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!)

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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.

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.”