The first half of the 20th century saw war unlike any that had transpired before. Elements were the same: people still fought over ideas and land, and it was still infantry on foot and civilians that did most of the dying. But the weapons! Fantastical, horrific weapons, like the machine guns that turned trench warfare from protracted stalemate to meat grinder, and fighters and bombers that burned through the skies. Or the armored tanks, which lumbered into history in the Western Front and then defined history from 1939 to 1945, changing centuries of prior thinking on how best to seize victory. From the vantage point of the middle of the 20th century, the coming decades of war seemed almost certain to be a new bloody spectacle, powered by technological marvels.
ISIS is, by all appearances, fighting a losing war. The ultraviolent pseudo-state in Iraq and Syria stunned the world with a series of victories in 2014, but since then it's been rolled back by a coalition of forces from Kurdish fighters to American airstrikes to a regrouped Iraqi Security Forces, and is losing territory daily. Beset on all sides, the embattled extremists are turning to technology for salvation.
Google I/O is the company's annual developers' conference. It's meant for people who work to create things inside the Google infrastructure, but the keynote typically includes a few juicy bits that appeal to the general public. Last year we met Google Home for the first time, and there's no telling what we'll see here in 2017. So, follow along and we'll break down the important developments (get it? developers?).
Recently, some hospitals in the United Kingdom were struck with a peculiar attack: computers taken over, data inside encrypted and held ransom, all for the measly payment of just $300. The attack spread rapidly, hitting 150 countries and shutting down everything from telecoms in Spain to the Interior Ministry in Russia. And then, through a stroke of luck, the WanaCryptor attack was stalled in its tracks, a killswitch discovered by happenstance just in time for the weekend. What, exactly are we to make of the largest ransomware attack in history?
The L-15B prototype attack jet made its grand debut in a ceremony last week. Fanfare—including giant red banners and uniformed PLAAF officers—suggest the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group have high hopes for this multi-role light fighter.
The internet is an entirely human phenomenon. It is a an unfathomably vast interconnected sea of computers that hold roughly the entire sum of human knowledge to this point. It's as available to the wealthiest billionaire as it is to the kid on library WiFi, browsing on his cheap Android phone. What keeps the internet open and equal is a principle called “net neutrality,” which is as much a technological tool as an economic argument and a moral stance. It is also a principle that is periodically threatened. The latest assault comes from current FCC director Ajit Pai, who wants to change how internet companies are regulated, a move that could prove disastrous for net neutrality.