those wonderful flying machines, robots can be wounded, republicans and jim crow lite

Design drawings for a man-powered flying machine with manually controlled wings

Design drawings for a man-powered flying machine with manually controlled wings entitled, “Vélocipède aérien,” proposed by Jean Jacques Bourcart, Paris, August, 1866. There is remarkably very little information about Bourcart and his machine. Though it would probably help if I could read French. The drawing seems very modern, like you might get the flying machine inside a box of cereal and these were the assembly instructions printed on the back.

A sign of things to come, Ohio Man Charged With Shooting Robot

In what is sure to be only the beginning of human vs. robot confrontations, a surveillance robot belonging to the police was recently shot after a six-hour standoff with a 62-year-old heavily inebriated man.

….First, a camera-equipped robot entered the home to locate the man and the guns. A second larger bot was then sent in, but when the owner spotted it, he opened fire with a small caliber pistol damaging it. Shortly afterward, police finally entered the home and used an electronic stun device to subdue him. After being issued a search warrant, authorities found a number of firearms within the residence, including two AK47 rifles and a 75-round ammunition drum, which is illegal in Ohio.

Police did charge him for shooting the robot. You can’t go around shooting robots paid for with tax dollars.

Technical illustration shows elevation and horizontal section of a man-powered flying machine constructed and tested unsuccessfully by Swiss watchmaker Jakob Degen

Technical illustration shows elevation and horizontal section of a man-powered flying machine constructed and tested unsuccessfully by Swiss watchmaker Jakob Degen living in Vienna in the early 1800s. I’m not sure exactly the contortions one would have to perform to make it work, but the flight depended on the pilot using their arms and legs in proper sequence. I really like this drawing. It should be the company logo for a company that creates apps for the iPad or something. The flying machine was called an ornithopter. According to one site, Degen tethered his machine to a hot air balloon and went through the motions of operating the wings, but the craft never flew on its own.

I pretty much cannot stand The Economist. They are generally overrated and their unbiased centrism largely a myth kept alive by two somewhat centrist editorials a year. Though they did not screw this report up completely, Interesting study of ‘tipping points’, how societies change their collective minds

“FOUNDATION”, a novel by Isaac Asimov from the golden age of science fiction, imagines a science called psychohistory which enables its practitioners to predict precisely the behaviour of large groups of people. The inventor of psychohistory, Hari Seldon, uses his discovery to save humanity from an historical dark age.

A fantasy, of course. But the rise of mobile phones and social networks means budding psychohistorians do now have an enormous amount of data that they can search for information which might yield more modest patterns of predictability. And, as several of them told the AAAS meeting, they are doing just that.

They also acknowledge that a small sudden change can throw off data as it starts to mushroom. Though they might eventually be able to factor in calculations for this ‘chaos’ eventually.

For the sunny South. An airship with a

From a 1913 issue of the magazine Punch a satirical and aviation themed look at Jim Crow laws in the South. While full-bore Jim Crow laws are not making a return, we are getting a taste of what they were like. The conservative movement is dying, so it plans to hang on to power by using more restrictive voting laws and gerrymandering.

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