Posts Tagged ‘robots’

many trees with trucks wrapped in Chirstmas lights

Trees wrapped in lights.


It’s late December and the Christmas season is upon us. The winter solstice has arrived with its short day light hours… If you can call the greyness of today “day light”.

light display at Yonge Dundas square, a tree made of globe shapes, santa in his sleight, a hanakah menorah,

Santa in his sleigh, Yonge Dundas Square


christmas lights and stars on the arches over the skating rink at Nathan Phillips square, with the large Christmas tree covered in blue and white lights behind. Also, part of the towers of city hall are lit blue

Nathan Phillips Square


red flood lit metal barricade beside rink at Nathan Phllips Square, with a big red bow on it as well as a sign that says do your part, stay 2 metres apart, covid sign

a young couple learning to skate together at Nathan Phillips, after dark, holding hands, hesitant but upright

Like Decembers past, The Bay has installed holiday displays in some of their windows. Unlike past years, there are no elves or Santa, or even any human form. The robots have taken over and everything has been automated.

christmas light display in Hudson Bay store windows on Queen Street, barriers with signs saying don't forget to social distance

a shiny white robotic arm packages candy canes into boxes, an h b c window display, striped candy canes,

Candy canes are packed


one of the H B C windows, shiny red robots pack toys into white boxes with red ribbons, production line,

and toys wrapped, with a beep and a whirr.


a giant hand moves shiny small round objects, robot, holiday window display at h b c store at Queen and yonge.

Ornaments are crafted with A.I. and a software update.


H B C holiday window display, a computer with Santa's list of children and their wishes for Christmas presents

Even Santa’s wish list is machine made.

 The elves have been kidnapped? Or just sickened with Covid. We’ll probably never know (does Siri know?) but it seems rather fiendish and cold to remove the “human touch” in a year where we’re all 2 metres apart and not hugging anybody.

blue lights on a tree light

arches and big candy canes, frame for lights outside Eaton Centre, but lights not on.

people at Yonge Dundas Square after dark

the window and glass door display of posters at a Circle K convenience store, in the evening, lights on,

Stay warm
Stay safe
And may your Christmas be as bright as possible.

I am still trying to get caught up with the photos that I took at Science Rendezvous last weekend.  There was so much happening!  Lots of people were involved and engaged in the various activities that were available both at Yonge Dundas Square and on St. George street.

below: On the stage at Yonge Dundas square:  Start with three identical piles of building blocks and three teams, put ten minutes on the clock and see what towers result.   The challenge was to
build the strongest, tallest, or most awesome tower.

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

below: Teamwork!

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together.

below: How do you test the strength of a tower?
By giving one exuberant girl a big orange ball of course!

A young girl throws a large orange ball at a tower of polysyrene blocks in an attempt to knock it over, an activity at Science Rendezvous on the stage at Dundas Square.

below: At the end of the competition, all three teams came together to build the tallest tower that they could.  It didn’t quite reach the stage roof, but it was close!

competition to build the highest, strongest tower out of hard styrofoam blocks, children and adults working together to see how tall they can make the tower

… more great activities…..

below: Question: How long does it take the light from the Sun to travel to the Earth?
Answer: sunlight travels at the speed of light (rounded to 300,000 km/s) and it has to cover a distance of 150 million km on average to reach Earth.  With a bit of math, the answer is 500 seconds, or 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

A sign stands in the street with information about the sun on it. Behind it is a second sign, this time with information about Mercury. Behind that are people at Science Rendezvous on St. George street

below: making paper

a young girl is making paper. she is sponging the paper dry over a piece of mesh in a frame

below: robots

A group of students is sitting on a sidewalk. One of them has a laptop and he is controlling a robot machine with wheels that is moving around on the street.

below: How unique are you? Test yourself for various phenotypes (the product of your genes)… Can you curl your tongue? Can you smell freesias? Is your thumb bent?  From answers to these and five other questions you can determine if you are 1/10 (you share similarities to many people) or 1/1000 (you are more unique)… or something in between.  Apparently I’m 1/45 and if you’re curious, my thumb is straight, I can’t curl my tongue and I can smell freesias.

Two students are conducting a genetic phenotype test on a couple of volunteers. They are looking to see if they can smell fresias or taste coriander.

below: St. George street.

looking up St. George street on the downtown University of Toronto campus. A white tent is set up on the street and under the tent are students running science demonstrations.

below: A demonstration using acids, bases, and pH indicators.  Technically, pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions.  In practice, it indicates how acidic or basic a substance is.  Water, with a pH of 7 is neutral.  Acids have a pH less than 7 while bases have a pH greater than 7.  A pH indicator is a chemical that changes colour depending on the pH.

Three students behind a table doing a demonstration about acids and bases in chemistry. One of the women is adding a strong acid to a solution that is a strong base. The pH indicator is changing from yellolw to purple

below: How much energy is a gummi bear? Find out by heating a little bit of of potassium chlorate in a test tube.  Once it is liquid, add a gummi bear.  Smoke and flames ensue.  When the potassium chlorate is heated, it produces oxygen gas which ignites if there is combustible material, such as sugar, available.

A student is doing a chemistry experiment to show how much energy is in gummi bear candy. He has lit one on fire and burned it to show the release of energy. It was done in a test tube.

below: Design and construction with K’nex

Two young Asian boys are building small structures with the building toy k'nex.

below:  Tetris players

Three young man are playing a tetris game on a large computer board.

below: programmable Lego vehicles

Two kids are playing with a programmable Lego car.

below:  Watch out!  Scientists on the loose!

Two young kids have been dressed up as mad scientists and their father is taking their picture. They had rubber gloves on, eye protection and a lab coat. They both have pipettes.

below:  The little boxes used in this activity have a marble inside them.  When placed on an inclined surface, the boxes tumble to the bottom.  Sandpaper prevents the boxes from slipping.

A woman and a girl are racing objects that they made. Inside small rectangular boxes are marbles that make the boxes tumble down an incline.


below: Corn starch and water makes a wonderful substance.  It’s not liquid and it’s not solid.  If you are fast enough you run on top of it but if you stop moving, you sink into it!

A boy is running barefoot along a course that is filled with corn starch and water. Onlookers are cheering him on.

A girl is running barefoot along a course that is filled with corn starch and water. Onlookers are cheering him on.

An older man is running through corn starch and water with his arms held up

Manifesto, in an alley, appropriately enough.

graffiti covered cardboard boxes put together in a robot shape.  The face (or head) is a white light.  It's an alley.

“You can’t silence my thoughts”


manifesto cardboard box graffiti covered robot like structure in an alley at night

faces on both sides




cardboard box robots in the alley, manifesto for nuit blanche