Another signed Ray Bradbury first, one I’ve been patiently stalking for quite some time.
Bradbury, Ray. Death is a Lonely Business. Franklin Library, 1985. First edition hardback (precedes the Knopf trade edition, per the Locus database), a Fine copy in decorated leather boards, sans dust jacket, as issued. Signed by Bradbury. Mystery novel, the first of many, and his first new novel since The Halloween Tree. Bought for $34.95 off eBay.
Local shoegaze rockers and engineering hobbyists, Whale Coma, accidentally created the world’s first artificially intelligent band member when their pedalboard became self-aware Sunday night.
Guitarist Connor O’Hoolihan excitedly connected yet another pedal to the now-conscious tangle of cords the band has affectionately dubbed “SkyPed,” a functioning life form of questionable intent and motivation that has begun to formulate rudimentary yet coherent speech through O’Hoolihan’s Electro-Harmony-Vocal Synthesizer Pedal.
“I told him not to add a Rat Stink Fuzzy Big Muff™ when he’s already running two Fat Boy Moose Knuckles™ and a Red Bitch Psycho Trem™,” said Willy Bennett Dyson, the band’s third guitarist. “We’re playing with something we don’t fully understand.”
Pohl, Frederik and Jack Williamson. The Singers of Time. Doubleday Foundation, 1991. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with small wrinkle to top inner flap tip. Signed by Pohl. Bought off eBay for $4.00 plus shipping.
You could study Wrath of Khan as a portrait of different performing styles. Consider William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and a central paradox of their chemistry. Spock is the alien – a being who strives to rid himself of all emotion – but past a certain point, you notice how Nimoy is a much more natural performer, communicating so much with droll phrasing lilts and micro-gestures. Whereas the human Kirk is played by Shatner, one of Hollywood’s great experts in hyperbole. (Khan is Shatner at his most wide-eyed.) As a young actor, Nimoy learned the Method and idolized Brando; Shatner came up performing energetic Shakespeare. That doesn’t make one better nor one worse – the dissonance is the key – but it adds layers to their pairing. You associate Spock with explicit stiffness – he’s a freaking Vulcan – but Nimoy’s acting is maybe more “cinematic,” eye-focused, while Shatner is more “theatrical,” full-bodied.
Plus a lot about how director Nicholas Meyer sets up shots for maximum effect.
It’s a very interesting essay on the best Star Trek movie. Read the whole thing.
It’s expensive to build an automated factory, and even more pricey to repurpose one. German manufacturing giant Siemens wants that to change, and they’ve developed an army of robot spiders to make it happen.
Utilizing what Siemens calls “mobile manufacturing” researchers in Princeton, New Jersey have build prototype spider-bots that work together to 3D print structures and parts in real time. Known as SiSpis, or Siemens Spiders, these robots work together to accomplish tasks, and can be reprogramed to learn new jobs.
The ability to be reprogramed gives the bots an advantage over traditional manufacturing robots. Opening an industrial manufacturing factory currently means installing expensive robots that can only do one or two tasks well. In theory, the SiSpis’ programing can be altered to address new tasks, allowing for greater flexibility for manufactures.
As a devotee of spider-menace movies, I think I know exactly how this will turn out. Why, the SyFy Channel movie practically writes itself. (As does the inevitable sequel, Spiderbots vs. Lavalanchula…)