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Syria, Gesture Control, North Korea

Dated: 8 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology
0 Comments

Syria: The United States increased air strikes on the town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday after Kurdish forces said previous strikes were not fighting off ISIS advances. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan also warned of the high risk of Kobani falling to ISIS control. Although Turkey approved military action against ISIS and has moved tanks to its border with Syria, the government said it will not get more involved without a U.S. commitment to enhanced support of Syrian rebels against the Assad regime.

Gesture Control: Engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that could let users “train” their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone. The SideSwipe technology uses the phone’s wireless transmissions to sense nearby gestures, so it works when a device is out of sight in a pocket or bag, and could be built into future smartphones and tablets. The sensor uses the reflection of the phone’s own wireless transmissions to sense nearby gestures, enabling users to interact with their phones even when they are not holding the phone, looking at the display, or touching the screen.

North Korea: Strange behavior out of the totalitarian state as of lately.  With reports of a potential coup late last week, a surprise visit over the weekend by North Korean leaders to Seoul, which was reported as an amicable meeting, raised hopes of a potential détente.  However, an exchange of fire between the two countries’ navies yesterday and the admission of the North Korean labor camps as of this morning, illustrates the inconsistent and ambiguous nature of recent events.

Brazil, Unmanned Patrol Boats, Graphene

Dated: 6 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology
0 Comments

Brazil: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff emerged as the front-runner in Sunday’s presidential election but did not secure an overall majority. Having won 41.5 percent of the vote, she will face pro-business candidate Aécio Neves, who won 33.7 percent, in a runoff election on October 26. Brazil’s politics have been largely dominated by the center and center-left parties, yet this election has been the most contested race since the 1980s.

Unmanned Patrol Boats: The US Navy says it will soon use armed, robotic patrol boats with no sailors on board to escort and defend warships moving through sensitive sea lanes.  The Office of Naval Research on Sunday released the results of what it called an unprecedented demonstration in August involving 13 robotic patrol craft escorting a ship along the James River in Virginia.  The demonstration was a “breakthrough” that goes far beyond any previous experiment, adding that similar robotic patrol craft likely will be escorting US naval ships within a year.

Graphene: A team of scientists in a collaboration between the Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Plastic Logic Ltd., also in Cambridge, have created a prototype of a flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels’ electronics, marking the first time that graphene has been used in a transistor-based flexible device. They say that this is a significant step forward to enable fully wearable and flexible devices.