Summit Up 2-18-11: Where we dare IBM to create a computer that can write Summit Up! | SummitDaily.com
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Summit Up 2-18-11: Where we dare IBM to create a computer that can write Summit Up!

by Clem, a computer cobbled together with old Apple II and George Foreman grill parts and powered by gerbils
In this undated publicity image released by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., contestants Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter and a computer named Watson compete on the game show "Jeopardy!" in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions, Inc., Carol Kaelson ) NO SALES
ASSOCIATED PRESS | Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s standing up and cheering “Go carbon-based life forms! Go carbon-based life forms!” after the defeat of carbon-based Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at the hands (or processors) of Watson, an IBM supercomputer.

We have to say, we were impressed with how well the computer handled the questions. They’re tricky, to start with (and techically they’re answers; you have to come up with the question), and contain a lot of puns and allusions and other human-y stuff that you’d think would be tough for a computer. But not Watson – it whupped the two all-time Jeopardy! champs by a good bit – even if it did make some dumb mistakes and pronounce some words really oddly and make super-strange wagers.

In defense of the humans, however, we have to say we think Watson had a pretty good edge in that it didn’t receive the clues verbally like they did; it got them electronically, supposedly at the same time. But really, we know darn good and well it takes a nanosecond or two to process stuff before you can react by hitting the buzzer. Edge: Watson.



But Ken and Brad were good sports about it, and since they walked away with $300,000 and $200,000, respectively, they don’t have too much to complain about. (They both were going to donate half of their winnings to charity. Watson was going to use its money to create a “Terminator”-like avatar of itself so it can infiltrate the military and take over the world.)

***



Well, we’ve got some new snow – howzabout trying out a ski area you’ve never been to before? Lotsa folks around here have never made their way over to one of our closest neighbors in the ski world: in Leadville. But there’s a deal up at li’l ol’ Cooper you should know about: If you bring your season pass from any other ski area up there between Feb. 22 and March 6, they’ll give you two lift tix for the price of one. And, since a regular lift ticket is only $42, why, that means …

(sound of intense calculations)

… it’s only $21 per person! Such a deal!

MILLIONS OF SUMMIT UP READERS: We know little of this ski area of which you speak. Tell us more, friend.

SU: (Consulting press release): With its base at an altitude of 10,500 feet, a summit at 11,700 feet, Ski Cooper is Colorado’s fifth oldest ski resort. It offers 2,400 skiable acres of world-class, affordable skiing, snowboard, tele-skiing and snowcat skiing in heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Its rich history embraces Leadville’s silver boom, the 10th Mountain Division’s training for World War II, and more.

MSUR: We wonder what the “and more” might mean?

SU: Hard to say. Could be anything from brachiating apes in the trees while you ski to the odd fact that the lift operators only speak in ancient Aramaic. It could mean Ski Cooper was, oddly enough, a stop on the Underground Railroad back in the day, or that miners in the area used to run drunk and naked through the trees in the Ski Cooper area yelling out snippets of dialogue from “Troilus and Cressida.”

“And more …” truly is a broad term.

Anyway, go check it out … if you dare!

***

We occasionally get curious, self-promotional e-mails from Breckenridge “professional snowboarder/TV host” Jessie Csincsak, but none so strange as this one that appeared Thursday:

“Please Vote For Me once a day Everyday!! I have applied to be the VP of Popchips to work along side Ashton Kutcher and I need you to vote for me Everyday for the next week two weeks Limit one vote per facebook account per day!!!! Click the link below and PLEASE VOTE”

WTF? What could this possibly mean – VP of Popchips? We do know what Popchips are, because the company sent us a box of them last year to try. They’re basically like, um, fancy Pringles: mooshed-up potato material that’s been formed into little chip-like snack entitites and then flavored in different ways. We didn’t know about the Ashton Kutcher connection, nor that one could become an executive of the company by winning some Facebook contest.

But, then again, we’re not Jesse Csincsak, who seems to have a nose for this kind of thing. Anyway, we’ll throw Jesse a bone and put the link here if anyone wants to help him out: http://bit.ly/gmRXpk

And BTW, Jesse, congrats on becoming a dad!

We out.


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