‘…no joke. [A team of roboticists at Ryerson University in Canada is] going to put their cute little bot on the side of the road in Halifax and hope that somehow the robot can talk its way to Victoria.
“This is both an artwork and social robotics experiment,” Zeller and Harris told me in an email. “Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots, e.g. as helpers in our homes. But this project takes it the other way around and asks: can robots trust human beings?” ‘ (The Atlantic).
Day: June 12, 2014
A Library of White-Supremacist Hand Gestures
‘The Anti-Defamation League has published an online catalog of the symbols, flags, and slogans used by hate groups. Is this an educational tool or a portal for perverse curiosity?’ (The Atlantic).
Why the First Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug Found in Food Is a Big Deal
‘In very bad news, a superbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics was found in imported squid, according to a report this week. This is a scary development in antibiotic resistance—even if you dont eat squid. Here is why one small finding has frightening implications.’ (Gizmodo)
A Short History of the Executioner
‘The history of the professional executioner is a chronicle of perfecting the choreography of death. It’s a story of exacting skill and the never-ending search for a more efficient means to enact and contain the spectacle of death. The professionalization of death—a chilling business—was cultivated for centuries by a profane tribe of men who were denied civil status and ostracized from nearly every aspect of daily life. Forced to live at the margins, the executioner was defined by ambiguities: a pivotal actor in the multipart drama of public killing, an extension of the crown, and yet morally hazy and universally despised.’ (The Appendix).
Opt Out From Online Behavioral Advertising By Participating Companies
‘Welcome to the consumer opt out page for the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising. Our participating companies are committed to transparency and choice.Some of the ads you receive on Web pages are customized based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits over time and across different Web sites. This type of ad customization — sometimes called “online behavioral” or “interest-based” advertising — is enabled through your computer browser and browser cookies. Such online advertising helps support the free content, products and services you get online.Using the tools on this page, you can opt out from receiving interest-based advertising from some or all of our participating companies.’ (AboutAds)
Stop Facebook and Other Companies from Using Your Web History for Ads
‘We already knew that Facebook is tracking our every move on the web, just like everyone else is, but now the social network says it’s going to use data from the other sites we visit and the apps we use to deliver more relevant ads. If you want to opt out of this enhanced behavioral targeting, there’s a form for that…’ (Lifehacker)
How BBQ Transcends Race
Michael Pollen: “When I was talking to historians of barbecue, and we now have historians of barbecue, they said that even during the tensest periods of racial strife, during the civil rights movement, if the good barbecue place in town was black, whites wanted to eat there and they would,” he says. “Barbecue is something that blacks and whites in the South share.” (Big Think).
10 Real-Life Laws That Regulate The Supernatural World
‘When do you need to tell a prospective buyer your house is haunted? Where do you need a license to practice necromancy or to be reincarnated? And where can you file a lawsuit against a supernatural being? These real-life laws will tell you all that and more.’ (io9).
Study Suggests Rats Capable Of Feeling Regret Over Poor Choices
‘Choosing a restaurant can be somewhat serious business if you’re anything like me, that is. Many animals can have a favorite food, but what if they choose something that isn’t what they wanted? New research from scientists at the University of Minnesota suggests that rats can actually experience regret after making the “wrong” food choice. The study was conducted by David Redish and Adam Steiner, and the paper was published in Nature Neuroscience.’ (IFLScience).
Male faces may have evolved to take a punch, study suggests
‘Researchers in the US have studied the skulls of ancient human ancestors and concluded that fist-fighting may have played a role in shaping the male face.The new study is published in Biological Reviews, and it isnt the first time scientists have suggested the idea. As George Dvorsky reports for io9, back in 2012 researchers controversially made the claim that fists had changed the course of our evolution. Now the new theory, based on the study of the skulls of distant hominid relatives known as australopiths, is likely to stir up similar debate over the role violence has played in human evolution.’ (Science Alert).