Rise of the Robot Sentries?

If you thought Transplant is over the top, check out what’s going down in South Korea (courtesy of  www.ubergizmo.com)

Samsung SGR-A1 Robot Sentry Is One Cold Machine

A Samsung Group subsidiary has worked on a robot sentry that they call the SGR-A1, and this particular robot will carry a fair amount of weapons that ought to make you think twice about crossing the borders of South Korea illegally – as it has been tested out at the demilitarized zone along the border over with its neighbor, North Korea. The SGR-A1 will be able to detect intruders with the help of machine vision (read: cameras), alongside a combination of heat and motion sensors.

The whole idea of the Samsung SGR-A1 is to let this military robot sentry do the work of its human counterparts over at the demilitarized zone at the South and North Korea border, so that there will be a minimal loss of life on the South Korean side just in case things turn sour between the two neighbors.

First announced in 2006 (where obvious improvements have been made since, and I am not surprised if much of it remained as classified information), this $200,000, all weather, 5.56 mm robotic machine gun also sports an optional grenade launcher. It will make use of its IR and visible light cameras to track multiple targets and remains under the control of a human operator from a remote location. Basically, it claims to be able to “identify and shoot a target automatically from over two miles (3.2 km) away.” Scary! When used on the DMZ, this robot will not distinguish between friend or foe – anyone who crosses the line is deemed as an enemy.

(Thanks to my friend Marcha Fox for the info!)

Human Trafficking – The Real-Life Dilemma

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The darkest subplot in John Reinhard Dizon’s Transplant focuses on Adam Rauch’s diabolical deal with drug lord Django Tamsulosin. Django agrees to supply ‘volunteers’ for Rauch’s experiments with the understanding that they are never to return to the streets of Harlem. At first the victims are brought to the lab on the brink of death, and Adam harvests their organs before they expire. Eventually they are brought while unconscious, and Adam realizes that Django expects them to be euthanized. He begins to keep the survivors in a state of heavy sedation, rationalizing that captivity is a more humane fate than death itself.

Human trafficking in the 21st century has reached epidemic proportions. There are more people being held against their will and used as chattel than during the peak of the Slavery Era of past centuries. The United Nations webpage at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html documents the ongoing struggle against human exploitation. Though the plight of the victims in Transplant may be a fictional representation of such scenarios, it is imperative that reading audiences everywhere become aware of such injustices. From drug addicts to supermodels to NBA superstars, this novel reminds us that when the weakest among us are endangered, ultimately we must all join together to eliminate the threat to one and all.

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One of the more chilling subplots in Transplant is the tragic tale of Geri Lindsay. The supermodel, like fellow victim Jerome Browne, seeks resolution in returning to her childhood neighborhood and falls afoul of the megalomaniacal drug lord, Django Tamsulosin. In real life, Harlem in NYC is not only the place where black Americans have turned their fantasies into reality in generations past, but continues to inspire hope for young people to this day.

Harlem Model Search is but one of many institutions where a real life Geri Lindsay may one day emerge. Their website at http://harlemmodelsearch.tumblr.com/tagged/harlemmodelsearch provides photos and information about their services to hopeful and talented young women in NYC. It is just a sampling of all that the legendary and essential Harlem community continues to offer!

 

Jerome Browne – All About Harlem Basketball!!!

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Transplant‘s Jerome Browne is just one of hundreds of thousands of basketball players who came from East Harlem, though one of a handful who realized his dream of major league success. Yet Harlem basketball has an older tradition than the NBA in their hallowed Globetrotters. Here’s some historical facts from the ‘Trotters site at www.harlemglobetrotters.com

In 1926, in Chicago, a 24-year-old businessman named Abe Saperstein formed a small basketball team called the Savoy Big Five. He was just trying to promote a nightclub called the Savoy Ballroom, but in just a few years the team had played over 1000 games around the country and become the Harlem Globetrotters.

In 1941, the Globetrotters signed Reece “Goose” Tatum, an all-time great who developed amazing comedy moves and changed the direction of the team.

Twenty years after their inception, the Globetrotters had played 3,000 games and were featured on the cover of Life magazine. Those were remarkable achievements at a time when America was deeply segregated by race.

The team toured the world, breaking cultural and social barriers along with basketball records. They were the first team to play basketball in Europe. In 1950, Globetrotter Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton became the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract.

In 1959, during the Cold War, the Globetrotters went on a sold-out tour of the Soviet Union. The also had an audience with Pope John XXIII and posted their first undefeated season, with an astonishing 441 wins.

Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 120 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans—among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents.

The line-up has included some of the greatest players ever, including Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Curly Neal, and Connie Hawkins, just to name a few, and they have appeared in their own movies and TV shows.

The Harlem Globetrotters continue a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages.

Brooklyn Heights – Where Dreams Are Made?

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In Chapter One we follow the Four Doctors to Adam Rauch’s brownstone on Grace Court at the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. It provides residents and visitors with a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline, arguably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Rauch and his friends’ parents bought the homes back in the day, when they sold for a million dollars. Now this apartment is listed at $1.8 million dollars. Just the one apartment.

How times change. We remember the  Patty Duke Show of the Sixties which made the Heights famous. In the Seventies, the horror flick The Sentinel was filmed at 10 Montague Terrace (see photo). That’s when they really started upping the ante in this real estate area. To add insult to injury, this is listed as a one-bedroom apartment.

The narrative speaks of how the four friends would hang out under the Brooklyn Bridge at night, admiring the view and dreaming of their future success. It was an autobiographical touch by JRD, who spent his own childhood fantasizing about his own slice of the Big Apple while gazing at the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and dozens of other landmarks.

“You couldn’t ask for a more inspirational sight,” reminisces the author. “You could hang out under the Bridge or on the Promenade all night and come back the next night, and the next and the next. It was something you can never get tired of. Whenever I go back for a reunion with my old buddies, at the end of the evening, we’re right back where it all started.”

 

Manitoba’s is *The* Place to Go in “Transplant”!!!

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Bridgette Celine and her friends in The Fury hung out there. Stu Carlucci and Tina Rivera in Hezbollah got kicked out of there. Tommy Jackson and Orrin Rampersad in Transplant go there to commiserate between interviews. So how is it that author John Reinhard Dizon hasn’t been there yet?

“I haven’t been to Alphabet City since we last played there,” JRD admitted recently. “It’s on the top of my list for my next visit.”

Flashback to the Punk Revolution of the Seventies when the Dictators were among the top bands in Manhattan. The Spoiler was the Innovators of Punk in Brooklyn. Handsome Dick Manitoba and Broadway Turk Superstar were aspiring pro wrestlers. Lead guitarists Ross “The Boss” Friedman and Lou “The Wizard” Cazucci bore a strong physical resemblance. Both bands’ favorite cover song was “Search and Destroy”. The list goes on.

The bands rubbed elbows but were never destined to meet. Dick Manitoba opened a punk bar in 1999 bearing his name that remains as a tribute to the glory days of the venerated genre. When JRD’s writing career began its next evolution in 2013, he couldn’t think of a better place for his characters to hang out.

Manitoba’s website can be found at  http://manitobas.com/ . There’s a large selection of beers, tasty food, great atmosphere, an eclectic crowd, a top-notch punk jukebox, and, of course, a chance to exchange barbs with Handsome Dick himself. Who could ask for anything more?

 

How The Other Half Lives in NYC?

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The Mad Doctors seem to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths – but what about the detectives on their case? NYPD Detectives Tommy Jackson and Orrin Rampersad are in the same boat. Tommy has a wife and two daughters, while Orrin has a wife and a son. All three children are in grade school. Both women are stay-at-home Moms, and their hubbies are bringing home $90K per year. How does that work for them?

Tommy lives on Prince Street just outside Greenwich Village. If you check out http://www.apartments.com/New-York/New-York , you’ll see that apartments average about $35K a year. Plus he says he spends $1,000 a year to park his Camry.  That doesn’t leave him a whole lot of spending money. Orrin, on the other hand, lives near Delancey Street on the Lower East Side in an apartment building like the one pictured above. He pays about as much as Tommy per year. You’d think he’d be saving money, but…not in NYC.

$90,000 would be a pretty nice score in most places around the USA. In NYC, having to deal with Mad Doctors, chasing Dr. Cyclops, interviewing Patch and Combo, and then going home to be a good husband and father…New York’s Finest probably don’t get paid what they’re worth. You be the judge.