Robot or Not?

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:45 pm
[personal profile] meanwright
Robot or Not? is my favorite podcast.  And not just because it averages about 3 minutes in length.

Robot or Not? is everything the internet should be: pedantic, opinionated, and, ultimately, inconsequential.  In every episode, one host (Jason Snell) asks the other (John Siracusa) whether a robot-like something is a robot (or not), and Siracusa answers him by reference to either a Platonic robot in his head or the master list of robot criteria (also in his head), mostly the latter.  And depending on unknown factors, Siracusa talks for two to twenty minutes about his categorization of the robot-like something.

Those factors are obviously not the difficulty of the situation.  I think Siracusa shows doubt about one and a half times over the first one hundred episodes, but that may be three times too many.  In his mind, Siracusa's categorization are clear and immediate, although it takes several episodes for you to figure out what they are.  I won't spoil the show for you by giving you the set of criteria -or- the test of whether or not you understand the criteria, which is to read the title of an episode and guess what he's going to say.

In that way, this is a podcast version of Caterpillar Logic.

The first hundred episodes were done, I think, in two sessions of fifty episodes a piece, and except for two or three instances, stay on topic.  In that situation, those episodes about bagel flavors, etc., are an entertaining diversion.  The later episodes are all in this vein: what is a pizza topping? what is a sport? what is a toaster?

Well, that last one is more in line with Siracusa's previous podcast, Hypercritical.  But I have hope.

So currently Robot or Not? is coming out less frequently, runs for longer times, and explores a different definition in Siracusa's head each time.  It's still interesting, but nowhere near as interesting as before.

Hopefully Snell will stumble upon fifty more robot-like somethings very soon.


Jul. 14th, 2017 05:45 pm
katherine: Cat-eared Dreamsheep, sleeping against a pale green background (catdreamsheep)
[personal profile] katherine
A friend texted me about the news of a wild lioness nursing a leopard cub.

My reply:
I've read that fanfic
Course it being fic the lioness falls for the leopard dad

Been years and years since I last read that one, but I remember the title: The Spotted Lion. It's from 1997, no less.


Jul. 10th, 2017 04:26 pm
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
[personal profile] the_siobhan
One of the guys I work with was born in 1995.

I have to go lie down now.


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