LASER GUNS! LASER GUNS! LASER GUNS!

HOLY MOLY! A REAL WORKING LASER GUN! WHOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

I need to go change my pants now.

Here’s the story

The US Air Force has unveiled its first hand-held laser weapon that gives security forces a non-lethal option for controlling crowds and protecting areas like checkpoints, according to service officials.

While only in prototype form and years away from fielding, the weapon, known as the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHaSR) system, holds great promise, they said.

The PHaSR is about the same size and weight of a fully loaded M60 machine gun – around 9 kg – but shoots a low-power beam of laser light instead of bullets. The light it generates is capable of temporarily impairing an individual’s vision, much like the disorienting glare one sees when looking into the sun, said the officials.

Upon completion of testing, one prototype will be handed over to the Department of Defense’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) and the second to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ): the law enforcement arm of the US Department of Justice. Both organisations support the programme, with the latter interested in its civil applications.

Dwight Schrute Loves Robots

From Dwight Schrute’s blog on NBC’s The Office webpage –

Why are robots always the villains? Why are robots always portrayed as shifty aggressors with ulterior motives? Why can’t robots be taken for what they are. Artificially intelligent creatures who are PROGRAMMED to serve humanity.

Whether it be household chores, factory work or the defense of our great nation, robots will someday be a valued members of our modern society.

Think about it. You can program them to vacuum your carpet, pick your kids up from school, make a sandwich, go to home depot… any manner of things.

A coffee maker is a robot.

Think about it:

“I want a cup of coffee. No, make that seven. I wan’t seven cups of coffee. I want those seven cups at 6:55 AM. I want seven cups of coffee,
extra-strong. I want the coffee maker to beep me a warning signal when the requisite cups have been brewed. I want those seven cups to be kept warm at a temperature of 103 degrees fareinheit until I have drunk every drop of hot coffee.” Etc… Etc…

That is robotics. Plain and simple.

Is that so dangerous? Are you afraid of your Mr. Coffee now? Are you switching to tea? No, you are not. You love your little coffee robot.

Now a robot is not to be confused with an android. Androids are humanoid robots. Programmed to behave just like a human being. Facial expressions, emotions, even defacation.

The potential for evil being perpetrated in the world is much greater coming from an android rather than from a coffee maker.

Androids could, even now, be walking among us. Probably the creation of another race. And i don’t mean the Chinese. I mean aliens. Aliens would definitely have the technology to make a humanoid android. One that could fit seamlessly into modern day society and yet be beaming up information about humanity to the mother-ship. Look around you. Now look around you again. Now look around you A G A I N.

Think about it.

A Tiny Huge Step for Nanotech

A sheet made from nanotubes, tiny carbon tubes only a few times bigger than atoms with remarkable strength and electronic properties. In today’s edition of the journal Science, however, scientists from the University of Texas and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization report the creation of industry-ready sheets of materials made from nanotubes. Nanotubes are tiny carbon tubes with remarkable strength that are only a few times wider than atoms. They can also act as the semiconductors found in modern electronics.

Science
The same sheet, emitting polarized light after the voltage is applied through incandescent heating.

“This is fundamentally a new material,” says team leader Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson.

• Self-supporting, transparent and stronger than steel or high-strength plastics, the sheets are flexible and can be heated to emit light.

• A square mile of the thinnest sheets, about 2-millionths-of-an-inch thick, would weigh only about 170 pounds.

• In lab tests, the sheets demonstrated solar cell capabilities, using sunlight to produce electricity.

2020 : A Nigerian Space Odyssey

Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo said that Nigeria would have astronauts in space within the next 15 years.

Hmm. Okay.

More…

He said the feat was achievable if the momentum of current development drive was sustained. “In 15 to 25 years, we will put Nigeria into space. We will get there. It is not as unattainable as it looks. And we have to do it. For if we are going to make progress, we are going to make it on the basis of commitment, service and sacrifice. And we are not going to be found wanting. We must not be found wanting. We are making efforts not to lag behind. We are not where we would want to be. But we must consistently and cumulatively industrialise. And to do this, infrastructure is a must. We just cannot do without it. Whether it is in terms of road, rail, energy or water. These are non-negotiable. Because of money, we may not be able to do everything at same speed and same time,” Obasanjo said.

Great. Within 25 years it’s not going to be just the US and Chinese with Space Peace Platforms of Death, it’ll also be the freaking Nigerians!

Have a happy Monday!

Cool Pic

I’m not a huge space shuttle freak. I think that the current NASA model of space exploration has completely lost its way from what the space program was originally designed to do – beat the crap out of the Russians. That, and EXPLORE SPACE. All the shuttle seems to be used for now is truckin’ food up to the poor sods on the ISS and fixing the Hubble. When the hell are we going back to the Moon? When are we finally getting off our duff and going to Mars?

Regardless, the space shuttle Discovery launched the other day and I’m sure you haven’t heard anything about it on the news (sarcasm) . I like this picture. It’s something you rarely see – an external fuel tank hurtling towards Earth.

Watch out, people! Hurtling fuel tank coming your way!

So…It’s a Horse Riding Exercise Thing, Huh?

This creation, seen below, is called the Joba Horseriding Exercise Machine. It is manufactured in Japan by Matsushita Electrical Works, based in Kadoma, Osaka, in conjunction with Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan. It’s being called an “indoor fitness machine”.

It offers its user the ability to access a form of horseback-riding therapy, which allows the user to get the effect of physical exercises just by sitting on the machine without any exertion from the user.

The benefits are clear as it helps stimulate seldom used muscles in the dorsal and abdominal regions.

Um…I don’t think the woman in the picture is “exercising” in the common vernacular. Look at her face. She sure looks like she’s benefitting those seldom used muscles in the dorsal and abdominal area. Is that the face that you would make if you were riding a horse? Well, she’s riding something…hmm. Well.

A New Planet?!

2003 EL61, as it has been currently classified, has been discovered, and it may be another one of those elusive planets that seem to creep up every once in a great while in our solar system.

A new found object in our solar system’s outskirts may be larger than any known world after Pluto, scientists said today.

It also has a moon.

Designated as 2003 EL61, the main object in the two-body system is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto’s diameter.

Other news reports that the object could be twice as big as Pluto are false, according to two astronomers who found the object in separate studies and another expert who has analyzed the data.

If the mass is only one-third that of Pluto, then theory holds that it can’t be larger than Pluto, according to Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center, which serves as a clearinghouse for data on all newfound objects in the solar system.

Marsden, who was not involved in the discovery but has reviewed the data, told SPACE.com that the mass estimate is very firm, within 1 or 2 percent. “I don’t think it is bigger than Pluto,” he said.

I Will Be 66 Years Old When the World Ends

There is a huge freaking asteroid 2,000 feet long out there in the cosmos called 99942 Apophis. In cosmic terms, 2,000 feet is very small. But what’s so special about this asteroid? It may hit the planet in 2036.

The concern: Within the object’s range of possible fly-by distances lie a handful of gravitational “sweet spots,” areas some 2,000 feet across that are also known as keyholes.

The physics may sound complex, but the potential ramifications are plain enough. If the asteroid passes through the most probable keyhole, its new orbit would send it slamming into Earth in 2036. It’s unclear to some experts whether ground-based observatories alone will be able to provide enough accurate information in time to mount a mission to divert the asteroid, if that becomes necessary.

Timing is everything, astronomers say. If officials attempt to divert the asteroid before 2029, they need to nudge the space rock’s position by roughly half a mile – something well within the range of existing technology. After 2029, they would need to shove the asteroid by a distance as least as large as Earth’s diameter. That feat would tax humanity’s current capabilities.

Great.

Paging Rick Deckard…

See the man in the pic to the left? The one with the vaguely girlish hair next to the attractive girl in pink?

His name is Hiroshi Ishiguru. He is a professor at Osaka University in Japan. The woman with him is named Repliee Q1, and no, she doesn’t have some cool Dada-esque last name. She’s a FREAKING ROBOT.

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human.

Wonderful. Now all we need is a Voight-Kampff machine.

Fortunately, for us puny humans, we don’t yet have to bow to our robot masters.

She is designed to look human and although she can only sit at present, she has 31 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby air compressor, programmed to allow her to move like a human.

Great news for us. Just wait – the next thing you know Repliee Q2 will be out and telling us how to eradicated hunger and poverty from the world, cure diseases and the aging process and helping bring about complete nuclear disarmament, moments before she uses the Army’s Space Peace Platform of Death on us and starts the whole Humans vs. Terminator thing.