I have heard that unscrupulous people will pack banana peels and sawdust into worn out car gearboxes to stop them from whining long enough to trick a buyer into thinking the car doesn't need serious repairs. Read the rest
Apparently, the volcano on Fortnite's Murder Island has gone off! A new season of Fortnite has begun!
Perhaps bigger than any map change, and there are many, is Epic's announcement the pump shotgun has been vaulted. Long the favorite of streamers, pro-gamers, and sweaty soccer skins, the pump shotgun was one of the few ways to one-shot eliminate an opponent. A new Combat shotgun has been introduced and a new meta will appear.
I have not had a chance to play, but you can be sure my daughter has already requested vbucks for the new battlepass. Read the rest
TossingBot is a robot that teaches itself how to pick up and toss objects with great accuracy. Eventually, the robot -- designed by researchers from Google, Princeton, Columbia, and MIT -- could lead to more efficient pick-and-place (grab-and-toss?) robots for factory automation, debris clearing at disaster sites, or perhaps package delivery. Right now though, the TossingBot is quite good at throwing bananas into bins. From IEEE Spectrum:
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Part of what makes TossingBot so useful is that the tossing technique significantly decreases the time that the robot spends on the “place” part of a pick-and-place task. Rather than spending time putting an object down, objects are instead (as the researchers put it) “immediately passed to Newton,” and the toss also means that the robot’s effective reach is significantly longer than its physical workspace....
The interesting bit of TossingBot itself is a deep neural network that starts with a depth image of objects in a bin, and goes all the way through from successful grasp to parameters for the throw itself. Since the throwing of an object (especially an unbalanced object) depends heavily on how it’s being held, grasping and throwing are learned at the same time. By measuring whether a grasp is successful by whether a throw is successful, TossingBot learns to favor grasps that result in accurate throws. As you can see from the video, the learning process itself is fairly clever, and the robot can be mostly just left alone to figure things out for itself, managing 10,000 grasp and throw attempts in 14 hours of training time.
I might be 12, but my brain went straight to the gutter when I saw this weird banana-filling gadget. This thing is marketed to kids, even though it seems rather inappropriate!
So, this is how the $27 "Banana Surprise" works. You cut off the tip, just the tip. Then, you rest the fruit in the "Yumstation." Now, this is where the fun begins. You get out the tool and jam it into the end and then quickly pull out. And now, according to the directions, it's time to fill that hole with some sweet syrup, fruit puree, or cream.
Surprise, you have an oozing, dripping piece of phallic fruit!
It's just a banana. It's just a banana. It's just a banana.
Once again offered in black and banana yellow, the new Nokia 8110 has a few upgrades on the original (such as 4G, a better camera, and more than 16 ringtones). But the classic's vaguely erotic curve is left exactly as it was.
It's hitting stores in Asia this month and will surely pop up online shortly thereafter; there doesn't seem to be any word on an official U.S. release. It's being made under license by HMD, which is developing its own operating system and appstore for dumbphones.
Just look at it.
(Thanks, Gwynne!) Read the rest