Lost Packets

The United States military has tuned its radar toward a prototype fighter jet that can literally fly itself. The X-47A, also called Pegasus, recently completed its maiden flight following a series of pre-programmed waypoints. The arrowhead-shaped jet flew for 12 minutes to approximately 3,300 feet and reached a speed of about 150mph, before landing down at a point designed to simulate the cables that jets catch with their tailhooks before landing, according to the Northrop Grumman Corporation, which developed the prototype. The company said the Pegasus is a prototype of future pilotless jets Northrop hopes to develop with the U.S. Navy and Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. For information, visit www.northgrum.com.

Protesters use fingers to do the marching

Gone are the days of sign-bearing hippies protesting war. Today’s anti-war activists are using different tactics to get their message across. Last month, American demonstrators protesting against war with Iraq conducted a virtual march by swamping Senate and White House telephones, switchboards, fax machines and e-mail inboxes with hundreds of thousands of messages. The virtual march was organized by Win Without War, an establishment made up of 32 organizations including the National Council of Churches and MoveOn.org. The organization claimed that more than 40,000 people registered for the call-in campaign, which contributed to the more than one million messages that jammed the Capitol’s phones system. Win Without War director Tom Andrews, said that through e-mail and the Web, the virtual world has made anti-war demonstrations easier and attracts more people toward the cause. Visit www.winwithoutwarus.org for details.

Gates still stinking rich

With a total wealth estimated at US$40.7 billion, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates, remains the richest man in the world. While his net wealth dropped approximately US$12 billion last year – about US$23,000 per minute – Forbes Magazine says Gates has no reason to sing the money blues. But Gates was not the only Microsoft mogul to make it to the billionaire’s list. Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen was ranked fourth with a net wealth of about US$20.1 billion, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made it to the sixteenth spot with an approximate US$11.1 billion net worth. Other prominent IT figures includes Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp. who ranked number six with an estimated US$16.6 billion, and Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computer Corp. with US$9.8 at number 24, also maintained their billionaire status according to Forbes.