Sunday, November 17, 2019

Merkel Agrees to let Putin Carve off the Donbass From Ukraine, ahem, Grant it Special Status

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Monday that Ukraine should give its separatist-led Donbass region a special status set out in Ukrainian law, the Kremlin said.

It gave no further details of the leaders’ discussions on the future of Donbass during a phone call, but agreement on its status would be a step toward convening a four-nation summit on ending five years of conflict in the eastern region.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said last month that Kiev had agreed to grant Donbass special status and let local elections go ahead there. The breakthrough raised hopes that a date would be set for the summit involving Kiev, Moscow, Berlin and Paris.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Terminator Times #65

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

DARPA has selected 8 companies to do dogfight air to air combat.

The RQ-4D has received its military certification.

The RQ-4s have been redeployed from Japan to Guam.

The USAF is going to test using the XQ-58A Valkyrie as a com link between F-35 and F-22s.

A USAF F-35A worked with a MQ-9 Reaper near Area 51.

The US Army is integrating drones with its Hololens tech.

The US Navy is placing Link-16 on its MQ-8C FireScouts.

Australia and America have been testing drone delivered medical supplies.

The Brits gave a contract mod to General Atomics for their SkyGuardians.

The Brit's Royal Navy has begun mini UAV training.

China may be exporting autonomous UCAVs.

The Czech Army formed a UAV battalion.

France is starting to arm its MQ-9 Reapers.

France has completed integration of the S-100 camcopter with its LHD.

Airbus unveiled its stealthy UAV test article paid for by Germany.

Hezbollah fired on an Israeli drone.

Houthis claim to have downed a ScanEagle in Yemen.

Iran claims to have shot down a drone over one of its port cities.  The US has stated its not one of theirs.

An Israeli shot down a drone over the Gaza Strip.

The Koreans are studying the results of their unmanned 500MD tests.

Russia has started testing the Orion-2 UAV with strike capabilities.

The Russians are testing Flock 93, a 100 drone strong swarm with individual explosives to attack convoys.  Russia claims they bombed and attacked air defenses with their Flock 93 during an exercise.

Airbus has started testing its VSR700 unmanned helicopter.

Bell plans an unmanned demo of the V-280 by year's end.

FLIR Systems is enhancing tethered UAV ops.

General Atomic is developing an attritable drone called the SparrowHawk that can be launched from and recovered by a Reaper.

General Atomics will also demo MQ-9s for maritime patrols in Europe.

HAPSMobile Hawk30 solar powered UAV conducted a 1.5 hour flight.

Leonardo has invested in the Skydweller electric UAV.

Northrop got a contract mod for supporting the MQ-4C Triton.

UAV Turbines is developing micro turbines for UAVs.

UAVOS has flown its 14m wingspan.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos, Ogres and Terminators, oh my):

The US Army selected the GD MUTT UGV to carry combat troops' loads.

The US Army has down selected to four teams for the RCV-L.  The teams are preparing their proposals.

The US Army has given the $106M contract for its Common Robotic System - Heavy to FLIR.

South Korean companies displayed prototype UGVs.

BAe has a 'Rolling Lab' UGV.

The Textron RIPSAW M5 gets touted for the RCV contracts.

Three teams are moving in on the US Army's RCV-M program.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro-boats):

The USMC and US Navy will move forward with their unmanned vessel programs.

LIG Nex1 unveiled its Sea Sword II USV.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo Subs):

Hanwha displayed a ASW UUV.

Software Bots (Skynet!):

A set of ethical rules have been proposed for AI in war by a panel for the Pentagon.

The Pentagon's biggest problem with AI is dirty data.

The US may be falling behind in its use of AI in war.

US Army researchers are working on bots to cooperate with people.

The US Navy is pleased by the COTS focus of the Pentagon AI office (sigh).

Software bots will be used for target detection in a 2020 wargame.

Time is not on the US' side when it comes to AI in warfare.

China may be seeking military AI without ethics or limits.

Japan is going to use AI to study the data gathered by maritime patrol craft.

Google is back to working with the US military again.

Can Microsoft's AI work both for peaceful purposes and the US Military?


Drone wars are here.

A bipartisan commission suggests the US military should consider purely autonomous weapons.

Are we well on our way to a terminator style uprising?

The US Navy is working on refining the unmanned surface and underwater command structures.

Friday, November 15, 2019

All Four RS-25 Engines Installed on First SLS Rocket

In a major milestone for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), all four RS-25 engines – veterans of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) – have been installed into the core stage of the rocket that will conduct the maiden flight of NASA’s new monster rocket on the Artemis-1 mission.

SLS will use the full inventory of flight-proven Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSMEs), or RS-25Ds, before exhausting the stock and moving to the RS-25E.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Chinese Air Launched Ballistic Missile may be Entering Service Soon (or Already)

An article published in the Chinese bi-monthly magazine Modern Ships illustrating how a Xian H-6N strategic bomber would carry an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) may indicate that this capability is in the final stages of development, or may even have entered service.

The 1 November issue of the magazine shows on its cover a high-quality computer-generated (CG) image of an H-6N, the latest variant of the H-6 bomber, carrying an underslung missile. The cover features the headline ‘Bombers rule the waves’ and more CG images of the ALBM-carrying bomber are included inside the magazine.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #121


Would you trust a self landing passenger plane?

Drone swarms could protect airports from intruding drones.

The US Department of the Interior has grounded all its DJI drones due to Chinese government spying concerns.  DJI is aware and China is not happy.

Aircraft pilots mostly miss seeing drones.

Drones are mapping Iceland's receding glaciers.

DJI's palm sized Mavic is small enough it doesn't need to be registered with the FAA and can fly for 30 minutes.

Google's Wing has started doing deliveries in the US.

Harvard's Robobees now use soft robot muscles for its powered flight.

Skydio has an autonomous, self charging drone.

A swarm of search and rescue drones could function without people.

Uber has unveiled its new VTOL drone for Uber Eats and hopes that will push the company into profitability.

UPS and CVS have teamed up to deliver prescriptions by drone.  It has done so in Cary, North Carolina for the first time.

Volvocopter has a massive drone that can lift 200 kg as cargo.

Self Driving Cars:

Would you let a self driving car drive you?

Why are parking lots so tough for self driving cars?

Self driving cars could make traffic worse.

A better algorithm has been created for autonomous vehicles in merging traffic/

Lyft is collaborating with Uber and Ford on self driving car safety.

MIT is teaching self driving cars to watch shadows so it can 'see' around corners.

Sony's Social Cart is a self driving shuttle with lots of advertising.

Tesla's summon capability might be glitchy.

Tesla's Autopilot now recognizes traffic cones.

Toyota's self driving e-Palette vehicles will shuttle people around at the 2020 Olympics.

Uber laid off 350 people, including from their self driving division.

An auditor found that Uber does, in fact, use Waymo code in its self driving cars.  This will force Uber to either license it or completely rewrite chunks of the code.  It will be expensive and setback Uber's plans nontrivially either way.

The Uber self driving car that killed the homeless woman in Phoenix, AZ, could not detect jaywalkers and had other serious software flaws.

Uber's self driving cars were in 37 accidents before hitting and killing the woman.  3 were caused by the self driving car.

VW has set up self driving car tech offices in Silicon Valley and China.

Waymo is close to unleashing its self driving cars with no backup driver.

In fact, Waymo seems to have in Phoenix.

Waymo's self driving cars will start mapping Los Angeles.

Waymo is complaining that California rules for purely self driving taxi services must be, for now, for free.

Waymo blames the media for overhyping self driving cars.  (hahahaha)

Waymo will deliver parts by self driving cars to repair shops.

3d Printing:

3d printing coral could help reefs.

3d printing has been proposed for refugee shelters in Syria.

3d printed polymer concrete gets assessed.

A bioprinted pancreas is expected to be implanted within 5 years.

Bio inks can 3d print into implantable blood vessels.

A father/son team has 3d printed a Lamborghini.

Kent State 3d printed a sculpture that will be installed on Ellis Island.

The Kraken 3d printing system is huge, 6 meters by 8 meters.

Local Motors has teamed up Airbus to develop 3d printing for flying taxis.

Massive 3d printers are printing rockets.

NWU is developing HARP, a high speed, large sized 3d printer.

Open source bioprinting for cell cultures?

A pediatric surgeon 3d printed an aorta replacement valve.

Prusa i3s can 3d print with 316L stainless steel filaments.

Qrons is developing 3d printable implants to repair brain injuries.

Researchers have 3d printed bacterial cellulose for use in medicine.

SUTD has a new method of 3d printing chocolate without heating it.

WASP will 3d print structures in Bologna.

You can 3d print the Youbionic robotic arm at home.


Irobot is suing a startup.

MIT has developed BILL-E, a construction bot.

Biologically inspired skin increases robot senses.

A chameleon's tongue is inspiring new robots.

A new algorithm created by Ford and MIT helps robots find the front door.

Machines are learning to smell.

MIT is working to give robots a faster grasp.

OpenAI's robot hand can solve a rubics cube one handed.

People are likely to blame robots for workplace accidents, but only if the robots are autonomous.

A new robot is designed to "mimic" how plants grow when it moves.  This will allow it to move through tight spaces.

If you want a robot to learn better, be a 'jerk' to it.

A telepresence travel bot for the infirm.

University of Houston has developed a soft robot with a neurologic like system.

A UIUC robot has human-like reflexes.

University of Toronto roboticists have created a soft robot that moves like an inch worm.


Tilly Lockey spoke at the Singularity University summit.

A software bot can interpret a paralyzed person's mind sufficient to allow writing.

Software bots:

The US DOE is about to embark on a multibillion dollar AI push.

The US is urged to invest more in AI as China is catching up.

California's anti Deep Fake law is pretty weak sauce.

An AI pioneer wants his algorithms to understand WHY they make the decisions they make.

Adobe has added more 'AI' tools to Photoshop.

Chinese researchers are using software bots to improve 3d printing.

Deep3dFly is a software bot designed to create insect inspired UAVs.

Researcher Anca Dragan wants robots to understand humans.

Why are deep learning software bots so easy to trick?

Facebook's software bots can change a person's face enough in video to hide it from facial recognition software.

Google's DeepMind appears to be better at deciphering damaged Greek clay tablets than people are.

Google's DeepMind can now beat Grandmasters at Starcraft II.

Google's software bot training tool can speed up the process.

IBM believes AI will leave no job untouched.

Microsoft wants to use software bots to bleep out bad words in XBOX chat.

Microsoft previewed its no coding tools to create chatbots.

Microsoft's Cortana can now read your emails in IOS.

Nvidia's deep fake work continues with being able to transplant your pet's smile onto any other pet.

Nvidia's software bots will help the USPS sort mail faster.

OpenAI has released the software bot that can write disturbingly good fake news.

Pinterest has stated software bots have vastly reduced the self harm content on the website.

USC has been using software bots to study how people react to music.

Wells Fargo stated big banks will automate away 200,000 jobs by 2030.

Software bots are being used in botany to study leaves.

Software bots can identify collapsed lungs from Xrays.

Software bots can help small holder corn growing.

Software bots can warn about drug-drug interactions.

Software bots can detect diabetic eye disease.

Software bots can't compete with humans in Angry Birds yet.

Software bots for health care discriminated against black people.

Software bots will soon study human feces.

A software bot can analyze whether you are confused or nervous.

There is also a bird watching software bot.

Software bots have been using CT scans to learn muscle anatomy.

Software bots are being used to predict whether a cancer patient should use immunotherapy.

Software bots are being used to study RNA/protein interactions.

Software bots can make realistic characters in 3d.

Software bots can make better ozone warnings.

Software bots can also give fashion advice.

Software bots are good at picking out catalytic properties when examining xrays.

Software bots are able to detect what the brain likes to see.

A software bot 'figured out' the earth orbits the sun.

Software bots could help diagnose canine disorders.

Software bots are learning to design structures.

There is an attempt to predict where lightning will strike with software bots.

Facial recognition bots can be fooled by a shirt?!  Antagonistic design may be a real thing.

Some startups are writing software to watch the bots.

A new technique can make software bots understand videos better.


A software bot included in a cytometer detects rare cells in the blood.

Hackers might have compromised a hotel that uses robots and watched guests through bedside robots.

Software bots are being used to improve beam quality at LBNL's Advanced Light Source.


The robopocalypse is underway.  It's just happening quietly.

Worker pay is stagnant and economists are blaming the robopocalypse.

The US has blacklisted Chinese AI researchers from getting visas.

40% of the money given out in an experiment of universal basic income was spent on food, clothing and other basic necessities.

US Presidential candidate Andrew Yang is stating robots are taking our jobs.  Is he wrong?

Friday, November 08, 2019

China to Launch Lunar Sample Return Mission in Late 2020

China is aiming to launch its complex Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission in late 2020, following launch vehicle-related delays.

The ambitious mission is now scheduled to launch atop the fifth Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket. The mission will launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center situated on Hainan island.

Chang’e-5 will attempt to collect and return around two kilograms of lunar samples from a site close to Mons Rümker, a volcanic formation situated in the Oceanus Procellarum region of western edge of the near side of the moon.

The mission will involve the first robotic lunar orbit rendezvous. After the lander collects samples, an ascent vehicle will liftoff and dock with an orbiter module above the moon. A return capsule will then perform a ‘skip reentry’ following separation from the orbiter close to Earth. The return capsule will deliver the samples to the same site as where the country’s Shenzhou crewed missions land.

The complexity of the mission is considered by observers to be related future crewed lunar landing ambitions. The last lunar sample return, the Soviet Union’s 1976 Luna 24 mission, utilised a much simpler direct return approach.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Russia may Help With India's Gaganyaan Space Capsule

Glavkosmos JSC, part of Roscosmos State Space Corporation, and Human Space Flight Centre of Indian Space Research Organization (HSFC of ISRO) on Friday signed a contract to review a project to assess the possibility of using Russian flight equipment in life support systems and providing thermal regime for the manned spacecraft Gaganyaan.

Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos, and Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair, Head of the HSFC, signed the contract. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Deputy Director General for international cooperation of Roscosmos State Space Corporation Sergey Savelyev.

"We hope that the signing of this document and the implementation of its provisions will serve both the development of the Indian space program and manned space flights, and in general the further strengthening of good Russian-Indian relations," Loskutov said. "We will be glad to expand our cooperation."

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Pondering the Precambrian #41


Glauconite is rare is precambrian deposits of the Bhima Basin.  Why?


There is evidence of the oxygen and other environmental conditions across the Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary from southern China.

Could the marine waters have been highly alkali at the terminal Ediacaran?

Cloudina acted as an anchor for Ediacaran reefs.

Sulfur and carbon cycles from the Ediacaran formations of the Lower Yangtze block.

Oxygen levels during the NeoProterozoic were transient.

There were two episodes of phosogenesis in the ocean water of the Doushantou formation.

The Doushantou and Datangpo formations from the Ediacaran and Cryogenian have been argued to represent evidence of photosynthetic productivity during the Snowball Earth episodes.  This is probably wrong.

There is evidence from India of biofilms from the Neoproterozoic.

The microfossils of the Katanga Supergroup are probably pseudofossils, alas.

Boxonia bearing stromatolites from Mongolia suggest variation in their formation compared to others.

Ediacaran Biota-like disc fossils have been found in the Cryogenian, 80 million years earlier than ever before.

The Cryogenian basin deposits of south China suggest massive hydrothermal activity during the Sturtian Glaciation (Snowball Earth).

What was the stratosphere of the Snowball Earth like?

The Tonian Callana Group has a carbon anomaly that does not match the one observed at Bitter Springs.


There is evidence of the breakup of the Columbia Supercontinent from Brazil.


Kimberlites from the Siderian suggest there is an isolated mantle reservoir.  And may be fingerprints of the ancient makeup of the world's geology.

There was a very long lived tectono-magmatic event 1.8 billion years ago.

The geochronology of the Hart Dolerite of Australia is documented.


There is evidence of oceanic crust subduction from the NeoArchean.

There is also evidence of mountain building from the NeoArchean.

There is evidence of a subduction/accretion/collision event at the end of the NeoArchean, confirming full blown plate tectonics were in progress at that time frame.

Mesoarchean deposits from islands suggest the pelagic environment was rich in boron.

Paleoarchean microfossils show a continuous cell wall amongst other characteristics.

Can Xenon help determine if the carbon traces in ancient rocks is biogenic or not?

The fingerprints of Ur, the earliest supercontinent, are in the Bastar Craton in India.


The energy budget and structure of the earth get modeled during and after the Thea impact.

Origin of Life:

Bacterial gene duplicates are more common in eukaryotes than expected.

Is there a relation between hydrothermal chemistry and the origin of cellular life?


Archaea's biochemistry may give hints as to ancient ocean temperature.

A large virus may have helped make the first eukaryote allow endosymbiosis allowing for the evolution of photosynthesis in eukaryotes.

Friday, November 01, 2019

NASA has Mounted the First Rocket Engine to the SLS for the First Artemis Mission

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have structurally mated the first of four RS-25 engines to the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will help power the first Artemis mission to the Moon.

Integration of the RS-25 engines to the recently completed core stage structure is a collaborative, multistep process for NASA and its partners Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, the RS-25 engines lead contractor. To complete the installation, the technicians will now integrate the propulsion and electrical systems.

The installation process will be repeated for each of the four RS-25 engines. The four RS-25 engines used for Artemis I were delivered to Michoud from Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in June.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

China: Resolving Taiwan Question of the Highest Priority

Separatist activities are doomed to failure, Wei said at the opening of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, which China styles as its answer to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have ratcheted up ahead of the self-ruled island’s presidential election in January. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue.

“China is the only major country in the world that is yet to be completely reunified,” Wei said.

“Resolving the Taiwan question so as to realise China’s full reunification is the irresistible trend of the times, China’s greatest national interest, the righteous path to follow and the longing of all Chinese people.”

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stealth Saga #53


Aviation Week has a surprisingly detailed article about the RQ-180.  This is the unmanned aircraft which may have been spotted last August.

6th Generation Fighters:

The USAF's NGAD has been redirected to promote the 'Digital Industrial Revolution' for manufacturing.

The USAF's NGAD has a PEO and has set up the program office in general.

The USAF's advanced engine plans have hit a funding snag.

The RAF's chief of staff has endorsed the American 'Digital Century series' fighter program.

The FCAS companies are urging their governments to move forward with the program.

France and German signed a deal regarding weapon exports.  The FCAS is probably one of the weapons covered.


The Korean led stealth fighter program will roll out its first prototype in the first half of 2021.

South Korea unveiled a mockup of the aircraft.

South Korea also showed off a mockup of the cockpit.

South Korea has stated it is open to foreign partners in the KF-X.

The whole program may be at risk though.

South Korea has started construction of the aircraft.


Russia has started MUM-T testing between the Ohotnik-B UAV and the Su-57:

Chinese Stealth Carrier-borne UAV:

China's reported plan to put a ISR drone on its carriers makes sense to some.

China's Sharp Sword carrier based UAV is claimed to be entering service by the end of the year.  It may be the aircraft may NOT be carrier based, but in service already.  It did get displayed at the October 1st military parade.


The J-20 at a high AOA.


The USAF has reactivated the 420th Bomber Wing for B-21 testing.

The B-21 first flight could be delayed.

Some are questioning whether or not the schedule for the B-21 can be kept.

First public flight is still aimed for Dec 2021.


The USAF tweeted a photo of the B-2 stating it would be the last thing Area 51 Raiders would see if they had actually tried.  The USAF later apologized.


Who is flying the 'retired' F-117s?


The F-35 is closer to IBCS integration.

The full rate production decision for the F-35 has been delayed by 13 months.

A USAF student pilot apparently saved a F-35A when the computer crashed in flight.

The official welcome ceremony was held for the 158th FW's first F-35A.

At least 13 F-35Bs embarked on the USS America to test the 'Lightning Carrier' concept.

A F-35 did some very impressive demo flying over San Francisco.

Australia is looking for a larger piece of the F-35 manufacturing pie.

British F-35Bs are off to operational carrier testing.  One was photographed in 'Beast Mode.'

Italy has deployed its F-35s to Iceland.  Take an up close and personal look.  They have completed their mission.

The Japanese will get their first aircraft carriers in 75 years, but the USMC will fly their F-35Bs off them first.

Netherlands will order 9 more F-35s.

Norway is having problems with the drag chute on its F-35As.

Poland has placed the F-35 front and center in its air force modernization plans.

South Korea showed off its F-35As to the public.

South Korea will also order 20 more F-35As.

South Korea awarded a contract for the design of a ship that can carry F-35Bs.

Lockheed has declared the F-35's stealth coating rock solid.

The offset projects promised by Lockheed for South Korea are progressing.

United Technologies won a $325.2M contract to support the F-35.


Claims about passive radar are a bit overblown.

Friday, October 25, 2019

NASA is Paying for Sufficient SLS Rockets for 10 Artemis Missions

NASA has taken the next steps toward building Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stages to support as many as 10 Artemis missions, including the mission that will carry the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

NASA finished assembling the main structural components for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on Sept. 19. Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans fully integrated the last piece of the 212-foot-tall core stage by adding the engine section to the rest of the previously assembled structure.Credits: NASA/Steven SeipelView Image Feature

The agency intends to work with Boeing, the current lead contractor for the core stages of the rockets that will fly on the first two Artemis missions, for the production of SLS rockets through the next decade. The core stage is the center part of the rocket that contains the two giant liquid fuel tanks. Towering 212 feet with a diameter of 27.6 feet, it will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and all the systems that will feed the stage’s four RS-25 engines. It also houses the flight computers and much of the avionics needed to control the rocket’s flight.

NASA has provided initial funding and authorization to Boeing to begin work toward the production of the third core stage and to order targeted long-lead materials and cost-efficient bulk purchases to support future builds of core stages. This action allows Boeing to manufacture the third core stage in time for the 2024 mission, Artemis III, while NASA and Boeing work on negotiations to finalize the details of the full contract within the next year. The full contract is expected to support up to 10 core stages and up to eight Exploration Upper Stages (EUS).

Thursday, October 24, 2019

As a Reaction to Facebook's Libra, FedCoin Rises Again

Lawmakers and Federal Reserve officials are so concerned about Facebook’s plans to launch a new digital currency that they’re contemplating a novel response — having the central bank create a competitor.

Momentum is building for an idea that was once considered outlandish — a U.S. government-run virtual currency that would replace physical cash, a dramatic move that could discourage major companies like Facebook from creating their own digital coins.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Russian Scientist has Started Editing Human Embryos

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has started gene editing in eggs donated by women who can hear to learn how to allow some deaf couples to give birth to children without the genetic mutation that impairs hearing. The news, detailed in an e-mail he sent to Nature on 17 October, is the latest in a saga that kicked off in June, when Rebrikov told Nature of his controversial intention to create gene-edited babies resistant to HIV using the popular CRISPR tool.

Rebrikov’s latest e-mail follows a September report in Russian magazine N+1 that one deaf couple had started procedures to procure eggs that would be used to create a gene-edited baby — but the eggs that Rebrikov has edited are from women without the genetic mutation that can impair hearing. He says the goal of the experiments is to better understand potentially harmful ‘off-target’ mutations, which are a known challenge of using CRISR–Cas9 to edit embryos.

Russian Hacking Group 'Cozy Bear' has Been Using Reddit, Other Social Platforms Starting in 2013

Cyber-espionage operations from Cozy Bear, a threat actor believed to work for the Russian government, continued undetected for the past years by using malware families previously unknown to security researchers.

Relying on stealthy communication techniques between infected systems and the command and control (C2) servers, the group managed to keep their activity under the radar for a long time.

Cyber-espionage campaigns that likely started in 2013, collectively named "Operation Ghost," have been attributed to this group, and continued through 2019.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

South Korea is Considering Large Deck, CATOBAR Aircraft Carriers

A senior South Korean lawmaker has said the country should reconsider proposals for acquiring either light or medium aircraft carriers with Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery, or CATOBAR, configurations to respond to growing regional security threats. These were alternatives to South Korea's reported decision to purchase a number of large amphibious assault ships capable of supporting fixed-wing short takeoff and vertical landing combat jets, namely the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. This call for reassessing that choice comes as the South Korean Ministry of Defense may be leaning toward acquiring 20 more conventional F-35A models rather than B variants, further deferring plans to develop a fixed-wing naval aviation capability.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Terminator Times #64

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The US will continue flying drones over the areas Trump made the US military retreat from in Syria.

DOD may invest in small drone manufacturers in the US and other allies.

DARPA's X-61A Gremlins tests are all laid out but will have to move due to the earthquake damage suffered at China Like.

The USAF's XQ-58A Valkyrie suffered an accident and damage on landing due to retrieval/landing system failure.

US ARSOAC/USSOCOM trialed the GBU-69/B with the Gray Eagle UAS.

The US Navy will trial cargo UAVs in January 2020.

Australia is testing the ScanEagle UAV for MCM missions.

Australia and Boeing are teaming up to work on AI for UAVs.

Reportedly, China will unveil a new UAV at the Chengchun airshow, the Blue Sword.

France received the last NX70 micro UAVs.

Russia linked a maritime patrol aircraft to a UAV.

A Heron 1 in Singapore was spotted with a new payload.

South Korea's KUS-VH is in a holding pattern.

Aerovironment is pitching a long range version of the Puma hand launched UAV as a Shadow replacement.

AeroVironment is trying to market its Vapor VTOL UAV to the US Army.

Anduril's anti drone drone gets profiled.

Elbit has sold over 1,000 Thor mini UAVs to an undisclosed southeast asian nation (probably the Philippines).

FLIR is upgrading the camera on its Sky Raider UAV.

General Atomics will demonstrate integration of the MQ-9B with the National Airspace System.

Instant Eye is trying to update its UAVs to entice the US military to buy.

Kratos has been showing off a containerized launcher for its Valkyrie.

The US Army FTUAS win by Martin has gained it several contracts.

Raytheon may ship its Howler counter drone system that uses the Coyote drone to Saudi Arabia to work with the Patriot batteries deployed there.

Sikorsky UH-60A has been flown autonomously.

Uvision wants to open a plant in the US to manufacture its suicide drones.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

US Army research could improve combat robots.

The US Army effort for unmanned ground combat vehicles is going better than expected.

The US Army will release the RFP for the small and medium sized UGCVs in November.  Industry unveiled potential contenders.

The Textron owned Howell and Howell Ripsaw has been upgraded with a 30mm for the competition.

Iran unveiled its Heidar-1 UGVs.

Ukrainian company Roboneers showed off its Camel UGV.

Textron has rolled out two versions of the Ripsaw UGV for the US Army's light and medium UGCV programs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro-Boats):

Austal has developed an unmanned ship for asia.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

Drone-40 is a grenade launcher deployed loitering suicide UUV.

Software Bots:

The US Army is looking at software bots to defend its networks.

The US Army is also looking at tailoring sensors so the data can be analyzed by software bots better.


Lockheed demoed its ONYX exoskeleton.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Boeing & SpaceX are Pushing to get Their Capsules Flying Test Flights This Year

Boeing expects to carry out a pad abort test for its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle in early November, followed by an uncrewed orbital flight test in mid-December, a company executive said Oct. 8.

During a panel session of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) here, John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for commercial programs for Boeing’s space exploration business unit, said the company was targeting a Dec. 17 launch of its Starliner vehicle on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral.

That mission, called the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) by Boeing, will send the Starliner to the International Space Station, docking with the station and remaining there for about a week before undocking and landing at one of several locations in the western United States. Mulholland said that if the mission launches as currently scheduled, the landing would most likely be at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Boeing had planned to fly OFT earlier this year, but announced in April it was delaying the launch, then scheduled for May, until later in the summer because of a tight schedule and a conflict with another Atlas 5 launch.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Russia is Expanding its Hmeymim Airbase in Syria

Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria currently hosts about 30 warplanes and helicopters but will be able to accommodate more aircraft after the reconstruction, a base official said. This reported by Sputnik.

"The second runway is being reconstructed, which will increase its capabilities. New hangars have been built, in which aircraft are kept. These structures protect against possible attacks of combat drones, as well as from rain and direct sunlight", the official said.

According to the officer, there are currently about 30 aircraft at the airbase, including Su-35S fighter jets, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-24 attack aircraft, as well as Mi-35 attack helicopters and Mi-8AMTSh assault transport helicopters.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #120


Audi unveiled an offroad EV vehicle concept with drones for headlights.

China unleashed an army of drones to wipe out the armyworm infestations in the southern part of the country and seems to have wiped out 98% of them.

Cities are trying to plan for self driving cars.  again.

Flying a drone responsibly turns out to be surprisingly hard.

Drones are being used to study the Amazon Rain Forest's health.

Drones are being used to detect pot shards for archaeology.

There is a surge in drone development.

Google's Wing drones will start delivering FedEx and Walgreen's deliveries.

The first hurricane relief drone was ready to fly, but Hurricane Dorian smashed those plans.

Imperial College's Flying Fish drone literally explodes out of the water.

Parrot's latest drone package includes an immersive virtual cockpit.

Russian police and security forces received special permission to shoot down drones.

Skydio has a drone to challenge DJI with.

UPS has the first delivery drone service approved by the FAA.

Watch UAV Turbines micro turbine powered UAV fly.

Self Driving Cars:

Who is driving the self driving car job market?

A study finds Americans would prefer to drive themselves rather than use a self driving car.

With Levandowski being indicted for 33 felonies, will Silicon Valley change its lack of morality? (hint, probably not)

The NTSB has stated a 2018 Tesla crash was partially caused by the Autopilot software.

Aptiv and Hyundai have teamed up.

Daimler has started testing its self driving trucks on public roads.

Ford is bringing its self driving cars to Austin, TX.

GMV is building a satellite based nav system for self driving cars for BMW.

University of Michigan's self driving cars are using Verizon's 5G network now.

People are reporting collisions with Teslas using the Summon feature.  It doesn't always work.  And can end badly.

Tesla's Smart Summon has been used over a half million times,.

Tesla seems to have acquired DeepScale.

Uber has started mapping Dallas' streets for its self driving cars.

Why we should be thrilled with Waymo's go-slow approach to developing self driving cars.

3d Printing:

A Chicago based startup has 3d printed a mini human heart.

GE has been pursuing the quest for 3d printing a passenger plane engine.

Harvard scientists have created a new, more efficient way of 3d printing organs, including the blood vessels.

There is a new technique for 3d printing biomaterials.


Boston Dynamics' Atlas is now capable of being a gymnast.

Boston Dynamics' Spot is now commercially available.

Long distance heart surgery has been accomplished.

Picnic has a robot that can make 300 pizzas/hour.

Remote controlled lizard robots were used to study Galapagos lava lizard behavior.

Robots are being built to kill invasive species.

A robotic gripper has been developed to mimic the human touch.

Robot surgeons are starting to rival human ones.

Robots built a house in Switzerland.

Scientists have built micro bio hybrid robots.

Squid inspired robots!

Starship's delivery bots are now making deliveries at Purdue University.

Toyota has started training robots via a VR interface.


A mind reading interface attached to an exoskeleton allowed a paralyzed man walk again.


A special glove has been designed for prosthetic hands.

Synthetic skin has potential for virtual reality and amputees.

A new robotic hand has been developed for amputees.

New reconfigurable electronics show promise to implantable tech.

A prominent German neuroscientist committed misconduct in brain reading research.

A new prosthetic leg allows amputees to feel the robotic feet and knees in real time.

Biohackers implanted a hard drive in a person's leg.


The biggest market in the US for software bot controlled cameras is the schools.

There is an argument to protect American workers from automation.

Software bot driven surveillance has expanded worldwide.

Software Bots:

Google is bringing its Assistant to people without internet.

Intel wants to use software bots to repair spinal nerves.

McDonald's is replacing the person at the drive up sign with a software bot.

OpenAI's bots learned to pay hide and seek.

Should AI researchers get special access visas for traveling?

Deep learning powers finger tip tracking.

A software bot designed a molecule,. It appears to have drug like properties.

Should you care software bots are being used for hiring?

Software bots should not be used to oppress minorities.

Can software bots spot liars?

Software bots are used to ID primate faces in the wild.

A software bot has successfully passed an 8th grade science test.

A software bot was used to mimic a CEO's voice to steal money.

Software bots are being used for heart attack prediction.

Have software bots killed off spam and we didn't notice?

Software bots could revolutionize medicine or make it hell.

Software bots can pass standardized tests but would fail at preschool.

Software bots are being used in the quantum lab.

Software bots are being used to predict outcomes for radiation therapy use for throat and neck cancers.

Software bots are being used to ID genes associated with heart failure.

Software bots are being used to predict depression outcomes.

Software bots can outperform some employees in sales by 400%.

Software bots are being used to improve eye tests.

Software bots are being used to predict climate stress for African farmers.

Software bots are being used to probe dark matter.

Software bots are being used in clinical trials.

Software bots could make health care inequality worse if care is not taken.

Software bots are getting to be as good as people in medical diagnoses.

Software bots that read privacy policies are getting pretty good.

Software bots may not be able to protect us from deep fakes.

Software bots will not save us from deep fakes (again).

Software bots with blind spots might be key to privacy.

Software bots can help with pneumonia x rays.

Software bots can help with biomedical imaging.

Yacht used a software bot to help create their latest album.


NYC Mayor de Blasio wants a tax on robots.

Some are criticizing some backlash for the robopocalypse originating in Silicon Valley.

Asimov's 3 Laws are useless.