Posts

August 29, 2014

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5:16 PM | Google Already Testing Delivery Robots In Australia
Project Wing Drone Delivers Google In rural Australia, a drone delivers dog treats to a farmer. The robot is a proof of concept, part of Project Wing by Google X. The program is designed to show that delivery drones are possible, and it seems to be doing just that. Next for Google: figuring out the path from proven prototype to everyday utility. The drone is a tail-sitter, taking off vertically with its body perpendicular to the ground. At rest, it looks like a tiny […]

August 28, 2014

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6:16 PM | Evolution Video Game Tests Your Ability To Spot Camouflaged Bird Eggs
Egg Ancestors The evolution of a successful strain of egg camouflage. Project Nightjar Call it a case of virtual selection. Testing out Project Nightjar's experimental video game, I peered through the world in mongoose-tinted glasses, looking for the eggs of a nesting nightjar -- a nocturnal bird in the family Caprimulgidae. The clock ticked as I made my selection, and then I found the nesting mother. While I played the game, the researchers behind the project gained a little more […]

August 27, 2014

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9:13 PM | China's Future Submarine Could Go The Speed Of Sound
Supercavitating Submarine South China Morning Post The submarine of the future may come to America in a super fast bubble, traveling under water. Researchers at China's Harbin Institute of Technology developed a new concept for submarine “supercavitation,” where an underwater vessel creates a pocket of air around itself. Inside this bubble, the submarine can travel much faster without friction of water creating drag and slowing it down. Theoretically, a supercavitated […]

August 26, 2014

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7:29 PM | Army's Hypersonic Missile Explodes During Testing
Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Concept Launch Test From the November 18, 2011 test. Courtesy photo, U.S. Army The art of the war is complicated, but the science of war is often just a matter of shooting something pain-inducing at the other guy faster and from further away. The Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon program wants to do just that, by creating a missile that moves faster than Mach 5, or almost 3,800 miles per hour. That hypersonic future may be just a little further […]
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3:30 PM | Could This Camera Prevent Police Brutality?
Taser Axon Wearable Security Camera. Taser Surveillance cameras permeate modern life. Mounted in convenience stores, retail outlets, bars, clubs, ATMs and elsewhere, silent observers record everything from the mundane to the criminal. The cameras serve a dual function as both deterrent and instant legal record. In light of the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, national attention has focused on wearable cameras for police officers. For the (less lethal) […]

August 25, 2014

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5:15 PM | Watch A Robot Ride A Hovercycle
The Drone 3 In Flight I bet this would've caught Luke Skywalker on Endor. Malloy Aeronautics A white plastic robot zooms a hoverbike over the English countryside, grains blowing beneath the bike's four fans. The robot's 3-D printed body is lightweight, and where its face would be there’s a GoPro camera instead, filming the flight. This isn't a scene from a dystopian science fiction movie; The bike is less than four feet long, and combined robot and bike weighs a maximum of 15.4 […]

August 22, 2014

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4:15 PM | The Future Of Urban Planning: Zoning For Drones
Drone Zones At Human Level Mitchell Sipus A century ago, as cars first emerged into the world, cities and laws that were designed for horses suddenly had to adapt to a whole new presence in their space. Cities didn’t know how to handle these fast machines, and fatal accidents in the early age of cars led to legal battles between pedestrians and cars over who had the right to the road. Now,  commercial drones are approaching their Model-T moment, and planners can get ahead […]

August 21, 2014

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8:30 PM | Fighter Pilot Films First Person View Of Flight Over Fjords
DYE Radar Station 2 From A Freaking Fighter Jet Window The snow is also Greenland. Screenshot of video by John Kristensen, YouTube Being a fighter pilot is a lot of work. Maintence, years of training, planning for missions, paperwork -- all just to pilot one of the faster, deadlier machines ever created by human hands. Seems like a real hassle, right? Fortunately for everyone who isn't a fighter pilot, John Kristensen, a Danish Air Force pilot who flew missions in […]
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1:00 PM | Players Build Working Hard Drive Inside Minecraft
Minecraft HDD Controller Top View The0JJ/imgur.com Over the hills, across the stone bridge, past the giant pony, around the lake of questionable test, and beyond the giant rainbow barrier sits a work of great artifice on a grey plain. Far larger than any single inhabitant of this virtual world, the contraption is a complete, working computer, run entirely within the rules and universe of Minecraft. The hard drive stores up to 4 kilobytes of data, and it is covered in torches to keep […]

August 20, 2014

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7:15 PM | How The Panama Canal Changed The Shape Of War
Enlarging The Canal For Bigger Battleships Click here for a larger image. Popular Science One hundred years ago, the Panama Canal opened for the first time. A triumph of turn-of-the-century engineering, it connected Pacific and Atlantic, expanding the worlds of maritime commerce and re-writing the sea lanes of the Western Hemisphere. But with the canal came one major constraint: size. The locks of the canal are only so wide and so long and so deep, and while much of the ocean […]

August 19, 2014

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7:20 PM | NASA's Greased Lightning Tests Vertical Takeoff
NASA's GL-10 Greased Lightning Vertical Takeoff Test Drone Click here to see a larger version of this image. NASA Langley/David C. Bowman The space missions get all the credit, but the Aeronautics branch of NASA does really cool stuff. Today is National Aviation Day, and to celebrate, NASA shared a picture of their GL-10 Greased Lightning drone. Consider it the little sister to the military's V-22 Osprey. It has a ten-foot wingspan and boasts ten electric engines all […]
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2:52 PM | DARPA Thinks Less Armor Could Make Tanks Safer
DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology Program More protective layers of jargon = safer future tanks. DARPA The heavy, treaded, gun-swinging battlefield behemoths know as tanks haven't changed much since their invention a century ago. Using a crapload of armor, the tank is meant to keep soldiers inside safe from bullets and other projectiles, while shooting a cannon at anything that poses a threat. But the problem with all this armor is that it makes vehicles slow and […]

August 18, 2014

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9:00 PM | Autonomous X-47B Flies In Formation With Fighter Aircraft
X-47B Lands Aboard The USS Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Navy photo taken by Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alex Millar If the latest tests are any indication, humans and robots will soon fight alongside one another, against other humans and maybe other robots. Yesterday, the U.S. Navy announced the first "successful manned & unmanned aircraft flight operations" of its experimental X-47B drone. The tests were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore […]
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5:01 PM | South Africa's New AHRLAC Fighter Is A Drone Alternative
AHRLAC In Flight Its name is an acronym that means "Advanced High‐performance Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft." Aerosud & Paramount Group Powered by a pusher propeller, covered in pixel camouflage, and furnished with stadium-seating for its two crew members, the Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft (AHRLAC) looks like an alternate history version of a World War I fighter. The result of a collaboration between South Africa's Aerosud […]

August 15, 2014

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8:45 PM | The Week In Drones: Lollapalooza Lollygaggers, Archaeology Aids, And More
A Hexarotor Drone This drone is similar to that purchased by the San Jose Police Department, though it isn't the specific model. Adrian Michael, 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. Droneapalooza A drone was spotted in the skies above Chicago, specifically above the Lollapalooza music festival. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking […]
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1:00 PM | A Spotter's Guide To Military-Grade Gear Now Being Used By Police
Virginia Beach SWAT team members ride the running boards of an armored van to get into position to assault Building 1155. NASA/Sean Smith Following the fatal police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last Saturday, a protest movement broke out in the small town. Police from St. Louis County responded, showing up with body armor, gas masks, rifles, camouflage uniforms, armored cars, and tear gas. This excessive show of force, combined with gear that looks very […]

August 13, 2014

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9:15 PM | Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color
A Navy Performance During Boston Harborfest, 2007 This is very much not the Boston Calling concert, but it's at City Hall Plaza and surrounded by the same brutalist architecture. Dave Kaylor, U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons The Boston Calling Music Festival in May 2013 had a great lineup: Fun., Dirty Projectors, and Of Monsters and Men, to name a few. The event also included ten cameras that recorded over 50 hours of video surveillance footage on the thousands of […]
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4:15 PM | Edward Snowden Reveals NSA's MonsterMind Program
NSA's Utah Data Center A view of Monstermind's physical lair, photographed from an Electronic Frontier Foundation airship Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation In the high desert near Bluffdale, Utah, there lurks a creature made entirely of zeroes and ones. Called "MonsterMind", the project is an automated cyber weapon, perched atop the data flows into the National Security Agency's Mission Data Repository. According to recent revelations from former government contractor and […]

August 12, 2014

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4:00 PM | Watch This Panthera Airplane Spin Under Control
A Pipistrel Panthera In Flight Pipistrel An important part of plane design is making sure the plane still works even if the pilot doesn't. In this flight test video from Slovenian aircraft maker Pipistrel, two crew members and two passengers ride a new Panthera plane through a series of spins. Waving calmly to a camera on the port wing, the crew then hang on tight while the aircraft rotates 10 times. In addition to the one on the wing, cameras in the cockpit and one on the tail capture the […]

August 11, 2014

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7:00 PM | Click Your Way To Discovery In CERN's 'Particle Clicker' Game
My Particle Clicker Lab Free beer = more science? Yes please. Particle Clicker, CERN The only thing holding back scientific research at my virtual lab was not enough free beer. Thanks to a new game by a group of scientists at CERN, scientific discovery is reduced down to its most basic element: Doing the same repetitive action over and over and documenting any change. Particle Clicker, created at a CERN 48-hour hackathon, dresses up a popular time sink in researcher's clothing. At the […]

August 08, 2014

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9:15 PM | Scientists Turn Cigarette Butts Into Electrical Storage
Carp with a cigarette butt Wouter Hagens, via Wikimedia Commons The electrical power of the future just might be waiting in ashtrays across the world. Researchers in South Korea discovered that, with a one-step conversion process, cigarette filters turn into great supercapacitors. This is great news for anyone who wants new electronics that smell like Bourbon Street at 3 A.M. Supercapacitors are an electrical storage alternative to batteries. In batteries, energy is stored in chemical […]
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4:13 PM | The Week In Drones: Virtual Cities, Paparazzi, And More
A Flock Of Red Knots These birds migratory paths delayed drone testing off the New Jersey shore. Dick Daniels, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Birds Delay Drones In December, the FAA selected New Jersey as one of six drone test sites. Those tests will have to wait for the original unmanned flyers to pass first, though: Piping Plovers and Red Knots are both […]

August 07, 2014

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7:01 PM | Drone Drowns In Yellowstone Hot Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park James St. John, via Wikimedia Commons According to the National Park Service, a tourist crashed a camera-equipped drone into Grand Prismatic Spring, the park's largest geothermal hot spring. In May, the National Park Service banned drones from Yosemite National Park, and in June that ban expanded to include all national parks. The Prismatic Spring crash is not the first drone crash on a national park, and it's unlikely to be the last. […]

August 06, 2014

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9:30 PM | From The Archives: Debating The Hiroshima And Nagasaki Bombings
Bom Effects From the September 1945 issue of Popular Science. Popular Science On August 6th, 1945, the American B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima, Japan. It was the second atomic weapon ever detonated, and the first used in actual war. A few weeks earlier, Manhattan Project researchers detonated the first atomic weapon in a remote New Mexico desert, but it was the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ushered in the nuclear age with a […]
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4:45 PM | Navigate Robotic Smog In City Of Drones
Screenshot From City Of Drones Pictured: ambient drones, ambient skyscrapers. Not pictured: ambient sounds. Liam Young, City of Drones It's a weird sensation, being born in midair. Within seconds, users exploring Liam Young's conceptual art project "City of Drones" find themselves staring out the eyes of an unmanned robot, falling gently towards what appears to be something like the ground. "City of Drones" is as much statement as game, an artful exploration of a world filled […]
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3:15 PM | Russia Orders Helicopters For Its New Amphibious Assault Ships
Russian Ka-52 Attack Helicopter Alex Beltyukov, via Wikimedia Commons Russia recently ordered a batch of new attack helicopters, including 32 that could go onto a new amphibious assault ship. There's just one hitch: France is building that ship, and following Russia's invasion of Crimea and support for Donetsk separatists in Eastern Ukraine, there's a lot of international pressure for France to cancel the order. The Mistral class ship is designed to carry up to 700 troops, over […]

August 05, 2014

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7:45 PM | Modified Israeli Drone Seen Flying Over Gaza
Hermes 450 UAV A drone of this make and model flew over Gaza on August 3.  Elbit Systems Drones are the public face of counter-insurgency. Mechanical, unmanned, distant, they fly above battlefields from Pakistan to Yemen, their unblinking electronic eyes streaming video back to uniformed pilots secure on military bases elsewhere. The United States is the best-known drone operator in the world, but it's hardly the only country that uses them. The Israel Defense Forces are using […]
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4:30 PM | Japan's Military Will Patrol Earth's Orbitals
Anti Satellite Weapon Concept Art from 1983. Department of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons Japan's military plans to take defense to the heavens in 2019. According to a report by Japan's Kyodo News Agency, Japan's Self-Defense Forces plan to add a space monitoring branch, to be jointly run by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Air Self-Defence Force. The "fourth battlefield"–space–contains a lot of stuff that's worth protecting, and Japan is hardly the […]

August 04, 2014

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6:30 PM | Robotic Exoskeleton Turns Korean Workers Into Ironman
RoboShipbuilder Daewoo, via New Scientist The South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering is trying out something new: equipping workers with robotic exoskeletons. Workers are only testing prototypes for now, but future shipbuilders might strap on exoskeletons as easily as they don hard hats. The exoskeleton fits workers who are between 5 feet 2 inches and 6 feet tall. It weighs almost 62 pounds, but thanks to its hydraulic joints and […]

August 01, 2014

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1:00 PM | The Week In Drones: Shotgun Salesmen, Contraband Couriers, And More
Bird's-Eye View of the Union Stock Yards An example of aerial photography before airplanes, likely taken on a tall extension ladder or from a balloon. Martha Stewart references a photograph similar to this one when describing her love of drone photography. Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Cyber Pigeons For Future […]
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