AndyToad

Desired Things

Posted in beauty, inspiration, thoughts by andytoad on December 19, 2012

Dear blog,

Please do not think that you are forgotten. While we may not see one another as often as I’d like – you are in my heart and mind always.  Let’s make an effort to spend more time together in 2013, alright? There is so much that I want to share with you. Times have been hard but we shall forge ahead. Perhaps some guidance, below is a old prose poem that has been there for me from time to time throughout the years. I love you.  -Andrew

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Desiderata

by Max Ehrmann (1927)

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy

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Roses

Posted in inspiration, NYC by andytoad on June 29, 2010
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Lisa, one of my best friends, was in town for a few days on a business trip. We’ve known each other since we were teens in college. Even though we have grown in different directions and geographies, she remains one of the important ones in my life. I’m so thankful that we got to have at least one “date night.” We ran around Manhattan and Brooklyn with her hipstamatic iphone cam  (ridiculous and wonderful) in tow.
The reoccurring themes in our discussions the other night were – life shifting, refocusing, sustainability, decision-making, removing clutter and distractions, and satisfying creative needs. All of which Lisa beautifully metaphorized into a rose bush.
“Pruning rose bushes is intimidating to many gardeners, but actually very good for the plants. Becoming an accomplished rose pruner takes time and practice, but keep in mind that it is very hard to kill a rose with bad pruning. While there is a great deal of disagreement among rose experts regarding how and when to prune roses, it is generally agreed that most mistakes will grow out very quickly and it is better to make a good effort at pruning roses than to let them grow rampant.”
I love you Lisa.
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wonder

Posted in posthuman by andytoad on June 25, 2010

photo: Stuart Isett for The New York Times

Eric Horvitz’s receptionist at Microsoft is a computer that can interact with visitors outside his office in Redmond, Wash.

An article in the New York Times yesterday set my brain off on the post-human tangent again….

There is still much to be done before a man-made device can understand the world, itself, and others in it. (It can be argued that humans have yet to completely comprehend those things. Are we getting ahead of ourselves?) If we can teach “one” to learn, to see, to understand will “one” eventually feel? What does that even mean? In regards to artificial intelligence, what is nature and what is nurture? What is alive? What is life?  Maybe it all comes down to context.

Times article:   Computers Make Strides in Recognizing Speech

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More along the robotics side of AI:

Grandpa

I enjoy that Honda named their creation Asimo, “the word’s most advanced humanoid robot”, after Isaac Asimov. Asimov, kind of the grandfather of artificial intelligence and robot themed science fiction literature, came up with a set of rules which robots must obey.  Asimov’s Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Laws are nice ideas. But things are always changing (maybe too fast.) And then there is entropy. As the human occupation of the planet, “acts of god”, and pop culture entertainment have all illustrated for us – life finds a way.

In closing – Is it just as funny to watch a robot fall down a set of stairs as it is a human?