sociorobot Toronto

Brian Despain’s incredible art: Robots + surrealism

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thedailywhat:

Artificial Intelligence of the Day: Cleverbot Writes a Screenplay

In which Cleverbot is basically a crowd-sourced version of SHRDLU.

And also really really hilarious.

(via thenextweb)

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8bitfuture:

Largest ever solar sail could launch in 2014.
NASA are preparing the final design for a massive 13,000 square foot solar sail, which could launch as early as next year. When collapsed, the sail is the size of a dishwasher and weighs just 70 pounds. Once in space the unit will unfurl and catch sunlight, or more importantly a combination of photons and solar gasses being ejected from the sun, which will very slowly act to speed up the sail and push it out to a point about 3,000,000 kilometres out from Earth.


Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun. The technology also could provide an economical solution to removing some of the more than 8,000 pieces of orbital launch debris ringing the planet; conduct station-keeping operations, or hover at high latitudes above Earth for communications and observation; and could drive a variety of propellantless, deep-space exploration and supply ferrying missions.



oh, coooooool!
Solar sail technology has a wonderful idea: it uses the (quantum mechanical) principle that photons can ‘push’ matter, but on a much, much larger scale than what the average undergraduate sees in a physics lab, usually about the photoelectric effect.
While I’m sceptical about their prospective launch date (nothing in space science ever runs on time….ever) I’m excited they’re finally starting to tackle this for development.
(No, you’re right, this has little to do with robots or computers or society.)

8bitfuture:

Largest ever solar sail could launch in 2014.

NASA are preparing the final design for a massive 13,000 square foot solar sail, which could launch as early as next year. When collapsed, the sail is the size of a dishwasher and weighs just 70 pounds. Once in space the unit will unfurl and catch sunlight, or more importantly a combination of photons and solar gasses being ejected from the sun, which will very slowly act to speed up the sail and push it out to a point about 3,000,000 kilometres out from Earth.

Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun. The technology also could provide an economical solution to removing some of the more than 8,000 pieces of orbital launch debris ringing the planet; conduct station-keeping operations, or hover at high latitudes above Earth for communications and observation; and could drive a variety of propellantless, deep-space exploration and supply ferrying missions.

oh, coooooool!

Solar sail technology has a wonderful idea: it uses the (quantum mechanical) principle that photons can ‘push’ matter, but on a much, much larger scale than what the average undergraduate sees in a physics lab, usually about the photoelectric effect.

While I’m sceptical about their prospective launch date (nothing in space science ever runs on time….ever) I’m excited they’re finally starting to tackle this for development.

(No, you’re right, this has little to do with robots or computers or society.)

(Source: nasa.gov, via 8bitfuture)

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Broad Powers Seen for Obama in Cyberstrikes

infoneer-pulse:

A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review. 

That decision is among several reached in recent months as the administration moves, in the next few weeks, to approve the nation’s first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack. New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code — even if there is no declared war.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

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The television pickup phenomenon

Just something I found while bouncing around on Wikipedia for a certain assignment we have to do. :)

Apparently since much of Britain is fond of tea, they take the opportunity of television program commercial breaks to put the kettle on. Well, okay, what’s the big deal with that, you might ask.

Electric kettles cause a surprising spike of electrical demand (my circuit breaker always complains when I try to run the microwave and the kettle at the same time), so that, times however many households are watching the telly at the moment, causes an incredible surge of demand at the power plant level.

Which, of course, they accommodate. A lot of planning goes into figuring out when these TV pickup surges will occur.

aka: How Britain Has To Account For The Electrical Consumption Of Tea Breaks

I don’t know why I found this so amusing…

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Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public Schools or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials,” the policy reads. “Further, works created during school/work hours, with the use of school system materials, and within the scope of an employee’s position or student’s classroom work assignment(s) are the properties of the Board of Education.

One Washington School District Is Trying to Copyright Homework - National - The Atlantic Wire (via infoneer-pulse)

Interesting stuff. When I TA’d for another department at U of T there was some muss and fuss about requiring students to use TurnItIn.com for their essays. The biggest issue was that the terms of service of TurnItIn at the time (and maybe this is still the case?) either didn’t make clear who owned what, once a student submitted, or outright claimed that submission of an essay would deem it property of TurnItIn.

I remember reading that if an employee of a company invented something and got it patented, the employee would be listed under the Inventor but not the Assignee fields of the future patent. That is, the employee wouldn’t own their own inventions. (The employee also wouldn’t be obliged to fork over the maintenance fees for the patent, either.)

Now, if the employee were hired to invent, that’s one thing - that was probably brought up in the employee’s contract or terms of hire. But suppose an employee used work time and resources for their inventions? Anyway, I think there’s a legal precedent for this if I recall correctly; I’ll see if I can dig it up.

At any rate, the article seems to imply that the issue at hand is one of scope - the school district didn’t think through that the current-worded policy kind of implies they own every piece of homework the students will create - even the creative ones.

The school district plans to revamp the wording of their policies to reflect this. (Good on them!)

(via infoneer-pulse)

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Wow it’s been some time since I’ve posted. Terrible!

I think I’m going to try to be on tumblr once a day. Even if it’s only to reblog art of robots and mechanical men! I have six courses and ~30h of work a week but I’m pretty sure I can commit to 20 minutes a day of tumblring.

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naruhodone:

The Laputa robot statue at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

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I am concerned about the growing use of drones by Federal and local authorities to spy on Americans here at home,” he said Wednesday. “We make a tragic mistake thinking that merely giving up more and more of our privacy will make us safer. It will not. Security and liberty are both essential in a free society, and we cannot forsake one for the other.
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I’m really sorry in advance to anybody reading this! I work very early tomorrow so I have to get to bed tonight, but I’ll fix the font sizes the second I can. There’s no way that’s easy to read for long posts.

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for the purposes of
CSC300
at University of Toronto
...but also
because robots are cool