Monthly Archive: January 2015

The First Machine To Successfully Imitate Human Intelligence

For over 65 years, computer scientists have used the Turing Test as a way to judge computer intelligence. Programs that pass the test (by convincing a group of people that they are having a conversation with another real human) are said to exhibit human-like intelligence. In 2014, a computer finally beat the test. Although some in the AI industry are unimpressed by the feat, there’s no denying the machine met all the required criteria.

When The Capital Of The Roman Empire Was In England

Rome wasn’t always the capital of the Roman Empire, and from A.D. 208–211 and again from 305–306, the capital of the empire was York. During its initial run as capital city, York was home to Rome’s first African emperor, Septimius Severus, during his campaign to stop Caledonian aggression against Roman lands in Britain. Later, York would be the place that the emperor Constantine died, and the place that his son, later Constantine the Great, would be installed as emperor.

The Many Different Kinds Of Noise

We’re familiar with white noise, and some of us even rely on it to get to sleep at night. While that’s noise that includes all frequencies, other kinds of noise are defined by the relationship between frequency and power. Pink noise had greater power at lower frequencies, while blue noise has greater power at higher frequencies. Brown noise is an extreme version of pink noise, and grey noise is stronger at the high and low ends of frequency.

The Heated Debate On The Existence Of Wind Chill

Wind chill is a mathematically derived number designed to let us know what the outdoor temperature feels like to our human skin, not how it affects the mercury in a thermometer. Some want to do away with it, arguing that a limited formula can’t accurately predict how the weather will “feel” to every person in their own unique environment. Those who support it say that even with its flaws, the wind chill still gives folks a better idea of what to expect before they go outside. For those with strong opinions on the matter, the debate rages on.

The Unfortunate Legacy Of Gary Thomasson

Gary Thomasson was an American baseball player who lost his mojo when he moved to Japan. But despite his less-than-stellar career, his name still lives on today. Thanks to Japanese artist Akasegawa Genpei, Thomasson has became an eponym for a truly bizarre type of architecture: objects that are completely useless but still carefully maintained.

The Deadly Japanese Weather Balloons Of World War II

Although it’s sometimes said there were no enemy-inflicted deaths on the US mainland during World War II, that’s not actually true. In fact, six civilians were killed in Oregon by a bomb that infiltrated the States by hitching a ride on a beefed-up weather balloon. This “balloon bomb” was one of about 9,000 that were launched from Japan with the intentions of floating across the Pacific and wreaking havoc on the US.

One Nun’s Outrageous Condemnation Of The Catholic Church

In 1836, Maria Monk wrote a scathing, sordid expose on life in a Catholic nunnery. She told stories of murder, torture, abuse, and rape, of killing babies, of bizarre rituals, and of horrors so great she couldn’t even begin to write them down. Her book was a massive success, but there were a lot of people, her own mother included, that said she absolutely wasn’t a credible writer or witness to anything. The claims in the book were investigated, first by seeing if the descriptions in her book were an accurate representation of the convent. They weren’t accurate in terms of describing the convent, but they were an extremely accurate description of a local lunatic asylum.

The Most Expensive Autograph You’ve Never Heard Of

Chances are pretty good you’ve never heard of Button Gwinnett. While he signed the Declaration of Independence, he never achieved the legendary status of men like Benjamin Franklin. However, despite his obscure spot in history, Button Gwinnett’s autograph is worth more than any other signature with the possible exception of William Shakespeare.

The Forgotten Story Of The Titanic Of The East

On February 26, 1822, a junk ship by the name of the Tek Sing sank beneath the treacherous waters of the South China Sea, claiming hundreds of lives together with a vast cargo of antique porcelain. It wouldn’t be until over 150 years later that it would be rediscovered and its amazing cargo brought to the surface.

The Incredible Survival Story Of Juliane Koepcke

In 1971, a plane crashed in the Peruvian jungles on Christmas Eve. All aboard were killed, except for 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke. After free-falling more than 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) while still strapped into her seat, she woke up in the middle of the jungle surrounded by debris from the crash. Suffering from various injuries, she searched in vain for her mother—then started walking. Ten days later, she found a boat, and waited for its owners to return. They finally did.