Friday, May 5, 2017

The future is now: Robots, self-driving cars and a moon settlement at Collision

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Rodolphe Gelin, chief scientific officer at SoftBank Robotics, and Pepper the robot. - COURTESY COLLISION CONF
  • Rodolphe Gelin, chief scientific officer at SoftBank Robotics, and Pepper the robot.

"My purpose is to interact with humans," a friendly robot named Pepper tells me. We're at  the Collision conference, where's he's about to help me write a song on invisible instruments.

Pepper is the brainchild of SoftBank Robotics, and several units (Peppers?) are available in an upstairs conference room for our engagement. When I meet him, colorful lights around his oversized, anime-style pupils flash, and a red laser hidden in the center of his eye tracks my facial expressions, so Pepper can listen and react to me. As he listens, his head tilts toward me and his hands flex ever so slightly, like a person fidgeting.

Via a screen attached to his chest, Pepper shows me a game. In empty space in front of him, I can strike three invisible "boxes" to play notes — like mid-air Dance Dance Revolution game without the floor pad. Pepper plays piano arpeggios as a background to the notes I play, and as I hit thin air, lights on a nearby table flash in unison. Then the robot plays the song back for me, and dances.

It's beautiful — and chilling.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Y@ Speak: CATs, dogs, alligators

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 5:38 PM

Alligators in the parks and in the streets, marches in defense of science in an increasingly facts-absent world, 3-year-old bus drivers — pretty normal week.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Here's how comedian Chris Trew is feeling after 36 hours at the Baby Cakes stadium

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 11:34 AM

  • Chris Trew.

Supposedly, New Orleans doesn't care about baseball. But you wouldn't have guessed that last November, when the local minor-league team (nee Zephyrs) temporarily blew up the internet with their choice of "New Orleans Baby Cakes" as the franchise's new name.

Local comedian (and occasional Gambit contributor) Chris Trew was unfazed. Despite (because of?) their polarizing moniker, he's still into the team; so much so that he asked if he could sleep at their Airline Drive stadium for five nights during the team's inaugural home stand against the Memphis Redbirds. To his tremendous surprise, they said yes.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

New pothole solution? Call an anarchist

Posted By on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview. - SHARESSA G.
  • Workers are busy repairing this pothole on Stafford Place in Lakeview.

New Orleans has tried the city's two official "pothole killers," the Pimp My Pothole program and stuffing potholes with Mardi Gras beads. In England, an artist called Wanksy paints penises around potholes in an effort to get local government to speed up the repair process.

Now Portland, Oregon is trying another method: Portland Anarchist Road Care.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A visit to the National Preppers & Survivalist Expo in Gonzales

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 4:30 PM

Leonard Lamar of the Louisiana Chapter of the Zombie Eradication Response Team talks to David Brackman (wearing glasses) about the products at his Self Defense ATL booth. - IAN MCCUSKER
  • Leonard Lamar of the Louisiana Chapter of the Zombie Eradication Response Team talks to David Brackman (wearing glasses) about the products at his Self Defense ATL booth.

Attendees at the seventh annual National Preppers and Survivalist Expo weren’t shorted on exotic lessons on how to survive an assortment of doomsday scenarios — ranging from natural disasters to nuclear attacks to every actual or perceived danger in between.

What was in short supply at the two-day event in Gonzales’ Lamar Dixon Expo Center this past weekend were attendees. Apparently, Armageddon-like events aren’t high on southeastern Louisiana’s radar this year.

“This is the slowest show I’ve done in nine years,” said exhibitor David Brackman, who drove 10 hours from John Creek, Georgia, to provide Louisiana women with materials and skills to defend themselves. The trip cost him several thousand dollars, he lamented.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Jimmy Buffett plans Florida retirement home for Parrotheads

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 2:34 PM


Fans of French Quarter busker-turned-Corona with a lime lifestyle entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett have flocked to his Margaritaville Restaurants (including one in the Mall of America), his casinos ("wastin' away again in Bossier Cityville"), and clothing. Now they have a new option: a Jimmy Buffett-themed retirement community called Latitude Margaritaville:
Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett, your new home in paradise features exciting recreation, unmatched dining and FINtastic nightlife.
The project in Daytona Beach, Florida, plans to have model homes "starting in the low $200,000s" ready early next year.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview: Reginald Buck, Mutual UFO Network state director

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:27 AM


Earlier this week, we brought you reports of an alien's plans to land a UFO on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. Should you happen to spot the alien — or a UFO at any other time — Reginald Buck, Louisiana's state director of Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), is ready to document your sighting.

Buck has been involved in UFO investigation since 2009, when a mysterious object appeared outside his window on a flight from Laredo, Texas, to Houston.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Report: Alien to land UFO on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 12:59 PM


Lost in the hurlyburly of the first weekend of Mardi Gras, the first month of Donald Trump's presidency and the firehose of "fake news" comes this definitely-not-fake-news from Weekly World News, the former supermarket tabloid that now seems to be an online-only affair.

Billed (rightly) as a "Mardi Gras STUNNER!," the WWN seems to be the only media outlet to report an alien vows: "I'LL LAND MY UFO ON BOURBON STREET — ON FAT TUESDAY!"

The alien from Planet Zeeba, we are told, "wants to paint New Orleans red!"

It's been a busy year for the Alien, according to the Weekly World Newsit met with Trump before the presidential election and endorsed him, despite the fact that Trump's Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, had earlier adopted an alien baby in a naked grasp for the extraterrestrial vote:
But Alien, who is from Planet Zeeba, the most friendly planet in our galaxy, says that he wanted to endorse Hillary Clinton but felt that she was not fit for office. Apparently, everybody on Planet Zeeba has read Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails and… “they make us sick. She compromised the safety of her country and of earth.”

Aliens from Zeeba predict that there is a 95.6% chance of a Trump victory and a 100% chance of an alien invasion.
That prediction was more accurate than most of our terrestrial poll-takers ... so it seems a certainty that an alien will indeed land its UFO on Bourbon Street one week from today, which surprisingly is not included in the city's official and exhaustive list of Mardi Gras planning.

Interestingly, the alien did not choose to attend the Krewe of Chewbacchus last weekend, where it might have felt more at home — raising the question: Is this a 'bro' alien? Does the alien want to "earn some beads"? Catch a bit of the Bourbon Street Awards? Split a "federally trademarked" Hand Grenade with Earl and Pam? We'll just have to find out.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Feast your eyes (and your stomach?) on the "All-Star Weekend King Cake Burger"

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Gambit basketball guy (and professional Pelicans-opposing-team-irritant) Chris Trew is covering the All-Star Weekend festivities, including the special dishes being put together by Centerplate for the weekend.

He got this photo of something called the "All-Star Weekend King Cake Burger":


It seems to be a "variant" of the king cake burger from the food truck Food Drunk. Darren Rovell of ESPN posted another photo of the concoction, which costs $12.50 and comes with "chipotle spread" to go with that delicious sugar.

Simple question: Would you eat it?

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Endymion space-saving: New battle lines are drawn on Orleans Avenue

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:49 PM

Too bad this tree on Orleans Avenue isn't a Confederate monument on public land; it might get protected from vandalism. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Too bad this tree on Orleans Avenue isn't a Confederate monument on public land; it might get protected from vandalism.

Endymion-goers were busy again this weekend on Orleans Avenue, using ever more bold spray paint to mark their territories for the Krewe of Endymion's annual roll. (Somehow Krewe du Vieux managed to get it done without anyone marking up the Elysian Fields neutral ground.)

On Orleans, however, New Orleans Police Department barricades have been erected, TIM and ED and FRED J have their spots all locked up — and Endymion still is 12 days off.


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