the dissident frogman

14 years and 5 months ago

Life imitates Robocop

the dissident frogman

Necrothreading much?

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Reminder: I am still crossblogposting (or something) at Jules Crittenden Forward Movement, alongside a fine bunch of other crosspostbloggers (or something)—In crosspostblogging order: TigerHawk, Don Surber, Dave Dilegge from Small Wars Journal, Jose Guardia of Pajamas Media and Barcepundit, Sister Toldjah, Gatewaypundit, Greyhawk (Mudville Gazette), Michael van der Galien, Teflon Don plus Oh God I Hope I Didn't Forget Anyone and some old stuff by Jules still at the bottom of the page despite our collective efforts to push it off the edge of the blog—All already posted a fine bunch of crosspblogposts that I definitely invite you to read. Seriously.

Rufus Terrill, "a 57-year-old ex-Marine" has a screwdriver, and he's not afraid to use it:
Robotic vigilante: Homemade 'Bum Bot' patrols in Atlanta,

(…)"You're trespassing. That's private property," Terrill scolds an older man through the robot's loudspeaker. (…) "Go on."

The man's hands go up and he shuffles into the shadows. Almost immediately, a group of men behind him scatters too.

The Bum Bot's reputation, it seems, has preceded it.
"Genius" is the name of the game, including in the naming of the beast. The problem at hand being the usual:
[Terrill's] bar was still being vandalized, and guns were stuck in his face several times. (…)

"There are children in our neighborhood that use that day care center," he says. "People are coming on private property, they're defecating, they're throwing crack needles, sometimes they're throwing crack rocks."
Thus facing adversity, the best of the enterprising mind goes to work, builds a "Bum Bot" (I love that name), and fixes the problem:
"I cleared out when I saw it," says Matthew Williams, a 23-year-old who lives in a nearby shelter. "People are starting to get used to it. People leave right when they see it."

Atlanta police spokeswoman Lisa Keyes says the department hasn't received any complaints about the Bum Bot (…)
But of course, this outrageous individual initiative doesn't go without calling for the uncalled attention of The Righteous, coming in fast from two seemingly different angles.

First the Professional Robot Maker Who Nevertheless Cares For The People:
To Henrik Christensen, director of Georgia Tech's Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center, the Bum Bot exploits the kind of anxiety that underlies the Terminator movies.

"We have a Hollywood picture that they're going to run amok, kill people and do bad things. This Bum Bot plays on that stereotype," Christensen says.
Is it now Henrik? A robot "made of steel and plywood, covered in rubber gym mats painted black" with a flashing red light that say "Get out of my property" trough a probably nasal-sounding loudspeaker equals Arnold Albertshweizzngeitsomethinger in black leather threatening "I'll be back" in Austro-English?

Either Henrik is projecting, or someone should be looking into Georgia Tech's Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center's plans. They could be sneakily pulling a Cyberdyne here, and fear the Bum Bot might beat their T-1000 prototype to the punch.

Henrik continues and closes with the Care For The People:
"For the rest of us who want to use technology to assist people in their daily lives, it's an obstacle."
Well yeah, amateurs are such an annoyance. Particularly when they manage to actually assist, er, actual people in their daily lives rather than leave the work of producing helpful press releases to the experts.

Still, I understand Mr. Christensen's frustration. I mean, all that money and man-hours swallowed up in R&D, and there comes this ex-Marine with a cardboard box that goes "Ping!" and steal your thunder.

Not very fair at all.

The second salvo of the Someone Must Do Something (But Not, er, actually Do Something) Brigade comes from the Professional Bleeding Hearts Who Care For The People Worthy of Their Care:
"It's a play for public attention for Rufus. He's certainly got a lot of attention — but not the kind we need for housing, living wages," says Anita Beaty, director of Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. "This robot isn't casting attention to the deep, deep poverty in Atlanta."
Huh-Huh. Let's not presume that Anita Task Force Beaty is one of those people who lecture from afar without having to cope with The Homeless defecating on her property on a daily basis, and let's just ask: "Dear Homeless advocate Task Force, are you doing something about deep-deep-poverty and crack needles & rocks around child care centers now, or do you just fear a significant reduction in deep-deep-poverty might compromise next year's funding for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless?"

Just asking. Because it seems to me that in addition to building attention-seeking Bum Bots, Rufus "Heart of Stone" Terrill is doing something, though again, on his own initiativeHow.dare.he.
Terrill says he monitors only private property and never has blasted the cannon toward anyone. He also says he's employed 70 people from the streets and shelters since he opened the bar and helped 18 move into other full-time gigs.
But of course, that's simply not enough for the Self-Righteous. And as I hinted a bit earlier, the seemingly different angle was an illusion when the Professional Bleeding Hearts and the Professional Robot Maker union in Professionally Caring For The People (those worthy of their care, that is):
Beaty is unconvinced of his motives.

"I'm appalled by the whole idea. It's a sham and a shame," says Beaty. "Rufus is using this for his 15 minutes."

Christensen at Georgia Tech is particularly concerned that the robot is a temporary — if entertaining — solution when Terrill could be helping find a permanent answer to vagrancy.
We abhor temporary solutions even though we enjoy entertaining ones like the other guy. We are therefore open to any suggestion Georgia Tech could offer to find a permanent answer to vagrancy, defecation and crak needles—Right in the following sentence Mr. Christensen please thank you Sir:
"He's moving the problem elsewhere," Christensen says. "And that works for him, but it's really not solving anything."
Oh well, I wasn't really holding my breath.

Obviously, as we say in France, La critique est facile, mais l'art est difficile.

Update



Photos of the Bum Bot. I'm still not sure about the alleged resemblance with Arnold Schouartzewotsiznameger. Gezerner. Ger.

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the dissident frogman

I own, built and run this place. In a previous life I was not French but sadly, I died.

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Comments thread (5)

3445 - TooTall

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If I may be so bold there's no such thing as an ex Marine. This is a trait the Marines share with Texans. Once a Marine or Texan always one.

3446 - Frozen Tex

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  • Frozen Tex Yellowknife, NT, Canada

"That's the machine that goes ping!"

PING!

"That means your baby's still alive!"

"And that's the most expensive machine in the whole hospital!"

"It cost over a quarter of a million pounds!"

"Aren't you lucky?"

Terrill should have built the thing to look like a Dalek.... Then the homeless advocate and the robotics ninny could really have something to worry about...

"EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE... THE HOMELESS!"

Oderint Dum Metuant "The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn't he, Percy?"

3447 - nyexpat

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  • nyexpat left coast

"he's just moving the problem someplace else" The Perpetually Offended used the same complaint against Rudy Guliani while he was trying to clean up NYC. The thing is that Rudy's job wasn't in Newburgh, or Monticello; it was in NYC. Same thing for this guy. He is doing something about his block. The bleeding hearts can have their crack heads and vagrants, they just have to find them somwhere else.

3448 - 2hotel9

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  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Having worked in that area in the mid '80s I can tell you, ain't nothing changed. The same leftards are still facilitating drug addicts in their vagrant lifestyles. You'll also note that the whiners from the article do not hire any homeless, or in any actual way help them to become NOT homeless.

And yet the Democrat bar owner does. Must be all that time in the evil, oppresive USMC that made Terril such heartless bastard, hiring people and making them work! That Bastich.

3449 - Proof

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  • Proof Stockton, Callifornia, USA

I have to admit that the Bum Bot does seem more lifelike and animated than, say...Al Gore!