Coffee is deconstructed, robots become the victims of kill switches, the Burger King hopes for a new ring, and goat milk goes boom!
The weirdness is out there! It’s hip, it’s new, and it’s deconstructed here for you. Weirdnesday is an occasional mid-week dip into the world of the strange, the things that may or may not be happening out there around you. This week in…
. . . Sidney, Australia
Hot on the heels of one hipster cafe offering deconstructed coffee – three beakers, one containing steamed milk, one hot water, and one espresso – an Australian coffeehouse has decided to go one step further. Patrons of The Human Bean sit at tables equipped with coffee grinders, french presses, water spigots, and milk steamers, along with a variety of fresh coffee beans and flavorings from around the world. After paying for their hot caffeine fix at the front counter, they are free to make their own beverage just the way they want it. And if they get hungry and want a bite to eat? The do-it-yourself bakery in the back allows them to cook up their own bagels.
. . . Mountain View, California
The idea that machinery and robotics could one day achieve a degree of sentience has long been the stuff of science fiction. Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot pondered the fate of a world where robots are people too, while the Terminator series and The Matrix trilogy frightened viewers with images of a world under robotic control. Fear no more, however. Google, a company on the forefront of technological breakthroughs ranging from cell phones and web browsers to self-driving cars, has decided to build a kill switch into their technology. What prompted them to take such precautions? The decision was spurred on by the dire predictions of futurists like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, who have warned against the possibility of a coming war between humans and artificial intelligence. When asked if Microsoft would be implementing similar technology, former CEO Bill Gates simply responded, “Resistance is futile.”
. . . Tokyo, Japan
The internet has seen a lot of chatter about a new McDonald’s contest in Japan. To promote their Chicken McNuggets, the fast food giant recently announced a scavenger hunt style giveaway. The prize? A solid gold Chicken McNugget worth upwards of fifteen hundred dollars. In order to win, contestants must follow McDonald’s Japan on Twitter and keep an eye out for the Nugget Thief, a strange gremlin who looks like the unholy lovechild of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar. Burger King has responded with a contest of their own devising, offering customers in Japan a lifetime stipend of Whoppers in exchange for McDonald’s golden nugget, which they promise to melt down and recast as a giant new ring for the… well, for the Burger King.
. . . Sacramento, California
Researchers at the University of California, Davis campus have reportedly begun a series of experiments with the rather lofty goal of solving a host of medical problems. Professor Pablo Ross, the reproductive specialist who is heading up the project, is injecting pig embryos with human stem cells in hopes the little piglets will be born with fully functional – and eventually transplantable – human organs. But UC Davis isn’t the only place researching pharm (short for pharmaceutical) animals. A Russian biotech firm announced the successful first step in growing an octopus with human eyes. And in the Middle East, Al Qaeda Technical College reported two members of their weaponized goat cheese team deceased after a recent milking accident.