"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book." - Edward Gibbon

***

In the world of Fighting Fantasy, you can be the hero, too - "In the early 1980s a dangerous craze was sweeping Britain’s playgrounds. Critics scorned it as dumb and regressive. Child psychologists fretted that its wanton violence would derail youthful morals. A distressed Christian “young wives group” in Berkshire claimed that “all kinds of exterior evil things had been happening to their children” since they’d taken up the hobby. One mum claimed that, after partaking in this dark art, her son had actually levitated... The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, however, was not the first work of interactive fiction. The possibility was mooted in Jorge Luis Borges’ story The Garden of Forking Paths"

Scene Completion Using Millions of Photographs - "What can you do with a million images? In this paper we present a new image completion algorithm powered by a huge database of photographs gathered from the Web. The algorithm patches up holes in images by finding similar image regions in the database that are not only seamless but also semantically valid. Our chief insight is that while the space of images is effectively infinite, the space of semantically differentiable scenes is actually not that large. For many image completion tasks we are able to find similar scenes which contain image fragments that will convincingly complete the image. Our algorithm is entirely data-driven, requiring no annotations or labelling by the user. Unlike existing image completion methods, our algorithm can generate a diverse set of image completions and we allow users to select among them. We demonstrate the superiority of our algorithm over existing image completion approaches."
OMG

Churchgoer stabs 5 after listening to sermon - "Five members of a Protestant church in Taguig City, including its pastor, were stabbed by a 27-year-old man, who found the sermon last Sunday objectionable, according to the police."

Dutch upskirt filming plan goes a bit wrong - "It was a noble and well-thought-through attempt by two bloggers to warn the public of a disturbing breach of privacy. Sadly, their near-perfect plan to bring attention the the dangers of perverts filming up women's skirts by, um, filming up women's skirts looks likely to have landed them in court."

Cell phones light up operating room during blackout - "The light from the cell phone screens allowed surgeons to complete an emergency appendix operation during a blackout in a city in central Argentina, reports said on Saturday."

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE RESIST SCIENCE? - "There are two common assumptions about the nature of this resistance. First, it is often assumed to be a particularly American problem, explained in terms of the strong religious beliefs of many American citizens and the anti-science leanings of the dominant political party. Second, the problem is often characterized as the result of insufficient exposure to the relevant scientific facts, and hence is best addressed with improved science education. We believe that these assumptions, while not completely false, reflect a misunderstanding of the nature of this phenomenon. While cultural factors are plainly relevant, American adults' resistance to scientific ideas reflects universal facts about what children know and how children learn. If this is right, then resistance to science cannot be simply addressed through more education; something different is needed."

THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster - "Anybody who uses the Internet should read E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops. It is a chilling, short story masterpiece about the role of technology in our lives. Written in 1909, it's as relevant today as the day it was published. Forster has several prescient notions including instant messages (email!) and cinematophoes (machines that project visual images)."
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