Sunday, January 24, 2010

New and Noteworthy (Extreme Commuting, Future Combat System, Chimp Financiers)

In today's edition:

* A new post up at Energy Bulletin regarding the issue of "extreme commuting." (Notably, this article focuses on drivers. Even relatively short distances, however, turn into "extreme commutes" when the commuter is using public transport in areas where the transport is poorly organized, urban sprawl has run amok, or both.)

* A piece from Wired's Danger Room regarding the impacts of budgetary constraints on the U.S. Army's robotics programs. The highly touted Future Combat System-yet another project that has (perhaps all too predictably) spun into another twelve-figure money pit, is pretty much dead, with the programs devoted to developing the vehicles at the core of the concept apparently halted. (Writing about this line of development from a theoretical standpoint in Armor magazine back in 2002, I compared the shift away from contemporary, heavy, "big gun" tanks to a collection of lighter, networked vehicles to the naval shift away from battleships to aircraft carrier battle groups. Of course in that particular piece, written with the kind of tech-only focus I don't use much anymore, assumed land "carrier groups" would somehow be relevant.)

* And finally, on a lighter note, story from Daily Finance regarding a chimp whose stock picks consistently outperformed the vast majority of investment funds-a reminder that the speculative game always was and remains a fundamentally irrational one where it's better to be lucky than smart.

A Sixth-Generation Fighter?
New and Noteworthy (Energy-Efficient Communications, "Crowdsourcing," Post-Copenhagen Obama)
New and Noteworthy (Space Security Edition-China Missile Defense Test, Russia and Apophis, Indian ASAT)
The Real Unemployment Rate

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