Turing Test Failure

Yesterday, I had a weird Turing moment.  As background to this post, I should tell you that I was listening to a podcast on robots and artificial intelligence where Sam Harris was chatting with Kate Darling. Had I not been listening to this, I might have forgotten about my Turing moment. Here's what happened. Yesterday, I received a call from a telephone solicitor, trying to sell me some emergency service for my furnace, insinuating as they spoke, but they were some safety issues that needed to be addressed. At first I was confused by what he was saying, despite being …

Cemeteries and Churches

Today was another day of summer camp for the boys. One was at soccer camp and the other at skateboard camp. That, however, is not really what this post is about.  After picking the boys up, we passed by a cemetery on the way home. My youngest, the 8 year old, looked out the winder and asked, "Dad, why are cemeteries often beside churches?" I told him that was a good question and built my explanation thusly. You see, my boy, churches are often thought of as God's house. What's happening then is that people are being buried next to …

Internet Speeds, Real vs Advertised

This is a story about Internet speed, real vs advertised. After I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I listened to a CBC Spark podcast. On that podcast, Nora (the host) spoke to a gentleman from CIRA, the Canadian domain organization responsible for the .ca domains. He spoke of a new speed test designed to provide _real world_ statistics regarding Internet performance. If you're curious, I'll provide the link shortly. When I returned home, I decided to give it a try. Using the CIRA speed test, I found that I had upload speeds of 20 Mbps from here …

What “Our Menu Options Have Changed” Really Means

It seems that every time I call a company these days, the first thing I hear when the line is picked up are the following words. “Thank you for calling Our Big Megacorporation. Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed.” Feel free to substitute “Our Big Megacorporation” for any business name you please. For the sake of this discussion, it’s pretty much all the same. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to believe that the menu options on the automated phone trees of every company on this planet has recently changed. In all likelihood, …

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