Apr. 14th, 2017

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Because starting with one of my LJ traditions seems like a good way to settle into the new surroundings.

1. A robot with a simplified version of a realistic human face is helping autistic kids understand facial expressions, even though it's at the bottom of the uncanny valley for adults. (And I can assure you, not just NT adults, either!)

2. It's basically impossible to transmit or record smells digitally, because unlike light and sound, the "receiver" needs to release the actual molecules. This hasn't stopped numerous attempts, including a device loaded with the chemicals of "primary smells" that failed because there's actually no such thing.

3. Some people working on computer creativity reckon they'll have succeeded when they say "This isn't what I asked for" and the computer says "No, it's better."

4. Meerkats teach their younger siblings to hunt, and it looks like they're carefully basing their training on what the baby meerkat is ready for, but it's actually just an instinctive response to how a baby meerkat's voice changes.

5. Paul Dirac believed that a sufficiently powerful supercomputer could take basic physical laws and calculate everything, but it's since been worked out that it would take thousands of universe lifetimes and probably wouldn't help you understand anything anyway. (The lecturer quoted Douglas Adams: If you want a supercomputer to help you get the answer, you need to start by actually knowing the question.)

6. A "Star Wars" era project to shoot down incoming missiles with high-powered lasers has been repurposed into an anti-malaria tool that zaps mosquitoes with salvaged Blu-Ray lasers.

7. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, or if it's something to do with the new layout, but the Museum of Scotland seems smaller than it used to be.
daibhidc: (Animated crest)
Okay, I'm currently in the process of moving to Dreamwidth for The Reasons. I'm daibhidc there, and my annual Things I Learnt At The Science Festival post is already up.

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