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timothy from the well-they're-not-totally-autonomous dept.
In 2009, an autonomous ocean glider bobbed and dipped its way across the Atlantic; now, reader cylonlover writes with word that "Four small autonomous aquatic robots have embarked on a 60,000-kilometer (37,000-mile) journey across the Pacific ocean. The Wave Gliders, built by California-based Liquid Robotics, left San Francisco last Thursday." Two of the robot craft are to head to Australia, the other two to Japan. According to the IEEE description, "Waves will power their propulsion systems and the sun will power the sensors that will be measuring things like water salinity, temperature, clarity, and oxygen content; collecting weather data, and gathering information on wave features and currents."
Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
Astroturfing is much more akin to ADVERTISING than honest opinion. It is not individual speech, or political speech.
It is commercial speech.
A firm has been paid to sell an idea. The same way another firm has been paid to sell a bottle of shampoo.