today in robot overlords news

Robot Plane Drops Bomb in Successful Test:

Under human supervision but without human piloting, a prototype of the Boeing Co.'s X-45 took off from the desert base, opened its bomb bay doors, dropped a 250-pound Small Smart Bomb and then landed. The inert bomb struck within inches of the truck it was supposed to hit, Boeing said.

The X-45A was preprogrammed with the target coordinates and used the satellite-based Global Positioning System to adjust its course. The Y-shaped, tailless plane has a 34-foot wingspan and weighs 8,000 pounds empty. It is the first drone designed specifically to carry weapons into combat. Boeing hopes to build hundreds of the X-45 planes, which would cost $10 million to $15 million each.

"The Generation 2 Kill Vehicle will be integrated into the Near-Field Infrared Experiment payload."

The satellite's primary mission is to gather data on the exhaust fumes of rockets in space, information that will then be used to help future space weapons differentiate more clearly between a target and its trailing plume.

But NFIRE is itself weaponized, carrying a projectile-packed "kill vehicle" that can destroy passing missiles or satellites [...] This marks the first time in history that any nation has put a weapon in space, despite America's still-official policy against such a practice. [...] It began in August 2002 and has moved steadily toward its long-established Summer 2004 launch date. [...]

And the boys in Space Command are just getting warmed up. They wowed the salivating Bushist faithful in Congress with highly detailed plans for a whizbang space arsenal led by the "Rods From God" -- bundles of tungsten rods fired from orbiting platforms, hurtling toward earth at 3,700 meters per second, accurate within a range of 8 meters and able to destroy even the most hardened targets, the Center for Defense Information reports. They could be launched at only a few minutes' notice at any target on the planet.

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Excerpts from Generic Template for 9/11 Hearings

Excerpts from Generic Template for 9/11 Hearings:

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you. So my question is, given that you knew about [INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS AND DIRE CLUE], why didn't you say something to [IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR]?

WITNESS: Well, I did. If you look at my report from [DATE], I clearly said [TEPID AND EQUIVOCAL WARNING STATEMENT].


heavy metal corn

Money that grows on crops:

In the fragile Amazon River basin, for example, there are hundreds of artisanal mines where workers pour mercury, cyanide, and other chemicals onto gold-rich areas to extract the metal. Once the mine is exhausted, they abandon it and move on, leaving behind a toxic soup of contaminants.

"Basically a plant will take up anything that's in the soil," he says. Corn and canola have a natural ability to take up huge amounts of metal.

Of course, the crops aren't eaten because they're full of toxic metals. Instead, Anderson harvests them for their minerals as they begin to die. He estimates he can recover 14 ounces an acre and about half as much mercury through this process. Then the gold is used to pay for the cleanup and to educate locals about sustainable agriculture.

During the metal-harvesting, his team trains local people in farming techniques, so once the land is clean, they can reclaim it and use it for subsistence farming.

Current Music: Logiq -- Elation ♬

DNA Lounge: Wherein a warning is delivered.

Once again it becomes clear that my one purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. Here's all the shit that has gone wrong in the last two weeks:

  • Barry and Alexis finally nagged me into opening up access to our mail server to the outside world so that they can check their mail from home. I installed a POP3-over-SSL server, and it worked great with Mozilla and OSX Mail, but it took a week to figure out how to make it work with Eudora. (Someone please euthanize Eudora, thanks.)

  • Before opening up that port to the outside world, I installed a more recent OS on mail server, to avoid the last two years' worth of kernel bugs. I did the install on a new drive in a spare machine. That took 2+ full days.

  • When I swapped the new drive into the old box, its power supply chose that moment to up and die.

  • While we were distracted by that, the disk in the (completely unrelated) kiosk server up and died.

  • Fortunately, I had a backup. Unfortunately, the CD holding that backup had become unreadable some time in the last two years.

  • After reinstalling the kiosk server (3+ days), we still can't figure out how to re-build a working kernel for the particular kiosk that drives the video switcher. Consequently, the webcasts have been on one static shot for quite some time.

  • Concurrent with all this, we're trying (with little success) to figure out how to get a replacement or my money back for the robo-camera that I bought last month. Yeah, the honeymoon is over. Turns out, this camera loses track of its preset positions every couple of days. When you tell it "position 5", meaning, "point at the stage", instead it points at the back wall, until you re-enter all the positions manually.

    Aiming itself at saved positions is like, the one and only function of a camera like this, right?

    Returning it is apparently greatly complicated by the fact that two weeks after I (thought I had) gotten it working, I threw away the box.

If I could send a message back in time to myself, to before we opened this place, that message would be, "do not allow any computer in your club more complicated than a non-electric cash register. In fact, consider not having telephones."

But I wouldn't have listened, because I'm a dumbass.



Brad added a page that returns a list of images referenced in recent LiveJournal posts; to test this out, WebCollage is currently displaying only images from LJ. It looks to be a pretty good source so far!
Tags: , , , , welcomes our new American Taliban overlords

"Please don't misunderstand the title: the Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party. This site is not about religion, nor about Christianity, nor about Republicans. This site is about how a small group of Republican strategists targeted a religious constituency to expand the base of their party, and how a small group of religious extremists targeted the Republican Party to bring the United States government under religious control."
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"Mission Accomplished!"

"Remember when we had a war on terror, and now there's no more terror?"

Only jailed 9/11 suspect freed:

The only September 11 suspect ever convicted walked out of a Hamburg jail today with a big smile, released less than two-and-a-half years into a 15 year sentence after judges ruled the evidence against him was too weak to hold him pending a retrial.

Explaining their decision, the Hamburg judges said evidence for the main charges against el Motassadeq - more than 3000 counts of accessory to murder - was no longer "urgent" because testimony from an al-Qaeda suspect in US custody was lacking. El Motassadeq was ordered to stay in Hamburg and report to police twice a week.

The accessory to murder charges remain in force, along with a charge of membership in a terrorist organisation. [...] El Motassadeq, 30, has acknowledged training at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and being close friends with Hamburg-based suicide hijackers Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah. But he has denied knowing of the plot to attack the United States.

Defence lawyer Josef Graessle-Muenscher predicted the retrial would fail on the same grounds as the first one unless the United States provided more evidence. "I would like the Americans to really open all their books and give all the files and witnesses we need for there to be a chance for a fair trial," he said.

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The Biggest Fucking Patriot Motherfucker in the World

Ass Clowns #3:

As of yet, no trial date has been set, but Robert Zicari thinks the government's case may already be crumbling. "When they raided our office, they seized five movies," he says. "But then they only indicted us on three. So either the grand jury said those two other movies weren't obscene, or the government didn't present those movies to the grand jury. And one of those movies was Ass Clowns #3, where Jesus comes off the cross after being crucified and rapes an angel. So now my question is, why is the rape in Ass Clowns all right, but the rape in Forced Entry isn't?"

Zicari has a lot of similar questions, if it comes to that. For example, why is pornography held to a higher standard of decorum than other genres of pop culture? Are the two amateurishly simulated murders in Forced Entry somehow more offensive than the dozens of expertly simulated murders in Jason vs. Freddy or Gangs of New York? Is the difference between eating semen-spattered dog food in a porn movie and eating raw pig rectums on Fear Factor really so pronounced that the former deserves a jail sentence while the latter becomes a prime-time major network staple?

"What's the difference between us and Hollywood?" asks Zicari. "We show explicit sex, and they don't. And they make hundreds of millions of dollars, and we're going to have to spend $300,000 [in legal fees] to keep from going to jail. And it's a shame, because it makes me bitter about the United States, and I'm like the biggest fucking patriot motherfucker in the world."

[...] The Zicaris each face maximum sentences of 50 years in prison and $2.5 million fines. By comparison, the maximum sentence for actual rape in Pennsylvania is 20 years.

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"You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes."

Eyeball Jewellery:

Dutch eye surgeons have implanted tiny pieces of jewellery called "JewelEye" in the mucous membrane of the eyes of six women and one man in cosmetic surgery pioneered by an ophthalmic surgery research and development institute in Rotterdam.

The procedure involves inserting a 3.5 mm (0.13 inch) wide piece of specially developed jewellery -- the range includes a glittering half-moon or heart -- into the eye's mucous membrane under local anaesthetic at a cost of 500 to 1,000 euros (270 to 540 pounds).

"In my view it is a little more subtle than (body) piercing. It is a bit of a fun thing and a very personal thing for people," said Gerrit Melles, director of the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery.

The piece of jewellery is inserted in the conjunctiva -- the mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the eyelids and front of the eyeball -- in sterile conditions using an operating microscope in a procedure taking about 15 minutes.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein you are instructed to make any necessary last-minute repairs on your Halloween costume.

I assume you all realize how much we like Halloween around these parts. Well, this year we decided to celebrate Halloween again, roughly six months out of phase. Ladies and Gentlemen, we invite you to get infected with...

SEE!  The Shambling Horrors of the Unliving!
GASP!  As they perform Acts of Cabaret guaranteed to Astound!
JOIN!  The Ranks of the Undead! -- with a Zombie Makeover courtesy of our Professional Zombifiers!
TAX!  Your big juicy creative brain and come in costume (zombie or otherwise) for our Fabulous Cash Prize Costume Contest!
DANCE!  To Ghoulish Rock & Roll from DJs Melting Girl & Miz Margo!
Brought to you by the scienticians of Zombie Pinups, Spectacular Spectacular, and, of course, the Almighty Power of RADIATION!
saturday - SATURDAY - saturday
April 24, 2004

9pm - 3am.
$10 in costume;
$15 without.

We sent someone dressed as a zombie down to Death Guild tonight to flyer for this (how cool is that?), and I went down there hoping to get some photos, but by the time I got there, he had run out of flyers and shambled off in search of braaaaains.

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