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Ask Maxim: Robot Armies, Explicit Images & Flying Baseballs

askMaxim_article.jpgWhat’s the fastest and farthest a man can throw or hit a baseball?
Julian Moen, Grand Rapids, MI
Greats like Mickey Mantle and Joel Zumaya have set records for hitting 565-foot home runs and blasting 103 mph pitches, repeatedly, and, sadly, the human body maxes out around there. Despite the ’roid epidemic, the game will always have limits. Andrew Rex, a physicist at the University of Puget Sound, explains, “Even with developments in technology and strength training, there will always be air resistance.” In fact, the harder you hit the ball, the greater the resistance of the air. When it comes to the mound, Glenn Fleisig, a biomechanical engineer at the American Sports Medicine Institute, says 100 mph is about the max due to “the limitations of human ligaments and tendons.” So pray for bear-to-man shoulder transplant surgery, or come to terms with throwing like a puny human.

If an explicit image of me shows up on the Internet, can I be fired?
Sean Mahaffey, Paramus, NJ
That shameful photograph of you high fiving your buddies at a Tijuana donkey show can indeed get you canned. “The majority of workers are at-will employees,” says employment attorney April Boyer. “And they can be fired with or without cause at any time.” So if your boss gives you the boot and says an Internet photo precipitated the firing, you’re screwed (unless you can prove it was a gender- or race-based decision). The other good news? “Once online, it will be nearly impossible to remove,” says Boyer. So bite the bullet and delete that Facebook pic of you dry-humping Abe Lincoln at a wax museum, pronto! Trust us on this. We learned the hard way!

Will I ever be able to fly with more than three ounces of liquid again?
Gary Perkinson, Akron, OH
We hope you’re talking about your carry-on and not your bladder, Gary. But, yes, the ban is expected to lift soon—maybe even within the next year! Liquids were barred in 2006 when officials uncovered a plot to blow up planes using watery explosives that X-ray machines can’t detect. The rule was loosened after explosives experts found that a one-quart bag packed with three-ounce bottles full of bang-bang juice could not down an aircraft. Hope for a shampoo- filled future comes in the form of 600 next generation X-ray machines deployed around the nation. “Each can be upgraded to read a liquid’s chemical signature will allow the machines to differentiate between a bottle of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide and, say, a soda,” says TSA spokesman Christopher White. Good news for Mountain Dew fans; bad news for your pathetic attempt to hide that merkin-dyeing kit.

When will we have an entirely robot army?
Bobby Slonin, Sioux Falls, SD
Sorry, Bobby, but an all-android army is about as likely as you having a girlfriend. Stephen Thaler, founder of Imagination Engines, Inc., has played a prominent role in AI development for the U.S. military. His due date for a borg battalion? “If we’re talking about joystick-controlled tanks, planes, and ships, right now.” But Thaler points out that a totally robotic army isn’t exclusively about technology, but also about “politics.” The truth is, human boots on the ground are crucial to maintaining order in wartime. Besides battling kill-crazy insurgents in Iraq, our troops try to befriend the locals in the hopes that they won’t plant yet another IED on a Baghdad highway. In other words, until we can build mechanized platoons made up of 72 virgin fembots, it’s best to stick with flesh-and-blood grunts.