On being the right size – J.B.S. Haldane

Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force.

Read the whole thing here.

 

Can machines think?

Back in 1950, Turing’s paper, titled “Computer machinery and Intelligence,” was published in journal called “Mind,” and it was one of the things that can be credited for changing the way people thought about machines. Some readers were awestruck, while others only saw gibberish.

The paper, in a fair-amount of detail, spoke of computers, and the possibility of them being indistinguishable from a human in the future. The present day, may or may not be the future in question, but we have most definitely made a fine dent. Turing spoke of storage, and memory and processing and instructions, and of word, in the second part of his article titled “Digital Computers.” The model of computing defined in his article is what we know today as the Turing Machine.

The part on digital computers was preceded by “The Imitation Game.” You might be familiar with the 2014 movie of the same name, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young Alan Turing who builds an intelligent-machine so as to be able to decrypt the messages encrypted by the german Enigma machine. The Imitation Game, which is defined finely in his article, is what could be used as a Turing Test, so as to determine how close a machine is to imitating the behavior and thinking capability of a human being, and whether or not it could possibly hoodwink a human into mistaking itself for a human. The Turing Test is a popular topic for discussion among enthusiasts, and developers perform different forms of it on their AI creations to this day.

I could go on for a while, but there’s honestly no point to it, and your time could be better spent reading the original article.

 

Alexarank.io

On January 3rd, I launched a tool, that’s hosted at; yep, that’s right. You guessed it: alexarank.io. What the tool does, is pretty simple. It tracks the global Alexa ranks for domains, and shows the change over time in a chart. It’s not exactly tracking every damn domain on the web, but nothing prevents it from doing so. Except that someone, and I mean anyone who cares enough, has to submit the domain once, and that very instant, the tool would start tracking the domain.

On December 27th, Amin messaged me and shared his desire for tool that would track changes in Alexa ranks for particular domains. On the slightest effort at googling, we both discovered a shitty tool that offered to do so at some price I didn’t even bother to remember. Alexa itself offers to do that for you, but they too, yep you guessed it, do it for a fee. So I say to Amin, we need to make a free alternative, and we immediately start concepting, and after a while we started playing with code. Within the next few days we had a working buggy prototype up, but it was uglier than you could possibly imagine, so we fixed the bugs, and made it look presentable and on the 3rd day of 2016 we registered the domain and it was up.