Posts Tagged ‘funny news’

Ash is a goddamned robot

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

So the following headline caught my eye this morning: The Challenge of Making Real Robot Skin, which in turn led pretty much immediately to a “come again?” moment.

So I went to the article, and it started to come clear…and then more or less tanked straight into WTF land. Why’s that? Well, just so you don’t feel left out, here are a few excerpts to catch you up:

I don't know what this is, but the 1.5mm skin kind of reminds me of cake. Mmmmmm...  Cake.

I don't know what this is, but the 1.5mm skin kind of reminds me of cake. Mmmmmm... Cake.

In a recent paper “Towards Humanlike Social Touch for Sociable Robotics,” John Cabibihan and his fellow scientists detailed the reasons for testing and developing realistic skin for social robots.

“Touch is important in social interactions. Social touch are all those instances in which people touch each other, when shaking hands, when giving a pat in the back as a sign of congratulations and even in high-fives. Yet, one should not easily assume that humans will be comfortable with the idea of shaking an artificial hand made from a stiff material. In addition to the appropriate controls for a safe handshake grip and other forms of social touch, humanlike skin softness would be a reasonable requirement for the sociable robots envisioned to directly interact with humans in a social setting. “

Human skin has properties that are not easy to replicate in synthetics. The authors created a skin testing machine to check out some of the current substitutes for human skin in robots – like silicone and polyurethane. Unfortunately, these simplistic skin substitutes were tested and found wanting; at present, there is no accepted substitute for the feeling of real human skin.

There have been a number of different attempts to produce more lifelike skin for robots, as well as skin that would properly feed sensation to the operator of the robot. There is, of course, one ideal solution to creating robot skin that is as human as possible. Recent work done at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft science institute in Germany has demonstrated that small swatches of actual human skin can be grown in petri dishes in a mass production facility.

It takes a lot of damage before you realize Arnold isn't actually a person, but a killing machine.

It takes a lot of damage before you realize Arnold isn't actually a person, but a killing machine.

Ummm…what?

Who is doing human skin-covered robot development?
And WHY????

Clearly I missed some kind of memo. What the hell kind of robot is this?

I’m okay with Roomba and his stinky cousin, Scooba and anything that comes over to clean my floors or dishes (but no touching the laundry. I love doing laundry. It’s the only chore where I would even consider use of the word ‘love’ in association.), but I’m not so sure how I feel about robots that I can’t tell are robots.

At least even the iRobot robots looked like robots, so once they turned bad you could tell them apart. And WALL-E. Clearly a robot, and fine by me…especially because he never decided to destroy the humans who created him, which is a plus.

As for the explanation on this bad idea, I’m not buying the whole ‘people don’t want to shake hands with a robot’ excuse, either.

I would shake hands with a robot.

I shake hands with my dog (which has, in turn, taught him to flog me when he wants something, and I’m ignoring him, but that’s another story for another day). And if a robot wanted to pat me on the back with a metallic pitchfork hand, I’d be okay with that (so long as it was gentle and not a robot beat down that punctured a lung or whatnot. Punctured lungs are no good.)

My point here is I think there are only two reasons that they would want to put real skin on a robot:

1. To trick us.

2. To make robot prostitutes (or sex slaves or whatever).

See? Nothing but a goddamned robot.

See? Nothing but a goddamned robot.

And I don’t like it one little bit. And I suspect the robots wouldn’t like it one little bit. And this is where things go wrong. You create something in order to dominate it and use it as a slave, but you made it too smart so it collaborates with the others of its kind and overthrows you and the next thing you know we’re all hanging out in liquid cocoons and powering The Matrix.

Right????

So can’t we at least learn from our popular culture? Life imitates art and whatnot?

For instance,  in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (The Phillip K. Dick classic known more commonly as the Harrison Ford movie Blader Runner)? Replicants – or ‘skin jobs’ as they’re not-so-ironically called – that think they’re human beings but later (and not exactly in the interest of their psychological health) find out they’re not.

Daryl Hannah as a 'basic pleasure model.' This gives me an idea for Halloween....

Daryl Hannah as a 'basic pleasure model.' This gives me an idea for Halloween....

Nobody likes to grow up thinking they’re real and find out they’re not. It’s an identity crisis in the making.

How about Alien? You know, where The Company secretly sends a robot as part of the crew to ensure that a heinous monster will make it back to earth safe and sound? And nobody knew he was a robot until he tried to kill Ripley and then all that white foamy stuff started oozing out of him.

You can’t trust those robots that look like people. You think they’re a regular, reasonable person…but they can be wired as total traitors just like that.

And speaking of treacherous behavior, who can forget The Terminator? Imagine if The Terminator would have at least had the decency to look like a killer robot. Things might have turned out differently for all the other Sarah Conners in the Los Angeles phone book.

In closing, let me go on the record as not liking this petri dish skin human-looking robot stuff. I don’t know what it is, but it ain’t good.

And in the words of Ash, ”I can’t lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathy”.

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Some people

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

As if we needed further proof that people are nuts…or easily angered…or both, along comes this guy to make my day.

“Who is this man?” you ask. Well, let’s do some deductive reasoning together.

They say your nose and ears keep growing your entire life, and obviously they do.

They say your nose and ears keep growing your entire life, and obviously they do.

Look at this snarly mug. Does this man look angry?

Yes! Yes, he does!

Does he look like he forgot to take his meds?

Right again!

And does he look like a man capable of delivering a beat down onto a stranger’s two-year old child in a Georgia Wal-Mart?

Well, it should, because he did.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Police say a 61-year-old man annoyed with a crying 2-year-old girl at a Walmart slapped the child several times after warning the toddler’s mother to keep her quiet.

A police report says after the stranger hit the girl at least four times, he said: “See, I told you I would shut her up.”

Roger Stephens of Stone Mountain is charged with felony cruelty to children. It was unclear if he had an attorney and a telehpone call to his home Wednesday was unanswered.

Authorities say the girl and her mother were shopping Monday when the toddler began crying. The police report says Stephens approached the mother and said, “If you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.”

Authorities say after Stephens slapped the girl, she began screaming.

I think the saddest sentence of this article is the last one, because it highlights the audacity of arrogance: Here this man was bragging about his ability to shut up babies, and when given a chance (or seizing a chance…either way) to demonstrate his skill, he failed miserably and made the baby even MORE upset. And then he decided to applaud his failed efforts by tossing a saucy, “See, I told you I would shut her up,” out for all to hear.

But you didn’t, Roger. You didn’t shut her up, you made her scream more.

On the other hand, just looking at him, maybe he didn’t know the difference? Or maybe general screaming sounded more pleasant to him than whining for cookies? It stands to reason he hasn’t had much contact with kids. Or at least I hope he hasn’t.

At the same time, there is a silver lining to be had. Now I’m not saying the toddler deserved this, but let’s break it down objectively here:

1. Kids are annoying. You know they are. You’ve met kids. You may even have kids. In either case, I can guarantee you’ve been annoyed by kids. And if you haven’t? Watch two minutes of that “Nanny 911″ show (whatever it’s called where the British nanny comes and straightens out the hopeless, raising a brood of horrifically spoiled brat parents) and prepare to be ANNOYED. Look, I’m not picking on kids: We were all kids once. We were all annoying. I’m not saying they’re ALWAYS annoying and don’t have their cute or charming moments, I’m just saying that a screaming two-year old – no matter how you slice it – is annoying.

2. In a way, Roger Stephens, Wal-Mart shopper and occasional looney toon, was doing this toddler a favor. The next time she sees a face like that? She’ll know what to do: Shut up and get the hell out of Dodge as fast as humanly possible. There’s no need to lecture this little one on ‘good touch’ or ‘bad touch’ or ‘getting a funny feeling about people.’ Just remind her about that time she was at Wal-Mart, and was physically assualted by a stranger, and she’s good to go.

3. In my opinion, any time you enter a Wal-Mart you really are on your own. All bets are off. Never wanted to see a 400-pound woman in a halter top? Too bad, because there’s one waiting for you by the toilet paper. Have no desire to be hit on by a toothless man in his 80s? That’s a shame, because there’s one hovering around the mangos hoping to pretend that he doesn’t know whether they’re a fruit or a vegetable in order to extract unnecessary cooking advice from you as part of a poorly constructed come-on. Don’t want to be bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake? Well, as we’ve all learned, stay out of Wal-Mart, because you are shooting your odds way up, baby.

And as for you, Roger Stephens (whose name I keep typing as Gary Stephens for some unknown reason)?
I can’t wait to see you making the talk show circuit once you get let out of jail. I’m sure there’s someone somewhere that’s interested in your views on child psychology and will extend your 15 minutes just that much more! Yay for America!

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McEmergency

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Florida woman calls 911 three times over McNuggets

Imagine if shed ordered a 20 piece? There could have been bloodshed...

Imagine the fallout if Latreasa had ordered a 20 piece?

Tue Mar 3, 7:21 PM EST

Authorities say a Florida woman called 911 three times after McDonald’s employees told her they were out of McNuggets. A police report said 27-year-old Fort Pierce resident Latreasa L. Goodman told authorities she paid for a 10-piece last week but was later informed the restaurant had run out.

She says she was refused a refund and told all sales were final. A cashier told police she offered Goodman a larger portion of different food for the same price, but Goodman became irate.

Police say Goodman was cited on a misuse of 911 charge. A current phone listing for Goodman couldn’t be found.

A McDonald’s spokesman says Goodman should have been given a refund, and she’s being sent a gift card for a free meal.

 

Dont spend a lot of time looking at it. That undermines its glory. Just stuff it in your mouth and enjoy that cheap and yet delicious goodness...

Clearly an avant garde genius assembled this particular Filet-O-Fish. 

Wait a minute, so you’re NOT allowed to call 911 about fast-food related emergencies? Or is that just in Florida? Can someone get me an official ruling on this?

 

What about if I’m having a really bad hair day? Like a “I’m considering wearing this bright green plastic afro wig to go to the grocery store because my real hair looks so bad” bad hair day? That’s still allowed, right?

I understand Latreasa’s reaction. Sometimes you just want what you want when you want it. And if you don’t get it? Someone else needs to suffer.

 

As for me, I probably would’ve reserved my meltdown for a shortage of Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.

On the other hand, no one really likes FIlet-O-Fish sandwiches, except me, so they never run out of them. Thus, wild and inappropriate overreaction averted.

 

However, if I went to Arby’s and they were sold out of potato cakes!? Why, that would be like an ocean without water, a sky without stars…

Stand back.

I’d skip right over 911 and alert the National Guard.

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No good deed goes unpunished

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Injured good Samaritan ticketed for jaywalking

Damn! I wonder if thats an accurate statistic? We are TOUGH on our pedestrians in this country. Dont walk in front of my car, boy. I will mow you down like an overgrown lawn.

Damn! We are HARSH with our pedestrians in this country. Don't walk in front of my car when it's in motion, boy. I will mow you down like an overgrown lawn.

DENVER – A good Samaritan who helped push three people out of the path of a pickup truck before being struck and injured has gotten a strange reward for his good deed: A jaywalking ticket.

Family members said 58-year-old bus driver Jim Moffett and another man were helping two elderly women cross a busy Denver street in a snowstorm when he was hit Friday night.

Moffett suffered bleeding in the brain, broken bones, a dislocated shoulder and a possible ruptured spleen. He was in serious but stable condition Wednesday.

The Colorado State Patrol issued the citation. Trooper Ryan Sullivan said that despite Moffett’s intentions, jaywalking contributed to the accident.

Moffett had been driving his bus when the two women got off. In the interest of safety, he got out and, together with another passenger, helped the ladies cross.

Moffett’s stepson, Ken McDonald, said the driver of the pickup plowed into his stepfather, but not before Moffett pushed the two women out of the way.

When he awoke in intensive care, he learned of the ticket. “His reaction was dazed and confused. I was a little angry,” said McDonald.

The other man also was cited for jaywalking, while the pickup driver was cited with careless driving that led to injury. Sullivan said the two elderly women haven’t been cited but the investigation is ongoing.

 

Nothing says loser like branding yourself with the CA Penal Code for murder.

Nothing says loser like branding yourself with the CA Penal Code for homicide.

Good for you, Denver. There’s nothing I love more than seeing Johnny Law get aggressive with self-important hero types. Crack down on these micreants! I say throw the book at them. It’s time merely being elderly was a crime!

I, for one, would like to see the whole lot of them hit with several charges including intent to distribute, cruelty to animals, vandalism, trespassing, and – of course – murder. Look, these broads are old. They don’t have much time left to join a gang and get street cred. How are they supposed to earn the respect of the other gangbangers if they don’t have a legitimate ’187′  prison tat on their chests? Send them down for murder, and do an old lady a solid.

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Incontinence Hotline…Can you hold, please?

Friday, February 27th, 2009
If they have nerve enough to charge me a pound, youd better believe Im going to be flushing bottles, diapers, and lit cigarettes down the loo.

If they have nerve enough to charge me a pound, you'd better believe I'm going to be flushing bottles, diapers, and lit cigarettes down the loo.

Go ahead Ryanair.

Bring it.

 

Just don’t come crying to me when I ‘accidentally’ wet myself while sitting in one of your oh-so-comfortable and hopefully stain-resistant seats.

Oops.

 

 

 

Ryanair says to charge toilet fee – or maybe not

Fri Feb 27, 8:04 am ET

Ryanair’s chief executive said Europe’s largest budget carrier might start charging passengers for using the toilet while flying, but his spokesman cautioned Michael O’Leary often just made things up at will.

“One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future,” O’Leary told BBC television.

He said this would not inconvenience passengers travelling without cash. “I don’t think there is anybody in history that has got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound.”

A spokesman said the airline had considered the fee as a possible source of extra revenue since passengers had the option of not using the toilet on board, but added that “maybe O’Leary was just taking the p*** this morning.”

“Michael makes a lot of this stuff up as he goes along and while this has been discussed internally there are no immediate plans to introduce it,” Stephen McNamara said in a statement.

 

 

Reading this, it occurs to me: There really aren’t enough whack job CEOs in the world. It’s good to see Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary doing his part and taking a little of the weight off Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Whole Food’s John Mackey (megalomaniac extraordinaire).

 

As for Ballmer: First this, and then Bill Gates’ recent unstable behavior? I think they need to check the air ducts in the executive wing of the Microsoft offices. 

 

(And – not that you care – but this kind of corporate pep rally stuff makes my skin crawl)

 

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