New con­test for Week 1128: Drone for a loop

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS -

A swarm of CI­CADAs: the per­fect birth­day gift for peo­ple who could use a lit­tle dis­creet help in blow­ing out the can­dles.

Geog­ra­phy classes in Cleve­land would have in­ter­na­tional CI­CADA con­tests: Who can drop a mi­cro-drone into Kim Jong Un’s bed?

If you’re im­pressed (a.k.a. creeped out) by the prospect of hav­ing your porn-book or­der de­liv­ered di­rectly to your front porch from the sky, now there’s some­thing that can im­press you even more: A few weeks ago, the Pen­tagon’s Naval Re­search Lab showed off its lat­est cool gad­get: a mi­cro-drone that can fit in your hand yet can be dropped — by the thou­sands — from 57,000 feet up, un­de­tectable by radar, to de­liver “pay­loads to pre­cise way­points.”

De­scribed by as ba­si­cally “a pa­per air­plane with a cir­cuit board,” and named pseudo-acronymi­cally for a swarm­ing in­sect that seems to ap­pear from nowhere, the CI­CADA cur­rently is out­fit­ted with just a few sen­sors. But of course it won’t be long un­til the lit­tle bug­sters — al­ready cost­ing only a few hun­dred dol­lars — can carry cam­eras, de­liver mi­cro-packages . . . what else?

This is what Long­time Loser Jeff Brech­lin was won­der­ing. The eternally child­like Jeff, whose obit prom­ises to name him as the au­thor of the Style In­vi­ta­tional-win­ning and wildly vi­ral Hokey Pokey Son­net, sug­gested this con­test: Give us some novel uses for a CI­CADA mi­cro-drone, as­sum­ing that any­one can get one, and that it can have a mi­cro-cam­era, mi­cro-grips, etc. En­ter­tain­ing sce­nar­ios may be de­scribed in up to 75 words.

Win­ner gets the Inkin’ Me­mo­rial, the Lin­coln statue bob­ble­head that is the of­fi­cial Style In­vi­ta­tional tro­phy. Sec­ond place re­ceives, in the vein of this week’s con­test, our Mi­cro Twofer, con­sist­ing of a key­chain with a lit­tle plas­tic piece of sushi (brought back from Ja­pan by Ch­eryl Davis) and an inch-tall white ce­ramic cof­fee mug, ad­ver­tised as Squir­rel Cof­fee Cup (from Bruce Al­ter).

Other run­ners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ar­dently de­sired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Hon­or­able men­tions get a lusted-af­ter Loser mag­net de­signed by Bob Staake: ei­ther “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly HarHar.” First Of­fend­ers re­ceive a smelly tree-shaped air “fresh­ener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail en­tries to losers@wash­ or, if you were born in the 19th cen­tury, fax to 202-334-4312. Dead­line is Mon­day night, June 22; re­sults pub­lished July 12 (on­line July 9). You may sub­mit up to 25 en­tries per con­test. In­clude “Week 1128” in your e-mail sub­ject line or it might be ig­nored as spam. In­clude your real name, postal ad­dress and phone num­ber with your en­try. See con­test rules and guide­lines at­vRules. The head­line for this week’s re­sults is by Bren­dan Beary; the honorablementions sub­head is by Jon Gearhart. Join the lively Style In­vi­ta­tional Devo­tees group on Face­book at­vdev. “Like” the Style In­vi­ta­tional Ink of the Day on Face­book at­day.

THE STYLE CON­VER­SA­TIONAL The Em­press’s weekly on­line col­umn dis­cusses each new con­test and set of re­sults. Es­pe­cially if you plan to en­ter, check it out at­conv.


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