp.

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Altamont at 45: The most dangerous rock concert

Screengrab from a video stream which shows a static photograph of Meredith Hunter shortly before being stabbed to death.

Screengrab from a video stream which shows a static photograph of Meredith Hunter shortly before being stabbed to death.

via BBC:

The Altamont concert, with its notorious murder caught on film, occurred 45 years ago. Many consider it to be the end of the ‘60s, Owen Gleiberman writes.

Forty-five years ago, on 6 December 1969, a free rock concert headlined by The Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco devolved into a disaster of violence that instantly took on mythical status. Virtually overnight, Altamont became the anti-Woodstock, the rock dream turned nightmare, the official last nail in the coffin of the ’60s. It’s always easy, of course, to overload a single event with symbolism, but it’s hard to deny that Altamont truly was all of those things. Shortly after the Stones began their set, a member of the California Hells Angels – who were loosely hired to police the event – committed a gruesome murder right in front of the stage, stabbing a drugged-out youth named Meredith Hunter several times in the back.

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The Weirdest Cemeteries In The World

via All That Is Interesting:

By default, cemeteries are unnerving places that tend to attract few tourists. However, for every plain Jane who prefers to go out with a slab of granite, an eccentric leaves her mark as part of a manmade barrier reef. For those types—and for tourists who want a slice of the zany macabre while traveling—they should consider any of the following cemeteries.

The Merry Cemetery

Friendliest cemetery in the world Source: Wikipedia

Friendliest cemetery in the world
Source: Wikipedia

Someone liked to have a drink Source: WIkimedia

Someone liked to have a drink
Source: WIkimedia

Read More: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/weirdest-cemeteries

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A Roller Coaster Designed to Kill People


via Vice.com:

According to artist Julijonas Urbonas’s ​​website, his work Euthanasia Coaster is “a hypothetic roller coaster, engineered to humanely—with elegance and euphoria—take the life of a human being.” In simpler terms, it’s a carnival ride that kills you, though not before you have a spiritual experience along the way. The Euthanasia Coaster starts with a long, slow incline before a quarter-mile fall, which leads into a series of loops that are designed to create so much centrifugal force that you won’t be able to breathe, finally dying from lack of oxygen to your brain.

The coaster may seem like a gimmick, but it turns out to be an art piece as humane as it is shocking and terrifying. Urbonas mentions that his roller coaster could be used in a theoretical future to curb overpopulation, or to help people who feel their life has gone on “too long.” Sure, the whole idea sounds like a black metal concept album, but Urbonas’s death device was created to serve a sympathetic purpose—to give someone the ability to bow out of life with one final, lethal thrill.

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Ouija Boards Become A Christmas ‘Must Buy’: Church Warns ‘Don’t Let This Darkness Into Your Lives’

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via The Inquistr:

It would appear that Ouija boards are fast becoming one of the “coolest” and “must-have” Christmas gifts of 2014, but the church has fiercely criticized the trend calling it “absolutely appalling,” and strongly warned people to “not let this darkness” into their lives.

Google reports that sales of Ouija boards are up to 300 percent, and are flying off the shelves quicker than you can say, “Oh no, it looks like poltergeist activity’.

The reason for the resurgence in sales is a new low-budget horror film called Ouija.

The film, which tells the time-honored story of kids meddling with powers they do not comprehend and then wondering why all of a sudden everything’s gone to hell, was slated by the critics, but cinema-going teens adored it.

Cue the current demand for Ouija boards. Interestingly, toy manufacturer Hasbro, who are one of the companies currently selling Ouija boards to ghost-seeking teens, helped finance the making of Ouija.

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