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If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.

George Carlin

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Racist Robots

Just when you thought that the world couldn’t misplace its collective mind one more time, a story from CNN warns of the societal dangers of robot racism.

Apparently, the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand spent a wad of cash figuring out whether robots should be painted white, black, or some in-between color lest people react to them differently. Personally, I don’t care what color my robot is so long as it remembers to close the toilet seat.

Studies like these cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions. Without breaking a mental sweat I can think of a long list of more productive ways to spend that kind of cash.

  • Give the hosts of TV’s The Real a raise.
  • Purchase a new and improved TelePrompter for Joe Biden.
  • Fund Hamster Cosmetology scholarships for aspiring tiny mammal beauticians.
  • Donate a full-page ad for CNN in Satire Lovers Monthly.
  • Polish airport urinals.
  • Bring back 8-track tapes and Blockbuster stores.
  • Register Toad Suck, Arkansas as a National Historic Site.
  • Buy edibles for the Congressional lunchroom. Hey, it can only help.
  • Get a Masters Degree in Prancercize.

Sadly, the list of lost benefits to society is endless.

So, what to do? I suppose we could spray paint our robots some non-human color, like maybe orange. Then again, that might trigger somebody for its veiled reference to an unnamed sitting president…

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Turn Coordinators

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

The truth is that we’ve made a costly mistake. Whoever coined the name “turn signals” is gonna have to correct millions of driving instruction manuals. That’s bound to piss someone off, except for maybe Amazon.com.

You see, that pole on the steering column isn’t at all intended to convey an intention. After years of fastidious observation, I’ve determined that it’s a turn coordinator, not a turn signal.

Next time you slam on the brakes as someone pulls a surprise Louie, note the sequence of events. You’ll see the brake lights illuminate, followed by a sharp entry into the turn. At that point, you’ll want to start paying close attention. If Ganymede is at least three days into its orbital cycle and other astrological conditions are favorable, you might be lucky enough to spot the elusive blinking light. If you’re fortunate enough to see one, it’ll begin about halfway through the turn. Oh, and buy a lottery ticket because Lady Luck is your BAE.

Most people don’t know this, but a turn coordinator serves to help guide the vehicle around corners. It’s complicated physics, but putting down the cell phone and reaching for the turn coordination handle shifts the car’s center of gravity, thereby easing the burden on the tires and suspension. I’m pretty sure you can thank the space program for this technology breakthrough.

The more you know.

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Aging Well

Not everything ages well. Tweets and rash social media posts are a great example. Twitter’s lack of an edit button ensures that tweet vintage remains pure and unrefined.

Is it worth anything? I don’t care. I’m keeping this one forever. Pretty sure you can’t get green vinyl on Pandora.

Music is an exception. The good stuff ages like a fine Cabernet, as does the gear used to experience it.

Recently, I got a bug up my butt to dig out my old stereo. For you millennials, those are kind of like fax machines. Anyway, this system was purchased back when station wagons roamed the earth, say 1977 give or take a year. The original Yamaha receiver died (may it rest in peace) so I had to replace that with a significantly newer Denon. But the Sony turntable and Polk Audio speakers are original. I upgraded the cartridge and stylus to an Audio Technica something or other back in 1981.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is listening to al album side – as designed by the artist. In the era of single track purchases, does anyone meticulously lay out an album side anymore? Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon might be the clearest example of the elegance of writing and ordering songs to follow a carefully orchestrated progression, but most any original album followed that roadmap back in the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the convenience and infinite availability of digital music too. There’s just nothing quite like analog with a few subtle clicks and pops thrown in for effect.

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Pretty sure #icing with these bad boys was banned by the Geneva Convention. #cruelandunusualpunishment #ice #smirnoff
Pretty sure #icing with these bad boys was banned by the Geneva Convention. #cruelandunusualpunishment #ice #smirnoff

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