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The CIA Had Insect Drones in the 1970s… So What Do They Have Today?

In the 1970s, the CIA developed a dragonfly drone to be used for spying.

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CIA Dragonfly
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(TMU) — If the CIA created a dragonfly drone in the 1970s we can only imagine what they have at their fingertips today!

In the 1970s, the CIA developed a dragonfly drone deemed the “insectothopter” to be used for spying during the Cold War. It could fly for only 60 seconds to deliver a payload. Now documents just recently declassified have revealed details about how the CIA created such an impressive micro-robotic insect controlled by lasers, Popular Mechanics reported.

The documents have been released thanks to the efforts of John Greenwald, founder of the government transparency website The Black Vault. Greenwald put in a request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

I’ve learned over the years, the U.S. military and government often will acknowledge something or confirm something exists, and many times that largely satisfies the public’s curiosity,” Greenwald told Popular Mechanics. “However…we often don’t get the full story. So I go after documents never-before-released to tell either more of the story, or the real story.”

The CIA previously tried implanting a cat with a microphone, but the project ended in utter disaster. The agency also tried using birds for their spying prospects under Project Tacana, attaching a camera weighing 1 ¼ ounces to a pigeon. However, results for that haven’t yet been declassified.

The CIA has also explored using retroreflectors, tiny glass beads that reflect laser light back at its source. The CIA was then able to analyze the beam vibration in glass and recreate the vibrations that disturbed it, basically extracting sound from light.

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According to the documents, it was the need to develop a smaller spying device that spurred the idea for a dragonfly drone equipped with these tiny glass beads. Don Resier, deputy head of the CIA’s Office of Research and Development, was the man who came up with the alternative. Resier assigned Charles Adkins to lead the project which had the goal of building a device that could fly 200 meters and deliver 0.2 grams of retroreflector beads under stealthy conditions.

To build the device scientists used a tiny fluidic oscillator, a device with no moving parts that is completely driven by gas produced by lithium nitrate crystals. Initial tests showed that the prototype was unable to carry the required 0.2 gram payload so the designers added additional thrusts by venting exhaust backward, much like modern-day jet propulsion. The robot’s “eyes” were the glass retroreflector beads that were to be used for spying on targets.

Next, the CIA needed a way to control a tiny drone without adding extra weight. So CIA scientists utilized the same lasers used for the retroreflectors and a portable laser unit, known as “ROME,” that produced an invisible infrared beam. The laser would then heat a bimetallic strip that would open or close the dragonfly’s exhaust. While effectively restricting the device’s “engine,” another laser would act as a rudder to steer the drone to its desired location.

It has been fifty years since, but advancements in insect robotics has continued full steam ahead, as Daily Mail reported in 2016 when the British military announced their own dragonfly drone. The U.S. hasn’t stopped its own aspirations either and in 2014, the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency said it wanted smarter insect drones.

In 2013, the technology they developed at the time was showcased and reported by the Atlantic in a now-deleted video. Then years later in 2017, the Pentagon reported having successfully tested micro-drone swarms. Finally, in 2019 last year it was reported by LA Times that “swarms of small attack drones that confuse and overwhelm antiaircraft defenses could soon become an important part of the modern military arsenal.”

Watch the CIA’s insectothopter below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ3spmVqnco&feature=emb_title

By Aaron Kesel | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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The Notorious ‘Gateway to Hell’ May Finally Be Sealed, Turkmenistan’s President Says

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The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has long been host to what has been dubbed the “Gateway to Hell” – a massive hole in the ground that has been smoldering for about five decades.

However, the country’s government is now moving to finally extinguish the blazing natural Darvaza gas crater which lies in the center of the huge Karakum desert.

This isn’t the first time that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has spoken of extinguishing the so-called portal to the underworld. In 2010, the strongman leader also ordered that experts investigate how best to put out the flames, which have been raging since a mishandled Soviet drilling expedition in 1971.

To prevent a disaster resulting from the spread of dangerous fumes, Soviet authorities decided it would be best to burn off the gas by setting it alight.

As a result, the 229-foot (70 meter) wide and 65-foot (20-meter) deep crater has been ablaze ever since, drawing tourists to the former Soviet country.

In 2018, the government officially renamed the pit the “Shining of Karakum.”

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This week, Berdymukhamedov decried how the gas crater “negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby,” reports AFP.

“We are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the well-being of our people,” he added in the televised statement, noting that officials must “find a solution to extinguish the fire.”

Turkmenistan is known to possess the fourth-largest known reserve of natural gas in the world, reports VICE, and its economy is dependent on the export of the raw resource.

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North Korea Claims It Invented Burritos in 2011 as Mexican Food “Booms”: Report

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English-language tabloid newspapers are abuzz about the latest alleged bombshell from North Korea – that the country’s late ruler and father of the current ruler is being touted as the inventor of the beloved North American dish, the burrito.

According to The Sun, North Korean official news outlet Rodong Sinmun has made the implausible claim that the U.S.-Mexican staple food was invented by Kim Jong Il, who came up with the idea of what he called a “wheat wrap” in 2011, shortly before he suffered heart failure.

The newspaper added that current ruler Kim Jong Un has taken a “meticulous interest” in the food, which is generating “booming” interest among the population.

The dish can also be seen in official footage circulating online, with Pen News airing clips showing a vendor selling the food outside of Kumsong Food Factory in the country’s capital, Pyongyang. Children and soldiers can be seen eagerly devouring the wraps, which apparently contained vegetables including cabbage and carrots.

Meat on a rotating spit, similar to the kind used for tacos al pastor or shawarma wraps, can also be seen in some of the footage, reports Yahoo! News.

The footage also shows a billboard of former ruler Kim Jong Il smiling while standing in a kitchen alongside workers preparing the tubular delicacy.

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North Korea has been submerged in food insecurity and famine-like conditions as a result of decades of sanctions imposed on the country by world powers keen on preventing the country from developing its nuclear energy and weapons programs. The precarious conditions faced by civilians was exacerbated by the pandemic and accompanying health measures.

In October, a U.S. rights investigator blasted the sanctions as inhumane and primarily impacting ordinary citizens in the country.

“People’s access to food is a serious concern and the most vulnerable children and elderly are at risk of starvation,” said Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially called. He added that citizens are placed in the unjust position of having “to choose between fear of hunger” and fear of the pandemic thanks to global apathy over ongoing sanctions.

One can only hope that the burrito news is a sign that conditions may be slightly improving for average citizens in the DPRK.

According to popular lore, the burrito grew popular along the U.S.-Mexican border when street vendors used donkeys, or burros, to carry and sell large flour tortillas filled with meat, beans, and vegetables to workers in the area.

Since then, the food item has exploded in popularity in the United States and across the world as a convenient and delicious food, and is often seen as a symbol of Mexican gastronomy despite the dish’s relative obscurity in much of Mexico.

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Possible UFO Swarm Spotted in Southern California Skies: Report

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Well, it looks like there’s been another UFO sighting in recent days – this time, in Southern California.

New video obtained by tabloid outlet TMZ appears to show a number of mysterious giant orbs flying above Chino Hils, which lies roughly at the crossroads of LA, Orange, and Riverside counties.

The orbs appear to circle around one another and move in strange patterns.

The video was shot at around 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, by a woman who was watching her grandson take out the trash. While she initially believed they may have been spotlights from a nearby grand opening, there was no light emanating from below. So far, it has no clear explanation.

Judge for yourself:

Could it be that this was some fleet, like the one a pilot recently believed he saw above the Pacific Ocean?

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Who knows? In recent years, there has been a spate of bizarre sightings. And it bears repeating that a UFO is simply an Unidentified Flying Object, which hardly implies that the objects in question are extraterrestrial in origin.

For example, in recent years drone swarms – or multiple unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – have been deployed by militaries and civilian organizations alike for purposes ranging from the deadly to the somewhat mundane.

However, in the past couple years the U.S. government itself has also confirmed some close encounters by military personnel with still-unidentified flying vessels.

The U.S. government and Pentagon also insist that rather than calling the strange vessels “UFOs,” they prefer the term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs. The Pentagon is even going so far as creating a new wing specifically devoted to studying the objects.

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