By A Web Design

The News

Dig 1940 on the BBC

One thing the Brits got over us in the states is the BBC.  A new show not available in the US, Dig 1940, is presented by archaeologist Jules Hudson as he travels around France and England digging up old artifacts of WW2.  In Episode 1, Hudson and his team dig up an old Stuka in France.  Thank God for YouTube, you can at least get a small clip of the show.  Since the world has gotten smaller, it is more noticeable how  restrictive national boundaries are starting to get in the way of everything from commerce to a little tv enjoyment.  Hopefully the internet will circumvent these restrictions some day.

A flight of Stukas

In this first episode, a British fighter pilot explained that a Stuka's strength and weakness was it's ability to dive straight down, by using it's air brakes.  This made their bombing more accurate, but slowed the aircraft down making it susceptible to British fighters.  The plane dug up on the show must have dove straight into the ground, with few recognizable parts coming up out of the hole.

HULC Exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin is trying to sell the US Army a robotic wearable exoskeleton that can increase and prolong the soldier's ability to cover ground quickly and transport heavier loads.  Extreme examples of this principle were shown in the movie 'Avatar', but this suit is much more nimble and lightweight, at around 50 lbs.  The wearer is said to not even notice it, as the suit's robotic sensors and microprocessor follow what you want to do, like walk or pick up something, and it responds to assist. The load carrying ability still exists even when the battery pack is exhausted.

The US Army's soldiers could be viewed as becoming superhuman, with night vision, network connections to each other and unmanned drones, robotic exoskeletons, body armor and what ever next. Times are changing fast...

OBG's new apparel store

Check out the Old British Guns's new apparel store.  For now we have some unique t-shirt designs being delivered by Zazzle.com, on high quality t-shirts.  Just the thing to wear to the next gun show, if you live in the US.  For now we have 2 designs, but more are on the burner.  Here is a sample, Birmingham Muscle.

Birmingham Muscle T-shirt

Virus lurking in drone pilot's computers

In a story from Wired's online magazine, a persistant keylogging virus has lodged itself in the Air Force's drone command and control computers at Creech Air Force base in Nevada.  Efforts to clean the computers have failed as the virus pops back up.  The source for Wired's Danger Room has said they thought the virus was benign, but that they didn't really know.

Drone pilot's control room

Having a keylogger on a computer that controls a deadly armed predator drone seems more than benign.  Also the fact that you can't get rid of it, AND you're still flying armed drones off that system just screams for a little common sense.  The article stated that the virus hasn't interfered with pilots flying their missions overseas.  Let's just hope the source didn't really mean it.  If I knew I had a keylogger on my machines, (which I probably do but don't know it) I wouldn't so much as update this blog till it was cleaned up.  And this blog doesn't have  national security implications.  What are they thinking?

We all know already that drone security is a bit lax.  The video downloaded and used by American troops in the field has never been encrypted, and has been found on Taliban laptops.  Possibly it isn't the military's fault, though, as computer network systems and even the internet itself were designed to just work, and security implications came along later, leaving our systems perpetually vulnerable to exploitation.  I can visualize some brilliant shadowy hacker silently nodding in agreement.

10/25/11 Update: The Air Force released a statement to the fact that no drone control computers were affected by the malware and that only ground support computers were infected.  They also state the malware was not a keylogger, but a credential stealing program used against common gaming sites.  So not to worry....

 

Arduino Sentry Gun

The world of guns is changing fast... jobs that used to belong to military forces, like shooting bad guys, is being outsourced to drones.  And not only drones, but autonomous aircraft that have computer  brains that can make the decision to shoot if the right bad guy is in his way.

Reaper Hunter/Killer

This is starting to happen in your  back yard.  There are a million sentry gun projects in the works right now, not just military phalanx projects, but homebrew things made in a garage, and using cheap Arduino microprocessors and (for the moment) airsoft guns or rubber band gatling guns.  The computer controlled guns can be programmed  to aim and shoot manually or to make their own decisions and shoot when and where the programmer wants it to.

Airsoft gun and Arduino control

Of course, with the economic meltdown of the rich countries it's possible they are being developed at just the right time, and would make a dandy home defense weapon, but it would be hard to distinguish you going to the bathroom from a home invader.  Arduino's are pretty powerful, but I doubt they can tell friend from foe yet.  However, humans being the way they are, and inveterate tinkerers, they'll figure it out.

Rubber band Gatling with Arduino smarts