The Cheating RPS Robot, Sorkinisms and the Nexus 7

Fans of mano-a-mano competition are having mixed feelings about a marvelous Japanese robot called Janken that can compete with the best human rock-paper-scissors players. It made its video debut on the Web this week. The technology is wild. In fact the darn thing wins every time, which doesn’t auger well for the future of humanity. “When machine finally decides to rise against man, the human race is going to have its hands full,” says Hot Hardware. “I, for one, welcome our new rock-paper-scissors-playing overlords,” says Blame it on the Voices. But here’s the thing, as Engadget explains: “this sneaky little future overlord wins 100 percent of its matches by using an oh-so human trait known as cheating.” sorkSteroids, right? No…? “Researchers at the University of Tokyo came up with the idea of combining high-speed vision with a high-speed hand. It figures out what you’re planning to do and reacts according…way too fast for you to catch it in the act,” Hackaday explains. “Apparently one millisecond is all it takes to analyze what move you’ve chosen.” Robots, man. We gotta keep an eye on them. No wonder it was so hard to kill Yul Brynner in Westworld. - Sorkinisms2.jpg

Another video getting viral love and a blogger bump this week is “Sorkinisms,” a brutal homage to Aaron Sorkin, whose new TV series The Newsroom debuted on HBO on Sunday. It’s a mean mega-mashup (clocking in at 7:22) of scenes from the wide Sorkin oeuvre, which includes The West Wing, and films such as The Social Network, A Few Good Men and The American President. Evidently Aaron, er, recycles lines of dialogue that he’s used before – A LOT. “If you haven’t seen Aaron Sorkin repeating himself, then you haven’t seen Shakespeare the way it was meant to be done,” says The LA Times’ Show Tracker. Adds I Watch Stuff: “Just in time for making us even more judgmental of The Newsroom, editor Kevin Porter has pieced together this truly eye-opening supercut/Sorkinian master’s thesis on the ridiculous amount of reused lines and recurring turns of phrases used in the works of Aaron Sorkin. Even if you’re already somehow aware of how much Sorkin dialogue is either purposely or subconsciously repurposed, prepare to be shocked.” Jim Romenseko got hold of the 22-year-old creator, Kevin T. Porter, who says he started building the montage in his head when he was 14 years old. “He’s noticed for years that Sorkin has favorite phrases that he recycles. Highlighting them on YouTube wasn’t ‘an insanely original idea’ because ‘within Aaron Sorkin fandom it’s a known thing.’ He was just the first to document it in one video.” Ya think? Nexus 7.jpg

Google is out with a new device to watch all these kooky web videos on, its Nexus 7 tablet, “the first device that will run on Android’s next-generation Jelly Bean mobile operating system,” says Mashable. It’s $199 for 8GB and $249 for 16GB- putting it right the line of fire of the $199 Kindle Fire. “The move is a part of an effort to give Amazon’s Kindle Fire a run for its money, but Google might run into trouble getting consumers to buy e-books, music and movies on its own platform.” “Built specifically for Google Play [app store] consumption, the Nexus 7 tablet built by Asus seems to be Google’s answer to both the iPad and Kindle Fire,” says Techcrunch. Android Community digs into the handy-dandy device from every angle: “Google has really stepped up their game with Jelly Bean…Google called this project butter, where they wanted the OS to be butter smooth and they’ve achieved just that. Animations are as swift as ever, and I’m seriously loving this tasty treat even more than the frozen Ice Cream.” It’s really hard to tell which foods mentioned there are literally foods and which are product code names, but you get the idea. - Brandt Brothers.jpg

Finally, it’s hard not to admire a piece of “journalism” about “journalism” so smartly nasty as Gawker‘s recent takedown of a NY Times Style section piece about two rich kids named the Brant Brothers. “The New York Times profiled the Brant Brothers because the New York Times hates you” is merely the headline getting things started. “No one at that paper could possibly think these two teenagers–who have yet to contribute anything meaningful to society–are inherently interesting. A much more reasonable explanation is that someone at the Times Style section sits down every week and is like, ‘Oh hey, how can we piss off everyone this week? I KNOW! Let’s profile a pair of privileged dipshits!'” However you feel about Gawker generally, this line-by-line dissection of a horrid report is solid gold.

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