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Socio-Political Commentary

I know, I know, it’s the last thing you’d ever expect here
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This Modern World

Still Alive and Well!

Your humble servant and blogger
Your humble servant and blogger
Am keeping very active in the offline world: family, work and such, just not very vocal online, but I promise that will change eventually.  Meanwhile…
Buy Girl Scout Cookies!  It’s the Samoa’s Fortieth Anniversary!
The Samoa was being introduced at just about the same time Richard Nixon was taking his final bow, but somehow I doubt very much that the two events were connected…
nixon engraved portrait

 

Artificial Intelligence: Friendly or Frightening?

In recent months, Artificial Intelligence (or “AI”) has become the subject of increasing discussion.

Not merely in the sense of predicting what our lifestyles will be like and how we’ll all be served in a veritable Utopia of Satisfaction, but also with a more cautionary note included.

Some people are actually beginning to worry about “the machines taking over”.

The prospect, it seems, is no longer viewed as the output of a deranged or paranoid mind.  There are those, including some very deep and highly-regarded intellectuals, who evidently believe with all sincerity that a “Terminator”-type scenario could yet play out at some future date.

Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are two widely-regarded individuals who have voiced such concerns.  Earnest as they are, the comparisons to characters like the brilliant professor portrayed by actor Sam Jaffee in the 1950’s Sci-Fi film classic, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” are inescapable.  Only the smart guys seem to be concerned and everybody else seems willing to laugh them off as a couple of eggheads detached from reality.

I, for one, am not convinced they are detached from anything.

Our culture has a sorrowful talent for acting first and considering implications later.  From what I can gather A-I is all about doing things in the opposite order.  When it comes to Human Nature, that seems a recipe for a dystopian outcome that would rival the world painted in George Orwell’s “1984” or Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day.”

At this point, all I’m saying is let’s get this into the public dialogue and start thinking about protocols.  Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics may have the aerodynamics and tail fins of the 1950’s about them, but it’s as good a place as any from which to start.

So let’s get started!

The hyperlink below will take you to the article that spawned this little post in the first place:

Artificial Intelligence: Friendly or Frightening?.

shocked-goldfish-isolated-on-white-background-34fd69

Why George Zimmerman was arrested in Florida – again ( video)

What follows below is a link to a story reported in the Christian Science Monitor just within the past few hours.
Anyone who may have come to the defense of George Zimmerman in 2012 may have to re-think their position in light of the events that have followed the decision in the Trayvon Martin case…
Why George Zimmerman was arrested in Florida – again ( video).
Let’s face it: Zimmerman took his acquittal back then as some form of vindication.
IMHO, The simple obvious fact is this man is deeply disturbed and should not be running around at liberty to do whatever enters his head.

Tom Tomorrow Strikes Again!

Man!  I have GOT to start posting some more original content of my own devising!
But in the meantime, here’s something else I’ve very much liked!
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This Modern World 2015 - Officer Baby Mad

 

What makes all of this especially ironic is that most of my work these days involves wearing a uniform and a badge!

Some Thoughts on Death

When a life ends, we are all of us confronted by the enormity of the eternal.

The mysteries of the universe can be held at bay by the business of our day-to-day existence, but when the hand of the Almighty touches one of those closest to us, all our efforts to distract ourselves fall short and we are all — sooner or later — obliged to acknowledge how much of our existence remains unknown and unknowable.

For those with faith, there may be some level of comfort.

For those without faith, there is confusion, anger, resentment, fear and the sensation that modern Western culture finds most despicable: a sense of helplessness.

Sometimes, even those with faith feel these things.

Even as life begins with an experience that none of us can clearly remember, so it also ends in an experience that none can truly foresee.  That is the closing of the circle.

I can claim no special insight into such things, but it occurs to me that a Death is meant to transform the survivors who must go on living.  It unifies us, if only for a moment, in a sense of loss and mystery.

Perhaps that, too, is part of its purpose.

the guns of navarone

The Nutjobs Down the Road

OR:
The second blog post of 2015, which I hadn’t planned on posting quite so early in the year…
I hope the New Calendar Year has begun auspiciously for you.  Over at my house, we started off the New Year with a bang.
Literally…
It wasn’t our idea.
Someone, we don’t know who, decided the best way to mark this occasion was to fire off something.  We don’t know what.  But it was loud.  Very loud. Loud enough to wake almost everyone in the house (except the dog, who is a hound) from a very deep sleep.  
From the deep, booming noise, it sounded like a piece of artillery.  
We live in a fairly well-developed suburban area, but there’s still a considerable amount of wide-open farmland and I can only guess someone must host a militia or something from time to time.  So, herewith…
(An open letter to my anonymous, but not unnoticed, neighbors)
Howdy!
Look:  Knock it off before you kill someone, possibly even yourself or someone you love.
Seriously.
Also, please re-locate before July or next December at the latest.  
P.S.: I DO support your Second Amendment rights!  
Were the pod people landing?  
Because if they WERE, projectile weapons aren’t gonna actually DO anything, y’know…  
Except maybe tip ‘em off to your position…
Love and kisses,

Jay Pochapin cropped headshot 092914

A Lotta Eyes

Another Record!

My Dear Readers,
I am pleased to announce that the past month’s figures show the readership of this blog continues to grow.
December of 2014 posted the highest number of views and visitors EVER since the month this blog was first established back in May of 2013.
There is no doubt, it is all thanks to you!
Please continue to return and I will make every effort to be worthy of your trust and high compliment!

Jay   Jay Pochapin cropped headshot 092914