Improvised explosive device goes off in Times Square. NYC residents nonplussed.

Early today someone threw an improvised bomb at a US military recruiting station, whereupon it went off some time later and caused minimal damage to the structure. Witnesses watched an unknown man on a bicycle ride by and throw the device, housed in a green ammunition box probably purchased on the surplus market, at the building. The New York City bomb squad reports that the device was technically classed as a low explosive, which means that technically it didn't burn fast enough to really be considered an explosion. The device was made using black or blasting powder they say, which …

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Even bigger bada boom!

Remember around this time last year when the US Navy started testing railguns as ship-mounted weapons? BAE Systems has developed an even more powerful magnetic linear accelerator weapon for testing called the 32-MJ LRG (which stands for "32-megajoule Laboratory Rail Gun" - I guess the person in charge of naming experimental weapons was hired by the federal government to name the PATRIOT Act). The experimental weapon is about the size of an airport x-ray machine, and probably masses about as much. It doesn't fire explosive rounds but then again it doesn't have to. If you can throw a projectile at eight …

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Military develops firewall appliance for battlefield networks.

Following battlefield tales that Hezbollah had compromised the IDF communications network during operations in Lebanon last year, defense contractors have developed Meshnet, a hardware and software firewall appliance to protect the data networks of battlefield equipment, on the chance that someone would figure out how to infect them with malicious agents of some sort in the near future. Meshnet is supposedly based upon the Sidewinder Security Appliance from Secure Computing, but includes specialized hardware that deals with the network protocols and connection gear used in the control systems of tanks, armored personnel carriers, or what have you along with anti-spyware …

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Practical HERF: No longer an urban legend?

For years, HERF weapons (high energy radio frequency) have been the stuff of science fiction and urban legends of the hacker underground. The underlying premise is simple: Integrated circuitry is vulnerable to various forms of radio frequency emissions, and such interference can either disrupt the functioning of or outright destroy circuitry. In theory, these weapons are relatively easy to construct with a decent grasp of electronics and high voltage electrical engineering with readily available parts, but actual examples of such are rarely verified. Personally, I've heard some tales coming out of a certain hacker con in the west (which was …

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It's taken years of campaigning, but it's finally happened.

The United States military has finally conceded after all these years - the pentacle has now been approved for the headstones of veterans who are also neopagans. The familiar circled five-pointed star joins the ranks of thirty-eight other philosophical and religious sigils, including the crucifix, the happy human of Secular Humanists, and the Star of David.

Interestingly, they've been taking their sweet old time on this - they approved the happy human and the insignia of the Sikhs in mere weeks.

Even gamers stationed overseas need dice^wlove.

The troops stationed overseas aren't having a fun time of their hitch in Iraq, let's be honest. They do everything they can to keep their spirits high and burnout rates low, but it's hard having something for everyone. You've got your football games, softball games, even dodgeball games.. but now they have a gaming convention. On 9 June 2007 at Camp Adder, the US military forces in Iraq will have their own con, dubbed ZigguratCon. It looks like they'll be heavy on the D&D, but a few other publishers have stepped up to the plate and are donating books …

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Packets... in... SPAAAAAAAACCCEEEE!!!!!

The United States military is planning to launch a communications satellite that is a dedicated Internet router by the year 2009. The way the Net works right now, some communications satellites are involved in handling net.traffic but there are two major differences from how they want to start doing it: First of all, net.traffic goes from the ground up to a comsat and then is retransmitted to another downlink on the ground; the IRIS project will route traffic from comsat to comsat, something that hasn't been done before. Secondly, traffic is transmitted on fixed communications channels; the IRIS …

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Gary, Gary, Gary, you got some 'splainin' to do...

Gary McKinnon, who cracked US government and military networks under the alias 'Solo' in search of information on unidentified flying objects and unusual power sources will be extradited to the United States to stand trial, possibly under the USA PATRIOT Act because he infiltrated a number of sensitive data systems and networks. They're calling it the largest compromise of military systems in history (92 boxen known compromised) but somehow I doubt this because McKinnon certainly wasn't the first person to go wandering around inside their systems after breaking in - Hans "Pengo" Hubner beat him to it by fifteen years, give …

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Of course, these are illegal for civillians to own...

Remember those bulletproof windbreakers from Snow Crash? They looked good, they wore well, and they could stop a 9mm round?

I don't know if you'd call this a windbreaker or not, but it's close enough for government work. This jacket weighs only 3kg (about 6.6 pounds) and can stop up to a 7.62mm round from a Tokarev military rifle. On top of that, they say it's also proof against impact trauma, cutting and stabbing, and even hypodermic needles.

Big bada boom!

A weapons test at the Naval Surface Warface Centre made the news yesterday because a heretofore novel device was successfully tested: A railgun, more technically referred to as a Gauss-effect linear accelerator. Railguns are, conceptually, pretty simple devices: A ferrous projective rests inside a set of conductive metal rails, through which an electric current passes. When a sufficiently large pulse of electricity passes through the rails, the projectile goes out of the business end of the device at high velocity. Whatever is hit by the projectile either ceases to exist or has a very, very large hole through it due …

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