Dec 182007


The US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is investigating a key problem involving surveillance missions using remote controlled planes with a wingspan of about a meter. The challenge is they need a way to refuel the planes to extend their limited flight duration.

The solution? They’re developing an electric motor that can harvest energy by attaching themselves to power lines, this is form of vampire power that is bled out through some undetectable (or not easily detectable) means.

Think seeing a small plane dangling from the power lines would be a little too obvious and would be counter detected? You’re right, which is why they may also leverage some technology developed by DARPA that will allow the plan to fold in key parts of itself, effectively morphing to look like a piece of trash hanging to the lines.

Test flights are planned for 2008.

Check out NewScientistTech for all the details on this marvelous hack.

Note: the pic above is the Navy’s WASP micro air vehicle, I couldn’t find pics relevant to this program.

 Posted by at 10:59 pm
Dec 182007


Some interesting tidbits on Perl as we acknowledge the breadth of this language’s impact on the IT world:

Larry Wall began work on Perl in 1987, while working as a programmer at Unisys and released version 1.0 to the comp.sources.misc newsgroup on December 18, 1987.

Perl was originally named "Pearl", but Wall discovered the existing PEARL programming language before Perl’s official release and changed the spelling of the name by simply dropping the ‘a’.

Perl is also sometimes thought to mean ‘Practical Extraction and Report Language’ which is really just a backronym.

The programming language Ruby was named as a joke, alluding to Perl’s name.


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 Posted by at 2:26 pm
Dec 182007

Pac-Man, the quintessential retro arcade game. Originally created by Namco in the early 1980s and has now been updated for the web by Neave.  I can’t tell you how many hours I lost in this game :)   Now here’s a chance to have a lot more fun in this web adaptation of an 80’s classic.


Use your arrow keys to move the Pac-Man. Press “M” to Mute/Un-mute sound, “P” to Pause/Un-pause the game, and “Q” to quit at any time.

Have a ton of fun!

Dec 182007

Global Warming

If it seems like there’s a lot going on in the Climate Change news recently, you can attribute it to the UN conference on Global Warming in Bali last week.

Well, one of the more interesting things learned from the conference comes via Britain’s top government scientist Sir David King, a chemist at the Univ of Cambridge.

Sir David King said that the best thing women can do to ease global warming is “stop admiring young me in Ferraris.”

Really? There’s nothing more proactive women can do other than that?

Wired’s blog has full quotes from David King.

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 Posted by at 12:35 am