Fun Size for 11/3/21: Robot dog upstages Mick Jagger
See Spot strut
Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot can do a lot more than sit up and shake hands; he can rock and roll over. Spot and his canine crew perform a “spot-on” imitation of Mick Jagger strutting through his hit “Start Me Up.” The Rolling Stones paired with Boston Dynamics to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the track’s release, and Rolling Stone (appropriate) shares the video.
In more fake dog news: Look out, Dogecoin, there’s a new hound in town. The popular cryptocurrency coin with the smiling Shibu Inu dog has sired an imitator. Shiba Inu is a new mock currency, “a meme ripping off another meme,” according to Mashable. And since both “currencies” are now valued at over $30 billion each … (bow) wow, that’s a lot of kibble.
How big can a 3-D printer print? How about an entire community? Home builder Lennar has teamed up with designers BIG and robotics company ICON to 3-D print a 100-home community in Austin, Texas, according to The Architect’s Newspaper. The structures go up in half the time of stick-built houses and are touted as sustainable and energy self-sufficient. And they’re not made of ticky-tacky, but extruded concrete.
Safe at any speed
Teams from 21 universities competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October, in vehicles topping 100 mph. But there were no humans at the wheel, says Yahoo! News; computers were strapped into the drivers’ seats. A German team took the $1 million Indy Autonomous Challenge grand prize, but students said speed wasn’t the real goal. Instead, the competition was all about tech sharing and building trust in autonomous vehicles.
The missing CS semester
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. At MIT, a dedicated group of computer science teachers concluded that students could really use a course on proficiency with CS tools. They created a course called “The Missing Semester of Your Computer Science Education.” They then went one step further and made the entire course available for free and in multiple languages, thanks to MIT Open Learning.
Dream jobs for the next decade
If the prolonged absence from the office had you pondering possible new career paths, Ozy.com has compiled a list of 20 careers to ignite the imagination. Many of them are tailor-made for the tech-savvy, including drone pilot, white hat hacker, internet archivist and VR tour guide. Your next gig could be a click away.
Stuck at home during the pandemic, you might have joined the multitudes who rediscovered the pleasures of jigsaw puzzles. If so, the Smithsonian Libraries have a treat for you. They’ve created digital jigsaws out of several images in their collection. You can select the number of pieces (up to 638 if you’re a glutton for punishment) and theme color. The connections come together with a satisfying snap. A caveat: You might find it hard to stop at just one.
Writing for O'Reilly
For anyone interested in what it’s like to write a book for O’Reilly Publishing, blogger Mark Edmondson describes the process he went through after being tapped by the publisher to write a guide to Learning Google Analytics. One disappointment - he didn’t get to choose the animal for the cover.
For a country in the vanguard when it comes to technology, Japan can still encounter occasional pockets of bureaucratic resistance. Some of Tokyo’s wards are being forced to transfer their decades of data stored on 3.5 floppies and other physical media to online systems. Sure, the cost of physical storage and transportation was high, but “the disks almost never broke and lost data,” said a bank employee. Still, the full transition could take as much as five years, says NikkeiAsia.
Hey, word nerds!
If your vocabulary could use a boost, or you like learning new words, or you’re looking for confirmation that your lexicon is already superlative, Google has a new phone app for you to learn a new word every day. Even if you already know the word, you might learn something new about it. Of course, this means you have to turn on Google notifications - so you decide.
Visual podcasts for deaf audiences
While hearing impaired people can read the text of podcasts, reading doesn’t convey the emotion, the atmosphere or the pacing. VoxMedia set out to create a podcast that could be seen and felt for its new program, More Than This. Working with a team of engineers, graphic artists and UX designers, Vox Creative produced a visually immersive and gorgeous experience of the podcasts.