1. Human supremacy under threat as computer beats world “Go” champion?
- “Yesterday I was surprised but today it’s more than that — I am speechless”.
A key to victory was that the computer after being trained on a database of some 30 million moves from historical games played by experts then improved itself by playing games against itself. The game requires intuition and evaluation as well as calculation.
In chess there are about 20 choices for every move. In Go there are about 200.
On radio today a tech expert explained that there were 10 to the power of 80 atoms in the entire universe. In a whole game of chess there were 10 to the power of 120. However in a game of Go there were 10 to the power of 320.
However, he said that a person every day deals with more possibilities than either, and he saw the activity as framed and safe.
The man behind the computer, Demis Hassabis, says either way humanity wins. They are still on the way to finding real world problem-solving applications.
You can always pull the plug out of the wall.
Thanks to John D for the initial link.
2. Messing with Barnaby’s mind
Tony Windsor has decided to challenge Barnaby Joyce in the seat of New England. Probably Joyce will hold on, but Michelle Grattan reckons Windsor will mess with Joyce’s susceptible mind.
She says Windsor plays the man and he plays rough.
Joyce will have to campaign nationally as leader of the Nats and deputy PM, but he’ll have to spend a lot of time in his electorate or he’ll be done over.
Elsewhere, Sophie Mirabella is going to try to win back Indi from Cathy McGowan.
All good fun!
3. Palmer messes up Queensland Nickel
Can Clive Palmer run anything?
Last March he closed Coolum Resort for major renovations, but there has been nothing but ructions ever since. He’s lost most of his party politicians.
The same chaos has now descended on the nickel refinery in Townsville.
First Queensland Nickel went into administration. Then the administrator was shunted and Queensland Nickel Sales, a new Palmer entity run by the same people, took the operation back off the administrator, tipping in $25 million. 550 workers await their fate, but will have been sacked this Friday by the entity that employs them.
There was a kerfuffle over government permits, now largely resolved, and nickel shipments, brought in by boat, have been cancelled.
Palmer reckons he’s going to rehire the 550 workers, and was to write them a letter at noon on Friday. Will they be able to carry over their rights and entitlements?
Talking to ABC RN’s PM Professor Ian Ramsay wonders whether the companies QNI has dealt with (who are owed heaps of money) will want to deal with the new entity.
4. Music is us
ABC Catalyst’s program Music on the Brain is worth catching on iview if you didn’t see it. Music can bring oldies withdrawn and suffering from dementia to life. Emotions are stirred and mamories flood back.
People whose movement is frozen by severe Parkinson’s can suddenly walk smoothly and even dance.
I have no doubt that as Homo sapiens developed language and other attributes that charactarise us, music and dance was part of the story.
5. What’s with Trump?
Michael Tesler and John Sides at Washington Post have done a series of three articles on why Trump has so much appeal.
First, most Americans and many Republicans in particular are not orthodox ideologues. Second, white identity and hostility to minority groups are strongly correlated with Trump support.
In other words racism. But Trump actually does better in mixed race states where white identity is under threat than in predominantly white states.
Finally, a third important factor is the economic struggles that some Americans are experiencing.
They say that even if he’s given the gig Americans won’t elect him. Thing is, if it’s Hillary, plenty of people don’t like her much and the dirt digging will be something else.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.