Bowdoin Team Heads to Brazil for Robot Soccer World Cup

Soccerball with flags in net

Now that the FIFA World Cup contenders have finished battling it out, another international soccer competition is just getting started in Brazil — only this time, the players aren’t human.

Five Bowdoin students are on their way to Logan Airport this morning for a flight to João Pessoa, Brazil, for RoboCup 2014 — an annual competition between teams of autonomous, knee-high robots whose soccer-playing prowess reflects the skill and hard work of their programmers.

“Everything the robots do on the field is the result of a program written by students,” said Professor of Computer Science Eric Chown, coach and faculty advisor to the team, noting that the technology has made remarkable advances in the past decade. “We make progress every year, and over the years that’s a lot of progress.”

Read more about the exploits of Bowdoin’s robotic soccer team.

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Pound Sign? Hashtag? Octothorp? (The Atlantic)

twitter-logoAs of last week, the Oxford English Dictionary officially recognizes the word “hashtag,” made popular by Twitter and also functional on Instagram and Facebook. On social media, the hashtag (#) is used to categorize posts, photos, comments, etc. with a common thread (for example, #WorldCup2014 is trending now). Before that, it was a common phone command (“press the pound key”) and an early programming signal. In our technology-oriented modern world, it’s snuck its way into conversation, too, which Jimmy Fallon relentlessly mocks in his “#hashtag” sketches with celebrities. #ClickHereToReadMore from #TheAtlantic.

Where Do Those Brand Names Really Come From? (Slate)

White Coke Can256

 

Names like Sprite and Verizon automatically conjure images in our minds of fizzy beverages and cell phones. But why “Sprite”? Why “Verizon”? Subtle and strategic reasoning goes into brand names like these – a sprite, for example, is a lively and energetic elf or fairy, perfect for the effervescent image Coca Cola marketers wants to promote for their lemon-lime soda. Other tactics including drawing from Latin roots and combining words (think “veritas” and “horizon”).

Novel by Bowdoin’s Faverón Patriau Lauded by New York Times

the-antiquarian-faveron

 

A “delightfully macabre” neo-gothic psychological thriller, Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s debut novel, The Antiquarian, “has hundreds of intricate pieces” and is “intelligently conceived and well executed,” according to a New York Times book review. “Once you finish reading, you may feel compelled to take it apart, figure out how it works and begin again.”

A Peruvian writer and scholar, Faverón Patriau is Associate Professor of Romance Languages and director of Bowdoin’s Latin American Studies Program. His novel, first published in Spanish in 2011 and released in English just last week, has been praised by none other than the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.