Mar 10 2009

I want one. Or two.

Category: military,technologyharmonicminer @ 9:30 am

Having been a roadie in a former life, and occasionally still being forced to function in that capacity, this looks like just the thing to help me manage those heavy flight cases for mixers, full size keyboards, etc.

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Feb 14 2009

At last, we can all own one!

Category: humor,technologysardonicwhiner @ 10:17 am

I always wanted a Retro-Encabulator, but never thought I could afford one.


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.


Oct 11 2008

Big Brother is taking over my TV: be afraid, be very afraid

Category: humor,Obama,technologyharmonicminer @ 9:05 am

Friday night I noticed that two of my favorite TV shows, Life and Numbers, were at the same time. So I decided to watch one, and record the other on a Dish Networks DVR. I live far out on the boonies… so we have a Dish Network satellite system for TV.

I went to the TV/DVR receiver where I was going to record Life, while watching Numbers. I turned it on. It was SUPPOSED to have already been preset to record Life, since I record all episodes, so it’s sort of a global thing in the receiver’s settings. And it was time, and should have been recording.

But it wasn’t tuned to channel 4 and recording. Instead, it was tuned to channel 73, and the show was “Obama’s Plan For America” (paid ad).

I was confused. I knew it was preset to record Life, whenever an episode came on. The DVR has been very reliable and stable. Still scratching my head, I changed the channel to channel 4, and was going to just manually record Life for now. And indeed, the DVR registered the key press, and changed to channel 4… except that it didn’t. It showed the TEXT display for channel 4, but still displayed Obama’s Plan For America. And then the text display switched back to channel 73. Obama was talking about universal healthcare. Maybe he really, really wanted me to hear.

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Jul 23 2008

Jerry Pournelle on education, Intelligent Design, etc.

Jerry Pournelle (the wikipedia article linked here gives short shrift to Pournelle’s science and engineering background) has some thoughts on the dangers of trying to ban the teaching of Intelligent Design in the schools, and he starts with the background of public education and goes from there.

What is the purpose of public schools? One looks in vain for guidance in the Constitution of the US, or in the early constitutions of most states. Education didn’t become a right until well after the Civil War, and didn’t become a federal right until fairly recently.

Continue reading “Jerry Pournelle on education, Intelligent Design, etc.”

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