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US Military Won’t Help Americans or Afghans Get Past Taliban ‘Gauntlet’ At Kabul Airport: Pentagon

“Americans and Afghans not already in the airport must make it there on their own.”

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The Pentagon is warning American citizens and Afghan citizens who worked with the occupation that it is entirely up to them to get past the Taliban’s checkpoints and security barriers surrounding Kabul’s airport.

The reason is that the U.S. military, despite having some 4,500 troops at Hamid Karzai International Airport, is not willing to risk the lives of their soldiers and Marines to retrieve Americans and would-be refugees from their hiding places to the tarmac.

“We don’t have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters during a Wednesday news conference at the Pentagon.

The comments come as the Taliban have reportedly formed a gauntlet close to the U.S. troops and have been beating back those desperately trying to reach the airport.

On Wednesday, the Taliban reportedly agreed to allow Afghans and American citizens to reach the airport but the scene remained chaotic as no clear system existed to bring people in, and checkpoints from the militant group have kept potential refugees and foreign nationals at bay.

While the Afghan government’s forces evaporated on Sunday without putting up any resistance to the Taliban offensive, Kabul’s international airport remains firmly under U.S. control. The U.S. currently has 20 ground combat units in Kabul including Marine infantrymen, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions, and “a variety of special operations forces,” said chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

However, these forces are devoting their resources to defending the airport.

“We cannot afford to either not defend that airfield or not have an airfield that is secure where we have hundreds or thousands of civilians that can access the airfield at will and put our forces at risk,” Austin said.

Austin also noted that senior U.S. military officials are communicating with the Taliban and trying to “deconflict” with the group to ensure that those who need to are able to evacuate.

“I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations, currently, into Kabul,” Austin said. “And where do you take that? I mean, how far can you extend into Kabul and how long is it going to take to flow those forces in to be able to do that?”

President Joe Biden has defended his administration’s moves amid the confusion of the Taliban’s lightning offensive and the collapse of Afghan security forces supported by the occupation.

“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.

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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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