Pentagon's nuclear missile system is run on 1970s floppy disk tech

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In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals that the "Department of Defense uses 8- inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces." That floppy format was developed in the late 1960s and was obsolete by the 1980s. I wonder if the DoD saves a few bucks by using a hole punch to make them double sided.

According to the GAO report, "The agency plans to update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017."

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems (PDF) Read the rest

We Stand on Guard: in 100 years, America seizes Canada for its water

Brian K Vaughan's varied career in comics has had numerous and diverse hits like Saga, the epically weird and sexy space-opera; Y: The Last Man, an end-of-the-world story; now, with We Stand on Guard, Vaughan dramatically ups his body count in a tale of an American resource war that's a lot closer to home than the invasion of Iraq.

United Nations reminds members including U.S. to not bomb hospitals and kill doctors please

Burnt vehicles in front of a hospital hit by airstrikes in rebel-held Aleppo. Reuters

The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.

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Syrian hacker accused of attacking U.S. for Assad extradited for federal court in Virginia

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A man the U.S. says is a hacker aligned with the government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday. An unnamed source with U.S. law enforcement told reporters today that the accused hacker, 36 year old Peter Romar, was extradited to the US and flown from Germany to Dulles International Airport on Monday.

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Galactic Warfighters: recreating photos of US soldiers in battle using Star Wars action figures

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Matthew Callahan's Galactic Warfighters series poses Star Wars action figures in scenes that recreate war journalism from US operations, captioned with AP-style slugs that conjure up the human cost of the battles hidden by the inscrutable armor of the Empire. Read the rest

The U.S. Navy now has an unmanned drone warship. Could it be hacked at sea?

The U.S. 'Sea Hunter' unmanned ship, a DARPA project.

The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now testing a new unmanned drone warship.

The first Navy drone ship is a 132-foot ACTUV (Antisubmarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these “robot ships” could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States.

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Riot Control Robot Unveiled in China Looks Ominously Like a 'Doctor Who' Dalek, May In Fact Be One

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“China's first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing,” reads the headline in the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People's Daily. The riot control robot has a name, “AnBot,” and it's freaking everyone out even more than your regular garden variety riot control robots because the damn thing looks like a Dalek from Doctor Who. And nothing good comes from a Dalek.

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Powerful photographic portraits of Veterans For Bernie Sanders

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My photographer friend Clayton Cubitt, whom I met here in the Boing Boing comments a decade ago, did an amazing project to support the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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Turns out the U.S. military really is dropping “cyber bombs” on ISIS

Daily Beast

There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines.

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U.S. military claims to be dropping 'cyber bombs' on ISIS

Robert Work, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense,  April 7, 2016.  REUTERS

America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.

The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization.

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Obama touts nuclear arms reduction record, but he's failed to reduce US nukes stockpile

Just two BFFs discussing nuclear security at this week’s summit. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Obama is touting his record on reducing nuclear arms, but he's been a dismal failure at reducing the US's stockpile, writes Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm at the Guardian today.

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Watch a submarine crack through pristine ice in the Arctic Circle

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Last week, the United States Navy launched exercises at the new Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle. Seen above, the nuclear submarine USS Hampton surfaces through the ice. It's a majestic sight, but let's not forget the goal here:

"(This exercise) is our continued commitment to the development of undersea warfare capabilities and tactics in all areas of the world," said Rear Adm. Jeff Trussler, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center. "Our superiority in delivering effects in and from the undersea domain to the operational commanders is dependent on the regular exercise and demonstration of these capabilities."

I'd imagine that as the polar ice caps melt, and possible energy reserves are uncovered, the region will quickly become a new battleground. Sadly.

"Navy Submarines Arrive in Arctic for Ice Exercise 2016" (US Pacific Command)

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Chelsea Manning gets the US Army to cough up its "insider threat" training docs

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Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning writes, "I filed my Freedom of Information Act request in 2014 for Training Material related to the Insider Threat Program. I had almost forgoten about it, when the package arrived in the mail. In it was this slideshow." Read the rest

Russia's military uses gigantic wooden comedy props for punishment

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Russian soldiers who screw up are made to carry gigantic wooden props that illustrate their sins: for example, if you're caught looking at your phone, you have to run around with a massive fake wooden cellphone strapped to your back until you've learned your lesson.

Other punishments include carrying massive guns made out of logs (showing up without your weapon), carrying huge logs painted to look like cigarettes (caught smoking on duty), and carrying massive log-swords (forgetting your bayonet).

Russian Army Punishments [Semper Annoying]

(via Super Punch)

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DoD wants $660M to respond to Freedom of Information request on "Hotplugs"

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The Department of Defense sent Muckrock a demand for $660 million as a requirement for fulfilling a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the Hotplug, a gadget that allows you to transport computers without shutting them down -- used by law enforcement to move suspect computers to forensic facilities without shutting them down and potentially parking drives in an encrypted state. Read the rest

Liberated Yazidi sex slaves become a vengeful, elite anti-ISIS fighting force

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The Force of the Sun Ladies is an all-woman brigade of fighters who were formerly enslaved by ISIS during the occupation of Mosul. Read the rest

That time the DoD paid Duke U $335K to investigate ESP in dogs. Yes, dogs.

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Government research often pushes the boundaries between science and science fiction. Today, the proud bearer of that mantle is often DARPA, experimenting with robots, cybernetics, and more. But in the sixties, during the height of the Cold War, this research often went into more fantastical realms, even exploring whether ExtraSensory Perception (ESP) was possible. Thanks to FOIA, MuckRock looks back on the paranormal history of American surveillance." Read the rest

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