Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


GENERALLY, WE SAVOR our world of high technology. However, there are those who rue it. Schadenfreude, literally harm-joy, is the German word for our pleasure derived from the tough times of others. Toss in that these others brought the tough times on themselves, and then the English word “comeuppance” comes to mind as well. To the best of my research, there is no German equivalent short of 23 letters.

Here are several examples of technology getting the best of those who likely deserved what they got.

Choppers with infrared eyes. Many police helicopters are equipped with technology identifying culprits by body heat. A parolee on the lam tried his hand at burglary of an auto repair shop. The sound of a police chopper sent him into hiding. But not from the chopper’s Forward Looking Infrared technology.


You can hide, but fat lot of good it’ll do you. Image from Fox26 KMPH News.

Our vision responds to wavelengths ranging from 400 to 700 nanometers. Infrared imaging is sensitive to wavelengths of 9000 – 14,000 nm. These devices are termed “thermographic” because anything above absolute zero emits some degree of infrared radiation.

The latest technology. There’s a technological aspect to the arrogance of bad behavior. A mugger was targeting students near Columbia University in New York City.


Blackberry devices protect themselves.

When a Blackberry was yielded up, the malfeasant handed it back and said, “I want iPhones.”

Get off my iCloud. The latest iPads offer automatic uploading to the iCloud, much to a thief’s regret. A woman’s iPad was stolen, after which she scrolled through photos on her iPhone.


Selfie by iPad. Image from Reader’s Digest.

The thief—duh—used the purloined iPad to take selfies, but little did he know these images were appearing on the woman’s iCloud. A DIY mug shot?

Homeroom hustle.  A high-school junior all but announced his marijuana deal on the school’s website (double-duh). He entered his personal Apple id onto his school-issued iPad, and this automatically synched his iPhone with the school’s iPad network.


His teacher took her iPad evidence of drug trafficking to the vice principal’s office, where the perp was present on another matter. (Are we getting an ample image of this kid?) His only redeeming virtue was not having the stuff on him at the moment.

Ford Sync snitch. A Florida woman had her Ford Focus turn her in. She had linked her cell phone with her car’s Sync system. One of the potentially life-saving features of this synching is an automatic 911 call in the event of airbag deployment.


Ford Focus Sync.

However, the woman hit-and-ran from what turned out to be her second collision within several blocks. A 911 dispatcher responded through the car’s phone link. The woman denied any problem; this, despite driving home with a deployed airbag in her lap.

“Ma’am,” she’s quoted as saying by Automotive News, December 14, 2015, “there’s no problem. Everything is fine.”

“OK, but your car called in saying you’d been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?”

“No,” the woman answered (evidently with pants on fire), “I would never do that.”

Police used the Sync information to meet the woman and her damaged Focus at her house. She eventually confessed.

Personally foiled. I confess to being confounded myself. In researching this item, I logically Googled “earliest foiled technology.” Here’s what I got.


A replica of the 1877 prototype Edison “Kruesi” phonograph. Image by Gregory F. Maxwell.

Thomas Edison’s 1877 prototype phonograph used a tin-foiled cylinder.

Rats! Tech-foiled again. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2016


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