Syria


Russia's space agency releases eerie footage of human-like android Fedor

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Russia's space agency has released eerie footage of its human-like android which will board the International Space Station next week. Nicknamed Fedor - which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Research - the anthropomorphous machine was seen undergoing a battery of stress-tests at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit. The scenes come ahead of its inclusion on the unmanned Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft on 22 August 2019. 'MMA fighter' loses temper and battles two revellers at once In action: Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit On time: Putin's deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor would make its space debut in five years - a deadline it will soon meet Fedor stands 6-foot tall, weighs no less than 233 pounds depending on extra equipment, and can lift up to 44 pounds of cargo.


Speculative Data Futures: Karima

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I am Karima, which means the generous. It always reminds me of my home, Syria, a generous country destroyed by war. I was born and raised in a refugee camp populated by 5000 Syrians. It is not easy to be born Syrian in a refugee camp, especially if you are a woman. Hunger for a loaf of bread in the refugee camp is connected to a hunger for bodies.


Iran likely at 'inflection point,' launching attacks to change 'status quo,' Defense Intelligence Agency director tells Fox News

FOX News

Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., director of Defense Intelligence Agency, gives insight on recent Iranian attacks on tankers and a surveillance drone. EXCLUSIVE – Iran is likely at "an inflection point," and the recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone appear to be part of an effort to change "the status quo," the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) told Fox News exclusively. "I'd say that they're probably at an inflection point right now," the director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., explained in his first national TV interview as the leader of the nearly 17-thousand strong agency. Director Ashley said, based on their activity over the last several years, the Iranians would probably say they were in a "favorable" position with their influence over the Iraqi government and the likelihood their longtime regional ally -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- will remain in power. But, Director Ashley -- whose agency's mission is to understand foreign militaries and the operational environment -- said the United States' withdrawal from the Iran deal and subsequent sanctions made a major impact on the regime.


Armenia sends mine-clearing experts, doctors to Syria

FOX News

YEREVAN, Armenia – Armenia has sent a team of experts to Syria on a Russia-backed mission to help clear mines and provide medical assistance. Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said Saturday the team of 83 includes de-mining experts, medical personnel and security officers. He said it will defuse mines and provide medical help to residents of Aleppo, in northern Syria. Before the war, Aleppo was home to 110,000 ethnic Armenians, one of the world's largest Armenian diasporas. About 22,000 have since moved to Armenia.


Syria air defenses target suspected 'hostile' drones over Russia base

The Japan Times

DAMASCUS - Syria state media said Sunday the country's air defense systems intercepted and destroyed three "hostile" targets over a Russian air base in the country's coastal region. There were no more details about the suspected attack or who was behind it, but it comes amid rising violations of a cease-fire in Syria's west negotiated by Turkey and Russia and in place since September. On Sunday, Russia Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on state television that the agreement with Turkey is not fully implemented, leaving the situation there as a matter of concern "first of all, by the Syrian authorities and also Moscow." He didn't address the suspected drone attack. The Britain-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said explosions heard in the region were from air defense systems intercepting suspected attacking drones.


The £2.6m Israeli 'Drone Dome' system that the Army used to defeat the Gatwick UAV

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The Army used a cutting-edge Israeli anti-drone system to defeat the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that brought misery to hundreds of thousands of people at Gatwick airport. The British Army bought six'Drone Dome' systems for £15.8 million in 2018 and the technology is used in Syria to destroy ISIS UAVs. Police had been seen on Thursday with an off-the-shelf DJI system that tracks drones made by that manufacturer and shows officers where the operator is (DJI is the most popular commercial drone brand.) However, the drone used at Gatwick is thought to have been either hacked or an advanced non-DJI drone, which rendered the commercial technology used by the police useless. At that point, the Army's'Drone Dome' system made by Rafael was called in.


Chemical arms team to assign blame for Syrian attacks despite Russia, Iran opposition

The Japan Times

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – The global chemical weapons watchdog will in February begin to assign blame for attacks with banned munitions in Syria's war, using new powers approved by member states but opposed by Damascus and its key allies Russia and Iran. The agency was handed the new task in response to an upsurge in the use of chemical weapons in recent years, notably in the Syrian conflict, where scores of attacks with sarin and chlorine have been carried out by Syrian forces and rebel groups, according to a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation. A core team of 10 experts charged with apportioning blame for poison gas attacks in Syria will be hired soon, Fernando Arias, the new head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Foreign Press Association of the Netherlands on Tuesday. The Syria team will be able to look into all attacks previously investigated by the OPCW, dating back to 2014. The OPCW was granted additional powers to identify individuals and institutions responsible for attacks by its 193 member states at a special session in June.


Kremlin Alarmed by Report That U.S. Led Drone Attack on Russian Base in Syria

U.S. News

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not rule out that President Vladimir Putin would raise the alleged drone attack with U.S. President Donald Trump. The two leaders are expected to meet in Paris on Nov. 11.


RIP Tank: Will Robots Armed with Javelin Missiles Finally Make Tanks Obsolete?

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But Väärsi's assurance isn't likely to soothe those who fear that armed robots are a Pandora's box that will bite their makers, especially as advanced AI enables machines to function more and more autonomously. Israel and South Korea already have armed robots patrolling their borders, while Russia has tested its Uran-9--a mini-tank armed with a 30-millimeter cannon--in Syria. Even the United States is getting into the armed robot game as it develops kits that can transform a normal vehicle into an autonomous one. The U.S. army already has an armed M113 armored personnel carrier as a remote-controlled test vehicle.


Probabilistic Blocking with An Application to the Syrian Conflict

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Entity resolution seeks to merge databases as to remove duplicate entries where unique identifiers are typically unknown. We review modern blocking approaches for entity resolution, focusing on those based upon locality sensitive hashing (LSH). First, we introduce k-means locality sensitive hashing (KLSH), which is based upon the information retrieval literature and clusters similar records into blocks using a vector-space representation and projections. Second, we introduce a subquadratic variant of LSH to the literature, known as Densified One Permutation Hashing (DOPH). Third, we propose a weighted variant of DOPH. We illustrate each method on an application to a subset of the ongoing Syrian conflict, giving a discussion of each method.