I am Eliza Dushku’s brother (at least in cartoon form)

If you're not watching Torchwood: Miracle Day, you're missing out. It's everything you'd expect from the Russell T. Davies, the genius behind the best years of Doctor Who.

I've been a fan of Russell's for years, and lucky enough to call him a friend from the day Tom Tomorrow noticed that Russell's book about Doctor Who contained a completely unexpected bit of praise for my Prisoner of Trebekistan, of all things. I contacted Russell to say thanks, he emailed back in about ten seconds, because he's that cool and gracious, and it's been hooray ever since.

The animated webseries that goes with Miracle Day, Torchwood: Web of Lies is also pretty damn good. And I'm happy to say I have a tiny, tiny part in it — playing Eliza Dushku's brother. Although in cartoon form, I look like this:

A foot taller, ten pounds thinner, with a cool beard... sigh

I gotta lay off the caffeine.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Fish Pedicure

Had a long layover in the Singapore airport on my way to Cambodia to do some interviews for the book. What to do? Why, visit the Fish Spa, of course, where you can allow hundreds of ravenous doctor fish to feast on your dead skin cells while you watch and try not to freak out.

I've only had one human-hands pedicure to compare this to, but this was every bit as efficient.  And way, way ookier.

Get a Big Box of Electricity Here

Another pic from the Africa trip — this sign was all over Kigali, and it always made me smile:

The way they're electrifying the country now is, well, electrifying. But the way the sign is phrased, I couldn't help but imagine they had these big tubs of the stuff sitting around on shelves.

You come in, maybe carrying a cardboard box or a plastic bag, and they pour you a bunch, with lots of little sparks dripping down the sides, and you go on your way.

Jeopardy! Man v. IBM Computer Matches: Simply a Matter of Time

Thanks to my own 13 games of Jeopardy! and the book about it and all, lots of people (including the New York Times) have asked for my opinion about the whole IBM computer vs. Ken Jennings vs. Brad Rutter cage match.

I'll say here what I've said all along: when you're playing at million-dollar tournament level, all of the players know (or can rapidly figure out) nearly all of the correct responses, no matter how arcane. Trust me, I've been there.

IBM wouldn't unveil their computer unless they were sure it would function similarly. 

Ultimately, the difference between winning or losing usually comes down just to the ability to time the milliseconds between the time Alex finishes the clue and one of the producers activates the signaling devices.

Since a computer can obviously react more rapidly and consistently than a human can, it will probably win unless it is programmed to have a human-like random delay of a few milliseconds before hitting the buzzer.

Judging from news reports about the warm-up game, the computer has no such delay, and can buzz in instantly.

So that's the computer's advantage: not knowledge, not processing speed, not math or game strategy… just reflexes. And so unless the buzzer-response is programmed differently in the games that count, I think the computer is likely to win.

Brad and Ken will both be still a heck of a lot more fun to hang out with after the game, though.

(Full disclosure: Brad and Ken are both friends of mine, so I have some emotional interest in seeing them do well against the cyborg. Also, I was invited to play the computer in its last warm-up round, but I couldn't make it since I was still getting over the typhoid I picked up in Tanzania. Y'know, as always, my life is so boring…)

Jeopardy! Man v. IBM Computer Matches: Simply a Matter of Time

Thanks to my own 13 games of Jeopardy! and the book about it and all, lots of people (including the New York Times) have asked for my opinion about the whole IBM computer vs. Ken Jennings vs. Brad Rutter cage match.

I'll say here what I've said all along: when you're playing at million-dollar tournament level, all of the players know (or can rapidly figure out) nearly all of the correct responses, no matter how arcane. Trust me, I've been there.

IBM wouldn't unveil their computer unless they were sure it would function similarly. 

Ultimately, the difference between winning or losing usually comes down just to the ability to time the milliseconds between the time Alex finishes the clue and one of the producers activates the signaling devices.

Since a computer can obviously react more rapidly and consistently than a human can, it will probably win unless it is programmed to have a human-like random delay of a few milliseconds before hitting the buzzer.

Judging from news reports about the warm-up game, the computer has no such delay, and can buzz in instantly.

So that's the computer's advantage: not knowledge, not processing speed, not math or game strategy… just reflexes. And so unless the buzzer-response is programmed differently in the games that count, I think the computer is likely to win.

Brad and Ken will both be still a heck of a lot more fun to hang out with after the game, though.

(Full disclosure: Brad and Ken are both friends of mine, so I have some emotional interest in seeing them do well against the cyborg. Also, I was invited to play the computer in its last warm-up round, but I couldn't make it since I was still getting over the typhoid I picked up in Tanzania. Y'know, as always, my life is so boring…)