Machines Better Programmers than Humans

… Computers now create programs that solve complex problems better than programs designed by people….

Grasemann and Miikkulainen applied genetic algorithms to solve the fingerprint compression puzzle in work supported by the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate. They provided their computer with the basic programming instructions needed to compress graphic images and then waited for a better algorithm to be born. The progress of the evolving program was tested at each generation. After 50 generations, the genetic algorithm consistently outperformed the human-derived WSQ.

Machines Better Programmers than Humans

Goody! First my job could be going to offshore outsourcing. Now my job could be going to a computer.

Your Next Keyboard?

This Optimus keyboard looks tight.

Every key of the Optimus keyboard is a stand-alone display showing exactly what it is controlling at this very moment.

Perfect for those people who need to look at the keyboard! It has a Sun keyboard style of a block of 10 keys on the left. Very nice.

Frivolous Lawsuits

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian astrologist who says
NASA has altered her horoscope by crashing a spacecraft into a comet is suing the U.S. space agency for damages of $300 million, local media reported on Monday.

NASA deliberately crashed its probe, named Deep Impact, into the Tempel 1 comet to unleash a spray of material formed billions of years ago which scientists hope will shed new light on the composition of the solar system.

“It is obvious that elements of the comet’s orbit, and correspondingly the ephemeris, will change after the explosion, which interferes with my astrology work and distorts my horoscope,” Izvestia daily quoted astrologist Marina Bai as saying in legal documents submitted before Monday’s collision.

A spokeswoman for a Moscow district court said initial preparations for the case were underway but could not say when the hearing would begin. NASA representatives in Moscow were unavailable for comment.
Source: Russian astrologist sues NASA over comet crash

Bolding my own.

According the NASA scientists on NPR’s Science Friday, the anticipated change in the Temple 1 comet’s orbit would 33ft. Wow… that is about $10 million a ft.

E-Mail Overload

  • Use a paper “response list” to triage messages before you do any follow-up.

    The solution to e-mail overload is pencil and paper? Who knew? Grab a legal pad and label it “Response list.” Run through your incoming e-mails. For each, note on the paper what you have to do or whom you have to call. Resist the temptation to respond immediately. If there’s important reference information in the e-mail, drag it to your Reference folder. Otherwise, delete it. Zip down your entire list of e-mails to generate your response list. Then, zip down your response list and actually do the follow-up.
    Source: Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

  • Hmmmmmm…. My triage technique has been to color code and automatically flag certain messages. I know which are related to which of my job hats, whether or not they are priority people, and which are past the 24 hour response deadline.

    Happy Mother’s Day

    Kids are often deemed to be an intense responsibility which lasts for decades.

    Children also provide wonderful opportunities for entertainment. From the cute things they learn as infants to the idiot things they do as teenagers, children make life more interesting for parents. I am just glad my mom suffered through all of that with me.

    Read more

    Web Design Job

    UPDATE: Position filled.

    Valdosta State Information Technology is hiring 2 Web Design student assistants.

    Web Design student assistants are responsible for creating and maintaining several department web sites, surveys, and other projects. Individuals will be responsible for interacting with representatives to build web pages and perform basic graphic design to complete websites from existing web template designs. Additionally, individuals work with any students, staff, and faculty who require assistance in developing class or work related sites.


    1. Ability to learn. Candidate must show they can adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape.
    2. Some experience with one or more web design or image applications:
      • Photo Editing: Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Paint Shop Pro
      • Web Design: FrontPage, Netscape Composer, Dreamweaver
    3. Effective verbal and written communication skills and the ability to interact professionally with a diverse group of users and support staff.
    4. Ability to clearly document all projects.
    5. Desire to learn web scripting languages: Perl, ASP, PHP

    Students majoring in computer science, art, public relations, or marketing preferred. Self-taught designers welcome.

    Send resume and examples of previous work to me.

    Improperly Placed Insects

    My mother found a bug in her salad while at a restaurant a couple weeks ago. The manager was horrified, gave us a free desert, and apologized profusely. Mom was not disgusted because this is the first bug she has found in perhaps 200-250 salads she has had from this place. Maybe more…. We go once a week to this place and have done so for maybe 5-6 years. There are some weeks we do not go, but it has to be 40-50 times a year that we go there. That was the first bug.

    Mom buys heads of lettuce from a grocery store every week to make salads to eat at home. She reported to the manager that she can understand because she has occasionally found bugs in the heads she buys way down in the center.

    Last night, she called me to tell me that she found a inch long moth while chopping up the lettuce for her salad. Apparently she decapitated it in cutting up the lettuce.