The Mirror, which claims to be the U.K.’s “intelligent tabloid,” reported on a new tech toy called the “Kissenger,” an accessory for a cell phone (presumably of the smart variety) that allows a user to exchange kisses with users of a similarly equipped cell phone anywhere on the planet.
Emma Yann Zhang, one of the developers, described the gadget during a conference at the University of London called “Love and Sex With Robots.”
In the prototype, the kissing surface is not mouth-shaped and there is no simulation of the tongue, which I presume limits the technology to very tame kisses at this time.
Zhang announced the next modification would not be a tongue, but rather an inclusion of scent. You will be able to recognize the person you are kissing by their authentic smell.
My cousin Ray Sixkiller was snickering about what sensations could be transmitted in the same manner as kisses but some of his ideas were not fit for a family publication. I leave the Kissenger with the thought that my readers have as much imagination as Cousin Ray.
There were two bits of post-election suspense this week.
One was whether Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead over President-Elect Donald Trump would break three million votes. That one went away when the Trump campaign pointed out Trump won the popular vote….if you didn’t count California and New York.
Cousin Ray guffawed something about not counting “latte-sipping treehuggers.” Conan O’Brien replied that Hillary Clinton would have won the Electoral College vote if you didn’t count Russia.
The other bit of suspense was whether Trump would appoint anybody to a cabinet-level post who was not a billionaire or a general. He did. Trump put South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the U.N. Ambassador post, which some people thought was a nod to diversity when it was actually payback to Henry McMaster, who endorsed Trump when Haley was a Never Trumper. Haley’s departure to the U.N. post will promote McMaster, who is currently lieutenant governor.
The Wall Street Journal reported on an indicator that U.S. troops who draw an overseas assignment will have better odds of getting a cushy deal. When the Cold War ended, the U.S. shut down an armored vehicle storage facility in Eygelshoven, The Netherlands. It’s been reopened and is being filled with tanks, self-propelled artillery, and armored personnel carriers. When I was in, it was easy to get overseas, but a little harder to avoid jungles then like it’s hard to avoid deserts now.
The same week the Chinese swiped a U.S. Navy submarine drone from the South China Sea off the coast of The Philippines, Defensetech reported that the Navy tested four unmanned “swarmboats” in Chesapeake Bay. The boats are programmed for autonomous operations. At this time, their mission is harbor defense.
Without human intervention, the drones inspect every vessel and determine which are potential threats. They may “assign” one of their number to stay with a suspicious vessel or they may collectively “swarm” it, all without human remote control.
Speaking of the Chinese drone pilfering, it may have taught the President-Elect why he ought to opt in to the daily intelligence briefing he has been skipping.
Trump issued a Twitter storm that could not have done his reputation any good, starting with a since deleted tweet that spelled “unprecedented” as “unpresidented,” possibly a Freudian error.
HuffPost reported that Trump’s first tweet (“unpresidented’) went out hours after the U.S. ambassador to China reported that the drone was being returned.
CNN aired an odd report claiming that researchers at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam had come up with a theory besides a Dutch rat to explain how the Franks got caught.
What could possibly be new after all these years?
The new theory is that two men who worked in the building had recently been arrested for bootlegging ration coupons and the raid that discovered the Franks was a follow up to those arrests. That’s possible, but how new is it?
I was thinking those two guys would become likely suspects for the anonymous rat, and I would want to know if they were punished less for their irregularities with ration books than others who did the same? That would lead me to suspect they gave information for a better deal.
When I visited the museum, the hidden living space that held two Jewish families was bigger than I pictured and it seemed to me that just eyeballing the building would tell some space was not accounted for. So the idea of being discovered by Germans on a different mission is not crazy—but it’s not new, either.
This week, Reuters reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande issued a joint statement calling for extending sanctions against Russia because peace negotiations in Ukraine have not gone well.
Cousin Ray wished “Angie and Frank” good luck with that.
Foreign Policy reported that Merkel—facing a hard fight for reelection—got one piece of luck when it appeared that the person wanted for plowing a truck though Christmas shoppers in Berlin, Tunisian Anis Amri, was already on the run from a deportation order. Then, at press time, came the news that Amri has been killed in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy, and his fingerprints matched prints found in the truck that wreaked havoc in Berlin.
Merkel’s popularity has been in the sewer because of her agreement to take in Syrian refugees. On a similarly fraught U.S. immigration issue, the AP reported that a seven year old law to protect Afghan interpreters who served U.S. forces from Taliban assassination has been lagging far behind the need. Over seven years, the backlog has grown to 13,000. Congress has allotted 1,500 visas through 2020.
The first time this happened it got my attention. Hawaii News Now reports that, again, the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are expecting three to six inches of snow. Wasn’t it over a foot last time?
This is sure to send Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) off on another toot of science denying. Inhofe has been known as “Senator Snowball” ever since he introduced a snowball into floor debate to “prove” the earth is not getting warmer.
I am reminded why I did not retire in Bloomington, Indiana, a very nice college town that was the site of my last academic gig. I love looking at snow and ice out my window, but there was a limit to how long I could avoid going outside.
I’ve seen snow on the palm trees in San Antonio, so I know Texas gets the white stuff even in the sub-tropical areas. But Hawaii?
I choose to live in college towns and I don’t visit the floor of Congress, so I don’t get to be around very many science deniers. Do me a favor next time you are snowed in at the Timberline Lodge, and somebody speaks up in praise of Sen. Snowball.
Please ask them, if there is no greenhouse effect, then pray tell how do greenhouses work?
I live in a solidly Republican city…that buys all its electricity from renewable sources, principally wind and solar, as of this year. City government is not run by renegade Republicans but rather by cheapskates, and the cheapest electricity in this state that oil and gas built is renewable.
So I was not shocked when Bloomberg published an assessment of how much President Trump will be able to slow down growth in renewables. The answer was not much. New wind farms in Texas cost $22 a megawatt hour. In the deserts of the Southwest, utility scale solar has dipped under $40 a megawatt hour.
Natural gas plants average $52 and coal $65. Nuclear plants cannot be built without huge government subsidies because private insurance companies will not insure a nuke.
Bloomberg does not say this in so many words but candidate Trump lies to those unemployed coal miners. The mines are not going to reopen unless Trump personally buys the coal.
Cousin Ray wanted to know where I got the idea Trump was not going to buy the coal.
KQRE reported a tremendous good deed. Retired and disabled Army veteran Cheryl Buck has a service dog, Sgt. Mabel, who anticipates her seizures and is able to bring her out of them. Ms. Buck and Sgt. Mabel were moving to a new home in Bernalillo, New Mexico.
The neighbor’s dogs jumped a fence into their yard and alarmed Mabel, who ran into the street and was hit by a car.
Amy Matteucci was at the Veterinary Care Animal Hospital in Albuquerque when a police car pulled in with Cheryl Buck and an unconscious dog. Buck was bloody from cradling the dog.
Matteucci sat with Buck and so was present when the doctors gave the news that Sgt. Mabel would need about six or seven thousand dollars worth of procedures. When Buck blurted out, “I just used all my money to move out here,” Matteucci stood up for a total stranger, whipped out her credit card, and said, “Do what you need to do.”
Sgt. Mabel is home and on the mend after four days in the hospital. Matteucci started a GoFundMe page hoping that others would help with Sgt. Mabel’s vet bills but will find some way to pay it herself if necessary.
The GoFundMe campaign was put over the sum needed to bail out the first good Samaritan—fittingly enough—by a one thousand dollar donation from a second good Samaritan, who wished to remain anonymous.