Stanton's Corollary To Santayana's Theorem.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

"I remember the past, but the present I'm a little unclear about."
- Stanton Jonas

In a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Stanton Jonas argues [scroll down to the last letter] that the United States should aid Libyan rebels, calling it "one chance to oust Moammar Gadhafi and free the Libyan people."

Well, maybe, maybe not - even taking as read the argument that the country is currently ruled by a despot, that's still no guarantee that the next government will be any better.

But my favourite part of his letter is te part in which Mr. Jonas cites as a model for the action he proposes the American "'intervention' which led to the ill-equipped Afghans defeating the mighty Russians in Afghanistan."

Because things in Afghanistan have turned out so well.

Why HAL9000 Beat Ken Jennings Like A Rented Mule:

Lisa de Moraes wrote in the Washington Post about the Jeopardy! match between former champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and an IBM computer called Watson. Watson won handily, demonstrating advances in programming and machine intelligence unimaginable only a few years ago. Watson was able to collate and correlate chunks of information not necessarily directly related - what programmers call "unstructured data" - to understand plain-English questions and answer them. Until Watson, you couldn't ask a computer "who's the American icon who supposedly had wooden teeth?" and have it tell you 'Thomas Jefferson.' Kidding! See what I did there?

Everyone is suitably impressed. Well, mostly everyone - commenter sjcsando wrote:

Of course Watson will beat the humans. He's programmed to respond or "buzz in" faster than a human. IBM needs to reprogram him so that his response times are on equal footing with his human competitors.

Reprogramming Watson might be a little drastic - let's start with reprogramming sjcsando to help him be able to not miss the entire point of the exercise first. If that doesn't work, then we can reprogram Watson. Hell, let's put the boots to him, get out the pitchforks, or BURN IT WITH FIRE!

And once we've taught Watson a lesson about being too smart for his own good, we'll have Ken and Brad face off against my old Aptiva 486 while sjcsando matches wits with a couple of vacuum tubes, a battery and a small light.