BugJuggler Robot Juggles Cars, How’s That For A Trick?

Robots are starting to be more and more pervasive in our world, never mind that they have long ruled assembly and inspection lines in factories. Japan has a couple of robot museum guides who look so lifelike, they might have just taken a huge leap into the Uncanny Valley. Apart from that, we also have the allegation that Frank Lucas, the incumbent Oklahoma congressman, is no who “he” is, but rather, a robot. Well, to bring to light another robotic achievement would be the 70-foot tall BugJuggler who actually uses giant arms that will be able to juggle cars, as it wows the crowd by hurling a trio of vehicles into the air simultaneously.

This is starting to get creepy – what if someone gains control of the BugJuggler, or it somehow achieves sentience like in many a science fiction movie? Surely the very same hydraulic cylinders that are able to hurl and catch cars will be able to bring about a swath of devastation to mankind should it run amok. The BugJuggler relies on a diesel engine to generate enough hydraulic pressure to have it operate, where right now it requires an operator located in the robot’s head to control its motions via a haptic feedback system that is hooked up to high-speed servo valves.

The final version of the BugJuggler is said to be able to hold and throw a typical Volkswagen Beetle that tips the scales at a whopping 2,700lb (1,220kg).

BugJuggler Robot Juggles Cars, How’s That For A Trick? , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

China Not Banning Microsoft Office Use In Government Departments

office365 9China does not have the most cozy and closest of relationships with software giant Microsoft – after all, the government of China has banned the use of Windows 8 computers, and Microsoft is not the only company to experience a ban since Battlefield 4 too, a game, has received a blanket ban over the entire country due to the content of one of its more recent DLCs. Well, earlier in the day, there were rumors going around that the Chinese central government and subordinate departments will not be making use of Microsoft Office, citing reasons of built-in spyware that the U.S. government can use to spy with. However, that rumor proved to be unfounded, as Microsoft has already issued a statement which you can view right after the jump, citing that there is not an ounce of truth at all in such an allegation.

microsoft statement

Well, what do you think of this particular development? It does look as though someone mischievous is up to no good, but at least Microsoft themselves have already stepped forward to clarify things. However, if something like this were to happen, it would not be all that surprising, either, don’t you think so? I wonder what substitute would the Chinese central government use in the even that Office is actually banned.

China Not Banning Microsoft Office Use In Government Departments , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

Ladybird Solar-Powered Robot Could Help Farm Hands

ladybirdFarming is long and hard work, but it can be rewarding too, especially when you take into consideration that you know what exactly you are eating. Not only that, it gives you a greater appreciation of nature, but why not enlist the help of technology to increase yield and efficiency on the farm? What you see above is the Ladybird, which happens to be a $1 million research project that is headed by the University of Sydney. The Ladybird was given that moniker since it looks like a giant, robotic one – being covered by solar photovoltaics to provide it with the necessary energy to move around.

As for its function, it will be able to monitor and assist the cultivation of vegetable crops. Being laser-guided and self-driving, its main mission at the moment is to pick up different kinds of data concerning the farm that it makes its way across without nary a complaint. The sensors will be able to detect variable stages of vegetable growth and pest species, be they plant or animal in origin. There is also an integrated robotic arm that will help in the removal of weeds if it needs be, not to mention the very same arm can open up the road for autonomous harvesting down the road.

Ladybird Solar-Powered Robot Could Help Farm Hands , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

50 Years After the Civil Rights Act, Is the Joke on Women?

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. The legislation was arguably the most important of the 20th century. For the first time in the country’s history, employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin was outlawed.

Though the bill’s main thrust was race discrimination, a ban on sex discrimination at work was tacked on at the last minute. While the bill was being debated on the House floor, Howard W. Smith of Virginia, Chairman of the Rules Committee and staunch opponent of all civil rights legislation, rose up and offered a one word amendment to Title VII, which prohibited employment discrimination. He proposed to add “sex” to that one title of the bill in order “to prevent discrimination against another minority group, the women.”

Widespread laughter broke out, stimulating several hours of humorous debate, later enshrined as “ladies day in the House.” Some said adding sex was purely a joke. Others saw it as an attempt by racial bigots to scuttle the entire bill, figuring nobody in their right mind would 2014-04-01-yourvoicesmallest3.JPGvote to make female employees equal to men. After all, men were seen as owning the jobs. Women belonged at home, and those that did work were working for “pin money.” Women could legally be refused certain jobs and were routinely paid less than men.

But despite the best efforts of southern segregationists to kill the bill, it passed — with the sex discrimination prohibition included.

For the next 40-odd years, the provision served women well. Landmark pay discrimination lawsuits were won, and courts ruled that sexual harassment was also covered by the law. Then, in 2011, it all but ended when the Roberts Supreme Court ruled that thousands of women bringing a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for discrimination at work couldn’t sue as a group. Since the Dukes v. Wal-Mart ruling, judges have sided with employers so often that women are now finding it impossible to even find lawyers to take their cases.

History is divided on whether adding sex discrimination to the list of no-nos in the 1964 Civil Rights Act was meant to be a joke or a death knell for the bill. Either way, with women still making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men and the courts now firmly on the side of corporations (latest evidence the Hobby Lobby decision), the joke is on women now.

Listen to the 2 minute radio commentary here:

New Zealand Identifies Diplomat Charged With Sexual Assault

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand officials on Tuesday identified a diplomat charged with sexual assault as Malaysian.

The man, Muhammad Rizalman Bin Ismail, evaded the charges in New Zealand by claiming diplomatic immunity and returning home last month. He worked for the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington. He remained listed on the commission’s website Tuesday as a staff assistant assigned to defense duties.

New Zealand police said Ismail, who is in his 30s, last month followed a 21-year-old woman home and assaulted her. They have charged him with burglary and assault with the intent to rape, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Monday that it was New Zealand’s “very strong preference” that the man face trial in New Zealand.

“Effectively, the sending country (Malaysia) stopped us from doing that by invoking diplomatic immunity,” Key said. “Though, I would make the point that it’s our expectation he will be held to account in his home country.”

Key said the diplomat’s boss in New Zealand was summoned by officials to emphasize how seriously New Zealand views the situation. He added that New Zealand maintains good relations with Malaysia.

A New Zealand judge had earlier suppressed the man’s name and details of the case which could identify him, which government lawyers interpreted as including his country of origin.

But a High Court judge on Tuesday lifted the suppression order. The judge said he would detail his reasoning later.

Forgotten Obligations: The UN Security Council's Role in Combatting Terrorism in Iraq

Based on territorial gains in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), the recent declaration of an Islamic State (Khilafah) has laid to waste President Obama’s claim that the US (having withdrawn military forces from Iraq in 2011) left behind “a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” This was evidenced by a recent statement he gave to CBS news that ISIS “was destabilizing the country…that could spill over into some of our allies”. The emerging Obama Doctrine in respect of US foreign policy is distinguished by a fundamental dichotomy at its core. On the one hand, the doctrine is distinguished by America’s pre-eminent role in supporting democracy and inherent in this doctrine is the ‘responsibility to protect’ (civilians) as a fundamental part of international law. On the other, the US supporting foreign military intervention only if there is a clear and direct danger to US national interests. It would appear for now the latter doctrine is prevailing when it comes to Iraq, primarily to suit the current administration’s domestic concerns and geopolitical interests in the Far East conveniently ignoring the old established proverb ‘if you break it, you own it’.

Furthermore, there is a threat that such rapidly rising militancy spills over to the GCC and the Levant which could cause a seismic shift on local politics regional economies and will have a dramatic social impact. Terrorism is no longer a domestic issue in Iraq, but a global epidemic that must be eradicated.

A key problem in the regime change of the 2003-2004 period was the fundamental lack of constructive engagement and involvement of all political factions and players. As the players were carefully selected by the Coalition Provisional Authority at the time, they were restrictive to a very few, and exclusive of others. A quota system now became a key element of post-2003 Iraqi politics, and has brought about less reconciliation, and greater division. With the critical threat ISIS now poses, it has now become increasingly urgent to acknowledge a change to help unify Iraq and restore its national identity on the basis of long term reconciliation. Failure to do so, will leave little alternative but to focus public debate on a de-facto 3 state solution following a protracted period of sectarian conflict and social upheaval – an option unaccepted by the Iraqi public.

Notwithstanding the media frenzy on recent territorial gains in Iraq made by ISIS, there is surprisingly scant mention in the media of the obligations of the UN Security Council in combatting terrorism in Iraq and in particular their obligations under UN Resolution 1618 which specifically addresses the issue of combating terrorism in Iraq in order to protect Iraq’s territorial sovereignty.

Role of The UN Security Council in Combating Terrorism

The Security Council is empowered to take various measures including the military option in order to maintain or restore international peace and security, provided that it has first determined a threat to peace. Herein lies a few dilemmas such as there is no established definition of what constitutes a ‘terrorist act’ and accordingly there is no consensus in what constitutes ‘threat to peace’. The fact the Security Council have a wide discretion to take enforcement action under its charter which leaves the decision to intervene to be decided on a political level. Accordingly, the Security Council is not obliged to respond to all situations that are potentially a threat to peace including ISIS’s insurgency in Iraq and Syria. However, since the UNSC issued resolutions 1483 and 1511 recognizing Iraqi sovereignty, it should follow through by enacting Resolution 1618, which seeks to protect this sovereignty.

UN Security Council Resolution 1618 (2005)

UN Security Council Resolution 1618 (2005) unanimously adopted in 2005 calls on security council members to fulfill certain obligations related to terrorist activities in Iraq including the following:

  1. Combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
  2. Prevent the transit of terrorists to and from Iraq, arms for terrorists, and financing that would support terrorists; and
  3. Strengthen regional cooperation of regional countries in preventing terrorism.

Historically, the Security Council has proven itself capable of strictly enforcing UN resolutions when it comes to Iraq particularly during the sanctions era but to date is surprisingly silent in enforcing or taking measures under Resolution 1618 particularly in light of the US Administration’s late recognition that ISIS now poses a threat to Iraq’s sovereignty. Any attempt to construe ‘threat to peace’ in support of a non-interventionist policy as exemplified by the Obama doctrine, is prima facie contrary to the role of the Security Council to establish and ensure global peace and security.


Notwithstanding Russia’s assistance in delivering military jet fighters to the Iraqi Government and the US sending military advisors to assist the Iraqi Government on various matters including counterinsurgency tactics which the US is obliged to do in any event under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both countries in 2012, an emergency session of the Security Council should be convened to deal with various issues such as:

  1. Calling upon Iraq’s leadership to constitute a representative Government in accordance with Iraq’s constitution within a strict timeframe.
  2. Classifying the recent surge and activities of ISIS in Iraq as ‘terrorism’ and an immediate ‘threat to peace’ in Iraq, the wider region and the international community.
  3. Conferring authority on Member states to take whatever action necessary to assist a lawfully constituted and representative Iraqi Government in securing Iraq’s sovereign territory including its borders, border towns, main arteries and vital infrastructure.


The Obama doctrine of foreign non-intervention does not apply to Iraq as the stakes for US allies in the long term may be very high. By way of indicative example the resurgence of the Taliban following the US war in Afghanistan clearly underestimated the effect of blowback.

Failure to stabilize Iraq in the short term by engaging with security council members under the auspices of UN Resolution 1618 and consulting regional security experts could lead to the ‘mother of all blowbacks’ and tarnish Obama’s legacy way before the next US presidential elections in 2017.

Seeing scissors get made by hand is just so mesmerizing

Seeing scissors get made by hand is just so mesmerizing

You’ll get lost watching him work. I definitely did. Cliff Denton is a ‘putter’ for Ernest Wright & Sons, the last remaining hand manufacturer of scissors there is, and he literally puts together scissors with his hands. He’s a master at it. Watching him work is mesmerizing and satisfying to see. It’s basically art.

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Twitter's 'Buy Now' shopping button shows up in tweets

It looks like Twitter”s leaked ‘Buy Now’ button is more than just a proposal, after all. Recode has spotted the button (since yanked) lurking in tweets seen from the mobile app, enticing people into making impulse purchases when browsing their…

Twitter Acquires Tap Commerce

tap commerceWhen you grow to be a really large company, and need to find new way of expanding, just what do you do? Some companies decide to up their research and development, others scout the land, so to speak, and see whether there are smaller startups with an idea or product which is able to add value to your existing portfolio, or at least in what you would like to do in the future, and work on an acquisition from there. Twitter has taken the latter route before, having picked up SnappyTV as well as purchasing Cover, a popular Android lock-screen program. This time around, it would be mobile advertising technology firm Tap Commerce that would come under the Twitter umbrella.

Apparently, this is one of the more modest acquisitions in the tech industry so far, with Twitter having forked out somewhere in the vein of $100 million for Tap Commerce. Basically, Tap Commerce’s function is to re-target mobile app makers, allowing them to their users to reopen and re-engage with apps. Among some of Tap Commerce’s customers, you can add the likes of Pocket Gems, eBay, Poshmark, and Hotel.com to the list.

It does seem that Twitter has taken a rather strong interest in the realm of advertising, which makes sense actually, since they would like to grow their revenue stream from mobile ads. [Press Release]

Twitter Acquires Tap Commerce , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

NASA UFO Launched Over The Weekend

nasa ufo testEarlier this year in April, we did discover that NASA themselves have some sort of “flying saucer” in their labs, or a UFO if it makes things easier to deal with, and earlier this month, we brought you word that NASA intends to test out this particular UFO. It was over the weekend then, where this particular flying saucer-shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator managed to take to the skies in a trial run without suffering from any kind of failure from Hawaii.

The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, otherwise known as the LDSD for short, was specially designed by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This is a saucer that was capable of making its way 180,000 feet into the air, before it performed a landing test amid similar conditions, all onto a giant-sized cargo vehicle which would be somewhat identical to what it will go through should it actually make it all the way to Mars. In fact, the LDSD has been touted to be the first major step in the right direction when it comes to the development of new technology where Mars landings are concerned, and who knows, other planets too, might eventually be part of the plan.

Who knows? This program might have been in operation a whole lot earlier, which then gives rise to all of the previous UFO sightings of yore.

NASA UFO Launched Over The Weekend , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.