Archive for September 2006

For DirecTV subscribers- Free SHOWTIME UNLIMITED weekend, Oct 6-9, 2006

September 30, 2006

For four days, DirecTV will offer these channels for free: Showtime East, Showtime West, Showtime Too, Showcase, Showtime Extreme, The Movie Channel East, The Movie Channel West, Flix, and Sundance Channel.

Link- Floyd Landis’ “state of the art” hip surgery “performed sucessfully and without complications.”

September 28, 2006

Floyd’s site is reporting that surgeon Dr. David Chao found “greater damage to Landis’ hip than initially shown in MRI screenings.” Since the accident that reduced the blood flow to Floyd’s hip occurred in January 2003, that isn’t too surprising. Floyd was home in less than 24 hours, and will immediately commence six weeks of physical therapy. He can begin light training on his bicycle in one to two weeks.

Good luck, Floyd!

Link- “Azzang- The small-sized fondling robot which is developed at the world wide beginning.”

September 27, 2006

What is an Azzang? I couldn’t decipher much from the mangled English descriptions, like:

Three it continues legs of the robot and it gives a shock. The sing it enters into a a song mode, it informs a birthday song.

Here’s a hint: when you’re ready for a real demo, click the “Walkie Bits” button. Then all will be clear. Or at least, less confusing.

(Thanks to Bill and Mike for forwarding this link.)

“What I Know,” The Back-Story.

September 23, 2006

Late last night I learned about Floyd Landis’ appeal being denied, and I wrote a quick entry, more to link to the news than to editorialize. I was late getting to bed on a night when I’d have to wake at 3:30AM to drive my parents to the airport. Brevity seemed prudent.

I felt it was important to say something personal about the news, something about how it affected me. I wrote what I feel from Floyd when he talks, and it was important to distinguish knowing, as in knowledge, facts, etc., and knowing, as in my heart telling me what it sees, that my conscious mind might not. I made a passing remark about the day I learned to >know what I know, and how I know what I know. The context was, I know Floyd Landis doesn’t have a dishonest bone in his body. It didn’t make sense to spend time and break up my piece on Floyd to tell the whole back story, since it has nothing to do with Floyd or bicycling. After a few emails and a few comments, which is more than I’ve ever received for any one post, I thought it best to tell the story sooner rather than later.

This is not about how great / smart / better than you / prescient / cool / or whatever else I think I am. This not intended to impress anyone. This is the story of why I trust what I know. So now, you’ll know. Hopefully, you’ll also know.

(I think I can dispense with the italics to differentiate the two kinds of knowing. It’s tedious to read. I wish there were different English words for them. I leave it to you to know what I’m saying—I don’t think it’ll be difficult.)


Floyd’s request for dismissal is denied by the Anti-Doping Review Board

September 22, 2006

Floyd’s site is reporting that his request for dismissal has been declined by the ADRB. The case now goes to the ADRB’s parent body, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Association). Today’s ruling by the ADRB allows the USADA to proceed with disciplinary action if they decide it is warranted. If they do impose sanctions, Landis and his legal and scientific team say they will request arbitration, and in a public forum, which will be a first.

In the meantime, Floyd must step out of the line of fire for a while, to have his hip replaced, and begin his physical rehabilitation. He plans to start training as soon as possible to defend his Tour de France title in next year’s tour. Ya gotta love the guy’s determination.

I’ve written a number of opinion pieces on this issue, and I’ve just learned of an excellent blog with very current news, as well as commentary. Check out Good stuff.

Another must-read site is Tom Fine’s Floyd Landis’ Testosterone, WADA, and Abused Science, which examines the numbers behind the accuracy of the CIR test, which supposedly can distinguish synthetic from naturally-occurring testosterone, but which appears to have a high false-positive rate.

I am a little surprised by this outcome, based on the discrepancies found in the Chatenay-Malabry lab’s documentation. On the other hand, the outspoken officials in the anti-doping agencies would look extremely foolish if the case were dropped so easily, and I believe politics is as much in play here as justice, perhaps moreso.


Links- Two extremely cool “Astronomy Pictures of the Day” in a row!

September 21, 2006

The International Space Station 9/21/06

(Image Credit: NASA)

Yesterday, NASA posted this current picture of the International Space Station, including the new P3/P4 truss segments and solar arrays (the darker-looking set starting at the lower right of the picture) just installed by the outstanding crew of the STS-115 Atlantis mission. Today, they posted an amazing picture of the ISS and the just-undocked Atlantis as they passed in front of the Sun! I’d show a piece of that one, too, but it’s copyrighted. No trouble, you can go see it yourself! Even better, both pictures are available in large formats, and make awesome desktop pictures.


Link- Computers come even closer to mimicking human conversation

September 20, 2006

The Turing Test, named after Alan Turing, is a simple test which stirs deeply complex, perhaps impossible engineering challenges: Can a computer test subject (a program, actually), conversing with a human tester via a keyboard and screen, be distinguished from a human test subject? More simply, can a program convince a human that it, too, is human? This is the question of Artificial Intelligence, or “Can Machines Think?