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The Almighty Buck

NSA Chief Built Star Trek Like Command Center 372

Bruce66423 writes "As the NSA scandal moves from appalling to laughable, the latest report in the Guardian indicates that the current NSA chief spent US taxpayers' money to create a command center for his intelligence operations that was styled just like Star Trek. From the PBS News Hour report: 'When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen. "Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard," says a retired officer in charge of VIP visit '"

Submission + - Prospero: Robot Swarm Farmer (robots.net)

Anonymous Coward writes: "A forum post on TrossenRobotics.com shows what's called a an Autonomous Micro Planter (AMP), a small, six-legged robot named Prospero, that's capable of drilling seed holes and depositing seeds in them. The forum post includes two YouTube videos and several photos. The author of the post, David Dorhout, describes this category of machine as the first of four steps, saying The other three steps involve autonomous robots that tend the crops, harvest them, and finally one robot that can plant, tend, and harvest--autonomously transitioning from one phase to another. Prospero was designed for a contest sponsored by SchmartBoard and placed first in the Parallax MCU segment (there were also TI and MicroChip MCU segments). The forum post links to a PDF which explains the project in detail, including source code."

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.