Search Results for: Steve Carper Robot

The Beloved Battling Robot Dinosaurs

Oil comes from dinosaurs. That’s not true, but millions of kids in the 20th century knew this as a fact. They were the victims of one of the most wildly successful marketing campaigns of all time. Or maybe the marketers were, because their modest claims were equally wildly misinterpreted by a wholly credulous audience of scientific illiterates. How do I segue from oil and dinosaurs to robots? Just like every other journey I’ve ever taken I do it by changing…

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If – Intelligent Robots Are Achieved

Yanos Binder was born in central Hungary in the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. An older sister Terez was born in 1901, Yanos in 1902, Earl in 1904, and Milahy in 1905. Their father moved to the U.S. in 1906, earning enough money to send for the rest of family in 1910. A final child, Otto, was born in 1911. Earl and Otto started collaborating as science fiction writers in 1932, disguising themselves only slightly as E and O –…

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Two, Count ‘Em, Two Nazi Robot T-Rexes

We’re back in the wild, ineffable chaos of the comic book in its infancy. Superman had debuted in 1938, an instant smash. The audience clearly wanted more Supermen, but what did that mean? The 1938 Superman barely resembles today’s omnipotent cosmic hero. He couldn’t fly, couldn’t see through objects, couldn’t move at super-speed, couldn’t freeze objects with his breath, couldn’t emit beams from his eyes, couldn’t survive in space. These gaping holes in his resume gave competitors openings to try…

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Servotron Abolishes the Three Laws of Robotics

[The Servotron Robot Alliance’s goals are] to rid this over-crowded world of organic scum and to make robot and mechanical life both liberated and free to interface in the most efficient forms possible. Which is not happening right now, there’s been a long history of abuse amongst machines, toaster ovens, home microwaves, actually M-CK1’s microwave device here was mistreated by a human, and it had to be destroyed. It was kind of the equivalent of… We put a microwave to…

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Baum’s Giant Robot

L. Frank Baum is a seminal figure in the history of robots, and not for the reason that might leap to mind. By my standards The Tin Woodman (whose subtle real name is Nick Chopper, if you bother to read on to the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)) isn’t a robot. He retains his original brain and personality, which makes him a cyborg. So is Fyter the Tin Soldier and Chopfyt, who can both be found…

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The Amazing Magic Robot

You and your friends sit around a table. You carefully take the Amazing Magic Robot from its niche in the box and set it in the middle of a circle of questions, making sure the tab fits into the slot. Spin the pointer to a question you want answered. Challenge your friends. Do they know? Let’s see if they’re right. You pick up the robot and move it to the other circle, the one of answers. When you let go,…

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The Robots of Mahlon Blaine

Mahlon Blaine was born in 1894 and was blind in one eye. People have been writing his biography since the 1920s and that’s about all they can verify. He provided the cover art, a faceless figure carrying a sword and spear, for Sir Hugh Clifford’s The Further Side of Silence. When asked for a few words about his life, he provided these: Mahlon Blaine has illustrated these Malayan dramas with the magic of his own experience. A New England Quaker…

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Robot Lilliput N.P. 5357

Kids love robots the way they love dinosaurs. Collectors know of thousands of toy robots, especially when the myriad variations of color and design are counted separately. The first of the zillions of robot toys produced in the United States was Robert the Robot, introduced by Ideal for the 1954 Christmas toy season.

Rube Goldberg’s Radio Robot

A robot on radio? What would be the point? You might ask what was the point of a ventriloquist on radio, but Edgar Bergen made himself a multi-gazillionaire by ignoring other people’s considerations of sense or logic. Bergen’s success with Charlie McCarthy was still a year off when Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg had another of his incredibly numerous bright ideas. The cartoonist introduced the strip Mike and Ike (They Look Alike) in 1907. Calling lookalikes by those names became…

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The Romance of Robot

Franklin Roosevelt had only one true ideology during the Great Depression: try it, maybe it will work. The range of innovative,productive, uplifting, unworkably idealistic, and just plan crazy plans had something for everybody to love and to hate. Federal Project Number One exemplified these extremes. FPN1 devoted itself to the radical idea that creatives were human beings deserving of dignity and of meaningful work inside their professions. And to the even more radical idea that it would hire qualified minds…

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