What It Feels Like to Shoot With the Military’s Experimental Smart Scope

You’ve probably never fired an M4 carbine. Until a couple weeks ago, I hadn’t either. But at a recent DARPA demo day, I loaded a magazine (also a first for me), snuggled up to the deadly assault rifle, and looked through one of the most technologically advanced smart scopes ever built. Then I pulled the trigger. » 4/28/15 2:10pm 4/28/15 2:10pm

The Forgotten Era: When Bed Bugs Were Tested for Combat in Vietnam

In 2004, Brooke Borel got bed bugs in New York. Then she experienced them again in 2009—twice in two different apartments. Because of those experiences, which were part of a widespread bed bug resurgence in the US, Borel, a science journalist, decided to explore why the bugs were back. This excerpt is one of many… » 4/27/15 11:00am 4/27/15 11:00am

13 Horrifying Ideas America Had For Invading Cuba

The United States is beginning to normalize relations with Cuba. Which is kind of amazing, when you consider the fact that America has been trying to sabotage the island nation for over half a century. In fact, the US government has officially produced dozens of ideas for destabilizing Cuba. And many of… » 4/14/15 4:46pm 4/14/15 4:46pm

The Sound of a War's End, Visualized

Above we see seven seconds of an audio recording from November 11, 1918. On the left we can see three seconds of guns firing. In the middle? The official time of the ceasefire to end World War I and a sudden reprieve from the staccato of weapons blasting. On the right, the first three seconds of peace. An uneasy… » 3/13/15 4:46pm 3/13/15 4:46pm

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

Hackers Posed as Hot Girls on Skype to Steal Intel From Syrian Rebels

It's kind of the oldest trick in the book. Catfishing is where you pretend to be someone you're not online so that you can trick someone else into doing something. And based on a new report, this is exactly how pro-Assad hackers have been robbing intel from opposition forces: They've been posing as hot girls on Skype » 2/02/15 11:25am 2/02/15 11:25am

The 10 Greatest Tank Battles In Military History

Ever since the first armored vehicles crawled across the tortured battlescapes of World War I, tanks have become an indelible fixture of land warfare. Many tank-on-tank engagements have occurred over the years, some more significant — and epic — than others. Here are 10 you need to know about. » 1/23/15 1:49pm 1/23/15 1:49pm

Say Hello to China's New 11-Barrel Hypersonic Missile Killer

The future of naval warfare will likely include lasers, auto-cannons, and hypersonic missiles launched from the other side of the horizon. But while it may not have a defense against frickin' lasers, China's newly unveiled Type 1130 close-in weapon system can make short work of inbound warheads travelling at four… » 1/15/15 11:40am 1/15/15 11:40am

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

What it's like being inside an artist's sketch book

I'm imagining this animation by Minhyuk Jang called Rocketboy as a glimpse into the note book from the kid in the back of the classroom. It's a little dark mixed with a lot of imagination and is sketched in a way that reminds me of those outside of the margins doodles that we all made. Only this time, they're moving… » 1/03/15 6:54am 1/03/15 6:54am

The Forgotten Plan to Save Great Art From World War III 

From a secret treasure trove below the memorial to Oliver Wendell Holmes in DC to a retrofitted quarry in Wales, our governments have gone to great lengths to protect precious objects from ruin—and a new trove of declassified documents shine light on a new, little-known project to do just that during the Cold War. » 1/02/15 9:00am 1/02/15 9:00am

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 SR-71 Blackbird Took Its First Flight 50 Years Ago Today

No other plane in history has captured the hearts and minds of the American public quite like the SR-71 Blackbird, providing the West with an unprecedented look behind the Iron Curtain during its 33 year operational career. But before it was cracking the skies over Russia at mach 3.3, the Cold War spy plane had to… » 12/22/14 3:43pm 12/22/14 3:43pm

China's Laser-Guided Grenade Launchers Are Deadly from Half a Mile

Not to be outdone by their their American counterparts' M203 grenade launchers with fancy new SAGM rounds, China's People's Liberation Army has been hard at work ripping off the design developing an under-barrel grenade launcher with similar laser-guided capabilities. There's nowhere to run (or hide) once you're in… » 12/22/14 1:15pm 12/22/14 1:15pm

The Air Force's Stealth Cruise Missile Just Got Even More Stealthy

In order to keep its pilots out of enemy cross-hairs but still be able to deliver devastating strikes against hardened bunkers, the USAF has spent the better part of two decades developing a family of long-range, semi-autonomous cruise missiles called the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. And the latest JASSM… » 12/18/14 1:42pm 12/18/14 1:42pm

Close encounters with Russian warplanes as tension increases in Europe

Things are not looking good over the Baltic Sea. Poland has announced that Russian naval and air force activity in the Baltic Sea region is "unprecedented," with Sweden being the most affected country, which have resulted in numerous close encounters. According to the BBC, these are some of the incidents we know about: » 12/12/14 1:04am 12/12/14 1:04am

The Pentagon's New Non-Lethal Mortars Seem Like a Very Good Idea

An estimated 174,000 civilians have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Who knows how many of these casualties could have been prevented if the United States and its allies were using deadly weapons, especially in dense urban areas. So it's great news that the Pentagon has developed a non-lethal mortar round. » 12/11/14 5:52pm 12/11/14 5:52pm