The RoboPet Hack Project

We here at the BBC have become unhealthily obsessed with a new toy. Or, rather, an old toy. This little guy had been hiding out in the BBC storage vaults for a decade or so, and it is high time to bring him out to play.

The RoboPet

The RoboPet is puportedly an autonomous robotic dog, and given the limitations of the technology (and price point — this is a toy) of the day, it comes amazingly close. But if it’s going to become a full-fledged autonomous member of our cabal, then it needs to come much closer. And we’re going to help it reach this next level of evolution.

We already have a good start: we have inserted a small computer between its infrared receiver and its existing microcontroller, so we can embed programs into it that can do anything that can be done through the remote control. Ultimately, this isn’t good enough, but it will do for now.

You can find all the gory details of what we’ve learned and done over here. There is probably enough information there that you can replicate our efforts. We even have software!

We Am Disappointed With You’re Grammar

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.”
Michel de Montaigne

if you're losing, correct their grammarGrammar is a powerful thing. It is so important to the internet that hoards of crusaders patrol it every day, monitoring for and punishing grammatical transgressions. Bryan Henderson has achieved hero status with some, and villain status with others, for his efforts at cleaning up Wikipedia’s language. Friend or foe, he’s influential and others are following his lead. And when Weird Al joins in then it becomes a cause.

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I Have Ants In My Pants

Not this ant.

Not this ant.

Well, I did, but I don’t now. I killed those fuckers. I realize that my pants contain glories that can transport one to heights of pleasure or to the depths of despair, but I won’t even give that much to ants. They get death.

I don’t know where they’re coming from. I don’t know why they’re coming. I don’t know what their intentions are. OK, I do know that last bit. Their intentions are the complete destruction of the human race through a clever combination of annoyance attacks, reproductive ability, and extreme patience.

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Lunchtime, Doubly So

Time is an illusion. All the signs are there.

And still no hovercars

And still no hovercars

Time is subjectively malleable. You’ve noticed this, how sometimes the time flows so fast that you barely notice it’s gone by, and other times when it seems to stop.

There is no scientific evidence for an objective concept of “time”. Even worse, physicists can’t reconcile quantum mechanics (which is almost certainly a thing) with the normal non-quantum variety (which is almost certainly a thing) unless they get rid of the notion of some sort of universal clock. When you have a subjective thing that is screwing up your equations, it’s often the case that it’s because the thing does not exist.

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The Discordian Flag

(Follow ≈Pope≈ Norm IV on twitter: @EnlightenedChao You won’t be sorry.)

“Do you have a flag?” – Eddie Izzard

Flags are weird and they make people do weird things. There. I said it.

Case in point. A nice, otherwise completely rational woman named Bree Newsome climbed a pole recently. Crazy right?

She did this in broad daylight, for absolutely no money, and all because of an ink-stained strip of cloth. Insane, I know!

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