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5 crazy science stories that flew under everyone’s radar


Curly The curling robot changes the sport forever

Curling has become very popular, although it looks like a sport that was invented to see how many pub game drunkards can freeze to death in one evening. But while it’s a simple game (all you need is a rock and a couple of your best OCD friends with brooms), it’s nearly impossible to master. So much so that curling is sometimes referred to as chess on ice.

5 crazy science stories that flew under everyone's radar - rocks curling on ice

Flickr, Benson Kua
Although only one of these sophisticated games has what is known as a “hogline”.

So it’s no wonder that this noble game of kings and caretakers has been adopted by a machine-learning robot. This icier Deep Blue is called Curly, a unit split into Skip-Curly, who monitors the target area (house) and develops the best strategy, and Thrower-Curly, the sophisticated stone throwing machine that looks like a Zamboni machine and PS5 has a baby.

In a joint experiment by researchers from Korea University and the Berlin Institute of Technology, Curly recently took over South Korea’s leading curling teams for women and wheelchairs wiped the rink with them. And with Sentient Broom technology still in the Fantasia phase, Curly had to do it without the help of a team of overclocked Roombas smoothing the ice, which means they have to make the perfect throw almost every time.

5 crazy science stories that flew under everyone's radar - a chart showing how robots use AI to throw curls

University of Korea
Whoever obeys Asimov’s laws should throw the first stone.

Big deal right? That sounds like something robots can machine-learn in their sleep. But like chess and very different from chess, curling is really a mess. The ice is in a constant state of tiny flow and shifts with every change in temperature or slide of the 42-pound stone. This takes a lot of thought about your feet (or a foot and knee in curling), not something robots are best known for.

But after a plethora of simulated ice matches, Curly is the first proof that virtual scenarios are now so advanced that they convey the real-world experiences of AI and Curly can adapt to situations on the fly like a gunner. That it can adapt and respond to “a highly unsteady real-world scenario” has a much wider application than beating some ice nerds in their own game. Curly’s independent AI can actually practice in the real world, then learn and adapt. That said, it’s only a matter of time before every car, factory arm and guided weapon achieves a perfect fit in real time thanks to the world’s largest hair curler.


Birds get really sexy during the quarantine periods

What? No, I’m not saying that we’ve all been trapped inside for so long that even the sight of a yellow-throat warbler makes us hot under the pajama collars. (I am also Not that doesn’t mean – I mean these throats). In particular, it’s bird songs that get mightily sexy now that people are locked inside. Although the bird song is so varied and melodious, there are two basic types. One is a collection of songs called “If you get near my tree I’ll mess you up” while the other is just a collection of chirpy covers from “”I’m too sexy “

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