Sunday, February 7, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
This January 25, 2015 photo appears to show a Chinese made CH-3 drone, owned by Nigeria, which has crash landed upside down. The two AR-1 ATGMs attached to its wing pylons suggest that Nigeria is turning to drone strikes as the bloody war against Boko Haram continues.
The circle of drone warriors is growing, slowly. Today, Nigeria announced a successful drone strike in its ongoing war against the militant group Boko Haram. With it, Nigeria joins a dubious club of the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, and Iraq who have all used armed drones in modern war.
While we've seen evidence of Nigerian armed drones before, notably after one crashed, this time there's video evidence of a strike, released by Nigerian itself.
There are two big implications from this strike. The first is that, when the United States doesn't sell countries drones over fear of how they'll use them, the countries buy their drones from elsewhere, often China.Nigeria joins a dubious club of the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, and Iraq who have all used armed drones in modern war.
Much of Nigeria's drone arsenal are Israeli-made Aerostar UAVs, which are unarmed. Nigeria also has its own, locally-made drones that strongly resemble these Aerostars, and are likely also only surveillance tools. Instead, for the strike it looks like the drone was a Chinese CH-3.
The CH-3 is an armed adaption of earlier Chinese reconnaissance drones, and has been in Nigeria's inventory since at least 2014. In the video released of the attack, there's a large blast, and the Nigerian Air Force claims they hit a logistics base belonging to Boko Haram, possibly an ammunition storehouse. Nigeria, like Iraq, appears to buy their armed drones from China.
The second major implication is that, despite more nations using drones, they all seem to be using them in a similar manner to the United States: for counter-insurgency warfare. This is perfectly expected: modern military drones drones are slow, lightly-armed airplanes with cameras, best at flying for a long time and scanning the ground below. When nations today get armed drones, this is how they plan to use them. It will take a lot of change in technology for those drones to start being a threat to other countries.
Watch the video below:
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
The first flight of NASA's next big rocket will carry a lunar laser, an asteroid scout, and some yeast
NASA is currently in the middle of building its next big rocket, the Space Launch System, which the agency hopes to use to send people into deep space and on to Mars someday. But before it can do all that, the SLS has to prove itself in the form of a test flight. That mission — scheduled for 2018 — will take NASA's uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the far side of the Moon. Toting the Orion may be the primary goal of the trip, but the SLS will have some extra room for other technologies — so it's going to take up to 13 small satellites along for the ride.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Last week, professional surfer Tom Dosland fell 40-feet down the front of a wave at Jaws, Maui's legendary surfing break. See the intensity of it all in the video above. Surfer magazine interviewed Dosland about the day:
Before this wave, I had paddled for a few and pulled back because it wasn't quite lining up right. But when this wave came toward me, I was totally committed. It looked like a sea monster rising out of the ocean when it came my way. But I was going. No matter what. So I flipped around and started paddling to get into it. You can't really tell from the video, but there was some wind blowing spray up the face as I was about to drop in, which pretty much blinded me for a few seconds. I could only see out of one eye, and only partially. So I was pretty much just going off of feeling for that brief second before you drop in. Then, I was able to open up both my eyes, and I realized what was about to happen.
That's crazy you couldn't see. Can you walk me through what happened next?
Once I started to drop in and could open both my eyes, I instantly realized that this wasn't going to end well for me. So I sort of hit the eject button hoping to make the best of it and penetrate. I was free-falling for a while. It felt like I jumped off a cliff. That's when my leash stretched out all the way and flipped me over head-first. From there, I hit the face and it was just a brutal beating, like I was in a car crash. It was so intense that I basically froze and forgot to pull my vest. Toward the end of it, I realized I hadn't pulled the chord, so I finally did and popped to the top of the water. But yeah, it was rough, man.
Once you made it to the surface, what was going through your mind?
To be honest, I was sort of in shock from the wipeout still. That wave was so heavy. Once I came up, D.K. Walsh grabbed me on the ski and had this crazy look in his eye. I knew it must have looked nuts. He told me it was a pretty heavy wipeout and was sort of tripping that I was okay. We had a moment on the ski where we both laughed and tripped out that I was still alive. My board was completely destroyed, though.
"Legend of the Fall" (Surfer)
By: Staff / Published: February 1, 2016
The United States Air force has announced last Friday that has granted Boeing the first contract to replace the country's presidential "Air Force One" fleet with a modified version of the 747-8.
In January 2015, the US Air Force announced the selection of the 747-8, after analysis of capability requirements concluded that a four-engine, wide body aircraft is required to meet the needs of the Air Force One mission.
"The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States when fully missionized meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest." Said secretary of the air force Deborah Lee James
The contract awarded by the Air Force to Boeing is the first for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) program. Contract modifications will be made to it in the future "to purchase the commercial 747-8 aircraft, as well as to design, modify and test those aircraft to meet the presidential mission,"
"This is the start of our contractual relationship with Boeing. It will allow Boeing to begin working on what will be the next Air Force One," said Col. Amy McCain, the PAR program manager.
Activities to be carried out by the manufacturer include the definition of detailed requirements and design trade-offs to support decisions that will lead to a lower risk Engineering and Manufacturing Development program and lower life-cycle costs.
The contract comes just days after Boeing revealed an additional 747-8 program built rate decrease, along with an $885 million pre-tax charge. In September, Boeing will produce just one 747-8 every two months, down from the current rate of 1.3 aircraft per month.
"The current fleet of VC-25A presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft," secretary James said. "Yet, it is time to replace them. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded."
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Regular business flyers will know that planning trips is time-consuming, and that prices can fluctuate significantly. US startup OneGo, however, is out to change all that. It allows customers to pay a fixed monthly fee for unlimited flights on major airlines... Continue Reading OneGo rethinks air travel with "all-you-can-eat" flight plans
Microsoft's prototype underwater server capsule, the Leona Philpot, about to be lowered into the water.
Sticking a computer underwater isn't a great idea. (PSA: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!) But if you happen to be Microsoft, sticking a whole bunch of computer servers under the sea might just be a brilliant idea.
See, data centers, or buildings where all of the internet is processed use a ton of energy. No, really. In the United States alone, they annually suck up the equivalent of the energy output of 34 coal-fired power plants. A lot of that energy goes to powering the actual servers, but almost half of it goes to keeping the servers nice and cool, so they don't overheat and crash,
sending us all into the apocalypse keeping parts of the internet offline for a while.
Computer scientists and architects have employed all kinds of methods for keeping data centers cool, from building data centers in cool climates to putting bags of liquid coolant inside server banks to using heat from data centers to warm buildings and heat water.
But Microsoft has a different idea: dump the servers deep in the ocean, where the cool temperatures of the surrounding water will keep the servers cool 24/7, regardless of the seasons on the surface.
"Project Natick" is still in the research phase. Microsoft ran a successful test last year, submerging servers in a vessel called the Leona Philpot (a nod to a character in Microsoft's Halo video games) for several months. The test was conducted 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) off the Pacific Coast.
The idea is that eventually, the servers could run with little to no human maintenance for up to 10 years under the ocean.
In addition to being a cool place to store computers (literally) the ocean has other advantages. About 3.5 billion people live within 125 miles of the ocean, making offshore data centers a good way to get vast amounts of people connected to the internet quickly, without using up precious landed real estate.
It can also be deployed quickly, with Microsoft estimating that server carrying vessels can be put in place in as little as three months. That might seem like a long time, but could be very useful for areas that don't currently have internet to get online quickly, and could also help reconnect areas who have been devastated by natural disasters like storms or earthquakes. The company's researchers also suggest that it could be a good way to supplement a large influx of internet-hungry people (like crowds for the Olympics or the World Cup).
Watch Microsoft's introduction video below to learn more about Project Natick.
It was rugby versus F1 early this week as Red Bull let Daniel Ricciardo take on the might of Bath Rugby Club.
The brutal, visceral force of F1 power against manpower? The force of eight hundred horses against eight mere mortals? No contest, right?
That was before we found out exactly which humans our double title-winning RB8 would be up against – Bath Rugby's mighty forwards in a scrum down at the Club's elite Farleigh House training ground. With 900kg of top-class rugby playing power to contend with we knew we'd need to enlist an expert in dropping the full force of the RB8 at the right moment, and who better to take the wheel than three-time grand prix winner Daniel Ricciardo.
Even so, when we were greeted by a scrum featuring likes of Leroy Houston, Henry Thomas and David Denton heading towards them, we knew it would be a tight battle.
Commenting on the contest, England international tighthead Henry Thomas said: "It's not every day you get to do something like that. We love testing ourselves on the biggest stage but not many players can say they've scrummed down against a Formula One car."
Daniel Ricciardo added: "I was excited about the challenge as it's definitely something I've never experienced before! Seeing the rugby players take their positions behind the scrum machine right in front of me was somewhat…strange. But my competitiveness kicked in, the Honey Badger took over, and I was determined to beat them!"
Click images to enlarge/go full screen.
The post Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo takes on a rugby team in an RB8 appeared first on FormulaSpy.
An Oros jacket is sprayed with liquid nitrogen, reaching -321 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aerogel is the material of the future— if you can make it work for you. The substance, a foam made of mostly air and either silica or carbon, is great for insulating, but it's traditionally been brittle and difficult to work with.
Lots of companies like The North Face and Champion can (and have tried to) use aerogel, but Oros (formerly called Lukla) is betting these larger companies think it's too much of a hassle to produce. The most famous example of this is Champion's 2010 summit of Mt. Everest, when they outfitted a Canadian mountaineer with a jacket seemingly as thin as a windbreaker to deal with extreme cold. The jacket never went into production, as they claimed it to be exorbitantly expensive.
Oros claims to have found a better way to produce aerogel, which insulates just as well as its more brittle counterparts, but is much easier to work with and doesn't rub off on the skin. Formerly, the substance needed to be contained within some kind of plastic or impermeable sealant to be used in clothing. Oros' flavor, called SolarCore Aerogel, does not.
But Oros is putting this technology into jackets, gloves, and hats. By lining certain parts of the apparel with their flexible aerogel, which only absorbs a minute amount of heat, the clothing is able to better retain the heat made by the body. It's the dream of every winter clothing manufacturer— near-perfect heat retention.
This is Oros' second line of apparel, this time adding the gloves and hats and updating the kind of aerogel used. Oros actually had to pare down how much aerogel was used in the production of the jackets, hats, and gloves, because an issue was overheating, even in extremely cold climates. In a demonstration, the company tested their jackets against liquid nitrogen, which brought the outer temperature down to -321 degrees Fahrenheit, while inside stayed a balmy 89 degrees.
We got our hands on (and in) Oros' new gloves and hat, and can attest they're extremely warm. The gloves are dexterous, meaning you can wiggle your fingers and perform lots of tasks outside, but I unfortunately could not type the article with them on. (I tried.) The hat only uses the aerogel material around the ears, which does help prevent overheating.
However, we did put the items they gave us to test through their paces. Using our handy office FLIR thermal camera, we tried both the hat and gloves to see how well they retained heat.
Paul Adams/ Popular Science
Thermal images of Oros' new gloves and hat being worn. Orange and white indicate higher temperatures, while blue and purple indicate colder temperatures. Aerogel should typically not heat up, as it is an insulator that typically absorbs very little heat.
We were surprised to see the aerogel let heat through as rapidly as ours did, as seen by the orange in the photos. These tests weren't entirely scientific, but the clothing did leak a fair amount of heat, according to our readings.
The company is launching a Kickstarter campaign today, which is the only way to buy their new line. You can snag aerogel hats for $35, gloves for $99, and jackets for $275, for a limited time. You can still buy Oros' previous line on their website.
Wall Street seems to be as happy with Alphabet (and Google's) earnings as it was recently unhappy with Apple's. Minutes after Alphabet posted its most recent quarterly earnings, after-hours trading pushed the company's stock price up enough to make it the most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of about $570 billion vs Apple's $539 (or so) billion.
Whether or not that will hold into the opening price during regular trading is an entirely different story — stock prices move around a lot during times like these. Even so, as CNBC notes, this is the first time since 2010 that Google (well, Alphabet) has been worth more as a company than Apple. It might be temporary and as far as actual consumers are concerned, it's little more...