Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
DailyTech, April 23, 2014
Due to heavy reliance on satellites and space equipment, the United States is more vulnerable to space
terrorism and uncontrollable space junk, according to a report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) group.
Space debris, for example, can travel up to eighteen thousand miles per hour, the report says, and with more
satellites in space than any other nation, catastrophic satellite destruction is possible. Even a piece of
debris just half an inch in diameter could impact something in orbit with as much force as a bowling ball
moving more than 300 miles per hour.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a first-hand look at a life-size robot Tuesday that resembles
Hollywood’s “Terminator,” the latest experiment by the Pentagon’s hi-tech researchers.
But unlike the cinematic version, the hulking Atlas robot is designed not as a warrior but as a humanitarian machine
that would rescue victims in the rubble of a natural disaster, officials said.
The 6-foot-2-inch (187 centimeters) Atlas is one of the entrants in a contest designed to produce a
man-like life-saver machine, the brainchild of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
However, one thing hasn’t changed: how we authenticate who we are when we log on to devices and
access websites and networks. We‘re still using the same system of user names and passwords that was devised
almost 50 years ago at MIT to control the amount of time students and professors could spend on the
university’s timeshare computer.
Fingerprints aren’t the only form of biometric information that will be used to authenticate in the near future.
In the next year or two, we‘ll see devices that utilize technologies such as voice prints, iris scans, and personal
physical signals such as unique heart rate information. It’s even possible to imagine that in the not-too-distant
future, DNA might be used as a form of authentication, as well. The trend toward wearable computing devices will also
play a role in strong multifactor authentication.
Air-powered leopard robot doesn’t need a complex brain to walk
ExtremeTech, April 22, 2014
Most of the quadruped robots that have previously wowed and terrified us on video have relied on powerful
computational engines and substantial processing power to move their mechanized limbs. This approach has
provided some incredibly lifelike, efficient movements in robots like Boston Dynamics’ WildCat, but their
complicated nature has slowed the deployment of walking robots outside of the lab. A team from Osaka
University in Japan is working on a more natural approach to walking robots that sacrifices power in
the name of simplicity.
The robot is called Pneupard, a regrettable contraction of “leopard” and “pneumatic”. Knowing that,
you should have a basic idea of what makes this system of locomotion different. Rather than using actuators
and motors to move, Pneupard has a series of artificial muscles that run on compressed air.
SpaceX shows off awesome Falcon 9 Reusable vertical takeoff and landing test flight (video)
ExtremeTech, April 22, 2014
Coinciding with SpaceX’s launch to the International Space Station on Friday and its (not so successful) attempt
at a soft landing, Elon Musk’s company has released an awesome video of what the Falcon 9 Reusable should look
like when successfully performing a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL). The video has accumulated an
astonishing 2.5 million views in the last few days, which is rather heartwarming as it indicates that humanity in
general shares my interest in one of the most important technologies that will be pioneered in our lifetimes: cheap,
reusable space travel.