Sick on a Sunday

How Generative Grammar Doomed the Twelve Colonies of Kobol!

I’ve been trying very hard to enjoy SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica spin off series Caprica. It has a few moments of genuine brilliance, such as a gorgeous shot of the first Cylon in the twelve worlds hugging a childhood friend. It also possesses two male leads, Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales, who shine in their roles. Unfortunately the main plot threads of the series tend to be bogged down by a handful of sluggish side plots that struggle to approach anything approximating engaging. That all changed while I was watching Episode 7 this week as two extremely nerdy facets of my life collided on screen.

Behold, Jane Espenson!

What do I have in common with this lady? I definitely was not one of the head writers on Battlestar Galactica, and last time I checked I also wasn’t one of the head writers and executive producers of Caprica. Well according to the ever infallible Wikipedia, Jane Espenson, like myself, studied Linguistics in college. Now her focus wasn’t on generative-grammar, but no Linguistics undergrad manages to receive an education in the field without acquiring at least a shallow understanding of generative grammar. In a Cylon goo bath nutshell the theory of generative grammar stipulates that the unlimited variety of sentences which human beings are capable of generating derive themselves from a finite set of rules within our brains. These rules determine what the structure of a sentence can and cannot consist of.

How does that relate back to Caprica? I’m glad you asked! (minor spoilers ahead)

Through a series of events in the pilot episode of the series a virtual reality avatar of Daniel Graystone’s (Eric Stoltz) deceased daughter, Zoey Graystone, is downloaded into the MCP (Meta Cognitive Processor, or brain) of his Cylon prototype. The Cylon performs admirably in a demonstration for the Caprican Defense Ministry, winning Daniel’s corporation a lucrative contract for an army of Cylons. Things don’t go as planned however, as every single copy of the MCP fails to produce a functioning Cylon soldier when placed inside of a Cylon chassis. Graystone finds himself in a real bind, with his company hemorrhaging profits he can ill afford to lose the Caprican military contract.

Here is where my studies run smack dab into the plot of my extremely nerdy choices in television viewing. In episode 7 the digital copy of Zoey finds herself on a virtual reality date with one of Graystone’s robotics engineers. It would take a lot of text to explain, but long story short the engineer does not know that the avatar he is out on a date with in virtual reality land is actually inside of the Cylon he spends all day tooling up. He thinks he is merely out on a date with a super cute computer nerd who lives somewhere out there on Caprica. So I’m watching all of this and feeling less than gripped by virtual Zoey’s lamenting of the lack of aesthetic variety in virtual trees, when suddenly she launches into this little diddy:

“That’s just it, that’s not the way to do it. Living systems use generative algorithms. With a generative model, the system would use a basic generative kernel of a tree and POW an infinite variety of tree like trees!”

Upon hearing this Graystone’s employee realizes that what’s missing from the other Cylons is a similar generative model in the MCPs. What’s needed is a finite set of rules from which an infinite number of unique artificial intelligences can be born.

Watching this, and knowing that the head writer and scriptwriter of Caprica is a student of linguistics herself was a virtual nerd overload. With the terms she used in the scene, and the general idea that was being proposed to solve the problem of the malfunctioning Cylon AI, there was no doubt in my mind that Espenson had to have drawn the inspiration for that scene from her studies in linguistics.

That my friends, is how the theory of generative-grammar doomed the Twelve Colonies of Kobol.

-Eric

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trailer for upcoming art house masterpiece “Immortal Delicious”

Posted in Conspiracy Theories, Entertainment, isms, Politics, Things That Own by jamie on September 7, 2009

-guilty parties-

Sandy Murray – Director and Writer

Myself – Writer

Dixon as Himself

Mary as Herself

Mike as Himself

Stephen as Lord Sugarplums the Third.

Segs for Vets

Posted in Conspiracy Theories, Politics, Things That Don't Own by jamiemarie on August 11, 2009

Twice a week, I drive to Long Beach.  Apparently, every Monday afternoon, so does a representative of Segs 4 Vets. This is an organization that claims their goal is to help disabled veterans, and I totally and unconditionally support that.  Looking at the website now, it seems like a much more legitimate organization than this wingnut would have you believe, driving around in this vehicle:

photo-1

The side panel says “6 Reasons Why America’s Free: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Marines”.  Which begs the question: in that order?

I should also add that I took this photo from my car, in traffic on the 405.  And in addition to all this patriotic militaristic paraphernalia, this little pick up was blasting “Stars and Stripes Forever”.  (Which to this day, still makes me hum “be kind to your web footed friends…”)

So at first, I found this pretty harmless.  Despite the blind nationalism I typically find kind of scary, this was plain ridiculous – especially with the music.  Regardless, if I were an activist associated with Segs 4 Vets, I’d be okay with this dude driving around bringing us publicity.

However, recently, I’ve started to see a similar vehicle in the same area, so I can only assume it’s the same guy.

photo The text here says:
Beware.  I am a domestic terrorist by definition of government beaurocrats[sic].  I love America, the Constitution & Flag.  I hate the liberal, socialist agenda.  I am vocal about corruption and treason.  I want real americans to [??]. I own guns and ammo [??].  Call Homeland In-Security [??] Or the president’s hotline.

The president has a hotline?!  And what actually caught my attention at first, was the misspelling of bureaucrats.

Anyway, this is fear-mongering at its finest.  “The liberal, socialist agenda”?  Threatening with guns and ammo?  Saying that the administration will call you a “domestic terrorist” because you simply disagree with them?  I’m no political scientist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not true.

Maybe he’s a terrorist because he has a muppet with a fake gun on the top of his poorly worded sign. But if this dude has actually been labeled a “domestic terrorist” by the government, I’m willing to bet that he earned that title under more severe charges than disliking liberals.  Is Glenn Beck a domestic terrorist?  To me personally, absolutely; but to “government bureaucrats”?  Probably not.

But this is the part of blind, militaristic nationalism that scares me.  Not because I actually believe he’s going to commit acts of terrorism, but because people like this exist.

And you know, if I were part of the Segs 4 Vets organization, I would be totally embarrassed by this guy.  Unless he’s in, say, the Appalachians, he’s not going to garner much support in Southern California.  Take me, for example.  I’m liberal, but I am all in favor of getting veterans what they need – be it medical care, education, or segways.  However, I’m never, ever going to donate or do anything to associate myself with an organization promoted but nutjobs like this.

And, finally, because I can’t go a post without mentioning Gob Bluth, can anyone take segways seriously in the first place?

83272815_5810d9c83b  arrested-development-segway

 

Procreation Avoidance Timeline

Posted in Conspiracy Theories by jamiemarie on June 22, 2009

I don’t want kids.  The following information will allow me to guiltlessly tell my parents to not expect grandchildren from me.

 “The human brain starts declining after the age of 30 especially in women with each successive pregnancy.”

tux

I have inadvertently set myself for the perfect way out of procreation.  I’m going to share this information with the rest of the childless world.

First of all, I can’t have illegitimate children, so I’m going to have to get married and be sure this whole husband thing is stable first. 

But before that, what about my hopes and dreams?  I have to finish graduate school first.  I don’t expect to be done until about 2012.  Age: 27.

After grad school, I can start thinking about marriage.  Let’s say a year of being engaged and planning the wedding.  Age: 28.

So now we’re married.  We need a home in which to raise our children.  This is going to require at least a year or two of saving and living together to make sure we’re stable enough for a family.  Age: 30.

TOO LATE.

Guess I’m just going to have to raise dogs.  Eff yeah.

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Facebook ads

Posted in Conspiracy Theories, Entertainment, Random Rants by jamie on June 9, 2009

I am going to chime in with a slightly less well organized documentation of facebook ads targeted at me:

The first ad I’m seeing here is an ad for the Berkley MbA program.  I don’t know why this is showing up on my profile of all places. I have strong misgivings about capitalism and an MBA seems about the last degree on Earth I would want to go into debt for.  Seriously, an MbA? I can only assume that facebook has become sentient and has decided to be like every other asshole with a business degree. Unhappy on the inside and covering it up by reminding all the humanities majors, who are having a great time studying something they actually enjoy, that they won’t make any money when they gradtuate. I hope you enjoy your middle managment position that you’ll be working late into your extremely unfulfilled 50’s, Facebook.  With a little rationalization, I’m sure the fact you made a hundred or so grand more than a humanities major before you got laid off in a financial apocalypse will more than make up for decades spent doing something you loathed for a bit more scratch. FUCK YOU FACEBOOK.

Scrolling down a bit here…what’s this? A Congress app for iPhone with the tagline “hold your reps accountable!” Are there no limits to what the iPhone is capable of? Well, I do own an iPhone, so I suppose that one is sort of well targeted.

I’m spent, so I’m just going to say that the last ad is for a personal assistant. The notion that I will ever have enough money to afford a personal assistant is laughable. If I did have the need and financial means to hire one, I would probably just pay them to place bids at silent auctions for me. I would then have them withdraw the bids and yell “suckers,” as they sprint out of the room…

The Oatacolypse Part I

Posted in Conspiracy Theories by jamie on April 15, 2009

“Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world awaits you. I demand it.”

-The Quaker Oats Man speaking at the UN on December 4th 2011.

———————————————————————————————————————–

It started innocuously enough, a simple bill board ad on the back of an MTA bus here, a confusing magazine spread there, not a one of us could have anticipated what was coming though. We simply lived our lives, blissfully unaware of the storm just over the horizon. Too wrapped up in our sitcoms and celebrity feuds to pay heed to the signs right in front of us. Horses started dying worldwide and the CDC simply blamed it on a new strain of flu named “Mr. ED.” Funny, the ease with which humor comes when you’re not on the chopping block.

The night it began I went to bed with an Uzi under my pillow, call it madness, but as I awoke to those empty eyes and that wide brim black hat standing over me, I knew it was providence. Instinct took hold and I emptied a clip into his face. Leaping out of my bed as his now faceless frame collapsed to the ground, I rushed to the window and tore down the curtains. Dawn, but the soft light of a familiar sunrise was nowhere to be found. I looked up and saw them floating to the ground by the thousands. Each one identical, each one wearing a black executioners hat. We had sown our own downfall with our complacency, and they had come to reap the harvest.

I turned to head for the door, only to find him standing there, a whirlwind of oats swirling his head, obscuring his face as they came together. I loaded another clip into my weapon. His face now restored he locked eyes with me, he didn’t speak, but I could hear him in my head. “Go human go,” he whispered.

I raised my weapon

“I hate oatmeal.”

I squeezed the trigger.

to be continued.

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