So it turns out some nerd-lingers decided to see if drinking beer makes one smarter — or at least more adept at problem-solving. Guess what your tax dollars found out? It does!
According to a study recently published in Consciousness and Cognition — obviously a beach-read if ever there was one — moderate alcohol consumption improved problem-solving speed and capability by close to 40% compared to test subjects who were sober at the time of testing.
This makes a lot of sense — with a few exceptions, many of the best creative thinkers (writers, musicians, scientists, artists, Steve Jobs) throughout history have benefited to varying degrees from “lubricating” their minds for good ideas. It slows down the synapses and allows for less-focused and more indirect thinking to take hold. The key, as with everything, is moderation — at some point one should sober up and analyze those ideas with a clear head to make sure they still have merit.
That said, maybe if I’d had a beer before my second SAT test it would’ve helped me get those pesky 10 points and elevated my combined score to the nice round 1200 I so desperately craved. Thanks, Fairfax County Public Schools, for NOTHIN’! (j/k — don’t drink till you’re legally allowed to, stay in school, and go Hornets!)
By now you probably know I’m a nerd. I love sci fi, monsters, comics, and robots. When I say I love these things, I mean I love them the way you love a new song by your favorite band or a sandwich. I may wax poetic about them, but I draw the line at taking them to bed or marrying them. Some nerds researchers out of New Zealand have other ideas. Academic journal Futures published their paper predicting that in the future humans will visit brothels staffed by robots, rather than human prostitutes.
Dr. David Levy no doubt agrees with this sentiment; in his 2007 book he claimed humans will fall in love with humanoid robots in the next 50 years.
As if the modern dating scene wasn’t hard enough already. Now singles will have to compete with made-in-a-lab perfection if they seek human-to-human companionship. Thanks again, Science.
Let me get this straight — we now have (quite literally) Star Wars technology in the form of actual “laser sabers”, but according to the narrator of this advertising video, we’re not supposed to engage in swordplay with them, touch them, or really even look directly at them without some Cyclops-grade shades protecting our eyes? Where’s the fun in that? That’s like getting a Tronlightcycle for graduation and being told not to sit on it, let alone cruise around. Thanks for harshing my nerd-buzz, guys.
Even when it’s not actively creating the stuff of my nightmares, Science still finds a way to screw me out of a good night’s sleep just by presenting observed data.
That frightening behemoth on the left is a giant weta, current title-holder of the World Heavy-weight Insect Championship. The speck on the right being dwarfed by the dime it’s sitting on is the Paedophryne amauensis, a newly-discovered frog that is officially (for now) the world’s smallest vertebrate. The weta clocks in at 71 grams, while froggy there weighs in at a hefty .02 grams.
Look familiar? Probably because that was your aisle-mate on the last time you flew on an airplane. Well, some countries’ airlines have finally realized that more than any other aspect of air travel, your seat-neighbors are the things that can make or break your experience.
Whether it’s a screaming or hyper-active child, a smelly unwashed person, a smelly heavily-perfumed person (did you know Brylcreem and Aqua Velva are still manufactured? And USED? By living, breathing humans in the 21st century? True story), or somebody that will just not shut the f@#k up while you’re trying to pound mini-bottles of booze to assist you in passing out and sleeping through harrowing turbulence (truly, the only way to fly), cramped seats, minimal legroom, shitty in-flight entertainment & food, or surly flight attendants have NOTHING on the annoying aisle-mate.
Fear not, though, my jet-setting friends! According to this article at Springwise.com, Malaysia Airlines and KLM Airlines are on the cutting-edge of using social media networks for something other than updates about what you’re watching on TV at any given moment (full disclosure: I fully enjoyed back-to-back viewings of Leprechaun V: Leprechaun In the ‘Hood and Leprechaun VI: Back 2 da ‘Hood on BET Friday night — and posted that shizz all over my Wall!)
Malaysia Air’s MHBuddy Facebook app allows passengers to see the profiles of friends (and likely friends of friends with public Wall’s) to coordinate travel dates with friends who are heading to the same destination within that time-frame, and to even elect to sit next to or near one another during the flight. KLM’s Meet & Seat service is even more interesting because it incorporates both Facebook and LinkedIn. This means that even if no direct friends are on that flight, you can still peruse the LinkedIn profiles of fellow passengers and choose seating based on those in similar industries or with similar interests. As Bob says, baby steps. There are still no guarantees that your seat-neighbor is a big fan of personal hygiene — but at least the conversation is interesting.
Remember a couple months ago when I was all excited about the advent of 3D printing, aka Star Trek replicator technology? Well, my past and our future have collided into this present happening, and it freaks me out!
Some smart cookies have already decided to monetize this amazing future-tech in the coolest way possible: by building and selling customized robots!
My Robot Nation gives robot enthusiasts the chance to design unique robot figures online and then uses a 3D printer to fabricate them to your specifications. The do a pretty good job of explaining the process here, as well as showing some of it here:
This is Jukusui-Kun, a new robotic pillow combo in the form of two polar bears designed in Japan as a sleep aid to combat snoring. Yes, seriously.
How is this miracle of science achieved? Well, the smaller bear-pillow contains a small sensor which attaches to the afflicted sleeper’s hand. This sensor monitors oxygen levels in the blood, which a microphone embedded in the larger bear-pillow records noise levels.
Both pillows feed this data wirelessly into a THIRD unit, a terminal that compiles and analyzes the data. When blood oxygen levels dip and noise levels increase at the same time, the “mama” bear is triggered by the terminal and gently brushes its paw across the sleeper’s face in order to induce them to roll over without waking them up (sleeping on one’s side instead of the back is believed to alleviate the snoring).
Interested? Well, too bad — the researchers who designed this not-at-all ostentatious device that nobody asked for will not be producing it commercially.
So Japan spent an obscene amount of money to design a robotic anti-snoring pillow device and fabricated it in the form of an adult and an infant polar bear (complete with baby bottle) that essentially does what my wife’s elbow does for free after I pass out drunk. With no plans to recoup the R&D budget by mass-producing it.
No, don’t get up, Japan — we’ll lick this climate change/famine/poverty/overpopulation/war/pollution thing in a jiff.
I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently an insane person broke into the facility housing the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland back in April of 2010.
Let me break it down for you: this kid with zero security clearance was found inside the facility wearing “weird” clothes (I wear tweed sport coats all the time—I’m not weird, I just went through a very serious Belle & Sebastian phase in the late 90s) and rummaging around in some trashcans and was immediately arrested. During questioning, he claimed his name was Eloi Cole and that he was searching for fuel for his “time machine power unit” (police reports indicated this device looked a lot like a kitchen blender) when he was discovered. He also revealed that he had traveled back in time to sabotage the Collider:
“Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I’m here to stop it ever happening.”
Kids these days!
Seriously, how stupid are the Swiss & French police to be so confused by this? Weird clothes + garbage-fueled time machine that looks like something made by Cuisinart = an idiot who’s basically a real-life Cable Guy because his parents let him watch the Back to the Future trilogy way too much as a kid:
“Yes, Marty. You two do become assholes in the future!”
While I fully agree with Eloi that Kit-Kats are Satan’s candy, eating them seems like an alright trade-off for limitless energy and the elimination of poverty. Maybe he’s a big Ayn Rand fan.
But the most distressing aspect of this whole story is that security at the Collider is so lax that this nut-job was able to waltz right in, and that the police were CLEARLY not concerned about it, or the fact that he then escaped from the mental hospital they took him to post-questioning:
Mr. Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered.
Switzerland, just because you’re neutral about everything doesn’t mean you get to be lazy, too.