Wes Anderson; A Group Exhibition, in Adelaide, South Australia

Thursday, 26 February, 2015

Wes Anderson; A Group Exhibition

It’d be fair to say I’m a fan of the work of US film director Wes Anderson, so it’s a little unfortunate that I’ll more than likely miss Wes Anderson; A Group Exhibition, unless I can get myself to Adelaide, at a point between the time the art show opens on Thursday, 5 March, through to its close on 1 April.

Lisa King is among artists whose work will be featured at the show, being held at Sugar Nightclub, Level 1, 274 Rundle Street, Adelaide.

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Idioms from languages other than English

Thursday, 26 February, 2015

Idioms. Where would we be without them? We probably use them so frequently that we’re not aware we actually are. “Add insult to injury”, “back to the drawing board”, “costs an arm and a leg”, or “kill two birds with one stone”, to reference but a few, that English language speakers commonly use.

I doubt we could go too wrong by incorporating such phrases from other languages into our vernacular though, even if their meaning may not be entirely clear, at least at first.

For starters, there’s “to buy a cat in a sack”, from German, or “to slide in on a shrimp sandwich” from Swedish, or “to jump from the cock to the donkey”, from French, although there are many more to choose from.

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Rising sea levels may see the River Thames become London Bay

Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

Image by Jeffrey Linn

If sea levels rose by forty metres, on account of melting polar ice sheets, this is what London might look like… the River Thames would form the basis of what might become London Bay.

Needless to say, London wouldn’t be the only city to change drastically, if sea levels were to rise by so much, as these maps by Jeffrey Linn illustrate.

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The spookiest place in an empty museum at night time is…

Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

A museum night guard writes about his work. If you thought the job may at times be a tad spooky, you’d be right. Imagine, after all, wandering about a large, deserted, building, in the dead of night, by yourself. All those ancient artifacts, all those ghosts possibly lingering there, lurking on the cusp of this world and theirs.

It’s the administration offices however that takes out the award as the scariest place in the complex, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, should it? It certainly doesn’t to me…

The building is strangely full of people, despite being so huge. They’re all working like oompa loompas to get everything polished and ready for the next day. But, depending on where you are, you might be quite a ways from the next person. And you end up by yourself for hours at a time. There are certain areas of the museum where I get the heebie jeebies when I walk through at night. The offices are especially creepy. On one floor of offices – every time I go up there, my hackles get raised immediately. I get the jibblies so hard when I get there, and it’s always that one spot.

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Goodness me, goodness me, it’s industrial decay

Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

Industrial decay indeed, a great collection of photos of factories, laboratories, warehouses, and offices, curated from the work of Flickr members, that have all seen far better days.

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Once a computer passes the Turing test, is it time for a new test?

Wednesday, 25 February, 2015

The Turing Test, named for British computer scientist Alan Turing, in essence, tests a computer’s ability to pass itself off as a human. For instance, it could be that the… person you’ve been engaged in an email dialogue with for weeks – and who you’ve never met of course – in fact turns out to be a rather clever bot.

Fooling a human into thinking a computer may be human however, no longer appears to be sufficient test of a smart bot’s mettle it seems, as there are now calls to replace the test with something a little more challenging

A plan is afoot to replace the Turing test as a measure of a computer’s ability to think. The idea is for an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship consisting of three to five different challenging tasks. A recent workshop at the 2015 AAAI Conference of Artificial Intelligence was chaired by Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at New York University. His opinion, and one that we share is that the Turing Test had reached its expiry date.

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“The Simpsons”, an eight-bit intro by La Tigre Forte

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

And on the subject of the Simpsons, an eight-bit variation of the show’s opening sequence, produced by Melbourne based animators La Tigre Forte.

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Happiness is a skill, not something that might just happen

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

To be happy, you have to work at being happy, you have to become skilled in being happy, this from gaming website Polygon:

I’ve often heard that happiness is a skill, not a feeling, and I realized how little time I was spending working on the skill of happiness, while waiting passively for the feeling to reach me.

And then there’s this:

If you have a large family or simply many obligations in life – and this is just about everyone – setting concrete, workable goals for what games you want to play or books you want to read and chipping away at the list in an organized manner may make a huge difference in how you approach your free time. These things became fun again, instead of feeling like obligations that waited for me at the end of every day.

Listing out everything you need to do, and almost rationing time to action said objectives, may not result in a life that’s particularly spontaneous, but it is about the only way to do everything. But don’t worry about that lack of spontaneity, we live in far too chaotic a universe for there to be a great many dull moments.

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There’s the Oscars, then there’s the Oscars of everything else

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

Perhaps the scope of the Oscars, or Academy Awards, ought to be expanded. We’re talking categories such as most kissing, most death, most time, most music, most running, most cast, most crew, among many other items.

While it is unlikely such awards will be incorporated into this year’s event, The Wall Street Journal has prepared a list of winners nonetheless.

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Can you name the oldest, still lived in city, in the world?

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

It may seem strange to some that identifying the world’s oldest, inhabited, or still lived in city, is far from a straightforward process. However, no sooner might one city be handed the gong, when new evidence is dug up showing that another town is more deserving of the honour.

It may be impossible to say with any certainty what is the world’s oldest city – for a very old argument, it is remarkably fluid, with new discoveries all the time – but for now it seems only right to give it to Aleppo, the oldest city currently being fought for and sacked, as all these cities have from the beginning.

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