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July 21st, 2017 Total archive posts: 984
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Government MBS Buyout Looking More Likely

This is happening quicker than I thought: the drumbeat for government bailout of mortgage-backed securities on an international basis is growing.

by Christopher Heiser on March 24 22:27

Quite Possibly the Best Viral Marketing Campaign Ever

Okay, so there is a trailer for an upcoming documentary that's been making the rounds on the internets. The subject is a small town in Bavaria (Germany) called Oberpfaffelbachen that is starting a new tradition around a massive ramp they have built. The name: Rampfest, of course.

But here's the hilarious part:

  1. There isn't any town called Oberpfaffelbachen, despite the fact that the town has a fake homepage,
  2. A fake mayor with a fake welcome video
  3. A fake fake 'Miss Ramp' contest,
  4. A fake city councilor with a fake Friendster account
  5. The documentary, it turns out is also fake, but it has a real webpage promoting it
  6. The director is fake too, including his fake blog about the project

What it turns out to be is part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for the new BMW 1-series coupe which will be launched in the US this year. Or, if you can't see this coming, launched to the US via the massive (and fictitious) 454-meter tall ramp.

The Statue of Liberty is only 93 meters tall including the massive pedestal.

I love it!

by Christopher Heiser on March 24 21:51

Failure of the Brain/Computer Analogy

I'm a big fan of armchair cognitive psychology--one of my favorite books is The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett--so my interest is always piqued by discussions of how the brain can be modeled or better understood with computational machines as an analog. But here's a very concise article that discusses some of the limitations of comparing brains directly to computers.

That said, I do agree with some of the comments that computers should allow us to completely abstract the functions of the brain into software rendering the actual physical implementation irrelevant. But I think the author's point is: the brain is far, far too complex to be abstracted into even the most powerful computer, and trying to break it down into modular components may not be a fruitful strategy due to the fact that the brain appears to be highly non-modular.

by Christopher Heiser on March 24 10:22
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