weapons
France Announces Plan to Launch Satellites With Defensive Lasers, Possibly Submachine Guns

An inventor buzzing around on a flyboard clutching a rifle  and subsequently borking an attempt to cross the English Channel isn’t the only mildly science fiction-y development concerning the French military lately. In the past week, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that the country would launch miniature surveillance satellites brimming with defensive weaponry in the next few years, with options including spacecraft-mounted lasers and submachine guns under consideration, according to French newspaper Le Point (via Task & Purpose). Read More >>

google
Facebook Board Member Peter Thiel Calls Google ‘Treasonous’ and Says CIA Should Investigate

Billionaire Peter Thiel has called for a federal investigation into Google’s refusal to work with the U.S. military and says that the tech giant’s relationship with the Chinese military is “treasonous,” according to a new report from Axios late Sunday. Read More >>

technology
French Inventor Touts Rifle While Flying Turbine-Powered Flyboard at Bastille Day Celebrations

European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron were treated to a demonstration of the Flyboard Air, a sort of gas turbine-powered jetpack/hoverboard/flying platform originally invented by jetski champ Franky Zapata, during Bastille Day festivities in Paris on Sunday. Read More >>

robots
U.S. Army to Test Remotely Piloted Robot Tanks

The U.S. Army—which has already been testing robotic squad vehicles like the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) and semi-autonomous targeting systems like the Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS)—says it will conduct live-fire testing of a new Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) built on M113 armoured personnel carrier chassis next year. Read More >>

animals
Norwegian Fishermen Discover Beluga Whale That Might Be Working with the Russian Navy

Norwegian fishermen discovered a beluga whale wearing a harness off the country’s northern coast last week. The fishermen were fascinated with how tame it was, but there might be a good reason that it was comfortable around humans. Scientists from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research suspect the whale and its harness may be part of an operation cooked up by the Russian military. Read More >>

nuclear
Report: Saudi Arabia Making Brisk Progress on Experimental Nuclear Reactor

A small, experimental nuclear reactor being constructed by Argentina’s state-backed nuclear company INVAP at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh has spurred renewed concerns about Saudi leadership’s intentions for the program, CNN reported on Sunday, even as its development zips along at a brisk pace. Read More >>

wtf
Russian Military Journal Claims Psychic Soldiers Can Crash Computers and Control Dolphins

A journal published by Russia’s Ministry of Defence became the subject of mockery this week after publishing claims that “Russian specialists” have communicated with dolphins, crashed computer programs, and even looked into safes using the power of telepathy. Read More >>

china
Top US General Plans to Meet With Google Execs to Scold Them for Doing Business in China

The relationship between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon is one of the most high-stakes, high-tension, and high-dollar links in the world. Desperate to lead the globe’s militaries in artificial intelligence, the US Defense Department is trying to navigate a maze of tech employee protests and political minefields with the hope of getting cosier with American technology giants. Read More >>

drones
US Air Force Releases Video of New Combat Drone, the XQ-58A Valkyrie

The U.S. Air Force has released the first images of its latest combat drone, the XQ-58A Valkyrie. The new aircraft, which went from concept to first test flight in 2.5 years, “behaved as expected” on its first test flight this week, according to the Air Force. Read More >>

war
Trump Rescinds Policy of Reporting Civilian Deaths by Drone Strike

The head of the US intelligence community is no longer required to publish an annual report detailing the number of civilians and enemy combatants killed in US drone strikes abroad. Read More >>

war
Report: More Than 300 Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria, With Pro-Assad Forces Responsible for 98 Per Cent

Well over 300 chemical weapons attacks have occurred during the nearly eight years-long Syrian civil war, with President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its allies accounting for the vast majority of them, the Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing new research by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI). Read More >>

microsoft
Microsoft Wins £375 Million US Army Contract for Augmented Reality Systems

Microsoft has secured a $479 million-plus contract (£375 million) with the U.S. Army for Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) prototypes, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, expanding its relationship with the military and beating out a slew of other companies competing for the contract. Read More >>

military
Search Team Finds Missing Argentine Submarine ARA San Juan in Pieces on Floor of Atlantic Ocean

According to the BBC, the vessel was located by hydrographic survey company Ocean Infinity’s Seabed Constructor, and preliminary signs indicate that the vessel somehow imploded: Read More >>

drones
The Military is Launching a Major Test of Unmanned Vehicles and Surveillance Drones

The British Army is carrying out a major, four-week test of 70 new technologies, “including unmanned vehicles and surveillance drones,” as part of its “Autonomous Warrior experiment,” the MIT Technology Review reported this week. Read More >>

history
The House of the Future in 1945 Included a Rotisserie and Built-In Waffle Maker

“What’s tomorrow going to be like?” the opening of this 1945 newsreel asked. For many Americans who were watching, the answer was “a better life than my parents had.” World War II was winding down, the postwar boom was just around the corner, and planners were promising incredible things ahead – incredible things like affordable and efficient housing, a sci-fi dream for many of us living in the year 2018. Read More >>