The Atlas Robot

This video has been making the rounds. If you missed it, it’s a mind blow.

Boston Dynamics has been releasing amazing videos of their various robots doing more and more things. This particular demo is the most amazing yet. Watch the arms when the robot jump-turns, they look so human-like it’s a bit scary.

Here’s the Boston Dynamics TED talk with a different robot, also impressive:

Remembering Fred Beckey

The above trailer is for a documentary: Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey.

Fred Beckey died on Monday, he was 94. Beckey was one of the greatest mountaineers of all time and he was also quite a character.

Robert McFadden at The New York Times does a great job of summarizing Beckey’s amazing life in climbing: Fred Beckey, Conqueror and Chronicler of North American Peaks, Dies at 94.

In the late 1970’s I went to a presentation/slide show that Beckey gave at REI in Seattle. It was amazing, less for the number of first ascents he’d done at that point (and since then he’s done a lot more), more for his lifestyle which was the epitome of the climbing bum, known among climbers as a “dirtbag” lifestyle.

At that point Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins, two other pioneers from Fred’s era had already moved away from climbing into business startups (Patagonia and Royal Robbins clothing). But, Fred was all about climbing. He wasn’t a people person either, he was rather gruff during the Q&A after the slide show I went to.

These days climbing is a totally different sport than the sport Fred Beckey took part in: he didn’t compete, he had no sponsors, and he didn’t really care if he was well known beyond the world of serious climbers. He definitely was well known in the world of serious climbers who know the history of their sport and he will be sorely missed.

Here’s Fred Beckey’s Wikipedia entry.

Update: I heard from my friend Chris Jones who shared a Beckey story:

I once got one of Beckey’s famous I-need-a-climbing-partner calls, while he was on his way from Seattle to Smith Rock. This was one of his things – he’d head off somewhere with a climb in mind and go through his call list on the way, and by the time he was there he’d have at least one (sometimes several, just in case) partners lined up. I somehow ended up on his call list for Smith Rock, and he wanted to climb Monkey Face by the Pioneer Route (he would have been 82, though at the time I thought he was closer to 70).

I met him at Smith, but it started to snow. As it started to snow, he asked “What do ya think about the weather?” This was exactly one of the lines he was famous for, heard by many climbing partners through the years. I had read about his penchant for this particular line, and recognized it as he said it. But oblivious that I might have this recognition, he was just asking (for real), what I thought about the weather. We decided the weather was too poor (I pretended this wasn’t completely obvious), so we didn’t do the climb. Right about then a second potential climbing partner showed up, so he had arranged a backup in case I didn’t work out (or maybe I was the backup and I just got there first).

So, I didn’t actually get to climb with Fred, nor did Fred get to climb Monkey Face that day, but I did get to hear him say “What do ya think about the weather?”. And that was better than doing the climb.

Shooting up in New York

Afternoon light on monoliths

Afternoon light on monoliths

Between Lexington and Park Avenue on 42nd Street, Manhattan, New York.

We were about to head into Grand Central to get on the train when we noticed that the light on both the Chrysler building and the two buildings across the street was striking. So, out came the cameras, for me for the first time in the day.

Golden hour is aptly named.

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Note: I’ve had it with Adobe going back and forth on Lightroom subscriptions so I’m giving Apple’s Photos a real try. It’s far from perfect but once one spends a bit of time with it and drops the Lightroom comparisons (Lightroom is a much more sophisticated tool) it’s useable and even fun. Time will tell.

I have a message for you

I Have a Message for You

I tried to embed the video, didn’t work so the link.

This is an incredible story. In 1944 Klara Prowisor was on a prison train from Belgium to the Auschwitz concentration camp with her husband and father, who was sick. She and her husband decided to jump the train but they couldn’t take her sick father. She survived and felt terrible about this her entire life until…

[via Kottke.org]