Afternoon De-Lites.

 

Who is Judging These Things?

 

This is a picture of one of the Goldens at the Westminster Dog Show.  The winning dog was a Scottish Deerhound.  A Scottish who now?  If I was judging, and I saw this Golden in the back stage area I politely would have told everyone that the show was over, and then I may have tried to steal the dog.  I think The National Dog Show should start fan voting like American Idol.

The Albert Pujols deadline passed.  No contract.  I guess this means Pujols will hit the open market.  If you are St. Louis do you still try to negotiate, or does that just annoy Albert more at this point?  I have a feeling Albert didn’t want an extension that badly.  I’m also tired of hearing the idiots call sports radio talking Ryan Howard for Pujols.  Pujols is going to veto any trade morons, open up the ear devices and listen.  I may have to ban sports radio, local host Tony Bruno said this afternoon that Dave Hollins, “had a great arm in right field.”  And, part of me wept.

I don’t know if there are any pro wrestling fans out there…I certainly am not a fan, but I do like the sound bites the wrestlers give when they are good at them.  No one was ever better than this than The Rock.  One of my college roommates watched wrestling and would always grab me when the Rock was about to do one of his bits.  Well, the Rock came back to Monday Night Raw this week.  I saw the link, thought about it, and then watched him do his thing for about 15 mins.  Can’t act a lick, but can still captivate the wrestling crowd.  I think his ovation probably betters the one Cliff Lee gets opening day.

A Central Bucks East (suburban Philly) high school teacher, Natalie Munroe,  lost her job over her blog.  It appears the material that got her in trouble has been taken down, but from what I understand it was dotted with rants against high school students.  She called them lazy, unmotivated, etc.  So, basically, she was venting the truth about high school kids.  The blog was as general as possible, not listing specific names, and Munroe claims it was about the education system in general, and not her specific classes.  Is this appropriate behavior for a teacher?  Is firing her the solution? Now they’ve created a whirlwind of attention, Munroe will get her 15 mins, there will a possible lawsuit, she could come out on the other side with another job, or some BS writing gig…wouldn’t it just be easier to let her have her blog? Teaching is a nightmare at times I imagine, just like any other job.  Should she have kept it more private?  Yeah, but to think every other teacher isn’t out there nodding their head in agreement is insane.

Quiz of the Day:  Dum Dum Lollipop Flavors.  Category:  Uh, Dum Dums.  My Score: 20/32.

Not sure what to make of my score.  There was a time when I was no stranger to the Dum Dum.  They used to hand them out at a diner to all the cute little kids like me.  Big Ups Minella’s!  But, it was a dangerous game.  God forbid you get banana.  Anything but banana!  See, I’m giving free answers again.

Watson Throttling Jeopardy Dorks.

 

Colors that Rhyme With Urple for 200.

 

I was excited for this man vs. machine Jeopardy battle and then I almost completely missed it.  If it hadn’t been for a headline I saw on the internet machine, I wouldn’t have been tuning in on Tuesday night for round two of a 3-day battle.  The first of two games was stretched over two days so that IBM could get their share of air time.  The show did feel like a bit like a long IBM commercial, but it’s Jeopardy, not some movie you paid 12 bucks to see, so it’s not the end of the world.  Listening to the IBM people was pretty interesting as well, because I can’t fathom the technology and ingenuity it would take to make this computer.  I still don’t really understand how a telephone works.  I don’t want to try to figure out how computers do anything, let alone dominate trivia shows.

The game itself probably didn’t live up to expectations.  The problem is, the computer (Watson) is just too good with buzzing in for an answer.  The only thing that slows its ringing in is if it has some doubt about the answer it will give. This gives the humans (Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter) time to slip in an occasional answer.  The show today, I’d say Watson rang in first at least 90% of the time.  And, it was almost always correct.  I’d say the most interesting thing about Watson is that you can see its top-3 answers for the questions with weighted confidences.  The first choice is usually correct and has a confidence in the 95% range.  The other choices are often odd answers with very low confidence.  This is because the hardest thing for Watson to do, is decipher the question.  Those tricky Jeopardy punsters.

This isn’t really a fair fight, and I felt a little badly for Jennings and Rutter.  Although, not really for Ken Jennings.  I think he was a little bit of a Jeopardy creation.  Obviously, the guy is very good, but his streak of wins was uncommonly lucky.  I don’t want to say there was foul play, but Jeopardy could certainly manage the outcome a bit once the streak was building and they started getting incredible amounts of attention.  If you watch Jeopardy, you know that not all contestants are made equal, and I wonder if Ken got more than his share of B-teamers during his run?  Just a little conspiracy theory.  When Jennings is up against other dominant players, like Rutter, he is at-best on their level, and probably in the case of Rutter, just slightly below.  I guess it’s like Joe-D’s streak, just because he hit in 56 straight, doesn’t mean he’s the best hitter who ever lived.

Getting back to it not being a fair fight, high level Jeopardy is all about ringing in, and the human participants don’t have much of a chance, so they sit there and look like idiots while Watson streaks to a huge lead.  For the purposes of the game, they’ve really just proven that the computer has faster reflexes.  Which is still incredibly impressive.  I can’t overstate how cool the computer is.   I’m someone who gets excited when a calculator spits out a correct answer.  This is unbelievable.  My main complaint with Watson is that if I had to get an answer right, one answer, to a question that wasn’t necessarily impossible, I’d still take Jennings or Rutter over the machine.

When Watson misses, it misses big.  Like in Final Jeopardy, a lay-up of a question about U.S. Cities produced the answer, “Toronto” from Watson.  Luckily, the computer only risked about 1,000 dollars and maintained its huge lead, but on the one of the easiest questions all night Watson wasn’t even in the ballpark.  So, the practical application of this machine may still be far off.  Also, why can’t we make any advances in computerized speech?  This thing sounds like the computer in War Games.  If I was at IBM, I’d be a little embarrassed.

The match-up ends tomorrow night with the 2nd and final game.  With the cumulative scoring, and Watson’s complete lack of greed and off the charts buzzer skills, I don’t see how it can be beaten.  If you didn’t catch it in action though, you should definitely give it a peek.  At the very least Jennings may squirt a few tears, he was looking pretty whiny during Double Jeopardy.