George W. "Bush" Bush, seen here imagining robots while a friendly Vulcan looks on in dismay.
For some reason that I'm still not exactly sure of, the US military is currently gearing up for a full-scale war in Iraq, sending over football stadiums full of soldiers armed with guns, bullets, and those silly colored berets which make them look like irate Frenchmen. President George "George" W. Bush Jr. seems intent on making Iraq explode regardless of the UN weapon inspectors findings, which have so far listed the following heinous Iraqi international violations:
1) No wheelchair / handicapped access to missile silo GH-92
2) Sand machine in Barqubah requires safety goggles to use, yet there is no "SAFETY GOGGLES REQUIRED" sign in immediate vicinity
3) Saddam's crazy moustache contains illegal immigrants
Besides that, the international weapon inspectors can't really find much in Iraq. Maybe they can't see anything because no matter where they go there's constantly 100,000 reporters circled around them and taking flash photography. Or perhaps, one night while they were sleeping, Iraq switched countries with Turkmenistan, and now the most technologically advanced piece of machinery in the country is a rock with a sign reading "BIG SMASHIN' STONE" in some crazy foreign language attached to it. It doesn't really matter at this point; all we know is that war with Iraq has been pretty much inevitable for years now and we'd better accept this fact or else John Ashcroft will come over to our house and beat us in the face with an extension cord.
The threat of war isn't anything really new and exciting, but the promise of ROBOTS IN COMBAT sure as hell is. If you've ever read our site (this site (Something Awful (on the Internet))), you'll know we are all big fans of robots, ninjas, pirates, ghosts, zombies, and other excitingly similar things. While America doesn't seem to be all that keen on deploying Zombie Pirate Troopers ("aargh! Brains! Yarrr! Brains!"), it does appear that Iraq will be the testing ground for a new breed of military robots. CNN recently ran an article explaining how America is ready to transform the battlefield into an episode of "Battle Bots," only it will last slightly longer than 50 minutes and something exciting might possibly happen during that time.
Military robots well trained for war - Yet the newest robots being developed by companies including iRobot range farther from their "masters" than did their forebears in Afghanistan. They can navigate terrain and obstacles more deftly, lay down a cover of smoke, test for chemical weapons and extend a "neck" that can peer around corners. The machines are also learning how to right themselves if they flip over as well as how to follow their tracks back home if they lose contact with their base.
Now THIS is a robot ready for war. Notice its lack of silly tank treads. Also note that it's either very small or it is emerging from a very large, very old computer.
Now when I think about "military robots," the first thought that comes to mind is of a giant, 20-ton behemoth EDX-209 unloading thousands of explosive rounds at dangerous, hostile fleeing women and children. However, the current military robots are just retarded hunks of junk that are able to travel in a straight line and occasionally turn around corners. These are not robots, my friends, these are retardbots. Why doesn't the military just grab one of those tuxedo-clad, beverage-toting Radio Shack robots, tape a knife to its carrying tray, and airdrop it on Iraq? Hell, the military can't even keep up with famous robots from the 1980's, much less make one that has the ability to do anything functional whatsoever. Here's a brief overview of robots from the past that can outperform the "metal box on wheels" that the military is pumping out and using to detect enemy lumber mills or whatever:
Vicki From "Small Wonder" - This exciting robot was created by a very lonely, lonely man who decided it would be a fantastic idea to spend his life building a robotic 10-year old girl who dresses like the elderly wife of Santa Claus. Vicki could do all kinds of incredible robot crap, although a majority of it consisted of picking up the livingroom sofa and twirling it around really quickly. Literally every episode of this show featured Vicki picking up the couch and making it rotate really fast, usually for no good reason at all. Her father would peer out the window and see the wacky neighbors coming by, instruct Vicki to act like a normal 10-year old dressed in grandma's clothing, thus causing her to interpret that command as "pick up the fucking couch and spin it around for a little while." In the four years that this show was on television, I don't think that damn couch ever stopped spinning. Also, would it be illegal to rape a robot? Just wondering.
DARYL From "D.A.R.Y.L." - Daryl possessed incredible robotic superhuman powers, the most important of which allowed him to play "Pole Position" at an alarmingly fast speed. If the military was able to use 1% of 1% of Daryl's advanced brain, we'd have tanks doing 120-mile an hour wheelies over in the Middle East right now. I think Daryl was also a really good baseball player as well, so we could set up an International Baseball League and then use him to cheat whenever we play Iraq. The same principle applies to an International Pole Position League. If somebody creates an International Couch Spinning League, we could call in Vicki as well.
Twiki from "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" - I've already demonstrated how powerful robots in the 1980's were; it's no surprise that these bionic buddies are even more complicated in the 25th century, which, according to my charts, takes place some time in the future. Twiki was able to walk around and have lights in his eye-holes light up when something of interest happened, such as a person speaking to him or an oxygen atom colliding with him. Additionally, he had a highly futuristic "Simon Says" game built into his chest, one which glowed and flashed randomly during his monotone speeches about why Buck Rogers should be cautious when engaging the Cylons or Dragonians or Leprechauns or whatever he fought 192 times each episode.
Those are simply three shining technological beacons from the 1980's, yet now, in the year 2003 or whatever year we're in, we can't even make a robot capable of handling Daryl's jockstrap. And even if we were somehow able to create one, it'd just take the jockstrap and drive forward in a straight line until it hit a wall and fell over or was defeated by marauding hornets. Since the military finds the concept of coming up with "good robot ideas" so fantastically difficult, I have decided to compile a list of useful cybernetic machines that will give us an uncontested edge over all our enemies.
The SpamBot in action.
SpamBot - Anybody who has ever used the Internet knows that spam is the most lethal weapon in existence. It drowns out all legitimate forms of communication, forces users to commit suicide, and is completely inescapable. You cannot hide from spam, as it will seek you out wherever you may run. You cannot unsubscribe from spam, as that simply lets the server know your email account is active, allowing them to sell your address to hundreds of other companies. By using highly advanced technology which I'm not sure exists in this dimension, the SpamBot infiltrates enemy villages and proceeds to assault them with a never ending barrage of advertisements for penis lengthening drugs, gay incest bestiality pedophile pornography, and printer toner cartridges. If a villager attempts to barricade themselves inside their mud hut or troll cavern, the SpamBot will emit a burst of spores into the air which will enter the victim's dwelling and soon combine together to form a mini-SpamBot capable of spewing 12 ads per second. If the main SpamBot is killed or harmed in any way, it sends a signal off to military headquarters alerting them to the fact that there are hostile villagers active in the area and additional SpamBots should be dropped in overnight. For every SpamBot harmed or destroyed, 10 more are sent in to take its place. Eventually entire cities will have 80 SpamBots per citizen, clogging the streets, buildings, and gay bath houses across the horizon. At that point the country's own military will voluntarily decide to drop napalm on itself, thereby saving the US from doing it for them. To serve as a scouting patrol, SpamBot Spiders will be sent out beforehand, gathering the names and home addresses of everybody in the village so the SpamBot will be able to customize its message like in the following example:I did a Google Image Search for American flags so I could Photoshop one up with miniature cameras, and I found this image. I think this is funnier than anything I could ever create.
SPAMBOT: "Greetings FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI!"
FADHIL: "If you actually copied and pasted this text, then changed the font to read it, you're insane."
SPAMBOT: "Take a survey and WIN a Fully Loaded Computer, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI! With just 30 seconds of work you could be a winner, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI! FAST and EASY! You have received this message because you, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI, live in an area which has commenced registration to receive our news updates. Register to win a FREE Cruise for two when you, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI, sign up for our New Product Alert List! Receive e-mail notifications for Huge Savings on Popular Name Brand Products. Looking for cash, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI? Get $500 by TOMORROW! Ask me about CASH! Don't fall prey to destructive viruses or hackers, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI! Protect your computer and your valuable information!"
FADHIL: "Or, if you can read this, then your browser is not rendering the 'Symbol' font properly."
SPAMBOT: "This is an advertisement, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI. If you do not wish to receive further information, please follow me to a room where I will leave you, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI, and 19 other SpamBots will take my place and begin following you around wherever you go. Third-party offers advertised by me are the sole responsibility of the offer originator. All questions about the offers I have featured should be directed towards my rear area, FADHIL MAHMOUD AL-MISHIYKHI. These messages are being brought to you courtesy of -"
FADHIL: "I'm going to read Fark.com!" (Shoots himself)
The TX-309 Spy Flag - It's no secret that the favorite pastime of anti-American weirdoes is torching American flags. Did you know that over 86% of the homes in Iraq are heated by American flags? That's not really such an impressive statistic when you consider that only 2% of the homes in Iraq are heated, but that's still a lot of combusting American flags. The TX-309 Spy Flag is a robot designed to look like a simple, burnable US flag. However, each one of the patriotic stars contains a tiny digital camera which transmits coordinates, images of the flag burners, and X-ray photography of what they look like nude. In addition, the flag has a built-in speaker which shrieks like a wounded ferret whenever it is exposed to fire. No anti-US crackpot will be able to sleep once they hear the deafening cries of pain that the TX-309 will provide! In addition, the red stripes of the flag are composed of gunpowder, turning the flag into a large, flat explosive capable of teaching people that if they want to protest against the US, they'll have to burn down McDonalds and American human beings instead of patriotic flags!
The Saddaminator 3000 - If there's anything reading USA Today taught me, it's that every evil non-American loves that crazy Saddam Hussein guy. It also taught me to never pay to read USA Today, partly because I can steal it from the neighbors for free and partly because it's a really horrible newspaper. The same survey which reports that 96% of anti-American protestors love Saddam Hussein also details how the remaining 4% approve of what Jennifer Lopez wore last Thursday to the mall. These nefarious anti-American foes are blinded by their love of Saddam so much that it occasionally blurs their view, allowing us to take advantage of them. The American military can capitalize on this by manufacturing fake Saddam Hussein robots which will roam the streets, gather intelligence, and make the copyrighted Insane Wacko Speeches that ol' Saddam gives every other hour. The Saddaminator 3000 has a large, growing vocabulary which currently consists of "America," "Satan", and "is." We'll think of adding in more words once we find a reliable foreign-language speaking person, assuming John Ashcroft hasn't arrested them all.
With all these fantastic ideas, I can't help but wonder why the great and powerful American military has instead opted to purchase those silly little metallic dorkmobile robots whose main feature consists of "the ability to distinguish between walls and not-walls." Perhaps one day in the future we'll be fighting wars not with people, but with exploding, screeching flags, fake Saddam Hussein robots, and mobile advertising units. Until that day arrives, I'll simply sit here and wonder if the UN weapons inspectors have thought to look under Saddam's bed for those pesky nuclear warheads.
All Signs Point to the Tuesday Goldmine!
Today's Tuesday Goldmine deals with a highly sensitive and racially fueled topic - no wait, actually it doesn't. It's all about signs, the signs that keep you and I from doing intensely stupid things like driving forward while we're waving backwards to our brother who is driving a truck and encouraging us to be hit by a train!
Sounds like good advice to me! Click on this here linky thing for your own safety!
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.