Posts from July 2020

Slow speed as a design preference

If your task is to be present in a slowly varying environment over a long time scale, being slow seems like the right way to go. 

and

How do sloths inspire SlothBot’s functionality?

Its motions are governed by what we call survival constraints. These constraints ensure that the SlothBot is always able to get to a sunny spot to recharge. The actual performance objective that we have given to the robot is to minimize energy consumption, i.e., to simply do nothing subject to the survival constraints. The majority of the time, the robot simply sits there under the trees, measuring various things, seemingly doing absolutely nothing and being rather sloth-like. Whenever the SlothBot does move, it does not move according to some fixed schedule. Instead, it moves because it has to in order to “survive.”
(Link)

02/07/2020

Today’s links

  • Economic growth: The persistence of poverty Mellisa Dell, recent winner of the John Bates Clark Award, shares her fascinating research about how decisions made over 400 years ago can affect economic outcomes today.
  • Price ceilings and floors: English Bread Regulations Fresh bread is clearly better than stale bread, but you might not think to ban FRESH bread during a wheat shortage. However, it’s been tried: The English prohibited the sale of fresh bread in order to suppress demand during a bad wheat harvest around 1800, and the UK tried the same trick during WWI.
  • How we lost our ability to mend (link)
  • Huge Political Disconnect Over the State of the Economy. In 2008 everyone knew the economy was in bad shape. Today, views vary tremendously by party affiliation. (link)
01/07/2020