The Computer Simulation That Almost Started World War III

Remember the 1983 movie WarGames? The film is about a computer "game" with the potential to start thermonuclear war. But strangely this scenario is more truth than fiction. Because in 1979 programmers at NORAD almost started World War III when they accidentally ran a computer simulation of a Soviet attack. » 2/16/15 6:20pm 2/16/15 6:20pm

Saudi Arabia Is Building a 600-Mile Wall Along the Iraq Border

Saudi Arabia is building great wall — or rather, a great chainlink fence with razor wire — to "protect against ISIS" in Iraq. And it's not the only country investing in very expensive walls right now, even though they probably won't work. Why? Because walls aren't just about security. They're also powerful symbols. » 2/11/15 1:00pm 2/11/15 1:00pm

Deep Web Search Engine Memex Fights Crime a Bit Like Minority Report

Exactly one year ago, DARPA announced a characteristically scifi-inspired mission: to create a search engine that could find things on the deep web that Google's crawlers would miss. The so-called Memex project is now well underway, and for the first time we're getting a look at the crime-fighting search engine in… » 2/09/15 12:40pm 2/09/15 12:40pm

Edward Snowden Should Talk About Cyberwar More Often

We're all sick of used to hearing Edward Snowden talk about NSA surveillance by now. We get it: The government's watching us, and there's basically nothing we can do about it. But PBS just published the transcript of an interview with Snowden that doesn't really talk about surveillance much at all. It's all about… » 1/08/15 3:25pm 1/08/15 3:25pm

The First Blimp in Washington DC's New Missile Shield Is Aloft

After years of anticipation, the United States Army has finally floated the first of two football field-sized blimps that will serve as a missile shield for Washington DC. The tethered, helium-filled aerostat is equipped with anti-missile and anti-drone radar to protect the capital from attacks. It also looks like a… » 12/30/14 12:43pm 12/30/14 12:43pm

The Sparkle Guns that Keep Military Air Transports Safe

Commercial airlines aren't the only planes under attack from shoulder-fired rockets and missiles these days, a number of slow-moving vehicles in the US Air Force have come under increased threat of being shot down. That's why the USAF is outfitting many of them with sparkling laser blasters to confound inbound threats. » 12/24/14 12:20pm 12/24/14 12:20pm

The Navy's Smart New Stealth Anti-Ship Missile Can Plan Its Own Attack

America's primary anti-ship missile, the Harpoon, has been in service now for close to 40 years and the Navy has been very reluctant to evolve when it comes to its anti-ship capabilities. Times are changing, with China's Navy on the rise and Russia flexing its muscle, the Cold War staple just won't do. Enter… » 12/04/14 1:16pm 12/04/14 1:16pm

How the Taser Was Invented

Early use of an electronic control device, like the TASER, by law enforcement occurred in the 1960s when American police officers used electric cattle prods to disperse Civil Rights activists. As for the earliest cattle prods, this came about when inventor John Burton of Wichita, Kansas received a patent (US427549 A)… » 10/07/14 8:00am 10/07/14 8:00am

Soldiers Describe How DARPA Smartphones Save Lives in Battle

The average pedestrian walks around with more sophisticated navigation and communication technology in his pocket than our soldiers have on the battlefield. That's why the military is working hard on developing a battle-ready smartphone that would bring our troops up to speed. According to the soldiers who've… » 9/04/14 10:54am 9/04/14 10:54am

John Oliver Reminds Us How Badly We Take Care of Our Nukes

If you've been paying attention since, well, since the Cold War started, you know that the United States has an insanely huge number of nuclear weapons. And if you've been paying even closer attention, you'll know that the military is not very good at keeping track of them. In fact, it's laughably bad at. » 7/28/14 10:07am 7/28/14 10:07am