August 15, 2012

WTF Wednesday: Brain in a Dish Flies Plane

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 7:06 pm

Once again, Science brings us technology that’s both fascinating and terrifying — you know, like train wrecks can be.

This time University of Florida scientists created a “brain” in a dish from cultured rat cells and then used said “brain” to control an F-22 fighter jet simulator. Although the story has been kicking around for several years, it only caught the internet’s (and my) attention recently.

First off, how insulting must this be for our human fighter pilots? Secondly, if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last decade, it’s that human-operated drone strikes are not perfect. What makes Science think that putting drone strikes in LESS capable hands (or alpha waves or synapses or whatever) is going to improve that?

The class of 2012 is looking pretty rough right now, Science. Thus far you’ve given us mass-killing mutant rat brains and a Dorito-flavored taco shell, with NASA’s successful Martian landing two weeks ago as your only showing in the “Win” column. We’re already halfway through August, guys. Time to wow me.

(Via The Atlantic)

June 20, 2012

WTF Wednesday: Faster Than You Can Say “Robotic Death Panels”, Here’s a Robot That Calmly Guides You Into the Sweet Hereafter.

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 4:49 pm

You’ve heard about hospice cats, right? The adorable little reapers that offer purrs and cuddles to the mostly-dead in exchange for climate control and 2 square meals a day (or 5, if you’re a spoiled quadruped around here that refuses to eat more than 1 Tbsp in a sitting)?

Well, “Chen”, a pretentiously-mononym-ed RISD student, has developed a less cute, more terrifying version: meet the Last-Minute Robot.

Just press a button, and this cold, lifeless robotic arm will slowly move back and forth across the patient’s arm, “stroking [them] through death” while calmly introducing itself via an eerily Siri-esque voice (insert “are you there, Siri? It’s me, Matt” joke here).

Two things:

1. If I’m going to kick it with zero friends and/or family surrounding/petting/hugging me, I want a goddamn cat, not a robot.
2. If anything is going to be “stroking me through death”, it had better be something fried and delicious!


June 7, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: Drink Yourself Smarter? Will Do, Science!

Filed under: Thirsty Thursday — Tags: , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 7:43 pm

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!)

(Via, by way of Adrienne!)

May 30, 2012

WTF Wednesday: I Take Thee (Robot) To Be My Bride

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 7:04 am

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.

via Slate

May 21, 2012

Mystery Monday: When Common Sense Crushes Boyhood Dreams

Filed under: Mystery Monday — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 5:58 pm

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 Tron lightcycle for graduation and being told not to sit on it, let alone cruise around. Thanks for harshing my nerd-buzz, guys.


March 19, 2012

Mystery Monday: What Just Happened to My Mind-Grapes?

Oh yeah — they were pulverized by this:

(Thanks for the tip, Tony!)

March 7, 2012

WTF Wednesday: Monstrous Cricket 3500x More Massive Than World’s Most Adorable Frog

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 10:00 am


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.


(Via Discovery, courtesy of Adrienne!)

February 22, 2012

WTF Wednesday: Newsflash, Science — Half a Giant Robotic Spider Is Just As Terrifying As a Whole Giant Robotic Spider

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 10:00 am

Call it a “dog” all you want, DARPA; legs that look and move like that are 100% ARACHNOID.


January 9, 2012

Mystery Monday: One Step Closer to Utopia In the Friendly Skies


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, 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.

December 19, 2011

Mystery Monday: Replicant Robots Are Awesome

Filed under: Mystery Monday — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 10:38 am

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:

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