Posts Tagged ‘Miley Cyrus’

Monday Medley

What we read in our government-less dystopia…

 

How Does Watson Know What Watson Knows?

Watson, the IBM supercomputer designed to play Jeopardy!, made his television debut yesterday, and while the game may not be over, it was a very auspicious start. Watson is currently tied with one of Jeopardy’s most successful champions, Brad Rutter, and is currently leading the most famous contestant ever, Ken Jennings.

This is pretty amazing on a lot of levels. Computers have been “smart” for a very long time (dating back to at least whenever we started teaching them chess), but Watson takes it to another level. For one, it’s worth pointing out that Watson is not connected to the Internet. In other words, Watson is storing all of the information it has for itself. More impressive, the computer can understand the intricacies of human language better than any other machine, since it has to not only generate information, but also generate the specific piece of information that the clue is looking for. Not to mention the fact that Jeopardy! clues are known for being full of wordplay and allusions that seem particularly troubling for a computer to digest.

While all this is impressive and important to the world of artificial intelligence, I’m more interested in another epistemological component of Watson’s thought process: How does Watson know what it knows? Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Martin Luther King, Jr. was rolling over in his grave….

  • Whiskey may very well be the NPI liquor of choice, so we’re glad to see it in Japan.

Say It Ain’t So, Miley, Say It Ain’t So

Believe me, nobody is more disappointed in Miley Cyrus’ new music video, “Can’t Be Tamed,” than I am. Now, I don’t really mind that Miley is betraying her Disney roots, since she’s been trying to ditch those for a while now. And I don’t really care that Miley Cyrus is setting a bad example for her fans, though I understand why this video may upset some people on that ground. I don’t even care that the song is pretty bad—this is Miley Cyrus we’re talking about, not Radiohead.

No, I’m not disappointed on any moral or aesthetic grounds; I am disappointed by Miley’s total lack of originality. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: 25 Best Songs of the Decade

So you thought we were done discussing the music of the decade? Well, think again. We didn’t get to what is arguably the most important list of all: The Best Songs of the Decade. When Tim introduced Aught Lang Syne last week, he discussed how certain cultural events will always be linked to events in our lives. Songs may be the best example of this phenomenon. Unlike albums or even music videos, which are generally experienced individually, we tend to listen to songs in groups: They’re on the playlists at the parties we go to; they’re in the background of the bars we drink in and the restaurants we eat at; they’re the songs we dance to when we go to clubs; they’re on the radio when we take road trips. In short, they are the soundtrack of our memory. These are the songs that we will inevitably remember when we think of the Aughts.

Of course, out cultural memory does not always have the best taste: It will probably be impossible to remember the Aughts and not think of the Black Eyed Peas, but God knows I’ll try. What follows, then, is not an attempt to capture the most popular, memorable, or iconic songs of the decade; it is merely a list of the 25 Best Songs. Nevertheless, it is often difficult–and generally undesirable–to dissociate a song from the positive memories of the context in which you heard it. So even without actively trying to incorporate these qualities, the Best Songs of the Decade will inevitably include some of the Most Popular, Most Memorable and Most Iconic.

Anyway, on with the list: Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while trying to get into Justin Bieber’s Twitter account….

Miley Cyrus vs. Taylor Swift

As far as I know, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift do not hate each other. In fact, they appear to be on rather friendly terms in this YouTube video. At one point, Miley even referred to Taylor as her “best friend.”*

*Although, to be fair, she’s also applied that term to her dad, Nick Jonas, her YouTube talk-show co-host Mandy Jiroux, Liam Henson, the “Leslie” of “See You Again,” and, of course, God. Miley may have more “best friends” than any pop star in history.  

So there is no obvious enmity between the two of them, but I feel like there should be. It seems to me that there should be a Highlanderesque, there-can-only-be-one vibe to their relationship. There can be no peaceful coexistence between these two stars.

From where I sit, these two are completely interchangeable. They’re both young singers who sing bad country-infused pop songs about what kind of shoes they wear. They both sing primarily for a vast audience of girls between the ages of 11 and 19. They both dated a Jonas Brother. They’re both from small towns. They’re both (ostensibly) wholesome. They both play the “gosh-I’m-just-so-overwhelmed-by-all-this-attention-since-I’m-from-a-modest-small-town” card, even though they’ve each spent over 25% of their conscious lives as superfamous sensations.

This seems like it should create a natural rivalry. And yet, even with a music media that loves pitting artists against each other unnecessarily (Britney vs. Christina, *NSYNC vs. Backstreet Boys, The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, Kanye West vs. 50 Cent), not very much has been made of these two as potential rivals. In fact, most people don’t seem to consider them very similar at all. Continue reading