Robots Rock. And Score Goals. And Write.

With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans. They also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

140727_Robots-Rock-WriteThey’ve been rolling into our lives for years, performing tasks from the relatively mundane, like vacuuming floors, to the Jetsonish, like working as teachers’ aides in classrooms. With advances in artificial intelligence and new feats of engineering, Robots continue to get smarter and better and more useful for humans.

Robots also play soccer and develop press releases. Wait… What?

According to the experts, if robotics continues to advance at the current pace, it might not be long before bots will be able to score goals as effectively as Lionel Messi, and other machines will report the wins and losses.

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Shocking Distractions: A World Without Daydreams

Being able to disengage mentally is crucial to mental health. Can you?

Sixty-seven percent of men and 25 percent of women are shockingly distracted. Or at least they’d rather be.

According to a series of studies by University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, two out of three men elected to shock themselves rather than be alone with their thoughts for six to 15 minutes. SHOCK. THEMSELVES.

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Rub Some Dirt – or Ice – In It

It’s World Cup time again. People around the world are going nuts, painting their faces, taking holidays to watch their national teams play in Brasil. Through it all, I’ve been thinking again about why soccer isn’t more popular here. Two words: the flop.

The USA and Soccer – It’s Not That Complicated

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Game Four of the NHL Western Conference Finals featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks. 2010. Chicago is up three games to none. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith takes a puck in the mouth and loses seven teeth. He’s out of the game for only seven minutes – one for each tooth – then heads back into the fray.

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Sacred Things

She died on Palm Sunday. I think that would have made her happy, as she drew her last breaths, knowing that she was going to die on a significant day on the church calendar. I held her hand all that morning. Now I hold the bean stone.

I’ve been carrying a rock around in my pocket for a couple of months.

The smooth, bean-shaped stone is about an inch and a half long, half an inch wide and five sixteenths of an inch thick. It’s smooth, like a worry stone. Not perfectly smooth, like the kind you’d find in a gift shop. But smooth in a natural way, with some imperfections and slight ridges that make you know it’s real.

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Humor & Harmonization in o-HI-o

I spent a month in Columbus, Ohio, last week.

614-ColumbusYuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.

No, really. YUCK. Not the city – the bad joke.

I’m no comedian (obviously), so I generally leave the jokes to those who are. And last week, while in Columbus for a tradeshow for a couple of days, I ran into someone who seems to be a good one in the back of (614) Magazine, a free community publication.

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Bob Lind Shoutout – Ellington Story

Got a shoutout in Bob Lind’s “Neighbors” column in yesterday’s issue of the local paper,The Forum, Fargo. The column references a story I wrote back in 2001 (the Lind column was off by a couple of years) forNDSU Magazine about the night a North Dakota Agricultural College extension agent and his friend from South Dakota State College recorded Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the original Crystal Ballroom in downtown Fargo.

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In on the NoDak Acts

A bunch of bands have written songs that include North Dakota in some way. Flyover country? You decide.

Figures my favorite tune that mentions North Dakota has another state’s name in the title – “Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

North Dakota man was a gunnin’ for the quota / Down in the badlands she was savin’ the best for last / It only hurts when I laugh / Gone too fast…” 

But, hey, what the heck. Like they say, any publicity is good publicity, especially if you’re not the headliner.

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Is SAG Sagging in Its Duty?

I’m still trying to come to terms with the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the most recent victim of self-inflicted drug overdose in Hollywood. The man was an amazing talent.

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Unsociably Social

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Social is making us unsociable.

I’m not talking about the fact that so many of us now spend hours and hours on social media, looking at and reacting to status updates from friends, getting our news 140 (or now 280 if you’re among the elite) characters at a time or watching video with slack jaws.

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Winter Wonder

In North Dakota gripe about the cold and snow all the time, but winter truly can be wondrous. CLICK ON THE HEADLINE TO READ MORE

As I drove home from work yesterday evening, I was treated to a sundog in the sky to the west. As always when I see a sundog, I marveled at it, thought how beautiful it was and how it has to be really cold for one to show itself.

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