All Tech Considered
3:46 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn't Mean Much

Vertigo3d iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 4:20 pm

To judge from some of the headlines, it was a very big deal. At an event held at the Royal Society in London, for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test, which is widely taken as the benchmark for saying a machine is engaging in intelligent thought. But like the other much-hyped triumphs of artificial intelligence, this one wasn't quite what it appeared. Computers can do things that seem quintessentially human, but they usually take a different path to get there.

Read more
The Salt
1:35 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply

Paul Greenberg says the decline of local fish markets, and the resulting sequestration of seafood to a corner of our supermarkets, has contributed to "the facelessness and comodification of seafood."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 12:09 pm

What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:59 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Book News: Chinese Importer Talks About Why Clinton's Book Was Dropped

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book Hard Choices earlier this month at a Barnes & Noble store in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Crime In The City
3:16 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Hard-Boiled Hero Jack Irish Lives, And Drinks, In A Shadowy Melbourne

Jack Irish makes a living, of sorts, in Melbourne, Australia.
Gary M. Prior Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

Peter Temple writes prize-winning thrillers, four of them about his sometimes hapless investigator, Jack Irish. The books capture Melbourne, Australia: its pubs, racetracks, big boulevards rattling with traffic, and narrow alleys — called lanes — painted with graffiti.

Jack Irish was headed for a life as a successful suburban solicitor, or lawyer, when one of his criminal clients murdered Jack's wife, and Jack dropped the law to become a drunk. The novels — some are now TV movies — begin with his surfacing and looking around for his life.

Read more
Book Reviews
4:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Book Review: 'The Expedition To The Boabab Tree'

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm



The journey of a girl sold into slavery is the topic of a compelling piece of fiction out of South Africa. It's called "The Expedition To The Boabab Tree." The author is poet Wilma Stockenstrom. She originally published it back in 1981, and now it has been translated from the Africaans by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee and published in the United States. Allen Cheuse has our review.

Read more
Pop Culture
2:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Comedian Joel McHale Talks Dyslexia, Bad TV And Filming A Thriller

Comedian Joel McHale spoke at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in May. He says everyone wanted to see his jokes ahead of time, but he likes keeping them a secret.
Olivier Douliery-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 10:19 am

Update: Since this story was published, Sony Pictures Television — which produces Communityannounced that Yahoo will be picking the show up for a sixth season. This story has been updated to reflect that development.

Read more
The Salt
2:37 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Concrete

Intractably delicious!

Purveyors of fine foods have any number of ways of showing them off. Auntie Anne's hands out free pretzel samples at the mall; McDonald's lets a princess sit on top of the Big Mac to show she can't feel a pea underneath.

At Ted Drewes in St. Louis, when they hand you your Concrete, they flip it upside down to show you it's so thick, it won't fall out of the cup.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:51 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Book News: Irish Writer Dermot Healy Dies

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Monkey See
8:24 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Finding Promising New Games In A World Of Dispiriting Sequels

A screenshot from Rollers Of The Realm.

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:54 am

The game show at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier in June wasn't exactly staid. But it was clear that most game publishers are playing it safe — very safe. Each year, I complain about franchise-ization, a godawful game trend that makes a convention focused on the wonders of electronic entertainment a lot less fun - especially since 2014 was the year in which game makers offered more sequels than ever before.

Read more
Movie Interviews
5:05 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Behind Optimus Prime (And Eeyore), One Man's Signature Voice

Voice actor Peter Cullen arrives at the premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in June 2009.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:20 am

Transformers: Age of Extinction has smashed its way to the No. 1 spot at the box office. Director Michael Bay's film franchise has consistently topped charts since the first film arrived in theaters in 2007.

The live-action films have embraced the latest in visual affects — but the movies have also called back to the series' past, through the voice of Peter Cullen.

Read more