Maple tree seeds (or samara fruit) and the spiraling pattern in which they glide to the ground have delighted children for ages and perplexed engineers for decades. Now aerospace engineering graduate students at the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering have learned how to apply the seeds’ unique design to devices that can hover and perform surveillance in defense and emergency situations.
Apparently this one one of scientific engineering great dilemmas since the 1950s. How to recreate the simplicity of a single winged device that had the stability of a a maple tree seed – some of us called them seed helicopters, others ‘whirlybirds”, when I was a kid. Picking up a few and throwing them into the air was a rite of seasonal passage.
You can gaze upon the world’s smallest controllable single-winged rotorcraft in a University of Maryland video here.
Another puzzle solved. Its solution means that we might get a closer look, at less cost, of some of nature’s other wonders. We might more quickly find those that are lost or taken from us. It will inevitably be used for dubious intrusive observations into our own little worlds which seem to get smaller every year.
Since former Vice Chancellor of Propaganda Dick Cheney thought he constituted a 4th branch of government unrestrained by the same laws that govern us peasants its not surprising that neither he or his daughter ( the family apologist) think that exercising one’s first amendment rights is the same thing as libel, Cheney falsely accuses Obama of ‘libel’ against CIA over torture
Cheney’s full comments Wednesday:
In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our country’s name and in our country’s cause. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.
So far Cheney has demonstrated an uncanny ignorance of the basic Constitutional restraints on his former office, thinks that political speech is not protected by the 1st Amendment ( he also confuses libel with slander) and his concept of what comprises qualities of honor are as vile as the Japanese that used “enhanced ” interrogation of American soldiers during WW II.
Note the Chicken-Littleism, “In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.” Violate well established law and torture or we’re all doomed. The former Soviet Socialist Republic used torture and sentencing to labor camps – a form of death sentence – for political dissidents and that Republic crumpled – order and safety were the paramount concerns of the Soviets. Cheney and his defenders are all too familiar in their shrill cries of nationalism mixed with the constant exploitation of fear. The conservative model of ideologies is one of absolutes. Questionable absolutes only the conservative movement has the moral clarity and strength to define. Sound familiar, From a Nazi monthly Der Schulungsbrief, January 1939 –
Historic and worldview battles always are about the victory of an idea that seeks to become absolute, that takes upon itself the transformation of the world. If a victorious revolution has won freedom of action, it cannot be distracted or stopped by complaints about intolerance. They come either from adherents of past structures, structures against which the revolution fought and displaced, or from those who as Nihilists oppose any order because they want chaos and anarchy. Against such people, the rule of an idea must be hard and unforgiving. He who wants to build must push aside and fight everything that stands in the way. The greatness of an era depends on bringing all thoughts and all forms of life under a unified worldview, a unified faith.
Any worldview seeks to rule alone, and must seek that. It must believe in its sole right, which is the foundation of its effectiveness. In battling other worldviews, it must maintain its good conscience.
Cheney’s enemy as he, his daughter and the conservative movement sees them are those who want to adhere to past precedents – in this case laws against torture. Order and order alone can sustain the world in the view od Dick Cheney and every authoritarian movement of the last hundred years. Certainly some order is needed, anarchy being the evil side of the same coin. Cheney sees no subtle philosophy, no finely tuned gears that work in balance as the Founding fathers did. Up becomes down, evil becomes the new good and good is nihilism. Mr. 4th Branch is the second ideologocal zealot this week, who are themselves nihilists accusing their adversaries of being nihilists. The extreme right’s Bill Donohue of the Catholic League wrote in the Washington Post on October 20,
There are many ways cultural nihilists are busy trying to sabotage America these days: multiculturalism is used as a club to beat down Western civilization in the classroom; sexual libertines seek to upend the cultural order by attacking religion; artists use their artistic freedoms to mock Christianity; Hollywood relentlessly insults people of faith; activist left-wing legal groups try to scrub society free of the public expression of religion; elements in the Democratic party demonstrate an animus against Catholicism; and secular-minded malcontents within Catholicism and Protestantism seek to sabotage their religion from the inside.
Donohue’s tone and substance is that of Cheney’s, and both are shadowy echoes of Der Schulungsbrief. In their world view resides a virulent strain of eliminationism. If only they could get rid of the Jews, Hollywood, Democrats, President Obama, liberal Catholics, uppity women – their earthly utopia will last a thousand years.