May 7th, 2005

krazy koati

M, I say M-O

The poster advertisement asks if you want a robot mop. Well, heck, who doesn't? Is this the 21st century or isn't it?

The only misleading parts are the words ``robot'' and ``mop''. It's less a mop than a plastic ring with those supposedly dust-absorbing fabrics covering the bottom. And it's not a robot but a ball, inside a basket in the middle of the ring, with a motor inside making it spin. The result is the contraption rolls in more or less one direction until it hits a target, whence the ball bounces around and sets it off on a new direction. This splendid application of the ergodic hypothesis claims to be able to completely ``mop'' a 60 square-meter floor with 98 percent probability in two hours, and additionally drives any household cats neurotic with 96 percent probability in fifteen minutes.

The Singapore government laid to rest former President Dr Wee Kim Wee, who served from 1985 to 1993. He was much praised as the ``People's President'' for his accessibility, was highly regarded by humanitarian groups, and was the last President of Singapore not to be directly elected. (The Constitution was amended to provide direct elections in 1991.) The coverage makes him sound rather interesting; I'm sorry I didn't know more about him before.

Trivia: Among other proposals of John Stevens (1749-1838), first to build a locomotive in North America, were for the US Navy to build armored ships; for a bridge from Hoboken to New York City; for a vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River; and for an elevated railroad in New York City. Source: The Story of American Railroads, Stewart H Holbrook.

Currently Reading: Time and Again, Clifford Simak.