Monday, December 15, 2008

Russia/Cuba, China Drills, ABL, Plague War Threat

Russian warships head for Cuba
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081215/wl_afp/russiacubamilitarynavy_081215151217

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia said on Monday it was sending a group of warships to Soviet-era ally Cuba in its latest defiant naval move around US waters, part of a drive to revive old Cold War ties with Latin America.
The warships will visit Havana on December 19-23, the navy said, continuing a tour that has already taken in US foes Venezuela and Nicaragua and seen the ships pass through the Panama Canal for the first time since World War II.
"This will be the first visit to Cuba by Russian warships since the Soviet era," the Russian naval headquarters said in a statement.
The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two other ships already held exercises with Venezuela's navy in the Caribbean Sea last month.
The naval manoeuvres close to US waters are seen as a riposte to Washington's own moves in Russia's Soviet-era sphere of influence, including in the Black Sea.


Beijing holds air-ground collaborative anti-terror drill
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90786/6553795.html

On December 13, the Beijing police conducted an air-ground collaborative anti-terror drill. Wang Yi, deputy head of the Beijing Special Armed Police Unit and the general director of the drill, stated that the Beijing police force has drafted a complete emergency plan which can timely tackle all kinds of terrorist attacks.Wang also said that in response to recent international terror attacks, especially after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Beijing police have carried out a series of anti-terror drills based on in-depth investigations.

Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a0a8IQrfwSFU&refer=worldwide
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.
Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

Airborne Laser lets rip on first target (update)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026866.200-airborne-laser-lets-rip-on-first-target.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

Plague may ravage world again in case of another world war
http://english.pravda.ru/science/tech/16-12-2005/9398-plague-0

Random Robot Roundup
http://robots.net/article/2712.html
According to a recent research paper, it's difficult for humans to recognize disgust on an artificial face, but easier to recognize sadness and fear on a simulated face than a natural one. The ability to display emotions will come in handy as researchers develop robots capable of a wider range of emotional responses and interactions, such as those described in a recent Science Daily article on emotional robots. Why bother building emotional robots in the first place? A New Scientist article argues that adding emotion may be one of the most important of six ways we can develop robots that do now harm. For two other views on what the future of robots hold in store for us, see the TechNewsWorld article, The Coming Revolution, which contains a few quotes from me. In other news, Doug Emmes of the DPRG sent links to a Sean Reynolds' Wash UAV page showing an autonomous helicopter with open source Arduino code, and to the Sparkfun Electronics USB 32-Bit Whacker - PIC32MX460 Development Board. The Swirling Brain sent us links to robot concept art from the Terminator 4 movie, a BBC story on IBM's DARPA-funded cognitive computing initiative that hopes to develop a machine that mimics the structure and function of a brain, a gizmodo article on the ROMP robot (Remotely Operated Mobile Platform), a sort of poor-man's iRobot battlefield bot. The brain also noticed a Fox news piece on the coming age of tiny flying war robots. Roland Piquepaille let us know about his latest blog posts on razor clam robots, the future impact of robots on society, and an apple picking robot. Know any other robot news, gossip, or amazing facts we should report? Send 'em our way please.

Spotting Snipers With Sound
http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/print/6990

GeoEye wins big imagery order from US military
http://www.videsignline.com/news/212400267

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