Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Terminal Decision

"The princess was beautiful but willful. It was entirely in character that she should wake in the pre-dawn glimmer and leave her chamber unobserved, to walk barelegged in the dew. And it was there, in the old meadows surrounding the chateau, that they took her.

They had been incredibly clever as well as resourceful and, perhaps most importantly, they had been lucky. Our security teams had unaccountably failed to detect their dragonship, hidden with perfect care inside the husk of an abandoned church. The Princess Irena, true to her contrary self, had decided to mark her first day in the newly-conquered province of Aquila by a solitary early morning excursion."

Continue reading ...

This article has been a while in preparation. In the course of researching articles on future weapon systems for I looked into missile guidance systems and discovered that missiles normally use a hunt algorithm called 'proportional navigation'. This basically steers the missile directly at the target no matter how it moves to evade.

Dragonflies do something smarter: they move in such a way that no matter what their target does, the dragonfly always stays stationary in the target's visual field - the hunter doesn't move sideways against the background. The only effect is that the dragonfly naturally looms larger as it homes in. This is call 'motion camouflage' - how cute is that?

So the story wraps up this concept in a little interplanetary adventure where the planet is in a stellar cluster so that space is really, really bright, rather than dark as it is with us. So 'motion camouflage' is quite important as a dark object moving against a bright background will really stand out.

Sadly, the story seems to have passed most people by, judging by the number of 'likes' and tweets it got.


Tomorrow I'm coming up to the halfway point of the current IL2 security contract. Reading is the polar opposite of Wells, being working class, multi-ethnic and home to a small ecosystem of rat-faced, shifty men who hang around in the back streets.

The town centre additionally boasts of swaggering young blokes who seem convinced that by jangling their money loudly as they walk by and then asking if you can 'spare 50p' they are contributing to the fabric of a good civil society.

I slew my glance away and answer with a languid 'No....'.