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Garth SundemRSS Feed of this column.

Garth Sundem is a Science, Math and general Geek Culture writer, TED speaker, and author of books including Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Dish the Lab-Tested Secrets of Surfing, Dating, Dieting... Read More »

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According to a 2007 press release by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year 33.1 million people are injured by consumer products in the home. No one is safe and constant vigilance is required to avoid maiming and/or death (paraphrased). Here are the prime offenders:

1. Magnets: If a child eats your wedding ring, it will pass. If the same child eats both your wedding ring and a magnet, the two might attract through intestinal walls, creating a massive kink and making it very difficult to retrieve your ring.

2. Recalled Products: At cspc.gov, you can sign up for e-mail notification of recalled goods. With about 400 recalls a year, you can rest assured that your in-box will be a constant source of terror.
We have ten fingers and ten toes (or, most of us do. Exceptions include the noted alpinist Reinhold Messner, who has only three toes and seven fingers. Luckily, this leaves him with ten total digits and thus Messner presumably has little inherent, morphological difficulties with the decimal system). Because of our built-in base-10 bias and the fascism of our system of mathematics education, we humans have come to view the decimal system as the only logical way to count. We count to nine and then as we raise our second thumb, we stick a placeholder in the next column to the left.

But computers don’t conform to the evolution of human bone structure. They can only count to two. (Technically, they can only count to one, starting at zero.)

This is binary.
Geek Logik LiteDon't be embarrassed, it happens to everyone: One day you wake up to find you've been apped. Remember: it's not your fault. You're still the same person, capable of independent thought and even mild-to-modest calculations. This, despite the fact that calculations are no longer necessary. See? The app does it for you.
No more sifting through unsanitary goat knuckles, searching for abstractions in tealeaves, shaking the Mattel magic eight ball, listening to Yellow Submarine backwards, or trudging India’s highlands in search of infamously reclusive gurus—instead, look no further for answers than Les Propheties, the 1555 work of Michel de Nostradame.
In 1989, the Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov easily defeated the computer Deep Thought (name drawn from the Douglas Adams book). In 1997 Deep Blue kicked his ass, spawning accusations of cheating (which IBM denied). In a million-dollar rematch in 2003, Kasparov fought Deep Junior to a draw.

If, as Marcel Duchamp said, chess has “all the beauty of art and more,” do Kasparov’s break-even results mean that computers have drawn abreast of human creation, soon to overtake our brain’s ability to interpret, create and learn?

Researchers and developers of Artificial Intelligence say yes—yes, it does. Soon, they say, humans will be at best slaves and more likely relegated to distant, digitally archived memory (for better or for worse).
If you're reading this, your blood pressure is likely already that of a kid's pump rocket (blasts 30 feet in the air!!!). Never fear. You will survive Turkey Day. Gobble-fricking-gobble. Now to the list.

1. Turkey: Buy a cook-in-the-bag turkey breast roast. Turn on the oven. Throw it in. If your guests or house pets don’t see you carve it, they will never know your dinner never gobbled (or, more precisely, that it is the unholy conglomeration of many separate gobblers).

2. Mashed Potatoes: Buy instant. Just add boiling water and enough butter and cream cheese to mask the slightly musty taste.

3. Gravy: In the can.

4. Cranberry Sauce: In the can. Be sure to actually place in dish and mash until the dog-food-esque shape is unrecognizable.