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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Persuaders

Years ago I picked up a DVD of BPS documentary called "The Persuaders" at the Boarders bookstore. Well, since then the store went under and the proliferation of the Internet and online services made access to content much easier, and in some cases completely free (unless one chooses to pay for the DVD quality video and an ability to watch it offline). Does one have anything to do with the other? Probably, but it's not what this post is about. It's about the documentary. I found it incredibly interesting and in some ways eye opening. Check it out, see how far the persuasion industry takes its advertising mission (and keep in mind that by now it is probably significantly farther than at the time of the documentary's release in 2004); how it view us, the consumers (roaches being sprayed with ads until developing resistance); how it blends advertising and reality (to the point when one can't tell them apart); etc.  In short, enter The Persuaders   (click on the

University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department

Today, a colleague has shared the following article with me " University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm. "  Here's a quick excerpt: “Actually, the real villains here are the Florida state legislators, who have cut the budget for their flagship university by 30% over the past 6 years. Meanwhile, just two days ago, Florida governor Rick Scott approved the creation of a brand-new public university, Florida Polytechnic University, to be located near the city of Tampa.” What do I think about this? Well many things, but most of all: i nstead of looking for the villains or trying to do good with other people money - of course, thinking of the public good in the most objective way, which usually turns out to be somewhat skewed and biased, at best - we should get out of the business of subsidizing education in this fashion and let the market forces work. The education should cost what it costs, and if it is paid by people who

Alan Mathison Turing

Update (11/23/2013): " Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon." ( ) Long overdue!!! With academic background in applied mathematics and computer science and years of experience in Information Technology it would be incredibly surprising if I didn't know of Alan Turing, or so I thought. Sure, I knew who he was and had a good idea of what he had contributed to the fields of mathematics, logic, cryptography, and of course computer science, which he basically founded; and things like Turing Machine, Turing Test, and Enigma Code-breaking have been widely popularized. I also knew that he died relatively young, but I am ashamed to admit that I didn't know anything about the circumstances surrounding his premature death. That is until I read the following in the book titled  "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" by James Gleick: "Turing's hom

A song about a friend

Finding a good English translation of Russian poetry is always challenging. So, I would like to share with you this excellent, excellent translation of Vladimir Vysotsky by Andrey Kneller:  Песня о друге Если друг оказался вдруг И не друг, и не враг, а - так, Если сразу не разберешь, Плох он или хорош. Парня в горы тяни - рискни! Не бросай одного его, Пусть он в связке в одной с тобой - Там поймешь, кто такой.  Если парень в горах - не ах, Если сразу раскис и - вниз, Шаг ступил на ледник и - сник, Оступился - и в крик, - Значит, рядом с тобой - чужой, Ты его не брани - гони: Вверх таких не берут, и тут Про таких не поют.  Если ж он не скулил, не ныл, Пусть он хмур был и зол, но - шел, А когда ты упал со скал, Он стонал, но - держал, Если шел за тобой, как в бой, На вершине стоял хмельной, - Значит, как на себя самого, Положись на него. (1966) A song about a friend If your friend just became a man, Not a friend, not a foe,- just so, If you really can

Crack of Doom

‎"Crack of Doom" by Tiger Lillies. Какая жизнеутверждающая песня! What a wonderful, life-asserting song! Gotta love this British black humor :-) The Tiger Lillies - Crack Of Doom Lyrics @