Fear the Reaper

And the most astonishing thing?The Reaper may be unmanned, but it does have a pilot–on the ground. The remote ground station for the UAV is a half a world away, at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

clipped from www.news.com

Younger, meaner sibling of the MQ-1 Predator

Meet the younger, meaner sibling of the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle: the MQ-9 Reaper.
Whereas the older UAV was designed for operations such as surveillance and reconnaissance, the primary mission for the aptly named Reaper is to be a “persistent hunter-killer” drone, the first such device at the Air Force’s disposal.

The Reaper has just begun a tour of duty in Afghanistan–that’s where it is in this picture from October 1, and where it has flown daily missions since the last week of September.

The Reaper outperforms the Predator in a number of ways. The MQ-9 can fly twice as high and nearly nine times farther, and carries a bigger munitions payload, the Air Force said.

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True Geekdom – WiFi Detecing T-Shirt

Laptops? We don’t need no stinking laptops!

clipped from blog.scifi.com

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Still haven’t convinced those around you that you are truly a geek? It’s tough to project that image of geekiness, but this Wi-Fi detecting shirt from ThinkGeek is just the kind of apparel that will finally set yourself apart from the rest of the posers.
No longer will you need to squat down and boot up the laptop to check the availability of a Wi-Fi network, now just take a look down to see what your shirt thinks. Underneath the shirt is a slew of electronics and doodads that powers and operate the Wi-Fi detector. The electronics can easily be removed for washing, but you should probably know by now that the stereotypical geek despises washing machines of any type.
The Wi-Fi detecting shirt will be available late-October for $30 from ThinkGeek.

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Happy Geek Day – The Handheld Calculator Turns 40

The death of slide rules came fast.

clipped from www.computerworld.com

There are a few videos of these old machines on YouTube, including the following clip of working TI calculator — and the box it came in — from 1974.
I still remember the HP35 and the HP45. One guy sprang for the $395 cost and instantly became the envy of all. No more looking up 10 place sines and cosines in Peter’s Tables and no more waiting for someone to finish using the department Wang calculators.
I worked extra hours and bought a HP45 from a mail order house (saving $39 off list price). It arrived the night before the big water quality test, which I aced solely because I had that HP45. Engineering was never the same after that. My HP45 still runs, but the batteries died long ago.

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