Friday, May 21, 2010

'Artificial Shakespeare' breakthrough announced by scientists

Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first synthetic Shakespeare.

The researchers constructed a Shakespeare play by assembling "sentences" using 26 sterile letters then printing it out on an old printer.

The Scientists at Craig Venter laboratories emphasize the massive potential of their technology. "We copied 'Romeo and Juliet' a few words at a time and stiched them all together, and ended up with a copy of the original play. We thus have made synthetic William Shakespeare, and will be able to transform literature."

Critics have asserted however that this work, albeit impressive, should not be described as producing "artificial Shakespeare". Speaking to the Gullible Broadcasting Corporation, Nobel
Laureate Sir Paul Nurse said "You lot shouldn't be so gullible. What they have actually done is copy Romeo and Juliet a few words at a time and stiched them all together."

Other news: playing God?

Bioethicists have reacted with caution to the announcement that scientists in the US have transplanted blood from one human to another.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Electoral systems

I've been reading up on voting systems and "proportional representation". The BBC has a nice article on what other countries do. If you are interested in a bit more detail about voting systems from an academic who has thought about them a lot, see Denis Mollison's article about STV and his paper for publication in the RSS's journal.
Denis, a statistician at Heriot-Watt University, recommends the STV system with multi-candidate constituencies. Its implementation would require a computer.
[If you're interested in more exotic methods that require not only a computer but also the use of randomness, then please see Probabilistic electoral methods, representative probability, and maximum entropy by Roger Sewell, David MacKay, Iain McLean.]