Thursday, October 18, 2018

Killer Drones

Artificial intelligence. Micro drones. Autonomous weapons. Smart swarms. 

Put them together and we have a deadly mix. Killer drones that can execute airstrikes of surgical precision. And manufacturing murderous mayhem. 

Indeed, these are the weapons of mass destruction. 

Watch this:

Okay, okay, this is only sci-fi. For now. 

But it can be the frightening future. It’s not that far-fetched, methinks. 

The above is actually an arms-control advocacy video that presents a dramatized near-future scenario where swarms of micro drones using AI and incorporating facial recognition are deployed to assassinate the ‘enemy’, whoever they are and wherever they are. 

This “Slaughterbots” video was released onto YouTube by the Future of Life Institute on November 12, 2017. It quickly went viral, gaining over two million views. 

Know that when the technology for the above finally arrives, it makes for a terrifying prospect for humankind. 

As CNN’s Matt McFarland said: "Perhaps the most nightmarish, dystopian film of 2017 didn't come from Hollywood". 

He even recognized that the debate over banning the flying killer robots had taken a "sensationalistic" turn: In 2015, "they relied on open letters and petitions with academic language", and used dry language like 'armed quadcopters'; in 2017, "they are warning of 'slaughterbots'".

Yesterday, I was back in Setia Alam in Selangor for the EcoWorld Toastmasters meeting. A well-attended meeting and we even had a guest who's only eleven months old!

This time around, I was the Toastmaster. 

Thank you, Lee Chin Yee for kindly accommodating my request to take up this particular role. 

This means, I have now completed my Competent Leadership manual, twenty-one times – and this represents my 95th Toastmasters’ award for Communication and Leadership todate!

It also means I didn’t meet my KPI. I had wanted to collect 100 awards in 10 years – but it looks like I have missed it by a mile! And despondency has just crept in stealthily.

It's just a KPI, I tell myself. It's not the end of the world, LOL!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sharing by Rafidah Aziz

Give a listen to Rafidah Aziz’s brutally honest retrospective on Malaysia. 

[BTW, Rafidah (right) may not hold any position in the government presently but she is not just anybody – she was Minister of International Trade and Industry from 1987 to 2008. And if you know her, she is not afraid to speak her mind]. 

She was on this panel of the Malaysia: A New Dawn event on October 08, 2018 and giving pointers on how the new Malaysia should move forward. It’s a no-holds-barred affair  mind you, Tony Pua was totally eclipsed! What's more, her views make a lot of sense:

Her sharing was brilliantly illuminating, bounteously interesting and blardy incisive.

And befittingly insightful too because she says the way forward is to have people-centric governance, not politics-centric governance. 

A timely reminder to the Pakatan Harapan government. Go for a future-proof approach, she advises. 

As an aside, she makes references to the chimney mentality (versus a silo mindset) we Malaysians seem to possess – I hasten to add, not all of us – and illustrates the case about the bizarre focus by debauched males who are very “gatal” (itchified in Manglish) on gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi’s attire – as opposed to most decorated swimmer Michael Phelps’ swimming trunk. 

Meaning, these men were not interested to watch Farah’s acrobatic prowess but rather drool over her body, especially the lower half. 

I guess, there will always be perverts in our midst. In Malaysia, they are more dangerous because they hide behind the righteous cloak of religion.

I'm glad to note that there is at least one government minister walking the talk. 

I had already complained about this growing problem of plastic wastes coming into the country – kindly read my blog posts @ (September 24, 2018) and (September 26, 2018).

Energy, Green Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (left) told Parliament yesterday that in order that Malaysia does not end up as the “developed nations’ plastic trash bin” – the government has already shut down more than 30 illegal plastic recycling factories. 

She reported: “I was on the ground together with government agencies and we did not just shut them down, we also cut their electricity, water supply and arrested the factory owners”. 

There’s more. “I’ve instructed the Environmental Department to haul as many of these illegal (plastic factory) owners to court. We have seen the impact of uncontrolled plastic imports from January to June but since then, we have frozen all plastic waste imports”. 

And she concluded: “We are monitoring the situation to ensure that no more illegal factories will open up”. 

At the same time, a joint ministry committee headed by the Housing and Local Government Ministry and involving the Land and Natural Resources Department, International Trade and Industries Ministry and MESTECC (her ministry) has been formed to study the next steps regarding plastic wastes. 

Good job, Yeo! This is what Malaysians want – action, action, action!!! Not only talking! 

A Sniper Lurks in Putrajaya

This is hilarious! It seems that former PM Najib Razak is really a scaredy-cat. 

This is also true of his MoF top guns too. 

I say so because he had wanted to install the windows on the top three floors of the Ministry of Finance building in Putrajaya with bulletproof glass.

Malaysiakini reported that the tenth floor housed the offices of the deputy secretaries-general, while the two finance ministers and their deputies occupied the eleventh floor, and the twelfth floor had meeting rooms during the previous BN administration. 

In case you didn’t know, during Najib’s era, he also served as the first finance minister, while Johari Abdul Ghani was the second finance minister. And his deputies were Othman Aziz and Lee Chee Leong. 

Good thing that Lim Guan Eng (left) took over the job as Finance Minister from Najib. And the former told the news portal that he had scrapped the contract, rightly maintaining that it was a sheer waste of money. 

The cost to taxpayers is a cool RM7 million.
And in a half-serious note, he had said: “There are easier ways to kill me than using a sniper”. 

That is so true. I doubt anybody wants to murder Lim.

I don’t know about Najib though. 

But if anyone does have that ambition – it’s really easy. Just put cash, jewellery and/or Birkin bags as bait – wait for Rosmah to pounce on them and the hubby will surely not be too far behind! LOL!

Anyway, this is an extravagance that we shouldn't indulge in. I see it as an exercise in frivolous flippancy. C'mon lah, are you telling me there's a ruthless killer lurking in Putrajaya?

Yesterday, I attended the Bangsar Toastmasters meeting. 

Thanks to Eng Liew, I was given the job of a Grammarian – one of two Grammarian roles I must take on. It's part of the ten projects I'm undertaking in my tireless pursuit to earn my CL #22. BTW, I was also the Acting Sergeant-at-Arms.

And I received two more certificates from Toastmasters International, my ACB #5 and ALB #7:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Let Them Eat Chaos

Have you heard of Kate Tempest (left)? 

The performance poet whose spoken-word theater show Brand New Ancients won her the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry in 2013. 

And named a Next Generation Poet – one of twenty – by the Poetry Book Society (which was founded by TS Eliot in 1953), a once-a-decade accolade. 

The Londoner is equally at home within the genres of theater, performance, poetry and music, her name now appears on album covers, poetry books, and billboard hoardings. 

It is fitting then, that her individual works blend elements of oral, sonic, visual and written culture – a fully satisfying spread of scintillating sensations. 

As one commentator in UK’s The Guardian wrote in 2013: “Her spoken-word performances have the metre and craft of traditional poetry, the kinetic agitation of hip-hop and the intimacy of a whispered heart-to-heart… drawing on ancient mythology and sermonic cadence to tell stories of the everyday”. 

Indeed, Kate Tempest has shaken up the world of poetry by taking it out of the bookshops and on to the big stage – check out this masterpiece Let Them Eat Chaos:

(Note: Includes three guest poets – Deanna Rodgers, Isaiah Hull and David J Pugilist).

Kate Tempest’s refusal to recognise genre boundaries – the above material nimbly regenerates itself into performance poetry, rap-style narratives that takes place at 4.18 AM, when insomnia gnaws at her characters’ brains. 

Let Them Eat Chaos by Tempest includes a note at the beginning: “This poem was written to be read aloud.” And you think, “Well, aren’t most poems meant to be read aloud?” 

Perhaps, but Tempest is making at least three points with that statement. 

First, reading a poem aloud is not a given; most poems are read silently today, as opposed to being read aloud. Reading aloud assumes (or presumes) an audience. 

Second, this single collection-length poem was written specifically with the idea of being read aloud. 

And third, reading aloud is a performance, which is exactly what you would expect from a poet who is also a playwright, and also a recorder of CDs (including rap). In fact, Let Them Eat Chaos is paired with an audio CD of the same name. 

I agree when someone said that Tempest doesn’t blur the lines between artistic forms; she blows them up. 

“Wake up and love more”, she intones as she comes to the end. For sure, I can also agree to this!

This is somebody I can relate to. Not just her works, but as a person too. In one interview, she told Dorian Lynskey: “…that’s not the kind of person I am. If I’m going to engage with somebody I engage with all of myself, which is why it’s dangerous. Do you understand? I don’t exist on the surface” (The Guardian, April 30, 2017).

I understand this very well.

Beer is the Biggest Sin

Image credit: The Atlantic, USA, September 22, 2014

Every year, in the month of October, we have the same tiring bullshit from idiots disguised as wet blankets. Rafidah Aziz call these people blankety-blanks. I would refer them as effing retards.

Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria issued a stark warning to authorities against allowing Oktoberfest events. 

He told Malay daily Sinar Harapan that facilitating alcohol consumption such as allowing beer festivals, is just “as sinful” as drinking it. 

“And those who buy, helping to buy or showing where to buy, the sin is the same as drinking”, he added for good measure.