stry_cat writes "You may remember the story of Brandon Raub, who was detained without due process over some Facebook posts he made. Now with the help of the Rutherford Institute, he is suing his captors. According to his complaint [PDF], his detention was part of a federal government program code-named 'Operation Vigilant Eagle,' which monitors military veterans with certain political views."
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An anonymous reader writes "Looks like those guys from Aeryon Labs are at it again. Today they announced the SkyRanger a bigger brother to their Scout drone (the one that the Libyan rebels used back in 2011). This one claims flight time of close to an hour, streaming 1080p30 HD video, a range of over 3 miles and a camera that can shoot 15 Megapixel stills and thermal video simultaneously. Not only that but it pops out of a backpack and is ready to fly instantly. It ain't cheap, but it can fly at 40 mph!"
The Bad Astronomer writes "A Minuteman III missile launch from California early Wednesday morning created a weird, expanding halo of light seen from the CFHT observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea. The third stage of the missile has ports that open and dump fuel into the near-vacuum. This cloud expands rapidly as a spherical shell, shock-exciting the air molecules and causing them to glow, creating the bizarre effect."
First time accepted submitter Bas_Wijnen writes "3D printing is being condemned in the media because of the potential for printing guns. Engineers at Michigan Tech believe there is far more potential for 3D printers to make our lives better rather than killing one another. To encourage thinking about constructive uses of 3D printing technology Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and Type A Machines sponsor the first 3-D Printers for Peace Contest. Designers are encouraged to consider: If Mother Theresa of Ghandi had access to 3D printing what would they print? What kind of designs could help reduce military spending and conflict while making us all safer and more secure? Anyone in the United States may enter and there is no cost."
Wired reports on a cluster of mini-satellites that will soon be launched into orbit that will assist U.S. special forces personnel during manhunts. "SOCOM is putting eight miniature communications satellites, each about the size of a water jug, on top of the Minotaur rocket that's getting ready to launch from Wallops Island, Virginia. They’ll sit more than 300 miles above the earth and provide a new way for the beacons to call back to their masters." When special forces are able to tag their target, the target can be tracked and located through the use of satellites and cell towers, but coverage is poor in many areas of the world. The satellites going up in September will help to fill in some gaps. "This array of configurable 'cubesats' is designed to stay aloft for three years or more. Yes, it will serve as further research project. But 'operators are going to use it,' Richardson promised an industry conference in Tampa last week."
First time accepted submitter The0retical writes "A couple of mine-sweeping dolphins dredged up what is known as a 'Howell torpedo' dating from 1870 to 1889. Only 50 were ever produced, this being the second example known to exist. The 11-foot-long brass torpedo had a maximum range and speed of 400 yards at 25 knots. The new example will be displayed at Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash. alongside the only other example."
puddingebola writes with this excerpt from a Bloomberg report: "The Pentagon cleared Apple Inc. (AAPL) devices for use on its networks, setting the stage for the maker of iPhones and iPads to compete with Samsung Electronics Co. and BlackBerry for military sales. The Defense Department said in a statement [Friday] that it has approved the use of Cupertino, California-based Apple's products running a version of the iOS 6 mobile platform. The decision eventually may spur a three-way fight for a market long dominated by Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry.'" Also, Apple devices are best for uploading viruses to alien craft.
A while ago you had the chance to ask mathematician and theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson about his work in quantum electrodynamics, nuclear propulsion, and his thoughts on the past, present, and future of science. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Russia's Foreign Minister declared that Moscow would not sell any new surface-to-air missiles to Syria, although there is a catch. He said old contracts are being honored. Could old contracts just be code for an already signed, but undisclosed deal for the S-300? Lavarov certainly left the door open: '...when questioned in particular about the S-300, his reply was not clear if the "earlier contracts" were for the S-300 or something else.' With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu going to the Black Sea town of Sochi early next week for talks with President Vladimir Putin, it seems they may have something to talk about."
An anonymous reader writes "While liquid hydrogen may not be a mainstream fuel for drones, the aerospace industry has said it holds the promise of flight endurance on the order of days, seemingly just another far-fetched aerospace industry pitch ... until now. The Naval Research Laboratory just announced that the Ion Tiger, a diminutive 37-pound airplane with a 17 foot wingspan, flew for 48 hours and 1 minute on liquid hydrogen and a fuel cell (anyone else notice the oddly specific duration? Guess it's better than 47 hours 59 minutes). This is a dramatically different scale than the liquid hydrogen powered 150 foot wingspan Boeing Phantom Eye and 175 foot wingspan AeroVironment Global Observer, which have yet to live up to their multi-day endurance projections. Interestingly enough, the well-known Global Hawk only has an endurance of 33.1 hours, which barely cracks Wikipedia's list of notable UAV endurance flights. Of course, solar-electric airplanes have flown for two weeks continuously, but that sure seems like refueling!"
An anonymous reader writes "As well as providing the equipment necessary to fire missiles, defense contractors also want to offer customers the ability to defend against them. Lockheed Martin is doing just that with its Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system. ADAM is a high energy laser system mounted on a trailer allowing it to be transported around quickly to help defend high-value targets. It is still in prototype form, but basically uses a 10-kilowatt fiber laser which can be focused on to a moving target up to 2 kilometers away."
Freshly Exhumed writes "In an unprecedented action, a United States Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles. After a string of failings that the group's deputy commander said stemmed from 'rot' within the ranks, the suspensions followed a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, that resulted in a 'D' grade for the team tested on its mastery of the Minuteman III missile launch operations system. The 17 are being assigned to intensive retraining courses of 60 to 90 days, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman."
gbrumfiel writes "North Korea has not been shy in announcing plans to destroy the United States, but questions remain over whether it has the nukes or the missiles to do so. Now NPR reports on open-source intelligence showing that one of the North's most 'advanced' weapons might actually be a decoy. Six KN-08 missiles were paraded last year, but each showed differences in the way they were assembled. Is it all a bluff? Or are the missiles part of a real program?"
wiredmikey writes "A new report from the Pentagon marked the most explicit statement yet from the United States that it believes China's cyber espionage is focused on the U.S. government, as well as American corporations. China kept up a steady campaign of hacking in 2012 that included attempts to target U.S. government computer networks, which could provide Beijing a better insight into America's policy deliberations and military capabilities, according to the Pentagon's annual assessment of China's military. 'China is using its computer network exploitation capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs,' said the report to Congress (PDF). The digital espionage was part of a broader industrial espionage effort that seeks to secure military-related U.S. and Western technology, allowing Beijing to scale back its reliance on foreign arms manufacturers, the report said. One day later, Beijing dismissed the Pentagon's report that accused it of widespread cyberspying on the U.S. government, rejecting it as an 'irresponsible' attempt to drum up fear of China as a military threat."
cold fjord writes "It looks like another milestone for hypersonic flight has been reached. From the story: 'The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program has accomplished a breakthrough in the development of flight reaching Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean . . ."It was a full mission success," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate. The cruiser traveled over 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range. It was the longest of the four X-51A test flights and the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. . . This was the last of four test vehicles originally conceived when the $300 million technology demonstration program began in 2004. The program objective was to prove the viability of air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion. The X-51A is unique primarily due to its use of a hydrocarbon fuel in its supersonic combustion ramjet, or Scramjet, engine. ... The use of logistically supportable hydrocarbon fuel is widely considered vital for the practical application of hypersonic flight.'"
rjupstate writes "The Pentagon is quickly moving to approve the latest devices and platforms from BlackBerry, Samsung, and Apple. That's good news for two of those companies. It's not-so-good news for BlackBerry. 'The Pentagon currently has about 600,000 smartphone users – almost all using BlackBerrys – but ultimately aims to have as many as 8m smartphones and tablets, under the terms of a scheme made public last November.' 'In its effort to expand into the high security government niche, one that BlackBerry has enjoyed near singular control of for years, Samsung recently created a government advisory board made up of Samsung executives and security experts from various U.S. and foreign government security agencies. ... In the end, the program will likely elevate that status of both Apple and Samsung within military and civilian government agencies in the U.S. and other western countries.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Modern warfare these days is all about a 'networked environment.' But what happens when such things that make a modern military work breakdown? How would America's armed forces fight if their computers crashed, could not communicate, or were hit with massive viruses? What then? 'There's wisdom in science fiction. The conceit behind the reboot of the sci-fi epic Battlestar Galactica was that networking military forces exposes them to disaster unless commanders and weapons designers think ahead to the repercussions should an enemy exploit or break the network. The mechanical Cylons, arch foes of humanity, are able to crush the humans' battle fleet and bombard their home worlds with nukes by insinuating viruses into networked computers. They sever contact between capital ships and their fighter forces, and they shut down the fleet's and planets' defenses. Having lost the habit of fighting without networked systems, human crews make easy pickings for Cylon predators.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an Interesting idea of how to use a Raspberry Pi and a few other inexpensive items to make a low cost detection system. From the article: 'The Drone Shield would combine a Raspberry Pi, a signal processor, a microphone, and analysis software to scan for specific audio signatures and compare them against what known drones sound like. (Because obviously a Predator drone is going to sound very different than a small quadcopter.) Once a match is found, the Drone Shield then sends an e-mail or SMS to its owner...'"
coolnumbr12 writes "Chinese hackers have infiltrated a sensitive U.S. Army database that contains information about the vulnerabilities of thousands of dams located throughout the United States. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' National Inventory of Dams (NID) has raised concerns that information gathered in the hack could help China carry out a cyber-attack on the national electrical power grid."
Nerval's Lobster writes "In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security added T-Platforms' businesses in Germany, Russia and Taiwan to the 'Entity List,' which includes those believed to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Commerce felt, according to the notice, that T-Platforms may be illegally assisting the Russian military and/or its nuclear program. In the meantime, Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly weighed in on the T-Platforms question. 'That's right. The use of political levers for unfair competition,' Putin said, according to RBTH.ru. 'Our European colleagues are independent people and they claim they want to work with us in certain spheres, yet they act as though they are absolutely dependent and unable to make their own decision. Is that so?' It's odd that Putin was quoted talking about 'European colleagues' when the Americans were responsible for cutting T-Platforms off."