Several news items of late have triggered both my interest and my imagination. One was a news item about a company that makes smart bombs, those nasty little devices of warfare that can locate a target and home in on it, eliminating collateral damage. Better to blow up one ammo bunker than 100 civilians. Yep, a good device to have in the military toolbox.

The other article was about smart cars and the soon-to-be-ubiquitous black boxes, which are basically data recording devices that are placed in new vehicles and can, according to an article June 8, 2006, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “capture up to 10 seconds immediately before an accident and 300 milliseconds of data during a crash. But in the future … the information could be linked to a car’s global positioning system to track where the car went in addition to the driver’s behavior.” Black boxes also may show factors such as braking force or turns.

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