Category Archives: Humor

happy new year, nantes style

As Jaime would say, “Sweet Nantes!

Hundreds of protesters in France have rung in the New Year by holding a light-hearted march against it.

Parodying the French readiness to say “non”, the demonstrators in the western city of Nantes waved banners reading: “No to 2007″ and “Now is better!”

The marchers called on governments and the UN to stop time’s “mad race” and declare a moratorium on the future.

Happy New Year, everyone!

the next wave of AI: fast food managers?

Sure, we always hear about our robot overlords, but who would have thought that the next wave would be… dun dun DUNnnnnnn… a chicken restaurant manager?

Hyperactive Bob, the kitchen production management computer system from Hyperactive Technologies, is now being licensed to Zaxby’s, a fast-food restaurant chain with locations in the Southern states. … This artificially intelligent computer system not only takes orders, it gives them as well.

Hyperactive Bob is frighteningly close to Manna, a science-fictional system proposed by Marshall Brain in his novella-length story of the same name. In the story, Manna is a PC-based system that makes use of sensors around the restaurant to gain information; it then instructs employees. … Hopefully, no one will tell the makers of Hyperactive Bob about the Manna story; it has too many practical suggestions for the enslavement of humans.

This isn’t really a surprise to anyone that’s seen how much fast food restaurants have come to resemble factories. However, it’s good to note how interested corporate chains are in reducing the role of pesky, unpredictable humans.

[Thanks for the links, Adam!]

Thing a Week One available

I implore you to rush out and purchase Jonathan Coulton’s latest CD, Thing a Week One.  Specifically I’d recommend getting it in old-fashioned CD form, because it comes with exciting new artwork and liner notes from John Hodgman.  It’s the first of four soon-to-be-released discs compiling all the Thing a Week songs I’ve raved about, and it can’t help but be a collector’s item.   Or something.  Besides, it’s only ten bucks.

Overheard in Rocamadour

As I was having lunch at l’Hotel Sainte-Marie, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of a very English family that included a small boy and girl. The boy ordered a hot dog and the girl, about 7 years old, ordered an omelette. When it arrived, her grandmother encouraged her:

“Omelettes come from France! It should be quite nice. France is where omelettes come from!”

Picture me, trying to hide a smile, imagining omelettes arriving from France, fully formed, to breakfast tables around the world….