US Government


NASA's newest supersonic jet will NOT have a front window

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA is currently working on a supersonic plane shaped like a pencil which doesn't have a front-facing window for the pilot to look out of. This seemingly flawed concept will be mitigated by the installation of a 4K ultra high resolution TV screen showing a live feed from two cameras mounted on the front of the plane. The system is called the eXternal Visibility System (XVS) and will combine terrain data and visual input to create a comprehensive image of the plane's location. Known formally as the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST), it has garnered the nickname'son of concord' and could be ready for test fights by 2021 and could one day fly from London to New York in just three hours. The pilot's lack of a window will be solved by the installation of a 4K ultra high resolution TV (artist's impression, pictured) screen showing a live feed from two cameras mounted on the front of the plane NASA is currently working on a supersonic plane shaped like a pencil which doesn't have a front-facing window for the pilot to look out of (pictured).


Deepfakes aren't a tech problem. They're a power problem Oscar Schwartz

The Guardian

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, very few predicted the degree to which online misinformation would disrupt the democratic process. Now, as we edge closer to 2020, there is a heightened sense of vigilance around new threats to truth in our already fragile information ecosystem. At the top of the list of concerns is no longer Russian bots, but deepfakes, the artifical intelligence-manipulated media that can make people appear to do or say things that they never did or said. The threat is being taken so seriously that last Thursday, the House intelligence committee held Congress's first hearing on the subject. In his opening remarks, Representative Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, talked of society being "on the cusp of a technological revolution" that will qualitatively transform how fake news is made.


Iran says 'spy drone' violated its airspace in May amid U.S. escalation

The Japan Times

TEHRAN - Iran said on Sunday a "spy drone" had encroached its airspace in May, about a month before it downed an American drone as part of a series of escalatory incidents between Tehran and Washington. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the U.S.-made MQ9 Reaper drone -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had entered his country's airspace on May 26. Iran shot down a U.S. Global Hawk drone Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- a claim the United States denies. U.S. President Donald Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response would not have been "proportionate," with Tehran warning any attack would see Washington's interests across the Middle East go up in flames. On Sunday U.S. national security adviser John Bolton cautioned Iran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation.


Why Ed Tech Is Finally Reaching Its Potential

#artificialintelligence

Nisha Rataria remembers the moment that she understood the power of technology to significantly improve a child's learning and comprehension. As a teacher at the public Vidhya Nagar Primary School in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, Rataria teaches students from across the spectrum – bright, struggling, poor and middle class. A few years ago, her school implemented an artificial-intelligence based education program called EnglishHelper that provides a suite of tools to help children learn to speak, read and write English. Many of her students, who she says could not even recognize the alphabet, could now read English with some confidence. By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, EnglishHelper and ReadToMe could be used by nearly 20 million students worldwide.


Here's what an AI code of conduct for the Pentagon might look like

#artificialintelligence

Lastly, any use of AI that might lead to a lethal result would require the greatest level of oversight of all DoD's AI systems. This top layer could include systems that are weaponized (even if the weapon itself is not initiated by AI) and systems that may have lethal outcomes (such as cyber tools that may result in lethal effects). One of the goals of a working group overseeing this top layer may be the creation of an oversight body that includes members from outside of the executive branch, including from the legislative branch and from nongovernmental organizations (such as civil liberties advocates and experts from academia). The working group could create policies to dictate how often programs are reviewed by this oversight body, which milestones trigger a review, and so on.


Yemen's Houthi rebels strike Saudi airport ahead of Mike Pompeo visit

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on an airport in the kingdom Sunday evening as U.S. Secretary of State was on his way to the country for talks on Iran, Saudi Arabia said. Regional tensions have flared in recent days, The U.S. abruptly called off military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone. The Trump administration has vowed to combine a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region, following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. A new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran are expected to be announced Monday. The Sunday attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha.


Doug MacKinnon: Will you survive the coming blackout?

FOX News

There are many never-ending debates between Republicans and Democrats. Impeach vs. don't impeach; capital punishment vs. life in prison; wall vs. no wall; legalizing marijuana vs. not; self-driving cars vs. human drivers; Red Sox vs. Yankees; takeout vs. home-cooked; or Gone With the Wind vs. any other movie. All of these issues are stunningly important, right up to the second where cataclysm falls and creates a nightmare scenario that so many fear. That cataclysm is a complete loss of electricity and every mode of convenience and survival we take for granted. IS NORTH KOREA'S EMP THREAT REAL OR'SOMETHING OUT OF A JAMES BOND MOVIE'?


Facing Intensifying Confrontation With Iran, Trump Has Few Appealing Options

NYT > Middle East

President Trump's last-minute decision to pull back from a retaliatory strike on Iran underscored the absence of appealing options available to him as Tehran races toward its next big challenge to the United States: building up and further enriching its stockpile of nuclear fuel. Two weeks of flare-ups over the attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American surveillance drone, administration officials said, have overshadowed a larger, more complex and fast-intensifying showdown over containing Iran's nuclear program. In meetings in the White House Situation Room in recent days, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo contended that the potential for Iran to move closer to being able to build a nuclear weapon was the primary threat from Tehran, one participant said, a position echoed by Mr. Trump on Twitter on Friday. Left unsaid was that Iran's moves to bolster its nuclear fuel program stemmed in substantial part from the president's decision last year to pull out of the 2015 international accord, while insisting that Tehran abide by the strict limits that agreement imposed on its nuclear activities. Mr. Trump has long asserted that the deal would eventually let Iran restart its nuclear program and did too little to curb its support for terrorism.


DoD's Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set

#artificialintelligence

As climate change escalates, the impact of natural disasters is likely to become less predictable. To encourage the use of machine learning for building damage assessment this week, Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI -- the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit -- open-sourced a labeled data set of some of the largest natural disasters in the past decade. Called xBD, it covers the impact of disasters around the globe, like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti. "Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon," reads a research paper detailing the creation of xBD.


Say "Hello" to the SparkFun Artemis

#artificialintelligence

Measuring just 10.5 15.5 mm including antenna, the SparkFun Artemis module is intended to bridge the gap from "maker to market," and from prototype to product. The module has all of the support circuitry needed to make use of the Apollo 3 processor, but has been designed so that routing to the module can be done with lower-cost 2-layer PCBs with an 8 mil trace clearance. That means it can be easily integrated into maker projects, with a short run of circuit boards sourced from somewhere like OSH Park, or picked up in tape and reel quantities used in a production product. Today's release is the'engineering' version of the module and comes without FCC approval or a CE mark, however a fully FCC/CE approved version of the module with an RF shield is set to ship in tape and reel quantities as soon as next month. Traditionally known as a hobbyist supplier, the new Artemis Module is a big departure for SparkFun.