Many times I get caught by surprise by technological developments, but I really shouldn’t be. So when I read an article about a company that plans on implanting chips in their employees I was surprised as I haven’t been tracking developments in this field. Apparently, with the implanted chips, the company can track when an employee enters or leaves the building. Also, the chipped employees can gain access to restricted areas, log into computers automatically and pay for snacks in the break room. It all sounds good, dandy, and semi-magical. For now, the implantation of chips is strictly voluntary.

For now.

However, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to see the downsides of chip implants in people. A simple Google search and an article on Wikipedia reveals some of the darker implications. For instance, the chips can be hacked. Think a little further and it takes identity theft to a whole new level. What about privacy concerns? Also, something I had forgotten, but the Wikipedia articles addresses, is the religious angle. Such an identity chip could be construed as “the mark of the beast,” and the universal application of government ID chips would create an instant religious underclass among devout Christians.

As technology advances, these type of human-machine interfaces will become more common. People will resist intrusive implants, however. Will the acceptance of implants create a class of Luddites, modern day Amish who refuse the chip? Probably.

I’ll bet certain jobs will become unavailable for those who refuse implants of one sort or another. For example, John Birmingham in his Axis of Time trilogy describes soldiers in the near future as having implants that do a range of tasks, from contraception to pain management. I don’t believe it was explicitly stated in his novels, but I’ll bet a base function of the implants was to retain passwords and a service record- much like the implants the company mentioned in the article above wants to try.

As such implants become available (and I think they will), you can forget a job with the DOD if you are unwilling to accept such body mods. The Department of Defense will adapt whatever measures are necessary to maintain a military edge. Count on it. By way of example, I carried a bulky GPS tracker, a personal beacon, medical supplies, etc. that could be eliminated by such implants. Less weight in supplies means more ammo, more capability for the infantry soldier. Someone with stars on their shoulders is thinking about this right now, take it to the bank.

The simple chip, followed by major implants, are part of the tsunami of human-machine mods which are on the horizon.

Science fiction has been converted to prophesy.

The Engagement at Arzangan, September 28th, 2011

on foot suckin

I creep upon a village, with murder in my heart.

I hear footfalls all around me, my soldiers spread apart.


Morning mist surrounds us, the Kush fields drip with fear.

My stomach churns with anguish, each sound screams in my ear.


The village walls loom closer, a rampart must be cleared.

The gravel drags across my chest, my breath is fast with fear.


At last the wall confronts us, soldiers go left and right.

A dog’s shrill bark sounds out, before the morning light.


A foreign scream resounds, Allahu Akbar fills the night.

His Kalashnikov spits death, the bullets strike and smite.


A balance has been broken- the firefight screams out.

I shoot at moving shadows, my medic hears a shout.


RPGs boom with vengeance, machine guns chase the dead.

Bullets seek my life, leaves fall from overhead.


I run the line with gunfire, the soldiers shoot with glee.

Finally the fight is over, it’s oh-five thirty-three.


I walk with my commander, we look upon the dead.

Screaming are the wounded, smoldering is a head.


My work here is finished, the prisoners are rounded up.

My Afghans want to kill them- praying, I hold them up.


Over by the village wall, a woman shrieks and wails.

A girl with emerald clothing knows what death entails.


Lord, spare me the horror, this disease known far and wide.

Beneath the chest of every man,

A killer lurks inside.


Placeholder Image

So I’ve been doing a little travelling lately. I’ve been hanging out somewhere in western Europe. I’ve spent years of my life here in the past, and it’s always striking how things change when I return.

One of the big things I’ve noticed over here is the sheer number of power windmills and solar panels on people’s roofs. Governments over here are pretty serious about renewable energy sources, green energy is heavily subsidized and energy use is taxed to the gills.

So I was pretty interested about an article I came across today about a possible re-entry into a “solar minimum,” and its possible impact upon the Earth’s climate.

Look, I’m not going to wade into the debate over “climate change.” Not going to happen. I will, however, state that the Earth’s climate has changed quite frequently over geologic time, and it will change again one way or the other. After all, it’s pretty tough to debate that the Ice Age never happened, or that the Earth wasn’t considerably warmer when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The debate you hear now is like monks in the middle ages arguing over how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin.

Our climate will change in the future. You can take it to the bank. The argument is over how much humans impact or drive the degree of change, and what consequences that entails for national and international energy policy.

Another cool article on this subject by the US Geologic Service talks a little about emissions from volcanoes, and the relative impact of natural CO2 vs. man made sources. Interesting reading, and the USGS is a gold standard for scientific inquiry.

You guys are pretty smart, you can draw your own conclusions.

FYI, a pretty good solar panel kit at Harbor Freight costs 189 bucks, US. I use one myself, they are easy to install and you see similar Chinese rigs in various places in the world. Not enough (by a long shot) to power a house, but you can do a fair bit with one of these kits, certainly enough for a small outbuilding.

I dunno, I kinda like the idea of generating my own power. Better than handing over huge wads of cash to my electric company. What’ll be really cool is when the price of solar and storage drops enough that it’ll be economically feasible for everyone to be their own little power company.

That day will be fine.




Summer strikes

Hey everyone. I’ve never ran a blog in the summer before, so I’m discovering right now that it can be challenging to run a blog while traveling, working, etc. So no, I have not disappeared, just juggling a few balls at the moment.

In any case, I came across an article that touches upon an earlier blog post of mine, the USAF and their need to acquire a suitable dedicated close air support platform. It seems that the Air Force is seriously considering a new aircraft for the CAS mission, and in my opinion it can’t come too soon.

Read the article, it’s pretty good and you’ll come away a bit more informed.