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Old 02-03-2003, 02:01   #1 (permalink)
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Funny stories

Don't Mess With Skippy
This is supposedly 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 Reconnaisance 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 little 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...
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Old 02-03-2003, 02:13   #2 (permalink)
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One for insurance company lovers...

Cigars and Insurance
A Charlotte, NC, man having purchased a case of very rare, very expensive cigars insured them against fire among other things. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of cigars and without having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the man stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires". The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The man sued.... and won.

In delivering the ruling the judge agreeing that the claim was frivolous, stated nevertheless that the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure against fire, without defining what it considered to be "unacceptable fire", and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he lost in "the fires".

After the man cashed the check, however, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.
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