I agree about the serendipity of Lawrence's death, a freak accident after everything he had lived through. What a tragedy. I think Korda's book is an exceptionally good read and covers a lot of history in the process. Since Lawrence was busy making that history, that's not hard to do in a biography of him.
Regarding war and technology, I'd forgotten about the suggestion to use nukes in Nam--that would have been insane. And yes, 9/11 is a good example of a lower tech enemy trumping a high-tech nation. Interestingly, the Lawrence of Arabia biography I read recently points out that Lawrence's work fighting the Turks with the desert Bedouin pretty much started modern guerilla warfare, especially the use of explosives, in the Middle East. A mixed blessing. I highly recommend the biography--"Hero" by Michael Korda--for the history of the times as well as for the info about Lawrence.
I just saw a web posting of a robotic creature that could jump up onto buildings and then jump off of them and get away. It was quite impressive, and it would certainly be a handy tool to deal with rooftop snipers, both for fighters and the police. But for dealing with IED challenges the directed energy device will probably be the solution in that it is able to detonate the weapon while it is still being transported, but if accidently directed at an innocent party they just experience a hot flash. That feature will save a lot of lives, I hope. I am not permitted to divulge any more information.
You make a really good point that it's not always technology. I think Vietnam was lost because of restrictions on engagement (and thank goodness for those limitations). It was suggest we use nukes in Vietnam, which certainly would have altered the outcome. So technology could have won -- as horrible as that would have been.
Another example to support your point of low-tech advantage in war was 9/11. The enemy confiscated our technology and succeeded with a willingness to kill civilians.
As for the earthworm, I was just postulating. And I enjoy very much your articles on biomimicry.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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