I robot exist only to serve and hand write letters for you

Thursday, 2 October, 2014

If you’re someone who feels electronic and text communications are a little impersonal, but still don’t want to actually hand write notes or letters, or like me, have terrible handwriting, you could consider asking the Handwrytten Robot to handle such correspondence.

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Reports of the death of disco in Italy have not been exaggerated

Thursday, 2 October, 2014

A selection of photos by Antonio La Grotta of long abandoned Italian discotheques. The end of disco didn’t bring about the demise of all of these clubs however, one, the Woodpecker, ran into other problems…

Most of the clubs La Grotta visited were built in that boom period of the 1980s with the exception of the Woodpecker, which was built by Filippo Monti in the 1960s. “Its structure is quite unique: a series of walkways around a small pond connect several artificial islands, one of which hosts a huge fiberglass dome, which reproduces the proportions of the dome built by Brunelleschi in Florence,” he said. “Unfortunately, the club did not last very long because of the location. It was very humid and there were a lot of mosquitoes and frogs inside the room. In the early 1970s it closed for good.”

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A list of popular writers in 2000… selected by people living in 1936

Thursday, 2 October, 2014

In 1936, a US magazine, The Colophon, asked its readers to name ten authors whose work would still be highly regarded by the end of the twentieth century. Unfortunately those polled were a little off the mark, but if you’re looking for some new reading ideas, then the ten authors they did nominate might make for a good starting point.

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Small, regular, or large, what’s the best size coffee serve to choose?

Thursday, 2 October, 2014

With cafes now offering a variety of takeaway cup size options for coffee, caffeine lovers would appear to be spoilt for choice when comes to selecting a dose. Tom Scocca however makes the case that smaller is better, on the basis that larger cups of coffee don’t scale all that well.

When you drink a coffee larger than a small coffee, the coffee gets cold before you can finish it. You begin with a steaming, uplifting sip, and by gradual stages you end up sucking down cold, aroma-less dregs. Everyone knows this. Even people who disdain small coffee will confess that their larger beverages end in misery.

Food for thought there.

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This chef sure can chop onions, many, many, onions

Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

How quickly can you chop an onion? How about a sack of onions? I can’t imagine there’d be too many people who’d be faster than this chef in India is at the task

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What is it with film adaptations of books anyway?

Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

“The book was better!” It’s a common reaction from fans of particular novels upon seeing the film adaptation. US author Ben Mezrich, whose book about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg formed the basis of David Fincher’s 2010 film, The Social Network, offers a writer’s perspective on the often emotionally charged subject:

When we read books we develop a preconceived notion of so many aspects of the book. What the characters look like, how they are going to interact, how the scenery is going to appear. It’s my job as an author to create these visuals for the reader, and while doing so forge an attachment between the reader and the characters. The stronger the attachment the more successful I deem the writing.

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You won’t believe how heavily ants weigh upon the world

Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

A definite trivia item… has the world’s population of ants ever outweighed the human population? Not surprisingly, the answer is yes, well, up until about two hundred and thirty years ago, that is:

But Ratnieks believes Wilson and Hoelldobler’s claim – though untrue in relation to today’s world population – would have once been accurate. “I think if we went back 2,000 years, certainly the ants would’ve outweighed the humans… but at roughly the time that America became independent [1776], or a little bit before that, that’s when we humans became more impressive in our weight than the ants,” he says. “We must also remember that humans are getting fatter all the time. We’re not just increasing in population, we’re increasing in fatness, so I think we’ve left the ants behind.”

I never realised that ants could possibly be as heavy was that…

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If rats can learn to trade markets will we need financial advisers?

Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

What are we paying our financial advisers for again? It seems rats can learn to trade financial markets with a reasonable degree of success:

One project is Michael Marcovici’s Rat Trader. The book describes the training of laboratory rats to trade in foreign exchange and commodity futures markets. Marcovici says the rats “outperformed some of the world’s leading human fund managers.” The rats were trained to press a red or green button to give buy or sell signals, after listening to ticker tape movements represented as sounds. If they called the market right they were fed, if they called it wrong they got a small electric shock. Male and female rats performed equally well. The second generation of rattraders, cross-bred from the best performers in the first generation, appeared to have even better performance, although this is a preliminary result, according to the text. Marcovici‚Äôs plan, he writes, is to breed enough of them to set up a hedge fund.

I don’t think the rats needed to be zapped if they messed up though, surely they could have just gone without a reward in such an instance?

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A drone shield for the new “Star Wars” film… should the force fail

Tuesday, 30 September, 2014

With “leaks” such as this seemingly taking place every five minutes, it’s short wonder producers of the new Star Wars film want drone shields established over outside filming locations, to prevent those who can’t wait for its release, taking a peep at its production.

Anyone else have the feeling that the whole story will be spoiled long before it ever reaches cinemas?

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The Garden of Eden this poison garden is not

Tuesday, 30 September, 2014

The Poison Garden, located in Alnwick, in the north of England, is just that… it contains all manner of plants that pose some sort of hazard to people and other living creatures:

Because of the plants’ dangerous qualities, visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them. Still, even with guidelines in place, visitors can fall victim to the plants. This past summer, seven people reportedly fainted from inhaling toxic fumes while walking through the garden. “People think we’re being overdramatic when we talk about [not smelling the plants], but I’ve seen the health and safety reports,” the duchess says.

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