|Teetering on the brink of the unknowable|
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Monday, 07/11/16 12:37 pm] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
In the early hours of Friday morning, July 8, police killed the suspect in the shootings of five Dallas police officers using a bomb disposal robot, by causing the robot to explode nearby the suspect by remote control. This is believed to be the first use of such a device for this purpose on U.S. soil.
The device was (it perished along with the
scumbag suspect) probably a MARCbot IV, which stands for Multi-function Agile Remote-Controlled Robot, or a unit very much like it. These were originally made for use by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.
|The MARCbot IV|
The MARCbot was designed for situations like the inspection of suspicious objects without having to wait for a bomb disposal team, or putting one in danger.
|MARCbot looking for a bomb in car|
In the US, these robots are now used by local police departments for its originally intended purpose, and also, equipped with 2-way communications, for armed-suspect negotiations.
To me, this story of using the bomb disposal robot against the shooter in Dallas is very scary, because although the action was apparently warranted in this circumstance, this kind of thing, robots being used to kill people, is exactly the dark future foretold by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in his robot stories, especially his novel The Caves of Steel.
|The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov|
Originally published in 1954, and still in print, The Caves of Steel takes place on a future Earth where humans have gone off to colonize other planets, and later come back as beings that are thought of by the remaining earthlings as superior. While still shunned and feared on Earth, humanoid robots are common on the "Spacer" worlds.
The book is about an Earth detective, "Lije" Baley, who is reluctantly teamed with a Spacer, Daneel Olivaw, to solve a murder. Daneel's full name turns out to be R. Daneel Olivaw, the "R" standing for robot. An important aspect of the story is what is now called "Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics" (which they just call "the Three Laws" in the story). They are:
In the course of the story (this isn't a spoiler, you've had since 1954 to read the book!) Baley figures out that his own boss, Chief of Police Enderby, had gotten around the Three Laws in a very ingenious way and used a Spacer robot to kill a Spacer.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The Three Laws and the breaking thereof is a recurring theme of Asimov's work and much of the science fiction which followed him (including, especially, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey), stories of robots taking over the world or otherwise causing dangerous havoc, because of their mis-use or mis-treatment by humans.
And now, we have the use of a robot in Dallas to kill a bad guy.
I'm in a pickle about this
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Thursday, 05/19/16 9:32 am] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
There's a great brand of pickles called Mt. Olive.
I can't stop wondering, why doesn't the Mt. Olive company also make olives? It would seem like a natural to me, but they don't.
It's not like they're adverse to non-cucumber based products.
They make several different flavors of peppers.
So, fess up, Mt. Olive! What do you have against olives?
Thinking inside of the box
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Friday, 04/29/16 11:03 am] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
I think this is gonna make a lot of dough!
Sorry, that joke was cheesy...
When life gives you lemons
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Wednesday, 04/06/16 10:15 am] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
A lie told often enough becomes the truth
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Wednesday, 03/02/16 3:30 pm] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
In 1969, American comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre released their second satirical comedy LP entitled "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All," which famously featured this picture on its cover:
It took 47 years, but now that punchline has finally come full circle.
According to the French news agency AFP, since the February 2014 ouster of the ex-Soviet republic's Russian-backed president, and an April 2015 law banning public displays of communist symbols, large swathes of Ukraine have been erasing remnants of their totalitarian past.
Today it was reported that in Kalyny, a western Ukrainian village of about 5,000 people located just 12 miles from the European Union's eastern border, a street which used to honor Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin has now been officially renamed, ironically, after The Beatles' John Lennon.
While some streets have been renamed by the proposal of local communities, in the case of John Lennon Street, the governor of the region himself ordered the change.
I wonder, does this mean future releases of the Beatles' White Album in the Ukraine will have to be issued without "Back In The USSR?"
(Image thanks to Phil Proctor)
No, the app must be broken!
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Sunday, 02/14/16 5:26 pm] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
Can't give these Beemers away
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Friday, 02/12/16 1:31 pm] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
This is one of my favorite eBay auction listings so far:
The seller, who's listed as being located in Redwood City, California, explains he's "trying to purchase a house in the Valley of Silicon."
It's a really good thing he listed this auction as Free Shipping. Can you imagine what it would cost to send a license plate with a BMW attached to it through UPS?
Marty! Where's my cell phone?
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Friday, 01/08/16 10:10 am] [Permalink] [Related Posts] [Tweet This]
This artifact, a clay tablet claimed to be dated to the 13th Century, was recently found in the Fuschl am See archaeological dig in Salzburg, Austria:
The artifact is curious for several reasons, first of which is that it so closely resembles a cell phone from 1998:
But the weirdness does not end there, because the symbols on the "buttons" of the "cell phone" are in the Sumerian writing style known as Cuneiform. Finding artefacts with Cuneiform writing on them are common in areas like Iran, but they are rare in Austria. And it's the first artefact ever uncovered that appeared to look like a cell phone.
So, why was this artefact with Cuneiform out of place in Austria? Does the uncovering of this strange artefact prove that people from our time have Time Travelled to the past? Or that ancient aliens visited our world long ago with similar technology?
Nokia could not be reached for comment, but we suspect that the Sumerian cell phone would no longer have active service.
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Monday, 11/23/15 12:16 pm] [Permalink] [Related Posts] [Tweet This]
Oh, wait. There he is.
Candlestick Park is now Yesterday
[Posted by Adam Forrest on Thursday, 09/24/15 9:30 am] [Permalink] [Tweet This]
The Beatles played their last live concert on August 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California, the home of the baseball team the San Francisco Giants. About 25,000 fans paid between $4.50 and $6.50 for tickets, and The Beatles' fee was around $90,000.
|The Beatles at Candlestick in 1966|
The Beatles played just 11 songs in that final show. It lasted only 33 minutes.
Damaged in 1989 by the Loma Prieta earthquake, Candlestick Park stood strong. But constant buffeting by strong winds and sometimes bad fog because of its location off the San Francisco Bay caused the teams playing there to eventually want to move on.
|Candlestick Demolition in progress, May 12, 2015|
The Giants played their last game at Candlestick in September of 1999. The San Francisco 49ers played their last game at Candlestick at the end of the 2013 season. The stadium's final performance was put on by Paul McCartney in 2014, a nod to the Beatles' last concert.
Now, 49 years after that historic Beatles show, Candlestick Park is no more. Demolition started earlier this year on February 4, and today, none of the original structure is left standing.
A development with a mall and housing is planned for the site.