Archive for May 2007
The existence of flamethrowers is proof that someone, somewhere, said to himself, “I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don’t feel like walking over there to do it.
From one of my co-workers:
my personality comes from adrecore, st. johns wort, ACE+S, vita-lea, bee pollen, 3g vit c, 800 mg ZEN, green oats and goldenseal
Once before, I was bestowed the title of “worst of the web”. In the decade since, nothing. Today, I was awarded a Dirty Sanchez by Phil of Soft Green Glow. I’ll work to make the event so painful and expensive that nobody returns… I’ve already put out enough ideas about how to make a 1000 yard shoot hard; we’ll see how moderate they are when Joe rejects all of them. Remember, Joe wanted a berm to shoot from, I wanted a trench full of mud. spectators would get paintball guns to distract the shooters. Joe’s no fun!
The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it. This has bad results, of course, if you’re a human. But not so much if you’re a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your body. That’s why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect, strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says. Every time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear a path through the minefield. Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.
The human in command of the exercise, however — an Army colonel — blew a fuse.
The colonel ordered the test stopped.
Why? asked Tilden. What’s wrong?
The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned, scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg. This test, he charged, was inhumane.
Bots on The Ground, 06 MAY 2007 Washington Post
I understand the urge to assign human traits to inanimate objects — I do it all the time — but clearly this is too much. It’s a robot built to be destroyed. Let it complete the mission.