20 January 2011

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, Now you get mad


This list is a variation of Nica24's diary on the Kos from March 2010.  I liked its lexical structure and meme power.
  • You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
  • You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
  • You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
  • You didn't get mad when the president ignored the clear and timely warning that terrorists were going to hijack planes and fly them into the WTCs.
  • You didn't get mad when the weapons inspectors, who said there were no WMDs, were ignored.
  • You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
  • You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
  • You didn't get mad when we spent over 700 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
  • You didn't get mad when our sons and daughters were sent to die in that illegal war.
  • You didn't get mad when hundreds of thousands of people died in Iraq.
  • You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
  • You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
  • You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
  • You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
  • You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
  • You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.
  • You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
  • You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.
You finally got MAD when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. You decided to be angry when the talking heads on the television told you to get mad.

Stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, lies, corruption, torture, murder, illegal wars, are all OKAY with you.

But helping other Americans...oh hell no!







17 January 2011

Watch a team of autonomous quadrotors build a tower structure


At the end of May last year we posted up a video of a quadrotor helicopter capable of aggressive movement. The movement was so accurate that the quadrotor could fly through a window at speed with less than 3-inches of clearance and at multiple angles. It could also do multiple flips while retaining full movement control, and land on angled surfaces (even upside down) using a Velcro pad as an anchor.
The project was headed up by David Mellinger at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab. Since then work has continued with the quadrotors to make them more useful. The latest development is teams of quadrotors working together to build structures with a new gripper attached to their underside.
The quadrotors have been programmed to pick up and use parts of a framework to build a tower structure. Each end of the frame sections has a strong magnet allowing it to stay in place if positioned correctly next to other frame sections. The quadrotors just have to accurately place the framework in either a horizontal or vertical position.
Once positioned they check a piece is secure with a “yawing moment” which attempts to twist the section. If it remains in place then the quadrotor determines it is positioned correctly and moves on. If it moves out of place it obviously isn’t secure and the quadrotor tries to position it again.
The accuracy the quadrotors have in picking up and placing the frame sections is impressive enough, but they can also work as a team. Each quadrotor can keep track of the others that form part of the team working on a given structure and navigate around them. This drastically speeds up the construction of a tower.
Read more at BotJunkie
Matthew’s Opinion
The important technology on display here is the accuracy of the quadrotors and the ability for them to work together. In their current small form the potential for them carrying objects is limited, but there’s nothing to say the quadrotors couldn’t be scaled up and made to carry much larger cargo.
The one limiting factor of the quadrotors is their battery life. But with such accurate movement it shouldn’t be difficult for them to navigate to and land on a charging pad. With teams of quadrotors working together recharges could be handled in such a way that there is always an active group of quadrotors working.
Absolutely fascinating to watch, robotics continues to advance at an almost frightening pace.