Countdown’s Bloviator In Chief Signs Off For The Last Time
I got a few messages on Twitter the other day about Keith Olbermann’s abrupt departure from his perch at MSNBC. But I’ve never been a fan of Olbermann’s style of news delivery, probably because I always saw him as the bloviating sports announcer he used to be back when he was on ESPN. Spend any time at all on progressive political websites, though, the way I often do, and you quickly understand that he was the “Keith” of “Keith and Rachel”, a broadcast duo featured on their own shows on MSNBC whose efforts to champion the ideals of the political progressive left earned them large followings who often hung on their every word.
Michael Ross, an Olbermann fan and blog buddy of mine, a journalist by trade, wrote these prescient words last fall:
Long-time “Countdown” viewers will surely note that Olbermann’s on-air comments have lately been punctuated by snippets of Paddy Chayefsky dialogue extracted from Sidney Lumet’s “Network,” the celebrated film on television and corporate power — the film that ushered into the cultural lexicon the phrase “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Has Olbermann been telegraphing a punch? Is he the character of Howard Beale? Will he be dispatched next year to the “Valhalla” of the boardroom, where Arthur Jensen — played by Brian Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast — will tell him, in no uncertain terms, that he has meddled with the primal forces of nature?
Michael Ross, Short Sharp Shock
In a world defined by media access and the broadcast distribution of TV and radio signals, the political left has proven to be a political anomaly, a group without the plug and play, “let’s hate somebody today” programming characteristics that have made talk radio across the country the bastion of conservative carnival barkers. So I can understand how a lot of politically active liberals would want to canonize Olbermann’s relentless zeal in promoting their interests and his unmitigated gall and over-the-top outrage at anyone who stood in the way of their agenda. There are a lot of times, in fact, when I would like to see a more vocal presence across all media outlets endorsing the kind of common sense political policies that put this nation’s citizens first, the kind of political policies that more often than not are ascribed to a liberal political outlook.
But in a lot of ways, Olbermann was a carnival barker himself, an announcer whose shtick, at least for me, got in the way of his analysis, which seemed to rely more on the facts than most of the other news people in primetime spots. Niall Stanage captures perfectly the ambivalence a lot of us who champion liberal causes have about the style of the ex-Countdown host.
First reactions to Olbermann’s exit have broken along lines as partisan as they were predictable. That the New York Post would respond to the news with glee and The Huffington Post with a gnashing of teeth was hardly a shock.
But back in the real world, I cannot imagine I am the only viewer who is basically simpatico with Olbermann's worldview, but who had come to find him and his show utterly insufferable. The glibness, the pomposity, the narcissism -- all these foibles had, of late, reached gut-wrenching proportions.
Niall Stanage Why I'm glad Keith Olbermann is gone
As much as I didn’t enjoy Mr. Olbermann’s style of delivery, I am glad he figured out how to get MSNBC to pay him a rumored 7 million a year to entertain the progressive masses. And in some respects, even though “Countdown” wasn’t my cup of tea, I have to admit that there were times when it felt good to know that somewhere in the media universe there was someone who countered Sean Hannity’s inanities, although this also reinforced a binary version of reality, as if we were not a multi-dimensional, multiple narrative population who may or may not act in ways that protect our own self-interests.
The great thing about America is our love of second acts.
Mr. Olbermann, "good night and good luck."
Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
- Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
- Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
- It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Ready your Schrödinger's Cat Jokes.
- For a time, quantum computing was more theory than fact.
- That's starting to change.
- New quantum computer designs look like they might be scalable.
Quantum computing has existed in theory since the 1980's. It's slowly making its way into fact, the latest of which can be seen in a paper published in Nature called, "Deterministic teleportation of a quantum gate between two logical qubits."
To ensure that we're all familiar with a few basic terms: in electronics, a 'logic gate' is something that takes in one or more than one binary inputs and produces a single binary output. To put it in reductive terms: if you produce information that goes into a chip in your computer as a '0,' the logic gate is what sends it out the other side as a '1.'
A quantum gate means that the '1' in question here can — roughly speaking — go back through the gate and become a '0' once again. But that's not quite the whole of it.
A qubit is a single unit of quantum information. To continue with our simple analogy: you don't have to think about computers producing a string of information that is either a zero or a one. A quantum computer can do both, simultaneously. But that can only happen if you build a functional quantum gate.
That's why the results of the study from the folks at The Yale Quantum Institute saying that they were able to create a quantum gate with a "process fidelity" of 79% is so striking. It could very well spell the beginning of the pathway towards realistic quantum computing.
The team went about doing this through using a superconducting microwave cavity to create a data qubit — that is, they used a device that operates a bit like a organ pipe or a music box but for microwave frequencies. They paired that data qubit with a transmon — that is, a superconducting qubit that isn't as sensitive to quantum noise as it otherwise could be, which is a good thing, because noise can destroy information stored in a quantum state. The two are then connected through a process called a 'quantum bus.'
That process translates into a quantum property being able to be sent from one location to the other without any interaction between the two through something called a teleported CNOT gate, which is the 'official' name for a quantum gate. Single qubits made the leap from one side of the gate to the other with a high degree of accuracy.
Above: encoded qubits and 'CNOT Truth table,' i.e., the read-out.
The team then entangled these bits of information as a way of further proving that they were literally transporting the qubit from one place to somewhere else. They then analyzed the space between the quantum points to determine that something that doesn't follow the classical definition of physics occurred.
They conclude by noting that "... the teleported gate … uses relatively modest elements, all of which are part of the standard toolbox for quantum computation in general. Therefore ... progress to improve any of the elements will directly increase gate performance."
In other words: they did something simple and did it well. And that the only forward here is up. And down. At the same time.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
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