Does It Get Easier?

A scene from Lost in Translation, my all-time favorite movie.

I can completely relate to Scarlett Johansson’s character, Charlotte. Just watch the first couple of minutes…

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Who Are We if Not Artists?

(I must first begin my post by making the obligatory, “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile,” statement. I could make excuses but there really is no excuse for not making time for my personal writing. Writing for myself should take precedent over writing for clients, etc., but sometimes money wins out when it shouldn’t.)

About three weeks ago, I had an accident where I broke one of the fingers on my right hand, making my hand almost completely immobile. The pain was bad, but it wasn’t the worst part; the worst part was that I couldn’t write. My left hand, while it can complete the general functions required by such an appendage, is useless when it comes to tasks requiring extreme dexterity. Using a pen was obviously out of the question, although I was afforded a good chuckle upon examining my left-handed signature for my discharge papers. This same left-handed lack of adroitness also affected my ability to type. Because of my injury, I was unable to write for two weeks.

Before I continue, let me go ahead and ostentatiously throw myself into that rare breed known as artists. Forgive me if this declaration sounds pretentious, but my inability to write made me feel disabled. It was as though my reason for being was ripped away from me, leaving an inextricable hole that ached more than my fractured hand. Despite the pain, my injury taught me a valuable lesson about myself: I don’t know who I am if not a writer. I’m sure a psychologist would shake an analytical finger at me for such a statement, but I believe that any artist under similar circumstances would come to the same conclusion.

As artists, we learn to let go, bearing our souls in order to convey emotion and meaning, regardless of the medium. Whether one is a musician, writer, or painter, the internal process is the same; pouring out our feelings for the world to see requires a special, particular ability. I firmly believe that it is this process that defines us and on such a deep level. Our talents define our person-hood. Stripping them away consequently deprives us of our connection with ourselves; who are we if not artists?

Enough with Robots, can we Move onto Cyborgs now?

Robotic Advancements in the Healthcare Industry

The last decade has seen numerous technological advancements in the field of robotics. Robots are no longer confined to university labs and research facilities; instead, they are being designed and programmed for use in the real world at an increasing rate. Given the usefulness they have already demonstrated in the medical field, robots are now being specifically developed for healthcare assistance both in the hospital and at home.

Hospital Healthcare

As Teachers

There is little room for error in the field of medicine. As such, medical schools have begun employing robots to teach students important healthcare lessons. By interacting with robots programmed to imitate the discomfort and pain felt by real patients, medical students can gain valuable experience regarding diagnoses and treatment. Since these “live” robots can mimic human feelings, they can also help soon-to-be doctors improve on their bedside manner when dealing with sensitive patients.

As Surgeons

Surgeons are now able to utilize robots for assistance during surgery. Robots can make extremely precise incisions, allowing doctors to take on complicated surgeries that were previously impossible. These nifty surgical assistants can make incisions smaller than anything the human hand is capable of doing. Smaller incisions mean shorter surgeries, resulting in a better prognosis for patients, as well as in reduced costs and shorter hospital

HAL-5

Open the pod bay doors HAL!!!!!! Open the Doors!!!

Robots such as the Hybrid Assistive Limb, fondly known as HAL-5, can provide assistance to the elderly in numerous regards. They can complete household chores and perform heavy lifting, thereby reducing the chance of injury in older patients living at home. Because these robots are able to provide patient care, safety, comfort and assistance in the home, patients will no longer be confined to live out their days in hospitals and nursing homes.

the Da Vinci Si HD Surgical System

Hey! HEY ROBOT!!! Those are not supposed to  be used tjat be doing that!

CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System

This system is known for being an alternative to surgery. Its is used when a patient needs surgery  to removed both cancerous and non-cancerous . This CyberKnife model is able to both locate and follow a tumor that is on the move, thanks to its system of visual guidance.When it’s time to employ the cyber knife, the system zaps the tumors with high doses of radiation; by doing so, there is less damage to the healthy tissue. It also completely does away with traditional practice such as using body-stabilization frames.In addition to its awesome name, this device shortens recovery time and is less costly! yay!

(is it just be, or does “cyber knife” sound like some long lost ancient article that must master space travel.)

The ONE WEAPON to rule them ALL.

Healthcare at Home

As Caretakers

In addition to their use in hospitals, personal healthcare robots are being designed to serve as “nurses,” monitoring and caring for patients in their homes. Specialized robots, such as the a Nursebot, are programmed to take care of patients with dementia. Not only do these robots ensure the patient’s safety but also provide comfort to their patients, should they become frightened or disoriented.

Enough about Healthcare robotics. They’re still cool, but after reading about the same procedure that each one does “different

Wait, wait… let’s briefly pause to admire that creepy machine called the Remote Prescence RP&. *bows head*

The future of laziness; it’s apparent that people with disabilities will be taking over the world alongside the robots.

OK! The COOL STUFF!

I must begin by addressing an important issue: Cat Robots V. Dog Robots

I searched for new information on Japan’s latest RoboDog named AIBO (or Arifical Intellegence roBOt.) Unfortunately for cat-lovers, these robo puppies will likely multiple faster than the Fibbonachi sequence and will stage a coup to overthrow that saintly-looking wood builder fro… Jerusalem.

About the dogs. The robo-pups quickly recognize the sound of your voice, so the more you interact with her, the more personable she’ll become. Soon, she’ll even be showing off her new tricks for everyone to see. If you think this is a lot, check out the dog’s website for even more.

Here’s a picture of puppy:

About the Cats I Could Find

On Japanese Robotic cats, this was all I could find. Seriously. The video is one of those “must watch” kind of things. I think…

SnackBot Pearl

Are you in the mood from a snack? Unless your blind, then chances are you just nodded. NOT TO WORRY USA! The brilliant and hungry minds at U. of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon came up with a great solution: Build a robot to fetch then snacks. This is when the idea for the SnackBot took off. Tens years ago, university students t0ok a Nursebot and changed her into a sweet little snack lady named Pearl. When People first began her rounds at the nursing room, her offerings merely consisted of taking snacks around to the old folks in the nursing home , having never imagined that they’d see a robot in their lifetime, Can you imagine how strange that experience was for them that first daye?

Just recently, the studies at these universities decided that ol’ Pearl was due for an upgrade. After some fine tuning, Pearl was no longer a lowly snack women. Instead, she not had the power to use not only verbal communication when talking to her customers, but she had picked up on nonverbal communication as well. In addition to her new super-bot ability, she has a touch screen interface with which she can interact, she has cameras to help record her travels and a laser range finder… so some purpose? idk. People 2.0 can use her new abilities in conducting research navigation, route planning and finally an optimatal  division system that allows her to remember the faces of her everyday coworkers. Most of all, she just wants to assist her users with their everyday lives.

How much are robot maids again…?

Robotic Advancements in the Healthcare Industry

The last decade has seen numerous technological advancements in the field of robotics. Robots are no longer confined to university labs and research facilities; instead, they are being designed and programmed for use in the real world at an increasing rate. Given the usefulness they have already demonstrated in the medical field, robots are now being specifically developed for healthcare assistance both in the hospital and at home.

Hospital Healthcare

As Teachers

There is little room for error in the field of medicine. As such, medical schools have begun employing robots to teach students important health-care lessons. By interacting with robots programmed to imitate the discomfort and pain felt by real patients, medical students can gain valuable experience regarding diagnoses and treatment. Since these “live” robots can mimic human feelings, they can also help soon-to-be doctors improve on their bedside manner when dealing with sensitive patients.

As Surgeons

Surgeons are now able to utilize robots for assistance during surgery. Robots can make extremely precise incisions, allowing doctors to take on complicated surgeries that were previously impossible. These nifty surgical assistants can make incisions smaller than anything the human hand is capable of doing. Smaller incisions mean shorter surgeries, resulting in a better prognosis for patients as well as in reduced costs and shorter hospital stays.

Examples of surgical robots includethe Da Vinci Si HD Surgical System

How much time do you give doctors before they’re obsolete? A decade?

Or… the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System

I bet it’s this model that starts the robot rebellion; when’s John Connor coming back?

Healthcare at Home

As Caretakers

In addition to their use in hospitals, personal healthcare robots are being designed to serve as “nurses,” monitoring and caring for patients in their homes. Specialized robots, such as the<a href=”http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~flo/scope.html”&gt; Nursebot</a>, are programmed to take care of patients with dementia. Not only do these robots ensure the patient’s safety but also provide comfort to their patients, should they become frightened or disoriented.

Robots such as the <a href=”http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/robotsuithal/”>Hybrid Assistive Limb 5</a>, fondly known as HAL-5, can provide assistance to the elderly in numerous regards. They can complete household chores and perform heavy lifting, thereby reducing the chance of injury in older patients living at home. Because these robots are able to provide patient care, safety, comfort and assistance in the home, patients will no longer be confined to live out their days in hospitals and nursing homes.

 

 

Nerds Versus Geeks? Does the Debate Matter to Anyone Besides Us?

It occurred to me that my readers may wonder why I’m so eager to exercise my inner-nerd through my blog posts. Some readers might liken my posts to mere intellectual showboating, while others are still trying to comprehend the whole “nerd” persona I’m espousing.

And, as always, there’s the question of what differentiate a nerd from a geek, and why such a distinction even matters. Such is the topic of today’s post.

For entertainment’s sake, I’ll wax poetic about each group and the differences between them. Webster offers definitions for each term. ‘Nerd’ has two definitions, although it appears as though they’re meant to run together to form a single description.

Nerd:

1: An unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; Especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits (e.g., computer nerds).

Unstylish? Usually, thanks to the nerd’s lack of interest in fashion. Unattractive? HARDLY! 😀 Socially inept? Nerds are definitely prone to social ineptitude and for multiple reasons. Most of a nerd’s time is spent inside their head, as we tend think incessantly about any and everything. This focus on the inner-self can cause nerds to be caught off guard by various social situations. If someone asks me a question while I happen to be contemplating the nature of black holes, chances are I’ll respond with a blank stare before muttering a few words and finding my escape route. Intellectuals don’t like to be caught unawares, despite being the very people to whom this happens the most often. However, we’re smart and can therefore come up with rather quick solutions to these instantaneous situations. “What did you say? I wasn’t paying attention,” is my go-to response, though it rubs some people the wrong way; so much for honesty! Another trick is to momentarily defer attention away from the impending social situation and toward anything that can buy a few extra seconds of time. “Look! A rainbow? What? We’re inside? It must be my glasses.” This extra time is gold and should be used to either devise an escape plan or come up with a few witty remarks so that you actually contribute to the conversation, per social norms.

The one word that my attention keeps coming back to is ‘slavishly.’ The word’s definition is pretty much what you’d guess it to be: resembling a slave. I don’t think nerds are slaves to their intellectual pursuits, but instead choose these pursuits because they enjoy them. Maybe I’ll write to Merriam Webster and let them know that nerds need to be liberated, at least according to their dictionary.

So, what about geeks? This time, Merriam Webster isn’t so kind with their definitions.

Geek:

1: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake

2: a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked

3: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity <computer geek>

I wonder if the dictionary’s writers were equally confused over the nerd vs. geek debate, as each definition includes the example, “computer X.” As for the first definition, that’s completely new to me and I’m glad it’s not listed under ‘nerd,’ lest I begin biting off chicken heads.

By comparing the relevant parts of these definitions, we can get down to the nitty-gritty.

NERD: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.

GEEK: an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity.

Overall, the general consensus (according to Merriam Webster and my experience IRL) is that nerds are interested in academic and brainy subjects in general, while geeks are interested in learning everything there is to know regarding a certain field… or television show, like Star Trek? (I guess this makes me a Battlestar Galatica geek!) Nerds have a broader range of intellectual interests, while geeks tend to focus on a few things at which they’re very skilled.

Now that we’ve broken down the conventional definitions for the terms, is there any significant difference between nerds and geeks? Some people might claim that any “difference” is really just a matter of semantics, concluding that the entire debate is meaningless (I tend to agree…) However, should you ask a group of geeks or nerds this question, you’re sure to induce some warped West Side Story dance routine between these rival gangs.

Yes, I said rival gangs. One can always pretend to be a hardcore, finger-snapping, foot-kicking broadway star in the privacy of their own home. Hell, I know I do.

I can speak for nerds when I say that most (well, at least those who have escaped high school) are proud to be called nerds. I don’t know how geeks feel about the term; they’re probably just as proud of it as nerds are of their label.

And that, dear readers, is the most important and likely the only significant difference between the two groups. Nerds will argue over what constitutes a “nerd,” geeks will argue about what defines a “geek,” and noone else will ever give a damn.

Let me end by addressing my feelings about this debate with an illustration, courtesy of XKCD.com. This manages to effectively capture my overall opinion on the issue AND it has a Venn diagram, to boot! (That’s the logician in me talking, btw.)

This pretty much sums up the debate.
From XKCD! The alt-text from the site: "The definitions I grew up with were that a geek is someone unusually into something (so you could have computer geeks, baseball geeks, theater geeks, etc) and nerds are (often awkward) science, math, or computer geeks. But definitions vary."