Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monkey Think, Monkey Get Marshmallow...

The new thought experiments with monkeys and robotics...Man-made telekenesis?

When I was a kid daydreaming about running away with a lunch tied up in a stick with a bandana, I would whistle this song...

Earle Hagen, `Andy Griffith' composer, dies at 88

From By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 40 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Earle H. Hagen, who co-wrote the jazz classic "Harlem Nocturne" and composed memorable themes for "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Spy," "The Mod Squad" and other TV shows, has died. He was 88.

Hagen, who is heard whistling the folksy tune for "The Andy Griffith Show," died Monday night at his home in Rancho Mirage, his wife, Laura, said Tuesday. He had been in ill health for several months.

During his long musical career, Hagen performed with the top bands of the swing era, composed for movies and television and wrote one of the first textbooks on movie composing.

He and Lionel Newman were nominated for an Academy Award for best music scoring for the 1960 Marilyn Monroe movie "Let's Make Love."

For television, he composed original music for more than 3,000 episodes, pilots and TV movies, including theme songs for "That Girl," "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."

"He loved it," his wife said. "The music just flowed from him, and he would take off one hat and put on another and go on to the next show."

Hagen enjoyed the immediacy of the small screen, he told the American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers in 2000.

"It was hard work, with long hours and endless deadlines, but being able to write something one day and hear it a few days later appealed to me," he said. "Besides, I was addicted to the ultimate narcosis in music, which is the rush you get when you give a downbeat and wonderful players breathe life into the notes you have put on paper."

Born July 9, 1919, in Chicago, Hagen moved to Los Angeles as a youngster. He began playing the trombone while in junior high school.

"The school actually furnished him with a tuba and his mother made him take it back," his wife said.

He became so proficient that he graduated early from Hollywood High School and at 16 was touring with big bands. He played trombone with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey and arranged for and played with Ray Noble's orchestra.

He and Dick Rogers wrote "Harlem Nocturne" for Noble in 1939. It has been covered many times since and served as the theme music for "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer" television series in 1984.

In 1941, Hagen became a staff musician for CBS but the next year he enlisted in the military.

After the war, he worked as a composer and orchestrator for 20th Century-Fox studios on dozens of movies, including another Monroe classic, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

In the 1950s, he and Herbert Spencer formed an orchestra partnership that also wrote music for television, including scoring the Danny Thomas hit "Make Room for Daddy."

Later, he worked as musical director for producer Sheldon Leonard, sometimes working on as many of five shows a week.

One of his more notable TV scoring efforts was for the 1960s adventure series "I Spy," starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp.

Because the show used exotic locations worldwide, Hagen often included ethnic touches in the incidental music, among them hiring Greek musicians to play for some episodes that took place in Greece. On other locations, he collected ethnic music to mix with Western music back in Hollywood.

After retiring from TV work in 1986, Hagen taught a workshop in film and television scoring.

He also wrote three books on scoring, including 1971's "Scoring for Films," one of the earliest textbooks on the subject. His 2002 autobiography was titled "Memoirs of a Famous Composer — Nobody Ever Heard Of."

Besides his wife, Hagen is survived by his sons, Deane and James, both of Palm Desert; stepchildren Rebecca Roberts, of Irvine, Richard Roberts of Los Angeles and Rachael Roberts of Irvine; and four grandchildren. His first wife, Elouise Hagen, died in 2002 following 59 years of marriage.

(This version CORRECTS name of group to American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers.)

Paterson Using His Power for Good?

New York Governor Pardons Rapper Slick Rick

Story Courtesy of North...

Rapper Slick Rick was issued an official pardon by New York Governor David A. Paterson today (May 23), in a final attempt to prevent the pioneering rapper from being deported to the United Kingdom.
The 43-year-old rapper has been locked in a battle in Federal Immigration Court fighting deportation, due to a 1991 conviction on two counts of attempted murder and weapons offenses.

Slick Rick, born Ricky Walters, is facing deportation due to a federal statute that requires a lawful resident alien to be removed from the country upon conviction of an aggravated felony or a weapon offense.

In some cases, removal can be avoided with a Governor's pardon, but for a weapons offense, a non-citizen must still seek discretionary relief from deportation from the Federal Immigration Court.

"Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years," said Governor Paterson. "In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children."

Slick Rick was born in the U.K. but was lawfully admitted into the United States at age 11, where he was raised in the Bronx.

"My family and I are eternally thankful to Governor Paterson, my attorneys Michael Krinsky and Craig Kaplan at Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman and to all of the people who have supported me throughout the past seventeen years," Slick Rick told AllHipHop. com in a statement. "This has been a long and difficult road and I am happy for this to be settled once and for all. I look forward to enjoying this time with my family and friends and to continue leading an honest and productive life."

In 1991, the pioneering rapper fan afoul of the law, when during a dispute, he shot his cousin and an innocent bystander, both of whom survived the shooting. The shooting was in response to a series of threats his cousin made that the rapper believed were going to be carried out, due to an alleged previous attempt on his life.

Walters, then 25, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder and weapons counts and was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison. He served a total of five years and 33 days in prison, 33 days more than statutorily permitted for a waiver of inadmissibility.

Slick Rick was released from prison in 1997, but was jailed again in 2002, after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship, as he attempted to reenter the United States in Florida. He was released from federal immigration prison in November of 2003, after serving a total of 17 additional months.

The Department of Homeland Security recently moved the case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York to the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, although Slick Rick is expected to be tried in Florida, where he was originally arrested attempting to reenter the country.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What! I'm Listening To...(Part 8)

Russ turned me onto Sha Stimuli when he visited from NH...That was an awesome recommendation...Good lookin', Russ...Sha Stimuli's a super talented MC and he's got fat beats...I think he's totally underrated...I also never knew about Tuff Crew...Old School Philly and they're about to be reunited...and then there's that ending credit song, "Beautiful Thing" from Troy Bonnes from the movie, "London"...It's not available on the soundtrack but you can download it free from his MySpace page (see link)...I finally got a chance to listen to M.I.A.'s album Kala...I think she's got such an unapologetic fierceness and it is another good album...Alex told me he listened to a whole set of Capleton in the Bahamas and was blown away...On the alternative tip, I've been listening to Dr. Dog, Okkervil River, Page France, and a couple of songs from The Teeth...For those interested in good flows, I think the song "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" by Kanye and Consequence is pretty good, too...I'm not really a Kanye fan, but I dig Consequence...Mental Note: Alex translated "Plastico" by Ruben Blades for me...It is an intense song...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wanted to make a note of Chino's Blog...

We share a love for Muhammad Ali, not to mention there's a lot of good stuff in it...

Joan turned me onto comic about Next Door Neighbors is entitled "Hank and Barbara" and is viewable on the site...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Naomi Helene Wells born on my birthday and also in the year of the Rat...

Man, is she going to be a terror?! I am in love with my beautiful niece..

A Future of Holographic People on Street Corners?

Researchers teach 'Second Life' avatar to think

From By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 11 minutes ago

TROY, N.Y. - Edd Hifeng barely merits a second glance in "Second Life." A steel-gray robot with lanky limbs and linebacker shoulders, he looks like a typical avatar in the popular virtual world.

But Edd is different.

His actions are animated not by a person at a keyboard but by a computer. Edd is a creation of artificial intelligence, or AI, by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who endowed him with a limited ability to converse and reason. It turns out "Second Life" is more than a place where pixelated avatars chat, interact and fly about. It's also a frontier in AI research because it's a controllable environment where testing intelligent creations is easier.

"It's a very inexpensive way to test out our technologies right now," said Selmer Bringsjord, director of the Rensselaer Artificial Intelligence and Reasoning Laboratory.

Bringsjord sees Edd as a forerunner to more sophisticated creations that could interact with people inside three-dimensional projections of settings like subway stops or city streets. He said the holographic illusions could be used to train emergency workers or solve mysteries.

But first, a virtual reality check.

Edd is not running rampant through the cyber streets of "Second Life." He goes only where Bringsjord and his graduate students place him for tests. He can answer questions like "Where are you from?" but understands only English that has previously been translated into mathematical logic.

"Second Life" is attractive to researchers in part because virtual reality is less messy than plain-old reality. Researchers don't have to worry about wind, rain or coffee spills.

And virtual worlds can push along AI research without forcing scientists to solve the most difficult problems — like, say, creating a virtual human — right away, said Michael Mateas, a computer science professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Researching in virtual realities has become increasingly popular the past couple years, said Mateas, leader of the school's Expressive Intelligence Studio for AI and gaming.

"It's a fantastic sweet spot — not too simple, not too complicated, high cultural value," he said.

Bringsjord is careful to point out that the computations for Edd's mental feats have been done on workstations and are not sapping "Second Life" servers. The calculations will soon be performed on a supercomputer at Rensselaer with support from research co-sponsor IBM Corp.

Operators of "Second Life" don't seem concerned about synthetic agents lurking in their world. John Lester, Boston operations manager for Linden Lab, said the San Francisco-based company sees a "fascinating" opportunity for AI to evolve.

"I think the real future for this is when people take these AI-controlled avatars and let them free in 'Second Life,'" Lester said, " ... let them randomly walk the grid."

That is years off by most experts' estimations. Edd's most sophisticated cognitive feat so far — played out in "Second Life" and posted on the Web — involves him witnessing a gun being switched from one briefcase to another. Edd was able to infer that another "Second Life" character who left the room during the switch would incorrectly think the gun was still in the first suitcase.

This ability to make inferences about the thoughts of others is significant for an AI agent, though it puts Edd on par with a 4-year-old — and the calculus required "under the hood" to achieve this feat is mind-numbingly complex.

A computer program smart enough to fool someone into thinking they're interacting with another person — the traditional Holy Grail for AI researchers — has been elusive. One huge problem is getting computers to understand concepts imparted in language, said Jeremy Bailenson, director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University.

AI agents do best in tightly controlled environments: Think of automated phone programs that recognize your responses when you say "operator" or "repair."

Bringsjord sees "Second Life" as a way station. He eventually wants to create other environments where more sophisticated creations could display courage or deceive people, which would be the first step in developing technology to detect deception.

The avatars could be projected at RPI's $145 million Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, opening in October, which will include spaces for holographic projections. Officials call them "holodecks" in homage to the virtual reality room on the "Star Trek" television series.

That sort of visual fidelity is many years down the line, just like complex AI. John Kolb, RPI's chief information officer, said the best three-dimensional effects still require viewers to wear special light-polarizing glasses.

"If you want to do texture mapping on a wall for instance, that's easy. We can do that today," Kolb said. "If you want to start to build cognitive abilities into avatars, well, that's going to take a bit more work."

Dressed to Strength-Excess...Robotic Fashion for the Laborer of the future...

Robotic suit could usher in super soldier era

From By MARK JEWELL, AP Business Writer Thu May 15, 1:44 PM ET

Rex Jameson bikes and swims regularly, and plays tennis and skis when time allows. But the 5-foot-11, 180-pound software engineer is lucky if he presses 200 pounds — that is, until he steps into an "exoskeleton" of aluminum and electronics that multiplies his strength and endurance as many as 20 times.

With the outfit's claw-like metal hand extensions, he gripped a weight set's bar at a recent demonstration and knocked off hundreds of repetitions. Once, he did 500.

"Everyone gets bored much more quickly than I get tired," Jameson said.

Jameson — who works for robotics firm Sarcos Inc. in Salt Lake City, which is under contract with the U.S. Army — is helping assess the 150-pound suit's viability for the soldiers of tomorrow. The suit works by sensing every movement the wearer makes and almost instantly amplifying it.

The Army believes soldiers may someday wear the suits in combat, but it's focusing for now on applications such as loading cargo or repairing heavy equipment. Sarcos is developing the technology under a two-year contract worth up to $10 million, and the Army plans initial field tests next year.

Before the technology can become practical, the developers must overcome cost barriers and extend the suit's battery life. Jameson was tethered to power cords during his demonstration because the current battery lasts just 30 minutes.

But the technology already offers evidence that robotics can amplify human muscle power in reality — not just in the realm of comic books and movies like the recently debuted "Iron Man," about a wealthy weapons designer who builds a high-tech suit to battle bad guys.

"Everybody likes the idea of being a superhero, and this is all about expanding the capabilities of a human," said Stephen Jacobsen, chief designer of the Sarcos suit.

The Army's exoskeleton research dates to 1995, but has yet to yield practical suits. Sarcos' technology sufficiently impressed Raytheon Co., however, that the Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor bought Sarcos' robotics business last November. Sarcos also has developed robotic dinosaurs for a Universal Studios' "Jurassic Park" theme park ride.

Jack Obusek, a former colonel now with the Army's Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in the Boston suburb of Natick, foresees robot-suited soldiers unloading heavy ammunition boxes from helicopters, lugging hundreds of pounds of gear over rough terrain or even relying on the suit's strength-enhancing capabilities to make repairs to tanks that break down in inconvenient locations.

Sarcos' Jacobsen envisions factory workers someday using the technology to perform manual labor more easily, and firefighters more quickly carrying heavy gear up stairwells of burning buildings. Disabled people also may find uses for the technology, he said.

"We see the value being realized when these suits can be built in great numbers for both military and commercial uses, and they start coming down in cost to within the range of the price of a small car," said Jacobsen. He declined to estimate how much the suit might cost in mass production.

But cost isn't the only obstacle. For example, developers eventually hope to lengthen the suit's backpack battery's life and tinker with the suit's design to use less energy. Meanwhile, the suit can draw power from a generator, a tank or helicopter. And there are gas engines that, while noisy, small enough to fit into the suit's backpack.

"The power issue is probably the No. 1 challenge standing in the way of getting this thing in the field," Obusek said.

But he said Sarcos appears to have overcome the key challenge of pairing super-fast microprocessors with sensors that detect movements by the body's joints and transmit data about them to the suit's internal computer.

Much as the brain sends signals to tendons to get muscles to move, the computer sends instructions to hydraulic valves. The valves mimic tendons by driving the suit's mechanical limbs, replicating and amplifying the wearer's movements almost instantly.

"With all the previous attempts at this technology, there has been a slight lag time between the intent of the human, and the actual movement of the machine," Obusek said.

In the demonstration, the bulky suit slowed Jameson a bit, but he could move almost normally. When a soccer ball was thrown at him, he bounced it back off his helmeted head. He repeatedly struck a punching bag and, slowly but surely, he climbed stairs in the suit's clunky aluminum boots, which made him look like a Frankenstein monster.

"It feels less agile than it is," Jameson said. "Because of the way the control laws work, it's ever so slightly slower than I am. And because we are so in tune with our bodies' responses, this tiny delay initially made me tense."

Now, he's used to it.

"I can regain my balance naturally after stumbling — something I discovered completely by accident."

Learning was easy, he said.

"It takes no special training, beyond learning to relax and trust the robot," he said.

Sooner or later, the truth, it comes...

Fear, secrecy kept 1950 Korea mass killings hidden

From By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent Sun May 18, 1:26 PM ET

SEOUL, South Korea - One journalist's bid to report mass murder in South Korea in 1950 was blocked by his British publisher. Another correspondent was denounced as a possibly treasonous fabricator when he did report it. In South Korea, down the generations, fear silenced those who knew.

Fifty-eight years ago, at the outbreak of the Korean War, South Korean authorities secretively executed, usually without legal process, tens of thousands of southern leftists and others rightly or wrongly identified as sympathizers. Today a government Truth and Reconciliation Commission is working to dig up the facts, and the remains of victims.

How could such a bloodbath have been hidden from history?

Among the Koreans who witnessed, took part in or lost family members to the mass killings, the events were hardly hidden, but they became a "public secret," barely whispered about through four decades of right-wing dictatorship here.

"The family couldn't talk about it, or we'd be stigmatized as leftists," said Kim Chong-hyun, 70, leader of an organization of families seeking redress for their loved ones' deaths in 1950.

Kim, whose father was shot and buried in a mass grave outside the central city of Daejeon, noted that in 1960-61, a one-year democratic interlude in South Korea, family groups began investigating wartime atrocities. But a military coup closed that window, and "the leaders of those organizations were arrested and punished."

Then, "from 1961 to 1988, nobody could challenge the regime, to try again to reveal these hidden truths," said Park Myung-lim of Seoul's Yonsei University, a leading Korean War historian. As a doctoral student in the late 1980s, when South Korea was moving toward democracy, Park was among the few scholars to begin researching the mass killings. He was regularly harassed by the police.

Scattered reports of the killings did emerge in 1950 — and some did not.

British journalist James Cameron wrote about mass prisoner shootings in the South Korean port city of Busan — then spelled Pusan — for London's Picture Post magazine in the fall of 1950, but publisher Edward Hulton ordered the story removed at the last minute.

Earlier, correspondent Alan Winnington reported on the shooting of thousands of prisoners at Daejeon in the British communist newspaper The Daily Worker, only to have his reporting denounced by the U.S. Embassy in London as an "atrocity fabrication." The British Cabinet then briefly considered laying treason charges against Winnington, historian Jon Halliday has written.

Associated Press correspondent O.H.P. King reported on the shooting of 60 political prisoners in Suwon, south of Seoul, and wrote in a later memoir he was "shocked that American officers were unconcerned" by questions he raised about due process for the detainees.

Some U.S. officers — and U.S. diplomats — were among others who reported on the killings. But their classified reports were kept secret for decades.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Sneak Peek to my Graphic Novel Project...In a few stages...

I redid the first three panels to include uniform text...My handwriting was getting too sloppy and my hand was cramping when I could've been using it for drawing...The first draft of the minotaur and the seventh level of Hell was a little too hokey...I know the Minotaur's legend is that he is guardian of this level and that the Labyrinth is a little more true to his legend...The stairways were okay, but they didn't turn out right in the panel sketch draft...

This is the complete introduction...Kinda rough, but you get the idea...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Can Men Urinate while feeling watched?

Men's Restroom Mural--------

Edge Designs is an all-women run company
That designs interior office space. They had a
Recent opportunity to do an office project in

Courtesy of Lisa V.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fingering "Change"

This is the funniest thing Alex turned me onto today...Political finger puppets...Print them out and reenact your own debates...Heh...

All of Inflation's Little Parts...

The new kind of pie charts are inventive and useful like this one from NYTimes on inflation of an average person's spending habits...

TGIF Boat Ride on June 13th...

Come celebrate Prince "Logic'x" of Zamunda 25th EarthStrong Celebration at "The TGIF 13 Boat Ride"

Who: Jah Logic & Friends Presents:
What: The TGIF 13 Boat Ride
When: Friday, June 13 2008
Where: The Paddle Wheel Queen Boat
Address: The Paddle Wheel Queen Boat Docks (E. 23 ST)
City: New York, New York
Cost: $35 in advance $40 at the door.

Time: 7-11pm

Performing Live: Troy Ave, www.
myspace. com/TroyAve
Divis ion X www.
myspace. com/divisionxrap
Donny Yardas, www.
myspace. com/donnyyarads

Music by: DJ Gingo of StateSide Revolution Sound (spinning Roots and Dancehall) & Legend Sound (spinning Hip Hop, R&B)

Dress Code: Grown And Sexy Yet Casual (No Du Rags,dirty sneakers, Jeans with ButtonUps acceptable)

Two Dance Floors & Upper Deck
Food Sevings from 7:00 to 8:30
Free After Party Close By, To Be Announced!

Special Invited Gemini Guest: Tek of Smif n Wessun & All Diamond & Gem's

Sponsored By B.S.

B Records, Conscious Roots productions, Lyrics To Go Entertainment Inc, Street Smart Movement Student Collective

Courtesy of North...