Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cholesterol, and its effect on how the brain works

It seems that cholesterol affects more than the heart. It also seems to affect the adenosine receptors in the brain. Understanding how this works may have major ramifications for treating diseases like Alzheimer's and others like it.

"A study demonstrates that the cholesterol present in cell membranes can interfere with the function of an important brain membrane protein, through a previously unknown mode of interaction. Specifically, cholesterol is capable of regulating the activity of the adenosine receptor, by invading it and accessing the active site. This will allow new ways of interacting with these proteins to be devised that in the future could lead to drugs for treating diseases like Alzheimer's."


Writing the future: AIs can now write their future generations

Artificial Intelligence writing the code for the next generation needs to be looked at very closely. The science fiction ramifications of AIs making AIs may sound exaggerated, but we really should be ready for anything.

On the other hand, we should also consider if we're giving birth to the logical next step in evolution for any sentient organism originating from Earth.


Monday, February 27, 2017

An AI Butler?

Well, this looks like a good idea in terms of time-saving automation, but it also opens an individual to more hack attacks, and, I would think, has serious ramifications for artificial intelligence as an assistant. I am sure that the Butlerian Jihad in the Dune book series is now a branch probability in our timeline.


Living Longer: Expectancy at 90

As we now approach longer life expectancies, the true concern now will be how the global economy, production capacity, and healthcare outlook will adapt to this fact.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Artificial Intelligence and Ethics: We need to embrace them as our children

As we develop artificial intelligence that becomes smarter and closer to true sentience, we have to increasingly start thinking of them as children - if not our children personally, then our children as a race, or a species.

It will be of paramount importance, then, to teach them not only what they need for the job at hand, but also for how they will treat others, including ourselves. Call it a certain amount of self-preservation, but let's face it, we've already done the thought experiments on this, through stories in science fiction.



Doctor Who: Capaldi's Last Season

“The first time you meet him, he’s funny. The second time, he’s amazing. The third time, you realize he’s the most dangerous man in the universe.”

I feel bad that this trailer promises what we've wanted Capaldi's Doctor Who all this time. But as this will be his last season as the Doctor, I hope they really do make it a slam-bang one.


A little side-trip to Singapore: Makansutra Hawkers in SM Megamall

My partner and I decided to eat out after meeting with an online seller, and as luck would have it, we ended up at Makansutra Hawkers, a Singapore-style food market / food park on the second floor of SM Megamall, technically above National Bookstore in Building A.

My partner and I had seen the place before, and we knew that we should try the food there some other time. Now, after looking at some watches at Building B, and some toys at Toy Kingdom at the basement, we decided it was time to try out Makansutra Hawkers (Philippines)

We had a limited budget, so we settled on two dishes: Laksa, and Pork with Salted Egg (in essence , pork strips - liempo cuts, I think - cooked in a mixture of salted egg and what seems to be butter and a few other ingredients).

It's a good thing that we asked if the pork dish was for sharing - we can confirm that you may need a group of three for one order (P380). In fact, with the Laksa, I feel I should have called my mother up and asked her to join us.

Now, on to the food:

I'm not a laksa person, but my partner loves is, and says that the laksa was above average, and worth the price at P250. For me, I liked the fact that it had a god balance between the spiciness and the coconut milk. At first, I thought that it had been adapted to Philippine tastes, as it wasn't so spicy, but the partner assured me that there were options for more spicy preparations, but that he decided to stick with the basics. Even if the bowl of laksa already had noodles, I still wanted to drizzle the soup over rice (which I did!).

As for the pork with salted egg, all I can say is that the salted egg sauce preparation was practically a meal in itself aside from the pork - if anything, I actually wished that the pork had less fat, as the combination of pork fat and the sauce was pretty rich in flavor - enough for me to wave the white flag, and ask my partner to help me finish off some remaining pieces. The dish comes with a side of pickled vegetables - atsara. Believe me, you'll need it to counter the powerful the punch-counterpunch of salted egg, pork, and butter. I know that some of my friends will tell me better places to find salted egg preparations, but for now, this is an affordable and, for me, good enough dish that I would tell people to go with me so I can eat more of it (haha!).
Add P50 of rice, and we were able to get stuffed for about P680 or so.

In all, I can honestly say that I liked the laksa dish - though I wish my partner had ordered a spicier one - and that the pork with salted egg should not be missed. But please, do not try to finish off one order by yourself; if anything, the richness - creaminess - of the dish makes it hard to do.
Also, kudos for Makansutra Hawkers' service, and I have yet to try the coffee pork dish offered in another stall. Also, some of the drink and dessert preparations look like I'll be back to try more.

I bought the Pork with Salted Egg dish at the Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee; sadly, my partner forgot the name of the stall where he got the laksa.

For more information:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Rise of Robot Overlords: Not as Tyrants, But as the New MIddle Class

As the blue- and white-collar jobs are disappearing because of automation and artificial intelligence, it seems that some of the science fiction we've been reading or watching in the past are right. The way forward for humanity to keep on working and participating in their civilization's development is to adapt to what artificial intelligence cannot do.

For me, that would mean that we have to develop the aesthetic and art aspects of our education even more, but without sacrificing basic understanding of how technology works. It may also mean that we should definitely emphasize some college courses that will be for people to learn how to keep on building technology. And, of course, we really have to get space programs going, as the desire to explore and expand may be humanity's way of "getting away" from the AI/automation issue. We only need to look at our history during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to know why we need to seek distant shores. The middle class, it seems, will be transformed into one that explores, builds, and dreams.

It would also mean that we have to change our whole operating system, as it were, for technology and lifestyle. Does this mean the end of consumerism/capitalism? I don't think so, but rather, they should evolve. In one way, I am disturbed, as development could go in a direction where it will be more about roles and usefulness in society, even for the arts. This would be similar to a bee hive, or an insect community. On the other hand, we may be looking at a future that is closer to the community ships in Wall-E.

And the sad part is, if we go full-on dystopia, what we're looking at is, in essence, the Megapolis societies of Judge Dredd.

And it all starts with what is happening now.

Article inspired by this Wired article; image taken from the same: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/ai-threat-isnt-skynet-end-middle-class/

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Layout Update


I've decided to put some quick-access links to subject matter on this blog, up on top. I've included articles from different sites I contribute to, some links outbound to my toy stuff, and links to two Youtube playlists for my band Cog (https://www.facebook.com/Cog.band/).

I'll be refining the top bar as things go along. Cheers!

In times when I had less weight, and more hair.