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A Post From The Stone Age – Boogieman In Lavender

rainbow TV - deposit photos

Stone Knives and Bearskins By Jeff Baker                                                 Our computers are down as I write this. At least, the modem and Internet are out. (Word processor still works.) Should have it back up sometime tomorrow. For the weekend we’ve been basically living in the 1970s, except with cable. It says a lot that I capitalized “Internet” above. We’ve come to depend on this thing. A lot. It has helped me get some of my writing published professionally and a lot of it posted. (It also brought my husband and I together but that’s another story.) We’ve had the T.V. on … Read more

Are Conscious Computers Impossible?

Artificial Intelligence AI - pixabay

Many advanced artificial intelligence projects say they are working toward building a conscious machine, based on the idea that brain functions merely encode and process multisensory information. The assumption goes, then, that once brain functions are properly understood, it should be possible to program them into a computer. Microsoft recently announced that it would spend US$1 billion on a project to do just that. So far, though, attempts to build supercomputer brains have not even come close. A multi-billion-dollar European project that began in 2013 is now largely understood to have failed. That effort has shifted to look more like … Read more

SCIENCE: Storing Data in DNA

DNA - Pixabay

Government intelligence agencies have a plan to build computers that store information inside DNA and other organic molecules. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a group within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that develops technologies for U.S. intelligence services, announced plans to develop “tabletop”-sized machines that can store and retrieve data from large batches of polymers — a term that refers to a wide variety of long, stringlike molecules. Polymers can store data in the sequence of individual atoms or groups of atoms. The project, which was reported by Nextgov, is an attempt to solve a basic … Read more

TECH: Want a Computer That’s a Million Times Faster?

laser beam

A billion operations per second isn’t cool. Know what’s cool? A million billion operations per second. That’s the promise of a new computing technique that uses laser-light pulses to make a prototype of the fundamental unit of computing, called a bit, that could switch between its on and off, or “1” and “0” states, 1 quadrillion times per second. That’s about 1 million times faster than the bits in modern computers. Conventional computers (everything from your calculator to the smartphone or laptop you’re using to read this) think in terms of 1s and 0s. Everything they do, from solving math … Read more

Will Handwriting Be Written Off?

When I was in elementary school, we learned both block writing and cursive. I hated cursive. Some people are able to write in cursive and create beautiful handwriting. Mine always looked scrunched up and messy. I have to say, I haven’t used cursive sense my high school days. Even when I write a letter, well, a birthday card, I use block letters. Nevertheless, I’ve been sad to see a number of articles saying schools are no longer teaching cursive. It has something to do with computers making hand-written communication obsolete, and the fact that people just don’t use it anymore, … Read more