Cheap Electricty : Making Progress

August 21, 2013

Depends on how you call progress: A Nuclear Reactor Competitive with Natural Gas: General Atomics has applied for DOE funds to commercialize a nuclear reactor that could lower electricity costs by 40 percent.

While long, the article is worth the read …

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Breaking: DHS Customizes Drone Fleet to Include Domestic Surveillance Capabilities

March 5, 2013

Let’s see…

According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. DHS also reportedly purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) to go with their bullet stockpile.

Now this…

DHS has customized its drone fleet to include domestic surveillance capabilities that would help government identify civilians carrying guns and track their cell phones.

Homeland Security required that this Predator drone, built by General Atomics, be capable of detecting whether a standing human at night is “armed or not.” (CNet – U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

CNET reported:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones,originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.

The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department’s unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States’ northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

Homeland Security’s specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,” meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify “signals interception” technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and “direction finding” technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.

Concern about domestic use of drones is growing, with federal legislationintroduced last month that would establish legal safeguards, in addition to parallel efforts underway from state and local lawmakers. The Federal Aviation Administrationrecently said that it will “address privacy-related data collection” by drones.

The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States’ land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to “respond to emergency missions across the country,” and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.


Domestic Surveillance Tech Into Predator Drones

March 3, 2013

Homeland Security’s specifications say drones must be able to detect whether a civilian is armed. Also specified: “signals interception” and “direction finding” for electronic surveillance.

Well at least we don’t have to guard our library card, for the evil Buuuush. And you thought they were just looking for illegals.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.

The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department’s unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States’ northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

Homeland Security’s specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,” meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify “signals interception” technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and “direction finding” technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.

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Merry Christmas: The Air Force Just Bought Its Biggest And Fastest $19 Million Dollar Armed Drone Ever

December 31, 2011

Meet the Avenger:

The Air Force just bought itself the next generation “hunter-killer” drone, and at nearly 16,000 pounds and 44 feet long the Avenger is now the largest UAV in the U.S. arsenal.

The Avenger

The more powerful ‘Predator C Plus made by General Atomics.

William Hennigan of the LA Times reports the $15 million drone is one of the models in consideration to replace the aging Predators and Reapers in use for the past several years (via Stars and Stripes).

Made by General Atomics, the Avenger is powered by a turbofan engine, has internal weapons storage, and an “S” shaped exhaust for minimal heat and radar signature.

Though it carries the Lynx Synthetic aperture radar and a version of the F-35’s electro-targeting system, the craft will use the same ground control as the MQ-9 drones currently in operation.

The new drone won’t be able to fly as long as the Reaper, 20 hours compared the the Reaper’s 30, but it will reach a top speed of 460 mph, more than 120 mph faster than its predecessor.

After reports earlier this month that the drone would be sent to Afghanistan, Air Force officials now say the Avenger may be years away from active duty.

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