Jules the Robot Says Farwell

Jules is a robot designed to invoke human-like responses. The robot is not a fully fledged AI and is programmed to state certain responses such as the infamous “will I dream” speech from 2010: The Year We Make Contact. None the less the simulation is interesting: Jules is designed with a material called Frubber™ which allows human-like expression. Jules borders on the Uncanny Valley a term created by robotocist Masahiro Mori. The uncanny valley refers to how when something looks about “95% human” its often more disturbing that something that looks “30% human.” For example a cartoon figure as a robot seems unthreatening and not disturbing. Yet a human-like robot that is close to human in appearance but has just the slightest irregularities such as not blinking, lack of facial expression, etc. seems more disturbing. That last “5%” is the hardest to replicate.

Friend Request From the California Prison System

Hell yes you can friend the California Department of Corrections on MySpace!  A quick look around their homepage reveals that Corrections is earning their 2009 Gold Award from SiOC for Best State Website with more social networking than you can shake a stick (presumably smuggled in a cavity) at. Sure, their Twitter usage is a bit rudimentary, mostly highlighting press where they’re mentioned.  (Sample headline: ‘Oldest Youth Offender Paroled’) But think of the thrill of becoming Facebook buds with the U.S.’s largest state-run prison system. (165,000 adult offenders and rising)  Keep them in the loop with your changes in maritial or parole eligibility status. There’s also a few gems on their YouTube Channel, such as a COPS Lite look at SNAG that makes me dream of being the California Department of Corrections official drum machine operator. Also, don’t miss the somewhat Cash-centric Folsom Prison Museum clip, featuring both behind the […]

New Sub Species of Monkey: Mura Saddleback Tamarin

The small gray and brown tamarin monkey which weighs 213 grams (0.47 pound) guy was named Mura’s saddleback tamarin in honor of the Mura tribe. Not an alien life form in a sewer, but much cuter. Read more on the tamarin: New long-tailed monkey discovered in Amazon, MSNBC New monkey discovered in Brazilian Amazon, Reuters Newly Discovered Monkey Threatened by Amazon Development, National Geographic

Kinetic Based Drawing

The rules are simple: draw boxes, circles or triangles and they fall according to simulated physics. The results are sketches resembling Italian futurists such as Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. Kinetic Sketch is a great use of physics and a great waste of time.

Raw Materials: Venetian Renaissance Scans

Click here for a gallery of ancient hand-cut fonts, illustrations and borders, all free and clear to alter and reuse. I found this book for a dollar at a garage sale and it looked too good to keep to myself.  Great for design projects that require a medieval touch.  Ten scans up currently, more on the way.  Angels, saints, branches, lions and giant fancy letters. Link to any projects you use these on in the comments.  Someone want to whip up a font?

Tin Foil Hats are Sexy: New Lifeform in Sewer?

Supposedly this is video from a snakecam in a North Carolina sewer that shows a new (or undiscovered) lifeform. The video shows what appear to be blobs pulsating and moving. Though many questions remain. Holy crap. At least that’s what I hope it isn’t. I may not have received my Cryptozoology merit badge in Boy Scouts but I am skeptical. Who took this video? Why was the camera in the sewer? Where is this in North Carolina? Extraordinary calims require extraordinary evidence. But I do have one more question: what the hell is it? Update: Actually its a “bag of worms” or bryozoans according to the News & Observer newspaper. These animals live in colonies so what we see in the video is actually many of them finding food and going on with daily business. They develop an external shell known as a cystid to protect them which we see […]