i need more than just a weekend to decompress. and to write this position paper.... well, at least it's short, mostly done, and will use graphics to convey the main ideas. more hacking on it tomorrow.



the darpa autonomous vehicle race will take place this saturday. no, i won't be going to vegas to absorb the heat of the desert sun and to revel in the excitement of the race. i'd felt the thrill -- by osmosis, or maybe it was by induction -- enough times watching chip test or deep thought battling against grand masters that cheering the red team on will not seem so different, despite the contrast of las vegas and wean hall. metaphorical warfare, and a contest using and testing new technologies that will surely come in handy for future, not-so-metaphorical wars.

too bad duelling autonomous tractors in a contest to grow the most food using the least fuel/fertilizer/insecticide wouldn't be a fun contest to watch....

of course technology is a two sided sword, etc. i'm sure that there are autonomous vehnicle technology applications for civilian uses too. surely self-drive cars on the highways have a few truckloads of liability issues than cross country fast attack vehicles might have for military applications, just as UAVs might be difficult to commingle with normal air traffic. how long before fedex can fly packages using UAVs, so that chuck noland can stay home out of harm's way? well, chuck might be out of a job.... i ramble.



want: automatic windshield wiper / defogger / defroster. detect rain via moisture sensor or via semiconductor laser (IR?) through windshield glass, using an incidence angle where total internal refraction (TIR) works when the interface is glass-air, but not (or not as well) when the interface is glass-water, and thus trigger windshield wiper activation / control wiper frequency. external temperature sensors are common and can trigger defroster/defogger, though maybe internal humidity sensing is also needed.



conjecture: without plate tectonics and a hot, soft mantle (aesthenosphere)/liquid upper core, there would be no oceans. solid rocks can absorb water (crystalline structure is somewhat porous) as well as chemically bind water (see this), but magma/heated rocks drives water out (and to planetary surfaces). one potential reaction is the transformation of olivine to serpentine and back. the oceans may be deep; the lithosphere is even deeper.

one implication: martian oceans drained beneath the crust and became chemically bound.


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