Anti Gravity: Carrots, Sticks and Robot Picks; October 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
Ahhh, midsummer, when space travelers fail their sobriety tests. Of course, NASA's inebriated astronauts debacle was well covered. Here are some perhaps lesser-known tales of whoa. For instance, in late July, the Times of London published its list of the 50 best movie robots ever, in conjunction with the release of the movie Transformers. Little did I know that I owned a transformer--I left the car lights on all night twice last week, and my vehicle turned into a really big paperweight. Anyway, the Times picks the Terminator as its best robot, with the HAL 9000 coming second (an insane computer is not really a robot, to my human mind) and KITT, the talking car from Knight Rider, finishing third (again, not really a robot, although having William Daniels's voice remind me to shut the lights off would really come in handy). These choices can only be considered absurd in a fiction-filled universe that includes R2D2 (the Times's #11), the Fembots (#22) from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Gort (#13) from The Day the Earth Stood Still, also starring Sam Jaffe's hair as Albert Einstein's hair.
Speaking of lists, researchers publishing in the August issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior delineated the results of their survey of more than 2,000 people and announced their exhaustive compilation of the 237 reasons that people have sex. Justifications ranged from "to show my affection" to "it feels good" to "it seemed like good exercise." That's right, somebody's friend with benefits ranks just a bit higher than an elliptical trainer. Oddly, one of the most famous reasons in history fails to make the list: "I was fulfilling prophecy, having already killed my father and married my mother." As Homer (Simpson) famously asked of the Oedipus account, "Who pays for that wedding?"