Of all the things a person could receive in the mail without warning, Anthrax is about the worst thing it could be. The spores, which can cause injury when inhaled, fit easily into letters, as the nation discovered tragically in the fall of 2001. Now, it looks like the Department of Defense accidentally mailed out live samples of anthrax spores to nine states and South Korea. Oops.
Clocking in at just $134 million per plane, the F-35B fighter jet is the most expensive sibling in its long-troubled family. The F-35s have been plagued for years with frustrations, cost overruns, and developmental difficulties. Designed to share parts with its Air Force and Navy brethren (the F-35A and F-35C, respectively), the F-35B also has the difficult task of replacing the U.S. Marine Corps' venerable Harrier Jump Jets. In order to fill those jumping shoes, it has to successfully take off in a short distance and land vertically. At operation trials over the past week on the USS Wasp, the F-35B demonstrated just that: for more than one hundred million dollars a plane, it can at least do what it promised.
According to the Air Force, the future of war in the sky is lasers. Lasers on new jet fighters are a future goal, but there's lower-hanging fruit in the world of science fiction weapons that the Air Force hopes to reach first: why not mount the lasers on heavier and relatively more spacious gunships?
On Saturday, the United States arrested Hao Zhang, a professor at China's Tianjin University, as he landed in Los Angeles. The charges brought against him, detailed in an indictment filed April 1st in the District Court, are a curious mishmash of corporate espionage, all committed against U.S. defense research. According to the case brought by the federal government, Zhang was one of six people who conspired to steal the trade secrets behind several acoustic devices and replicate them in China.
A week ago Monday, Princeton professor Ed Felten accepted a job at the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer. It's a long title for a simple mission: translating complex questions about technology into useful advice for the president. How did Ed end the first week on the job? Writing up a brainteaser, and asking people to answer it on Twitter.
A dictator's smile is never really a good sign. On Saturday, North Korea claimed they launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, and pictures from the launch show 32-year-old Kim Jong-Un beaming as he watches the show. His entire face is lit up in sheer joy at the test. While there's a lot about the missile launch that warrants skepticism, it's safe to say that the test was a success.
Napoleon's army may have marched on its stomach, but a modern military force needs more than just food to survive in the field. Electricity powers everything on an army base, so having a power grid is important if troops are going to be able to function inside a country. War often takes troops to places where the infrastructure is unavailable, destroyed, or never existed, so it's up to the U.S. Army to bring their own power with them. Tested from April 13 through April 24 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, the Army has its own portable mini power grid.