Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finding out that there is a name for something you had noticed.

In The Corner today I came across a posting by Jonah Goldberg which brought up the topic of the Uncanny Valley. The article he was referring to was that some other primates experience this the same as humans do.

So, what is it? Below are images and please bear in mind that the effect is stronger with moving pictures or especially in reality-space.

If you, like me, find these things a little creepy then that is Uncanny Valley at work. It seems that if things look sufficiently non-human, then we judge them as things. Beyond a certain thresh hold, when they start to look more human than not, we start to judge by human standards. The odd way they move, sound and look strikes us as repulsive. That is the valley.

Kind of cool that something noticed in passing turns out to be an actual field of study.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lazy Sunday fun--no run

Last Sunday I did a 19-miler and I entertained a thought of repeating that today. The plan for the day though, was to go someplace and pick apples with the family. My wife insisted that wherever it was, it "must offer apple cider doughnuts". This ruled-out the place we normally go.

We found a place with all the required amenities nestled along the Merrimack river in Tyngsborough MA--not far from where we live. We picked a half bushel of really great apples, ate some doughnuts and let the kids play on bales of hay. It was mid-afternoon by the time we got home.

I had hoped to get Surenna to come with me on the bike path for an 8 mile jaunt, her on a bike-me running, but she was tired and wouldn't agree. My wife wanted to take the dog for an outing, so I went with her on that and we jogged for about a mile at the end. Feeling, if not invigorated, at least warmed-up; I set about running over fallen leaves with the lawnmower. About 2 hours later, the yard looked fantastic and I was ready to bake.

While I was outside, wife and Jemma mixed together 7 pie crusts--I think they would have made more but ran out of butter. I turned on the TV and settled in for apple peeling and the other steps to make apple pie. By the time I had to knock-off to grill lamb chops for dinner, there was one medium-sized pie baked and four others assembled and put into the freezer.

Am tempted, even though bone tired, to make a few more pies tonight since the 1/2 bushel bag is more full than empty at this point. We shall see.