Note: the emphasis are from me. The article is interesting, but only nominally about what this submission is about.
On the afternoon of Thursday, 8 April 2004, U.S. troops stationed in
Iraq deployed a small remote-controlled robot to search for
improvised explosive devices. The robot, a PackBot unit made by
iRobot Corp., of Burlington, Mass., found an IED, but the discovery
proved its undoing. The IED exploded, reducing the robot to small,
twisted pieces of metal, rubber, and wire.
The confrontation between robot and bomb reflects a grim paradox of the ongoing conflict in Iraq. The PackBot's destruction may have
prevented the IED from claiming a soldier's life—as of 31 August,
IEDs accounted for nearly half of the 3299 combat deaths reported by coalition forces. But the fact remains that a US $100 000 piece of machinery was done in by what was probably a few dollars' worth of explosives, most likely triggered using a modified cellphone, a
garage-door opener, or even a toy's remote control. During the past
four and a half years, the United States and its allies in Iraq have
fielded the most advanced and complex weaponry ever developed. But they are still not winning the war.
Although there has been much debate and finger-pointing over the
various failures and setbacks suffered during the prolonged conflict,
some military analysts and counterterrorism experts say that, at its
heart, this war is radically different from previous ones and must be
thought of in an entirely new light. "What we are seeing is the empowerment of the individual to conduct war," says John Robb, a counterterrorism expert and author of the book Brave New War (John Wiley & Sons), which came out in April. While the concept of asymmetric warfare dates back at least 2000 years, to the Chinese military strategist Sun-tzu, the conflict in Iraq has redefined the nature of such struggles. As events are making painfully clear, Robb says, warfare is being transformed from a closed, state-sponsored affair to one where the means and the know-how to do battle are readily found on the Internet and at your local RadioShack. This open global access to increasingly powerful technological tools, he says, is in effect allowing "small groups to…declare war on nations."
Need a missile-guidance system? Buy yourself a Sony PlayStation 2.
Need more capability? Just upgrade to a PS3. Need satellite photos?
Download them from Google Earth or Microsoft's Virtual Earth. Need to know the current thinking on IED attacks? Watch the latest videos created by insurgents and posted on any one of hundreds of Web sites or log on to chat rooms where you can exchange technical details with like-minded folks.
Robb calls this new type of conflict "open-source warfare," because
the manner in which insurgent groups are organizing themselves,
sharing information, and adapting their strategies bears a strong
resemblance to the open-source movement in software development. Insurgent groups, like open-source software hackers, tend to form loose and nonhierarchical networks to pursue a common vision, Robb says. United by that vision, they exchange information and work collaboratively on tasks of mutual interest.
If you want the rest of the article....http://spectrum
. ieee.org/ nov07/5668
Okay, so why is this a gaming post, instead of a somewhat complicated tavern post?
Reality has caught up with gaming. No, more accurately, the main stream has now discovered what we gamers have known since early on: the dreaded Gamer Inventiveness. How many times have players/ character come up with exotic, yet simple solutions to many issues that are completely unexpected? Usually these plans have included odd bits of technology (even in fantasy games), but they are normally scenario crackers, if not breakers. This concept is summed up by Field's Law, named after a famed Cyberpunk 2020 character, "Two extra techs and a little time is more helpful than five more solos (fighters) on a run (mission) anyday."
Now we have seen some of this in: and a ten foot pole. (ref: http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=3174
It is the out of the box thinking that allows the non normative to solve problems in unique and usually effective ways. So how do you all do this, on both sides of the GM screen (i.e. as a player or as a GM).