Helping hand; A birthday on Baker Street; Topped with trouble; How to dress down for a laugh

Helping hand A birthday on Baker Street Topped with trouble How to dress down for a laugh

By Suhashini Sarkar
  • Published 20.01.18
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Almost human?

Helping hand

The reality of the animated show, The Jetsons, on Cartoon Network may not be too far off. Or, if you are more cynical, the realities of the HBO thriller series, Westworld. Aeolus Robot is a child-sized machine that was put on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The robot performed domestic duties such as mopping, picking up stuffed animals off the floor and moving furniture, and even retrieving drinks from the fridge using an intricate-looking flexible arm - all without human intervention. "This is the first multi-functional robot that can act like a human being," said Alexander Huang, the global chief executive of the San Francisco based Aeolus Robotics, to The Washington Post. "Right now it's like a child, but we will continue to grow its capability so that it grows from a child to an adult. The more people that use the robot, the stronger it becomes."

This is because each robot the company sells will be connected to a centralized network that allows the machines to share information about thousands of objects, using artificial intelligence to make the robot increasingly intelligent over time as it adapts to your home and your routines. The robot can assign those objects to specific individuals, the faces of whom it has memorized, so that, for example, a child's toy picked up off the floor doesn't end up in an adult's closet. Other than just assisting hyper-cleanliness, the robots will also be trained to assist in emergency situations, such as those involving senior care.

A birthday on Baker Street

An organization called the Baker Street Irregulars is an invitation-only society of devoted Sherlockians founded in 1934. The group now has roughly 300 members, about half of whom typically attend the annual dinner - a traditional black-tie affair with a secret society mystique. This year it was held at the Yale Club, and was open only to members and invited guests, including 10 people who were inducted that night. The five-day celebration of Sherlock Holmes's birthday kicked off in Manhattan, attended by several hundred Sherlockians from around the world.

On January 6, Sherlock Holmes fans celebrated the "real" birthday of the greatest detective in history. In Brooklyn, the 16th annual Christopher Morley Walk commenced through Manhattan right uptil McSorley's Ale House in the East Village. An Indian-themed Holmes group, the Pondicherry Lodgers of 44th Street, met for their annual dinner at the Jewel of India restaurant midtown. And there was the annual meeting of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, founded in the late 1960s by female college students protesting the Irregulars' male-only policy, which lasted until the early 1990s. Although a few men were given honorary membership in 1991, it was only in 2008, the 40th anniversary of ASH, that men were allowed full membership.

The Baker Street Babes are an all-female group of Sherlock Holmes fans dedicated to approaching their fandom from a female point of view. They do this through their podcasts, engaging in conversations about the canon, film and television adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's work.

Topped with trouble

The Museum of Ice Cream in Miami Beach has a pool of fake sprinkles you can swim in. The pop-up is a travel hotspot, but recently the museum was fined $5,000 for creating an environmental hazard. Evidently the sprinkles can clog storm drains and harm marine life. Guests who take a dip in the pool end up carrying the sprinkles outside the museum, where they could be consumed by small birds, reptiles and marine species. The museum had been fined thrice within the same week. A spokesperson reportedly told the Miami Herald, "We hired multiple cleaners... to constantly sweep around the building as well as paying extra attention to the waterway entrance."

"Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers," Eva Holman, an environmentalist affiliated with the Surfrider Foundation, told SFGate. "What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?" The Museum of Ice Cream launched in New York in 2016, and then travelled to Los Angeles and San Francisco before reaching Miami Beach. Its second location in LA also faced a backlash from environmentalists in October. At some point in the future the museum hopes to introduce biodegradable versions of the colourful toppings.

How to dress down for a laugh

It is time for the NYC Pantless Subway. A few days after the 'Bomb Cyclone' dropped a foot of snow in New York City, hundreds of New Yorkers rode the trains without pants. The annual No Pants Subway Ride started 17 years ago as a prank among friends, and has since spread. The premise is straightforward: passengers meet up in locations around the city, board the subway, and - one by one - start taking off their pants. Participants are encouraged to act naturally, and to respond to the inevitable questions with something like: "Oh, I just forgot to put on pants today." Eventually they converge at Union Square for a photo-op and after-party. Melissa Roman, a New Yorker, told The Independent this was her third time participating. "It's my little New Year's routine," she said, smiling through the -7 degrees Celsius cold.

This year was really hard with sub-zero temperatures, but that did not deter the participants. Inside the station, less-adventurous riders posed for pantless photos with tourists and danced. While participants had a blast and tourists snapped pictures, most of their fellow commuters continued as normal.

Footnote

The day after Donald Trump's exclamation about immigrants from 's**thole countries', a cafe in DC offered free coffee for the day - only for immigrants. Cafe Chocolat is owned by Gjergj Dollani, a 40-year-old Albanian immigrant. Just a few days ago, the store featured products by Askanya Chocolate, which claims to be "Haiti's first and only premier bean-to-bar chocolate company." "They're working really hard to build the brand up in that country," he said. "It's a weird coincidence."