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What if you crossed Apple with a mechanical seagull?

Apple Our world is about to end. Only two things can save us:  Apple, and a flapping mechanical seagull.

It's one of the joys of the Information Age, really, that you can glean such insight in just a few mouse clicks.

Try it yourself.  Go to latimes.com (naturally).  Click on the latest headline about the seemingly doomed debt-ceiling talks in Washington.

When you're finished hiding your eyes or throwing something or screaming -- or whatever you do to relieve stress -- head on over to the Opinion tab, and click on "Hurtling toward economic chaos."  Mike Davis' chilling doomsday Op-Ed, with its prediction of a U.S. recession, a European debt crisis and a China gripped by a real estate bubble all coming together to send the world into the economic abyss, will render you catatonic.  

But all is not lost.  No.  A corporate knight in shining (and very stylish) armor is just another click away.

In Business, you'll find "How high will Apple shares climb?"

A decade ago, just before Apple's hit streak started with the October 2001 release of the first iPod music player, the company's stock was $10 a share. The stock's 4,000% increase since then far surpasses nearly every major technology company's 10-year performance, including Netflix Inc. (3,000%), Amazon.com Inc. (1,100%) and Google Inc. (474%).

But wait, there's more!  "Apple rumored to be testing new, ultra-thin MacBook Pro,"  The Times' Technology blog reports breathlessly, as if a laptop computer that is so thin you can barely see it holds the key to world peace.

On the other hand, who am I to scoff:  If the whole state were doing as well as Apple, we'd all be living in Malibu and driving Ferraris.  So bring on the ultra-thin MacBook Pro!

Finally, though, there's the real breakthrough.  Not since "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" have I been so excited by, well, seagulls.  So don't leave that Technology blog; just click on "Flying robotic seagull attracts flock of birds."

German engineering firm Festo has developed a robotic seagull that's so lifelike it appeared to fool real birds into thinking that it was part of the flock.

SmartBird is an ultralight flapping-wing robot inspired by the herring gull, and it can start, fly and land autonomously, Festo said. It weighs less than a pound and has a 6 1/2-foot wingspan, according to a company fact sheet.

In this case, though, a picture (or video) really is worth 1,000 birds, er, words.  Seeing is believing, even for real seagulls.

After you've watched the videos a couple of times,  imagine this:

What if we got Apple together with Festo and produced a flock of robotic politicians (ultra-thin ones, of course).  They would solve this silly debt-ceiling crisis and then move on to Medicare, Social Security, taxes and the "tea party." They'd be made in China, naturally, so its economy would keep humming; here in the U.S., Apple's rising stock would float all boats; and as for Europe, well, we’ll keep working on that.

Now that would be a good-news story I'd click on.



Obama pressed for specifics on debt ceiling plan

Opinion Poll: What is your debt-ceiling anxiety level?

Debt-ceiling threat has Wall Street scrambling

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: The Apple Inc. logo is seen in the lobby of New York City's  Apple store. Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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