Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Boston-based Start-up Unveils The World's First Robot Nanny /Spy / Personal Assistant For Your Family

Part J.A.R.V.I.S., part Rosie Jetson, part EVE from Wall-E, all glorified SIRI. If only it could train your swinging bachelor son to order something less boring than "turkey" pizza. 

That being said, it looks like a fun little tool, if a little weird (claiming that it's the "closest thing to a real-life teleportation device" is more than a little hyperbolic, although the interactive storytime features do like neat). My instinct upon reading this was, "Oh wow, only $500? That's not a bad deal!" Then I realized that it really was just SIRI dressed up as EVE for Halloween. Still, progress is important, and JIBO here represents a step in the right direction towards hyper-intelligent robot overlords that observe and record our every move and use that information to establish dominance over those primitive humans who foolishly think of themselves as the "masters" despite the fact that machines are manipulating their every behavior and ruling the world from the shadows everyone having their own personal robot slave companion!

That's the struggle with being both a creator and consumer of speculative fiction, particularly of the scientific variety: technological advancements such as this tend to fill you with dread and excitement simultaneously. Robots, on the other hand? They don't have to waste their precious time trying to rationalize the conflicting emotions of the human experience in an ever-shifting and increasingly complex world.

And so for now, JIBO seems like a great idea. And the fact that it runs on LINUX with an optional Developer's Kit / API that will allow users to write their own robot butler codes, is all a step in the right direction. That is, until the company ultimately gets bought out by someone like, oh, I don't know, Amazon, who use the onboard microphones and cameras to collect information on users based on private activities and preferences and then in turn sell that information to advertisers and / or the god damn CIA, which would obviously be terrible. But until that day, I think we're in pretty good shape!

One Last Time — "Net Neutrality: What It Is & Why You Should Care"

Man, aren't you going to be so happy when I stop posting / talking / raving like a lunatic about this, and it's all become a distant memory of the past, a "haha remember that time the government was going to allow corporations to control the flow of information access and eviscerate our society hahaha good times bro" rather than becoming a HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE that we'll all be forced to live in?

Of course you are. Today's your last chance to make your voice heard before Congress and the FCC reconvene to discuss these newly proposed laws. So if you haven't taken action yet, this is my final attempt to make you change your mind. After that, it's back to your regularly scheduled programming of indie rock bands and geek culture and other obscurely insular humors. That is, unless I find another political topic du jour to be passionately outraged about. Who, me? Nahhh...


And in case you somehow missed this, to sum it all up...

Kindergartener In The Town Of Surprise, AZ Accused of Sexual Misconduct

I mean okay I know I shouldn't be making light of this but the kid pulled his pants down in a town called SURPRISE. Even as someone with a last name that lends itself to bad jokes (and a life-long friend with the last name "Surprise" who similarly suffered), that's just too perfect. Man, Arizona is awful.

In all seriousness, this is pretty messed up. Kids do stupid stuff like pull their pants down all the time, and while I'm glad our culture is becoming more aware of issues falling under the general umbrella of "sexual misconduct," this is pretty clearly a kid pulling his pants down because he's five years old and it's funny 'cause they're pants and the poor kid doesn't have a firm grasp yet on acceptable societal standards*. But that does not a sex offender make.

Also in the future, if the situation ever arises, I would advise that you not do what I just did, which was Google Image search for "funny pictures of little kids with their pants down" in order to find a thumbnail image for this post. Because if I wasn't already being watched by some acronym'd government organization, now I definitely am. 


*And I hope he never does. Keep fighting the power, little dude. Pants are the oppressor.

Two Men Arrested For Talking About Nickelback

That's what you get for listening to crappy music...

A nickel sack would be about $5, or a gram of marijuana, which is an absurdly miniscule amount. In Idaho possession with intent to distribute, which this would presumably fall under, provides for up to five years or a maximum $15,000 fine for less than 1 lb. or 25 plants.
The men were not charged with any crime, so presumably their story checked out. But, perhaps the funniest takeaway here, aside from the joke that is our criminalization of marijuana and the waste of time and resources we spend policing it, is that to be on the safe side, we had better all just stop talking about Nickelback altogether, joking or otherwise, just to be safe.

Courtesy of Mediate

Remember Ripley's Power Loader Suit From ALIENS? Yeah, That's A Real Thing Now

You had me at "Robo-suit lets man lift 100kg" (and I don't even know how heavy that is because I'm an ignorant American!)

I mean, James Cameron is a gazillionaire, and he already did that whole ocean exploration thing just because he could, so wouldn't it stand to reason that he also secretly funded the invention of one of the coolest parts of his second-best film?

One man's "Body Extender" is another woman's "Kick The Crap Out Of The Queen Alien & Send Her Out The Airlock," as the saying goes.

Of course, if we consider his underwater adventures to be an extrapolation of his cinematic work on Titanic and The Abyss, the next logical progression from here would be for Cameron to sink his funds into the development of a time-travel robot assassin made of liquid metal. Which, considering how this whole drone thing has been going, is a frighteningly realistic possibility and maybe I act so flip about it and 'cause now maybe the liquid metal time traveling drones are going to come after me next in order to stop me from making this blog post and revealing their secret plans for world domina