Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Electronic Demon Costume

I'm impressed by this Electronic Demon Costume. Don't the lights make some pretty impressive facial expressions? I guess this would be pretty good for cheap affective robotics too.

At the Palais Ideal

Facteur Chaval is my new hero.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cheap Chinese Gadgets

Is it my imagination, or have cheap Chinese-made gadgets made a bit of a jump since I was last paying attention to them, bringing more cool stuff even cheaper than ever. Checking out LighTake I'm seeing quadcopters for £30, remote control vehicles with cameras, some really rather nice Arduino controlled autonomous vehicles, serious Android powered computers in pen-drive format for £40 while the same thing in netbook format is £50. Laser fingernails and other cute LED decorations.

I'm sure most of this stuff isn't really very good (quality, capacity). But can anyone doubt that a tablet-controlled, GPS enabled, Android powered quadcopter with video camera for around £30 is just around the corner?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Logic Of The Future

John Robb :

One way to accomplish [trading energy for computation] quickly (before the old system completely fails) is to decentralize production with networked resilient communities.  At that point, the global economy would be 98% information and all basic needs would be provided for locally.  Information only economies built on a base of self-sufficiency can be as different from capitalism as capitalism is from feudalism.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Mind Controlled Drones

Not only interesting in its own right, but I'm quite struck by the fact that this comes from a Chinese university.

We've long become used to the fact that the West has lost much of its earlier technical leadership over China. But there's still an assumption that we have the edge in "creative play" of the kind that will stimulate the next generation of products and applications.

This video looks awfully like "creative play" to me. And, frankly, while I've thought a lot about drones over the last couple of years, I hadn't thought of the application of allowing someone in a wheel-chair to inspect a some flowers.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Case Against Obama

  1. Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue. 
  2. Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done.  
  3. Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war in Libya without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to national security.
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Coloured RepRap

Beautiful multi-colour print from a modified RepRap.