[tentative approval]

Now that is a Batmobile:

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bowel disruptor

US troops are to be armed with a stun gun that uses a baby's high-pitched scream to bring the enemy to its knees. Anyone hit with a full blast would suffer excruciating pain, permanent deafness and some form of cellular damage. A prolonged blast could kill. The actual sound used is a recording of a baby's scream played backwards.
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I, for one, welcome our new robot camel-jockey overlords

Robots have been used as jockeys in Qatar for camel races, a favourite sport in the Gulf which has faced widespread criticism over the use of young children from the Indian sub-continent in such races.

The Gulf Arab monarchies are trying to bring order to the national sport of camel racing in the face of protests over the trafficking of children as jockeys. The US State Department and human rights groups have raised the alarm over the exploitation of small children by traffickers who pay impoverished parents a paltry sum or simply resort to kidnapping their victims. The children, mostly from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Pakistan, are then smuggled into the Gulf states. They are often starved by employers to keep them light and maximise their racing potential.

And again I am forced to ask: how could someone publish a story like this with no pictures?


Apocalypse Blimp!

He's showing me how he wants to position an airborne hologram over the Dome of the Rock, a gold-capped shrine that's one of the most holy sites in Islam. "The blimp will go there," Hayutman says pointing into the blue. "And eventually the Messiah will come."

He has two big ideas, two ways to engineer the apocalypse. The first: a hovering holographic temple. Hayutman wants to set up an array of high-powered, water-cooled lasers and fire them into a transparent cube suspended beneath a blimp. The ephemeral, flickering image, he says, would fulfill an ancient, widely revered Jewish prophecy that the temple will descend from the heavens as a manifestation of light. Hayutman hopes to finance the project with some of the proceeds from a $20 million patent-infringement suit he and his partners have filed against Palm.

The rest of that money would be poured into Hayutman's second idea for jump-starting the end-times: a virtual temple within a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

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"This is my iceberg; it belongs to me."

Iceberg Painted Red:

An artist with 780 gallons of red paint, three fire hoses and a 20-member crew at his disposal went to Greenland in search of a blank canvas large enough to accommodate his creative impulse. The result is a blood-red iceberg now sitting off the country's western coast.

"We all have a need to decorate Mother Nature because it belongs to all us," Danish artist Marco Evaristti said Thursday. "This is my iceberg; it belongs to me."

[...] Evaristti, who was born in Chile, drew widespread attention -- and disdain -- when he displayed 10 working blenders filled with goldfish in a Danish gallery in 2000. He invited guests to turn the devices on and someone did, grinding up a pair of goldfish. The gallery director was tried on charges of animal cruelty, but acquitted.


geek check

I just read "Understanding Object Oriented Programming" and it's a hoot --

Every if and every switch should be viewed as a lost opportunity for dynamic polymorphism.

Until I got to the last page, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a hilariously deadpan satire. I'm going to continue to believe that because I have to believe that.


War Rationale: Version 10.0

Here then, in Silicon Valley terms, is a review of the Bush administration's year in Iraq:

  • Version 1.1 - The smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud
  • Version 1.2 - We can't afford to wait
  • Version 1.3 - We never said imminent
  • Version 1.3.1 - OK, maybe we did say it once or twice
  • Version 1.4 - We should have been more precise
  • ... and so on ... (read the rest, they're really good!)

today in "our new robot overlords" news

Triton Logging:

"A chainsaw-wielding robotic submarine is roving beneath Lois Lake in British Columbia, Canada. It is chopping down a forest that was left submerged decades ago when the valley was flooded by a hydroelectric dam. After it cuts the trees, they are floated to the surface, where they are dried out and sold to mills for use in furniture and construction, like any other lumber.

Trees left standing in flooded forests die, but they do not rot because the water keeps out oxygen. Worldwide, some 200 million trees are thought to be standing on the floor of hydropower reservoirs."

Enryu rescue robot in action:

"Robot venture Tmsuk yesterday held a press day to officially launch and demonstrate its massive tractor-with-arms rescue robot, Enryu. See Enryu rip the door off a perfectly good car! See Enryu pick up a steel girder with one hand! etc.

"The impression we get from the videos is that it's rather a sluggish beast, though it turns out this is deliberate [...] The original settings had the robot arms moving at the same pace as the operator's, resulting in a lot of dangerous high-speed flailing about that would have made it impossible to use at the scene of an accident. This is a creature that can lift half a ton with one arm, mind. The arms now track the operator's movements at a slower speed, though they do stop immediately the operator does."

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"Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"

Genital piercings for women were banned by the Georgia House Wednesday as lawmakers considered a bill outlining punishments for female genital mutilation. [...] An amendment adopted without objection added "piercing" to the list of things that may not be done to female genitals. Even adult women would not be allowed to get the procedure. The bill eventually passed 160-0, with no debate.

Amendment sponsor Rep. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, was slack-jawed when told after the vote that some adults seek the piercings. "What? I've never seen such a thing," Heath said. "I, uh, I wouldn't approve of anyone doing it. I don't think that's an appropriate thing to be doing."

The ban applies only to women, not men.

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"This OJ tastes funny"

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(0%) ">

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