Balloonacy

The words “balloonfest” and “disaster” don’t necessarily seem to go together – except in the case of the 1986 Cleveland Balloonfest, which really did end in disaster for the city. The Cleveland Balloonfest was a fundraiser that attempted to beat Disneyland’s previous record of most balloons released at once. Although the photos are beautiful, the results were disastrous for the environment and the city. On the bright side, Jeff and Anthony think that Cleveland will hold the record for quite a while.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Alchemical Intelligence

Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t. Without deep understanding of the basic tools needed to build and train new algorithms, he says, researchers creating AIs resort to hearsay, like medieval alchemists. Jeff and Anthony are ready for the 24k gold robots.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Olympic Meddle

Elizabeth Swaney is a 33-year-old skier from Oakland, California who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics for Hungary. She is not a good skiier. Swaney, who said her grandparents came from Hungary, earned her Olympic berth more from attending World Cup events than actually competing. Women’s pipe skiing World Cups rarely see more than 30 competitors, so it’s not hard to meet the Olympic requirement for a top-30 finish. Jeff and Anthony go back and forth on this one.  More Details/Download MP3 →