Obama Has Announced a $100-million Brain Mapping Project

Via: io9

Robert T. Gonzalez 4/02/13

President Obama announced plans this morning for a long-term research project to improve our understanding of the brain. Comparing it to the Human Genome Project, Obama said the brain-mapping initiative could lead to cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and autism, while fueling economic growth and job creation. Here’s what you need to know.

The announcement has been hotly anticipated since mid-February, when The New York Times reported the President would soon seek funds from Congress to “examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.” At the time, we and others speculated that Obama’s plan would resemble a so-called Brain Activity Map (a.k.a. “BAM”) project outlined last year in the journal Neuron, and that the Administration might seek billions of dollars from Congress to set things in motion.

In fact, Obama announced this morning that the project will be called the BRAIN Initiative. The initial price tag: a paltry (relatively speaking) $100 million.

BRAIN stands for “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies,” and the last word in that acronym is a telling one. When we spoke with Rafael Yuste (one of the neuroscientists whose advice the Obama Administration has sought in planning the initiative) back in February, he told us that the endeavor would be first and foremost “a technical development project.” The ultimate goal of the BRAIN may be to create a functional map of neuron activity throughout the human brain, but charting such a map is – as of today – impossible.

Read more: here

Need to see map of a politicians brain…
-Moose

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Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran

Via: The New York Times

By THOM SHANKER
Published: April 8, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Navy is going to sea for the first time with a laser attack weapon that has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.

A prototype shipboard laser will be deployed on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.

The laser will not be operational until next year, but the announcement on Monday by Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, seemed meant as a warning to Iran not to step up activity in the gulf in the next few months if tensions increase because of sanctions and the impasse in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program. The Navy released video and still images of the laser weapon burning through a drone during a test firing.

The laser is designed to carry out a graduated scale of missions, from burning through a fast-attack boat or a drone to producing a nonlethal burst to “dazzle” an adversary’s sensors and render them useless without causing any other physical damage.

The Pentagon has a long history of grossly inflating claims for its experimental weapons, but a nonpartisan study for Congress said the weapon offered the Navy historic opportunities.

“Equipping Navy surface ships with lasers could lead to changes in naval tactics, ship design and procurement plans for ship-based weapons, bringing about a technological shift for the Navy — a ‘game changer’ — comparable to the advent of shipboard missiles in the 1950s,” said the assessment, by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress.

The study found that the new high-energy laser “could provide Navy surface ships with a more cost-effective means of countering certain surface, air and ballistic missile targets.”

Read more: here

And it only hurts the people we determine are evil!
-Moose

Obama Overrides Congress to Buy $690 Million Worth of Russian Choppers for Afghan Air Force

Via: FrontPage

April 8, 2013 By Daniel Greenfield

Apparently America has too many jobs so Obama will be spending taxpayer money to support Russia’s defense industry on behalf of Afghanistan. And he’s doing so over the bipartisan objections of Congress from both the right and left and a ban on buying them written into the NDAA.

The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress last year, includes an amendment that prohibits financial contracts between the United States and Rosoboronexport, except when the Secretary of Defense determines that such arrangements are in the interest of national security.

The contract totals $690 million, most of which would go to the Russian arms maker, he added.

Aside from throwing almost $700 million to a company owned by the Russian government at a time when Obama has taken a chainsaw to the United States military, subsidizing the Russian defense industry helps it develop more weapons that will be sold to America’s enemies.

That money will help fund R&D for the next generation of weapons that an American military dismantled by Obama will be facing on the battlefield.

Rosoboronexport was originally under US sanctions for doing business with Iran until the ban was lifted. Rosoboronexport is still selling advanced weapons to Iran.

And oh yeah, this was a no bid contract.

Read more: here

Uh Oh…I smell freedom and democracy coming….
-Moose

Mayor Bloomberg: Security Drones Over New York City Are ‘Scary’ But Inevitable

Via: Business Insider

Michael Kelley | Mar. 23, 2013, 12:18 PM

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg considers the domestic use of military-style drones “scary” but says that there is no way to stop it.

“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. “It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different … you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”

In September a Congressional Research report stated that domestic drones may be able to bypass constitutional privacy safeguards because of their high level of sophistication.

At least 81 entities, including 17 police departments, have applied for permission to fly drones in U.S. airspace.

But the mayor seems to be referring to something more omnipresent, like having drones with ARGUS technology flying 17,500 feet above the Big Apple while transmitting high resolution images of people.

“There’ll be cameras every place” within five years, Bloomberg estimated. “We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I just don’t see how you could stop that.”

Read more: here

Yes, there is a way to stop it…Don’t Allow It!  
How can you tell a politician is lying?
They are speaking…
-Moose

That’s No Train! Air Force Eyes Subway for Nuclear Missiles

Via: Wired

By Robert Beckhusen 03.14.13

The Air Force wants to upgrade its aging nuclear missiles and the hundreds of underground silos that hold them. One idea it’s exploring: the construction of a sprawling network of underground subway tunnels to shuttle the missiles around like a mobile doomsday train. As one does.

As first reported by Inside Defense, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will award several study contracts next month worth up to $3 million each to research the idea. A broad agency announcement from the Air Force describes the hair-raising concept, intended to keep the weapons secure through 2075, as a system of tunnels where nuclear missiles are shuttled around on rails or some undefined “trackless” system.

The advantage of the world’s deadliest subway: During an atomic holocaust, mobile missiles are harder for an adversary to target than a static silo. Missiles could be positioned at launch holes placed at “regular intervals” along the length of the tunnels.

“The tunnel concept mode operates similar to a subway system but with only a single transporter/launcher and missile dedicated to a given tunnel,” stated the notice. “The tunnel is long enough to improve survivability but leaving enough room to permit adequate ‘rattle space’ in the event of an enemy attack.”

The Air Force hasn’t given specifics on where the tunnels could be built, or how long they’d need to be. But they’ll probably have to be jumbo-sized to “minimize impact from attack during all phases of missions/operations,” the notice stated. The Air Force requires that all research proposals address ways to “minimize likelihood” that unauthorized persons could sneak in, while keeping the system working safely and not sacrificing the doomsday train’s ability to “conduct world-wide operations.”

Read more: here

Again…WTF!?…How can this madness be stopped? Is there something in the water? Maybe it is from playing with trains as a youth…
-Moose

What If a Drone Attacked in the US?

Via: ICH

By Camillo Mac Bica

March 05, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – “This just in: Iran has utilized its newly developed drone capability to execute three members of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), aka the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, a terrorist organization responsible for killing and injuring many hundreds of Iranians, including Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and four other civilian university professors and scientists.

The strike took place early Tuesday morning in a suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio.

The Iranian intelligence agency reports that the three targeted individuals killed in the attack were senior MEK operational leaders. Sources on the ground report that in addition to three adult males, 10 American civilians, four women and six children were also killed. While Iranian officials have not acknowledged the civilian deaths, they do recognize that despite due care, precision weaponry and the best of intentions, the reality of war is such that sometimes collateral damage is unavoidable.

“US officials have, for many years, recognized MEK as a terrorist organization responsible for numerous acts of terrorism including the murder of Americans in Iran and the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi. Yet for reasons still unclear, MEK has recently been delisted from the terror list (curiously soon after the assassination of Professor Roshan) thanks to the efforts of “dignitaries” like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, US Homeland Security Advisory Council member Lee Hamilton and Israeli apologist Alan Dershowitz.

Further, given our strained relations with Iran, the US has refused to discontinue its support for MEK nor will it grant the Iranian Government’s request that MEK terrorists be arrested and extradited to Iran to stand trial for their terrorist activities.

Read more: here

Just a matter of time…
-Moose

Gun Control Through Deception

Via: Flopping Aces

Wow. With a name like Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorist Act (H.R. 720) who would be opposed right? I mean, is there an act to deny firearms and explosives to peaceful or philanthropic terrorists and the dangerous ones were just slipping through the cracks? Or maybe dangerous terrorists were only denied explosives before and now we need to close the firearms to dangerous terrorists loophole or something.

This bill has been submitted about every other year since 2007 and it’s suffered an anonymous death each time for good reason. But, CJ, how can you be against a bill denying these weapons of mass destruction to people who just want to kill us infidels?!

Here’s the problem, the bill is meant to disarm pretty much anyone the Attorney General wants to designate as a terrorist.

‘The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm…if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.’ (emphasis mine)

Well, who exactly determines whether someone is “preparing for” an act of terrorism? It would seem that an extremist like Eric Holder would easily deem a patriot “stockpiling” (re: legally purchasing) thousands of rounds of ammunition. Maybe someone that purchases more weapons than the administration is comfortable with one person having may be doing something “related to terrorism.”

To fully understand how this bill could legally target any American the authoritarian Marxists in power deems not worthy of having access to weapons, one first needs to understand how the federal government defines “terrorism” legally. Chapter 44, Section 921 of the United States Code provides those broad definitions.

The term “terrorism” means “activity, directed against United States persons, which (A) is committed by an individual who is not a national or permanent resident alien of the United States; (B) involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life which would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States; and (C) is intended (1)to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (2) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (3) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.” (emphasis mine)

“But, CJ, according to what you just quoted this doesn’t apply to American citizens. It says right there in (A).”

Oh, yes, that is why this act adds to the definition.

(3) in section 921(a), by adding at the end the following:
‘(36) The term ‘terrorism’ means ‘international terrorism’ as defined in section 2331(1), and ‘domestic terrorism’ as defined in section 2331(5).

There. Fixed that little quirk, didn’t they? As a matter of fact, H.R. 720 adds in “or if the Attorney General has determined” into just about every paragraph of Section 922, which defines “unlawful acts.”

Read more: here

Sneaky they are….
-Moose

Gun Control Through Deception

Via: Flopping Aces

Wow. With a name like Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorist Act (H.R. 720) who would be opposed right? I mean, is there an act to deny firearms and explosives to peaceful or philanthropic terrorists and the dangerous ones were just slipping through the cracks? Or maybe dangerous terrorists were only denied explosives before and now we need to close the firearms to dangerous terrorists loophole or something.

This bill has been submitted about every other year since 2007 and it’s suffered an anonymous death each time for good reason. But, CJ, how can you be against a bill denying these weapons of mass destruction to people who just want to kill us infidels?!

Here’s the problem, the bill is meant to disarm pretty much anyone the Attorney General wants to designate as a terrorist.

‘The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm…if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.’ (emphasis mine)

Well, who exactly determines whether someone is “preparing for” an act of terrorism? It would seem that an extremist like Eric Holder would easily deem a patriot “stockpiling” (re: legally purchasing) thousands of rounds of ammunition. Maybe someone that purchases more weapons than the administration is comfortable with one person having may be doing something “related to terrorism.”

To fully understand how this bill could legally target any American the authoritarian Marxists in power deems not worthy of having access to weapons, one first needs to understand how the federal government defines “terrorism” legally. Chapter 44, Section 921 of the United States Code provides those broad definitions.

The term “terrorism” means “activity, directed against United States persons, which (A) is committed by an individual who is not a national or permanent resident alien of the United States; (B) involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life which would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States; and (C) is intended (1)to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (2) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (3) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.” (emphasis mine)

“But, CJ, according to what you just quoted this doesn’t apply to American citizens. It says right there in (A).”

Oh, yes, that is why this act adds to the definition.

(3) in section 921(a), by adding at the end the following:
‘(36) The term ‘terrorism’ means ‘international terrorism’ as defined in section 2331(1), and ‘domestic terrorism’ as defined in section 2331(5).

There. Fixed that little quirk, didn’t they? As a matter of fact, H.R. 720 adds in “or if the Attorney General has determined” into just about every paragraph of Section 922, which defines “unlawful acts.”

Read more: here

Sneaky they are….
-Moose

Here Come…China’s Drones

Via: The Diplomat

China is developing its own drone technology — for its own military and for sale around the world.

Unmanned systems have become the legal and ethical problem child of the global defense industry and the governments they supply, rewriting the rules of military engagement in ways that many find disturbing. And this sense of unease about where we’re headed is hardly unfamiliar. Much like the emergence of drone technology, the rise of China and its reshaping of the geopolitical landscape has stirred up a sometimes understandable, sometimes irrational, fear of the unknown.

It’s safe to say, then, that Chinese drones conjure up a particularly intense sense of alarm that the media has begun to embrace as a license to panic. China is indeed developing a range of unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAVs/UASs) at a time when relations with Japan are tense, and when those with the U.S. are delicate. But that hardly justifies claims that “drones have taken center stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan,” or that the “China drone threat highlights [a] new global arms race,” as some observers would have it. This hyperbole was perhaps fed by a 2012 U.S. Department of Defense report which described China’s development of UAVs as “alarming.”

That’s quite unreasonable. All of the world’s advanced militaries are adopting drones, not just the PLA. That isn’t an arms race, or a reason to fear China, it’s just the direction in which defense technology is naturally progressing. Secondly, while China may be demonstrating impressive advances, Israel and the U.S. retain a substantial lead in the UAV field, with China—alongside Europe, India and Russia— still in the second tier. And thirdly, China is modernizing in all areas of military technology – unmanned systems being no exception.

Read more: here

Look what we’ve started….
-Moose

Arm Added to Big Dog Robot…

Via: You Tube

BigDog handles heavy objects. The goal is to use the strength of the legs and torso to help power motions of the arm. This sort of dynamic, whole-body approach to manipulation is used routinely by human athletes and will enhance the performance of advanced robots. Boston Dynamics is developing the control and actuation techniques needed for dynamic manipulation with funding from the Army Research Laboratory’s RCTA program.

Read more: here

This is so evil!
-Moose

Killer Robots Must Be Stopped, Say Campaigners

Via: The Guardian

‘Autonomous weapons’, which could be ready within a decade, pose grave risk to international law, claim activists.
Tracy McVeigh 
The Observer, Saturday 23 February

A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban “killer robots” before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates.
Robot warfare and autonomous weapons, the next step from unmanned drones, are already being worked on by scientists and will be available within the decade, said Dr Noel Sharkey, a leading robotics and artificial intelligence expert and professor at Sheffield University. He believes that development of the weapons is taking place in an effectively unregulated environment, with little attention being paid to moral implications and international law.

The Stop the Killer Robots campaign will be launched in April at the House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons.

“These things are not science fiction; they are well into development,” said Sharkey. “The research wing of the Pentagon in the US is working on the X47B [unmanned plane] which has supersonic twists and turns with a G-force that no human being could manage, a craft which would take autonomous armed combat anywhere in the planet.

“In America they are already training more drone pilots than real aircraft pilots, looking for young men who are very good at computer games. They are looking at swarms of robots, with perhaps one person watching what they do.”

Sharkey insists he is not anti-war but deeply concerned about how quickly science is moving ahead of the presumptions underlying the Geneva convention and the international laws of war.

Read more: here

All for Money..It’ll be good for the economy…
-Moose

Killer Robots Must Be Stopped, Say Campaigners

Via: The Guardian

‘Autonomous weapons’, which could be ready within a decade, pose grave risk to international law, claim activists.
Tracy McVeigh 
The Observer, Saturday 23 February

A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban “killer robots” before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates.
Robot warfare and autonomous weapons, the next step from unmanned drones, are already being worked on by scientists and will be available within the decade, said Dr Noel Sharkey, a leading robotics and artificial intelligence expert and professor at Sheffield University. He believes that development of the weapons is taking place in an effectively unregulated environment, with little attention being paid to moral implications and international law.

The Stop the Killer Robots campaign will be launched in April at the House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons.

“These things are not science fiction; they are well into development,” said Sharkey. “The research wing of the Pentagon in the US is working on the X47B [unmanned plane] which has supersonic twists and turns with a G-force that no human being could manage, a craft which would take autonomous armed combat anywhere in the planet.

“In America they are already training more drone pilots than real aircraft pilots, looking for young men who are very good at computer games. They are looking at swarms of robots, with perhaps one person watching what they do.”

Sharkey insists he is not anti-war but deeply concerned about how quickly science is moving ahead of the presumptions underlying the Geneva convention and the international laws of war.

Read more: here

All for Money..It’ll be good for the economy…
-Moose

A Cannon ‘Stun Gun’

Via: Defense News

Israeli Device Harnesses Shock Waves for Homeland Defense

Jan. 11, 2010 – 06:00AM | By BARBARA OPALL-ROME

TEL AVIV – An Israeli-developed shock wave cannon used by farmers to scare away crop-threatening birds could soon be available to police and homeland security forces around the world for nonlethal crowd control and perimeter defense.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense recently approved a license for ArmyTec, a Netanya, Israel, technology development advisory firm, to market military and paramilitary versions of the Thunder Generator cannon.

Developed and produced for the agricultural industry by PDT Agro, a small firm based in Herzliya, Israel, the system detonates a mixture of common liquefied petroleum (LPG), cooking gas and air to generate a series of loud, stunning shock waves.

Using a patented process involving Pulse Detonation Technology (PDT), the system feeds the gas-air mixture into one or more so-called impulse chambers or cannon barrels, where the burning fuel detonates and intensifies in force as it travels through the chamber, exiting in a rapid-fire succession of high-velocity shock bursts.

A small battery-powered control system – about twice the size of a pack of cigarettes – measures fuel pressure, temperature and flow rates while monitoring the continuous intake of the air-gas mixture.

According to company data, the system generates 60 to 100 bursts per minute, each traveling at about 2,000 meters per second and lasting up to 300 milliseconds.

The resulting shocks create a double deterrent to rioters and potential intruders, developers here say, by the extreme air pressure and sonic boom effect generated once the mixture propagates and expands through the air. One standard 12-kilogram LPG gas canister (retail cost: about $25) can produce up to 5,000 shock bursts.

Read more: here 

We really needed this to be invented…
-Moose

A Cannon ‘Stun Gun’

Via: Defense News

Israeli Device Harnesses Shock Waves for Homeland Defense

Jan. 11, 2010 – 06:00AM | By BARBARA OPALL-ROME

TEL AVIV – An Israeli-developed shock wave cannon used by farmers to scare away crop-threatening birds could soon be available to police and homeland security forces around the world for nonlethal crowd control and perimeter defense.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense recently approved a license for ArmyTec, a Netanya, Israel, technology development advisory firm, to market military and paramilitary versions of the Thunder Generator cannon.

Developed and produced for the agricultural industry by PDT Agro, a small firm based in Herzliya, Israel, the system detonates a mixture of common liquefied petroleum (LPG), cooking gas and air to generate a series of loud, stunning shock waves.

Using a patented process involving Pulse Detonation Technology (PDT), the system feeds the gas-air mixture into one or more so-called impulse chambers or cannon barrels, where the burning fuel detonates and intensifies in force as it travels through the chamber, exiting in a rapid-fire succession of high-velocity shock bursts.

A small battery-powered control system – about twice the size of a pack of cigarettes – measures fuel pressure, temperature and flow rates while monitoring the continuous intake of the air-gas mixture.

According to company data, the system generates 60 to 100 bursts per minute, each traveling at about 2,000 meters per second and lasting up to 300 milliseconds.

The resulting shocks create a double deterrent to rioters and potential intruders, developers here say, by the extreme air pressure and sonic boom effect generated once the mixture propagates and expands through the air. One standard 12-kilogram LPG gas canister (retail cost: about $25) can produce up to 5,000 shock bursts.

Read more: here 

We really needed this to be invented…
-Moose