Sunday, October 28, 2018

US Threatening to Leave INF Treaty, Russia Hypocritically Angry

President Donald Trump said Washington would withdraw from a landmark Cold War-era treaty that eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe because Russia was violating the pact, triggering a warning of retaliatory measures from Moscow.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Robopocalyse Report #109


The US Senate passed a bill allowing the gov to destroy private drones.

Watch what happens when as drone slams into an aircraft wing.

Aeromao's new Talon drone is amphibious.

DHL has been using its ParcelCopter UAV in Tanzania.

Disney has developed spray painting drones.

Drones can be used to make art.

Dronebase is teaming up with other companies to check hurricane damage.

A drone cannon is showing how dangerous are to aircraft.

An editorial on the self flying taxis (passenger drones) of the future.

Mud spraying drones could make cheap housing.

Stanford researchers appear to have developed drones called FlyCroTugs that can carry 40 times their weight.

UAVOS announced its pseudo satellite UAV completed its first stage of flight testing.

Uber's food delivering drone service may start in 2021.

Russian sidecar (for motorcycles!) manufacturer, Ural, has built a drone station into a sidecar offering.

Self Driving Cars:

The moral conundrum of self driving cars is hereWho should they prioritize for saving?

The Trump administration is reportedly withdrawing support for 10 self driving car test sites.

The NHTSA has stated fully autonomous self driving cars can hit the road as part of a pilot program.

The NHTSA has ordered self driving school bus company Transdev to shut down its pilot program.

The USDOT has stated drivers of self driving vehicles need not be people.

In the European Union, self driving car data will be copyrighted by the manufacturer.

Self driving cars could make humans even more unhealthy.

Can the trolley problem help self driving car developers?

People are overestimating what the driver assist programs can do and assuming they are fully self driving modes for their cars.

People keep rear ending self driving cars.

Can the automotive businesses of Detroit adapt to the advantages of Silicon Valley?

The Human Driving Association is rearing its head again in opposition to self driving cars.

Adison Lee may launch its self driving taxis in London by 2021.

Audi and Huawei have teamed up to work on self driving cars in China.

Aurora, the self driving car startup, as received permission to test its cars in Pennsylvania.

A biology inspired camera might be a great help to self driving cars.

Cadillac's software performs better than Tesla. carting people around Arlington, TX, including to and from football games.

Ford invested in a micro weather company to support its self driving tech.

Ford is testing its self driving cars in Washington, DC, the first manufacturer to do so.

Does GM's Cruise have problems spotting pedestrians?

Honda has invested over $2 billion in GMs Cruise.

Talks between Honda and Waymo for the use of self driving tech seem to have faltered.

Lyft bought a British AR company to improve its self driving car efforts.

A self driving Range Rover prototype did well on a difficult route.

Samsung bought a company to prepare 5G for self driving cars.

Tesla is asking its employees to beta test its self driving tech.

Tesla is defending its Autopilot software in its quarterly safety report.

Tesla updated Autopilot, but delayed some big bits.

Tesla shelved the as yet unusable fully self driving mode in Autopilot.

University of Delaware claims to have a new technology that will allow roads to dispense with stop lights and speeding tickets if used for self driving cars.

Waymo has racked up 10 million miles with its self driving cars.

Waymo is turning loose its fully autonomous self driving taxis before the end of the year.

Waymo's self driving cars had a lot of problems in the beginning...especially from Levandowski.  Yes, that Levandowski.

Waymo has published guidelines on how to deal with self driving cars in emergency situations.

3d Printing:

Evaluating different types of 3d printed concrete.

Which fabrics are best for 3d printing?

3d printed...chocolates!

3d printed metallic glass shows some promising benefits.

A 3d printed guitar...

3d printers have 'fingerprints' and that could lead to tracking down where products, like guns, were made.

A 3d printed supercapacitor has broken records.

ICON, the 3d printing concrete construction company, has secured $9M worth of funding.

Residential construction has an enormous potential for 3d printing.

Researchers assess the 3d printability of different types of concerete.

Researchers 3d printed lithium ion batteries.

Robots are collaborating to 3d print concrete structures.

Robotic Factory has added a conveyor belt to its 3d printing offerings.

Singapore announced plans for a very large portside 3d printing facility.

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have a new bioprinting technique that could lead to printing blood vessels.

WASP 3d printed a house from mud.


Amazon is reportedly working on picker robots for its warehouses to reduce the number of employees.

See Spot walk through the construction site.  Walk, Spot.  Walk.

Boston Dynamics is at it again.

And again.

How will the Boston Dynamics Spot Mini be used?

Evolving robot legs makes weirdness.

Gladius has announced a new UUV.

A mobile construction bot builds temporary structures out of stone and twine.

A Japanese robotics company can install drywall.

Researchers from Kyoto University have created a snakebot that can climb ladders.

The magic mirror tells you how to do your makeup.

MIT has found an algorithm that allows robots to navigate like people do.

MIT has also developed nanobots made of graphene.

MIT has also created the Fiber Bots for construction.

People can teach robots.

Rethink Robotics, maker of Baxter, has shutdown.

There is a robotics petting zoo.

Rolls Royce has teamed up with Intel to make autonomous, unmanned cargo ships.

Satellite operators are offering communications for autonomous ships.

UC Berkeley has developed the jumping Salto robot.

UT Austin has found a way to give robots human-like balance.

Wyss Institute has developed a soft robotic arm.

The xArm is a robot intended for smaller businesses.


Direct brain to brain links are being worked on. A recent paper shows how noninvasive tech allowed for a shared task (Tetris) to be accomplished between three people.

A prosthetic limb can 'learn' to open beers.

Software bots:

Can algorithms be a tool for justice as well as oppression?

California passed a bill making it illegal for bots to impersonate people.

Amazon scrapped an AI tool developed for recruiting because it showed bias against women.

Baidu thinks they have software bots that can do real time translation.

Does China do AI better than the US?

Google software bots can detect breast cancer more effectively than people can.

A Google backed startup turns advertisements into conversations.

Microsoft is providing its software bots for the Uber competitor, Grab.

MIT developed a software bot to check for fake news.

MIT has also developed a new software bot of their own to detect breast cancer.

A new software bot has been developed to analyze why some children struggle in school.

A software bot has been developed to diagnose Alzheimers.  Some said in five years though.

A software bot has written its own novel about a cross country trip.

Software bots for drug discovery.

Software bots for material science.

Software bots have helped study how people think abstractly.

Software bots for finding gravitional lensing events.

Software bots for improving battery use by apps on phones.

Software bots can be used to monitor single molecules in cells.

Software bots might make your next perfume.

Someone used a software bot to put Harrison Ford into the recent star wars movie 'Solo.'

Software bots can control quantum computers.

A software bot generated a portrait.  It sold for over half a million dollars.

A new software bot has been developed to predict if materials will work as LEDs.

A new software bot has been designed to analyze and attempt to fix software bugs automatically.

A new software bot has been designed to detect insurance fraud from false robberies.

A software bot was pitted against 20 lawyers to find problems in an NDA.  The bot found 94% of them.  The Lawyers found 85%.

A bot made a painting that sold at auction.

Welcome to the uncanny valley.


Is automation really democratizing science?

Amazon's cashierless Go store in NYC will be in the financial district.

What is it like inside Amazon Go?

Iron Ox wants to produce produce without people working at all.

A Tokyo warehouse replaced 90% of its staff with automation.


MIT is creating a college dedicated to the study and ethics of AI.

Universal Basic Income is touted as a potential way to mitigate the robopocalypse, but what if it is really a tool to entrap us?

Could the future of work be...good?

The case for giving AI identity.

An AI arms race with China could be a huge mistake.

Look to Africa for AI advancement.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pondering the Precambrian #11



The problematic Orbisiana fossil from the Ediacaran of Russia is reevaluated.

Ediacaran life formed complex ecological communities.

Dickinsonia is confirmed to be an Ediacaran animals.  In fossils from the White Sea, molecular traces of steroids were found.

There is more evidence of sponges being present on the sea floor during the Cryogenian.

Precambrian Research is doing a special issue on the Cryogenian and especially the Tonian/Cryogenian transition.

There is evidence of the Rodinia supercontinent breakup during the Tonian.


From during the Stenian, there is evidence of an intracontinental rift forming in Australia.

There is evidence the shallow waters of the MesoProterozoic were anoxic.

Where and when did the PaleoAsian Ocean form?   Another view.


There is evidence Africa and Brazil were part of the Congo-Sao Francisco continent during the PaleoProterozoic and of mountain building from that timeframe.

Carbonatite found in China gives a precise time for the beginning of the breakup of the Columbia supercontinent during the Orosirian.


There is evidence of sulfur munching microbes from NeoArchean hydrothermal system ~2.7 billion years ago.

The oldest known paleosols - soil fossils - may have been found and date from the EoArchean.

The trace fossils from the PaleoArchean attributed to life might NOT be anything of the sort.


Hadean into the Archean, Earth seems to have lost an ocean's worth of water.  Or at least the hydrogen from it.

There is evidence suggesting there might have been banded iron formations and chert deposits laid down in the Hadean.

Do plate tectonics date from the Hadean?!

Origin of Life:

A new timeline has been proposed for the evolution of life.

What was the origin of life in the Hadean to PaleoArchean?

What was the time period for the origin of life?

Aging may have been a fundamental property of life and dates from life's actual origin..

Could formamide been the original prebiotic solvent?

Did liquid crystals help with the formation of life?

The ancestral eukaryote is slowly being understood.

Ws early photosynthetic life on Earth purple?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Russia is Trying to Convince India to Collaborate in Space

On September 25, 2018, the delegation of the Roskosmos State Corporation headed by Dmitry Rogozin met with representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The main topics of negotiations between the two space organizations were: joint work within the framework of manned space programs, where the Russian side is ready to offer its significant achievements and partnership, as well as possible joint initiatives in the areas of satellite navigation.

Russia is also ready to develop cooperation with India in rocket engineering and engine building, remote sensing of the Earth (RS), space meteorology, astrophysical research and study of planets.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Stealth Saga #40

Saeqeh UCAV:

Iran claims it used its drone reverse engineered from the captured RQ-170 to strike targets in Syria.

6th Generation Fighters:

Britain's Tempest fighter plan gets examined.

Russia claims to be testing High Power Microwave weapons for use on its 6th gen fighters.


Japan has decided all the systems offered by foreign companies as fighters will be too expensive and not provide the capabilities wanted at the prices offered.  As a result, the Japanese are back to working on their own 5th/6th gen fighter.


Has the J-31/FC-31 prototype been spotted on a truck?

The J-31 gets compared to the F-35.


The SU-57 is supposed to be getting an upgraded version of the R-37M missile.

The Russians may be signaling another delay for the Su-57.  They are stating the deliveries will continue on schedule through 2027.  What that schedule is, who knows.  The only solid date is 2027.


The Chinese are saying there's significant progress being made on the H-20 bomber.  This is tickling the rumors there will be a first flight soon.

The Chinese have also confirmed the H-20 designation.


Lockheed talks about its stealthy KC-Z tanker concepts.


SecAF Heather Wilson proposed more squadrons for the USAF to fight a major war.  Of the proposed 74 squadrons 5 are supposed to be for new bombers.  Does that mean the USAF will get 75 more B-21 bombers?


B-2s conducted hot pit refueling on Wake Island.

The B-2s defensive modernization management system modernization effort might be delayed 21 months.

B-2s trained with F-22s in Hawaii.


The Blackwidow gets a profiling again for its unique weapons bay layout.


Tyndall AFB took it in the shorts from Hurricane Michael.  It's probable some of the F-22s left behind are destroyed.

Homer-Hickam is getting an F-22 facility.

F-22 went down during an emergency landing in Alaska and is now on its side.

An F-22 performed at NAS Oceana's airshow.

F-22s are participating at RAF Lakenheath's dissimilar aircraft training exercises.


Pentagon is delaying IOT&E for the F-35 software.

The Pentagon signed the contract with Lockheed for LRIP 11.  102 F-35As at $89.2M each, 25 F-35B at $115.5M each and 14 F-35C at $107.7M.

New incentives for the F-35 contract are in place to increase efficiency.

F-35 stress testing suggests a longer than expected service life.

F-35 operational test and eval plans have been approved.

F-35 flight costs have dropped.

Some F-35 critics might be coming around to the F-35 not being that bad.

F-35s did a shoot with F-16s over Arizona.  You can see the size difference between the planes.

More F-35As may be headed to Eglin AFB.

The joint Valiant Shield exercise included F-35Bs.

The F-35Bs currently deployed near the Horn of Africa have been carrying their external gun pods.

The same F-35Bs were flying recon over Somalia.

The F-35Bs on the USS Essex are supposedly going into combat in Afghanistan.  Actually, they did.  F-35Bs struck Taliban targets in Afghanistan. It won't stop the debate over the F-35.

The USS Essex has entered the Persian Gulf with its F-35Bs.

An F-35B crashed in South Carolina and the pilot seems to have ejected safely.  It seems there is a flaw in the fuel line for the F135 engine and almost all aircraft are grounded.  The Brits will continue flying their F-35Bs for the Queen Elizabeth trials and the Israelis are examining their aircraft.

A USMC F-35B connected to a HIMARS rocket system on the ground to help provide data for a shot.

The USMC is touting the F-35B's readiness despite the global stand down.

An F-35C made a precautionary landing in Fresno.

The first operational F-35C squadron for the Navy has received its first aircraft.

Preliminary feedback on the F-35C in the operational testing is positive.

The Australians have received their first F-35A for a combat squadron.

Two RAAF F-35s will arrive at Williamtown on December 10.

The delivery of F-35s to the Australians is unaffected by the crash.

The Brits are preparing for the carrier trials for the F-35B.  They have launched and now landed F-35Bs on the HMS Queen Elizabeth.  One journalist shares his comments and observations.  Some pictures of the quals.  The Brits started night quals on the Tin Lizzie for the F-35B.

The Brits were observed working their F-35B at RAF Marham.

The Dutch are open to buying more F-35s.

The Israelis are saying the F-35I is more than a match for the S-300 missiles Russia is deploying in Syria.

One of the obstacles for Turkey getting its F-35s has been removed.

Harris will be providing a replacement chip for the F-35 as part of the TR3.

Rathyeon is pitching an autolanding capability for the F-35A.


Chinese researchers have come up with a 3d printable material capable of absorbing across a wideband.

US stealth aircraft are practicing operations from austere forward bases.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Soyuz Rocket Explodes, Astronaut and Cosmonaut Survive

Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague had what was likely one of the wildest rides in the history of mankind when their Soyuz-FG rocket malfunctioned catastrophically just minutes after blasting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Reports state that the rocket's second stage booster failed as the two arched their way towards low-earth orbit insertion. Their final destination was the International Space Station.


2nd link.

3rd link.

4th link.

5th link.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Terminator Times #50

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The USAF is adding modular Agile Pods to their RQ-4 Global Hawks.

A USAF MQ-9 Reaper used a heat seeking missile to shoot down another drone.

The USAF autolanded its first MQ-9 block 5 Reaper.

The USAF is considering adopting the Loyal Wingman concept.  First potentially converted F-16s and then Kratos' Valkyrie.  Maybe.

The US Army issued specifications for a small VTOL UAV.

The US Army commissioned the University of Pennsylvania to develop eye tracking glasses to use to steer drones with.

Is the new US Navy MQ-25A Stringray actually pretty stealthy?

A US Navy MQ-4C Triton bellyflopped at Point Mugu.  The Tritons have stood down.  They will remain in stand down until the investigation is complete.

The US Navy is procuring support equipment for its FireScout UAVs.

The US Navy is accelerating its work on the MALD UAV/decoy.

Belarus is showcasing its Yastreb (Hawk) UAV.

China's Blowfish I VTOL UAV has entered service with the PLAN.

China's AV500W VTOL drone participated in a PLA exercise.

Chinese UCAVs are being used extensively by the Middle Eastern countries because they don't come with the restrictions American UAVs do.

Croatia is forming a unmanned research center.

Estonia is buying RQ-20B Puma UAVs.

Germany wants to sell its sole EuroHawk to Canada.  Here's a timeline of everything that went wrong with the Eurohawk program.  Transport Canada is the agency that may buy the UAV.  However, the RQ-4E isn't flyable: the Germans gutted the aircraft when they put it into storage.

The Netherlands is reforming a squadron to fly its Reapers.

Portugal is buying Raven B UAVs.

The Russian Altair UAV is profiled again for the video from the last post.

The Russian Orion-E is not capable of carrying weapons, but only a very small payload: 100 kg.  The parent company is starting work on a successor.

Serbia is reportedly buying six Chinese UCAVs.  Serbia has confirmed the story, possibly buying six Wing Loong IIs.

Turkey has developed a local EO/IR sensor for its Anka drone.

The Houthi of Yemen attacked Dubai airport with a drone.

Zambia's Hermes 450 UAV has been spotted.

AeroVironment is selling Raven UAVs to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Bell unveiled its full size mockup of its V-247 Vigilant tilt rotor drone for the USMC's MUX program.

General Atomics got a contract for more MQ-9 Reaper ground stations.

Insitu unveiled a longer range Integrator UAV.

Logos has a new WAMI sensor for the Integrator UAV.

MBDA has unveiled its Spectre combat UAV concept.

Nothrop demonstrated the ability for the FireScout to help hunt mines with other unmanned assets.  It did again at ANTX.

Techmash has developed a grenade launcher for use on a drone.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Ogres and Bolos):

DARPA is kicking off its Subterranean Challenge where folks must build robots to navigate bunkers, caverns and rubble strewn underground spaces.

Thousands of US Marines are participating in a study on unmanned robotic targets.

The British tested Harris' T7 UGV at its Project Starter trials.

China is holding a UGV competition.

The French are looking at adding UGVs and UAVs to their Scorpion studies.

The Russians are upgrading their Uran-9 UGV.

South Korean company Hanwa has developed a 4x4 UGV for the Republic of Korea's army.

Thailand is buying French Cobra UGVs.

Brokk unveiled its newest SR120d demolition bot.

Endeavor Robotics is readying its Kobra UGVs for the DARPA challenge.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Roboats):

China has unveiled a new armed USV concept called JARI.  A prototype is undergoing testing.

ECA has developed a new USV.

A new unmanned suicide boat has been spotted off Yemen.

A pair of USVs were attempted to be used by the Houthis to attack the Jizan port.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

Hydroid is pitching its Remus 100 UUV to clear mines in shallow water.

3d Printing:

DARPA highlights its development of 3d printing.

The USMC built a barracks using a 3d concrete printer.

Software Bots:

AI might help reduce the chance of surprise by an enemy.

The new head of the Strategic Capabilities Office wants to focus on military AI.


The US is pushing to reclassify drones under international arms export restrictions.

The European Parliament is lobbying for a global ban on autonomous lethal weapons.

Killer robots are a threat to humanity, especially if they get hijacked.

Friday, October 05, 2018

China may be Having Problems With the Launcher for its Next Gen Space Station

China’s plan to launch and construct a space station could be hit by a test flight delay of the launcher designed to send the modules into orbit.

An online report by People’s Liberation Army Daily, a military newspaper, reports Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), as saying at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the Long March 5B will not make its planned test launch in the first half of 2019.

“Due to the failure of the launch of the Long March 5 remote launch vehicle, the first flight of the Long March 5B carrier rocket will be postponed. The specific implementation time needs to be clarified after coordination with relevant departments,” Xiqiang said.

The CMSEO manages China’s human spaceflight efforts and had planned a test launch of the Long March 5B before launching the 20-metric-ton Chinese Space Station core module, Tianhe, into low Earth orbit sometime in 2020.

The Long March 5, a launcher for missions to Earth orbit and beyond, suffered a failure in its second flight in July 2017, prompting an investigation and subsequent redesign of first stage engines, which were test-fired successfully early this year.