I’m done with surfing: If 20-foot great white sharks weren’t enough to keep me from catching a wave, a squadron of 36 armed-and-dangerous dolphins, trained to attack humans in wetsuits, will. It’s believed that three dozen U.S. Navy-trained Flippers escaped their training ponds in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina and are now unaccounted for somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. They were trained to attack neoprene-clad humans with toxic darts fired from harnesses triggered by small electrodes planted under their skin, according to a Sept. 25 article in the U.K.’s Guardian Unlimited (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1577753,00.html). And you thought those two dolphins in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou were computer-generated. I’m trading my long board in for Atari’s Transworld Surf for XBox.
Your MP3 player is ringing: Steve Jobs and his team at Apple Computers had the rumor mills churning at the beginning of September with what they claimed would be the most critical iPod news since the release of the original MP3 music player in 2001. Record company executives whispered about the possibilities of a Video iPod, citing backroom deals about music video licensing negotiations for the portable media player. But alas, the heavily anticipated announcement from the Cupertino company revealed the production of the 100-song Motorola ROKR MP3/cell phone (pictured) and the 4GB, 1,000 song, wafer-thin iPod nano. I was disappointed with the announcement though thoroughly impressed with Diggnation’s Kevin Rose showing us the innards of the nano by dismembering it with a spackle knife (www.revision3.com).
First worms, now hackers: We all know Homeland Security is monitoring our cell phone calls (me, a conspiracy theorist?), but how about some pimply faced teenager in Massachusetts? Now, if I was smart enough to hack into someone’s T-Mobile Sidekick, would I choose Paris Hilton’s? Well, this unnamed 17-year-old, who is now spending 11 months in juvenile detention, retrieved phone numbers and conversations with stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Vin Diesel, Christina Aguilera and Eminem from Hilton’s account on T-Mobile’s computer system, as well as a number of explicit photos, and posted them on the Internet. I am definitely not using my cell phone to its full potential.
What’s your best time to Sacramento? Your $150 radar detector may not be enough to save you a speeding ticket in the near future if the U.S. adopts an interstellar radar gun being developed by the United Arab Emirates’ Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training. This $125 million system can determine the speed of any vehicle that’s equipped with global position system (GPS) technology by tracking it via satellite. According to an article in the September issue of The Economist, a computer network then cross-checks the vehicle’s speed against a database of speed limits and issues an audible alert warning the driver to slow down. If you do not comply within 10 seconds, you get a second warning, and then your speed will be recorded.
Next week in Fine Arts: Art in the park.