Uh Oh, They Strapped a Sniper Rifle to a Robot Dog

Ghost Robotics

For years, we’ve been warning that it was only a matter of time — and now, the inevitable has happened.

Somebody strapped an honest-to-god sniper rifle to the back of a quadrupedal robot dog.

An image shared on Twitter by military robot maker Ghost Robotics shows the terrifying contraption in all its dystopian glory.

“Keeping our [special ops] teams armed with the latest lethality innovation,” the caption reads.

 

It’s a nightmare come to life, a death machine designed to kill with precision on the battlefield.

“This is sad,” one Twitter user commented. “In what world is this a good idea? I bet police is salivating at the chance to use these.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about the machine, but according to an Instagram post by Sword International, a gun manufacturer, the machine is called the SPUR or Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle.

“The [SPUR] was specifically designed to offer precision fire from unmanned platforms such as the Ghost Robotics Vision-60 quadruped,” reads Sword’s website. “Due to its highly capable sensors the SPUR can operate in a magnitude of conditions, both day and night.”

We don’t know what level of autonomy the robot has or if it was designed to be fully remotely operated. We also don’t know who the machine was developed for.

The four-legged robot is lugging a sniper capable of shooting 6.5 millimeter Creedmoor cartridges, a rifle ammunition, which was developed with long-range target shooting in mind.

It’s a troubling new development. Any new robot built with the intent to kill should have us worried.

Nothing is Real: A Visual Journey Through Market Absurdity

When it comes to modern markets, risk assets and the now normalized yet twisted tango of fiscal and monetary policy gone wild, it’s safe (rather than sensational) to simply confess that nothing is real.

As I recently watched BTC drop by 16% in one hour from $50K to $43K, only to reach back up to $46K in 20 minutes, my 20+ years of Wall Street experience watched with bemused yet experienced awe at what amounted to just another day of leverage, emotion and institutionalized front-running as the big money whales in crypto pulled off yet another media and SEC-ignored pump-dump-and-pump trade.

In short, the unreal has simply become business as usual.

Real Education vs. Surreal Facts

By 1997, I had graduated from a steady, iconic and expensive list of higher educational institutions which emphasized critical thinking, objective data, historical context and basic math.

But had I told a single professor back then that one day we’d see the simultaneous occurrence of Treasury Yields at 1.35%, and

Negative treasury yields occur when nothing is real in the economy.

….an “official” YoY CPI (inflation) growth rate of 5.4%, and

Inflation is soaring.

…an S&P reaching all-time highs above 4000,

Traders announce "Nothing is real!" as equity valuations repeatedly hit record levels.

…despite negative annual GDP rates, and

GDP is falling

… consumer sentiment tanking,

Consumer sentiments tank as consumers catch on that nothing is real.

… it’s likely they’d ask me to return my diplomas.

Why?

Because everything I (and all the rest of us) had been taught long ago was that rising risk assets reflect healthy economic growth, vigorous natural demand and a robust confidence in continued productivity and hence free-market price discovery.

That, at least, was the “reality” that nine years of secondary (post high-school) education gave me before I began my first toe-dip into the public exchanges (i.e., asset bubbles) of 1999.

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NASA Set To Crash Spacecraft Into Asteroid At 15,000 MPH In Effort To Change Its Course

NASA announced Monday that it will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid as part of an experiment designed to prevent dangerous asteroids from hitting Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will launch Nov. 23 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and, using a process known as a kinetic impactor technique, deploy a rocket to hit an asteroid at a speed of 15,000 mph and alter its trajectory, according to NASA.

The test’s obejective is to analyze possible solutions to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth, and it is NASA’s first mission to test planetary defense technology, according to the space agency.

It will target an asteroid system known as Didymos. The two asteroids are not a threat to Earth but will pass close enough to the planet to conduct the test, according to NASA. (RELATED: Asteroid Flew ‘Close’ To Earth, Estimated To Be Same Size As Great Pyramid Of Giza)

DART will launch toward Didymos using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, NASA’s statement said according to The Washington Post.

When it has a gun rack plus a place to attach a gun mount……….


Will This Jetpack Fly Itself? Startup aims to make piloting a jetpack as easy as flying a drone

Jetpacks might sound fun, but learning how to control a pair of jet engines strapped to your back is no easy feat. Now a British startup wants to simplify things by developing a jetpack with an autopilot system that makes operating it more like controlling a high-end drone than learning how to fly.

Jetpacks made the leap from sci-fi to the real world as far back as the 1960s, but since then the they haven’t found much use outside of gimmicky appearances in movies and halftime shows. In recent years though, the idea has received renewed interest. And its proponents are keen to show that the technology is no longer just for stuntmen and may even have practical applications.

American firm Jetpack Aviation will teach anyone to fly its JB-10 jetpack for a cool $4,950 and recently sold its latest JB-12 model to an “undisclosed military.” And an Iron Man-like, jet-powered flying suit developed by British start-up Gravity Industries has been tested as a way for marines to board ships and as a way to get medics to the top of mountains quickly.

Flying jetpacks can take a lot of training to master though. That’s what prompted Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy Commander Antony Quinn to found Maverick Aviation, and develop one that takes the complexities of flight control out the pilot’s hands.

The Maverick Jetpack features four miniature jet turbines attached to an aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber frame, and will travel at up to 30 miles per hour. But the secret ingredient is software that automatically controls the engines to maintain a stable hover, and seamlessly convert the pilot’s instructions into precise movements.

“It’s going to be very much like flying a drone,” says Denton. “We wanted to come up with something that anyone could fly. It’s all computer-controlled and you’ll just be using the joystick.”

One of the key challenges, says Denton, was making the engines responsive enough to allow the rapid tweaks required for flight stabilization. This is relatively simple to achieve on a drone, whose electric motors can be adjusted in a blink of an eye, but jet turbines can take several seconds to ramp up and down between zero and full power.

To get around this, the company added servos to each turbine that let them move independently to quickly alter the direction of thrust—a process known as thrust vectoring. By shifting the alignment of the four engines the flight control software can keep the jetpack perfectly positioned using feedback from inertial measurement units, GPS, altimeters and ground distance sensors. Simple directional instructions from the pilot can also be automatically translated into the required low-level tweaks to the turbines.

It’s a clever way to improve the mobility of the system, says Ben Akih-Kumgeh, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. “It’s not only a smart way of overcoming any lag that you may have, but it also helps with the lifespan of the engine,” he adds. “[In] any mechanical system, the durability depends on how often you change the operating conditions.”

The software is fairly similar to a conventional drone flight controller, says Denton, but they have had to accommodate some additional complexities. Thrust magnitude and thrust direction have to be managed by separate control loops due to their very different reaction times, but they still need to sync up seamlessly to coordinate adjustments. The entire control process is also complicated by the fact that the jetpack has a human strapped to it.

“Once you’ve got a shifting payload, like a person who’s wobbling their arms around and moving their legs, then it does become a much more complex problem,” says Denton.

In the long run, says Denton, the company hopes to add higher-level functions that could allow the jetpack to move automatically between points marked on a map. The hope is that by automating as much of the flight control as possible, users will be able to focus on the task at hand, whether that’s fixing a wind turbine or inspecting a construction site.

Surrendering so much control to a computer might give some pause for thought, but Denton says there will be plenty of redundancy built in. “The idea will be that we’ll have plenty of fallback modes where, if part of the system fails, it’ll fall back to a more manual flight mode,” he said. “The user would have training to basically tackle any of those conditions.”

It might be sometime before you can start basic training, though, as the company has yet to fly their turbine-powered jetpack. Currently, flight testing is being conducted on an scaled down model powered by electric ducted fans, says Denton, though their responsiveness has been deliberately dulled so they behave like turbines. The company is hoping to conduct the first human test flights next summer.

Don’t get your hopes up about commuting to work by jetpack any time soon though, says Akih-Kumgeh. The huge amount of noise these devices produce make it unlikely that they would be allowed to operate within city limits. The near term applications are more likely to be search and rescue missions where time and speed trump efficiency, he says.

Finally:
Action on Taliban Hostage Situation With Americans in Mazar-i-Sharif.
But that’s only one (1) of six planes that sitting there.

 

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story about a party, and Vincent Price starred in a movie version. …The Masque of The Red Death.
Maybe Obammy’s will turn out the same

Name of biblical judge found inscribed on 3,100-year-old jug found in Israel

A rare 3,100-year-old inked inscription from the era of the Book of Judges is displayed on Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the excavation site at Khirbat a Rai. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI

Archaeologists have uncovered a small jug with a rare five-letter inscription, linking the 3,100-year-old ceramic artifact to a biblical judge mentioned in the Book of Judges.

The jug and ancient inscription — the first to feature the name ‘Jerubbaal’ — were found at a dig site in the Shahariya Forest, among Israel’s Judean Foothills, archeologists reported the discovery Monday in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.

“The name of the Judge Gideon ben Yoash was Jerubbaal, but we cannot tell whether he owned the vessel on which the inscription is written in ink,” archaeologists said in a press release.

The inscribed jug, bearing the name Jerubbaal, was recovered from a subsurface storage pit lined with stones. Researchers suspect the small jug likely held a precious liquid, such as oil, perfume or medicine.

Though the jug features only five inscribed letters, close analysis suggests the original inscription was longer.

In the Book of Judges, Jerubbaal is first mentioned as a leading opponent of idolatry.

He’s also credited with leading a successful battle against the Midianites.

“According to the Bible, Gideon organized a small army of 300 soldiers and attacked the Midianites by night near Ma’ayan Harod,” said Yossef Garfinkel and Sa’ar Ganor, lead archaeologists on the project and professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“In view of the geographical distance between the Shephelah and the Jezreel Valley, this inscription may refer to another Jerubbaal and not the Gideon of biblical tradition, although the possibility cannot be ruled out that the jug belonged to the judge Gideon,” Garfinkel and Ganor said.

“In any event, the name Jerubbaal was evidently in common usage at the time of the biblical Judges,” they said.

Because the jug and its inscription date to roughly 1,100 B.C., the time of biblical judges, archaeologists suggest the discovery offers proof of the historical accuracy of the Bible.

“As we know, there is considerable debate as to whether biblical tradition reflects reality and whether it is faithful to historical memories from the days of the Judges and the days of David,” according to Garfinkel and Ganor.

“The name Jerubbaal only appears in the Bible in the period of the Judges, yet now it has also been discovered in an archaeological context, in a stratum dating from this period,” Garfinkel and Ganor said.

“In a similar manner, the name Ishbaal, which is only mentioned in the Bible during the monarchy of King David, has been found in strata dated to that period at the site of Khirbat Qeiyafa,” the archaeologists said.

Identical names being mentioned in the Bible, which have been found in other previously recovered inscriptions, they said, ” shows that memories were preserved and passed down through the generations.”

The Rise Of a Secret Unaccountable Police Force in America

Our founders knew that concentrating too much power in any one federal agency – especially a law enforcement agency – could lead to a tyrannical police state. It was one of their greatest fears. After all, they knew a thing or two about tyranny, and it was something they wanted to avoid at all costs.

As a result, today’s federal law enforcement agencies have very limited authority and very specific missions: Border Patrol patrols the borders, of course; DEA investigates narcotics; and the ATF enforces archaic alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives laws. The FBI has by far the broadest powers, but it too is constrained by a very specific set of rules and guidelines from the U.S. Attorney General – a process called predication. Contrary to what’s depicted on television, before FBI special agents can swoop in and take over a case, they must first have a federal predicate – they must believe that a federal crime or national security threat exists before they can investigate.

All of these federal agencies are transparent and accountable to the public, although some more so than others. They’re all subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was signed into law in 1966, and they routinely publish annual reports as well as internal investigations by their inspectors general.

All federal law enforcement agencies keep the public informed of their activities – all except one.

If you want to create a secret police force, the U.S. Capitol Police would be a good choice, since they’re already halfway there. The agency has scant oversight. It’s shrouded in secrecy and refuses to change.

The United States Capitol Police (USCP) is part of the legislative branch, which is exempt from FOIA requirements. Because they report to Congress, the USCP believes they too are exempt from FOIA. I should point out by way of comparison that even the CIA is subject to FOIA. Additionally, the USCP publishes no annual reports, and even the findings of its own inspector general are kept secret and not made public.

The mission of the USCP is to “Protect the Congress – its members, employees, visitors, and facilities – so it can fulfill its constitutional and legislative responsibilities in a safe, secure and open environment,” so you would think that the agency would focus its enforcement efforts in Washington, D.C., but that is no longer the case.

Congress is now seeking to nationalize the USCP by creating “field offices” in different states. Two field offices are planned for now, but more are coming.

“The new USCP field offices will be in the Tampa and San Francisco areas. At this time, Florida and California are where the majority of our potential threats are,” the agency announced in an email last week.

These new field offices will be used to “investigate threats” made against members of Congress, Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman announced last week.

Clearly, Pittman and the agency she heads are reeling from the events of Jan. 6th 2021. In her press release titled: “After the Attack: The Future of the U.S. Capitol Police,” Pittman spells out some of the changes that have already taken place. While the chief announced the acquisition of two new “wellness support dogs” – Lila and Filip – a “pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency,” the purchase of new riot helmets, shields, and less-than-lethal munitions. Note that she did not identify the types of threats her officers will investigate in their newly created regional offices.

The one thing that is clear, given the USCP’s penchant for secrecy, the public will never know what they’re up to.

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They made a movie about this……….

Sons Of Liberty

Sons Of Liberty [DVD + Digital]

Sons of Liberty is an American television miniseries dramatizing the early American Revolution events in Boston, Massachusetts, the start of the Revolutionary War, and the negotiations of the Second Continental Congress which resulted in drafting and signing the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The miniseries is set in the years 1765–1776, prior to start of the American Revolutionary War. It focuses on historical figures and pivotal events between the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain, particularly the events that led to resistance to the crown and creation of the Sons of Liberty. The actions of the Sons of Liberty were the beginnings of the Continental Army, and these take place mostly around Boston in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak:

The Covid-19 pathogen has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus.

The possibility that the pandemic began with an escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology is attracting fresh attention. President Biden has asked the national intelligence community to redouble efforts to investigate.

Much of the public discussion has focused on circumstantial evidence: mysterious illnesses in late 2019; the lab’s work intentionally supercharging viruses to increase lethality (known as “gain of function” research). The Chinese Communist Party has been reluctant to release relevant information. Reports based on U.S. intelligence have suggested the lab collaborated on projects with the Chinese military.

But the most compelling reason to favor the lab leak hypothesis is firmly based in science. In particular, consider the genetic fingerprint of CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the disease Covid-19.

In gain-of-function research, a microbiologist can increase the lethality of a coronavirus enormously by splicing a special sequence into its genome at a prime location. Doing this leaves no trace of manipulation. But it alters the virus spike protein, rendering it easier for the virus to inject genetic material into the victim cell. Since 1992 there have been at least 11 separate experiments adding a special sequence to the same location. The end result has always been supercharged viruses. . . .

In the case of the gain-of-function supercharge, other sequences could have been spliced into this same site. Instead of a CGG-CGG (known as “double CGG”) that tells the protein factory to make two arginine amino acids in a row, you’ll obtain equal lethality by splicing any one of 35 of the other two-word combinations for double arginine. If the insertion takes place naturally, say through recombination, then one of those 35 other sequences is far more likely to appear; CGG is rarely used in the class of coronaviruses that can recombine with CoV-2.

In fact, in the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus.

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Amazon US customers have one week to opt out of mass wireless sharing

Amazon customers have one week to opt out of a plan that would turn every Echo speaker and Ring security camera in the US into a shared wireless network, as part of the company’s plan to fix connection problems for its smart home devices.

The proposal, called Amazon Sidewalk, involves the company’s devices being used as a springboard to build city-wide “mesh networks” that help simplify the process of setting up new devices, keep them online even if they’re out of range of home wifi, and extend the range of tracking devices such as those made by Tile.

But Sidewalk has come under fire for the apparent lack of transparency with which Amazon has rolled out the feature, as well as the limited time available for users to complete the tricky process required to opt out. Other critics have expressed concerns that failing to turn the setting off could leave customers in breach of their internet service provider’s terms and conditions.

“Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices work better,” the company said in a Q&A document for users. “In the future, Sidewalk will support a range of experiences from using Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as smart security and lighting and diagnostics for appliances and tools.”

The feature works by creating a low-bandwidth network using smart home devices such as Amazon Echoes and Ring security cameras. At its simplest, it means that a new Echo can set itself up using a neighbour’s wifi, or a security camera can continue to send motion alerts even if its connection to the internet is disrupted, by piggybacking on the connection of another camera across the street. Other devices that don’t need a high-bandwidth connection, such as smart lights, pet locators or smart locks, can use Sidewalk all the time.

But the company’s plans have caused alarm among observers. Ashkan Soltani, a former chief technology officer of the US Federal Trade Commission, told the tech site Ars Technica: “In addition to capturing everyone’s shopping habits (from amazon.com) and their internet activity (as AWS is one of the most dominant web hosting services) … now they are also effectively becoming a global ISP with a flick of a switch, all without even having to lay a single foot of fiber”. The feature may also break the terms and conditions of users’ internet connections, which do not allow such resharing, warned Lydia Leong, an analyst at Gartner.

Users can disable Sidewalk in the settings section of the Alexa or Ring apps, but have until 8 June to do so. After that, if they have taken no action, the network will be turned on and their devices will become “Sidewalk Bridges”.

Amazon is not the first company to look to create such a network. Apple has taken a similar approach with the company’s range of AirTag item trackers, which can connect to the internet through any compatible iPhone they come into contact with, not simply their owner’s. And BT, through a long-term partnership with Fon, ran a service from 2007 until 2020 that allowed broadband customers to share spare bandwidth in a public wifi network.

The preceding may be just be alarmist, but stay tuned because President Biden is on the job so I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.


“Gas Run Has Begun” – Fuel Stations Run Dry Amid Hacked Pipeline.

Gas shortages are being reported in the Southeast of the US amid the recent cybersecurity attack that temporarily shut down one of the largest pipelines in the US.

Colonial Pipeline Co. Chief Executive Officer Joseph Blount said the company was in the process of restoring its systems but wouldn’t resume fuel shipments until the ransomware had been removed, according to Bloomberg.

At the moment, Colonial Pipeline is manually operating a segment of pipeline between North Carolina to Maryland and expects a complete system restore by the weekend. However, gas shortages are already being reported across North Carolina to Florida to Alabama.

On Monday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency, temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state.

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In the emptiness of space, Voyager I detects plasma ‘hum’

ITHACA, N.Y. – Voyager 1 – one of two sibling NASA spacecraft launched 44 years ago and now the most distant human-made object in space – still works and zooms toward infinity.

The craft has long since zipped past the edge of the solar system through the heliopause – the solar system’s border with interstellar space – into the interstellar medium. Now, its instruments have detected the constant drone of interstellar gas (plasma waves), according to Cornell University-led research published in Nature Astronomy.

Examining data slowly sent back from more than 14 billion miles away, Stella Koch Ocker, a Cornell doctoral student in astronomy, has uncovered the emission. “It’s very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth,” Ocker said. “We’re detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas.”

This work allows scientists to understand how the interstellar medium interacts with the solar wind, Ocker said, and how the protective bubble of the solar system’s heliosphere is shaped and modified by the interstellar environment.

Launched in September 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 1979 and then Saturn in late 1980. Travelling at about 38,000 mph, Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in August 2012.

After entering interstellar space, the spacecraft’s Plasma Wave System detected perturbations in the gas. But, in between those eruptions – caused by our own roiling sun – researchers have uncovered a steady, persistent signature produced by the tenuous near-vacuum of space.

“The interstellar medium is like a quiet or gentle rain,” said senior author James Cordes, the George Feldstein Professor of Astronomy. “In the case of a solar outburst, it’s like detecting a lightning burst in a thunderstorm and then it’s back to a gentle rain.”

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Actually they’ve made more than one movie about this…..


Jeff Bezos wants floating colonies in space with weather like Maui all year long.

blue moon lunar lander BlueOrigin_Colony Two

Jeff Bezos on Thursday restated his ambition to build floating space colonies where people could stay in orbit in excellent climates, with weather like “Maui on its best day, all year long.”

The Amazon founder made the comments at a press conference in Washington, DC, where he unveiled the Blue Moon lander, a giant vehicle designed to deliver payloads — and perhaps astronauts one day — to the surface of the moon.

The lander, created by Bezos’ privately held rocket company, Blue Origin, aims to help establish “sustained human presence” on the moon, Business Insider’s Dave Mosher reported from the event.

Bezos also branched out into his far-flung ambitions to put up to 1 trillion people in space with O’Neill cylinders, a hypothetical technology meant to sustain human life.

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There’s a difference between ‘can do’ and ‘should do’, and some people, supposedly very smart people, apparently don’t know how to determine that.


Scientists grow human-monkey chimeric embryos in lab.

April 15 (UPI) — After injecting human stem cells into primate embryos, scientists were able to grow and maintain human-monkey chimeric embryos for up to 20 days.

The international research team, including geneticists in China and the United States, detailed their breakthrough in a new paper, published Thursday in the journal Cell.

Scientists suggest human-monkey chimeric embryos can be used to build models for studying human biology and disease.

“As we are unable to conduct certain types of experiments in humans, it is essential that we have better models to more accurately study and understand human biology and disease,” senior study author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, an expert in pluripotent stem cells who operates a lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, said in a news release. “An important goal of experimental biology is the development of model systems that allow for the study of human diseases under in vivo conditions.”

The research builds on previous successes achieved by Izpisua Belmonte and his research partners in China. The team first successfully created human-monkey chimeric embryos a few years ago, keeping them alive for only a few days.

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