Cheep… Cheep… Beep!
You awaken with a start and sit upright in bed. Adrenaline courses through your veins, your heart thuds violently in your chest. That sound… You wipe the cold sweat from your brow and scan the room. Waiting… Waiting… There it is again! That sound… Did it… Yes, dear God, it came from the window! You lie motionless, frozen in bed as you calculate your best course of action. There’s a gun in the closet, but you know it won’t do you any good. You might make a dash for the bathroom and barricade yourself inside, but there’s a window in there and besides, you’ve got to come out of there for food eventually. You spend the next few hours in a fever dream of dread and anguish until, finally, a blush on the horizon signals dawn. Slowly, the light seeps across the landscape until it hits your window and… Tree branches. It was just tree branches. Laughing, half from relief, half from exhaustion, you lie back in bed, intent upon getting at least an hour of sleep before you need to get up for work. And you can sleep soundly now, because your greatest fear is just that and nothing more: Fear. Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s real. Robotic zombie sparrows are real, and their day is at hand.
Scientists and engineering students at Duke University have teamed up to reanimate a dead sparrow with robotics. I’m going to repeat that for you: Duke scientists and engineering students have reanimated a dead sparrow to create a Robotic Sparrow of Doom. I’m going to take it on faith that they’ve been involved in other activities as well, such as consuming heroic quantities of scotch, because how the fuck do you come up with this idea? And how the hell does it get funded?
Scientist: Gentlemen, we are asking the National Science Foundation for a grant of $17 million dollars to further refine our groundbreaking work in AIDS research which seems to indicate that you can cure AIDS with cheap, easily available over-the-counter medications such as…
National Science Foundation: Pass.
Another Scientist: Malaria has long plagued…
National Science Foundation: Pass!
Another Scientist: Ebola…
National Science Foundation: Pass!
Duke Scientist: We’d like to bring a dead bird back to life and turn it into a robot.
National Science Foundation: You mean like the Terminator?
Duke Scientist: Sure, why not?
National Science Foundation: FAR FUCKING OUT! Oh, you are so fucking funded! How much do you need? A billion? Two?
The scientists claim that the purpose of their project is to… You know what? I don’t want to know why they did this. It’s bound to pale in comparison to the mental picture I have of a couple of evil scientists intent on sending a legion of Robotic Zombie Sparrows to kidnap the President, only to have their plot thwarted because the Secret Service has a cat.
(An admission: Because I’m a huge dork, I just sat down and calculated that you would need roughly 11,200 sparrows to carry off Barack Obama. I also calculated that a video of a sitting President being carried off by 11,200 sparrows would instantly become the most watched Youtube video of all time, with an estimated 27 billion views. And each of those 27 billion views would be accompanied by gales of pants-pissing laughter, especially if the sparrows immediately flew into a window.)
You may find this funny, but you would have to be high on paint thinner (Lord knows I am) to not see where this is headed. First we have robotic sparrows, then robotic wrens. In no time at all we’ve got robotic warblers, blue jays, ducks, chickens, and before you know it, we’re all cowering in fear while the desolated terrain is patrolled by Robotic Emus of Death, and they don’t fuck around, people. They will split you open from neck to nuts and feed on your goddamn soul.
Luckily, real sparrows seem to know the score, and they immediately attacked the Robo-Sparrow, eventually tearing its head off. (You think I’m joking, but seriously, go read the article.) This leaves us with a serious dilemma: To protect yourself from Robo-Sparrows, you must surround yourself with sparrows. But what happens when Robo-Sparrow technology progresses to the point where real sparrows can’t tell the difference? In no time at all, the sparrow ranks would be infiltrated by the enemy, and then they’d have you dead to rights.
Oh sure, they’d let you live in ignorance for a while as they studied your movements, wirelessly communicating what they learned to the Sparrow Mainframe. But soon enough, your day would come. Maybe they’d descend upon you as you took a shower, or perhaps they’d make their move as you napped, or maybe as you sat on the toilet. But make no mistake, they’d attack you at your weakest moment and you would have no chance. It’d only be a matter of time before your entrails would be woven into nests across the state.
Sadly, our death at the hands of the robotic hordes seems certain. Take this bone-chilling footage from robotics firm Boston Dynamics (motto: Bow Down to Your Robotic Overlords!)
Sure, it may look like two people being eaten by a phone booth, but that will be of little consolation to you as the Robo-Mule staggers around drunkenly on your grave.
Quite clearly, we are doomed. I am going to retire to my attic with a case of whiskey, a box full of porn, and a shotgun, although to be honest I was kind of leaning in that direction anyway.
I reckon the real sparrows were laughing under their little wings the whole time, messing with the scientists’ heads and simply having fun attacking the zombie sparrow.
Their conclusion was that wing-flapping is a sign of aggression. Woo hoo. Next time I see a 40gm sparrow flapping its wings, I shall cower in fear. Sheesh.
Yeah, my conclusion was that these scientists were high on fucking goofers.
You have got to stop doing shrooms before bed. Not even a little.
Gotcha. No shrooms, just oven cleaner and adrenochrome.
Am I allowed to continue doing shrooms before bed?
Yes. Yes you are.
and definitely don’t watch that new Robo MMA show on fang or spike or G4…
I recently read an article where scientists were claiming that they have the technology now to clone prehistoric animals. However, they would have to manufacture some of the DNA artificially since they don’t have the entire genome of any prehistoric animal to work with.
Does this sound like it is straight out of Jurassic Park? I think so, but they never mentioned that in the article and were dead serious. Does science think there are no practical applications for it anymore? With worldwide starvation, rampant super bacteria, and Justin Bieber popularity, should their effort and tax payer money really be spent on recreating Godzilla?
I’m of the opinion that if someone wants to study something, they should. Research begets understanding, and that can and will be used for other ends, some of them quite beneficial.
For instance, lots of people said of the US moon shots that we have problems on earth that we should be spending our time and money on. Yet the technology invented for the moon shots has had an economic impact measured in the trillions.
Alas, we will not be getting Jurassic Park. DNA apparently degrades too quickly for it to happen:
Wait a minute…. Are you a SCIENCE NERD??
Not saying that’s a bad thing at all. Just wondering….
Just really trying to get the whole picture here.
Uhhh, you’ve read this, right?
Um NO! Where WAS I?!?! Hmmmm, a new dimension……
Maybe my sixth sense is the ability to avoid all scientific discussion unless it contains the word “meep” and/or “mentos”. I’m all over that exploding mentos….science ….crap…….
My sister has spent the past six months writing grant after grant to get her primatology research funded. I need to tell her to add robotic capuchins to the mix.
Well, duh. Everyone knows that.