Daily Archives: April 13, 2008

State of the Wild 2008-2009

i-4415d67a529eacd1c4765ccb748cfdd6-stat_of_wild.jpgState of the Wild 2008-2009: A Global Portrait of Wildlife, Wildlands, and Oceans (State of the Wild) is a production of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

…State of the Wild is a collection of evocative essays featuring emerging issues in the conservation of wildlife and wild places. The book brings together international conservation experts and writers to analyze our time’s most pressing environmental topics. Seeking to broaden awareness of major trends that are affecting the state of the wild across all continents, it also includes a catalog of the year’s research, rulings, and events.

Just thought you might like to know about it.

Robot Rebellion Put Down by US Military …. This time…


The Robots have been very quiet lately, have you noticed?This is probably because they have been chagrined by recent events only now being made public.Kevin Fahey, US Army program executive officer for ground forces … said there had been chilling incidents in which the [Combat Robots] had … attempted to train … 5.56mm M249 light machine-gun on its human comrades.”The gun started moving when it was not intended to move,” he said.Apparently, alert American troops managed to quell the traitorous would-be droid assassins before the inevitable orgy of mechanised slaughter began. Fahey didn’t say just how, but conceivably the rogue robots may have been suppressed with help from more trustworthy airborne kill machines, or perhaps prototype electropulse zap bombs.No humans were hurt, but it seems that the struggle was sufficiently terrifying that it may be some time before American troops are ready to fight alongside robots again.As Fahey pointed out, “once you’ve done something that’s really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again”. That said, it seems he expects to deploy a new and more trustworthy armed ground automaton within a year – perhaps the MAARS, an upgraded SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Direct-action System) packing a heavier 7.62mm machine-gun and featuring improved safety features.MAARS is also said by its makers to have “Transformer-like” abilities akin to those of Optimus Prime. Rather than being able to disguise itself as, say, a mobility scooter or a dessert trolley, the MAARS is actually only able to transform – with help from human allies – into a slightly different robot.[source]

Technology News

Shouldda kept the guy with the hooker…..New New York Governor David Paterson will likely sign a bill now working its way through the final legislative steps that will add a sales tax to items purchases on the internet by New Yorkers.

The controversial bill ends what for many New Yorkers had been tax-free online shopping, and experts predict that other states could follow suit with similar provisions. Consumers are required to report purchases they make online from out-of-state companies on their tax returns and remit a use tax, but many people are either unaware of that obligation or ignore it. Collecting those taxes from individuals has been an administrative impossibility.[source]

(Only kidding about the hooker-guy … Spitzer actually introduced the bill.)

NASA Science Web Site

i-d269cc6ac49e47d81fa755821b3acbe2-NASA_web_site.jpgThe Open Source content management system PLONE runs the newly released NASA Science web site.The site has something for everyone (researchers, educators, kids, and “citizen scientists”). The Plone seems to be working quite nicely.Some of it is still a little rough. The Space Calendar link seems to be broken, and the email to the “responsible government official” for the site (who, by the way, is Greg Williams) gets you an email to “noone@nasa.gov” …There appears to be a number of distinctly different ways to navigate on this site, including a main in-your-face graphical orientation to four main topics (Earth, Heliophysics, Planets, Astrophysics) each of which leads to a page with a “Big Questions/FocusAreas/Missions” dynamic side bar menu. (These sub-sub topics, big questions, missions, etc., are re-grouped on thier own pages accessible from the top menue as well)Many of the links seem to lead to fairly specific questions or NASA programs enveloping lists of missions that address those questions or are run by those programs, or to the missions themselves with a sidebar indicating what the “related big questions” are.The site has actually done a pretty good job of assembling, correlating, and cross-indexing the myriad components of NASA.So what about the NASA.gov site? This looks to me like an eventual replacement.

Paul Koontz: Tourist snapshots from North Korea

While in Asia in 2007, TEDster Paul Koontz got the priceless chance to spend a few days in North Korea. He brought his two kids — and his camera, capturing both quotidian detail (like the military bearing of a lonely traffic warden) and the grand spectacle leading up to the Mass Games. It’s a rare perspective on a culture we know far too little about.

Continue reading Paul Koontz: Tourist snapshots from North Korea

Earthwide Shakedown

i-4accb8239c7f7ea335d88015fa61b786-kilaueavolca.jpgIs the earth falling apart? Have they started using the Hadron Colider early and not mentioned it to anyone? Are we experiencing a Global Coincidence? Have science reporters suddenly gotten interested in earthquakes? There must be some explanation for the nearly simutaneious occurrence of a powerful 7.1 earthquake in the southern ocean, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano Exploding, an earthquake hitting near Rome, and unusual earthquakes off the coast Oregon all within one blogging cycle….Details: Continue reading Earthwide Shakedown