Archived posts from category ‘Research’

Danger Room: From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania — A rogue state is on the verge of developing a deadly biological weapon against which the rest of the world has no defense. Through its connections to extremist groups and smugglers, the regime could be planning to launch bio attacks on U.S. allies and interests.

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Danger Room: Study: WikiLeaked Data Can Predict Insurgent Attacks

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Insurgencies are amongst the hardest conflicts to predict. Insurgents can be loosely organized, split into factions, and strike from out of nowhere. But now researchers have demonstrated that with enough data, you might actually predict where insurgent violence will strike next. The results, though, don’t look good for the U.S.-led war. And [...]

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Danger Room: Putin Wants a Darpa of His Own

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN In recent years, the US government has created research agencies for homeland security, intelligence, and energy — all modeled on the Pentagon’s mad-scientist arm, Darpa. Now Russia has gotten the bug, too. Russian industry and defense leaders announced plans last week to bankroll the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense [...]

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18.06.12 Openness and Risk in Robotics

In May 2010 Willow Garage, a startup robotics firm in California’s Silicon Valley, hosted a graduation for some of the world’s first humanoid robots. Eleven PR2 robots — two-armed ‘bots with wheeled bases, sensors and open-source software operating systems — “danced” with human partners.

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Danger Room: Army Plan: Wirelessly Recharge Gadgets … From 50 Feet Away

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Leaving home while carrying a phone, an iPad and a laptop might also mean lugging along several tangled power cords. Now add radios and GPS devices. Now strap them to your person and wrap the cords around your body beneath your 30-pound armored vest. Oh, and you’re on patrol in Afghanistan, which [...]

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The Diplomat: U.S. Eyes Hypersonic Missiles

The U.S. military’s more than decade-old effort to produce a hypersonic global strike weapon just took a big step forward and a big step back. On April 20, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, published the results of an engineering review of a key hypersonic vehicle test.

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Danger Room: White House ‘Big Data’ Push Means Big Bucks for Drone Brains

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The military has a data problem. More specifically, it has a too-much-data problem. Analysts have to sort through massive amounts of information collected by orbiting surveillance drones and satellites, or finding the data trails left behind by spies inside defense networks. Sorting through all this data is also necessary for making unmanned [...]

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Interview: The Man Who Prints Ships

Chances are you’re reading this on an object that wasn’t assembled with much human input. These days nearly everything is manufactured using automation; what still requires manual labor is made in sweatshops of one form or another. One major economic sector has so far remained outside this great industrial transition: construction, which remains a largely hand-fabrication industry. Indeed, its labor-intensive practices provided a good life to a great many people until the Great Recession, and it’s unlikely to employ that many people again for a long time.


Navy Midshipman Pitches Water-Cleaning Fern for Bangladesh

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman snagged a $25,000 prize for his research into new ways of cleaning drinking water in Bangladesh. Stephen Honan won Harvard’s Anwarul Quadir Prize for an essay advocating ferns as a natural filtration system for polluted water.

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Miller-McCune: Social Scientists Under Fire — How Anthropology and Other Social Sciences Are Transforming the American Way of War in Afghanistan

In October of last year, a platoon from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, strolled into the village of Baraki Rajan, 50 miles south of Kabul. The soldiers, deployed from upstate New York since January, held their rifles loosely, muzzles pointed down, deliberately not aiming at anyone. That was meant as a signal — a signal that the residents had, over time, learned to read.


Connect the Dots: Super Paper-Planes and Ultra-Thin Electronics

by DAVID AXE Ever watch Better Off Ted, the ABC show about the world’s looniest defense contractor? In one episode, the fictional Veridian Dynamics looks for ways to “weaponize pumpkins.” Following in Veridian’s wicked little footsteps, I’m wondering if any of our readers can figure out how to combine and weaponize two of the year’s [...]


10.12.09 Artificial Intelligence Could Help Spot Hidden Bombs

by DAVID AXE “Let’s go get blown up,” said Staff Sergeant Ashley Hess, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Able Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry. Hess, pictured at center, climbed into the cab of his Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored truck with his driver and two cavalry troopers. It was October 16 in Baraki Barak, a district of [...]