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China, Russia, and Iran Send Message to World With First-Ever Joint Military Drills

The massive war exercises are expected to last until at least December 31.

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(TMU) — This weekend, China, Iran, and Russia began their first-ever joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. The training exercises were announced by China’s defense ministry on Thursday, as all three nations continue to have strained relations with the United States and its allies.

During a monthly press conference, ministry spokesman Wu Qian said that China would be sending its guided-missile destroyer, the Xining, to participate in the drills.

However, during the press conference, Qian was careful to not escalate geopolitical tensions further, saying that the drills were “not necessarily connected with the regional situation.”

Vice-admiral Gholamreza Tahani, a deputy commander with the Iranian Navy, said that this was a show of cooperation between Iran and its allies.

“The most important achievement of these drills . . . is this message that the Islamic republic of Iran cannot be isolated. These exercises show that relations between Iran, Russia and China have reached a new high level while this trend will continue in the coming years,” Tahani said.

Maria Zakharova of the Russian foreign ministry said that the drills were entirely legal.

“We are dealing with the issues of maintaining stability in the region, security and the fight against terrorism. This co-operation and interaction is built on both a bilateral and multilateral basis but exclusively on a legal basis,” Zakharova said.

Still, the drills have caught the attention of the U.S. military, since the exercises are taking place in the Gulf of Oman, a key trade route that the U.S. government is intent on controlling.

Jonathan Eyal, associate director at the Royal United Services Institute told the Financial Times that these drills represent a show of power.

This is a carefully calculated exercise in which all three participants are winners: Iran gets to claim it is a regional power, Russia demonstrates its role as the key actor in the Middle East, and China can show it is a global naval power. The strategic message is that these are the countries shaping events in the Middle East,” Eyal said.

A State Department representative said that the drills “should concern all nations with an interest in safeguarding freedom of navigation in the region.”

It is important to note that Iran is actually a Middle Eastern country, so it is not at all unusual that they would have an interest in shaping events in that region. It is strange that the United States government, on the other side of the world, is so concerned about what is happening in the region.

In fact, a U.S.-led coalition that included the dictatorship Saudi Arabia launched similar drills in the gulf just a few months ago.

The drills are expected to last until at least December 31.

By John Vibes | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings

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People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.

However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.

In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.

“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”

The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.

In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.

Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.

The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.

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Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone

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A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.

Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.

Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.

“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.

As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.

“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.

Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.

Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.

“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.

From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.

The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.

“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.

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