Tag Archives | Drones

Why Is The US Military Performing Brain Surgery On Bees?

English: Female Augochlorella aurata (sweat be...

Female Augochlorella aurata (sweat bee in the Halictidae family). Photo taken in Concord, NH. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers perform ultra precise brain surgery on bees in hopes of developing drones/mavs with advanced nighttime navigation.

via NAUTILUS

A surgeon wielding a micro-scalpel cuts through the head capsule of her subject, the nocturnal sweat bee Megalopta genalis, in a lab at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.  The surgeon, a researcher working under Dr. Eric Warrant, of Lund University in Sweden, inserts a glass electrode thinner than a micrometer into the bee’s brain. She is trying to pierce something very small—a monopolar cell in a layer at the top of the brain called the lamina. Warrant believes these cells are responsible for a trick called neural summation, which helps the bees maximize the use of light photons to see in their dark habitat—the dense tangled undergrowth of the nighttime Panamanian rainforest.

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Prototype Drone Can Shock You With 80,000 Volts

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It’s called Cupid. Look for it in a sky near you.

Via Information Liberation:

Cupid was revealed at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin Texas as a concept for how security might be implemented in the future.

“The drone can be deployed when an alarm is triggered. It can find a subject and send live video to the owners phone and ask if you want to authorize the subject or detain them. If you detain them, it drops into fully autonomous mode to detain them until police arrive. If need be stunning them with 80,000 volts of electricity to render them incapacitated,” the firm said in a statement.

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Hoaxers Plan Global UFO Prank

320px-2_Parrot_AR.Drone_2.0_in_flight

PIC: Halftermeyer (CC)

Watch the skies on April 5. You might be lucky enough to see a “UFO.” The current crop of UFOlogists might not find this funny, but I can’t help but think that infamous characters like Gray Barker would have been amused.

Via Yahoo News:

Dozens of volunteers around the world have signed up for what may be the biggest prank in history – using decades of knowledge of ‘UFO sightings’ to time the launch perfectly.

The ‘aliens’ will be strips of LED lights, on remote-controlled multi-rotor drone aircraft – launched at 8pm, so there are plenty of people to see the ‘invaders’, and held at a distance where it’s difficult to see what’s behind the glowing lights.

Nigel Watson, author of the Haynes UFO Investigations manual found plans to “cause a wave of UFO sightings around the world and an apocalypse-like idea in the media,” on forums frequented by drone fans.

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If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination

President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. That’s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination.

Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide the agency with “cloud” computing services. After final confirmation of the deal several months ago, Amazon declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

Amazon logo

The relationship means that Amazon — logoed with a smiley-face arrow from A to Z, selling products to millions of people every week — is responsible for keeping the CIA’s secrets and aggregating data to help the agency do its work. Including drone strikes.

Drone attacks in Pakistan are “an entirely CIA operation,” New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti said Tuesday night in an interview on the PBS NewsHour. He added that “the Pakistani government will not allow the [U.S.] military to take over the mission because they want to still have the sort of veneer of secrecy that the CIA provides.”

The sinister implications of Amazon’s new CIA role have received scant public attention so far.

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The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

NSAJeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald write at the Intercept:

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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Nikola Tesla’s Mechanical Men

Tesla boatIt’s mooted by Jon Turi at Engadget that Nikola Tesla, as ever ahead of his time, designed the first military drone, although he’s quoted as saying himself, “You do not see there a wireless torpedo; you see there the first of a race of robots, mechanical men which will do the laborious work of the human race”:

…Tesla once said, “The world moves slowly, and new truths are difficult to see.” It was his way of responding to the crowd’s stunned disbelief upon viewing his scientific wizardry at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1898. Using a small, radio-transmitting control box, he was able to maneuver a tiny ship about a pool of water and even flash its running lights on and off, all without any visible connection between the boat and controller. Indeed few people at the time were aware that radio waves even existed and Tesla, an inventor often known to electrify the crowd with his creations, was pushing the boundaries yet again, with his remote-controlled vessel.

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Robert Greenwald on How America Embraced Drone Warfare

Activist documentarian Robert Greenwald can be relied on to address the most topical issues of the moment, ranging from Wal-Mart’s dubious employment practices to corporate war profiteering in Iraq, exposing the Koch Brothers or showing what happens to whistleblowers.

Unmanned

His latest film is Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. Jesse Hicks interviews Greenwald for The Verge:

What drew you to this topic in the first place? Did your perspective change as you worked on the documentary?

I was drawn to it because I’ve done a series of films and investigations around the war issues. I did the first film around the Iraq war and the reasons we were given for it; I did another film called Iraq for Sale about war profiteering; I went to Afghanistan and did a film challenging the military policy there. I see the idea of the bipartisan militarization of policy — the bipartisan belief that we will be safer by invading or occupying or droning — as one that is highly questionable.

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Pentagon Lays Out Blueprint For Robot Wars Of The Future

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Prepare for more drone warfare.

Via Christian Science Monitor:

At a NASCAR racetrack in Miami earlier this month, teams from NASA, Google, and 14 other groups of engineering gurus put cutting-edge robots through some challenging paces.

The aim was to see how well the robots could tackle tasks that may sound simple, but are tricky for nonhumans – including, say, climbing a ladder, unscrewing a hose from a spigot, navigating over rubble, and steering a car.

The contest was dreamed up by the Pentagon’s futuristic experimentation arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and senior defense officials were watching it carefully – well aware that the Pentagon is growing increasingly reliant on robotics.

The Defense Department will become even more reliant on such devices in the decades to come. That’s the conclusion of a new blueprint quietly released by the Pentagon this week, which offers some telling clues about the future of unmanned systems – in other words, drones and robots.

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