Friday, May 31, 2019

NASA Awards Contract for First Component of Gateway Station

In a talk at the Florida Institute of Technology on Thursday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that Maxar Technologies will build the first stage of NASA’s planned Lunar Gateway.

The Gateway, part of NASA’s larger Artemis program to return to the moon, is meant to be a waystation of sorts placed in a long orbit around the moon. It will provide a habitat for astronauts while they prepare to embark on longer missions, including moon landings, and serve as a place to assemble the components of rockets and other equipment in space.

The first element to be built and tested is a propulsion system, to move it between orbits and make sure it doesn’t drift away. Maxar (a new company formed from several veteran space industry players) is being awarded up to $375 million to build the system, which will convert solar power to electrical energy to power the Gateway, as well as provide propulsion, communication, and docking capabilities.

Maxar won because of the cost different (almost $200M) and willingness to accept NASA T&Cs on the contract without further negotiation on the matter.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Almost One Third of Chinese Cities are Shrinking

The perception that China’s urbanisation is still in full swing is untrue for nearly one-third of Chinese cities, whose populations are shrinking, according to new findings by a Chinese university.

A research team from Tsinghua University used satellite imagery to monitor the intensity of night lights in more than 3,300 cities and towns between 2013 and 2016. In 28 per cent of cases, the lights had dimmed.

China now has 938 shrinking cities, according to Long Ying, an urban planning expert at China’s Tsinghua University, who founded and led the research group, Beijing City Lab. This is more than any other nation on Earth.

The findings are indicative of declining populations and economic activity across almost one-third of the cities monitored, at a time when official economic data also shows that China is facing significant economic and demographic challenges.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Stealth Saga #48

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF successfully shot down multiple missiles using a laser meant for self defense of fighters at WSMR.

The US Navy next generation fighter may not be 6th gen and will DEFINITELY not be developed with the USAF.

Lockheed thinks the 6th gen may have lasers as weapons.

Airbus expects the Franco-German FCAS to be delayed due to export issues.

The Swedes are negotiating to join the British Tempest jet project.


Lockheed and the US gov has offered Japan the source code to the F-35 avionics as part of the F-3 deal with Lockheed.  The tech transfer offer is pretty deep, actually.


The flapless UAV has flown.


The Hunter-B was present for Putin and to be seen by the US.

Supposedly, the Ohotnik-B's first flight has been delayed a year, but it is a rumor rather than citable.

OTOH, Tass claims the Ohotnik-B did a 'hop.'


The Russians are claiming the engine for the Su-57 has entered serial production.

Russia is willing to offer Turkey the Su-57 if the F-35 deal falls through.

Putin was escorted by 6 Su-57s on the way to Astrakhan.

Putin says Russia will buy 76 Su-57 by 2028.


The engine for China's new carrier aircraft under development apparently has been completed.


The Chinese are in the midst of their own budgetary wars: the J-11 and J-20 programs are apparently fighting over funding.

The J-20 may have FOC declared this year.

Model 401:

Could the Model 401 be used as a (partial) A-10 replacement?


There has been a big burst of construction at the facility at Edwards AFB where the B-21 will soon start testing.


The cockpit of a B-2 was filmed and here are some callouts.

Watch a B-2 drop the MOAB.


F-22s intercepted Russian nuclear bombers off the coast of Alaska multiple days in a row.

The 24 F-22 elephant walk was only doable because of a checklist change.

F-22 shots at an airshow are impressive.

Watch from inside an F-22 cockpit.

Lockheed won an $18.5M contract for the F-22.


The US House of Representatives appropriation committee added 12 F-35As to the budget.  The SASC bill wants another 2 35Bs and 2 35Cs on top of that.

The F-35 AGCAS has been cleared for introduction.

Parts problems are delaying F-35 production.

The GAO has released a report on the F-35 sustainment: the low F-35 mission readiness is due to a lack of spare parts.

The Lot 12 production contract is expected to be final this summer.

The Pentagon is looking for replacement parts for those made in Turkey.

USAF F-35As have deployed to the Middle East for the first time.

USAF F-35As have conducted air strikes for the first time.  They did so with radar reflectors and external missiles mounted to increase their RCS.

USAF F-35As participated in a prolonged air defense exercise.

The 65th Aggressor Squadron will be stood up at Nellis AFB and use the earliest F-35s.

The standup of the 5th F-35A wing at Luke AFB has been delayed by 18 months.

A USAF F-35A was spotted in the Middle East with a single missile on a wing.  An odd configuration.

The F-35A will probably go to the Paris airshow.

USAF F-35As have deployed to Aviano in Italy.

USAF F-35As in the Middle East are shown deployed in 'beast mode.'

The USS Essex acted as a mini carrier with its load of F-35Bs.

The USS America (LHA-6) will forward deploy to Japan alongside the USS Essex.

The USMC Commandant talks about the 'lightning carrier' concept, using the LHD and LHAs as light carriers.

The USMC is folding the F-35B into its island hopping strategies.

The USMC has conducted its first elephant walk with 20 F-35Bs.

A USMC F-35B suffered a bird strike in Japan.

US Navy F-35Cs are finding new roles.

The USN's new anti radiation missile is making good progress and the USAF F-35As will also get the weapon.

The US Navy has deactivated the VFA-101 Grim Reapers.

British F-35Bs will fly at the Yeovilton airshow.

British F-35Bs deployed to Cyprus for their first overseas training.

Because Canada is already a partner in the F-35, their requirements for workshare for their CF-18 replacement may exclude the F-35 from the competition: Canada wants more local industry participation in the new fighter, but the agreement for who gets what work share in the F-35 is not renegotiatable.  Canada may bend the rules for the F-35.

Greece is considering the F-35 to replace the F-16.

Israel will "share" its operational experience with the F-35 with Britain and the US.

Japan is reassuring the US they will continue buying the F-35.

Japan stated its F-35s made 7 precautionary landings prior to the loss of its fighter.

The US Navy's blackbox hunter has joined the search for the downed Japanese F-35A.  The US and Japan are confident the F-35 lost will not be recovered by China or Russia.  The US military walked back the claim the F-35A wreckage had been found.  The canopy and the blackbox were found.  The US Navy has stopped looking for the wreckage.

The Japanese Izumo and Kaga are being converted to being F-35B aircraft carriers.  Some oppose this.

There has been no further word on the F-35A Japan lost.  A sub rescue ship and a USAF U-2 joined the search when it was happening.

The F-35 program has been coming under fire in South Korea over the offset portion and induction of the first F-35 has been delayed as a result.

Turkey is claiming if they will not participate in the F-35 program, the program will collapse.  Turkey is eying its options if it does lose the F-35 and have announced they are starting to jointly develop aircraft with the Russians.  The US House of Representatives has an early spending bill barring Turkey from buying the F-35.  The crisis is deepening because Turkey is supposed to take delivery of their first S-400 missiles by July.  Erdogan claims Turkey will eventually get the F-35.  the US Senate bill will ban Turkey from getting the F-35 ever if they receive the S-400.  Turkey had claimed they thought the negotiations were getting better.

Turkey's TCG Andalou, an amphibious ship intended to carry F-35Bs, has had a fire in its bow on April 29.

Lockheed has developed a new missile rack to allow the F-35 A and C models to carry 6 AMRAAM missiles internally compared to the four now.

Lockheed is hoping that new suppliers for the F-35A will help reduce the aircraft price significantly.

Lockheed saw its bottom line increase in large part due to the F-35.

Lockheed got a $117 million contract for spare parts for the F-35.

Lockheed has received a $1.1 billion contract from the US Navy for the F-35.

Lockheed is pitching F-35Cs armed with hypersonic missiles.

Northrop has benefited from the increased F-35 work.

Pratt & Whitney got a $200M contract for long lead items for the F-35 engines and another contract for another $53M.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bezos Unveils Lunar Lander, Moon Plans and Vision Beyond

The richest man in the world also unveiled the new BE-7 engine, which is set to undergo testing this summer.

The event was clearly designed to re-introduce Blue Moon to the public and policy makers, and to position Blue Origin for NASA contracts to deliver astronauts and supplies to the lunar south pole.

During the presentation, Bezos took several shots at rival billionaire Elon Musk’s plans to settle Mars. It will be interesting to see of the SpaceX founder responds in some way to Bezos’ taunts.

The Red Planet is too far away to serve as a “Planet B” if Earth’s environment continues to decline. Mining the moon for resources and constructing floating space colonies will allow humanity to continue to grow and preserve Earth’s environment, Bezos said.

Blue Origin had earlier tweeted a photo of Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, which the famed British explorer used on one of his expeditions to Antarctica. This had fed speculation that Bezos would announce a mission to a crater named after Shackleton at the lunar south pole.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

China Expected to Establish Overseas Military Bases (more than just Myanmar, Sudan and Djibouti)

The US Defence Department expects China to add military bases around the world to protect its investments in its ambitious One Belt One Road global infrastructure programme, according to an official report released on Thursday (May 2).

Beijing currently has just one overseas military base, in Djibouti, but is believed to be planning others, including possibly Pakistan, as it seeks to project itself as a global superpower.

“China’s advancement of projects such as the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative (OBOR) will probably drive military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for OBOR projects,” the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments.

“China will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries,” the report said.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Terminator Times #58

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The CIA and US military are using a new missile that does not explode.  Instead, it releases blades to minimize civilian damage.

DARPA wants to teach UAVs to dogfight.

DARPA has cancelled the Lockheed Ares UAV due to costs.

The US military is pushing ahead with its suicide drones.

The US Army is trying, again, to procure a rucksack portable drone.

The USAF wants an unmanned air taxi to recover its downed pilots.

The USMC is still trying to sort out what it wants the MUX drone to do, but still wants it to fly in 2026.

The USMC is adding autonomous landing to its AH-1Z and UH-1Ys.

The USMC is working on a recon drone launchable from the V-22.

The US Navy's Triton UAV costs are growing according to the GAO.

The US Navy will soon use unmanned logistics elements.

U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division has completed the first training course for the BQM-177.

US SOCOM has ordered a VTOL version of the long endurance Vanilla 001.

Algeria conducted its first drone strikes using a El Djazair 54 UAV.

Australia is expecting to release the RFP for the Shadow replacement soon.

The British MAGMA drone demonstrated flap-free flight.

China claims to have developed a UAV launching armored vehicle.

Italy is buying drones to keep Piaggio in business even though the Italian air force does not want them.

In Libya, a Russian UAV was recovered.

Will the Russian army buy UAVs with hydrogen fuel cells?

Russia's Ohotnik-B/Hunter-B was on display for Putin and to send a message.

Saudi Arabia stated two suicide drones attacked its oil pumping station in Riyadh and the Saudis called it a war crime.  The Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia by drone are stepping up.

Turkey's Aksungur UAV has made its first trade show debut.

Turkey is delivering loitering munitions to its allies in Syria.

UAE owned, Chinese made Wing Loongs are making air strikes in Libya.

AeroVironment is demonstrating its Quantix drone in possible military roles.

Boeing's MQ-25 demonstrator was trucked to MidAmerica airport to prepare for flight testing. That testing could start in a month.   The Phantom Works developed a new type of electronically steerable antenna to be first used on the MQ-25.

Flyability has launched its Elios 2 UAV.

Hood Tech Mechanical has developed a VTOL launch and recovery system.

Boeing's Insitu won a $23M contract.

Kratos has teamed up with Aerovironment to test deploying smaller drones from drones.

LaFlamme Aero has developed a tandem rotor VTOL UAV.

Lockheed Martin added a tether to its Indago 3 quadcopter.

Northrop will be outsourcing much of its Firebird optionally manned aircraft production.  The tech for the Firebird is rapidly maturing.

Roketstan has developed a small missile for UAVs.

Silent Falcon is seeking more Pentagon work for its solar powered UAVs.

TAI is planning its Goksungur supersonic UAV.

Threod is developing a direction finder for its VTOL UAV.

UAVOS is testing a helicopter UCAV.

The military UAV industry is working to purge hobbyist parts from its supply chain.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Ogres and Bolos):

The US Army tested UGVs for breaching defenses such as mines, obstacles and trenches.

Estonia has deployed a THEMIS UGV to Mali with its soldiers.

Pratt Miller has debuted its Light Flexible Robotic Platform UGV.

Two versions of Pratt Miller EMAVs were evaluated by the US Army.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (roboats):

The US Navy is moving forward with its unmanned future.

The US Navy is planning an aggressive unmanned warship prototyping effort.

The Sea Hunter continues its testing at NAVSEA.

When will the US Navy be able to autonomously destroy mines?

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

DARPA has laid out its goals for the Manta Ray autonomous UUV.

The US Naval Research Lab developed the Flying Sea Glider, a UUV that flies to its deployment area and then becomes a sea glider.

The US Navy's Virginia Block VI SSN will carry UUVs.

Software Bots:

The US Army is trying to fold its AI research into its forces.

The USMC is pushing ahead with experimenting and integrating into AI.

The Su-25SM3 will utilize a software bot for targeting.

3d Printing:

The aluminum runway mat from the Vietnam era is getting replaced by a 3d printed one.


Can the Pentagon convince Silicon Valley its AI will be ethical in war?

The US Navy wants a common control system for its unmanned vehicles.  Raytheon may have that interface.

The US Navy has been working on a algorithm to allow drones and missiles to coordinate a swarming attack.

The US & Croatia have been working on teaming USVs and UUVs.

Friday, May 17, 2019

SpaceX Crew Dragon Failed a Parachute Test

A test of parachutes for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft did not go as planned last month, NASA and SpaceX confirmed May 8.

During a hearing of the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee on NASA’s exploration plans, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) quizzed agency officials on the testing of parachutes for commercial crew vehicles, zeroing in on a specific, previously undisclosed test in April.

“Did SpaceX conduct, in April of 2019, a parachute test in Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada?” he asked. “What happened in that test?”

“The test was not satisfactory,” responded Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations and one of the witnesses at the hearing. “We did not get the results we wanted, but we learned some information that’s going to affect, potentially, future parachute designs.”

In that test, one of the four parachutes was “proactively failed” to demonstrate the “single-out” capability of the overall system. However, he said, “the three remaining chutes did not operate properly.” That caused a test sled to hit the ground faster than expected, damaging it.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

China, Russia are FAR Ahead of the US for Modernizing Their Nuclear Weapons

China and Russia had their money on winning asymmetric advantages in conventional and nuclear forces in the last decade, and now the United States is playing catch-up in modernizing its sea, air and land nuclear forces, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Wednesday.

David Trachtenberg, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary for policy, said the United States put off modernizing the three legs of its nuclear deterrent for almost 20 years, he told USNI News following a presentation at the Brookings Institution.

“In the 2000s, we skipped a generation” in modernizing the triad – ballistic missile submarines, bombers and ballistic missiles. He added that the United Kingdom and France, both nuclear powers and NATO allies, reduced their weapons stockpiles while continuing to modernize their nuclear forces during that same time. The United Kingdom has sea-based ballistic missile submarines; France has both submarines and aircraft capable of delivery of nuclear weapons.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Paleolithic Papers #29

Genus Homo:

Rock art from Croatia from circa 34,000 years ago is figurative in nature.

Stone tools were recycled to new uses at a cave in Israel during the late Lower Paleolithic.

Hunter gatherers don't live in 'small' societies.

H. sapiens (Modern Humans):

Brain sizes have shrunk 10% in the last 40,000 years.

There is evidence of starchy food cooked in South Africa during the Mesolithic.

Is this the earliest known footprint from a human in the Americas?

H. neanderthalensis (Neandertals):

The Sima de los Huesas hominins get their age bracketed.

The first Neandertal fossil from Serbia has been found.

Could have aridification helped wipe out the neandertals?


The Denisovans were two populations, at least, and may have actually been two different species.

A Denisovan jaw bone found in Tibet shows Denisovans colonized the 'roof of the world' long before modern humans did.  The jaw bone also starts to show what the Denisovans looked like.

H. antecessor:

H. antecessor was, at least once, a cannibal.

H. heidelbergensis:

Evidence from reexamining bovid remains from South Africa suggest active hunting was import for H. heidelbergensis.

H. luzonensis:

H. luzonensis, a new hominin from Luzon island of the Philippines, has been discovered. This hominin was another miniature standing at about an estimated 1.2m (5 ft). It may have suffered from island dwarfing like H. floresiensis, the so-called Hobbit.  John Hawks comments.

Hualongdong Hominin:

A hominin from China has a mosaic of primitive and modern features.  Some are claiming this is proof of the multiregional hypothesis.

H. erectus:

Evidence of what mammals H. erectus ate in Italy prior to 1.3 million years ago.

The dispersal routes out of Africa for hominins are explored in Sudan looking for stone tools.  John Hawks comments.

H. naledi:

Cranial remains from the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave show some variation from the other fossils, but by and large appear to be more of H. naledi.

H. habilis:

The KNM-ER 64060 fossil mandible appears to be from H. habilis rather than H. erectus.

Genus Australopithecus:

A. sediba:

A sediba does not appear to be ancestral to modern humans.


Man the Runner hypothesis is back again.

A troop of chimps deprived a leopard of its kill: how does that help model early hominins?

The history of human evolution can be seen in your face.

How important was the east african coastal forest for human evolution?

Basal ancestors of Humanity were upright apes.

Plovers Lake paleogenetics data might have been contaminated by modern people.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Moon 2024 Update

The NASA plans for the Moon landing in 2024 are sketched out.

The NASA push for a 2024 moon landing will require an additional $8 billion per year over the next 5 years.

Cost and bureaucracy may doom the 2024 push for a moon landing.

NASA is trying to decide if it wants to do the Green Run test or not for the SLS.

NASA is considering flying the Orion EM-1 test on a different rocket than the SLS.

NASA is trying to defend the Gateway Station in the 2024 landing.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Russians Moves Forward With Annexation Tactics in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree expanding the list of Ukrainians and citizens of some other countries eligible for fast-tracked Russian passports, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

The list included Ukrainians who once lived in Ukraine’s Crimea region before it was annexed by Russia in 2014, and citizens of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan who were born in Russia during the Soviet era.

An earlier Kremlin decree, simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of the rebel-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, was signed by Putin on April 24.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Does China aim for a Lunar South Pole Base by 2029?

China aims to build a scientific research station in the south polar region of the moon and realize manned lunar exploration mission in about ten years, said a senior space official on Wednesday.

Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of China's Space Day in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.

China will launch the Chang'e-5 lunar probe to collect and return lunar samples back to Earth at the end of 2019, Zhang said.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Robopocalypse #115


Alta Devices new solar drone could be a step towards flying cell phone towers.

Amazon received a patent for a drone that can turn into a blimp and back so it can reduce its noise on approach to a house for a delivery.

Austalian company Titomic unveiled the world's largest 3d printed drone, 1.8m in dia.

Drones may go hypersonic.

A drone helped botanists find a flower thought extinct in Hawaii.

A drone delivered an kidney organ transplant for a real patient for the first time in the US.

Farming drones!

Google got the green light to start drone based deliveries in Australia.

Google also is getting the green light for deliveries in the USA from the FAA.

Phoenix is a new blimp-drone.

Purdue researchers have taken inspiration from insects to develop a system to allow drones to adapt to windy conditions.

The Rega rescue drone can autonomously search for missing persons.

Russia's Rostec is testing drones for power line inspections.

UPS is moving medical supplies around North Carolina using drones.

The US Senate is urging the FAA to finish the remote drone ID regulations.

Self Driving Cars:

Are we there yet (with self driving cars)?

Half of Americans think self driving cars are more dangerous than people are.

Apple is seeking new sensors for its self driving car project.

Audi has a self driving car concept, the AI:ME.

California is moving forward to allow self driving delivery vehicles.

Daimler Trucks is taking a majority stake in self driving truck company Torc Robotics.

Ford has decided self driving cars are still a long ways off.

Ford, GM and Toyota are working to set standards for self driving car safety.

Kia has their HabaNiro concept self driving EV car.

Tesla has a long history making promises about self driving and breaking them.

Tesla's latest Autopilot update allows the car to change lanes autonomously.

Researchers have been able to trick Autopilot into driving into oncoming traffic.

Tesla's Autopilot classifies most other cars as minivans.

What would a true self driving Tesla be like?

Tesla is claiming it will launch a self driving taxi business in 2020.  However, the fleet operators of Teslas are having a serious problem keeping the vehicles running.

Watch a Tesla Model 3 do its first fully autonomous drive on public roads.

Tesla is promising an aggressive driving mode for Autopilot that could cause a fender bender.  Bet that doesn't last long.

The chip that will supposedly make Teslas completely self driving is only halfway done.

Uber's self driving car division now has its own CEO and received a $1B investment.

VW will test its self driving cars in Hamburg and will use China as a center of self driving tech development.

Waymo is repurposing a Detroit factory to make self driving cars.

Wayve's self driving car is supposedly able to drive unfamiliar roads with 20 hours of training.

3d Printing:

Mitsubishi is commercializing a new 3d metal printer.

Shipboard 3d printing is expanding.

There is a paper examining 3d printed latices for biological and structural aspects.

3d printing can help create soft robotics.

Researchers have 3d printed the first heart specifically for a patient.

A new 2d stacking method for 3d printing has promise for printing organs.

A new method of inspecting 3d printed parts by encasing them in ice has emerged.


Amazon has stated robots will not completely replace its warehouse workers for at least ten years.

Anki, the home robotics company, is closing its doors.

Meet UC Berkeley's Blue.

Estimating the strength of the Boston Dynamics' Spot robots as they pull a truck.

A new robotic catheter designed by Boston Children's Hospital helped heal a pig's heart.

Boston Dynamics bought 3d vision company Kinema.

What's the real meaning of Boston Dynamics' Handle robot?

The construction industry needs a robot revolution.

Harvard's Romu robot autonomously builds walls by driving piles into the ground.

Harvard has also developed a kirigani robot inspired by snakes.

The Narwal cleaning robot can can vacuum, mop and change its own water.

A robot figured out how to use tools based on experimental data and observing people.

There is a plan to use robots to implant embryos in white rhinos to save the species.

A new algorithm could allow robots to make sushi.

A Baxter Robot can sort recyclable materials based on touch.

Exercising hydrogel can make it behave like a muscle.

Robots may not be the solution to the last mile problem.

A new robot news presenter on Russian TV has caused a stir.

A robot helped explore how birds/dinosaurs took to the air.

Starship's robocouriers have conducted over 50,000 deliveries now.

Swagbot's autonomous agrobot goes on sale in 2020.

The Thorvald agrobot is designed to hunt weeds.

Two robots were designed for the ISS.


CRISPR was used to create a "dual core" CPU inside of human cells.

A new brain implant can synthesize speech from thoughts..

Brain machine interfaces could have enormous potential.

Software Bots:

Don't let industry write the rules and regulations for AI.

AI is on the cusp of a diversity disaster.

Apple poached Ian Goodfellow from Google.

Bumble is using software bots to block potentially unwanted nude pictures.

Facebook is using software bots to map the population density of the world and especially maps out Africa.

Facebook has made a creepy AI able to take photographs and make them into characters in games.

Facebook's software bots completely missed blocking the Christchurch live streaming of the shootings.  They are having issues.

Google has cancelled an AI ethics board due to outcry and then disbanded another AI advisory board.

Google tried to have software bots produce better software bots.

Google has created a poetry writing bot.

Google's CallJoy attempts to be a receptionist.

Governments should embrace software bots to improve services.

IBM is halting the Watson variant designed for drug discovery due to low sales.

Lyft has hired an exGoogler for its AI work.

Mozilla highlights software bot biases and addiction by design.

OpenAI's bots defeated a top ranked DOTA 2 esports team again.

OpenAI wants to make super powerful AI.

A software bot has been examining Saturn.

A software bot has been designed to select embryos for IVF.

Software bots are learning to make pesto more delicious.

Software bots are being used to assess responses to brain tumor treatments.

Software bots are being used to better explain the dynamics of cell development.

Software bots may be the future of music lessons.

Software bots are being used to measure roots.

Software bots are being used to accurately assess the lifespan of batteries.

Software bots are being used for earth observation and weather prediction.

LA, San Joaquin and San Diego counties are using a software bot to clear marijuana charges.

How do we keep AI friendly to people and prevent it from outsmarting us?

Software bots evaluate and score the potential for readmission of a patient based on clinical notes.

A software bot can single out neurons faster than people can.

Software bots can help fight human trafficking.

A software bot created a new game, Speedgate, based on analyzing multiple field sports.

Software bots can analyze tweets to map flooding in Europe.

Software bots might make future job applications a nightmare.

A new software bot generates a not stop stream of death metal.

Software bots may be able to ID PTSD based on voice analysis.

Software bots are being used to update old games' graphics.

Softare bots might be able to predict death, but what if they are biased?

Software bots might be used in fertility testing for women.

A software bot has been created to super stimulate monkeys' brains.

The robopocalypse comes for the Dad Joke.

Vaak's antitheft system is driven by a software bot and pretty effective.


Walmart is rolling out its own automated store like Amazon's Go.

Is the robopocalypse coming for organic chemistry?


Some metas are yikes, but must be shared.

Europe has started piloting AI ethics rules.

Is the techno-serf outcome the likely one for the robopocalypse?

Will AI enhance or hack humanity?

Are we sacrificing too much for automation?

Is tech downgrading people?

Bots will only take the boring parts of your job.

Junior AI researchers are in high demand by universities.

The growth in AI is a huge boon for transdisciplinary researchers.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Germany Starts Work on Space Mining Laws

Facing tough competition from China, the United States and even tiny Luxembourg, Germany is racing to draft new laws and attract private investment to secure a slice of an emerging space market that could be worth $1 trillion a year by the 2040s.

The drive to give Germany a bigger role in space comes as European, Asian and U.S. companies stake out ground in an evolving segment that promises contracts for everything from exploration to mining of outer-space resources.

Firms likely to benefit from any future spending rise in Germany include Airbus, which co-owns the maker of Europe’s Ariane space rockets, and Bremen-based OHB.

The new legislation would limit financial and legal liabilities of private companies should accidents happen in orbit, set standards for space operations and offer incentives for new projects, the German economy ministry told Reuters.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Bitfinex Accused of $850 Million Fraud

In the evolving story of a so-called "stablecoin" the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James accused iFinex Inc. -- operator of the Bitfinex exchange and the Tether cryptocurrency -- of trying to cover up "the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds." While researchers have tied Tether transactions to the spike in Bitcoin value that occurred between March 2017 and March 2018, this issue of the missing money is allegedly tied to a transfer of $850 million in funds to Crypto Capital Corp., a payment processor based in Panama.

The AG says Bitfinex lost access to funds it had transferred there after regular banks stopped handling its business and subsequently dipped into $900 million of Tether's cash reserves. According to the filing, Crypto Capital Corp. told Bitfinex the funds were "seized by governmental authorities in Portugal, Poland, and the United States" but the AG says Bitfinex doesn't believe that is true.