I’ve lamented in the past how we don’t seem to be getting any closer to interesting cyberpunk tech, but two items in today’s news point to some activity:
Item The First:
[Troops in Iraq](http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-07-24-energy-beam_x.htm) will soon be shooting an experimental weapon that fires an invisible beam of energy instead of bullets to repel insurgents without killing civilians.
The idea is that the Active Denial System (ADS) penetrates the skin “to create a severe non-lethal burning sensation.” According to testing, the beam does not cause any lasting damage. Except perhaps for the memory of being burned alive.
While the idea seems good in that it can help avoid civilian casualties in high-stress environments like road blocks, a cynic might say that this kind of weapon has the potential for being used in a bit of an indiscriminate manner.
Item The Second:
Police in Mesa, Arizona have purchased the Mobile Plate Hunter 900.
Couldn’t make up a name like that if I tried.
The Mobile Plate Hunter 900 (why, oh why, did they go cheap and not call it the 9000? 9000 is a cool and studly number—900 is just wimpy) mounts on a patrol car and then scans license plates while the patrol car is moving; it sends the license plates it finds to a central computer, which then runs the plate. If a car has been reported stolen, the system alerts the driving officer who can then proceed to investigate.
I wish so fervently that the manufacturer had enough of a sense of humor to use an R2-D2 beep for the unit’s alerts.
*Soundtrack: * Stream from Groove Salad
Us humans filter everything we see and experience through our existing narrative. Nic finds this fascinating.
Nic loves books, but he loves their content more.
The American voting system is stuck in a time warp. It makes Nic sad.
Should you upgrade to Amazon’s latest e-ink reader? Nic gives it a reluctant and somewhat perplexed nod.
Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.
Lots of good reads in this installment. Includes All Hell Let Loose, Metallica: This Monster Lives, 10% Happier, Onward, Echopraxia, Cibola Burn, The Getaway God, Lock In, The Red: First Light, Terms of Enlistment, and Lines of Departure.
Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.
Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.
Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.
Once again user-interface ineptitude and Internet idiots make things harder than they have to be.