Monday, March 30, 2015

Backyard cricket - the official rules

Despite the Black Caps loss to Australia yesterday many people in New Zealand have been drawn into the game over the last 6 weeks. So now you may feel inclined to have a knock in your own backyard or beach. So here are the official rules for backyard cricket as stated by Wikipedia. Basically there aren't any, for example: "The wicket may be any convenient object – a chair, a cardboard box, a set of long twigs or sticks, a rubbish bin, tree or a drawing on the wall."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The GNU manifesto turns thirty

Maria Bustillos, writing in the The New Yorker, has marked the 30th anniversary of Richard Stallman's GNU Manifesto with a very interesting article called The GNU manifesto turns thirty. If you are interested in the open  source movement this article is recommended.
[My colleague Mark Wilson brought this to my attention]

Friday, March 20, 2015

Stuxnet - the first digital weapon

Radio New Zealand National had a great interview with Kim Zetter who has written a book about Stuxnet, the world's first digital weapon. You can listen to the interview here or read about Stuxnet in chapter 12 of my book The Universal Machine. It's certainly true that quietly over the last few years we have crossed into a new age where cyberwar is now a reality.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Could you fly a fighter jet with your mind?

Jan Sheuermann can and she is quadriplegic, owing to a neurodegenerative disease. As part of Darpa’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics research track Jan was first trained to control a robotic arm with her mind alone and has recently been flying a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (the US military’s next-generation attack jet) using a flight simulator. You can read more about this in a Wired article there's also a video.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How the internet of things is changing sport

We've heard a lot about the internet of things in the last few years, smart fridges and home thermostats for example, but it's having an effect in places you might not expect, for example sport. An article by Stephen Pritchard in The Guardian titled The internet of things is revolutionising the world of sport describes the fascinating new ways it's being applied, from golf clubs that monitor your swing to the Connected Athlete project. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade

My colleague, Mark Wilson, brought this article titled Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade in the New Yorker about an AI that can learn to play computer arcade games better than people. Combining neural networks with reinforcement learning the company, DeepMind, was bought by Google for over $600 million last year. This is an interesting article which you can follow up in more detail with a paper recently published in the journal Nature.