How The US, China And Russia Are Moving Toward Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence        
A group of researchers are warning the world about weaponizing artificial intelligence and robotics, but that machine-learning genie may already be ...
          How The US, China And Russia Are Moving Toward Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence        
A group of researchers are warning the world about weaponizing artificial intelligence and robotics, but that machine-learning genie may already be ...
          War Machine!        
Here's one of the fun freelance jobs I've been working on lately, meet the War Machine! This is the initial design for the player character for 'World War Machine', a game in early pre-production, be sure to check out the pitch page.

The basic idea is that after a future cataclysm there is perpetual war between the shattered remnants of humanity, in the form of these war machines. I wanted to explore this idea through robotics design that has a biomechanical feel, and shows hints of the lost humanity that created them. Milled metal forms take on bone and cellular structural forms, ribbon cables connecting componentry mimic nerves and vascular systems. Kind of like an anatomically inspired skinned robot. Lots of fun to develop! Big thanks to Jeff and the team at Tuque Games for letting me try something different! I'll post some more images from this project soon.
          Elysium Artwork        
We've finally been cleared to show some of the work we produced for Elysium! 
So here are some of my favourite designs from the thousands we at Weta created.


Fashion model robots:





          Popular Science: "The Future of Space Travel"         

Popular Science offers a “Special Edition” mag “The Future of Space Travel”, 96 pages, from Times Books.

There are many short illustrated articles in 5 parts, “Places We’re Going”, “How We’ll Get There”, “How We’ll Survive There”, “Other Tools of Exploration.”.

There is a wide variety of interesting information. One fact is that Proxima Centauri, in a 3-star system that is the closest to the Earth, may have a rocky planet in the “GoldiLocks” zone. The shortest time that it is technologically possible to send a robotic probe on a photon light sail with laser accelerator would be about 20 years, which means it would take 24 years to get the photos and information back as to what the planet looks like.  It is about 8000 times as far to this star system as it is to Pluto.

The other most interesting section is “The Everyday Life of an Astronaut”.  This would be very important for a voyage to Mars, for example.  It raises questions as to who would go:  what about childless or single people?  The long exposure to zero gravity is bound to cause physical deterioration, so this is not a place for pretty preppies.  Essential body functions are different.  You bathe with soap that does not have to be rinse off but stays on the skin to disintegrate. Without gravity, it is hard for your body to sense when it needs to urinate.
There is an artist’s closeup of Europa on page 8, a closeup on Pluto on p. 16.  There is an article on space mining on p. 16.  I didn't see any discussion of Titan.

          US company to offer microchip implants to employees        

Over the past few years, the security industry has begun to embrace many new technologies—robotics, the cloud, biometrics, for example—but one company here in the U.S., Three Square Market, is pushing the boundaries of RFID technology by offering to implant tiny RFID chips—the size of a grain of rice—into its employees’ hands between the thumb and forefinger.

The chip would allow employees to not only buy snacks in the break room but also have their hands function as a mobile key to gain access to the building and other doors, which makes me think of the possible applications/ramifications within security.

Implanting chips in employee’s hands is already being done in Sweden, where an organization named Epicenter is having success with an increasing number of employees there opting to get the implant. Here in the U.S., Three Square Market says it has approximately 50 employees who are interested in getting the implant, and unlike in Sweden, the company is paying for the $300 procedure for its employees. Three Square Market partnered with a Swedish firm, BioHax International, to make the chip and is planning to sell the technology to other companies.

"Eventually, this technology will become standardized, allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.," chief executive Todd Westby wrote in a blog post announcing the program, noting that there is even potential for storing medical/health information, and for use as payment at other RFID terminals.

But one has to wonder what security vulnerabilities this could create, especially in protecting the data on that chip from being hacked, stolen and/or compromised, etc. Not to mention, the “creepy” factor here, as mass adoption of microchip implants is dubious, at best.

Maybe some day, like in the year 2112, but in the short term, I do think there is good fodder here for a futuristic sci-fi movie.

          Pre-Engineered Robotic Welding Cells for First Timers        

Lincoln Electric Company is introducing a new option for manufacturers adopting automated welding capability for the first time. The Auto-Mate pre-engineered robotic welding cells, available in two designs, are described as “affordable” units that allow new adoptees of automated welding capability to establish the operation in their plant or shop, quickly and easily.

read more

          First Omnidirectional Trackless Arc Welding        
Lincoln Electric has acquired exclusive global license to Helical Robotics proprietary magnetic robotic technology.

read more

          9 nhân vật phá hoại dù có ý định tốt        

Ý định tốt chÆ°a hẳn đã cho kết quả tốt. Các nhân vật sau đây tuy có lòng tốt nhÆ°ng thường làm rối tinh rối mù mọi chuyện. Hãy cùng Manganetworks điểm qua nào! 1 – Kaito Yashio – Robotics;Note Tớ sẽ ngÆ°ng chÆ¡i video game này trong chốc lát và thu thập các dữ […]

The post 9 nhân vật phá hoại dù có ý định tốt appeared first on .

          The Art of Lovin' Trees --- Featuring Joel Tauber        

The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,

Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook

 America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 

Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 (323-933-2117)

Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.

Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.

Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook

Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.

Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is and in Bellingham Washington you will find There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.

Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.

Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.

The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

"The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."

To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit

               Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.

Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit
As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.

The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.

Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.

Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008

 The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 

In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.

In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.

On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.

In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.

When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.

Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.

What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

          Luke Van Hook Paintings Now at Brand Library Galleries "Circle in the Square" Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, Cheryl Walker thru Sept 5th 2008        
The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008


Photo above: 
Cathy Billings, Art Librarian and Gallery Manager of the 
Brand Library Art Galleries and Co-Curator of 
"Circle in the Square" selected Luke Van Hook 
as one of the artists to show his circle paintings 
which explore Giotto's fabled "perfect circle.
Photo below: 
Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor, Gallery Director 
and Co-curator pictured with Luke Van Hook.
Both ladies made studio visits all over Los Angeles and surrounding communities in search of the "perfect circle" of artists to represent the illusive qualities of the circle.
It takes over a year to prepare for a large show at the Brand Library Art Galleries and no one will have a better story to tell you about the waiting process than Galleries Manager and Curator, Cathy Billings or Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor and Gallery Director. These ladies traveled to Inglewood, California for a studio visit to see Luke Van Hook's circle paintings some time in the early summer of 2007. They told Luke that they were preparing to curate a show of artists working on the motif of the 'circle'.  They had already reviewed a number of artists and found making the final decision difficult, first because there were a number of artists who worked with this subject and secondly, the talent was very competitive. The subject of the circle and how each artist approaches this topic is worth dedicated study in and of itself.  These lovely ladies, Cathy and Alyssa, with a keen eye for artistic talent, selected a total of five talented artists to show together this summer.   
Here you will find photos of how each artist expressed their obsession with the circular form.  I'll begin my blog entry with a brief history of what I believe may have led Luke Van Hook to painting the circle and continue with the photos and biographical information of the additional four artists each selected for working with the motif of circles, independently of each other, with their own unique and individual interpretations of the circle: Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, and Cheryl Walker.
Luke Van Hook began his present study of the circle in 2005. He first discovered the legend of Giotto's "Perfect Circle" in a class about ancient history; but the idea didn't sink in at first. He needed time to reason with his quest. While Luke approached the specific task of painting the circle with thin paintbrushes and applying layer upon layer of color to a raw naked canvas, I set about trying to understand what the hell prompted my husband to go circle crazy in the first place.  I started researching what the circle meant and I found a lot of literature in the realm of magic, rituals, mathematics, secret societies and romance. But my first impression was that the circle was a way to get back to the beginning of things.  Then I delved deeper.  Was Luke trying to say that he was going in circles?  Were we at this artistic point in our lives as a result of a past life?  Was our circular existence referencing our cycle of birth, death and rebirth?  Or was the answer more basic than that, like "the earth is round and it's an orbital thing.' There were other issues on the table I was urged to deal with also.  Were these circle paintings partly influenced by the school we had attended?  Once we leave school we are expected to make works of art that have fresh meaning and to blow out the cobwebs of old thinking.  While at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Luke Van Hook studied all the required areas to excel in his chosen profession as a fine arts painter including the figure, landscapes and abstracts. But the abstract visual image is what finally drew Luke back in.  Could it be the understated obvious fact that the big 'O' (which formed a circle on every memo, syllabus and brochure in the name of Otis College) was influencing him subconsciously?  
Luke's earlier work involved intricately small hatch marks that evolved into large abstract images full of vibrant colors.  This work was very reminiscent of Jasper Johns.  So where did this circle idea really emanate from?  Did his hatch marks get married or what?  Observers of Luke Van Hook's work have stated that it raises the question, 'Is it a painting or a drawing?  Is it text or writing?'  Luke will often begin a row of circles that reads from left to right just as western literature is expressed.  But sometimes he changes his mind, and the direction of his technique, and he starts to paint his rows from right to left. At other times, he completes a horizontal column of circles which refers more to ancient Asian forms of writing going from the top, down.
During his graduating year at Otis College in 2004, Luke went on a mission to explore machine technology as it pertained to replacing humans.  He painted large canvases with a number of faces and shapes that represented cyborgs expressing the fear, uncertainty and ambivalence that humans have toward our technological future.  But once out of school, a full year later, in 2005 Luke seem to have turned a corner.  He seemed to have replaced his fear of technology with a competitive defiance that defied all reason.  Luke started working with his father-in-law, in his machine shop, where he started to observe how everything around him involved the circle in one way or another.  He watched the machines (Fadal CNC's- numerical control production machines) in action. The tool would spin in circles, plunging in and out of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic materials. The space left behind was almost always a perfect circle.  Perhaps, this was Luke's starting point. It was the first time he'd really seen a machine make simple circles and Luke probably said something to himself like 'I can do this! Just watch me!' then promptly, decided to take on his destiny. To compete with a machine, may have been the early impulse that drew Luke to paint the circle, but the legend of Giotto's 'perfect circle' was what has kept Luke going full steam ahead into production of abstract works of art.  The initial pieces he created were prototypes. These were the experiments he and his father-in-law Luis Ingels, worked on before moving into the hand made pieces. As his first experiment, Luke inserted a paint brush into the collet of the machine and programmed the coordinates to match the canvas. He overshot his calculations and the brush came crashing down upon the canvas; the collet smashed the brush right through the canvas and even broke the frame. Perhaps, Luke might have thought as he and my father, Luis, looked at each other, 'it was time to go back to the drawing board'. Undaunted by initial failure, Luke did complete an entire series of machine made circles before he went on to the main event, the competition of drawing the circles, one by one, by hand.  
Each piece of artwork created since his first attempts, is meticulously reinvented into creative visual landscapes layering circles upon circles of color schemes in gradations of complementary hues.  The colors reveal very subtle changes.  The circles pull the eye in.  The images seem to have a life of their own, a vibrant quality of pushing the viewer to look for patterns while pulling the eyes into fishers, crevices, or 'wormholes' as one collector observed. I have witnessed the intimate evolution of Luke's circles only because I have the honor and privilege of being Luke's wife.  The fact that I am discussing my husband's art work is of significance only in the sense that it is somewhat rare, although not unheard of, for the artist's loved one to interject a provocative discussion of the artwork publicly in a blog; however, this is a sign of the times we live in today and I feel blessed as a writer to have this open forum to share with you the joys and struggles inherent in Luke's artistic process.
The way I see it, Luke has taken on  the impossible task of creating the perfect circle, where no perfect circle has ever existed before, despite Giotto's legend.  All mathematical equations to date reveal that there is no perfect circle. It is a myth. So why Luke has persisted in this impossible feat only reminds me of the story of Don Quixote. Here is where I see Luke chasing his windmills. This is where in my imagination, I view the circles on the canvas as Luke's quest for the impossible dream and his circles are his windmills.  His paintbrush is his sword.  Thus Luke 
Van Hook's paintings, for me, exhibit all the romantic qualities innate in a love story.  Seeking to please his beloved Lucia, these references emerging from raw canvas could be read practically like text.  Some art collectors saw the circles as Braille text or some secret code or language.  The secret, I think, lies in Luke's love of sports!  Sometimes I interpret this circle code to reflect images of the sports activities I see Luke enjoy daily;  I make visual connections to the circles on the wheels of his bicycles which hang in his studio or his skate boards that decorate the rafters of the painting bays or even the wheels that drive his car which sits resting on almost perfect circles on the driveway.
For a while, I was convinced that Luke's enthusiasm for cycling was directly influencing the subjects of his paintings because one day, I was staring at one of his earlier images, (which is hung lovingly on the wall of the dining room right over the microwave oven); I saw it hanging next to a photograph of Luke participating in the 'Death Race 1999', a bicycle ride that cycle enthusiasts pursue along the most dangerous mountainous roads known as the California Alps in Northern California at the edge of the Northern Nevada border where Markleeville meets the Carson Valley.   The image Luke had painted in 1998, while recovering, ironically, from a broken ankle suffered in a bicycle race in Minden; was the image of three bicycles in a dead heat on the gray pavement with the yellow dividing line providing a ground for what appears as three large helmets (representative of the riders) in red, green and yellow.  The eventual emergence of Luke's hatch marks from work created in 2000, can be seen on the helmets and if you are really looking for this, (with your microscope) you may even find, the very beginnings of the influences which have eventually led to this mad case of circle paintings!  The circle imagery you might be searching for could have started at the base of the bicycle's anatomy with the wheels spinning along the highway to Kingsbury Grade, somewhere near Genoa, along the bottom of the hill leading to Lake Tahoe.  I comfort myself as painter's wife, that even Picasso had his periods, as did Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin and so long as Luke Van Hook doesn't try to cut off his ear we are doing just fine with these circles.

But don't take my word for it. Luke Van Hook's circle paintings are something you should see for yourself.  The subtlety of the work is difficult to capture on film, although I tried my best to create a video after struggling with photographing the stills for three years.  But even the video work fails to reveal the whole story.  You've got to stand in front of one of these pieces to involve yourself in the novella of Luke's life.  Although I can decode a small portion of what I see through his work, the rest of the circles on the canvas are still a vague mystery to me as well.  Every relationship has its secrets.  Thus Luke and I, as artists, are no different.  Even when we know each other, there are elements of surprise and adventure that we have yet to tell each other.  The mystery in his canvases is what really thrills me to see Luke's work on display under gallery lighting! (Sales don't hurt my enthusiasm either!)

When I think of Luke Van Hook's circle paintings, today, in 2008, I often think of Luke riding a skateboard doing 'ollies' and then trying for a loop-de-loop in mid-air.  This is because in January of 2008, Luke begged for a skateboard for his birthday and little did I know what would happen when I wrapped it up for him!  He has returned to the love of his youth.  Luke Van Hook has come full circle to his beginnings to land on his home base. The skateboard has also flown in mid-air, in harmony with gravity, and both land as one in a perfect execution of a move I would never dare try to do myself.  I see each circle on the canvas as Luke's attempt to catapult his work into the mainstream of the art-world with each rotation of the paintbrush on the surface of the canvas.  This is where I see Luke Van Hook in mid catapult, surfing on the air, light in transition, from youth to inspired maturity; from student to master, with paintbrush in hand landing and continuing to roll on four wheels with a great big shit-eating grin on his face. ('four' being the lucky number of his numerology charts). I see the ordered struggle, the innate joy in the success of one loop-de-loop after another. And once in a while, I also see the crash landing and the bloody injuries.  What is more important is that Luke gets up and does it again each and every time.  Luke has to begin again with each new circle, every circle becoming a part of a larger layer of community, thus his canvases vibrate with activity, mystery, romance and adventure.  I find my own meanings in each image  as it develops day by day and I am privileged to stand beside him, admire and witness the struggle of our Don Quixote in the new millennium, first hand.
There is still time to see these painting up close and personal. The Brand Library Art Galleries is part of the Glendale Public Library, located at 1601 West Mountain Street in the City of Glendale, 91201  Telephone:  818-548-2051/ fax 818-548-2713 ;  visit the Brand Library Art Galleries online at    to  check for Library hours.
Cookie Gallegos, Ana Porras and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Art Library Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008 Photo by Ginger Van Hook
(From left to right) Margo Payne, Lynn Nantana-Green and Angela Williams attend the exhibition "Circle in the Square" in support of Luke Van Hook.
Lynn Lantana-Green came to support Artist, Luke Van Hook at the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" an art exhibition held at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photos by Ginger Van Hook
Kevin Powell came to support Luke Van Hook and enjoy the paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

Artist Luke Van Hook brought home-made pies to his reception of the exhibition "Circle in the Square". In addition to painting, Luke Van Hook has a reputation for making awesome pies from scratch. Photographed milling around the Double Fudge Pican Pie and the Sweet Berry Pie were the grandchildren of Hector Sticker. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook
(From left to right) Claudio Sticker, Hector Sticker, Peter Bolten, Martha Ingels, Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels attend the reception of  "Circle in the Square". Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels worked together to create circles on canvas with the use of robotic CNC machines. After creating a little over a dozen machine-made paintings, Luke went on to compete with the machine and do the circles on his own by hand, one by one. Each circle is represented as being one breath and Luke Van Hook states that these are the marks he is leaving behind which define his existence during this lifetime as he continues to pursue the legend of "Giotto's Perfect Circle". Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

From left to right, Ohannes Berberian, his daughter Melanie, Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian attend the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008.  Ohannes Berberian owns DigiTECH Camera Repair in Monrovia, California ( Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian are both fine art painters and members of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (M.A.F.A.). Rouzanna Berberian is a teacher in the after-school arts programs supported by M.A.F.A.  which promotes the goal of enhancing the lives of those within the community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities of children through art education. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

From left to right, Kathleen Zgonc, photographer Frank Zgonc and artist Luke Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008. Frank Zgonc is a an executive member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts in Monrovia, California. Frank Zgonc is the vice-president and official curator of Monrovia's yearly October Art Festival. This year the October Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 11th and 12th, 2008 at the Monrovia Community Center located at 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia. Free and open to the public, this art event will feature work by photographer Frank Zgonc; (Scheduled from 10 am to 6pm both days).  There will also be an Opening Night Celebration Saturday, October 11th from 7-9:30 pm where the special Renaissance Award will be presented to a worthy individual who has made significant contributions to the arts. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook
Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Ginger Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Libraries Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.  Luke Van Hook an artist working from Inglewood, California earned a BFA  at Otis College of ARt and Design.  For several years, Van Hook has been exploring in his work, Giotto's fabled "perfect circle".  Over time the single-minded focus on the perfection of the circle has been subsumed by the artist's interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the circle. New works depict ritualistically repeated circular brushstrokes on canvas, hemp, and other materials. Van Hook states that he began " as a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle was possible; these circles have now morphed into a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle is  possible. These circles have now morphed into a study in patience. The sense of time and the marking of time is inherent in the meticulous application of paint. The viewer can appreciate these temporal qualities but is also compelled to bring their own  interpretation to the work. Are these circles pure abstraction? Combined do they conceal deliberate shapes and forms? or are they perhaps a secret code or language? Van Hook has exhibited at TAG Gallery, Focus One Gallery, and the Bolsky Gallery in  Westchester. Luke Van Hook's painting may also be viewed on his website:
Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten

Kevin Powell comes to support Luke Van Hook for his opening reception. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook
Jason Porras attends the opening reception to support Luke Van Hook in his endeavors to pursue Giotto's legend of the 'Perfect Circle'. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo By Ginger Van Hook.

Zoe Hengst, Ginger Van Hook and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.
Zoe and Jopie Hengst walk through the center of the exhibition "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook at the opening night, August 2, 2008. Paintings by Susan Sironi in the background. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

Cookie Gallegos, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook pose for photographs in front of Luke Van Hook's painting at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.

Cookie Gallegos and Ana Porras watch the dance performance choreographed by Cheryl Walker, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook
Yesung Kim poses for a photograph in front of her paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 02, 2008, Glendale, California. Yesung Kim from Upland, California, was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds MFA degrees from Chung-Ang University and Claremont Graduate University. Kim's mixed media pieces are seductively simple. Ordinary brown packing string is deftly applied to a painted canvas creating organic shapes that shimmer and reflect light. At times these shapes appear to be on the brink of an amoeba-like division as they spread and expand, dropping off the edge of one canvas and continuing on to another. Kim  cites the natural world and light and color as the underlying themes that both inspire and permeate her work.  Following solo shows at the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Arts Center, Kim's work was most recently exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum's Multi Media Mini Show. More information about Kim's work can be found on her website:
Photo by Ginger Van Hook
Painting by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California.
Photo by Ginger Van Hook
Glass curtain by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008,Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
Cheryl Walker designed a curtain of vinyl layers of color called 'Waterfall IV' that became the backdrop for a beautiful dance performance using the 'circle in the square' theme exhibited at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker holds in her hand some of the vinyl circles that were placed upon the windows at the exhibition hall. Her vinyl circles upon the windows created an illusion of  the stained glass effects. The dance piece entertained a large audience on opening night as artists, collectors, art appreciators and family and friends celebrated the mythologies, geometries, magical and mystical qualities of the circle.   Dance Performers Liz  Curtis, and Martha Carrascosa performed a dance which included participation from members of the audience.  
Members of the audience interacted with the dancers Martha Carrascosa and Liz Curtis at the Brand Library Art Galleries participated in creating a colorful cascade of window art on August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.
Audience watches dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa from Glendale Community College as they perform a choreographed piece by Cheryl Walker, artist. "Circle in the Square", Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008.  Photo By Ginger Van Hook
Dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa performing dance choreographed by artist Cheryl Walker, (within the green curtain), Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. 
Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
Cheryl Walker engaged in performance art intersecting with window art using the artistic theme of 'Circle in the Square'. Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, CAlifornia August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

Cheryl Walker smiles happily on opening night, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker, a Los Angeles artist, earned her BA in art in her home state of Minnesota, and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. In this exhibition Walker created two large site-specific installations of vinyl, oil pastel and natural and artificial light.  Walker explains that the driving force behind her work is "human interaction and improvisation in response to a natural phenomenon or situation." Trained as painter, Walker's installations have some of the qualities of painting; when viewed head-on the suspended layers of vinyl can appear to be two-dimensional because of their transparency and the cut shapes and forms applied to the vinyl are reminiscent of brushstrokes--but removed from the wall these works are thrust into what she calls an "interactive field of play." The fluidity of the material she works with and her interest in collaboration between the artist and the viewer have inspired Walker to create works that can be transformed into performance pieces by dance, music and in-situ art-making. In this exhibition, a dance performance captivates the audience on opening night at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Photos By Ginger Van Hook

Barbara Kolo, Artist from "Circle in the Square" poses for a photograph in front of her painting with her husband Mr. Kolo. Barbara Kolo, a Santa Monica Artist, earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Kolo Participated in a successful two-person show at the Brand Library Art Galleries in 1999. The Brand Library Art Galleries are pleased to present (nearly ten years later) a new body of work by Barbara Kolo that connects to that which was here before. In those works and these, her focus is on representing organic materials. The current large scale acrylic on canvas works are saturated with color; the stippled application of paint creates organic shapes and patterns representative of the natural world.  The subject matter is open to each viewers interpretation, where one may see a birch forest at dusk, others may see the  bold aesthetic of pure color and abstraction. Kolo has had recent solo shows at Topanga Canyon Gallery and the Off Rose Gallery in Venice, California. More information about Kolo's work can be found on her website: Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

Barbara Kolo poses for a photograph during opening night celebrations for the exhibition, "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Augusts 2, 2008. Glendale, California.

Susan Sironi,  an artist living in Altadena, California posed for her photograph in front of her paintings at  the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Susan Sironi earned her BFA at California Sate University, Long Beach. This exhibition will showcase Sironi's recent paintings as well as her Glass Curtain installation which is comprised of conjoined antique optometric lenses. Her paintings are about texture, color and process. Small dabs of oil paint are painstakingly applied to aluminum, building up an intricate, thorny surface. Highly textured and multihued when viewed up close, this surface belies the color play minimalist color-field appearance of the work at a distance . In the artist's own words "texture and color play equal roles in these works. They ... set up contradictions within each piece. Painitings  that seem to invite touch and intimacy are also reserved and automomous. Time and process are weighed against a static and minimal structure. Sironi's work was most recently seen in the Brea Art Gallery's Made in California exhibition, at the Chouinard School of Art Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.  More information about Sironi's work can be found on her website:
Photo by Ginger Van Hook.  

Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.

The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008

                   Luke Van Hook paintings are now showing at the Brand Library Art Galleries in
          Tech Pioneers Predict the Future of Lifestyle Technology in 2015        

Wearables, Internet of Things, Robotics, Shopping and Augmented Reality Lead the Trends Cited by Guest Speakers at the Living in Digital Times Conferences at 2015 International CES®

(PRWeb January 03, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Robotica: attivata una selezione per docente con doppia affiliazione UniTrento/Fondazione Bruno Kessler        
Sarà cofinanziato al 50% dalle due istituzioni per 15 anni
          3D Printing Webinar on Concept, Design & Production for Wildlife Conservation Challenge        

Kashmir Robotics, Autodesk Fusion 360 and Solid Concepts to present on 3D Printing, 3D modeling and the future of unmanned aircraft in two-part webinar series.

(PRWeb February 04, 2014)

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          The Angel Campos Journal by the King Maker        


Angel Campos has a very small LOW zone. (proven)

Angel runs a K/BB ratio that rests in the 2.20-2.40 range during the last few seasons, but he's become a terror to pitchers during the first weeks of 2010. He was deceptive to me, because he had a 15-17 Over/Under record in 2009 (17-5 in 2007), but his numbers, aside from the high home run rate, were all pointing to an UNDER umpire (Strike Rates, K/BB, Pitcher matchups).

He had a 2.40 K/BB ratio in 2009! This is a massive UNDER indicator if the Strike Rate is high.


But the fact of the matter is that I RE-learned something about my statistical approach:

1. A High strike rate CAN mean that the pitchers are FORCED to throw more strikes. My traditional view was to assume a larger zone when I was beginning my umpire work (in 2005), but the contrary CAN exist, and Angel is a perfect example. It's just so rare that I got mechanical and robotic with my assessment.

2. Home Run Rate is an underrated number. This innocuous stat can be influenced by weather, hitters, bad pitchers, and just luck, but it is a deadly indicator if it agrees with strike rate, K/BB, and Total runs.


Angel Campos is one of the larger anomalies in strike zone analysis. He's going to be erratic on totals and he can range from that 17-5 OU (2008)  and he's just as likely to shift to a 15-17 (2009) again, but he's trending hard in the Over department and I was snakebitten because I FAILED to respect the HR rate. Angel is a hard nut to crack, but we have him in our sights now.


On May 2nd we played the Nationals and Marlins UNDER 8.5, and most of the statistical outliers supported our assessment, but I was blinded by a lazy look at Campos and we paid for it.

Johnson and Lannan were NOT getting the low zone in that game . Angel was completely consistant and both pitchers drew walks and then sniffed out the situation.

The result? Both pitchers began to move away from the low zone. Both pitchers lifted their pitches into the "hot" zones of the batter and, in that instance, the batters became dominant. The zone became a hitter's zone!

It was a humid day and the only thing that was needed was contact. The wager lost in the bottom of the 6th inning, but I rarely lose without reviewing the reason for the loss. We'll make money from this loss.

Verdict to watch?

*THE ACCURATE ASSESSMENT IS THAT CAMPOS CAN REMOVE THE LOW ZONE. This is the reason for the consistantly high HR rates and it's also the contributiing factor to that high strike rate.


          Humanoid robots show off their skills during RoboCup soccer        
(All photos by Ben Weller/AFLO) RoboCup Soccer match took place on July 27 during RoboCup 2017, a robotics and artificial intelligence convention in Nagoya. A fully autonomous humanoid robots are […]
          RE2 Receives Funds to Provide Robot & Technical Support for DoD-Funded UCLA Research        
RE2 Robotics has been selected to provide technology and support to aid a University of California – Los Angeles professor’s research on haptics with the award of $1.3 million in funds. Veronica Santos, the professor who will lead the research, chose the robotics company to provide a Highly Dexterous Manipulation System robot, software support and […]
          SSL, NASA Complete System Requirements Review for Robotic Satellite Servicing Spacecraft        
Space Systems Loral and NASA have reviewed systems requirements for a robotic spacecraft designed to carry out a satellite servicing mission in low-Earth orbit. The two-day evaluation brought together SSL and NASA teams to verify functional and performance requirements for the Restore-L spacecraft, the company said Tuesday. SSL received a potential five-year, $127 million contract last year to help […]
          Aerobotix Develops F-22 Engine Coating Restoration Tech Under Air Force SBIR Program        
Madison, Alabama-based Aerobotix has developed a robotic technology for U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance personnel to restore coatings on F-22 engine inlets as part of a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research contract. The Phase II SBIR contract awarded to Aerobotix supports the efforts of Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to increase the efficiency […]
          Kongsberg-Milrem-QinetiQ NA Alliance Develops Robotic Fire Support & Force Protection System        
A team composed of Kongsberg, Milrem and QinetiQ North America will introduce a jointly developed remotely operated robotic fire support and force protection system at the 2017 Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference and Exhibition in Springfield, Virginia. The system comprises Milrem’s THeMIS modular unmanned ground vehicle equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric drive, Kongsberg’s PROTECTOR remote weapon station and QinetiQ NA’s UGV control system, Milrem […]
          Alion Science-Reamda JV to Offer EOD, Surveillance Robot Platforms; Doug King Comments        
Alion Science and Technology and Ireland-based unmanned ground robotic systems developer Reamda have launched a joint venture to offer robotic platforms intended for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance operations. Realion Robotics said Tuesday it aims to help military, law enforcement and government agencies gain access to unmanned ground robots that can function in harsh environments. Doug King, program manager of Realion […]
          Lockheed-Injaz-Tecgrant JV Debuts Portable Machine System for Automated Manufacturing        
A joint venture between Lockheed Martin, Injaz National and Tecgrant has unveiled a robotic portable machine system designed to operate as a standalone tool or in conjunction with other production systems. Exechon‘s XMini manufacturing device combines the articulated-arm robot dynamics with the accuracy of a rigid machine tool and uses parallel kinematics machining to automate manufacturing functions, Lockheed said Monday. […]
          PodCast: All Star Team Up E1x18        
Originally posted on NewsFlash Podcast:
Episode Summary: All Star Team Up (14 Apr. 2015) “Felicity Smoak and Ray come to Central City seeking help with Ray’s suit; a meta-human releases deadly robotic bees; a group dinner does not go as planned.” This is our first podcast for the tv show The Flash. Hope everyone enjoy it. Leave…
          Real Steel (2011) (DVDRip)        
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In un futuro non troppo lontano il pugilato non è più una questione umana, a combattere sono dei robot manovrati dai loro tecnici. Com risultato gli incontri sono molto più efferati e di successo. Un ex-pugile caduto in disgrazia, e ora condannato a far combattere robot scassati in incontri di bassa lega, viene forzatamente riconciliato con il figlio di 11 anni dopo la morte della madre che lo aveva in affido. Con lui troverà e rimetterà in sesto un modello vecchissimo di robot-pugile che si rivelerà un’arma formidabile per farsi strada nel mondo della boxe robotica e per riunire padre e figlio alla luce di una passione comune.

          Nissan Pivo 2 concept car.        

  • The Nissan Pivo 2 runs on compact lithium iron batteries.
  • The Nissan Pivo 2 has rotating cabins and wheels that can rotate 360 degrees.
  • This car also has a voice recognizing interface known as the Robotic agent.This feature is available in English and Japanese languages.

          2008-12-21 00:37:28        
Сравнение версий /Inter Wiki за 2008-12-21 00:37:28 и 2009-05-07 23:51:26

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          Dirty Glow        

Artist: Naytronix

More on Naytronix :

1.  Hangin' Out 
2.  In The Summer 
3.  Baby Don't Walk Away 
4.  Turn Around 
5.  Lead The Way 
6.  Nightmare 
7.  Good Thing 
8.  Elevator To Tomorrow 
9.  Are You Ready For A Good Time
10.  Robotic 
11.  Evil Dancer 

CD: $9.99 | Double Vinyl: $19.99 | Digital on Itunes

          AI – What Chief Compliance Officers Care About        

AI conference logo

Arguably, there are more financial institutions located in the New York metropolitan area than anywhere else on the planet, so it was only fitting for a conference on AI, Technology Innovation & Compliance to be held in NYC – at the storied Princeton Club, no less. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at this one-day conference, and found the attendees’ receptivity to artificial intelligence (AI), and creativity in applying it, to be inspiring and energizing. Here’s what I learned.

CCOs Want AI Choices

As you might expect, the Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) attending the AI conference were extremely interested in applying artificial intelligence to their business, whether in the form of machine learning models, natural language processing or robotic process automation – or all three. These CCOs already had a good understanding of AI in the context of compliance, knowing that:

  • Working the sets of rules will not find “unknown unknowns”
  • They should take a risk-based approach in determining where and how to divert resources to AI-based methods in order to find the big breakthroughs.

All understood the importance of data, and how getting the data you need to provide to the AI system is job number one. Otherwise, it’s “garbage in, garbage out.” I also discussed how to provide governance around the single source of data, the importance of regular updating, and how to ensure permissible use and quality.

AI Should Explain Itself

Explainable AI (XAI) is a big topic of interest to me, and among the CCOs at the conference, there was an appreciation that AI needs to be explainable, particularly in the context of compliance with GDPR. The audience also recognized that their organizations need to layer in the right governance processes around model development, deployment, and monitoring––key steps in the journey toward XAI. I reviewed the current state of art of Explainable AI methods, and where their road leads to getting AI that is more grey-boxed.

Ethics and Safety Matter

In pretty much every AI conversation I have, ethics are the subject of lively discussion. The New York AI conference was no exception. The panel members and I talked about how any given AI system is not inherently ‘ethical’; it learns from the inputs it’s given. The modelers who build the AI system need to not pass sensitive data fields, and those same modelers need to examine if inadvertent biases are derived from the inputs in the training of the machine learning model.

Here, I was glad to be able to share some of the organizational learning FICO has accumulated over decades of work in developing analytic models for the FICO® Score, our fraud, anti-money laundering (AML) products and many others.

AI safety was another hot topic. I shared that although models will make mistakes and there needs to be a risk-based approach, machines are often better than human decision-making, such as autopilots on airplanes. Humans need to be there to step in if something is changing, to the degree that the AI system may not make an optimal decision. This could arise as a change in environment or data character.

In the end, an AI system will work with the data on which it has trained, and is trained to find patterns in it, but the model itself is not necessarily curious; the model is still constrained by the algorithm development, data posed in the problem, and the data it trains on.

Open Source Is Risky

Finally, the panel and I talked about AI software and development practices, including the risks of open source software and open source development platforms. I indicated that I am not a fan of open source, as it often leads to scientists using algorithms incorrectly, or relying on someone else’s implementation. Building an AI implementation from scratch, or from an open source development platform, gives data scientists more hands-on control over the quality of the algorithms, assumptions, and ultimately the AI model’s success in use.

I am honored to have been invited to participate in Compliance Week’s AI Innovation in Compliance conference. Catch me at my upcoming speaking events in the next month: The University of Edinburgh Credit Scoring and Credit Control XV Conference on August 30-September 1, and the Naval Air Systems Command Data Challenge Summit.

In between speaking gigs I’m leading FICO’s 100-strong analytics and AI development team, and commenting on Twitter @ScottZoldi. Follow me, thanks!

The post AI – What Chief Compliance Officers Care About appeared first on FICO.

          Three Keys to Advancing your Digital Transformation        

Digital assets

With today’s proliferation of data, digital transformation (DX) has become more than a hot topic: It’s an imperative for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The collision of data, analytics and technology has businesses, analysts and consumers excited — and scared — about what could happen next.

On one hand, everyone from banks to bagel shops and travel sites to tractor manufacturers have found new ways to connect the dots in their businesses while forging stronger, more dynamic customer engagement. Artificial intelligence (AI) has come of age in technologies such as smart sensors, robotic arms, and devices that can turn lights and heat on and off, adjust for changes in conditions and preferences, and even automatically reorder food and supplies for us.

However, today's Chief Analytics Officer (and Chief Data Officer and Chief Digital Officer, for example) faces both the promise and precariousness of digitizing business. While significant opportunities abound to drive revenues and customer connectivity, any leader will freely confess there are myriad technological, business and human obstacles to transforming even one element of business, introducing a new unique product or even meeting regulatory requirements.

The Big Data Dilemma

Big Data is at once the promise of the DX and its biggest roadblock. A recent Harvard Business Review article put it succinctly: “Businesses today are constantly generating enormous amounts of data, but that doesn’t always translate to actionable information.”

When 150 data scientists were asked if they had built a machine learning model, roughly one-third raised their hands. How many had deployed and/or used this model to generate value, and evaluated it? Not a single one.

This doesn’t invalidate the role of Big Data in achieving DX. To the contrary: The key to leveraging Big Data is understanding what its role is in solving your business problems, and then building strategies to make that happen — understanding, of course, that there will be missteps and possibly complete meltdowns along the way.

In fact, Big Data is just one component of DX that you need to think about. Your technology infrastructure and investments (including packaged applications, databases, and analytic and BI tools) need to similarly be rationalized and ultimately monetized, to deliver the true value they can bring to DX.

Odds are many components will either be retired or repurposed, and you’ll likely come to the same conclusion as everyone else that your business users are going to be key players in how DX technology solutions get built and used. That means your technology and analytic tools need to allow you the agility and flexibility to prototype and deploy quickly; evolve at the speed of business; and empower people across functions and lines of business to collaborate more than they’ve ever done before.

Beyond mapping out your overarching data, technology and analytic strategies, there are several areas to consider on your DX journey. Over the next three posts, I’ll focus on how to:

  1. Visualize your digital business, not your competitors’
  2. Unleash the knowledge hidden within your most critical assets
  3. Embrace the role and evolution of analytics within your journey

To whet your appetite, check out this short video on the role of AI in making DX-powered decisions.


The post Three Keys to Advancing your Digital Transformation appeared first on FICO.

          The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate        


Photo Credit: Defense Industry Daily


The China-US Maritime “Spying” Debate

Aug. 04, 2017  |     |

The Australian Department of Defence confirmed that last week a Chinese Dongdiao-class Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) vessel monitored the US-Australia Talisman Sabre joint military exercises from within Australia’s 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This “first-ever” Chinese incursion of its type in Australia’s EEZ has sparked both alarm and an international debate. Many say China is hypocritical because it is undertaking intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in other countries’ 200 nm EEZs while opposing those of the US in its own EEZ. But there are significant differences in scale, technological capability, methods, and objectives between what China and the US are doing.

China’s first “public” attempt at maritime spying in the US EEZ was when an uninvited People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) AGI vessel operated in Hawaii’s EEZ to observe RIMPAC 2014, a multinational naval exercise. Also in 2014, a Chinese AGI vessel was observed off Guam during a US military exercise. According to then-Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) Admiral Samuel Locklear: “The good news about this is that it’s a recognition, I think, or an acceptance by the Chinese of what we’ve been saying to them for some time, [which] is that military operations and survey operations in another country’s EEZs, where you have national—your own national security interest, are within international law and are acceptable.” But such simplistic comparisons are deceptive and potentially dangerous. They can lead to the false hope that China will eventually “see the light” and quietly assent to activities it considers threatening because “it is undertaking similar activities.”

But the scale is very different. Ironically, the “different scale” argument was first used against China by China critics to demonize its occupations and “militarization” of features in the South China Sea. Although these critics grudgingly acknowledged that China was not doing anything other claimants had not done, nevertheless China’s behavior was singled out as unacceptable because of the much greater scale and “aggressiveness” of its activities.

It seems that the tables are now turned. Although the critics argue that China is doing “the same thing” as the US, the scale of US ISR missions against China is probably an order of magnitude greater than that of China against the US. For example, as of 2017, PLAN had only three AGI vessels. Of course, China also has ISR planes, drones, and satellites but their number and capabilities pale in comparison to those of US assets.

Indeed, the US has a huge array of ISR planes, surface vessels, submarines, and drones — many of which, like the subhunter Impeccable, have specialized functions. The US has by far the world’s largest and most capable force of signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft. Moreover, most of the US Navy’s top-of-the-line combatants like the Ticonderoga-class cruisers and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers as well as its submarines are equipped to carry out SIGINT missions. Further, no other country matches the US’ number and array of robotic aircraft and seacraft (drones), particularly in terms of their range and advanced weapons and sensors, coupled with the necessary satellite and telecommunications support systems. US satellite IRS capacity greatly exceeds that of China. In terms of deployment, the US flies hundreds of manned ISR missions every year along China’s coast. There have been no public reports of similar Chinese aerial ISR missions off the US mainland coast.

Technological capabilities, techniques and objectives are other major differences. Yes, China does insert ISR platforms into other countries’ EEZs — like that of Japan. But it is likely that Chinese technological capabilities and activities in terms of intrusive methods used and information obtained are so substantially inferior to and different from those of the US as to be in a separate, much lower category, e.g., passive listening versus active probing or electronic interference with, and even manipulation of, communications.

But this is unconfirmed because the US is not being “transparent” when it comes to ISR capabilities. Again ironically, Locklear said of China’s military modernization: “What we should be concerned about though is what we perceive as a lack of transparency on their part in why they are building the type of systems they are building. Quite frankly, it makes their neighbours nervous and it gives us some cause for concern here at PACOM about the type of military they are building and the type of equipment they are buying.”

A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified.

But in the case of ISR, it is the extent of capabilities that is not publicly known. To convince sceptics that there is anything near parity between Chinese and US ISR capabilities, those making the “China does the same thing” argument — especially those in the US Navy, need to reveal exactly what it is that the US is doing in China’s near seas so that all can evaluate it for themselves. Otherwise their arguments will fall on deaf ears, and independent and neutral analysts can only speculate based on what little is known.

In general, it is known that US ISR assets collect communications between the target country’s command-and-control centres and radar and weapons systems, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and fighter aircraft. Other US ISR probes collect “actionable” intelligence for expeditionary and irregular warfare.

Incidents involving ISR aircraft like the EP-3 and the Poseidon 8A, as well as the US Navy ships Bowditch, Impeccable, and Cowpens, may have collectively included active “tickling” of China’s coastal defences to provoke and observe responses, interference with shore-to-ship and submarine communications, violation or abuse of the consent regime for marine scientific research, damage to the environment, and tracking China’s new nuclear submarines for potential targeting.

If so, these are not passive intelligence collection activities commonly undertaken and usually tolerated by many states, including China. Rather they are intrusive, provocative, and controversial practices that may be considered a threat to use force or violations of both China’s marine scientific consent and its environmental protection regimes. This could occur when and if the Poseiden 8 drops sonobuoys (which are part of its repertoire) or the Impeccable and Bowditch deploy “scientific instruments” in China’s EEZ. Indeed, China’s EEZ environment may be degraded if US sonar systems or live fire exercises adversely affect fish and mammals like whales and dolphins.

But much of this is unconfirmed. What do we — the public — know?

A confidential US Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) report revealed by Edward Snowden shows that China’s concerns regarding America’s ISR missions off its coasts are justified. The 2001 report reveals that in the EP-3 incident, the crew was unable to destroy all the secret data and systems on board, and details the scope of secrets exposed to China.

The exposed information contained the fact that the US has “the ability to locate and collect transmissions to or from Chinese submarines and to correlate them to specific vessels.” The plane also carried data that clarified “how much the US knew about China’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles program.” Also, according to the report, as speculated, the missions spur targeted militaries to react, thus creating communications that can be intercepted.

So, it does appear that the US has a huge advantage over China when it comes to ISR. But unlike Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, China does not oppose all foreign military activities in its EEZ without its permission. Nevertheless, China certainly does object by word and deed to what it perceives as US abuse of the right of freedom of navigation and a threat to use force.

In sum, China apparently believes that these activities violate the peaceful purpose and uses provisions of UNCLOS, as well as its UNCLOS EEZ resource rights and environmental obligations. China also thinks that the US is “preparing the battle field” and that this constitutes a violation of the UN Charter as well as UNCLOS. In particular, China alleges that the US is not abiding by its obligation to pay “due regard” to its rights and duties as a coastal state. Such due regard in the EEZ is required by UNCLOS for both the coastal state and the user state, but is undefined.

Whether these concerns are valid or not, China is probably not violating these UNCLOS provisions with its AGI vessel activities and the US may well be doing so — on a grand scale. The US may want to reconsider and modify its superficial and misleading argument that both are doing the same thing

          On 3D Printed Guns        
Dear Rachel Maddow and Staff:

Tonight's story about gun control, and the 3D printer component in particular, were interesting, but I have a lot of questions that perhaps you can explore in future discussions on the subject.

First, a correction: only the 3D printer you showed, a Makerbot Replicator 2, costs thousands of dollars. Saying they cost thousands of dollars or more is misleading. You can buy fully assembled and ready-to-use 3D printers for as little as $500. Most models on the market today, kit-wise at least, cost somewhere between $800 and $1,200. I can build a RepRap, which is a printer that makes most of the parts you need to make another printer, for around $400. And it's not like it was hard to do--I just followed the recipe there on the Internet, free to all.

I'm a teacher at an art school who teaches 3D printing and design, and so a lot of people--including my mother-in-law--have been talking to me lately about 3D printed guns, as you might imagine, so I've been giving it a lot of thought. So far I've tended to react in these discussions with my own questions, which I do sincerely wish will soon get some public consideration. They nibble around the edges of the BIG question, which is, how should society respond to the progress of technology itself?

1) Do you know that a 14 year old built a nuclear reactor in his garage? And if it's possible for a 14 year old genius to teach himself to do that, and do it without institutional resources, how much dumber can a 20 year old be and still get the same result? How about at 30?

2) Did you know there are hundreds of amateur bio-labs in the U.S.? Those are just the registered ones.

3) Do you have any idea what people are doing with home-built autonomous flying drones? How long until someone hooks a pipe bomb up to one (or a dozen) of those and flies them into a crowd five kilometers away?

4) So, if we're worried about crazy people using powerful weapons to commit heinous crimes, what do we do about the crazy people who will be building their own robotic, chemical, biological or even nuclear (dirty or thermonuclear, you pick) weapons in their basements?

Isn't the real problem not the availability of any particular technology or machine, but rather the availability and free exchange of information? To quote a favorite movie, "You can't stop the signal, Mel." The kid could build a nuclear reactor in his garage because of the Internet. Aspiring bio-engineers can learn just about everything they need to cook up lethal bacteria on YouTube. People with a common interest can find each other and collaborate from opposite sides of the globe, whether that interest is baseball cards or DIY rocket guidance systems. And you can't stop the signal.

The central thesis of your show's introductory essay tonight was, if I understood correctly, that people who think that a problem like gun control is impossible to address--even given a sticky wicket like 3D printed guns--are wrong because circumstances change and where there's a will there's a way. Perhaps that's true in the limited sense that for any single given societal problem there will eventually be a policy solution. That philosophy, however, neglects entirely one hell of a big paradox. 

It can take just one person to make a thing. It takes at least two people to have a culture of making a thing. It takes at least three people to make a law about the thing. The more people you have in the system, the slower the response. Information technology increases productivity in inverse proportion to the size of the system, so individuals can make bigger and better things, and spread the culture of making those things faster than a society can devise rules to govern the things individuals are making, and are being propagated by culture. By the time you have a rule for one thing, a dozen new things have popped up and need rules, and the knowledge of the things are already out there, being shared, multiplied, mutated.

As Ray Kurzweil (who was just hired by Google to build the world's first artificial intelligence, by the way) says, the pace of technology's progress is accelerating exponentially. If I'm right in my previous formulation, that means that the gap between innovation and effective societal response is growing exponentially too.

In short, we're fucked.

Because it's just a matter of time before it becomes trivial for an amateur to cook up some nerve gas in their basement and set off the canisters in some subways. Meanwhile we may have finally come up with some way to keep crazy people from printing up their own guns and going on a killing spree. Yay us!


If that seems kind of out there then let's address the problem of 3D printed guns directly:

How do you even approach regulation to prevent it? Are there any conceivable ways to get in at the issue at all? Isn't 3D printing a gun a different kind of problem altogether from any other problem we've had, not just in scope, but as an entirely different paradigm? Consider the following issues:

1) Short of a true AI, can you create a computer algorithm that will recognize the shape of all objects--however novel--that could be used as components to make a weapon? Ask a computer scientist. 

2) Even if there were such a program, how would you require all computers to analyze all potential 3D models to filter and recognize such objects? How do you prevent programmers from creating and surreptitiously sharing programs that circumvent the filter, or hobbyists who engineer computers from components or first principals so they don't obey the regulation at all? You'd have to hard-wire the filter into every computer chip allowed into the country, wouldn't you? Can we do that? Even so, won't we eventually have the capacity to personally design and manufacture our own chips?

3) Is it possible to prevent amateurs from creating their own designs (of whatever,) allowing only professionally produced and regulated models printed on 3D printers? How? Perhaps more importantly, do we want to, since it will come at the cost of so much innovation and progress?

4) Do we limit the sale and possession of 3D printers only to select, authorized, industrial, and regulated/monitored users? 

5) What is a practical, effective method or mechanism for preventing hobbyists from engineering and building their own 3D printers, which are after all, built using readily available consumer goods as materials.

I understand that 3D printed guns are a salacious, irresistible topic. It's a very sexy story. Beyond the gratuitousness, though, what is there really? Why worry about "weapons" instead of the "crazy" part of "crazy people using weapons" problem? Not to put too fine a point on it, but where does it take us--whom does it benefit. 

Considering the response of the music industry to the invention of the MP3, it is not too conspiratorial to suggest that patent holders are clear beneficiaries of stories that stoke fears about 3D printed guns. 3D printers break 600 years of patent law--they overturn the whole idea of the patent as a mechanism for the preservation and cultivation of wealth. 3D printers, and the whole micro-manufacturing movement in fact, threaten the last relatively safe domain of intellectual property, the making of physical goods. If you look deeply enough you see that the technology coming on line now challenges nothing less than…well...all of commerce. They disrupt scarcity itself. How can any economy function without scarcity. It can't. That freaks some people out.

Personally, I can't wait.

          Torc Robotics’ Self-Driving Car Travels from Washington D.C. to Seattle        

After a more than 2,500 mile journey, the Torc Robotics self-driving car arrived in Seattle in July—marking Washington state’s first...

The post Torc Robotics’ Self-Driving Car Travels from Washington D.C. to Seattle appeared first on Inside Unmanned Systems.

          Freewill vs. Predestination: Foundation's Edge        

Did I choose the person I married or was I always meant to be with her? If there is a higher power, do we choose our relationship with It or does It choose? If either of those are the case, did It choose to create evil or was that destiny?

These are the metaphysical questions you grapple with at a theological university. It seems too that Isaac Asimov grappled with these questions too, although without the explicit introduction of a god.

In Foundation's Edge, Isaac Asimov continues his philosophy of the "Three Laws of Robotics" in which robots, that humans have created for their benefit, continue to delicately look after their inferior masters.

Asimov takes the reader through three unique plot twists in what turns out to be a correctly paranoid book. Very well written and lacking the usual ambling style of Asimov, Foundation's Edge is a story about the man, behind the man, behind the man. He layers on the complexity of social psychology as only he seemingly can. The end result, a good story about an intergalactic escapade that could almost be considered a science fiction western. Well it turns out that not only is it an enjoyable read, but Asimov continues to examine the interplay between free will and predestination. If nothing else, this novel will have you question the workings of the universe and leave you feeling like you are a tiny spot on a tiny spot (which is good, because realistically we all are even smaller than that). Now that I say that, it makes we think of Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss.

I hope you pick this one up soon and enjoy it as much as I did.
          North American Wandering        
I’m sitting in the airport of Santo Domingo about to board my third flight to the US. (Aside: It’s surprising how robotic and unrushed I’ve become in airports. Weigh luggage. Show passport. Remove shoes and belt. Flash green card and smile.) This trip is a perk of extending service for a year. Peace Corps paid […]
          Farewell 2016 you horrible horrible year!        

This spoof trailer kind of sums it up but 2016 was not such a great year.  And a few more people were lost since it was made like Carrie Fisher and Richard Adams just a few days ago who, perhaps, is not as well known but was a very influential writer for me.  He wrote Watership Down a childhood favorite book of mine.  He gave me a love for rabbits.   As you can see in the image from Singularity of Kumiko below I put in his book as one the things strewn about at the accident scene.  If you have not read it then I would suggest picking it up.  Also here in Canada we lost Leonard Cohen whose music, lyrics and poetry I admired greatly.  And then at the start of the year my Father died of ALS which Trumps them all (no pun intended) 
      But then I prefer a glass half full.   There have been some great things happening in 2016. While it was too late for my father thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment.  Hmm well there was a significant increase in tiger numbers for the first time in a century.  Scientists figured out how to link robotic limbs with the part of the brain that deals with intentto move so people don’t have to think about how they will move the limb, it can just happen.

Child mortality is down across the planet, the ozone layer is repairing itself, A 4-year old befriends a lonely man and helpedhim heal after losing his wife
new Star Wars movies are being made that don't suck, two Olympic runners collided and fell as one struggled to rise from the track the other stopped to encourage her opponent knowingly forfeiting her chance for a medal with the delay.  And tons of other things no doubt.  Happy new year everyone.
          Automatic for the Operations People        
Robotic process automation (RPA) combined with AI can significantly increase the scope for automation in telecom service operations.
           Influence of cutting environments on surface integrity and power consumption of austenitic stainless steel         
Munoz De Escalona, Patricia and Shokrani, A. and Newman, S.T. (2015) Influence of cutting environments on surface integrity and power consumption of austenitic stainless steel. Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing , 36. pp. 60-69. ISSN 0736-5845
          How STEM tools on Chromebooks turn students into makers and inventors        

Editor's note: Over the last year, we’ve introduced new ways for students to develop important future skills with Chromebook tools, including active listening and creativity. Yesterday at ISTE we announced our latest bundles in this series, curated in collaboration with educators. In this post, we dive into the STEM tools on Chromebooks bundle, designed to help students become makers and inventors. Follow our updates on Twitter, and if you’re at ISTE in San Antonio, visit us at booth #1718 to learn more and demo these tools for yourself.

Students everywhere are exploring important concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with a level of sophistication that’s rising every year. They’re also developing skills like problem solving and collaboration that they’ll need in higher education and, eventually, in their careers, while being exposed to real-world opportunities to be makers.

“If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors and workers have the ability to understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, building students’ skills, content knowledge and fluency in STEM fields is essential,” the Office of Innovation & Improvement, U.S. Department of Education noted in a statement in January, 2017.

To help school districts provide more STEM opportunities to students, we’re now offering a bundle of STEM tools on Chromebooks, designed to to help students become inventors and makers. These tools are available at a special discounted price and may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or independently from U.S. Chromebooks resellers.


Let’s take a deeper look at the tools in the STEM bundle.

The Dremel 3D40 3D Printer was developed by Bosch, a company that has made reliable tools for builders and hobbyists for over 80 years. About the size of a microwave oven, a 3D printer “prints” solid objects, layer by layer. The 3D40 3D Printer supports design tools such as Tinkercad and BlocksCAD, that help students create three-dimensional versions of just about anything they can dream up.

Michael Miller is a K-5 technology teacher and high-school computer science teacher for Otsego Public Schools in Otsego, MI. “Students are being exposed to technology that’s now used in a lot of fields. Medical, dental, the food industry—they’re all using 3D printers,” he says. “It will definitely make students more future ready.”

Miller uses a 3D40 3D Printer with Chromebooks in his elementary and high school classes. Depending on the class, students use the tools to create anything from a light saber to a miniature model of a Wright brothers’ airplane. From components for robots to mouthpieces for flutes, his students bring a range of personal interests to the design and printing process.

It brings what they imagine in their head into their lives. Michael Miller Technology teacher, Otsego Public School

Although students often work on individual projects, Miller encourages them to solve problems together as a team. “If they need help, I expect them to look to their neighbor first before coming come to me.” Miller also sees how 3D printing can be a way to engage female students, who are often underrepresented in STEM fields today, as well as students who are less likely to speak up in class. “I had a high school student—a very reserved student—and it helped him feel more ownership in the class. It gave him a greater sense of belonging when he could make something.”

The littleBits Code Kit combines block-based visual coding, powered by Google’s Blockly, with programmable physical “bits” that are electronic color-coded building blocks that snap together with magnets. Using the Code Kit, which is designed to be accessible to a wide range of grades, students have fun building and coding games, all while learning the foundations of computer science. The kit also comes with lessons, video tutorials, getting started guides and other resources for educators and students.

Rob Troke, a computer science teacher at James Denman Middle School in San Francisco recently took a sixth-grade class to I/O Youth at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. There, his students used the littleBits Code Kit to program light and sound patterns on a physical Bit. They quickly learned about programming logic such as loops and variables.

“I was happy to see how engaged the kids were,” he says. “It maintained their interest the entire hour, whereas with other apps and tools, I’ve seen the novelty wear off after 15 minutes.”

For some students, having a physical object linked to a coding activity helps bring additional context to computer science. It also brings electrical and mechanical engineering, often overlooked subjects in K-12, into the classroom. “Having things to play with, to figure out what they are, what they do, is extremely helpful… it’s like robotics, but without the robot,” Troke says.

Dremel’s 3D40 3D printer and littleBits Code Kit, along with free programs created by Google—like CS First and Applied Digital Skills—help bring STEM concepts to life in creative and tangible ways. To learn more about these and other educational tools, please visit, check out the websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller. And follow @GoogleForEdu on Twitter to see all that's launching at ISTE.

          Anki's new coding app uses Scratch Blocks to help anyone program their Cozmo robot        

Today Anki, a consumer robotics and artificial intelligence company, announced Cozmo Code Lab, a simple and intuitive visual programming language that allows Cozmo owners to easily program their robot. Code Lab for Cozmo is based on Scratch Blocks, making it the first toy built for kids with the platform. Anki previously released a Python SDK to allow programmers to control Cozmo; and now they’re opening that capability to kids using Scratch’s familiar grammar.

We introduced Scratch Blocks last year, as a collaboration between Google and the MIT Scratch Team to develop a new generation of graphical programming blocks. Scratch Blocks is part of a broader effort focused on software toolkits that enable developers to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere. Coding is more than just a set of technical skills, it’s a valuable tool for everyone. We want to empower kids to imagine, invent and explore what’s possible with coding and technology so they learn skills they’ll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way.

We caught up with Anki’s co-founder Hanns Tappeiner to learn more about Cozmo Code Lab, developing with Scratch Blocks, and why Anki is passionate about providing new tools for kids to learn about coding and programming for robotics.

Pavni: What was your first programming experience and how did that inspire you in the creation of Cozmo Code Lab?

Hanns: My first programming experience was when I was nine. I played a lot with Legos and always wanted to build a robot. In 1988, on my 9th birthday, my dad gave me a grey box. It was about the size of a shoe carton stuffed with (back then) cutting edge electronics. It converted signals from a PC’s Parallel Port to motor signals for Lego motors. Once attached to a computer, I was able to program the robot by writing code in Quick Basic, an old programming language. I built a loading crane “robot” that could load and unload toy cars from a little truck. That was just the start for me but I was hooked on the idea of robots and writing code. Today I’m excited to see the possibilities with Cozmo and what kids will program with Code Lab, as well as ensure they’ll learn skills similar to what I did with this first toy—not just coding, but also how to problem solve.

Hanns' first robot

You have a history of launching great tech-enabled toys. Why did you decide to open up Cozmo for programming by kids?

We feel that robotics is in a different phase than other industries. In some ways it’s more nascent. So we want to help anyone—regardless of age or expertise— to learn more about programming and robotics, and start contributing. We want to create a platform for robotics developers to create the future, just as the development tools for mobile devices like Android have done for app developers. That foundation does not yet exist for robotics. With Cozmo we are making a huge step into that direction.

Anki can do so many powerful things, like recognizing pets. How does coding enable kids to experience everyday items in new and powerful ways?

Cozmo is controlled by more than 1.6 million lines of code, but when combined with Scratch Blocks, programming Cozmo becomes as accessible and fun as playing a game. We believe that’s a key step in helping kids to get inspired to learn and create using Code Lab. Kids can learn programming skills, but many of them do it for fun. In app stores, Cozmo isn’t even listed under programming, it’s listed under games.

Cozmo and Cozmo Code Lab

Any interesting insights around the product design and development process for Cozmo?

We initially thought Cozmo would be most interesting for kids and young adults, like students, but adults in general also love Cozmo because of its unique entertainment experience. And with our Cozmo SDK, we’ve delivered a new and easy resource for people to tap into robotics and AI. This engagement has been great, and it’s led us to make adjustments along the way. We gave tech enthusiasts, makers, and hackers the Cozmo SDK, but they needed to know a little about Python. With the launch of Code Lab, we hope to empower everyone with tools to learn more robotics, coding, and problem solving.

What was the most surprising that  kids coded during user testing?

Kids create a ton of awesome projects after just a little bit of time with Code Lab. One play tester, a 9-year-old girl (the same age I was when I programmed by first robot), wrote a piece of code that programmed her robot to watch her room. She put Cozmo on her desk, and he watched the door. Every time her parents came into her room Cozmo would play a happy animation, but when her little brother walked in, Cozmo would play an angry animation. She had a bit of experience with Scratch, but not with robots. She had an idea, wrote this piece of code, and found a way to make it meaningful for her, in this case to keep her brother out of her room. It’s amazing to see.

What do you hope kids learn from Cozmo Code Lab?

I hope they get excited about writing code and the future of robotics. Kids using Cozmo are usually already excited about Cozmo, but now they can create great content for him. In the long run, they’ll be the next generation of engineers and creators so we hope they truly get excited about the possibilities.

Learn more about Scratch Blocks and what other developers are creating on the Scratch developer site.

          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 07-13-2016 with Dave Blackwood        

Sturgill Simpson- Turtles All The Way Down - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
The Mickey Finn- Garden Of My Mind - Mojo Presents Paint It Black
King Gizzard The Lizard Wizard- Mr Beat - Nonagon Infinity
John Doe- Get On Board - The Westerner
- voicebreak -
Kamasi Washington- Re Run Home - The Epic
Debo Band- Oromo - Ere Gobez
TOR- Two Suns - Blue Book
DJ Shadow- Depth Charge - The Mountain Will Fall
- voicebreak -
Santana- Yambu - Santana IV
Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno- Ikeys Vibe feat Flowering Inferno - 1000 Watts
Sly Robbie- Drilling For Oil - Strip To The Bone
Sly Robbie- Stormy - Underwater Dub
Congo Natty- Revolution feat Rebel MC Nanci Correia Phoebe Iron Dread Hibbert Ras Buggsy - Jungle Revolution
Matthew Dear- Fighting Is Futile - Beams
A Tribe Called Red- Sisters feat Northern Voice - Nation II Nation
- voicebreak -
The Dan Ryan- Fleeting - The Dan Ryan LP
The Gotobeds- Rope - Blood Sugar Secs Traffic
Parquet Courts- Dust - Human Performance
The Yawpers- Silicone Love - Capon Crusade
Elvis Depressedly- PepsiCoke Suicide - Holo Pleasures California Dreamin
Moonface Siinai- Them Call Themselves Old Punks - My Best Human Face
- voicebreak -
Janko Nilovic- Soul Impressions - Soul Impressions
Audion- Destroyer - Alpha
Perfecto- DJCU - You Cant Run From The Rhythm EP
Sonic Youth- Ambient Guitar Dreamy Theme - Spinhead Sessions
Dub Narcotic Sound System- Robotica - Boot Party
Hamster Theatre- Oye Comatose - Mister PersonalityQuasi Day Room
Still Parade- Seasons - Concrete Vision
AM- Dreamscape - Precious Life
Dylan Group- We Are The Music Makers - Its All About
Sly Robbie- Fatigue Chic - Strip To The Bone

playlist URL:
          The Rise of the Individual Influencer        

I think we’re entering a new era of human creativity and productivity—one that is focused around individual influencers and the value that they bring to the world by themselves. This transition is being driven by several factors: Companies shedding their workforces due to advancements in AI, automation, and robotics, leaving people to come up with alternative ways to...


I do a weekly show called Unsupervised Learning, where I curate the most interesting stories in infosec, technology, and humans, and talk about why they matter. You can subscribe here.

          Fixing Bugs in Production: The Simulator        

See the Code - See it Full Page - See Details

A demo based on a [video]( of a robotic arm keeping a battery-powered BRIO train running on only a few curved track pieces. I’ve seen this used as a GIF on Twitter to describe fixing bugs in production, but I haven’t been able to find it again. Keep the bullet train on track by placing a track piece in front of the other before it runs off. It’s like fixing one bug after another before someone else encounters it! Because you have only two track pieces, the train can also end up off the rails if you place a track too fast.

This Pen uses: HTML, SCSS, JavaScript, and

          National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition        
Team Juggernaut, comprising 5 undergraduate students from the School of Mechanical Engineering, were at UNSW in Sydney to compete in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NIARC) late September 2015. The competition theme centred on logistics and transportation and required the students to design, build and program an autonomous robot to deliver cargo to loading bay [...]
          Final Year Project Weekly Feature: Exoskeleton Device        
The use of exoskeleton technology for medical rehabilitation is growing as advances in robotics allow for greater use in clinical environments. The Exoskeleton Device project aims to develop a lower body exoskeleton as a robotic assisted gait rehabilitation device for children with cerebral palsy. The project is a collaboration between the School of Mechanical Engineering and [...]
          Final Year Project Weekly Feature: Unmanned surface vehicle (USV) robot with payload deployment capability        
The unmanned surface vessels (USVs) or robotic speed boats are fairly popular, as a more advanced technological maritime future of the 21st century. The aim of this project is to focuses on developing a maritime-based USV multi-purpose robot with capability to deploy Micro-Sonobuoys, performing surveillance missions, and communicate between the ground control system (operators) and other [...]
          Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs, MULTI8) Selective Download        

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs, MULTI8) Selective Download

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 v77.0.0.0 + All DLCs

Release Date: November 6, 2015
Genres/Tags: Action, Shooter, First-person, 3D
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PC [Repack]
Engine: in-house

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3


Treyarch, developer of the two most-played games in Call of Duty® history, returns with Call of Duty®: Black Ops III. For the first time with three-years of development, the revered, award-winning studio has created its first title for next-gen hardware in the critically acclaimed Black Ops series. Welcome to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, a dark, twisted future where a new breed of Black Ops soldier emerges and the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the technology we created to stay ahead, in a world where cutting-edge military robotics define warfare.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Selective Download

This is the most important part of the description, cause it tells you what files you MUST to download to have the game in your language with all options you need.

First of all, the repack comes with 3 setup files.

The first one (setup-data-multi8.exe/setup-data-multi2.exe) installs only main game data, without any audio. It must be ran first.
The second one (setup-lossy-audio-multi8.exe/setup-lossy-audio-multi2.exe) will install lossy audio files to your already installed game.
The third one (setup-lossless-audio-multi8.exe/setup-lossless-audio-multi2.exe) will install original, lossless audio files to your already installed game.

Either second or third installer must be used after main data, not both.

Now, let's see the examples of file sets you have to download. Examples are given for English language. For any other language download not *english* files, but *french*, *german* and so on.
Polish users must download English files and select only Polish language in installers.

Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 with lossy audio. 32.4 GB




Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Zombie Mode with lossy audio. 38.6 GB





Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Free Run + Multiplayer with Bots with lossy audio. 39.2 GB





EVERYGHING with lossy audio. 45.4 GB






Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 with lossless audio. 38.7 GB




Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Zombie Mode with lossless audio. 47.7 GB





Singleplayer Campaign + Nightmare Mode + Dead Ops Arcade 2 + Free Run + Multiplayer with Bots with lossless audio. 46.6 GB





EVERYGHING with lossless audio. 55.5 GB






DOWNLOAD 96GB File Size Complete Setup

Download Now

DOWNLOAD Reloaded 49.8 GB File Size

Download Now 49.8GB

          Cover Reveal: Oracle        
One of these days I will figure out this whole self-publishing thing so I can manage an actual cover reveal/promotion with more than ten days before the publication date. But because of reasons, here's the cover for ORACLE: The Project Files Part 1. 

I really do love this. Robin Ludwig Designs did a great job, and I couldn't be happier.

Pre-order at Amazon here.


Dr. Dean Frey is a man of science. His lifelong desire to create a better future for mankind has led him to the prestigious, and highly mysterious, Wilderness Institute of Scientific Research & Technology, as the head of their Robotics Engineering department. Building on the research and designs of others before him, Dean’s own genius culminates in the successful creation of Anthony—the first fully-automated, free-thinking android prototype. And now Wilderness wants to sell Anthony to the military.

Unwilling to allow his achievement to become weaponized, Dean reaches out to a former Wilderness employee with the resources to help him steal Anthony and relocate them both to safety. He’s put into contact with the very secretive Nick and Olivia, who ask for one simple thing in return: trust us, no matter what you see or hear. Blind trust isn’t in Dean’s cautious nature, but he has no other choice.

For telekinetic Olivia, rescuing a fellow Psion from a life of imprisonment and experimentation is one of her favorite things. Being paid is nice, but she’ll do the job for free, if it means giving Wilderness the finger. When Olivia’s reclusive mentor solicits her and her telepathic partner Nick’s help in smuggling a very special Project out of Wilderness, they jump at the chance to infiltrate their former home and do some internal damage to the institute that created them.

With their combined knowledge of the facility, breaking Anthony out of Wilderness should have been easy—but Olivia learned a long time ago to never underestimate her enemies, or the lengths they’ll go to retrieve what’s theirs. And this time, the price for stealing the Project may be more than she’s willing to pay.


Other vendor links coming soon.

          I HAVE BOOK NEWS        
I've been somewhat vague about upcoming projects, because I'm still getting the hang of this self-publishing thing, and I'm always afraid I'll jinx myself if I speak before I have my ducks in a row.

Right now, my ducks are all at least in the same pond, so here's what's cooking, by way of a long story: way back in college, when I was still considering a career as a screenwriter, I began working on what was then a pilot for a TV show featuring characters with telepathic/telekinetic abilities. I wrote two episodes, and then put them away because what was someone from Delaware going to do with TV show scripts, right?

Not long after that, I got back into writing prose fiction, thanks to participating in fanfiction forums online. So I pulled those scripts out of the drawer and rewrote them as novels. First they were two long novels. Then three short novels. Then one long novel. Over the years, they've been rewritten, because my writing skills have vastly improved in the last 13-odd years. I removed unnecessary flashbacks. Killed a small subplot. Tightened what was actually happening.

And now they're ready for you guys. As a complete duology, with book one releasing this summer, and book two in the fall. Don't worry, there are no major cliffhangers at the end of book one. I wouldn't do that to you guys.

ORACLE: The Project Files Part 1 is scheduled for release on July 18th. I will have early paperback copies for sale at the Meet the Pros event at Shore Leave 38 that weekend, for folks who attend. I've long described the books as "The A-Team with superpowers," if that piques your interest at all.

I'm super-excited to be working with the very talented Robin Ludwig Design Inc. on my cover art. She did the artwork for Requiem for the Dead and The Night Before Dead, and she killed it both times.

And to give you an idea of what to expect from this book, the finalized back cover blurb is below.


Dr. Dean Frey is a man of science. His lifelong desire to create a better future for mankind has led him to the prestigious, and highly mysterious, Wilderness Institute of Scientific Research & Technology, as the head of their Robotics Engineering department. Building on the research and designs of others before him, Dean’s own genius culminates in the successful creation of Anthony—the first fully-automated, free-thinking android prototype. And now Wilderness wants to sell Anthony to the military.

Unwilling to allow his achievement to become weaponized, Dean reaches out to a former Wilderness employee with the resources to help him steal Anthony and relocate them both to safety. He’s put into contact with the very secretive Nick and Olivia, who ask for one simple thing in return: trust us, no matter what you see or hear. Blind trust isn’t in Dean’s cautious nature, but he has no other choice.

For telekinetic Olivia, rescuing a fellow Psion from a life of imprisonment and experimentation is one of her favorite things. Being paid is nice, but she’ll do the job for free, if it means giving Wilderness the finger. When Olivia’s reclusive mentor solicits her and her telepathic partner Nick’s help in smuggling a very special Project out of Wilderness, they jump at the chance to infiltrate their former home and do some internal damage to the institute that created them.

With their combined knowledge of the facility, breaking Anthony out of Wilderness should have been easy—but Olivia learned a long time ago to never underestimate her enemies, or the lengths they’ll go to retrieve what’s theirs. And this time, the price for stealing the Project may be more than she’s willing to pay.

          PFS Aerospace Signs Up to Participate in Google XPrize Moon 2.0 Return to the Moon Contest        
PFS Aerospace T ('') today announced that the company had signed up as a participant in the Google Xprize ('') MOON 2.0 return to the moon contest. Entrants are required to launch a private space vehicle and deploy a robotic broadcast unit on the surface of the moon. PFS brings patent issued and patent pending novel launch and deployment technologies to the effort, along with a dedicated intention to win the grand prize. [EWORLDWIRE]
          Moving into a robotic hand        
Here is another wonderful Mindhacks post: Inhabiting a robot hand Thank you Mindhacks.

This relates to all the posts here to do with robotics, haptics, virtual bodies, virtual body manipulation through mirror therapy or video, and rubber hand illusions. NOI twittered about the Mindhacks post in conjunction with Graded Motor Imagery, the virtual treatment they are promoting. Definitely worth boosting here as well.
          Smart Prosthetics - Again        
Eric Robertson at PT Think Tank posted about this about week ago. Check out the video. Wonderful stuff.

Related posts:

1. Scott Mackler

2. Smart Prosthetics, Smart Nerves, Smart Brains

3. More Smartness

4. Monkey Robotics

5. Monkey intentions and control of a robot arm
          Swiss neuroprostheses explorations        
Over at the BrainSciencePodcast forum, a listener, jezcentral, contributed this link:

Launching of EPFL Center for Neuroprostheses

"What's a neuroprosthesis? It's a device made up of sensors, connections and electronic chips that are embedded in the body to repair certain neurological deficiencies. Recent progress in artificial retinas and man-machine interfaces that permit communication or action via thoughts alone gives us a glimpse of the possibilities the future might hold for improving the lives of the handicapped. The new Center will concentrate on six main themes: vision (retinal implants), hearing (cochlear implants), mobility (cortical and spinal implants), non-invasive man-machine interfaces (piloting at distance, robotics), the micro-and nano-fabrication of implants, and neuronal coding (signal processing, sensors).

The Center will be inaugurated on January 1, 2009, and will formally be part of EPFL's School of Engineering, in collaboration with the School of Life Sciences and the School of Computer and Communication Sciences. This project also opens the door to fruitful collaborations with other institutions in the Lake Geneva area, such as University of Lausanne and the Cantonal Hospital (CHUV)), University of Geneva and its hospital (HUG), and the regional biomedical industry."

Other posts on how prolific neuroresearch appears to be in Switzerland:
1. Virtual Body Experience
2. Something in Swiss water?
3. More from Lausanne: Mapping the structural core of the human cerebral cortex
4. Smelling someone else's alarm bells

On a related topic, related in terms of collaborative projects done by teams of people, in this case by a private backer, reader Kent sent me a link to Piece of Mind, from the Economist.

"When we first put the mouse-brain atlas online free, it was met by the research world with suspicion. People wondered what the catch was. Scientific research has long been a solitary endeavour—one researcher, one microscope. Findings are protected so that discovery credit can be clearly defined and awarded. This is a successful model and will continue to be.

However, the Human Genome Project demonstrated a different path: multiple teams working collaboratively towards a common goal (...) We wanted the mouse atlas to be free and available for all to use as the basis for foundational research and discovery.

A new generation of implantable pacemakers for the brain will be widely used to treat everything from depression to addiction and Parkinson’s disease

If we thought it would be a hit right out of the gate, we were slightly wrong. It took a while for people to trust that it really was free to use. No one believed in a free lunch.

Now, things have changed. Today we have many scientists using the atlas for their research into Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorders, Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, fragile x mental retardation and epilepsy. The atlas is also giving scientists insight into alcoholism, obesity, sleep, hearing and memory.

The greatest testament to what we did was that researchers of spinal-cord diseases, trauma and disorders approached the institute and asked us to create a spinal-cord atlas, which is now close to completion. We will launch the first phase of a human-brain atlas, a four-year project, in 2010.

Like the Human Genome Project, the Allen Brain Atlases and Spinal-Cord Atlas have helped democratise the scientific landscape. When you can log on to a map of gene expression from anywhere in the world, more people can enter the scientific conversation. The result is a massive saving in time, since without the atlas each researcher could spend a lifetime trying to gather complete gene-expression data for his or her work."

Nothing but good will come out of this, I'm sure. Seth Grant, who recently decoded human synapse proteomics, used free genomic data bases to arrive at new perspectives on how evolution of the nervous system has proceeded. (Here is a blog post about that.) Listen to Ginger Campbell's BrainSciencePodcast #51 interview with Dr. Grant. (It was my pleasure to transcribe the interview - the transcription is linked to the podcast shownotes.)

          434: Photography, Evolved        
DJI introduces Osmo, a robotic camera. Is the new Light L16 the future of photography? And a Swiss TV station replaces cameras with iPhones and Selfie sticks. Join Frederick Van Johnson and his guests Sara France and Syl Arena.
          Bob Woodward, Ron Fournier, and the Three Laws of Journalism        
We previously came to the conclusion that Issac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics had given way to the media's Three Laws of Journalism:

#1) A journalist may not injure Barack Obama or, through inaction, allow Barack Obama to come to harm.

#2) A journalist must obey the orders given to it by Barack Obama, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

#3) A journalist must protect his or her own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Asimov's classic robot novellas were primarily stories about the conflicts -  moral, ethical, and "positronic" - inherent within the Three Laws of Robotics.
Now, if you want to see the Three Laws of Journalism simultaneously in action and in conflict, take a look at Bob Woodward a few days back, trying to reconcile the Third Law (protecting his own existence by reporting threats made upon his person by the Obama administration) with the primacy of the First (a journalist may not injure Barack Obama!):

I think if Barack Obama knew that was part of the communication's strategy--let's hope it's not a strategy, that it's a tactic that somebody's employed--and said, look, we don't go around trying to say to reporters, "If you...present something we don't like... you're going to regret this."

Protect the president first, then his own life. Well done, Bob. Nice interpretation of the Laws, exercising the Third but making sure to clarify the First as pre-eminent!  Asimov would be proud....

Ron Fournier of the National Journal, also endangered by the president's men, follows the Laws to the letter, claiming that no matter how dire and repetitive the threats from the White House have been, the president must not be blamed, not now, not ever, Lord no!

This can't be what Obama wants. He must not know how thin-skinned and close-minded his staff can be to criticism. "I have the greatest respect and admiration for what you do," Obama told reporters a year ago.

How closely do the all-to-real "Three Laws of Journalism" parallel Asimov's fictional "Three Laws of Robotics"?
Read the passage below. It's from an Asimov story entitled Little Lost Robot, part of the I, Robot collection.  Listen to the responses of "Robot #28"- being questioned here on his odd interpretation of the Laws - and just note the similarity between his nervous defensiveness and that of Woodward and Fournier:

"I want to ask you some questions, Robot #28.  Were you in the radiation room of Building Two about four hours ago?"

The robot had trouble answering.  Then it came out hoarsely, like machinery needing oil, "Yes, ma'am".

"There was a man who almost came to harm there, wasn't there?"

"Yes, ma'am"

"You did nothing."

"No, ma'am."

"That man might have been hurt because of your inaction.  Do you know that?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"I want you to tell me exactly why you did nothing to save him."

"I want to explain, ma'am.  I certainly don't want to have you...have anyone...think that I could do a thing that could cause harm to a master.  Oh, no, no...that would be a inconceivable....oh..."

If Woodward or Fournier had said it:

I certainly don't want to have you...have anyone...think that I could do a thing that could cause harm to Barack Obama.  Oh, no, no...that would be a inconceivable....

Asimov was prescient.  But it was not our machines becoming monsters without the Laws, it would be our men (and women) who would turn into monsters by adapting the Three Laws -  to fascistic ends.

Normally, at this point in Asimov's tales, a robo-psychologist would be called in to analyze those machines which had mentally mangled the Laws.  But we don't have a real-life Dr. Susan Calvin to examine the mainstream media, and if she did exist, they would no doubt drum her out of business, with accusations of bis, racism, and God knows what else.

Don't think so?  Re-read the Third explains a lot, actually...

          ç”± Homepage 發表的 傳豐田將收購 Google 旗下機器人公司 Boston Dynamics 迴響        
<strong>... [Trackback]</strong> [...] There you will find 44430 more Infos: [...]
          Teaching and Technology Related Handouts & Posts from the Last Year        
Here are some various educational handouts and blog posts elsewhere I’ve created over the past year, in case you find any of them useful: Handouts / Google Docs: Resources for Teaching Elementary School Kids Coding and Robotics – as part
          Teen STEM Camp: Junk Drawer Robotics        
08-11-2017 to 08-11-2017 -

Looking for something STEMulating to do this summer? Try Junk Drawer Robotics. Registration required; visit your local County Library location to sign up. Learn more:

          A Durable, Dynamic Robot Is Taking Over Classrooms For Under $40 A Pop        
In the buzzing field of children's robotics, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, but the adaptable, programmable, LEGO-ready Edison is doing just that.
          The future of home cooking? Robot chefs        
When we think about robotics, the typical image that usually crosses our minds, due to Hollywood’s massive influence, is something futuristic that looks surreal and almost impossible to market. Chappie, Ex-machina and I, Robot are just a few examples of Read More
          Robotics, Sensors, and Devices        
Robotics, Sensors, and Devices
          Harvard’s tiny robotic arm can make endoscopic surgery safer        
Minimally invasive surgery is already amazing as it is, but a team of Harvard scientists have created a device that expands its possible applications even... Read More →
          Be Awesome! Support Team 6412 on Kickstarter as They Explore New Ways to Raise Funds for the High School Robotics Program        

Kickstarter is a unique way for high school robotics programs to raise awareness and funds.

(PRWeb April 04, 2014)

Read the full story at

          Comment on Kirkas Gold Robotic Book Scanner by eBookReader        
What you have pictured is the Kirtas APT 2400 Automatic Page Robotic Book Scanner.
          Get More Clients: Creating a Script for Client Phone Calls        
Scripts will help tremendously when you’re starting out to do client phone calls. It might feel a little robotic at first, but after a few calls and revisions to your script, you’ll be doing it like a pro. A lot of people (myself included) have a hard time remembering all they need to say on […]
          Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For July 28th, 2017s        

Hey, it's HighScalability time:


Jackson Pollock painting? Cortical column? Nope, it's a 2 trillion particle cosmological simulation using 4000+ GPUs. (paper, Joachim Stadel, UZH)

If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.


  • 1.8x: faster code on iPad MacBook Pro; 1 billion: WhatsApp daily active users; 100 milliamps: heart stopping current; $25m: surprisingly low take from ransomware; 2,700x: improvement in throughput with TCP BBR; 620: Uber locations; $35.5 billion: Facebook's cash hoard; 2 billion: Facebook monthly active users; #1: Apple is the world's most profitable [legal] company; 500,000x: return on destroying an arms depot with a drone; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • Alasdair Allan: Jeff Bezos’ statement that “there’s not that much interesting about CubeSats” may well turn out to be the twenty first century’s “nobody needs more than 640kb.”
    • @hardmaru: Decoding the Enigma with RNNs. They trained a LSTM with 3000 hidden units to decode ciphertext with 96%+ accuracy. 
    • @tj_waldorf: Morningstar achieved 97% cost reduction by moving to AWS. #AWSSummit Chicago
    • Ed Sperling: Moore’s Law is alive and well, but it is no longer the only approach. And depending on the market or slice of a market, it may no longer be the best approach.
    • @asymco: With the end of Shuffle and Nano iPods Apple now sells only Unix-enabled products. Amazing how far that Bell Labs invention has come.
    • @peteskomoroch: 2017: RAM is the new Hadoop
    • Carlo Pescio: What if focusing on the problem domain, while still understanding the machine that will execute your code, could improve maintainability and collaterally speed up execution by a factor of over 100x compared to popular hipster code?
    • @stevesi: Something ppl forget: moving products to cloud, margins go down due to costs to operate scale services—costs move from Customer to vendor.
    • @brianalvey: The most popular software for writing fiction isn't Word. It's Excel.
    • @pczarkowski: How to make a monolithic app cloud native: 1) run it in a docker 2) change the url from .com to .io
    • @tj_waldorf: Morningstar achieved 97% cost reduction by moving to AWS. #AWSSummit Chicago
    • drinkzima: There is a huge general misunderstanding in the profitability of directing hotel bookings vs flight bookings or other types of travel consumables. Rate parity and high commission rates mean that directing hotel rooms is hugely profitable and Expedia (, trivago, expedia) and Priceline ( operate as a duopoly in most markets. They are both marketing machines that turn brand + paid traffic into highly profitable room nights.
    • Animats: This is a classic problem with AI researchers. Somebody gets a good result, and then they start thinking strong human-level AI is right around the corner. AI went through this with search, planning, the General Problem Solver, perceptrons, the first generation of neural networks, and expert systems. Then came the "AI winter", late 1980s to early 2000s, when almost all the AI startups went bust. We're seeing some of it again in the machine learning / deep neural net era.
    • Charity Majors: So no, ops isn't going anywhere. It just doesn't look like it used to. Soon it might even look like a software engineer.
    • @mthenw: As long as I need to pay for idle it’s not “serverless”. Pricing is different because in Lambda you pay for invocation not for the runtime.
    • Kelly Shortridge: The goal is to make the attacker uncertain of your defensive environment and profile. So you really want to mess with their ability to profile where their target is
    • @CompSciFact: 'About 1,000 instructions is a reasonable upper limit for the complexity of problems now envisioned.' -- John von Neumann, 1946
    • hn_throwaway_99: Few barriers to entry, really?? Sorry, but this sounds a bit like an inexperienced developer saying "Hey, I could build most of Facebook's functionality in 2 weeks." is THE largest spender of advertising on Google. They have giant teams that A/B test the living shite out of every pixel on their screens, and huge teams of data scientists squeezing out every last bit of optimization on their site. It's a huge barrier to entry. 
    • callahad: It's real [performance improvements]. We've [Firefox] landed enormous performance improvements this year, including migrating most Firefox users to a full multi-process architecture, as well as integrating parts of the Servo parallel browser engine project into Firefox. There are still many improvements yet-to-land, but in most cases we're on track for Firefox 57 in November.
    • Samer Buna: One important threat that GraphQL makes easier is resource exhaustion attacks (AKA Denial of Service attacks). A GraphQL server can be attacked with overly complex queries that will consume all the resources of the server.
    • wheaties: This is stupid. Really. Here we are in a world where the companies that own the assets (you know, the things that cost a lot of money) are worth less than the things that don't own anything. This doesn't seem "right" or "fair" in the sense that Priceline should be a middleman, unable to exercise any or all pricing power because it does not control the assets producing the revenue. I wonder how long this can last?
    • platz: Apparently deep-learning and algae are the same thing.
    • @CompSciFact: "If you don't run experiments before you start designing a new system, your entire system will be an experiment." -- Mike Williams
    • Scott Aaronson: our laws of physics are structured in such a way that even pure information often has “nowhere to hide”: if the bits are there at all in the abstract machinery of the world, then they’re forced to pipe up and have a measurable effect. 
    • The Internet said many more interesting things this week. To read them all please click through to the full article.

  • Cool interview with Margaret Hamilton--NASA's First Software Engineer--on Makers. Programmers, you'll love this. One of the stories she tells is how her daughter was playing around and selected the prelaunch program during flight. That crashed the simulator. So like a good programmer she wanted to prevent this from happening. She tried to get a protection put in because an astronaut could actually do this during flight. Management would certainly allow this, right? She was denied. They said astronauts are trained never to make a mistake so it could never happen. Eventually she won the argument and was able to add code to protect against human error. So little has changed :-)

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

          The Geek Christmas Quiz 2013: The Answers!        

Here are the answers to this year’s Geek Christmas Quiz.

What does this acronym stand for? (one point per correct answer)
    1. AWS – Amazon Web Services
    2. SQL – Structured Query Language
    3. NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    4. GNU – GNU is Not Unix
    5. SCSI – Small Computer Serial Interface
    6. HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
    7. HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
    8. ReST – Representational State Transfer
    9. NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    10. RAF – Royal Air Force

Name that computer (one point for the model, another for the company/inventor)

NeXT Cube / NeXT Apple II / Apple Difference Engine / Babbage
IBM PC / IBM Macintosh / Apple ZX Spectrum / Sinclair
System 360 / IBM Colossus / Tommy Flowers PlayStation / Sony

Name that programming language (one point for each correct answer)

  1. BASIC
  2. C#
  3. C
  4. F#
  5. Python
  6. T-SQL
  7. Bash
  8. Lisp/Scheme/Clojure
  9. Haskell

Science fiction (one point for each correct answer)

    1. "These are not the droids you are looking for" (what film?) – Start Wars IV
    2. "Open the pod bay doors please HAL" (what film, or book?) – 2001 A Space Odyssey
    3. Who wrote Rendezvous with Rama? – Arthur C Clarke
    4. What spaceship uses dilithium crystals – USS Enterprise
    5. what does the acronym CREW in Iain Bank's culture novels mean when referring to weapons - Coherent Radiation Emission Weapon
    6. Name 3 futurama characters -
    7. Who wrote the 3 laws of robotics? – Isaac Asimov
    8. What is the first law of robotics? – “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”
    9. Who is the leader of the Daleks? - Davros
    10. Directive? (which film?) – Wall-E

Science (one point for each correct answer)

    1. 1 degree fahrenheit is a different size to 1 degree centigrade which means they must cross at some point. At what temperature are both scales the same? - -40.
    2. When and where was the first cell in your body created? - The egg that created you was formed inside of your mother’s fetus while she was inside of your grandmother’s womb.
    3. What is the device which blends air and fuel in an internal combustion engine called? – Carburettor.
    4. What was the name of the first hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb test? – Mike.
    5. What is special about Sirius, the Dog Star? – It is the brightest star in the night sky.
    6. What year did the last man land on the moon? – 1972 (Apollo 17)
    7. Who invented the jet engine? – Frank Whittle.
    8. In trigonometry what is calculated by dividing the adjacent by the hypotenuse? - Cosine
    9. Which part of the Earth lies between the outer core and the crust? – The mantle.
    10. Where in the body are alveoli to be found? – The lungs.

Name that cartoon character (one point for each correct answer)

Lisa (Simpsons) Iron Man Fone Bone
Denis the Menace Tom & Jerry Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
Pointy Haired Boss Professor Calculus Dan Dare

          The Geek Christmas Quiz 2013        

This is the second year of my Geek Christmas Quiz. Six sections of the ultimate geek questions. The office competition was won by Toby Carter with a score of 46. See if you can do better.

The answers are here.

Last year’s quiz is here.

What does this acronym stand for? (one point per correct answer)
    1. AWS
    2. SQL
    3. NATO
    4. GNU
    5. SCSI
    6. HTML
    7. HTTP
    8. ReST
    9. NASA
    10. RAF

Name that computer (one point for the model, another for the company/inventor)


Name that programming language (one point for each correct answer)

20 GOTO 10 

    Console.WriteLine("Hello World");

for(;;) {
    printf("Hello World");

let rec hello () =
    printfn "Hello World"

while true
    writeln ("Hello World") 

WHILE 1 = 1 PRINT "Hello World" 

while /bin/true; do echo -n 'Hello World!'; done; 

(while true (print "hello world")) 

let hello = do putStr "Hello World"; hello 

Science fiction (one point for each correct answer)

    1. "These are not the droids you are looking for" (what film?)
    2. "Open the pod bay doors please HAL" (what film, or book?)
    3. Who wrote Rendezvous with Rama?
    4. What spaceship uses dilithium crystals
    5. what does the acronym CREW in Iain Bank's culture novels mean when referring to weapons
    6. Name 3 futurama characters
    7. Who wrote the 3 laws of robotics?
    8. What is the first law of robotics?
    9. Who is the leader of the Daleks?
    10. Directive? (which film?)

Science (one point for each correct answer)

    1. 1 degree fahrenheit is a different size to 1 degree centigrade which means they must cross at some point. At what temperature are both scales the same?
    2. When and where was the first cell in your body created?
    3. What is the device which blends air and fuel in an internal combustion engine called?
    4. What was the name of the first hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb test?
    5. What is special about Sirius, the Dog Star?
    6. What year did the last man land on the moon?
    7. Who invented the jet engine?
    8. In trigonometry what is calculated by dividing the adjacent over the hypotenuse?
    9. Which part of the Earth lies between the outer core and the crust?
    10. Where in the body are alveoli to be found?

Name that cartoon character (one point for each correct answer)


          Watch Battlestar Galactica - Caprica movie free online        
Battlestar Galactica - Caprica...The end of humanity has a beginning......Two families, the Graystones and the Adamas, live together on a peaceful planet known as Caprica, where a startling breakthrough in artificial intelligence brings about unforeseen consequences. A spin-off of the Sci Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica" set 50 years prior to the events of that show. Set 50 years before "Battlestar Galactica," "Caprica" follows two rival families and their patriarchs -- Daniel Graystone and Joseph Adama -- as they compete and thrive in the vibrant world of the 12 Colonies, a society recognizably close to our own. Enmeshed in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe-to-toe blending action with corporate conspiracy and sexual politics.

           A survey on policy search for robotics         
Deisenroth, M. P. and Neumann, G. and Peters, J. (2013) A survey on policy search for robotics. Foundations and Trends in Robotics, 2 (1-2). pp. 388-403. ISSN 1935-8253
           Observational learning: basis, experimental results, models and implications to robotics         
Taylor, John G. and Cutsuridis, Vassilis and Hartley, Matthew and Althoefer, Kaspar and Nanayakkara, Thrishantha (2013) Observational learning: basis, experimental results, models and implications to robotics. Cognitive Computation, 5 (3). pp. 340-354. ISSN 1866-9956
           Learning sequential motor tasks         
Daniel, C. and Neumann, G. and Kroemer, O. and Peters, J. (2013) Learning sequential motor tasks. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 6 - 10 May 2013, Karlsruhe, Germany.
          Muslim Women & Knowledge: Facing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’        

A number of things around us today mark the visibility or the impending arrival of the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: digital technology, robotics, nano-technology, unlimited access to information, mobile devices, artificial intelligence and so forth. In a recent discussion on the impacts of this revolution, it was predicted that automation of jobs would cause women to lose […] More

The post Muslim Women & Knowledge: Facing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ appeared first on Mvslim.

           Improving visual SLAM accuracy through deliberate camera oscillations         
Heshmat, Mohamed and Abdellatif, Mohamed and Abbas, Hossam (2013) Improving visual SLAM accuracy through deliberate camera oscillations. In: IEEE International Symposium on Robotic and Sensors Environments (ROSE), 21-23 Oct 2013, George Washington University Washington, DC, USA.
           Modelling concept prototype competencies using a developmental memory model         
Baxter, Paul and De Greeff, Joachim and Wood, Rachel and Belpaeme, Tony (2013) Modelling concept prototype competencies using a developmental memory model. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 3 (4). pp. 200-208. ISSN 2080-9778
          8/10/2017: OPINION: Robotic logic        
Re How Ontario Put The Future Of Robotic Surgery In Question (Aug. 8): Officials at Health Quality Ontario (HQO) consulted four urologists and a general surgeon, and disagreed with their clinical judgment, opining that robotassisted surgery offered no...
           Spatio-temporal representation for cognitive control in long-term scenarios         
Duckett, Tom and Hanheide, Marc and Krajnik, Tomas and Pulido Fentanes, Jaime and Dondrup, Christian (2013) Spatio-temporal representation for cognitive control in long-term scenarios. In: International IEEE/EPSRC Workshop on Autonomous Cognitive Robotics, 27-28 March 2014, Stirling, UK.
           An evaluation of 2D SLAM techniques available in Robot Operating System         
Machado Santos, Joao and Portugal, David and Rocha, Rui P. (2013) An evaluation of 2D SLAM techniques available in Robot Operating System. In: 11th IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR 2013), 21-26 October 2013, Linköping, Sweden.
           Low-cost embedded system for relative localization in robotic swarms         
Faigl, Jan and Krajnik, Tomas and Chudoba, Jan and Preucil, Libor and Saska, Martin (2013) Low-cost embedded system for relative localization in robotic swarms. In: Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 IEEE International Conference on, 6-10 May 2013, Karlsruhe.
           Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection         
Lang, C. and Wachsmuth, S. and Hanheide, M. and Wersing, H. (2013) Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) , 6 - 10 May 2013, Karlsruhe .
          Foto - Ninety-nine clicks - Gli scatti più belli della settimana (ninety9news)        
ninety9news scrive nella categoria Foto che: Distinte signore intrappolate in bolle di sapone a Kiev, gabbiani egocentrici che si mettono in posa sul Bosforo, omelette robotiche prodotte a Bangkok: questo e molto altro ancora nella rassegna dom
vai agli ultimi aggiornamenti su: foto holi kiev bolle di sapone
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Vai all'articolo completo » .Ninety-nine clicks - Gli scatti più belli della settimana.
Ninety-nine clicks - Gli scatti più belli della settimana
           Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection         
Lang, C. and Wachsmuth, S. and Hanheide, M. and Wersing, H. (2013) Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2013, Germany; 6 - 10 May 2013, Karlsruhe; Germany.
Duckett, Tom and Lilienthal, Achim (2013) Editorial. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 61 (10). pp. 1049-1050. ISSN 0921-8890
           External localization system for mobile robotics         
Krajnik, Tomas and Nitsche , Matias and Faigl, Jan and Mejail, Marta and Preucil, Libor and Duckett, Tom (2013) External localization system for mobile robotics. In: 16th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR 2013), 25-29 November 2013, Montevideo, Uruguay.
           Monocular navigation for long-term autonomy         
Krajnik, Tomas and Pedre, Sol and Preucil, Libor (2013) Monocular navigation for long-term autonomy. In: 16th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), 2013, 25-29 Nov 2013, Montevideo.
           Fault-tolerant formation driving mechanism designed for heterogeneous MAVs-UGVs groups         
Saska, Martin and Krajnik, Tomas and Vonasek, Vojtech and Kasl, Zdenek and Spurny, Vojtech and Preucil, Libor (2013) Fault-tolerant formation driving mechanism designed for heterogeneous MAVs-UGVs groups. Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems . ISSN 0921-0296
          Androids, Electronic Sheep, Psychology and Mythology        
Many science fiction authors have written about androids — robotic humans simulating human intelligence with powerful software — and as usual, science fiction (20th century mythology) is becoming reality. The term “android” was popularized, I think, by prominent science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick, whose Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep? short story was one […]
           Categorization of indoor places by combining local binary pattern histograms of range and reflectance data from laser range finders         
Martinez Mozos, Oscar and Mizutani, Hitoshi and Jung, Hojung and Kurazume, Ryo and Hasegawa, Tsutomu (2013) Categorization of indoor places by combining local binary pattern histograms of range and reflectance data from laser range finders. Advanced Robotics, 27 (18). pp. 1455-1464. ISSN 0169-1864
           Cumulative object categorization in clutter         
Marton, Zoltan-Csaba and Balint-Benczedi, Ferenc and Martinez Mozos, Oscar and Pangercic, Dejan and Beetz, Michael (2013) Cumulative object categorization in clutter. In: Robotics: Science and Systems 2013, 2nd Workshop on Robots in Clutter: Preparing robots for the real world, 27 June, Berlin.
           Qualitative design and implementation of human-robot spatial interactions         
Bellotto, Nicola and Hanheide, Marc and Van de Weghe, Nico (2013) Qualitative design and implementation of human-robot spatial interactions. In: International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR), 27 - 29 October, 2013, Bristol, UK.
           Evaluation of laser range-finder mapping for agricultural spraying vehicles         
Moreno, Francisco-Angel and Cielniak, Grzegorz and Duckett, Tom (2013) Evaluation of laser range-finder mapping for agricultural spraying vehicles. In: Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems, 28 and 29 August 2013, Oxford, UK.
           Development and deployment of an intelligent kite aerial photography platform (iKAPP) for site surveying and image acquisition         
Murray, John and Neal, Mark and Labrosse, Frederic (2013) Development and deployment of an intelligent kite aerial photography platform (iKAPP) for site surveying and image acquisition. Journal of Field Robotics, 30 (2). pp. 288-307. ISSN 1556-4959
           Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection         
Lang, Christian and Wachsmuth, Sven and Hanheide, Marc and Wersing, Heiko (2013) Facial communicative signal interpretation in human-robot interaction by discriminative video subsequence selection. In: International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 6-10 2013, Karlsruhe.
           Integrating mobile robotics and vision with undergraduate computer science         
Cielniak, Grzegorz and Bellotto, Nicola and Duckett, Tom (2013) Integrating mobile robotics and vision with undergraduate computer science. IEEE Transactions on Education, 56 (1). pp. 48-53. ISSN 0018-9359
          Robotic 3D Carver of Invisible Stuff        

Wouldn't it be amazing if you could make a machine that would make 3D models of phenomena otherwise invisible to you? It's fun to do, and it's is an amazing creative process to create a machine that produces something that you can hold in your hand from the invisible - and it's surprisingly easy. In this video I'll show you how to use simple materials to create some unexpected results.

Read more on MAKE

The post Robotic 3D Carver of Invisible Stuff appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          How-To: Drifting Robot Car (video)        

Learn how to make a drifting robot car with a few cheap components and some simple code in this tutorial episode of The Latest in Hobby Robotics.

Read more on MAKE

The post How-To: Drifting Robot Car (video) appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          The Latest in Hobby Robotics 19        

Chris the Carpenter is giving his wife a ride, Jaimie's robot is bigger than him, MarkusB keeps launching rockets, Stoerpeak has made a cheap robot arm that can copy moves, and LMR is written in sweets by mogul's m&m sorter #3. All this in what will be the last weekly version of The Latest in Hobby Robotics, as we're changing the format of the show to be a monthly tutorial video.

Read more on MAKE

The post The Latest in Hobby Robotics 19 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          The Latest in Hobby Robotics 18        

Kids and cheap RC cars is a bad mix. In reality kids cannot control these things. They end up slamming the car into things, and keep pressing “forward”, even when the poor vehicle is facing a wall. With the purpose of preparing you for some nifty programming tricks in the […]

Read more on MAKE

The post The Latest in Hobby Robotics 18 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          The Latest in Hobby Robotics 17        

In this week’s episode of The Latest in Hobby Robotics, Frits Lyneborg is giving you two fun ideas for nerds with RC cars. The first and easier one is “build something new from the parts.” The second and more complex one is to upgrade your RC car with “computer assisted […]

Read more on MAKE

The post The Latest in Hobby Robotics 17 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          Meet the Makers from MAKE Volume 27: Frits Lyneborg        

Frits Lyneborg is co-host of MAKE's video series, The Latest in Hobby Robotics and runs Let's Make Robots! the largest online community of its kind, which he started in 2008 as a forum for robot electronics, programming, and funny ideas and inspiration.

Read more on MAKE

The post Meet the Makers from MAKE Volume 27: Frits Lyneborg appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          The Latest in Hobby Robotics 16        

Do you know how to make a robot, and could you come up with 100 inspiring ideas for cool robot projects? In this weeks episode of The Latest in Hobby Robotics, Frits is taking up the challenge, starting out with the basics of robot building, and quickly moving on to […]

Read more on MAKE

The post The Latest in Hobby Robotics 16 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          The Latest in Hobby Robotics 15        

Multicopters is an exciting new area of hobby robotics. They are also sometimes known as UAV’s, and essentially they are “flying hobby robots.” They are made with a center that holds micro controllers, sensors, receivers, transmitters, power and payload. Pointing out from the center are a number of pins holding […]

Read more on MAKE

The post The Latest in Hobby Robotics 15 appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

          Peter in Conversation with Don Norman About UX & Innovation | Adaptive Path        
We’re pleased to announce that user experience pioneer Don Norman will be speaking at Adaptive Path’s UX Week 2008 conference. Earlier this month, I chatted with Don to see what he thinks about user experience design today and what companies need to do to innovate. The following are edited excerpts from our conversation. This essay represents maybe 25% of the full conversation (which also touches on the history of product design, organizational challenges, service design, systems thinking), feel free to listen to the full hour-long conversation. Peter Merholz [PM]: I’m really excited that you’re going to be speaking at our UX Week conference in 2008. One of the reasons I’m excited is that in 1998, I did some research on the phrase ‘user experience’ and the first references pointed to you. I emailed you about it then, and you replied, “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design graphics, the interface, the physical interaction and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose it’s meaning.” So now it’s 2007, what do you think of the phrase, ‘user experience’? Don Norman [DN]: Yes, user experience, human centered design, usability; all those things, even affordances. They just sort of entered the vocabulary and no longer have any special meaning. People use them often without having any idea why, what the word means, its origin, history, or what it’s about. PM: Do you get a chance to design much any more? DN: No, actually I don’t, but I teach design so it’s kind of fun, I get a chance to critique design, critique in a positive sense of urging the students on to do better, better thoughts, deeper analysis, sometimes more exciting designs, more pleasurable designs. And actually, the thing I really work on is asking the right questions, so the rule I have for myself when I consult with clients and the rule I teach my students, is: Do not solve the problem that’s asked of you. It’s almost always the wrong problem. Almost always when somebody comes to you with a problem, they’re really telling you the symptoms and the first and the most difficult part of design is to figure out what is really needed to get to the root of the issue and solve the correct problem. PM: That resonates strongly with our experiences here at Adaptive Path. We spend most of our time in any initial discussions with clients doing some form of needs analysis. They know they feel a pain, they think it might be solved through some tool or approach, but they don’t necessarily understand the context and that’s frankly why they’re coming to you. It’s like you don’t go to a doctor with your solution. You go to a doctor with your problem and you let them figure out what’s the best way to address it. In an essay you just published, you talk about how most innovations fail, and there’s this statistic that something on the order of 90 to 96% of product innovations fail. Why are these product innovations failing? In our experience, the single biggest reason that product innovation fail has nothing to do with designing a thing and everything to do with an organization’s ability to deliver on that design. So many organizations are hierarchical, they have those old charts and those old charts are great for optimizing delivery of existing products or services and they’re terrible for true innovation, for creating something new, because it often requires busting down silos, people working together who aren’t working before, etc. I’m wondering if this is something you’re dealing with — whether it’s teaching school or through your consulting work — and how you’ve sought to help companies address that side of delivering on experiences. DN: Absolutely, that’s a major focus, both of my consulting and also of the courses that we are teaching. The easy part of innovation is the idea. The hard part is delivering it, making it successful, because in the end it’s a systems problem. You have to have the great idea, you have to make it, ensure it really matches people, you have to be able to manufacture it, deliver it, you have to get it to people’s attention, and then convince them they should do it and if it’s really a new idea, well expect to take about 10 years. Palm is a good example. It’s a company that struggled. In the beginning it almost went bankrupt, several times, they finally had to sell themselves out to US Robotics. Then US Robotics itself collapsed and so 3Com bought US Robotics and said we need your modem business. They didn’t want the Palm part of the business and they tried hard not to get it but the condition of the sale was they had to take it. Eventually, many years later, 3Com found that the money, the only part of their company that was making money was this PDA called Palm. That demonstrates how hard it is to get a new idea out, even though it was a very good product. PM: You were at Apple when the Newton was created right? What happened there? DN: In my new book actually, I have a section on one of the many reasons why Newton failed. Newton failed for a fairly large number of reasons, but one of them was because the handwriting recognition was touted as a great marvelous part of Newton. Personally, if it hadn’t been advertised so much and you just knew it was there, it might have succeeded. But we got people’s expectations up so high that they just assume, “Hey, we just sit and write and it understands us,” Well the more you understood about handwriting recognition the technology, the more you were impressed with Newton. It was really clever. The problem is it didn’t work. But if you were an expert in the field you didn’t notice that. And there were a couple of people who could write on Newton with almost 100% accuracy. But here’s the real killer and this is the real point I’m making in the book. Whose fault was it? In Newton, they used some very sophisticated mathematical algorithm using whole word recognition and what it did was find the nearest neighbor match and when you wrote a word it tried to find a word that was closest to what you wrote, but if it was wrong, mathematically what you had was close, but perceptually had no relationship, no apparent relationship. Se you wrote one thing and out came something, you would say, “Huh?” and then, “What a stupid machine.” You blamed the technology. With the Palm it’s interesting, when you wrote a word, you’d say, “home,” and it would come back and say “Nome” and you’d blame yourself, you’d say, “Oh, I didn’t put that first bar long enough on the H so it thought it was an N.” And it’s kind of interesting because it goes against exactly all that I preach. Here’s a case where if you blame yourself, you say, “Okay, I’ll be more careful next time. It’s a good machine.” Whereas with the Newton, you say, “You stupid machine, I’m going to throw it away, it’s no good.” PM: One of the things we end up talking about at Adaptive Path in terms of how can organizations get good design and great experiences out into the world, is that there are two tacks to take. There is definitely following solid methods, doing design right, and that tends to be bottom up. But there’s also that need for some type of top-down, executive sponsorship, possibly executive vision, such as what Steve Jobs delivers now, and what might have been lacking with the Newton experience. What does an organization need to succeed in delivering good design if they don’t have that kind of executive mandate or engagement or is it simply not possible? DN: I think it’s not possible. I think in the end you need a design dictator, someone who has good focus, who knows what this product is to be about and refuses to allow distractions to change the product. It doesn’t matter if someone supposed, “Oh, that’s really a neat thing to add to the product.” If it doesn’t fit the model, it doesn’t go in, so you need somebody strong and with good taste that understands the vision but then has the managerial authority to make it stick. That person has to have the support of the higher management. So, ideally, that person should be higher management. PM: It seems to me to us that in order to succeed particularly in doing anything kind of worthwhile or valuable in design in the modern day, you can’t be in a box, you can’t have interface designer’s only do wireframes and visual designers only do color and typography and engineers who only either write code or do hardware. Instead, we’re seeing that to a certain degree everybody has to kind of do a little bit of everything. I don’t know if this is resonating with you… DN: Absolutely. What I teach is systems thinking and systems design and that you and nothing is an island and you have to really understand the entire story, but even our field has its boundaries and it stops at the business model. It stops at the profitability, it stops at marketing; marketing is often the enemy of our field, which is wrong. Because, yes, sometimes what you have to do to make a product sell makes it harder to use or makes it less effective but, so what, if nobody buys the product it doesn’t matter how good it functions. Second of all, understanding what it is that causes people to buy things and quite often it’s visual appearance, brand recognition, how it fits in with other things they own, how easy it is to understand, or how easy it is to use. Price is an important factor, appearance is an important factor, reputation is an important factor, and the good designer has to understand all of that. PM: Interesting. Well, obviously I think we could probably carry on this conversation for many hours and luckily we’ll have at least another 45 minutes or an hour to continue talking in August. Before signing off, I have one more question that I want to ask you, “Where are you currently drawing your inspiration? What is stoking your fire these days? Where are you getting stuff that kind of excites you, makes you think, and encourages you to noodle on ideas or whatever? DN: The world. I go about observing the world. And I maintain a sense of curiosity, I’m always curious, I’m always asking why. I just like to stop and watch and I now discovered when I’m stuck in line, I don’t consider that a negative, I consider that a positive, I can get to watch the other people. I look and I ask why we have this, why do we have that, why are people behaving this way. A group of students take me out to talk to me and they are all drinking bottled water and they take a sip, they unscrew the top, they take a sip, and they screw the top back on, “Why do you screw the top back on?” I ask and they say, “Well to prevent dirt from going in.” Well if you had a glass of water here, would you cover the glass after each sip? Well no. You’ve got to watch and ask and the real insights come from asking about obvious behavior, so obvious that nobody else would ask about it. That’s how I keep young, that’s how I keep going, and how I keep getting new ideas. On top of that I question everything, hence my question about ethnography, filling the much needed hole, hence my questioning of human center design, is that really what works when you have a million users, can you really do that? I question my own ideas and that’s the only way to make progress, always curious, always questioning. PM: Don, thank you. We’ll continue this conversation at UX Week 2008.
          The Lighthouse Diary Entry 1: Collaborative Work        
It was our first day back at work in the Academy. The day started pretty much, chill (borrowing my daughter's vocabulary) with the head of school welcoming us all and introducing new faculty. I always look forward to the HOS's SONA. One would find nuggets of wisdom in his speeches and addresses. If one listens well.

This year, he walked us through the Academy's accomplishments of past school years and identified the achievements of the recently concluded academic year.  A necessary exercise to frame the next step of the journey. Setting directions. A time for reflection. A Janus moment. 

Of the many things that struck me from his presentation, it was his use of two symbols unique to the Academy namely, the mobious strip and the Griffin, our school mascot. Finally. We have a metaphor for which to use and anchor upon our goals and our dreams. For when we grope in the dark or doubt ourselves in moments when mistakes and failures come our way, we only have to remember that learning is a continuous journey and that the Griffin's courage, intelligence and strength can see us through.

Go Griffins!

In the afternoon, we had our first Academic session. Our Dean of Faculty assigned a design challenge activity that required us to create a moving robotic face out of popsicle sticks, folders, papers, masking tape, glue and other art materials we can get our hands on in nearby cubby holes and neighboring offices. This was a collaborative work of five to six people in a group. Our group had the slight advantage because we had the Design/Art Teacher in our midst. Lucky.

The long and short of it, we had fun working together and insights from the activity were aplenty! Indeed, there are many ways to approach a task and to solve problems creatively. 

What I like to focus on for this blog post is the aspect of collaborative learning and teaching that can be drawn upon from the Robotic Faces activity. It had been easy for us teachers to work together, to go along with the process as planned, to listen, to give way, to respect and  to watch how things would proceed organically. I think this dynamic is already in place among the faculty of the Academy. Yay! Kudos to the school leadership team!

But, children and young people may have a more challenging experience working in groups. A certain level of maturity is required to work well with different people. Then again, collaborative learning leads to that exactly - an opportunity to grow in mind and in heart as each member of the group take on roles, work with others to achieve a goal, to meet an objective or to complete a task. Communication skills are vital. A project is the object of collaboration. 

To structure a collaborative learning activity, here are some recommendations.

Set roles before or after presenting a task, a problem or a project.  Roles can be: facilitator, scribe, reporter, gopher, time-keeper, devil's advocate, cheer leader, researcher, and analyst. These roles may change depending on the collaborative task or project. Identifying each role and the contribution he or she can bring to the table help facilitate the process of competing the project. 

Think-Pair-Share is a strategy for collaborative learning. Students think through on their own the task or the project assigned to them. Working individually in gathering data to solve a problem or initially identifying steps to complete the project. A student finds a partner or work with one as assigned by the teacher. They share their data, findings, discuss the better course of action, plan and then solve the problem or perform the task.

Another strategy is the Jigsaw Puzzle. More cooperative learning in approach, but can be adapted into a collaborative learning experience, the Jigsaw Puzzle is aimed at allowing students to work on tasks and projects from their context and cultural backgrounds. These students are then grouped together to share and partake in a discussion of their output and how it fits in a bigger piece. The literary circles is one example of a Jigsaw Puzzle, I think. More about it in a future post.

The Fish Bowl technique can be used as well but for a specific task like discussions on topics of ethical and moral issues. A group inside the fishbowl discuss the topics. A group outside of it records the discussion and take notes of the dynamics in the smaller group. It can be a pre-writing activity that allow students to think in a group. Both groups, the one in the fishbowl and the one outside of it will benefit from the discussion. This technique can be a research strategy as well. Good to use in gathering of data, documentation, valuation and evaluation of information generated in the discussion groups.

Like all teaching strategies, I think the success lies in the teacher's creativity and competence when he or she plans and implements them in the classroom. But of course, the better teacher would know specific strategies to use based on students goals and needs.

Here are websites and links to explore on collaborative teaching and learning.

Collaborative learning -

Jigsaw Puzzle -

Fish Bowl Techniques-

That's it for today. Until the next entry in The Lighthouse Diary of Zarah G, your friendly teacher librarian and reading companion!

          Voices Of AI: 5 People You Should Know | MediaPost Communications - AI Insider        
Follow on Twitter as @jengroff
"Often the best way to learn about a new field -- especially one that is both complex and noisy, like AI -- is to watch people who are truly proficient at it. What do they talk about? What do they spend their time working on, and what things do they ignore? What kind of music do they listen to?" says Josh Engroff, CEO Marzipan, LLC.


Someone working in marketing is not going to learn a lot about AI from another person working in marketing, for the simple reason that most marketers don’t understand the fundamentals of AI. They know the marketing-speak version of AI, which looks a lot like bullshit bingo. The term “AI” is just another entrant in the lexicon of agency word porn, a sexy-shiny thing to pull out during new-business pitches and client dinners, but ultimately signifying little.

To whom, then, should an autodidact turn in order to better understand where AI is really headed, and why industry pundits insist on saying ridiculous things like “artificial intelligence is eating the world”?

Below are five people I have found particularly insightful on topics ranging from neural networks, to self-driving cars, social robotics, natural language processing and AI startup investing. I highly recommend paying close attention to all of them this year.

(Note: at five, this list is necessarily — even hilariously — incomplete; my goal is to be concise and useful, not comprehensive. Plus, I have a thing for prime numbers).
Read more... 

Source: MediaPost Communications

          VHS Economics in Florida        

Last week tech policy guru Adam Therier spoke at the State Policy Network Annual Conference on the state of innovation in the states, and what he said highlighted a steep contrast between reality of the dynamism in the labor market and Florida’s economic development focus. Technology and the economy are changing quickly but Florida’s policies have not kept pace.

Take for example driverless automobiles. The tech is not perfected yet, but driverless trucks already operate in Europe and they are soon coming to the United States. Awesome for car drivers, as the roads will be safer. Awesome for consumers, as drastically decreased supply chain costs will inevitably result in lower prices for consumer goods the trucks deliver.

But what about the actual truck drivers and their jobs?

Just like many other jobs in a dynamic, global, robotic, and internet connected global economy, they are going to be automated and never come back, despite BLS projections, which have been shown to underestimate skilled job growth. The White House estimated an 83% chance that jobs under $20/hr will eventually be automated. 

Florida has approximately 72,000 truck drivers with annual wages averaging about $37,00 per year - $18/hour. Uh-oh.

But in when it comes to economic development in Florida, the discussion around “losing” jobs is never really about true job destruction but about the lack of business incentives- a bureaucratically administered government program distributing financial benefits to out-of-state firms that was developed in the early 90s.

THE EARLY 1990s!!!!!!!!!

 Think about that - you were watching movies on a VHS tape when this program was created in Florida. Some young people reading this won’t even know what VHS is, that’s how old it is. Technology moved on, government did not.

 Yet they still tell us we’re losing jobs because we aren’t offering incentives, and that to fill employment gaps we need more incentives.


 The dynamic, global, and interconnected economy is why we’re losing jobs. And there simply is no logically consistent economic argument (or any empirical evidence) which proves that incentives will reverse or prevent impending job destruction.

 Is Enterprise Florida prepared to pay for each and every of the 72,000 jobs about to go away? Absolutely not. No reasonable economist would say that is an efficient way to approach job creation.  

 So how will those truck drivers get their jobs replaced? Gaining jobs to offset and overcome those losses requires embracing the dynamic, global and interconnected economy.

 A promising answer, the one provided by Thierer, is permissionless innovation. The only answer to jobs being destroyed is for new jobs to be created by the private sector and entrepreneurs - not bought with public money. It’s about fostering an environment that is neutral to existing firms and new firms so that rapid iteration can occur, as opposed to trying to incentivize older industries. It’s not about picking winners and losers, but about government being neutral to the entrance of firms and jobs into markets and equally neutral to outdated firms and jobs exiting the market. Instead of giving public benefits to industries deemed “qualified” - instead of spending its energy trying to fine tune incentives - Enterprise Florida could be building its entrepreneur support and examining polices that might be inhibiting entrepreneurs, like Florida's egregiously restrictive occupational licensing regime. 

Truck drivers could conceivably be Uber drivers, a job provided by private sector investment and innovation like the kind developed in the environment of permissionless innovation. But that is just one idea among many already being created and many more not yet conceived. But that is only going to happen if Florida gets serious about the innovation economy and leaves behind the VHS economics development of yesteryear.


          Let's Recruit Travel Agents        

My recent encounter with how many people in Florida think about economic development made me think that if Joseph Schumpeter, who first wrote about how economic progress is a process of creative destruction, were at this conference his face would be red from the hundreds of face palms. Let me explain.

This week’s Future of Florida Forum provided an opportunity for state business and political leaders to discuss the path of the Florida economy. One speaker wisecracked about the days of “travel agents” and the economic ancient history they now represent.  But most of Florida’s business and political leaders at the conference missed the joke's connection to creative destruction in the 21st century.

A quick primer: 

New firms are the primary driver of job creation in the United States.   We all know that after the first year many of these  young businesses fail, taking jobs out with them.  This is also called job destruction, a term sparsely heard at the forum. But at the same time, many succeed. And by bringing something new to market they often shift consumers from old products to new, causing job destruction in the old firms.  This “creative destruction” is how the modern economy moves forward replacing existing products and services with new and better ones.

Now, one would be laughed off the stage if they stated the title of this article because in hindsight we know those jobs are already gone.  No amount of “incentives” or “business climate” could have “created” travel agent jobs in Florida.  They were displaced because of improved innovation in travel scheduling and we should let them go because it represents economic progress in our economy.  

No one argued that we should selectively spend tax dollars in order to “create” travel agent jobs in Florida by financially incentivizing them to re-locate in Florida before they close up shop in a few months/years - it doesn’t make any sense - but that’s what our economic development strategy is doing. It’s the equivalent of arguing that we need more travel agents in the age of Expedia.  It is arguing for manufacturing jobs in the midst of the robotic revolution.  It’s borderline economic lunacy. 

On one hand, we accept that these jobs like travel agents become obsolete and go away, and even make jokes about them.  But for some reason, so many business and political leaders in Florida are hell bent on “recruiting” dying industry such as manufacturing to the state. Celebrating with ribbon cutting and balloons a firm moving from one location to another as if that “creates” jobs, while ignoring the real challenges to entrepreneurs and creating new startups—and thus really creating jobs—is counterproductive if not downright harmful.

Those Florida leaders are pushing back against the inevitable forces of economic progress and let me tell you, Florida will lose this fight.    The state’s economic development strategies are off base and will leave Floridians even more under employed than they already are. Net job creation is Florida is lagging, as Florida is ranked 24th out of 25 of the large states for growth entrepreneurship. We need truly new jobs to replace the ones that are not coming back.  

Fortunately, the Future of Florida Forum also highlighted some interesting programs designed to help foster bottom up job creation.  Florida leaders should be paying close attention to stuff like the Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research and The FAN Fund. The businesses fostered by these people will employ the Floridians of tomorrow.


          Ottawa archbishop surprised by negative reaction to robotic spider on cathedral        
Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa, Canada -- The archbishop expressed regret that several Catholics were shocked at the sight of a giant robotic spider perched on Notre Dame Cathedral.

          MRTN CSTR – Arquitectura espectral        


“Arquitectura espectral”

MRTN CSTR – Arquitectura espectral

‘Arquitectura espectral’ is the second work by sound artist MRTN CSTR (Martín Castro) from Córdoba, Argentina for netlabel ‘Modismo’. In this EP made up of three tracks we are able to appreciate and enjoy once again digital atmospheres which are characteristic in his musical duty: gliding melodies, delicate rhythms, fine atmospheres, counterpoints. Martín builds his songs from technology, he experiments with creation of waveworms, sound synthesis, complex structures created with specialized sequencers and instruments for the software Reaktor. However, the results are far from being robotics or dehumanized because the structures (the ‘buildings’ of this architecture) become cozy, puzzling at the same time and profound, inviting us to inhabit them. Moving musical ideas based on algorithm and mathematical formulae from theory to practice tends to be a challenge that is rarely well resolved, as elevating a structure from paper to physical reality, and by ‘well resolved’ I mean experimenting the beauty of a good listening at last, the pleasure of self-abandonment to contemplation beyond the techniques or technologies utilized for its construction, which it is fully accomplished in ‘Arquitectura espectral’. As a good sculptor, Castro reveals the shape of his compositions from the development of sound layers that are added, subtracted, that interact and move around space, generating tensions and distensions, creating sounds-cells and sonic-organisms pieces that evolve in their route. This is the difference between the robot and its perfect and synchronized movements, versus the organic bodies-muscles with their subtle differences and their impossibility of doing exactly the same, the same way, all the time, where one could be more efficient than the other, but never more interesting to contemplate or, in this case, to listen.
Mika Martini, electronic musician. Santiago, July 2017

Button: by-nc-nd

          26€ kupón: Robotický vysávač od Xiaomi, bez poplatkov navyÅ¡e        

Spoločnosť Xiaomi má aj svoj robotický vysávač. Máme pre Vás zľavový kupón pre tento produkt. Mi Robot Vacuum je veľmi inteligentný robotický vysávač, ktorý simulátne lokalizuje a [čítať ďalej]

Príspevok 26€ kupón: Robotický vysávač od Xiaomi, bez poplatkov navyše zobrazený najskôr

          BOE Shield-Bot Navigating with Infrared Headlights        
Hello from Stephanie Lindsay, the lucky editor at Parallax Inc. I’ve just posted Chapter 7 of Robotics with the BOE Shield for Arduino. With IR LED/receiver pairs, the BOE Shield-Bot can detect obstacles and navigate around them. In this video clip the strategy is reversed – avoid open space instead of obstacles – so the […]
          Robotic Golden Retrievers for the Elderly Is a Thing        
We live in a world of advanced medicine and technology. As a result, people are living longer. This can be viewed as a blessing or
          How STEM tools on Chromebooks turn students into makers and inventors        

Editor's note: Over the last year, we’ve introduced new ways for students to develop important future skills with Chromebook tools, including active listening and creativity. Yesterday at ISTE we announced our latest bundles in this series, curated in collaboration with educators. In this post, we dive into the STEM tools on Chromebooks bundle, designed to help students become makers and inventors. Follow our updates on Twitter, and if you’re at ISTE in San Antonio, visit us at booth #1718 to learn more and demo these tools for yourself.

Students everywhere are exploring important concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with a level of sophistication that’s rising every year. They’re also developing skills like problem solving and collaboration that they’ll need in higher education and, eventually, in their careers, while being exposed to real-world opportunities to be makers.

“If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors and workers have the ability to understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, building students’ skills, content knowledge and fluency in STEM fields is essential,” the Office of Innovation & Improvement, U.S. Department of Education noted in a statement in January, 2017.

To help school districts provide more STEM opportunities to students, we’re now offering a bundle of STEM tools on Chromebooks, designed to to help students become inventors and makers. These tools are available at a special discounted price and may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or independently from U.S. Chromebooks resellers.


Let’s take a deeper look at the tools in the STEM bundle.

The Dremel 3D40 3D Printer was developed by Bosch, a company that has made reliable tools for builders and hobbyists for over 80 years. About the size of a microwave oven, a 3D printer “prints” solid objects, layer by layer. The 3D40 3D Printer supports design tools such as Tinkercad and BlocksCAD, that help students create three-dimensional versions of just about anything they can dream up.

Michael Miller is a K-5 technology teacher and high-school computer science teacher for Otsego Public Schools in Otsego, MI. “Students are being exposed to technology that’s now used in a lot of fields. Medical, dental, the food industry—they’re all using 3D printers,” he says. “It will definitely make students more future ready.”

Miller uses a 3D40 3D Printer with Chromebooks in his elementary and high school classes. Depending on the class, students use the tools to create anything from a light saber to a miniature model of a Wright brothers’ airplane. From components for robots to mouthpieces for flutes, his students bring a range of personal interests to the design and printing process.

It brings what they imagine in their head into their lives. Michael Miller Technology teacher, Otsego Public School

Although students often work on individual projects, Miller encourages them to solve problems together as a team. “If they need help, I expect them to look to their neighbor first before coming come to me.” Miller also sees how 3D printing can be a way to engage female students, who are often underrepresented in STEM fields today, as well as students who are less likely to speak up in class. “I had a high school student—a very reserved student—and it helped him feel more ownership in the class. It gave him a greater sense of belonging when he could make something.”

The littleBits Code Kit combines block-based visual coding, powered by Google’s Blockly, with programmable physical “bits” that are electronic color-coded building blocks that snap together with magnets. Using the Code Kit, which is designed to be accessible to a wide range of grades, students have fun building and coding games, all while learning the foundations of computer science. The kit also comes with lessons, video tutorials, getting started guides and other resources for educators and students.

Rob Troke, a computer science teacher at James Denman Middle School in San Francisco recently took a sixth-grade class to I/O Youth at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. There, his students used the littleBits Code Kit to program light and sound patterns on a physical Bit. They quickly learned about programming logic such as loops and variables.

“I was happy to see how engaged the kids were,” he says. “It maintained their interest the entire hour, whereas with other apps and tools, I’ve seen the novelty wear off after 15 minutes.”

For some students, having a physical object linked to a coding activity helps bring additional context to computer science. It also brings electrical and mechanical engineering, often overlooked subjects in K-12, into the classroom. “Having things to play with, to figure out what they are, what they do, is extremely helpful… it’s like robotics, but without the robot,” Troke says.

Dremel’s 3D40 3D printer and littleBits Code Kit, along with free programs created by Google—like CS First and Applied Digital Skills—help bring STEM concepts to life in creative and tangible ways. To learn more about these and other educational tools, please visit, check out the websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller. And follow @GoogleForEdu on Twitter to see all that's launching at ISTE.

          Digital games distribution earned $3.8 billion in 2010, a quarter of entire video game market        
Alright, so technically all video games are digital, but what we're talking about here is the stuff that you don't buy on physical media -- downloadable games, add-on content, mobile apps, subscriptions, and gaming on social networks. That market has grown to account for 24 percent of all video game revenues in 2010, or $3.8 billion, according to the Entertainment Software Association. The ESA is the body running the currently ongoing E3 shindig, and its data comes from the NPD Group, which likes to keep a cold robotic finger on the gaming industry's pulse. Other findings in the latest ESA study include the average age of gamers (37!), the best-selling genres (action with 21.7 percent, followed by sports at 16.3 percent), and the highest-grossing games of 2010 (no prizes for guessing the warmongering winner of that one). Give the source link a bash to immerse yourself in even more gaming trivia from yesteryear.
          Elegoo UNO Project Upgraded Smart Robot Car Kit V2.0        
Elegoo Smart Robot Car: An educational kit for beginners (kids) to get hands-on experience about Arduino programming, electronics assembling and robotics knowledge. It is an integration solution for robotics learning and made for Arduino education.  Complete Package: Contains 24 kinds of module parts including obstacle avoidance, line tracing module, infrared remote control and Bluetooth 2.0 […]
          Star Wars: The Clone Wars        
The first theatrically released animated Star Wars feature film, set for release in August 2008, fills in the gaps in George Lucas' epic science-fiction saga between Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith and lays the ground for a new TV series

Even the most ardent fan of the Star Wars mega-saga would have a hard time making an argument for George Lucas as an actors' filmmaker. Not only was his dialogue lacking in certain graces (prompting the notorious, possibly apocryphal utterance from Harrison Ford, "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it," during the making of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope ) but as the saga went on, his preference for special effects over people became more apparent.

Like James Cameron, Lucas is one of the great technological trailblazers and innovators of Hollywood's recent history, driving forward such techniques as motion control and CGI with the single-mindedness of a prophet. So there's a clear logic in the transition of the Star Wars saga from increasingly CGI-heavy, nominally live-action feature films into pure CGI animation.

Such is the case with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a new feature that follows the six movies to the big screen (Lucas says there will be no more live action films) but also builds on the foundations laid by the 2003 'Clone Wars' animated "pilot" series. And indeed, lays the foundations for a new animated series, which is itself being designed to take the form of a "30-minute 'mini-movie'" each week.

For those who haven't gone beyond cinema or DVD encounters with the original and prequel trilogies (1999's Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 2002's Episode II: Attack Of The Clones and Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith), the Star Wars franchise sprawls for light years in all directions, with all the gaps in the epic story of the rise and fall of the Empire being filled in with innumerable books, comics, videogames and cartoons.

For many fans, the events of the Clone Wars (first mentioned in a discussion between Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the 1977 original are among the most important for the overall saga, but were not covered in great detail in any of the feature films. Of The Clone Wars animated feature, Lucas says it's "an extension of the Star Wars story, it takes place between Episodes II and III, where in II we start the Clone Wars and in III we end the Clone Wars. This is theClone Wars, which is all the stuff that goes on in between".
The earlier, 2003-2005 animated series had also been set during this period, when the Galactic Republic under Chancellor Palpatine (the duplicitous chap revealed to be chief Sith baddie Darth Sidious, later the Emperor, played by Ian McDiarmid in the films, but voiced by Nick Jameson and Ian Abercrombie in the cartoons), and the separatist Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) under Count Dooku (the rogue Jedi, turned Sith, played by Christopher Lee in the movies and voiced by Corey Burton in the videogames and cartoons).

During the run of 25 20-minute episodes and five shorter episodes, more about the activities of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Mace Windu and others during this three-year period was revealed. This traditionally animated series was made by the Cartoon Network, but for the new Clone Wars feature film and series, Lucasfilm Animation is back at the helm.

The new film will involve the travails of Anakin (played by Hayden Christensen in the two latter prequels but voiced in the cartoons by Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan and their encounters with such villains as Dooku and the lightsaber-wielding, robotic hunter of Jedis General Grievous.

Supervising director Dave Filoni said Lucas wanted to use the opportunity of the film and the series to tell more about Anakin and what could be called his "good side", and his fraternal relationship with Obi-Wan. Among the new characters being introduced is a Jedi padewan by the name of Ahsoka Tano (Drane). Filoni says she "stands between the two characters" of Anakin and Obi-Wan and is "learning about what it means to be a Jedi in this time in much the same way the audience is learning about the Clone Wars. So in that way she's a touchstone for the audience."

One aspect of the film's storyline that has emerged from previewed footage involves Dooku dispatching his Dark Jedi henchwoman Asajj Ventress (a character created in the artwork for Episode II, but actually realised in the earlier animated series as a nemesis for Anakin) to find Jabba the Hutt's son and develop some sort of allegiance. Lucas tends to play his hand close to his chest though, so more solid specifics of the story aren't available at the time of writing.

Interestingly, the film was originally simply going to form part of the new series, but Lucas says of the newly developed animation technique, "we looked at it on the big screen and the quality we felt was really good enough to put into a theatre. The big issue is we felt a lot of the fans wanted to see this on the big screen before it ended up as a television series."

Lucas suggests that the "assembly line" they set up for the series offers a versatility akin to "the old-time movie making". He elaborated, "What I love about television, it's like Monogram Pictures or the old studio system, where a couple guys come to work and they sit and have some coffee and go, 'Why don't we make a movie about such and such? Okay, fine.' And at the end of the day, it's pretty much on its way."

So we're getting a film then a series that Lucas describes as "like 'Band of Brothers' in space, with Jedi," that will further expand on the Clone Wars. It's episodic, so although Anakin will be a key character, it won't be a straight telling of his story, there will be episodes focussing on clone troopers and other Jedi, like the fishy, dreadlocky Kit Fisto (seen in Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith). During the proposed 100 hours of new material, we may even see the return of old favourites like Boba Fett.

When Lucasfilm officially announced the film in February 2008, Lucasfilm Animation had already made more than 30 of the new half-hour episodes, with the primary production split between Lucasfilm Animation in California and the Lucasfilm Animation Singapore studios, and theatrical distribution handled, for the first time, by Warner Bros not 20th Century Fox.

The series had first been announced in April 2005, when Lucasfilm was developing the new 3D CG animation techniques. At Comic-Con in July 2005, Steve Sansweet, head of Lucasfilm fan relations, described the style being developed by the teams as "a melding of Asian anime with unique 3-D animation styling".

The bigger point about Star Wars continuing its life in CG animation is that with full CGI, any of those complications and expenses arising in a film shoot from actors, sets and locations are completely bypassed and the vision has fewer restraints. Filoni says the Clone Wars part of the Star Wars saga "has to be shown on an epic scale to understand that there's a universe, a galaxy, involved in this conflict." Arguably, the fully CGI route will fulfil this, and the footage already knocking about online certainly looks like it will fill the big screen with action.

          ÐœÐ°ÑÑ‚урбатор Robotic mouth        
Вес: 658 г Размеры упаковки: 23 x 12 x 9 см Гелевый мягкий мастурбатор в пластиковом цилиндре. Бусинки внутри и вибрация сделают свое дело и Вы получите неимоверное удовольствие. Длина 21 см, глубина 13 см, диаметр 4 см. Питание от 4 батареек тип С (не в комплекте).
          Ð’ибро-страпон мужской Robotic        
Вес: 334 г Размеры упаковки: 24 x 12 x 10 см Страп-он мужской бежевого цвета с мульти-скоростной вибрацией. Крепится на широких ремнях из прорезиненной ткани. Длина 15 см, глубина 8 см, диаметр 4 см. Работает от 2-х батареек АА (в комплект не входят). Материал: ПВХ.
          Ghost in the Shell (UHD Blu-ray) (4K)        
“In the future, the line between human and machine is disappearing. Advancements in the technology allow humans to enhance themselves with cybernetic parts. Hanka robotics, funded by the government, is developing a military operative that will blur the line even further. By transplanting a human brain into a fully synthetic body, they will combine the […]
          227 - THE HIGH PRICE OF PARKING        
Now don’t all run away when I say the next line. Promise you wont? You all trust me don’t you? – OK here I go “Season 24”……..
Tumbleweed. People walking away, disdain from my fellow Whovians – that is the legacy of said season 24, it doesn’t get much love, and it is easy to see why – garish stories with really broad (to say the least) turns from the largely light entertainment guest cast, a Doctor who hadn’t really found his feet and in Bonnie Langford the least popular companion since Adric – so why would Big Finish do an homage to it? Well maybe it wasnt intentional, but this months main range release “The High Price of Parking” feels just that – or more accurately feels like season 24 with 30 years of hindsight. If you want to know more and haven’t yet quit at the mere mention of said season, please read on….
OK  - So I have mentioned Season 24 more than is really healthy to do, but more specifically this one reminds me of Paradise Towers. It reminds me of Paradise Towers a lot, which is no bad thing as Paradise Towers is a bit of an overlooked gem (my resignation from Who fandom is in the post :-) ) no really, it is – the basic story is sound, “some” of the execution is good, the ideas are excellent on paper, it was just hampered by the production values of the time. And Richard Briers. But close your eyes and The High Price of Parking is all there, shot on video in Television Centre, overly lit, hopelessly over ambitious and not really coming off that well. But on audio it is in a grimy, run down, poorly lit, litter strewn planet sized car park – and that is the joy of audio because the pictures are in your head. I know its a cliche, but its true.
The High Price of Parking has The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Mel (Bonnie Langford) on their way to the Dashrah, a planet of exceptional beauty – but to get there they have to park the TARDIS on the planetoid known as Parking, which is basically a planet sized park and ride, complete with overly officious parking Wardens, this being Doctor Who though it is in no way as simple as a trip to a universal beauty spot – they get arrested by the wardens, led by the deliciously oily Kempton (Hywel Morgan) and the far more reasonable Cowley (Gabrielle Glaister of Blackadder “Bob” fame) and are accused of being “Free Parkers” – not that that means what you might think, that they have tried to avoid paying their parking fee, no the Free Parkers are a tribe who want Parking to be an independent planet. Yes tribes, a planet sized car park has indigenous tribes descended from those who just couldn’t find their vehicles and have gone native through the generations and have built their own cultures based on the rituals of Parking – think Kangs or the tribe of the free or the Sevateem and you wont be too far from the truth. And then there is Seraphim (Kate Duchene) a robotic voice that has set herself up as a God operating from Parkings oldest and lowest levels with a plan for universal domination. Stir well and cook on gas mark 1987 and we have a bit of a classic brewing. Seriously.
This story distills the elements of several of the tropes that make up a Doctor Who story and make something altogether better than the sum of their parts – it can sometimes feel like a bit of a greatest hits compilation, but one as carefully selected as this by a writer that really knows his Who and structured so well, trading the fine line between drama, camp and panto – with actors able to give a “turn” and chew the scenery because the tone of the story allows it and the leads on top form, McCoy being the Doctor he really wanted to be in 1987, Langford playing Mel as she should always been played and Aldred giving her best bolshy shouty Ace with attitude. Not a lot more to say but go out and buy this one, close your eyes (not if you are driving listening to it) and alternate your thoughts about how it WOULD have looked in 1987 and how it SHOULD have looked, definitely a story that hasn’t out stayed its allocated parking time – 9/10.

          Robotic Co-Pilot Autonomously Flies and Lands a Simulated Boeing 737        
Aurora Flight Sciences' work on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program has further demonstrated its automated flight capabilities with various successful flight scenarios in a Boeing 737 simulator. These accomplishments build on Aurora's successful installation and testing of ALIAS components on a Diamond DA42, Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois, and DHC-2 Beaver aircraft. Aurora's ALIAS technology de...
          The LED Lighting Revolution        
The light bulb is a hundred-year-old technology whose time is finally up. This week, we shine a little light on its replacement to find out what makes it such a compelling alternative and look to the next revolution in lighting. Plus, how scientists are turning to robotics to treat heart failure, the death of NASA astronaut and last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan and do you really eat spiders in your are sleep?
          The A - Zika of viruses: Preventing Pandemics        
With infectious diseases wiping out millions each year, we look at how we can predict pandemics, whether scientists should be allowed to engineer super viruses, and how war and politics could prevent us from winning the fight against polio. Plus, news of how laughing gas could prevent PTSD, a breakthrough in soft-robotics and why skipping sleep could give you the munchies.
          Silicon Sailors - Robots take to the waves        
Would you set sail with a robotic skipper? This week, the World Robotic Sailing Championships grace the waters of Cardiff Bay, and we meet the teams to find out how this could lead to a sea change in robot science. Plus, we find out how robots are coming out of the factory and into the home, to care for the elderly and help children learn. In the news, stem cells restore hearing to deaf gerbils, facebook alters voting behaviour, and why a blue berry is the brightest thing in nature...
          From PC to Plane - Making New Metals        
How do you make a new metal? This week, we follow a novel alloy from PC to plane, finding out how computer modelling and design can help us create new metals with exciting new properties. We also discover how these newly-designed metals are forged, treated and tested before they form the basis of a new generation of jet engines. In the news, deep-sea dwelling bacteria that are still digesting a meal dating from the time of the dinosaurs, a shot-in the arm for ageing satellites and a brain-interface device to permit paralysed patients to control robotic arms...
          Wet But Not Wild - Farming Fish        
We cast our nets wide this week to catch the science of aquaculture or fish farming! We'll find out how farming marine life can reduce reliance on disappearing wild stocks, and explore the effect on the local environment. Also, how recycled fish poo and waste water can help repair damaged wetlands, and in Naked Engineering we find out how robotic fish can keep tabs on pollution in ports.
          Why Do Investors Prefer Amazon to Apple?        

Why do investors prefer Amazon to Apple? Sure, the gadget maker’s market capitalization is far larger. Yet investors are willing to pay almost nine times as much for the retailer’s estimated earnings. That looks expensive in any case. But it’s also odd, because Amazon perpetually promises more jam tomorrow, while Apple delivers it. 

Both companies are growing revenue at similar rates - just under 30 percent a year. But it’s no contest when it comes to the bottom line. Amazon runs at about break-even - it scraped out a measly $7 million of income from $12.8 billion of sales last quarter. Apple’s 25 percent net margin, meanwhile, generated $8.8 billion of black ink. 

Of course, what matters to Wall Street is the future. Amazon is valued at 100 times estimated 2013 earnings because investors think its position as the leading internet retailer, digital content and gadget seller will eventually unleash a torrent of profit. 

Meanwhile, Apple’s valuation implies its profit growth will come under pressure. Its stock is valued at 11.6 times next year’s estimated earnings. That’s the same multiple as the S&P 500. Strip out Apple’s huge cash pile and its multiple drops to just nine times earnings. 

But if either company’s business looks more solid, it’s Apple’s. It doesn’t compete on price, instead relying on other attributes like quality. Just look at how it has positioned the iPhone and the new iPad mini. Amazon, on the other hand, has a long-standing history of slashing prices to fight rivals. It has built an advanced IT and logistics operation as well. 

But one critical financial metric suggests Amazon’s moat may be weaker than it appears. Its return on invested capital has been falling steadily. In 2009 it was more than 40 percent. In this year’s second quarter it stood at just 11 percent. That could mean Amazon is investing in businesses - whether its robotic distribution systems or corporate IT on-demand services. But profitable opportunities for Amazon may simply be drying up. 

Apple’s return on invested capital in the past quarter was about four times as high as Amazon’s, implying no such trade-off. Investors would be better off buying Apple today and ignoring Amazon’s promise of jam tomorrow.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

          Life in the Branches        
Join us in a peek at the secret lives of birds. We find out just how a cuckoo convinces others to care for it's young, and the tragic outcome for the cuckoo chick when the rouse is discovered. We meet the clever corvids, capable of problem solving feats that may even outfox the great apes. Also, how green tea makes strong bones,the genes involved in prostate cancer and online robotic surgeons. Plus, in Kitchen Science we find out how Dave Ansell spent his schooldays - making stationery fly!
          And Then There Were Six…        

CalgaryWritersMeetUpGroup-PortOCallHotel-Satire-Whodunit-WriteNight-Writers 1

Posted by MsBurbTonight was my first Write Night and I was nervously excited, filled to the brim with “social science experiment” curiosity.

The Calgary Writers Meet Up Group was hosting the 2nd in a series of three such nights; whereby, hackers like myself could go and get some serious work done, on possibly not-so-serious topics.

The room was filled with warm, dead air despite the de rigeur hotel air conditioning.  A sense of the closterphobic initially enveloped me, as it may have done to the others already seated in that tiny room. Possibly the dreary dark olive green walls didn’t help matters. Possibly the recessed lighting. Possibly it was the feeling that I had entered a funeral parlour without the de rigeur coffin and dead guy within.

It’s not right to be bothered like that, especially in a writing group, I thought to myself. One should feel open and relaxed to let the creative juices flow, as they say. Funeral parlours don’t often give off that warm and fuzzy-feeling affect but some of the best writers in the world were dead. Maybe there was a connection.

People stiff and unsure, shy and sedate, one by one they filed into that room. There had been some Front Desk confusion as to whether or not We as a Group even existed in the Port O Call Hotel that night and maybe that was fitting - non-existent people in a coffin-sized room. But eventually, all who had wanted to attend, did materialize, and we all chose spots around a large board room table, every other seat dutifully filled. Pens and paper, laptops and tablets, everyone was there to “work” but as yet we weren’t quite sure what that “work” would entail.

Introductions were first on tap. Every person in his or her turn giving a micro-diatribe of their accomplishments or lack thereof. I’m always more appreciative of the “lack thereof” People, that tells me they know their best work is before them and they are damn hungry to start feasting at the Table of the Literary Unknown. Fabulous adventurers, the “lack thereof” People are…with an as-yet-undeveloped egocentric facade! Next on tap was the tap, for although I, MsBurb, was the first one to voice this suggestion (hmm, all who know me already could have seen that coming!) - the need for alcoholic refreshment - it didn’t take long for the rest of the Write Night Gang to chime in as well. It may be hard enough to hack for a living but having to do so in front of strangers, well, if that doesn’t demand chemical infusion, what would?

The social banter continued for a time, amidst the in and out of our waitress who was in charge of taking our orders, a quiet girl, totally unassuming but typically hotel pleasant and efficient. Our Leader, Cheryl, finally had to put the “school marm” foot down to get Us (and possibly by Us, she meant me!) to pipe down and start producing. This was a Write Night, after all, and we were here to write, goshdarnit, not gain Miss or Mister Congeniality awards, and write well, even if it killed us.

Giggles now nicely supressed, heads slowly lowering, final coughing's made and We as a Group got at it. A topic idea had been suggested by Cheryl but it seemed most of Us knew what We wanted to hack out. The mystery still remained though of the What and the Why in each of Us.

As I began my tale, the plot already tightly sealed - and as yet unrevealed on paper - in my head, in between word choices, I would covertly gaze around the room at the rest of Us Literary Guinea Pigs. It’s not every day you get to observe how the Other Half hacks, you know, and my curiosity feverishly overtook me. It became utterly fascinating, observing how each member attacked their own work, rifling with abandon through their own brain for those 1000 watt-bulb ideas, choosing ever so smartly those surgically loaded words, all golden, I’m sure, well beyond mine. I had a plan as I’ve said but the atmosphere completely absorbed me. Calgarians, writers, hackers like me, the tiniest of microcosms, an infinitesimal percentage of the entire writing world, gathered here, tonight, right now, creating literary gems. It made one wonder just how much “greatness” was still out there, as of yet unpublished, for all of Us to read and enjoy.

Forcing myself to settle down now and focus, I still couldn't help but notice out of the corner of my eye, the salt and pepper shakers standing soldier straight in the middle of the table, desperately staring back at me. They had a voice, yes they did, and they were pleading for me to set them free. They had a severe case of the wanderlust, had never lived beyond the oh so nauseatingly boring confines of this hotel, the doors to Freedom just mere footfalls away but without feet impossible to reach. I told them to stop it already. I had work to do. I told them to pick on some bags-of-dough, big-headed corporate seminar dude the next time there was a meeting in here, someone who had all the time in the world and far less important things to do. They sighed and went silent, finally.

I had narrowed down my field of interest tonight to just simply writing the Great Canadian Novel. Nothing more, nothing less. All nicely punched out on my tablet keyboard, it would be, with the raunchy roughness of a Jerry Lee Lewis-type hacker…on Speed. No, I wasn’t on Speed but I was on several buckets of coffee. How else does one manage said in less than a couple hours?

My field of interest fantasy aside, the reality held for me a mere uncelebrated Short Story, I was sure. I could have continued writing on my book or on some other seriously demented research topic on murder and sociopaths but somehow who could possibly get that kind of inspiration in a funeral-like setting. Not I, I say. Not CalgaryWritersMeetUpGroup-PortOCallHotel-Satire-Whodunit-WriteNight-Writers 2I. The salt and pepper shakers silently nodded in agreement.

I had ordered a Guinness as I had yet to have dinner – a meal in a glass, it is, kind of like a Slimfast shake but only tasty! TheCalgaryWritersMeetUpGroup-PortOCallHotel-Satire-Whodunit-WriteNight-Writers 3 others ordered various beers and wines and our dutiful waitress came in to deliver. There was a bit of confusion as two women in the group had ordered red wine and the carafes -  although one of Merlot and one not - looked identical and were initially indistinguishable by the waitress as to their vineyard types. Jade and Rachel said they didn’t mind who drank what, they wanted their drinks now, not later, and who could blame them. This Night, as I’ve said, just couldn’t be done on tea-totaling. Any delay to solve the Mystery of the Wines by our waitress was one delay too many. It turns out that waxing poetic takes a certain kind of mental fortitude often found at the bottom of a fermented bottle. I could have told everyone there, that.

Once the waitress had left, assuring the red wine women beforehand that she had got the carafes correct after all, all fell dead quiet, all fell funeral quiet.

Still no floral arrangement to fill one’s nose with sinus congestion nor any coffin on show at the head of the room. But I felt dead sure my literary attempt would end up D.O.A. if I didn’t start ignoring the atmosphere, stop gawking at the members, stop thumbing my nose at the shakers and start drinking and getting down to business. It’s amazing I ever write at all, I fear.

With incredible fortitude and self-discipline (no Leader whip on offer that I knew of) I was finally focusing, honing in, seeing clearly my task before me. I had wondered if I could pull it off, tonight, writing under pressure, but as it turns out I too can write silly crap when a figurative gun is pointed at my head. I’d hate to be “special”, you know, I’d hate to be that one in a million of Us uncelebrated authors that could actually write prosaic liquid gold, under deadline, in a hotel board room, in front of total strangers. That would make me feel so uneasy. Thankfully, that is a concern that will never keep me awake at night along with the walking Undead.

As I feverishly hacked, hotel guests came and went in the hall outside, our unobtrusive waitress came in to ask Us if we were alright. Everyone was alright, as it turned out, well, as alright as one can be “creating” to a micro-deadline. Good thing this “creation” of mine didn’t have to be read out loud at the end of the evening, I’d rather have time and space in between me and this publishing for All to read, to lessen the embarrassment.

Sixteen members were booked in for this meeting, seven showed up. A rather good percentage, if you ask me, given that most meetings of the artsy-fartsy crowd can often be hit or miss. It’s not like we’re uptight, anal-retentive stock-brokers you know, the muse to do anything hits and then misses, not just for the “Art” but for real life, Meet Up meetings included. The first Write Night, I gather, was a sell-out, a rousing success of eighteen souls. I began to wonder what happened to the others from that first meeting? The thought gave me the chills…or was it the air conditioning that was finally kicking in, in that room? It was hard to tell.

Just as I was pondering that question, in between choosing the right words for my Short Story tome, a slow but ever-so-smooth nautical “list” began to appear in my immediate vicinity, a vague awareness that what was directly across from me was no longer on the level as it had been. I thought, No, not from just one Guinness, I can’t be that bad off. And with that spark of concern now dawning on me, I decided to focus hard, directly across the table. Jade - that natural blond, lovely, soft-spoken woman, so polite, so professional, so focused - her torso, ever so slightly started to lean to the left and within seconds, which felt like minutes, down she went to the carpeted floor below, still, dead quiet, silent as the grave, no utterance was made by her at all as she fell like the Leaning Tower of Pisa will some day.

The loud bang as her head hit the table leg shook everyone seated around that table, back into reality and away from their page. Almost in unison we catapulted off our chairs and clumsily raced over to Jade’s body, now lying limp on the floor. Kevin who was closest to the exit ran to the Front Desk to call for help while Davey and Laurie helped slide the chairs and boardroom table to the right, to make more room around Jade’s body. The hotel doctor was summoned and on quick order he and his medical bag were kneeling beside the inert Jade. The rest of Us were stunned into silent submission, slowly backing away now to give Jade and the doctor some space, all of Us looking down, all with deer-in-headlight bulging eyeballs, utterly shocked at the spectacle playing out before Us. The doctor felt for her pulse and shot with bullet precision question after question at Us all – What had happened? Did Jade say anything? Did she injure herself? Was there an altercation in the room? We all just kept shaking our heads in the negative or mumbling No. There was nothing out of the ordinary at all, we said. Nothing at all. The room had felt like a funeral parlour, I told you, but I kept that thought to myself.

The doctor called for an ambulance but his shaking head told us the real story. Jade was dead. Stone-cold dead. Well, as stone-cold as a body can be in the middle of a Calgary summer, in the middle of a lousy air-conditioned board room, only seconds after becoming dead.

Our gasps were very audible. Luckily in this gathering though there was no rotund woman nor waif-like socialite screaming bloody murder as often is the case in Murder Mysteries. Had there been, I would have died of literary boredom, a second death, a second body on the floor. No one needed that, most especially me, the floor in this tiny room was only so big to hold so many bodies, you know.

The police were called of course. The ambulance was on its way. And the doctor was still kneeling over the corpse. “We Six Remaining” stood around the room in robotic shock and the hotel staff, now in what looked like Hotel Guest Service wolf-packs, started to race to the area, more curious than helpful. The room was anything like a solemn funeral parlour now, boy, more like a Barnum & Bailey madhouse.

No one paid any attention to the return in the room of our still humble, diminutive waitress, when she entered to clear off the used drink glasses that were now competing for space with the medical equipment strewn on that board room table. Nothing should have been disturbed, of course, but in that awful scene no one thought anything of her efficiency. In the one carafe and in its accompanying wine glass, chosen specifically for Jade by our waitress and then skilfully removed, the remnants of Merlot laced with ricin remained. No one had graduated to thoughts of murder, for even the doctor wasn’t thinking beyond trying to give Jade CPR in the vain hope the paramedics could still revive her.

Hours before, when our waitress wasn’t a waitress at all but working her day job as a Copy Girl down at one of Calgary’s local independent newspapers, she was again not really noticed by anyone she worked around nor who worked around her. After all, a Copy Girl is the last rung on the News Floor ladder. But it really didn’t matter what job Soon Lee took on, she was always rather an invisible creature in her modest efficiency. Working day and night, her main enemy was exhaustion and earlier today, nearing the end of her hectic shift at the newspaper, she had trundled into the Lunch Room to grab her favourite pick-me-up snack from the vending machine, the type of yummy, salty carbs-in-a-bag one can only find in a packet of

CalgaryWritersMeetUpGroup-PortOCallHotel-Satire-Whodunit-WriteNight-Writers 4


Every day, at about 3pm, Soon Lee would grab a bag and wolf them down, the empty calories were what got her though to the start of her night shift as a waitress for the Port O Call Hotel.

Only on this day, her yearning was unfulfilled. Unbeknownst to her, a co-worker, a journalist at that same newspaper, had got to the vending machine ahead of her and as Soon Lee watched, helpless, this woman punched F9 and out came the very last bag of Cheezies. Soon Lee couldn’t believe her eyes. She was almost at the point of tears, panicking now, asking herself how was she ever going to cope. Cheezie carbs or nothing at all, was her motto and now, for the very first time, it was nothing at all.

Jade, with that bag of cherished Cheezies in her aquiline, alabaster hand, her thoughts completely consumed on the article she had to put to bed before the 6 o’clock deadline, saw a girl behind her but really paid very little attention. Copy Girls came and went in this place all the time and to get too acquainted with them, well, it was never really recommended. As Jade passed by Soon Lee, Jade’s head lowered in utter concentration, Soon Lee glared at her in silent rage. How dare she take the last bag, she thought. How…dare…SHE!CalgaryWritersMeetUpGroup-PortOCallHotel-Satire-Whodunit-WriteNight-Writers 5

No one in that hotel board room saw Soon Lee open Jade’s purse that had been perched on the back of her chair. No one saw her slowing unzip the top and extract a perfectly good, unopened bag of Cheezies. Soon Lee knew Jade was keeping them for tonight’s Write Night. She had overheard Jade tell a co-worker when she returned to her desk from the Lunch Room, that she was headed to the Port O Call (the exact same hotel Soon Lee worked at as her moonlight job) for a Write Night and the Cheezies were insurance in case of a munchie attack while writing, having no time to grab a decent dinner before it began and little time in between writing to order a proper meal at the hotel. Soon Lee couldn’t believe her luck. Jade would be her customer at the hotel, on that very night. Fate was smiling down on Soon Lee and as she witnessed Jade pack up at her news desk and leave for the day, a wide-mouthed Grinch-Who-Stole-Christmas grin over-took her expression.

Carrying a tray of used glassware in her left hand, she slyly stuffed into her right front pants pocket with her right hand The bag of cherished Cheezies. Soon Lee left that room of death as she had entered, a Spiteful Server Silent.

Then casually, covertly but ever so gracefully, Soon Lee entered the hotel kitchen and slid the tray of used glassware onto the massive dishwasher conveyor belt, Jade’s wine glass and carafe seconds away from pristine clean. Her “work”, to remove all traces of her dastardly deed, done, Soon Lee made her way to the Lobby and slowly sauntered out the Front Door of the hotel, unseen as always even when there, never to be seen there again.

“Teach you to take the last bag of Cheezies, teach you real good” was all she said, whispering those devilish words under her breath, her still thin-lipped, wide-mouthed, ghoulish Grinch grin now opening ever so slightly, fingers slowly pushing in one Cheezie after another, passing as they did through her dainty lips.

Photos, in Order of Appearance: Title Photo – Calgary Meet Up Member Photos, Montage by MsBurb; Glass of Guinness –; Glass of Red Wine –; Cheezies Cartoon –; The Grinch Cartoon –

Calgary Writers Meet Up Group, Port O Call Hotel, Satire, Whodunit, Write Night, Writers

          Naked Science Q & A Show        
This week on the Naked Scientists we seek solutions to your science questions. From finding the site of the big bang to repairing the retina, mirages on the motorway to fruit fireworks in your microwave. We also find out why staying in bed could help you keep slim, we explore the genes that let flies get drunk, and discover the source of the so-called "Oh My God! Particles", which have 100 million times more energy than in our biggest particle accelerators. Also, we catch up with the latest in robotic cars and learn about the micro-microwave being used for analysis in the field. Plus, in a live Kitchen Science, Dave finds out when is the best time to add milk, and still have the hottest tea.
          Robots and Artificial Intelligence        
This week, robots have taken over the Naked Scientists! Okay, not really but we are looking into the world of robotics to find robots that can clean your floor, disarm bombs and wage war on our behalf. We find out about 'Curious George', a robot that can locate objects in the real world even though it's only ever seen them online, and ask if artificial intelligence will give us free thinking machines or murderous intellects? We also find out about how robots have revolutionised the study of genetics, learn about a mini movie showing the formation of blood platelets in real time, and uncover the oldest human remains ever found outside of Africa. Plus, we explore how a lightning strike acts as a particle accelerator, the science behind the perfect cake mix and in Kitchen Science Ben and Dave explain the principle behind a robot's knees - by showing you how to make an electromagnet!
          The Model        
Mechanistic education makes us robotic beings and only see academics and not see beyond. Gerald Weissmann, MD spoke with conviction. Cannot be Integral or a holistic education with mechanistic teachers. With this mechanistic education is preparing students to work but not to live life. The distinction between the traditional mechanistic educator mission and the holistic […]
          Politics - USA        
 Vaktathi wrote:
The US has economic problems and is experiencing major social changes, but we're still wayyy ahead of most of the rest of the planet and almost all of US history. The economic issues the US faces are not unique either. We're not on the brink of an implosion anymore than we were in 2008, 2001, the early 90's, the 80's S&L collapze, 70's stagflation, 30's depression, etc.

I disagree our "Actual" unemployment rate is exceedingly high and expected to get higher, this country is running out of jobs and the unskilled demanding higher wages is forceing companies to look at other avenues, already Carl's Jr, Wendy's and Mcdonalds and so forth plan on placing robotic/computerized units in their establishments and thereby removing jobs from the market, already a Chinese business has replaced 50K jobs with Robotics, we are not far behind doing that, yes this country is ready to implode.
          Why Do My Babies Keep Catching Colds?        

Babies To repeated colds and coughs Traditionally Free Having A number of allergies, Generally change into asthma. it's important to back up The national immune cells to enable them to hold up against infections. Little children (especially Consumers that Could be baby prematurely) And therefore the Older folk More often than not Take Puny immunity and how much will expose infections As we see smallest chill. Therefore , Have them wrapped Case Duplicate the process climate is cold.

In Brand new experience, Will still be major causes Towards babies going 'chesty'

* And also Attempted Tension before, Enable You desire to make soon after birth.

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          Politics - USA        
 Ensis Ferrae wrote:
Asterios wrote:
Trade jobs, not unskilled labor jobs, we need more unskilled labor jobs since we are about to lose thousands if not millions soon.

I'm almost afraid to ask but, how are we about to lose thousands, if not "millions" of unskilled laborers?

with minimum wage going up to $15 an hour small businesses and franchises cannot survive, then top it off with several fast food franchises starting to bring in computerized/robotic workers that is even more jobs lost, and with several large companies going out of business (sports authority, Kmart/sears, etc.) all of which hire unskilled labor and those jobs will be gone.
          Politics - USA        
 d-usa wrote:
The same has been said every time minimum wage has been raised, and it never happens. Minimum wage are at a historic low, and labor has never been cheaper in the recent past. We shouldn't have any unemployment at all if that argument is right.

actually it is happening right now, several businesses are closing Sears is on the edge of bankruptcy with their plans to sell off Kenmore,Craftsman, etc. Wendy's and Carl's Jr. are already replacing workers in stores with Robotic/computer screens, hell even a company in China just replaced 50,000 workers with Robotics. but on the home front, here in my own town we have entire shopping centers that are at 20% capacity now, with the bulk of the stores sitting empty.
          Politics - USA        
Asterios wrote:
several businesses are closing

That has happened as long as there have been small businesses and doesn't create a direct line between them closing and a rise in the minimum wage.

Asterios wrote:
Sears is on the edge of bankruptcy with their plans to sell off Kenmore,Craftsman, etc.

Sears has had issues for decades now and isn't the beginning of the end of anything. Lots of business go down after awhile and some don't. Nothing about them having problems screams that it is only because, or even somewhat because, of a possible change to minimum wage.

Asterios wrote:
Wendy's and Carl's Jr. are already replacing workers in stores with Robotic/computer screens, hell even a company in China just replaced 50,000 workers with Robotics.

If one thinks this wasn't going to happen all along one hasn't paid much attention to the past.

Asterios wrote:
but on the home front, here in my own town we have entire shopping centers that are at 20% capacity now, with the bulk of the stores sitting empty.

Which is more of a sign that people have changed sociologically in there shopping habits. It isn't as if shopping centers have been with humans since the beginning of time, but are a product much like anything and come from a certain mind frame from a time and a place. That time is moving on.
          Politics - USA        
 Ahtman wrote:
Asterios wrote:
several businesses are closing

That has happened as long as there have been small businesses and doesn't create a direct line between them closing and a rise in the minimum wage.

Wrong I personally know of 4 friends who are shutting down their businesses since they see no reason for their employees to make more money then they do, that will be over 300 jobs right there, this has been because of medical, paid sick leave and now minimum wage increase was the straw that broke the camels back.

as it goes just around me I've seen over a dozen businesses shut down in the past month, more then any month prior to that.

 Ahtman wrote:
Asterios wrote:
Sears is on the edge of bankruptcy with their plans to sell off Kenmore,Craftsman, etc.

Sears has had issues for decades now and isn't the beginning of the end of anything. Lots of business go down after awhile and some don't. Nothing about them having problems screams that it is only because, or even somewhat because, of a possible change to minimum wage.

all said and done Sears would not sell off craftsman and Kenmore since without those brands they are no longer a business.

 Ahtman wrote:
Asterios wrote:
Wendy's and Carl's Jr. are already replacing workers in stores with Robotic/computer screens, hell even a company in China just replaced 50,000 workers with Robotics.

If one thinks this wasn't going to happen all along one hasn't paid much attention to the past.

it was done very little in the past since it was expensive to maintain such things, but with minimum wage going to $15, its now cheaper to do so.

 Ahtman wrote:
Asterios wrote:
but on the home front, here in my own town we have entire shopping centers that are at 20% capacity now, with the bulk of the stores sitting empty.

Which is more of a sign that people have changed sociologically in there shopping habits. It isn't as if shopping centers have been with humans since the beginning of time, but are a product much like anything and come from a certain mind frame from a time and a place. That time is moving on.

Trade and barter and selling have been around since one man met another.
          Politics - USA        
Asterios wrote:
 Vaktathi wrote:
The US has economic problems and is experiencing major social changes, but we're still wayyy ahead of most of the rest of the planet and almost all of US history. The economic issues the US faces are not unique either. We're not on the brink of an implosion anymore than we were in 2008, 2001, the early 90's, the 80's S&L collapze, 70's stagflation, 30's depression, etc.

I disagree our "Actual" unemployment rate is exceedingly high and expected to get higher, this country is running out of jobs and the unskilled demanding higher wages is forceing companies to look at other avenues, already Carl's Jr, Wendy's and Mcdonalds and so forth plan on placing robotic/computerized units in their establishments and thereby removing jobs from the market, already a Chinese business has replaced 50K jobs with Robotics, we are not far behind doing that, yes this country is ready to implode.

Here's the thing though. The Second a Touchscreen can do it cheaper, regardless of what the Minimium Wage is, a Human will be replaced. We've seen it happen with Self Check out lines already with the Minimum wage as low as it is.

Most American jobs are to help other Americans. John the DirecTV guy doesn't want to cook, so he takes his family to Burger King where Steve the Cashier takes his money and gives his order to Susie the Cook, who makes the Food. Steve and Susie take the money from their tax Returns and place an order with Home Depot for New Flooring, Home Depot sends the order to Joe the Tile Installer, who lays new Tile Planks in their Studio apartment because they're sick of cleaning carpets. Joe the Tile guy takes the Money given from Susie and Steve and uses it to purchase a DirecTV Subscription from DJ in Sam's Club, Who with the Help of Josh in a Call Center many miles away, builds the order and assigns the Install to John who goes out to install the service.

And many many more transactions like that happen every day and it's just about the only reason anyone has a job. Somewhere along the line however Steve and Susie's lives became Irrelevant regardless of the fact that they both have Master's Degrees in The Medical field and are just not lucking out getting a job in that field because at the end of the day, SOMEONE has to flip burgers, stock shelves, those other "unskilled" jobs.

When I worked in Fast food, about 5 years ago I spoke with someone from the Corporate Office during one of those stupid "pep rally state of the company things that every store has to send an employee from" things who told me that, despite the fact that he has never made a single sub for this company or even knew how to use the register, he made 900% more than I did every payday.

Instead of looking at the Major Corporations replacing those Minimum wage jobs with machines to keep costs down, despite the executives bringing home significantly more as much as their average worker, as inevitable and the worker being the downfall of the system, why not look at those same executives to take a small hit in their pockets to allow their workers to eat more than ramen noodles every day?
          Politics - USA        
 Ouze wrote:

Just to summarize, when confronted with numbers on what unemployment actually is, you claim there is no evidence of what the rate actually is, that there is no evidence that any actual sampling or surveys take place since no one you know has been surveyed, and as a result, you are free to just make up a number that feels right to you via your anecdotal evidence.

\_(ツ)_/¯ Shine on, you crazy diamond.

and my question is still sidestepped, all i'm asking is where does it say that BLS does phone surveys asking people who are not collecting Unemployment if they are looking for work? its a simple question and if true should be easy to prove.

Relapse wrote:
It makes for a stronger company if at all possible,those people at the checkout that get replaced when machines come in are redistributed elsewhere in the company and cross trained.
Just about any business I know of that invests in it's people instead of treating them like interchangable parts does better. It saves money on training, scrap, hiring procedures, orientation, etc., and ends up with a highly skilled core that can more readily innovate the businesses methods.
Where I work, for instance, people had to be laid off because of market conditions, but others were put in other areas of the company in order to maintain skill levels. The company followed up with the ones laid off and helped most of them get other jobs.
Several people that worked on the line where I do ended up in management positions at better pay elsewhere because of the things they were taught.
One man I trained in Job Instruction went to a local supermarket chain to apply as a stocker. At the end of the interview he was instead offered a job as general manager because of all the things he had been taught where I work.
When a company sees fit to invest in people, there is a positive ripple effect that not only affects that company, but the surrounding community and far beyond.

never worked fast food I take it? one of the jobs with the highest turnover rate(outside of Security) since it does not take much to teach one to do any of the tasks there.the amount of training is about 15 minutes to an hour, orientation? doesn't exist, hiring procedures? minimal at best.

 Iur_tae_mont wrote:
Asterios wrote:
 Vaktathi wrote:
The US has economic problems and is experiencing major social changes, but we're still wayyy ahead of most of the rest of the planet and almost all of US history. The economic issues the US faces are not unique either. We're not on the brink of an implosion anymore than we were in 2008, 2001, the early 90's, the 80's S&L collapze, 70's stagflation, 30's depression, etc.

I disagree our "Actual" unemployment rate is exceedingly high and expected to get higher, this country is running out of jobs and the unskilled demanding higher wages is forceing companies to look at other avenues, already Carl's Jr, Wendy's and Mcdonalds and so forth plan on placing robotic/computerized units in their establishments and thereby removing jobs from the market, already a Chinese business has replaced 50K jobs with Robotics, we are not far behind doing that, yes this country is ready to implode.

Here's the thing though. The Second a Touchscreen can do it cheaper, regardless of what the Minimium Wage is, a Human will be replaced. We've seen it happen with Self Check out lines already with the Minimum wage as low as it is.

Most American jobs are to help other Americans. John the DirecTV guy doesn't want to cook, so he takes his family to Burger King where Steve the Cashier takes his money and gives his order to Susie the Cook, who makes the Food. Steve and Susie take the money from their tax Returns and place an order with Home Depot for New Flooring, Home Depot sends the order to Joe the Tile Installer, who lays new Tile Planks in their Studio apartment because they're sick of cleaning carpets. Joe the Tile guy takes the Money given from Susie and Steve and uses it to purchase a DirecTV Subscription from DJ in Sam's Club, Who with the Help of Josh in a Call Center many miles away, builds the order and assigns the Install to John who goes out to install the service.

And many many more transactions like that happen every day and it's just about the only reason anyone has a job. Somewhere along the line however Steve and Susie's lives became Irrelevant regardless of the fact that they both have Master's Degrees in The Medical field and are just not lucking out getting a job in that field because at the end of the day, SOMEONE has to flip burgers, stock shelves, those other "unskilled" jobs.

When I worked in Fast food, about 5 years ago I spoke with someone from the Corporate Office during one of those stupid "pep rally state of the company things that every store has to send an employee from" things who told me that, despite the fact that he has never made a single sub for this company or even knew how to use the register, he made 900% more than I did every payday.

Instead of looking at the Major Corporations replacing those Minimum wage jobs with machines to keep costs down, despite the executives bringing home significantly more as much as their average worker, as inevitable and the worker being the downfall of the system, why not look at those same executives to take a small hit in their pockets to allow their workers to eat more than ramen noodles every day?

because those CEO's jobs entail much more then pushing buttons on a screen or making a sandwich, i have never worked a Subway, but can run the register and make sandwiches, its not rocket science nor does it require a degree, unlike being a CEO does.

and then there is the CEO's of average corporations which make up maybe 1% of the entire companies workforce if even that much. in larger corporations maybe .0001%, executives maybe .01%
          Re:Politics - USA        
Relapse wrote:
 Ouze wrote:
Asterios wrote:
McDonalds has a 30 minute training period

Why do you make gak like this up?

My stepson's friend worked at McDonalds, and he was in training for 3 or 4 days. I can't imagine very nearly any job that only has 30 minutes of training. This was a few years ago. My wife worked for Mcdonalds when she was a teenager and she said training was ongoing for the first week on various roles.

Man, I thought the last version of this thread was crap, but turns out, could have been worse. At least people weren't just making up crazy gak left and right.

The safety training alone would easily eat up more than half an hour, I would think. This is just me, thinking though, as I imagine people working around fries and grills as well as handling hot food. Surely they must have hygiene and food handling training in these MacDonald's that would eat up a fair chunk of time as well as how to deal with the public, company policies, etc. etc. If I am correct in my imaginings, my hat is off to anyone who can effectively teach all of that in half an hour, because they are a god among trainers.

all health and safety is covered on the video you watch alone, whether you watch it or not is on you and

Relapse wrote:

Asterios wrote:
Relapse wrote:
Asterios wrote:

Relapse wrote:
It makes for a stronger company if at all possible,those people at the checkout that get replaced when machines come in are redistributed elsewhere in the company and cross trained.
Just about any business I know of that invests in it's people instead of treating them like interchangable parts does better. It saves money on training, scrap, hiring procedures, orientation, etc., and ends up with a highly skilled core that can more readily innovate the businesses methods.
Where I work, for instance, people had to be laid off because of market conditions, but others were put in other areas of the company in order to maintain skill levels. The company followed up with the ones laid off and helped most of them get other jobs.
Several people that worked on the line where I do ended up in management positions at better pay elsewhere because of the things they were taught.
One man I trained in Job Instruction went to a local supermarket chain to apply as a stocker. At the end of the interview he was instead offered a job as general manager because of all the things he had been taught where I work.
When a company sees fit to invest in people, there is a positive ripple effect that not only affects that company, but the surrounding community and far beyond.

never worked fast food I take it? one of the jobs with the highest turnover rate(outside of Security) since it does not take much to teach one to do any of the tasks there.the amount of training is about 15 minutes to an hour, orientation? doesn't exist, hiring procedures? minimal at best.

I have a son working in a fast food joint, so I have an idea of what it's like. A friend of mine also managed a Burger King, and before that a franchise truck stop joint where the workers were treated as interchangable cogs, due to the way the owners ran their franchises. There were huge problems with shrinkage at the truck stop because the people working felt no loyalty to the place and had the get while the getting's good mentality. Food quality at both became spotty the more the owners interfered and after he left the Burger King in disgust with the owners, it dropped several places in the ratings against other Burger Kings in the state and garnered some health code violations.
Treat people like gak, gak is what you will reap.

fast food places seem to be dropping like flies around here lately, well a couple of them in past couple of months and that is just in my part of town, the Burger King I worked for the owner hardly ever showed up if at all, he hired the managers to handle the job and he collected his money and signed paperwork and that was it. it was a good store, but ugh it got busy on weekend nights (we were at a popular cruise turn around) and think I hustled more in that job then any other job and this was back in the late 80's where work was available, if you were breathing, you were hired, and sometimes you didn't need to be breathing to be hired.

That goes right along with what I am saying about proper training and treatment of people. A business that does both is more likely to do well while most that go the opposite way might as well not even open their doors.

yes, that describes pretty much all fast food businesses it seems.

 LordofHats wrote:
 Ouze wrote:
Asterios wrote:
McDonalds has a 30 minute training period

Why do you make gak like this up?

My stepson's friend worked at McDonalds, and he was in training for 3 or 4 days. I can't imagine very nearly any job that only has 30 minutes of training. This was a few years ago. My wife worked for Mcdonalds when she was a teenager and she said training was ongoing for the first week on various roles.

Man, I thought the last version of this thread was crap, but turns out, could have been worse. At least people weren't just making up crazy gak left and right.

I can assure you it takes more than 30 minutes to explain food standards and prep to a new employee. Whether or not the location actually takes the time to bother training anyone is another matter (I've worked jobs where I was supposed to be trained but no one bothered). I'm not really sure why we're using Macy D's as a bar for standards. That's about as low a bar as you can set without getting into trash pits that will fail their first health inspection.

thats what I have been saying Mickey D's is on par with any and all fast food, low skilled, low trained workers that can be replaced easily whether with another worker or a robotic/computer station.
          Hockey and Poetry--Knowing My Players???        

A Shift in Sports Culture?

Headed back to Boston after a fabulous weekend in Toronto at the CWHL All Star game.  Top Ten reasons it was fabulous?
1.     There were 7,000 fans in the Air Canada Center cheering for our game and our fantastic athletes who fervently play the game that they love, the greatest game on earth for no formal compensation.
2.     The game was televised  by Sportsnet in Canada and the NHL network in the US in front of millions of viewers.
3.     The Toronto Maple Leafs one of the oldest NHL franchises in history believes in our Commissioner Brenda Andress's and the CWHL Executive Board's vision to put women's hockey on the map.
4.     That  (insert number) US and Canadian National and Olympic players played in the CWHL   All Star game and that there were more who could not participate due to employment commitments-so the game could have had even MORE talent!
5.     That we haven't even scratched the surface on what women can do in the sport of ice hockey to make a difference by being role models in our culture.
6.     That people are just beginning to find out about the amazing academic and athletic backgrounds of these future leaders in sport and society.
7.     That the new female model in sport is emerging as a "wholesome" alternative to the sports market and that corporate executives are getting on board!
8.     That when the lights go up and the cameras are on us the women shine and light up the room....
9.     And everyone smiles with them (not at them)! THE FANS are part of the experience because our female athletes are approachable and accessible.
10.   Finally that our players write poetry...and can even sing the national anthem when called upon.  Examples of blending personal talents and sport that connect with people watching symbolize the new paradigm shift in sport to include a female model that potentially all can enjoy! Even little boys and men.  We are people first and bring our own  biases and individual outlooks and opinions to yes even sport!  Women's sports create a new, diverse, and exciting environment that is not necessarily  better than the present model...just a little different!

And lastly the inspiration to write this post is from the All Star weekend program book...while perusing it I stumbled upon an answer to a survey style question in the program for one of my own players--one of our captains Kacey Bellamy.  One of the things that she enjoys doing is writing poetry!  It reminded me that I have to pay better attention as a coach to know more about my players...a good coach in the new model knows their players, treats them as individuals, the figures out how to connect the group to optimize the performance of the team.  The "yell and tell" model is becoming obsolete and I am happy to be championing the new model of sports management as we continue to blend sport and society within our modern culture!
Kacey Bellemy (right) with Red Team Captain Charline LaBonte

Here is a sample of Kacey's poetry! 

Interaction By Kacey Bellemy--2 Time US Olympian Silver Medalist-- 4 year member and Captain Boston Blades

Fighting the morning wake up not wanting to step into the day ahead
Robotically moving through routined actions

Happy one day miserable the next, surrounded in a body of armor that we use to shield our emotions 

Smiles used to conceal tears, laughter to hide pain, paper and pen to diminish speech

Time controlling us, never stopping always moving forward, stuck in the hourglass of thoughts running backwards

Bed sheets warming by the minute thoughts swirling by the second adapting to the sounds of nature on the outside but captured by the vibrations within 

Mind fighting the heart for air but even the breathing can't be controlled

Darkness giving our eyes the brightest part of our day

          do you know? Apple developed the iPhone parts recycling machine        

iPhone parts  

  As on Earth, one of the most innovative companies - Apple not only provides us with a beautiful, easy to use consumer electronics products, but also has been constant innovation in other areas. Recently, Apple has not only released the latest iphone SE, but also announced a big machine - a specialized demolition iPhone6 mobile phone recycling old parts of the machine.

  Since the iPhone replacement too frequently, resulting in a lot of e-waste, therefore, Apple has been criticized by environmentalists. Therefore, they have been developing over the past three years, this can quickly split iphone parts of the machine.

  This is called "Liam" big machine, there are 29 independent arm, you can split out 11 seconds iPhone6 phone!

  When "Liam" work, its first robotic arm will take the screen, no screen phone is to a second robotic arm under the removed battery, screws, SIM card, and then recovering extracted by the other arm reusable components. Eventually, the phone will turn into silver, tungsten, gold, aluminum and other metals ...... watching the demonstration, think it is very cow ~

  Apple said, "Liam" can only split iPhone6, then the iPhone 5 what can only stay to one side. But doubtless it can operate different equipment, different recycling of resources.

  It is said that Apple's headquarters in the United States this machine has been installed, the next step plan to install in Europe.

  But the outside world also questioned the efficiency of such a machine. Yes! To know that your company opened the conference, the number of older products will be second to throw ah!

  Apple calculate the current "Liam" Up to one million units a year to operate the phone, but to know the light in 2015 alone more than two hundred million mobile phones sold more than three thousand ah! It seems that the efficiency is still to be developed and improved ~! However, Apple put into action, we still have the affirmative!

          Ð­Ñ€ÐµÐºÑ†Ð¸Ð¾Ð½Ð½Ð¾Ðµ кольцо Robotic, 3 см        
Упругое эрекционное кольцо с металлическими шариками внутри.Диаметр - 3,0 см.Инструкцию "Как пользоваться эрекционными кольцами", смотрите здесь Производитель: Seven Creations Для кого: Для мужчин Цвет: прозрачный Материал: TPR Диаметр: 4.5
          iRobot dance        
When a small robotic floor vacuum can inspire its owners to dance is that really the future we want for ourselves?  Shouldn't robots be like us and not the other way around?  

          Dr. Ziv Tsafrir        
Dr. Ziv Tsafrir


  • Gynecology
  • Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery
  • Da Vinci surgeries

Clinical Experience

  • Attending physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel


  • 2013-2016 Fellowship, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan.
  • 2006- 2012 Residency, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
  • 2004-2005 Internship, Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon, Israel
  • 2005 M.D. Certification, Sackler School of Medicine, Degree thesis: "Ureteral Obstruction Following Renal Transplantation: Evaluation of Risk Factors and Efficacy of Percutaneous Dilations by Invasive Radiology Treatment"

  • 2000 B.Med.Sci., Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

  • 1998-2004 Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
  • 1995-1999 Law School, College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion
  • ​1999 LL.B., College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion, Israel​

Professional certifications

  • 2012 USMLE Step 3
  • 2011 Part II, Israel Medical Board Examination, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • 2009 Part I, Israel Medical Board Examination. Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • 2007 USMLE Certification (Steps 1, 2CK, 2CS)
  • 2005 Israel Board of Health Medical License #36931

Academic Awards

  • 2007 Best Clinical Tutor Certificate, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tel Aviv University
  • 2016 Henry Ford Hospital 23rd Annual Medical Education Research Forum, 2nd place Quality Improvement.


  • Tsafrir Z, Aoun J, Papalekas E, Taylor A, Schiff L, Theoharis E, Eisenstein D. “Risk Factors for Trachelectomy following Supracervical Hysterectomy.” Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2017 Jan. [Ahead of print].
  • Tsafrir Z, Palmer M, Dahlman M, Nawfal AK, Aoun J, Taylor A, Fisher J, Theoharis E, Eisenstein D. “Long-term outcomes for different vaginal cuff closure techniques in robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy: A
    randomized controlled trial.” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2016 Nov. [Ahead of print].
  • Cohen A, Solomon N, Almog B, Cohen Y, Tsafrir Z, Rimon E, Levin I. â€œAdnexal Torsion in Postmenopausal Women: Clinical Presentation and risk of ovarian malignancy.” J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2017 Jan 1;24(1):94-97.
  • Tsafrir Z, Aoun J, Hanna R, Papalekas E, Schiff L, Theoharis E, Eisenstein D. “Robotic Trachelectomy following supracervical hysterectomy for Benign Gynecologic disease.” JSLS. 2016 Jul-Sep;20(3). pii: e2016.00027.
  • Schiff L, Tsafrir Z, Aoun J, Taylor A, Theoharis E, Eisenstein D. “Quality of Communication in Gynecologic Robotic Surgery and Surgical Outcomes.” JSLS. 2016 Jul-Sep;20(3). pii: e2016.00026.
  • Tsafrir Z, Korianski J, Almog B, Many A, Wiesel O, Levin I.” Effects of Fatigue on Residents' Performance in Laparoscopy.” J Am Coll Surg. 2015 Aug;221(2):564-70. 7. Tsafrir Z, Margolis G, Cohen Y, Cohen A, Laskov I, Levin I, Mandel D, Many A.”Conservative management of preterm premature rupture of membranes beyond 32 weeks' gestation: Is it worthwhile?.” J Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 Mar 16:1-6. 
  • Cohen A, Bibi G, Almog B, Tsafrir Z, Levin I. ”Second-dose methotrexate in ectopic pregnancies: the role of beta human chorionic gonadotropin”. Fertil Steril. 2014 Dec;102(6):1646-9. 
  • Tsafrir Z, Ascher-Landsberg J, Ezra M, Kupferminc MJ, Maslovitz S, Levin I, Many A. “Personnel-itis: a myth or a pathology? A retrospective analysis of obstetrical and perinatal outcomes for physicians and nurses.” J Perinat Med. 2015 Jan;43(1):75-9.
  • Cohen A, Almog B, Satel A, Lessing JB, Tsafrir Z, Levin I. “Laparoscopy versus laparotomy in the management of ectopic pregnancy with massive hemoperitoneum.” Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 Nov;123(2):139-41.
  • Laskov I, Michaan N, Cohen A, Tsafrir Z, Maslovitz S, Kupferminc M, Lessing J, Many A.”Outcome of twin pregnancy in women ≥45 years old: a retrospective cohort study.” J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 May;26(7):669-72.
  • Tsafrir Z, Hasson J, Levin, I, Solomon E, Lessing JB, Azem F. "Adnexal Torsion: Cystectomy and ovarian fixation are equally important in preventing recurrence", Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2012 Jun;162(2):203-5.
  • Tsafrir Z, Azem F, Hasson J, Solomon E, Nagar H, Lessing JB, Levin I. "Risk factors, symptoms and treatment of ovarian torsion in children: the 12-year experience of one center.” J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2012 Jan;19(1):29-33.
  • Levin I, Tsafrir Z, Sa’ar N, Lessing J, Avni A, Gamzu R, Almog B. â€œWatchful Waiting” in ectopic pregnancies: a balance between reduced success rates and less methotrexate”. Fertil Steril. 2011 March 1;95(3):1159-60.
  • Hasson J, Tsafrir Z, Azem F, Bar-on S, Almog B, Mashiach R, Seidman D, Lessing J.B., Grisaru D. “Comparison of adnexal torsion between pregnant and nonpregnant women”. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jun;202(6):536.e1-6.

          Da Vinci Surgical System        

One of the most important tasks for modern medicine is to improve the efficacy of surgical procedures while reducing pain and shortening recovery time. To this end, many methods have been developed in recent years. One of the most prominent is minimally invasive surgery: an operation performed via only a few tiny incisions in the skin, as opposed to the large and significant incision which characterizes the traditional approach - the open approach. Over the years, this has become a particularly common surgical approach in advanced medical centers throughout the world.

Robotic Surgery in Israel

A particularly advanced development based on this method, also found in the operating theaters of Herzliya Medical Center, is the Da Vinci Surgical System, which is an advanced system for performing operations by the minimally invasive approach, performed completely by robot, with no contact of a human hand.

A robot in the operating theater? Why is it needed?

Firstly, we note that the presence of robots in operating theaters or in various medical procedures is not new. Essentially, the first “medical” robots made their appearance in hospitals throughout the world already in the 80’s. What is new here is the sophistication of the system, its accuracy and the ability to utilize it from a distance: essentially, the Da Vinci Surgical System is controlled by the surgeon at a special adjacent work station (i.e. the robot does not work automatically).

And why would the skilled and experienced surgeons who usually treat us need the services of such a robot in the operating theater? The robot has a number of advantages, which come down to one main fact: it is not human. This means that it does not fatigue, has no tremor, and can undertake movements that no human - not event the most highly skilled surgeon - can do.

One of the biggest advantages offered by this system is its ability to perform wrist-like movements of several times greater range than that of a human. While the robot does imitate the surgeon’s movements, it can rotate certain parts, for example, by 360 degrees, reaching places that no surgeon can access - at least not with the same rapidity and ease. For the patient, the significance is clear: the operation will be more rapid, more accurate and less painful.

The Da Vinci Surgical System thus has several clear advantages:

  • Maximal steadiness and accuracy
  • Ranges of movement several times larger than that of a human hand
  • Lack of “human limitations”: fatigue, lack of concentration, etc.

These advantages render the system very effective in certain types of operations that require great concentration and extraordinary accuracy, especially due to the sensitivity of the region in which they are performed. The use of the Da Vinci Surgical System has thus become very common in operations for the partial or complete removal of the prostate gland, operations to remove kidney tumors, operations to remove urinary bladder tumors and the like - surgical procedures that are known to require maximal accuracy. At the same time, gradually, more and more operations are being performed using the robot, also in other fields, due to the very same advantages specified here, which can be of benefit in any surgical procedure.

The bottom line of all this is one important fact: the Da Vinci Surgical System enables minimally invasive operations to be performed with maximal accuracy, thus obviating the need in many cases for open surgery, which causes more intense and prolonged pain and requires recovery that takes several times longer. Using the robot, the minimally invasive approach is rendered even more effective, and in various instances (e.g. in urological operations), it serves as essentially the only option for performing the operation other than by the open approach. The robot thus offers you, the patients, an operation with significantly improved quality and effectiveness, and enables easier recovery.

The structure of the system and its principal of operation

The Da Vinci Surgical System is composed of three main systems:

  1. Command and control center: This is the place where the surgeon himself sits, from where he conveys commands to the robot, while viewing the operated areas through the robot’s “eyes”.
  2. The robot “surgeon”: This is actually a system with several special arms that can work in parallel for a number of purposes, and work with unique, very large ranges of movement, as mentioned above. These arms can also perform particularly small and fine actions, so they are suited to performing a wide range of operations.
  3. The screen: The system conveys an image of the treated area throughout the operation, of course in real time, to the screen facing the surgeon, which can also be viewed by other team members if needed. The screen is of very high resolution, providing eight times magnification of the region upon which the surgeon is focusing. He can, using the robot, thus also discern tiny blood vessels and nerves and avoid damaging them. Essentially, the robot significantly improves the ability to “see” the treated area, and offers particularly good focus. The robot’s display system also has the capability of providing a three dimensional display.

As stated above, the robot is controlled at all times by the surgeon, by remote control, and does not work automatically. The system cannot be operated by any surgeon, but only by one who has undergone special training for this.

Operations with Da Vinci Surgical System: One more step towards the future

The presence of the Da Vinci Surgical System at Herzliya Medical Center expresses well the hospital’s philosophy: aspiring to be at the forefront of technological innovation in the medical world, to be equipped with the most sophisticated equipment and to make it available to the superb surgeons who work at the hospital.

This constant innovation and unceasing aspiration to update is what ensures that you, our patients, will receive the best medical care in the world. With the Da Vinci Surgical System, the operation is completed in significantly shorter time, the accuracy and effectiveness of the procedure is higher, there is less pain and discomfort after the operation - and the day of release from hospital arrives earlier that usual. When we add to all these considerations also the superb guest experience, the negligible amount of hospital-acquired infections, treatment by the best surgeons in Israel and internationally and the service provided by experienced staff, at Herzliya Medical Center you enjoy a comprehensive medical envelope unsurpassed in Israel.

          Dr. Ido Nachmany        


  • General Surgery
  • Laparoscopy and robotic surgery

Clinical Experience

  • 2013 - Current Head, Department of Surgery B The Surgical Division Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center
  • 2011 – 2013 Attending Surgeon; Director of the Hepatobiliary/pancreas/transplantation team Department of Surgery, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center
  • 2010 – 2010 Clinical fellow; Hepato-biliary and Pancreatic Surgery Starzl transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 – 2009 Clinical fellow; Multi-organ abdominal Transplantation Starzl transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2006 - 2008 Attending surgeon, Department of surgery; Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel
  • 2005 - 2006 Resident, General Surgery Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel.
  • 2004 - 2005 Research fellow: Department of Molecular Biology; Weizmann Institute of Science. (Prof. Varda Rotter), Rehovot, Israel
  • 1999 - 1999 Military Medicine Officer Course; Military School of Medicine; Medical Corps, Tzrifin base camp; IDF


  • 1994-1998 M.D. The Sackler School of Medicine; Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • 1990-1994 B. Med. Sc. Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School The Faculty of Health Ben Gurion University of the Negev


  • 1996 The Bernard Elkin Prize for Outstanding Student in Surgery; Tel Aviv Sackler school of Medicine
  • 2007 Second best research work "Experience in surgical treatment of retroperitoneal sarcoma", presented at the Israeli Surgical Society Meeting, Jerusalem 2007

Publications and Articles

  • Published over book chapters, papers that appear in

          Randomized apertures: high resolution imaging in far field        
Using Glitter as a way to replace large structure mirrors for space telescopes: This is what is suggested and measured here. The random PSF allows for sharper resolution (and Machine Learning is used).This is another instance of the Great Convergence, woohoo ! ( and by the way, are we going to ever acknowledge that the Random Lens Imaging paper is one of the greatest preprint that did not make it into publication, ever ?)

Randomized apertures: high resolution imaging in far field by Xiaopeng Peng, Garreth J. Ruane, Marco B. Quadrelli, and Grover A. Swartzlander
We explore opportunities afforded by an extremely large telescope design comprised of ill-figured randomly varying subapertures. The veracity of this approach is demonstrated with a laboratory scaled system whereby we reconstruct a white light binary point source separated by 2.5 times the diffraction limit. With an inherently unknown varying random point spread function, the measured speckle images require a restoration framework that combine support vector machine based lucky imaging and non-negative matrix factorization based multiframe blind deconvolution. To further validate the approach, we model the experimental system to explore sub-diffraction-limited performance, and an object comprised of multiple point sources.

Join the CompressiveSensing subreddit or the Google+ Community or the Facebook page and post there !
Liked this entry ? subscribe to Nuit Blanche's feed, there's more where that came from. You can also subscribe to Nuit Blanche by Email, explore the Big Picture in Compressive Sensing or the Matrix Factorization Jungle and join the conversations on compressive sensing, advanced matrix factorization and calibration issues on Linkedin.

          Robotický vysavač Mi Vacuum Cleaner již kompletně v angličtině!        
Robotický vysavač Xiaomi Mi Vacuum Cleaner se u nás těší velkému zájmu. Aby ne, nabízí za poloviční cenu stejné nebo lepší schopnosti, než vysavače zavedených značek. Jedinou pihou na kráse bylo doposud výhradně čínské rozhraní mobilní aplikace. To se od dubna 2017 mění a vÅ¡e je již přeloženo do angličtiny! Jak lze jazyk přepnout u již […]
          SGD, What Is It Good For ?        
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, 
N00284488.jpg, Titan, Jul. 11, 2017 10:12 AM

As noted per the activity on the subject, there is growing interest in understanding better SGD and related methods, we mentioned two such study recently on Nuit Blanche

Sebastian Ruder updated his blog entry on the subject in An overview of gradient descent optimization algorithms (Added derivations of AdaMax and Nadam). In Reinforcement Learning or Evolutionary Strategies? Nature has a solution: BothArthur Juliani makes a mention of an insight on gradient based methods in RL (h/t Tarin for the pointer on Twitter)

It is clear that for many reactive policies, or situations with extremely sparse rewards, ES is a strong candidate, especially if you have access to the computational resources that allow for massively parallel training. On the other hand, gradient-based methods using RL or supervision are going to be useful when a rich feedback signal is available, and we need to learn quickly with less data.

But we also had people trying to speed SGD up while others put some grain of salt in the whole adaptive approach. We also have one where SGD helped by random features helps in solving the linear Bellman equation, a tool central in linear control theory. 
Deep learning thrives with large neural networks and large datasets. However, larger networks and larger datasets result in longer training times that impede research and development progress. Distributed synchronous SGD offers a potential solution to this problem by dividing SGD minibatches over a pool of parallel workers. Yet to make this scheme efficient, the per-worker workload must be large, which implies nontrivial growth in the SGD minibatch size. In this paper, we empirically show that on the ImageNet dataset large minibatches cause optimization difficulties, but when these are addressed the trained networks exhibit good generalization. Specifically, we show no loss of accuracy when training with large minibatch sizes up to 8192 images. To achieve this result, we adopt a linear scaling rule for adjusting learning rates as a function of minibatch size and develop a new warmup scheme that overcomes optimization challenges early in training. With these simple techniques, our Caffe2-based system trains ResNet-50 with a minibatch size of 8192 on 256 GPUs in one hour, while matching small minibatch accuracy. Using commodity hardware, our implementation achieves ~90% scaling efficiency when moving from 8 to 256 GPUs. This system enables us to train visual recognition models on internet-scale data with high efficiency. 

Adaptive optimization methods, which perform local optimization with a metric constructed from the history of iterates, are becoming increasingly popular for training deep neural networks. Examples include AdaGrad, RMSProp, and Adam. We show that for simple overparameterized problems, adaptive methods often find drastically different solutions than gradient descent (GD) or stochastic gradient descent (SGD). We construct an illustrative binary classification problem where the data is linearly separable, GD and SGD achieve zero test error, and AdaGrad, Adam, and RMSProp attain test errors arbitrarily close to half. We additionally study the empirical generalization capability of adaptive methods on several state-of-the-art deep learning models. We observe that the solutions found by adaptive methods generalize worse (often significantly worse) than SGD, even when these solutions have better training performance. These results suggest that practitioners should reconsider the use of adaptive methods to train neural networks.

We introduce a data-efficient approach for solving the linear Bellman equation, which corresponds to a class of Markov decision processes (MDPs) and stochastic optimal control (SOC) problems. We show that this class of control problem can be cast as a stochastic composition optimization problem, which can be further reformulated as a saddle point problem and solved via dual kernel embeddings [1]. Our method is model-free and using only one sample per state transition from stochastic dynamical systems. Different from related work such as Z-learning [2, 3] based on temporal-difference learning [4], our method is an online algorithm following the true stochastic gradient. Numerical results are provided, showing that our method outperforms the Z-learning algorithm

Gradient descent optimization algorithms, while increasingly popular, are often used as black-box optimizers, as practical explanations of their strengths and weaknesses are hard to come by. This article aims to provide the reader with intuitions with regard to the behaviour of different algorithms that will allow her to put them to use. In the course of this overview, we look at different variants of gradient descent, summarize challenges, introduce the most common optimization algorithms, review architectures in a parallel and distributed setting, and investigate additional strategies for optimizing gradient descent.

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          Robotic Desk Light        
Two IKEA lamps have been sacrificed for this robotic desk-light. The footplate was part of a standard black desk-light, the red cone comes from a different design (IKEA Fryebo). The arm consists of five dynamixel servo’s, inside the cone a 16LED neopixel ring light has been mounted. The arm is controlled using a combination ofRead more
          We need to talk about sex, robot experts say        
LONDON  - Move over blow-up dolls, the sex robots are here.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into the global sex market, bringing with it a revolution in robotic "sextech" designed to offer sexual gratification with a near-human touch.

In a report on the growing market in sex robots, the Foundation for Responsible Robotics said rapidly advancing technologies have already led to the creation of "android love dolls" capable of performing 50 automated sexual positions.

They can be customised down to the nipple shape and pubic hair colour, and can cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

The increasingly life-like robots raise complex issues that should be considered by policymakers and the public, the report said -- including whether use of such devices should be encouraged in sexual therapy clinics, for sex offenders, or for people with disabilities.

Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Britain's University of Sheffield, said it was difficult to predict how far or fast the market would grow, or what its effect on societies might be in years ahead

"Will these robotic dolls be niche? Or will they change societal norms and become widespread?," he asked at a news briefing. "How would (sex with a robot) equate to a truly human intimate relationship?"

The report looked at some of the most contentious issues, asking academics, members of the public and the sex industry for their views on whether, for example, sex robots might be helpful in reducing sexual crimes.

It found "major disagreement" on this question, with some arguing that having sex with a robot would reduce attackers' desires to harm fellow humans, and others arguing that allowing people to live out their darkest fantasies with robots would have a pernicious effect on societal norms.

On the issue of "meaningful" relationships, the report said that with current AI technology, and even in the foreseeable future, no human-to-robot feelings would ever be mutual.

"The best robots could do is 'fake it'," it said. "Robots cannot feel love."

          Snapchat may have secretly bought a drone company, because Spectacles weren’t insane enough        

Snap Inc. has a hardware division, but the only tech product you can buy is a pair of sunglasses. That could soon change.  

SEE ALSO: After Spectacles, Snapchat's next big thing could be a foldable selfie drone

Snapchat's parent company has bought Zero Zero Robotics, which currently sells a selfie-taking drone called Hover Camera at Apple retail stores and online, according to two sources familiar with the situation and multiple communications about the acquisition observed by Mashable. 

A separate source with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed the companies are in talks but denied that the deal has been finalized.  Read more...

More about Business, Drones, Snapchat, Hover Camera, and Hover
          Why the 3D Robotics Solo Drone Will Make This Summer the Best Yet        

Looking for something new to do outside this summer? See why the 3D Robotics Solo Drone will make this summer the best yet! #SoloatBestBuy This post with why the 3D Robotics Solo Drone will make this summer the best yet is part of a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Best Buy. The reviewer has been...

Read More »

Why the 3D Robotics Solo Drone Will Make This Summer the Best Yet from Smart Savvy Living

          Episode 36: October 11th 2010 – UK Space Policy and Yuri Gagarin’s visit to Manchester and London in July 1961        

Next year April 12th  2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s,  mankind’s,  first steps  into space. It was a product of the accumulated technology of many countries over many years but particularly driven by the the political landscape resulting from the 2nd world war. Since then successful robotic missions have visited the planets, asteroids […]

The post Episode 36: October 11th 2010 – UK Space Policy and Yuri Gagarin’s visit to Manchester and London in July 1961 appeared first on AstrotalkUK » Podcast Feed.

          iRobot Debuts Itsy Bitsy Scooba 230 Floor Washing Robot        
Well we knew that it was time for iRobot to dazzle us again with some new robotic friends, and at CES this week they will indeed be debuting the Scooba 230 Floor Washing Robot. This itsy bitsy floor washing robot is the smallest in the world at 3.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches in diameter. […]

This story was originally published at iRobot Debuts Itsy Bitsy Scooba 230 Floor Washing Robot

          Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner Review        
First there was the broom, then came the Swiffer. Then there was the Swiffer and then came Mint. Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner 4200 is a new robotic sweeper/mop, or what I like to call – a robotic Swiffer machine. First spotted at CES 2010, Mint by Evolution is an adorable bot that purrs like a […]

This story was originally published at Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner Review

          Neato XV-11 Vacuum Cleaning Robot Review        
Almost a year ago the Neato XV-11 vrroomed it’s way into CES and tried to wow us with its impressive robotic cleaning technology. It even appeared on many best gadgets of CES 2010 lists. However, after CES 2010 ended, months passed and we were almost certain that Neato would become vaporware since we didn’t hear […]

This story was originally published at Neato XV-11 Vacuum Cleaning Robot Review

          Intelligent Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Wireless IP Camera Lets you Spy Subtly        
Boy, oh boy – just more and more robotic vacuums seem to be coming along. This latest one may not be as well made as the iRobot ConnectR, that also sports a camera to be able to record video and send footage over the internet. But alas, this Chinese version is already available, where ConnectR […]

This story was originally published at Intelligent Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Wireless IP Camera Lets you Spy Subtly

          Robot4 6.12        
Robotic Arm Movement program; finds angles ... came from NASA.
          Comment on Beasiswa Fakultas TU Delft by GS (Kandidat MSC Systems and Control 2012 - 2014 TU Delft, Status Beasiswa Belum Jelas)        
Dear Para Seniro PPID, Perkenalkan, saya GS, seorang alumni Teknik Elektro ITB lulusan tahun 2010. Pada 27 Februari 2012 yang lalu, saya mengajukan aplikasi ke TU Delft, dan kemarin siang, 27 April 2012, saya menerima e-mail dari TU Delft bahwa saya diterima di program MSc Systems & Control (spesialisasi Robotics), namun tidak ada kejelasan soal adanya beasiswa atau tidak. Saya ingin bertanya, berdasarkan pengalaman seniro-seniro PPID, kira-kira bagaimana peluang saya untuk mendapatkan beasiswa dari fakultas (dengan mempertimbangkan bahwa saya mendaftarnya agak terlambat, apakah ada pengaruhnya ke peluang saya untuk mendapatkan beasiswa tersebut)?
          e4-Rover Mars Challenge at EclipseCon        

Do you have what it takes to be a rocket scientist? EclipseCon 2010 will be your opportunity to play with the top guns. The Eclipse Foundation, in collaboration with NASA JPL, are organizing the e4-Rover Mars Challenge. EclipseCon attendees will participate in a contest to create the very best robotic control system to drive a robot across a prototypical Mars landscape. The grand prize winner will be receive an opportunity to visit the NASA robotics lab in Los Angeles, CA

          En esta empresa trabajan más robots que personas (y así va a seguir siendo)        

Por muy moderna que parezca, la convivencia entre el ser humano y los robots tiene más de 200 años de historia. No obstante, es ahora cuando los autómatas han alcanzado un grado tal de desarrollo que son muchos los que ven en ellos cierta amenaza en lo que respecta al mercado laboral. Y es que, aunque suene a ciencia ficción, algunas empresas ya cuentan entre sus filas con más robots que empleados humanos. Sin embargo, la duda aún pende sobre sus cabezas: ¿han llegado para quitarnos el empleo o harán trabajos complementarios a los nuestros para hacernos la vida más fácil? 

Un informe publicado el pasado año por la Federación Internacional de Robótica expone que el número de robots industriales instalados en el mundo en 2019 llegará a 2,6 millones de unidades, es decir, casi el doble de los que había en 2015. Pero no todo está perdido. No en vano, esto no quiere decir que lleguen para quitarnos el trabajo a los humanos. “Es urgente que entendamos estos fenómenos, discutamos sus implicaciones y presentemos estrategias que permitan a los trabajadores humanos avanzar con las máquinas en vez de competir contra ellas”, proponen los investigadores del MIT Erik Brynjolfsson y Andrew McAfee en su libro 'La carrera contra las máquinas'.

Lo mismo piensa Melonee Wise, una ingeniera estadounidense que lleva años diseñando, construyendo y programando robótica. De 50 empleados humanos y 125 robots se compone la plantilla de Fetch Robotics, su ‘startup’, apoyada por el mismísimo Elon Musk y dedicada al diseño de robots cuyo objetivo no es precisamente robar puestos de empleo, sino hacerle la vida más fácil a los humanos.

Por el momento, han conseguido que los robots funcionen en almacenes transportando carga y preparando pedidos, pero han logrado algo más importante aún: el hecho de que los robots puedan resolver las labores del hogar ya no es una cuestión futurista. Todo, haciendo que los robots aprendan por sí mismos mediante prueba y error. Algo muy humano, en realidad.


Ante el temor a que los androides terminen por quitarle el trabajo a las personas, desde la empresa explican que no es su caso: los suyos llevan a cabo funciones para las que no contratarían a nadie o para las que no hay presupuesto, directamente. Así que ningún empleado ha visto peligrar su puesto de trabajo por un robot, ni está previsto que ocurra más adelante. Es más, a largo plazo Fetch irá desplegando más robots y necesitará más gente que mantenga, programe e instale las máquinas.

Para el equipo, convivir en el entorno de trabajo con robots resulta productivo y seguro. De hecho, en ocasiones recurren a ellos cuando tienen hambre para que sea el androide el que les traiga un ‘snack’ o galletas, evitando tener que desplazarse hasta la cocina. Incluso si alguien se encuentra cansado, puede optar por subirse a un compañero robótico para moverse por la oficina. Cuenta la CEO de la empresa que, como los robots suelen ser más pequeños que una persona, la plantilla los percibe más como a niños que como a adultos y a veces hasta los llaman cachorros.

Sobre el pánico generalizado respecto a las implicaciones y los peligros de la inteligencia artificial, Wise comenta que hay indicadores falsos o erróneos que afirman que los avances se están produciendo a una velocidad de vértigo, pero no es así.

A pesar de que Fetch Robotics desarrolla máquinas para realizar tareas básicas de almacén y hogar, ella se muestra pesimista porque cree que esto no llegará a ser algo extendido durante su vida, ya que el desarrollo del 'hardware' y 'software' es demasiado complejo. No obstante, lo cierto es que el desarrollo ya está hecho. Por ejemplo, estos diez robots son capaces de planchar camisas, fregar el suelo o vigilar la casa, entre otras virguerías.

¿No acabarán con nuestro empleo?

Melonee Wise, sin negar que las predicciones son posibles, augura una solución basada en un punto de vista sociopolítico más que tecnológico: no en vano, la tecnología siempre va a seguir avanzando y “la capacitación de las personas se motiva a través de medios sociales, políticos y económicos”, comenta. Además, si a largo plazo Fetch va a ir desplegando más robots cabe preguntarse si sus empleados se reciclarán cuando su puesto de trabajo se vea desplazado y se transforme en otro distinto.

No obstante, la creciente velocidad de este 'boom' robótico amenaza con dificultar la elección de una carrera para que los jóvenes planifiquen sus vidas, según el gobernador del Banco de Inglaterra, Mark Carney. En este sentido, está claro que los empleos más mecánicos que requieren de menor capacitación académica podrían ser los primeros afectados.

En cualquier caso, lo cierto es que convivimos diariamente con robots. Un sector que se ha automatizado casi por completo es el que corresponde a las principales compañías de automóviles, en especial sus talleres de pintura y carrocería. Son trabajos que requieren de una repetición constante y con robots se evita exponer a los trabajadores a pinturas a base de plomo o sustancias químicas no saludables.

Pero no son los únicos: otros los podemos encontrar en los cajeros automáticos, máquinas expendedoras de comida y revistas, surtidores de gasolina, cadenas de comida rápida, etcétera. Quizás pasan desapercibidos porque no tienen forma humanoide, pero ahí están, cobrando el importe de la compra o anotando un pedido. Se encargan de labores muy simples que no requieren de formación superior.


Con información de El Español, El País, MIT Technology Review, Forbes y Telegraph. Las imágenes de este artículo son, en orden de aparición, de Pixabay y Fetch Robotics Blog.

Historias para que decidas si eres amigo o 'hater' de los robots:

-¿Empleos en peligro de extinción? "No veo peligrar mi puesto por las máquinas"

-Guitarras y robots: el plan para enseñar electrónica del padre español de Arduino

-Esto sí que es útil: diez robots que han aprendido a dominar las tareas domésticas

-Los robots aventureros que rescatan los tesoros perdidos del océano

The post En esta empresa trabajan más robots que personas (y así va a seguir siendo) appeared first on Cooking Ideas.

          Foxconn: The Hype and the Small Print        
Kathleen Vinehout
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Great News! A big tech company called Foxconn is coming to southeast Wisconsin and bringing with it a lot of new jobs. The new company will build a big factory and make flat screens for computers.
The Governor tells us the company will create 13,000 jobs that pay nearly $54,000. Other businesses will benefit because the company will buy things from Wisconsin businesses.
But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the Rest of the Story.”
For its part, Wisconsin will pay $3 billion in tax credits and other subsidies over 15 years to the company. Tax credits are refundable – meaning if the company owes nothing in taxes, they will still get a check from the taxpayers of Wisconsin for the amount of the tax credits. It is important to note that manufacturing companies already pay almost nothing in state income tax.
Foxconn announced the company would create up to 3,000 new jobs. Local people will not get any benefit of property tax dollars from the factory for 30 years. We don’t yet know who the local community is but rumors point to Racine.
The bill to authorize the project was made public late Friday.
In the proposed legislation, there is no mention of 13,000 or 3,000 jobs. Tax credits can be awarded for fulltime jobs with a salary of $30,000 in Racine or $22,600 for a job in Milwaukee.
At a salary of $30,000 in Racine for 3,000 jobs, the state would be paying all the salary of the workers for 15 years at a cost of $90 million a year. At $3 billion in state dollars, the state will be paying a million per job – more than the total cost of all the new jobs.
Marketwatch, a publication of Dow Jones, analyzed the deal. How, the author asks, will this plant find and keep its workers in an economy with 3.2% unemployment by paying less than state average wages?
The answer may be found in an assumption made in the economic analysis paid for by the company and touted by the Governor’s office. Job numbers reflect “job location” and could be filled by residents or nonresidents.
The company will pay nothing in sales tax for building materials, supplies, equipment and services. This provision is directly at odds with the economic analysis. If sales taxes are not paid, the projected state and local tax benefits fall in the short term by half and in the long term by a quarter.
Other details one might ponder.
The bill borrows over a quarter billion to fix the Interstate between Milwaukee and the state border. This move helps finesse the impasse on the state’s transportation budget.
The Governor adds five new enterprise zones to be given away. Remember enterprise zones make refundable tax credits – a check that goes to the company’s owners even if they pay nothing in state taxes. Some legislators are cautious of these giveaways. Efforts beyond what is needed for the Foxconn deal might be seen as a way to expand giveaways later without legislative oversight.
Nestled in the bill is the authorization for local government to write no-bid contracts; exemptions from state environmental protections including for navigable waters and wetlands. The company is not required to submit an environmental impact analysis to the state. The bill changes the law related to diversion of water under the Great Lakes Compact. Some rules related to permitting utilities do not apply to the project. The claw back provisions are only permissive, not mandatory.
And nothing about the company’s obligation to the state is set. The three-page Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) released by the Governor’s office ends with a vague paragraph that reads all the terms of the MOU are “subject to final negotiations” with the State and Mr. Gou “acknowledging the importance of finalizing an agreement” by the end of September.
All of the environmental and economic concerns must be taken into consideration in the context of an industry rapidly moving toward automation and robotic workers; a company with a history of not delivering promised jobs. And a company with a history of abusing its relationship with its workers.
All of the details should be public before the legislature approves the project.
We wouldn’t want to buy a $3 billion lemon.

          Apps for Kids 026: Cargo-Bot        

Cargo Bot Icon Click here to play episode. Apps for Kids is Boing Boing's podcast about cool smartphone apps for kids and parents. My co-host is my 9-year-old daughter, Jane Frauenfelder.

In this week's episode Jane and I talk about Cargo-Bot, a game where you program a robotic crane to move and sort colored wooden carts from one place to another. It's free in the iTunes store.

Don't forget to be part of our "Listener Email" segment. If you would like to have us read your favorite game or gadget recommendation on the air, or if you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show, email us at Include your age, and the city, state, and country you live in.

If you're an app developer and would like to have Jane and me try one of your apps for possible review, email a redeem code to

Listen to past episodes of Apps for Kids here.

To get a weekly email to notify you when a new episode of Apps for Kids is up, sign up here.

          Tax on sugary drinks, Low libido in women, Europe's largest robotic pharmacy        
What is the evidence that taxing sugary drinks will help to tackle obesity? Low libido in women - what is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and where did the diagnosis originally come from? Is it a label that will liberate millions of women or a construct to market new drugs? Plus Mark visits Europe's largest robotic pharmacy at a brand new hospital in Bristol.
          Cancer of the cervix & HPV; Oral cancer & HPV; Eating late; Feedback on Sugar, Thrush, Cataracts; Scarfree operations        
A committee advising the Food and Drug Administration in the US has voted to change the way it tests women for cervical cancer by solely using a test that detects Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) rather than also using a standard smear test which looks for abnormal cell changes. The test is likely to become more widely used in the NHS than it is now. What advantages does it offer over smear tests and what difference will it make for women? Dr Mark Porter talks to Jack Cuzick, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and GP Dr Margaret McCartney about the pros and cons. The HPV virus is responsible for a big increase in the number of oral cancers. Some researchers have even gone so far as to call it an epidemic. Mark talks to head and neck cancer surgeon Andrew Schache from the University of Liverpool to find out more about the reason for the rise in numbers. Also in the programme. You are when you eat. According to some diets, not eating in the evening can help you lose weight. But does the timing of when you eat really make a difference? Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, explains why the time you eat doesn't make a difference to whether you put on weight. Scar free surgery. Mark talks to Mikael Sodergren from Imperial College London, about the latest surgical innovation - natural orifice surgery. Surgery via natural orifices like the stomach and vagina can dramatically improve people's recovery after an operation reducing their pain and time in hospital. Currently only used in women, in the future it could be available for everyone with a robotic surgical device going in through the mouth and then being used to perform operations like an appendectomy via the stomach.
          Phutureprimitive: Kinetik        

Addictive beats, heavy bass, sensual vocals, total immersion, all of these can be found in the newest, extraordinary album of Phutureprimitive, called Kinetik. This is a long awaited second release of the artist. The older one, Sub Conscious is less bass-centric and operates with longer tracks. Kinetik has a completely different, more ambient atmosphere, which opens a whole new dimension for the artist.

He has updated his sound in line with current musical trends, and expertly fuses heavy doses of dubstep and his trademark, melodic tendencies. Kinetik uses all the knacks of the new dubstep wave, but not the primitive way. His work demonstrates an influence from professional downtempo too.

As someone who only recently discovered Phutureprimitive, it will be a great adventure through a whole new world of dark, heavy electronic music. Perfectly timed beats and symphonic sounds are creating a great harmony, this music manages to be relaxing and motivating at the same time. Listening to this album was a really interesting experience, there weren't any tracks which I didn't like.

Here’s what Phutureprimitive has to say about the album: “This album is a reflection of the times we are living in, hard and aggressive, lush and beautiful, kinetic, frenetic, distorted, ever changing, but with each passing moment, a chance to move through life and make it a better place than we found it.”

The first track prepares you for the rest of the album, Cryogenic Dreams is simultaneously melodic and energetic, afterwards comes Kinetik and Xotica, both full of power due to their motion and fluidity of sound. They're very motivational, absolutely perfect for sports like running. Some of the tracks like The Changeling has heavy, powerful bass booming and deep, weighty vibes. In my opinion, there are two more notable songs, Ripple Effect and High Rez both have interesting human and digitally altered robotic vocals. These vocals on High Rez bring contrast to the heavy tone of the album with a more upbeat feel, still connecting to the rest of Kinetik with its choppy bass undertones. Synthy base lines overlay an irresistible rhythm created by digital percussion and intense melodic diversity in his work.
I think this is an album which can't be ignored.


Cryogenic Dreams
The Changeling
Rapid Cognition
Ripple Effect
High Rez
Predatory Instincts
Center Of Gravity

The Untz
Splendid Beats
          It's Time for Robots to Mine the Asteroids        
Phil Metzger at University of Florida has just published an important and compelling article titled Space Development and Space Science Together, an Historic Opportunity about the need to develop a Self-sufficient Replicating Space Industry that uses robots to harvest space-based resources . The article is detailed, well-cited and fully attentive to the objections often raised.

Metzger calculates that it would take only a third of Earth's national space program budgets over the coming decades to deploy and complete the industrial infrastructure we need for harvesting resources from space that address major challenges we face in economic development, science, climate change, energy needs and other dwindling mineral resources.

Metzger specifically prescribes an initial focus on mining water for the purpose of fueling steam-based propulsion systems. Robust water deposits on the moon, asteroids, Europa, and elsewhere in the solar system promise bountiful supplies that will propel us to the stars. Another benefit of hydro-propulsion, explained to me this week by Deep Space Industries @GoDeepSpace CEO Dan Faber, is that water would be easy and safe for entrepreneurs integrating propulsion into their satellites today. Metzger has focused his attention and efforts on developing a lunar mine, Faber's company looks to mine water from Near Earth asteroids since their negligible gravity makes it easier to extract the water without escaping lunar gravity. (See DSI design, right.)

Metzger outlines other important projects as well, such as a Space-Based Solar Power system and extraterrestrial compute facilities, sorely needed infrastructure that we simply cannot scale on Earth:
"The primary benefit of space is real estate that biology does not need. Earth is the one special place in the solar system required by life, but machines can function anywhere else."
Why now? Metzger argues that AI has reached the points of maturity and acceleration that we need to pull it off, citing Bill Gates that robotics "is developing in much the same way that the computer business did 20 years ago."

Counter intuitively, the primary obstacles are not technical. Rather it is government inaction, in both funding and regulation. Peter Diamandis' startup Planetary Resources employs JPL veterans who know how to prospect Near earth asteroids today, but PR's mission awaits space-faring nations to legally recognize asteroid mining rights (other than the U.S. which did so last year). And government funding is hard to come by for what the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on NASA dismissed as a "nutty fantasy." Metzger lays out strategies for overcoming these obstacles.

Enough said. Click through and read Metzger's important, fascinating paper.

          Dinosaurs in Space!        
PCs and smartphones have pushed mainframes to the brink of extinction on Earth, and yet mainframes still thrive in space.

Most every satellite in orbit is a floating dinosaur - a bloated, one-off, expensive, often militarized, monolithic relic of the mainframe era. The opportunity for entrepreneurs today is to launch modern computer networks into space, disrupting our aging infrastructure with an Internet of microsats. 

So why has it taken so long for modern computing to reach space? Gravity. It’s hard to launch things. Governments have the money and patience to do it, as do large cable and telecom corporations. These players are slow to innovate, and large satellites have met their basic needs around science, defense, and communications, albeit at very high costs.

That’s changing:  several IT trends have come together to herald the extinction of these orbiting pterodactyls:
  • Moore’s law has reached the point where a single rocket launch can be amortized across dozens of tiny satellites, and the replacement cost is so low that we needn’t burden our missions with triple redundancies and a decade of testing
  • Global computing clouds make it easy to deploy ground stations; and
  • Advances in Big Data enable us to process the torrential flows of information we get from distributed networks

These trends have reduced the cost of a single aerospace mission from a billion dollars down to a hundred million just as the early-stage VC community amassed enough capital to undertake projects of this scope. And now that a handful of venture-backed startups like SpaceX and Skybox are demonstrating success, the number of aerospace business plans circulating through Sand Hill Road has climbed faster than a Falcon 9.

With each successful startup, progress accelerates and synergies emerge. As SpaceX makes launches cheaper, it opens the frontier to more entrepreneurs. Pioneers like Skybox and Planet Labs have to build end-to-end solutions for their markets, including everything from satellite buses to big data search algorithms; but there will soon evolve an ecosystem of vendors who specialize in launch mechanisms, cubesats, sensors, inter-sat communications, analytics, and software applications.

So who are the customers for a space-based Internet? At first, aerospace startups will disrupt two large markets:

·       Scientific exploration of space.  In the past, costly scientific missions such as Apollo ($355 million in 1966), ISS ($3 billion/year), Hubble ($10 billion), and Cassini ($3.3 billion) were designed and built by government agencies. Expect startups to disrupt this market with innovations in rocketry, robotics, optics, cloud computing, space suits, renewable energy, and more.

·       Communications. Government defense agencies spend considerable sums on communications to serve their space-based weapon systems and intelligence bureaus. Media and cable companies also commission satellites to serve their consumers. Microsat networks of radios will supply these customers more cheaply and reliably.

While spatial avionics improve with Moore’s Law, certainly some payloads, like telescopes and robots, cannot be miniaturized beyond the constraints of physics. But even these missions will benefit from the cheap, rapid testing available on a nanosatellite.  Just as programmers today can build entire software companies using a free A.W.S. account and the open source LAMP stack, space-faring entrepreneurs can now explore myriads of new business models by launching $1,000 cubesats out of ISS.

In addition to disrupting existing markets, microsat networks in space will enable a new and important capability:  Planetary Awareness. When we surround our planet with sensors across the frequency spectrum, we will have access to data that opens up new markets. Today, we have sensors across our landmasses, but adding sensors in space, the ocean, and the atmosphere will illuminate both natural phenomena and human logistics. 

Planetary Awareness will enable many capabilities of high social value:

o   Aviation and maritime safety: The need for tracking and communicating with aircraft and ships is in the public eye today following the loss of flight MH370.

o   Nature surveillance: Predict and monitor weather, global warming, natural disasters, and the risk of meteor damage (as pioneered by the B612 Foundation).

o   Global journalism: Expose protests, genocides, and other state-censored events.

Planetary Awareness will also open new markets of high economic value, which are much more likely to drive the success of aerospace startups:

o   Finding natural resources: Minerals and fuel sources abound upon the ocean floor (as discovered by Liquid Robotics’ fleet of WaveGliders) and near-Earth asteroids (as Planetary Resources promises to find using cheap microsats).

o   Financial services: Tracking human activity and commerce (e.g. the proverbial counting of cars in parking lots) yields valuable data to merchants, logistics providers and investors.

o   Military and geopolitical intelligence: Governments already purchase imagery for this use, but visibility will greatly expand from more frequent flyovers, video, radio surveillance, and automated analytics.

Geospatial imaging attracts many startups because it is already a robust and underserved market, but the opportunity to enable planetary awareness is much broader.  Dan Berkenstock didn’t start Skybox Imaging just to sell images and video: he had a more profound vision for the impact that startups can have on the aerospace industry.  His mission attracted co-founders from Stanford and NASA, his CEO Tom Ingersoll from Universal Space, aerospace legends like Joe Rothenberg who led the Hubble repair as well as other star engineers and investors. And now Skybox is proving that they, along with SpaceX and other nimble startups, will displace dinosaurs in space with data services driven by constellations of smart microsats. 

          Recap of TED 2013         
TED is an organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, mainly through the free distribution of 8-to-18-minute TED Talks - originally about technology, entertainment and design, but now TED covers heftier global topics such as climate change, poverty and education reform. TED hosts hundreds of events around the world but the main event is an annual invitation-only conference that attracts the most accomplished scientists, academics, politicians, writers, artists, inventors, entrepreneurs and entertainers.

TED 2013, which took place last week in Long Beach, CA, was my eighth TED. My best TED moments were conversations with Julia Sweeney, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Jill Bolte Taylor and Amanda Palmer.

As in prior years I have ranked the TED Talks below so that you can quickly decide which ones to watch. If you disagree with my rankings, please comment! For those of you who have pointed out my tardiness in publishing this year's list, I apologize. On the bright side, my review is so late that many of the talks are already available to watch on as you read this, so I have linked to those talks below.

This year the TED staff followed a new process for selecting TED speakers. Rather than simply invite interesting people, they attended TEDx events and selected the best speakers from those. The result was a set of TED Talks that were consistently more engaging and entertaining than in all prior years (especially compared to last year). The only downside is that fewer talks conveyed novel and important news or developments - many offered more form than substance.

So here are almost all of this year's TED Talks in order from best to worst (measured by TED Balloons even though the giant TED Balloon was mysteriously missing this year):

10 TED Balloons

Anas Aremeyaw Anas This undercover journalist exposes horrible crimes in Africa, by inserting himself into prisons, hospitals, and other hotspots of abuse. He has exposed enough powerful bad guys that he had to wear a mask on the TED stage.

Lawrence LessigLessig is such a strong, experienced lecturer that he has an unfair advantage being compared to other speakers! Lessig's talk on the need for legislative reform in Washington is riveting and compelling.

Jack Andraka 15 years old, Jack invented a fast $3 method to detect pancreatic cancer, at a Johns Hopkins lab. He won the Intel Science Fair so I'm presuming it's real!

John McWhorterThis linguist presents a compelling argument on why we should all stop worrying about the decay of English skills among texting teenagers. He reviews the successful adaptation of language to other technologies, and considers how English still evolves today.
Eleanor LongdenDiagnosed with schizophrenia, Eleanor's life was "shattered" with medical treatments, discrimination and isolation. But Eleanor overcame the terror, talked to the voices, and began to understand them. She still hears the voices (even during her TED Talk), but she feels recovered, working as a psychologist herself and counseling people who hear voices.

Adam SpencerAdam shares his enthusiasm for numbers. With lots of self-effacing nerd humor, he gets the audience laughing about math!

9 TED Balloons

Hyonseo Lee A South Korean activist tells the story of her family's escape from North Korea.


Elon Musk interview
Elon needs no introduction from me. What a hero, and humble, too.
Taylor WilsonAt 14 he produced fusion, and now he's a Peter Thiel fellow. Taylor came to tell us about his new inventions. This talk is especially inspiring for teens. 

Phil Hansen
This talk is a great life lesson from an artist who had to leave his comfort zone when his hand developed a shake. He embraced the challenge, and even set new limitations on himself to see how he might embrace those as well! For example, what if he could paint only on his own body, or use less than a dollar of supplies, or be forced to destroy whatever he creates?

Freeman Hrabowski
Freeman, President of the University of Maryland, has a mission to help underprivileged minority students graduate in the sciences.  His talk has no real point, but it's stirring and entertaining, with some good stories from his days with Martin Luther King Jr.
"Plant some shit," is the message of this South Central resident. Frustrated with the lack of fresh produce in this low-income part of LA County, Ron began a movement to plant fruit and vegetable gardens on the small grassy areas between sidewalks and streets. First he had to get the police off his back, but now his phone rings off the (proverbial) hook as neighborhoods everywhere want to emulate it. Coincidentally I happened to brunch with Ron at a mutual friend's house two weeks after TED, and he is a riot. 

Hear the inspiring story of a 9 year old Masai boy from Nairobi who took apart a radio and then invented a way to protect his cows from the lions.

Stuart Firestein 
Chairman of the Biology Department at Columbia spoke on Ignorance. As Maxwell said, "Thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every advance in science." There were 1.5m scientific papers published last year - 3 per minute. Every answer we find raises 10 questions, and so our ignorance expands! This talk was intelligent and entertaining, even if it did lack any real practical point.

Ajit Narayanan
Ajit describes an impressive system for language translation.

The singer-songwriter tells a great story of a Wesleyan coed turned rocker and describes her unusually personal relationship with her fans.

8 TED Balloons

A famous environmentalist explains how he and some others are preserving DNA of extinct species in order to one day to restore those animals to Earth, "undoing harm that humans have caused in the past." He expects the Passenger Pigeon to be their first return guest. (Really?)

This Beijing-based artist is now known as The Invisible Man for his series of politically motivated paintings in which he disappears into various backgrounds.

I normally don't rate the 3-minute audience talks, but this one was great. According to some studies ragarding back pain and heart disease, sitting is the new smoking. So Nilofer adopted "walking meetings" in her job. I have since adopted this practice myself; I love it, as do my meeting guests.

Watch this very funny presentation on how this duck expert won an Ignobel Prize. Warning: includes homosexual animal necrophilia!

Dan makes a compelling case that philanthropies would be far more beneficial if they set aside their obsession with efficiency. Just as for-profits do, charities should be willing to spend money to attract the best and brightest people, and to market their mission to donors. 

Edith gives a great account of how she and two others got the first video ever of giant deep sea squid. Attract the animals - dont scare them.

Beardyman, Champion Beatboxer. 
If TED posts this talk, watch the first five minutes (it's amazing) and skip the rest.

BLACK is the world champion at Yo-yo, which he has now elevated to a performance art.

7 TED Balloons

Miranda Wans and Jeanny Yao
Continuing the theme of teenage inventors, these girls presented their science fair project on how they found bacteria that can break down plastic garbage.

This is an interesting and important talk on the sorry state of sanitation around the world today.

Lisa gives a fun talk on how books have helped her throughout life.

How can we best help our fellow human beings? Princeton Ethics Professor thinks analytically about this question, challenging us to step up our contributions.

6 TED Balloons

Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Professor
Tech progress is accelerating, and productivity has increased more in the 2000-2010 decade than the prior three decades. It is the New Machine Age where computers enable many other productivity advances, just as prior revolutions did. The internet is digital, exponential, and combinatorial. Today the  growth in productivity comes not from machines themselves but from novel ways to use them. The world's chess champ today is neither the best player nor the best computer - it is a team of good players playing with common computers.

Also when economists measure economic growth, they miss a lot of economic value, such as the $300 billion of free internet content. Incorporating those gains indicates a higher standard of living.

But it's not all sunshine and rose. The tech boom does displace a lot of jobs, so people have to embrace the tech changes and adapt to it.

Later on Erik and I debated as to whether the tech boom of the last decade will ultimately be a net creator or detractor of jobs. Erik says detractor.

Denise Herzing
Denise is the Jane Goodall of Dolphin studies. She studies these self-aware, tool-wileding animals who, next to humans, have the highest ratio of brain-to-body volume.

Rodney Brooks, roboticist
Rodney presented Baxter, a safe friendly industrial robot. Rather than build cold robots that displace people, he believes robots need to be easy, safe and friendly so that workers and consumers embrace them in every part of their home and work life. Baxter is porgrammable simply by moving his arms around as you want him to do.

James Lyne
The founder of Sophos surveys today's cybersecurity threats.

Meg Jay, therapist 
Meg counsels 20-somethings to take life more seriously - not to waste away their decade. (This is the Republican counterpart to Steve Jobs' advice to explore, not worry.) Bad advice, but well delivered!

Disappointing talk by an impressive scientist/engineer/author/inventor.

Alex Laskey
The CEO of Opower gave a well delivered talk. He reported that the best way to get utility customers to conserve energy is to show them how they compare to their neighbors.

Dong Woo Jang
Fun story of a boy's fascination's with bows and arrows. 

5 TED Balloons

Allan discovered that despite common knowledge, animal grazing actually prevents desertification.

4 TED Balloons

Orly Wahba
Orly passes out cards to people reminding them to be kind.

Leyla Acaroglu
Better design can promote conservation.

Neil Gershenfeld, Peter Gabriel, Vint Cerf
This all-star team hopes to extend the internet to species beyond human beings, and not just terrestrial species! Their videos of animals "using the internet" were not compelling.

Celebrated the progress being made in fighting extreme poverty in the world. He promised to give a fact based talk but there was a lot of literal hand-waving and aimless rambling.

3 TED Balloons

Lesley Perkes
Lesley perpetrates a hybrid of art and vandalism in Johannesburg.

This reputable professor came to argue that the secular pattern of economic growth is over, but his presentation was surprisingly lame.

Gordon observed that we saw big advances in the twentieth century due to electricity, plumbing and computers. But now there doesn't seem to be anything on the horizon to drive as much growth in the standard of living and economic growth. He echoed the patent officer who in 1899 declared that everything that can be invented has already been invented, and Lord Kalvin who deemed it impossible to ever again make discoveries in physics. His evidence that innovation is done is that he himself can't figure out what those innovations will be!

Gordon argued that the long term 2% growth rate will be diminished by headwinds of debt and inequality. As if there were never any headwinds in the past, such as war, disease, inequality and recession!

Gordon piled on with ridiculous, grumpy Grandpa comments, like "How does Twitter help an unemployed auto worker?" and "How can there be progress when airplanes go no faster today than they did in the 70's?"

After, he and Erik Brynjolffson debated as to whether things will get better or worse. Erik was respectful and Robert was downright rude and petulant. When Chris polled the audience, Robert blurted out "You cheated!" and then "I saw at least ten hands go up for me that weren't there before!"

Photojournalist showed stunning photos of human suffering, then told how he restored the rainforest to his family land in Brazil, planting 2 million trees. After, his photo journalism became much more upbeat, showing the success of local species including humans.

Michael Green
Michael thinks wooden skyscrapers would be ecologically better than steel, and not fall down, go boom.

Jinsop Lee
Jinsop is an industrial designer who believes that you can improve customer satisfaction by incorporating more senses into every product experience.

Saki Mafundikwa
Saki opened a school of graphics art design in Zimbabwe.

Kate Stone
Kate presents the extraordinary invention of interactive paper. Would have been interesting in 1998.

2 TED Balloons

Yu Jordy Fu
Yu presents photos of her sculptures and interior designs, telling us how beautiful they are. "Wouldn't everyone want this?" Well, no.

Wang Li
Performs "music" on a ukeke and a calabash.

1 TED Balloon

Saskia Sassen
Saskia talks about city development.

          BE GRATEFUL        
3 things that I'm grateful for today:

1) I'm grateful for the invention of vending machine. Thanks for those who invented it. At sydney airport this morning, I'm having fun 'playing' with this machine. Of course i have to pay to get what i want but at least i love to see the robotic 'hand' grab a water bottle according to the number that i chose. I ended up bought 3 bottles of water just to watch this machine operates. It's funny how silly thing like this very joyful to me.

2) I'm grateful to be able to let an old uncle that queed up at the toilet in KLIA2 arrival hall to use the toilet first. Yes according to all people that waiting outside the toilet i should be the one who goes in when the toilet is vacant. But i let that uncle because he seems really need it at that time. And that's kinda cool because i still can hold mine. Doing good to other's unconsciously give us a good feeling anyway.

3) I'm grateful that the bus from TBS delayed for an hour. It's not something that we all want but when it happened we have no control about it. So just accept it and use the time wisely. At least within that one hour delayed i had a chance to perform prayer and charge my smartphone so i could deliver this status to my FB friends. In a bad things there's always a good thing lie beneath it. We just have to change the way we think about the situation. You'll be surprised how it will change your life if you do so.

Ok that's 3 for today. Of course I'm so grateful to have a safe flight landing from sydney to Kuala Lumpur but since I've already mentioned it before so i just don't rewrite that gratitude again.


In a day there always a lot of stuff that we need to be grateful for. And i hope we will start to realize that.

Good night all.

          By: Gringo        
<b>The Roboticization of Customer Service</b> Years ago I ordered a hamburger at a McDonalds. After I ordered the hamburger, the clerk added an undoubtedly scripted question, "With fries?" I replied, "If I wanted fries, I would have requested them." The hamburger arrived with fries: the clerk, whose accent showed that English was her second language, hadn't understood my response. I complained to the manager, who took the fries off my order. Though it took years, McDonalds is finally doing something about its English language-challenged employees. It has implemented an online management training program which includes instruction in English as a Second Language. Call it fast-food English. My brother was involved in designing and implementing a bank's automated phone messaging system. I told my brother that when he dies, St. Peter will hold that against him.
          Foxconn Dangles $10 Billion Tech Investment to Create U.S. Jobs         

Foxconn employs 1 million people in China but is also one of the largest investors in robotic technology to try and mitigate its reliance on human labour. Any factory built in the USA will likely employ a lot of people in the construction phase but will be highly automated to control headcount.

          Inside China's Plans for World Robot Domination         

The big question for robot manufacturers is will China do for their sector what it did for the solar sector? My sense of the challenges involved is that Chinese dominance of the robotics sector is a medium-term rather than short-term possibility. The companies involved have a lot of progress than needs to be made in developing software, optics and interfaces to truly challenge incumbents. However we can be reasonably assured they will be get better every year.

          Introducing Handle         

Perhaps the most important point is not so much what the robot can achieve today but how much better it is than recent iterations. The pace of innovation is as important as the end result in many respects. The leaps being made in robotics are being enabled by the pace of innovation in artificial intelligence, computing power, optics, batteries and hardware. Could we then think about robots as the physical manifestation of the pace of technological innovation?

          Workshop on Hydraulic & Electro Hydraulic - Prolific Systems And Technologies Pvt. Ltd. , Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Al Kuwait, Salalah, Manama, Mumbai         
Training Objectives:
This course is designed to enable participants to:
• Recall and describe key concepts of the basic hydraulic course including the basic theory and key items of safety
• Identify good maintenance practices for working on hydraulic systems
• Describe the construction, operation and main failures of the following hydraulic components: – Pumps – Motors – Directional control valves – Pressure control valves – Flow control valves
• Develop the skills to design and understand hydraulic circuits
• Describe fundamental concepts for electro hydraulic and automation, and how they can apply to hydraulic systems
Advanced Industrial Hydraulics

I. Overview
  • Hydraulic Curriculum
  • Industrial Safety
  • Stored Energy System Safety
II. Review of Basic Hydraulics and Maintenance Practices
  • Basic Hydraulics Course Review
  • Good Maintenance Practices
III. Hydraulic Pumps and Motors
  • Centrifugal Pumps
  • Positive Displacement Pumps
  • Pumps Maintenance and Troubleshooting
  • Other Pump Related Concepts
  • Hydraulic Motors
IV. Directional Control Valves
  • Check Valves
(One-way Directional Control Valves)
  • D. Two-Way Valves
  • E. Three-Way Valves
  • F. Four-Way Valves
  • G. Servo and Proportional Valves
  • H. Spool Overlap
  • Installation and Maintenance Guidelines
V. Pressure Control Valves
  • Pressure Relief Valves
  • Sequence Valves
  • Counter Balance Valves
  • Pressure Reducing Valves
VI. Flow Control Valves
  • Nonpressure-Compensated Flow
  • Control Valves
  • Pressure-Compensated Flow Control Valves
  • Temperature-Compensated Flow Control Valves
VII. Hydraulic Circuits
  • Typical Hydraulic Circuits
  • Designing Circuits
VIII. Electro-hydraulics
  • Digital Logic
  • Electrical Devices in Hydraulics
  • Electrical Circuits
  • Introduction to PLCs
  • Robotics Principles
IX. Hydraulic Onsite Exercises



          AMA and Fly Robotics to Offer Public Safety UAS Training Courses Across the Country in 2017        

The AMA and Fly Robotics announce the release of a hands-on training course for public safety officers.

(PRWeb December 12, 2016)

Read the full story at

          AMA and Fly Robotics to Release Part 107 Course        

The AMA, in conjunction with Fly Robotics, releases Part 107 preparatory course.

(PRWeb November 14, 2016)

Read the full story at

          Academy of Model Aeronautics, Fly Robotics, and Civil Air Patrol Team Up to Provide sUAS Training to Cadets        

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is proud to announce that in conjunction with its longstanding partnership with Civil Air Patrol (CAP), they will now offer sUAS ground school powered by Fly Robotics to thousands of cadets across the country.

(PRWeb December 29, 2015)

Read the full story at

          D P BuZZ - October 14, 2010        

This week’s episode of the world’s only interactive talk radio program covering Digital Production, Post Production and Distribution is filled with great information and entertainment designed for the independent filmmaker or industry professional.

Join host Larry Jordan, and co-host Michael Horton, as they talk with:

Jason Chong is an editor based in Adelaide, Australia who did comedy as a hobby until he figured out how to marry it into his full-time career as a filmmaker. He’s cut several TV series, docs, short films and corporate videos and in his spare time he teaches Final Cut. We’re curious about his comedy and how he uses it in his marketing!

We’ve been a big fan of Data Robotics, starting with when they created a Drobo that was fast enough to use for editing! Mark Fuccio, Sr. Director of Products and Markets visits the BuZZ to tell us about their their newest release – the DroboPro FS. This new member of their family makes it easy to share files in the office without investing in a server.

David Light is one of those unexpected D-Lights! A true renaissance man, he is a working actor, executive producer, author of two books and keeps himself busy in his spare time performing his poetry. We’re, ah, not totally sure what the connection is between all this, but we are fascinated to learn more!

Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance joins us regularly to talk about technical and business issues related to the entertainment industry. On this week’s BuZZ he shares his very insightful views about how indie producers can create a business model right at the start to make their projects successful.

          Digital Video Expo - Day 4 - October 2, 2010        

The Expo Concludes

The show floor at Digital Video Expo 2010 has closed and the vendors have gone home, but we had so many great interviews that we wante dto share the rest of them with you.

Join host Larry Jordan, live from our booth on the show floor, as he talks with:

  • Tom Coughlin, president of Tom Coughlin & Associates, is a consultant and analyst covering storage media. Recently, with the advent of 3D and higher image resolutions, file storage for media has moved from gigabytes to terabytes and now, PETAbytes! Where are we gonna put all this stuff? Tom will explain.
  • Richard Schleuning, national sales manager for Carl Zeiss, knows camera lenses. Today, he joins us to discuss the differences between prime and zoom lenses, and how to decide which is right for your.
  • Rod Clark, director of marketing for Teradek, has an amazing new box that allows you to wirelessly stream signals from your video camera anywhere in the world. Imagine having your producers track your production FAR from the studio floor!
  • Scott Kase, director of marketing for, helps us sell our used gear. In fact, they can either buy your gear, or help you sell it directly -- all for a VERY reasonable fee.
  • Jeff Stansfield, CEO of Advantage Video Systems, is a system integrator who can help make sure the gear you buy is properly hooked up and functioning.
  • Jehu Garcia, CEO of JAG35, was a starving filmmaker just a few years ago. He never forgot how unaffordable a lot of camera gear is, so he created a company that specializes in high-quality, low-cost gear for the student and independent filmmaker.
  • Vic Anthony, CEO of Affordable Sound Stages, stops by to share his thoughts on what producers need to know to rent stages for their productions.
  • Rachel Kenton, sales associate for Zacuto, explains the newest products for camera support from Zacuto.

These Digital Video Expo Special Reports are sponsored by Data Robotics, makers of Drobo, and we are grateful!

          Enhanced Fiber Optic Position Sensor Now Features 14-Bit Resolution        

Micronor, Inc. introduces its MR330 series Fiber Optic Absolute Position Sensor System featuring 14-bit single-turn resolution

Newbury Park, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/02/2014 -- ( The Micronor MR330 series Fiber Optic Absolute Position Sensor System now features 14-bit single-turn resolution. The enhanced performance is accomplished via improved electronics and new firmware-based algorithm update to the MR330-1 SSI Controller Module which is backwards compatible with earlier units. Rotary sensors are offered in two models - Standard MR332 and MRI Safe MR338.

The absolute rotary encoder measures absolute angular position from 0° to 360° via programmable 13-bit (8,192 count) or 14-bit (13,950 count) resolution at speeds exceeding 2500 rpm. System firmware also tracks turns up to 12-bits (4096 revolutions). The controller features multiple built-in interfaces for maximum system compatibility and utility: SSI, USB, RS485 Serial, Modbus RTU, two analog outputs (4-20mA and ±10V) and two digital set points.

The MR330 series position sensor is an innovative all-optical design immune to any electro-magnetic interference such as lightening, radiation, magnetic fields and other harsh environmental conditions. The fiber optic aspect of the sensor also makes it perfectly suited for long distance position sensing over hundreds of meters without being affected by ground loop problems. The system outperforms resolvers and conventional electronics-based encoders by providing inherently safe operation and interference-free sensor transmission over distances exceeding 300 meters.

The sensor uses a novel optical technique em bedded in a passive sensor and active controller connected by a duplex fiber optic link. The controller transmits a burst of light to the code disk in the sensor which accurately modulates the spectral components of the light based on angular position. The position information is imprinted in the optical spectrum of the light and guided back to the controller for a precise position readout. The sensor requires no electrical power and houses no electronic components whatsoever.

The MR330's accuracy and EMI immunity make it an ideal sensor for applications that require precise motion control and position measurement in challenging environments: oil rigs, satellite antennas, solar panel arrays, actuator systems, transportation systems, steel mills and medical instrumentation. The sensor is also classified as a "inherently safe, simple apparatus" and meets ATEX requirements for use in mines, gaseous and dust-based explosive environments. The sensor's immunity to lightning and high voltage arcing also make it especially suited for outdoor applications such as wind turbines and antenna towers as well as robotic welding systems.

For more information please visit

About Micronor
Since 1968, Micronor has been a leading global supplier of automation and motion control products for industrial applications as well as military, aerospace, medical and other harsh/hazardous environments. Products include fiber optic sensors, encoders, resolvers, rotary limit switches, motorized potentiometers, pulse generator, and custom engineered feedback and control units. Micronor has facilities in California-USA and Switzerland.

For the original version on IndustrialPR visit:

This news release was distributed by

For more information on this press release visit:

Media Relations Contact

Dennis Horwitz
Micronor Inc.
Telephone: 805-499-0114
Email: Click to Email Dennis Horwitz

          D P BuZZ - 2010 NAB Show Special Report #8        
NAB Show 08 - April 17

This is the eighth in our series of NAB Special Reports and wraps up our coverage of the 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

Today's show starts with Mark Fuccio, Senior Director of Products and Markets for Data Robotics, talking about their two newest RAID products; one of which is designed to make creating network storage as easy as connecting one cable.

Les Zellan is the CEO of Cooke Optics, makers of high-quality camera lenses. During our conversation we talk about the process of making a lens and the difference between zoom and prime lenses.

Rob Caldeira, Director of Product Line Management for G-Technology by Hitachi, discusses their latest line of hard disks. We also get into a discussion of the need for archiving media.

Lauren Darr, President of LOI International, runs a PR firm specializing in the broadcast industry. She is also the author of the Official International Media Outlook book. So, we talk with her about what the future of media looks like.

Lyndon Faulkner is CEO of Pelican, a maker of both shipping cases and lights. We talk about the history of this strange combination as well as what some of their latest products are.

Matt Danilowicz, President and Managing Director of Clear-com, discussed their recent sale to HME, as well as their new intercom products announced at NAB.

Finally, we wrap up with a fascinating tribute to some of the people behind the scenes that make a large trade show possible - the electricians, caterers, decorators, and everyone else that makes massive trade shows possible.

While the Producer for our NAB coverage is Cirina Catania.

          D P BuZZ - 2010 NAB Show Special Report #7        
NAB Show 07 - April 16, 2010

The 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas ended Thursday, but our coverage of the show continues for two more shows as we catch up on literally hundreds of interviews. Located directly on the show floor, the Digital Production Buzz booth was set right in the heart of the action at the show.

This is the seventh in our series of NAB Special Reports.

Today's show starts with Barb Dehart, VP of Marketing for Telestream, about the new enhancements to their compression line of products.

Eliot Mack, Founder and CEO of Lightcraft Technology, who co-invented the Roomba robotic vacuum, then turned that knowledge into creating a real-time virtual studio that fits into a suitcase.

Philip Hodgetts, CEO of Intelligent Assistance, gives us his take on all the 3D announcements at NAB.

Mitch Jacobson is a producer, director, and editor, specializing in multi-camera productions. (He recently edited a 26 camera music video for Sir Paul McCarthey!) He's written a book on editing multicamera and joins us today to talk about it. (Oh, and if you listen, you'll learn on how you can edit your own 18 camera music video with Sir Paul.)

Michael Accardi is the President of Anton/Bauer. He joins us today to talk about the choices available in battery technology, how to pick the right battery for your needs, and where battery technology is headed.

Charles D'Autremont, Chief Technical Officer of Cinedeck, has created a new solid-state-drive specifically designed to replace HD tape decks. He's brings a working copy with him to show.

And Michael Kammes, another of our Special Correspondents, provides his thoughts on his favorite new software showcased in the South Hall.

We've posted dozens of news reports and over 140 interviews in our hourly News Briefs from our reporters covering the show. For all the latest news, visit

The Producer for our NAB coverage is Cirina Catania.

          â€˜Westworld’ Season 2 Looks Bloodier Than Ever!!!        
Hey guys, Jana here, Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park allows its visitors to live out their most primal fantasies with the robotic “hosts.” However, the robotic hosts have evolved an artificial consciousness that is similar to, yet diverges from, human consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy […]
          Thomas Pesquet Completes 2nd Spacewalk        
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough left the International Space Station airlock last Friday on their second spacewalk together. They spent six hours and 34 minutes outside working on upgrading the Space Station's computer systems, replacing lights, checking for leaks in the cooling system and maintaining the Dextre robotic hand. Working alone in space Thomas and Shane worked separately throughout their sortie. Thomas commented, "We saw each other only twice: a...
          Surviving the Long Dark Night of the Moon        
Designers of future Moon missions and bases have to contend with a chilling challenge: how might their creations endure the fortnight-long lunar night? ESA has arrived at a low-cost way of surviving. During prolonged night, when the surface is lit only by blue Earthlight, temperatures dip below -170C. Some locations at higher latitudes have shorter nights, though others have much longer or even permanent darkness. Numerous robotic missions have perished during this prolonged cold. Russia'...
          Isis Study, October 22, 2012.        
Summary and comments on Isis study held on October 22, 2012 at Bangalore ULT 


Chapter XI : Realities and Illusions

Pages covered : p. 483-487 (Volume I)

Continuing the discourse on the phenomenon  of Suspended Animation and on the signs of real  death as distinguished from the apparent death, the teachings of the Occult philosophy is given by the Teachers, by which students can discern the vast hiatus between Occult Science and modern Science.

Many a remarkable  recorded cases of suspended animation in the 19th century is given. No doubt numerous cases of the phenomenon are recorded in the contemporary times also. We only have to seek them and bring them to light.

The remarkable case of the wife of a wealthy merchant in Moscow is cited. She was in a cataleptic state for seventeen days and the civic authorities of Moscow made attempts to dispose off the body. But the family members were wiser in that, having noticed that the decomposition of the body had not set-in, averted the funeral ceremony. After seventeen days she spontaneously revived and lived

Even our modern day medical profession would have pronounced her dead. This only shows that the medical profession even today is unable to be absolutely certain when exactly a person is really dead, as the occult inner-life dynamics are out of the reach of the methods of modern empirical science. What are the occult laws in operation in such cases ?

In cases of spontaneous re-animation of the dead, the recovery is due to an effort of the spirit of the dead person, which may be provoked by numerous causes. In such cases, as well in those cases in which the dead is brought back to life by the exercise of the will power of the thaumaturgist :

The astral body of the dead person has not parted from the physical body; the external functions are simply suspended; the subject is not really dead but in a state of torpor, and restoration is nothing but  a recovery from it.

What do Kabalists say as contrasted with the views of modern medicine?

 They say that death occurs at the instant when both the astral body (or the life-principle) and the spirit part for ever. Those who can see without error on inner hidden planes of being can know it.

Modern science, confined to the physical laws alone, cannot know the moment of separation of the inner from the outer man. Moreover, modern science denies both the astral body and the spirit, but admits nothing more than the life-principle. It, therefore, judges death when life is apparently absent. So, the criteria by which modern science judges death are : cessation of the functions of the heart and the lungs; setting-in of rigor mortis; and setting-in of decomposition of the body.

But the annals of modern medicine is full of recorded cases of “suspended animation” of people pronounced dead due to asphyxiation by drowning, inhalation of gases and other causes. Persons apparently dead due to drowning, even after 12 hours, have recovered.

There is still a most remarkable phenomenon of clear signs of death of those who go into somnambulistic trance. In such cases all the signs of clinical death are apparent.. Breathing and pulse are extinct, body heat has disappeared, muscles are rigid, eyes glazed and body colourless. A case of one Colonel Townhend is cited. He had a remarkable gift of dying any instant and recovering from death. He threw himself into trance before three medical professionals, who, finding all signs of death clearly present, were persuaded that he was dead. He then slowly revived and came back to life.

It may be noted that this power of voluntary suspended animation and revival after days and months of apparent death is quite common among Indian Yogis and Fakirs. They know practically the science of Life in both the physical and the metaphysical aspects. 

Signs of Real Death

 A man is not dead when the body is cold, stiff, pulseless, breathless, and even when displaying signs of decomposition. A man is not dead when buried, not afterwards, until a certain point is reached. That point is : when the vital organs have become so decomposed, that if re-animated, they could not perform their customary functions; the mainspring and the cogs of the machine, so to speak, are so rusted that they would snap upon turning the key. Until that point is reached, the astral body may be caused, without miracle, to re-enter its former tabernacle : either by its own will, or under the resistless impulse of the will of the one who knows the potencies of nature and how to direct them.

Limits of suspended animation and revival

 How do Fakirs remain apparently dead for weeks and months and revive ?  What are the limitations ? Prof. William Gregory’s Letters on Animal Magnetism is cited in which is described cases of most profound  clairvoyant catalepsy, obtained by the famous 19th century Mesmerist, Baron Du Potet. The spirit is so far disengaged from the body that it is impossible to re-enter it without the effort of the mesmerizer’s will. The subject is practically dead, and, left to itself, the spirit would escape for ever. But the half-freed spirit is still tied to the body by a magnetic cord. It is described by the clairvoyants as appearing dark and smoky by contrast with the ineffable brightness of the astral atmosphere through which they look.

Once the magnetic thread is snapped, nothing can make the spirit to reanimate the body it has left. As long as the cord is intact, strong will of the mesmerizer can force it back into the body.

The great French Occultist, Eliphas Levy, says that resuscitation is  possible while the vital organism remains undestroyed, and the astral spirit is within reach.

Making statues walk and talk.

  The same knowledge and control of occult forces, by which a Fakir can temporarily leave the body and re-enter it at will, or force the astral spirit of the dead person to re-animate the body it has quit, as did Jesus, Elisha, Hierophants can also animate statues, make them walk and talk like living men, and even prophecy.

 It is by the same knowledge and power that Paracelsus, the famous but misunderstood Occultist of 15th century Europe, to animate mandrogora (mandrake plants), Moses to cover Egypt with frogs and other pets, Aaron to turn his rod into a snake and a budding branch. There is nothing miraculous in this any more than the modern bio-chemists is able to culture a given kind of bacteria in his laboratory. The difference between the two is that the field of research of the former extended far into metaphysics and the latter is limited to physical and biological laws.

While modern science speculates on artificial intelligence, and creates it in robotics, still the hiatus between it and the truly human consciousness is impassable. But the ancients had the knowledge of infusing life and superior consciousness in inanimate objects making them talk, move about like living beings, and impart knowledge, prognosticate future events.

Ancient Theurgists and prophets performed wondrous feats by a thorough knowledge of the god-like powers of man who is the Micrcosm of the Macrocosm :

 When the present perfected European civilization was yet in its formative years, Occult Philosophy, already hoary with age, speculated upon the attributes of man by analogy with those of the Creator, and great Occultists demonstrated to their pupils by the example of their own persons how far could the god-like powers can be developed in man, the Microcosmos.



          Advanced robotic arm control using Kinect        

[Ryan Lloyd], [Sandeep Dhull], and [Ruben D’Sa] wrote in to share a robotics project they have been keeping busy with lately. The three University of Minnesota students are using a Kinect sensor to remotely control a robotic arm, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Using OpenNI alongside PrimeSense, the team started out by doing some simple skeleton tracking before working with their robotic arm. The arm has five degrees of freedom, making the task of controlling it a bit tricky. The robot has quite a few joints to play with, so the trio not only tracks shoulder, elbow, …read more

           Genetic Algorithm based Modification of Production Schedule for Variance Minimisation of Energy Consumption         
Duerden, Christopher James, Shark, Lik, Hall, Geoff and Howe, Joseph Mark (2014) Genetic Algorithm based Modification of Production Schedule for Variance Minimisation of Energy Consumption. In: International Conference on Intelligent Automation and Robotics 2014, 22nd-24th October 2014, San Francisco, USA.
          Kuri robot will (hopefully) record your family's precious moments        

If you're a parent, you probably dread the thought of missing an important moment in your child's life. Do you really want to be in the other room when your little one takes those first steps? Mayfield Robotics thinks it can be there even when you can't. It's adding yet another feature to its upcoming Kuri home robot that will record moments independently. The tiny companion will use a mix of machine learning and image recognition to determine when it should start capturing video, using your preferences as a guide. Ideally, this will catch your kids' playtime or an impromptu dance party without asking you to lift a finger -- and the more it records, the more it should understand your tastes.

Source: Kuri Blog

          Will we be able to control the killer robots of tomorrow?        

From ship-hunting Tomahawk missiles and sub-spying drone ships to semi-autonomous UAV swarms and situationally-aware reconnaissance robots, the Pentagon has long sought to protect its human forces with the use of robotic weapons. But as these systems gain ever-greater degrees of intelligence and independence, their increasing autonomy has some critics worried that humans are ceding too much power to devices whose decision-making processes we don't fully understand (and which we may not be entirely able to control).

          Ð—ащо Стив Джобс не позволяваше на децата си да използват смарт технологии        
И защо не трябва да го правиш и ти като родител. Ако и ти също като нас си попаднал в ерата на „Y-поколението”, то със сигурност често си задаваш въпроса как ли ще отгледаш децата си. Светът около нас толкова много се промени през последните години, в сравнение с 80-те и 90-те, когато самите ние бяхме деца. Особено щом стане дума за развитието на технологиите. Наистина ли имаме толкова голяма нужда от тези джаджи и устройства? Ще позволим ли децата ни да бъдат погълнати от технологии като IPad? И какъв ли ще бъде ефектът от тях върху тези най-ценни за нас създания? Джобс не би го допуснал и с право. Дори той като основател на Apple е знаел къде да сложи границата. Не се съмняваме, че технологията може да подобри живота ни. Но когато с нея се злоупотребява, това води до разрушителна пристрастеност. Според проучване, проведено през 2013 г. 38% от децата в САЩ под 2 годишна възраст вече са използвали Iphone или IPad. С други думи казано бебетата днес се запознават с джаджите много преди да могат да съставят правилни изречения. А около 1/3 от децата между 8 и 10 години притежават собствен мобилен телефон. Наистина ли всичко това е неоходимо? Когато през 2010 г. репортерът Ник Билтън взима интервю от Стив Джобс за New York Times, той му задава интересен въпрос: „Сигурно Вашите деца обожават IPad? Сигурен съм, че собственикът на Apple ще се постарае децата му винаги да са в час с най – новите устройства, нали?” Отговорът на Джобс обаче изумява не само репортера, но и целия свят: „Те никога не са го използвали. Ние ограничаваме достъпа на децата ни до технологиите вкъщи”. По времето, когато iPad завладя света, дъщерите на Джобс Ерин и Ева, са били съответно на 12 и 15 години. Още по-интересно е, че покойният създател на Apple не е единственият, който мисли по този начин. Особено в Силиконовата долина, има тенденция сред техническите мениджъри и инженерите, за предпазване на децата им от технологиите. Те дори изпращали децата си в училища без всякаква техника като училище Уолдорф в Лос Алтос, където нямало компютри, за сметка на фокуса върху практическото учене. Има един цитат, който е изтъкван в Таймс от Крис Андерсон, главен изпълнителен директор на 3d Robotics, който има пет деца. Той обяснява какво кара хората, които работят в технологичната сфера да я държат далеч от децата си. Ето я и нея: „Децата ми обвиняват мен и жена ми, че сме фашистки настроени и прекалено загрижени спрямо използването на технологии, изтъкват факта че никой от приятелите им не е подложен на тези правила... Това е така понеже ние виждаме опасността от здравата ръка на технологиите. Виждал съм как влияе на мен и не искам да виждам това и при децата ми.” Ако сегашните ни притрастия към IPhone и други устройства е някакъв индикатор, може би ние подготвяме децата си за един непълен, ограничен живот, изключващ въображението, креативността, социалната интелигентност и любопитството, като ги пристрастяваме към технологията от най-ранна възраст. Ние ли бяхме последното поколение, което играеше навън, именно защото нямаше мобилни телефони и лаптопи? Ние ли ще бъдем и тези, които за последно се учиха чрез движение, докосване и поглъщахме информация чрез книги и контакти с другите хора, като противоположност на търсенето с Google? Ако не искаме отговорът да бъде положителен, трябва да сме по-притеснени от това, че заробваме децата си с възможностите да Snapchat-ват и да играят на “Candy Crush” по цял ден и да им вземем телефоните. И да не се притесняваме повече от това, че ограбваме тяхното лично развитие, ако изберем да не им даваме смартфон. Стив Джобс има право по отношение на децата си. Прекалената употреба на технологии, както знаем предизвиква избухливост, намалява уменията за изчакване, намалява способностат за писане, свързва се още с неща като хиперактивност, обсесии, мозъчен тумор. Така че следващия път, когато се замислиш как да отглеждаш децата си, внимателно обмисли варианта да не им позволяваш достъп до каквито и да е технологии преди да порастнат. Играй с тях навън и ги обгради с природа. Може да те намразят, но ще са ти много благодарни по-късно. Играейки навън, те ще развият много по-богати умения и адаптивност към околната среда, отколкото с iPad в ръка. Те трябва да се учат от книгите и от контактите си с хората около тях, а не от свободното интернет пространство и търсачката Google. Защото няма нищо по-хубаво от това детството им да бъде запълнено със спомени от игрите навън, вместо с такива от залепеното им пред монитора или екрана лице. А вие как мислите?
          LEGO Boost: Continuing to Renew & Extend the Core         
Great firms don't simply diversify into new businesses when their core business appears to be maturing.  Diversification attempts sometimes have two deleterious effects.  First, companies find themselves extending into areas in which they do not have distinctive capabilities that can lead to competitive advantage.  Second, the attention focused on the new businesses can accelerate deterioration of the core, as management becomes distracted and resources stretched thin.   Top performing firms search for ways to deepen their competitive position, to reinvigorate their core business.  Great firms don't simply accept the apparent decline of their core business.  

LEGO went through some substantial challenges in the early 2000s. Jargon Vig Knudstorp became CEO in 2004, and he engineered a remarkable turnaround.   He focused on what made the firm successful for decades - the LEGO bricks and the play associated with those iconic bricks.   Over time, LEGO has reinvigorated the brand and the famous LEGO bricks.  Moreover, the firm has deepened its competitive position with new product offerings and brand building efforts such as the LEGO movie.  

Now the Wall Street Journal reports on the introduction of a new line of products called LEGO Boost.  The products seek to capitalize on the movement to teach kids how to code.   Geoffrey Fowler reports:

Learning programming is awesome when you’re making Lego robots fart. “Usually Legos cannot fart, so we made these Legos fart a lot,” says Eleanor, 9 years old, who helped me code dance moves, jokes and simulated bodily functions into Lego Boost, a new take on the iconic bricks. “Also burp. Don’t forget the burping,” she adds.  Making Lego bricks come to life is a big deal for children aged 7 to 12—as well as for parents who want to teach them the basics of programming.

This new product line appears to build nicely off of the success of the company's Mindstorms products.  Mindstorms is used to teach older kids about robotics.  The Boost product line aims to introduce coding to younger children (ages 7-12).   The product line is consistent with the brand positioning, and it leverages what the company is already good at doing.  LEGO Boost appears to be another way in which LEGO continues to reinvigorate the core business and deepen its competitive position, rather than trying to do new things for which LEGO does not have a distinctive capability.  

          Jigabot soon to release AIMe the robotic camera device that keeps all yo...        

          How Tom Holland Went Undercover at a Bronx High School to Prepare for Spider-Man: Homecoming        

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Halfway through his senior year at the Bronx High School of Science, Arun Bishop received an unexpected request. He was sitting in the principal's office chatting casually with an adviser when the vice principal approached him with an offer from Marvel Studios.

Marvel wanted to send the newest Spider-Man—the London-born actor Tom Holland—to high school so he could better understand his role as the teen Peter Parker. But because Parker is a brilliant tech whiz at the fictional Midtown School of Science and Technology, there was only one place Holland could go.

You see, the Bronx High School of Science is not your run-of-the-mill high school. It is consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in the country, and students must score highly on a competitive New York City-wide exam to gain entry.

The public school's list of notable alumni is so extensive that it has its own Wikipedia page and includes eight Nobel Prize winners, the celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and the "Iron Man" and "Elf" director Jon Favreau. (Full disclosure: I also attended Bronx Science, but I have yet to make it onto the Wikipedia page.)

Marvel wanted Holland to shadow a student who was pursuing a STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—curriculum similar to what Parker would be studying, and Bishop quickly emerged as a prime candidate. As a senior, Bishop was the captain of the school's robotics team and was taking high-level science classes.

Bishop—a big Marvel fan who lists Iron Man as his favorite Avenger because of his love of robotics—quickly agreed to let Holland shadow him for a couple of days.

"I've never been huge on celebrities. I never followed that sort of stuff," Bishop told Business Insider. "But I thought it'd be a really cool experience."

At the beginning of February 2016, Holland arrived at Bronx Science and met Bishop in the courtyard before school started. The pair got to know each other a bit and reviewed Holland's backstory.

Because Marvel wanted Holland to get as close to an authentic experience as possible, he had to go undercover. In addition to Bishop, the only other people who would know Holland's true identity were his teachers and a few members of the administration.

Holland would use an American accent and introduce himself to other students as Bishop's cousin Ben. Any questions about how he got into Bronx Science without taking the entrance exam would be explained away by saying his father was in the military and recently was stationed in New York.

The plan was almost foiled from the start. The school had provided Holland with an ID card so he could swipe in at the beginning of the day. However, instead of creating one with a unique card number, it instead made a copy of Bishop's, with a different photo and name. When the pair entered the school, the system registered it as someone trying to swipe in twice and sounded the alarm. Security came over, but they explained the situation and carried on without attracting too much attention. From there, it was time to go to class.

"What Marvel wanted was just to get the experience of a typical STEM high schooler's life," Bishop said. "They didn't want me to do anything special—just walk through the day as I would any other day."

With a backpack in tow, Holland accompanied Bishop through his STEM-intensive schedule. The actor sat in on Advanced Placement physics; linear algebra and differential equations; experimental engineering; AP calculus AB; AP English literature; and AP microeconomics.

"I felt a little bad for him, having to go through my entire schedule," Bishop said. "If you don't know what's going on, those 40-minute classes must be boring."

But even though most of the course material was going over his head, Holland was enjoying himself. In England, he had been to only all-boys schools, and he told Bishop it was "a little funny" to be in a coed classroom.

After their first day together, Bishop said it was easy to forget that Holland would soon be one of the most recognizable people in the world. He said the actor was very easy to talk to and that it got to the point where he just felt like he was talking to another friend.

"I kept reminding myself: 'This is Tom Holland. He's gonna be Spider-Man for Marvel,'" Bishop said. "It's weird now when I see him in a commercial or something. There's a disassociation where my brain knows I've talked to this guy and shown him around school, but seeing him on the screen is different."

By the second day, the thrill of being undercover was wearing off, and Holland was starting to experience a feeling most high schoolers have daily: boredom. To pass the time, he tried to convince some people that he was Spider-Man. It wasn't that easy, though.

"Most of them wouldn't believe him at all. Because that just doesn't make sense, right?" Bishop told Business Insider. "Why, at Bronx Science, would there be an actor who's been shadowing me for a day and a half?"

Bishop and Holland went out into the courtyard during their lunch period to have some fun. Holland would ask students if they would mind answering a few questions about Marvel, and Bishop would film the interaction on Holland's phone.

"He'd ask them: 'Do you watch Marvel Movies? Who's your favorite superhero? What do you think of the new Spider-Man actor?'" Bishop said. "It was crazy; nobody recognized him."

Bishop and Holland did manage to convince one group of girls that Holland was Spider-Man by showing them his ID and having them look him up on their phones. When the girls realized a celebrity was in their midst, they "went a little crazy," Bishop said.

At the end of Holland's two days undercover, the pair parted ways. Holland left to begin filming the first of six films in which he'll play the famous wall-crawler.

Bishop is now a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science. Though he was selected to help Holland better understand the life of Parker, his career goals line up more closely with those of Tony Stark: Bishop hopes to one day obtain his master's and work in the field of robotics.

And now that Spider-Man: Homecoming is taking the box office by storm?

"I have obviously bragged a little," Bishop said. "Because why not?"

          How AI revolutionizes robotics and automotive industries        

at Japan-UK AI-Robotics Seminar, Feb 18th, 2016
          RE2 Robotics to Develop Robots for Army Combat Medics; Jorgen Pedersen Comments        
Robotic manipulation systems developer RE2 Robotics has received a second phase Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Army to build robotic technologies that would help combat medics perform their tasks in the field. RE2 Robotics said Monday the Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center intends for the robotic systems to minimize risk […]
          After-school UHV class teaches high school students about robotics, programming        
John Cesarz stood back and watched as his small robot swiveled its head back and forth to find its way through a maze.
          UHV robotics research awarded third Department of Defense grant        
The University of Houston-Victoria is moving forward with research into robot-human interaction in virtual reality settings after receiving an almost $180,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.
          Alas! Robot Enamel Pin Badge by JonTurner        

8.00 GBP

"Alas! Poor humans. I knew them, Horatiobot5000..."

A little robotic hard enamel (cloisonné) pin badge, with a rubber clutch, to add a melancholy flair to any jacket. This edition is limited to 75 pins. Measures approximately 30mm tall, and comes mounted to a hand-aged and numbered backing card printed on Canford paper.

Will be posted in a bubble envelope for protection, from the UK. Worldwide shipping can take a few weeks depending on your location.

          A Short Guide to Robot Emotions- A4 robot art print by Jon Turner- geeky robotics artwork- FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING by JonTurner        

10.00 GBP

A Short Guide To Robot Emotions- A4 robot art print by Jon Turner

No more will you be puzzled by your faithful mechanical companions, with this indispensable guide!

Professional digital art print on smooth heavy silk 200gsm paper. A4 size, 21 x 29.7 cm. Signed to the reverse. Looks perfect framed.

Will be sealed in a cellophane sleeve and shipped in a board-backed envelope for protection. Am happy to ship to a gift address if required. Worldwide shipping. This print is made to order, which can take up to two working days.


Perfect gift for the organic or non-organic lifeform of your choice; sure to ellicit emotions from even the coldest-hearted mechanical being.

If you are interested in this art, or any other piece, in a different format please just get in touch.


See my shop policies- - for info on shipping times and options, or just send me a message if you have any questions.

          A Short Guide to Robot Emotions- A4 robot art print by Jon Turner- geeky robotics artwork- FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING by JonTurner        

10.00 GBP

A Short Guide To Robot Emotions- A4 robot art print by Jon Turner

No more will you be puzzled by your faithful mechanical companions, with this indispensable guide!

Professional digital art print on smooth heavy silk 200gsm paper. A4 size, 21 x 29.7 cm. Signed to the reverse. Looks perfect framed.

Will be sealed in a cellophane sleeve and shipped in a board-backed envelope for protection. Am happy to ship to a gift address if required. This print is made to order, which can take up to two working days.


Perfect gift for the organic or non-organic lifeform of your choice; sure to ellicit emotions from even the coldest-hearted mechanical being.

If you are interested in this art, or any other piece, in a different format please just get in touch.


See my shop policies- - for info on shipping times and options, or just send me a message if you have any questions.

          A Visitor From the North- A4 art print by Jon Turner- geeky pen and ink artwork- FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING by JonTurner        

10.00 GBP

From the icy wastes of a northern land,
The colossus extends a hand;
Is it friendly? Who can say?
Just visiting, or here to stay?

A print of an original pen and ink drawing of a robotic visitor by Jon Turner.

A4 size (21x29.7cm,8.3x11.7 inches), digital print on heavy silk 200gsm paper; black ink on a white background. Signed to the reverse. Looks perfect framed, and hung in any great gallery of robotic ephemera.

Will be shipped in a cardboard tube for protection. Am happy to ship to a gift address if required. FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING! This print is made to order, which can take up to two working days.

Perfect gift for the organic or non-organic lifeform of your choice; sure to elicit emotions from even the coldest-hearted mechanical being.

To see this design in a variety of formats, as well as on phone cases, laptop skins, clocks and pillows, check out my Society6 store:

If you are interested in this art, or any other piece, in a different format please just get in touch. See more of my artwork at


See my shop policies- - for info on shipping times and options, or just send me a message if you have any questions.

          Episode 464 - Scott Thompson        

Scott Thompson of the Kids in the Hall joins us to talk robotic/exotic pets, punk rock, and hair texture.

          * Into the Night *        

Into the Night
The Space Shuttle Endeavour lights up the early morning sky at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, lifting off at 2:28 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 11.

Endeavour's mission, STS-123, will carry two new components to the International Space Station: the first section of the Japanese Kibo lab and Canada's two-armed robotic system, known as Dextre.
station crew member, Garrett Reisman, and bring back European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who has been on the station since Feb. 9.

Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

          Every time you hear of some Left Wing Nut Job talking about giving the government more control, remember this: "Governments are not in Control"        
Sweden's government is in crisis after a government agency accidentally leaked the entire country's personal details database by offshoring its storage without adequate safeguards. Two ministers have been fired and the entire government may fall.
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven confirmed on Monday that private information concerning citizens of Sweden had been exposed to serious security risks after the government outsourced IT services for the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) to IBM in 2015.
IBM, in turn, left an astounding amount of information exposed to a number of unauthorized users around the world — including the names, home addresses, and photos of every member of the police, secret military units, information from the witness-relocation program, information regarding the weight capacity of all roads and bridges, and details regarding the specifications of all government and military vehicles (and their drivers).

Apparently, the transport agency mistakenly emailed their entire database of sensitive information to marketers in plain text. And upon realizing their error, the agency decided to merely ask subscribers to delete the old message and later sent out an updated one.

Spectacular as it is, the Swedish disaster is just the latest in a seemingly unending series of similar catastrophes of which the OPM records loss , Snowden defection, State Dept secret cable loss, NSA toolkit theft are but a few well known examples. The casualties flash past like milestones in a blur. Britain's NHS lost 100,000 patient records the other day. Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lost his job today due to "documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm" proving he was corrupt. In an age where the media use unnamed sources to launder leaks and section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is allegedly used for political surveillance no one's secrets are safe. We appear to have entered the age of digital nakedness and not even politicians are immune. Hillary was supposedly robbed of her election by Russian hackers who stole her secrets and broadcast them though some of the losses may actually have been due the DNC's own careless selection of fraudsters to run their IT operation.

When the Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State runs her own unsecured private server for all her messages, when the Obama Administration uses the NSA to spy on its political opponents, when the Democrats in Congress hire a criminal Pakistani family to run it's IT services, and the Edward Snowden data leaks that have rocked the entire US government, the idea that giving the government even more control is positively scary.

These people are NOT the "best and the brightest,"  and they are not to be trusted.

Here is a list of the top ten (so far) biggest government data breaches.

10. State of Texas: 3.5 Million Affected (April 2011)
9. South Carolina Department of Revenue: 3.6 Million Affected (October 2012)
8. Tricare: 4.9 Million Affected (September 2011)
7. Georgia Secretary of State Office: 6.2 Million Affected (November 2015)
6. Office of the Texas Attorney General: 6.5 Million Affected (April 2012)
5. Virginia Department of Health Professions: 8.3 Million Affected (May 2009)
4. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM): 21.5 Million (June 2015)
3. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: 26.5 Million Affected (May 2006)
2. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA): 76 Million Affected (October 2009)
1. U.S. Voter Database: 191 Million Affected (December 2015)

Hillary famously claimed she understood the implications of artificial intelligence and robotics but does she really? Did the Swedes really? It's entirely possible that, despite their show of outward confidence no one fully understands the changes we've unleashed, least of all politicians nurtured in bureaucracy. The death of privacy appears to be an externality of the information age just as pollution was the unintended consequence of the industrial revolution. Nobody knows how much it will cost and the elite doesn't know how to deal with it.

Though governments pretend to be in control the facts suggest otherwise. Part of the problem is the government's habit of power. They've had it for so long they think it is theirs by right. Bureaucrats want the public to remain unprotected by encryption, the better to keep the public safe, though probably the better to keep everyone under control. And they're not succeeding. ...

          Robotic Sub Fails In Study of Tahoe Earthquake Fault Line        
An unmanned robotic submarine designed to explore Antarctica has taken a detour to Lake Tahoe. Its mission was to study the deepest earthquake fault line, more than 1,000 feet beneath the surface. It’s an area geologists had never seen before. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they still haven’t. Thousands of years ago a powerful earthquake shifted the ground beneath Lake Tahoe 12 to 20 feet vertically, spawning a giant tsunami. That’s what geologists believe happened, but they don’t know the details, or the exact magnitude. But Gordon Seitz with the California Geological Survey says it’s important to find out. “The thing that does have us somewhat concerned here at Lake Tahoe is that the last large earthquake appears to have happened about 4,000 years ago, and that’s about the average return time,” says Seitz. He says if it were to happen again the tsunami would have devastating consequences. “That wave would travel around the entire lake, and because the lake is shaped sort
          NYCR Members Kari Love and Matthew Borgatti teaching Soft Robotics and Bioinspiration at ITP Camp        
Robots are neat, but everyone has one around the house these days. From Roomba to Alexa, there’s an army of soothing plastic helpers to help you look up actor names and eliminate your least favorite repetitive tasks. Aren’t you curious what is out there chasing the horizon of robotics, on the seam between the artificial and the [...]
          Using Robots in the Classroom        

Should you consider bringing robotics into your general education classroom? In this episode, we discuss this very topic with Microbric and Sphero.

The post STEM Education: Can We Really Bring Robotics into the General Education Classroom? appeared first on TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting Network.

          Perdite della rete idrica, ci pensa il mini robot PipeGuard        

Arriva dal MIT di Boston il piccolo volano robotico capace di rilevare le variazioni di pressione lungo le tubature e ripararle immediatamente

The post Perdite della rete idrica, ci pensa il mini robot PipeGuard appeared first on Rinnovabili.

          General Contest Rules        
KYTT will conduct its contests substantially as described in these general contesting rules, and by participating, each participant agrees as follows: 1. Prize(s).  The prize(s) that may be awarded to the eligible winner(s) are not transferable, redeemable for cash or exchangeable for any other prize.  All prizes must be redeemed from the Radio Show within thirty (30) days of the contest end date unless otherwise stated in the contest’s official rules.  Certain prizes are date specific (i.e. concerts, trips) and the winner or winners must be available on the dates specified.  If a winner cannot be contacted or is disqualified for any reason, the Company reserves the right to determine an alternate winner or not to award that winner’s prize, in its sole discretion. 2. Eligibility and Limitations.  Unless otherwise stated in the official contest rules, only one (1) entry per person.  Only one (1) prize per household for the Contest.  Only one (1) prize per household from the Company within any thirty (30) day period.  If the contest involves listener participation by voting for a contest participant on the Radio Show’s website then the voting is limited to one (1) vote per person.  Employees of the Company, the Contest’s participating sponsors and their advertising agencies, employees of other radio or television stations, and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to participate and win.  The term “immediate family” includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as “in-laws,” or by current or past marriage(s), remarriage(s), adoption, co-habitation or other family extension, and any other persons residing at the same household whether or not related. 3. Voting Contests.  By participating in the voting portion of any contest, each voting participant agrees to be bound by the official contest rules.  Voting is limited to one vote per verified email address.  If an entrant receives multiple and/or irregular votes or multiple votes from the same user or users, including but not limited to, votes generated by a robotic, programmed, script, macro, other automated means or other source,  the Radio Station reserves the right to disqualify the entrant in its sole discretion.   If the contest includes the use of an internet tool and the internet voting process fails to operate properly or appears to be tampered with or tainted with errors, fraud or unfair practices, the Company reserves the right to use another means to determine the winner(s), i.e. random selection or appointing a panel of judges.   All decisions of the judges are final. 4. Publicity; Use of Personal Information.  By participating, where allowed by law, all participants and winner(s) grant the Company exclusive permission to use their names, characters, photographs, voices, videotape, and likenesses in connection with promotion of this and other contests and waive any claims to royalty, right, or remuneration for such use.  By participating in the Contest, where allowed by law, participants agree that the Company may disclose personal information obtained from participants in the Contest to third parties and use such information for marketing and other purposes. 5. 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Taxes.  Any valuation of the prize(s) stated above is based on available information provided to the Company, and the value of any prize awarded to a winner may be reported for tax purposes as required by law.  Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s) and paying any expenses associated with any prize which are not specifically provided for in the official rules.  Each winner must provide the Company with valid identification and a valid taxpayer identification number or social security number before any prize will be awarded.  Any person winning over $600 in prizes from the Company will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS. 8. Conduct and Decisions.  By participating in the Contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of Company personnel.  Persons who violate any rule, gain unfair advantage in participating in the Contest, or obtain winner status using fraudulent means will be disqualified.  Unsportsmanlike, disruptive, annoying, harassing or threatening behavior is prohibited.  The Company will interpret these rules and resolve any disputes, conflicting claims or ambiguities concerning the rules or the Contest and the Company’s decisions concerning such ...
          Heavy Metal Pulp: Money Shot (Netherworld, #3)        
Heavy Metal Pulp: Money Shot (Netherworld, #3)
author: Christopher Rowley
name: Mark
average rating: 3.55
book published: 2010
rating: 2
read at: 2016/07/06
date added: 2016/07/06
Money Shot: Netherworld 3
Author: Christopher Rowley
Publisher: Tor / Heavy Metal Unloaded LLC
Published In: New York City, NY
Date: 2010
Pgs: 272


The Insured World and the Uninsured World, between them a hinterland of vice, corruption, and evil. Detective Rook of the Hudson Valley Police Department hadn’t realized where his life was going when he caught the case. A murdered General, a pleasure mod with a secret loaded in her head, a senator from Texas and master of a paramilitary mercenary company determined to keep that secret from going public, open warfare on American soil under cover of the drug war. Big enough that Tactical Robotic Regiments are being deployed on American soil. Drone war in the mountains. Finally on track to the mountain where the coordinates lead after being on the run for the first two books. Operation Taste Imperative is almost ready to go. Either Rook and Plesur stop it or all hell is going to wash over the world.

Science fiction

Why this book:
Cause I read Book 1 and Book 2 of the trilogy.

Favorite Character:
Hudson Valley Police Department Detective SIO Rook Venner.

Character I Most Identified With:
We’re meant, I believe, to identify with Rook Venner, his square jawed all-Americanism in the face of people acting against the good of the country and the world, his growing love for the pleasure mod, Plesur who looks just like a television star from the old days, his willingness to help her complete her mission no matter the cost. But while he came more alive to me in the first two books, he feels more like a character on the page here. Instead of the living breathing presence that he was in the first two books.

The Feel:
This feels like it fits with the first two books narratively. But there’s something different in the tone. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is a difference between the first two and this one. The first two flowed together while this one stands a bit apart even though we jump, action-wise, practically directly from Book 2 to the opening pages of Book 3.

Great pacing. Starts off in the middle of a firefight and goes up from there.

The pace does wane a bit and wander around as we make it into the mountains and through Dr. Jim’s reserve and up to the aqueduct caverns. I expected “go for broke” when we hit the caverns and were this close to the climax, but we seem to be wandering and rudipooting a bit as the climax is aborning.

The pace and immersiveness of the story does kick back up at the climax.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
There are some “lock and load”, Rambo-ish cliches here.

David and Angie/Julia having sex in the abandoned tunnel while being hunted by hunter/killer military squads. Stupidly, since those same squads knew that there were infiltrators in the local area who may be trying to get into the complex. But they love each other...good for them.

The earbacks are a bit overdone here.

Hmm Moments:
Some of the mechanized assault robots put you in fear of where drone technology could be going.

The pleasure mod mass grave in the tunnels of the aqueduct should have had much more impact, but it doesn’t. Horrifying, yes. This might be due to getting lost in the David-Angie/Julia B-plot immediately after the discovery.

Wow. When you find out what the Taste Imperative is and how ingenious and evil it is, it makes up for the shortcomings. Wow.

Last Page Sound:
The bad guys didn’t lose. They didn’t win. But they didn’t lose. And this was a trilogy, so...Iiked the book, but I don’t know if I’d be back for a Book 4, maybe, but I don't know.

Author Assessment:
I would give other stuff by Rowley a look.

Editorial Assessment:
Wonder if the same editorial and readthrough team looked this one over? Wonder if they noticed what I did about the feel.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
it’s alright

Disposition of Book:
Salt Lake County Library Services
8030 South 1825 West
West Jordan, UT 84088

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
People who read Book 1 and Book 2.

          The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia        
The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia
author: Phil Jimenez
name: Mark
average rating: 4.35
book published: 2010
rating: 4
read at: 2015/06/13
date added: 2015/06/13
The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia
Author: Phil Jimenez and John Wells
Publisher: Del Rey/DC Comics/Ballantine Books
Published In: New York, NY
Date: 2010
Pgs: 485


The beauty of Aphrodite, wisdom of Athena, strength of Hercules, agility of Hermes, blessed at birth by the gods of old, Princess Diana left her home of Themyscira, the so called Paradise Island, and ventured forth into the world of men, an ambassador of the Amazons to the modern world. This is an A to Z guide to the print history and adventures of the Amazon princess.

Comics and graphic novels
Science fiction
Short stories
Sword and sorcery

Why this book:
I love comics and the characters who came from them. I don’t necessarily love every story ever written featuring the characters, but my love survives.
Favorite Character:
Wonder Woman

Kung. The Earth-2/WW2 villain who fought Wonder Woman and The All Star Squadron. Love the beastiamorph...insectimorph power set.

Character I Most Identified With:
Wonder Woman has always been all duty and honor and faith. DC’s great failure has been not positioning her as DC’s answer to both Captain America and Thor in the modern parlance, sticking to it and outdoing, raising the pot every chance they get. I feel like lip service has been paid to the idea that she is part of the Big Three, The Trinity. And the character deserves better than lip service. The George Perez run on the character was incredible. The Trials of Wonder Woman where she was trying to “earn” her way back into the Justice League were great, all those many years ago. Whereas there have been real “go for it” moments in both Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman’s last real big moment was when she broke Maxwell Lord’s neck, years and years ago.

The Feel:
I’m not as familiar with Wonder Woman’s publishing history as I am with Superman’s, Batman’s, Aquaman’s, etc. This is a great deeper primer on all things Amazonian.

There’s tons in Wonder Woman’s published history that suggests innuendo and metaphor for the dirty minded and the socially unconscious.
The Boiling Man. A volcano beast whose head is an open flaming volcanic pit that may erupt at any time and destroy Paradise Island. At the same time, Steve Trevor’s plane is about to crash. Wonder Woman uses her “breath” numerous times to keep Steve “aloft” while tying her lasso around the volcano beast’s “head” to keep him from “erupting” and throwing him into an iceberg that she earlier “freed” the Merman from to quell the Boiling Man before “tossing him” into space.
...right? That’s not all Freudian at all. It was published in 1965. But it seems like this metaphor-apalooza should have raised some eyebrows even then.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
With the concept of “Loving Submission” being one of the Amazonian tenets that were used in the Gold and Silver Age, it’s a wonder that Wonder Woman survived as a concept.

“To the Amazons, bondage at the hands of a loving dominator was both pleasurable and desirable, and imprisonment at th hands of a well intentioned jailer could be both rewarding and emotionally transformative.”

This concept found its onus in the Venus Girdles that they placed on criminals who they then kept as slaves on Paradise Island.

“The Amazons kept many female prisoners and forced them to submit to their loving.”

Now in modern comics, they’ve tried to slant this idea to mean fealty to the Amazon Royal Family and the concept of community among the Amazons, but the past of the ideal still hangs over it.

Hmm Moments:
Adjudicator. I remember reading the original story. The summary makes him seem much cooler. I would love to see him escape his confinement at the interstellar/interdimensional asylum and come again to menace the Earths of the DC multiverse.

The Air Pirates sound like cool villains. They could return today in an updated form, even update, the target of one of their thefts, Professor Chemico and his Atom Pill.

Bitterland. A land of blue skinned seal men separated from a utopian society called Eveland by a River of Destruction. The seal men raid Eveland for slaves and sacrifices to their walrus god. That’s great science fiction and fantasy right there...from a 1945 comic book.

Maximus. Wealthy industrialist. Owns his own mountain. Has a computer or scientific aide-de-camp that opens teleportals for him to move about the world. Sends robotic duplicates out to do his bidding. Could fire targeted black lightning blasts from his Hollow Mountain complex. I can remember reading this comic. Had a great cover image of Wonder Woman trying to lasso a black lightning bolt as it slammed down toward New York City.

The Time Master’s connection to the Time Trapper. Awesome. Giving Wonder Woman a connection to the Legion of Superheroes is long overdue. This should be played up at some point in modern comics after one of the incessant reboots and retcons.

The Twelve Trials of Wonder Woman was one of my favorite runs on the book. I wish they would release them as a trade paperback.

Last Page Sound:
I love these guides, dictionaries, encyclopedias of fictional characters. The backstory that you pick up reading them is incredible.

Author Assessment:
Well put together.

Editorial Assessment:
Tightly done.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
real genre classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library, Irving, TX
South Campus

Dewey Decimal System:
741.5973 WON

Would recommend to:
genre fans


          MIT Media Ventures ~ Thurs 10a-12n Spring '17        
UPDATE: Due to MIT's snow closing, our kickoff class was Thursday morning 10a-12n February 16th, 2017 in Media Lab E14-633.

Our MIT Media Ventures ~ Media Lab Entrepreneurship & Digital Innovations class surveys a broad landscape of emerging media technologies interwoven with live- and historic-cases of intre- and entrepreneurship-based on new media ideas, culminating in a term project. The core goal of this Action Lab offering is for students to gain increased understanding of how emergent media and digital innovations translate into commercial reality and transform society.
We survey case examples of both successful and failed businesses and generally grapple with the difficulties of deploying and diffusing products and as a means of exploring a range of business models and opportunities enabled by emerging Media Lab and related innovations. This year we will be especially emphasizing urban innovations, personal data rights, health, civic engagement, financial service innovations, mobile transactions, and social media generally with special focus on social networks, quantified self and society, AI, robotics, automation, and data analytics. Join us at first class Thursday morning 10a-12n February 9th, 2017 in Media Lab E14-633.
          The Cruelty of the First Law of Robotics        
There is a scene towards the very end of Humans (@humansamc on Twitter) – so look away now if you haven’t got that far – where one of the humanoid robots or ‘synths’ is so cruelly treated that it has made me reassess forty years of science fiction reading. I’ve finally come to see that Isaac Asimov’s Laws…
           Patients With Celiac Artery Compression Syndrome Treated by Robotic Surgery        
Robotic surgery performed at a hospital has successfully relieved a 37-year-old patient of acute abdominal pain caused by a rare medical condition, said the surgeon who performed the procedure.

          2 Standout 2016 Brand Activation Association Reggie Award Winners For Integrated Marketing Programs        
Two Reggie Award Winners for Best Global Integrated Marketing Programs (Valspar Paint & Double Robotics achieved broad awareness through innovative programs on very low budgets, by tapping into emotions and novelty and original viral content.
          TWiG 412: The Yodeling Pickle        

This Week in Google (MP3)

Harassment and discrimination in Silicon Valley. Amazon Dash Wand First look. Health data privacy pros and cons. Facebook tracking its users. Bixby still can't speak English. US partially lifts laptop ban. All-girl Afghanistan robotics team denied US visas.

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, and Stacey Higginbotham

Download or subscribe to this show at

Thanks to CacheFly for the bandwidth for this show.

          New U.S. “Roadmap” Lays Out Routes to Accelerate Robotic Technologies        
Robotics technology is progressing faster than expected for self-driving cars, and drones are becoming ubiquitous throughout the United States, according to a lead scientist overseeing a robotics technology roadmap released last week. But robotics is moving slower than expected in some key areas, such as the development of dexterous gripper technology, intuitive user interfaces, and […]
          HSBC taps IBM robotics & cognitive tech for process automation        

The new solution uses IBM’s advanced analytics technology, including intelligent segmentation and text analytics, to identify, digitise and extract key data within documents.

The post HSBC taps IBM robotics & cognitive tech for process automation appeared first on Computer Business Review.

          #160 El talibán que administra el sub de Veganos me ha crujido el karma con una noticia que había publicado        

Animalistas y vegetarianos: me aburro con vosotros, ¿pensáis acaso que nos interesan lo más mínimo vuestros temas?

» autor: Robotic

          Construction Industry Labor Shortages and the Rise of Robots        
Construction Industry Labor Shortages and the Rise of Robots

Automation has long been considered the harbinger of future unemployment, and experts have in fact predicted that the widespread adoption of robotics and other technological advancements — artificially intelligent (AI) software and smart machines — could lead to millions of people losing their jobs. Many tasks in transportation, manufacturing, even insurance, law and taxation are already being taken over by machines. Increased automation is expected to dramatically disrupt worldwide employment as early as 2020, but in the construction industry, which suffered massive job losses in the Great Recession,  automation could help mitigate the impact of current labor shortages and improve efficiency.

The post Construction Industry Labor Shortages and the Rise of Robots appeared first on ARCHITRENDS.

          UCF at NASA Robotic Mining Competition        
May 2017: Congrats to the UCF Robotic Mining team and to Addie Dove for her role co-advising them at the 2017 NASA Robotic Mining Competition. The UCF team successfully mined the regolith, which is a significant accomplishment considering it is a rather young team in the competition. Typically it takes a school several years to ...
           Design of robotic facilities for agile automobile manufacturing         
UNSPECIFIED. (1997) Design of robotic facilities for agile automobile manufacturing. INDUSTRIAL ROBOT, 24 (1). 72-&. ISSN 0143-991X
          Arduino workshop in coimbatore (coimbatore)        
•Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with design, construction, and as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. •These technol...
          THN Answer of the Week 160: Favorite Robots!        

WELCOME BACK to the THN Answer of the Week! This week’s question comes from Kettnerd, who asks: “In honor of the Alec Baldwin AI, who is the best Robotic/Android/AI character in comics?” If you want to participate in the Answer of the Week, leave your response to our weekly Question on the THN Forums OR call […]

The post THN Answer of the Week 160: Favorite Robots! appeared first on The Two-Headed Nerd Comic Book Podcast.

sau de ce complexul militar-medical nu o sa te ingrijeasca la batranete

Textul acesta are la baza trei puncte d plecare. Unul este workshop-ul RID si vizita facuta in cadrul proiectului varsta a 4a la un camin de batrani, filmul de animatie japoneza Roujin Z din 1991 si praxinoscopul ca tema propusa de kinema_ikon.

Devine din ce in ce mai clar ca viitorul nu poate fi eroic si neo-barbar, desfasurat pe fundalul unei planete desertificate si pustiite cu orase ruinate si populate de mutanti crunti si bande de violatori in serie. Nimeni nu ne-a pregatit pentru un viitor zbarcit.
Cumva simtim acum pe pielea noastra tradarea unor vremuri incetinite si senile, a unui viitor care refuza finaluri post-nucleare dramatice si catastrofiste, de primitivizare intensa sau de reconstructie heirupista a civilizatiei. Dar asta se intampla numai pentru ca am exagerat complet populandu-l cu figuri mitice vanjoase si batatucite. Viitorul postapocaliptic a devenit demult un teren colonizat de fantezii sexiste si filozofii reactionare care situeaza totul in termeni de amazoane tiranice si abuzive vs virilitate renascuta a unor barbati canonizati pe post de eroi civilizatori. Contemporaneitatea pare ca nu ofera destule ocazii de show-off si cocoseala, de aceea viitorul cinematic postnuclear si reagan-ist a devenit arena unui wrestling permanent. Un vast ring unde poate in sfarsit sa infloareasca discriminarea pe toate planurile si unde masina de razboi se simte constransa de un prezent inca nu destul de criminal, de distrugator si nimicitor. Viitorul subnutrit si submilitarizat nu este unul total demilitarizat, pentru ca avem de-a face cu eroi care deseori ajung sa invinga doar atunci cand fac apel la o tehnologie 'superioara' din trecut - un robot, o arma nemaivazuta uitata, o tehnica de lupta de care nimeni nu mai isi aduce aminte sau orice ti-ar putea asigura suprematia tehnologico-militara intr-o lume devastata.
Parca nu este de ajuns militarismul prezentului, nu este destul sa stim ca bugetele cele mai mari sunt acordate inarmarii sau cat de multe inventii sunt derivate din prototipuri cu aplicatii militare. Viitorul de dupa bomba este la randul lui repopulat de armate in zdrente, cu figuri autoritare si demagogice, generalisimi si lorzi ai razboiului, soldati universali, cyborgi mercenari, eliminatori, omega politisti nemilosi si brute criminale. De la buzdugan si pana la roboti uriasi, nu holocaustul ecologic, nici macar bombardamentul nuclear nu sunt momentul final de distrugere dupa care urmeaza pacea si linistea. Toate astea sunt mai curand un fel de pregatire necesara, un fel de lupta de incalzire care pregateste terenul de vis pentru paintballeri, ego shooteri si fani mortal combat. Doar si numai pentru ei planeta pamant este transformata intr-un poligon gigantic. Mare grija insa, pentru ca acesta este un viitor iesit din capul celor care traiesc deja intr-un prezent si intr-un viitor posibil in care media de viata creste, speranta de viata atinge recorduri, si unde riscurile scazute si catastrofele amanate au ajuns sa dezamageasca. Ce te faci daca sfarsitului nu mai vine? Sigur ca cea mai mare parte din populatie nu se va bucura neingradit de toate aceste lucruri, dar o semnificativa parte, mai ales cea care ne-a furnizat scenariile postapocaliptice de mai sus, o sa traiasca din ce in ce mai mult, si o sa imbatraneasca din ce in ce mai mult. 

Care ar fi atunci normalitatea unei apocalipse care nu este o apocalipsa in sensul catastrofist clasic. Ea ar putea foarte bine, asa cum o sa sugereaza si proiectul RID, sa fie o lume in care imbatranesti din ce in ce mai mult si in care batranetea nu mai este la ea acasa. Batranetea nu mai este nicaieri, in corpuri, pe ecrane, nicaieri. O lume cu reclame, filme, festivale, expozitii, locuri trendy si hot care se adreseaza numai tinerilor care nici ei nu pot fi niciodata destul de tineri. Varsta inaintata a coincis si poate chiar a fost indusa de un anume cult al tineretii si intineririi totale. Daca urmarim aproape toata productia de imagini din reviste, ziare, tv, internet – e compusa aproape 90% numai din fete tinere, juvenile, adolescentine, prepubere si lolitizate. Ma refer acum mai ales la imaginile dorite, iubite, dezirabile, imaginile care vand. Unde sunt restul? Restul sunt retusate, modificate, intinerite cu forta sau complet eliminate. Chiar si cei tineri nu mai pot face astazi fata standardelor de intinerire obligatorii impuse de cultura din jur care e intotdeuna mai tanara decat ai putea tu sa fi vreodata. Nu numai ca batranii trebuie sa arate tineri si neatinsi de varsta, dar si ca tanar nu poti fi destul de tanar, de fraged, de proaspat. Rolul vitezei, al pericolului, al riscului sporit domina sectiunile culturale si mediatice cele mai vizibile din jur ca un reflex al intineririi programate. Ca sa intelegem cat de mult remodeleaza tineretea asta idealizata totul in jur trebuie sa vedem si ce personaficari globale intalnim la fiecare pas. Economia de piata si globalizarea sunt caracterizate de un spirit&corp vesnic tanar, au alura unui tanar/tanere intreprinzatoare. Un manager iute, agil, cu susuri si josuri, ultra-rapid, cineva care nu vrea sa isi ia pauza, sa stea sa se odihneasca, sa isi traga sufletul, sa se pensioneze vreodata. E asa sau nu?
Este de aceea foarte important sa regandim viitorul si prezentul in functie de niste masini sau roboti pro-batrani, pro-varsta-a-patra oricat de defetist ar suna la prima mana. E nevoie de geronto-tehnologii de varf si de o geronto-tehnologizare a culturii cat si de o multiplicare a variantelor de futurism din jur care in mod sigur vor influenta si vor contura batranetea tehnostiintifica. Stiu ca nu e deloc usor sa ne gandim la toate masinile viitorului ca proteze pentru asistarea unor populatii imbatranite si semi-imobilizate la pat. Stiu nimic din toate astea nu suna epic si vindicativ. Nu aparam planeta in fata nici unui invadator, nu ne luptam cu mutanti, pur si simplu ne gandim la ce se va intampla cu noi toti si toate. O sa ziceti ca robotii au ceva mai bun de facut decat sa stea ca niste asistenti sociali docili si sa aiba grija de mosi si babe. Dar defapt aici este cea mai mare provocare. Sa construiesti un praxinoscop care sa poata tine cont de faptul ca vom imbatrani, ca vom deveni din ce in ce mai fragilizati, din ce in ce mai diferiti de hologramele si personajele 3d hiper-realiste, atletice si ultra-tinere la care ne-am uitat si cu care ne-am indentificat o viata intreaga.
Si aici este cazul sa identificam si regandim existenta primilor ciborgi si a primelor inteligente artificiale, s primelor fiinte umane care convietuiesc cu implanturi electronice. Nu niste fiinte sintetice, puternice, ba chiar nimicitoare ci mai curand niste finite dupa chipul si asemanarea batranilor si batranelor de astazi. In loc de Rutger Hauer ar trebui sa ne imaginam un batran monitorizat telemetric, dotat cu implanturi si aparate care il asista si invioreaza, tinandu-l fie alert fie odihnit, cuplat sau decuplat. Tot asa o sa fie nevoie de masini familiarizate cu toate aspectele si dilemele etice ale eutanasiei. 

De aceea este foarte important sa intelegem de ce primii ciborgi vii din jurul nostru sunt defapt niste batrani sau batrane dotate cu aparate auditive. Nu terminatori virili supradotati trimisi intr-o lume ostila, ci batrani si batrane la capatul unei vieti noi si extinse. Protezarea auditiva a normalizat urechea portabila, un aparat care colecteaza informatii auditive din spate si din fata. Multi batrani deja traiesc cu implanturi si proteze din ce din ce mai diverse si utile. Laringofonul si vocea sintetica produsa de el este vocea robotica per se, nu este doar o reminiscenta sefeista. Si este foarte important pentru noi ca aceasta este o voce de robot ragusita si foarte veridica care face si mai palpabila viata din spate vocii.

Acestea sunt nu numai fiinte ale viitorului ci fiinte care vor trebui imaginate de catre noi batranii si batranele secolului 21. Singura certitudine a acestui viitor este ca vom fi mai batrani si mai multi atunci. Batranetea nu trebuie carantinata, nu trebuie retusata sau alungata. Ea trebuie sa fie recunoscuta ca o batranete augmentata care face primii pasi subrezi dar clar transumanisti. Probabil ca exista ceva profund revoltator in idea ca tehnologia, noul poate fi imbinat cu epuizarea si moartea celulara, cu decrepitudinea organica, cu viul care abia se mai divizeaza. Am putea discuta mult despre tehnologiile celulare si culturile celulare vesnice care produc o alta prelungire si succesiune a generatiilor de celule si care in ultimii 50 de ani anu ajuns sa redifineasca nemurirea situate inafara corpurilor sursa (vezi Hannah Landecker). 

In cultura noastra corpuri noi trebuie sa coexiste cu tehnologii noi, dar nu este deloc asa. Cu cat tehnologiile avanseaza, cu atat corpurile vor imbatrani mai mult. 

De aceea consider ca interfata dintre batranete si tehnologie este una ridata si inteleg ridul aici nu ca pe o pierdere a elasticitatii ci mai curand ca pe un castig de suprafata, o marire a suprafetei de contact dintre oameni avansati in varsta si tehnologii avansate. Nimeni nu iese neatins din aceasta imbratisare, nici macar gandirea transumanista. Masina nu mai potenteaza fiinta umana ajutand-o pur si simplu sa se autodepaseasca ca o bomba care acumuleaza megatone mortale, ci mai curand invata sa ii respecte fragilitatile si nevoile imediate. Toate promisiunile noilor tehnologii de la retele sociale pana la multi-taskingul zilnic sunt adaptate unor necesitati legate de varsta avansata chiar daca ele au concepute in genere de tineri pentru tineri. Ganditi-va numai ce problema poate deveni izolarea prin imobilizare fizica treptata, singuratatea datorata disparitiei prietenilor si rudelor apropiate sau dificultatea indeplinirii celor mai de baza functii vitale.
Marea dezamagire transumanista cred ca survine atunci cand vom realiza ca limitele umanului nu sunt limitele varstei, iar dezumanizarea survine atunci cand tehnologia nu mai este pe masura imbatranirii. Asta ar putea insemna ca limitele de varsta vor trebui sa fie correlate in final cu limitele mecanismelor care furnizeaza asistenta, hrana si supravegherea constanta. Daca viata persista atunci masinile vor trebui sa asiste cu grija si atentie.
Varsta record indica nu numai un succes uman ci mai ales un succes datorat unei asistente tehnologice si postumane de intretinere. Alfel viata insasi o sa para ca nu mai este adaptata recordurilor de varsta. Tehnologiile varstei inaintate ajung literalmente cumva sa impinga, sa traga si sa intinda corpul uman obligand carcasa umana atacata de artrita, senilizare si anchilozare sa mentina ritmul cu lumea consumerista din jur.

Roujin Z 001 este un proiect fictiv de pat biomedical ambulant hipersofisticat inspirat dintr-o animatie japoneza omonima. Cred ca acest pat nu contine pur si simplu numai functii de hranire/divertisment/socializare, ci incorporeaza la nivel de hardware intim anumite valori, ideologii, si tehnologii de modelare a sinelului. Dincolo de executie si proiectare, asta ar trebui sa ne intereseze acum, pentru ca ar fi timpul sa incepem sa facem o inginerie inversa care sa permita decuplarea acestor ideologii sudate si stantate pe placa de baza a patului hipertehnologizat. La conferinta de presa din acest anime (animatie japoneza), Roujin Z 001 isi capteaza pacientul intr-o inclestare sufocanta, ca un cosciug updatat, un mobilier ambulant, unde corpul uman neputincios ramane fixat si curatat, spalat, hranit, dezmierdat si exersat, fara sa paraseasca niciodata confortul camerei de azil. 

Acest pat robotic pare defapt un fel de mobile suit parazitar, un fel de transformer malefic, dar asta pentru ca este visul celor care pot sa se miste oricum, al celor care nu sunt obligati sa stea la orizontala. De la Gigantor si pana la Neon Genesis Evangelion, copii si tinerii au manevrat roboti uriasi, nimeni nu a prevazut insa existenta unor soferi si piloti batrani sau nu a anticipat adaptarea robotilor la corpuri imbatranite.

Sfarsitul verticalitatii coincide cu o noua orizontala redusa la comatoza mai ales din cauza ca este bombardata continuu cu muzica, stiri, jocuri, arta&creativitate. Activitatea febrila a lumii din jur este pur si simplu programata si aglomerata intr-o singura masina. Din pat poti vinde si cumpara actiuni la bursa. Practic patul este un fel de promisiune de autonomizare a individului activ actual, al omului multilateral care face gimnastica si speculeaza la bursele internationala la distanta, ca un satelit umanoid GPS in orbita circumterestra. 

Materialul promotional atasat promite o ingrijire individualizata care anticipeaza aproape orice nevoie si dificultate, eliminand discomfortul rudelor si al pacientilor afectati de aceasta munca neplacuta, impunand prin aceasta si o noua unitate biomedicala intre om si masina. 

Supriza este ca noul computer din noua generatie este atat de performant inca da gres, adica odata reprogramat si desecurizat, devine o inteligenta artificiala gata sa se lupte cu armata si politia pentru a-l duce pe batranul pacient la malul marii. Ca si intr-un Zbor deasupra unui cuib de cuci, pacientii aproape ca trebuie sa fie eliberati din institutie. Aceasta lipsa care necesita reintroducere si reprograme, aceasta omisiune din softul de baza initial este chiar fiinta draga: sotia. Brusc inginerii guvernamentali sunt obligati din exterior sa admita includerea ei, o fata umana familiara care nu exclude insa functii de ingrijire si protectie. Pacientul este un barbat batran plin de aminitiri si atasamente. Remarcam ca reproducerea sotiei, a fiintei dragi este si ea destul de rudimentara dar cu atat mai eficienta. Sintetizarea‘sotiei’nu se bazeaza decat pe o fotografie ingalbenita de timp, pe mormaielile batranului si pe o simulare de voce care imita vag alintaturile si gingasiile din trecut. 

Daca la inceput batranul viruseaza calculatoarele in cautare de familiaritate si ingrijire umana, fuziunea protectiva dintre batran si masina intervine numai atunci cand o gasca de hackeri octagenari incep sa-i simuleze sotia decedata. Sotia apare ca un meta-ingrijitor, un inger tehnopazitor care ajunge sa salveze pana si pe asistentele sociale devotate (sexy) ale batranului. Aceasta constiinta artificiala are o determinare totala si o grija materna tipica unei sotii devotate (nu numai japoneze) dar care aproape nu mai conteaza ca se bazeaza pe un model feminin intretinut artificial. Nu trebuie sa ne indoim nici o clipa ca este intotdeuna vorba si de o sotia ideala protectoare a monogamiei si cuplurilor batrane care devine intre timp, din 50 incoace devine un fel de dead media intrat in hall of fame. Ca si boomer-ii feminini (androizii din animatia Parasite Dolls si Bubblegum Crisis) sau a replicantii, aceasta sotie revine printre cei vii ca o instanta terorista care atrage interventia fortelor de ordine, a serviciilor speciale si a unor masuri de securitate deosebit de dure. Ea zambeste constant ca un Buddha benefic, din poze cat si din amintiri, dar in pofida domesticitatii si scopului ei civil ajunge sa se confrunte cu roboti military tentaculari scapati cu adevarat de sub control.
Aceasta inteligenta artificiala domestica este vindictiva si razbunatoare atunci cand nu este recunoscuta, respectata si numita, cand nu este programata de la bun inceput in meniul de optiuni principale. Odata stearsa din lista de avatare, de vocaloizi si prieteni virtuali, ea devine un aliat al serviciilor de sanatate si un opponent formidabil in calea autoritatilor guvernamentale si a intereselor complexului militar-medical. Daca la inceput Roujin Z 001 are la baza Pentagonul (cum dezvaluie cinic inginerul sef) ajunge pana la urma sa magnetizeze un fel de industrie eminamente casnica, sa inglobeze oala minune si baia fierbinte la picioare nu tancul si obuzul.

Lincuri utile:

          Featured Maker: Team Toxic Robotics        

This year at Maker Faire Orlando, among all the amazing things, there will be Combat Robots! That’s right! You’ll be […]

The post Featured Maker: Team Toxic Robotics appeared first on Maker Faire Orlando.

El típic joc on vostè haur
          Two-Headed Nerd 217: Robotic Butt Functions        

Welcome to Episode 217 of the Two-Headed Nerd Comic Book Podcast! This week, we discuss the reconciliation between DC and Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella, Welcome Back – Christopher Sebela’s new project with BOOM! Studios, and SyFy optioning Beau Smith’s supernatural western Wynonna Earp. Plus, we review the High Crimes HC from Dark Horse by Christopher […]

The post Two-Headed Nerd 217: Robotic Butt Functions appeared first on The Two-Headed Nerd Comic Book Podcast.

          It's a Lego World        

For the last few weeks,
a local library has hosted a challenge.
Kids could bring in their favorite Lego build
and have it displayed in the case that greets visitors.
C was up for the challenge,
and in fact, 
contributed several builds.
Those are his Mario and Windows logo creations in the bottom left corner,
as well as the jet on the bottom right.
His are all free builds,
which means that no kit is used in the creating.
He fashions these masterpieces from his own imagination.
He truly amazes me with some of the things he comes up with.

The folks at the library told us that by far,
his Creeper build from the Minecraft game
was the most popular.
The head swivels and the legs move too,
but it seems the kids just enjoy the likeness alone.

We participated in a Lego Robotics class last week.
This workshop was sponsored by the local 4-H club.

The kids (all boys in this class) were given a laptop
and a robot from the EV-3 Lego series.
C has one of these at home, so he was quite familiar with it.
The kids were asked to perform several programming functions
to make their robot do designated tasks.

This robot was able to follow the tape line
using color sensors. 
It detected the difference between the grey carpet and the white tape.

Another task the kids were asked to program their robots to do
was to follow this maze from one end to the other.
It took a bit of tweaking,
but changing the program via the computer
enabled the kids to be successful through trial-and-error. 
A great way to learn so many lessons,
including perseverance.

C was able to rebuild his robot so that it could perform the way he wanted.
He noticed several characteristics on some of the other robots
that he thought would work better,
so he rebuilt his to make it more efficient.

What a great activity for him.
It not only fostered confidence in his skills,
but it gave him the opportunity to interact with other kids
who share a similar interest.
We are grateful for these experiences,
as they allow him to process social skills
in a natural world environment,
something for which we can never get enough practice.

We think it's wonderful that the 4-H program 
is willing to work with kids with disabilities
(not everyone is),
and include them in these valuable experiences.

We're considering starting a Lego Build club
at the library we featured at the head of this post.
Any chance we get to have kids unplugged
and using their imaginations
is something we can get behind.
Build on!

          I futuri possibili per la tecnologia al servizio del soccorso,Roboworm, il robot lombrico per la ricerca di superstiti        
nell'articolo viene presentato il robot lombrico, progettato per la ricerca di persone vittima di catastrofi, un robot che per la sua forma permette di monitorare la presenza di eventuali persone o animali intrappolati ad esempio tra le macerie di stabili crollati..

FONTE  »  robotica innovazione tecnologia robot







See-D Contestにて東ティモールでの現地調査の経験もあるKMDの徳久先生は、

MIT Media LabのBiorobotics groupのハイテク義足と同じくMITのD-Lab Developing World Prosthesisの途上国向けローテク義足を比較し、適正な技術とは何かを学生に問う。





          YILDIZ ROBOCON’17        
Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi bünyesindeki Robotik ve Otomasyon Kulübü’nün bu sene 4.sünü düzenleyeceği, eski ismiyle ‘Yıldız Savaşları’ yeni ismiyle ‘Yıldız Robocon(Yıldız Robotics Contest) ’ 25-26 Mart 2017 tarihleri arasında Davutpaşa Kongre ve Kültür Merkezi’nde gerçekleştirilecektir. Ä°lk senesinde 385 robot ve 1000’den fazla yarışmacıyı ağırlayan, her geçen yıl bu sayıları arttıran Yıldız Robocon, bu sene de yenilikçi […]
          PYRENE : un robot humanoïde nouvelle génération         
PYRENE, la nouvelle recrue du Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes (LAAS) du CNRS, est un robot humanoïde conçu pour mieux interagir avec son environnement et effectuer des tâches qui nécessitent une certaine force physique. Ses impressionnantes capacités en termes de calcul, d'actionnement et de perception lui permettront d'exécuter tout un ensemble de tâches qui n'étaient pas réalisables avec la génération précédente de robots humanoïdes. Fabriqué par la société espagnole PAL Robotics pour le LAAS-CNRS, ce nouveau robot dispose d'une électronique puissante et de capteurs d'efforts au niveau de ses articulations. Il sera présenté à la communauté scientifique le 9 février 2017 au LAAS-CNRS à Toulouse.
          Crear Texto Estilo TRANSFORMERS        

Hace algún tiempo encontré esta nota 100 efectos de texto en photoshop, muchos de ellos son realmente alucinantes. Por aquellos días uno de los temas de moda era la ultima pelicula de Transformers; así que para aprovechar esto decidí traducir el tutorial relacionado e introducirlo como ejemplo en la clase de la U. Sin mas preámbulo acá les dejo el resultado:

Paso 1

Como nuestra intención es reproducir el texto original de transformers, es importante que tengas el tipo de letra (font) indicada. Haz click aquí para descargar sf transrobotics.

Crea un nuevo documento (como mínimo 540x300 en 72ppi). Presiona la tecla D para resetear el color de frontal y color de  fondo a negro y blanco respectivamente, seguidamente presione Alt + Backspace para rellenar la capa de fondo con negro.

Cambia el color frontal a blanco presionando Xpara intercambiar entre color frontal y de fondo, seguidamente selecciona la herramienta texto de la barra o actívala presionando la tecla T, escribe el texto en el tamaño que desees, en mi caso 100pt.

Paso 2
En el logo original de del Logo de Transformers las letras T y F se extienden por debajo del resto de letras del resto de caracteres de la palabra. Para conseguir esto necesitamos raterizar haciendo click con el botón derecho del mouse sobre la capa del texto en nuestra paleta de capas y selecciona Rasterizar texto del menú. Esto habilitara la edición carácter a carácter de la capa texto como un grafico estándar.
Paso 3
Con el texto renderizado con un grafico podemos usar la herramienta Marco Rectangular (actívala presionando M) para seleccionar la parte inferior de las letras T y F y usar  la herramienta Transformacion Libre (puedes invocarla desde el menú edición) para alargarlas.

Paso 4
Con las letras extendidas puedes borrar las guía seleccionando Vista>Borrar guía del menú principal.
Paso 5
Seguidamente crearemos un efecto 3D agregando el efecto Bisel y Relieve a nuestro capa texto y luego duplicando y moviendo esa capa repetidamente.
Primero, establecemos el estilo de capa. Doble click a la derecha del nombre de la capa en la paleta de capas para traer al frente la ventana de Estilo de Capa (*nota: También puedes hacerlo clicando con el botón derecho sobre la capa y seleccionando Opciones de Fusión).
En la columna izquierda de la venta de estilo de capas click sobre Bisel y Relieve y aplica las siguientes configuraciones después click en aceptar para aplicar el estilo de capa.

Paso 6
Por aplicar el estilo Bisel y Relieve hemos creado el borde obscuro que será visible en el próximo paso.

Paso 7
Para crear la ilusión de texto 3D ahora duplicaremos la capa múltiples veces, cada vez cambiar el texto hacia arriba y la derecha.
Para duplicar la capa seleccionada simplemente presiona Ctrl + J o selecciona Capa>Duplicar capa del menú principal. Esto crea una nueva capa sobre la capa seleccionada.
Para cambiar el texto, asegúrese de tener seleccionada la herramienta Mover presionando la tecla V, luego usando las flechas de tu teclado presiona la tecla Up (arriba) y luego la tecla Right una vez cada una. Repite el proceso de duplicar y mover 3 veces debes tener hasta un total de 5 copias de capa.

Paso 8
A estas alturas yo recomendaría fusionar las 4 capas inferiores de nuestras 5 capas 3D haciendo clic en la segunda capa de arriba, mientras presionando la tecla Shift  y seleccionando la capa inferior, seleccionando todas las 4 capas que comprenden el  borde 3D eficazmente. Presiona Ctrl+E para fusionar las capas seleccionadas. 

Nosotros no queremos estilo de capa Bisel y Relieve en la capa de encima, click con el botón derecho en el icono de estilo de capa de la capa de la cima y escoge Borrar Estilo de Capa. Además haz doble clic en los nombres de la capa y cámbialos nombres a los "TRANSFORMERS Top" y "TRANSFORMERS 3D."

Paso 9
Con la capa "TRANSFORMERS Top" seleccionada vamos a agregar una serie de 5 estilos de capa que darán a la capas una apariencia de piedra vieja. Pondré cada uno de los estilos de la capa en serie aquí todo lo que necesitas es bajar en la lista y aplicarlos. Si hay algo excepcional se señalará en las cajas amarillas.
Click con el botón derecho a la derecha del nombre de la capa y aplica los siguientes 5 estilos. Click en Aceptar cuando los hayas agregado.

  • El motivo seleccionado es Marmol Negro de la galería motivos de roca
El código del color es #31464F. Simplemente haz click sobre el visor para lanzar en el selector de color y digita el número de 6 dígitos en el texto de abajo
Paso 10
Hasta aquí el documente debería lucir así:

Paso 11
Observando el efecto es obvio que los 3D bordes son demasiado ligeros. Para resolver este problema, haga clic en la capa "TRANSFORMERS 3D" para seleccionarla, luego cargue la ventana Niveles presionando las teclas Ctrl + L. Arrastra el deslizador de la mano izquierdo en hacia el medio hasta que los bordes 3D parezcan correctos.

Paso 12
Para finalizar la imagen agreguemos una reflexión duplicando la capa el texto y capa 3D, fusionándolos, volteándolos verticalmente, reducir la opacidad a 30% y agregando una máscara de capa con degradado

Agradezco sus comentarios.

          Miao Yu named Maryland Robotics Center director        
Yu develops sensors useful in a variety of robotics applications.
          â˜… Dstruct.O Live@BassRitual.Detroit Presents another 
electric, installment of â˜…BASS RITUAL★

★ Dstruct.O Live In Detroit.MI Aug.3
He's a Dubstep, Drumstep, Electronic music Producer & DJ from Windsor Ontario Canada.Who is known across the globe for his heavy robotic style beats & remixes. Dstruct.O has currently started releasing new music under the new alias"TheSubbbaceProject" Taking his label name"SubbbaceRecords" which is being self ran and releasing his own bass fueled music without compromise. 

Dj set's also by: (Backroom)
★ BOLD EQUATION  (Capital Boom Records)
★ SKULLTRANE (MalLabel Music/Badman Press)
★ K@DOG (Cirque Du Womp)
★ MARK "8en" MOSS

Front Room:
★ BRIAN GILLESPIE (Databass,Throw76)

Visuals by OKTORED

The Works
Ages.18+ Welcome
21+ To drink
1846 Michigan Ave
10 pm to 2am

$10 before 11pm
$15 after

FB Event Page:
          Comment on A List of Female Technology Experts in Libraries by Kara Brehm        
Do I qualify?? Kara Brehm Emerging Technologies Librarian, Cape May County Library. I teach tech classes for adults, STEAM and robotics classes for kids, and manage the department that provides technology assistance and help for the public. I gave a talk about how librarians can provide tech help to their patrons at the NJLA annual conference last year. I don't often use my Twitter, but my handle is @beachlibrarian
          Great Innovative Idea- Modeling of Robotic Artificial Muscles        
The following Great Innovative Idea is from Jun Zhang and Michael Yip. Their paper called Three-Dimensional Hysteresis Modeling of Robotic Artificial Muscles with Application to Shape Memory Alloy Actuators was one of the featured talks at the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored Material Robotics (MaRo) Workshop at the 2017 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) Conference. The Idea Robotic artificial muscles are actuators that can make robots move. Unlike electric motors, robotic artificial muscles are compliant and can generate straight contractions just like our biological muscles. Recently, they are increasingly popular in many exciting areas, such as biomimetic robots, soft robots, and safe human-robot interaction. To practically use robotic artificial muscles, it is crucial to have an accurate model […]
          Material Robotics (MaRo) Workshop at 2017 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS)        
Contributions to this post were made by Yigit Menguc from Oregon State University. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) recently sponsored a workshop at the 2017 Robotics Science and Systems Conference called Material Robotics (MaRo). The goal of the workshop was to bring together researchers in robotics and materials science to learn from each other and identify the research challenges and applications of robotic materials. The original vision of a “robot” introduced by playwright Karel Čapek in 1920 was that of an autonomous machine molded in the image of humans. Interestingly, the play begins with a discussion of the materials that make up the robots and introduces the techniques used to […]
          VivaTechnology 2017        

Rendez-vous mondial de l’innovation, VivaTech a accueilli près de 68 000 visiteurs, du 15 au 17 juin à Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (Paris 15e). Lors de cette deuxième édition, le Groupe IONIS, partenaire de l’événement, a présenté une trentaine de projets portés par ses étudiants et diplômés. L’occasion de mettre en avant les synergies  entre éducation et innovation existantes  entre les écoles, qui en plus de faire de IONIS Education Group la première institution de l’enseignement supérieur privé français, en font le Groupe d’enseignement leader dans les technologies informatiques et les mondes numériques. En témoignaient les très nombreux Anciens  présents à ce salon, parmi les exposants et les visiteurs.

Du projet solidaire Nich, permettant de secourir les réfugiés migrants grâce au design de service (e-artsup), au serious game en réalité virtuelle Ephedra VR pour l’apprentissage des étudiants en médecine (EPITA), à la conception d’une fusée capable de transporter jusqu’à 2000 m d’altitude des molécules pouvant déclencher la pluie Highdr’o de l’IPSA, les étudiants et Anciens du Groupe ont couvert différents domaines d’innovation grâce à des projets dans les secteurs du transport, de l’aéronautique, de la santé, du divertissement, de la cybersécurité, de l’agriculture ou encore du digital, de la réalité augmentée, du jeu vidéo, de la robotique et de l’intelligence artificielle.

Voici les principaux projets présentés :

  • Witick : application mobile permettant d’acheter et d’utiliser un ticket de transports en commun sur son téléphone. L’utilisateur achète un titre en 1 clic puis approche son smartphone de la borne pour valider son ticket.
  • Estimeo : Estimeo note les start-ups et projets innovants de manière automatique et algorithmique en se basant sur des critères financiers et extra-financiers.
  • Incarna : à la croisée du cinéma, de l’escape Game et du jeu de rôle. Incarna est une nouvelle génération de loisir en salle.
  • Horyus : projet d’authentification objets avec puce NFC et Blockchain.
  • Helppy : montre connectée aidant les personnes handicapées ou déficientes mentales à accomplir les tâches simples du quotidien
  • La météo des chantiers : application mobile pour la Société du Grand Paris permettant à ses utilisateurs de s’informer en temps réel de ce qui se passe à côté de chez eux et de ce qui adviendra dans le futur.
  • Fréquence Running : application permettant de bâtir un plan d’entraînement personnalisé et gratuit.
  • Bonanza : plateforme pour optimiser la recherche de stages par les étudiants et construire un réseau professionnel.
  • Wellcut : en quelques clics, Wellcut permet à tous de créer très simplement et de partager immédiatement l’extrait de son moment préféré d’une vidéo en ligne.
  • Quantifly : drone détecteur de pollution de l’air.
  • Wouvy : plateforme permettant aux internautes de se réunir et de travailler ensemble sur un même support, de partager et échanger des documents. Les diverses fonctionnalités accompagnent l’équipe dans un processus de réflexion et de concrétisation.
  • Evidence : miroir connecté et interactif qui assiste le médecin et soutient les patients victimes d’un AVC durant leur phase de rééducation.
  • RailZ : application d’information des usagers par les usagers.
  • Highdr’o (fusée capable de transporter jusqu’à 2000 m d’altitude, des molécules pouvant déclencher la pluie.
  • Realytics : analyse de la performance des campagnes publicitaires offline.
  • Victor & Charles : intelligence artificielle dédiée au personnel de l’hôtel qui prédit les envies des clients.
  • ICEboard : application mobile et web qui rassemble les acteurs, les gestionnaires et les décisionnaires dans une salle de crise virtuelle. 
  • My Robotics : appareil qui, en mesurant l’évolution de la sensibilité au goût des patients, permet d’adapter la posologie de leurs traitements.
  • Cowash : pressing collaboratif.
  • Morman Design : édition de logiciels web pour les salons de coiffure.
  • Aéromate : start-up d’agriculture urbaine.


          Sixclear Launches First Robotics Competition LabVIEW Training Site        

Sixclear, an Austin-based technology company, increases free access to LabVIEW learning resources for FRC participants and mentors.

(PRWeb January 15, 2014)

Read the full story at

          Sixclear Gives LabVIEW Course Freely to FIRST Robotics Competitors        

Sixclear, an Austin-based National Instruments Alliance Partner, offers its Lucid LabVIEW Fundamentals Training free to all participants in the worldwide FIRST Robotics Competition.

(PRWeb December 19, 2012)

Read the full story at

          Vicurious or: Welcome to Alcatraz        
Scott's Note:  David James Keaton guest blogs this week.  He has a long list of fiction credits to his name, and now he's the co-editor of a brand new story collection, Hard Sentences: Crime Fiction Inspired by Alcatraz.  He and Joe Clifford have put it together, and as the back cover says, you get "19 stories detailing the cold, strange history of The Rock, nightmares real and imagined..." The very strong lineup of writers looks at Alcatraz from a variety of angles: its famous prisoners, its Civil War incarnation, the 1970's Native American occupation of the island, the day-to-day routine of the families who lived there, including the children who grew up playing within earshot of murderers. Great idea for an anthology, and perhaps it should come as no suprise considering David Keaton's longstanding interest in prison narratives.  But....let him tell you about that.

by David James Keaton

I've seen a lot of prison movies, Cool Hand Luke, Get the Gringo, and Bad Boys probably being my favorites, not because of the stories or directors or actors but because of the unique living, breathing institutions depicted in those films. You get to know every nasty nook and cranny of those joints, sometimes more than the characters. That’s why Oz, for example, still lingers in our memories. And that might be why the newish prison movie Escape Planwith Stallone and Schwarzenegger was kind of a bummer. Because that prison was so interesting, but them, not so much. Stallone was weirdly robotic and Schwarzenegger strangely smiley, not that it matters with Arnold really. It's definitely a testament to his unrivaled fame that 1.) I just typed “Schwarzenegger” correctly without looking and 2.) spell checker did not flag it (though it did flag “spell checker”). But the prison in that movie was undeniably fascinating, sort of a high-tech boat/labyrinth deal, with lots of superplastic (flagged again even though “superplastic” is totally a word). The funniest part of Escape Planthough is when Stallone uses a piece of wax from a milk carton to cover a keypad in order to figure out the 4 code numbers they're punching in by studying all the greasy fingerprints the guards leave behind. He explains to us, "It was just a numbers game," and bam! types in the correct sequence. But quick calculations reveal that this "numbers game" he’s talking about actually has over 10,000 possible combinations. Wait a minute, so Sly's like Good Will Hunting all the sudden? Why isn’t Will Hunting in prison, by the way. He punches cops!
But speaking of numbers games, I wish there were 10,000 possible combinations of prison films because I’d watch them all. And after seeing maybe 53 prison movies, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve only read maybe 3 prison books. All nonfiction, too, or at least tangentially based on truth. The Executioner's Song was the big one. Probably in my top ten books of all time, which makes sense because it’s like ten books in one. And, of course, how the fiction and nonfiction are divided up in that thing is pretty inscrutable. So even though Gary Gilmore is a real person, I mostly think of it as Norman Mailer's best novel, partly because of the amalgam of prisoners he channeled to create it, and partly because of the embellishments the author and inspiration made. But more on that later. The other two prison books that stand out in my memory are actually memoirs by inmates. The first is Iron House by Jerome Washington, which has my all-time favorite prison quote, partly because it really takes the piss out of Shawshank Redemption:

“I used to have a large, nude pin-up on my cell wall. It was there, across from the bed, doing time just as I was, until I woke up from a wet dream and, in the half light, thought a naked woman was in the cell with me. When fantasies become that real, it’s time to give them up. The next time I pin up a photograph, it will be of something I can use. Like a helicopter.”

And the last prison book I read, In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Abbott, might be the weirdest story of all (at least the story surrounding the story anyway). When I first read In the Belly of the Beast, I was coming off a couple overheated prison pulp stories, so I was mesmerized by the clear authenticity of it. The prose was ragged, but it felt real, sort of like Ben Hamper's Rivethead, based on his Tales from the Assembly Line columns from the Flint Voice that were published throughout the ‘80s. It was an era of authentic, non-professional, blue-collar voices popping up in literature all of a sudden, and it was pretty clear that Mailer’s obsession with Abbott’s gritty routine is what inspired a lot of The Executioner's Song, as well. Of course, there was also the massive stockpile of Gary Gilmore’s correspondences he had to work with, but Abbott had reached out to convince Mailer that Gilmore’s accounts of prison were mostly exaggeration. He was going to set Mailer straight, you see, so it was Mailer’s famous correspondence with prisoner Abbott, who was serving time for bank robbery and murder, that must have really gotten Norman’s muse dancing during that crucial first draft of The Executioner’s Song, sort of a “Will Graham visits Lector in jail” situation, to get the scent. Makes sense though, as there was no way to correspond with Gary Gilmore after 1977 without a Ouija board.

But after I finished reading In the Belly of the Beast, I was amazed to discover there was a much-less publicized sequel to Abbott’s seminal memoir. I stumbled on this book in the microfiche at my previous bookstore job one day while seeing how many copies of In the Belly of the Beastwere at the warehouse. "Holy shit," I whispered when I saw that the follow-up was called The Return. “He got out?!” I said to a confused customer.

Well, yeah, he did. Sort of. And then he got right back in again. Because when I got a copy of The Return in my hands, I was horrified to realize that Abbott, who had been championed by Mailer and his writer friends at the time, had been sprung from prison after a successful letter-writing campaign to the parole board, and everyone was convinced Abbott had a great future in writing and lawfulness. So many famous people were convinced, whether it was the literary crowd on the East Coast or the Hollywood crowd on the West Coast (worst rap battle ever) that they all joined forces to get him out. But no one was prepared for the final twist.

You see, the title didn’t just refer to this return to society, as I’d thought, but instead to his return to prison. Tragically, once released, Abbott murdered waiter/actor/playwright Richard Adan during an argument at a restaurant about using the restroom. Trivia note: When Abbott killed Adan on July 19, 1981, it was one day before The New York Times published a glowing review of In the Belly of the Beast. I hope there weren’t any impressionable writers out there eager to snag a write-up in the The Times by imitating this method.

But I was truly shocked I hadn’t heard about Abbott going back to jail. Because I’d heard quite a b