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July 2010 Archives

Today the New York Times ran two articles, plus a video, about efforts around the world to use robots as teaching machines, er, teachers. Somehow, this all rings a bell.

Be sure to watch the video, entitled "Robotic Teaching" in the first one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/science/11robotside.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/science/11robots.html

What's your take on this? I'm deeply conflicted.

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not, when it comes to names of people, places, and things from the PLATO era. Last year was the year that "Avatar" was wrenched from the clutches of PLATO gaming legend to become the biggest movie in history. And now, I find that not even Bruce Parrello's famous screen name, Red Sweater, is safe. No, there's a software company with that name:

Red Sweater

I contacted the folks at Red Sweater, and they say they've never heard of PLATO let alone poor Mr. Parrello. And so it goes, another PLATO name gobbled up by the present day...

One mystery I've never been able to solve is: who went, in May 1974, to the Little Theatre in Sullivan, Illinois, where Leonard Nimoy -- Spock himself -- was starring in a regional stage performance of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? I ask, because whoever it was who went down there, apparently went backstage, met Nimoy, and invited him up to the University of Illinois for a visit. And, what do you know, Nimoy agreed. And next thing you know, he is touring CERL.

Were you the person who invited Nimoy? Or, were you there the day he visited CERL? If I've not already interviewed you about this, please get in touch. I'd really like to get this story straight. Thanks!

 

Learn more about the upcoming book:

The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear

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