Roomba is making a lawnmower. Astronomers HATE this

My definition is “that part of the property that I mow, to keep the deer ticks under control.” :slight_smile:

I live in a former 19th century factory that was converted to a house in the early twentieth. Definitely not a country estate! Outside my little green valley, it’s all built up with shopping malls, freeways, etc…


Well I believe you now, since you told me how small the blades are!

My electric mowing deck has 3 large steel blades, so it’s equivalent to three normal electric lawnmowers in so far as helicopter noises. Still dramatically quieter than the quietest gas mower I’ve ever heard, but nothing close to silent. It’s like three very large fans would sound if you were constantly feeding bales of hay into them.

Kindles are fine with 3G and wifi. Why not a robot? I fail to see why this device needs its own frequency. This is the 21st century. We know how to multiplex.

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After Cybernia that was my next thought; I must confess, I only just saw the movie in the last six months or so, when it finally came up on Netflix streaming.

And you really want somebody to be able to rootkit your lawnmower from the sidewalk with a Kindle over WiFi?

Crikey – it’s Lawnmower Deth!

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So it will be instead somebody with one of those plentiful $200-500 software-defined-radio boards. And they will get cheaper.

You can hack/mod people just fine without a scalpel or any invasive procedure. Practically all of the human’s I/O interfaces are located on the front and sides of the head and is usually accessible via audio-frequency programming languages, as well as electromagnetic signalling and even some pressure sensitive methods. There’s even a depreciated chemo-reception suite, but it’s documentation is ancient and highly unreliable, and its pinout seems to randomly change without warning.


“Simple matter of voltage.”(1995, Crimson Tide)

And the hiring costs is much lower. Of course it’s not legal in wide parts of the world.


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No, the headline is not accurate. Astronomers “hate” the frequency that Roomba wants to use for it’s border spikes; they are most likely completely indifferent to the lawnmower itself.

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Leela: How’d you get me to do it? Drugs? Hypnosis?
Fry: Nooo! Drugs are for losers. And hypnosis is for losers with big weird eyebrows!
–Futurama (Time Keeps on Skippin)

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So if you are an astronomer, you have exclusive rights to certain frequencies that people with lawns are not allowed to use?

Pretty much yes.

You can move a lawnmower to a different frequency with ease, especially when still in a design stage. You cannot move a methanol emission line to another frequency.


So? Who cares? A mowed lawn increases the value of property and the surrounding property. Those property values have a more direct and positive effect on the lives of people than radio telescopes.
The good of the many and all that crap.

A mowed lawn is nothing in comparison with more knowledge about the Universe. Astronomy has a lot to offer; the space is one big laboratory where experiments run 24/7, we just have to sit back and watch. And then, typically couple decades past the discoveries, get the underlying principles applied in technology. The GPS sats we have now are using relativistic corrections in their math; and the theory of relativity was confirmed by astronomical observations. Knowledge of formation of stars may be useful for nuclear fusion, and who knows what the data from molecular clouds can help with for tomorrow.

And you can move the lawnmowers to some less important frequency anyway, there are enough just nearby. So no loss even for the “property values” and their overinflated importance.

I can put a dollar amount on the cost of a home. You only have vague promises of potential future tech that hasn’t been invented and will not be for many years.

What about astronomers makes them a protected class of citizen? Why should I be forced to change frequencies and not them? Or, why can’t these astronomers move their observatories to places where these robots will not be used?