A terror attack in Nice. A failed coup in Turkey. Murder, snipers, and racial unrest in the US. A murdered five-year-old in Calgary.

This isn’t my usual reaction, but I’m kind of shutting this stuff out. I know the world is getting less violent on the whole year after year, decade after decade, but that…that was a lot to take in a week or so. My brain’s just not having it. I know that’s a convenient reaction for someone out of harm’s way to have, but I don’t feel equipped to process it all properly this week. I’m just going to have a drink and hug the people I can.

Cover photo by Martyn Davis, used under Creative Commons license

So sad.

From The GuardianOh l’amour: Paris bridge rail collapses under weight of too much love.

The path of true love for tourists in Paris has often involved a stroll across the Pont des Arts and the attachment of a “love lock” to its railings. The key is then thrown into the river Seine.

But the celebrated bridge had to be evacuated at the weekend after part of the railing collapsed under the weight of love locks attached to it.

Police ordered visitors to leave and closed the footbridge after a 2.4-metre section of railing broke loose.

I did a little Googling after reading this and found all these pictures of how the locks have infested the bridge, like some sort of trendy cancer. It’s awful. It was one of the prettiest things we saw in Paris on our first visit in 2007, just before all this lock silliness started.

But hey, why let a beautiful setting like that survive? Better to smother it with rusting, meaningless crap.

Get better soon, Paris.


Cover photo by Martyn Davis, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Elliot Brown, used under Creative Commons license

“Be quiet Eugene, nobody’s listening to you.”

Welp, it seems like the Turing test might have finally been passed.

A supercomputer running a program simulating a 13-year-old boy named Eugene has passed the Turing Test at an event held at London’s Royal Society.

The Turing Test is based on 20th century mathematician and code-breaker Turing’s 1950 famous question and answer game, ‘Can Machines Think?’. The experiment investigates whether people can detect if they are talking to machines or humans. The event is particularly poignant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death, nearly six months after he was given a posthumous royal pardon.

If a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five minute keyboard conversations it passes the test. No computer has ever achieved this, until now. Eugene managed to convince 33% of the human judges that it was human.

I, for one, welcome our new Skynetty overlords.

[UPDATE: but not really.]


Cover photo by Elliot Brown, used under Creative Commons license


Photo by Mike Lutz, used under Creative Commons license

Luckily for us, Ang Lee’s version was more exciting

I know Thanksgiving is them traditional time for, uh, giving thanks, but I’d just like to go on the record and say how glad we are, and how lucky we feel, that we never lost power because of the recent ice storm. Not on Christmas, not on boxing day, not on our anniversary…there was never even a flicker. We have friends and co-workers who went for days without power, and apparently there are still people in the dark six days later. There were a few brutally  cold days in there, so…once again: we feel lucky.

Really, the only immediate evidence we could see was the coating of ice covering our balcony and trees on our street.


Photo by Mike Lutz, used under Creative Commons license