Flying like a bird | part 14/14 – YouTube

Inspirational. Even if it’s NOT real…

The web is currently divided between sceptics and believers. The sceptics are whingeing that it’s physically impossible. That’s because they’re assuming it’s human-powered flight. It isn’t. And no-one is pretending that it is. It’s servo assisted with battery-powered engines and controlled by Wii interfaces. All entirely plausible, subject only to the amount of battery power he needs and can carry – which would explain why he can only manage a couple of hundred metres – though that is about 3 times as far as the Wright Brothers first flight.

Clever stuff and the result of an engineering graduate’s 8 month R&D project. The whole 15 part story is on youtube. Well worth watching. This is the final part – the successful flight that made it all worthwhile.

I’d say he’s scored an A there…

If, that is, it’s real. And this story has become more interesting to me because it’s hotly disputed and yet impossible to either verify or refute. A classic Trusted Surveillance case study. It wouldn’t be an issue if he had a fully documented audit trail open to examination if disputed.

On the Up side, the project is plausible, as confirmed by the interview with Prof Bert Otten. I’ve been able to check him out and he really is a Professor of Neuromechanics at the University of Groningen.

On the Down side, Jarno Smeets is a pseudonym (hardly something I’m going to complain about) but one without any previous history. Like it was invented purely for the purpose of this project.

On the Up side, if it is a fake, I’d give him an A for that. The sheer amount of effort that has gone into it, fake or not, makes it, at the very least, a work of art.

On the Down side, if it was real, why on earth would he be so reluctant to repeat it, in front of the world’s cameras?

That last, for me at the moment, is the most significant fact. I can’t believe that anyone who had done that for real would be so reticent about repeating the feat. Indeed, failing to respond to the obvious demand would be bordering on the psychotic – given the huge appearance fees he could probably command, not to mention the obvious range of product endorsements he could subsequently select from. He would quickly and easily become a multi millionaire, which would in turn, fund his other no doubt equally ambitious projects. What kind of nutter would reject such an opportunity?

But even that’s not a clincher. He’s Dutch and the Scandinavians are notoriously prone to anti-commercialism. Think Linus Torvalds, ferinstance, who created Linux for free. Yes he has done well for himself as a result of the reputation that earned him. But that’s the point. He earned it. That could be the motivation of Mr Smeets…

Rob Higgs – YouTube

It’ll never sell. They shoulda made it musical…

Rob Higgs – YouTube.

Banks and their Naive notion of Account Security

I’ve whinged long and often about that pathetic procedures that the banks consider to offer “security” to their customers. More often than not, all they do is present obstacles to legitimate use and alienate said customers.

Standup comic Andy Parsons just had a run in with his own bank which illustrates the problem much better than I can: Download and listen to this 3 minute gem from last night’s “Now Show”.

MailOnline is world’s number one: Daily Mail has biggest newspaper website with 45.348 million unique users | Mail Online

Delicious irony. The Mail is my favourite comic. It’s how I annoy myself awake most mornings. So I’m responsible for a fair few of those hits myself.

I love the idea they probably think I’m a fan. And I KNOW that I’m not the only one who scours their site with a blend of fascination and horror, much like coming across a gruesome pileup on the motorway.

I particularly like the idea I can get all the “benefits” of reading the Daily Mail without feeding their coffers. Thanks to AdBlock, I don’t even have to suffer their advertising…

MailOnline is world's number one: Daily Mail has biggest newspaper website with 45.348 million unique users | Mail Online.

Cat vs Printer – The Translation – YouTube

BBC News – Mexico avocado price sparks fears of unrest

how did we overlook this scandal? Perhaps it was because it was the tenth anniversary of 9-11 and we were all wallowing in nostalgia. One day, though, we’ll look back on the great Avocado riots as a turning point in Latin American history…

BBC News – Mexico avocado price sparks fears of unrest.

Wintry Words With Bill Bailey – YouTube

Harry Stottle approves and fully endorses this message.

Wintry Words With Bill Bailey – YouTube.