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scientific developments, inventions, design, sci fi

iCups – someone pulling someone else’s leg?


If the world valued restraint and ease-of-use over flash and high-tech promises, then the launch of iCups on Kickstarter would have overshadowed Apple CEO Tim Cook’s moment in the spotlight. Instead, iCups is fighting for attention and funding to reach its $10,000 goal. If that momentous figure is attained, then iCups will be able to get its retro-futuristic product into the hands of its willing backers (of which there are only nine right now).

[H/T haiku]…

Robot ships – what could possibly go wrong?


Thanks, haiku, for this:

A European Union-funded research project called MUNIN is looking to make international cargo shipping more energy and cost efficient, essentially turning “seafaring” into a desk job.

Named for one of the Nordic god Odin’s raven sidekicks, the goal of the MUNIN project is to create autonomous ships that can sail themselves from port to port.

This would reduce energy consumption by lessening lighting, eliminating fresh water production, and getting rid of an onboard crew. The project is the subject of a workshop at the SMM maritime conference in Hamburg, Germany, today.

MUNIN is being led by researchers from the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services. The goal is to prove the safety of unmanned ships and then push for changes in international maritime regulations to allow them to ply the seas.

Nearly all of the technology required to operate ships autonomously is already available, as Ørnulf Rødseth, a researcher at the Norwegian Marine Technology Institute, said in a report published in advance of SMM.

James on Sunday

Boat proceeding apace but not on Sunday:

at work on boat

Here’s a cautionary tale for us gentlemen of a certain age:


It’s a reference to this story.

Don’t think it’s just “a certain type of woman” who gets the sharp end at NO – there are all the Westminster buffoons, the new feral yoof and sorry, it has to be said – the “gentleman” of a certain age. I can hear you boys growling from here. :)

As men get older, their hearts grow colder.

Interesting thing, age. I’d not have thought I’d turn out a Victor Meldrew or even my father … and in this post, I’m not. Then I’ll do a post such as Friday’s Bits and Pieces and I really do mean it.

In my teacher training, centuries ago, the AV man showed us a series of four episodes about a family breakdown and it was from the point of view, each week, of one of the family members.…