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Cute cute cute: like a star falling from the sky, don't be surprised if someone sends a plane to land in your backyard

By WcP.Humor - Posted on 15 July 2012

*update* Dec. 01, 2012
The first-ever flying drone competition “In the next few years the idea of drones will dramatically change. You no longer need a PhD... The same functions every Web programmer uses to build apps can now make drones navigate, take pictures, find people, fly through windows, play games, and so on. When the low level control of hardware comes built-in, hobbyists can focus on writing algorithms and routines." "Autonomous Flight, with a Few Lines of Javascript"


July 4, 2012 U.S. drone 'hijackings' - University of Texas professor and grad students manipulate unmanned crafts' flight paths...even able to make them land

Thousands of drones are destined for US skies. The use of drones is taking off in America. Local governments and private businesses see them as a cheap and effective way of maintaining an eye from the sky.

But will the drones be fully under their control? A college professor and his students say not necessarily.

A civilian drone aircraft was "hijacked" by Professor Todd Humphreys and his graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. They were able to hack into the drone's GPS signals. Later, in an exercise done in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security at White Sands, N.M., they were even able to make the drone land.

Humphreys told CBS News, "You can think of this as hijacking a plane from a distance. (It's) as if you're at the controls of the plane, because you've now captured the autopilot's sense of its own navigation solution. And you can manipulate it left or right, up or down."

The "hijackings" would seem to raise concerns about vulnerabilities in our domestic use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. "I see this as causing trouble in the skies," Humphreys said. "I wouldn't want to be living under skies where this was that easy to do."

Yahoo hacked, 450,000 passwords posted online
(CNN) -- Hackers posted online what they say is login information for more than 450,000 Yahoo users.

The hack, which of course was conducted anonymously, was meant to be a warning, according to the Web page where the documents were dumped. "We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat," a note on the page said. "There have been many security holes exploited in Web servers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly."

Yahoo passwords hacked, likely taken through Yahoo Voices
Yahoo is looking into a major hack that slurped up the usernames and passwords of 450,000 accounts Wednesday.

According to the security firm TrustedSec, a hacking group known as D33D Company picked up the passwords from Yahoo Voices, the Sunnyvale, Calif.,-based company’s crowd-sourced publishing platform. Yahoo Voices, formerly known as Associated Content, invites users to submit articles through the Yahoo Contributor Network.

The security firm said that the passwords and usernames appeared to be stored without encryption in plain text. That means anyone can use the information.

Nov. 7, 2012 - ‘Skyfall’ James Bond 007 (Daniel Craig) in the age of aerial drones - "What a Man! What a Suit!" When James Bond dashed into Buckingham Palace in July to pick up Queen Elizabeth so they could parachute into the Olympic opening ceremony, it was tough to picture what he could do for an encore. Zip line into the next European summit meeting with Angela Merkel tucked under his arm? Wrestle nude on the frozen banks of the Volga with Vladimir Putin? Turning Britain’s royal octogenarian into a Bond girl was a stroke of cross-marketing genius that profited queen and country both, while also encapsulating the appeal of the 007 brand in the age of aerial drones.

The word “drone” comes from an Old English word “dran,” meaning “male honeybee.” It most likely originated out of the Greek word, ὀνοματοποιίa, which points to the sound bees make; the “buzzing”. In ancient times some living creatures were named for the sound they made. In the 16th century the name drone figuratively gave a sense of idler or lazy worker, as male bees make no honey. However, in its broader sense the Old English also used the word dore for male bees which evolved into “Dumbledore,” “bumblebee.” “Dore” survived in the Dutch language as “dar,” meaning “drone.” The importance of the term drone in connection to their military uses has to do with their distinct characteristic eyes that are twice the size of worker bees and queens; and though their body size is greater than that of worker bees, in other words they have heavy bodies, drones must be able to fly fast enough to accompany the queen in flight while at the same time mate with them. Thus, speed and large seeing eyes, which specifically gives them superior sight are distinct traits found in all drones. Therefore, the military use of mechanical drones reflect two qualities found in drone bees; sight for finding their targets (reconnaissance mission), and speed in order to go undetected as well as to deliver and strike a target before the victim is aware it’s been targeted, and therefore unable to escape.

James Bond and 'Skyfall', with returning Daniel Craig to the role of 007 for a 3rd time and encapsulating the appeal of the 007 brand in the age of aerial drones, should cross $70 million in its domestic debut this weekend. But how much the military drones would generate: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the new face of warfare for the US and many of the world's biggest defence spenders

*update Nov. 10, 2012*
... in movie, "the appeal of the 007 brand in the age of aerial drones": 'Skyfall' headed for $80 Million Debut
In reality, The Navy drone aircraft that crashed in rural Maryland Monday likely will cost the military branch nearly $200 million at a time when the military's budget is shrinking. "The total acquisition cost of the planes is projected to average roughly $175 million each," says Todd Harrison, a senior defense budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "To put it in perspective, that's about the cost of a brand new Boeing 787 [airliner]." In addition, Congress warned drones would 'chill' Americans' rights "The testimony comes from Amie Stepanovich, association litigation counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center...The hearing was held recently at Rice University in Houston."

A drone, for example, can be equipped with gigapixel cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, GPS, movement detectors and automated license plate readers, the group said. Also, “drones are currently being developed that will carry facial recognition technology, able to remotely identify individuals in parks, schools, and at gatherings.

While some types of that technology already is available, Stepanovich said, “Drones present a unique threat to privacy” for their ability to conduct undetected surveillance just about anywhere for “weeks and months.” as the technology is developed, “the threat to privacy will become even more substantial.”

A drone, with the capability of staying aloft for hours or days at a time... “High-rise apartments, security fences and even the walls of a building are not barriers to increasingly common drone technology. Without the protection of a warrant requirement, individuals in the United States will find that the intimate details of their daily lives are freely available to the roving eyes...”

The invasiveness of drone technology, Stepanovich said, increases privacy risks to individuals as they pursue their daily activities. “Broad, untargeted drone surveillance would have a chilling effect on the speech and expression rights of individuals in the United States,” she asserted.

A drone, with the capability of staying aloft for hours or days at a time, could monitor a person’s daily life as they go from home to work to school to the store and back, she pointed out. “Even if law enforcement is not able to discern exactly what a persons says or buys at a particular location, simply tracking an individual’s public movements in a systematic fashion for extended periods of time can create a vivid description of their private life,” she said.

Keep in mind - "a drone, with the capability of staying aloft for hours or days at a time... “High-rise apartments, security fences and even the walls of a building are not barriers to increasingly common drone technology" - Do thoughts of miniature helicopters hovering and peeking into your bedroom keep you up at night?

First Drone Games In SF Today: The first-ever flying drone competition for Silicon Valley’s developer community lands today (Dec 1, 2012) at 385 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA

Organizers of the Drone Games, Jyri Engestrom & Chris Sanz, pictured above, write: “In the next few years the idea of drones will dramatically change. Here’s why. You no longer need a PhD and security clearance to write software for flying drones. The same functions every Web programmer uses to build
apps can now make drones navigate, take pictures, find people, fly through windows, play games, and so on. When the low level control of hardware comes built-in, hobbyists can focus on writing algorithms and routines.

It wouldn’t be possible if new consumer product companies weren’t building the sub-$300 quadcopters sold at Costco. But because they are programmable, they are more than just toys. Hackers and entrepreneurs who mod them are coming up with ideas that sound like science fiction, such as disrupting the transportation system using drones. If these visions come true, Uber-riding hipsters may find themselves agonizing over the choice between a black town car and a quadcopter.

Both of us were always fascinated with robots. We have a great deal of respect for those who are involved in the academic side of robotics and thinking beyond military opportunities. However, it was’t until we got involved with a community of drone hackers called Nodecopter that we started to truly see the potential of the drone movement. It can push things further much faster than any single group or organization.

New code and methods are posted online every day. Because we now have a large repository of free tools to play with, interest is expanding all over the world. Today we’ll showcase some of the most compelling demos at Drone Games in San Francisco.

“When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak completed the Apple I, they didn’t alert the media. They demonstrated it to their soul mates at the Homebrew
Computer Club.” So reads the entry on the HBCCat the Computer History Museum. We can’t wait to see what will be demonstrated at Drone Games today.” I’ll be there as a judge but I’m not sure what I’m judging. I hope to be amazed.

(p.s. Planning a honeymoon? Re-think your choice of location, think harder, think three times...)

This competition is held for the people who want to do something different and this drone competition will be interesting but this provides authentic info. Lots of the students are taking part in this competition and try to introduce different kinds of drone. It will be good to see this competition.

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