Archive for November 17th, 2011
Scientists think they can now explain the existence of what are perhaps Earth’s most extraordinary mountains.
The Gamburtsevs are the size of the European Alps and yet are totally buried beneath the Antarctic ice.
A geophysical survey of the range was conducted in 2008/9. This allowed researchers to assess the mountains’ origin.
In this video, Fausto Ferraccioli from the British Antarctic Survey takes us on a virtual fly-through of the Gamburtsevs.
Animation courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey.
Chatauqua Airlines pilot on route to LaGuardia causes terror scare by locking himself in toilet | Mail Online
A pilot inadvertently caused a mid-air terror scare when he accidentally locked himself in the toilet and sent a passenger ‘with a Middle Eastern accent’ to the cockpit for help.
With the flight not far from landing, a spooked co-pilot refused to let the Good Samaritan in, and instead told the control tower at LaGuardia Airport of his serious concerns that an attack was underway.
The passenger continued to bang on the door for assistance and even offered the password but the co-pilot refused to budge, leading to fighter planes being alerted.
I’ve been soldiering on with the sandwiching together of cardboard layers – using a 50/50 mix of wood glue and water I’m starting to build up a sturdy structure that’s reuses resources and can be made to measure. Perfect for large canvasses that you don’t want to weigh a tonne!
Gavin (we’ve named him, because the zoo hasn’t bothered) gets pretty peeved when visitors to the Jerusalem Zoo applaud him for his dances.
So peeved, in fact, that when they start clapping, he stops dancing, gives them a sarky grin, and mimics them precisely. Cheeky fella.
His antics have attracted plenty of attention, so at feeding time his enclosure is always surrounded.
As his keepers go in to feed him and his gorilla pals, most go straight for the grub – but not Gavin. When the crowds started applauding, he took a step away from the bunch and sat, one eye closed, clapping away and staring out the audience. Nice.
The pictures of Our Gav were captured by amateur photographer Olga Shiropaeva, who visited the zoo recently and witnessed his antics first hand.
The problem for Gavin is that the joke’s now backfired on him. People know he’s sarcastic so they’re clapping just to get a rise out of him.
Siri and Her Girls: Why So Many Robot Helpers Are Ladies – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic
Siri, Apple’s just-released digital personal assistant, may be an artificial personality born of lines of code, but she is also very much a lady, judged by her voice.
In very general terms, robots tend to fall into one of the three categories of male-identified, masculine-seeming, or just androgynous. But there is one genre of AI that tilts the other way, that tends to be female: the disembodied voice. The rough rule seems to be that corporeal inventions are male — particularly if they are killing someone, either on screen or in the military — and the non-corporeal are female (although there are plenty of exceptions, notably, Rosie, the Jetson’s maid, who, it bears repeating, was a maid).
You’re probably familiar with a few of these “ladies”: the default voice on most GPS systems, the computer that guides you around your voicemail, Julie the Amtrak lady. These “women” assist you in your planning, help you find what you’re looking for, and, in the case of the GPS, keep you calm when you’re lost. They perform, to put it bluntly, women’s work. They don’t need bodies to do it — they aren’t hot or sexy like the cultural trope of the steamy secretary — but they aren’t cunning either, like HAL 9000. They are brains without bodies, but also without minds of their own.
Siri’s role fits in nicely with these themes: she’ll book your appointments, check the weather for you, remind you to pick up something at the store. These are classic personal-secretary tasks, and somewhere around 97 percent of all secretaries in America are of the female persuasion. She can be a little saucy, but just a little. (Interestingly, Siri is not a lady all around the world. Her British self is a man; her Australian self is a woman. Feel free to float your own theories about that. I’m going to focus on the American Siri, and confine my thoughts to robot gender on this side of the Atlantic.
Atlas Productions LLC announced today its plan to replace more than 100,000 title sheets appearing on the Atlas Shrugged Part 1 DVD and Blu-ray versions sold through major retail outlets. These retail versions were packaged with an inaccurate synopsis of Atlas Shrugged. Not affected were the “Special Edition” versions sold online at AtlasShruggedMovie.com
The 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged, is known in philosophical and political circles for presenting a cogent argument advocating a society driven by rational self-interest. On the back of the film’s retail DVD and Blu-ray however, the movie’s synopsis contradictorily states “AYN RAND’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life…”