Handshake Round-Up

My apologies. I have been remiss in my duties and have failed to keep you updated with all the important handshake news from around the world. Here’s some shakes that have been hanging around in my todo list for a while:

LeBron James and Jay-Z’s Secret Handshake (via Straight Bangin’)

Spot the difference (via @Caged):

Obama shake

Beyoncé and Michelle are kinda dorky (via @clararama):

Talking of Awkward Handshake Moments:

Rise of the Robots—Robot Megapost

For a few years now I’ve been collecting evidence that the robots are planning to destroy us all, in the hopes it might persuade the world’s governments that they need to act now to prevent the robot apocalypse.

Here is a round-up of my findings:

Robots are cleverer than us.

They’re faster than us:

High-Speed Robot Hand

Thinking about pulling they old “We can just hide upstairs!” trick? Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore:

DARPA Robot Masters Stairs

In fact, all kinds of terrain are easily defeated by the robots:

The latest version of the LittleDog Robot

This robot looks fairly innocuous. Cute, even—he’s just hungry after a hard day’s work at the car factory, and doesn’t want the bother of having to cook a full meal—until the human minion doing the talking casually drops in the fact that, “He uses spinning lasers.” (At the two minute mark.)

Robot Microwaves a Meal

None of this making you uneasy? I think this will solve that problem:

SHIRI

You can’t even trust the robots to play fair. This robot will always beat you at Scissors-Paper, Stone, (Rock, Paper, Scissors, american friends!), because it CHEATS:

Janken (rock-paper-scissors) Robot with 100% winning rate

Even if a well-trained human can take out a robot, what chance will they have when facing an endless swarm of robots working as a team?:

Robot Swarm - University of Sheffield

One thing is for certain, we definitely won’t have air-superiority. Check out this “aggressive quadrotor”:

Aggressive Quadrotor Part II

…that can fly upside down:

Variable-Pitch Quadrotor Trajectory Generation and Control

…and, of course, will form perfectly organised squads of flying death machines with its pals:

A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors

You still fancy human air-forces’ chances against the mechanical menace? Whoops, we replaced all our pilots with robots!

The robots even dance better than us:

Keepon dancing to Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On”

In fact, the way we’ll find out that the robots have turned on us is when massed ranks of robot soldiers arrive at our capitals and perform a war dance:

Aldebaran Robotics Nao Robot Show .mp4 

In summary: pretty horrifying. Tell your family you love them; the end is coming.

One tiny shred of comfort: for now at least, humans are still superior in hand-to-hand combat.

I love this interview with Joakim Noah’s Dad so very much.

“That was a great interview right there.”

(via The Starters)

“ And if you’re OK with the film playing you for a sap, you’ll laugh and clap and wonder how that bird got into that hat. But if you think there’s a difference between being tricked and being cheated, you may feel swindled. ”

—Alonso Duralde, in his review of a terrible, terrible film.

I got more entertainment from the line quoted above than I did from any part of the two-hour shambles that is Now You See Me.

The following—from commenters on the review—also tickled me:

the movie was super fun right up until they broke their own rules and pulled an ending out of their ass that was completely nonsensical.

—puddingbirds

This is a completely honest review. The final twist is utterly absurd and out of left field, as well as unnecessary. It also doesn’t make any sense.

—Jonathan Brehm

If you are amongst the seventy-one percent of Rotten Tomatoes users that liked this film, then I am ashamed to have you as a reader what is wrong with you that film is SO BAD. (Although still not the worst film I have seen in the past fortnight.)

“ Pulling into the parking lot, I see a young couple standing by their car, looking over their hood at an emu. The emu is trying to circle over to their side to ask them a question. They are circling in the same direction, skeptical of the bird’s intentions. It’s not clear how long this dance has been going on, but the couple seems happy to see me, while the emu is frankly delighted. He abandons his pursuit and heads over to my car with what I can’t help but notice are very rapid strides. The couple is watching me with a mixture of relief and curiosity as I step out of the car, propelled by some kind of idiot bravado. They have been wondering for some time now what happens when you let the emu reach you, and I am about to demonstrate it for them. I feel a sudden longing to get inside the visitors’ center. ”

—Maciej Cegłowski, in Pursuing The Platypus

I’ve linked to Cegłowski’s sublime-but-irregular blog Idle Words before, but it bears repeating: he is one of the best writers on the web. I wish he would quit that silly Pinboard thing and commit to writing full time, even if it did mean I’d lose all my web bookmarks.

I was trying to figure out why I love this piece on Hedy Lamarr, written by friend-of-While-You-Were-Gone and soon-to-be Google engineer, Richard Gaywood, so much. Here are some possible reasons:

It is a gently surprising story about interesting people I had never heard of before,
It’s fascinating to think about the different ways someone’s life can affect the world around them,
Having read it, I know a little bit more about the world,
Having read it, I know a little bit more about my friend.

I was trying to figure out why I love this piece on Hedy Lamarr, written by friend-of-While-You-Were-Gone and soon-to-be Google engineer, Richard Gaywood, so much. Here are some possible reasons:

Point of View

Good evening, While You Were Gone-ateers! The theme of the day is POV, and I have three EXCITING videos for you to ENJOY.

Mirror’s Edge Parkour POV

Parkour is crazy and people that do it are certifiably insane.

Flying Eagle POV

Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a POV video, as I’m pretty sure that eagles cannot see the back of their own head the whole time they are flapping around. Instead you will have to imagine you are riding the eagle like Gandalf. I think you will survive.

Notorious IBE Trailer 2010

Do you remember Guy Ritchie’s Take it to the Next Level Nike advert from a few years back? This is the hip-hop version.

Say what you like about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints1, these two missionaries know how to hustle.

(via Got ‘Em Coach)


  1. You might, for example, like to say that it is a cult based on a preposterous story made up by a proven liar, and that it is barely better than Scientology. That’s up to you, though. 

Compare and Contrast

Exhibit A: Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You

I don’t agree with everything in this post; nonetheless, it eviscerates the notion that everyone high-school-age-and-under is computer literate, and makes a solid case that the UK’s education system has been failing badly in this area.

Exhibit B: CS in VT

Google engineer Neil Fraser describes how computing is taught in Vietnam, along with the attitudes of pupils (and teachers) towards the subject. In particular, he discusses an assignment given to 16 to 17-year-olds which, if I’m honest with myself, I might not necessarily be able to complete in the given time. Yes, I am a professional computer programmer. And yes, potential employers, the sentence before the last was a LIE included for EFFECT I would OBLITERATE the maze question it would take me maybe 10 minutes easy.

Bearing the above in mind, I think that anyone expecting the UK to punch its weight economically in the future’s increasingly technological world is utterly mistaken.

The Most Infuriating Thing About Windows 8

When you try to delete some files in Windows, it first pops up a little dialog box to ask if you’re sure you want to delete the things you just said you wanted to delete. Using earlier versions of Windows, I got into the (admittedly bad) habit of immediately pressing the Enter key to select the “Yes dammit I’m sure” option.

Windows 8 has introduced a little pause before the dialog appears. It then interprets my pressing Enter as meaning “I want to double-click on every single thing I just had selected” and a whole bunch of files, folders, and applications all open at once.

Then the dialog pops up.

Arrgh!

Wales vs England

Due to circumstances, I have missed almost the entire Six Nations this year. However, going into the final weekend England have a chance to win the Grand Slam, only [only???] needing to beat Wales in the Millennium Stadium to do so. But if Wales can win by eight points or more, then they not only spoil the Slam, but also win the championship outright. That’s as close to literal must-watch TV as it gets for this ex-pat Welshman, [and fairly close to some sort of cardiac episode for this ex-pat, (can you be an ex-pat if you never lived there?) having found myself on edge all week because of this game and my absolute inability to decide whether we are underdogs, overdogs or roughly equal favourite dogs. I just feel so tense.] Due to further circumstances, this is going online over a week after the match actually took place. While You Were Gone: Stretching the definition of the word “liveblog” since 2009.

As usual, these upright, free-range bits are me, [and these slanty, cordoned-off-by–brackets bits are friend-of-WYWG Tom.]

John Inverdale: “We are all just parasites.” Speak for yourself, John.

A BBC graphic informs me that Wales have made 93% of their tackles in the tournament so far. Alun Wyn Jones’s animated head is squished vertically in the squad list. Or possibly he is just very, very thin. I’ve been hearing people talk about Dan Biggar for at least a couple of years on the internet forums generally in the context of “He should be playing instead of Hook.” But I have never seen him play. [You really should watch some more rugby, especially given the whole rugby blogging thing.] Jiffy tells me he’s settled in well this tournament. [Which I think is a fair assessment. It’s also fair to say that he hasn’t overwhelmed the tournament with his spellbinding play. He has been solid. Overall, I would say he has just about whelmed. But this is Wales and the magic 10 shirt, so query whether whelming will be enough, long term.]

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