People sure did love that horse

typed for your pleasure on 28 March 2007, at 2.16 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Satellite’ by Depeche mode

from the cover of the April issue of Smithsonian:

I swear to “Bob”, when I first saw that line, I’d read it as ‘What Bizarro Taught Us’. An article detailing life lessons learned from a freakish alternate-universe version of Superman makes slightly more sense than lifestyle examples handed down from a chunky-brained mammal. Or should that be ‘hoofed down’?

No, I’ve not actually read the story. Anything it has to tell me cannot possibly live up to what I’d pictured in my mind. Apart, of course, from ‘whatever you do, do not break any of your four legs’. But that’s just plain common sense

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Mar 2007)

typed for your pleasure on 23 March 2007, at 12.34 am

Sdtrk: ‘Date with an angel’ by The caretaker

So far, it seems like there’s been a dearth of proper Doll and/or Synthetik news since the year began. A dearth, I say! And it’s making me a little despondent. See? —> 🙁
However, I managed to discover this recent article touching upon Japan’s latest robotic developments. Does it cover new ground? Err, ish.

Wow, International Rescue’s new uniforms are lookin’ sharp

While engineers in most of the world try to make robots that perform specific and usually unpleasant tasks, from fighting wars to performing deep-sea salvage, Japanese engineers are obsessed with making the machines more human. Having put the country squarely in the lead of the industrial robot market for the past two decades, they’re now working on a new generation of robots that will serve as playmates, pets and social workers. Says [roboticist Norihiro] Hagita: “The goal is to build an intelligent environment for the symbiosis of robots and humans in everyday life. The real challenge is to come up with robots that can actually communicate with people.” […]

That emphasis on the future function of robots as companions and helpers seems to be deeply Japanese. The reason may have much to do with Japanese popular culture, where robots like the cartoon cat Doraemon or the sweet 1960s, vintage Astroboy, tend to be portrayed as beneficent, friendly types. The tendency to regard lifelike machines as unthreatening may have deeper roots in Japan’s animist Shinto culture, where inanimate objects—ranging from teapots to samurai swords—can have souls. There’s also the social imperative: as the population ages, the Japanese are increasingly looking toward robots to help make up the labor shortfall.
the complete article is here. N.B.: It’s on, so it’s got a limited posting lifespan

Once again, the point is brough up that Japanese culture is much more accepting of the concept of artificial life: they don’t think in baseless terms of ‘zOMG teh androids are going to take over and kill us all’ — they see them, really, as assistants, aides, and partners, which only makes sense. If the States expects to compete at all in the robotics development field, there’s going to have to be a giant shift of cultural thinking over here — in other words, a swift and overall flood of common sense. Heh, otherwise, I’m gonna have to take off for Japan…

Also relevant: an article on, concerning South Korea developing a ‘Robot Ethics Charter’.

A five-member task force including experts, futurists and a science fiction writer began work last November.

“The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future,” the ministry said in a statement.

As South Korean society ages due to a low birth rate, various service robots which “think” for themselves will come into use in the not too distant future and become “key companions to human beings,” it said.

“Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives. Others may get addicted to interacting with them just as many Internet users get hooked to the cyberworld,” Park Hye-Young of the ministry’s robot team told AFP.
emphasis mine (of course); the complete article is here

Not entirely sure if what Park Hye-Young meant was supposed to be pejorative, but as far as I’m concerned, the wives/husbands angle is a definite goal. To be honest, that’s one of the reasons that Shi-chan and I make spectacles of ourselves in print and on television: the way I see it, Androids and Gynoids are literally just around the corner; they probably won’t be commonplace for a good 30 – 40 years, but Synthetik humans will eventually be a slowly growing part of the populace. After our own fashion, Sidore and I are just trying to get society accustomed to the idea of an Organik person being in a relationship with a Synthetik one, or vice versa. Frankly, the day that relationships like that are as commonplace as interracial or homosexual ones, to the point where it no longer raises eyebrows, will be a great day…

So I guess R. Stevens, mastermind behind the webcomic Diesel sweeties, read the article as well, as evidenced here. Good eye, sir! That really just enforces what I’d linked to in a previous post, concerning how Diesel sweeties is more of a comic ‘strip’ that looks more towards the future, as opposed to relying on humour standbys and crutches that have been flogged to death since the Forties and Fifties. It’s advanced and sophisticated in every way!

And wahey, Sweetie’s posted a couple of new clips to her Dailymotion page, as it’s that time of the month again. Wow, that was incredibly inappropriate.
In the interim, enjoy your 23rd responsibly! Or not, see if I care

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Actroid, EveR-1, EveR-2 Muse, Diesel Sweeties

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Honestly, it’s a thematic coincidence

typed for your pleasure on 17 March 2007, at 5.47 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The owl service’ by Pram

This instalment has a theme! See if you can spot it.

+ Japanese company Marutake Sangyo Co., Ltd. makes and sells authentic-style samurai armour. Nice! I suppose owning one of these would be a more extreme/obscure version of being some RenFester or some LARPer, but damnit, I would like to be a samurai for Xmas. Or for Arbor Day, either one.

This armour’s nice! Yeah, I’ll have this one

They’re individually handcrafted, and as such, are extremely well-assembled. Which naturally means they’re, err, a bit pricey.

[05.25.35 PM] Zip Gun: Sure, I’ll sign up for some samurai armor; what’s $21000 anyway? I’d just spend it on CDs.

Kinda makes me want to play some more Samurai warriors 2 again, as that’s been my videogame heroin for the past couple of weeks. Imagine that. *goes off to play some more Samurai warriors 2 again*

*much later*
+ Speaking of Samurai warriors 2, Musou Orochi looks promising. Derek tipped me off to this a while ago; he’s thinking it’ll probably be Koei’s last musou-themed game for the PS2, and it looks rather mental. Combining apparently all the playable characters from all the Dynasty warriors and Samurai warriors series (serieses?), Musou Orochi will have over seventy characters, unless of course, they add more. Anything’s possible!
Essentially the theme is that all of the characters from the Dynasty warriors series, which takes place during the Romance of the Three Kingdoms era of ancient China, and all the characters from the Samurai warriors games, which occur during the Sengoku/Warring states period of medieval Japan, are collectively teleported to another dimension by the demon Orochi (I’m wondering if it’s the same Orochi of Japanese myth — I certainly wouldn’t put it past mythology-and-history-driven Koei). Apart from that, I know nothing of the game, apart from the fact that there will undoubtedly be non-stop fighting of an immense magnitude. Which is what one would expect of a game in the Samurai/Dynasty warriors line! No news yet if it’s going to be exported to the States, but since Koei’s released every other game over here, I don’t see why not

+ Speaking of Koei’s Musou series, the first game they’re releasing for the PS3 that almost has me wanting to purchase one of those overpriced consoles. They’ve teamed up with Bandai to create Gundam Musou. That’s right, Mobile suit Gundam scientifically crossbred with Dynasty warriors. It sounds like a fever dream, but it’s entirely true! When I’d first seen mention of this on 4chan‘s /m/echa board, I believed it to be some elaborate hoax involving Photoshop. But apparently it’s due out in Japan this month, and hundreds of mecha fans will soon be demolishing thousands of enemy mobile suits, in grand Dynasty warriors button-mashing style. Most impressive.
Looks like it’s got the Zeta Gundam, the Qubeley, Turn A Gundam and the non-canonical-but-very-ace Musha Gundam, among others. Roger that, and drooling now. Damnit Sony, drop the price on your PS3, so I can justify the purchase!

+ Speaking of robot samurai, the Japanese group tmsuk (quite a name, by the way) has developed Kiyomori, the world’s first mechanised samurai, as their flagship robot. Not as intriguing as a certain cluster of Synthetik women, but still rather ace. Besides, his walking technology could be used as a test bed for Androids and Gynoids; his gait, although slow, is more like an Organik’s, as he is able to stretch and bend his knees. You can check out some footage of him ambling about on YooChoob here.
Lovely design! The glowering red eyes are a nice touch! And as it turns out, they kitted out Kiyomori in armour made by Marutake Sangyo. Which would be an eerie coincidence, if I hadn’t discovered Marutake Sangyo through the Kiyomori site

+ And nothing at all to do with samurai — sorry — high-end DVD distributors Criterion have finally announced that in June, they’ll be releasing one of my top ten favourite films of all time, ‘if….‘, starring the godlike Malcolm McDowell. FUCK YES.

‘The whole world will end very soon…
black brittle bodies, peeling into ash’

That same month, they’ll also be releasing ‘La jetée‘ and ‘WR: Mysteries of the organism‘, which are two films I’ve been wanting to see for years, but zOMG ‘IF….’ SET CREDIT CARD TO PRE-ORDER

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typed for your pleasure on 15 March 2007, at 5.46 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Fluoresences’ by Stereolab

Ironically enough, not two minutes after taking this, I saw a robin crossing the road. It’s a shame my phone’s camera only has 1.3 megapixels, because if it was better than that, I’m sure I could’ve captured a shot of the look of utter bewilderment on his face

See also: Winter’s Back

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typed for your pleasure on 15 March 2007, at 12.06 am

Sdtrk: ‘Spectre’ by NON

Soviet Russia! Home of old-school Communism, the Lada series of automobiles, and Yakov Smirnoff-style jokes. (‘In Soviet Russia, Russia Soviets you!‘ Etc) Also, Russia is host to a few buildings that definitely slot nicely into the ‘This was the Future’ series. You’ve got the sturdy-in-appearance-only Dom Sovietov, you’ve got the Melnikov House Studio (saving that one for an upcoming instalment), and then there are these lovely Brutalist wet dreams.

‘State Department for traffic’ building, Tbilis, Georgia

Unfortunately, much like when I’d linked to Ostmoderne, info in English for these buildings is bloody hard to come by. Do I look like I can read Cyrillic? Do I??

The States could definitely use more buildings after that fashion. Hell, every country could use more buildings after that fashion. But I would say that.
Do svidanya, especially to William Bennett, whose blog I originally found this site on, and Happy Ides of March!

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But Woody Allen stopped being funny in the Eighties!

typed for your pleasure on 6 March 2007, at 11.45 am

Sdtrk: ‘La fille à la moto’ by Dani

A lot of times I doubt the validity of these online tests, but I think they pegged this’un:

the Wit

(71% dark, 26% spontaneous, 15% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you’re probably an intellectual, but don’t take that to mean pretentious. You realize ‘dumb’ can be witty — after all isn’t that the Simpsons’ philosophy? — but rudeness for its own sake, ‘gross-out’ humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat. I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it’s also the best, in my opinion. You probably loved the Office. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart – Woody Allen – Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
– it rules –

If you’re interested, try my best friend’s best test:
The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on darkness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on spontaneity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on vulgarity

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

It’s true; I do love the comic stylings of Ricky Gervais. But what thinking individual doesn’t?
I have to say though; I’ve no idea why I’d scored higher than 99% on darkness, spontaneity, and vulgarity. Wouldn’t higher than 99% of vulgarity make me the bastard lovechild of John Belushi, Adam Sandler and Andrew Dice Clay? Hideous, hideous.
Apart from that, I’d completely agree. Plus, I really like the cube graphic. It lends the test a certain gravitas.

I also have to add; I actually took this test almost a year ago, and couldn’t really post it to my old blog, as the code for the layout was a hassle to alter, that graphic was too damned big, and the text in the graphic was too fine for me to reduce the pic size to any degree of readability. Now that I’ve switched to WP, it’s not as huge and obnoxious. You can place the blame squarely on Quizilla. It’s code like that that makes Myspace pages look like fucking trainwrecks.
Well, obviously, that’s not the only thing that makes Myspace pages look like shite, but you know what I mean

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typed for your pleasure on 1 March 2007, at 2.12 am

Sdtrk: ‘Whitetail woods’ by Oakeater

*mops brow* Looks like we’re back up for now. In case you’ve not noticed, ‘Shouting etc etc’ has been up and down for the past day and a half. My ISP hosts are supposedly right now making their fell sacrifices to whatever dark and eldritch gods in order to suss everything once and for all. Hey — I don’t ask questions when it comes to that sort of thing, I just let ’em do what they have to do.

Access may be sporadic, but in the interim until the next dazzling post, go… err.. go look at Outpost Gallifrey or something. It’s twelve minutes past my bedtime, and I got nothin’

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