This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Robots at Work and Play

Posted by: James Lileks under Praise, Technology Updated: November 13, 2013 - 12:33 PM

First things first: here’s the video for the Robotics Alley expo. All praise to Shari Gross for shooting editing, and to all the people who endured my questions.

YOU TUBE IS BROKEN Or so we’re told. Everyone who thinks the problem with YouTube is the comments, raise your hand.

Okay. Now, if you think the problem with comments arises from the decision to link to Google+ accounts, keep your hand up.

Okay, almost everyone’s hand went down. For most people, YouTube is for watching videos. Or, more often than not staring impatiently at an ad, looking at the lower right-hand corner, waiting, ciicking SKIP AD and then watching the video, finally, and then clicking on the X in the ad box that slides up 20 seconds into the video, except you clicked on the box itself and now you have a pop-up window with the ad sent out auto play and you can’t find the off button.

This Daily Dot article finds someone who’s unhappy:

“I f**king hate that today you have to sign up for everything,” wrote one 4chan user. “On Youtube I could use a funny anonymous name and post comments on vids I don't want Facebook or whatever to know about.” 

Yes, that’ll make some people nervous at YouTube: 4chan users can’t make anonymous comments without “whatever” knowing about it.

CHAIRS OF THE FUTURE A new concept for airplane seats. Interesting idea, but this would seem to require the flight attendants to make the changes between flights, adding more time between landing and take-off. In the future, these adjustments will probably be made automatically by the onboard computer, which is tied directly into the passenger manifest - if, that is, someone runs the numbers and figures there’s profit in this. At least it would avoid this problem: “37 stone man is forced to buy two airplane seats, discovers they’re in different rows.”

You will also note that the Seats of Tomorrow are rather deficient in the legroom department. Anyway, let’s cue the judgmental scolds in the comments:

Travelling by Air is an unnecessary luxury in the age of Internet and telepresence. I would ship you all by cattle cart.

The people keen to let others know they disapprove of someone else’s “unnecessary luxury” are the people who would take it away if they had the power. Hold on, I spoke too soon. After people argue about whether everything can be done over the internet, Mr. Enlightenment responds:

I didn’t say that you couldn’t travel. I just said that if you did I would treat you like a caged hen and really ram you in and milk you for all your worth. That’s all.

And if no milk is forthcoming from the hen, it’s time to rethink one’s approach.

ART Big sale yesterday; someone paid $142 million for a work by one history’s ugliest painters, Francis Bacon. But that’s not all. NYT:

The Bacon triptych was not the only highflier. A 10-foot-tall mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture that resembled a child’s party favor, Jeff Koons’s “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold to another telephone bidder for $58.4 million, above its high $55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

It’s an amusing work, and the sort of thing you’d expect to see in front of a museum eager to tell people that the art inside is Fun! and Whimsical! and not at all that serious stuff with people in old clothes pointing sadly at Jesus.

Koons’ Wikipedia page has this entry on his “Banaity” series:

Koons then moved on to the Banality series. For this project he engaged workshops in Germany and Italy that had a long tradition of working in ceramic, porcelain, and wood. The series culminated in 1988 with Michael Jackson and Bubbles, a series of three life-size gold-leaf plated porcelain statues of the sitting singer cuddling Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee.

That sold for millions. Koons is always smiling in his portraits; one can certainly understand why.

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