Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson: Musical Intelligence

From yesterday's Telegraph:

"Michael Jackson bequeathed 200 unpublished songs for children

Michael Jackson has bequeathed up to 200 original songs to his three children, it has been reported.

The singer put in place a contingency plan months before his death to ensure his children would be well taken care of in the event of bankruptcy.

It means the songs cannot be touched by the creditors and could be worth as much as $100 million. They have been left to Prince Michael, aged 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael, 11 (also known as Blanket)."

My favourite Michael Jackson tunes:



Billie Jean

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: Death of an Icon

BBC 2's Newsnight broke with an item that Michael Jackson had suffered cardiac arrest, but they did not confirm his death at close of programme. That confirmation came a little later on Sky News quoting LA Times:

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors this afternoon [Thursday 25 June 2009] after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.

Pop star Michael Jackson was rushed to a hospital this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.

Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home around 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The parademics performed CPR and took him to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda told The Times.

Following report from the Guardian:

Ashton Kutcher and wife Demi Moore have paid heartfelt tributes to Michael Jackson on their Twitter pages.

The Hollywood couple both posted tweets reacting to the tragic news soon after it broke.

Kutcher wrote: "RIP. Sending love and light to family and friend but especially his kids."

He added: "Plea to the press to respect his wishes of maintaining the anonymity of his children. I plea to the public to refuse to consume media that does not respect the anonymity of Michaels children."

Demi Moore wrote on Twitter: "I am greatly saddened for the loss of both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Especially for their children!"

While I believe Elvis Presley was the true 'king of pop' and I prefer the music of Prince, have to acknowledge the genius that was Michael Jackson. Will remember him for his famous moonwalk:

May his children be comforted greatly at this time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Emotional Robot

Japan are the most prolific robot-building nation. Unlike Honda's taciturn Asimo, Kobian's developers, according to an article at CCTV.COM, can express seven emotions, "through facial expressions and body movement":

Photo from here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Royal Society, The Royal Institution and the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup

All roads lead to cricket!

Any association between the Royal Society, the Royal Institution and the current ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup may seem tenuous but links do exist!

Fascinating IET-History of Technology Network organised tour of the Royal Institution last Friday unveiled fascinating facts by guide Professor Frank James. Not only was George Finch, 8th Earl of Winchilsea closely involved with the founding of the Institute, a place to connect science with people, famous for its laboratory where Sir Michael Faraday, a hero of Margaret Thatcher , conducted his electricity experiments, Finch was also one of the founders of the Marylebone Cricket Club, housed at Lord's in St. Johns Wood, London.

Sir Joseph Banks , a 19th century Royal Society President, accompanied explorer Captain James Cook on his first voyage to Australia and New Zealand, both now cricket-playing nations. A strong cricket team, Australia's shock elimination from the early round of the 2009 ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, with New Zealand losing out today on a semi-finals place to Sri Lanka, leaves South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka progressing to the semis of the tournament. And may the best team win.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Once again Christian Bale is cinematically overshadowed by an Aussie. In the Dark Knight it was the late Heath Ledger who outperformed Bale's Batman. This time, it is Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator's worthy successor, Sam Worthington.

Uncannily Schwarzenegger-like aesthetically, as the altruistic cyborg, Worthington makes the fourth Terminator film worth the movie-house ticket. With scenes reminiscent of Mad Max, Transformers and many collision/explosion-centred special effects movies, it pales in comparison to T2-Judgment Day's ground-breaking spectacle.

Though he's busy with Avatar, what any Terminator sequel needs is JAMES CAMERON!

Click for link to Warner Brothers' Terminator Salvation movie site. Below Salvation clip from YouTube:

Monday, June 01, 2009

2009 Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence

Hugh Loebner's announcement on Robitron Yahoo group:

"There were 5 entrants for Loebner Prize 2009.

Two entries were excluded: One entry would not run, and one entry sent a commercial version of his program with the promise that it would be modified for the LPP for the finals.

Three entries complied with LPP, and have been accepted for the finals. They are:

Rollo Carpenter (multiple winner)
Mohan Embar (first time entrant)
David Levy (winner of 1997 competition)

Since the number of working entries was less than 4, I did not bother to score them.

Congratulations to the finalists, and may the best bot win.

Hugh Loebner"

(Mohan Embar submitted Chip Vivant to Loebner Prize 2008's preliminary phase, the judges did not select the system for the finals last October)