Monthly Archives: April 2004

Clear day!

I can see Niagara Falls this morning it's so clear. Below is what I can see from our window over Toronto's High Park right now (my eyes have better zoom than my outdated digital camera though). For reference, here's a better shot of what you're looking at (it's reversed though because I'm looking at it from the other side).

Mark of the fucking beast

And his number was



So the Indepedent (UK) is running a headline that says Bremer 'is powerless to restrain the US military'. That's potentially an interesting story, because there appear to be two arms of action in Iraq, one political and one military, with conflicting goals. The part that bugged me about this story though is the headline. They use a quote, “is powerless to restrain the US military”. Reading the article though, it's clear that it's not actually a quote, but the reporter's impression of what most people think… Anyway… I just thought it was odd/misleading. I've got a pile of interviews to work on now.

PS. This is a cool piece of technology.

PPS. The building management just called me about that dog attack. Apparently I'm not the first to complain and they've now got enough to start threatening this idiot with eviction.


Well, I've finally got the 3D math figured out I think. It's not that it's hard or anything, it's just that I haven't done it in a very long time. But I've got it sorted out now… so I'm moving into doing the actual simulator code (before it was really a simulator of a simulator). After that comes moving the code over onto the microcontrollers and starting to fly for real.

There's some pretty revolutionary stuff in this project, so I suppose I should do some patent filing before I blabber on about it too much publicly. But to make a long story short, I've designed a high speed scanning/mapping engine that can, at extremely high speed, create fully texture mapped vector representations of cities and buildings.

Multiple robots can fly in networked chaotic formation in order to increase the effective resolution and area covered in a given time. They can also be dropped out of a moving platform (back of a truck, back of a plane, whatever), and they can return to that platform autonomously afterwards (assuming they have fuel left; they are designed to be semi-disposible). They can broadcast these maps live to a central computer, which can be fed into, among other things, first-person combat simulators.

The early goal is to allow strike forces to accurately practice in the environment they are about to enter. Why would I — someone who fundamentally objects to war — be involved in something like this? Because this type of technology saves lives on both sides — especially civilian lives. Since I can't stop war, maybe I can, in some little way, make it a little less costly.


So… the 911 panel has said that Bush and his team “saw repeated warnings” and that the “system was blinking red” (more). Now, most of them have also maintained that there's nothing that could have been done about the attacks even if Bush had responded in some way — “We all understood (Osama) bin Laden's intent to strike the homeland but were unable to translate this knowledge into an effective defense of the country”. But where it gets a bit disturbing is when you see the CIA saying under oath that the US still doesn't have the ability to defend against al Qaeda, and it will take “another five years of work to have the kind of clandestine service our country needs.” (more)

The question is — what is that clandestine service?

There are two ways to fight terrorism. You either fight its root causes (whether you believe it's that terrrorists “hate our rock'n'roll” or you believe it's that terrorists “hate that we are occupying their countries and stealing their natural resources”), or you kill every single person that doesn't agree with you. Bush has chosen the latter, authorizing “decisive force” (more).

Remember, you can't just stamp out terrorism in one country. Terrorism of this type is not defined by national borders. The simple fact that there are cells all over Europe, America, Canada, and the rest of the world shows that. So if they want to play the “decisive force” game, they are going to have to be poised to strike with decisive force at US citizens and other citizens of “friendly” nations. That is the only way this can play out. So at a minimum, stop thinking that privacy is a right.

It's either that, or address the root causes.

Oh, and here's the big question that no one is asking right now in all these panels. It's the one that I want to see asked of Bush or Condi or someoneWhy were those airplanes known to be hijacked for an extended period before any action was taken?

Other than that I started five heavy mod (and heavy play) interviews today, and I hope to do another five by the end of tomorrow. It's actually a lot harder work than you'd think coming up with good questions to ask people about their mods!!!