Cheeseburger Gothic

Another piece of kit from Weapons of Choice deployed

Posted November 17, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Laser packs! Sort of. The USN has nailed one to the deck of the USS Ponce as an 'anti-drone' device – which implies it's not quick enough or powerful enough for Phalanx work yet.

Quartz has a write up here. Most interesting factoid, each 'laser blast' only costs a buck.

20 Responses to ‘Another piece of kit from Weapons of Choice deployed’

Murphy reckons...

Posted November 17, 2014
The U.S. Navy is putting a lot of effort into systems such as lasers, rail guns, and eletromagnetic catapults.

No word on FAE style catapults though.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 17, 2014
Electrically powered ships are the future!!

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
ZUMWALT class DDG is very electrical I thought. !

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted November 17, 2014
Has Stalin's Hammer: Cairo been written yet?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted November 18, 2014
Gail. I could finish it in about two weeks, but I'm trying to juggle a couple of other ebooks too.

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TheWah swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 17, 2014
I love that they installed it on the USS Ponce. I'm guessing nobody will ever snigger at its name again.


Drew from Oz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 18, 2014
Yep. Me too. Definitely LOL'd.

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Sudragon mumbles...

Posted November 17, 2014
Even better... the Captain can pass the order to 'FIRE ZE LASER!!!'

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damian would have you know...

Posted November 17, 2014
The USS Ponce has to sail in an isolated "special" flotilla with the USS Informer and the USS Goatfucker. Other ships will target these vessels with their "Shiv" missiles unless strict separation is kept.

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
yeah, its fkn CRYSTAL to me now!.........................I KNOW I KNOW!!

Halwes mutters...

Posted November 18, 2014

FTA with China? I'm sure all your mates in the dairy industry will sell the farm, and the jobs that go with them, fckwit, to the chinese totalitarians. Free trade and totalitarism. Yeah that could work.

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted November 17, 2014
Havock. If I may, I think Charlton Heston night be saying what you are thinking even better than Jack "The Truth" Nicholson.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 19, 2014
Interesting news.

There's quite a bit more work across the spectrum, too: in the 50 to 60 year life of the F-35, energy weapons are likely to replace all air-to-air missiles in the last quarter or third of that span.

The associated problems are well understood, and fast jet drivers will grouse and whinge and moan about it, but them's the breaks.

There are only a few more generations of air-launched missiles to go, and that will be that. And it's already 20 or so years since medium-range missiles rendered Within Visual Range air combat redundant.

Remember this the next time some blowahard bangs-on about emerging 'hypersonic ballistic carrier-killing missiles' sinking whatever it likes at Mach 10.

Mach 10?

Against energy weapons?

Why so slow?

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 19, 2014
Above certain projectile speeds, the bottleneck isn't the speed of the interceptor, but rather the reaction speed of the targeting system driving it. Also with a kinetic payload, turning it to plasma doesn't necessarily help very much.

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Guy ducks in to say...

Posted November 19, 2014
In WW1 the Royal Navy had the flower-class of ships. You can only pity the poor devils who served in HMS Pansy. As I understand it, British society was slightly less tolerant at the time. You can imagine how the crew might have conducted a boarding action: "Come on you Pansies - up and at 'em!".

Anthony mutters...

Posted November 20, 2014

I think you may be referring to the Flower class corvettes from WWII immortalised in "The Cruel Sea".

I hate to ruin a good story but there was no HMS Pansy, there was a Bluebell and a Petunia though. The Canadians had one called Asbestos and HMS Arabis was transferred to the US Navy and renamed Saucy. Hence it had a crew of saucy sailors. Frankie Howerd would have loved it...


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Guy would have you know...

Posted November 20, 2014
When I was told the story about HMS Pansy I thought it sounded a bit too good to be true, so I checked it out online. Here is a reference to HMS Pansy - a "sweeping sloop" apparently - from 1915:

http://www.worldnavalships.com/directory/shipinfo.php?ShipID=5194

I wasn't aware of the USS Saucy (excellent name, thanks Anthony) and I like the idea of a group of sailors in a bar being a bunch of Petunias.

Anthony puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2014
I only looked in the Flower class for the Pansy. I did feel sorry though for the poor sod of a signals rating having to spell out Convolvulus or Chrysanthemum on an Aldis lamp.<font size="2"> </font>

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andy f is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22, 2014

they called it 'ponce'

whatever cool points they earned by 'laser', they just lost


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ANZAC biography project by the National Archives

Posted October 31, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

The Archive Super Nerds of both OZ and NZ have a kind of amazeballz project to profile every Australian and New Zealander who served in World War I. They're digitizing the service dossiers of everyone who served, including the women of the nursing corps and all the support services, and throwing it online with a heap of other documents, linking back to an earier project which crowd sourced photographs, letters and so on from family members.

You can check it out here.

6 Responses to ‘ANZAC biography project by the National Archives’

tqft puts forth...

Posted October 31, 2014
Just sent it to wife for her family history project.

Have some of it already but there are gaps.

I should also look up my father's mother's relatives.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted October 31, 2014

Excellent resource for the personal history buffs.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted October 31, 2014
I looked up my grandfather's records and found that I was "this close" to not being here at all.

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted October 31, 2014
Please give thanks to our archivists. If you've ever tried to find things from the U.K. national archives website you'll know how much better the Australian one is.

Obviously, the records are only as good as the record keepers. But you can find surprising things when you go looking. For example, letters from your long deceased ancestors. Or, thank's to JB's link here, that one of your ancestors was involved in TWO mutinies on Australian warships during WW1.

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted October 31, 2014
"U.K. national archives"

The military archives, or ordinary civil? I've tried finding U.K civil records through Ancestry.com.au and it's impossible.

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ShaneAlpha ducks in to say...

Posted October 31, 2014
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

I've tried to use this site before and compared to the AU one it's utter arse. They seem more concerned with getting you to pay them and pay a researcher rather then making the information searchable.

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Siri on the autism spectrum

Posted October 20, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Really lovely article in the Herald (originally NYT) about a mother's discovery of her autistic son's burgeoning friendship with Siri. She makes the point that her boy might have grown close to any AI, and investigates some of the potential for software 'sidekicks' to help integrate those growing up on 'the spectrum'.

But whether Siri or Cortana or el Goog, it's a lovely piece.

Gus had never noticed Siri before, but when he discovered there was someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions (trains, planes, buses, escalators and, of course, anything related to weather) but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly, he was hooked. And I was grateful. Now, when my head was about to explode if I had to have another conversation about the chance of tornadoes in Kansas City, Missouri, I could reply brightly: "Hey! Why don't you ask Siri?"

It's not that Gus doesn't understand Siri's not human. He does - intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. I realised this when he was 8, and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home, with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple Store. Finally, I asked why. "So it can visit its friends," he said.

32 Responses to ‘Siri on the autism spectrum’

Therbs mutters...

Posted October 20, 2014
That last paragraph. Wonderful.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted October 20, 2014
I do wonder what friends it will make. The movie 'Her' suggests with simulated intelligences we may become very fond of these friends finding them much more patient, reasonable and undemanding than our human friends.

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Bunyip mutters...

Posted October 20, 2014
Oh. That was gorgeous.
Ta muchly JB.

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Dave W puts forth...

Posted October 20, 2014
I know who I'd ask about tornadoes in K.C.. Just sayin'.

Respects.
Outer marches etc etc.

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted October 20, 2014
That was a great read. You wouldn't think with something so positive that the "don't read the comments" rule would apply, but yeah.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted October 20, 2014
+1, a nice yarn.

Human relationships are hard. Especially for young men. There seems a trend of people disengaging from human-human interactions. People will always vere away from the distasteful and difficult. Less experience leads to even more difficulty, more hesitance, more avoidance.
Programming continues to produce user interfaces that are more intuitive, more personable.
What will happen to us when these trends intersect?

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted October 20, 2014
First, I think the parent is a shit for not having the conversation with the kid anyway and throwing it off to a piece of technology. It sounds like the sort of thing my parents might have done. Besides, one can have a far more productive conversation with Google's app than with Siri.

In relation to tornadoes, I've lived in the Midwest for most of my life. The gaps in habitation can be narrowed down to five months during the Gulf War and eleven months in South Korea. Throw in four to five more months for Basic and AIT in South Carolina/Georgia respectively.
So, I have never actually seen a tornado. The closest I have been to one is a particularly nasty storm which hit the area back in 2003 I believe. It is the one time I sat in a bathtub with a book since I lived in a brick, cockroach infested apartment building. I didn't realize it but apparently the tornado cell had passed over North Kansas City and landed in Kansas City North (further north), destroying a brand new housing development which included the just finished home of KMBC 9 News Anchor Kris Ketz.

We have storms. Just like everyone else does. We don't ride to work on horses nor do we kick the shit from our boots before we go into the general store. Cattle do not roam the streets, we don't eat BBQ every day. Most of the metroplex that has the name, "Kansas City," is actually on the Missouri side with the sister component in Kansas being much smaller (yet every Hollywood script writer puts the entire city in Kansas because they can't be bothered to look at a fucking map). And contrary to popular belief, the city is not inhabited by Larry the Cable Guy clones driving massive trucks tricked out with coal rollers and lift kits.

And I do not think I have ever owned a pair of cowboy boots.

This friendly rant is brought to you by the letter, "N." N is for Nostalgia.
Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2014
But, what you do have in Missouri, is the State Animal is the mule.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 21, 2014
"passed over North Kansas City and landed in Kansas City North (further north)"

And you lot laugh at Mooloolaba, Woolomoloo and Woy Woy.

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2014
To be fair, we laugh at them too. See "Simon's Grandad" and Woy Woy Downing. "You're from where?"

yankeedog is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2014
Don't listen to Murph. KC is a dusty cattle town where people eat barbecue every day, in front of the saloons with the swinging doors and the guys playing honky-tonk pianos right before the bar-fights start.

Darth Greybeard mumbles...

Posted October 21, 2014
Careful y-dog! If you go to KC or KC North or North KC or Even Further North KC, Murph might jest call you out. Two men in the dusty main street, facing each other through the honking traffic.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted October 21, 2014
We have Point Danger, Mount Warning and Mount Mistake in roughly a straight line

NBlob reckons...

Posted October 22, 2014
@ Murph, Re: your 1st par. I'd urge you to adjust your judgy pants.

The frequency of back-seat DVD players is testament to the desperation felt by parents of cognitively normal kids.
The parents of Autistic Spectrum kids are driven far beyond the patience of a statue of a deaf saint.
This is complicated further by the strain of caring for kids on the AS puts on any relationship which frequently, usually results in separation. A friend has a son who is at the "Cognitively Normal" end of the spectrum. She reports %90 of the parents in her group are single, %90 of those relationships ended as a direct consequence of the kids' behaviours & needs. Thus one finds oneself as a single parent, caring for a kid that needs 150% of full time equivalent care. I struggled in my 20's, with a spouse to raise a sole child. I cannot imagine how it is to raise a special needs kid, or 2, solo, with other kids, in my 40's.

So consider firstly a life-line of time offered by Siri (or equivalent) then consider that Siri (or equivalent) may actually help the kid engage with meat people through a kind of conversation on training-wheels as described in the piece.

Sounds to me like a Win with Win frosting. Not abandonment.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 22, 2014
You got me, man. I am not a parent. I will never be a parent by choice and circumstance.

On the other hand, I do deal with a myriad of special needs individuals ranging from my own brother, patrons at various aquatics facilities, and perhaps most important of all, my students.

I don't throw any of them off onto a piece of technology to avoid dealing with them.

Ever.






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Abigail mumbles...

Posted October 21, 2014

Loved the article! Beautiful story, and as a mother of two Autistic boys I can understand exactly where she is coming from.




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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted October 21, 2014
I also loved this article. Autism is frustrating, mysterious and frightening even for the very best parents. The fact that this child connected with this machine is nothing less than magic.

And Murph, stop lying. When a Kansas Citian isn't eating fried chicken they are wolfing down BBQ. Every fucking time I'm in KC and meet with someone its all "Hey, Paul! How about we get some BBQ?" Every time.

But I understand: it is somewhat delicious.

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted October 22, 2014
With non-Kansas Citians we assume that the BBQ is what you want to see. But next time you are here we will take you to Niece's on 63rd Street, voted best place to have breakfast in Missouri, for some Chicken and Waffles.

Personally, I think the Mexican food is pretty good here.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted October 22, 2014
Forgive me, but I intend on avoiding Missouri Mexican food for the same reasons I avoid Missouri sushi: they got no business being there.

However, I am definitely up for some chicken and waffles.

Murphy mutters...

Posted October 22, 2014
West side of Kansas City is probably more Mexican than some parts of California. The food is pretty good. You are surely missing out.

Japanese food, if it can be called that, should be avoided.

Chicken and waffles it is next time you are here.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Surtac puts forth...

Posted October 21, 2014


What Abigail said.

I have two girls on the spectrum and I know exactly what that writer is talking about. Anything, anything, that helps my girls cope with the world is worth it in my opinion.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted October 22, 2014
Are you aware of the T. A. Marshall book "I am Aspien Girl" ?
Opinions?

My Mum is trying to find tactics to improve her relationship with my niece who has (allegedly) a diagnosis of an asperger spectrum condition.
Any resources I can direct her to would be appreciated.


insomniac asserts...

Posted October 22, 2014
As Asperger's is a form of autism wouldn't you start with autism associations and the like?

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted October 21, 2014

Thinking about it, how many of us at one time or another when talking with someone get exasperated at them for not understanding, or listening to what we are asking. (or is that just me). These synthetics will never do that.

Classic example when someone says something and we don't hear them clearly we say "I'm sorry speak up, or I didn't catch that" and they reply and once more we don't hear/get it but if ask them to say it again they get annoyed and give up.

These synthetic personalities will never do that, they will be patient, they will never raise their voice, or sound like they are bored or dismiss our random obsessions. How can we not become enamoured of them.

My experience is with the voice directions in the car. Imagine if a passenger was directing you using the street directory and you missed the turn off, or took the wrong street. I know of no one who would state 'Recalculating' in a calm and measured tone and then give you a new route.

insomniac mutters...

Posted October 22, 2014
Can't you download car voices that would provide you with an authentic typically human response?

Bunyip mutters...

Posted October 22, 2014
Like a Havock voiced GPS?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted October 22, 2014
I think Garmin allows you to choose Snoop Dog's voice.

insomniac mumbles...

Posted October 22, 2014
I thizzle Snoop Dogg provizzle dizzle to anywhizzle would bizzle a lizzle

Snoop translator

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted October 22, 2014
Recalculating...

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted October 22, 2014

"Like a Havock voiced GPS" that would be responsible for more collisions than driving under the influence of alcohol.

Bunyip reckons...

Posted October 22, 2014
"...responsible for more collisions than driving under the influence of alcohol."

"Working as intended"

Bangar puts forth...

Posted October 22, 2014
Hit the horn muppet!
Too slow, pedal to the metal!
Full speed and damn the torpedoes!

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Just the right amount of crazy

Posted October 3, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Great profile of Elon Musk at Aeon.co, who is all I have instead of Steve Jobs now. A long piece, worth a weekend read, focussing on Space X and his plans for colonising Mars to secure the future of humanity in the face of the Great Filter, which gets a mention by Barnes in the thread on War Dogs.

‘It’s funny,’ he told me. ‘Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth’s surface. They say things like, “Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around.” They imply that humanity and civilisation are less good than their absence. But I’m not in that school,’ he said. ‘I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future.’?

...

finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’

6 Responses to ‘Just the right amount of crazy’

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted October 4, 2014
Elon Musk is the closest we have to Tony Stark. Also I think I have read
"there was a black leather couch and a large desk, empty but for a few wine bottles and awards." as a description of you when some jurono's have come to interview Birmo.

and for whatever reasons he offers I am just happy that someone is building a space program and a colony on mars will help. I also want to see orbiting space colonies like those proposed by Gerard K O'Neils high frontier, though I recognize that we can't yet build self sustaining enclosed systems on earth so building them in space still presents a technical challenge.

I think Elon Musk's proposal is a more sensible use of resources than trying to bomb people into changing their minds.

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted October 4, 2014
Still the same problem we've always had.
Getting out of the gravity well.

Bring the cost of that down to something reasonable, tear up the worst parts of the U.N. Outer Space Treaty and we might have a chance.

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted October 5, 2014
Elon Musk. The early 21st century's Howard Hughes.

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TheWah would have you know...

Posted October 5, 2014
Every time any of my work colleagues read a story about Musk they send it to me. My ManCrush for Elon is known far and wide

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted October 5, 2014
As Steve Jobs was to JB, so Elon Musk is to me. Only WITH ROCKETS.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted October 5, 2014

Haven't read article yet, been de-nailing all day.

Part B of my recent USA mission was to attend a 40th in Pasadena. Home to a sizable chunk of Caltech (from whence JPL was banned.) At said 40th, towards the bleary part of the evening I spoke with a Perth chap currently doing orbital math @ Caltech. He said:

Part of the problem is "acceptable loss." For a national program like NASA, invested with national pride, One loss from 100 launches is unacceptable. This leads public servants to lean towards belt & braces style of decision making, with redundancies on backups. A extravagantly cautious approach.

In a private operation, shit happens.

This dude is entirely confident that the Private Sector will be the ion drive that gets us off planet. But that Why (ROI) will influence the hows & wheres. For instance Humans will certainly work in a commercial space environment, for longer and longer spells as the century progresses, but permanent colonies are probably not on the immediate horizon. The company town is dead, Fly in Fly out is the go. Just ask central QLD.

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The Launch

Posted September 9, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I wont be getting up at 2.45am for the Apple launch, even though the little boy in me would love to. The grown man with deadlines says, no, get your sleep. But I have carved out a couple of hours tomorrow morning to watch the presentation and geek out like crazy.

I’m not going to add to the speculation about what they’ll announce. The gadget blogs have ruined a lot of the fun with all of the component leaks, which is a reason I try to avoid them.

(Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the economics of leaky online churnalism, and I know you are, the prices being paid for these component shots far exceed the ad revenue they generate. So who’s paying? Best speculation I’ve heard is phone case manufacturers. If they can be in the market on day one with 50 000 cases, it’s worth paying someone in China real money to steal a shell).

Rather than trying to guess what Apple will do tomorrow, I find it more intriguing to imagine where whatever they’ll announce might lead twenty years down the track. I see computing embedded in us, organically embedded in us, and us embedded in a world of data. I see our DNA as our passcode to open an email, withdraw money from the bank, or login in here at the Burger.

I imagine a Jetsons home which knows when we’re approaching and has the dinner ready, probably in some refrigerator-souvide cooker (they already exist). I see phones as a small, insanely dense block of technology that somehow ties all of this together. I see class divisions in the tech we use, with the great mass of people opting for ‘free’ tech and services via Google’s (or whichever company succeeds them) ad-supported business, while maybe a billion or so wealthy individuals pay a premium to Apple (or whichever company succeeds them) to avoid all that shit.

I see something like Google Glass, but not Google Glass, feeding us whatever data we think we need on our eyeballs – and depending on who’s paying for the service, ads to go with it.

I see workable real time language translators in super small ear implants. I see ubiquitous telepresence and tracking.

And I see massive business opportunities in disconnecting us from the always on cloud.

But apart from two phones and some sort of wearable thingy, or bunch of thingies, I have no idea what’s coming tomorrow to get all this rolling with greater speed.

57 Responses to ‘The Launch’

Justin puts forth...

Posted September 9, 2014
iWhat??????? yaaaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnnn

but the future tech is interesting. Sign me up for a full serve of 'disconnect' please :)

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Halwes has opinions thus...

Posted September 9, 2014
Censoring that would be like censoring William Burroughs junior. Your dreamt future world can get fucked. I can't think of anything worse than a future world with a bunch of pissed, angry, racist, latent homosexual, misogynists plugged into an omnipresent ether screaming information and instructions at me.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted September 9, 2014
Dino, you mean?

Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted September 9, 2014
Spent 10 dollars on wine JB.
Journalists have nothing to worry about.
Julian, Edward, Glen etc.
All the rest?
Move to Bolivia.
Moneys good.
If 9/11 can happen in New York, and Michael Hastings can die then my suggestion is get a job withe New Idea.
Less Dangerous.
Or you can write about nipple slips or the new Royal baby.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted September 10, 2014
This is almost poetry, Dino. But a thousand miles off topic.

Halwes is gonna tell you...

Posted September 10, 2014
I do think that nipple slips are a worthwhile topic though.

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Halwes would have you know...

Posted September 9, 2014

The future world will be OK then if it's always going to be that easy. I suspect it wont be though.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted September 10, 2014
I predict quantum computing within 20 years, Very small, very fast, enormous memory capacity. Beautiful and frightening probable consequences.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted September 11, 2014
Comrade Paul, 5years not so much 20.
FwBiL in SD spoke of breakthroughs in QC that were imminent, impressive, robust & likely quickly cheap like we've never seen.
the example he cited was instead of a power network being controlled by a Master Control Room by earnest men in cheap ties, every device, every house, most poles and certainly every substation would be the Smart in the Grid. Ditto traffic.
Not so much in the memory density, he suggested we are on the "lip of a plateau" of memory capacity development, it would continue to improve, just not at the logarithmic rate it had been in the last decade.
But the connectedness thing will continue in new & interesting directions. LiFi being just one example. This radio frequency thing is just like so Marconi.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted September 12, 2014
"Comrade Paul, 5years not so much 20."

1. Comrade? Are you implying that I am a Godless Communist?

2. I said "within 20 years" did I not?

"This radio frequency thing is just like so Marconi."

Actually, it is so Tesla.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted September 10, 2014

is it true the new iphone 6 goes through your contacts list and emails all those using iphone 5 and asks them if their lives a devoid of sense and meaning?

Lulu asserts...

Posted September 10, 2014
As a Samsung S2 user, would it even notice my existence?

Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted September 10, 2014
As a Samsung S2 user the iPhone 6 will add your name to the list of first against the wall when our masters announce the takeover.

It's nothing personal, just business.

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted September 10, 2014
Off topic, except it is on matters digital...

There is a computer game called Depression Quest. I thought it was a joke at first, but it isn't. On a separate note, there is some horrible crap going on in the gaming community over the last few months. A couple of women, who have some prominence in gaming, have been subject to vicious hate attacks because they have the unbelievable gall to be women. It's being dubbed Gamergate (sigh).

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted September 10, 2014
Mmmm, once again the last bit of my post got chopped off...
There is a good short article from today on the New Yorker site about the game and some of the crap the female game designer has copped. It also has some decent stuff about depression.

pi would have you know...

Posted September 10, 2014
Of course, the same pre-pubescent boys are just as bad as that to other boys that they have a needle-boner for.

It's bad, and totally un-called for, but this might just as easily have been a guy, and while the insults would have been different, the effect would have been the same, except you wouldn't be hearing about it, because it would be a guy and not a gal.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted September 11, 2014

" except you wouldn't be hearing about it, because it would be a guy and not a gal" which while strickly true is not a helpful stance since the comparison of how much women are harrassed on line isn't comprable to the harrassment of men on line. Time has a piece on this which is timely. This highlights why when both may be insulted, it is the sheer volume and degree of virtriol that is unleased when it is a woman that is the target it indiciatve of the problem in the industry.

damian mutters...

Posted September 11, 2014
"might just as easily have been a guy"

Don't think this is anywhere near true

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted September 11, 2014
Sexism exists.
I believe there is a 'nerd' sexism as well, though I like to believe nerds are less sexist.
The online thing is 'new' territory.
Someone has infected my computer.
I think smart girls are cool.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 12, 2014
Other than the spouses of my antipodean mates, and my own, I believe there are no smart girls.

Dino not to be confused with swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 12, 2014
Hey Paul,
I read yesterday that 50% or more of the USA is single.
I guess since You and your Wife got hitched there is no one left worth marrying in the USA.

Anthony reckons...

Posted September 12, 2014

OK, that's a rather good intelligent comment...


What have you done with the real Dino?

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted September 12, 2014
Fuck Anthony!
I have three or four 'Good Behaviour' Bonds.
One 6 month mother will land me in gaol.
Fuck Yeah.
Hence Dino will drink less alcohol, 'terrorize' the Poolice less and post more coherent comments, hopefully to entertain and make Burgers feel good.
That is my aim your Honour....

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Halwes mumbles...

Posted September 10, 2014
This is a favourite concept of mine. Everything in the "unnatural world" had to be imagined first. There is nothing constructed that we see around us that hasn't been imagined by someone or some computer brain. It is starting to appear to me that even the most outrageously, inconceivable concept can be realised. If this is the case with constructed objects then are thoughts and ideas themselves also the product of this other brain function which is the imagination? Are we imagining rather than thinking and reasoning ourselves into certain courses of action or creeds not just in our everyday lives but continually as a species? The IT comment of "rubbish in gets rubbish out" comes to mind. But I question whether this evolutionary thinking doesn't operate at a deeper level than that. Should computer brains have the capacity for imagination or would we be asking for trouble? Now it gets scary. If the "unnatural " world had to be imagined then why not what we consider to be the "natural" world.? Brains on earth are of varying capacity and complexity but many organisms have one. They range from ants to Einstein. Brains are an electro - chemical reaction. Brains have synapses and circuitry that are always firing and receiving complex signals. Our earth itself seems to also have some kind of interconnected self regulatory system. The entire universe follows this electro - chemical brain pattern of firing quasars, chemical reactions and receptors so what if the universe is a very large, complex brain and we are a mere thought bubble of a giant electro chemical reaction? One thing is for sure is that, if reality is only limited by imagination then there is some very weird, exciting, terrifying stuff out there. Sometimes I wish people could stop imagining for a while and let us old blokes catch up a bit especially when it comes to phones and DVD players!

pi ducks in to say...

Posted September 10, 2014
No-one uses DVD players anymore dude.

Halwes asserts...

Posted September 10, 2014

That would be right. Just when I've almost learnt how to use one. The same thing happened with VHS.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted September 10, 2014
Just to go full circle on you; a lot of the unnatural world has been borrowed from the natural world. Mother Nature has had millions of years of evolution to perfect some things. Probably not DVD players though.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted September 10, 2014
I'm haven't decided yet whether to go with VHS or Beta.

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted September 10, 2014
Oh shit. What about Blu-ray? That's still OK right? See, I read that by next year there'll be 4K blu-ray discs to go with our pointlessly expensive 4K screens which currently have zero content. Except that we'll also need new 4K players which is kind of sad because then we'll find out that our super-expensive 4K TVs won't work with the new players because they aren't HDCP 2.2 compatible. Man, it's like there was some terrible plot to keep us buying new equipment over and over again. I'm gonna move to Apple. They wouldn't do that to us, would they?

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted September 10, 2014
Did Steve Jobs actually get cancer or was a time traveler sent back in time only to fail at stopping the imonster? Oh jeesus a shiver just went down my spine - did i just channel Dino? : )

Cyberpunk here we come!

I think 20 years is too short a time frame. It will be a race towards what is going to happen to this planet and what tech we have. If we are too focused on survival this stuff is going to become superfluous. The tech may end up being pointed out towards trying to save a modicum of civilisation rather than making sure the auto dog washer does a good job of cleaning poochy. Either way I think the "haves" vs "the have-nots" is going to feature very heavily.

On saying that though - dystopian futures always seem to be what we imagine but the reality is most likely to be one that features the colour brown. A lot. Middle of the road will be the new black. Beigeageddon i am going to call it.


pi would have you know...

Posted September 10, 2014
> Beigeageddon

That's a great word.

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted September 11, 2014
Simon,
Get some help.
Even thinking about channeling my sorry arse is worthy of DSM IV; chapter entitled- "Best medical practice has no fkn cure!"
Today I had an accident with an oversized pallet. My bad. Probably $400.00 out of my pocket.
Yesterday I went to court. $750.00 and the fear of Judicial Authority remains-
This song says it all-
Except I am not dancing.
Having Powerful AI is of little use sometimes...
I am living in Beigeaggedon!
Help!

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted September 10, 2014

It isn't the implants themselves which worry me, ts the farnarkelling with my neurons which may ensue. If anything's gonna screw with my brain cells its gonna be wine, whisky and beer.


Jetsons kitchen ftw!

Halwes is gonna tell you...

Posted September 10, 2014

And if they can farnarkel then they surely will. It will all be explained in the terms and conditions which we'll all agree to.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted September 10, 2014
Any original ideas will be the sole property of AppleColesworthCorp or whichever conglom software you uploaded to your head.

Sudragon has opinions thus...

Posted September 10, 2014
Imagine your computer when your anti-virus isn't quite up to date. Or all the pop-up ads on some web-pages.

Now imagine an advertisement for off brand viagra smack in the middle of your field of vision.

And you can't turn it off.

Better hope your headwall is a good one, and up to date.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted September 11, 2014

I thought it was good that the new phone was a bit thinner and bigger. So it reminded me of my cheaper HTC desire I bought. For the record. HTC has a really good music player, and long long battery life. This is because its a big battery and the apps shut down when the screen is dropped to the background. I think thats kinda neat. But seriously what I got excited about in the world of computing yesterday was that the update to Battlefield 4 was announced. The game is finally working really well, and now I'm glad I stupidly by mistake bought the premium package. Anyways the new patch will update the maps to involve new tech, playing the prototypes found in the future war version of Battelfield 2142. Hover tanks, rail guns, lasers and all sorts of other tomfoolery. My glowing red six core chip PC (bought for $700 dollars on ebay) is chirping with anticipation like r2d2 when he got charged up on Dagobah.

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pi puts forth...

Posted September 11, 2014
All kidding aside, there is one thing here that could be truly revolutionary. The watch.

One of the biggest issues with using your phone for paying for things is that it is inherently insecure. You lose your phone, lose your password, someone cracks you phone, all the other bad things that can happen, and someone starts using your digital folding stuff.

Ah... but the watch... that could change that. Tap the phone, confirmation gets sent to the watch. OK to pay? Press the check mark (with the included finger-print scanner), and away you go. Two-factor authentication in every apple persons hand. Secure, fast, no passwords.

That's the big thing that I saw in this launch.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted September 11, 2014
I was thinking earlier about the use of the iWatch while driving. It's bad enough with people on their phones in the car, but how about having the watch on your wrist, easily seen at the 10 o'clock position on the steering wheel, just off center to where you should be looking?

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Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted September 11, 2014
JB,
You are not going to believe me but I designed 'Smart Phones' and Apps back in 1996.
Yep.
Completely off topic but do you think Dreamworks plagairised this image for the little boy casting a fishing line and cork float-

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Halwes asserts...

Posted September 12, 2014

Australia on high terrorist alert.! That should be good for a poll bounce.

pi would have you know...

Posted September 12, 2014
I'm glad I don't watch news. I'm, therefore, the one that doesn't feel terrorized.

Lulu asserts...

Posted September 12, 2014
Or to borrow Adam Hills's phrase (Last Leg, a few weeks ago): Australia's alert level has been raised from Crikey to Strewth.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted September 14, 2014
We call breathe a bit easier now that the alert level has been reduced to Dinkum.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted September 14, 2014
I just realized that I speak more Stralian than I do Yiddish.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted September 14, 2014
Good.
"Gungadin da house an cook me my fkn dinner!"

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted September 14, 2014
But you won't Paul.
You won't cook me my dinner.
I know you won't.
I have reduced my meat intake but honestly, after changing the oil and filter on my ute tonight i would like...
Veal Scallopini, milk fed(apologies to Veges etc) pink when I cut the flesh, sauted briefly in reduced onions, garlic, greenpeppercorns and cream.
Pink remember!
fancy cut carrots with tarregon and caramalised potatos with rosemary.
But you won't P{aul.
You won't go and get in the house and cook me my dinner.
You never have and You probably never will...
I can accept it, although I am very hungary tonight after servicing my vehhhical...

Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted September 14, 2014
Tonight, for your dining pleasure...
A tin of organic Italian chickpeas, washed three times to reduce sodium.
Tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and finely chopped garlic. Flat leaf Parsley from the garden will add some colour.
Presented in a clean stainless steel bowl with salt and pepper and locally produced bread from two days ago.
Enjoy...

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted September 14, 2014
Okay, so I am a little stoned and a little pisssed and really should know better than to risk feeding the beast, but, Dino, that cracked me up. And that ain't easy to do.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted September 14, 2014
delicious

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted September 14, 2014

"Delicious"??

Don't harsh my mellow, dude.

Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted September 14, 2014
Nah the chickpeas with stale bread...
Delicious Man!
I am going to open a restaraunt.
Sonn as I learn how to spelll...

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Halwes reckons...

Posted September 12, 2014
I forgot about the G20. That explains all the cops at Cairns airport. I love living in the bush.

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Vovchara ducks in to say...

Posted September 12, 2014
still waiting for flexipads, Samsung G7 or 8? What dou guys think?

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Vovchara mutters...

Posted September 12, 2014
still waiting for flexipads, Samsung G7 or 8? What dou guys think?

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Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted September 12, 2014
Vovchara,
Using the physics of 9/11 and the University of Sydney(look up their analysis) it is quite likely that if someone smokes an e cigarete or rides a petrol driven bicycle within 15 kilometers of a 47 storey building it will collapse.
I offer the following 'terror' alert.
Taller or 'shorter' buildings will collapse and kill innocent people cause IS has the capability to defy Science.
AL Queda(Our friends now) and Osama can defy Science...

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PJ O'Rourke blasts off

Posted September 8, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Like anyone with a sense of humour I enjoyed PJ's Republican Party Reptile. It was genuinely funny in a way that most conservative satire simply isn't, or possibly can't be. Satire derives its comdedic punch from mocking the powerful, which makes it a difficult ask for conservatives because they are, by definition, attempting to conserve existing power relationships. While the extremes of left wing group think are easily made fun of – God knows I've done it myself more than enough – the simpler concerns of the Left, particularly the older, less identity-focussed Left – are not so easily mocked. Not unless you want to come off sounding like a bully.

In Reptile, O'Rourke managed to find an almost perfect balance between the demands of satire and the power realities of his conservative faith. He even comedically benefited from breaking some taboos – such as his great joke about the Mexican air force crashing into an oil refinery. (Read the book, enjoy the lulz).

But, a lot of his later work was just a bit dull as he went about the business of kicking six kinds of hell out of left wing straw men. This piece, in The Daily Beast, harkens back to the earlier power of his humour, recalling some of the excitement I first felt on reading How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed. It plays to his strengths, which is the unapologetic celebration of science and progress, and largely avoids the sneering nastiness of some his later political writing.

It's about rocket ships, specifically the XCOR Lynx, which is now making a lot of money flying wealthy Chinese people into orbit.

All my rocket ship disappointments are the result of there not being enough private companies like XCOR Aerospace. I learned this at the Space Foundation’s annual Colorado Springs Space Symposium exhibit hall, where there was a full-scale mock-up of XCOR’s Lynx that I sat in.

The Lynx’s 30-foot fuselage and 24-foot wingspan would fit in a McMansion garage. And it’s as prettier than anything a rich car collector has in there now.

The Lynx is soft curving, bob-tailed, compound delta shape with a sharp glance of a cockpit and a pair of ample winglets too beautiful to describe without being sexist, so I wont try. Viewed in profile, they are upside-down mid-section silhouettes of Pippa Middleton leaning over to check your oil.

6 Responses to ‘PJ O'Rourke blasts off’

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted September 8, 2014

Classic O'Rourke indeed and much more enjoyable thanhis other recent stuff.

"The Lynx’s fuselage is being turned on a sort of spit as its all-composite airframe is… I don’t know, basted?" - his knowlege of tech on display is truly breathtaking.

Though I tend to think of things like this as interm tech, until the space elevator is built. Then we are talking <$1000/kg to get stuff into orbit.

Perhaps a future fathers day present?

dweeze mumbles...

Posted September 8, 2014
"Perhaps a future fathers day present?"
For now, you can rest easy with a can of Lynx. Sure to get Pippa heading your way.

It's been a while since PJ was this good.

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Sharky swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 8, 2014
To quote
"
  • The interesting thing about staring down a gun barrel is how small
    the hole is where the bullet comes out, yet what a big difference it
    would make in your social schedule."

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pi ducks in to say...

Posted September 8, 2014
My fave book of PJ was Holidays in Hell :

http://casnocha.com/holidays_in_hell_excerpts


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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 8, 2014
I loved Republican Party Reptile back in the 80s when I read it as a teenager. I also found O'Rourke becoming increasingly tribal and nasty to the point of becoming not just unreadable, but actually illegible - like most True Believers in any heavily dogmatic faith like his big-C (or should that be high church? I do remember the pience about silly protestant hats...) Conservatism.

I suspect O'Rourke is one of the reasons I came around to understanding my own distance from people like him being not about something I believe that they don't, but about my just not believing their stuff. For me this is a rejection of the relativism so many apologists will drag out. I think you have to believe in some abstract and dogmatic things to think like O'Rourke. I don't believe in anything much, and have to treat cases on their own merits. This isn't an ideological difference, it's about rejecting ideology. Too fine a distinction for some people I suppose, but there you go.

Anyway for what it's worth I found the same pattern I'd seen with O'Rourke working with the South Park guys, unless they have a greater appreciation for irony than I credit them for. In the end they seem to be sticking up for the rights of all those poor, oppressed and hated affluent white men and their humour eventually devolves into a rant.

One relatively recent thing by O'Rourke I liked was his "appreciation" of Adam Smith. I didn't read it, but he was on the radio to promote it and said some things that were not totally insane. Took many of the above-mentioned jabs and straw men, but I guess those straw men resembled anything real so little that this just came across as random jokes that didn't work.

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Elitism would have you know...

Posted September 8, 2014

P.J. at the 1987 America's Cup dinner in Perth. Dennis Conner in a bad tuxedo looked like 'a poster child for the penguin obesity fund...I like it that our newest sporting hero can't touch his toes or even see them.' He said he could get into 12-metre yacht racing if they armed them.




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