Itty-Bitty UAVs. Check out these pix from a recent unmanned vehicle conference in DC. The first one looks like one of those scale models you see displayed as a trophy in an aerospace exec or pilot's office. But no, it's a fully functioning drone - get it airborne with a bungee cord or using a grenade launcher attachment for a rifle. Have a fat wallet and an urge to build your own, or start a UAV venture for that matter? Check the next image for an assortment of controller components from tiny to chunky. If you're into things robotic, check out the main DIYDrones home page and feeds for everything from hobbyist to milbot news. Organized by Chris Anderson (yes, that one) - which is a good recommend given his record as a trend spotter.
So Long, Brett, and Thanks.. Brett Favre hangs 'em up after 17 years. Given that the Bay Area team were hopeless, my wife and I were rooting for Green Bay in the playoffs this year, as we suspected it was Favre's last show. In spite of the hopes of all of us temporary cheeseheads, it wasn't to be, but that doesn't detract from his amazing career. Applause for both his achievements and for being a class act in a sport that's had all too many thugs and bums in the spotlight of late. Hope one of the networks picks him up; isn't Madden getting a little long in the tooth?
Pachinko on the Wane? You can't spend much time in Japan before running into the half pinball, half slot machine phenomenon of the pachinko parlor, given that they're to be found lurking near most high-traffic train stations. Now the pachinko industry seems to be in decline. The post emphasizes the always quasi-legal status of the gambling aspect of the game, and potential competition arriving with legalized casinos. I also have to wonder about audience erosion caused by everything from video games to Internet and mobile based entertainment - it's not just the MSM that's being squeezed by the time and money being diverted to new media.
Those Moderate Muslims Blogger Michael Totten is best known for his embed coverage of Iraq and previously Lebanon - where he lived for some time - but he's written a background piece for Commentary that's well worth your time. The MSM seem unable to touch a topic without skewing it to the sensational and the state of the Muslim ummah, both abroad and here, is no exception. As Michael points out: "More people read my medium-sized blog every day than are members of CAIR." Keep that in mind next time you see one of CAIR's 'spokesmen for Muslims' on the tube. Yes, as both commenters and other writers point out, there are plenty enough Islamists out there to keep a civilizational war on the simmer, but in the end, it's not the West that's going to put down these mad dogs, it's their co-religionists once they've had enough of the fascism and butchery. The US surge may have enabled the shift in western Iraq's fate, but it was the population's disgust with Al Qaeda in Iraq that was the root cause. It's a pattern that can and should be repeated.