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Paint-on Antennas for Mile-High Airships

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the body-paint-of-tomorrow dept.


Bravoc writes to tell us RTI International is reporting that a group of researchers are testing a "paint-on antenna" for high-altitude airships. From the article: "'The successful airship test flights demonstrate exciting possibilities for "paint-on" antenna technologies,' said David Myers, vice president of RTI's Engineering and Technology Unit. 'This new technology can be used to assist with hurricane disaster relief, provide enhanced security of ports and borders, perform science observation missions and improve military communications.'"

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Cars have had these for ages (3, Interesting)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735440)

My BMW 3 series (E46) has at least 2, on the rear windows

Re:Cars have had these for ages (2, Informative)

monsted (6709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735623)

AFAIK, that's done with inlaid wires, not paint.

It's not as new as some people think (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736786)

My BMW 3 series (E46) has at least 2, on the rear windows

It wasn't such an uncommon practise to use the dope used on picture tubes or the metalic substance used to patch rear window defoggers on a sheet of plastic, plexiglass, cardboard, etc. for designing high frequency antennae. I've even seen examples where an antenna was etched on printed-circuit board.

This isn't so much Slow News Day fodder as mundane

Haven't we seen this before? (4, Interesting)

RedOregon (161027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735442)

This sounds like that paint they used to use for security systems... paint a stripe around the perimeter of the window, then hook both ends of the stripe to a security box... if the connection (paint stripe) is broken, the alarm goes off. Read the article but it didn't mention that.

I remember seeing that stuff waaay back when I was a kid, don't see it too much anymore.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735707)

Well, the paint they are talking about in the article is water-based. Much easier/cheaper to apply, dispose of, etc. IIRC, the paint-on metals from our youths were enamels.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (5, Informative)

nevets429 (827656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735761)

As a former alarm installer I can tell you that was foil, not paint. You don't see it anymore because it was hard to apply properly (more art than skill) and was prone to problems from things rubbing against it (blinds/drapes) or extreme sun cracking it. Motion detectors and glass break detectors spelled it's final demise.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735837)

Old or not, I want to become the first human antenna! Think of the possibilities of painting yourself and receiving crystal clear wifi signals all day.

Been done (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736096)

In all seriousness, I know someone who's used themselves as an antenna. It's not particularly hard to do if you have a good transmatch/antenna tuner. That said, I definitely wouldn't recommend doing it. (Not sure what the health effects would be of ultra-QRP down in the HF bands, which is what I think the guy did; only a few hundred mW probably...still, I'm not going to try, thanks.)

When it comes to "making an antenna out of x," where x is virtually any object that's even halfway conductive, someone somewhere has probably tried to push RF through it at some point in the past.

If you're interested in a significantly safer version of the same principle, which doesn't involve licking your finger and touching things which you shouldn't be touching, there is a whole community of people who build salt-water antennas: []

Human antennae (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736814)

I use myself as an antenna whenever I adjust my TV set's rabbit ears. It's annoying, and if I want perfect reception need insulative gloves. Or I could just hold the rabbit ears while I watch my program.

Re:Human antennae (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739264)

This is true; probably everyone has used themselves as a receiving antenna at some point, intentionally or not. (Particularly when you stand next to your radio and adjust it, getting it just right, and then move away and it goes all to hell.)

I was thinking more of a transmit antenna when I made my comment, since most intelligent folks don't intentionally do that very often, although I suspect whenever you hold a cell-phone close to your head, there's probably a certain amount of coupling between the antenna and your body, and some emission as a result.

Should have made that more clear.

Re:Human antennae (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739670)

An antenna is a tuned receiver, but everything and anything capable of carrying a current is a receiver none the less.

It's just that you're not resonant.

Just by being there, the materials of your body are already reacting to the electromagnetic radiation in the space around you. There is indeed coupling between any radiator and your body. It's just that the voltages are so low as to be irrelevant most of the time.

By attaching a coil/cap to your body and tuning it, you can make the combination resonant to your desired frequency and thus have your body be part of the antenna.

A transmit antenna utilizes far higher voltages, and is more sensitive to being resonant, than a receiver. Using ones body as a transmitter would likely not be a "good thing", except that the radiation frequency would most likely be skimming over the surface of your body anyway rather than traveling through it. That's the point of a transmitter, to *radiate* the energy as electro-magnetic waves rather than carry it as current.


What's the point (4, Interesting)

sam1am (753369) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735449)

The advantage I see in the article is basically that this is lighter than a regular antenna. While that's useful, is that it? Rapid deployment would still require an airship; wouldn't it make sense to outfit the airship with the appropriate antenna already (as an optional package)?

Re:What's the point (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735656)

There's drag to consider. It might be worth it if the gain on these paint antennas is crappy compared to a real one though.

Re:What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15736497)

If only zeppelins could be designed with a large hollow space where an antenna could be put INSIDE the airship. Nah... engineers would never be able to figure out how to put a hollow space inside of a zeppelin.

Besides, WTF was up with the article mentioning "paint-on" "paint-on" "paint-on" but never actually describing the tech? I ASSUME that this is just a conductive paint, but who knows... "Paint-on" could be a brand of circular ceramic antennas for all the article showed.

Re:What's the point (1)

sam1am (753369) | more than 8 years ago | (#15738992)


New? (2, Informative)

Who235 (959706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735475)

Don't they have Circuit Writer pens at Radio Shack?

Radio Shack Etching Kits (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737479)

The Radio Shack etching kits include a Sharpie [] brand marker to be used as a resist for the etching process. You're supposed to draw your traces on the copper side, and apply chemicals to get your design. Interesting concept, but I think my non-surgeon hands would make more of a scribble than a good design.

Why not WLAN? (4, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735572)

I believe that indoor paint with these features would be of even greater use. But instead, it would provide WLAN and so limited that only people from that room can access it. That's good security and a really cool feature if it's going to be cost effective in the future.

Re:Why not WLAN? Or signal blocking. (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736728)

I would rather use this to paint a Faraday cage inside the walls of my house. I know it would not be 100% effective, but it would be a great way to keep people out of my WLLAN.

Paint your own Faraday cage. (1)

mccdyl001 (808761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737815)

Actually, would somebody in the know please explain if this could be used to 'paint your own faraday cage' and stop a signal getting in? I'm guessing you'd need to know quite accurately the mesh size to block out a specific wave length, but you could make a stencil and then easily apply it to the walls of your room, then paint over with normal paint to make it invisible.

I know you'd need to cover every single piece of the room to stop signals leaking through the gaps, but in something like a cinema this could probably be easily done.

Re:Why not WLAN? Or signal blocking. (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737923)

It would use far less paint to simply forget the WLAN and paint ethernet cables :D


Re:Why not WLAN? Or signal blocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15738106)

>>I would rather use this to paint a Faraday cage inside the walls of my house. I know it would not be 100% effective, but it would be a great way to keep people out of my WLLAN.
Not to mention that the government no longer can read your thoughts, so you can remove your tinfoil hat at last.

Re:Why not WLAN? Or signal blocking. (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15738128)

Wow, I was thinking that when I poasted. Do you work for the NSA?

ZZZAP!! (1)

Lactoso (853587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737800)

Conductive paint on a large area sounds like a good way to get zapped by some errant voltage. :-( {think improperly grounded wall sconce or the like}

Perhaps if it was top-coated with some non-conductive layer...

Re:Why not WLAN? (1)

nolsen (518298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15741073)

Tinfoil bedroom? Awesome.

Wily E Coyote.... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735575)

Of course any company they form should be called "ACME".

Airplanes are well and good but ... (3, Interesting)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735580)

Can I paint them on trees all the way out to my brother's cabin in a remote area of Maine, and create my own line-of-sight wireless?

I know, it sounds like cartoon physics ...

But I'm only half kidding ...

Re:Airplanes are well and good but ... (1)

Moqui (940533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735819)

Theoretically you can, but I would imagine you would still need signal boosters every so often to keep the signal strength high enough.

Re:Airplanes are well and good but ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15746105)

Can I paint them on trees all the way out to my brother's cabin in a remote area of Maine

Dude, I've been in remote areas of Maine. You couldn't possibly paint enough trees to even make a dent. :-P

Re:Airplanes are well and good but ... (1)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15746173)

I should have defined "remote" ...

He's only about a half hour drive from where they can get cable TV. I guess that makes it suburban, really. At least for Maine. ;-)

And there is, as mentioned, the problem of maintaining signal strength. Maybe power boosters that run off photosynthesis and ...

Oh, nevermind ...

I've got an idea... (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735633)

Working on the model of aircraft carriers at sea, why not a "Mile-High Airstrip"? Makes a better story than Mile-High Airship might.

Re:I've got an idea... (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735659)

why not a "Mile-High Airstrip"?
What does the Denver Airport need with a painted on antenna? I'm sure they've got plenty regular antennas to spare.

Re:I've got an idea... (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735871)

I wouldn't trust those. Based on past experiences with devices attached to them, I would expect the packets to bounce here, there and everywhere. You'd be lucky to route the signal to the proper receiver without degrading it to the point where the sender will request the contents of their packet be replaced.

Re:I've got an idea... (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736068)

Angelina Jolie [] is on it.

Been there, (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736622)

done that. []

TaleSpin's air pirates (1)

aggiefalcon01 (730238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15738748)

I'm sure Don Karnage agrees with you ... after all, he and his air pirates had the Iron Vulture [] ... (more [] )

Airship Aircraft Carrier (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739701)

Actually, the US Navy did look into it. However, because the carrier would be so much more efficient in terms of manpower and other resources, the Navy scrapped the idea because even though it would carry equivalent firepower as a sea-borne carrier, it wouldn't rate an Admiral to command the "battle group".

The sea-borne carrier is such a huge bomb- and torpedo-magnet that the support requirements of its "battle group" are remarkably expansive. The carrier is never out as "just the carrier".

Personally, I've loved the idea of an air-borne air-strip since I first heard about the study many years ago. This isn't just the silly airship-with-a-hook idea from around WW1, but a serious modern flat-top.

Hmmm, I wonder what Google might yield....


Re:Airship Aircraft Carrier (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15786318)

I saw a show about this. They actually (in the 20s and early 30s) had a couple of working airship aircraft carriers. The big problem was that when they were at sea in a storm, they were disasters waiting to happen. And did happen. They also held fewer than 10 aircraft each, IIRC. The project literally scrapped itself.

You may be talking of a more recent Navy project. I'm off to Google now, as you suggested.

Re:I've got an idea... (1)

RegularFry (137639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15742818)

Hell, why not go the whole hog, and have a Mile-High Stripclub?

When can I get this? (3, Interesting)

basotl (808388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735747)

Communication is pretty much line of sight in Iraq.
When can we get a few of these out here?
It would be great for tactical reasons. It would make it much easier to maintain radio como. It would also be cool if they could piggy back Radio and TV on it. There are still many blackout areas in this country.

Re:When can I get this? (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736560)

You'd probably be able to get those in Iraq after they figure out some way to make these not especially vulnerable to MANPAD attack.

Re:When can I get this? (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737057)

According to the article, these should be too high to be vulnerable to MANPADS.

Been Doing This For Years (5, Interesting)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735783)

As an amateur radio operator, I've been doing this for years. I've used several metalic paints and circuit writers to create fractal antennas.

Originally, I tried creating a fractal antenna out of bent wire, but it was a nightmare, even using a jig to form the fractal portions. Eventually I found that glass and paint that conducts and even liquid solder on fiberboard worked better. The only problem was, you had to change the size of the antenna -- the non-conductive material affects the resonatant frequency. Eventually, I did get a compact 6 m. antenna to work, but it was never worth the trouble. The problem with the stuffs I used: there's a limit to how much power it can take, and it's far less than wire. And, like Tim Taylor, I had to go for "more power." Oops.

I never realized I was doing something unusual. Amateur radio operators will attempt to turn anything into an antenna. I've seen "dipoles" made of cars, doorknobs loaded, etc.

Re:Been Doing This For Years (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736109)

But can you paint a yagi? Maybe if I laid the right kind of stencil on my roof...

Yagi (3, Informative)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736729)

If you think about a Yagi, the signal it received would be in the same plane as the roof. You'd get a tremendous amount of problems with that, given the nails as well as the effect of the material. That's the other reason why people spend so much money building towers -- not only are they trying to get altitude, but they're trying to get away from the ground, which distorts the antenna field.

If you need to have a stealth antenna, you might be willing to put up with it. Otherwise, it's not that good.

Fractal Antennas (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737450)

Interesting, I had done a bit of searching on this topic a while ago, but wasn't able to come up with much regarding fractal antennas. I understand that printing the antennas will give you a more precise shape, and had wondered what neat and useful antennas could be printed in this way -- mostly for WiFi stuff, of course! What are you using for the design? How are you printing these? Do you have any patterns or guidelines you can share with us?

Re:Fractal Antennas (2, Interesting)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737710)

I got the basic information on fractal antennas from a small magazine in the "CQ" line of mags quite a few years ago. I did a quick look, but couldn't find it -- it was a magazine that specialized in the more theoretical aspects. Sorry there's no ref.

I hilltop. For 2 and 4 meters, I use home-built 5 element quad antennas (based on designs in some issue of the ARRL mag -- again, sorry, no references).

I wanted a similar 6m antenna, based on fractals. The fractal, if I remember right, was similar to the 6-pointed star fractal you see everywhere, except based on a square and "innie" instead of "outie." The ratio of the inset piece was slightly less than 1/3 so that, when made out of wire, the wire would never quite touch itself. It was pretty much right out of the magazine article, and looking at my description, you're going to need the magazine article, unless you're into a lot of experimentation! The magazine article gave the basic dimensions. The first one was made out of a stiff copper wire. It worked, but it was easily damaged. That's why I went to painted on thin sheets of plexiglass. I'd create the fractal outline on the computer, print it out, cut it out as a stencil like I do for airbrushing, and leave little tabs to kep it from being so floppy -- tabs I'd eventually have to do freehand. I also tried aluminum tape, but found it was hard for me to work with. The reflector and director elements (I only ever got a 3 element design) were based on the quad elements, using the dimensions from the working antenna to scale the other two. The SWR was too sensitive. A low SWR at home in my basement might mean a high SWR in the field, where the temperature was different. I used thin plexiglass and probably trimmed too much of it, so it was a little too thin. The SWR would go up with power as well. Since I like to QRP, that wasn't much of a problem.

When I closed the car door and it barely bumped the center pole of the antenna and the radiator broke, I gave up. Now I use a single quad for hilltopping. There's much less activity on 6m CW, at least that I can hear, and it feels like the same 10 people on SSB.

Of course, I've never been out there during a band opening. On the other hand, I have worked 2m SSB during an aurora, and that was definitely cool.

That's one really tall airship! (3, Funny)

techmuse (160085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735934)

Most airships are probably 100-400 feet high at most. A 1 mile high airship would be rather large... :-)

(Perhaps you meant "mile altitude airships"?)

Re:That's one really tall airship! (3, Informative)

Heavyporker (922078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736015)

*groans* I simply couldn't ignore this. 'High' refers to altitude in this instance. You are misusing the term. Airships are 'x' units *tall*, not *high*, when you speak about the size of the object. 'Mile high' airships is a perfectly valid term.

Re:That's one really tall airship! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15736292)

I once saw a mile-high airship 40 leagues long!

Re:That's one really tall airship! (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736093)

If you had RTFA, you would have read that these are designed to fly above the jet stream and much higher than commercial air traffic. This is not your ordinary airship as it's designed for high altitudes as a low cost alternative to satellite commuincations.

I'd also like to know about the navigational capabilities of these things since they're designed to fly at very high altitudes. I wonder how much energy is expended getting them aloft and getting them to remain stationary. Is there relative calm above the jet stream or are there alternating currents that this has to deal with? I mean it seems like the practical use of these would be limited by their ability to remain relatively stationary as a geosynchronous satellite would. Perhaps it has an on board solar powered navigational system? The article doesn't discuss any of these things.

Winds aloft. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15736319)

An airship is awfully difficult to hold a position when there are significant winds aloft... which there are more times that it's windy than when it is calm up there in the sky.

Also, while takeoffs are optional.... landings are always mandatory in any type of aircraft. Using a ballon, blimp or rigid LTA airship as a communications relay system can only be a very temporary solution at best, and a fairly expensive one at that.

Conducive Paint (2, Informative)

darcling (987237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15735943)

There are already electrically conducive paints available, what else is needed? Possibly higher quality... but still, the technology appears readily available.

Here's an article (referenced on Slashdot long ago) where it is used: []

Similiar pathway to high-altitude communications? (1)

Heavyporker (922078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736035)

Didn't I hear a lot of talk about high-altitude super-endurance gliders that could go up hundreds of thousands of feet in the air for months at a time, that could act as a communications hub like a satellite, but much easier to launch and maintain? I'm pretty sure I saw a PBS special about this sort of plane, it was an ultralight plane that used solar panels all along its one very large wing to power its propellers. It was unmanned, of course.

Re:Similiar pathway to high-altitude communication (1)

CCFreak2K (930973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15740334)

If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, it's a NASA device that's about 6-12ft long (can't remember).

Communication Airships = Sanswire by Globetel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15736040)

Aren't these guys already doing this? (The airship portion anyways)

Airship? (1)

AFGlitch (963192) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736087)

What is this? Final Fantasy?

Just a thought...

Re:Airship? (2, Informative)

Dred_furst (945617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736682)

What is this? Final Fantasy? Just a thought...
Seems more like Dr Who []

Re:Airship? (1)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15738599)

If we're talking FFVI/VII, then yes, as those episodes used literal airships.

In most other installments of the series, airships were actual ships with propellers.

Application (3, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736098)

This new technology can be used to assist with hurricane disaster relief, provide enhanced security of ports and borders, perform science observation missions and improve military communications.

Who wants to bet which of these applications we'll see first?

Re:Application (2)

flyneye (84093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737398)

I can't insinuate that I worked for an institution that manufactured this paint for the very same reason for military purposes 15 yrs ago.I also would be out of line to say it makes pretty good shielding for electric guitars and can make an old clothesline into hella radio antennae.So I won't say it and you won't hear it.No you can't have any of it.I certainly wouldn't provide it if I did.So there.Nothing to see here,move along please.

Re:Application (2, Interesting)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739022)

Military, on account of they don't have to show a profit.

In addition to being a national defense and a beatings-delivery system, the military is also a giant R&D playground for all sorts of useful future civilian technology.

It actually works out really well this way: Civilian contractors score government R&D contracts to research applications for a new technology. When the R&D is done, the military may get a new weapon system. But even if the military doesn't get a new weapon system, the civilian contractor gets the benefit of a free R&D program, the lessons from which they can bring to the civilian market, without ever having to risk their financial stability by investing themselves in an unproven technology.

It's in the taxpayer's best interest for the government to engage in some level of funding things that might be useful, but which civilian companies don't want to risk researching. One way the government serves this taxpayer interest is to integrate government-funded R&D with national defense advancement.

Everybody makes out. The nation continues to be secure in the face of threats brought about by evolving technology. The economy gets a boost from cheap R&D. Workers and management get paid for doing useful work. Consumers get new and better goods and services.

About the only problem I can see is that some people still insist on complaining that the military is actually willing to foot the R&D bill on unproven new technologies.

You think it'll be such a blessing, why aren't you advancing the state of the art yourself?

Re:Application (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15740066)

Sure, that very nice, except that 1) the military are uninterested in great research that doesn't happen to have civilian applications 2) there's lots of stuff (e.g. supersonic stealth bomber type) that cost a huge amount of money and has at best little civilian use (not enough for the price) and 3) yes, it gets used to kill people (even "defensive" stuff means that you can attack more).

Wouldn't it be great if only 10% of the US military budget was spent on useful, non-military research. I bet there's be a lot more useful stuff being developped (and much less money going straight into big defense contractors' pockets).

Re:Application (1)

DanQuixote (945427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739343)

Yes, and isn't it strange how "current projects" are always applicable to the last 5 years worth of news items.

Mile high? (5, Funny)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736290)

Um, actually, a mile high would be a pretty low altitude airship.

Hell, here in Boulder, a mile high would be an underground airship.

Re:Mile high? (1)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736584)

No a mile high in Boulder would still be a mile high. The height an airship travles at isn't measured by sea level but ground level. Otherwise the Boulder airport wouldn't exist. yes I know I am being pretentious and now ask me if I care.

Re:Mile high? (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15740648)

And they say geeks don't have a sense of humor.

Re:Mile high? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737443)

Well here on the Planet Earth, a mile high would be a molten airship.

Why anyone would build an airship to operate at less than 3960 miles is beyond me.

First thing I thought when I saw the Subject: (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15736343)

Mile-High Airships? Sign me up!

(read: Mile-High Club)

Paint-on bathing suits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15737261)

...are in this year's SI swimsuit issue. Yeah, I "read" it already. ;)

Gotta find a girl first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15739375)

(read subject)

Mile-high WiFi (2, Insightful)

zeke-o (595753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737501)

would be ever so nice ... Whatever happened to the Halo project? Satellite sucks, fiber is scheduled to be installed here in 2050 .. a mile high access point, just point your antenna up, fly one over the areas between metro (easy access) regions ..

Re:Mile-high WiFi (1)

Timbotronic (717458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15740998)

These guys [] are still working on it. Their "stratellite" airships are designed to operate at much higher altitudes where they won't be bothered by annoying things like the weather.

They've had a couple of promising tests so far, but looks like they still have a way to go. Wouldn't be surprised if they're having a look at the paint on antennas too.

It's not a d*ck.. (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15737584)'s an antenna!

Quack quack quack....

Anti-terrorism: the new shiny. (2, Insightful)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15739805)

This new technology can be used to [...] provide enhanced security of ports and borders
I've got some new technology here, and if you gave me a billion dollars of Government funding I could plant examples of it all round our ports. Then, when Uncle Al (Qaeda) tries to sneak in, he'll get a spike in his foot and yell out. Yes, it looks like a regular thumb-tack, but this is an anti-terrorist thumbtack.

Can we dispense with the it's-anti-terrorism-honest-give-me-money bullshit, please? It's getting rather tiresome.

Re:Anti-terrorism: the new shiny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750425)

I'm sure that the next administration will come up with some new buzzwords, and the bureaucracy will pick up on them quickly. I'd estimate that that means that you have between 1-1/2 and 3 years to wait (run-up to 2008 elections will see new buzzwords bandied about, and the second year of the next administration will see those buzzwords firmly entrenched in the bureaucracy as a survival/fund-raising measure).

What'd'ya think the next one will be?

  • Spread Democracy (tm)
  • War on Rogue Nations
  • War on War
  • War on Downloaders
  • War on Freeloaders
  • War on Tax Evaders
  • War on Free Thinkers
  • WW 2.0 [Beta]
  • War on Oceana
  • ... War on something undefinable, but definitely dangerous

I mean... come on. It seems to be that we have to have at least one different war every friggin' generation. I guess that it is necessary, in order to keep the existing power structures in place.

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