Quantum Supremacy


(artist’s drawing of Google’s quantum computer chip)

In October, Google built a quantum computer that solved an incredibly hard problem in 200 seconds — a problem the world’s fastest supercomputer would take 10,000 years to solve. This is called “quantum supremacy”, and has been compared to the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

”Until recently, every computer on the planet — from a 1960s mainframe to your iPhone, and even inventions as superficially exotic as ‘neuromorphic computers’ and DNA computers — has operated on the same rules. These were rules that Charles Babbage understood in the 1830s and that Alan Turing codified in the 1930s. Through the course of the computer revolution, all that has changed at the lowest level are the numbers: speed, amount of RAM and hard disk, number of parallel processors.

But quantum computing is different. It’s the first computing paradigm since Turing that’s expected to change the fundamental scaling behavior of algorithms, making certain tasks feasible that had previously been exponentially hard. Of these, the most famous examples are simulating quantum physics and chemistry, and breaking much of the encryption that currently secures the internet.

I’m sure this will go well.

More here.

Death Stranding

This is Hideo Kojima’s newest PS4 game, announced in 2016 and in development since 2017. It stars Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, Margaret Qualley, Troy Baker, Tommie Earl Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Lindsay Wagner(!). Most critics are raving. Anticipation has been intense – Kojima is regarded as a visionary genius, after all – and Death Stranding is currently enjoying an 83 on Metacritic.

Folks are laying on the hyperbole pretty heavy, one critic calling it not only the Game of the Year, but maybe even The Game of a Generation. The fellow in the above review actually LIKES the game, but even as he’s raving, listen to how he describes actual gameplay. Between over-indulgent cutscenes, your character delivers packages. That’s pretty much it.

Favorite YouTube comment:

Apocalyptic mailman simulator LOL

Lords Of Synth

Fictionalized versions of Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder and Wendy Carlos compete for synth dominance as they score the return of Halley’s Comet. This is some weird shit.

The Roomba That Goes Aaaaaaaaahhhhh

This video is unnecessarily long, but also funny as shit. If you have a Roomba, or anything that is self propelled and bumps into things, you need to watch this…

3:29 aaaahhh god fucking damnit!!

6:32 in a Target store… fiddlesticks!

This is technology I can get behind…

Pure Evil

Dimitri Shostakovich wrote this (2nd movement, Symphony #10) as a musical portrait of Stalin, who had harrassed him directly and indirectly throughout his career.  This is pure malevolence, published after Stalin was safely dead.  While Uncle Joe was alive, DS was mostly confined to putting out government approved, “socalist realist” garbage, while keeping much of his “real” work private.  Occasionally he could put one over on the Soviets and follow the letter of their requirements while mocking them.  One cool thing is that in the finale of this same symphony, he has a theme based on his initials, DSCH, vie for dominance against the Stalin theme from this movement.  DSCH wins.  Artistic revenge at its finest.  “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

The conductor seems a little too into his hair, and I’m not sure why he appears to be grinning during this grim business.    But you’ve gotta give him credit, his musicians are playing the hell out of this.  He made his reputation whipping these young Venezuelans into a respectable unit.  He’s since gone on to greener pastures in LA.