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calendar   Thursday - February 21, 2013

Our Continuing Adventures Across the 8th Dimension

To really loosely paraphrase Buckaroo Banzai, “No matter where you go, SciFi got there first.”

Vilmar posted on the latest crop of government drones - small as bees, and with the power to kill - and I realized that this was a song and dance I’d heard many years before.

Herman?
Yes Mr. Peabody?
Set the Wayback machine for 1953. We’re looking for Robert Scheckley and his short story Watchbirds.

Thousands of watchbirds, trying to stop countless millions of murders—a hopeless task. But the watchbirds didn’t hope. Without consciousness, they experienced no sense of accomplishment, no fear of failure. Patiently they went about their jobs, obeying each stimulus as it came.

They couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, but it wasn’t necessary to be. People learned quickly what the watchbirds didn’t like and refrained from doing it. It just wasn’t safe. With their high speed and superfast senses, the watchbirds got around quickly.

And now they meant business. In their original directives there had been a provision made for killing a murderer, if all other means failed.

Why spare a murderer?

But Mr. Peabody! All the smart BMEWS readers know that Scheckley borrowed the name from a weekly comic of the era that was used to teach children how to behave!
Of course Herman. And they’ve read about watchbirds here before too.  The great illustrator Munro Leaf ran the comic for decades.

Aww Mr. Peabody, don’t be such a drone!
Don’t make me have to swoop down there and kill you Herman.
Yes Mr. Peabody.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/21/2013 at 10:13 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentHigh TechTyrants and Dictators •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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