Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Archive for the ‘Fun Facts’ Category

I learn something new every day.

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We are in over our heads with robots.

We jokingly talk about robots outsmarting us and we have a ton of movies about robots taking over that we categorize as “science fiction.” Apparently, we need to rethink that categorization. Maybe switch it to “drama that just has happened yet.”

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

I say when in doubt, assume the worst and proceed cautiously. Didn’t these folks see “I, Robot”?

That being said, I would really like a robot who will clean my house and drive me around. So let’s not shut it down completely. But I think instituting some limitations on research and development sounds like a prudent idea.

Edit:

So if the robots do take over one of these days, it might be to eat us – assuming they have the same tastes as we do. A robot programmed to “taste” wines and some foods has identified human flesh as bacon!

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Written by Lisa

July 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I learn something new every day.

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Did you know that there is a subculture of men in Japan who are maintaining romantic relationships with imaginary 2-D characters? I feel odd even saying that these are “relationships,” but it seems that some of them take it very seriously as if they really were interacting with another person. It seems that this phenomenon may be tied to the difficulty that adult Japanese men are having in the romance department – “According to a government survey, more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex.” Imagining a relationship with a cartoon character doesn’t seem like a healthy way to deal with issues that you’re having with real women. But what disturbs me more is that the fantasies these men are having are of very young cartoon characters. It’s hard to believe that an attraction to those looks and imagined personalities doesn’t ever transfer over to real young girls.

Written by Lisa

July 27, 2009 at 2:19 am

I learn something new every day.

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I heard recently that Lucas Oil Stadium offers public tours of the facility for only $7 per adult. Although we’ve been inside before (for an NCAA tournament game), the tours offer access to areas that you don’t usually get to see – locker rooms, the field, press box, etc. So I thought it sounded like something that would be really fun to do. But then I looked up the info, and apparently they don’t actually want people to take their tours!

Or, that’s what I must assume since they only offer them on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm and you have to buy the tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis on the day of the tour. How many people can really make that happen? Most people would have to take a day off work not knowing if they’re actually going to be able to go on the tour or not. Bogus.

The good news is that Jon scored us tickets to the Colts season opener, so we’ll at least get to see some football action going on at the stadium. Who wants to see a smelly locker room anyway? 😦

Written by Lisa

July 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I learn something new every day.

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Did you know that a $20 donation can provide a person in a developing country with clean, safe drinking water for 20 years? Um, yeah. Skip a few trips to Starbucks and make a huge, long-term difference in someone’s life. This organization, charity: water, looks really impressive. And it has a super-cool website with excellent photographs highlighting this widespread issue. I just read about this organization on Slate, and apparently Nicholas Kristof just highlighted it in a column. Clean water is something that most of us take for granted. We don’t even think about whether it’s safe to drink. We’re on a whole different level, worrying about whether it is tap or bottled or still or sparkling or flavored or vitamin-enriched. And I don’t know about you, but I can go through some water in a day. I rarely go more than an hour or two when I’m awake without having a glass of water. But one billion people, or one in six of us, do not have access to clean drinking water. And for as little as $20 we can do something about it. So check out charity: water.

Written by Lisa

July 24, 2009 at 1:58 am

I learn something new every day.

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Today I learned something about myself. I learned that I don’t know how to prepare tofu. We decided to have stir-fry this week, and I thought I’d give tofu another try. Last time I tried to make some it didn’t go very well, but I thought I had learned more about tofu since then. Plus, I had tofu recently at P.F. Chang’s and it was amazing. So I’ve been in the mood for it. But apparently I still don’t know as much as I need to know.

I got the extra firm. I drained the water. I pressed as much water out of it as I could using paper towels. I cubed it and soaked it in a marinade (soy sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, vinegar) for several hours. And then I heated some olive oil in a pan and tried to fry it up a bit. But as I was moving it around in the pan it was sticking and crumbling a bit. I felt like I was destroying it. So I moved it to a cookie sheet and put it under the broiler for awhile, hoping it would get a little crispy.

It was not crispy. It was squishy. And it didn’t taste very good. I thought it would taste like my yummy marinade, and I guess it did a little bit on the outside, but on the inside the tofu flavor won out. Poor Jon only ate one bite of his stir-fry, made a horrible face, and opted for leftover dal instead. I choked my dinner down but was not a fan. And now there’s a huge bowl of gross stuff in the fridge that I feel compelled to eat because I don’t want to waste it.

Help!!!

I need instruction. I need someone to share their tofu best practices with me. I’ve had great tofu, so I know it’s possible. But I don’t know how to get there from here. Did I not get enough of the liquid out? Do I need to soak it in broth? Does that really make much of a difference? Should I be baking or frying or something else? And so on.

Written by Lisa

July 23, 2009 at 2:48 am

Posted in Food, Fun Facts

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I learn something new every day.

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Did you know that in almost all states family members can take responsibility for the remains of their deceased loved ones? Apparently home funerals and even burials are becoming more common in light of the economic recession. I was surprised by this because I thought I had heard recently that the funeral home business was one of the last few places that we could count on to always have jobs. But maybe this is true only for the few states that require a funeral director to handle the remains. One of those states is Indiana. Indiana also isn’t a big fan of home births. They do not allow midwives to practice outside of hospitals or birth centers. I wonder if they place the same prohibition on “death midwives,” which is what some people who coach families through this process are calling themselves.

Written by Lisa

July 22, 2009 at 2:50 am

I learn something new every day.

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I have heard that there’s some debate over whether or not we should still be using BMI (body mass index) to determine overweight and obesity – or whether we ever should have adopted this method in the first place. And today Slate talked all about it – along with some info about the development of this measure. What I didn’t know was that our waist circumference is now being considered as a better alternative to BMI for determining whether we’re at risk of disease (along with other behavioral risk factors). The problem is that I don’t have a tape measure! My BMI is “normal,” and I don’t have other risk factors, but maybe my waist is too big. Apparently it’s not supposed to be more than 35 inches for women. If women’s pants were sized like men’s I would already know. Of course, if I were a better woman I would have a sewing kit that included a tape measure. But alas, I will have to settle for not knowing. I’ll just assume all is good.

Written by Lisa

July 21, 2009 at 3:01 am

Posted in Fun Facts

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