Dec 06 2008

Maybe it’s not quite THAT bad

Category: economyharmonicminer @ 1:00 pm

A friend of mine around age 31 or so, with a couple of small children, recently put up a blog post about his sense of impending doom on the economic front. Herewith, my response, trying to make the point that things were actually worse for people his age in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in real terms, and there is reasonable hope that it will all work out, even with a blundering government that doesn’t quite know what to do, and is too proud to have the courage to do very little.

I used to hate it when old guys started out with, “When I was your age”, but…

Continue reading “Maybe it’s not quite THAT bad”


Dec 06 2008

Smart bugs: oh to be a fly on the wall

Category: technologyharmonicminer @ 10:51 am

Bug-Sized Spies: US Develops Tiny Flying Robots

If only we could be a fly on the wall when our enemies are plotting to attack us. Better yet, what if that fly could record voices, transmit video and even fire tiny weapons?

That kind of James Bond-style fantasy is actually on the drawing board. U.S. military engineers are trying to design flying robots disguised as insects that could one day spy on enemies and conduct dangerous missions without risking lives.

“The way we envision it is, there would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm,” said Greg Parker, who helps lead the research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. “If we know there’s a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would fill that void.”

In essence, the research seeks to miniaturize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The next generation of drones, called Micro Aerial Vehicles, or MAVs, could be as tiny as bumblebees and capable of flying undetected into buildings, where they could photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.

Can I have one of these to send to faculty meetings, so I can just stay home and watch remotely? The best part: if I decide to speak from my position as fly on the wall, and as usual someone throws something at me, I can just smile and change the channel.

They’ll never take me alive….  er, my bug, that is.