The Robo Bee

Harvard’s new RoboBee: a new step towards more sophisticated bio-mimicry and the likelihood of military applications on an analog insect body.

Big Dog has a new arm

Boston Dynamics has developed a new throwing arm, presumably so that Big Dog can play fetch with itself.

The Militarisation of Nature: cyborgs, biomimicry and the best of DARPA

Here are a collection of examples that I use in my Human Geography lecture on the militarisation of nature. If you want to find out more about DARPA then you can do so here.

The videos below are examples of biomimicry – using the mechanism of a biological organism as a model for an inanimate object or machine.

Other examples are closer to what we might call a true cyborg (cybernetic organism) which involves the fusing of both biological and artificial systems. These range in scale from remote controlled insects, rats etc through to the more ambitious remote controlled shark.


DARPA’s Cheetah, September 2012


DARPA’s Pet-Proto Robot, October 2012


DARPA’s Big Dog, April 2010


DARPA’s Legged Support System, September 2012


Nano Quadrotor drones – capable of coordinated flight, January 2012


For one of the early fictional imaginings of a cyborg world, watch Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner. Here’s the trailer:

There’s No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster

“It is generally accepted among environmental geographers that there is no such thing as a natural disaster. In every phase and aspect of a disaster – causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction – the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.”


Neil Smith (1954-2012)

See the full article here. See Neil Smith’s obituary here.

Capital by John Lanchester

Everyone should read this essay, Marx at 193, by John Lanchester. Really. Everyone.

It is almost impossible to say anything original about Marx but somehow he manages it.

His new novel, Capital – that’s a good title – is also utterly brilliant. Here’s a trailer.