Weird Universe

October 23, 2010

Robot Beats Up Scientists

You knew it was coming. The day the robots took over and started bullying the scientist in the schoolyard. But in this study, Borut Povšej subjected himself to the 18 punches before his other volunteer scientists.

He is trying to help design the systems for robots to obey the first law of robotics -- "a robot may not injure a human being".


At one time or another, these tests would have to be run to determine what hurts a human, but I don't know if I'd want to be one of the test subjects. They were subjected to two kinds of punches -- blunted and sharp.

Here's the link to the story from "The New Scientist":

The findings were presented this week at an IEEE conference in Turkey this month. Click here for a list of what else was presented:

Some cool cyborg stuff is there!!

Posted By: gdanea | Date: Sat Oct 23, 2010 | Comments (3)
Category: Robots

Alec Baldwin Wants to Destroy NPR

A very funny and twisted way to raise funds, from WQXR.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Oct 23, 2010 | Comments (10)
Category: Celebrities, Charities and Philanthropy, Radio

October 22, 2010

That’s What Friends Are For

Rockland High School football player John Gerry is very lucky. Last Friday night after what was their usual pre-game dinner John and another player, Brandon Knight, left early. Since John was weighted down with a backpack and other paraphernalia Brandon offered him a ride to his truck which was across the parking lot. Fine, except John decided to ride on the hood of the vehicle. John slid off the hood and was run up on by one tire of Brandon's vehicle before Brandon could stop. One front tire was on John and one was in the air so Brandon couldn't back up off of his friend. So he ran for help. While 911 was called 6 team members and 2 of the parents attending the dinner ran out and lifted the truck up off of John and held it up on 2 wheels till the squad arrived, 20 minutes later. With no broken bones, John is expected to make a full recovery.
Posted By: patty | Date: Fri Oct 22, 2010 | Comments (7)

Weird Science – Watch and Learn

xraysclock.jpg width=400
Outside it is not much to look at, little more than a discoloured rock dredged up from the sea floor. But an x-ray scan of the object, actually a pocket watch recovered from a 17th century shipwreck, has revealed that the internal mechanism has been perfectly preserved. The computer aided tomography system used was sensitive enough to pick out the tiniest details, included the engraved name of the master watchmaker, one Niccholas Higginson of Westminster, London (Gizmodo).

As if more proof were needed that they don’t build them like they used to, a UK group has started collecting donations to build the first fully working version of Babbage’s “Analytical Engine”. The original design, dating from 1837, was never completed, possibly due to a combination of the strict engineering tolerances needed and Babbage’s notoriously prickly temperament. If the final machine works as advertised, it will be very strong confirmation of the claim that Babbage designed the first general purpose, programmable computer (BBC News).

Meanwhile, in Slovenia, Borut Povse and his team are busy teaching a modern descendant of Babbage’s design to hit people. Somehow Povse has convinced six volunteers to let an industrial robot hit them on the arm with various sharp or blunt implements in an effort to determine how much pain each blow causes. Obviously this has a beneficial use in that robots can be programmed not to exceed certain levels of force near a human obstacle, but will also be of immense interest to the machines during any future robot uprising (New Scientist).

Another robot out to supplant humans is HRP-4, a gynoid (female android), that has learnt to sing by copying the inflection and expressions of a human performer, right down to the breathing. The hope is to make robots behave in a more convincingly natural way, and so overcome the so called ‘uncanny valley’. From the video, it looks like they’ve still got a way to go (Daily Mail).

More in extended >>

Skunk Hat

The other night I watched an old Hollywood western, in which one of the characters wore a skunk hat. Now I want one, preferably with skunk head still displayed, as to the right.

You can order yours here. $195.00, but worth every penny.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 22, 2010 | Comments (10)
Category: Fashion, Taxidermy

October 21, 2010

Expensive electricity in Georgia

You thought your electricity bill was high, but a Georgia woman named Scarlett Hall was billed for a billion. With a B. As listed below, she does get a fifty million dollar early payment discount.


Here's the link to the story. It sounds like the bill was actually delivered, but quickly adjusted to $287.

Last one out turn off the lights.
Posted By: gdanea | Date: Thu Oct 21, 2010 | Comments (5)
Category: Utilities

What Did One Macaw Say To The Other Macaw?

Dude, you've got a monkey on your back!
Posted By: patty | Date: Thu Oct 21, 2010 | Comments (16)

October 20, 2010

Most Adolescent Rock Song Title Ever?

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Oct 20, 2010 | Comments (9)
Category: Music, Sexuality, Teenagers, 1980's

October 19, 2010

Moose Chase!

Spokane, Washington got an interesting diversion today. A moose was chased through town by police, TV news crews and a herd of cows. Cue the Benny Hill chase music!
Posted By: patty | Date: Tue Oct 19, 2010 | Comments (5)
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