Mar. 5th, 2019

ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Here is a more complete video of the mini cheetah robot from MIT.  I've seen some of these scenes but not others.  In particular, watch the shoulder/hip joints.  Those are now fully articulated, enabling the robot not only to accommodate vagaries of terrain but also to right itself after falls.  I am in awe. 

Not Today

Mar. 5th, 2019 04:17 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Due to circumstances out of my control, the day went off the rails, so there will be no fishbowl today.  I will get back to it when I can, hopefully tomorrow.  Sorry for the inconvenience.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article is about antidepressants contaminating wastewater in ways that harm fish.  The fish become less able to avoid predators.  Obviously water should be cleaned thoroughly before it is released into the wild; if it has drugs in it, then it's not clean and needs more scrubbing.

But what really snagged my attention is the effect itself.  It made me wonder if antidepressants would also suppress humans' ability to avoid predators or other dangers.  Depression and anxiety are two of the mental illnesses most prone to develop from extreme stress -- like say, being surrounded by a predatory society.  Turning off the alarms in the brain that say "Danger! Predators!" would relieve the stress.  But then people can't defend themselves as effectively.  

There is a high correlation between disability and victimization.  I had thought it was because many physical and mental disabilities impair people's ability to defend themselves.  A depressed person tends to be less alert, after all.  But what if the medications FOR the depression are separately suppressing important survival instincts?  The drug that makes you feel better could increase your risk of rape, robbery, etc.  Really not a good thing.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Pirates are indifferent to disability.  <3  This is historically documentable.  They had a high rate of injury, but they were tough bastards, and in some cases innovators in the field of prosthetics.  In fact, a split hook is still among the most popular upper-body prosthetics.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This study sprays water on forests to simulate ice storms.  Some predictions say that climate change will make more ice storms.  I have already observed this.  There were two when I was growing up: one as a toddler, one as a tween.  Then they came every few years.  Now it's about every other year.  That sucks, because beyond a light coat they can do a lot of damage.  One in college knocked out several towns for about a week. 

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