The most Popular Recent Posts

Apr 17, 2019


Three women dress in costumes reflecting the cable TV show "Handmaid's Tale" after a House committee approved a bill that could ban almost all abortions in Alabama:

The bill would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable between 10 and 99 years in prison, although a woman would not be charged for having the procedure under the proposal. The legislation contains an exemption for the mother’s health, but not for rape and incest. But critics said moves to criminalize most abortions in Alabama would come in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Apr 16, 2019

Come on down, Y'all Atlanta Residents

You'll find a wonderful article in the latest edition of Atlanta Magazine about visiting Montgomery:

The capitol steps are the perfect place to pause and reflect on the various histories contained within Montgomery, and to think about the city’s future. King similarly took the long view when he addressed marchers that day. “How long?” he asked in unison with the crowd: “Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

 More information for visitors is HERE.

Apr 15, 2019

Robots, via PEW

Our "Scientists at Work" podcast episode features Ashley J. Llorens, chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He details how researchers work to bridge the gap between robots that are programmed by humans—and those that can learn and think for themselves.
Today we have robots that vacuum, talk to us, and even fill out our shopping lists. It isn't hard to imagine a world in which they can do just about anything a human can.

In fact, 20 percent of Americans find the concept of machines doing most human jobs in the future to be "extremely realistic," according to the Pew Research Center. But as you'll learn in this week's episode of "After the Fact," most robots still lack an essential human skill: the ability to think.
Host Dan LeDuc (left) and Ashley J. Llorens observe ISaaC, a robot “concierge” at the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Credit: Greg Kahn/GRAIN for The Pew Charitable Trusts
First, let's test your robot smarts:

When did the word "robot" first appear?

a. 1000 B.C.
b. 1502
c. 1921
d. 1954

Tim's gut feeling: some folks are freaked out by Alexa...always listening to what is said (to respond when you say her name). How much more so when she becomes an android, looking just like us.

Solution? To prevent kids playing with fake guns being shot by police who think the gun is real, some toy guns are painted bright orange, or pink. Could we require human-appearing robots to have some kind of similar branding?

Movie Cut

     I have a small speaking role in a Civil Rights Era movie being shot in Montgomery, and on Tuesday I got my film haircut.

     The movie is titled Son of The South, directed by Barry Brown, a Montgomery native who was nominated for an Oscar this year for his editing on Black Klansman. Spike Lee is Executive Producer.

     It is set in 1961 Alabama.

     The movie is based on the autobiographical Wrong Side of Murder Creek by Bob Zellner. The book was published by New South Books.

     Both men were at the Alabama Book Festival over the weekend.

Author Bob Zellner (r), and Director Barry Brown
     Brown says the film will definitely premier in Montgomery.

Apr 13, 2019

Death in Alabama and Other Southeastern States

From the CDC

The five states with the highest age-adjusted death rates were West Virginia (957.1 deaths per 100,000 standard population), Mississippi (951.3), Kentucky (929.9), Alabama (917.7), and Oklahoma (902.4). The five states with the lowest death rates were Hawaii (584.9), California (618.7), New York (623.6), Connecticut (651.2), and Minnesota (656.4).