My Inner Nerd Gets Excited: IBM’s Watson Wins Jeopardy

If you are not into computers, this topic might put you to sleep. 🙂

From Valentine’s Day, Monday February 14, until Wednesday February 16, 2011, two former Jeopardy Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter battled a computer. And not just any computer. It was a machine hundreds of people from IBM and several prestigious colleges across the country worked on for over four years in order to create a Jeopardy Champion.

In hindsight, it sounds almost ridiculous that a massive corporation listed on the NYSE (as it’s still known of as for now) would devote over $30 million for a chance to have its software, hardware, staff and reputation devoted to one challenge: beat humans on a televised game show.

It seemed simple, Watson was going to perform the same feat as Google did for millions, right? You enter a query and it’ll return the first hit. However, the difference is massive. Watson never accesses the internet. It doesn’t phone home. It is a standalone machine. All the data it needs is stored in its database. Practically the entire Library of Congress is stored inside its hardware. That is millions of books. Millions and millions of words. Google finds data based on page ranking, web sites with the most links which determines popularity, and other unknown algorithms.

Plus, Google doesn’t respond with the nice voice that Watson has.

Yeah, that’s one of the key differences with this machine: Watson speaks! He, er, it asks for the next clue when its turn is up! It even says, Please!

Watching the show for the three days it aired, all I thought of was inquisitive HAL from the movie 2001, the Cyborg from the first Terminator movie (that scared the daylights out of me), the fussy sounding, talking car named Kitt from the television show Nightrider, and the informative, perfunctory computer from Star Trek (the original) and Star Trek: TNG.

Watson was able to understand the near intuitive based quirk of a Jeopardy “answer” in order to submit a “question”. It understands natural (spoken) language and the nature of a riddle. I read that the machine used to take two hours to process a question eventually getting down to under three seconds, because it can learn.

After Watson calculated an answer, he ranked it, indicating a level of self-confidence. If it was over a threshold like 50%, Watson pressed the buzzer. The machine also wagered for the last round – the final Jeopardy question.

It received all questions via text, but in the future Watson will be able to listen and probably see. That’s creepy.

I celebrate the technological advance, but I’m also freaked out by it.

I wasn’t surprised to see HAL, er, Watson win. He spanked both men with $77147, much higher than the combined winnings of $24,000 (Jennings) and $21,600 (Ruttner). However, no one went home empty handed. Watson received $1 million, all of which was donated to charity. The two men split their winnings with charity 50-50: Jennings won $300,000, and Rutter won $200,000. I liked the joke Ken Jennings offered during the final question, “I, for one, welcome our computer overlords.”

I don’t know if I do. However, I do appreciate this technological breakthrough in computing power. In a few years, we may all have our own personal Watson on our smart phones, smart pads, and whatever other technological tools come our way. The danger and the reward in this new technology, is that the more it helps us think, solve problems and delves deeper into complex situations – the less human beings and our intuitions are required.

With one hand technology giveth, and with the other it taketh.

I suppose the only way to stay ahead is to adapt, find the areas where we can offer assistance, be innovative, and continue to do things in areas where technology cannot take our place: creativity and ingenuity. Well, at least for now.

Let’s hope they keep Watson from becoming self-aware, emotional … and away from the military. Especially predator drones. 🙂

Geek Notes: I found out it was mostly programmed in Java and C++. Wow. I had Java and a bit of C++ in school. Those aren’t easy languages to understand. Maybe I’ll take another shot at Java one day.

Update: Video Clip – How Watson Works by Dr. Ferrucci of IBM. Mentions the compter from Star Trek: TNG, which he wanted to emulate.

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Korean Hip Hop / K-Pop: T.O.P – Turn It Up

Gorgeous young man. Makes me think of a young Vulcan, in a Spock-like kinda way. Sexy.

Everyone seems to move like Michael Jackson (R.I.P.) to me.

I wonder when the fusion of Korean and black American music occurred? That’s rather fascinating to me.

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Premiere’s List: 40 Most Handsome Hollywood Men

Chopped, modified, and borrowed from premiere.com. By: Premiere.com Staff, 08/21/2009 11:51 am

Mentally, I cross off the guys that still look like kids (at least to me). What’s left are these guys – in no particular order – that are a little rough around the edges (some might be geezers to y’all):

  • Bradley Cooper,
  • Ryan Reynolds,
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,
  • Johnny Depp (I just love him, it’s not about the looks anymore),
  • Eric Bana (goofy sexy),
  • Aaron Eckhart (slobber / drool),
  • Idris Elba (sorta has a sneaky vibe, but nice to look at),
  • Daniel Craig (fugly sexy),
  • Dennis Quaid,
  • Ed Burns (I can’t stand him, but yeah, I’d do him),
  • and old school handsome George Clooney (I like looking at him, not really interested in touching).

The other guys: Meh.

My snarky comments are under the picture captions.

Update: I tell you, the ladies added way way hotter additions than what Premiere came up with. See the comments section. 😀

1. James Franco

Mr Petulant and Sulky

2. Robert Pattinson

Here today. Gone tomorrow.
Here today. Gone tomorrow. Keep that hope alive.

3. Bradley Cooper

This picture does him no justice. I'd hit that.

4. Hugh Jackman

He's likeable. Handsome? Sorta.

5. Josh Duhamel

The guy leaves me dry. He's okay.

6. Ryan Reynolds

He really should stop wearing clothes.

7. Jake Gyllenhaal

I want to lobby Congress to pass legislative to keep him from "acting." Dude cannot act his way out of a paperbag. Always the same expression throughout an entire movie. As for being handsome: Meh.

8. Christian Bale

He's good looking, but the "crazy" wipes it away. How could Premiere leave out Sam Worthington?

My addition: Sam Worthington

He's not on the list! Are these people nuts?

9. Channing Tatum

Is it the steroids? Is he John Cena's mini-me? Probably.
John Cena will kick your ass!

10. Orlando Bloom

He's never going to look like an adult.

11. James Marsden

Good looking guy, he just never looks right on screen. Do they do it on purpose?

12. Brad Pitt

Mr. Smug, Smirky, and Annoying

13. Jamie Foxx

Chinese Shar Pei aka Jamie Foxx

14. Gerard Butler

Not actually handsome, but he is an entertaining actor.

15. Joseph Gordon Levitt

He's been an old man his entire life. Ease up on the recreational drugs dude.

16. Zac Efron

My how he's grown.

17. Chris Pine

I give him props for nailing the Captain Kirk-a-tude correctly.

18. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

I wont hold my breath that half-negro will ever co-star a real black woman as his love interest. He's still fine though.

19. Jonathan Rhys Meyers

I don't get the attraction for this guy, but I wont hate on him. He's a good actor.

20. Jay Hernandez

¿quién es este? Who is this? Never heard of the guy.

21. Robert Downey Jr.

Downey's got "crazy man" eyes.

22. Denzel Washington

At least he's not afraid of co-starring with a black actress. Much love, Denzel!

23. Johnny Depp

Ever since 21 Jump Street, still love the guy. Don't be afraid of the sisters Johnny, at least co-star with one in a major flick (the pirate franchise doesn't count).

24. Leonardo DiCaprio

For the longest time I still thought he was in his 20s. He is an old man though!

25. Emile Hirsch

Sorry. He looks like a woman to me.

26. Chris Messina

Who?

27. Paul Rudd

He reminds me of Jason Bateman.
The brother of Paul Rudd?

28. Eric Bana

So hot. And I forgive him for the Hulk movie.

29. Tyrese Gibson

Think we'll ever see a black woman with his features get work like him? Oh, I didn't think so either. I was wondering if he now has in his contract to not have any black women as his co-star. Just wondering.

30. Aaron Eckhart

(Drool / slobber) I forgive him for working with Gwenyth Paltrow, I guess he needed the work.

31. Gael García Bernal

Great actor. Willing to do any role. To the point where it is disgusting. Is he handsome? After a few drinks. Probably.

32. Idris Elba

Good looking, but he has such a "I'm sneaky" vibe about him.

33. Daniel Craig

Totally fugly. Totally sexy. Watch him walk.

34. Ryan Gosling

He lacks gravitas. He cannot carry a film.

35. Josh Lucas

The little brother of Matthew McConaughey. Just kidding.

36. Dennis Quaid

Looking good old man. I would hit that.

37. Milo Ventimiglia

Meh. I suspect he got Simone killed off of Heroes.

38. Ed Burns

Irritating voice. Irritating man. Yeah, I'd do him.

39. George Clooney

Great actor. Nice to look at.

40. Ewan McGregor

Like Rhys Meyers, I don't get the attraction factor, but he's a decent actor.
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District 9

District 9 is the first major film effort of director Neill Blomkamp backed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings maestro). Shot documentary style, it is funny, gory (I likes!), and action packed. Not a dull moment.

I enjoyed this movie, but it was a guilty sort of pleasure. It has one too many offensive, down right nasty, depictions of black people to ignore. At the same time, I thought the story about how cruel human beings are couldn’t be denied.

Per usual, I saw it, because I needed to get out of the house. I remembered the fascinating premiere when I was watching another movie. I was thinking then: a major sci-fi film set in South Africa, alrighty-now!

This was easily one of the best sci-fi films of the year. However, it must come second to Star Trek, because the racism fail was too glaring. I mean, you know it was bad when people clapped at the death of a black character, and remained silent at the death of a white who was equally a bad character.

Without giving away too much of this film: an Office-type, South African bureaucrat, self-important, bigoted moron, named Wikus Van De Merwe (convincingly and superbly played by Sharlto Copley) makes a big mistake during his job to evict aliens from the shanty town they were living in.

The aliens (derisively called “Prawns”) have a ginourmous space ship, which stalled over Johannesburg 28 years ago. MNU, which serves as the architype of the typical, evil, greedy, amoral, psychopathic organization or corporation, is in charge of the aliens.

At first, these beings were welcomed, but over time are treated worse than the blacks (of South Africa) used to be. Take your pick of oppressed minorities segregated from the mainstream of society, shunted to a reservation, a concentration camp, experimented on, abused and maligned, and you get the gist of what’s going on.

People have questions as to why the aliens couldn’t easily get out of their predicament. I look at it this way: when a plane crashes, could anyone – even if everyone survives – realistically rebuild the plane? I’ve been to the Air and Space Musuem, it is not that easily. Hasn’t anyone watched Lost, and realized that?

Next, the alien leaders of the ship was gone. I could point to many parallels as to what humans are like when the top 10%-20% do not guide their populace in the right direction. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s the top of the bell curve that runs the human race.

Our man, Wikus, is not a hero. He never becomes a hero. At least, in my eyes. He acts bravely when it would help his cause. This to me, made the film extremely honest about the motivations of persons like himself. He may be the average guy: never going to stick out his neck, until it’s his neck that’s on the block.

This film didn’t depress me, but I thought about how clear eyed it was about how we would treat visitors from outer space if they needed us. The history of how humans have treated each other makes me feel that the aliens should have, or must keep on going on, and forget about us. The word humane and humanity is really a joke.

I look forward to the sequel.

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Mocking Star Trek: Imagining "Women" in Charge

The original Star Trek gang. Uhura is enough. No other “women” are needed.


Please note:
I wrote this to express my irritation with feminists, sci-fi fans, trekkies / trekkers who pretend to be pro-woman. Let’s be frank, for some of them it’s all white women, all the time. I’m for female empowerment, but not at the expense of black women, reality, a coherent plot, or the story’s canon.

There have been plenty of movies without women (note plural) in the lead, like Star Wars, or even in the movie, and there was nary a ruckus, or peep, for more of them to be included.

Star Trek was a fantastic film, as is. I hope it stays that way. ‘Cause I refuse to see any more films without a black woman in the lead, or when she is included has to be shown with respect and as a normal personal.


Star Trek was an excellent movie. Saw it three times. Might see it a fourth time. Will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out.

I’ve been reading some of the commentary and fan fiction regarding this reboot of Star Trek.

I’m amused by the request for more women in the lead. Oh, but which type of women?

So, Uhura wasn’t enough for these folks. Was it because she wasn’t a woman of the right hue?

I see through these people who are pretending to be nick picky with the movie. The film was re-introducing us to the same characters from the original television program, which was seven people at its core.

Oh, but room must be made for more women characters. If Uhura was a white chick with blond hair, like on every other bloody damn movie and television show, there wouldn’t be that kind of whining demand coming down the pike.

These folks ain’t nothing, but a bunch of greedy, narcissistic, and selfish wenches.

I’ve decided to outline my own version of this new Star Trek if it was written by, and for, the few people who appreciate and love Battlestar Galactica. That show’s two hour pilot and first season was marvelous, then over the following years the quality, intelligence, and coherence rapidly goes down hill. Sorta like how Heroes, and Lost, suffered the same fate.

The following is a sarcastic fan fiction summary of what would have made those “oh, but more (white) women, please” whiners happy. Regardless of Star Trek canon, we must satisfy the demands for (white) women being stars of this story.

In case you haven’t noticed, white women, especially anorexic blonds, are a necessary evil in every entertainment program today. Even though their last minute additions, or central characters, have no additional net positive effect on ratings.

Oh well, somebody’s gotta promote that white supremacy.

The perfectly amazing woman of Star Trek: Jaime Tiberius Kirk.

You must be familiar with the recent movie Star Trek, and tv show BSG, to get some of my points.

  1. When Nero encounters the USS Kelvin, Captain Robau is a woman. She would be brown-haired and white, not a very handsome and gorgeous Eastern brown-skinned actor.
  2. If she was an alien like those in Star Trek: TNG, then she would be a (white) actress with a heavy ridged forehead and some tattoos.
  3. Nero, the Romulan, doesn’t kill her, he keeps her hostage. I’ll state why later.
  4. George Kirk doesn’t get the glory in this re-write by those who require more (white) women characters. Nope. He’s not even first officer. His pregnant wife, Winona, is. However, she makes George take her place on the suicide mission. This is to ensure that she receives all of the accolades for saving those 800 people, not George.
  5. James Kirk is a woman in this reboot. He’s been renamed Jaime, but still keeps Tiberius (as a middle name) to help keep it real. He, I mean she, would look the same, be much thinner, have a five o’clock shadow, square jaw, and be as obnoxious and promiscuous – which is a very important characteristic for a (white) woman leading character – as the original Kirk.
  6. Yet, in this case, Jaime would be considered “hot”, “kick-ass”, a “blond beauty” for her masculine, aggressive, and manly ways. Jaime would have breasts (maybe). We’d know Jaime is a woman, because the crew would periodically refer to this character as “she.” Oh, and by the way, everyone wants to do her, because Jaime has blue eyes and blond hair. That’s always, always, always the case, and don’t you fer-git-it! Why, even Uhura came onto her at that bar in Iowa!
  7. Spock never re-assigns Uhura to the USS Enterprise. She would never be seen again since she’d disappear with the rest of the fleet that left before the Enterprise. He has no reaction to news of her death, thus making those greedy, narcissistic, and selfish wenches happy.
  8. Instead, Gaila, the “green” chick, would be on the Enterprise. Ergo, she’d be the second hottest (white) woman on the ship after Jaime.
  9. Tyler Perry makes his cameo dressed as Madea. This is the preferable way for a black woman to appear in the media, with a 6’4″ black male ridiculously “acting” as one.
  10. Sulu and Chekhov would be an openly gay couple, or Chekhov would be another (white) woman. Take your pick.
  11. Spock obviously has the hots for Jaime, because they argue throughout the whole movie.
  12. Nero still vaporizes Vulcan, but it is Spock’s father, Sarek, who dies. His mother, Amanda, lives. Although he loses a planet of his people, he’s not as upset as he is in the reboot movie version. Spock’s mother is alive, therefore keeping another important (white) woman in the story.
  13. Pike stays a man. Gotta have at least one dick in the lead. Unfortunately, he’s held, Federation Security information is extracted, and he is promptly, grotesquely, and rather violently dispatched.
  14. Spock and Jaime fight. Unsurprisely, the big bitch fights the Vulcan to a draw. It’s possible, right? Haven’t we seen enough BullShitGalore, and other entertainment, to know a female can beat a male even if he’s a super-strong alien?
  15. Nothing much changes in these scenes: Prime Spock meets Jaime Kirk. He says, “We were more than friends,” and brain dumps their entire special, special history into Jaime’s big ol’ empty head, not just the time travel, black hole stuff. This also makes the mentally challenged shippers of Kirk/Spock very happy.
  16. Entering the final stretch: Jaime Kirk and Spock are getting set to leave and save everyone. Yet, not before Jaime looks at Spock and says, “I know how you really feel about me.” Cause everybody wants Jaime: Ms Blond Blue Eyed Super-thin Mannish Five-O’clock Shadow Square Jaw Hyper-Aggressive Can-Keep-Up-With-The-Boys Woman. She’s just soooooooooooooo hot, and sexy.
  17. Quickly, Spock and Jaime exchange open mouth slobbering wet drooly kisses, panting, groping, exchanging much spit, before they are transported to the Romulan ship.
  18. They find out Pike is dead, and scrape up the pieces to bring back the body.
  19. As an added bonus they find Captain Robau, who’s pregnant with her umpteenth child.
  20. Why is she pregnant? Following commonly used, absolutely stupid, and retarded sci-fi tropes, the Romulans decide they want / need / desire / lust / crave Earth (white) women to re-start their race. Although, in this case, it is not necessary, Romulus still exists. However, even though they may view humans as inferior, just one look at a (white) woman turns their pointy-eared heads. Remember, Romulans are the extremely passionate Vulcan-types.
  21. The Enterprise beams all those half-Romulan / half-Human chil’ren on board. A hysterical Captain Robau, with her many chil’ren – some of who are adults and staffed the Romulan ship, watches as her man Nero gets sucked into a black hole, and blown to hell.
  22. Quietly, she vows revenge on Jaime Kirk, providing the flimsy pretext for a sequel.
  23. The film bombs at the theaters, but the die-hards tell themselves that no one appreciates quality (ha!) sci-fi movies.

See, how easy and predictable that was? The fans of Battlestar Galactica (BullShitGalore) should ask for a movie of their show, and forget about asking Star Trek to be redefined, re-cast, and re-imaged to suit their bizarre requests and tastes.

Frankly, if Star Trek‘s producers sees fit to add another woman to the lead cast, make her a very dark-skinned Asian.

I’d like to see how those “add more women” wenches behave then.


This is a link the best fan fiction story I’ve recently discovered. It continues an interesting storyline regarding characters, Uhura and Spock primarily, from the Star Trek 2009 movie. I wouldn’t want it included in the sequel movie, but as a quasi-stand alone work of art, fan fiction, or sci-fi story, it is very, very good.

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Star Trek 2009 ~ SpockUhura

I doubt it’ll be up on YouTube for long, but I love this video. The music is in perfect sync, the creator is very good.


Update #1: I changed the video for one that seems to have more staying power. Not crazy about the music, but the imagery is still good.


Update #2: I’ve added my playlist from YouTube.com.

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