Military Almost Done Building Flying Dragons

    Did you hear that the U.S. military is developing flying dragons that shoot laser beams from their eyes? They don’t say that directly, but you can see the parts coming together.

    A drone is about halfway to being a flying dragon already. And recently the military tested a laser weapon that destroyed a truck at a distance. It is only a matter of time before the military miniaturizes laser weapons and puts them on drones.

    I think the first generation of laser drones will look boring, like today. But eventually someone will say, “Let’s make the drones look like flying dragons that shoot laser beams out of their eyes!” Someone else will point out that a flying dragon will not be as aerodynamic as a normal drone. But that is a small price to pay for the coolness of it all. Just think of the bragging rights.

    North Korea: “We have developed long range missiles with nuclear warheads. Death to the Americans!”

    U.S.: “We have ten-thousand flying dragons that feel no pain and shoot lasers from their eyes. They are permanently circling your country looking for anything that leaves the ground. On the plus side, just point to your hibachi and we’ll light it for you from the sky. Oh, and our satellites are seeing an irregular mole on your back. You should see someone about that.”

    In the long run, I expect we will develop a robot army, including drones, to create a virtual fence around ISIS-held territory. The robots would kill anything with a heat signature that came within a mile of the border. And the drones might be able to jam all communications in the area too. I would be amazed if the military is not working toward that containment strategy. The dragon part is a bit less likely.

    But as someone said in the comments, waiting for ISIS to self-destruct is a good option too. As the movement succeeds, it attracts people who have slightly different views until the whole thing becomes like the American Congress that can’t get anything done. Good luck with that, ISIS.


    My post today was boring, but luckily my blogging partners did better.

    Vivian Giang explains why men are better than women when it comes to the workplace. (Expect a twist.) I buy every part of her post, as it is based on studies and the obvious. But in an upcoming post I plan to have a link war to figure out how everything Vivian describes can be true at the same time other studies show no pay differential after you adjust for experience. I believe both assertions even though they are in direct conflict. What is up with that?

    In other news, a company created a frickin’ car with 3D printers. What????

    And a Berkeley-related start-up has an app that could alleviate a lot of poverty. How do you ignore that?

    Scott Adams


Is it Healthier to be Republican?

    I am not a joiner. But if someone were to ask me which political party they should join, that answer is easy. You should be a Republican, for the health benefits.

    As soon as you join a political group you give up any claim to credibility or independent thinking. Your impulse to agree with your side will be too strong for anyone else to imagine your opinions are well-considered. So your reputation and credibility will be terrible according to everyone on the opposite side plus the independents. No matter which side you join, about 60% of the public will think you are mentally defective. Let’s call that a tie for Republicans versus Democrats.

    You probably want to join the party that is most often “right.” But you need not worry about that because once you join, it will seem as if everything your side does, or ever did, was right. That’s how humans are wired. So we can take “being right” out of the decision. And realistically, your one vote won’t change any policies anyway. You just want to feel good about your participation, and joining any party gives you that.

    So on most dimensions, it does not matter if an individual joins the Republican or Democrat party. But there is one way that it makes a big difference: Stress.

    If you become a Democrat, you have to worry about climate change annihilating humanity on your watch. If you are a Republican, climate change isn’t even a problem. Personally, I rest easier when I am not worried about a super-typhoon killing me during REM sleep.

    Consider economics. If you are a Democrat, you have to balance all sorts of complicated economic theories in your head. That stuff is hard to understand and almost always wrong anyway. But if you are a Republican, all you need to know is that cutting taxes will make us all rich. Both approaches are ridiculous, but only one is easy. So take the easy, stress-free path. Then let the economy heal itself while the government is in gridlock, like always.

    When it comes to bombing strangers in other countries, Democrats have to weigh all sorts of concerns about morality, national defense, relations with allies, economics, and likelihood of success. Republican have it easier here too. Regarding the Middle East, for example, all they have to do is ask themselves two questions:

    1. What does Israel want us to do?

    2. Do we have any bombs left?

    I think you might say Democrats do the same thing. Fair enough. But if you are a Democrat you probably feel stressed about the decision because you must weigh so many factors. Republicans are barbecuing and thinking about football.

    Democrats are always worried about issues of fairness and equal opportunity. For example, workplace gender issues are a huge deal for Democrats. But if you are Republican there is no problem there to fix, except for all the whining. And you can learn to ignore that too.

    On other social issues, things are even easier for Republicans. All they need to do is wait to hear a Democrat propose an idea, then take the opposite side. This works every time because the Democratic Party likes to be proactive on social issues whereas conservative Republicans are more about small government and not changing what works so well (for white males). The fast-disagreer job is way easier than crafting legislation to reverse 300-thousand years of gender discrimination. So take the stress-free route.

    When reading this, you might be tempted to think I identify with Democrats. I don’t. I am just amused at how easy the choice of parties is if you don’t like stress. Science tells us that stress is deadly. Some say stress is already an epidemic because it causes so many other health problems. So if you can reduce your stress, you come out way ahead.

    Your irrational decision-making and your one vote won’t help the country no matter which party you join. But dying from stress is clearly bad. So if you want to be happy and healthy, join the Republican Party. 

    I doubt you can take the politics out of this discussion and focus on the question of health benefits. But please surprise me.

    And no need to tell me that if “everyone took my advice” it would be a catastrophe. I don’t think we have to worry about people taking my advice.


    You might also enjoy reading about a 3D printed “brick” that can cool your house. How awesome is that???

    And this company is aiming to reduce poverty with an app that matches digital jobs with people who can work at home. Quite ambitious. I like it!


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