Daily Archives: March 8, 2008

Finally, an Open Source Robot

I suppose I could live with Robots if they were Open Source. (Or are they just trying to lull me into complacency?)

Imagine a robot that hands you a beer and then cleans your kitchen and living room. That’s what a start-up called Willow Garage in Menlo Park, Calif., is busy developing. But the company isn’t going it alone: Willow Garage is an open source project that wants as much outside participation as possible.

Now, you see, everything OpenSource is better. This is a robot that gives you beer. It is an Open Source Robot. Free Beer and Free Software are finally married into one glorious concept!!!!The story is here. Then, there’s this: Continue reading Finally, an Open Source Robot

Robot Vigilante Born of BBQ Prowls Atlanta Streets

i-495ed63d826c1a286801642f29d87eaa-bbqbot.jpgThe Barbeque Bot reminds me of an old Harlan Ellison story in at least one way: This is all about using advanced technology to “enforce” laws by private citizens. In the Harlan Ellison story I’m thinking of, individual drivers attack other drivers with advanced weapons built into their cards. (I understand Ellison wrote this story after spending a weekend in Boston.) But each time a driver in a particular battle activates a new weapon, a the car’s computer asks for verification of an increase in insurance premium for that vehicle.The following story is from CNN. Continue reading Robot Vigilante Born of BBQ Prowls Atlanta Streets

Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design

i-5545603e6630aacbffde7a2ccceb8dd4-Forrest_Gross.jpgCreationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design is a must read for those interested in the Evolution – Creationism controversy. In particular, this volume is an essential part of the personal library of every science educator, for reasons that I will describe below. If you know a Life Science Teacher, this is a perfect birthday present. If you have a child in the public K-12 education system in the US, or the analog somewhere else, donate a copy of this book to the appropriate life science teacher!In this important book published by Oxford University Press in 2004, Forrest and Gross assert that there is a new strategy afoot among pro-creationists. What Forrest and Gross claimed four years ago is every bit as much true today. This strategy consists of …i-e1d1aec5e3a35b6a6524b75024658964-forrest.jpg

… a no-holds-barred commitment to particular, parochial religious beliefs about the history and fabric of the world … This variant has eliminated brilliantly the obstacle of rational opposition to ideology … The new strategy is wonderfully simple. Here is how you implement it: exploiting that modern, nearly universal, liberal suspicion of zealotry, you accuse the branch of legitimate inquiry whose results you hate, in this case the evolutionary natural sciences, of — what else? — zealotry! … Crying “viewpoint discrimination,” you loudly demand adherence to the principle of freedom of speech, especially in teaching, insisting that such freedom is being denied your legitimate alternative view…This bold strategy is working, not just with religious fundamentalists, who do not need to be convinced anyway, but with people who have no such fundamentalist commitment and who are in principle well-enough educated to see what is happening. …This lusty new variant of creationism is advancing rapidly by means of a strategy called “The Wedge.”

Continue reading Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design