MMA : Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz – Rematch

Ok, im seriously getting fed up with people asking me for my prediction for this fight, not because I dont have one but because it’s impossible to offer a prediction without explaining the rationale behind it. Having the same conversation over and over again is getting irritating! So it’s a good job, I brought my laptop with me ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chuck Liddell is the current UFC Light Heavyweight champion. Tito Ortiz is the challenger. The first time they fought each other was back in April 2004, and Liddell TKO’d Ortiz in the second round with some brutal stand up. In the world of professional mixed martial arts theres been few rivalries that have captured the imagination of fans, fighters and pundits alike.

I suppose what makes this so interesting for us as spectators is the fact that the two men have very different styles Liddell is considered to be one of the most dangerous stand-up fighters in the world. His fights rarely go the distance, I guess one of the things that makes him so dangerous is his take down defence – very few competitors have ever been able to take him to the ground, which forces them to fight him standing up. For Liddell this fight will be his seventh defence of the title he claimed by beating the legendary Randy Couture – who for me was one of the greatest champions ever!

Tito Ortiz enters the fights on the back of an impressive winning streak; included amongst this list are his two victories against Ken Shamrock which finally ended their longstanding feud. Ortiz is an excellent wrestler who practically reinvented the technique we now refer to as Ground-n-Pound. On the ground, inside his opponents guard, there is no-one more vicious – I think he practically invented the short-elbow.

This is really the briefest of possible introductions to these two fighters, in fact I doubt that I’ve done them any justice. However the intro serves to illustrate the differences in the styles.

OK so here’s my prediction If the fighters remain on their feet I dont have any doubt that Liddell will win this. I think Ortiz is a competent striker but I just dont think he can stand up to the punches and kicks that Liddell will throw. With Liddell it isnt just the freakish power he has behind his blows, its the incredible speed and accuracy with which he can deliver them that makes him so exciting to watch. Liddell’s take-down defence is exceptional, which will make it all the more difficult for Tito. On the other hand Tito is a fantastic wrestler and I think he will have learnt from their first encounter. I hope he tries to avoid the stand up and focuses on getting Liddell in the clinch and taking him down to the ground – which I think Tito is capable of doing.

If I have to pick a winner it would be Liddell. I think he’s got too many advantages going for him in this one

Whatever the result theres a load of us here in Europe who’ll be watching this fight, and who knows we might be seeing a new champion crowned. I’ll write up a post-fight summary. – Usability in Movies — Top 10 Bloopers

Had sweet little christmas lunch in the hospital visiting M with our little gang. Its been a nice day so far, hope your all having a great christmas?

Anyway, didnt get round to posting this up last night so here goes …

Jakob Nielsen posted up his list of top 10 usability bloopers in movies. Its actually a fascinating read, and does make me smile. However science fiction has provided the inspiration for many technological advancements, take a look at this demo of a Minority Report like gesture based interface being developed over at Microsoft Research.

Librarians stake their future on Open Source is running and article on how a group of librarians Georgia Public Library Service have developed an open source enterprise class library management system that has the potential to revolutionise the way large scale libraries are run.

You can read the article here.

The production system is code named Evergreen, and you can find out more about it here, and use the working system, here.

My first impression of it is that I like it, it’s simple to use and doesnt feel like an OPAC, like the hugely disappointing does.

Unfortunatly I can’t seem to login to the system with the demonstration username and passwords, but I am really interested in trying out the Shelf Browser feature.

WSVG Quake 4 Grand Finals : Toxic vs Fatal1ty

I’ve known the results of the World Series of Video Games for a couple of weeks, however it was only in the last 24 hours that TSN ( Team Sportscast Network ) has made the coverage of the individual battles available.

My pre-tournament prediction was that Toxic would win, the Swede is without a doubt the best deathmatch player in the world at the moment. Fatal1ty though is the most successful professional gamer ever! He’s won more prize money from winning gaming tournaments than anyone, period!

You can watch the grand final between these two incredible players here.

Toxic does win in the end but it was much closer than I expected it to be. The skill these two guys have is amazing to watch. Enjoy!

Google Tech Talk : 7 ways to ruin a technological revolution

James Boyle gives a fascinating talk about how one might go about undermining the technological revolution of the last 30 years. It’s an alarmist talk, he exaggerates for comic effect but not all that much and it’s extremely thought provoking, especially when we consider the question … how many of those things are we doing now? Much of the talk is around Intellectual Property rights and what that has meant to the technological revolution up and until now, and also how it might evolve going forward. Also he touches on Google’s standpoint on copyright and IP with reference to the Libraries project and Google Books.

One of the funniest anecdotes he mentions is when he spoke to someone from one of the collections societies and said to them “theres always been a private space where people can enjoy music, like in the shower” to which the indivual replied “thats just a problem of monitoring” , on the grounds that it could be interpreted as a performance! ๐Ÿ˜‰

eStarling : Cool wi-fi enabled Flickr photo frame

Came across this flickr enabled LCD Frame on ThinkGeek.

It looks like quite neat, it’s a standalone wi-fi LCD photo frame that connects to your wireless network and automatically displays images emailed to it in a slideshow. You can also specify an RSS feed from flickr based on tagged keywords.

For me its yet another example of how web based services are being integrated into every day objects. In some instances these border on the ridiculous ( flickr enabled umbrella ), in other cases the integration is subtle and quite useful like this. I personally like the idea of having a photo frame that will randomly display different pictures based on criteria I specify. Especially if its simple to use and doesn’t require me to have to think too much about how I can get it to work. The RSS Integration with flickr was a nice extension that doesnt detract at all from its primary function which is to display your photos.

** Since posting this up, someone has commented below with first hand experience of this product, please read his comments, it appears that the device isn’t as wonderful as it first sounds. Thanks very much for the heads up Mike.

When enough is enough?

Domestic violence is a societal cancer thats getting out of control. You only have to read the statistics and lessons learned compiled by nineteen police forces to get a feeling for how bad its getting here in the UK alone. Whatever form it takes, domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident, generally its a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim.

  • Domestic violence accounts for approximately 15% of violent crime nationally, accounting for 31% of all violence against women and 5% of all violence against men.
  • On average, two women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.
  • One in four women will be a victim of DV in their lifetime and women experience a greater risk of repeat victimisation and serious injury.
  • Eighty-nine per cent of those suffering four or more incidents of DV are women.
  • One incident of DV is reported to the police every minute

Scary huh? A couple of days ago a friend asked me to accompany her to a hospital. My friend, Claire, is a self defence instructor and shes been doing it for a long time. The individual we visited, who im going to refer to as ‘M’, is a student in her class. I know M, we sparred together, I’ve helped with her training. M suffered a terrible ordeal a few years ago, and like many women she went through counselling to come to terms with what had happened to her. Anyway she decided she wanted to learn to take care of herself. She found an environement in which she felt safe and in eighteen or so months had made great progress. She’s a laugh to be around! I’d stopped thinking of her as a victim a long time ago.

Three or so nights ago she got into a heated argument with her new partner, and he assaulted her. I didnt enjoy that visit to the hospital, in fact I didnt enter the room, seeing her through the glass window was enough to piss me off in ways I really didnt want to think about. Claire made subsequent visits to see M, over the last few days but I chickened out of going. Yesterday morning though Claire convinced me it would be good for M to see someone other than her, and M kind of guessed I was feeling a little awkward about the whole thing. Anyway I turned up and sat down at her bedside.

What do you say? Hey, how you doing?, as if I can’t see. Then M did something I wasnt expecting at all. She smacked me across the tip of my nose with her index finger. It’s something I’ve done to her during training when I’m trying to make a point, or I think her concentration is wavering … and she needs to focus. She just said “Dont you dare feel sorry for me. You think I look bad, you should see what that bastard looks like” … I laughed, we all did. I’ve never felt so proud of anyone. She was hurt, you just have to look at the bruises to know that, but here she was laughing and joking about it. She went on to say “he beat me up, but he didnt break me – no-one’s gonna do that Nad“. We chatted for a while, laughed, joked … I didn’t feel awkward anymore.

She told me what had happened, I wont go into the details suffice to say that its a tragedy that women who have suffered abuse, try to move on with their lives only to end up being abused in another relationship. It stems from the men’s need to exert some kind of control over the women, things like telling them who their allowed to be friends with, what they’re allowed to do and when etc. This was the only time this guy had assaulted her. Once is, one time too many. M stood up to him, she didnt back down, or simply let him hurt her. She tried to defend herself and did an ok job of it. She didnt hurt him as much as he hurt her, shes 5′ 2″ and he’s 5’11”, but thats not the point. Sometimes it isnt important whether you win or loose its that your willing to make a stand, your not prepared to give in to fear and capitulate, or let someone do whatever they want to to you. When your backs up against a wall, you simply cant afford to.

I’m pretty sure what im advocating isnt consistent with what many councellors and clinical psychiatrists would advocate. I hate though that many of the women in M’s position end up being pumped full of pills and clinical drugs as a way to help them deal with whats happened to them. Fundementally though were never going to find the answers to our problems in the bottom of bottle of anti depressants, or even in the bottom of a bottle booze. What it does is numb your mind … trust me I’ve been there.

To get over something like that you need to regain your sense of self worth, you need to feel empowered, to feel like your in control of your life, and that the shadow of fear isnt cast over every facet of your being. It’s hard to deal with that … its hard to conquer fear, I don’t think anyone truly does, you just learn to do what you need to in spite of it.

I’ve spent christmas day in some strange places in my life, this christmas im gonna spending part of it visiting M with some of our gang, we all know she’s ok and were all proud of her, and how’s shes dealt with this. As for the guy that put her there … well I hope he enjoys the view from his cell, from what I hear he’s going to spending a long time in there. – intelligent bookmark management and information sharing

Alan Dix, has been running his snipit service for a while now. It’s an intelligent bookmarking service that is a cross between web bookmarks and a web notepad. You can use it to snip web pages, or selected content on a web page ( text, images etc. ), you can then share this information with other users. Snipit also examines each snip and tries to work out what kind of thing it is. If it recognises the snip it suggests things you may want to know about or do to the snip.

You can register for a free account at

the human brain and the web ( how similar are they? )

Had an awesome evening with a wonderful friend the other day. Amongst all the other things we chatted about, Alan tried to explain to me how he felt the human brain and the web were very similar. We were having this discussion at La Tasca, a spanish tapas bar in Star City. I’m not going suggest that I fully understood what Alan was saying at the time, it was getting very late and one of the waitresses was distracting me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ( Hey Alan, thats my excuse and im sticking to it ).

Anyway, knowing Alan as well as I do. I figured he must have published his little theory at some point, and naturally he has and you can read all about it here. We kind of got onto this discussion because during the course of our ramblings that evening I’d mentioned Strong AI, and de Garis’ work on the now defunct (presumably?) CAM Brain building project.

Alan picked up on this and said “Did I ever tell you about my theory of … “. I think the ability to share ideas and teach others in an off hand, easy, and almost anecdotal manner is something that seperates great teachers from good teachers. If I had sum Alan up I’d have to say that he’s not only a wonderful friend, an incredible mentor, but one of the finest academics and professors I have ever had the privilege to learn from.

Anyway getting back on track …. Alan’s theory revolves around his postulation that the entire internet as we currently know it has roughly the same computational power / capacity as a single human brain. So what does this mean? Well we spent a while debating whether this meant that mimicking biological processes artificially could result in the same kind of emergent consciousness human beings have. It’s safe to say we were dubious about this, and although I’d love to offer my own words on why … Alan summed it up wonderfully in his article …

Philosophers of mind and identity have long debated whether our sense of mind, personhood or consciouness are intrinsic to our biological nature or whether a computer system emulating the brain would have the same sense of consciouness as an emergent property of its complexity … we are nearing the point when this may become an empirically testable issue!

Of course, this does not mean that the web or a new super computer in some way is like or equal to the human mind. What it does mean is that the specialness of the human brain is not because of simple capacity or speed. If size were all that matters in cognition, we have already been beaten by our own creations. Really the specialness of our minds is in their organisation and the things that make us human beyond simple information: compassion, pain, heroism, joy รขโ‚ฌโ€œ we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.