7QT: Innovation in Gross Robots and Stock Photos

7QT: Innovation in Gross Robots and Stock Photos August 21, 2015

— 1 —

If folks don’t want to wait til next year to play in another Ideological Turing Test, one of the posters on LessWrong is running one on vegitarianism. Format is a little different — you’re asked to rate your confidence using numbers, rather than the categorical variables I usually use.

Let me know if you notice anything about the way he’s running his that you’d like me to adapt for mine!

— 2 —

And. speaking of adaptations, this was my favorite show mentioned in a big Fringe festival roundup:

Something similar afflicted Phineas Gage, the real-life medical oddity whose skull was pierced by a tamping iron; he lends his name to “The Curious Case of Phineas Gage,” a steampunk lecture-demonstration from Split Knuckle Theater. The three actors announce themselves as members of the Midtown Manhattan Entirely Factual Historical Re-Enactment Society of Medicine, but by the time Gage is on the moon, waging war against P. T. Barnum and various lizard people, you may question their accuracy. Though rambling and overlong, the play is also loopy and resourceful.

— 3 —

One other case of necessity being the mother of inventions — what do you do when marijuana enthusiasts keep stealing your 420 mile marker?

Transportation officials [in Idaho] say mile marker 420 has been replaced with 419.9 signs to curb thieves eager to own a number associated with marijuana enthusiasts.

WaPo took at look at how many highways are long enough to have a 420 marker to steal.

— 4 —

The transportation folks are trying to remove an opportunity.  Meanwhile, the folks at WNYC have been creating one — they were tired of not finding stock photos that reflected real New Yorkers, so they made their own.  This one was my favorite (“Woman Looking for MetroCard and Blocking Turnstile While People Wait to Enter”)

(WNYC / flickr)
(WNYC / flickr)

— 5 —

Epidemiologists are filling a different sort of gap in the world:

It has generally been assumed that the vomiting portion of the [norovirus] symptoms scatters small particles of liquid that carry the virus to new surfaces.

But this is science, and we don’t like assumptions. “There have been no laboratory-based studies characterizing the degree of [norovirus] release during a vomiting event,” complain the authors of a new paper on the virus. So, to solve this gap in our knowledge, they built a simulated vomiting machine. 

— 6 —

Ok, here’s a more exciting/less disgusting innovation.  What But Why has a long-but-totally-worth-it series on Elon Musk’s plan to get to Mars.

— 7 —

Finally, I thought you might all enjoy this riddle that one of my Dominican friar friends sent me when he came back from his summer assignment:

We’re all moved back to DC, and I’ve moved over to a new room in the East Wing– the only prime-numbered room on the floor.  What is my room number?

I had fun solving it, and I think I should once again mention that I recommend Daniel Tammet’s Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math to all of you, including the people who don’t do that much math themselves, but like being invited into other people’s joy on the topic.


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