aug 06



The Reprehensible Man for Brainwash, where I ask, “does the ‘perfect man’ have a teenage sex slave?” I also have something about Toyota’s pseudo-news

I’m in here and here. And, ugh, don’t ask about this one.

A dogmatic and exasperating month! Now back to the techie-talk…

Posted by site admin at 12:04 am |

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Wired news has an interesting article, although not nearly as dramatic as its accompanying headline (“Giant Robot Imprisons Parked Cars.”)


The city of Hoboken had a legal scuffle with makers of their automata garage gatekeepers. After dumping Robotic Parking, they soon realized the cars were then inaccessible without a functioning “Wonkavator,” as the reporter describes it, to get them down.

According to Tom Jennemann, a staff writer who followed the story for the local Hudson Reporter, the distrust between the city and Robotic Parking goes back to the beginning of their relationship. “I think (the city) signed a bad contract,” says Jennemann. This conflict began after the last software term ran out at the end of 2005, and the city began to license the software on a month-to-month basis. By the end of July it had no legal access to the software at all.

“It’s more of a problem than people imagine,” says Bill Coats, Partner at White & Case. More complex licensing schemes are becoming common, from term licenses like those offered by Robotic to “Self Help Features” that allow venders into their software after the sale, and “time bombs,” where the term in the license is backed up by code in the program which simply stops it working after a certain date.

Posted by site admin at 3:50 pm |

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The recent death of Boston-area Brazilian expat brought attention to basement plastic surgery rings. But their cultural obsession with knifed aesthetic perfection might have as much to do with cats as with Giseles. Carl Zimmer reports that Brazil’s toxoplasma rate is 66.9% The parasite (originating with cats) appears to influence “neuroticism, uncertainty avoidance, and ‘masculine’ sex roles.” Then again, South Korea, home of the DIY liposuction, has a rate of only 4.3%.

So–has [Kevin Lafferty, the author of “Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?”] discovered why the French are neurotic (Toxo: 45%) and Australians are not (28%)? As he admits, this is just a first pass. A number of countries–particularly from Africa–are missing from the analysis. I’d also wonder how Lafferty could take into account the fact that Toxoplasma rates have probably been changing over the decades. Scientists I’ve spoken to suspect it is falling in the United States, thanks to better handling of meat. But since Toxoplasma can infect people for decades, a simple measurement of prevalence may miss a steady decline. Are Americans becoming less neurotic?

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If you look up at the sky long enough it feels like you are looking down. That might be the wisdom behind Werner Herzog’s The Wild Blue Yonder. Bldgblg dives deeper than Wired’s article, “The Intergalactic Mashup King,” about the upcoming film, the “world’s first undersea outer-space sci-fi documentary.”


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