17 April 2014

Vleeptrondate dot com -- who dis babe?

Click on hottie to enlarge.

Vleeptron is proud to inaugurate its Internet Dating Service. All you have to do to win a date -- and who knows, perhaps an enduring romance -- with this person who wears a delicious loaf of braided bread hot from the oven on top of her head is tell Vleeptron her (full) name. And anything else you may know about her.  Rumor and local gossip gratefully accepted.

Clearly she is somatically perfect, and it was all Vleeptron could do to restrain ourselves from airbrushing/Photoshopping (actually we use MSPaint, it's free and crude and works) what seems to be a dermal imperfection below her neck. But we wanted you to know what you're dating, warts and all. 

Feel free to beg for hints, which we may or may not provide. This is an exercise in Paying Attention. 

Vleeptron once posted a hot foto of Berlusconi's jailbait gf, and PatfromCH -- who gets Berlusconi's TV network floating over an Alp -- had no clue who the sweetie was. He was clearly not paying sufficient attention.

Hint No. 1: She is Not Unknown. Thousands, maybe millions instantly recognize this babe with the braided bread on her head.

20 March 2014

lie, brag, cheat -- but you can't beat the Lego Rubik Robot! Untouched by Primate or Cetacean or Cephalopod Hands, Brains, Tentacles or Flippers!

pick Full Screen mode

Okay, get ready before you hit RUN. Take a deep breath, focus. Because this sucker is just going to be screamingly fast -- orders of magnitude faster than you've ever seen or imagined that a jumbled cube could be solved, made pristine as it was when you first took it out of the shrink wrap.

These fellows, I think, are or were engineering students at the University of Cambridge, in England. The engineering department just assigns Machines, Automata, with the stipulation that the mechanical parts all be in the Lego plastic block inventory. As their Rubik's Cube Robot got cleverer and faster, they seem to have morphed from undergrad Homework Assignments to Commercial High-Tech Engineering. 

What would you pay for this gizmo? (Cube not included.) How many hours of physical and intellectual labor would you be willing to transfer from Your Life to build this gizmo so that it wins the Cube Solving Guinness World Record?

Having come into possession of this amazing gizmo -- uhhh, so what? What's it good for? Can you flip griddle cakes or walk the dog with it? It seems to do One and Only One task better and faster than anything else in the universe.

btw the raw computational power to tell the Robot what each new cube change should be is 1 very ordinary mid-pricey smart phone. I think maybe a Samsung. These Cambridge engineering gizmo Lego projects are regularly brilliant and original.

The first thing to look closely for is the human finger pressing the red ON button in the lower right. After that, it's all a blinding flash on the Down Track of the roller coaster at Tivoli. (Which will celebrate its Hundredth Birthday this year I think. Look for me in the audience of the free hourly Commedia d'el Arte shows, Columbine, Pierot, Pierette, all those folks who hit each other with pig bladders and wooden bats.)

If anything about this whackdoodle blazing Lego Robot intrigues you, let me see if I can find an e-text of Edgar Alan Poe's solution of the famous chess-playing (and usually winning) Mechanical Turk. And that, of course, brings up the Mechanical Turk's descendant, the Amazon Mechanical Turk -- the Digital Age's revolutionary global web-based sweatshop.

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13 March 2014

Yay! It's Pi Day! Bake & Eat Pi(e)! Memorize lots of decimal digits of Pi!

Click stamp to enlarge.

It's 3/14 = 14 March, and everywhere in the universe where sentients have (on average) ten fingers, it's Pi Day!

On Earth, lots of people celebrate by baking and eating pi(e)! (I like blueberry.)

In lots of schools, students hold contests to see who can correctly memorize the most digits of the decimal expansion of π.

The usual -- but by no means the only -- definition of π is the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter. That works out to a little more than 3.14 .

But π isn't always defined in terms of geometry or circles. π pops up all over the place in pure mathematics, often in the most unexpected and mysterious places.

2015 -- next year -- Pi Day will be extra special, because 3/14/15 will be the first 5 digits of the decimal expansion. There should be some extra big Pi Festivals and Celebrations.

Click Here for tons of stuff about Pi Day.


27 January 2014

eat the rich

 Click image to enlarge

The Wall Street Journal
business-oriented daily USA broadsheet
Monday 27 January 2014


Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?


Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?

Tom Perkins

San Francisco

Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.


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23 January 2014

R. Crumb: The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick (Weirdo comix No. 17)

Click each page to enlarge.

Crumb's account of Philip K. Dick's mystical transformative experience was shown on the Dick episode of the recent TV series "Prophets of Science Fiction," produced and narrated by Ridley Scott, who turned Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" into "Blade Runner."

Scott used another underground comic giant, Ron Cobb, as the designer of the space freighter Nostromo in "Alien."

Dick died shortly after selling "Androids" to Scott, and I don't think he ever saw "Blade Runner."

Of all the things that frighten us -- particularly Westerners -- the scariest thing of all is a profound mystical, visionary or religious experience. Dick and Crumb (and Timothy Leary, John C. Lilly and a few others) understood that mystical ecstacy is a central experience necessary for the full spectrum of human life.

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19 January 2014

It's BAD for you!

Click candy wrapper to enlarge.

Why do we love things (and sex companions) we know are bad for us? The USA artist (now resident in France) Robert Crumb captures this Mystery sizzlingly.

Devil Girl Choco-Bar
used to be a real candy bar, and it was fairly inexpensive, and tasted great. You could buy it in underground comic book stores, where Crumb was / is a major deity.

Crumb's most recognized work is the album cover for Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin).

The bio-documentary "Crumb" won an Oscar, deservedly. Crumb specialized in everything the USA tried to hide or prohibit or forget. He was also a champion of forgotten 1920s blues music, and has the distinction of recording the world's last 78 rpm phonograph record, which by that time could be played on very very few turntables.

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07 January 2014

Slightly tarted up V.2 t-shirt & (someone else's) explanation of solution to 4CC = 4CP

Click t-shirt to enlarge,
view vid in Fullscreen

A neighbor seems to sincerely enjoy my whack t-shirts, so for Christmas i cranked him out the 4CC / postage meter t-shirt after i made the red brighter on the metered postage from the math department of the University of Illinois / Champaign-Urbana. Haken and Appel stole about 2 years of time off the federal supercomputer on campus to analyze a huge number of distinct geopolitical map cases.


The math department featured the postage ad when they published their proof in 1976. (The faint PB is for Pitney-Bowes, the Ruler of Earth with hand-cranked and electromechanical business postage meters.)

With some help from their Big Silicon Friend (an IBM), they put UI C-A on the math map and on the Big List of Platonic Objects.

One tiny aspect of this perfectly legitimate proof wafts up the nostrils of many mathematicians like the 5-day-old sidewalk harring in my hotel minibar fridge.

Only a digital computer can assemble this proof.

And having claimed to have proven it, only another digital computer can verify the work of the first computer.

4CC is the first Proof humans have encountered or cobbled together which is too vast to reside in a single human brain. Thus the stale harring aroma to the nostrils of many carbon-based sentients.

In the video, a very nice nerdo Italiano (YouTube courtesy PatfromCH) gives a vidboard demonstration proving a famous aspect of the 4CC = 4CP.

Since this idiot-easy child-grokable question

For any conceivable geopolitical map, what is the most distinct colors needed so no contiguous regions (regions sharing a border of non-zero length) are colored alike?

... was first asked (by Francis Guthrie) in 1852, it took Earth's brainiest mathematicians 124 years to prove (or help the supercomputer prove) the answer.

Minkowski told his graduate students that the reason no one had proved 4CC was that only third-rate mathematicians had studied the problem. Some months later he announced: "Heaven is angry at my arrogance. My proof is defective."

Worse than idiot-simple ... print shops had been printing such geopolitical maps for centuries, and THEY always knew they'd never, ever have to print a map that needed 5 colors. In centuries of printing screwy, arbitrary-shaped maps -- Guthrie used the counties of England, other examples are the countries of Eurasia or the "lower 48" USA states -- they'd never found a map that couldn't be printed in 4 colors. (Most only require 3 colors.)

But of course it's not a commercial printer's job to prove fundamental platonic object conjectures in topology. They just print maps.


Maybe more later. I'm hungry. And the Polar Vortex has trapped us and the cats in the cabin. If we go outside for longer than 15 minutes we will get frostbite and have to have body parts amputated.

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31 December 2013

Happy (Reformed Gregorian) New Year! Eat Vigna unguiculata for Good Luck!

Click image to enlarge.
I hate cliches, so some years ago I resolved to tell C-space Happy New Year completely free of babies in diapers and hunched-over old men. That's its only virtue: it's different.
Light -- a shortcut nickname for electromagnetic radiation of all sorts, not just the narrow band of colors human eyes can perceive -- has a well-measured speed and well-understood properties. So light's speed and properties produce this Light Cone, and inside the Light Cone is all we can ever perceive or remember about the Past, the Present and the Future.
There may be other "stuff" outside the Light Cone, but we can never perceive or know it.
I suppose I should also throw in a word about The Arrow of Time. It flows inexorably in just one direction, and never flows backwards (even though Newton's wonderful laws of motion and gravitation and mechanics merrily work equally well forwards and backwards). So the Past is always behind us, the Present is now, and the Future is always ahead of us, and hasn't happened yet. And never Contrariwise.

Eventually we'll reach the Heat Death of the Universe, but you don't have to worry about that any time soon.
If you're preparing a big hoopla Happy New Year whoop-de-doo at your local Midnight -- mine will be about 8 hours from now -- please remember that this Magic Moment of the Odometer flipping over its rightmost digit specifically references the Reformed Gregorian Calendar. There are lots of other calendars, each with its own different Happy New Year date. But for a variety of reasons, some logical and scientific, most entirely arbitary, most of the world chooses to pop open a bottle of methode champaignoise and shoot off colored explosives when the Reformed Gregorian Calendar tells it to.
I just heard about 1,000,000 people in Hong Kong sing "Auld Lang Syne" first in English/Scots Gaelic, then in Chinese.
Vleeptron would like to thank Israel for making last week's Pilgrimage to Bethlehem unsually welcoming and easy for Christian pilgrims. Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity also got its first architectural makeover in 600 years, and the little town's merchants apparently prospered. Just like the first Christmas, but for happier reasons, there was No Room at the Inn.
For all Vleeptroids in Galaxy Dwingeloo-2 and on Earth and low-Earth orbit, Vleeptron and Agence-Vleeptron Presse and Lenny & Spike wish you a spectacularly peaceful and happy 2014. Leave a Comment and tell us how you celebrate the New Year. We eat black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) for good luck. If we can stay awake until Guy Lombardo plays Auld Lang Syne, we'll drink a little methode champagnoise.

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25 December 2013

the dreaded unreliable Pons Asinorum / Yorkshire Pudding

Click image to enlarge.

For many centuries long ago, if you were an educated European (male), if you had studied at any European university, you would be intimately familiar with this "bridge of asses," a common but fallacious screwup in Aristotle's logic scheme called the Syllogism.

And your failure was all your own fault -- your professor had explicitly warned you not to try to cross the logical chasm over the Pons Asinorum.

If you have things to say, or memories of plummeting into the chasm from the Pons Asinorum, please Leave A Comment. Also if you have nasty insulting things to say about Aristotle, feel free to post them here.

Meanwhile, Vleeptron wishes you all a Happy Solstice (summer or winter, your choice), a Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Hannukah. We're having a great, relaxed, cozy Christmas Day, a roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding in the oven, a fire in the wood stove.

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23 December 2013

at long last, a pardon for England's war hero and computer genius Alan Turing

Click poster to enlarge.

The Associated Press
(USA newswire)
Monday 23 December 2013

U.K. finally pardons
computer pioneer 

Alan Turing

by Raphael Satter, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- His code breaking prowess helped the Allies outfox the Nazis, his theories laid the foundation for the computer age, and his work on artificial intelligence still informs the debate over whether machines can think.

But Alan Turing was gay, and 1950s Britain punished the mathematician's sexuality with a criminal conviction, intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive.

Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon.

"Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. Describing Turing's treatment as unjust, Grayling said the code breaker "deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science."

The pardon has been a long time coming.

Turing's contributions to science spanned several disciplines, but he's perhaps best remembered as the architect of the effort to crack the Enigma code, the cypher used by Nazi Germany to secure its military communications. Turing's groundbreaking work — combined with the effort of cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park near Oxford and the capture of several Nazi code books — gave the Allies the edge across half the globe, helping them defeat the Italians in the Mediterranean, beat back the Germans in Africa and escape enemy submarines in the Atlantic.

"It could be argued and it has been argued that he shortened the war, and that possibly without him the Allies might not have won the war," said David Leavitt, the author of a book on Turing's life and work. "That's highly speculative, but I don't think his contribution can be underestimated. It was immense."

Even before the war, Turing was formulating ideas that would underpin modern computing, ideas which matured into a fascination with artificial intelligence and the notion that machines would someday challenge the minds of man. When the war ended, Turing went to work programing some of the world's first computers, drawing up — among other things — one of the earliest chess games.

Turing made no secret of his sexuality, and being gay could easily lead to prosecution in post-war Britain. In 1952, Turing was convicted of "gross indecency" over his relationship with another man, and he was stripped of his security clearance, subjected to monitoring by British authorities, and forced to take estrogen to neutralize his sex drive — a process described by some as chemical castration.

S. Barry Cooper, a University of Leeds mathematician who has written about Turing's work, said future generations would struggle to understand the code breaker's treatment.

"You take one of your greatest scientists, and you invade his body with hormones," he said in a telephone interview. "It was a national failure."

Depressed and angry, Turing committed suicide in 1954.

Turing's legacy was long obscured by secrecy -- "Even his mother wasn't allowed to know what he'd done," Cooper said. But as his contribution to the war effort was gradually declassified, and personal computers began to deliver on Turing's promise of "universal machines," the injustice of his conviction became ever more glaring. Then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for Turing's treatment in 2009, but campaigners kept pressing for a formal pardon.

One of them, British lawmaker Iain Stewart, told The Associated Press he was delighted with the news that one had finally been granted.

"He helped preserve our liberty," Stewart said in a telephone interview. "We owed it to him in recognition of what he did for the country -- and indeed the free world --  that his name should be cleared."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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12 December 2013

Michigan Hand Map made of burnt toast (Lower Pæninsula only)

Click on Lower Pæninsula of Toast to enlarge.

My Army pal what lives in the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten so he can point to where he took art classes and everybody in Michigan knows where that is knows my fascination with the MHM and just sent me this one made of burnt toast. 

He will have to e-mail his old Army buddy Joe Schloblodewski (everybody who ever served in the military ends up with a buddy for life named Joe Schloblodewski) to explain how he came to be in possession of this amazing toast map of the Lower Pæninsula of Michigan (Michigan is in 2 parts). 

Some Michiganders know how to use both their hands to show both pæninsulæ, but this skill is rare. Maybe you point to where you bought a used car with your nose.

The other night they showed a really nice uninterrupted print of "Anatomy of a Murder," about a murder trial which takes place in the Upper Pæninsula. James Stewart is the jazz piano-playing and trout-fishing defense lawyer -- it's one of Stewart's most exciting and rivetting performances -- and Lee Remick is Very Attractive and enjoys playing pinball (Old School noisy Electromechanical) in the tavern near where she and her Army lieutenant husband live in the trailer park. 

I think the jazz score was by Count Basie. The judge is Joseph Welch, a very famous and much-admired lawyer who stood up to the vicious megacreep dipsomaniac US Senator Joseph McCarthy in the televised Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.

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11 December 2013

are you so blind that you cannot see are you so deaf that you cannot hear