The Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) directed by Prof. Dario Floreano focuses on the development of robotic systems and artificial intelligence methods inspired by biological principles of self-organization. Currently, we address three interconnected research areas: flying robots, artificial evolution and social systems.

Link! Be sure to check out their projects page (which I would link to directly, but they’re using frames…. Tsk! Tsk!). Via this post on Current.

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Just Landed

Posted by Shannon

This got me thinking about the data that is hidden in various social network information streams - Facebook & Twitter updates in particular. People share a lot of information in their tweets - some of it shared intentionally, and some of it which could be uncovered with some rudimentary searching. I wondered if it would be possible to extract travel information from people’s public Twitter streams by searching for the term ‘Just landed in…’.

Link. Via

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Atomic John

Posted by Shannon

The New Yorker:

In the decades since the Second World War, dozens of historians have attempted to divine the precise mechanics of the Hiroshima bomb, nicknamed Little Boy, and of the bomb that fell three days later on Nagasaki, known as Fat Man. The most prominent is Richard Rhodes, who won a Pulitzer Prize, in 1988, for his dazzling and meticulous book “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” But the most accurate account of the bomb’s inner workings—an unnervingly detailed reconstruction, based on old photographs and documents—has been written by a sixty-one-year-old truck driver from Waukesha, Wisconsin, named John Coster-Mullen, who was once a commercial photographer, and has never received a college degree.

Read on.

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How many jobs created by the iPod?

Posted by Muffuletta

About 14,000 in the US, and 27,000 outside the US, according to a study (pdf) by researchers at the Personal Computing Industry Center at UC Irvine. Not surprisingly, while most of the jobs are elsewhere, most of the wages are in the US. More in this Business Week post.

Among the questions not addressed in the BW post: how many wage dollars (as opposed to jobs) are lost by or denied to the US labor market and, on the other hand, what about work or revenue generated in application development for the iPod/iPhone?

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Capsule pipelines

Posted by Muffuletta

Pneumatic Despatch Company's prototype system at Battersea Fields, London, 1861

Here at blacksundae we, or at least two of us, are into pneumatic delivery systems - you know, those cool retro tubes that used to snake around inside department stores, delivering layaway slips and cash and other paper. And you see them at drive-through banks; you put your transaction in a plastic capsule and it gets sucked through a “pipeline” to where the teller is.

Well, come to find out we don’t know jack. Tim Howgego, on the other hand, is a certified capsule pipeline nerd! His Capsule Pipelines web site is a serious look at the history and status of pneumatic, hydraulic and other tube systems of various sizes used, or intended to be used, for carrying … no, not just money orders and retail paperwork, but … freight and passengers!

Pack a lunch; there’s lots to peruse on Tim’s site. You’ll, uh, get sucked in. (Sorry.)

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Rorschach Death Match

Posted by Shannon

A really neat tech demo for a game where you “illuminate” — if that’s the word — a completely colorless and contrastless world by firing ink blobs at everything. Via Kotaku

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“When you have Optimus Prime AND Master Chief cheering from the Superdome, is there really any doubt which team is superior?” - io9

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The True History of the Cylons

Posted by Shannon

Probert’s thirty-year career has been wide and varied, although his greatest claim to fame stems from serving as Senior Illustrator for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Do you get goosebumps when you see the Enterprise-D or feel your pulse rush at the sight of the updated Romulan Warbird? Thank this guy.

But before giving Starlfeet a facelift was even a twinkle in Andrew’s eye, he was hard at work whipping the Cylons into shape.


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This is not a scam. This is for real. This is the exciting reality of today’s time-travel pills. If you still have doubts, just look at our mailing address:

Online Time Travel Pharmacy
Dakota Territory Box #4
Western American Frontier

We pick up our mail in the 1800s.

Link! Via Futurismic.

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Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad

Posted by Shannon

Alan Kay presenting Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad, one of most influencial programs in the history of graphical user interfaces. Sutherland developed Sketchpad in 1963.

Via Reddit.

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