Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Dragonfly or Insect Spy? Scientists at Work on Robobugs.

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 9, 2007; A03

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,' " the college senior from New York recalled. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."

Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.

"I'd never seen anything like it in my life," the Washington lawyer said. "They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "

That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Others think they are, well, dragonflies -- an ancient order of insects that even biologists concede look about as robotic as a living creature can look.

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.



I know this topic has been discussed previously but I saw the article and had to post it.

The spy business is doing well trying to observe and document protesters of the fascist regime.

As a fascist regime they are always wary of being discovered and having their cover blown. If they were to be found out by the majority of American people there would be an uprising and subsequent removal of the cabal from power, and they know it.

So it continues, warrant-less wiretaps, secret video taping, following dissenters, gathering information about who knows what.

Fascism never sleeps.



DEN said...

I am sick and tired of this administration and their fascist crap.

Money corrupts completely.

Fascist money junkies.

I could complain more but nobody cares, the fact that if you have intelligence, you will be persecuted.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Nobody knows how to build a robot that flies the way a dragonfly does.

In general, irrespective of size, orthonopters (flying wing artifacts) do not work.

However, there are several experimental small aircraft intended eventually for aerial recon work. A couple of these are capable of flying so high that you cannot see them and they still do their spy work.

Ah, isn't the twenty-first century wonderful?

º¿carol said...

Here's another one:

Which 2008 Presidential Candidate Agrees With You?

I was 92.59% with Dennis Kucinich.

David B. Benson said...


Maybe that is the correct spelling?

micki said...



micki said...

Flap, flap.

micki said...

Speaking of wings...

did you hear about that fella in India who bought a used (very used!) Airbus300 and charges $4.00 (equivalent) per "passenger" to sit on the plane for the experience?

He's selling seats like hotcakes because most of India's population has never seen the inside of an aircraft and is eager to at least see one!

The only thing is, the Airbus is missing a WING.

Now, that's an entrepreneur!

David B. Benson said...

Coalfield fires are bad, but maybe not as bad as I thought:

Coal fires -- Encyclopedia of the Earth

state that China's coalfield fires contribute "only" about 0.1--0.2% of the carbon added to the active carbon cycle each year.

micki said...

Carol, I lined up with Kucinich on this one...followed by Dodd, Clinton, Edwards, Obama.

I think these quizzes are kinda silly, but what they hey! to make phone calls for my favorite mayoral candidate! I know I'll get answering machines instead of people. Oh, well....

Answering machines can't bitch at me! :-)

David B. Benson said...

Well, well. Seems you can buy a radio-controlled dragonfly ornithopter which flies for 10 minutes on a pair of AA batteries.

So somebody might have just flown this toy around...

Gerald said...

Diagnosing Insanity

Gerald said...

The overall prevalence of Americanistic Personality Disorder was recently measured at approximately 35% of the overall population in the United States.

Gerald said...

Privatizing Murder

Gerald said...

Why Are There No War Crime Trials?

º¿carol said...

I suppose it could be said all quizes are silly, but I think they're fun.

Gerald said...

Hypocrisy Rules the West

Gerald said...

Americans are content with whatever crimes their government commits as long as the justification is Americans' safety.

Gerald said...

"Shifting Targets"

Gerald said...


•¿•arol said...

Weather Report from Detroit

Monday was the 4th consecutive October day of highs at 85° or greater in metro Detroit. That's the first time that has happened in 130 years of National Weather Service record keeping for the area.

I read a prediction in the Detroit Free Press this morning that said winter would be warmer than usual. HOORAY!!!!!

Gerald said...

Jesus said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the [Judeans]. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." (John 18:36)

Jesus is telling us that swords are not the instruments of his kingdom, but those of the "world", the "empire and the barbarism of civilization", that is killing him. In the words of John Crossan, Jesus meaning was "Your Roman empire, Pilate, is based on the injustice of violence, but my divine kingdom is based on the justice of nonviolence."

Carey said...

Powerful intro post Den.

Carey said...

An Apple a day, keeps.....

Words I will definitely keep in mind. It seems Micksters is super happy with it.

Flap, flap.

Words that will make me chuckle throughout the day.

Carey said...

1776.0 Americanistic Personality Disorder

The essential features of Americanistic Personality Disorder include pervasive patterns of extreme self-absorption, profound and long-term lapses in empathy, a deep disregard for the well-being of others, a powerful aversion to intellectual honesty and reality, and a grossly exaggerated sense of the importance of one’s self and one’s nation. These patterns emerge in infancy, manifest themselves in nearly all contexts, and often become pathological.

Gerald, I loved this.

Gerald said...

The martyrdom of Burma's marching monks

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that if we are to be Jesus's disciple, we must be willing to die for Him. There are no religious clerics of any denomination in Nazi America who are willing to die for Jesus Christ.

Hagee, a Nazi preacher, is very much into Christian Zionism where all will return to Jerusalem on Judgment Day. What Hagee fails to realize that God's Kingdom is all around us. The Earth is part of God's Kingdom. All of His children on Earth are part of His Kingdom. Jerusalem is a part of His Kingdom. All of the Earth is special to God.

Carey said...

Quizzes are fun. I didn't take it though. Too lazy. I'm beat from shopping for a place and gotta go back out.

Rather be here.

Gerald said...

Carey, the Americanistic Personality Disorder seems to be quite prevalent in Nazi America. Hitler Bush is the Father of the Americanistic Personality Disorder and most Nazi Americans LIVE TO EMULATE HITLER BUSH.

DEN said...

Gerald, great articles!

Too bad it makes me more depressed because of inability to do a damn thing about any of it.

I hate it when dumb asses rule things.

Gerald said...

Americans are very creative people. The 1776.0 Americanistic Personality Disorder is not presently in the DSM (I do not recall what the DSM stands for) but it may well be added as a specific personality disorder for Nazi Americans.

Gerald said...

DEN, you are not the only person who is extremely frustrated.

I had to take the car in for auto care and I was picked up by a driver from the dealership who had Rush PUS GUT Limbaugh on the tube. How can anyone listen to him? His voice is irritating. Listening to PUS GUT for a few hours will contaminate a person's brain. Your brain will eventually become brain dead.

DEN said...

Gerald, selfish spoiled adult disorder, narcissism is listed.

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Gerald said...


DEN, good point!!!

DEN said...

At least five of the following are necessary for a diagnosis (as with many DSM diagnoses, they must form a pervasive pattern; for example, a person who shows these criteria only in one or two relationships or situations would not properly be diagnosed with NPD):

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people
4. requires excessive admiration
5. strong sense of entitlement
6. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy
8. is often envious or believes others are envious of him or her
9. arrogant behavior

Quite apropos, don't you think?

Gerald said...

The fact of the matter is that the “Iranian Threat” is derived solely from the rhetoric of those who appear to seek confrontation between the United States and Iran, and largely divorced from fact-based reality. A recent request on the part of Iran to allow President Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath at “ground zero” in Manhattan was rejected by New York City officials. The resulting public outcry condemned the Iranian initiative as an affront to all Americans, citing Iran’s alleged policies of supporting terrorism. This knee-jerk reaction ignores the reality that Iran was violently opposed to al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan throughout the 1990’s leading up to 2001, and that Iran was one of the first Muslim nations to condemn the terror attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

DEN said...

NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disoreder at WIKI

DEN said...

WOW! Dis-or-der, duh

Gerald said...

DEN, Hitler Bush possesses all nine categories of a narcissistic personality disorder. What is frightening that on a continuum from normal to neurotic to psychotic behavior Hitler Bush has definitely made to the psychotic phase. Hitler Bush is truly crazy.

Gerald said...

Causes of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The etiology of this disorder is unknown, but, according to Groopman and Cooper[3], factors identified by researchers as possibly contributing to this disorder include:

An oversensitive temperament at birth
Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents
Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem
Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
Severe emotional abuse in childhood
Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or talents by adults
Learning manipulative behaviors from parents

David B. Benson said...

Bumblebees join list of troubled insects

Bumblebees are responsible for pollinating an estimated 15 percent of all crops grown in the U.S. ... especially blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, squash and raspberries.

Framklin's bumblebee, once plentiful in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, appears to now be extinct. Two other bumblebee species -- one on the East coast, one on the West -- have gone from common to rare.

Gerald said...


DEN said...

Gerald, don't forget the rest of the Nazi cabal.

They are all certifiable.

micki said...

Quizzes can be silly and fun.

Quizzes are not fun when they are graded. :-)

DEN said...

Great concept, faulty execution.

David B. Benson said...

There was once a national assessment process (to prepare for global warming) it seems:

Houston in 50 years or so

But Bush killed it.

micki said...

Global warming: not just heat, but humidity

AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON — The world isn't just getting hotter from man-made global warming, it's getting stickier. It really is the humidity.

The amount of moisture in the air near the surface — the stuff that makes hot weather unbearable — increased 2.2 percent in just under three decades. And computer models show that the only explanation is man-made global warming, according to a study published in Thursday's journal Nature.

"This humidity change is an important contribution to heat stress in humans as a result of global warming," said Nathan Gillett of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, a co-author of the study.

Gillett studied changes in specific humidity, which is a measurement of total moisture in the air, between 1973-2002. Increases in humidity can be dangerous to people because it makes the body less efficient at cooling itself, said University of Miami health and climate researcher Laurence Kalkstein. He was not connected with the research.

Humidity increased over most of the globe, including the eastern United States, said study co-author Katharine Willett, a climate researcher at Yale University. However, a few regions, including the U.S. West, South Africa and parts of Australia were drier.

The finding isn't surprising to climate scientists. Physics dictates that warmer air can hold more moisture. But Gillett's study shows that the increase in humidity already is significant and can be attributed to gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

To show that this is man-made, Gillett ran computer models to simulate past climate conditions and studied what would happen to humidity if there were no man-made greenhouse gases. It didn't match reality.

He looked at what would happen from just man-made greenhouse gases. That didn't match either. Then he looked at the combination of natural conditions and greenhouse gases. The results were nearly identical to the year-by-year increases in humidity.

Gillett's study followed another last month that used the same technique to show that moisture above the world's oceans increased and that it bore the "fingerprint" of being caused by man-made global warming.

Climate scientists have now seen the man-made fingerprint of global warming on 10 different aspects of Earth's environment: surface temperatures, humidity, water vapor over the oceans, barometric pressure, total precipitation, wildfires, change in species of plants in animals, water run-off, temperatures in the upper atmosphere, and heat content in the world's oceans.

"This story does now fit together; there are now no loose ends," said Ben Santer, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and author of the September study on moisture above the oceans. "The message is pretty compelling that natural causes alone just can't cut it."

The studies make sense, said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who was not part of either team's research.

It will only feel worse in the future, Gillett said. Moisture in the air increases by about 6 percent with every degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), he said. Using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's projections for temperature increases, that would mean a 12 to 24 percent increase in humidity by the year 2100.

"Although it might not be a lethal kind of thing, it's going to increase human discomfort," Willett said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

micki said...

Re: Dr. B's link:

The Bush administration, as is widely known, quashed the National Assessment process, which was designed to scientifically analyze climate change impacts to specific regions the United States. Hillary Clinton and many others want to bring it back. And indeed: Without such an assessment, we have little option save to rely on talented journalists like Berger who can interview scientists and try to figure out what to expect.

micki said...

Re National Assessment process

micki said...

Trailing an Apocalypse

I have a question for Dr. B -- I read this article and wondered if we (humans) are headed for a wrenching change, that we cannot even imagine.

As our resident expert, you often comment about various possibilities relating to climate change, but if you had to "guess" would you "guess" it's possible for a cataclysmic event of the magnitude described in this article in the next...say....50 years? Or would you rather not "guess" on matters so dire?

DEN said...

MMMM Sheril

Beauty and brains!

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Sure, I'll guess.

Calamity #1: The Greenland ice Sheet melts ever faster and then faster. In 50 years the sea stand is about 1--2 meters higher than that of today. Hundreds of millions of people are displaced inland to fight climate wars with their neighbors.

Calamity #2: The West Antarctic Ice Sheet suddenly (in the geologic sense) collapses as well. In 50 years the sea stand is 7--10 meters higher than today. Billions of people are displaced inland ...

Catastrophy #1: The warming causes bogs and tundra to release even more methane than now. Methane, being a potent greenhouse gas, causes the global warming to proceed even faster, which releases even more methane, etc. In 50 years the sea stand is 15--20 meters higher than today. It is so hot except north of 40 degress north latitude (and south of 40 degrees south latitude) that everybody south of there dies. North of that people flight resource wars. Over a longer time span, Homo sapiens sapiens, with a total world population of about 100,000 individuals, becomes a dwarfed species as a protection again the heat.

Catastrophy #2: (Quite, quite unlikely) The bottom of the ocean warms enough so that the methyl clathrates begin to melt, releasing vast quantities of methane. This heats the atmosphere even more, leading to even more methyl clathrates melting. All mammals with adult weight greater than 2 kilograms go extinct.

David B. Benson said...

Correction: 15 meters, not 15--20. Anyway, that might take longer.

However, Mark Lynas has researched the possiblities far more thoroughly than I.
His book

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

is recommended for those harboring the slightest doubt that the climate, now under our control, badly needs immediate attention.

©¿rol said...

It's 48°, the furnace has been on and I need to go grab a sweater, and to think back to just Monday and how hot it was. *sniff*

DEN said...

Micki, the moisture in the air increasing is interesting.

Another telltale sign.

Doc, correct me if I'm wrong but once the atmosphere is further enhanced with methane, would it not be impossible to maintain life on land?

Seems the only alternative is to live in habitats in the water,ie: lakes, oceans.

Water could contribute oxygen to breathe using a separating system to produce it.

DEN said...

Carol, sorry you are chilly in Motown. I hate being cold.

70s here with rain this AM

Sunny now, sorry.

The best weather on the planet here.

Hot in summer tho, 100 or so.

Carey said...


Bill Moyers, in his ultra-topical fashion, did a story on how Christian Zionists are behind the Joe Lieberman bill.

They need to save the Jews from "the Iranian threat" so they will die in proper sequence later on and fill in the holes of the prophesized fairytale. Their fairytale, that is.


On the possible catastrophes:

That's what David has been gently trying to tell us Micki. It's surprising him even as he writes. As I said, that's what scares me--the experts' mouths agape. The snowball effect is so potentially icky because of the intricacies of the ecosystems.

Carey said...

I try so hard to sound scientific.

Carey said...

And another thing.

It's hard to make any plans with all this hanging over our heads.

Well, that area will be flooded soon. This mountain will fall. Over there's constant drought. Up yonder, too may wildfires. Too much crowding everywhere.

A whole new meaning to the word "frontier".

Alan said...

On the humidity... they were saying it was the humidity that got to all the marathon runners in Chicago. Ninety-degrees and a high humidity?? that's a normal day around here. It was strange to see people strong enough to run 26 miles, falling out from conditions we live with every day. Today's high was 88° and if you were in the shade, it felt good (not COOL, but definitely not hot).
*still using the a/c here, but it doesn't run as often to hold the set point

micki said...

One of the things that chaps my hide about the global warming discussions is that they still languish as though it is a left/right matter on the continuum. Hello!

Dr. B, thanks for spinning out the various scenarios. I kinda figured you'd say something like that, but I see one ray of hope in your prognostications...

recommended for those harboring the slightest doubt that the climate, now under our control, badly needs immediate attention.

I think you and Dr. Hansen are in agreement that it might not be too late to save the Arctic, but that means we have to slow CO2 emissions in this decade. Hmmmmm...we need action.

Alan, that struck me, too, about the primo runners being laid low by the humidity -- of course, they can be effected by it, but I would think they'd be more aware of the dangers. Maybe "winning" (or finishing) at any cost is more important than practicing common sense. Hey, I remember those days when we lived in Austin when I couldn't wait for the temp to go below 85º (ahhhh, bliss, I thought) after days on end of 95º and above -- and we didn't have Houston's humidity!

Carey, you have to keep making plans as though there will be a brighter future.

Carol, you better be careful what you wish for....someday, you may have more heat than you care to experience. Believe me, a person can get "full" of it. I had to leave Texas -- I was FULL. I'm an outdoors person.

micki said...

The snowball effect is so potentially icky because of the intricacies of the ecosystems.

Damn straight, Carey! You do sound scientific! :-))