Friday, August 31, 2012

‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home

‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home

By Klint Finley on Aug 24, 2012 04:21 pm
come and take itEarlier this month, Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves “Defense Distributed” launched an initiative they’ve dubbed the “ Wiki Weapon Project.” They’re seeking to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for a plastic gun anyone can create with an open-source 3D printer known as the RepRap that can be bought for less than $1,000. If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project’s CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.
“We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable,” says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. “You don’t need to be able to put 200 rounds through it…It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn’t matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality.”
Forbes: ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home
As the article notes, someone has already managed to print a working lower receiver (ie, the important part) for a rifle.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Lifeguard Drone Used in Oregon Rescue

Link to Original Article, thanks to Technoccult for the heads up.

Interesting use for remote-controlled drone tech. I'm curious what other non-military uses folks will come up with eventually. 


Think of a lifeguard and you might conjure up images of sunburned teenagers working a summer job. A new and relatively inexpensive lifesaving device could change that.
Meet EMILY, a remote-controlled lifeguard. It looks like a buoy, but it's a small watercraft fitted with a flotation device. It can go up to 22 mph and can get to people more quickly, and in some cases more safely, than any human.
It's being used by a handful of communities. Last month, it was used in its first rescue.
"In the day and age of shrinking budgets and the availability of personnel, this is just another thing we can use," said Joshua Williams, chief of the Depoe Bay Fire District in Oregon, which performed the rescue with it July 15. "It's proven itself by saving a father and a son. It's really all the proof that we need."
EMILY stands for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard. It's a little over 4 feet long, weighs 25 pounds and costs about $10,000. It's made by Hydronalix, a Green Valley, Ariz., company established in 2009.
If a swimmer is struggling, a lifeguard or anyone else can put battery-powered EMILY in the water and, with a remote control, send it through even rough waves to help. Some locations attach an emergency radio so they can instruct panicked swimmers on what to do.
EMILY can't bring swimmers back to shore, but it can keep them safe until rescuers get there, or be attached to a rope so rescuers can pull EMILY and anyone holding on back in.
In Los Angeles County, the lifeguards made famous by the TV series "Baywatch" use EMILY to shoo people away from rip currents, said Rori Marston of Hydronalix.
EMILY doesn't replace a lifeguard. Someone must be on shore to operate EMILY, and lifeguards have skills EMILY can't replicate. EMILY also can't be used if a swimmer is unconscious.
Louis Misto, chief of the Misquamicut Fire District in Westerly, said he was skeptical but soon changed his tune.
"When you're talking about getting right into the surf line, where most of these drownings or rescues take place, EMILY is going to be one of the most useful tools," he said.
Westerly bought two EMILYs this summer after Barbara Stillman, who runs a beach resort, proposed the idea. Over the years, she has jumped in to help distressed swimmers when lifeguards are off duty.
"They're so panicked that they push you down," she said.
She has been trained on how to use EMILY for the next time that happens.
"I could run over there and grab EMILY and put a rope on her, throw her in the water, and bring her in myself," Stillman said.
Depoe Bay has no lifeguards and a small volunteer fire department to cover about 16 miles of rocky coastline. The water is cold, the currents are strong and not every firefighter knows how to perform water rescues, Williams said.
In the July rescue, when firefighters arrived, the father was exhausted, having already saved one son from a rip current. He was swimming toward another son, the mother frantic on the beach, Assistant Chief Hank Walling said. In the past, they would have had to call in a Coast Guard helicopter or find a firefighter certified to swim.
Instead, they sent EMILY.
News of the rescue was validation for communities using it.
"It's an awesome tool," Stillman said. "I know all it's going to take is one life. Then, to me, it's worth all its value."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Best U.S. Places to Survive the Apocalypse

This one was my favorite: Original Post


During the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. government built hundreds of Atlas-F missile silos in preparation for a nuclear attack that never came. Most of these silos were abandoned, but Bruce Francisco and Gregory Gibbons acquired one in New York’s Adirondack State Park and transformed it into an underground haven.
Silohome sits atop a 1,350-foot mountain overlooking the Saranac River Valley and is surrounded by acres of untouched wilderness, which means it’s ideal for many of your post-apocalyptic duties: farming, hunting and fishing. On the surface it features a hangar, living room with fireplace and a wraparound porch, but the best stuff is below ground. In what was once the 2,300-square-foot launch control center there are now three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living area and a kitchen.
Don’t feel safe enough? Well, there’s always the 20,000-square-foot silo that’s connected to the underground living quarters via a tunnel complete with “Star Wars doors.” It’s the perfect place to stockpile canned goods and ammunition, or you can give it a home makeover so you and the family can kick back and enjoy the nuclear winter in comfort. Buy it now for just $2.3 million — cash only.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Peter Lamborn Wilson: Revert Back to 1911

Another interesting one from Klintron and his Technoccult hive-mind. Wilson sure comes up with some cool shit for being such a wacko. Archived Post Here.

By Klint Finley on Aug 09, 2012 09:35 pm

New(ish) material from Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey), published in the Spring 2012 issue of Fifth Estate:
Reversion to 1911 would constitute a perfect first step for a 21st century neo-Luddite movement. Living in 1911 means using technology and culture only up to that point and no further, or as little as possible.
For example, you can have a player-piano and phonograph, but no radio or TV; an ice-box, but not a refrigerator; an ocean liner, but not an aeroplane, electric fans, but no air conditioner.
You dress 1911. You can have a telephone. You can even have a car, ideally an electric. Someday, someone will make replicas of the 1911 “Grandma Duck” Detroit Electric, one of the most beautiful cars ever designed.
1911 was a great year for Modernism, Expressionism, Symbolism, Rosicrucianism, anarcho- syndicalism and Individualism, vegetarian lebensreform, and Nietzschean cosmic consciousness, but it was also the last great Edwardian year, the twilight of British Empire and last decadent gilded moments of Manchu, Austro-Hungarian, German, Russian, French and Ottoman monarchy; last “old days” before the hideous 20th century really got going.
The next step backward would be to join the Amish and other Old Order Anabaptists in 1907 — no telephones, no electricity at all, and no internal combustion. With this move, the battle would virtually be won. The next generation would be able to make the transition to no metal — the neo-neolithic. Arcadian pastoralism.
After that a dizzying sliding spiral back into — illiteracy. Oral/aural culture. Classless tribal anarchy. Democratic shamanism. The Gift. This would be the ultimate Luddite goal. But the first step will be back to 1911.
And people told me quitting most Google services was extreme ;)
(via the newly rejuvenated Aurthur Magazine Twitter account)
Update: It turns out this is an excerpt from a longer manifesto first published byOVO in November 2011:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Former DARPA Director Heading Up New Experimental Technology Department At Google

Original Link on Technoccult, thanks as usual to Klintron.

By Klint Finley on Aug 14, 2012 11:43 pm

Remember how earlier this year Regina Dugan, the former director of DARPA, took a job at Google? Now we know what she’s up to there:
Google has also created a department within Motorola—Advanced Technology and Projects—comprised of researchers charged with finding cutting-edge technologies that could give Motorola’s products an edge. And the executive refresh includes a new senior vice president, Regina Dugan, a former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s long-term research arm. [...]
But whether the DARPA research model can work in the fast-evolving world of smartphones is unclear, says Chetan Sharma, a wireless analyst in Seattle. “Regina does bring in outside perspective specially related to projects that are leaps, versus incremental steps,” he says. “However, this will need to be executed under the constraints of competition, time, and money.”
While DARPA has had some storied successes—such as the precursor to the Internet—it also freely admits that it often fails. And it has pursued some odd projects, such as setting up a research program to figure out how to reassemble shredded documents.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should Know

Original Article: MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should Know:


MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should Know

The fantasy of an impending zombie apocalypse may inspire urban survival fantasies in the most level-headed of us, but zombie apocalypse or not, knowing how to survive the breakdown of social amenities we take for granted is a legitimate skill. Here's a look at the basic urban survival skills you need to know catered to your skill set.
Previously we took a look at the wilderness survival skills everyone should know, and a number of those skills apply here, but the daily and significant challenges in a city transform the types of skills needed and methods of survival.
To help get a good understanding of what's needed for urban survival, I talked with Dr. Arthur Bradley, author of The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family andDisaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. He points to three types of survival skills people latch onto:
  • The Stockpiler: someone with a wide assortment of supplies but very little knowledge of how to actually do anything.
  • The MacGyver: someone who can jury rig anything with duct tape, a pencil, and a pack of chewing gum.
  • The Survivalist: someone who can find dinner in an old stump and keep warm using a roll of toilet paper and a rusty coffee can.
We'll guide you along the path to applying each type of skill to the main factors of survival: shelter, water, food, and rescue. Before we go into the specifics for each survivalist, we're going to look at the most important skill that applies to everyone: safety.

Safety Skills for Daily Life and Natural Disasters

We all face dangerous situations on a daily basis and most of us live in an area where at least some type of natural disaster is possible. If you know how to react to situations then you get out of them safely, so let's look at a few scenarios you may find yourself in at some point.

Stay Safe Every Day and Know What to Do in Common Perilous Situations

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowDaily life has it's own perils and while it's impossible to prepare for everything, it's likely you will find yourself in one of these instances at some point.
  • What to do when someone breaks into your home: If you wake up to a burglar in your house, you first reaction is probably to hide under the bed as quickly as possible. That's not the best approach. Instead, barricade your bedroom door, call the police, and listen closely for the burglar. If they approach the door get out of a window and leave if possible. If flight isn't an option, grab some type of weapon from room and attack if they try to enter.
  • How to get out of a mob: It seems like once a year around Black Friday we hear about someone getting injured in a mob of people. When a mob reacts, it starts to stampede and that's when things get dangerous. Survivalist Bear Grylls offers these suggestions: Stay on your feet. If you fall, cover your head and move sideways toward the wall. Once you're at the wall, stand up and make your way to the exit.
  • How to know you're being followed and what you should do: The easiest way to see if you're being followed is to start making erratic movements. Cross the street a few times, take three or four left turns, or start walking faster. Just be careful not to lead your pursuer down an alley. If the person is still on your tail, duck into a safe building. If you're in the city, this means a whatever business is open. If no business is available, go for a safe looking house. This might mean a home with children's toys outside, a pleasant looking set of window shades, or a nice welcome mat. Call for the police as soon as you can. If you do have to run, throw as many objects as you can between you and your pursuer.
  • Basic self-defense: If a chaser does catch up to you, basic self-defense is key. Chances are you're not fighting a ninja and as we've noted before one of the most important facets to staying alive in an assault is knowing where to hit. Go for the head, ears, groin, or knees when you can. Most importantly, don't stick around when you knock them down. Get out as soon as possible.
While the above dangers are certainly terrible, they don't hold a candle to what mother nature can throw at you. Photo by christine592.

Stay Safe During a Natural Disaster

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowDepending on where you live you will probably encounter some type of natural disaster in your life. Thankfully, most natural disasters have simple and easy to remember procedures for when you're caught in them.
  • Earthquakes—Drop, Cover, Hold On:This one is pretty simple. If you feel an earthquake, hit the ground, get under cover of some type, and hold onto anything you can. This prevents the risk of objects falling on your head.
  • Floods: Floods are pretty simple: tune into the radio and do exactly what you're told. Depending on where you live, you'll be ordered to evacuate or not. If you can't leave, get to the highest point you can as quickly as possible.
  • Fires—Stop, Drop, and Roll: We all know "Stop, Drop, and Roll" works when you're on fire, but it's also important to know how to escape a building that's on fire. If you're in a fire, hit the floor and cover your face with a damp cloth. Make your way to the closest exit, but remember you can't touch the handle of the door. We've mentioned how to break down a door before and it's pretty easy. If the door swings outward, kick it near the handle because it's the weakest point. If it opens inward, you can't kick it down, but if you can find a hammer, you can knock out the pins on the hinges to take the door off.
  • Tornadoes and Hurricanes: If you can, go to a tornado or hurricane shelter in your neighborhood. If that's not a possibility, head to a low level room without windows and cover yourself with something heavy. A mattress works best, but if one isn't available, get under blankets. If you're out in the open, move to the lowest point and lay down.
Knowing what to do in case of disasters is just the first step. The four keys to survival: shelter, food, water, and rescue are important to all of us regardless of what situation causes us to lose them. Three types of people exist in these situations, so we'll break down the types of skill needed dependent on the type of person you see yourself as. Photo by DFID - UK Department for International Development.

Find Shelter To Keep Yourself Warm

Not having shelter is a dangerous situation. Thankfully, a city provides a lot of ways to get shelter no matter what happened. Let's take a look at what you need for shelter in the city and how you can make the most out of what you can find.

For the Stockpiler: Hunker Down at Home with Stored Necessities

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowThe stockpilier has every supply needed in their own home so looking for shelter isn't a necessity. Store a few key items to keep you warm. Most likely, you already have a number of these items scattered in your home, but it's still best to keep a separate set with your stockpiled goods (we'll detail these in the in the next section) in case you can't get to the rest of the house. Here's what you need:
  • Several warm blankets or sleeping bags for each person.
  • Change of clothes for several different climates.
  • Disposable heat packs for warmth.

For the MacGyver: How to Pick a Lock and Get Into a Home or Building

For the MacGyver type, a lock picking skill can come in handy when looking for shelter because you can get into any building (including your own home if you lock your keys inside). The video to the left shows you how to pick a lock with a couple of paperclips and we've shown you a few other ways to pick lock before. It's a handy skill in case of an emergency. You can also pick a padlock with a soda can, or make your own lock pick set from a windshield wiper if you need to.

For the Survivalist: Cannibalize a Car for Shelter

Dr. Bradley notes that those who are most likely to survive are the ones who scavenge materials into something useful. If you're a survivalist this is your primary skill. In the case of shelter, a car provides everything you need. Dr. Bradley elaborates:
Those who treat a vehicle as a resource that can be cannibalized (such as burning fuel, oil, and tires, using carpet/upholstery as makeshift blankets or clothing, usingheadlamp reflectors to start a fire or signal for help, sticking floor mats under the wheels of a stuck vehicle) tend to live much longer than those who only see it as a shelter.
A car can provide you with shelter, warmth, and supplies. They're also easier to get into than buildings if you're looking for quick and safe shelter in an emergency.

Find Clean Drinking Water in the City

Once you have shelter it's time to hunt down water. Just like in the wilderness you have to make sure water is purified, but it's easy to do in the city, even if your tap isn't dispensing water. Here's how to do it.

For the Stockpiler: Keep Seven Gallons of Water Available

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowStockpilers don't need to worry about purification as much as having enough water available. It's recommended you keep one gallon of water on hand per person for each day. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends keeping bottled water in a cool, dark place. Commercially purchased bottles of water will have an expiration date on them and you should follow it and replace old bottles when they expire. Most plastic bottles have a two year lifespan. Photo by Abdulla Al Muhairi.

For the MacGyver: Purify Bad Water with Bleach

The simplest MacGyver method for purifying water is to mix it with a little bleach. It might not make sense to drink bleach, but according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) you can purify water by adding 1/8 teaspoon of non-scented bleach to a gallon of clear water or 1/4 teaspoon of non-scented bleach to one gallon of cloudy water. Mix the bleach in well and wait 30 minutes before drinking the water.

For the Survivalist: Salvage From Your Water Heater

According to FEMA, you can easily collect safe drinking water from a hot water heater. To do this, cut the power to the water heater, close the valve to the water supply, open the valve on the bottom of the water heater, and finally, turn on a sink somewhere in the house. Drinkable water will pour out of the heater, but be careful you're not getting any dirt of film from the inside of the tank. Collect the water in any cups, jugs, or bowls you find.

Find Edible Food in the City

Finding food in the city isn't as difficult as it is in the wilderness, but making sure it's edible is a bit trickier than you'd think. Here's how to get food in your stomach in a variety of a situations.

For the Stockpiler: Keep at Least Seven Days Worth of Food On Hand

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowFEMA recommends keeping at least three days worth of food on hand at all times, but extending that out to at least a full week is a good idea. You want a wide selection of non-perishable foods, but also make sure it's food that won't make you thirsty. They recommend a few cheap staples:
  • Ready to eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Dry cereal and granola.
  • Peanut Butter.
  • Salt free crackers.
  • Canned juices.
The key is to store foods that will last a long time without refrigeration and don't require cooking. Keep the food in a dry, safe place and make sure every member of your household knows where it is. Photo by Julie & Heidi.

For the MacGyver: Cook Meals in Almost Anything

For the MacGyver type, a lack of electricity isn't enough to stop a good meal from getting cooked. As the video to the left shows, you can cook a hot dog with a battery and some cables. Here's a few more ideas:
  • Find charcoal or gas grills to cook anything you find in a fridge or hack together a bread recipe with a few common household items.
  • Make a solar oven from cardboard, tin foil, plastic, glue, scissors, and a stick. Solar cooking typically takes longer than a conventional oven, but it's better than nothing.
  • If you have electricity but no gas, learn to cook with a dishwasher or coffee maker.

For the Survivalist: Dig Through Garbage Cans and Make Meals from Almost Nothing

Any good survivalist knows how to properlydumpster dive. Like the forager in the wilderness, it's about finding edible food sitting in plain sight. As with any food scavenging, the key is to find food that won't get you sick. A few simple tips for knowing what's safe in a dumpster will help you along your way:
  • Seek out sealed containers of non-perishable food with dents or dings from super market trash cans.
  • Stay away from dairy and meat because bacteria grows easily.
  • Look for packaged food like chips, cookies, juice, and breads.
  • Most foods are not safe to eat with mold on them, but according to the United States Department of Agriculture, a few meats, cheeses, and firm vegetables are salvageable.
Eventually, you're bound to run out of food and water. To keep that from happening, you need to know how to get rescued.

How to Signal for a Rescue

MacGyver, Survivalist, or Stockpiler: The Urban Survival Skills Everyone Should KnowKnowing when or if you're going to get rescued is one of the most difficult survival problems, but Dr. Bradley suggests the best option is to stay where you are and utilize what you have to create a rescue signal. Here's a few ideas for different types of signals.

For the Stockpiler: Keep Signal Flares on Hand

Even if you're safely hunkered down at home you may still need to signal for help. A pack of emergency flares like these provide the easiest, most visible signal to rescuers looking for people.

For the MacGyver: Hack Together an Air Horn

If you're stranded you need to make loud, obnoxious noises to call attention to yourself and nothing is more obnoxious than an air horn. You can build your own with nothing but a knife, a film canister, a balloon, and a straw.

For the Survivalist: Piece Together Found Items into Signs

Grab any large items you have available and make signs on the roof of a house or an open field that spell out "help." Use bright objects like tarps, clothes, or blankets. This ensures any planes or helicopters will notice you. You can do the same by hanging a sign out of an apartment building window or on your front lawn. Photo by claire rowland.

It's best to take a few tips from each of the different survivor types and turn yourself into an all-purpose urban survival master, but knowing your own skill set and strength can help you focus your attention on what matters. You never know when you'll need these skills, whether it's after a natural disaster, when your city gets snowed in, or even if you're just stranded for a night with no wallet or keys. Have any urban survival tips of your own? Share them in the comments.
Contact Thorin Klosowski:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

U.S. Army Funding Research To Control Living Insects To Use As Drones

From Technoccult

Posted on  by Klint Finley


Haaretz reports:
In a Technion aeronautics laboratory, a pair of scientists are conducting experiments funded by the U.S. Army that would allow them to control the flight of insects from afar, as if they were mechanical flight vehicles. [...]
Research in this field has developed considerably over the past decade thanks to advances in electronic equipment. The Technion lab is one of some five laboratories around the world conducting similar research. The University of Michigan team has been particularly successful, having managed to control the flight of insects from afar, for allotted periods of time. In the Haifa laboratory, researchers have gained control of the flight of insects that are connected to a simulator. They can give a series of commands that control the flight movements of insects for a few minutes. [...]
Do the insects suffer? “I don’t know, and I don’t know whether anyone knows for sure,” says Ribak. “But the experiments which we conduct are extremely non-invasive. In comparison to experiments conducted on animals, this is child’s play,” he says. “The Helsinki agreements for experimentation on animals do not apply to insects. Insects are not regarded as important,” says Weihs. “After the electrodes are implanted, we don’t think there can be any pain, since the electric signal is a natural sign produced by the insect itself. We just tell the insect when it should make a movement, using these signals.”