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Post Week in Review: November 30-December 6

Published: December 5, 2014

Girl Scout Cookies? There’s An App for That

Girl Scout Cookies

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com

I have not seen a Girl Scout in over a decade. Maybe even longer. And I haven’t been approached by the parent of a Girl Scout to buy cookies in may years either. I guess that’s what happens when you work from home.

Now you might be able to buy Samoas or Thin Mints or Do-Si-Dos without leaving your home. I say “might” because the digital program still needs flesh and blood Girl Scouts to initiate the sales, and your area might not be on the list yet. But give it time, and I’m sure everyone will be on board for online sales.

Hey, Here’s a Robot That Does Laundry

I understand that we’ve relinquished several aspects of our lives to automation, but there are some things I don’t want to give up. And one of them is doing the laundry. I know; that sounds crazy. Who likes doing laundry? I understand that feeling, and laundry isn’t necessarily one of my favorite things to do, but I think it’s something we should try to hold on to. It’s the little things we can do every day that matter, right?

Of course, people are working on robots to do multiple household tasks. This video shows the UC Berkeley PR2 doing laundry while moving what looks like a mouth but probably serves some other purpose that is completely frightening.

No thanks. I mean, unless the robot looks like Rosey from The Jetsons, what’s the point?

Stephen Hawking Says Artificial Intelligence Will Doom Us All!

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking
David Fowler / Shutterstock.com

When Stephen Hawking — subject of the new critically-acclaimed movie The Theory of Everything — talks, people listen. So when the scientist and author states that he thinks artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race, it’s going to get people’s attention. He says that AI could get so advanced humans would no longer be able to compete and would be overtaken.

I don’t know when this will happen, but I think it starts when robots start doing our laundry.

Tweets from 1949

Newsroom Typewriter

Newsroom Typewriter

I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I used it almost every day for over six years, but I’ve decided to use it a lot less and get back to not living my online life on social media time. But once in a while I’ll see a Twitter feed that almost makes me want to use the social network all the time. A feed that is really doing something interesting and different.

Check out Newsroom Typewriter. It’s run by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Peter Hartlaub. He found a 1949 Royal typewriter in the paper’s basement, and now he’s tweeting as the typewriter, showing “tweets” that he has typed out on paper. It’s really ingenious and funny, and could become your favorite thing to follow on Twitter.

Whatever Happened to TV Sets with Character?


I still remember the television set my family had in the living room when I was a kid. It was an actual piece of furniture: a giant wooden cabinet that sat on the floor, with lots of cubbyholes and a place on top to store things. TVs today may be thinner, sleeker, and come in HD, but we’ve lost something to progress.

Mike Fahey over at Kotaku misses sets like that too. And he’s doing something about it. From now on he’s going to buy televisions with more character and a more interesting designs than the “black rectangles” we’re all buying now.

I feel the same way about phones. I’ll take a big, heavy black rotary landline phone over a smartphone any day.

You Would Even Say It Glows


One show I watched on that old television year after year was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the holiday special we’ve all seen 300 times but we know we’ll watch again this year. CBS will air it next Tuesday, December 9 at 8 p.m.

The U.S. Post Office is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the show, with four different stamp designs: Rudolph, Santa, Hermey, and Bumble!

The Best Christmas Commercial of All Time

The Christmas commercials have started. Actually, I think I saw the first one just after Halloween. A lot of the older ads hold a special place in our hearts because we first saw them when we were kids, or maybe we just get nostalgic in general. This is still my favorite Christmas commercial. It’s from the mid-’80s. Peter!

I don’t know why Folgers doesn’t still run that ad. They did for many, many years but stopped a while ago. They should bring it back. Imagine the good feelings people would have for Folgers if they did. (And they could dump the new version of the ad, which is just kinda creepy and lame.

National Microwave Oven Day


A lot of people don’t really “cook” with their microwaves, unless you consider heating up frozen dinners cooking. Most people use them to either heat up leftovers or maybe pop some popcorn. But Sunday is National Microwave Oven Day, so you’re going to have to find a way to celebrate.

Maybe you can get some ideas from this book, published in the mid-’70s, when microwave ovens were starting to come on the market. It’s written by Richard Deacon. Yes, that Richard Deacon!

Upcoming Anniversaries:

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor attacked.
Read “What We Knew Before Pearl Harbor” by Jeff Nilsson.
December 8, 1980: John Lennon shot.
Read “Long Live the Beattles” from the January/February 2014 issue of the Post.

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