February 4th, 2008


Welcome to 2k8 - here's your gas station robot.

Dutch inventors unveiled Monday a 75,000 euro ($111,100) car-fuelling robot they say is the first of its kind, working by registering the car on arrival at the filling station and matching it to a database of fuel cap designs and fuel types.

A robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular petrol pump, carefully opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it toward the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.

He hopes to introduce the "Tankpitstop" robot in a handful of Dutch stations by the end of the year. It works for any car whose tank can be opened without a key, and whose contours and dimensions have been recorded to avoid scratching.


I find the idea that this robot needs a premade database to avoid scratching the car hilarious. This is obviously a blind robot, with no vision. That's big mistake #1. Big mistake #2 was being so devoid of imagination that they didn't think "gee, we could wrap the whole lower arm of this robot in thin rubber sheeting". Animals limbs have skin for a reason...

Pic from http://www.destentor.nl/flevoland/2586193/Tankrobot-opent-klepje-schroeft-dop-eraf-en-tankt.ece
"Not an angel"

NY feminists kick Hillary to the curb; endorse Obama instead.

"Choosing to support Senator Obama was not an easy decision for us," the group stated, "because electing a woman president would be a cause for celebration in itself." They "deplored" the "sexist attacks against Senator Clinton that have circulated in the media." But, they stated, they nevertheless supported Obama because his election "would be another historic achievement" and because "his support for gender equality has been unwavering."

The group based their opposition to Clinton on "her seven-year record as senator." Despite her recent pledges to remove troops from Iraq, the group stated, Clinton's "record of embracing military solutions and the foreign policy advisers she has selected make us doubt that she will end this calamitous war."


You know you're fucked when your own special interest group won't even vote for you. This is a little bit like the KKK rejecting a white candidate and endorsing Al Sharpton instead.
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Navy test-fires 32 megajoule, mach 7 railgun.

Nice mach-lensing in front of the slug

In a dramatic first step, the Office of Naval Research said yesterday that it fired the electromagnetic gun using an unprecedented pulse of energy in a test held Thursday in Dahlgren, Va. During the test, the gun almost instantaneously propelled an aluminum slug weighing slightly more than 7 pounds to Mach 7 – or more than seven times the speed of sound. The railgun has the potential to fire a projectile 230 miles, a trajectory that would take just seven minutes. By contrast, a standard 5-inch naval gun battery can fire a shell 20 miles.



This is a repeat, but I liked the pic so much I figured it was worth it.
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