The Conversation


The grand-daddy of killer A.I.

Apr 18, 2014 11:18 AM PT

Screen Rant marks the release of the Johnny Depp film "Transcendence" (which, alas, has "stinker" written all over it) with a fine list of killer artificial intelligence from previous movies.  This is a subject dear to my heart, because I'm a lifelong science fiction fan, and also because I've said a number of unkind things to my computer over the years in moments of frustration, and they're really gonna come back to haunt me if A.I. takes over the world.

However, I have to blow the whistle on one tragic exclusion from Screen Rant's Top 10 Killer A.I. list.  Why no love for "Colossus: The Forbin Project" - arguably the original cinematic incarnation of the world-beating intelligent computer?  There were some ornery robots who came before Colossus, but it was really the first one that had ambitions to conquer and/or liquidate all of mankind.  I won't spoil the movie by telling you whether or not it succeeds.  It's well worth watching today, if you can find it, not least for the nostalgia value of seeing what the production designers of 1970 thought an intelligent supercomputer would look like.

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'Ride Along' Bluray Review: Crushing Disappointment

Apr 18, 2014 11:15 AM PT

Because actors sexually-debasing themselves in nihilistic plotlines is not my idea of funny, I tend to stay as far away as possible from the modern-day Hollywood comedy. Every once in a while something like the first "Hangover" will come along and delight me. But why waste two hours for a few chuckles when a 22-minute "Seinfeld" rerun is guaranteed to put you on the floor?

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Another Heartbleed attack

Apr 18, 2014 11:00 AM PT

Forbes mentions the Canadian incident in which the Heartbleed online security flaw was employed to loot taxpayer data from the Canadian Revenue Agency, which I wrote about earlier this week, but then adds another confirmed attack on UK parenting website Mumsnet... and this one's even more alarming, because it involved the worst-case Heartbleed scenario, in which a hacker stole the passwords needed to gain administrative access to the entire site:

Another victim of Heartbleed also announced to it’s users that it had been attacked, Mumsnet. The e-mail to users stated “On Thursday 10 April we at Mumsnet HQ became aware of the bug and immediately ran tests to see if the Mumsnet servers were vulnerable. As soon as it became apparent that we were, we applied the fix to close the OpenSSL security hole… However, it seems that users’ data was accessed prior to our applying this fix”. Mumsnet posted an article outlining how the attacker was able to log in as the founder of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts after using Heartbleed to steal her username and password. This demonstrates practically how Heartbleed could cause damage after many of the debates between experts last week.

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Father Will Burn In Hell After Killing Infant Son

Apr 18, 2014 7:47 AM PT

This story is truly upsetting.

Some  F*&king idiot in Florida suffocated his crying infant son, so that he could play is XBOX.

The father covered the infant's nose and mouth for a few minutes, thinking that it would calm the baby down. Umm yeah, it sure did. The idiot apparently tucked the "lethargic" baby into bed, and he then proceeded to play his video games and watch several episodes of the show "Fringe."

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Senate Democrat Backs Marco Rubio's VA Reform Bill, Unions Won't Be Too Happy

Apr 18, 2014 7:36 AM PT

Senator Marco Rubio recently filed his VA Management Accountability Act calls for the Veteran's Administration to provide more "accountability for itself after reports have surfaced about the department’s backlog of disability benefits, and the growing toll of 31 preventable veteran deaths at VA medical facilities around the country, including the hospital in Miami, Florida."

Liberal Democrat Senator and "Big Amigo" to President Obama, broke his silence on the bill by giving  a definitive "Yes" answer when we asked him directly if he would be supporting Rubio's VA reform bill.

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KC Highway Shootings Suspect In Custody (Video)

Apr 17, 2014 9:05 PM PT

Kansas City commuters are breathing a sigh of relief, tonight. A suspect in the random highway shootings that have put city residents on edge for the past few weeks, is in custody. 

There have been at least 20 random highway shootings across the Kansas City metro since early March. Three people were hit by the gunfire, but no one was killed.

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Woman Bites Off Umbilical Cord After Giving Birth in Motel Room During 24 Hour Crack Binge

Apr 17, 2014 8:19 PM PT

There is nothing more magical...more beautiful...than child birth. 

Just ask 37-year-old Chrystal Hassell, who is being held in Marion County Jail after telling investigators she gave birth to a child in a motel room bathtub during a 24-hour crack binge.  The incident occurred last Friday night when Hassell, who was 7 months pregnant, said she checked into the Vacation Host Inn along with her boyfriend and her 11-month-old child. Hassell told investigators she went into labor after smoking crack for an entire day. 

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76-Year-Old Man Accused of Shooting and Killing Blind Wife of 56 years for Nagging Him

Apr 17, 2014 8:18 PM PT

A 76-year-old man is being held without bail after police say he shot and killed his blind wife of 56 years on Wednesday. Jack Lang reportedly told police his wife, June, pushed him over the edge after continuing to nag and belittle him. According to the the criminal complaint, Jack Lang told police that his wife called him a "baby" and was "giving him hell" after he wanted to turn around and go home before reaching their lunch destination: Potawatomi Bingo Casino. 

The criminal complaint also paints a picture of a man who claims to be a victim of criticism directed at his manhood in many senses of the word. Jack Lang told police his wife criticized him because "he could not give her a good time anymore," and for being dependent on neighbors to help him with work around the house. 

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Media Matters To SEIU: Don't Unionize Us, Bro?

Apr 17, 2014 5:55 PM PT

The hypocrisy could not be more evident as reports indicate Media Matters for America is resisting efforts by Service Employees International Union Local 500 to unionize its employees. Heck, next thing you know, they'll be asking them for a higher minimum wage.

Last week, the union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board, indicating that the nonprofit media watchdog organization rejected an effort by the union to organize MMFA's staff through a Card Check election.

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