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I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Gentlemen, Start Your Camels!

Holy dromedary, Batman! Shouldn't we stop whining about our problems and think of some of the hardships people are enduring in other parts of the world?

Take the tiny country of Qatar. You'd think their only problem was worrying about sinking into the desert sands with the weight of all that American firepower that went through there. But nooooo ....... they have a much more serious problem -- a shortage of jockeys for the camel races. Dubbed "the sport of sheiks," camel racing in that part of the world is supposedly on par with the Kentucky Derby or the somewhat lesser well known Royal Ascot. Or so we are told in a fascinating article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal entitled Ride 'em Robot: Qatar Offers Solution To A Jockey Shortage by Yasmine El-Rashidi (no new York based scribe for this prestigious publication).

It seems that the camels (which run for as much as six miles) prefer jockeys that weigh less than sixty pounds. As enlightened as they are over there, this is after all a favored pasttime and underage children were pressed into duty raising a hue and cry from human rights groups. What's a sport minded Arab to do? Well, using that good old Arab ingenuity (and leaving American ingenuity in the dust, er .... sand) they looked into the use of robots. Now I'm not really doing them justice when I say that they looked into it. Unlike this country that gives out multi billions of dollars in no bid contracts, they did it the right way. They formed a Robotic Jockey Committee and pressed a Swiss robotics company into action. The company did 100 hours of testing with 20 prototypes.

I can't begin to do justice to the thought and deliberation that went into this breakthrough. You'd have to read the article to see how much care and effort went into a project like this. You'd also probably be surprised to learn that the government offers a two day course in robotic jockeying leading to a diploma. Why I bet if their State Department prepared a 14 volume work on going to war, the powers that be would probably actually read it. But of course that wouldn't happen because unlike some countries, these people are enlightened and have better things to do than go to war.

On a lighter note, there are many camel racing publications. I'm happy to report that I don't get any of them. See I do have some willpower.

2 Comments:

Blogger Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Yeah, but how do I get a bet down?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

You'll be subscribing to those camel racing publications within the week.

4:58 AM  

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