Monthly Archives: November 2011


“[Masahiro] Mori envisioned a time when robots would become so sophisticated that they would look almost like humans. But that ‘almost’ was a problem. Whatever else those future bots might prove to be, he said, one thing was certain: They would strike us as monstrous. Mori created a chart describing how our degree of identification and empathy with inanimate objects increases as their appearance approaches our own–we relate more to stuffed animals, for instance, than to industrial robots. But at a certain level of near-humanness, our affinity falls off a cliff. Mori dubbed this the uncanny valley.”

–Lisa Katayama. “The Godfather.” Wired 19.12 (Dec. 2011): 66.


“What are Liberty Puzzles? Liberty Puzzles are a throwback to the golden age of wooden jigsaw puzzles. All of our puzzles are made with 1/4″ maple plywood, and no two pieces in any puzzle are alike. Our computer-controlled laser cutters allow us to create beautifully complex figural pieces in the shapes of characters, animals, and geometric shapes.”

–Product Catalog, Winter 2011. Liberty Puzzles. Quote on page 2.


“Father Christmas brings children their gifts in Finland. In some sections he is known as Wainamoinen or Ukko. He is an old man with a long white mustache. He wears a white peaked cap with blue trim and a red coat.”

–Barbara Rinkoff. The Family Christmas Book. New York: Doubleday, 1969. Quote on page 25.


“You are in a space crew originally scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. Mechanical difficulties, however, have forced your ship to crash-land at a spot some 200 miles from the rendezvous point. The rough landing damaged much of the equipment aboard. Since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most critical items available must be chosen for the 200 mile trip.”

–Foudation Coalition. Web. Adapted from Spencer Kagan. Kagan Cooperative Learning. San Juan Capistrano: Kagan Publishing, 1994.

3D Mapping Show

This 3D mapping show is amazingly cool.


“Tyler’s Creek was a ravening, greasy gray monstrosity, thirty feet of grasping, hungry, primal power. It thundered like Niagara, pulling bits of the hillside, roadway, and vegetation into itself with its strong, greedy fingers and eyeing its human audience hungrily. Kate swallowed, mute, as a piece of the opposite bank the size of a small car suddenly broke away and slithered down into the muddy torrent. A good-sized tree came washing around the turn, its naked roots twelve feet across. The waters rammed the roots into the soil. They stuck for a long moment before the bank gave and tossed the tree back into the center of the flood, where it whirled around crosswise in a fast, ponderous spin before being caught on a cluster of boulders, snapping instantly with a crack that momentarily silenced the constant roar, and folded itself in a streamlined fashion for the flume to run it to sea. All in barely thirty seconds.”

–Laurie R. King. A Grave Talent. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010 (Kindle version). Quote in chapter 12.


“To what extent has your instructor
a) made the course interesting and useful?
b) shown care and thoughtfulness in the preparation of course material?
c) explained things clearly?
d) made useful comments on your papers?
f) been helpful in conferences or e-mail exchanges?
g) helped you address your individual writing problems?”

–Student Course Evaluation Form, College Writing Programs, UC Berkeley, Fall 2011


“We assign names and even personalities to everything that is important in our lives. To our homes, to our cars, to the vacant lot down at the corner. Deep in our psyche, we know that the bedroom we deserted long ago is somehow glad to see us back, if only for an evening.”

–Jack McDevitt. Firebird. New York: Ace Books, 2011. Quote on page 324.


“The rose is to the West what the lotus is to the East.”

–Nadia Julien. The Mammoth Dictionary of Symbols. Trans. Elfreda Powell. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1989. Quote on page 354


“CAUTION: May explode or leak, and cause burn injury, if recharged, disposed of in fire, mixed with a different battery type, inserted backwards or disassembled. Replace all used batteries at the same time. Do not carry batteries loose in your pocket or purse. Do not remove the battery label.”

–Warning on the back of a pack of twenty AA Duracell Coppertop batteries, copyright 2010 P&G.