robo ping pong!

from china, of course! (^_^) make sure to watch the last third of the video where the robot plays against a human. (i could totally beat that robo-guy on the far end of the table in a pick-up one-on-one game of table tennis! anytime, anywhere….)


previously: [terrifying!] small cubes that self-assemble


  1. Here’s a question for you, chick. When did slavery die out in (i) England, (ii) Ireland. As far as I know the answer to (i) is a vague “after the Conquest”. Could it have been as late as after the Black Death?

    As for the answer to (ii): could it be at the abolition of Brehon Law after the (incomplete) Tudor reconquest? Did it therefore hang on later in the far west?

    Note for the hard of understanding: I’m not talking about the eighteenth century legal cases that arose from people trying to argue that their Caribbean slaves remained slaves when taken to England; I mean old,ordinary, European-style slavery.


  2. @dearime – “Did it therefore hang on later in the far west?”

    your instincts are quite right on this, dearime — slavery did last longer in ireland, wales, and scotland than it did in england. and, from what i understand, even lasted longer in western parts of england rather than in the east.

    from good ol’ wikipedia:

    “British Wales and Gaelic Ireland and Scotland were among the last areas of Christian Europe to give up their institution of slavery. Under Gaelic custom, prisoners of war were routinely taken as slaves. During the period that slavery was disappearing across most of western Europe, it was reaching its height in the British Isles: the Viking invasions and the subsequent warring between Scandinavians and the natives, the number of captives taken as slaves drastically increased. The Irish church was vehemently opposed to slavery and blamed the 1169 Norman invasion on divine punishment for the practice, along with local acceptance of polygyny and divorce.”

    england was apparently later than some parts of the continent in getting rid of slavery. the merovingians were some of the earliest northern europeans to abandon the institution. it’s all connected to the development of manorialism, apparently — more efficient to have people take care of themselves on a small parcel of land connected to your manor rather than to take care of hundreds of slaves on a daily basis.

    in england, though [pg. 252]:

    “There are grounds for believing that the number of slaves was substantially reduced in the century and a half preceding the Conquest, even though comparative figures cannot be given. To begin with one must note the decline in the wars of conquest after the first quarter of the tenth century. Once the Celtic South-west had been fully tamed [ha! – h.chick (~_^) ], newly enslaved persons had to be brought from distant border regions or else they were local people enslaved for debt or crime. To be sure, the disruptions in the reign of Aethelred led to the enslavement of many, but it is likely that large numbers of those captured by Viking raiders were exported from England. At any rate, the movement towards the unification of Anglo-Saxon England made it more difficult for Anglo-Saxons to enslave their fellow countryment, even if they did come from another tribe.”

    the final push to end slavery in england did come from the normans, though, and a large part of that had to do with manorialism — they just didn’t have a need for slaves with their new-fangled agri-economic system. but already by the compilation of the domesday book, only (“only”) 10% of the english population were slaves [pg. 190].

    according to hackett fischer, though, slavery lasted longer in mercia, wessex, and sussex than in other areas of england [Albion’s Seed – kindle locations 3976-3983]:

    “During the early middle ages slavery had existed on a large scale throughout Mercia, Wessex and Sussex, and had lasted longer there than in other parts of England. Historian D.J.V. Fisher writes that ‘the fate of many of the natives was not extermination but slavery.’ This was not merely domestic bondage, but slavery on a larger scale. During the eighth and ninth centuries, the size of major slaveholdings in the south of England reached levels comparable to large plantations in the American South. When Bishop Wilfred acquired Selsey in Sussex, he emancipated 250 slaves on a single estate. Few plantations in the American South were so large even at their peak in the nineteenth century. Serfdom also had been exceptionally strong in this region. Painstaking analysis of the Domesday book by historical geographers has shown that the proportion of servi was larger in Wessex than in other parts of England.”

    and, of course, fischer’s point is that a majority of the u.s.’s slave owning cavaliers came from exactly these regions (especially mercia, i think).

    meanwhile, in ireland [pg. 388]:

    “The Irish ecclesiastical hierarchy certainly welcomed Henry’s arrival in 1171. Indeed, they gladly received this new and powerful ally in their struggle to impose reform upon the secular population of Ireland. Moreover, Henry’s invastion of Ireland appears to have been regarded by the English ecclesiastical chroniclers as a further victory in their continuing struggle to impose a uniform international Christian code of ethnics ethics upon their neighbouring communities. The English elite almost certainly shared the attitudes of their chroniclers who regarded slave-raiding/trading activities to be synonymous with sexual sin, immorality and ‘barbarous’ behavior. They were undoubtedly aware that the continuing existence of the slave markets in Ireland, and in particularly Dublin, were perpetuating the trade in slaves. In addition, they recognised that these markets were being supplied with English, Norman and Flemish victims from Northumbria, Cumbria, South Wales and the Welsh Marshes Marches. The intense desire to impose reform norms upon the Irish population was, therefore, supplemented by a desire to extinguish the Irish Sea slave trade.”

    presumably, if the irish (hiberno-norse?) were still actively trading slaves in the late-1100s, they probably still had slaves within their own society as wikipedia suggests. not 100% sure about that, though. need to do more checking. (^_^)


  3. By golly, what a fine answer: thank you. I liked the quotation “to impose a uniform international Christian code of ethnics upon their neighbouring communities”; I’ll ignore the intrusive “n” and simply opine that that’s a wonderful euphemism for “shackle the Irish Church to rule from Rome”.

    P.S. ” Welsh Marshes” should be ‘Welsh Marches’. But enough of nit-picking: thanks again.


  4. Can robots play table tennis for their country? Or enter the Olympics? This is a really cool video, made me chuckle. I would love to see if these robots can play doubles too.


  5. @dearime – “I’ll ignore the intrusive ‘n’….”

    heh! yes — and so you should ignore it! typo. sorry! (*^_^*) unfortunately, it’s not possible to cut-and-paste from google books (at least not as far as i know!), so i’ve got to transcribe these quotes myself. dr*t! (yes, my fingers are, indeed, bloody stumps at this point after the extensive referencing from google books over the years! (~_^) ).

    yeah — and Welsh Marches, too. (^_^)


  6. @chris – “I would love to see if these robots can play doubles too.”

    i want a ping-pong robot for here at home! i love ping-pong! ‘course i’d have to get a ping-pong table then, too. (^_^)


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