Robotics: Be afraid, very afraid

This is both fascinating and scary at the same time. Fascinating that they’ve managed to make robotic devices not only so smart but now very fast too. That T-1 can kick your ass they claimed – you bet your ass it can! Check out the video below. [via Boing Boing]

You can find out more about this type of robotics and view other videos here.

Big Picture: Flights of fancy

Whenever possible, I always enjoy going to airshows to see various aircraft taking part in various exercises. It’s always a thrilling experience to see, hear and feel the aircraft zooming above and infront of you. Enjoy the collection recently released by Boston.com’s Big Picture.

Just over 100 years since the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight, flying machines are now commonplace, used for transport, freight, warfare, rescue and pleasure just for starters. Aerospace technology is still the realm of both big business and entrepreneurs – Moscow recently hosted an airshow in which contracts totaling $10 billion were signed, and Virgin Galactic is still working toward a private spaceliner business. Collected here are recent photographs of various flying machines in action or on display around the world. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

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A MiG-35 jet performs a low pass during the MAKS-2009 international air show in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

Mensa Invitational: New Words

This has been floating around the office via email today. I see there are a number of posts like this one already but no clear original source – if you know let me know.

The Washington Post’s Mensa invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the 2009 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12.. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n.. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of jockey shorts worn by Jewish men.

Kids and technology

It’s a topic that’s been in the news for a long time and almost always with negative connotations. Kids playing games with violence in them turning violent and becoming disobedient. But there are positive outcomes too.

I was watching in amazement at my youngest daughter, yesterday, as she was playing Mahjong Solitaire (not to be confused with the actual Mahjong game). But it’s just a pattern-matching game, you might say. Except there are quite a number of various patterns on the tiles, some look similar to others and in various colours, so not always so simple to find the matching tiles.

But it’s not only the fact that she can manage to finish some of the levels on her own but that she has already figured out how to navigate the various menus to start a new game or exit the game and start another one. I think we need to be worried once she figures out how to use Windows Explorer!

Oh, did I mention, she only turned 3 last month? Yup. Think back to when you were a kid at that age. Would we too have been able to so quickly grasp those concepts that some just can’t get. Remember it’s not just the fact that she manages to find the matching pairs but at the same time she’s moving the mouse around which in turn moves the mouse cursor to where she wants it to be as well as clicking the mouse button at the right time.

I’ve been working with computers for the last 24 years and pretty much take the act of using a keyboard without looking at the keys and using a mouse to navigate around a website or application for granted. But take two minutes and just think about all those neurons firing in your brain to be able to make all those connections and make us do the things we do and then think of all of that happening in a three year old’s brain.

Our eldest was also a semi-pro using the computer when she was her sister’s age. Now that she’s in grade 1 and quickly learning to read more and more her computer use is going to get better and most likely more frequent. Good thing I’ve been systematically keeping tabs on the various technologies out there which I will have to implement once the kids start using the computers more regularly. As technology advances I think too our kids are getting smarter and smarter. One of these days we’ll have a generation of toddlers that will be re-programming our VCRs (sheesh giving away my age there), erm, I mean PVRs and understanding what they’re doing not just randomly pressing buttons or hiding jam-sandwiches or keys where they shouldn’t go!

VOTD: Finally, Google Opt-Out feature

Google ensuring they abide by the “don’t be evil” guideline are now offering users the option to opt-out and ensure their data is kept private. It’s a simple trip in the back of a van to an undisclosed location in the mountains. Check out the detailed report in the video below. [via Onelargeprawn]

Sveto Teksty aka HoryMa

Can’t seem to find too much about Sveto Teksty other than his pictures and his website, but my Russian isn’t what it used to be. Needless to say a picture is worth a thousand words, and his do just that. I can’t quite explain the style but they’re quite mesmerising. Take a look at a few samples below (you can click on each thumbnail for a bigger version) or take a look here or on his website for more. [via The Chive]

Sarcastic Sayings

1. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
3. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
4. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.
5. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.
6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
7. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
8. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
9. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
12. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
13. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.
14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
17. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.
20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

– source Demonicious

VOTD: Perpetuum Jazzile Choir

You might not have heard of them before. They’re a Slovenian Choir group called Perpetuum Jazzile and they do some amazing a capella work. Just take a look for yourself at the video below where they emulate the sound of a thunderstorm followed by their a capella version of Toto’s famous track, Africa. You can find out more about them on their website (in Slovenian or in English) or follow them on Facebook or on Twitter. [via Koukla]

More videos here, on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpbyM8k7e2Q

LED Graffiti

As technology advances, so does graffiti. Now instead of vandalizing public property, graffiti artists can get an LED spray can and with a friend and a camera with a long-exposure function you can take pictures like these below. Tag it, using light, instead of paint.

It’s in the shape of a spray can, with a pressure sensitive LED and a coil and magnet so that you can shake it, just like a real can, to recharge it. You can find out more here. [via Cherryflava]

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