Pharyngula

Archives for September, 2014

Prepare yourself. The Te Papa Museum of New Zealand has a new specimen locked in a vault: a colossal squid that will be thawed and dissected (they think!) on streaming video. Here is the necromantic chamber. Wait! No protective runes, no array of emergency thuribles, no pentagram, no mysterious idols of jade and obsidian? This…

Chatbots are boring. They aren’t AI.

You know I’m a bit sour on the whole artificial intelligence thing. It’s not that I think natural intelligences are anything more than natural constructions, or that I think building a machine that thinks is impossible — it’s that most of the stories from AI researchers sound like jokes. Jon Ronson takes a tour of…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Thrippy

You’ve just got to love the word “thrip”.

That’s my hypothesis, and I’m sticking to it. My obnoxious, curmudgeonly ways must be an adaptation, selected by evolution over many generations to optimize my mating opportunities by forcing stupid people to flee from my presence.

JBS Haldane is said to have responded to a question about how evolution could be disproved by saying, “A Precambrian rabbit”. What was meant by this, of course, is any substantial discovery that greatly disrupted the evidence for the chronological pattern of descent observed in Earth’s life. That pattern of descent is one of the…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Spongy