Unrelated to all that 8/2 edition

Oh, how time flies.

Hitchhiking robot makes it to Philadelphia before getting dismembered because…Philly

Here is a before and after photo. Some enterprising /r/philadelphia redditors are hoping to find and repair him, but no one has a clue where he is (though there are other suggestions).

Dabbawalas: Mumbai’s lunchbox carriers

Studied by consultants and business schools for the secrets of their proclaimed near-flawless efficiency, the dabbawalas have been feted by British royals (Prince Charles) and titans of industry (Richard Branson) alike. Even FedEx, which supposedly knows something about logistics, has paid them a visit. In 2010, the Harvard Business Review published a study of the dabbawala system entitled “On-Time Delivery, Every Time”. In it, the authors asserted that the dabbawalas operate to Six Sigma standards even though they have few special skills, charge a minimal fee (around $10-$13 a month) and use no IT…

Rishi Khiani, a serial entrepreneur, speaks a different language. His office is all new India — swipe cards at the entrance, bright young things at open-plan desks and green tea for guests. Khiani has recently acquired a company called Meals on Wheels, which he has jazzed up with the name Scootsy and kitted out with brightly coloured motorbikes. His deliverymen, who will earn slightly more than dabbawalas, are armed with Android devices and an app that allows customers to follow their orders on their smartphones. “They’re giving us pings back on our CRM,” says Khiani, using the acronym for “customer relationship management” tool as he flips through his PowerPoint presentation. “That tells us where any person is at any given time.” Scootsy won’t just deliver takeaways from QSRs, he says, meaning quick service restaurants. It will soon branch out into other categories — groceries, flowers, electronic goods. “It’s masspirational,” he says. “We’re going to be the Uber for everything.”

The man who studies everyday evil

The “bug crushing machine” offered the perfect way for Paulhus and colleagues to test whether that reflected real life behaviour. Unknown to the participants, the coffee grinder had been adapted to give insects an escape route – but the machine still produced a devastating crushing sound to mimic their shells hitting the cogs. Some were so squeamish they refused to take part, while others took active enjoyment in the task. “They would be willing not just to do something nasty to bugs but to ask for more,” he says, “while others thought it was so gross they didn’t even want to be in the same room.” Crucially, those individuals also scored very highly on his test for everyday sadism.

Really the best introduction to machine learning/decision trees that you will find

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.39.55 AM

Tom Insel offers suggestions for what to do with all the data we will get from the brain

While we don’t have a unified field theory of the brain, some of the early projects in the BRAIN Initiative are providing models of how behavior emerges from brain activity. One of the first grants issued by the BRAIN Initiative supported scientists at NIMH and the University of Maryland to understand how the activity of individual neurons is integrated into larger patterns of brain activity. This work builds on the observation that in nature, order sometimes emerges out of the chaos of individual interacting elements.2

His main suggestion: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is what it will look like when nature reclaims a city

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