- I just finished writing an SF novel (now in the final polishing stage) that postulates robots who throw things so precisely that there is no longer a need for assembly lines. Everything the factory deals with (parts, subsystems, finished items) are thrown from one place on the floor to another. The well-known Big Dog robot recently learned how to throw cinder blocks thirty feet. Once two can play catch with cinder blocks, I’ll call it a score.
- March Madness, Pope-style. In my unfinished (still) novel Old Catholics, Benedict’s successor is a reactionary Brazilian. Following the Brazilian is Chicago’s Cardinal Peter Paul Luchetti, born in Rome, New York…making him Malachy’s Peter the Roman. Now Benedict has gone and messed up the sequence by resigning before I could get that story into print.
- More pope-related tinfoil-hat stuff: There was no Pope John XX. Could Pope John XX have been Pope Joan? We later made up for the John shortage by having two Pope John XXIIIs. Alas, the first one was a pirate and a highwayman, and had committed every sin we knew about at the time. We call him an antipope, but the papacy was such a mess in 1410 that he had as good a claim as anybody. Fortunately, the second Pope John XXIII was arguably the best pope who ever lived. Funny how that works.
- This may not pass, but a law limiting the ability of non-practicing patent trolls to extort risk-free would be a damned fine first step in patent reform.
- Finally, a useful infographic: How long food lasts at room temps, in the fridge, or in the freezer. I didn’t know you’re not supposed to freeze potatoes.
- I used to think I was nuts for seeing faces in random patterns on our textured walls. Maybe not. We’re good at recognizing faces, which suggests that if a pattern can be turned into a face by our mental machinery, it will. Here’s even more.
- In the spring of 1970, I bought a novelty gas discharge bulb at a headshop (Sunny’s, at Harlem & Foster in Chicago) and built a little lamp around it for Carol. The bulb was an Aerolux bulb, and here’s a site giving the product history and some examples. The sixth image (purple swallow amidst green foliage) is the exact bulb I used.
- While looking around at other uses of the word “drumlin,” I ran across a current pop song from Two-Door Cinema Club. I’m willing to guess that it’s the only Billboard-charted song containing the word, but I’d love to be proven wrong.