mind control… sort of…

Chet just sent me an article that belongs to the underused Robopocalypse tag, so, being quite appropriate, here it is!


Apparently, research is being done that would allow AI to control human bodies through electrodes. I’m not sure how far off we’d be from remote control applications; I’m not up to speed on whether the electric stimulation via electrodes can be done with the precision necessary for this control through air as a medium instead, but once it is… we’re so screwed :(

skynet alpha: under development

An article on io9 today describes a computer programmed with 3 major things: 1) basic actions in the computer game Civilization; 2) identify whether or not you’ve won a game of Civilization; 3) here’s the rulebook. Notice something missing? Indeed, the computer wasn’t even given language properties! However, with only this, the computer was able to improve its winning percentage from 46% prior to reading the rulebook to 79%!

It’s still a long ways off from sentience, but if computers are able to assimilate the knowledge humankind has produced in words without even so much as a dictionary, and only given basic directives, it seems like the big jump won’t be too far off in the future.


(Here is a random picture I found on Google by searching for “computer”)

Well, this is the computer I configured:

Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4 GHz; this is the highest Sandy Bridge out there, and the “K” in 2600K means it’s fully “unlocked” for overclocking and stuff. I don’t actually think I’ll take advantage of the “enthusiast” angle, but considering there was a bundle of the motherboard I wanted + this processor + Civilization V for only $10 more than the 2600 + motherboard, I figured, why not. It also has better integrated graphics than the 2600, although I think my motherboard can’t support it anyway.

Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 PRO; my last two motherboards have been ASUS and I have not had any problems with them so far. Also, from the review site I posted yesterday, ASUS seems to have the best overall performance with the most options. I’m not looking for something specialized, so this suited my needs just fine.

Graphics processor: MSI N460GTX Hawk; there were two main reasons I chose MSI: first, my current 8600GTS is also MSI and has served me well; second, the other cards comparable in specs and price were EVGA. Of those cards, the one with the best reviews also had a ton of comments about a) extreme noise levels and b) overheating problems. I’m not sure if this is because it was the “Supercharged” line (comes overclocked) or what, but I felt like I’d be safer with stock performance.

Memory: Corsair XMS 4GB DDR3 1600 x2 (8GB); memory has never been a big deal to me. 2 4GB sticks seemed to be the best route to take out of the options available on NewEgg. I also need 2 because my motherboard is dual channel. There wasn’t an option for 2x 8GB, and I probably don’t need that much anyway. Corsair has always been the only manufacturer I actually knew. I got Geil back in college and G.SKILL after graduating, but actually found a good deal on this Corsair package, competitive price with those brands, so figured I’d give them a try.

Power supply: Corsair CMPSU-750TX; rated high on NewEgg, and it was recommended to me that 750W was good for powering the other parts I chose. Not much else to say.

Case: Rosewill Wind Knight Gaming ATX Mid Tower; found it cheap on NewEgg a couple months ago, looked good and solid. Been collecting dust in the corner for a while, time to give it some guts!

Harddrive: Western Digital 2 TB Caviar Green; same as above, saw it a few months ago, thought it looked cheap on Amazon. And then a few weeks later, the same thing was $25 cheaper on another site. That’ll teach me to plan ahead!

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we (don’t) have the technology

So I’ve been wanting to upgrade my computer for a long time now, but, doing some research and talking to friends, found out that Intel was releasing a new line of processors this month, so I held back. This means, the time is now!

Intel’s new processor is known as Sandy Bridge, the 2nd generation of the Core i series. It’s a quad-core processor with hyperthreading that’s supplanting itself as the new midrange processor standard. The high-end 2600K is going for a little over $300.

If you do a bit of research into processors for gaming, the big debate is generally over SB 2600K vs. Bloomfield 950, which is the old i7 gaming standard. Sandy Bridge requires a newer motherboard architecture, so it generally will support a longer-lived computer and future software advances. However, for really high-end gaming machines, it seems like the 1155 architecture only supports 1 16x PCIe graphics card or 2 8x PCIe. If you want dual 16x/16x graphic, you’ll need to get a Bloomfield 950 with corresponding motherboard architecture.

In short, if you’re not a hardware enthusiast, the Sandy Bridge will do all you want and probably more without worrying about hardware configurations.


Here is an article on motherboard performance, comparing new offerings from ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, and Intel. It’s all very technical and not really meant for a half-asser like me to read, but the pieces I understood were marginally useful. I currently have an ASUS motherboard, and my old computer was also an ASUS, so I’m glad they’re still churning out good boards, and that’s what I’m planning on getting.

I’m still piecing my NewEgg order together, but I’ll definitely post what I end up getting. For all those avid fans of my blog to puzzle over. Yep.

and now we have cyborg cats

Apparently some kind of metal has been developed that isn’t rejected by living tissue, or at least cat skin. Oscar the cat lost his two back feet in an accident, and these scientists were able to graft metal pegs onto his back legs so that he can walk again. It’s a little sad to see him try to jump and be unable to, but compared to the alternative I think this video has a certain degree of “daaaaaawww.”

bionic monkey!

io9 makes me smile a lot, sometimes.

Here’s an article about a monkey implanted with a device that interfaces its thoughts to an advanced mechanical arm. The monkey pushes a button and a black block is positioned arbitrarily somewhere in front of the arm. The monkey then gets a yummy reward of juice when he touches the block with the arm. Pavlovian conditioning is pretty sweet! The bionics stuff is kinda neat too.