Why GM is developing technology for self-driving vehicles for the US military

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Since 2006, improvised explosive devices have killed more than 1,000 U.S. troops in Iraq as small groups of U.S. soldiers routinely travel in convoys on bomb-ridden roads, according to Congressional Research Service data. But General Motors is developing commercial vehicle technology that could dramatically lower the casualty count from IEDs. In fact, GM is gambling that it has a lot of technology that the military will want to buy. For example, "GM has demonstrated leader-follower capability," GM Defense President David Albritton told the Free Press. Leader-follower means a manned vehicle leads a dozen unmanned vehicles using GM's self-driving vehicle technology.

Hybrid python threat has spread beyond Florida Everglades, DNA study shows

FOX News

Pythons as long as SUV's are tightening their grip on the Florida Everglades and with no natural predators in the state, the snakes native to Southeast Asia have quickly risen to the top of the food chain. A new study in the journal "Ecology and Evolution" suggests the python problem could slither beyond just the swamp FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With no natural predators in the Sunshine State, pythons native to Southeast Asia have taken over the Florida Everglades. The slithering creatures killed off a large swath of native habitat when they became king of the Everglades, wreaking havoc on the system's sensitive ecosystem. But now experts say the python problem has slithered beyond the swamp and could impact ecosystems all across Florida. It's unclear how far north the reptiles can go – the only conditions they seem to be susceptible to are colder climates – but experts worry they could easily adapt and invade other parts of the state.

As pythons invade Florida, professional snake hunting becomes booming industry - SC men who said they forced alligator to drink beer may face charges - Texas man catches 'monster' frog, photo goes viral

FOX News

In a state known more for its alligators, there is a new job title: Pro python hunter. An estimated 100,000 pythons are living in and ravaging Florida's Everglades. They will eat 160 animals in five years and have no enemies. Even alligators are no match for the Burmese python. A 13-footer caught and killed recently had three baby deer in its belly.

Crossbred Everglades pythons could lead to highly adaptable 'super snake' population

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A new genetic study reveals that a'super snake' could be on the horizon in the Florida Everglades. While studying the invasive Burmese python, which have been reproducing in the Florida Everglades for nearly four decades and slowly decimating its small mammal population, US Geological Survey researchers discovered that some of the snakes they tested contained both Burmese and Indian python DNA, indicative of crossbreeding between the two snake species. In the study, published Sunday in Ecology and Evolution, the researches wrote, 'Our finding that the Florida python population is comprised of distinct lineages suggests greater standing variation for adaptation and the potential for broader areas of suitable habitat in the invaded range.' In other words, these apparent mixed DNA snakes have the potential to become an Everglades super snake adaptable to multiple terrains, as Indian pythons like high, dry ground, while Burmese pythons are swamp-dwellers. The 400 snakes USGS researchers caught between the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades were found to be genetically related Burmese pythons, but 13 of them had genetic markers from Indian pythons, meaning that the Everglades snakes might eventually slither out to much more varied areas.

Python hatchlings turn up for first time in Florida Keys

The Japan Times

KEY WEST, FLORIDA – Burmese pythons that have decimated mammal populations in the Everglades are reproducing now in the Florida Keys, state wildlife officials said Thursday. Two hatchlings roughly 18 inches long were found in Key Largo in early August, and a third hatchling was found Aug. 23 in the part of the island chain closest to Florida's southern tip, according to a statement Thursday from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. No python nests or eggs were found, but the first sightings of hatchlings in the Keys suggest that the invasive snakes have been reproducing in the area, the commission said. "This is not surprising considering the proximity to the known breeding population in the Everglades," said Kristen Sommers, section leader of the commission's Wildlife Impact Management Section. The state's exotic species hotline has received 31 credible reports about pythons in the Keys over the past five years, and the most recent confirmed sightings have been in Key Largo, according to the commission's statement.