Friday, October 16, 2009

A Really Bad Idea

Lt. Gen. Lynch Growing Tired of Waiting for His Droid Army from

Lt.Gen. Rick Lynch, the "new chief of the Army’s Installation Management Command" recently spoke at a trade conference ....

Not only has the Army failed to field the right kinds of robots that would save war fighters’ lives, it has not fielded any robots to Iraq or Afghanistan at all, he said at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Washington, D.C.

That claim may have come as a shock to those at the conference. Hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles fly over the two theaters of operations today. The exploits of the explosive ordnance disposal teams and the robots they employ to clear roadside bombs are well known. But Lynch doesn’t consider those devices robots because they require humans to control them remotely.

“I’m talking about a system that has a certain degree of autonomy,” he said.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that. For years, the best brains in science fiction have been thinking about this very issue, and not one of them has ever come up with even the slightest possible thing that could go wrong with the idea of armed and autonomous robots. Maybe as long as they don't do automatic target recognition ...

That includes the robot autonomously firing the weapon or, in other words, shooting without a human in the decision loop, he said. SWORDS never had that feature, and the idea of armed autonomous robots firing guns on the battlefield remains controversial. But Lynch was steadfast.

“I believe we can do automatic target recognition ... to allow that capability. Autonomously,” he repeated.

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. This is the beginning of a long chain of events that will eventually lead to the destruction of the 12 colonies. As it was before, it is Lt. Gen. Lynch of Earth who drives the creation of the first independent fighting robots. Or, as they will later be known to all of the galaxy, the first Cylons.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Best Way to Rob a Bank

As Foreclosures Hit All-Time High, Wall Street on Pace to Hand Out Record $140B in Employee Bonuses from Democracy Now!


Former banking regulator William Black is interviewed on Democracy Now! Highly recommended viewing for any who want to understand the massive fraud involved in the 'financial crisis'.

ALSO, from the same Democracy Now! episode. Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Zizek on Capitalism, Healthcare, Latin American “Populism” and the “Farcical” Financial Crisis

Zizek’s latest offering also excerpted in the October issue of Harper"s magazine opens with the words: “The only truly surprising thing about the 2008 financial meltdown is how easily the idea was accepted that its happening was unpredictable.” He goes on to recall how the demonstrations against the IMF and the World Bank over the past decade all protested the ways in which banks were playing with money and warned of an impending crash. They were met with tear-gas and mass arrests.

The message, he writes, was “loud and clear, and the police were used to literally stifle the truth.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zinn on War and Peace Prizes

War And Peace Prizes, By Zinn, Howard via ZNet.

I was dismayed when I heard Barack Obama was given the Nobel peace prize. A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on two wars would be given a peace prize. Until I recalled that Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger had all received Nobel peace prizes. The Nobel committee is famous for its superficial estimates, won over by rhetoric and by empty gestures, and ignoring blatant violations of world peace.

then ending with ...
People should be given a peace prize not on the basis of promises they have made - as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises - but on the basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war, and Obama has continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.