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Monthly Archives: October 2008

I Run Natural Twenties

I’ve seen less than consistent running in the first two months of the fall-season, and that’s on top of a random self-inflicted groin injury, and my recent ankle re-injury.  As a consequence, my mileage surplus has morphed into a deficit, and my resolution to run 1000 miles is suddenly in danger of failing.  To hit my goal by December 31st, I have to run 150 more miles, or about 2.5 miles per day.  Assuming I don’t get injured again, 2.5 mile runs are well within my reach, but I rarely run 7 days a week anymore, so (conservatively speaking) my actual goal is more like 20 miles per week, spread out over the days however I choose.

I know I can do this, and I have 60 days to prove myself right.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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Ankle Again

Ten days ago, I drove 320 miles to a race in Connecticut.  I had hoped that traveling with the college running club to complete in a NIRCA regional race would help me recapture some of what I had missed by not running competitively in college.

Sadly, I sprained my ankle during the warm-up, thirty minutes before the race started, and all I was able to capture was 640 wasted miles on my car.

Compared to last year’s sprain, this one was minor, and while I haven’t been running I have managed to enjoy the time off via weight lifting, ankle excercises, and excruciating ice-bucket-ankle-soaking.  I’m hoping to come back sometime this week.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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Evil, Robot

This research project to develop a computer simulation of a truly evil person definitely seems to be pushing the limits of the three laws of robotics.  To extend this work, I’d like to see a new version of the Turing Test (the Evil Turing Test?) to see if a human judge can reliably tell the difference between the following pairs of test subjects:

  1. an evil computer from a good computer
  2. an evil computer and an evil human
  3. an evil computer and a good human

… although a machine that can pass tests 2 or 3 is technically passing a special case of the Turing Test too.

Story via Science Made Cool, post inspiration via O’Foghlú.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2008 in Alchemy

 

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Knock it Off

“That’s so gay” has been around for a while, and I feel like recently it’s reached an equilibrium point where people know it’s messed up to say it, but they say it anyways with a smirk as if saying something while knowing that it’s offensive makes it all better.  Kinda out of nowhere, Hillary Duff calls this behavior out:

What do you think of this ad?  Is it a message that will get through?  Or is it saying something that’s already known, and therefore won’t make a difference?  This reminds me of Illdoctrine’s “No Homo”.

via Feministing.

UPDATE3 down, 47 to go.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2008 in Current Events, Entertainment

 

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The Genetic Carry-On Limit

Flying through Philadelphia is practically the same as asking to lose your luggage. As I wait at the baggage claim for a suitcase I know won’t come, I wish I had listened to my mother and squeezed everything into a carry-on.

Packing for a flight reminds me of a game I played in elementary school, in which we had to list five items we would want if we were stranded on a desert island. I always listed television, my best friend and ice cream, but, for some reason, never a boat.

It’s the same question we face every time we travel. What should we bring, and what should we leave behind? Deciding what to pack is almost equivalent to the philosophical question of what you need to survive and be comfortable.

I think about problems like this a lot…

I wrote an essay (here, page 5) attempting to convey the philosophy behind my research project, and it landed an honorable mention in a writing contest. This led to the nice result of getting to work with a professional copy-editor before the essay went to print, and they gave me a lot of insight into how to tighten up my writing for a general audience. A nicer result was feeling like I had a little win with regard to my research, and those wins seem to come few and far between recently.

Thanks to Jason and Gretchen for help editing my original essay.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2008 in Alchemy

 

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