Hole #2 looks bigger.
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Ground-nesting Yellowjacket Wasps

While my 16yo son was mowing the lawn with our push-reel mower, our neighbor on one side slowed down his rider-mower to a crawl, grinned at my son, and said, “That’s some ancient technology you have there, boy.” I bought the reel mower thinking it would provide me with some exercise, and it’s quiet enough that I can listen to an audiobook while doing the lawn. As it turns out,…

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How Humans Respond to Robots

The play that coined the word “robot,” Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), included violent robots, compassionate robots, and herd robots (who are content to be workers until incited by the violent robot leaders). This article explores a wide range of human responses to robots. Our expectations of robots and our response to their designs varies internationally; the Uncanny Valley curve has a different arc depending where you are. Certainly,…

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Why We Dug Atari

Game collectors have their story, too. For them, the dig provided the extraordinary opportunity to get to the bottom of the “infamous Atari landfill.” Nostalgia had its role, playing upon the remembrances of 40-somethings hoping to reclaim a restorative piece of a childhood that Atari helped define. Searching for them reversed the expectations of a culture that values the past only if it is old and unique. Then there is…

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Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Untrained teachers. Damage-prone machines. OS bogged down with ineffective security software. The whole town clogged the school’s WiFi. What an expensive disaster! “There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo. All this security software also bogged down the computers. Teachers complained it took 20 minutes for them to boot up, only to crash afterwards. Often, there was too little memory…

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Operation War Diary

One hundred years ago today, Britain declared war on Germany, and the world found itself sucked into a vortex of conflict which centred for many on the battlefields of the Western Front. Every unit which slogged its way through the awful years which followed kept a war diary describing their experiences. Official accounts of movements, actions and casualties, their authors often allowed something of themselves into the pages as well,…

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I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

Hoaxes roam the Information Superhighway, camouflaged as factoids. Consider this one: “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon.” The “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon” factoid had been cited in a lesson plan by a Taiwanese English professor. It was cited in a book about Jews and Jesus. It was cited in innumerable blog posts and book reports, as well as a piece by blogger Hanny Hernandez, who speculated that Amelia…