The wonderful world of machine learning automated lego sorting

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Inspired by Alastair D’Silva‘s cunning plans for world domination, I’ve been googling around for automated lego sorting systems recently. This seems like a nice tractable machine learning problem with some robotics thrown in for fun.

Some cool projects if you’re that way inclined:

This sounds like a great way to misspend some evenings to me…

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I, Robot

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Not the book of the movie, but the collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov. I’ve read this book several times before and enjoyed it, although this time I found it to be more dated than I remembered, both in its characterisations of technology as well as it’s handling of gender. Still enjoyable, but not the best book I’ve read recently.

I, Robot Book Cover I, Robot
Isaac Asimov
Fiction
Spectra
2004
224

The development of robot technology to a state of perfection by future civilizations is explored in nine science fiction stories.

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The Chronicles of Old Guy

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I found this e-book on Amazon while randomly poking around and read it on a recent set of flights. It was of interest because if looked like another bolo tank book, of which I have read many over the years. That said, its not in strictly the same universe as the other bolo books, and seems more like unofficial fan fiction than something which maps into the universe seamlessly.

The book is competently written and readable. However, it regularly strays into what I would consider fantasy fiction (medieval warfare, vampires, battling Godzilla) in a way I found jarring and annoying. Overall I don’t think I’ll read the other books in this series.

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Ancillary Justice

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I loved this book. The way the language works takes a little while to work out, but then blends into the background. The ideas here are new and interesting and I look forward to other work of Ann’s. Very impressed with this book.

Ancillary Justice Book Cover Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Fiction
Orbit Books
2013
386

The record-breaking debut novel that won every major science fiction award in 2014, Ancillary Justice is the story of a warship trapped in a human body and her search for revenge. Ann Leckie is the first author to win the Arthur C. Clarke, the Nebula and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in the same year. They made me kill thousands, but I only have one target now. The Radch are conquerors to be feared - resist and they'll turn you into a 'corpse soldier' - one of an army of dead prisoners animated by a warship's AI mind. Whole planets are conquered by their own people. The colossal warship called The Justice of Toren has been destroyed - but one ship-possessed soldier has escaped the devastation. Used to controlling thousands of hands, thousands of mouths, The Justice now has only two hands, and one mouth with which to tell her tale. But one fragile, human body might just be enough to take revenge against those who destroyed her. 'ENGAGING AND PROVOCATIVE' SFX Magazine 'UNEXPECTED, COMPELLING AND VERY COOL' John Scalzi 'HIGHLY RECOMMENDED' Independent on Sunday 'MIND-BLOWING' io9.com 'THRILLING, MOVING AND AWE-INSPIRING' Guardian 'UTTER PERFECTION' The Book Smugglers 'ASTOUNDINGLY ASSURED AND GRACEFUL' Strange Horizons 'ESTABLISHES LECKIE AS AN HEIR TO BANKS' Elizabeth Bear

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Von Neumann’s War

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A Von Neumann probe is an automated self replicating machine which is sent into space to map and possibly prepare for human exploration. What would happen if we were the victims of someone else’s Von Neumann probes run amuck?

This book is typical Ringo in that it is about an apocalyptic invasion from outer space, and you just know that most of the worlds population is going to die. However, the book is also exceptionally detailed in its handling of rocketry, and the science behind finding out more about the incoming threat is very well done.

Overall and good book that I enjoyed, although the end is definitely fishing for a sequel.

[isbn: 1416555307;9781416555308]

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Against the Tide

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This is the third book in the Council Wars series. This book covers the long promised invasion by New Destiny forces, as well as Megan’s continued life in the harem. This book has a theme of incompetence in command, which is quite similar to some of Ringo’s other books, such as A Hymn Before Battle and Gust Front. It is not fine literature, but it is a fun read and the characters are likeable.

[isbn: 1416520570;9781416520573]

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Emerald Sea

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This book is really a book (Emerald Sea) and a novella (In a Time of Darkness) both of which follow on from There Will Be Dragons. Emerald Sea is more self-indulgent than the previous book, and isn’t as strong as the first. It is still quite readable. In a Time of Darkness has a very awkward set of subject matter (the keeping of a harem girl against her will), which will make many readers uncomfortable, and isn’t as strong a story as either of the first two stories in this series.

[isbn: 1416509208;9781416509202]

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There Will Be Dragons

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I bought this book randomly when I saw it at a charity book sale. While the title is kid of odd, its actually quite a good read. The book is sort of a science fiction fantasy novel, set in the far future with a reasonably plausible plot line. There are a few elements that I feel could be explained a bit better, but overall the book is quite good. I’ll be buying the next one in the series.

[isbn: 0743488598]

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