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HAL9000

Stephen Hawking: Artificial intelligence could be a 'real danger'

stephen hawking
© Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
Musing on a robot-dominated world, imaginary time, and parallel universes.
I don't want to frighten you. I'll leave it to Stephen Hawking to do that.

The famed physicist made an appearance last night on HBO's "Last Week Tonight," and had a deep and meaningful conversation with host John Oliver. Well, at least Hawking's side of the conversation was deep and meaningful.

Oliver asked him what was the one thing he most wanted people to grasp. Hawking replied: "Imaginary time."

"Imaginary time is like another direction in space," he said. "It's the one bit of my work science fiction writers haven't used."

Honestly, I thought that all sci-fi was written merely by adding blood, gore, and sex to the work of scientists. So why haven't sci-fi writers built stories around imaginary time? "They don't understand it," he said.

I can't pretend to understand it either. However, it's something to do with time that runs in a different direction to the time that gnaws at us every day.

Most importantly, however, Oliver wanted to know about artificial intelligence. Like so many artificial things, it carries with it the idea that it could be noxious or even deadly.

Black Cat 2

Ten laws regulating the esoteric and supernatural

© Batton Lash
When do you need to tell a prospective buyer your house is haunted? Where do you need a license to practice necromancy or to be reincarnated? And where can you file a lawsuit against a supernatural being? These real-life laws will tell you all that and more.

1. In some cases, US home sellers must tell a buyer if a property is haunted.

There are all sorts of disclosures that home sellers must make to potential buyers, but do you really need a ghost disclosure? Some states require a seller to disclose if a property is "psychologically impacted" in some way, such as from a recent murder on the premises.

If your house is famously said to be haunted, however, you may want to make sure the buyer is aware of the situation. In the 1991 case Stambovsky v. Ackley, Helen Ackley had sold her Nyack, New York, property after she and other members of her family had widely reported that the house was haunted by poltergeists. Jeffrey Stambovsky, unaware of the stories surround the house, purchased the home and later sued, requesting rescission of the contract of sale. The New York Supreme Court justices had a field day writing that opinion, stating that the "plaintiff hasn't a ghost of a chance" and "I am moved by the spirit of equity." While the court didn't state that poltergeists actually exist, it did say that, based on wide reports of the house's haunted status, that its value was affected and therefore the house was haunted as a matter of law.
Smiley

Spectator tries to take on horses in bizarre racecourse stunt in England

Man vs Horses
© Sky
Speed: A spectator leaps the fence and tries to compete during a race meet.
We all love a thrilling horse race.

But the excitement on the turf appears to have been all too much for one punter... who decided to get involved himself.

The lone spectator left the stands, vaulted a fence and took to the field mid-way through the race.

Despite sprinting at full pelt, he was quickly overtaken by the ten galloping horses and their determined riders.

But the white-shirted man was fortunate not to be trampled under the hooves of the animals on the field.

It is unknown what action, if any, was taken against the spectator. Previous attempts at gate-crashing the turf have ended in serious injury or death.
Treasure Chest

If you thought the wage gap was bad, Chelsea Clinton's salary for doing nothing will shock you

Chelsea Clinton
© Unknown
Journalists were lighting the torches and toting pitchforks when Jill Abramson was fired from the New York Times over wage discrimination, but Chelsea Clinton might tip the scales the other way with her enormous salary for doing nothing:
Chelsea Clinton had a $600,000 annual contract with NBC but has recently switched over to a month-to-month arrangement in case her mother runs for president.
...She joined the network as a special correspondent with a three-month trial period starting in November 2011 before she was signed on full time.

The segments that she worked on showed up largely on the now-defunct Rock Center with Brian Williams, and her most recent coverage aired on Nightly News but her last contribution came in January.
Smiley

South Carolina governor's unfortunate tweet: "We will no longer educate children..."

The governor of South Carolina created a mini-Twitter firestorm among the chattering class on Monday by mistakenly announcing that the state, in the process of passing education reform, "will no longer educate children."

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, seemed to type out a complete tweet only to attach an Instagram link at the end of it, a situation in which Twitter likely chopped up the message at an unfortunate point. The tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots of the image remain thanks to a number of political pundits and a mounting number of re-tweets.
Magic Wand

The sneaky secret behind a "stimulus package"

people falling cartoon
© www.zengardner.com
"Could use a little help here..."

Stay with this one. It is good.


It's a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

(Stay with this..... and pay attention)

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel Owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee.

And that, my friends, is how a "stimulus package" works.
Briefcase

Who needs a car when you have a drivable suitcase?

If you thought suitcases with wheels were handy, wait till you check out this new invention. It's an electric suitcase that not only has wheels, but is also equipped with a small motor - so instead of carrying or dragging it, and you actually get to ride it wherever you need to go. Getting by in an airport will seem a breeze with this bad boy. You just sit on it, start it up, and go!
Dollar

The Symbolic Universe couldn't be more clear: Vultures on K Street, an area known for highly paid lobbyists

© Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post
A vulture that has been hanging around K Street in Washington appears to be looking at its own reflection in an office window.
Hand Washington a chance to be self-deprecating, and, oh, will it deliver. Take Bob Schneider, who responded to the news that two vultures had made a home on K Street, an area known for highly paid lobbyists, with this comment: "I'm a retired lobbyist. I resent this remark, they are merely applying for jobs."

The jokes that people have left on The Washington Post's Web site and Facebook page since the story first appeared online Thursday have left no target safe.

Not politicians:

"We owe it to our fine feathered friends to provide a plethora of carcasses come this November. However, even a vulture might choke on some of them," wrote lelliot4.
Smiley

Man in gorilla suit mistakenly shot with tranquiliser dart at Spanish zoo

Gorilla_2
© Rex
A man dressed in a gorilla costume was shot by a dart.
A man dressed in a gorilla costume was shot with a tranquiliser dart after being mistaken for a real gorilla at a Spanish zoo, according to reports.

The staff member at Loro Parque in Tenerife was reportedly dressed in an ape suit for a practice drill when he was accidentally shot with the dart filled with enough drugs to take down a 400lb gorilla.

According to La Opinión de Tenerife newspaper, the employee was running around the zoo in the costume to add realism to the drill practicing what would happen if an animal escaped.
Mr. Potato

Leaked Obama workout tape: Well... that was awkward

© screenshot from youtube video by MostViewed02
Work it! Barack "I'm the most powerful man in the world" Obama is a bit of a light-weight.
A leaked video of President Obama pumping iron in a Polish gym has got social media in a spin. Far from complimenting the leader on his workout, people poked fun at the 'Nerd-in-Chief' for emboldening the enemy with his 'weedy' weights routine.

President Obama came to Eastern Europe to reaffirm his commitment to NATO allies over the crisis in Ukrainian amid criticism in Washington that he is not taking a hard enough line.


However, leaked footage of the President's workout in a Warsaw hotel has got social media users questioning Obama's tough-guy image. The video shows Obama making his way around the gym in a dark tracksuit, doing lunges and doing upper body exercises with a range of weights.


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