Holiday shopping has begun, and the children in your life are trying to stay on the nice, not naughty list. You don’t want to be the one to buy them playthings that can injure them, right? advertisement Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H. for short, has released its annual list of the 10 “worst toys” of the year. Nerf Ultra One: The blaster that fires up to 120 feet has the potential for eye injuries. Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog: Hard plastic removable quills have the potential for ingestion injuries and choking. Bunchems Bunch ‘n Build: Plastic, connective pieces may get entangled in hair and may cause choking. Yeti: The stuffed animal’s long hair may come out and be ingested or cause aspiration. Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime: They look like a smoothie, soft-serve ice cream, or a snow cone, but the package warns that they’re not real food and shouldn’t be eaten. The issue becomes possible chemical ingestion … [Read more...] about These 10 toys are supposedly the worst of 2019. Holiday shoppers, check this list twice
Kay bee toys
Neural networks are the technology driving some of the web’s most wonderful toys. Now Google, which uses neural networks in everything from its photo recognition software to its translation tools, has launched a fun dedicated site demonstrating some of its experiments with this emergent technology–artificially intelligent tools that anyone can play with. advertisement Called A.I. Experiments, the site is a repository for some of the most entertaining test projects from Google engineers trying to reach the next frontier in machine learning. The one that’s getting the most attention right now is Quick, Draw!, a hypnotic game that is basically robot Pictionary. The game tasks you to quickly draw a word while a machine learning AI tries to guess what you’re drawing. Sometimes the AI is shockingly good with its guesses: Google figured out I was drawing a canoe before I was done with the very first line. At other times, though, the software is as obtuse as Kirk … [Read more...] about A New Google Site Lets You Play With Its Wildest AI Toys
Lexington, Kentucky may have figured out the impossible: how to make someone feel good about getting a parking ticket. For five weeks over the holidays, the city is letting anyone with a ticket pay it off by donating food to a local food bank. One $15 ticket can be written off with 10 cans of food, enough to feed a hungry family a couple of meals. The city started the program last year after reading about similar experiments at college campuses. They also considered trading tickets for toys, something that Boston has tried in the past, but ultimately decided on food. “We chose it because it’s just a basic necessity,” says Gary Means, director of the local parking authority. Though it’s a common time of year for people to donate to food banks, Means says they always need more. “One of the things I asked is ‘Do you ever get too much?'” he says. “The answer is no. They have such a demand.” If there ever was a surplus, it would be … [Read more...] about Pay Your Parking Tickets By Donating Food
If you’re trying to buy happiness, science has some clear advice: it’s better to spend money on an experience rather than the latest iPhone. New research suggests the same is true for gifts. If the goal is to make the recipient happy, you’ll have better luck with an experience. So why do most presents fit in boxes? advertisement advertisement There are several reasons experiences make people happier, whether it’s a gift or something you’ve bought for yourself. One issue is what researchers call adaptation: Whether it takes seconds or days, any excitement people feel about a shiny new toy tends to quickly fade away. “We adapt to material gifts faster,” says Joseph Goodman, an associate professor at Washington University who studies the effects of giving experiences as gifts. “Whereas experiences tend to be more exciting in the beginning, and we tend to take longer to adapt over time.” Experiences are also less likely to be … [Read more...] about Why It’s Better To Give Experiences, Not Things
Somewhere in the universe, there is a shelf of neatly organized books with titles made of nonsense. One of these books contains 410 pages of uncapitalized English words strung together in no intelligible order. On page 26 of this particular book, about halfway down, bookended between “holons” and “linkman“, is a 26-word couplet that my 4-year-old daughter will attempt to recite in her preschool’s Christmas pageant. Somewhere else, on a different shelf, is another book: this one contains a precise transcription, down to the syllable, of how my daughter will adorably mangle those 26 words onstage when her cue arrives. advertisement advertisement If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because the 20th-century Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges imagined it in his mindbending short story “The Library of Babel”: The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal … [Read more...] about How Do You Design A UX For Infinity?