Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Carcinogenic radio/micro wave radiation?

Interesting post over at the Engineering Ethics Blog, which in asking the question of how radio engineers can best address concerns and fears from the public, in fact personifies that best approach.

Another Afghan "shadow governor"..er.."underboss" bites the dust

With a little help from coalition forces

From Long War Journal:

Coalition forces killed a top Taliban leader and two of his aides during an airstrike today in Kunduz province. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the commander may be the Taliban's shadow governor of the northern province.

The International Security Assistance Force first announced the death of "a senior militant commander of Kunduz province" in a press release, but did not identify the leader. According to ISAF's press release, the senior leader and two aides were killed "by precision air fire" as they drove through "a rural desert area approximately 18 miles northeast of Kunduz City."

The senior commander was described as being "involved in all aspects of military operations in Kunduz province" who was "responsible for setting target priorities, weapons distribution and directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces."

While ISAF did not provide the identity of the commander, the description fits that of a Taliban shadow governor. The Taliban appoint shadow governors to coordinate the group's military and governance activities. The Taliban claim to have appointed shadow governors in 33 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

A senior Afghan official said the airstrike killed Mullah Yar Mohammad, who is said to be the shadow governor of Kunduz, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. The official said that Yar, who is also known as Mullah Noor Mohammad, was killed in an airstrike in the Dashti Archi district.

Boston Dynamics' "Big Dog." Prototype robot pack animal for soldiers?

From the Singularity Hub

Walking robots are sort of Boston Dynamics’s thing. Besides Big Dog there’s also Little Dog, which can pick its way over scaled terrain, and Petman, which recently broke 7km/h (4.4 mph) – amazing for a bipedal bot. Big Dog is the flagship of the Boston Dynamics fleet, however, and with good reason. It’s impressive in its recovery from spills (watch it brave icy asphalt at 0:52) and it can really haul across rugged terrain. The goal is for robots like these to travel with soldiers in the field, going anywhere a pack animal would go. I’m not sure if Big Dog will actually be more advantageous to a soldier than a real mule (which could always double as emergency rations), but the walking technology Boston Dynamics develops now could provide the basis for the locomotion of humanoid and animal like robots of the future. That’s pretty awesome. Atta boy, Big Dog. Atta boy.

No Embed code for the video, but here it is

Update: Wrong again. Here's the vid:

To answer the Singularity writer's question: Yes, such machines if developed further will be a considerable advantage over pack animals in at least one respect, less vulnerability to wounding/killing. Other advantages: they could presumably be made to be much stronger than any animal of a similar size. Another, you will not have to feed them (how about batteries though?). Also, they are silent, won't be prone to braying at inopportune times. Also, no scent, if animals are being used by the enemy to track you. But best of all...this research will inevitably lead to much improved versions of these behemoths..

And while we are on the subject of Official Iranian Salute Guy; the overdue 'Real Men of Genius' sendup..

Here’s to you Mr. Official Iranian Salute Guy

Bud Light Presents: Real Men of Genius

(Real men of genius)

Today we salute you, Mr. Official Iranian Salute Guy.

(Mr. Official Iranian Saluuuuute Guy)

Any two bit dictator can mesmerize a sycophantic U.N. audience but it takes real talent to hold that salute while the Boss goes on all night long.

(Kinda’ like Castro)

Perched on the stage in your over sized scrambled eggs mess of a hat, you’ve been faithfully churning out salutes all through the 80's, 90's and double-aughts.

(Keepin’ rock steady')

Cool shades? Yeah, you got cool shades..

(Got to admit I’m stylin’!)

And even though you've never had groupies, Old Ahmidinahbaby is always there for you.
(Never forget you!)

So crack open an ice-cold Bud Light, Mr. salute guy, because every pompous officious ceremony you go to, you're the real best man.

(Mr. Official Iranian Saluuuute Guy)

Iran's deft leveraging of web v2 social networking technology

Sage Advice for Congress from Suetonius

"Make haste slowly"

Lives of the Caesars "Augustus" 25

Tuesday Blues: Leon Redbone, Walking Stick