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December 07, 2012


massoud hassani FTW.

thanks for this LJ, you made my day.

Mine Kafon is a good example of the internet at its worst. It exploits the shallowness of people to make the world a worse place. But because it has a lovely video with beautiful design and an uplifting story (look at this guy, who grew up in Afghanistan and now designs stuff in the europe!), the fact that it makes things worse isn't apparent and it gets posted breathlessly all over the internet.

How does it make things worse? Demining organizations have been using mine rollers for decades and that technology has been shown to only clear, at best (with optimal terrain and vegetation), maybe half the mines in an area. Clearing half the mines in a minefield isn't enough for people to use it; a known minefield that people avoid is much safer than a field that people believe to be safe that still has half its mines in place.

So professional deminers have to use multiple demining technologies, not just rollers. The problem is that crappy rollers, like this device, scatter exploded bits of mines to cover a large area, making it much harder for other demining technologies to function. When you cover a field with bits of exploded mine, that confuses the heck out of your metal detectors or your mine sniffing dogs that are trying to find the other 50%+ of mines that the roller missed. That's why professional deminers use rollers that contain the blast and limit dispersion.

Look, people have been struggling with demining for a long time. The field has produced a solid literature. And its absurd for dilettantes to just ignore the last 50 years of research and raise money on the internet to push out technology that we know will lead to people getting killed.

For more information, see this discussion on HN, especially comments by _djo_ who actually knows something about demining.

Today's oddity is the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. In this case, the earth at night. The bright lights are mostly in the places you would expect. But what the heck are all those bright lights throughout the (generally uninhabited) Great Australian Desert? Can there really be that many mining sites out there?

I believe those lights are wildfires/brushfires, wj.

Thanks for the Friday morning Duchenne smile, lj.

It made my day and I finally summoned the courage to venture out into the minefield near my village on an ALFA where Mine Kafons had been traversing windblown during recent weeks and .... wait .... WHAT?

Whaddaya mean only SOME of the mines have been demined?

Crap! Someone call 911! Bring a sandwich.

My frown muscles are getting tired.

Meanwhile, while I cool my heels out here, thanks too for motivating me to finally learn who Duchenne was.

He was a 19th-century French neuorologist who, besides the smile, was the first to detail and describe Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most common form of muscular dystrophy.

It happens that I have owned for some time a little stock called Sarepta Therapeutics (formerly AVI Biopharma), which is far along in the FDA approval process for the first drug to combat the disease.

Recent results have been astounding, according to those in the kind of know, and early production and marketing approval may be granted.

The stock soared ... finally.

This is NOT in any way a recommendation. If the drug falters during the approval process, the stock is toast and probably the company too.

I won't give a link for fear of where some of you might step.

The stock market is a minefield out there and little companies like these go kablooey all the time, plus it's very difficult to ascertain hype, whether obtained on the internet, in the newspapers, or in person.

Development stage companies often turn out to be a mine in a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it.

Stick to stocks that already produce a product we know works, like Smith and Wesson, whose sales and earnings are soaring.


The idea of mine kamon slowly being pushed by the wind thru Wall street, detonating a small portion of crappy stock options that no one should even consider comes to mind. Perhaps it might create a sense of complacency, but for me, it would simply underline that you don't want to go there.

I'm also wondering if kamon is from Pashto or Dari. I can't find it on any Pashto-English or Dari-English websites, anyone know it?

How does it make things worse?

Oh well.

I was happy for a minute, anyway.

Thanks for the dose of reality Turb, whether good bad or indifferent, reality is the place we should all want to be.

I find reality to be a mine field negotiated in bare feet in the dead of night.

ain't that the truth.


I hope you took advantage of the jump to sell off some - even most or all - of your holdings.

Thanks, Phil. I hadn't realized that there was enough growing in some of those places to sustain a significant fire.

Some, not all.

The dollar amounts are relatively small --- speculative money.

The stock dropped today despite further good news announced in further testing of their drug therapy.

I've held through what looked like desperate times and certain bankruptcy in the past.

Anything could happen and probably will.

This post made me happy too. Maybe there's reason to hope that the mine kamon (or devices like it) might learn to do a better job than those that Turbulence mentions? It seems that perhaps people can keep working ....

Iirc demining the inner German border took deep ploughing the death strip several times over and there is still no 100% guarantee that no mines are left. And that was a clearly defined area. Metal detectors were essentially useless since the GDR had taken great efforts to use non-metallic anti-personnel mines (and probably deliberately seeded the strip with bits of metal) after it became clear that even in a dictatorship it was impossible to prevent people from constructing metal detectors to be used in Republikflucht (aka voting with your feet).


I wish I could speak German. How apropos. How do you say in German?

Cant' wait for cardboard golf balls.....

It happens that I have owned for some time a little stock called Sarepta Therapeutics...

The spread is a killer.


I wish I could speak German. How apropos. How do you say in German?

Ich wünschte ich könnte Deutsch (sprechen). Wie passend. Wie sagt man das in/auf Deutsch? (alt: Wie heißt das auf Deutsch?)

The demining device may not be the total solution, but any step toward mine clearance is a step in the right direction, as long as the rate of effectiveness and dangers are still made known.

This looks like spam, and smells like spam, but I am afraid to taste it.

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