Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Biologist to Build a Remote Control Shark

I thought it was pretty cool when they were making remote control rats. But now the biologists are upping the ante and going for sharks. No that is not a mechanical robot shark, it is a real shark that has electrodes in its brain so people can control it remotely. Now I thought we learned the problems of this in the movie Deep Blue Sea but I guess this scientist missed that movie.

In an article in Boston.com we learn the following:

Jelle Atema is trying to direct the shark by directly controlling its senses, rather than offering it a reward for doing the ''right" thing. The Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, recently awarded Atema $600,000 for the first year of a four-year research grant to pursue the project. Ultimately, he said, a shark could help the military by surveying hard-to-reach areas for dangerous chemicals or other hazard.
I was of the opinion that $500 billion a year spending on defense is a bit excessive, but now that I know they are working on remote control sharks I am going to have to revisit that. DARPA so rocks.
There are some who will worry that, once researchers gain control over sharks, they will move on to humans. But Atema said he doesn't believe ''anyone is even remotely thinking that way. That's what we have a society for, to prevent these excesses."
First, isn't it supposed to go rat->monkey->human? Who the hell goes rat->shark->human? Second, of course they are working on moving this to humans. Why else would the Department of Defense be funding this?

No word on what kind of shark they will be using. I would like to see something like a great white, or maybe a mako. But they will probably start with something wimpy like a nurseshark or a lemonshark.

My favorite week of the year has to be Shark Week. Well, maybe the week of Christmas, but no, I think Shark Week is even better. If this is not showing up as a documentary there I am so canceling my cable.

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