National Security Agency Headquarters
New documents detail the sophisticated, if only partially successful, surveillance technology used to hunt and kill the most wanted terrorist on earth.
U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Nadine Y. Barclay
The cover story for the Atlantic's September issue reveals a surprising truth: drone warfare is more like The Truman Show than Terminator. In the future, autonomous robots might fight our battles for us, but for now, war is all too human; we rely on human pilots and human decision-making (plus a ton of cameras).
Pipeline Bombing in Northern Iraq
Google Earth via SkyTruth
It might not make headlines any more, but violence in Iraq rages on, as evidenced by this image snapped from space. This picture, taken with a NASA satellite and published by the nonprofit human and environmental rights group SkyTruth, shows smoke plumes from two fires set to an oil pipeline in northern Iraq. The bombed pipeline goes north through Turkey and then out to the Mediterranean.
Satellite Image of Iranian Drone Base
IHS / Jane's Defence Weekly
On the island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf, on the northern-most end of the narrow Strait of Hormuz, Iran is making improvements to a drone base. The information was revealed by satellite images, which showed completed improvements to an airfield that were started 2011. The picture above, taken in March 2013, highlights these new developments: a 5,250-foot runway, a new radar array, an unidentified, 5-meter-long drone, new hangars, and a new communications antenna.
Gatling Gun Patent From 1865
Yesterday in 1866, the U.S. Army adopted machine guns for the first time. Or, well, almost machine guns: the Gatling gun, first patented in 1862, wasn't fully mechanical. Someone still had to crank it by hand make the gun fire. In an era of warfare remembered for muskets and bayonets, the Gatling gun was a terrifying leap forward.
Kurchatov city, the center of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site
When the Soviet Union broke apart at the end of the Cold War, several of its military and science facilities fell into disrepair. One of them, the Semipalatinsk Test Site, just happened to be a nuclear test site the size of New Jersey and filled with leftover nuclear material that could potentially be made into weapons. Abandoned in what is today Kazakhstan, the test site is much less of a danger to the world, thanks to the quiet work of Russian, Kazakh, and American scientists over more than a decade, which as the Times reported over the weekend, is revealed in a new report published this month.