Gringo Manaba

Adventuras y Fantasias or Fantastical Adventures


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Archive for March 17th, 2006

Dr. Dolittle at Darpa

Posted by glasscastle on 17th March 2006

The Pentagon’s defence scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects
that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions.

The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects
can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled

Experts told the BBC some ideas were feasible but others seemed "ludicrous".

A similar scheme aimed at manipulating wasps failed when they flew off
to feed and mate.

The new scheme is a brainwave of the Defence Advanced Research Projects
Agency (Darpa), which is tasked with maintaining the technological superiority
of the US military.

from the BBC

Darpa, of course, are the clever darlings who really invented
the internet (get real, Al Gore), named at that embrionic stage Arpanet.
Not all their
projects, however, have turned out quite that well…

Our favorite part of the article is a breif review of other US attempts
to use animals in warfare. To wit:


WWII: Attach a bomb to a cat and drop it from a dive-bomber on to Nazi
ships. The cat, hating water, will "wrangle" itself on to
enemy ship’s deck. In tests cats became unconscious in mid-air

WWII: Attach incendiaries to bats. Induce hibernation and drop them from
planes. They wake up, fly into factories etc and blow up. Failed to wake
from hibernation and fell to death

Vietnam War: Dolphins trained to tear off diving gear of Vietcong divers
and drag them to interrogation, sources linked to the programme say.
Syringes later placed on dolphin flippers to inject carbon dioxide into
divers, who explode. US Navy has always denied using mammals to harm

also from the BBC

Incomplete list. We are reminded of the strange
and somewhat sad case of Richard Hernstein, know among Harvard undergraduates
the day as the "Pigeon Professor."

Hernstein, who as a grad student had demonstrated
his slavish dedication to the advancement of science and blind obedience
his Harvard mentor, B.
F. Skinner, by volunteering his firstborn son while still an infant
to be placed in a "Skinner Box" in a Harvard Psych lab, basically a featureless,
neutral environment, a padded white sterile capsule, where every stimuli
be controlled,
measured and observed, would later become famous for his controversial
work linking intelligence with genetic (and racial) differences between

But the most bizarre chapter in his career occurred
during the Korean War when his early work with visual acuity, intelligence
and pigeons
came to the attention of the boys in the Pentagon. Probably Darpa, if
it existed back then, or its predecessor. At the time they were hard
at work on the seeds of the technology that would later come to be
guided missiles, laser guided bombs, camera-in the-nosecone weapons,
heat-seeking, etc.

Back in the 50’s, though, they were still groping for ways to self-direct
the explosives, and one of the ideas they were exploring was animal-directed
bombs. Pigeons have excellent eyes – they can spot a tasty morsel of
regurgitated fried dough from hundreds of feet in the air. Hernstein
had shown that pigeons could be trained to peck at certain shapes on
a piece of paper, in a photograph, or on a touch-sensative screen.

The idea was to have a bird in the nosecone of each
bomb or missile, pecking at an image of the target projected on a screen
from the nose
of the missile, and steering it accordingly. According to Hernstein himself
during and aside in the course we took from him (and the only thing
we remember from that course), the result of three years of top secret
and several million taxpayers dollars was the realization that although
the pigeons performed well, accuracy was not within acceptable limits.

Interesting, and the focus of the third year of
research, was the fact that if THREE pigeons were lodged in each bomb,
and their pecking triangulated, the
resulting accuracy WAS within the target range. However, with
three pigeons and all of their necessary equipment, there was no room
left in the bomb for explosives. Another brilliant innovation wrecked
on the shoals of martial realities.

The butterflies sound promising, though…

Posted in Weird Science | 1 Comment »


Posted by glasscastle on 17th March 2006

(Reuters) – Burglars in Kazakhstan locked a funeral parlor employee in
a coffin and kept him there unconscious while rummaging for cash in the

Serik Sarsenbayev said he was on his own late at night when two masked
burglars burst into the parlor and beat him until he fainted.

The thieves then nailed him into a wooden coffin and carried on their search
for a money safe, he told Reuters by telephone from the steppe town of

He was later freed by the driver of the parlor’s hearse.

The thieves made away with the equivalent of $23,000 and remain at large,
the daily Express K reported.

from Reuters

What if he hadn’t woken up in time, and had suffocated?. Or worse, been
buried alive, only to wake up in the dark, trapped….Stories
like these bring up early, unpleasant memories of scary
and things
that went bump in the night. Also unanswered questions. Why did
the Hearse driver find him? Why does a funeral parlor have $23,000 in
cash lying around? What’s the difference between fainting and passing
out? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted in Wacky News | Comments Off on GOD ALMATY

Banned in Boston

Posted by glasscastle on 17th March 2006

American artist Spencer Tunick has photographed and
filmed masses of people in the nude in dozens of public places from Finland
to Australia, and now he is looking for at least 2,000 volunteers in

Organizers said Tunick had chosen a street in Caracas for his human art
installation, and was asking volunteers to show up and strip on Sunday

"I chose a location to me that was beauty and chaos combined _
organized chaos," Tunick said Thursday. "I’d probably be arrested
for doing this and charged with a crime in half of the United States,
so I’m honored to be here in Caracas and not be arrested."

The New York artist has been documenting assemblages of naked people
in public places since 1992, and has been arrested multiple times in
the United States while doing so.

We can’t imagine why….

from Breitbart

Gallery of other Tunick work

Posted in Wacky News | Comments Off on Banned in Boston

The My Mind is an Open Book Look

Posted by glasscastle on 17th March 2006

A model wears a dress by Ukrainian designer Andre
Tan during fashion show at the traditional spring-summer pret-a-porter
Fashion Week in Kiev, Ukraine Friday, March 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Efrem

from Yahoo

more Library Fashion

j! This could be a very successful look for you. Forget
the femme fatale – call it the "My Mind is an Open Book Look"…..

Posted in Photos | 3 Comments »