HULC starting human trials

Lockheed Martin’s HULC exoskeleton is beginning its human trials. This is great news for robotics. I am looking forward to seeing more of DARPA and Lockheed’s robotic application in the future.

I hope that in the future that this kind of advancement will be integrated with the armour technologies as we have seen from Troy Hurtubise

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  


In the fervor of writing and researching my thesis I came to a conclusion. As much as I am interested in robots, robotics, and robo-culture I nevertheless have never been with a robot for an extended period of time. The longest time actually with a consumer robot would be my brief Robosapien how-do-you-do’s in Radio Shack. Because of this oddity I started to think of purchasing a robot.

In deciding what kind of purchase this would be, I began to think of the fundamental qualities I would like in my robot. At this time, price concerning, robots designed for companionship are incredibly out of my budget and either fall in the creepy or annoying categories. I think that Femsapien, Tribot, and the other WowWee toys are great, but they are just that. Toys. Not necessarily companions yet for people over the age of 14. This is not to say that they aren’t entertaining, they are. Robosapien farting is hilarious, and if you have a chance check out the Tribot video in which the filmmakers re-enact the Shining.

What other houshold robots are available. I am not much of a computer programmer or inventor-type person so a robot kit is a little out of my capabilities. I figured I would stick with a classic and buy a Roomba. I have not regretted this purchase for one second. iRobot’s Roomba is a disc shaped vacuum of about 1 foot in diameter which autonomously vacuums. I was a bit skeptical about the quality of the vacuum itself at the time of purchase. Could this little thing actually vacuum, or is it just going to be more interesting to watch? For the record, the Roomba is BETTER than my vacuum when it comes to picking up dirt and specifically the massive amounts of my girlfriends long hair (sorry babe 😉 but its everywhere). On top of this, the vacuum is a robot. As I am writing this the Roomba is on its merry way, vacuuming my bedroom and trying to get into every nook and cranny.

I found myself first not immediatly using the time saved by pushing the vacuum to do other things, but to actually marvel at the roomba’s prowess. The roomba, being my first household robot is affectionatly named Rosie, as she makes me feel a little like George Jetson. Here is a little bit of a mock sci-fi horror film I made starring Rosie.

Now I lied when I said that I had not owned a household robot before, mostly because of qualification. I actually briefly owned and i-Cybie robot dog. the i-Cybie did not have any A.I. and therefore was basically just a mechanized dog, hardly robotic. Seeing that I had an interesting time choosing a robot for the household I wonder what other people’s first robot would be. How about you let me know in the poll below.

In Admiration – Part II

I recently wrote an post called “In Admiration” about inventor Troy Hurtubise. Every time I hear his name mentioned, see him on TV, or study something remotely similar to his exoskeleton suit I am proud to know that someone living remotely close to me cares about the same things. So naturally, when Mr. Hurtubise evidently visited my site and made a post on the article in which I wrote about him.  I was stunned… Better yet floored. Not only had he commented on the article, but he had actually posted a new video. he had let me know at this new video was that there not so much so that it would only get greater coverage, but also that I, his most recent fanboy, would also get a glimpse into the life of Troy Hurtubise.

You thought him getting hit with a bunch to logs was humorous. That was then… and while that may have hurt him at the time, there is nothing funny about what you are going to see.  He honestly could’ve lost his life, but he didn’t and neither would have many people if they had some of his inventions.  Enough with the prefacing, time to show you the good stuff.

I want to keep discussion about war out of this post. Although Hurtubise’s inventions are aimed at military use and protection, I am much more interested in the human quest to extend the capacity of what the human and its body is capable of through tools and ingenuity. When does the human stop being human and become something quite different altogether. Hurtubise, more so with his exoskeleton is ushering in a new era of combat and security within this realm and he is doing it from his own backyard with homegrown support. This isn’t to say that others aren’t doing similar and equally valid things, they are.

“If that door stops it..then I have wasted twenty years of my life.” How could he have predicted the rapid growth of high caliber rifles, armour piercing bullets, freaking ray guns! As I said, he has much more invested in this than the success of his product. If the product fails, he fails. Is this not the caveat of any inventor. Don’t give up, we need you, the world needs you. BOOM! “There’s your marine” says Hurtubise, its seems not all has been in vain. But this is where I become distressed as I did in the previous post. His megalomania is a deterrent to many who may not take him seriously. This put aside, he is right. He just punched through a hummer window!

Hurtubise’s protective pad is ingenious. Why is this not lining all the vehicles that are in combat currently? Why is this not woven into military uniforms. Cowardace, that is why. This is only a minor hypothosis… but bear with me. How would a team of graduate students from an impressive Ivory League school fare with a new nanopolymer invention which protects solidiers only with one fourth of the protectivity of Hurtubise’s suit if by producing it a company like Lockheed Martin recieved a heavy kickback. Probably quite well. What if a Canadian inventor in his garage invented a pad, a suit, and paste, which would inexpensively save multiple lives, and better yet to raise money so more people know about his work (as he doesn’t have the benefit of academia) he sells off his suit to spread the word further about his invention? Well I fail to see the use of his inventions in combat thus far. And the following is the length that Hurtubise is willing to go to in order to prove himself.

What an incredible display of courage.  But there is a fine line, but between courage and stupidity, he could have been really hurt.  But that’s what divides common people from those who excel our human race; Courage. Did you notice the knife? If you’ve seen Project Grizzly then you know that Hurtubise and that knife have a history. It didn’t help brace him for impact, but it guided him emotionally through the journey. One can only estimate how Hurtubise’s son, wife, and brother braced themselves for this moment. The thoughts that must have been going for all people involved before the detonation can only be understood from the position that Hurtubise knew he was about to be involved in this ‘demonstration’, what about those people who are fighting without this protection.

I am glad to see that Hurtubise still working hard to get his inventions recognized. As long as he is inventing I will be in full support of seeing his life saving devices continue to work and become recognized as the ingenuities that they truly are. Troy is techne.


While new releases do have a freshness to them, films which weathered the tooth of time continue to bring me immense satisfaction when it comes to how their storytelling foreshadows current events. The world, as it is in its nature to do so,  appears to be undergoing a critical stage in its environmental and technological story.  Many mainstream films of this era, however, don’t seem to necessarily reflect this ailment but continue to distract the moviegoer from the troubles outside.  While this is fun (and it is by the evidence of my pocketbook), the joy can often be like a cyanide kiss that comforts us as it kills us. I am much more appreciative of the many films that invert distraction with a truthful slap right in the face.

A film which reminded me that the world could be in a worse state of affairs was the 1973 film Soylent Green. Set in a dystopic, and what seems to be a very hazy looking New York City 2022, civilized life has undergone an incredible biological crisis.  All vegetation has seemed to vanish due to some sort of catastrophe or casual mismanagment, while living conditions are incredibly poor as a dense and virtually starving populace struggles to survive on rations produced by the Soylent company. The abundance of humans along with a depletion of resources makes certain individuals ripe for exploitation. A life of despair awaits those who are not wealthy or possessed by the wealthy. What puzzles me most is that this crisis is only New York City’s. What happened to the world! I guess maybe the world is actually okay and it is just New York that has to suffer. What catastrophe happened as well to make a jar of Strawberry Jam $150! Where do these jars even come from. Am I to beleive that the Soylent company also has an investment in the growth of maybe a subsidiary Smuckers company? If Soylent Green is people then maybe the Jam is made of bugs or something. All joking aside, breifly of course, actual food scarcity has not (to my knowledge, anyway) resulted in food necessity which would warrant and harvesting human beings. Was that piece of meat in the fridge beef? Because why wouldn’t Soylent just harvest cows and have them eat the humans first? Maybe another step in the processing department would have removed us a step from being cannibals without consent. Plankton…Come on. Maybe if you all got your lazy asses off of all the stairwells you were sleeping in this mess could be fixed.

Soylent Green echo’s incredible hardships beginning to appear in current times. Ecological disaster from an onslaught of global warming may be a far off threat, but severe weather is already upon us and we cannot know for sure as of yet how the price of food will increase to reflect these changes as well as the increasing signification of transport costs. If I have to pay 30 dollars to go and buy a limp piece of celery on a tuesday because that is the only day that celery is available and I am happy at that limp looking piece of vegetation I would work on a new plan for growing food. I cannot beleive the apathy of the characters in this film. Nobody is angry, just sleepy and malnourished and waiting for their Soylent fix. Maybe you should..I dunno…LEAVE NEW YORK!

It has become apparent that the films I enjoy and my level of enjoyment reflect the feeling I am left with after I have watched them. Soylent Green left me with an incredible feeling of unease, and it is one that I believe is under the surface of many individuals who fear that what may be oncoming in the not-too-distant future is more of science and less of fiction. This being said, Soylent has an excellent message while also having a totally unbeleivable storyline, but dammit is that Charleton Heston a dapper fellow.

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mortgage Crisis ain’t got nothin on us!

So I just call you after the deposit?


Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Demographic Ageism….

Like most days, I made my way to work with my backpack filled with my lunch, Heidegger’s “Being and Time”,  as well as some random workbooks. I climbed my way off of the nausea inducing bus and made my way towards the grocery store which is next to my workplace.  Before I start my shift  I think about heading to the grocery store to find a little pre-work snack.  On my way through the automatic doors I notice a small black sign which advises customers to leave their backpacks at the customer service desk. I’m surprised I even noticed it. Asking why backpacks should be left to the customer service desk seems a tad redundant, but today I became curious as to why I should follow this protocol of leaving my backpack with a total stranger while I shop?  This rule is obviously not for customer convenience, it is for loss prevention.

When I was younger I used to work at a major grocery store as a bagger as well as a cashier. it was a pretty mindless job, and I had more than my fair share of training videos and worker motivation. That being said, I am quite familiar with the loss prevention strategy in a grocery store.  Statistically speaking, we were told that the most often stolen products are razor blades and black tiger shrimp. Both of these items are reasonably small and tend to be the most valuable and easy to conceal items in your standard grocery store. Razor blades can be likewise resold or stored for future use as they are nonperishable. What does this have to do with backpacks? By keeping these theft statistics in mind a question arises as to whether the people who tend to wear backpacks are the people who would also still razor blades and jumbos shrimp?  What should also be considered is the actual feasibility of stealing items and putting them in a backpack by a single individual.  The only reason why I should have to remove my backpack is because someone thinks would steal something from the store and put it inside. This becomes a problem not necessarily with backpacks, but a problem with people. Obviously something as large as a backpack is not needed in order to steal jumbo shrimp and razor blades as a purse or handbag would easily suffice. Yet where is the sign saying please check your purse or handbag at your nearest customer service desk. If such a sign existed I am sure that store would lose quite amount of business. In order for a backpack to be a functional tool for stealing items there would need to be two people.  One person would be the wearer of the backpack, and the other person would be person putting things in the backpack.  Yet having two people stealing these items makes crime a little more noticeable.  Using a purse or a handbag on the other hand only requires one person, the thief. It is obvious that the more versatile bag for stealing the most commonly stolen items is not the backpack. If this is the practical case, then why is there a sign at the front of the door asking me to leave my backpack at the customer service desk?  The question turns away from loss prevention and towards the idea of mistrust.  The people who are most likely to wear backpacks are those under the age of 25, mainly high school and college kids, precisely those who would steal… right?  Except for, as we have just explained that the most commonly stolen items are razor blades and black tiger shrimp.  Hardly useful items for your average backpack wearer.   How many kids do you see on the street corner trying to sell you really cheap shrimp?

What seems to be occurring is the common discrimination of ageism. This is a category of discrimination that is often overlooked, mostly because the people who are doing the discrimination are those who tend to have the most power. For those who aren’t familiar with the term ageism,  it is a form of discrimination which commonly understood as “stereotyping and prejudice against individuals or groups because of their age.”   Normally I wouldn’t think of ageism as this big of a deal as even I myself am guilty of sometimes misjudging younger people. Also, discrimination happens all too often to groups which have a much stronger argument of oppression than whether or not they should have to leave their backpack at the customer courtesy desk.  This isn’t an argument about backpacks and shrimp, it is about control and forcibly removing ones rights. In this case, I refuse to submit my right to carry items to an asinine rule, which inappropriately attempts to remove this right.  By submitting my backpack to the customer courtesy desk I further the normative belief that criminality is mostly age-related.  While a certain demographic does produce a higher amount of criminals than others our grocery store example shows that this is not a demographic only of age.  So as I make my way to the snack isle I do so with my backpack on, and if any of you ridiculous cashiers attempt to tell me that I need to leave my backpack at the customer service desk you will receive a stern reply. The only way in which I will remove my backpack is if you remove every purse, handbag, and concealable compartments from every one of your customers.  I refuse to submit to your stupid rule…now give me my Twinkie.

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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I am a pencil.

No.2 is now No.1

Sitting in my cubicle at work a comment has blindsided me. How should I take the command from my boss that a pen should be used on my sign in sheet instead of a pencil. The smug look on his pencil hating face appaled me. I knew exactly why he wanted me to use a pen at this point in time instead of a pencil, and normally I would have…submitted….but no, he stood there idle, smirking as he watched me place my pencil down and pick the pen up to sign. It felt so foreign, like a friend who hasn’t changed while you have, the result of which ending in absolute awkwardness. There are obvious differences between pens and pencil’s. Pencils have an archaic feel, a mark leaving action while simultaneously knowing that these marks can be erased. Pens on the contrary have vibrant colour options due to their use of ink, mysteriously as well they always seem to run out at the worst time and without notification, much like my keen wit. I prefer pencils hands down, specifically my right hand. They are rather inexpensive and adaptable to artistic endeavours of drawing or writing due to its erasability. The more I contemplate the duality of pens and pencils I find that I myself have many pencil like characteristics. For instance, most people presuppose their permanance in life. This is the pen dilemma. The paradox is the concern of how I can claim my permanace at all based on my life supply and my surrounding. Both will eventually deplete. The use of a pencil already realizes this and proceed’s correctly knowing that its erasure is always oncoming. The pen however vainly attempts to convince of its permenance due to the ink it leaves, its use not admitting that its surface too will decease under the acidic ink it written. It must me taunting for a pen to notice the capricious nature of the pencil….hence the smirk.

I refuse to submit

Pencils leave a monochromatic mark. Varying intensities of the same basic colour provide many shades of consistancy. Pens come in many colours and it is socially presupposed that certain colours are preferred over others for different tasks. Don’t beleive me? Try handing in an essay or letter to your superior written wholly in red ink and you will see what I mean. This imposes another judgement call for the use of pen as a false superior over the pencil. It is not enough to merely use a pen but one must use the right pen. I find that a pencil is more forgiving to my nature of being. A pencil, in its use does not presuppose that the surface it is etched on will be permanent for it has itself  admitted its own impermanence. A pen, much like my boss has a false sense of entitlement which results in an almost braggart like superiority over pencils. This is a false entitlement which is only promoted by fear and an anxiety in the face of death. I myself am a pencil, darkened or erased at will, and you sir can wipe that smug look off of your face.

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Humans are Dead!

I have no idea why, but I am obsessed with YouTube lately. It is almost to the point that when I cannot find anything on TV I would rather stumble YouTube. Its not as if I stay in front of the computer for an incredible amount of time, but it is definatly increasing. I have been using the StumbleUpon function in Firefox and I came across a viedo by the comedy duo “Flight of the Conchords.” Its fucking brilliant. They are from New Zealand and remind me a lot of a less stoned Tenacious D. They have a television show, which I haven’t seen, on HBO. The following is a song called “The Humans are Dead” and is basically the funniest song I have heard in a while.


The Nietzsche and Schopenhauer Movie

An unlikely pairing of two of the most profound philosophers of the 19th century, Frederich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. Starring myself, Casey Sutherland, as Frederich Nietzsche and Stefan Phillips as Arthur Schopenhauer.

This movie was an amazing adventure into the lives of these two incredible philosophers. It was written by the both of us for our History of Modern Philosophy class at Nipissing University in the spring of 2008. I hope you enjoy and comment appropriately.

The film is split into three parts:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

If you’re a YouTube user, please leave a comment and a rating!

Stefan and I would like to thank everyone who helped out with the shoot, especially Trevor Hrenko (who directed, and brought beer) and Lettie Gariba for her acting, along with Wayne Borody for his musical contributions and mind.

Schopenhauer Song” Click here to listen to the full song from the end of the film, written by Stefan Phillips, performed by Casey Sutherland and Stefan Phillips.

The Devil and Robert Johnson

My music taste goes through phases. I love the blues. I grew up in a Canadian town which borders the United States. I was about an hour from Detroit Michigan. While the city itself moderately frightens me there was one thing that always felt to be more comfortable than things of my own town, and that was the music. The Detroit music scene is and was a hotbed for various talent. I remember staying up dialing on the radio, various AM blues and motown stations until my eyes couldn’t hold themselves open anymore.

I had been stumbling online recently and came across some music by Robert Johnson. If you aren’t familiar with his music or his legend, check him out on Wikipedia:

He is a blues legend. Story goes “According to Blues folklore, Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery’s plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar from Johnson, tuned the guitar so that he could play anything that he wanted, and handed it back to him in return for his soul. Within less than a year’s time, in exchange for his everlasting soul, Robert Johnson became the king of the Delta blues singers, able to play, sing, and create the greatest blues anyone had ever heard.”

Now the truth of this story isn’t important. The music, the amazing music, is surreal. Check him out if you have the chance.