Daimler Trucks CEO says intelligent big rigs are going to roads this year

Daimler Trucks CEO says intelligent big rigs are going to roads this yearDaimler is bringing smart trucks to highways later this year.



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The stars making reality TV more intelligent

As ITV celebrate a successful year, they can also be credited with welcoming a new era for reality TV.
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Pacific Rim 2: The Kaiju “Have Grown More Intelligent”

Actor John Boyega on the upgrades to the Jaegers and a different approach to battling Kaiju.
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‘Socially intelligent’ robots with a human touch

Scientists have showcased “socially intelligent” robots which they believe will help tackle loneliness.
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People Who Struggle to Get Out of Bed Are More Intelligent, Study Says

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Technologies for Constructing Intelligent Systems 1

Technologies for Constructing Intelligent Systems 1


Intelligent systems enhance the capacities made available by the internet and other computer-based technologies. This book deals with the theory behind the solutions to difficult problems in the construction of intelligent systems. Particular attention is paid to situations in which the available information and data may be imprecise, uncertain, incomplete or of linguistic nature. Various methodologies for these cases are discussed, among which are probabilistic, possibilistic, fuzzy, logical, evidential and network-based frameworks. One purpose of the book is to consider how these methods can be used cooperatively. Topics included in the book include fundamental issues in uncertainty, the rapidly emerging discipline of information aggregation, neural networks, bayesian networks and other network methods, as well as logic-based systems.

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Beware Intelligent Men Bearing Caustic Wits

While some people continue to think of Ronald Reagan as the man who could do no wrong, those who remember his administration’s participation in arms trading and union busting have a less favorable image of the 40th President of the United States. Few, however, will deny that under Reagan’s watch, Americans began to experience a steady and calculated dumbing down of the educational system which resulted in surging waves of anti-intellectualism. While it may not be fair to equate brains with beauty, the sorry results speak for themselves.

Those of us who read Jonathan Swift’s legendary 1726 satire entitled Gulliver’s Travels may recall a tribe of creatures named the Yahoos. According to Wikipedia:

Swift describes them as being filthy and with unpleasant habits, resembling human beings far too closely for the liking of protagonist Lemuel Gulliver… The Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with ‘pretty stones’ they find by digging in mud, thus representing the distasteful materialism and ignorant elitism Swift encountered in Britain. Hence the term ‘yahoo’ has come to mean ‘a crude, brutish or obscenely coarse person.’

Joanne B. Freeman recently published an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times entitled The Long History of Political Idiocy. In a post entitled Willfully Ignorant Howler Monkeys on Daily Kos, diarist Sninkypoo wrote:

There’s no political will on the right to act with intellectual honesty and take immediate, urgent, war effort-style action on climate change. All the vast majority of politicians (left and right) want to do is get along to go along, appeal to their base, take Big Daddy Oil’s money, and get reelected.

Today’s American politics are crippled by a combination of media-induced fear, appalling ignorance, self-hating anti-intellectualism and a strategy of aiming to please an audience that represents the lowest common denominator. As a result, our society thrives on idiotic campaign stunts like these pathetic attempts to create a viral video.

A curious by-product of these “shit-for-brains” shenanigans is that when genuinely smart people who possess fierce and formidable intellects (Barney Frank, Bill Nye, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama) speak rationally, some listeners can’t help but feel intimidated, insecure, irate, and impotent. Why? Because when a person with a large and precise vocabulary can explain complex issues in reasonably simple terms, the ease and grace with which they do so makes the knuckle draggers quake in their designer shoes. It also tends to let the hot air out of pompous buffoons like Chris “the national teachers union deserves a punch in the face” Christie, Rick “Oops” Perry, and Rick (“the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex”) Santorum.

John Scalzi’s stunning article, Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is, offers a brilliant and beautifully written perspective on a problem currently plaguing American society. Just listen to what everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, had to say during a recent appearance in Sydney, Australia as he discussed racism and scientific illiteracy!

With Republican debates filling the stage with stooges who equate their preening narcissism with wisdom, it seems as if intelligent discourse has become an endangered phenomenon. Thankfully, two new documentaries do a smashing job of reminding viewers what it’s like when fearless, impassioned intellectuals not only have the courage of their convictions, but don’t hesitate to speak their minds.

* * * * * * * * * *

Larry Kramer has been called many things (abrasive, loudmouthed, fear-mongering, obnoxious, divisive, hysterical, and dangerous) over the course of his long and prolific career as a writer and activist, but no one has ever dared to call him dull or stupid. Born on June 25, 1935 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2015 has been a banner year for one of the LGBT community’s most lauded elders.

  • On April 7, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux published his 800-page book entitled The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart: A Novel.
  • In June (timed to LGBT Pride celebrations around the country), HBO aired Jean Carlomusto’s poignant documentary entitled Larry Kramer in Love & Anger.
  • And, on June 25, Kramer celebrated his 80th birthday.

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Larry Kramer at his 80th birthday celebration

Considering his long history of health problems (an AIDS diagnosis, a liver transplant), turning 80 was a milestone Kramer couldn’t always be confident that he would reach. There has never been any doubt, however, about his achievements as a writer and public scold.

  • Kramer received an Academy Award nomination for his work on the screenplay for 1969’s Women in Love.
  • In 1978, his outrageously and deeply controversial novel, Faggots, was published by Random House. A satire on gay promiscuity in the 1970s, it featured a description of a notorious gay sex club named The Toilet Bowl which, among its themed rooms, included a bar known as The Lusitania Lounge (“all fitted out most smartly with the gleanings from a sunken Cunard liner” that had “a porthole-backed crush bar”); the Jackie O (a room that had “50 urinals standing up along with all those men in front of them” and its sister suite, the Radziwill Annex (“where there were 50 urinals lying down, along with all those men in front of them”).

  • Kramer’s political activism took a serious turn in January 1982, when he became a co-founder of New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis (which later expelled him from its leadership).
  • First published in New York Native in March 1983, Kramer’s 5,000-word call to action entitled 1,112 and Counting shocked and angered many in New York’s gay community.
  • In April 1985, The Public Theatre presented the world premiere of Kramer’s acclaimed play, The Normal Heart, which portrayed his experiences at GMHC.
  • In March 1987, Kramer became one of the founders of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP).
  • In October 1992, a sequel to The Normal Heart entitled The Destiny of Me opened off Broadway and received that season’s Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play.
  • On April 19, 2011 (a little more than 25 years after its world premiere), The Normal Heart finally made its Broadway debut with a powerhouse cast. Subsequent productions engaged audiences at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
  • With Ryan Murphy producing, a film adaptation of The Normal Heart premiered on HBO on May 25, 2014.

  • In 2001, Kramer’s brother (Arthur Kramer) gave Yale University a gift of $ 1 million to establish The Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies.
  • In June 2013, Kramer received the Isabelle Stevenson Award from the American Theatre Wing for his “substantial contribution on behalf of humanitarian, social service [and] charitable organizations.”
  • On July 24, 2013, a noticeably frail Kramer married architectural designer David Webster (his partner of 22 years) in the intensive care unit at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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David Webster and Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: In Love & Anger opens with its protagonist’s famous “Plague” speech. From there on, its powerful sweep offers a crash course in how Kramer’s response to the AIDS crisis helped to change the way new medical treatments were made available to the public by the National Institutes of Health. It also shows how ACT-UP’s infamous “die-ins” (including a protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral) succeeded in drawing media attention to a spurned segment of the population who, as they faced death, had nothing left to lose.

While the documentary shows Kramer in robust health and, later in life, as a frail senior citizen, it teaches viewers what can happen when one fiercely intelligent man (who is not willing to take “no” for an answer) speaks truth to power. Here’s the trailer:

* * * * * * * * * *

If one ventures into the political wars that now dominate cable television, it often seems as if the level of discourse has sunk to that of a professional wrestling match. People (especially when the screen is divided up among various pundits) are so busy talking over each other’s voices that they can’t be bothered to listen to what’s actually being said.

From the morally reprehensible Mike Huckabee to the perverse insanity of Ann Coulter; from the preening narcissism of Donald Trump to the clumsy cluelessness of Jeb! Bush, today’s political news scene has deteriorated into a toxic sideshow in which the most reliable truth tellers have been comedians like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, and John Fugelsang.

A fascinating new documentary by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville looks back at how the personal and political rancor shared by two intellectuals snobs helped to develop the antagonistic formats that have become so familiar to today’s television viewers.

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Poster art for Best of Enemies

Back in 1968, when there were only three major networks (no cable), ABC’s ratings were in the toilet. Faced with the challenges of covering that year’s Republican National Convention in Miami Beach and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (which was ruled with an iron fist by Mayor Richard J. Daley), ABC’s corporate executives hit on a novel idea. Why not get two political commentators to debate each other on air during the conventions? Their final choice was bound to be an incendiary pairing.

William F. Buckley, Jr. initially grabbed the public’s attention in 1951 with the publication of his first book (God and Man at Yale) when he was only 25 years old. Having founded National Review magazine in 1955, Buckley would eventually write more than 50 books (including several espionage novels). A conservative Christian with a monstrous ego, his sneering condescension was impossible to ignore.

In 1948, Gore Vidal’s depiction of a homosexual relationship between characters in his third novel (The City and the Pillar) shocked many readers. His love of history and politics led to the creation of such plays as The Best Man (1960), Romulus (1962), and An Evening With Richard Nixon and…. (1972). His historical novels (including Julian, Burr, 1876, The Golden Age, and Lincoln) stand in sharp contrast to his wildly imaginative 1968 satire, Myra Breckenridge.

As filmmaker Robert Gordon notes:

I was a kid during their 1968 tête-à-tête offensives. Bill Buckley’s Firing Line was broadcast on Sunday mornings, what we watched when there were no cartoons and only preachers.

A master of the medium, he engaged children with his mannerisms and adults with his ideas. Vidal was a man of the left, his historical novels lining all modern home libraries; apart from the movement but also a part of it, he was the nation’s historian, and also its augur.

Decades later, in 2010, my friend Tom Graves obtained a bootlegged copy of their 1968 debates and he screened them at a museum. The audience stayed long after the last image, parsing the performances and the issues.

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Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. get made up for a
television appearance in a scene from The Best of Enemies

No one today speaks like these men, but their confrontations ring so contemporary. In the focused light of the 1968 national television camera, the seeds are planted for our present media landscape, when the spectacle trumps the content of argument.

Each side today, like these two men, sees the other as malignant, promulgating views catastrophic for America; strident partisanship is virile patriotism and compromise is castration. These Vidal-Buckley debates forecast the present state of civic discourse, when heated and abbreviated by camera lights and corporate sponsors.

2015-08-31-1441061170-4850747-bestenemies3.jpg

William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal
in a scene from The Best of Enemies

I was intimidated to enter the world of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley. A great part of this film’s initial attraction was the depth and breadth of these two huge characters, and of their luxurious language.

Their sense of theater makes their knowledge entertaining, and their enmity sizzles like a fireworks fuse. Their East Coast WASP confidence, their easy command of the classics, the masterful rhetoric — it makes a southern boy feel so unschooled.

No matter what a viewer’s age may be, watching Best of Enemies offers a fascinating display of two tart-tongued elitists debating each other with fangs bared and no love lost between them. Think of it as a cage match in which each contestant must rely on his cultural literacy, searing wit, and huge vocabulary in order to win.

By an odd coincidence, this documentary about the Buckley-Gore debates was released at the same time as Jen Lancaster’s fourth novel (The Best of Enemies). Only one of them has a trailer:

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape

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Rough Sets and Intelligent Systems – Professor Zdzislaw Pawlak in Memoriam: Volume 1

Rough Sets and Intelligent Systems – Professor Zdzislaw Pawlak in Memoriam: Volume 1


This book is dedicated to the memory of Professor Zdzis{\l}aw Pawlak who passed away almost six year ago. He is the founder of the Polish school of Artificial Intelligence and one of the pioneers in Computer Engineering and Computer Science with worldwide influence. He was a truly great scientist, researcher, teacher and a human being. This book prepared in two volumes contains more than 50 chapters. This demonstrates that the scientific approaches discovered by of Professor Zdzis{\l}aw Pawlak, especially the rough set approach as a tool for dealing with imperfect knowledge, are vivid and intensively explored by many researchers in many places throughout the world. The submitted papers prove that interest in rough set research is growing and is possible to see many new excellent results both on theoretical foundations and applications of rough sets alone or in combination with other approaches. We are proud to offer the readers this book.

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Intelligent Robotics and Applications: Part I

Intelligent Robotics and Applications: Part I


The market demand for skills, knowledge and adaptability have positioned robotics to be an important field in both engineering and science. One of the most highly visible applications of robotics has been the robotic automation of many industrial tasks in factories. In the future, a new era will come in which we will see a greater success for robotics in non-industrial environments. In order to anticipate a wider deployment of intelligent and autonomous robots for tasks such as manufacturing, healthcare, ent- tainment, search and rescue, surveillance, exploration, and security missions, it is essential to push the frontier of robotics into a new dimension, one in which motion and intelligence play equally important roles. The 2010 International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Applications (ICIRA 2010) was held in Shanghai, China, November 10-12, 2010. The theme of the c- ference was “Robotics Harmonizing Life,” a theme that reflects the ever-growing interest in research, development and applications in the dynamic and exciting areas of intelligent robotics. These volumes of Springer’s Lecture Notes in Artificial Intel- gence and Lecture Notes in Computer Science contain 140 high-quality papers, which were selected at least for the papers in general sessions, with a 62% acceptance rate Traditionally, ICIRA 2010 holds a series of plenary talks, and we were fortunate to have two such keynote speakers who shared their expertise with us in diverse topic areas spanning the rang of intelligent robotics and application activities.

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Medical Applications of Intelligent Data Analysis

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One major challenge facing modern medicine is to fulfill the promise and potential of the enormous increase in medical data sets of all kinds. Medical Applications of Intelligent Data Analysis: Research Advancements explores the potential of utilizing this medical data through the implementation of developed models in practical applications. This premier reference source features chapters contributed by specialists in a variety of intelligent data analysis (IDA) fields related to medicine, health, and bioinformatics. All of these contributions are devoted to describing the practical medical applications of IDA and how the theory described in many other books can be implemented to improve medical care.

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