Thursday, September 01, 2005

The American Political Science Association (APSA) is having their 101st Annual Meeting & Exhibition mercifully close in DC this week, so I'm running around trying to soak up what I can. It's really hard to make decisions about what sessions to go to since over 30 sessions are often scheduled for the same time.

There's also this neat option of the website for people to post drafts of the papers they will be presenting.

XADS President Pete Bitar demonstrates his "Dazzler" laser. He also made an impression with his "StunStrike" lightning gun that shoots 4-foot bolts of lightning. (Photo by Chris Hartlove for the Washington Post in the article below.) Posted by Picasa
This is a really interesting article on many levels:

Xtreme Defense

One, the degree to which the Pentagon is supporting non-lethal weaponry. So much for shock and awe-- but while the money is more than zero, it still isn't very substantial.

Two, the discussion of the intersection of culture and military hardware. The bizarre idea of the 'voice of god' is directly referenced but the difference between the marketing and country fair atmosphere of the non-lethal weapon trade expo and the rather severe image conjured up by the name "Quantico."

Three, how deeply in the article you have to read before one of the main topics is revealed (the non-lethal weapons expo). You could have read half of the article and thought it only discussed Pete Bitar and the projects of his company XADS. Don't know if that's a bad thing-- reward those who read farther (and therefore have an attention-span longer than a TV commercial) or maybe WashPost losing a big chunk of its readership....

Four, how Nikola Tesla keeps popping up in strange places.

Five, how important many obscure events as inspiration for big ideas (like Bitar's work in a styrofoam recycling plant) get short shrift.

Six, Bitar's comments about selling to non-American militaries.

There are more levels but I'll give y'all a rest...


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Though I don't know anyone in Katrina's path, my thoughts are with those of you out there less lucky than I am.

There has been a lot of news attention given to the evacuation of New Orleans and brightly (false-)colored but realize also that it's shut down a huge chunk of US oil refining capacity-- nearly one-fifth of all American refining capacity is in the state of Louisiana alone. Get ready for that to put a little bit more loft into oil prices.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Got back from a bit of vacation (back home) in California a few days ago and, whew(!), lots of changes and things to talk about-- both there and here, in DC. Too much to sit and write out in one block since I need to be up and into work early tomorrow morning since several VIPs are going to be there for the beginning of the week.

One of the biggest pieces of news is that Symi and I are moving into a very nice new apartment. Whee! :-)