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Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force

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  • CanadianScroller
    Now I know why they call them "Boomers"

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  • MinotBob
    That's pretty good

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  • Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force

    Don't worry if you don't understand the lingo... (it's technogeek)

    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 helicopter's position).

    The head of the Defense 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
    missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the
    programmers had forgotten to remove that part of the infantry

    The lesson?

    Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new
    object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the
    attributes. The embarrassed programmers had learned to be
    careful when reusing object-oriented code, and the Yanks 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 Defense Science and Technology
    Organization Lecture Series, Melbourne, Australia, and staff

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