Posts

July 23, 2014

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4:44 PM | Could This Old Warplane Really Shoot Down MH17?
An Su-25 In Flight Wikimedia Commons Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over separatist-held eastern Ukraine, Russian state-owned media started focusing a lot on a strange little plane. The Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot" is a jet fighter from the late Cold War, designed to support ground troops from closer overhead, and in the MH17 tragedy, what the Su-25 can and can't do is a centerpiece of Russian denials. According to some theories, a Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 jet […]

July 22, 2014

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4:31 PM | Could Lasers Be The Future Of Anti-Missile Weapons?
American Concept Art Of Soviet Laser. From 1986. Edward L. Cooper, via Wikimedia Commons On Thursday, July 18th, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was struck by a missile. The United States believes the missile was a Soviet-designed Buk, and American infrared satellites pinpoint the location of that missile's launch to territory in Eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. Is it possible that, while Cold War technology launched the missile, and modern […]

July 18, 2014

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9:00 PM | The Week In Drones: Wedding Photographers, Prison Guards, And More
Cold Spring, New York. An aerial view of the town where NY Representative Sean Patrick Maloney used a drone to film his wedding. Joe Mabel, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news, designed to capture the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Weddings, Investigated When New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney got married in upstate New York in June, he did something fairly common: took video of the wedding, […]
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7:36 PM | DARPA's Silicon "System On A Chip" Is Pretty
DARPA ELASTx Microchip ELASTx stands for "Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs" DARPA The future of silicon transmitters looks a lot like an 8-bit adventure game. Developed by DARPA, the Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs (ELASTx) is a complete, all-on-one chip system that operates at 94 gigahertz. This means it transmits in the millimeter-wave frequencies, which are a relatively untapped part of the electromagnetic spectrum that's particularly useful […]

July 17, 2014

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5:43 PM | What Sort Of Weapon Shot Down Flight MH-17?
Slovenian Soldiers With MANPADS These are SA-18 Igla Man Portable Air Defense Systems. MORS, via Wikimedia Commons Earlier today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board. Following Ukraine's ouster of Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich, and the subsequent seizure of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia, a violent and armed separatist movement emerged in Eastern Ukraine, […]

July 16, 2014

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9:11 PM | Marines Prepare For Future War With Robot Horses And Swimming Trucks
Legged Support System Robot In Hawaii U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Callahan Last week in Hawaii, a squad of U.S. Marines brought a robot deep into the jungle. The Legged Support System (LS3) robot walks on four legs, carries 400 pounds, and shambles its way over rough terrain, like a mechanical mule in a future war. It’s all part of the Advanced Warfighting Experiment, and if the Marine Corps thinks the tests went well, future invasions may come with robotic […]

July 15, 2014

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6:38 PM | In Flight Test, British Stealth Drone Is Actually Stealthy
Taranis Drone In Flight BAE Systems Last week, the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced that, after a successful series of trials, BAE Systems' Taranis test drone is as stealthy as hoped. This is good news for people who like stealth drones, and bad news for people who want to shoot them down.  The major challenge for a stealthy drone is making it invisible from hostile detection while communicating with the people piloting it. America's similarly shaped X-47B […]

July 14, 2014

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9:08 PM | The Air Force Is Working On A New Bomber
Boeing Long Range Strike Bomber Concept Art Boeing The U.S. Air Force is quietly ramping up spending on a future bomber, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service published earlier this month. The Air Force also sent requirements for the program to the industry earlier this week. The goal is a new group of bombers to serve two functions: replace the aging bomber fleet, and safely attack despite future defensive weapons.  Work on Air Force's next bomber […]

July 11, 2014

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4:00 PM | The Week In Drones: Fireworks, Found Poetry, Chinese Test Targets, And More
Mohajer-4 Computer Model Aspahbod, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news, designed to capture the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. A Deadly Russian Seadrone Model The Chirok UAV is a fat-bottomed craft, with engines above the body and an almost cartoonish shape. It looks like a child's bath toy. The reason for the weird shape? Chirok will be a hovercraft-bottomed plane, allowing it to take off and land […]

July 10, 2014

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9:35 PM | NYPD Flew Helicopter At Drone, Not Vice Versa, Recording Confirms
NYPD helicopter patrolling New York City Photo taken from the Empire State Building Observatory. Refueled Dot Net, via Wikimedia Commons Earlier this week, the New York Police Department arrested two men under charges of reckless endangerment for flying a drone close to a police helicopter. Recordings from the helicopter's cockpit reveal that the NYPD pilots in fact never feared the drone, and instead actively pursued it with their police helicopter. This new evidence undermines the […]
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6:05 PM | After Supreme Court Defeat, Aereo Plans To Return As A Cable Company
Aereo Antennas In A Row Aereo Last month, online television company Aereo lost in a major case before the Supreme Court. The Court's 6-3 decision in ABC v. Aereo treated the company, and its unique antenna arrays, as just another cable network. In court documents filed yesterday, Aereo argues that it's allowed to keep operating. Only this time, Aereo will explicitly be a cable company. Here's how the technology of Aereo works. An Aereo user logs into Aereo online, and selects a show […]

July 08, 2014

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9:15 PM | Two Drone Pilots Arrested In New York
George Washington Bridge, New York, 2003 Bob Jagendorf Very early in the morning on Monday, officers with the New York Police Department arrested two men for flying a drone near the George Washington Bridge. The officers were dispatched by an NYPD helicopter pilot, who claimed the drone came within 800 feet of his chopper. Nestled within this sparseness is everything frustrating about the state of drone regulation today. Drone law is murky on this matter. The Federal Aviation […]

July 04, 2014

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2:00 PM | The Week In Drones: Phantoms, Peacekeeper, Polluter Policing, And More
Benxi heavy steel industries Andreas, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news, designed to capture the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Sensible Sense And Avoid Key to a future of safe skies full of unmanned flying machines is a technology called "sense and avoid," where a drone can detect and steer clear of other flying objects. This technology is still very much a work in progress, but last week the Federal […]

July 02, 2014

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7:00 PM | The U.S. Navy Wants Nonlethal Weapons
Diagram Of A Space To Clear The Office of Naval Research wants to give troops a tool to make people leave a room like this, but one that does so without killing the occupants. Office of Naval Research illustration The Office of Naval Research works to make sure sailors, admirals, and Marine commandants of the future have as many tools available for winning the wars of the future. At times, this translates into more accurate or more powerful killing tools. A recent contract solicitation […]

July 01, 2014

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6:30 PM | Sandia Labs Hands Bomb-Detecting Tech Over To Army
Copperhead on a Tigershark Drone Sandia National Laboratories Improvised explosive devices are the scourge of the modern battlefield, assembled from simple components and placed along frequently patrolled roads to ambush troops walking by. The American military used a special sensor named Copperhead attached to drones to find these IEDs placed in Afghanistan and Iraq. With U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan winding down, Sandia National Labs, the developer of Copperhead, […]

June 30, 2014

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9:17 PM | FAA May Never Figure Out Drone Rules
Diagram Of A Drone System This diagram shows the drone, the communications relay, the remote pilot, and the air traffic controller. Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation According to plan, the Federal Aviation Administration will let drones into American skies by 2020. A report released last week by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation is very, very skeptical that all is going according to plan. Titled, subtly, "FAA […]

June 27, 2014

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7:30 PM | The Week In Drones: Cameras That Follow You, Retro Police Copters, And More
Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news, designed to capture the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Spy From The Past Paleofuture recently unearthed a police drone -- from 1976. The Westland Wisp was a prototype surveillance drone designed for police work. Foreshadowing future drones, it could transmit regular video (and maybe infrared) images back to a control station. After the Wisp, Westland made two more drone helicopters, the […]

June 26, 2014

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9:30 PM | Why The Supreme Court Thinks Streaming Is Cable TV
Aereo Antenna Array Aereo Yesterday, in a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court in ABC v. Aereo, the government ruled that Aereo's streaming of cable TV over the web is illegal. In the process, the Supreme Court majority showed its confusion over how the internet works—and technology in general—and put forth a strange interpretation of the term "public performance." Here's how Aereo works (or worked, rather): A subscriber with an internet connection wants to watch a live television […]

June 25, 2014

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4:25 PM | Supreme Court Ruling Protects Cell Phone Privacy
The United States Supreme Court Philosophical Swag, via Twitter This morning the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a unanimous 9-0 decision on Riley v. California that police cannot, with few exceptions, search a cell phone without a warrant to do so. The whole opinion is structured as a critique of warrantless data collection, based on norms that precede cell phones, and much of the case delves into just how different 16 gigabytes of information on a phone is from pictures […]
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2:00 PM | New CombatGuard Four-Wheeler Is An Armored ATV
CombatGuard Goes Downhill Israel Military Industries Half the battle is getting everybody to the battle. Shown off Friday at the Eurosatory defense conference and exhibition in Paris, the CombatGuard is a new military troop carrier that wants to bring more troops to battle over rougher, harder ground. It's developed by Israel Military Industries in conjunction with Ido Off-Road Center, with the goal of a fast and armored vehicle that can get troops where they need to be […]
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