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Cautionary tale (James H. Cloos Jr.)
(laugh, forwarded)

This is supposedly a true story from a recent Defence Science Lectures
Series, as related by the head of the Australian DSTO's Land
Operations/Simulation division.

They've been working on some really nifty virtual reality simulators, the
case in point being to incorporate Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters into
exercises (from the data fusion point of view). Most of the people they
employ on this sort of thing are ex- (or future) computer game programmers.
Anyway, as part of the reality parameters, they include things like trees
and animals. For the Australian simulation they included kangaroos.  In
particular, they had to model kangaroo movements and reactions to
helicopters (since hordes of disturbed kangaroos might well give away a
helicopter's position).

Being good programmers, they just stole some code (which was originally
used to model infantry detachments reactions under the same stimuli), and
changed the mapped icon, the speed parameters, etc. The first time they've
gone to demonstrate this to some visiting Americans, the hotshot pilots
have decided to get "down and dirty" with the virtual kangaroos. So, they
buzz them, and watch them scatter. The visiting Americans nod
appreciatively... then gape as the kangaroos duck around a hill, and launch
about two dozen Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter.  Programmers
look rather embarrassed at forgetting to remove that part of the infantry
coding... and Americans leave muttering comments about not wanting to
mess with the Aussie wildlife...

As an addendum, simulator pilots from that point onwards avoided kangaroos
like the plague, just like they were meant to do in the first place...

[Note - making the rounds unattributed - ed.]

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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