Saturday, November 18, 2006

life, no known relationship to the movies 

Your tax dollars at work:

Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.


The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth.

"The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons," Peres said.


Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years, he said.

Yes, building futuristic weapons sounds much more logical than sending a plane against a terrorist. Almost magically more logical. We must find creative, and expensive, solutions to problems the army is unable to address.

Most importantly, we must not ever think that there is a problem that an army or technology cannot address.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Lazarus Act 

Senator Chris Dodd dusts off the defibrillator and tries to get Lady Liberty to show off that sexy pulse she's been hiding from us lately:

[Dodd] introduced legislation which would amend existing law in order to have an effective process for bringing terrorists to justice. This is currently not the case under the Military Commission Act, which will be the subject of endless legal challenges.

The Effective Terrorists Prosecution Act:

Restores Habeas Corpus protections to detainees

Narrows the definition of unlawful enemy combatant to individuals who directly participate in hostilities against the United States who are not lawful combatants

Bars information gained through coercion from being introduced as evidence in trials
Empowers military judges to exclude hearsay evidence they deem to be unreliable

Authorizes the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to review decisions by the Military commissions

Limits the authority of the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and makes that authority subject to congressional and judicial oversight

Provides for expedited judicial review of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to determine the constitutionally of its provisions

Although we should eliminate the category "unlawful enemy combatant" instead of merely narrow its definition, it seems this is a fine start. Let's see where it goes.

I hereby nominate Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd for the first annual AmCop Not-A-Total-Fascist of the Year Award!

UPDATE: The title of the Act sucks in a particularly annoying way, but whatever.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

commencing countdown to Speakingcorpse Cranial Detonation in T-minus...5...4... 

...President George Bush was informed on Tuesday of an initiative to establish a center under his name in Israel, as a sign of gratitude for his support for the country and its security.

Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon asked Bush for the go-ahead to establish such a center during a farewell meeting with the president and his deputy, Dick Cheney.

Bush told Ayalon that "freedom" would be a worthy subject for the center to focus on.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

life, still better in the movies? 


Skynet is a fictional computer network created by Cyberdyne Systems Corporation for Strategic Air Command-North American Aerospace Defense Command and the main unseen villain in the Terminator series.

It started to learn at a geometric rate, and soon concluded that its greatest threat was humanity itself. To neutralize this threat it initiated a nuclear war on August 29, 1997 (known as Judgment Day) between the United States, Russia, and China with the intent of killing as many humans as possible.


The U.S. Air Force plans to set up what could become a major command aimed at safeguarding U.S. military and civilian cyberspace...

...the new command would be part of the 8th Air Force based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana...

The mission of bombers now within the 8th Air Force would remain, and the new cyber-command reflects the Air Force's growing reliance on computer networks, data and electronic warfare.

[Air Force Secretary Michael] Wynne said he hoped the new command would eventually be on par with such major Air Force units as the Space Command and the Air Combat Command.

life is better in the movies 

Samsung has partnered with a Korean university to develop a robotic sentry equipped with a 5.5mm machine gun. Meant for deployment along the DMZ between North and South Korea, the $200,000 robot employs sophisticated pattern recognition software for targeting humans. No three laws here, but the robot does include a speaker that can be used to politely issue a warning before taking the target out.
(via Slashdot)

ED209 law-enforcement robot, Robocop (1987)
(via my childhood)

that was a close one 

What with the big Dem tsunami washing over the land and purifying everything, one might suspect the the police state would be somewhat endangered. Never fear, freedom is on the march:

Animal rights advocates who threaten scientists conducting animal research or companies funding or affiliated with it could be fined and imprisoned under a bill the House passed Monday and sent to President Bush.

The legislation extends those prohibitions to interfering with third-party organizations such as insurance companies, law firms and investment houses that do business with so-called animal enterprises. Supporters said the bill is aimed at protecting people and companies from animal rights terrorists.

Violators could be sentenced up to a year in jail for economic damages of less than $10,000, and up to five years in prison if a threat produced a "reasonable fear" of bodily harm. Prison sentences of up to 10 years could result if someone is actually injured.

Of course Pravda on the Potomac leaves out the de rigueur Creepy Orwellian Title of the legislation: The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

So what were merely illegal activities can now be classified as 'terrorism', and previously legal activities have been criminalized and 'terrorist-ized'. There's a good analysis of the ins and outs here, but the upshot of it is that we are about to officially have "thought-crime" in this country.

An indirectly related cherry that could possibly top this shit sundae comes from the "Justice" Department:

American civil rights lawyers expressed outrage yesterday at a justice department court motion arguing that immigrants living in the US could be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and had no right to challenge their imprisonment in court.


The six-page justice department motion argued that under an anti-terrorist law passed last month, he was an "unlawful enemy combatant" who had no right to challenge his imprisonment in civilian courts.


Monday's motion made it clear that the US government intended the term "enemy combatant" could apply to immigrants living legally in the US as much as to gunmen captured on distant battlefields.

The justice department also noted that the new law applies to all enemy combatants "regardless of the location of the detention". It makes no distinction between prisons in the US and Guantánamo Bay.


"They have now, for the first time in the history of the United States, said that non-citizens in this country have no habeas [corpus] rights," said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer for Mr Marri from the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University. "It means millions of non-citizens could be whisked off in the dead of the night and held indefinitely in a military brig."

Now all we have to do is figure out how to combine the thought-crime with the suspension of habeas and we're home free.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Smear McCain 



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