(Roughly) Daily

The bleeding edge…

Depleted uranium in missiles warheads, fragmenting bombs– innovations like this don’t happen by accident.  Teams of weapons specialists spend months and years scheming, then realizing these dreams.  But innovation isn’t an exact science; sometimes good ideas simply don’t pan out.

Consider, for example, “the acoustic kitty.”  CIA scientists implanted a microphone, transmitter, and battery in a cat (with an embedded antenna running up its tail).  Who would pay any attention to an innocent feline wandering through?…  would have worked too, but after spending years (and several million dollars) in research, the CIA released their spy cat on its test run… and it was promptly run over by a taxi.

Read more about the tabby, and other tales of innovation on the dark side in “The 10 Most Bizarre Military Experiments.”

As we reconsider our R&D budgets
, we might pause a moment to recall that it was on this date in 479 BCE (as traditionally rendered) that the ethicist Confucius (aka K’ung-fu-tzu,  Pinyin Kongfuzi), or “Master K’ung”)  died.  His teachings, as further interpreted and expanded (by, e.g., Meng Tzu), were adopted by the Hàn Dynasty as the official moral and political doctrine of the State; the Confucian tradition became so broad that “Scholar” or “Literatus” became essentially synonymous with “Confucian”– so that Confucianism could simply be called the “Ju Chia,” or “School of the Literati.”  As one of the “Three Ways,” together with Taoism and Buddhism, Confucianism grew into one of the traditional religions (though, of course, it’s not really a religion) of the Hàn Chinese, and is felt as an influence in China to this day.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 27, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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