25 February 2014

Defense Companies

In order for defense related private sector to be lucrative there has to be demand for potential business. In order to drive such demand and supply one obvious has to have a necessity. The creation of wars in the world is one major necessity where a problem invariably requires a resolution. We live in a world of constant perpetual illogical fear mongering that grows along side the intangible need for war. Without wars and conflict the private sector for defense would be out of business. One needs to ask themselves should these companies really be targeting fresh graduates at university? Should they really be giving career talks? Should one really be looking to work for such companies? One must realize that life is not always about money, or just about oneself. We live alongside others sharing in the many pools of resources. There is a certain level of hypocrisy in being against animal testing and yet working for a pharmaceuticals company. There is also hypocrisy in being against sub-prime lending and yet working for a bank that is active in such activities. There is yet another hypocrisy in working for a defense contractor who specializes in tactical weapons, intelligence, or even surveillance, if one is in issue with all those aspects. Why do people give up their values and morals all at the expense of earning a basic income? Most such jobs do not even pay as much comparatively. Where one works can be viewed as an extension of what one supports after all employees are representatives of a company especially when such workforce drives the production of services into market. Perhaps, the end to wars lies at the hands of a collective many as the trails of globalization and capitalism would show.

21 February 2014

Employment Contracts

One might say these days that employers are trying to provide an open collegial environment for work. But, invariably as a business it is often employer vs employee. One needs to be cautious with employment contracts and fully informed with a sense of awareness of the contractual agreements. It is also best to get an employment contract overlooked by a trusty employment lawyer in case there are any clauses that need re-wording or clarification. As once the contract is signed any number of things could go wrong later. One also needs to be fully aware of their employee rights and the best ways to approach any conflicting matters that might arise. Acas is one such organization that provides advice and guidance on UK employment disputes but also a range of information on their website. Other options include: Citizens Advice, Gov.uk, CIPD, EmpLaw, Personnel Today, Employment Rights, EU Law and many others. 

20 February 2014

Ill-Conceived Nutritions

Everyone knows that fast foods can be bad for health when consumed in excess. Some are bad in more ways then one. Others are just best avoided. However, nutritionists often take such measures to the extreme, almost pushing us away from tasty food altogether, enforcing diets to excessive limits, and effecting our health risks even more. It seems the best way is the common sense way - a balanced diet without taking extreme measures. Having an only protein diet, or only of one area of the food group also adds to the health risk. In most diets this is what essentially happens. Even yo-yo dieting habits have a negative effect on health. A lot of so called nutritionists also have no idea about what the right diet is and become more concerned with driving their own brand as a business idea. There are just too many side-tracked ways floating around by so called professionals in the field to divert our focus on the basics of eating healthy and well.  All it really requires is a bit of common sense, understanding the body to know what eating well really means, and enriching one's life with many indulgences with a balance.

18 February 2014

House of Cards Season 2

The second season is an intense drama seeping with political intrigue and incandescently unwrapping the underbelly of government corruption. The brutal games of Frank Underwood comes unleashed in its clarity from episode to episode leading to the success of his presidency. The stakes are high almost risking his own position for the enlightenment and against all odds. The acting of Kevin Spacey is fired with energy almost to invigorate the subtle plot lines with a steamy twist which unravels into many unfolding subplots. The release of all thirteen episodes can leave one hooked to the very end waiting for more. 

17 February 2014

RoboCop 2014

An almost missable movie that is withered with chaotic plot lines and lacking in much of the original RoboCop premise. It seems the direction has missed much to attract the audience both emotionally and in terms of action drama. There is very little one can find as a way to connect to the RoboCop character. It is quite a move to revamp to the modern audience of today. However, the director failed to convince the moviegoer. Even the choice of actors is rather haphazard and does not gel very well in the movie. Perhaps, the only real striking appeal would be in the RoboCop outfit. If only robots could be designed with such inspiration.

15 February 2014

Cheesecake Factory

If only they had cheesecake factory in Europe and UK. They have well over 150 locations in US and hardly any international other than in Middle East. Their scrumptious cakes are a delight especially some which are almost double in size. Perhaps, one day they will open more international franchises and take the world by storm. I remember the first time I visited one of their restaurants. The first slice of Linda's Fudge Cake was just an absolute amazing treat exploding with flavor and even their cake in its entirety was magnificently huge in size. They also have other authentic blend of cheese and speciality cakes which are equally as splendid, if not better. It is no wonder why they are so successful. But, cheesecake factory is not just about cakes they also provide full course meals which are equally as grand. In their Grand Lux Cafe the food styles could range from a mixture of American, European, Thai, Mexican, Caribbean, and others making it a truly melting pot of experience on the taste buds. 

14 February 2014

Open Urban Data

There is a data visualization need to open up urban data for citizens to make cities more accessible to all and for better local efficiencies. One can start to graph stories out of urban data in context and project into the future into how a city works and what can be improved.  Open storytelling can entail a process of identifying trends, even particular characteristics of an area, and then to provide such data into transformed information contexts. One of the fundamental ways in which data can be made open is via Web APIs which can enable developers to consume and build their own mashable applications. Tackling issues within an urban city with the growing population demands a focused approach to solving them. When data is open and shareable there are multitude of resources that can be gained from open community involvement to solve such challenges with compelling insights on urban life. Governments are starting to open up their data and utilizing the vast global developer community perspectives to scrutinize and reap on social and economic benefits. Availability of such urban data sets has also led to increased big data needs and analytical tools to fuel newer approaches in visualization. Regular meetups have developed towards progress in the use of open urban data which also organize regular hackathons to investigate, discuss, and prototype ideas. 

12 February 2014

Curling

One of the strangest sport in Olympics is Curling. Possibly, the only sport that uses house sweeping utensil and turns it into a vital sporting accessory. It could not possibly be classed as a sport as there is no real exertion other than a lot of shouting and team strategy. It always reminds me of what bored people would do as a past time if they were living in places like Yukon and reusing whatever they had available around the house in the bitter cold. It also uses attire that almost mimics that of a reminiscent pyjama party. Also, the sport is even accessible to 5 year olds and beauty pageants. There is also an immense amount of growling like a cat woman. It is also one of the very few sporting activities that allows one to adorn themselves with jewelry and makeup while playing. Even Google search seems to think Curling is not a sport as it is often the first auto-suggest filters available. There is also huge amount of shouting that teammates have to put up with almost like being out with a drunkard. Pets are even allowed to take part, as well. I wonder if there is anyone out there that has ever had to decide between cartoonism or curling as their profession and even attempt to get a doctorate in the subject matter. Unfortunately, the sport appears to be gaining in popularity every year. Most likely because like darts one rarely has to flex their muscles all that much and is accessible to anyone that has ever had to clean around the house. There is even a Curling book for dummies. Strangely, it is also classed as 'chess on ice' with stones and brooms as opposed to artfully crafted pieces.  I wonder how sports like Curling gained such an appetite and became so popular whereas Squash has yet to be entered into Olympics.

PyData

PyData conference is happening in London on 21-23 February. A mixture of tutorials and applied tools would add much to the repetoire of a Python Developer in Data Analytics. The conference is planned to cover recommenders, financial analytics, video action recognition, probabilistic data structures, optimizations, visualizations, embedded use, cloud computing, databases, textual classification, graph plotting, massive parallelism, data discovery, and much more. 

Mick-Off

Interesting mick-off without the vocals. The two look like ducks on stage elaborating on the typical Mick Jagger moves. 

Pizza Pilgrims

Pizza not to die for but still authentically scrumptious if not cold at time of service. Pizza Pilgrims are a bit stingy with the toppings but perhaps that is an understatement if one classes such a pizza as authentic. Although, they are reasonably priced with more focused tastes. Authentic crust is not for every one's taste but if one likes the feel of a stone baked sort of pizza then it might work as an option. There are plenty of options available. At least for me the pizza is a lot better than commercialized options like Domino's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, and even Papa Johns. But, certainly not at the level of Zizzi. There are yet to be any pizza outlets in London that provide for a truly deep dish pizza. Below are a few more pizza places in London that potentially are at league of their own. 

Saporitalia
Sacro Cuore
Santa Maria Pizzeria
Story Delli
Santore
Pizza Metro Pizza
Franco Manca
Sartori
Pizza East
Rossopomodoro
Arancina
Homeslice

11 February 2014

Fashion and Style Trends

An interesting area for data mining is fashion and style trends. Understanding what people want now and how that influences what people might want in future. How tastes and fashion changes over time. It seems fashion is a very unpredictable affair. Often styles are influenced by multiple factors. Especially, trends develop from word of mouth even by noticing what a celebrity has can create a fad. Perhaps, social trends are important as a measure of predicting or even forecasting to some degree what will be on next so people can design and purchase. WGSNTrendzine, Editd are a few interesting sources for fashion trend forecasting and analysis. There are obviously others that provide trend intelligence. However, as a commercial service a lot of the data is closed for inspection and accessibility with an added premium. It may be an idea to explore fashion as a semantic ontology by way of curating data. Then providing such data in an open data format for much analytical inspection on the web. Social influence graphs and sentiments could also help in assessing the right factors as to where a particular trend is likely to be in near future as well as individual preferences. Fashion trends are especially appropriate to women and there is a huge market that can be tapped. Better fashion sense means people will be more informed about what they should buy now as opposed to later. Also, it helps shops and designers plan their products and sales more appropriately. It also means people are always aware of what is currently trending in market now and potentially in next twelve months. Obviously, the more long-term the forecast is, the less accurate the information gain will appear.

Using big data to forecast the fashion future
Dress to kill how semantic web can help

10 February 2014

Elementary

Another show just like The Mentalist and Perception. It is a bit like the creators have almost struck a cord where they appear to think anything investigative with an overly observant man and a woman seems to work and provides for a tangible chemistry. Apparently, it does work based on ratings. Perhaps, even in reality it does too. There are an awful lot of shows now on TV that explore the law, forensics, or criminal investigation. Some like Elementary explore the need to recruit a consultant to help solve cases. In a way, such shows mock the existence of law enforcement officers as not being astute enough that they need to hire an untrained consultant. 

Entertainment Trends

Finding trends in entertainment can be a root to understanding what people are interested in at any given time. It seems information that can be gathered from such findings can lead to not only better rated shows but more contextual programming at any given time. Also, such analytics could be of value to many TV networks, music services, social networks, mobile providers, gamers, movie productions, and even entertainment related websites. Context is often the key to any information gain. And, media moves in swift beats often chasing the next mood or trend that arises. Entertainment in all its forms is driven by people and the way in which it can keep them continuously tuned in. There are various data sources that can be utilized for such analysis and even curated. Going further such information can unlock options for forecasting and predictions. There is even value here for semantic ontologies for contextual entertainment. Nielsen is one such source which provides data on what Americans are watching, reading, playing, browsing, buying and more. Understanding such trends at global scale could also be an option to provide further insights on tastes in entertainment within any given region. Although, as Nielsen has such a tight hold on this consumable data it makes it all the more necessary to curate, unlock and make accessible this information as an open linked data which could be available to all.

Sochi Games

A massive opening to the Sochi Games marks a new start to the Winter Olympics. Although, the ceremony was symbolically tarred with the failed snowflake, it did not deter the auspicious display of the ceremony. Even the fireworks display was better compared to the London New Years Eve. It is yet to see how the Gay rights agenda will dissipate into the commencement of the Games, with the competing athletes, and the Olympic audience. There is much at stake for Russia and the spectacle on display for the whole world to see. However, Winter Olympics have never really captured the same level of audience as the Summer Olympics. The Games overtime have become a commercialized event for global marketing at a massive scale. Only later do the economic effects of such expense become visible both for the good and detriment of the country.

sochi2014
winter olympics 2014
sochi
sochi worst olympic travel destination

9 February 2014

Black Swan

Black Swan is one of the most overrated movies with a complete lack of story direction. It is surprising how such a movie can even win awards. Or, it exemplifies the way awards are judged based on PR and a lot of sucking up. Even the acting of Natalie Portman was lackluster not to mention she stole a lot of the recognition from the professional double. The story was also quite perverted in manner of how artistic professions exploit women. It leaves one to question the justification and authenticity of critics and film awards.

Boardwalk Empire

The roaring series ruined much of the climax by killing off Jimmy Darmody. In process, it reduced viewer ship ratings as well. The following up seasons have had a bittersweet after taste and never could reach the pinnacle. Even though, the series chronicles the life of the Atlantic City politician and gangster Nucky Thompson, it does not focus much of a symbolic strong hold on the character. And, as such, the plot lines of the many underlining characters provide for much distraction. Once the protege was passed on after season two it had a very reminiscent effect which seemed to have never managed to recuperate. A lot of varied dark societal story depictions are made which have no real basis or direction. The partying of the Roaring Twenties can not last forever. Each episode is turning into mundane, similar, and almost repetitious story lines. Certainly, it is time Boardwalk Empire came to an end. 

7 February 2014

Real Steel

As robots become more intelligent and useful, they will eventually subsume more integrated prowess for artificial intelligence to be applied in multitude applications and to help in our daily lives. In process, the complexity of emotional sensation will provide for additional capacities for robots to understand and exist within their surroundings. Real Steal was a movie that provides inspiration for robots to exist in full form for combat and yet replace human wrestlers and boxers alike. It provides for a more digital existence of similar kind as illustrated in many William Gibson novels. In essence, driving more processing and individually distinguished abilities in robots provides not only more versatility but also varied uses for their existence. The hardest bit of artificial intelligence is the process of dissipating a sense of free will within a robot similar to A.I and I-Robot. However, taking inspiration from the human mind and neural brain capacity, there may be emotional processes for such metaphorical stimulus development. In current times, robots are merely specialized agents trained to be good at one thing and one thing only. They may not even distill the full vagaries of a robot, but provide merely an aspect of it such as an intelligent arm, an intelligent cooker, and so on. This seems like to provide a full robot one requires a full extent of neural activity as well as an array of sensors for detecting the environment for reinforcement feedback. As robots arise and advance into the future, we will inevitably see them becoming more ubiquitous within our daily lives and transforming our world into a new era of human existence where man lives along side robots. Thus, the intractable complexities of systems takes on a different meaning. There is always progress ahead for artificial intelligence where technology in both software and hardware plays catch up as people are able to learn and comprehend the many virtues of technological breakthroughs in making artificial intelligence a reality, often taking on many forms of inspiration.

6 February 2014

Immersive Games

Immersive gaming is slowly but steadily taking shape as deep learning and aspects of artificial intelligence are becoming more of a reality. Virtual realism is often a mixture of connecting a player to the game at both a realistic level as well as at an emotional level, almost making them feel part of what is going on. However, the dimensionality of such games is still very restrictive. We want to be able to play games almost like they confuse our perspectives of what is real and what is virtual. Almost, like adapting aspects of Hunger Games or even the training of a dragon. Even to make us feel like we are literally part of a simulated medieval warfare like in Lord of the Rings. Adding in social networking means more simulated and shared gaming experience and even more immersion. In order, for games to be realistic they have to portray scene graphs that look almost real as well. There are 3-D glasses available to view movies as well as virtual reality but this needs to be taken even further for games. In a way, the technology drivers for connected gaming has a shared motivation to the viewership of TV, perhaps in a similar entertainment sort of experience. As consoles become more and more integrated such as AppleTV and XBox we are yet to see more and more advancements in social gaming and immersive gaming experiences that infiltrate and play with all our senses. Mutiplayer games come in all types. Perhaps, even the movie like Gamer could be one aspect of inspiration. Or, an aspect from SecondLife could be yet another. And, even quantum computing for teleportation could be another. As advancement in robotics becomes more practical, it would mean vastly new approaches to how gaming experiences are achieved. Even aspects of distributed server farms and P2P networks could enable more of a globally shared experience. However, there are always long-term ramifications to such levels of game play on humans both psychologically and physically. Virtual simulations are used extensively in combat training already. There is, as it seems, still a long road ahead for games to truly transform into holographic and immersive experiences into our daily lives as if to move us into a completely new dimensional matrix at any moment in time.  

5 February 2014

Coca Cola Commercial

The conservative posts in social media networks on the Coca Cola super bowl advert clearly displays the very essence of intolerance and bigotry that is widespread in America. America has always been the land of immigrants and a melting pot of different racial backgrounds. It is quite absurd for an American to hate on a particular race as almost every one has ancestry dating back from some where other than America. The only natives are the American Indians who never had much of a say before their lands were invaded by immigrants. And, then came the years of slavery which perpetuated even more hatred. It seems as things change the more they do stay the same. Although, now intolerance has taken many different forms and routes globally. Also, there is a deep seated view that at times education is failing to teach the basic principles of societal values and morals. Or, it could also be taken that such matters are for parents who may not be sufficiently teaching kids the basic human values but are perhaps more focused on materialistic aspects of life. And, as people focus more and more towards materialistic affairs the whole societal value system over time changes or gets overlooked as things become more acceptable. Although, not by the virtues of it being right but perhaps not as important. One should ask why assimilation is expected in West, while the East does not force this matter on their foreigners. A one-sided approach to such an outlook is perhaps silenced by hypocrisy. 

4 February 2014

Budweiser Commercial

A family oriented commercial that makes beer accessible to all. Almost taming the whole experience into a typical American family. Adopt a puppy or adopt a Budweiser. A warm take on all things Budweiser. For a change, it was not the typical skimpy girl type of commercial or ones for cheap laughs. Although, they should really add a warning at bottom, like they do for smoking, as excessive alcohol can also kill and effect many lives for the worse.  Often caring about what one eats doesn't quite translate into caring about what one drinks. Your mileage may vary, however. 


AngelList

An interesting take on bringing together investors and start ups is AngelList. This platform provides a way to avoid the middleman saving on much legal fees and also provides access for recruitment. There is even anticipation for crowdsourcing as well as a partnership with CrunchBase which provides access to company database. The service has been around since 2010, but the website could use a bit of an overhaul especially as it feels unresponsive and  quite a drag to navigate around. One trend that can be seen from many of the start ups is that a lot of the applications look to solving a real problem which can have a quantifiable value both to an investor and to a consumer especially in analytics or an aspect of ecommerce. There are also many which provide for some media or finance outlet for a specific niche spectrum of the market. The unique spelling of domain names also displays how dense the Internet has become as so many of the standard domain names have been taken back during the dot-com era.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

An arduously mundane piece of work with lackluster performance and hardly a sign of comedy. The man just goes in and out, in and out through imaginative hallucinations. And, the chase for the lost photo just drags on needlessly through the whole movie until the very end. It is one of those movies where it starts out relatively enough to spike curiosity then it just goes on and on into a monotonous story, almost as interesting as watching paint dry. One of those movies that makes eating popcorn more pleasurable or the undecided frustration of having wasted so much time. Or, perhaps, I just never found Ben Stiller all that funny.

2 February 2014

The Americans

An interesting take on international spying intertwined with emotional twirls of love and betrayal. The juxtaposition of the story line in this series is all the more compelling as it explores the many complexities of two people who individually and also together are at the crossroads of nationalist responsibility and their feelings for each other. As the second season continues, it will be exciting to see how the two characters progress in their roles as well as how destiny plays the cards for them. There is immense amount of continuation and the enfolding drama to work with against the many perils that awaits them. The exploration into the lives of a spy couple who ultimately must transcend between their conflicting personal and professional lives to honor both their country and marriage.