Drones and Anti-Missile Systems Being Used to Protect Tanks

When it comes to technology and tanks, we often think of one of two extremes. Firstly the original tanks from years ago, with the large cannons mounted to tracks and then we think to our idea of the future, with giant floating armoured platforms. It would seem the marines are looking to go somewhere inbetween, but not with flying tanks but ones equipped with more systems to help protect tanks from their enemies.

The U.S. Marine Corps is looking at using technology, not additional armour, to help protect their vehicles. First up on the list of technologies is the use of electronic anti-missile systems, or active protective systems, that will detect and intercept anything from a guided anti-tank rocket to the likes of a rocket propelled grenade (such as those used in RPG’s). The system in place would be the Israli Trophy Active Protection System (APS), with four systems being mounted to both Stryker combat vehicles and M1A2 tanks.

With jammers and missile interception components working together the hardware is commonly designed to protect ships or airplanes, but with threats changing the military wants to be one step ahead. That isn’t all, with the Marines also looking at “unmanned aerial systems” (Drones) to help spot enemies before they can even launch the attack.

Combining knowledge about threats before they happen with active and passive defence systems is a nice way to protect soldiers from unwanted threats at a moments notice.

British Intelligence Agecy Accredits UK Master’s Degree in Cyber Spying

British Intelligence Agency, GCHQ, is said to have started accrediting six UK universities, which can now teach people the art of ‘cyber spying’. The degree initiative comes from part of the UK’s cyber security strategy published back in 2011.

The strategy itself is said to recognize that education is a crucial key to improving defenses against hackers and online fraud. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, stated that cyber security is a key part of the government’s future plans for the British economy, emphasizing that it would make the “UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online”.

“Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware.” Maude said.

Universities around the UK were required to submit their master’s degree courses for certification. At present, GCHQ-approved courses in cyber security can be found at Edinburgh Napier University, Lancaster University, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London.

In addition to the previously mentioned universities, GCHQ is said to have given out provisional accreditation to Cranfield University’s cyber defence and information assurance course, and the University of Surrey’s information security course.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC

Facebooks Emotion Study Now Linked to the Military

But wait, there’s more!

Recently we wrote about how Facebook users were outraged when they found out that 689,003 users news feeds were altered to display overly positive or negative content.

Since then, more information has surfaced showing that this emotion manipulation study also has possible ties to the military. As read on Mashable, an Army spokesman stated that in 2008 Cornell University sent a funding application to the military for a similar project, but was denied.

Controversy surrounding this 2012 research project pointed to the fact that the military had helped fund this possible unethical study, which Cornell has distanced itself from. The University originally issued a press release on June the 10th which confirmed military funding involvement in the emotion manipulation study from the Army Research Office. However as the military involvement became a common topic of discussion, Cornell chose to remove this acknowledgement.

On the first of July, SCG News reported that one of the studies authors, Jeffery Hancock, had previously received funding from the Department of Defense for other research projects including “Cornell: Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes” which included this visualization program that depicts the spread of beliefs and disease.

The simple solution to solving this issue seems to be going straight to the source, but unfortunately when asked most parties declined to comment

“When asked whether Cornell University had ever sought any external funding, and in particular from the Army Research Office, a University spokesman declined to comment. The study’s authors, Hancock and Jamie Guillory, as well as a Facebook spokesperson, did not answer Mashable’s requests for comment either.” Mashable

However, Army Spokesman Wayne Hall has stated that they did not provide any funding to Cornell University and has never asked for them to make amendments to their press release.

With this information in hand, why was the Army credited in the first place? NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen commented on this issue through a public Facebook post:

“Why do I call this strange? Any time my work has been featured in an NYU press release, the PR officers involved show me drafts and coordinate closely with me, for the simple reason that they don’t want to mischaracterize scholarly work. So now we have to believe that Cornell’s Professor of Communication and Information Science, Jeffrey Hancock, wasn’t shown or didn’t read the press release in which he is quoted about the study’s results (weird) or he did read it but somehow failed to notice that it said his study was funded by the Army when it actually wasn’t (weirder).
I think I would notice if my university was falsely telling the world that my research was partially funded by the Pentagon… but, hey, maybe there’s an innocent and boring explanation that I am overlooking.” Facebook

The last few lines of his quote ring the most truth about this whole ordeal.

Image courtesy of SCG news

More Asteroids Could Hit Earth In The Upcoming Years

With the strike in Chelyabinsk, Russia this year, scientists say it’s time to get serious. Tom’s Hardware states that a couple of articles come to the conclusion that asteroid strikes will be more frequent. For those interested, the articles are published in Nature, one of the most prestigious academic journals.

The guys currently tracking asteroids look for the ones that could cause total disasters and end of human life as we know it scenario. Most asteroids we know of have 1 kilometer in diameter or more. But there are however smaller ones that could devastate cities and even countries, the only thing is that we don’t really know where they are and when they will strike.

A project with its goal set to detect much smaller threats has been formed, named B612, led by former astronaut Edward Lu. According to the project, there are a million “near-Earth asteroids large enough to substantially damage or destroy a major city.” Equivalent to a massive minefield of nuclear warheads, this is not a threat we can simply ignore.

Scenarios like the one at Chelyabinsk are likely to happen once in a decade or two. However, a large surface of the Earth is uninhabited and given that we have more water than land masses, the probability of asteroids hitting large cities is unlikely. But nobody can be certain of that fact.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information