Haptic technology is to our sense of touch what graphics are to our sense of sight, explains Tom Anderson, CEO of Albuquerque company Novint. “Our technology gives you a sense of touch in computing,” he says. “You hold onto the handle of our device, and you can move it right and left and forward and backward like a mouse, but you can also move it up and down.” It controls a cursor on the screen, Anderson describes, and when that touches something, motors in the device turn on. It gives the operator the sense that they’re touching virtual objects.
The special session of the Legislature accomplished in four days what was impossible in 30: reaching an agreement on how to plug a $600 million gap in next year's budget. Legislators did it because the pressure was on—and because a lot of preliminary work was done the week before. That work at least provided a starting point for heavy negotiations.
Spectators entered the courtroom, greeted one another and chatted animatedly while they waited for the jury. Some hugged the plaintiffs, the 11 demonstrators who had been among hundreds in Albuquerque on March 20, 2003, to protest the war in Iraq. Seven years later in District Court, after two weeks of testimony, the verdict was due. The news vans were parked outside. Would the jury find that the Albuquerque Police Department stepped over the line that night by donning riot gear, launching tear gas grenades, and shooting pepper-ball guns and beanbag rifles?
Dateline: England—A sales assistant at a WH Smith store in Chichester, West Sussex, refused to sell a woman a pair of children’s safety scissors over fears that the mother might allow her daughter to use them unsupervised. Nadine Martin was at the store purchasing art supplies for her 3-year-old daughter. When the youngster placed the plastic scissors, which were marked “3+” on the checkout counter, a female sales assistant asked, “Will you be supervising her?” Mrs. Martin told the Telegraph newspaper, “She called another woman over and said it was company policy that because my daughter had put the scissors on the counter it called into question whether she would be supervised using them. I can’t believe a parent can’t buy plastic scissors. They were clearly labeled and had ‘3+’ on them. There was a queue of about four people and it was embarrassing.” In protest, Martin left the store without purchasing any of the items she and her daughter had picked up. “Customer safety is of paramount importance to us,” a WH Smith spokesperson told the Telegraph. “To that end, we insist our staff complete regular training updates to remind them of their obligations both legally and in accordance with our own policies.” The spokesperson went on to admit that, “On this occasion a staff member may have been a little overzealous in their interpretation of that training and we apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused.”
The subtext of Paul Gessing’s recent article espousing the power of free markets [Re: Feature, “Righting the Left,” Feb. 18-24] is a clear concession to the inherent flaws of this system, yet he fails to follow his own observations to their logical conclusion.