What Is It? #17

In the last edition of What Is It? we asked you to tell us where this picture came from:

It is page 92 of Lord Robert Baden-Powell’s ‘Scouting For Boys: A Handbook For Instruction in Good Citizenship’, originally published in 1908. This scan comes from the 1963 edition.

Only two days in and Weol got in there first with the correct answer, followed swiftly by Nemo. Other suggestions we recieved were an illustration from the ‘The Giant Book of Fantastic Facts’, or drawings of Mike, Marsh and myself (who’s who, I wonder?), presumably as part of a bizarre promo for Skeptics With a K!

So, you’re here, you’re reading, let’s have a look at the next picture. What/who are we looking at in the picture below?


  1. #1 by Philip Painter on July 9, 2010 - 17:57

    Japanese robot being interviewed in Kyoto.

  2. #2 by mat p on July 9, 2010 - 18:13

    Oh yeah dead easy this robot was featured on one of james may’s tele programs recently. Someone been watching Dave recently? 😉

  3. #3 by Sean on July 9, 2010 - 18:33

    A interview with a Japanese robot

  4. #4 by Sophie on July 9, 2010 - 19:11

    It’s Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro’s “Geminoid HI-1” – an android version of himself!

  5. #5 by Jon d on July 9, 2010 - 20:13

    Definately a resident in uncanny valley http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

  6. #6 by Dave The Drummer on July 9, 2010 - 23:18

    It’s the proof that science and the government is being run by robots from the planet Tharg.
    Or something.

  7. #7 by Michael Gray on July 10, 2010 - 12:27

    Bill Gates’ long lost brother wondering why the sister of Zaphod Beeblebrox has had her left head removed, as evidenced by her braces being on the one side of her remaining neck.
    Obvious, really.

  8. #8 by Johan Strandberg on July 10, 2010 - 12:44

    “GEMINOID is a robot android that created by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor at the Department of Adaptive Machine Systems and leader of the Intelligent Laboratory Robotics of Osaka University. ”

    No credit to me. I sent the image to TinEye and got a direct hit. It is sooooo hard to ask a question these days that you can’t just answer by google (or the moral equivalent in this case).

    I was the first student in my school (Sweden, 1972) who had a calculator. All the teachers had to meet and decide if they were going to even allow me to bring it to school. They were wise and let me use it except on tests, and the next year everybody were given calculators and could use them on most tests.

    We are living in the middle of such a revolution once again. The question is a bit differently phrased, but the essence is the same; how socially/academically acceptable is it to artificially augment your natural capabilities?

    People sound smarter when interviewed when they have google handy. Are they smarter? I would argue yes, we (human+computer) are smarter than humans alone. Some undoubtedly disagree. That’s OK.

    Here is the question that really interests me: How long before it becomes uncivilized to _not_ be augmented.

    My guess is less than 20 years, possibly just 10-15 before it is as rude to claim authority without augmentation as it is today to publish a print article without checking the spelling (dictionary, computer or proof reader, your choice.)

  9. #9 by Jon d on July 10, 2010 - 14:19

    Yeah, you’ll have to start taking your own pictures of stuff. Or else laying a false trail for tineye with mislabled photos. Seems to me it’s a step backwards – people might perform better at pub quiz style questions (like this) but it’s not scholarship. With your Ipod you can hold forth like a professor at a superficial level but the deeper understanding of the subject isn’t there.

  10. #10 by Michael on July 11, 2010 - 17:46

    I must say that those who tineye or google the answer haven’t achieved anything as the databases have done it instead. The #19 is an image that only I own. You would be hard pressed to find it anywhere else but my study (and the British Library). So there.

  11. #11 by Jon D on July 11, 2010 - 18:20

    You could always run it as a caption competition… in which case I’d suggest the one on the left is saying.

    “Mother? let me tell you about my Mother…”

    (no prizes for googling the movie ref.)

  12. #12 by Nick G on July 12, 2010 - 08:15

    Aieeee! Westworld!

  13. #13 by Michael on July 15, 2010 - 10:32

    Nope I think that is from Blade Runner

(will not be published)