Weekend Thoughts - 1.30.16

Image  by  David A. LaSpina , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by David A. LaSpina, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Many of us don't think about what to do when police come to our door (assuming they even knock—police can be so rude sometimes!). Hopefully you will not have to deal with that situation, but if you do—this guide covering what to do when police show up to your door uninvited may come to your rescue. The main tips include asking for a search warrant with the door closed, following the police while they conduct a search, and recording the event on video if possible.

2. In thinking about what will make for the next evolutionary level of artificial intelligence, engineers are finding that creating a bot that has the ability to engage in believable small talk to be of upmost importance. And that does make sense—when dealing with entities that we know are computers we generally prefer to work with the ones that have a personality and an ability to chitchat. The article argues that is why people like speaking to modern chatbots that are able to hold a conversation, and they are much preferred over software that is strictly computerlike. And another article predicts that chatbots will be making a resurgence in 2016, as companies find various ways to monetize them and their interactions with human users will presumably become more believable and enjoyable.

3. The late Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favorite authors and journalists that ever put ink to paper, but he wasn't always a successful writer. In fact, when he was fresh out of the military and sick of working as a lowly copy boy at TIME Magazine, he sent an extremely forward letter to Jack Scott, the editorial director of The Vancouver Sun, announcing his potential desire to work for the publication. Wow, he really did have some gumption, didn't he!?

4. For those of us on the East Coast of the United States, winter storm Jonas (which was classified as a blizzard in many locations) offered a beautiful snowy view mixed with the challenges of dealing with said snow. In North Carolina, we mainly received sleet, which made for extra slick streets. One of the good things that came out of the snow is this video of some people tandem snowboarding through the streets of New York City, even after a ban on driving personal vehicles was put into place. Even better, the police officer in the video who pulled over the snowboarder and the vehicle that was towing him was really chill and essentially let them off the hook completely. It's worth a watch, for its aesthetic quality and the uplifting exchange with the officer. Kudos to all involved!

5. As one of the backers for the Fantastic Fungi Kickstarter campaign, I have received a link to a sneak peek of the documentary, which is now aiming for a 2017 release. Although the link to this newly-released footage is only intended for the backers of the campaign, I wanted to spread the word about the film to the Think Wilder audience in hopes of piquing some of your interest before it is released. The project is intended to be a life-affirming, climate-changing, bee-saving film about mushrooms, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, featuring Paul Stamets and produced by Lyn Lear. I'm definitely looking forward to viewing it when it comes out next year!

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.