Monday, September 19, 2011

What do we want? Hilarity! When do we want it? Ensuing!

I did not see this story when it came out because the NZ Herald is a provincial Auckland newspaper. It is not quite your classic Athenian Tragedy with a hero brought down by hubris at the moment of his greatest triumph, but is still sufficiently amusing that this would be a good time to buy the movie option, according to Riddled's independent financial advisor. Then she independently advised us to pay the overdue Riddled bar-tab by the end of the month or harsh words would ensue and we'd lose our personalised beer-mugs.

The story concerns a con-man (Trevor Rogers) acting out the "Ingenious Kiwi Garage Tinkerer" role in order to swindle investors out of a coupla $million, promising them a revolutionary weaponised diesel-fueled UAV helicopter. Then the goal diversified into a range of revolutionary remote-pilotted helicopters, with cool names like Bandit, Wolverine and Alpine Wasp; no working prototypes let alone test-flights but nice mock-ups and CGI depictions of how they would look among the peaks of the Himalayas.

With investors expressing impatience, he switched to the "Doughty Kiwi Battler against Red Tape and the Media Clobbering-Machine" role, meanwhile trying to shift the company's assets overseas in search of a larger pool of mugs, and blaming officialdom for stopping him. Libertarians loved him in this part.
Held up by balloons
When UAVs go wrong
Now Rogers is playing "Defiant in the Face of the Rigid Legal Establishment". The judge believed his press releases about the valuable blueprints and specs for the unbuilt aircraft that formed most of the bankrupt company's assets, and keeps jailing him for contempt for not delivering them.

Besides Rogers himself, the cast includes:
(1) Investor Allan Crafar (whom you will recall as Mr August from the 2010 Riddled Dunning-Kruger Calendar);

(2) Main booster Irene King, Chief Executive of the Aviation Industry Association, who described Rogers as
an inspirational figure in the aviation industry, who does not seem to have the word "can't" in his vocabulary.
When he flies to the top of Everest some marketers here may have to answer why they passed up the opportunity to be involved.
Her current excuse for her erstwhile enthusiasm is that she is not an engineer.

(3) Mike Hanlon, press-release-rewriter for a technoporn journal, who managed to write the following credulous dithyramb without his colon leaping up through his mouth to strangle him to death:
Constructed mainly of Carbon Fibre and Kevlar, the Snark is light and fast (280 km/h), quiet (special rotor blades make it extremely quiet), virtually invisible to radar or infrared detetection (it recycles its exhaust gases and emits little heat) and can carry a payload of 680kg, offering the ability to pack both massive firepower (enough to sink a ship) and surveillance equipment (such as high res infrared cameras with a magnification of 7500). But wait, there’s more, and this is the clincher. The Snark is the first UAV that runs on diesel fuel, which means it can be easily integrated into any military force – current UAVs require their own special fuel supply to be transported with them whereas the entire US Army plans to run on a single one fuel - diesel. Last and probably most importantly, the Snark can stay airborne for 24 hours at a time, offering an unprecedented loiter time for a machine of this capability.

The Snark is built by New Zealand-based commercial helicopter manufacturer TGR Helicorp and seems likely to put the staunchly independent country on the armaments industry map in a big way as it offers capabilities far beyond any current VTOL UAV.
But this is a learning moment for the whole class!

(1) If Mike Hanlon can describe NZ as "staunchly independent" then he is not divorced from reality, he was never in a relationship with it, hence the stalking behaviour and the restraining orders.

(2) Members of the Aviation Industry Association should maybe think about finding a Chief Executive who does know something about engineering.

(3) If you are investing in a search for a Snark, check that the design team includes a Beaver, a Barrister and a Butcher at the very least, and that their business plan is a perfect and absolute blank.

(4) When even Bruce Shepard thinks you're a fabulist and an embarrassment to the garage-tinkerer community, it's time to move on.*

(5) There will be harsh words and tears before bedtime if I read one more jokey headline about "High-flying entrepreneur".

* This is the Bruce Shepard who claimed to have assembled his own cruise missile.


vacuumslayer said...

This post title is one of the funniest I've ever read. *loud, embarrassing, frenzied clapping*

Substance McGravitas said...

who does not seem to have the word "can't" in his vocabulary.

Once again we have a use for the Rectal Foreign Bodies site.

Smut Clyde said...

This post title
Had to choose between this one and "Dunning-Kruger 2012!!"

ckc (not kc) said...

...being an engineer and not being an engineer seem to be equally good excuses for a lot of things

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Engineer libel sites could become quite popular, if properly constructed.

Smut Clyde said...

Would you pay more to subscribe to an Engineer Libel site, or an Architect Libel site/
This is relevant to my business case.

Another Kiwi said...

I had to close my Engineer Libel site. Too much stress.

Smut Clyde said...

The CADs!

fish said...

I had to close my engineer libel site.
Couldn't bear the pressure.

Smut Clyde said...

I had to close my bear-pressuring site.

Another Kiwi said...

I couldn't bear my close pressure site