the learning tree wallpaper, learning from cockroaches, more indoctrination please

the learning tree wallpaper

I’ve heard they’re not bad chocolate covered and I know for certain they can make a little crunch sound when stepped on, but cockroaches might also be good models for robots – Cockroaches offer inspiration for running robots

“Humans can run, but frankly our capabilities are nothing compared to what insects and some other animals can do,” said John Schmitt, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at OSU. “Cockroaches are incredible. They can run fast, turn on a dime, move easily over rough terrain, and react to perturbations faster than a nerve impulse can travel.”

Within certain limitations, Schmitt said, cockroaches don’t even have to think about running – they just do it, with muscle action that is instinctive and doesn’t require reflex control. That, in fact, is part of what the engineers are trying to achieve. Right now some robots have been built that can walk, but none of them can run as well as their animal counterparts. Even walking robots absorb far too much energy and computing power to be very useful.

“If we ever develop robots that can really run over rough ground, they can’t afford to use so much of their computing abilities and energy demand to accomplish it,” Schmitt said. “A cockroach doesn’t think much about running, it just runs. And it only slows down about 20 percent when going over blocks that are three times higher than its hips. That’s just remarkable, and an indication that their stability has to do with how they are built, rather than how they react.”

If successful, Schmitt said, running robots could serve valuable roles in difficult jobs, such as military operations, law enforcement or space exploration.

If they’re used for law enforcement all I ask is please do not equip them with tasers.

Disproportionate effects of global warming and pollution on disadvantaged communities

Global warming, pollution, and the environmental consequences of energy production impose a greater burden on low-income, disadvantaged communities, and strategies to prevent these inequities are urgently needed. A provocative collection of articles on climate justice presents the global implications of climate change and its effects on human health and the environment in a special issue of Environmental Justice, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The entire issue is available online at This important series of articles emerged from a conference on climate justice held earlier this year in New York City, co-hosted by West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT) and the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change.

Global warming deniers also tend to be the same people who hate the poor or have a general tendency toward eliminationism. Maybe that is part of the reason for the efforts to stop any progress toward a sustainable energy policy. Self defeating in the long run, but reasoning tends to bounce off flat earthers and eliminationists like bullets off Superman.

If you live in an average sized city or larger as I do. Watch cable and have access to a radio my small c conservative estimate is that you can easily get a hundred hours a day of, not traditional Dwight Eisenhower conservative punditry, but far right zealotry. One analysis of talk radio found,

* Our analysis in the spring of 2007 of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners reveals that 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive.
* Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk—10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.
* A separate analysis of all of the news/talk stations in the top 10 radio markets reveals that 76 percent of the programming in these markets is conservative and 24 percent is progressive, although programming is more balanced in markets such as New York and Chicago.

This dynamic is repeated over and over again no matter how the data is analyzed, whether one looks at the number of stations, number of hours, power of stations, or the number of programs. While progressive talk is making inroads on commercial stations, conservative talk continues to be pushed out over the airwaves in greater multiples of hours than progressive talk is broadcast.

These empirical findings may not be surprising given general impressions about the format, but they are stark and raise serious questions about whether the companies licensed to broadcast over the public airwaves are serving the listening needs of all Americans.

Air America might have had a chance, but there was an organized corporate effort to exclude advertising from Air America. I’m not sure how much it matters that conservatives dominate TV and radio, since the general public is less informed about issues and public policy then ever. For the most part conservatives preach to the choir. I’ve watched thousands of hours of conservative programming, read conservative net magazines and blogs and remain unimpressed. Though for many conservatives such as the guy behind Big Government and Big Hollywood there is never enough indoctrination. We now have Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism. The same Andrew that has been party to countless modern fables starts off his new indoctrination destination with, yes, another freaky attempt at journalism,  Big Journalism, bigger ego

Fittingly, much of Breitbart’s post is devoted to the fact that he posted a correction to the story falsely claiming that Bertha Lewis was the “Bertha E. Lewis” who showed up in White House records as a visitor to the executive mansion. According to Breitbart: “This week I issued my first correction, even though I wasn’t proved wrong. I just couldn’t prove I was right. I can live with that rule.” There are three things to point out here: First, he was proven wrong. Bertha Lewis of ACORN bears the middle initial “M”. Second, it may have been the first correction he issued, but it certainly wasn’t the first time a correction was needed. Third, saying you ran a correction even though you didn’t think you had to doesn’t make you a good journalist, it shows that you pay lip service to journalistic standards about which you don’t really care.

What matters is the sheeple that run to his sites be reassured their manufactured reality not be fractured by the facts. Now if Breitbart can just figure out a way to get George Soros to stop paying MoveOn to fly those black helicopters over his bunker.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn – still photo, set of The Seven Year Itch. I guess a little pandering never killed anyone, so this is for those people who keep searching this site for photos of M’s Monroe.

Wildlife watchers might enjoy this video, Camera traps yield rare footage of Sumatran tiger with cubs

update: I did not mean to imply that Air America no longer exist, but  they’re not in as many markets as they could be.