Boston Dynamics and The Late Sir Terry Pratchett

Everyone knows how driverless cars will work: they will be like ordinary cars, except you read a book rather than acting as pilot. And so, people’s understanding of what a technology can do is clouded by what the old technology it replaces does. Which means people without imagination, Head of IBM Thomas Watson, for example, say things like

There may be a world market for maybe five computers

and get it wrong. In 1943, computers were used for cryptography, and that’s it. (At least he knew what a “computer” was, which few did back then). Predictions are hard, especially about the future. But it’s probably worth noting here that the famous World Wide What? front page of The Sun, was in fact rather a good a spoof, by The Sun.

Boston Dynamics makes robots.


Who needs Robots? Well, like computers or the internet or driverless cars, the technology is coming. And it will change people’s behaviour in many, unpredictable ways. For example, mobile phones were conceived as portable analogues for the phone on your desk or in your hall. SMS text messaging was added as an afterthought, but became THE dominant means of communication. Calling someone is now rude, often you text first to see if a call would be convenient. Who (apart from mums) leaves voicemail messages any more? Few predicted that change in our behaviour. The smartphone is now ubiquitous, and is more about accessing the internet than calling friends, but wasn’t imagined before the internet, Except by Douglas Adams (and John Brunner of whom I’d not heard until I discussed the issue on Twitter). Driverless cars will be as close to the car, as the car is to a buggy and four. And robots, when they become ubiquitous, will be unlike anything we’ve considered.

I look at Boston Dynamics Robots, the big dog is conceived as a load carrying mule for soldiers on rough terrain, and I think of The Luggage, Rincewind’s inscrutable companion on the discworld. I suspect everyone will one day have a robot the size of a dog to carry daily necessaries, following them round. You could send your luggage to someone else, by smartphone app to pick something up. Your luggage could take your shopping home and collect it from the store for you. Large luggages could be sent on ahead with bags. Small luggages could replace handbags and briefcases. The labour and time saving would be vast, spawning whole new areas of employment, servicing and modifying your faithful electronic companion and providing for the opportunities they create to effectively be in two places at once. Freed from the ownership of motor vehicles by the fact we’ll be taking taxis everywhere, our Robot luggage will perhaps become the next status symbol around which society is built, replacing the car.

Like cars, I suspect the battery technology will be the limiting step, and like cars, I suspect the fuel cell will be the answer. Small fuel cells will one day power your smart phone too.

But think about the opportunities for people from smart phone. There are tens of thousands of app designers round the world now, a job that had barely been considered as recently as 2007, when the first iPhone was released, and that is similar to how the jobs which will be taken by the robots, will be replaced. That is why people who fear of a “post-jobs” future were wrong in 1816 and are still wrong 200 years later. The world’s only limitless resource is human ingenuity.

Anway. I for one welcome our new robot overlords, and this guy should totally be locked up.


How to make Him/Her Fall in Love With You

US Glamour magazine has found itself under fire from the perma-outraged social justice warriors of Twitter and facebook for its guide to women who want to make a man fall in love with them. Outraged, single women have been sharing this list with the words “Wow! I can’t even…”. The scale of the outrage is directly proportional to how long they’ve been single.

Women, who think men want “strong, independent” women will probably stay single, because they’re guilty of projecting. “I want a strong, independent man” the thinking goes, “so he must want a strong, independent woman”. We mostly want a kind, stable, supportive woman. We like strength and independence, but they’re not first on the list as they are on a woman’s list for her ideal man. A thought developed more here.

Disappointingly, glamour has taken it down, which is a shame, because it’s actually a pretty good list. Far from being a “parody of a 1950s housewife”, If you do these 13 things it means you’re thinking about what your man wants, not, as women are encouraged these days, to think about what you’ve been brainwashed into thinking men should want. No-one’s suggesting this  list should form a daily routine, but that you should try to think about the list from time to time, and surprise your other half. And when you think about it, you could write a list aimed at men, and it really wouldn’t look all that different.

The list is as follows:

1. Stocking the Fridge with his favourite drinks. Bonus points: Bring him back to his fraternity days by handing him a drink as he steps out the shower.

Honestly, This works for ladies too. Bringing a glass of prosecco as she steps out the shower isn’t going to piss her off on a Sunday morning, is it?

2. Make him a snack after sex. Simple It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal: Grilled cheese or milk and cookies will do.

Women don’t get hungry and sleepy after sex in my experience. I guess chaps, aftercare: cuddle her until your arm goes dead and long after you’re bored. Don’t check your twitter feed while doing so. No, nor watch telly. Think about whatever you want while you’re stroking her back, but when she asks say, “how in love I am” or something, not “whether Hamilton’s disastrous performance at the Hungaroring means he’s over-rated” or whatever it is you’re actually thinking about. That would piss her off.

3. E-mailing him the online gossip about his favourite TV show. You don’t have to have a BFF at HBO, just share applicable links from your twitter feed and pat yourself on the back.

It’s called taking an interest in the other person’s interests, and works for chaps too.

4. Bragging about him to your friends and family, the stranger on the street corner, whomever. Proclamations of pride will make his chest puff out and his heart swell.

Exactly the same for women. I mean really, what’s to be offended about here? If you’re going to fall for someone, you’ll be proud of them, and want to show them off to people important to you.

5. Answering the door in a neglige, or better yet, naked.

Yes. We chaps do like this. A LOT. Don’t you ladies like to be swept off your feet as soon as you walk through the door, and carried off to the bedroom by your chap too?

6. Be open to what he wants to try, in and out of the bedroom. An open mind is attractive whatever your playground.

Yes. Same goes for chaps: if (s)he wants to try public sex, sky-diving or a cookery course, even if it’s not your thing, try to enjoy it together. I don’t think my girlfriend is that into cycling. But she’s agreed to come on a 3-day battlefield tour of the Normandy beaches by bicycle with me.

7. Let him solve your petty work problems. Many men don’t do gossip, but they do like to fix things.

This is the best piece of advice in the list. Nothing makes a man feel better about himself than solving a problem for you. The flip side is Chaps! Shut the fuck up and just listen to her occasionally. She doesn’t actually want a solution; she want you to listen, agree and support.

8. Spitting out sports stats for his favourite team. Showing an interest in his favourite players will earn you points on and off the field.

Taking an interest in your other half’s interests is sexist is it?

9. Making a big deal out of his favourite meal. Does he like hotdogs cut up into his boxed mac n’ cheese? Serve it on a silver platter, and see him smile.

That sounds disgusting, but chaps! Bring her comfort food on a silver platter, with an ironic smirk. Really, doing thoughtful things for your other half will certainly not hurt the relationship, will it.

10. Treating his friends as well as you treat your own. If you win their affection, you’ll win his heart.

This would probably appear unaltered in an equivalent list for men. Nothing sexist to see here. Move along.

11. Sitting side by side while he vegs out to TV. It may not feel like quality time to you, but it’s the best time to him.

Yes, ladies. Shut up from time to time. We’ll marry the one who doesn’t need to fill every second with ceaseless prattle. The chaps list in this spot would probably say something like ‘turn the TV off and talk from time to time. It’ll make her feel special’.

12. Give him a massage. Happy ending optional. In fact a foot-rub works just fine.

Women don’t like a massage? Honestly “give her a massage” is on every “how to make her fall in love with you” list from FHM/GQ/Loaded/Nuts. Nothing sexist to see here. Move along.

13. Take him back to third grade with a gentle tease over how you’ll dominate him on the basketball court, to the weird way he just styled his hair.

Playfulness and teasing are important in relationships. You need to be friends as well as lovers and friends tease one another. It shows you’re equals.

The response to this list just shows how far from reality perma-outraged, petty-minded internet feminism is. The fact is men and women are, on average, different, and like different things, and this seems to offend them. Men like movies about explosions, whereas women like movies about people crying over relationships. Women like drama, men like sport. Men like great slabs of meat, women like salads, for some reason. That’s not to say men cannot like a watching a TV drama about relationships, while eating a salad; but women should remember that’s not what most men would choose, were they still a bachelor. And Vice Versa.

Stepping outside your preferences, and into those of your other half, is what makes a relationship work, for men and women. That perma-outraged internet feminists think men’s preferences should be the same as women’s, which shows hubris, arrogance and a staggering lack of self-awareness. But as this will lead them into a life of celibate cat-wrangling, it’s their loss not ours. Every feminist going on about how “strong” and “independent” she is, is one fewer to compete with for ladies who’re prepared to empathise with the other Gender.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

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The Dude talks to UK Uncut on Twitter.

are @ disonest or stupid? Barclays this time. which didn’t need a bail-out and which pays a lot of tax.

the entire banking system would have collapsed if it wan’t for the bail. And no they don’t pay a lot of tax.

Question: does the laffer curve mean anything to you. Is there a point at which you stop regarding “business” as a piggy bank?

2007/2008 Financial sector collapse knocked 6% out of GDP, caused a 1 trillion black hole which we are paying the price

Barclays didn’t take the Bail-out. It went to shareholders. Are you dishonest or ignorant?

I didn’t say they did, I said the entire banking industry exists because of the tax payer.

all business exist “because of the tax-payer” because he’s also a consumer. Barclays didn’t take bail-out, so why picket them?

just shows how concentrated wealth is in this country. not right that we should be so dependent on a tiny groups of people

Question: Do you pay more tax than you legally owe? if not you’re a rancid hypocrite.
waaaa! someone has more than me! waaaaaa! You’re a child.

No i pay the tax that is taken out of my pay. I don’t employ a small army of accountants to try and get me out of it.
So you think that Barclays, a major international retail & investment bank should just PAYE without using accountants?
I think Barclays should not have an entire division in their HQ coming up with elaborate means to pay less and less tax

You do agree businesses which make a loss should be able to set that loss against future year’s tax on profits don’t you?

I think the law can be changed to stop the Banks avoiding tax, especially as they have a debt to the public sector
they’re not “avoiding tax”. Barclays is carrying forward losses, something ALL grown-up tax regimes allow.

no this should be changed for the banks. They have a debt to society, they do avoid tax, they have an entire division to do it, with hundreds of subsidiaries in tax havens.

You really are ignorant, aren’t you. How is retrospective taxation different from theft?

because the entire banking industry is being support with 1 trillion of our money and I want it back

with plans to start selling off the RBS stake, you will, soon.

you fail to remember in 2009 that secret papers we leaked to the press showing Barclays secret division.

You mean a big international bank seeks to minimise taxes, and you’re expecting me to be 1) surprised & 2) outraged? Meh…
well we are, you arn’t. We have differing concerns. Which is why this conversation is utterly pointless.
You didn’t answer the question: Do you think business should be allowed to bring forward losses. If not, why not?

I did, you didn’t read it. No the banks should not be able to because they have a 1 trillion debt to society

The Government BOUGHT a stake + loans, which will be paid back on (ha!) Privatisation of Lloyds & RBS (which you support? No?)

but other banks like Barclays benefited through that bail-out so need to pay up too. We will never agree!

Yes. There is a bankers’ put. Which needs to be adressed by regulation, but confiscatory, retrospective taxation is not the answer. Do you even know what ‘Bankers’ put’ means?

there is just no point arguing with those who misunderstand the basics. Sorry.

My Shit Life So Far.

The autobiography of Frankie Boyle.

In any case the whole of television and celebrity is simply a distracton aimed at keeping you sedated while your pockets are picked by vested interests which may or may not be lizards. You’re going to end up with celebrity reality shows piped directly into your eyes in the same way that classical music is played to fatten cattle. What kind of person buys the autobiography of a panel show contestand? WAKE UP YOU CUNT.

It continues in this vein for some 300 pages.

Something for the Milliband Brothers perhaps.

Why would anyone buy M&S padded briefs for men wanting “frontal enhancement”. Imagine picking up a girl whilst wearing these (surely the reason one would buy them is because they think this might be easier). At some point before “making the beast with two backs” is a little bit of manual exploration. “Are those padded briefs?” she’d ask. “Yes. Yes they are”, you’d reply.


And before you ask why I was brousing “Lingerie Buyer”, a good friend runs Amoralia, who make pretty maternity underwear, and I follow their blog. So there.

Knickers in a Twist

Late last year, an unfortunate 20-year old teaching assistant, Sarah Lyons was pictured with a pair of knickers round her ankles, and became the “face of booze Britain”. Though I think the defence that the knickers weren’t hers (they were given away in a drinks promotion) raises more questions to the tabloid mind than just shutting up, the defence that she wasn’t drunk is, however, important.

Here was a girl just joining in the fun, only to have a snapper splash her across tomorrows papers without so much as a by your leave. Anyone can be snapped pretending, playing, dancing and in that moment, you can depending on your facial expression for an instant, appear violent, drunk, aggressive, slutty, whatever. The truth may be very different. The camera can, and does, lie regularly. What’s more the, widespread publicity has genuine and serious effects on individuals. In Ms Lyon’s case, she was suspended from her teaching job. No-one seems interested enough to find out whether she lost it in the end to publish a news story about it.

What’s worse is that some people who should know better think that this is reasonable. “How can she set an example to the kids?” they bleat, “when you’ve made an exhibition of yourself. The children will never respect you”. Well if you cannot laugh off such tabloid nonsense with a lesson on the third estate’s power, then you shouldn’t be a teacher. And if a blameless 20-year old gets caught doing nothing illegal, dangerous or even immoral by the press, a Head Teacher should show some leadership and loyalty to staff and stand by the poor girl, giving a lesson in the right thing to do. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

This isn’t about moral decline. Tacitus thought we were a bunch of piss-heads who liked fighting. Hogarth, 2,000 years later depicted depraved Gin lane next to the virtuous Beer alley. Booze is part of the fabric of national life. Everyone from the lowliest Cardiff teaching assistant to the most exalted New Labour panjandrum or Bishop of the church of England uses booze as an excuse. Posh Students get pissed and act up:

every bit as much as the boy from the sink comprehensive. Nothing has changed since the Roman Invasion: booze is the one thing that unites this nation.

What’s changed is the ease with which images are captured and disseminated. The length of time they hang around on the Internet and the damage they can do. Because anyone Googling “Sarah Lyons” will get that image. And anyone Googling “Knicker Girl” will return Sarah Lyons. I’m lucky. I have this blog, and a twitter account, some sports results and the Cambridge mind-games Olympiad and an article In the Wall st Journal, should you google my name. Though Student Jackart + Alcohol = nudity, I have yet to have my image splashed across the Sun, mainly because I am not an attractive 20-something girl and facebook didn’t exist when I was an undergraduate. Men are titillated by a pretty girl, apparently with her panties off, and women judge other women and love to purse their lips about them. It’s what they do. So I get away with mooning in the street. And Ms Lyons gets the order of the boot from her job.

And of course this brings to mind the most staggering hypocrisy: Women are judged harsher than men, and the poor and disadvantaged are judged more harshly than the rich and privileged, who don’t, by and large get ASBOS. My favourite drinking song, It’s the same the whole world over, makes this very point.

It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor that get the blame,
It’s the rich that get the pleasure,
Ain’t it all a bloody shame.

And, Feminzazis, don’t try to pretend that we men are to blame for this hypocrisy. Most men, apart from pant-wetting hypocrites like Quentin Letts, like sluts (though I am not suggesting that the blameless Ms Lyons is one). Other women are the ones who do the judging. It’s not men who think that women are “asking for it” because of a short skirt or a glimpse of tit, It’s women. Female jurors are far more likely to let an accused rapist off because some women hate other women. Most men are taught from an early age that “no means no” and would happily lock a rapist up for life and cut off his balls while we’re at it. Rape and rapists disgust men. Many Women seem to blame the victim. Look at the Daily Mail where the savage misogyny of women is most apparent, where rape is barely reported apart from women who made it all up. Look at the magazines like ‘closer’ and ‘heat’ for whom women are too fat/thin and therefore disgusting; or too promiscuous/frigid and therefore deserving of public humiliation. Men wouldn’t be seen dead reading that drivel. Women, you see, hate each other and keep each other down with jealous, prurient and spiteful judgementalism.

So girls. Don’t wear a party dress in town and get out of a taxi. Don’t attract male attention with a flash of cleavage or thigh. Remember at all times your sexuality, and your body is public property. Don’t have a few drinks with the girls and have fun. Don’t get seen kissing in public. Don’t ever get drunk or hang about with people who are, just in case someone sees you and takes a picture and makes you a face of the nation’s moral decline. It’s for the chiiiiildren, you know.

The future is here.

A commentator recently asked “where’s my Jet-pack”.

Well AlJahom, the answer’s here. And the FAA have granted special exemption for a flying car too.

The future is truly here, friends.