Daily Archives: May 4, 2008

Robobug goes to war: Troops to use electronic insects to spot enemy ‘by end of the year’

minority_report

Predictive programming: Government agents release swarms of robotic spiders which jump onto the faces of innocent citizens forcing them to endure retinal scans in the movie Minority Report.

Daily Mail | May 4, 2008

By DANIEL COCHLIN

It may have seemed like just another improbable scene from a Hollywood sci-fi flick – Tom Cruise battling against an army of robotic spiders intent on hunting him down.

But the storyline from Minority Report may not be quite as far fetched as it sounds.

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield, helping to save thousands of lives.

spidercreep
Plans for a robot that can crawl like a spider are ‘well developed’

Prototypes could be on the front line by the end of the year, scuttling into potential danger areas such as booby-trapped buildings or enemy hideouts to relay images back to troops safely positioned nearby.

Soldiers will carry the robots into combat and use a small tracked vehicle to transport them closer to their targets.

Then they would swarm into the building and relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside.

BAE Systems has just signed a £19million contract to develop the robots for the US Army.

Researchers hope they will eventually create machines that can fly like a butterfly

Plans for a creature that can crawl like a spider are said to be well developed, and researchers eventually hope to be able to create creatures that can slither like a snake or fly like a dragonfly.

While some of the creatures will be fitted with small cameras, others will be equipped with sensors that will be able to detect the presence of chemical, biological or radioactive weapons.

A computer-generated video from BAE Systems shows the tiny invaders being released by a soldier, before scouting out a suspect building, which is finally blown up by ground forces.

BAE Systems scientists from the UK and America plan an army of the electronic bugs, and have ambitions to equip every front-line soldier with them.

Programme manager Steve Scalera was inspired by the way creatures use their senses to detect danger.

“What we are doing is providing an enhanced awareness for soldiers, basically an extension to their eyes and ears,” he said.

“The creatures have external sensors. They can be tossed out into a building or a cave or even a pile of rubble and then send images back to the troops.

“The idea is to get a number of these working together – some tiny, some maybe up to a foot in length, and all going into a building together carrying out different tasks. Eventually we hope to have animals flying and slithering.

“The five-year programme has just started but we could have them with soldiers within six months, and then continue to develop the concept as the project goes along.”

Despite the high-tech gadgetry involved, BAE Systems insists once production is in full swing, each bug will cost no more than £100 to produce.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

Related

Minority Report: A Dystopic Vision
When government agents search for Anderton, they release swarms of tiny, robotic “spiders” which leap onto the faces of innocent citizens and force them to endure retinal scans.

Freemasons of D.C. Honor Congressman John Lewis for Civil Rights

world-conference-of-masonic-grand-lodges

PRWEB | May 3, 2008

Lifelong commitment to Civil Rights and Humanitarian causes recognized at Masonic World Conference

(Vocus/PRWEB ) May 3, 2008 — The Freemasons of the Nation’s Capital, the Grand Lodge of Free And Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia, will present an award to Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) at a reception on Thursday, May 8th in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill for his lifetime dedication to civil rights. This ceremony takes place as part of the 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges, at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel, May 7th, 2008 through May 10th, 2008.

This conference will bring together international Masonic leaders comprised of high-level officials in government, business and civic service. Specifically, large delegations from Africa, Latin America and Europe are expected to be in attendance. The setting will be to discuss how Freemasonry can utilize its position to promote universal understanding, enlightened ideas, and goodwill globally.

Members of the press are invited to cover keynote speakers, banquets, award ceremonies and the World War II Memorial wreath-laying, commemorating the Freemasons who died during WWII. Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) will be honored as well during the conference with Freemasonry’s Medal of Freedom for his commitment to preserving freedom and liberty worldwide. A number of educational scholarships will also be presented at the closing banquet.

As the world’s oldest and largest fraternal society with more than half of its membership in the United States, American Freemasonry has a rich history of involvement in the founding of America and her development for over two centuries. The 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges will be the largest international gathering of leaders of Freemasonry in Washington D.C. since the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building by President and Freemason George Washington on September 18, 1793.

For more information about all events please contact 202-686-1811. Media must RSVP due to security.

Chinese children sold “like cabbages” into slavery

Reuters Apr 29, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – Thousands of children in southwest China have been sold into slavery like “cabbages”, to work as labourers in more prosperous areas such as the booming southern province of Guangdong, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

China announced a nationwide crackdown on slavery and child labor last year after reports that hundreds of poor farmers, children and mentally disabled were forced to work in kilns and mines in Shanxi province and neighboring Henan.

“The bustling child labor market (in Sichuan province) was set up by the local chief foreman and his gang of 18 minor foremen, who each manage 50 to 100 child labourers,” the Southern Metropolis Newspaper said.

“The children generally fall between the ages of 13 and 15, but many look under 10,” it added.

The newspaper said 76 children from the same county, Liangshan, had been missing since the Chinese Lunar Year festival in February, 42 of whom had already left the region to work.

“The youngest kids found in the child labor market were only seven and nine years old,” it said.

According to a contract exposed by an undercover reporter, a child laborer is paid 3.5 yuan ($0.50) an hour and must work at least 300 hours a month.

“These kids are robust and can do the toughest work,” a foreman was quoted as saying, as he pulled a scrawny girl to stand beside him, the paper said.

Xinhua news agency said the county government had sent officials to rescue the children, but some were unwilling to leave, having been sold into slavery by their parents or volunteering to work themselves.