Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Japan, everybody will be getting robots....

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I just read an interesting article about a recent demonstration of two very human-like robots at the Tokyo museum.

Kodomoroid and Otonaroid are female-looking robots with surprisingly convincing personalities. They don't walk and have some bugs (not surprising with tech this cutting-edge), but the result is very impressive.

The article also described, but didn't show a photo of Telenoid. Telenoid appears to be more of an experiment - it is designed to be only minimally humanoid, with a face that could be male or female, and small enough (and soft enough) to be huggable. Telenoid is primarily (I think) meant to be remotely operated as a telepresence device, not an actual independent robot.

The article also makes reference to Pepper a three-wheeled robot designed to read human emotion from tone of voice and facial expressions, and respond appropriately. Pepper was developed by Softbank (one of the biggest Japanese telecom companies) and will likely start selling for under ¥200,000 ($2,000). At that price, if the product works as advertised, I think we'll start seeing a lot of people buying them.

Now if they can develop one that will clean the house for me, it will be perfect.

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Norwegian Wood" DOES end in arson!

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For many years, I've listened to the song Norwegian Wood by The Beatles, and the ending always seemed strange to me:

So I lit a fire
Isn't it good
Norwegian Wood?

My comments, then as now, was that this is a terrible song. It tells the story of a guy who tries to crawl into bed with a girl, is refused, and he retaliates by burning he house down.

Most people I tell this to think that can't possibly be right. Such a sweet happy song can't possibly be describing a psychotic arsonist.

Well, I decided to Google for it today, and as it turns out, the lyrics are explained on the song's Wikipedia page. John started writing the lyrics as a cryptic way of describing an affair he was having. Then Paul finished it up, and thought it would be funny to end with him burning the house down:

... So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge ... so it meant I burned the place down ....

I feel justified, amused, and a just a little disturbed by this revelation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

AP: Brooklyn a hit as a baby name, except in NY state

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According to an AP report, the name "Brooklyn" is now hot. And at least one couple named a child "Bronx".

I wonder what's next. "Queens"? "Manhattan"? "Staten Island"?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Comic: No rest for the weary

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Sadly, it's not just cartoon housewives. I've frequently been in the same situation. The rest of the family goes out shopping for a few hours and I take the time to complete a bunch of chores around the house. I finally finish and go stretch out with the TV and everybody returns home within a few minutes.