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But if you’re looking for something “new” to do — not to mention explore inside something most people don’t even know exists — put the pyramid on your list.
Schoolkids and nursing home residents willingly hug, pet and kiss electronic toys such as the owl-like "Furby" and cuddly "Paro" seal without shame, and treat the simple robots like their own children. Nurturing the killer app Even scientists who should know better find the impulse hard to resist.
Ayse Saygin, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, admitted to feeling guilt whenever one of her Furby toys would start complaining out of "boredom." "We like to think of ourselves as sophisticated emotional beings, but our emotion buttons are easily pressed by low-tech devices," Saygin told Innovation News Daily.
You’ve probably heard that a spate of restorations have been polishing up Rome’s grubbier monuments lately. The pyramid, too, got the good old private-funding treatment, thanks to one Yuzo Yagi — a Japanese fashion tycoon who apparently fell in love with the pyramid in Rome and handed the city €2 million to clean. Not only that, but the tour gives a great insight into not only the pyramid, but the entire area. But I’d had no idea that, for example, this whole area was an ancient Roman cemetery — the pyramid would have been just one of a number of tombs, most long since lost. At the moment, the tours, which are an hour long and must be reserved in advance, are in Italian only — something that might change as more English speakers sign up.
However, if you can get a group together (or you just are so excited to see the pyramid in Rome that you want to splash out!
At 120ft (36m) tall, with a base of 97ft (29.5m) on each side, the Pyramid of Cestius is pretty hard to miss.
"We may seem stupid for being taken in by their simple tricks like eye contact, but these tricks are working on us subconsciously," Mac Dorman said.
Now that I’ve gotten my enthusiasm out of the way, a little bit of straight talk: unless you’re super interested in why a politician would build himself a pyramid in Rome, if it’s your first time in the city and you only have two or three days, this isn’t something I’d put at the very top of the list.Psychologists found that people interpret an animation of triangles and a circle moving around a square as "the circle chasing the triangles" in a classic 1944 study, Saygin pointed out.The ability for a robot or virtual companion to trigger human interest is not unlike how artificial sweeteners can satisfy a natural desire for sugar, said Karl Mac Dorman, a robotics researcher at Indiana University.Not to mention that Rome’s pyramid was in bad shape.Once gleaming, white marble, it had become so dirty that, by the time I first laid eyes on it in 2009, it was a sooty, dark brown-gray.There are just too many other extraordinary sites and museums: the Forum, Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Pantheon (duh), but also Palazzo Valentini, Palazzo Massimo, Domus Aurea and Appian Way, to name a few.