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Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force
Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force
Item taken from 'Software Testing and Quality Engineering' magazine, Volume 1, Issue 6 (November/December 1999)
The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix, herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).
The head of the Defence Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters. Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement.
Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively ... then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the helpless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten to remove THAT part of the infantry coding.)
The embarrassed programmers learned to be careful when reusing object-oriented code, and the Americans left with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife. Simulator supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have strictly avoided kangaroos, just as they were meant to.
* From June 15, 1999 Defence Science and Technology Organization Lecture series, Melbourne, Australia, and staff reports.
Please change course ................
Transcript of the ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.
Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, I SAY AGAIN, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTERMEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.