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Meet octobot, a soft-bodied robot that looks like the future

Our future robot overlords never looked so squishy. A team of Harvard University scientists has built an entirely soft robot — one that’s inspired by an octopus. The octobot, described this week in the journal Nature, could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with humans. “The octobot is a minimal system designed to demonstrate…

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“Syllabus Day”: The Absolute Worst Way to Start the Semester

I’d rather blog about prepping my fall classes than actually start prepping my classes, so here you go. I don’t spend much time on the syllabus on the first day, though I do show students where key topics are, and I do assign a take-home syllabus quiz. (“If Gus Griffin tells you he’s worried about missing class due to an upcoming surgery, what advice would you give him?”) But there’s…

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While at Sadecky’s Puppets to record the role of Heidi, Carolyn met a new friend.

We spent Sunday afternoon at the Sadecky’s Puppets studio/workshop in Tarentum, Pa. Carolyn recorded an audio track for a musical adaptation of “Heidi,” to be synced with performances of live puppeteers touring across 9 states during the coming school year. Mr. Sadecky, who has been performing with his puppets since the early 80s, was charming but also thorough. He worked patiently with Carolyn to deliver the performance he wanted. “That…

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Facebook’s News Feed: Often Changed, Never Great

I’ve never liked Instant Articles — Facebook’s Newspeak term for “We want to make it harder for users to leave Facebook even when they’ve chosen to follow a link to an article on a news source.” In The New Yorker, Om Malik writes about Facebook’s evolving interface. There are days when I look at my news feed and it seems like a social fabric of fun—a video of the first…

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Blade Runner | Typeset In The Future

This is nerd heaven — a deep analysis of all the text that appears in the 1980s cult science-fiction film Blade Runner. (I really want this typeface to be Caslon, but despite everything else matching nicely, the top of the 6 is just wrong. I can only apologize for the discrepancy.)UPDATE: Several folks have noted in the comments that this looks a lot like Cheltenham, and I think they are correct. Source: Blade Runner…