DARPA brings robotic race cars to city streets for $2M prize

The government is hoping that a 60-mile race among up to 20 driverless, self-guided vehicles will yield technological advances that can save lives on the battlefield.The U.S. government’s military research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), this week is gearing up for the Urban Challenge, to be held Saturday, Nov. 3 at the abandoned George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif.

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The race pits teams of researchers — academics from the likes of MIT and CalTech, along with a few diehard hobbyists — against one another, as they match up their creativity and technical savvy.

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A Naval Makeover

Sixty-five years after World War II’s Battle of Midway, the United States remains the world’s only naval superpower. U.S. planners now face the challenge of preserving that dominance while adjusting to a new world of threats. A maritime strategy unveiled October 17—a partnership involving the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—advocates a shift from sea combat to fighting terrorism, protecting shipping routes, and providing humanitarian assistance. Naval experts say the move is intended to reposition the service from a Cold War fighting machine to a post-9/11 prevention force. Human and economic “soft power” have “been elevated to the same level as high-end naval warfare,” one Navy official told the Washington Post.

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Latin America’s Strange Bedfellows

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is Washington’s closest ally in Latin America, while Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is an anti-American firebrand. Yet a recent warming between the two leaders, prompted by Venezuela’s offer to help Colombia negotiate with one of its guerilla groups, is raising eyebrows and provoking questions about the direction of U.S.-Colombia relations. “How long will the honeymoon last?” asks Poder, a Colombian business magazine, in an October report on Colombia-Venezuela relations (NYT). Given the ideological differences between the presidents of the two countries, it’s a valid question.

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Middle East racing to nuclear power

Experts say the nuclear ambitions of majority Sunni Muslim states such as Libya, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia are reactions to Shiite Iran’s high-profile nuclear bid, seen as linked with Tehran’s campaign for greater influence and prestige throughout the Middle East.

“To have 13 states in the region say they’re interested in nuclear power over the course of a year certainly catches the eye,…

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China’s space effort undergoing a sea change

China’s space effort undergoing a sea change
MSNBC – 7 hours ago
More powerful units are created by strapping add-on segments to the sides of core vehicles. It is the same basic shape as is used by Chinese military
New Chinese rocket raises concerns of arms race in space Guardian Unlimited
China to Build New Space Rockets The Associated Press
China to develop heavy-duty carrier rockets for space programme Earthtimes
all 122 news articles »

Military Guide to Terrorism: Future Terror Trends (Part Six – Conclusion)

The conclusion of this six-part series extrapolated from the Military Guide to Terrorism emphasizes our military experts’ professional assessment of what we should expect from terrorists as we go forward into a dangerous future. Which are our best options?

Terrorism of the Foreseeable Future

“Today’s extreme Islamist groups such as al-Qaida do not merely seek political revolution in their own countries. They aspire to dominate all countries. Their goal is a totalitarian, theocratic empire to be achieved by waging perpetual war on soldiers and civilians alike.”

Honorable Michael Chertoff, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, April 2007

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Other Articles by The Editors…
Military Guide to Terrorism: Future Terror Trends (Part Six – Conclusion)
Military Guide to Terrorism: Global Faces of Terror (Part Five of Six)
Military Guide to Terrorism: Other Forms of Terrorism (Part Four of Six)
Military Guide to Terrorism: State Sponsored Terrorism (Part Three)
Military Guide to Terrorism: The Face of Terrorism Today (Part Two)

Military Guide to Terrorism: The Scope of the Issue (Part One)

Report: Al Qaeda Schedules Cyber Jihad for Nov. 11

Unconfirmed report raises questions, sets bloggers blogging

DEBKAfile, an Israeli news organization, yesterday published a report stating that counter-terrorism sources have intercepted and translated an Arabic “Internet announcement” that proposes an attack on Western electronic targets to begin on November 11. The attack will begin with 15 targets and will expand to “untold numbers,” according to the report.

By darkreading.com

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Russian ex-KGB chief warns secret elite over feud

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The former head of the Soviet KGB warned on Wednesday that a conflict between rival Russian security services could lead to “big trouble” and urged feuding clans to unite around President Vladimir Putin.

Details have emerged of a feud between rival groups of secret service officers who form the bedrock of Putin’s team. Observers warn it could split the ruling elite at a critical time when Putin is preparing to leave office.

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A new power struggle in the Kremlin
Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom – 3 hours ago
Given Russia ‘s preponderance for messiness and the abject chaos Mr Putin inherited from Boris Yeltsin in 2000, this is no mean feat and western leaders

Is India the new China?

Until a few years ago, the suggestion that India could grow as fast as China belonged to the same category as other incredible pronouncements by ‘fact-proof’ politicians.

There was little by way of hard data to back up such a claim. But now no longer.

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China to Build New Space Rockets

The new Long March 5 rockets, which can be used to carry communication satellites and lunar probes, will be able to hold greater weight than the current batch.

They signal China’s ambitions to have a greater presence in space in the next 30 to 50 years and desire to compete in the global market to launch commercial satellites, said the China Daily.

“It will also give China the same launch capabilities as developed countries,…

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