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Please visit the new home of my blog: http://SusanneSaville.blogspot.com

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Drinking Summer Safari Coffee
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From Yahoo News:

Human warriors have long spoken of the bonds forged in combat and of becoming a "band of brothers." The fact that some of those fellow soldiers are made of metal has not discouraged human feelings toward them.


Thousands of robots now fight with humans on modern battlefields that resemble scenes from science fiction movies such as "Terminator Salvation." But the real world poses a more complex situation than humans versus robots, and has added new twists to the psychology of war.


"One of the psychologically interesting things is that these systems aren't designed to promote intimacy, and yet we're seeing these bonds being built with them," said Peter Singer, a leading defense analyst at the Brookings Institution and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" (Penguin Press HC, 2009).


Singer highlights many accounts of human soldiers feeling strong affection for their robots - especially on the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams where Packbots and Talon robots undertake the risk of disabling improvised explosives planted by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.


One EOD soldier brought in a robot for repairs with tears in his eyes and asked the repair shop if it could put "Scooby-Doo" back together. Despite being assured that he would get a new robot, the soldier remained inconsolable. He only wanted Scooby-Doo.


Robot in arms


The United States military sees robots as tireless warriors capable of striking fear into enemies, and is not shy about finding inspiration from "Terminator."


"One scientist said he was trying to build the Hunter-Killer drone from 'Terminator,'" Singer told LiveScience.


Terror aside, Singer and other experts point out how battlefield robots have also proved capable of inspiring love from their human comrades, such as the EOD soldier.


"It sounds silly, but you have to remember that he's been through the most psychologically searing experience: battle," Singer said. "That machine has saved him time and time again."


Sometimes such bonds led soldiers to risk their lives for their robots, in a strange inverse of the idea that robots would spare human lives. Singer recounted another EOD soldier who ran 164 feet under machine gun fire to retrieve a robot that had been knocked out of action. And several teams have given their robots promotions, Purple Heart awards for being wounded in combat, and even a military funeral.


This attachment to robots stems in part from the human brain's mirror-neuron system, which fires up whenever watching the movement of someone or something, Singer noted. The system helps form the foundation for empathy and understanding the mindset of another being, but can also lead people to project personalities and emotions onto objects.

For the rest of the article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090521/sc_livescience/realsoldierslovetheirrobotbrethren
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impressed impressed
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On the morning of Wednesday, May 13, an estimated 20,000 Boston MBTA riders will be rewarded for their environmentally-friendly decision to use public transportation.

Volunteers from TransFair USA, the non-profit that certifies Fair Trade Certified™ products in the United States, will distribute free coupons to be redeemed for hot or iced Fair Trade Certified™ Green Mountain Coffee® at Bruegger’s Bakery-Cafés, plus a coupon worth $2.50 off a package of Green Mountain Coffee at local grocery stores.

Boston T riders can spot volunteers in bright orange t-shirts handing out coupons from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Wednesday at seven T stations including: South Station, Kenmore, Porter Square, Longwood, Downtown Crossing, Government Center and Back Bay."

For more information: Click Here
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excited excited
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"A number of people were injured when a lift in Tower Bridge, central London, fell 10ft.

The lift dropped in the north tower of the structure, the City of London Corporation said.

Four men and two women, including tourists from Spain, suffered leg injuries including at least one broken leg and a broken ankle.
The six were taken to hospital and about 10 people left the scene uninjured. An investigation has begun.

The City of London Corporation spokeswoman said: "The lift is believed to have fallen 10ft (3m) when it was on the way up from the (bridge level) ground floor."

The door to the lift opened automatically, she added.

The bridge houses an exhibition on the history of the London landmark. Five exhibition visitors and one member of staff were injured.
The spokeswoman added: "The lift takes a maximum of 40 people but it is not possible to say exactly how many people were in the lift."

Three ambulance crews and a hazardous area response team were sent to the scene at 1310 BST.

The six patients were all conscious when the crews arrived at the bridge, a London Ambulance service spokeswoman said.

They were taken to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, and St Thomas Hospital, south-east London."

For the rest of this story:
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scared scared
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More than 1,000 people lined up for a chance to appear with Hollywood stars Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.

Director Sir Ridley Scott was looking for 600 extras to play soldiers in his new production of Robin Hood.
Hundreds had to be turned away from the Technium Centre in Pembroke Dock which was the venue for the open casting because of such a high turn out.

Technium manager David Thomas said: "It's totally alien to anything we do but it was an opportunity to help out."
Oscar-winning actors Crowe and Blanchett star as Robin Hood and Maid Marian in the film to be shot on location at Freshwater Bay in Pembrokeshire National Park.

The film, which had been called Nottingham, is said to have a $130m (£91m) budget.

The extras, as soldiers, will be up against Russell Crowe as Robin Hood

Having landed the top billing, Sir Ridley, who directed Crowe in the 2000 block-buster, Gladiator, is recruiting a small army of extras to play the Sheriff of Nottingham's men. A London-based casting agency ran the open day.

But a higher than expected number of people turned up and many were turned away. However they were told to apply online.

For more on this story: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8041103.stm

What actually drew my attention to this article is Ridley Scott being called Sir Ridley.  It just sounds so Arthurian.  :)
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amused amused
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Photograph by Patrick Stanbro

Talk about an image being both beautiful and terrifying.

This photo of the Jesusita Fire was taken by a friend of mine who lives there. 30,000 people have been evacuated.

For a look at more of his work, go to: http://www.patrickstanbro.com/
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anxious anxious
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Yes, we're back to piercing again. 

This is sort of a tangent off of my Victorian Breast Piercing Research - it's male piercing.  If you don't know what a Prince Albert piercing is ... try Wikipedia.

You will find many websites - and even books - declaring that this type of body piercing was so named because Prince Albert (married to Queen Victoria) wore one.  You will find them saying that these circular piercings were also known as "dressing rings" and that they were used to secure oneself to the left or the right leg.

Dude.  Seriously?

I mean, think about it, what would it be tied to?  Your thigh?  And it would have to be a slip-knot because, really, just think if the string got caught on something.... [rrriipp]   That's painful just contemplating it.

And we haven't even addressed the fact that, in the real world, if you need to be tied down to your thigh, then perhaps you're having one of those episodes the Cialis commercials warn about and you should be proceeding to a hospital at once.

The British Victorian period may have been more risqué, but in the US, you couldn't actually say the word leg because it was too inflammatory - you had to say limb.  Cereal was invented because, the belief was, giving a man steak and eggs for breakfast was just asking for him to be aroused all day. The same for Graham crackers - non-arousing steak substitute.

In that climate, how could a gentleman possibly face his needs-to-be-protected lady wife with a piercing amidst his unmentionables and expect remain considered a gentleman?

Another thing:  according to The Piercing Bible by Elayne Angel (p. 156) the healing time for a Prince Albert is "4 to 8 weeks or longer".  Now, in a time when infection could not be reliably controlled, who is going to pierce themselves anywhere - let alone somewhere that delicate?

Are you beginning to smell a hoax?

In her book, Angel confirms my suspicions that Prince Albert did not have a Prince Albert, as does Matthew Sweet in Inventing the Victorians.

So why do so many people think he did?  Where did this "dressing ring" thing get started?

According to Angel, these stories were made up by a man who called himself Doug Malloy (real name Richard Simonton).  He is considered the father of modern piercing culture in the US.

He also made bags of money franchising Muzak.  Not three words you'd expect to find in the same sentence are they, "body piercing" and "Muzak"?  Go figure.

(Muzak, by the way, filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy on Feb 10 2009).

I can hear you asking, why?  Not why the Muzak bankruptcy, but
why would someone make something like that up? 

Apparently, the answer is: Because it makes a great story.

If you are promoting a new fad, it helps with promotion to have that fad possess a fun historical background. It gives it roots. Validity. 

And stories are the bedrock of culture. It doesn't matter how unrealistic a tale is, as long as it makes a great story. Think of all the urban legends you've heard.

This seems to be why the Prince Albert story has legs - why it has spread so far for so long. 

We humans love to tell each other a good story. 
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