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Oct 052014



Shin kan sen

It’s time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of Japan’s most iconic technological achievements: the world’s first modern high-speed rail system!

Shinkansen Begins 
On October 1, 1964 the inaugural Shinkansen Bullet Train service on the Tokaido Line began rocketing citizens between Tokyo and Osaka at speeds up to 130 mph. It was Japan’s bold statement that they had rebuilt, and on a global stage were charging ahead as a peaceful, modern, technologically innovative nation. The project had its fair share of early controversy and cost overruns, to be sure, but as was hoped and intended, the beautiful and wholly unequaled machine quickly became the pride of a nation. Continue reading »

Sep 092014

This is a remix. Both in response to fanboy drool, haters hating, and what amounts to proxy marketing by largely co-opted and copped-out mainline jurnalizm. Contextually and temporally relevant versions have been published here twice before. The why is as follows:

By any objective assessment, the buildup to the iPhone 6, iOS 8, and maybe an iWatchy-whatever announcement has successfully buried all of 2014′s most exciting technology stories. Barring like, a fusion energy breakthrough or aliens or some shit, it’s pretty much forgone that this will last through the end of the year. Continue reading »

Jul 122014



The Lovechild of Blade Runner and Inception
We’ve all marveled (some drool) at the incredible cityscapes of the world’s largest city, our home: Tokyo.

The contiguous urbanization, beginning at Tokyo Bay, crawls westward and disappears beneath the sky, farther than we can see – not only by distance, but also due to the basic curvature of the earth. It’s just that vast. Continue reading »

Jul 122014



Hoeing an Increasingly Tough Row
Japanese farmers do not have it very easy. Naturally, it’s a lot of really hard work, much of which, even in 2014, is hardcore manual labor; the bulk of Japanese farming remains only partially mechanized (if at all). Hours are long. Profit margins are slim. With the possible exception of personal pride, the upsides are minimal, and effectively nothing looks to be getting better.

Here in Japan, as is the case in the United States, for example, although farming and ranching are generally considered honorable professions, understandably, almost nobody wants to do them. Moreover, the fact of the matter is that Japanese agriculture is massively propped up by government support and aggressively protective trade policies, i.e., in an open market, Japanese farmers, already an extreme minority, would vanish.

Oh, and another thing:
According to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (PDF – Japanese/日本語), approximately 60% of those actively farming here in Japan are over 65 years old, and only 10% are under 50. Push out 30 years, and even with continued subsidies and such, farmers are going to literally vanish. Continue reading »

Mar 092014


• • •

To celebrate the reboot of Carl Sagan’s seminal ‘Cosmos,’ we now present a repost from May 8, 2012. This classic is one of the most popular posts of all time – and I’m allowed to call it a classic because I’m the only only one with admin access around here. It’s also one of the few Anthrobotic posts to include a ham-handed, homemade infographic.

The question then at hand has finally been answered, and so congratulations to Dr. Tyson. Learn more about the new show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, by clicking on those words that were right before these words right here.

-The Janitor

• • •

A Showdown to Fill Big Shoes
In 1996, after he gave so much of his life to us, we lost one of the most excellent humans who ever lived - Dr. Carl Sagan. Without him, the Western world has longed for a go-to science ambassador and suffered the lack of a charismatic, broadly appealing leader, communicator, and popularizer.

Try as they might, with commendable and hopefully continuing effort, Stephen HawkingRay KurzweilBrian Greene, and Bill Nye just don’t have the juice to truly inspire those who aren’t, well, fairly dorky to begin with.

But Now, Contenders Have Emerged!
Among many accomplished and respectable practitioners and promoters of science and scientific thought, the field has narrowed, and it is now clear that there are but two: Continue reading »

Feb 142014
Bookmark and Share

We’re Going to Make Sweet Love to Robots Pretty Soon – REVISITED!

This right here is a re-post/re-share of the seminal Anthrobotic work:
Okay, Let’s Talk about Making Sex with Robots
It’s Valentine’s Day, so yeah. You get it.

To quote:
“I’m not even sure how to make the first move here. Anyone covering sex and robots knows how hard it is; brevity is a challenge, and, if you’re not careful, you can definitely go too deep. The topic is relentlessly penetrated by innuendo and double entendre, and one can go on and on for hours – just pounding away. So, I’m going to keep it as short, sweet, and casual as possible. Also, I don’t want to chafe or make myself seem to be overcompensating for some kind of impotence, so I’ll keep this a friendly piece with some benefits on the side. I hope you’ll be satisfied.
And I hope I can get off the pun train soon.”

And then it goes all over the robot sex and the why and the implications.
Teledildonics, which yeah, is totally what it sounds like, is discussed.
Dildo is used a bunch of times. Never “Robot Dildo,” though. Sadly.

It’s pretty awesome.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

• • •

You are Already a Cyborg - Technosnark T-Shirts

Jan 192014



From Contributor Sean P. Bullock is a materials manufacturing professional, robotics nerd-enthusiast, citizen scholar, and manager of the unofficial DARPA Robotics Challenge Facebook page.

From Sean can’t write for shit, but he bribed us.
NO! Actually factually, many moons ago he somehow perchanced across some Anthrobotic Technosnark©®™, decided it wasn’t entirely baseless smartassery, and began clicking the Like and Share buttons. When Anthrobotic’s Chief of Hamfistery was Stockholm Syndromed by AkihabaraNews, Sean’s support was directly acknowledged. 

Then, one day in December, whilst waxing dorky at considerable length on DARPA robots & such, it was suggested that he write up 500 words for possible publication. He was all like “About what?” …to which was replied “Dude. Are you even in this conversation right now?

Sean’s robotics article, which is quite good and closer to about 800 words, was published at AkihabaraNews in both English and French. It’s been read nearly 3000 times. Nice, nice. You may enjoy it here as well:

• • •

Robots in 2014: Will They Finally Bring Me a Beer?! 
A number of people have asked what I am most looking forward to and excited about regarding the robotics industry in 2014. And of course, there are the most two most obvious golden nuggets: the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals later this year, and Google’s purchase of a diverse range of high-profile robotics companies (including the Japan-based DRC Trials winners, SCHAFT Robotics, and American firm Boston Dynamics); it seems to hold the promise of…what, nobody really knows yet. But something really cool, I’m sure. There’s also the fact that the super-secret Google X Robotics lab will be headed by Android wonder boy, Andy Ruben. These things excite me very much… VERY much.

However, in addition to the most visible and flashy robotics projects, there is a burgeoning world of robotics development out there set to spark the imaginations of another generation of nerd and engineering culture and beyond. This year, we will see some truly amazing things – things the media have barely touched on, and not all of it revolves around Google. Continue reading »

Dec 172013

ENTERPRISE.BYE-BYE.X-47BThe following is a re-post from December 5, 2012.
Because we do what we want, and also: PewPew, Pew!

World’s First Nuclear Carrier Relieved…
The warboat USS Enterprise (CVN-65), Ret., the world’s first fission-powered aircraft carrier, has sailed home for the last time. The boat was designed and built with 8 nuclear reactors, remains the longest carrier every made, and through regular action from 1961 to 2012 completed more than 400,000 aircraft landings. In tribute to this groundbreaking piece of human technological achievement, Gizmodo’s produced a very nice writeup.

And yeah – 8 reactors, yo – but why? Continue reading »

Oct 282013

The very robogeeky among us have been in love with Team Skeletonics’ human-powered exoskeleton for years, and all throughout, it’s pretty much been the same mechanical and aesthetic configuration. But now it looks like they’ve been refining in the background and might bring something new out to play.

• • •

Exoskeletons are Big in Japan 
For those who aren’t hip, Japan’s got Cyberdyne’s HAL suit, then there’s Honda’s array of semi-exoskeletal assistive devices, Sagawa Electronics’ Power Jacket MK3,* Panasonic subsidiary Activelink is doing interesting work with their Power Loader Light, and industrial robotics giant Yaskawa Electric has recently moved rather boldly into exoskeletal robotic rehab and a funding and development deal for Argo’s ReWalk system. It’s all kinds of game-on in J-exoskeletonry. Continue reading »