I wonder what it thinks it’s doing?

This video clip of a ladybug chasing sprinkles fascinates me. I wonder what it thinks is going on? Is it trying to eat the sprinkles, or play with them, or simply figure out what they are? I guess a ladybug’s brain is even smaller than a sprinkle, so perhaps I’m being presumptuous in wondering what it’s thinking! Peter

Continue reading

Night vision systems – coming to your cellphone?

In May last year I wrote about some interesting developments in night vision technology. New thin-film organic semiconductors held out the promise of being able to incorporate night vision into something as small and light as a pair of spectacles. It seems things are moving right along. Wired magazine reports that the US military is actively seeking to incorporate the new technology into other, everyday tools. The cellphone industry may just want to give a sloppy kiss to the Pentagon’s futurists for this one. A solicitation Darpa sent out yesterday calls for the development of wafer-sized thermal imagery sensors and

Continue reading

Hubcap art?

The Telegraph reports that an artist is using – of all things! – discarded hubcaps to create his works. Ptolemy Elrington, 43, works full time in his studio crafting shiny dolphins, dogs and dragons from all grades of hub cap – from BMW and Mercedes to Ford and Volvo. He fixes the caps together using wire salvaged from scrap yards and cuts them with a craft knife and hacksaw. Using free materials means the Brighton-based artist only charges customers for labour – at about £75 [about US $120] per day. His most expensive creation was a dragon that used 200

Continue reading

Supply and demand – it’s for the birds!

The people of South-East Asia and the Far East have long been known as industrious and adaptable, willing to tackle almost anything in their quest to make a living (and better than just a living, if they see an opportunity for riches). It’s been said that Americans work to relax, while Asians work to survive. A recent report by the BBC showed yet again how true this is. The tiny port of Kumai on the southern tip of Indonesian Borneo is a burgeoning trade centre in one of the world’s most valuable animal products – the nests used for bird’s

Continue reading

An intriguing perspective on international relations

I’ve been as critical as any other conservative or ‘classical Liberal’ about the push for a unified ‘world government‘ (although, of course, I don’t believe the conspiracy theories about a so-called ‘New World Order’). A recent article in the Wall Street Journal proposes a rather different perspective on the subject, emphasizing dialog and discussion rather than diplomacy and legal frameworks. It hasn’t changed my point of view, but it has given me a lot of food for thought. Here’s an excerpt. We have entered a new Middle Ages: an era that most resembles the pre-Westphalian era of nearly 1,000 years

Continue reading

‘Flying the ball’ takes on a whole new meaning!

I’ve heard naval aviators speak of ‘flying the ball’ in reference to the Fresnel lens of an aircraft carrier’s landing guide lights. They’d be told to ‘call the ball‘ to indicate that they could see it, and would then fix their eyes on it, ‘flying the ball’ to keep their aircraft on the glide path until it struck the deck. However, the video below shows a whole new aspect to ‘flying the ball’. That’s a pretty remarkable display! It’s from the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, a facility in Zurich, Switzerland. They use Hummingbird quad-rotor UAV’s from Ascending Technologies

Continue reading

Can our nation be saved?

That’s the title of a very profound essay by Walter E. Williams at Townhall.com. Here’s an extract. To get our economic house in order, there must be large spending cuts, not only in so-called discretionary spending but in non-discretionary spending as well. . . . Millions of Americans don’t want their entitlement touched, many of whom are senior citizens. Seniors will tell you that they were forced into Social Security and Medicare, and any congressman talking about cutting those and other entitlements will face their wrath at the ballot box. By the way, according to one study, “Until recent years,

Continue reading

Doofus Of The Day #440

Today’s award goes to the Justice Minister of the central African nation of Malawi. The Register reports: Malawi is determined to “mould responsible and disciplined citizens” with a law banning the breaking of wind. The Local Courts Bill of 2010 is set to be presented before a forthcoming parliamentary session by Justice Minister George Chaponda. . . . One unimpressed Malawian reportedly commented: “How can this government criminalise the release of intestinal gases? Everyone does that, even if it’s in public or it has an accompanying sound which is boring; making it criminal is a joke of democracy.” There’s more

Continue reading

Around The Blogs, Part 2

We continue yesterday’s Around The Blogs post with five more entries from blogs I follow, or where links were sent to me by friends. First, Naked Capitalism alerts us that the banks who have monumentally screwed up the handling of mortgages and home loans are now trying to get legal indemnity for their errors – at our expense. Third Way is an influential think tank whose board is composed of a special Wall Street-type – the Rubin Democrat. These people sit at the nexus of politics and finance, and are conduits for big bank friendly information flow into the administration

Continue reading

Bollywood goes way over the top!

A few months ago I mentioned a new Bollywood film, ‘Enthiran’ (also known as ‘Endiran’ or simply ‘Robot’), and showed the trailer for the movie. More clips from the movie are now available online . . . and the computer graphics, animation, and stunts are mind-boggling! Here are two clips showing some of the extraordinary action. I don’t find it at all realistic, but I’ve got to give the director and producer full marks for imagination! Peter

Continue reading