Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rechargeable Pigeons, Political Buffoonery And Other Subjects

I swear this blog is about snow shoveling, but we really haven’t had anything to write about. The aftermath of the last storm weren’t nuthin’.

By the way, if a child fails miserably in a geometry or algebra exam, would the consequences they suffer be aftermath?

Before history    recorded history that is   people would settle disputes with rocks and the odd stick. Today, we have debates to decide things like "who will be the leaders of democracy and freedom?"

Being apolitical, I usually don’t touch the subject of politics. But as I was on my way home from the gym, eating an English muffin, I thought about the lack of chemistry between the Republican candidates and the average U.S. voter. The ongoing buffoonery with the Republican primaries has inspired the following poem:

The Republican’s Lament, 2012

I sing the blues, I can't rejoice.
How do I choose? Is there a choice?

If that’s the choice I’d rather pick
my dry old nose than the guy named Rick.

If that’s the choice I’d rather root
for Satan himself than the guy named Newt.

If that’s the choice, I must admit
I don’t give a... well, it rhymes with Mitt.

That's enough politics for now. Let’s move on to Science and Technology.

Technology is going nuts! I’ve already warned my readers about the possibilities of test-tube meat and nazi-producing printers. Now the Antler River Free Press has another article about advanced technology and the pitfalls that come with it; specifically, the loss of privacy.

Someone quoted in the report said that data can be obtained from kitchen appliances, among other things. So if you've recently bought a state-of-the-art toaster or coffee maker, personal and possibly damning information about you could have already been sent to Mr. Coffee or Toastmaster. 

But never fear. We at Snow Shoveling In Canada (appropriate fanfare here) vow to fight for your right to privacy. For further details on how we plan to do this, just send your name, address, phone number, email address, credit card information, family history, social insurance number, sexual preferences, a few photos, and anything else you might deem relevant to the SSIC Privacy Bureau.

Here are some quotes from the Free Press article. We've followed the excerpts with our caveats which you should heed.

"Some computer viruses can switch on the cameras and speakers without the owner knowing about it, allowing hackers to watch people in their homes...

Along with the fisheye webcams built into most computer monitors, new "smart" televisions have them embedded into the sets, allowing for interactive TV shows and video telephone calls, much like the wall screens described by Ray Bradbury in his dystopic novel, Fahrenheit 451."

If you’re worried about your computer watching you, then do as I do; take off your reading glasses and move right up to the screen and squint. Even if you're not near-sighted, you can use this technique to obscure the view from your nasty nosy computer.

If you feel the need to escape from dystopia,
Just look at the world with a touch of myopia.

Likewise, you can just close the lid on your leering laptop whenever you’re not using it to prevent it from spying on you in your most unguarded moments.

This should be a common practice, like putting down the lid on the toilet. And while we’re speaking of porcelain thrones, be advised that smart toilets are probably coming to a washroom near you; tracking your movements. Pun intended, but, (wouldn't you just know it)  introducing the sense-a-load commode:

That is one clever crapper (pardon my French).

Back to the news article:

"Communication tech-makers Cisco Systems estimates smartphones will outnumber human beings on the planet by 2016."
I don't understand this statistic. Perhaps those with multiple personalities may want a phone for each of their identities. Or maybe the smartphones are becoming smart enough to call and talk to each other. And if that’s the case, who will be charging them? What I mean is who would bill them, not who would charge the batteries. Come to think of it, who would charge the batteries?

"The Nano Hummingbird looks like a feathered friend, but it's really a flapping robot, remote-controlled and armed with a live streaming camera and microphone."
Hummingbirds that seem more interested in your face than your hummingbird feeder should be treated with suspicion.

"Funded by the Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the U.S. military, it is one of many new biomimetic robots: machines that look like spiders, insects, birds and snakes, with cameras for eyes and microphones for ears."
Remember your critters from biology class. Be wary of spiders with webs made from copper wire. As well, snakes with a rattle that looks like a microphone should be treated with suspicion.

This is NOT a rattlesnake

"The U.S. military hopes to make a "pigeon" that recharges itself using its metal talons when landing on power lines."
Pigeons perched on power lines who have LCD displays on their heads saying “Charging” should be treated with suspicion.

"Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Michigan are also turning real insects into cyborgs, using electrodes to control the flight of moths and beetles."
Always keep cans of Raid on hand. Although a spray bottle of water should be sufficient to short circuit the electronics on these pests. Insects with antennas on their antennae should be treated with suspicion.

"Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have created small robots that fly in formation. Like a disciplined swarm of dragon flies, they can navigate through windows and doors."
This one kind of worries me. The article states that they navigate through windows and doors - not open windows and doorways. It's curious that they would use the term "navigate" though. It's likely these bionic bugs would just crash their way into your home. And although they say that the robots fly like dragon flies. they do not say that they look like them. So if you see a broken window, a hole in your door, and what looks like a swarm of tiny flying Terminators in your living room, they should be treated with suspicion.

Futuristic cars will likely have the technology to ensure that you are an obedient driver. If you’re caught texting, or eating a Whopper while checking the geography with a road map, a camera on your dashboard will take a photo of you committing the offense. Then the car’s GPS will locate the nearest police station and your spying sedan will send a fax there. Finally, the car will drive itself to the station where you will be arrested by a law-enforcement agent (probably a cyborg).

So put down that phone, and stop somewhere to eat that Whopper. Drive with your hands at 10 and 2. And if you happen to smash any insects with your windshield    good!

On another subject, I should mention that this is the 51st post on this blog. Yes, I missed doing a celebration about our 50th blog post. Congratulations to the entire crew at Snow Shoveling In Canada!.



  1. It's exciting to watch all the innovations in technology, but it is a bit disconcerting to consider how much of technology is about watching US. As to your political comments, all I can say is the republicans must all be suffering from a severe case of electile dysfunction. (Can't get excited about any of the candidates!)

    1. I agree Susan. Not that we need to be vigilantes about this, but we must be vigilant regarding technology's vigilance.

      I wonder if Pfizer makes a drug that could help people get aroused about the Republican primaries.