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Did I just see UFOs?

Around 9:55pm. I sat by my window in the back at my apartment at East 72nd st and 2nd Ave, New York City. I saw a bunch of objects flying in the sky. They all have wings like eagles. But they either glow the yellowish light or reflect yellowish light from somewhere. They flied just like birds, or more like insects. And the flying patter is really just like those computer simulation of flock of birds such as Craig Reynolds’ Boyd . I thought they are not airplanes. The number of them is around 10. (I didn’t count. And I have no courage to rush to pick up my camera because I thought they are going to disappear very soon) I feel whole duration that I saw them is around 1 minute. Then they all disappeared into cloud. (Or they just turn off the glowing…) Later, I saw two other lights, standard blue and red. That definitely is an airplane with steady pattern.

I waited for a while, then I thought I probably won’t see them again. Then I just rushed in front of my computer to blog this down.

I wonder any other people saw this. Is this a grand illusion of mine? But anyway, it is amazed that I can see something like this in New York City in a clear night. (I can see three starts, probably some planets in our Solar system).

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Finally we can use RESTful apis from Google

I was reading Google Ajax Search api document last night. A new link in the page just came up.

Flash and other Non-Javascript EnvironmentsNew!
Geeze, I did not see anyone mentioned this on any blog recently. Maybe I am really not following trends closely. But this is a wonderful news. Even we can read the javascript code before from Google’s Ajax api and
use the mechanism unofficially, I am always not sure Google’s position in their interpretation of terms of services. Now this is basically open the door.
What this mean to all non Javascript environment may be meaningful. If you go to CPAN to see all implementations Google Search, you see all of them stop development after Google dropped is SOAP based search api. But now I think a renaissance for those development will happen very soon.
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Sometime it is hard to imagine when you never had a chance.

Daniel Berninger on GigaOM wrote a post: Here Comes Trouble: Telephone Number Tyranny has a very interesting quote from Edward Tuck’s speech in 1996 IEEE (I failed to find out original speech and not sure who Edward Tuck is and the exact conference) Below is the quote from the speech:

Telephone service I had in 1984 was in most ways worse than the service I got when I was a little boy in the South in the 1930s. Then, I’d pick up the receiver, and the lady would say, “Number, please,” and I’d say, “I want my Mommy!” She might say, “Well, Skippy, she was over at Miz Ferguson’s, but she left there and now she’s at Miz Furrey’s. Somebody’s using the phone there right now, but I’ll break in and tell them you need your Mama.” We had call waiting, call forwarding, executive override and voice recognition. I didn’t even have to dial. Things went straight downhill from there.

It is very amazing that I bet for most people in the world born after public switch telephone network never think that you can have conversation like this to help a little boy to make a phone call to his mom! And this intrigues me. As a programmer I notice that when I try to write down any program, my assumptions are never complete founded. And when I want to design a device, the device reflects my personal opinion about how something can be done in certain way. But I am limited by my own experience in life. If I never experience some alternative way of performing the same task, I may lose a possible mechanism that may be better than what I imagine!

And unfortunately, programmers sometime become arrogant in their own mastery of induction reasoning. At the same time, induction reasoning was limited by the possible choice of the axioms. It takes almost 2000 years to strike mathematicians that parallel postulate can be changed, and the whole system is different! Not by proving in can be deducted from other postulates, but treat it as a postulate that can be switched.

So I need to be humble, and always be doubtful when I am confident, because I never know the whole universe.

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Testosterone and creativity.

A 2003 paper in evolution psychology by Satoshi Kanazawa was mentioned today on Hacker News. The paper: Why Productivity Fades with Age: The Crime-Genius Connection proposed an interesting interpretation for a statistical phenomenon. Why male creativity decreased by age? Kanazawa compiled statistics from two groups, one is accomplished scientists, another is career criminals. He found that a correlation between age and their respective activities in samplers’ careers. Both groups’ output drops sharply after marriages. He suggests the possible explanation to this correlation is due to that testosterone level decreased when males enter steady relationships with females because there is no need to compete against other males in secure female reproduction to pass genes.

When I was young in school studying physics, a common advice from professors is to pick up hard theories and study them as early as possible, because from their own experiences, you will lose your brain after you are old and will not be able to propose new ideas in the field. One of the professor always wanted me to pick up quantum field theory, because in late 80’s and early 90’s, the field had developed the most complex and powerful mathematical and computational tools. So if I don’t study it as early as possible, I will never have a chance to understand it. I unfortunately did not take the advice and turned to hack programs. Well, I somewhat regret now it because in New York City, most quants in hedge fund industry deploy those tools to make gazillions of dollars. Who said nerds can’t get rich, as long as he studies the right trick.

So the theory basically excludes some other common explanation to decrease of creativity such as aging, frustrated marriage or devotion of energy to raising children. Instead, even a happy marriage and family life which leaves you freedom in pursuing career will doom your creativity! Because your mind just signal your body that you are already achieving your evolution destiny: passing the gene! Then your body switches off all drives to compete with other males and performing other tasks that is important to keep your offspring safe.

So I guess for any woman who tries hard to lock up an alpha male, this is a bad news, if it is irrefutable. Because if he is an alpha, he will start to lose interests in you and turn to next target, so he can keep his testosterone level high as he is single and remains his competitive advantage as an alpha. He may let you to take care of his children and give your material support to make sure the children are not harmed. Or he will just lose his alpha male status and become a family man, and he is no more that alpha male who emanates scent of a winner that makes you knee down in front of him and raise his children. But maybe you feel safe to stay with him, or either look out for another alpha male to keep the thrill, and the worst case is you let him to raise this stranger’s offspring(s).

So for all creative guys, we should all do what Pablo Picasso did, be a heart breaker, but had some kids and laughed before you die for all you have done!

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sitting by a budding model

In New York City subway, you always have a chance to meet strangers that may be hard for you to meet outside your normal social circle. On my way home today, I rushed to slide my Metro card to catch an uptown 6 train. I then noticed there were two runway model type girls sitting in my cart. Well, it is Spring street, part of the fashion business center in the city. Both are tall skinny Eastern European looks with high cheek bone, blond hair and blue eyes. It is going to be fashion show soon, they probably just finished a day with designers. The girl sat beside me looked at the other girl for a while. Then she opened her bag reading some documents. I was sorry that my curiosity made my eyes wander the piece of paper on her hands instead of her image reflection from window. Wow, Marc Jacobs and she is an East European like my guess. Cutting costs seems the most important business consideration today and Eastern European girls generally looks more fashionably skinny. She dropped off on 14th street. I wonder whether she is living in, Brooklyn? Or she may be living with a boyfriend who makes enough money to live in chic Union Square neighborhood. A budding model does not earn big check, otherwise she will not take subway like this. Maybe one day she will be famous, rich and whoever she aspires to be, just like everyone else here, running trading, writing programs, making music, designing clothes and hustling on the street. It is Manhattan, New York.

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John McCarthy’s dream of future

A question showed up on Hacker News today: On: AI is hard, so just outsource the I , citing Outsourced Robot Brains.

It reminds me John McCarthy wrote on his website in 1995 that because Robotics and Artificial Intelligence had been progressing so slowly, but communication and internet technology has been progressing faster, it may be better in economic sense to developer tele serve to let developing countries provide labor service remotely to developed countries. This cost effective solution will bring win-win situation to make living standard among developed countries and developing countries better. Readers can check out his idea about making a world of population 12 billions in 21st century with basic living standard as United States in 1995 at least here, and the specific piece on tele serve here

John McCarthy has been a steady humanist and believes with effort, human being can build democracy, prosperity and ecology friendly world without making earthy worthy, that make him one time in old Usenet days, an archenemy among environmental activists. You can find out those in Google Group archive and Wikipedia entry of John McCarthy (computer scientist).

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RSS to PodCast

When I was in PubSub long time ago, probably around 2004, I was thinking about turning RSS feeds into voice mp3 files. I thought it would be great for people listening to their content based subscriptions while performing other tasks such as driving. I am lucky to live in New York City, where I can get by with our aging MTA system with a headphone on. But for most Americans driving is part of necessary evil in life. So why not providing some extra channels? I played around Mbrola and Festival and understood the quality is not what I expected, and I needed more support to spend time on making them work. But I thought there would be someone working on the idea. Idea is cheap. Execution counts.

I am glad that Odiogo makes that idea work! And they even have an Ad inserted podcasts plugin in WordPress! I am glad the quality is much closer to natural speech. It sounds very good, better than my accented speech, haha. So I decided to apply their service and add a podcast plugin into every post. So you can listen to my NSFW speech all the time on your way.

Next step, can we turn a hot page 3 girl picture into a series of giggling? I guess that probably a bad stereotype and some time look and voice are not really match.

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Social Graph

Brad Fitzpatrick did a long talk on Social Graph. The presentation can be viewed in

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Giants won.

I was on the phone with my sister. Suddenly, roars, honks, whistles, and yells just filled the air. I told my sister I think Giants won the super bowl 2008. I guess after Yankees failed the ALCS, Mets forfeited playoff and Knicks. A team from New York won something! I guess it is just like Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, we need constant serotonin to make us feel good.

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Spam dropping

I guess the reboot just reset all spam bots. It is just a hunch from me because I did not see any new comment waiting to be approved. But before I put on recaptcha, a bot from dftone just register itself as a user, but I guess the Ajax comment on this blog make it harder to look for the comment form.

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