Five Pound Mini-Nukes

March 18th, 2017

Via: CNBC:

As for the mini-nukes, Del Monte expects they represent “the most horrific near-term nanoweapons.”

Nanotechnology opens up the possibility to manufacture mini-nuke components so small that they are difficult to screen and detect. Furthermore, the weapon (capable of an explosion equivalent to about 100 tons of TNT) could be compact enough to fit into a pocket or purse and weigh about 5 pounds and destroy large buildings or be combined to do greater damage to an area.

“When we talk about making conventional nuclear weapons, they are difficult to make,” he said. “Making a mini-nuke would be difficult but in some respects not as difficult as a full-blown nuclear weapon.”

Del Monte explained that the mini-nuke weapon is activated when the nanoscale laser triggers a small thermonuclear fusion bomb using a tritium-deuterium fuel. Their size makes them difficult to screen, detect and also there’s “essentially no fallout” associated with them.

Still, while the mini-nukes are powerful in and of themselves, he expects they are unlikely to wipe out humanity. He said a larger concern is the threat of the nanoscale robots, or nanobots because they are “the technological equivalent of biological weapons.”

The author said controlling these “smart nanobots” could become an issue since if lost, there could be potentially millions of these deadly nanobots on the loose killing people indiscriminately.


BMW Says Self-Driving Car to Be Level 5 Capable by 2021

March 17th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

German carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) is on track to deliver a self-driving car by 2021, the company’s senior vice president for Autonomous Driving, Elmar Frickenstein, said on Thursday.

“We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with level 3, 4 and 5,” Frickenstein told a panel discussion in Berlin, explaining the vehicle will have different levels of autonomy, depending on how and where it is used.

A level 5 vehicle is capable of navigating roads without any driver input, while a level 3 car still needs a steering wheel and a driver who can take over if the car encounters a problem.


Rex Tillerson: Military Action Against North Korea Is ‘On the Table’

March 17th, 2017

Via: NBC:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Friday that military action against North Korea was “on the table” if the country continued to develop its weapons program.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action then that option is on the table,” he told a press conference in South Korea.

“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict,” he added. “But obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces then that would be met with an appropriate response.”


The Entrepreneur with the $100 Million Plan to Link Brains to Computers

March 17th, 2017

Via: MIT Technology Review:

Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson says he wanted to become very rich in order to do something great for humankind.

Last year Johnson, founder of the online payments company Braintree, starting making news when he threw $100 million behind Kernel, a startup he founded to enhance human intelligence by developing brain implants capable of linking people’s thoughts to computers.

Johnson isn’t alone in believing that “neurotechnology” could be the next big thing. To many in Silicon Valley, the brain looks like an unconquered frontier whose importance dwarfs any achievement made in computing or the Web.

According to neuroscientists, several figures from the tech sector are currently scouring labs across the U.S. for technology that might fuse human and artificial intelligence. In addition to Johnson, Elon Musk has been teasing a project called “neural lace,” which he said at a 2016 conference will lead to “symbiosis with machines.” And Mark Zuckerberg declared in a 2015 Q&A that people will one day be able to share “full sensory and emotional experiences,” not just photos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at Building 8, its secretive hardware division.


Facing Bread Shortage, Venezuela Arrests Bakers

March 17th, 2017

Via: Miami Herald:

Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.


High Calorie, Low Nutrient Food Apocalypse

March 15th, 2017

Via: BBC:

A teaspoon of oil, measured out with precision, is how Professor Tim Benton remembers his mother preparing items for frying.

When he was growing up in the 1960s, vegetable oil was still a precious commodity and used sparingly.

Fast-forward to today and oil is now so abundant and cheaply available that most of us use it liberally in our cooking – chucking it in anything from salad dressings to deep fat frying.

It’s not only in our home cooking, oil is also an ingredient in most of the items we buy from the supermarket.

In fact, vegetable oil, specifically soy bean oil and palm oil, are two of the eight ingredients, alongside wheat, rice, maize, sugar, barley and potato, that are now estimated to provide a staggering 85% of the world’s calories.

Increasingly, no matter what country we live in, we all eat similar diets which are heavy in calories and low in nutrients.


Toy Drone Shot Down with Patriot Missile

March 15th, 2017

Raytheon doesn’t mind.

Meanwhile, in France: French Military Trains Eagles to Hunt Drones

Via: BBC:

A Patriot missile – usually priced at about $3m (£2.5m) – was used to shoot down a small quadcopter drone, according to a US general.

The strike was made by a US ally, Gen David Perkins told a military symposium.

“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot,” he said.

Patriots are radar-targeted weapons more commonly used to shoot down enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles.

“Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles,” the general said.

Recently, there have been reports that some groups, for example in Iraq, have taken to attaching weapons to small, commercial drones and using them against security forces.

However, Gen Perkins suggested deploying large surface-to-air missiles as a defence was probably not economically wise.

“I’m not sure that’s a good economic exchange ratio,” he told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force symposium in Alabama.

“In fact, if I’m the enemy, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I’m just gonna get on eBay and buy as many of these $300 quadcopters as I can and expend all the Patriot missiles out there’.”


Seeking Adventure And Gold? Crack This Poem And Head Outdoors

March 15th, 2017

This is a bit like, Ready Player One, but outdoors.

Well, assuming that there is a chest of gold out there…

Just buy Forrest Fenn’s books to read the clues. *wink*

On a more ominous note, I hope the guy is aware of rubber hose cryptanalysis! It’s probably best to wait until you kick the bucket, like James Halliday did in Ready Player One, before attempting a stunt like this, gold or no gold.

Via: NPR:

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, there is a bronze chest filled with gold and precious gems. The search for this hidden treasure has become a hobby for some, an obsession for others, and for one recent searcher — a fatal pursuit.

The man behind the treasure is Forrest Fenn, an 85-year-old millionaire, former Vietnam fighter pilot, self-taught archaeologist, and successful art dealer in Santa Fe, N.M.

“No one knows where that treasure chest is but me,” Fenn says. “If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me.”


‘Pretty Much Tastes Like Chicken’

March 15th, 2017

Via: MarketWatch:

A Bay Area food-technology startup says it has successfully developed the world’s first chicken strip grown from self-reproducing cells without so much as ruffling a feather.

And it pretty much tastes like chicken, according to people who were offered samples Tuesday in San Francisco, before a planned big reveal on Wednesday by Memphis Meats Inc.

Scientists, startups and animal-welfare activists believe the new product could help to revolutionize the roughly $200 billion U.S. meat industry. Their goal: Replace billions of cattle, hogs and chickens with animal meat they say can be grown more efficiently and humanely in stainless steel bioreactor tanks.

Startups including Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, based in the Netherlands, have been pursuing the concept. They call it “clean meat,” a spin on “clean energy,” and they argue the technique would help the food industry avoid the costs of grain, water and waste-disposal associated with livestock. Scientists from those companies have already produced beef, grown from bovine cells and made into a burger and a meatball. Until now, chicken hasn’t been produced using the method.


Man Survived Alone in the Wilderness of Maine for 27 Years by Stealing from Lakeside Cabins

March 15th, 2017

How did this go on for so long? I don’t accept that Knight’s experience with alarm installation explains it.

I wonder if the situation became like placing a saucer of milk outside for a stray cat?

Did people like the idea of this guy living out there without a job or other commitments so much that they, consciously or not, allowed themselves to be robbed like this for decades?

I don’t know. All I know is that I started reading this piece and somehow kept reading through to the end. I don’t find Christopher Knight’s story particularly interesting. Spoiler alert: He’s a bum who stole fossil fuels and food to survive. Yes, he was damn good at it! However, I’m much more interested in learning more about why the victims allowed this to go on for close to three decades.

I’m thinking that self loathing of the 9 to 5 lifestyle has to be a part of the explanation. The temporary residents spend mini vacations in the cabins, while probably dreading a return to the office on Monday morning. Maybe they lived vicariously through Knight’s antics?

Whatever the case may be, this is a weird one on multiple levels.

Via: Guardian:

At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people.

Book: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel


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