Researchers for the U.S. Army are hoping to formulate a new shape-shifting material that can heal itself on its own in hopes to achieve the kind of futuristic killing technology famously depicted in the 1991 science-fiction film, Terminator 2.
In fact, the film’s villain, the T-1000, directly provided the inspiration to one of the Army engineers working on a project to develop “soft robotic” drones and unmanned aircraft based on flexible, self-repairing and self-reconfiguring materials, reports Military.com.
“We want a system of materials to simultaneously provide structure, sensing and response,” said Frank Gardea, an aerospace engineer at the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory.
Gardea hopes that the U.S. Military will soon have future platforms for air and ground combat that possesses the “reconfiguration characteristics of the T-1000 character in the Hollywood film, ‘Terminator 2,'” he said in an Army statement.
In the blockbuster film, the T-1000 created by Skynet is described as being an “advanced prototype” made of a “mimetic pollyalloy” or “liquid metal.” The villainous cyborg portrayed by actor Robert Patrick was able to transform its arms into sword-like stabbing weapons and self-heal after sustaining various types of wounds ranging from pistol shots to 12-guage shotgun blasts and even a direct hit from a 40mm grenade launcher.
Gardea’s team, which worked alongside scientists at Texas A&M University, is hoping to develop a new epoxy material capable of “massive reconfigurability,” the ability to heal autonomously in the air or underwater, and embedded intelligence that would grant it the ability to adapt to its environment free of any direct external control.
.@USArmy researchers and our Texas A&M University partners explore self-healing materials https://t.co/AYJddNMLBn This material has a dynamic bond that allows it to go from liquid to solid multiple times, which allows it to be 3-D printed and recycled. @armyfutures @usarmyccdc pic.twitter.com/ZEIUv89JuP
— U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory (@ArmyResearchLab) August 17, 2020
Fortunately, the team working out of the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground facility in Maryland hasn’t yet devised the sort of unstoppable killing machine depicted in the Terminator series – however, they have developed a 3D-printed, flexible polymer with a “unique shape memory behavior” that can be programmed to remember and snap back to certain shapes, and can even be repeatedly melted down and reused.
“Most cross-linked materials, especially those that are 3D printed, tend to have a fixed form, meaning that, once you manufacture your part, the material cannot be reprocessed or melted,” Gardea explained, adding that the material has a “dynamic bond that allows it to go from liquid to solid multiple times, which allows it to be 3D printed and recycled.”
Gardea says that the development provides “a first step along a very long path toward realizing the scientific possibility for deep future platforms.”
This isn’t the first time that U.S. military technologists have compared their developments to the artificial intelligence-equipped cyborgs depicted in James Cameron’s Terminator series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which revolved around time-traveling military robots that “can’t be reasoned with [and] doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear,” as one character in the original film says.
'An Army engineer working on soft robotics says that his work is directly inspired by the T-1000, the shape-shifting (and fictional) robot villain from the 1991 James Cameron blockbuster “Terminator 2.”'
— Sarah O'Connor (@Sara_Lisabeth) August 20, 2020
The U.S. Navy has worked on developing a 135-ton autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) named the Sea Hunter, which would provide an autonomous platform for anti-submarine and electronic warfare as well as serving as a decoy in any live-fire clash involving human forces.
The prospect of AI-guided warfare has alarmed critics, who believe that an overreliance on computerized and autonomous weapons on the battlefield poses the risk of leaving complex ethical choices about who lives or dies in the hands of algorithms, rather than humans.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has been at the forefront of these concerns, raising concerns over how autonomous weapon systems “would decide who lives and dies, without further human intervention, which crosses a moral threshold,” according to its website.
Last year, former top Google engineer Laura Nolan told the Guardian that she had joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots because the robot systems envisioned by Big Tech firms and militaries could potentially do “calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for.”
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.