I actually left the house the other day. (And not just to howl at the moon or mark my territory along the perimeter of the yard but to, you know, go out.) I attended a book club meeting put on by the Alt + Library. We were discussing Edgar Allan Poe at the new Helvetia Brewing Company, who served an Edgar Allan Porter.
You can read about it here and, should you scroll down, you can even see a picture with my always happy face.
It was nice to get out and talk books. I also really enjoyed revisiting Poe after so many years. I think, like a lot of people, I read him as a teenager then moved on. Returning to his work felt like returning to some previous version of myself. It’s like a marker to see how much my perceptions had changed.
Anyhow, your owl pellets . . .
Swarm Of House Cleaning Flying Robots Wins Electrolux Design Lab Award 2013: This is a happy development for us lazy bones.
A fleet of flying robots which can clean your house have won an international design award.
The ‘Mab’ concept by Adrian Perez Zapata from Colombia imagines a swarm of “hundreds” of small bots which can scan a house, work out which areas need a clean and then wiping them with individual drops of water.
‘Mab’ aims to use the collective intelligence of natural swarms to produce an emergent intelligence capable of keeping your home spic-and-span.
If I can get a swarm of cleaning robots, I can reduce my house husband duties to taking Vicodin and looking pretty.
A swarm of cyborg insects used for mapping collapsed buildings: Another swarm? Oh happy day. We love a good swarm around here.
After being released into the space of interest (say, a collapsed portion of a mall) the system directs the biobots in random directions, spreading out the swarm to cover as much area as possible. Once they are disbursed enough for the controller’s liking, the system directs the swarm to move in a straight line forward in whatever direction each cockroach happens to be facing. They are only to stop moving forward when they hit a wall or some other impassable object. All roaches then track along the wall for a time, following its contours and giving operators some specific but out-of-context information about the space they’re exploring.
Swarm of cleaning robots. Swarm of cyborg cockroaches. Too easy.
Terminator-style robot busts leg in martial arts demo mishap: Unlike standing and doing things, which is actually kinda hard.
US government research agency DARPA launched its Robotics Challenge earlier this year, and Boston Dynamics began shipping Atlases to participants this summer.
The HKU boffins in charge of the 1.9m tall, 150kg robot – one of only seven built and the first Atlas shipped to Asia – were chuffed to have managed to get the robot’s head, hands and body working in harmony, and had arranged the demonstration to show off their success to the media.
The smug scientists programmed the piston-packing poser to peform a series of killer tai chi moves, the South China Morning Post reports.
But right at the end of the manoeuvres the ambulatory android lost its balance and toppled over, snapping its ankle on impact.
Get it some Vicodin and it’ll be right as, uhhh, what was I typing. That’s weird. Can’t feel the keyboard.
China’s Cockroach Farms Are A Glimpse Into Our Protein Future: It actually makes sense and, considering that bag of pork rinds I had the other day, isn’t even gross.
You’ve heard the arguments. Insects are cheap to grow, easy on the environment, and high in protein and minerals. In contrast, livestock such as pigs and cows are expensive, produce noxious chemicals such as methane and ammonia, and take up land and grains that humans could use directly. The United Nations has been urging people in Western countries to eat insects for years.
I’ve actually heard none of these arguments. And I get the feeling that the UN is daring us.
Eyes & Ears