Sunday, March 17, 2019

What is Russia's Strategy in SE Asia?

To great fanfare, in May 2016, Russia hosted the third ASEAN-Russia Summit at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Russia’s acceptance as an ASEAN dialog partner, this summit was intended to give new impetus to longstanding efforts by Russia and Southeast Asia to forge closer economic and security ties. Defying efforts by the West to isolate Russia, leaders from all ten ASEAN member states attended the summit.[1]Despite having recently skipped several high-level ASEAN summits, this time President Putin led the Russian delegation himself. He also met separately with the leaders of all ten ASEAN states. After the summit, Putin proclaimed that the two sides had reached agreement “on building a strategic partnership over the long term.” Demonstrating that this was not just mere rhetoric, the two sides also announced a raft of new measures during the summit, on topics ranging from security relations to closer political and economic ties. However, Russia’s ongoing Sino-centric focus, ASEAN’s limited ability to act collectively, and Moscow’s preference for bilateral relations will continue to predominate in its overall relations with the region.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Paleolithic Papers #27

Genus Homo:

Scientists are still stumped by the evolution of human breasts.

Hominins in Levant hunted different prey than did the resident hyenas.

H. sapiens:

Pleistocene hunters in Sri Lanka had a taste for monkey meat that lasted a long, long time.

East African hunter gatherers appear to have had a common ancestry.

There are more missing ancestors in our genome other than Neandertals and Denisovans.

Did modern humans self domesticate?

H. neanderthalensis:

Neandertals primary food source was, in fact, meat, at least, at Les Cottés and Grotte du Renne, in France.

What was the impact of the interglacial climate changes on Neandertal diets at Baume Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France?

The replacement of Neandertals by modern humans was a little more complicated than what used to be thought: there was some, erm, intermingling.

Footprints of Neandertals from Gibraltar have been found.

Some are going hmmm over the stone artifacts at Châtelperronian.

Did inbreeding help do in the Neandertals?

Neandertals walked just like modern people did.

Sima de los Huesos Hominins:

The Middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos had very Neandertal-ish brains.

Denisovans:

Who were they? John Hawks comments.

H. erectus:

Britain may return the iconic Kabwe skull to Zambia.

Genus Paranthropus:

P. robustus:

What was the genetic origin of the pitted enamel hypoplasia in P. robustus?

Genus Aridopithecus:

A. ramidus postcranial remains from Ethiopia get a description.

A. ramidus had adaptations for waling bipedal.

META:

Is the African Eve hypothesis wrong?

Why did menopause evolve?

One paleoanthropologist's hopes for a human evolution museum in Israel.

Human and nonhuman primate brains are compared for clues to human brain evolution.

What were the origins of human language?

The tale of the multiregional hypothesis and the out of africa hypothesis are told.

Can we determine which hominin teeth came from when found?

The current 'gap' in the middle Pleistocene is very important to human evolution.

Root growth for teeth is compared between humans and apes.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The First SLS Launch Might be Delayed. Again.

The director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center said March 5 that the agency is “reassessing” the 2020 launch date for the first flight of its Space Launch System, suggesting that the mission may face further delays.

During a question-and-answer session at a Space Transportation Association luncheon here, Jody Singer said the launch readiness date for Exploration Mission (EM) 1 is still in 2020, but did not give a more precise estimate of the date even as NASA reviews possible changes to it.

“We do know that we are reassessing those dates to see if that date will work, based on making sure we have the vehicle ready, and ready to go fly safely,” she said. “We are assessing that date. Our launch readiness date is still 2020, and we’re doing everything within our power to make sure that we support that.”

Singer didn’t identify the specific issues with EM-1 that prompted the reassessment, but NASA officials have previously said that the core stage of the SLS, along with the European-built service module for the Orion spacecraft that SLS will launch, were the items on the critical path for the mission.


Lockheed is ready to mate the first Orion capsule to its European made Service Module.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

China and Russia also have Space Warfare Ambitions

The United States may or may not be getting a Space Force, but while President Trump is all-in on the creation of a new branch of the U.S. Military—and blowing up the military bureaucracy—it’s worth keeping in mind other countries have their military space programs. A recent DIA report shines a light on how the U.S. views these programs, particularly those of Russia and China, neither of which seem particularly threatening—for now anyway.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Stealth Saga #45

Loyal Wingman:



Australia and Boeing announced a new Loyal Wingman aircraft called the BATS.  It is designed to be built in Australia without American components so it can be exported pretty much anywhere without American approvals.  First flight is expected to be next year.
India's HAL has shown off its concept.



Kratos' XQ-58A Valkyrie was to make its first flight.   It did and it was beautiful.  The intent is to make the Valkyrie a Loyal Wingman where a flock of them could be managed by an single F-35.  In the process, Kratos stole Boeing's thunder.

6th Generation Fighters:

The USAF head of acquisition seems unhappy with the answer the USAF came back with about what its next gen fighter will be and seems to want to derail the effort.

Analysts are stating the US Navy needs its 6th gen fighter and unmanned assets for its carriers to stay relevant.

Is it better for India to order F-16s, ahem F-21s or join the Tempest project?

MTU Aero Engines may join the Franco-German FCAS project.

Dassault is warning against turning the FrancoGerman FCAS into another Eurofighter.

AMCA:

India's indigenous stealth fighter has supposedly begun the detailed design phase.

Su-57:


The Russians will only take delivery of ONE Su-57 in 2019 and ONE in 2020.  Not 12 in 2019.  More will not be delivered until the improved engine has been perfected.

Russia is trying to convince the Indians to buy the Su-57 again.

J-20:

Chinese J-20s deployed to Cangzhou air base.

F-117:

At least one F-117 is still flying.

A Dutch magazine claimed F-117s conducted airstrikes in Syria.  The Drive semi convincingly argues the F-117 returning to combat for strikes in Syria were unnecessary because the US gov has at least 8 stealthy Avenger drones capable of conducting strikes.

B-2:

What a shot!  The B-2 gets the full hawaii experience.

F-22:

13 F-22s participated in an elephant walk.

An Australian pilot has been trained on the F-22.


F-35:

The Pentagon is proposing buying 78 F-35s instead of 84.

Some doubt the F-35 can carry weapons capable of intercepting North Korean missiles.

F-35s were photographed in the Sierra mountains.

US Generals are coming out strongly against the F-15X buy and advocating buying more F-35s.

The USAF's F-35As apparently clobbered the older fighters at the Red Flag exercise pretty handily.

Watch the F-35A demo team at Luke AFB.  They debuted new aerobatics.

The USAF isn't worried by the F-35As gun being inaccurate.

The USAF conducted an exercise where they did forward refueling for the F-35A.

The USAF is trying to fix ALIS...by moving it to the cloud: *head desk*

USMC's deployment of the F-35B on the USS Essex has ended and hints at new roles for the amphibious group.  The F-35Bs conducted over 100 combat missions.

The US Navy has declared IOC for the F-35C finally.

The US Navy is preparing for its first carrier deployment of the F-35C.

The US Navy F-35C commander is focused on the first deployment of the bird and transitioning the first USMC wing.

The US Navy ordered repair materials for 7 F-35s.

The US Navy paid a beltway bandit to help with the F-35 program.

The US Navy gave Lockheed a $14M contract mod for improving the ground avoidance system.

One analyst believes the Navy should not develop the 6th gen fighter yet and instead develop an F-35C derived interceptor/bomber escort.

The Pegasus finally refueled an F-35.

Australia's F-35 repair work by Northrop gets detailed.

Australia signed an agreement with Lockheed to increase local industry participation.

Australia is happy with the F-35 operations so far.

Israeli F-35s may have destroyed a Chinese made antistealth radar in Syria.

Japan is gearing up for supporting the F-35.

Poland might buy 32 F-35s.

The Russian Embassy in DC made some weird threats to the F-35 with Vietnam era footage.

Singapore is buying 4 F-35s with options for 8 more.

US Generals are pushing for Turkey to lose its participation in the F-35 program due to the purchase of the Russian S-400 missiles.

BAe is updating the EW suite on the F-35.

Lockheed is working to reduce F-35 operational costs.

Northrop has finished the 500th center fuselage for the F-35.

Friday, March 08, 2019

NASA has Started Development of a Manned Lunar Lander


Last week, NASA had an industry day for its recently released Human Landing System Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The space agency is seeking private participation in the development of a landing system capable of delivering astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2028.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Russia Tested a Nudol AntiSatellite Weapon on Dec 23, 2018

According to US sources, quoted by CNBC, Russia conducted a test of the Nudol ASAT system on December 23, 2018. The missile was launched from a mobile launcher from a test site in Plesetsk. The launch complex used to test the Nudol missile was found near the site used for Thyklon space launches.

That would be the second Nudol test in 2018 - the first one took place in April 2018. CNBC also quotes a source as saying that it was "the seventh overall test of the system." There were indeed three launches in 2014-2015 (one of them unsuccessful) and two in 2016 - in May and in December. Apparently there were no launches in 2017.


Clearly, the US is the aggressor in space.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Terminator Times #55

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The cat and mouse game militaries are playing with small UAVs.

The Pentagon is flying more border missions with its UAVs.

The MDA contracted General Dynamics to use a Reaper for missile detection.

The US military is struggling a bit with how smart to make its drone swarms.

The US Air Force awarded a $18.3M contract to Space Labs to support the Global Hawk in South Korea.

US Air Force will have Raytheon maintain cyber security for the Global Hawk.

US Air Force's XQ-58A Valkyrie will have its first flight next week.

A new ground station has controlled a USAF Reaper for the first time.

Will drone swarms help the US Air Force fight wild fires?

The US Army is looking at replacements for its RQ-7 Shadows.

The US Army is buying Black Hornet nano UAVs.

The US Army is using Coyote drones to kill other drones.

The US Coast Guard lifted the stop work order on the Insitu UAV being developed.

The US Navy gave Northrop a $19.6M contract for software work on the MQ-8 Fire Scout.

The US Navy ordered 5 more RQ-8 Fire Scouts.

The US Navy is also retooling the Fire Scout program.

The US Navy's MALD-N is moving forward into a fully funded EMD.

The US Navy wants the GQM-163A target drone to mimic the Russian Klub missile.

The US Navy declared the BQM-177A target drone to have its IOC.

The US Navy will test a swarm of EW drones launched from Growlers.

A mishap with a US Navy MQ-4C Triton might actually increase trust in UAVs.

Some are stating the US Navy's carriers need a airwing revamp, inclusive of UAVs.


Australia and Boeing announced a new Loyal Wingman aircraft called the BATS.  It is designed to be built in Australia without American components so it can be exported pretty much anywhere without American approvals.  First flight is expected to be next year.

The Australian army has started its Shadow UAV replacement procurement.

Australia will get its first Triton UAV in 2023.

Australia is changing how it is buying its shipborne drones.

Britain's Protector drones will carry the Brimstone missile and Paveway bombs.

The British have declared FOC for the Watchkeeper UAV.

The British are planning on using drone swarms to defeat air defenses.

The British are decommissioning a Reaper.

The British Tempest 6th Gen Fighter will have an unmanned loyal wingman that will be carrier capable.

The British have stood up a new drone squadron.

Canada and NATO are bidding on the mothballed German Eurohawk HALE UAV prototype.

China's AT200 UAV is about to start operational evals.

China's SD40 VTOL UAV started sea trials.

The makers of the EuroDrone may use American sense and avoid tech.

German Heron TP UAV crews are training in Israel.

A German made UAV crashed in Yemen.

Iran unveiled a new version of its stealthy Saegheh UAV which a knockoff of the RQ-170 they captured.

An intel report confirms UAVs given to the Houthi by Iran are a threat to the UAE.

Qatar's Bayraktar UAVs are completing testing.

Russia's Karnivora UAV has started weapons tests.


Russia's Kalashnikov has unveiled its KUB suicide drone with a 30 minute loiter time.

Serbia's Mini Aleks UAV will make its first flight in July.

Taiwan will test fly a modified Teng Yun UAV in 2020.

Turkey has unveiled its twin engined Anka-2.

Turkey also detailed its planned Akini UCAV.

Aero India has unveiled an unmanned helicopter.

Airbus will be doing payload tests on the Zephyr for Australia.

Airbus' Zephyr will attempt to set a new record for flight duration.

Israeli company Airobotics is moving its manufacturing to the US.

Dassault confirmed the Franco-British UCAV work has been ended.

FLIR has purchased Aeryon Labs.

IAI has unveiled a new loitering munition (suicide drone) called hte Mini Harpy.

India's HAL has unveiled its Loyal Wingman concept.

Kratos is developing a new ISR & tactical UAV for a US Gov entity.

Kratos bought a small turbine company in Florida for its drones.

Leonardo is pushing ISR roles for the SkyGuardian UAV.

Mobilcom received $1.2M to develop software bots as an add-on capability for drones.


Northrop is selling its optionally manned Firebird to an unspecified US government customer and is pitching selling it to Australia.

Northrop's Global Hawk will appear at the Avalon airshow.  A first.

Northrop agreed to expand local industry participation in Australia for the Global Hawk.

Textron's UAV control system gets reviewed.

UAVOS has developed a tropicalized UVH-170E VTOL UAV variant.

UVision has opened a US subsidiary.  

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

The US Army will begin testing some M-113s converted to being robotic to inform on requirements for the Robotic Combat Vehicle program.

Russia is receiving 12 Uran-6 mine clearing UGVs.

FLIR also bought Endeavor Robotics.

Milrem unveiled a missile armed variant of its Themis UGV.

Way Industries updates the Bozena mine clearing UGVs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (roboats):


The US Navy's Sea Hunter sailed Hawaii and back with no one onboard.

The British Royal Navy received its first C-Enduro USVs.

China is building an armed USV, the JARI, for escorting its destroyers.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo subs):

The Navy Research Lab is looking to modify its Black Pearl AUVs.

The US Navy awarded Boeing the Orca XLUUV contract.  So far, $43M for 4 UUVs.

Russia has completed testing - supposedly - of its Poseidon intercontinental nuclear armed UUV.

3d Printing:

The USAF gave a contract to 3d print a conformal phased array radar antenna.

The US Army is testing combat engineering uses of 3d printing.

The USMC is also testing combat engineering uses of 3d printing.

Swedish researchers looked into whether it was feasible to use 3d printing to maintain assault rifles.

Exoskeletons:

The US Special Forces TALOS exoskeleton isn't yet ready for use in the field.  The first one will be available soon for testing though.

Russia claims it trialled its EO-1 exoskeleton in Syria and testing will complete in 2019.

Software bots:

Is the US losing the AI arms race?

DARPA wants to fix the social science reproducibility problem with bots.

The Pentagon wants to use AI to spot the next global disasters and conflicts.

It also wants to use AI for maintenance and flight safety.

And the Pentagon wants help from Silicon Valley.

The Pentagon needs to woo away talent from Silicon Valley for AI: hint, pay better and be more flexible.

Software bots may help with training for the US Navy.

France wants to integrate software bots with its software defined radios.

Google used micro workers to train its controversial Project Maven AI.

META:

Persistent Systems has developed a control system for unmanned vehicles.

Attacking the automated portions of the an enemy force might be the way to go.

The US Navy has released an RFI for a unmanned systems architecture.

Friday, March 01, 2019

SpaceX to Launch Unmanned Test Flight of Dragon V2 Capsule Tomorrow

NASA managers have given their approval for SpaceX to proceed with an uncrewed test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft on March 2.

At the conclusion of a day-long flight readiness review at the Kennedy Space Center Feb. 22, NASA announced that it approved plans for SpaceX to fly a mission designated Demo-1, featuring its Crew Dragon spacecraft but without astronauts on board, to the International Space Station. The review featured more than 100 people from NASA and SpaceX, examining the readiness of both the spacecraft and the station to support the mission.

“It’s exciting to have set the launch for March 2nd,” Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said during a briefing late Feb. 22 at the Kennedy Space Center. “It’s great that we’re getting ready to go do this.”

The current schedule calls for a launch at 2:48 a.m. Eastern March 2, in an instantaneous launch window. The Falcon 9, lifting off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, will put the Crew Dragon into orbit. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS one day later and remain there until March 8, when it will undock and splash down several hours later in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

China Will Deploy AntiSatellite Laser in 2020

China's military is expected to deploy a laser weapon capable of destroying or damaging U.S. military satellites in low earth orbit in the next year, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed in a report on space threats.

The Chinese directed energy weapon is among an array of space warfare tools that include ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles, electronic jammers, cyber attacks, and small satellites Beijing plans to use in attacks on U.S. satellites in a future conflict.

"China likely is pursuing laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage sat­ellites and their sensors and possibly already has a limited capability to employ laser systems against satellite sensors," the unclassified intelligence report said.

"China likely will field a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors by 2020, and by the mid-to-late 2020s, it may field higher power systems that extend the threat to the structures of non-optical satellites."

It was the first time a U.S. intelligence agency disclosed details of the ASAT laser deployment plans.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #113

Drones:

The AirBoard agro drone is taking aim at crop dusters.

Astigan has a high flying drone for mapping purposes.

The city of Bangkok is using drones spraying water to fight air pollution.

Drone company DJI will take a huge loss due to employee fraud.

DJI also updated its geofencing for europe after the drone incursions at airports.

Drone temporarily shut down the Dubai airport.

Another drone shutdown the Dublin airport.

A disgruntled employee may have been the Gatwick airport shutdown using a drone.

Elroy's drone is for cargo, not people.

In the Galapagos Islands, drones are dropping poison bombs to kill an invasive rat infestation.

Krossblade has made big improvements on its VTOL drone, the Skyprowler 2.

NASA is progressing on its drone traffic control system for cities.

Newark airport had to shut down due to drone sightings.

Quadsat drones test satellite antennas.

Self Driving Cars:

A new report card on self driving cars is not what it seems.

Self driving cars may not park and will instead cruise around to avoid the parking meter.

How to teach self driving cars how to predict pedestrian movements.

Who owns the geospatial data self driving cars rely on?

Amazon is investing in self driving company, Aurora.

A second Apple employee has been accused of trying to steal self driving car technology and sell it to chinese companies.

Japan wants self driving cars to project which direction they are going on the road.

Mclaren imagines a future of AI copilots for cars.

Musk wants Teslas to automatically call a tow truck when they break.

Musk is promising a truly self driving Tesla in 2020.

The report that Tesla's Autopilot prevents 40% more crashes has been called bunk by the Feds.

A driverless tram will debut in Moscow.

Waymo will build its self driving cars in Michigan.

Waymo might end up repeating Xerox's great mistake.

3d Printing:

There's a new form of 3d printing that creates the entire object at once using light in a resin.

3d printed parts can contaminate experiments.

A man with a 3d printed gun had a hit list of lawmakers.

It had to happen: 3d printed potato products (and their additives).

Orbex has made the world's largest 3d printed rocket engine.

The rocket company, Relativity, has been granted a patent for a software bot driven 3d printing technique for metal.

USC has come up with a new self healing material that can be 3d printed.

Virginia Tech has developed a new 3d printing method for piezoelectric materials.

Robotics:

Amazon has created vests so robots can tell if human workers were there.

Amazon also launched Scout, a six wheeled delivery robot.  Some doubt Scout will make much impact.

Antbot navigates the desert through the polarized light of the sun, without GPS.

A Berkeley robot picker shows potential future for warehouses.

Boaty McBoatface will attempt its transatlantic swim shortly.

Brits have made a robot artist that will attempt to portray people in art.

The polar vortex was great for testing Cassie the robot.

China built a semi submersible robo boat that launches rockets to deploy weather instruments.

Eelyume has a new and improved UUV.

Gatwick airport is getting a robotic car valet.

Some argue humanoid robots ought to be made to move more like people.

Italian researchers have made a robot move like a plant grows.

iRobot has introduced its robotic lawnmower, the Terra.  Terra-izing your lawn and pets tomorrow!

An engineer made a 95% 3d printed robotic lawnmower.

Meet Leonardo: the jumping, flying, walking robot.

Micro robots have been developed that change shape so they can swim through your blood vessels.

MIT developed a robot using touch and sight to play the game of jenga.

MIT has developed a system to allow robots to track people with far, far better precision than in the past.

North Carolina State University researchers 3d printed 'robotic' meshes that are manipulated by magnetic fields.

Nuro received a $1B investment from Softbank.

More on the robot being used for experimental paleontology.

The robot dog learns to stand up after falling.

Another robot was given a self image to model and teach itself.

A robot crawled all over a 737 to inspect it.

A robot squeezes possible nuclear fuel at the Fukushima disaster site.

A robot science museum will be at least partially built by robots.

Snowbot Pro is an autonomous snow clearing robot.

Starship's delivery robot is making deliveries for $2 at George Mason University.

Soft robots have a new perception system inspired by humans.

Researchers are using shape memory polymers to improve stiffness of soft robots.

Meet Sophia.  The Uncanny Valley Robot Companion for kids.

The Titan underwater robot had arms added.

Uber wants self driving scooters and bikes.

A UUV found the sunk USS Hornet.

Vicarious AI has developed a system to allow robots to learn on their own.

Cyborgism:

Artificial skin could help burn victims or more.

A brain implant shows promise for stopping seizures.

Chinese scientists created rats with brain implants - cyborgs - that people can control with their minds.

Columbia University can translate brain signals directly to speech.

Elon Musk is funding a brain computer interface.

Self powered, smart knee replacements are coming.

A teenager built a prosthetic arm from legs.

A new material strengthens like muscles and could lead to better prosthetics.

Software Bots:

Consciousness for AI is the wrong idea, some say.  The Consu would approve.

Facebook's chief scientist says AI work needs a more flexible language than Python.

Is this the real reason tech can't filter out algorithmic bias?

AirHelp has a software bot to help passengers get compensation from the airlines.

America and China are dominating the AI revolution according to the UN.

Amazon has launched the AI RE:mars event.

Apple replaced the Siri team lead as part of an AI shift.

Budweiser is using sensors and software bots to detect when machines need maintenance.

In China, caterers are using software bots to detect unhygienic cooks.

China's use of AI was attacked by George Soros as a mortal danger.

One of the 'godfathers' of deep learning is deeply concerned about how china is using software bots.

The European Union is advocating regulating software bots.

Google thinks AI should be regulated by industry with a few exceptions.

Google's DeepMind beat pro Starcraft players in Starcraft II.  Was it a fair fight?  Or is it showing why AI will clobber humans in such scenarios every time.

Google Assistant is getting more Orwellian and will scan your face for what personalized commands it should be using.

Google is using software bots made using Tensorflow to block spam from gmail.

Google and Microsoft warned AI may do stupid things.

Heathrow Airport is turning to software bots to cut 20 seconds off between each flight.

IBM's software bot was beaten in a debate attempt.

IBM's Watson services will run on any cloud service now.

Kite raised $17M for its AI infused development platform.

Mathematicians are working on creating a framework to make neural net results more predictable.

Measuring software bots ability to learn.

Microsoft is using software bots to blur the background in skype calls.

MIT hopes to unbias software bots.

Nuance has a new technology to make chat bots smarter.

ORNL used its Summit supercomputer to test run a machine learning based climate simulation.

Software bots have gotten to be better bluffers than people are.

Adding a sense of uncertainty to software bots might make them more ethical.

Software bots might be able to prevent dangerous tailored organisms from being created in professional gene tailoring labs.

Software bots are being used to send people to jail?!

A new software bot called ARTIST is being used in material science.

Could software bots help improve care for the British NHS?

Using software bots for error correction in single cell analyses.

Can software bots help doctors and patients have better conversations?

Software bots show potential for triaging x ray pictures.

Will software bots allow us all to be filmmakers?

Could software bots be used to supplement human instructors?

Are software bot powered apps going to make us more creative?  Or less human?

A new software bot system is 4 times better at predicting ovarian cancer survival than other methods.

Some of the most widely used machine learning systems can give misleading results.

A new text generating software bot is too dangerous to release to the public, according its creators at OpenAI.

This software bot generates faces for nonexistent people.

An app run by a software bot has been developed to advise and guide cancer patients.

Software bots developed by German scientists can help with earth science.  Some are not impressed.

Unsupervised software bots end up colluding.

Software bots in China are being used by some teachers to check homework.

A new software bot can tell you are angry in 1.2 seconds.

Software bots are using pictionary to learn how the world works.

Software bots are trying to come up with new flavors for spices.

A new software bot is intended to watch for pathogens.

Software bots are being used to improve weather forecasts.

Software bots are being used to ID microorganisms.

Could software bots develop new diamond derived materials for computer chips?

Are software bots the best way to ID trauma patients who abuse alcohol?

Software bots may be the best at detecting radar signals.

Salvador Dali's 'clone' that is really a software bot will be greeting people at his museum.

Be careful about using bots on Telegram.

The Trump Administration unveiled an order to promote AI development.

Ubisoft and Mozilla announced their coding software bot called Clever-Commit.

Unity Technologies created a game to test its software bots.

The Veteran's Administration wants to use Google's DeepMind to prevent kidney disease.

Automation:

ORNL has used automation extensively to speed the production of Plutonium-238 for use in space probes.

META:

The robopocalypse will be worse for men than women, but also youth and minorities.

25% of all jobs are on the chopping block due to the robopocalypse according to a study.

Under some circumstances, people will allow themselves to be hurt to protect a robot.

Friday, February 22, 2019

NASA Considering Buying More Soyuz Seats with SpaceX, Boeing Capsule Delays

Amid uncertainty about the Commercial Crew schedule, NASA has issued a pre-solitication procurement notice to secure additional rides with the Russians for its astronauts.

“NASA is considering contracting with the State Space Corporation ‘Roscosmos’ for these services on a sole source basis for two (2) Soyuz seats and associated services to the International Space Station (ISS) on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft vehicle. This transportation would be for one crewmember in the Fall of 2019 and one crew member in the Spring of 2020,” the agency said in the Feb. 13 notice.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

JP Morgan Chase Announces its own Cryptocurrency

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud in September 2017 and said, “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart,” By January 2018 he had walked the remarks back but said he still was “not interested that much in the subject at all.” In February 2018, J.P. Morgan called cryptocurrencies “risk factors” to its business, something it never previously said.

And now J.P. Morgan (JPM, +0.19%) has become the first bank to offer its own cryptocurrency, CNBC reported. But don’t expect it to become an investment vehicle—at least for now. The cryptocurrency, called “JPM Coin,” is intended for the bank’s wholesale payments business that moves $6 trillion around the world daily.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Russia Claims Will Develop Two New INF Violating Missiles by 2021 (hint: already were)

Russia will race to develop two new land-based missile launch systems before 2021 to respond to Washington’s planned exit from a landmark nuclear arms control pact, it said on Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin said at the weekend that Russia had suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which bans both nations from stationing short- and intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe.


Russia will formally exit the INF treaty in six months.  Some naively believe Russia might opt for negotiation instead of new weapons.  Russia's reply above ought to make their position very, very clear: do as I say, not as I do!

Let's be blunt.

Russia cannot magically develop new weapons in 2 years.  They must have been working on them for years.  By saying the above, the Russians are admitting they were violating the INF blatantly and not just with the single system the US claimed they were breaking the treaty with.

Oh!  The Russians are looking for a few useful idiots!

The Russians appear to have over 64 of the INF violating, ground launched 9M729 cruise missiles.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Stealth Saga #44

Sixth Generation Fighters:


The USAF PCA effort gets a profile.

The US Navy may postpone the 6th gen procurement.

AvWeek has a slideshow of the next gen fighter efforts.  Whether all of them will be 6th gen or not remains to be seen.

China has begun work on its 6th gen fighter.

Avweek discusses Germany's position with the Tornado replacement.

The French and Germans are expected to sign the first contracts in mid 2019.  Some seem to have been signed already.  Concept studies for manned and unmanned aircraft were contracted.  Work gets profiled by AvWeek.

The FrancoGerman FCAS team is working on export controls for the new fighter.

Spain was expected to and then did join the FCAS team.

Italy is attacking the FCAS deal.

Britain may be inviting India to join Team Tempest.

The Tempest will have a carrier capable loyal wingman UCAV.

Saegheh-2:

Iran unveiled an updated version of the Saegheh stealthy UAV.  This is a knock off of the captured RQ-170.

KF-X:

Metal has been bent for the first KF-X.

Su-57:

The Russians are stating they will place their second LRIP order for 13 Su-57s in 2020.

Ohotnik-b/Hunter-B:

Russia's Ohotnik-B or Hunter-B appears to have been doing taxi tests (more). Aviation Week is calling it a strike aircraft.  Jane's gets into the mix, too.  A new picture emerged and, wow, that engine sticks out.

J-20:

Unnamed analysts are stating an upgraded J-20 will be far superior to the F-35.

There are reports the Chinese are building a two seater J-20 for electronic warfare.

Chinese Stealth Bombers:

China is building the acknowledged strategic H-20 bomber, but also a regional medium stealth bomber as well termed the JH-XX or so says the DIA.  More info here and here.

KC-Z:

The KC-Z may not be stealthy after all.

B-2:

The B-2 is getting its ejection seats upgraded.

Photos were taken of the B-2 sortieing out of Hawaii.

F-22:


The USAF is 3d printing metal replacement parts for the F-22 to keep costs down.

Meggitt won a large contract for components for the engines of the F-22 and F-35.

F-35:

The stupid plan to buy the F-15X will not impact the procurement of the F-35.

The DOT&E flames the F-35 program again.  Gun accuracy is one of the problems.

Lockheed needs to deliver 130 F-35s in 2019.  Can they?  By the end of 2019, they will have delivered 488 F-35s.

The Pentagon is starting negotiations for the next 3 LRIPs, encompassing 485 F-35s and bringing the F-35A price down to $80M.

The Pentagon is laying out the Tier II repair sites for the F-35.  Team ROK seems to be one.

The F-35A per unit cost will drop below $80M in 2023 according to Lockheed.

Watch the F-35 do some impressive acrobatics.

The Pentagon is considering making the F-35 an interceptor for killing ballistic missiles.  While the sensor suite is excellent on the F-35, the realism of this proposal is pretty low: we will not ever have a situation where we will have dominance over the air like in the First Gulf War.

The USAF F-35 Demo team was caught doing some new maneuvers in practice for the new air show season.

The first F-35 female test pilot has completed her first mission at Edwards.

The F-35As over Luke AFB were filmed by a helicopter with a steady cam.

The F-35 demo team does its thing.

The USAF is pressing Lockheed on improving F-35 readiness.

F-35A's conducted dogfights with L-159s.

The oldest F-35B could hit the end of its service life in 2026 due to flaws in the early B models.

The USMC demonstrated refueling and rearming a F-35B from a CH-53E in Japan.

The US Navy awarded Lockheed a half billion dollar contract for the F-35.

The US Navy awarded Lockheed another $31M contract on behalf of the Australian government.

The USS Essex and its F-35Bs are on standby in the Middle East.

Germany has dropped consideration of the F-35 for its new fighter.  The head of the Luftwaffe had preferred that aircraft before and was nearly sacked over it.

The Italians just deployed 6 F-35As to Sardinia for training.

Japan is considering discontinuing local production of the F-35 to save money.

The Netherlands have unveiled their first operational F-35.

Singapore is buying a small number of F-35s to evaluate them as replacements for their F-16s.

South Korea will get its first two F-35s in March 2019.

British Aerospace got a contract to upgrade the F-35's EW suite.

Lockheed had an F-35 mockup in Arctic camo.  What's the story behind it?