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

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

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.

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

Solving the "Longbow Puzzle": why did France and Scotland keep their inferior crossbows?

The longbow was vastly, demonstrably superior to the crossbow, but only England adopted it as a common military weapon; the Scots and French stuck with the inferior crossbow for nearly a century -- why? Read the rest

Army decides to stop putting soldiers' Social Security numbers on their dog tags

In a major policy change that sounds like a Very Good Idea, the U.S. Army announced today that dog tags will no longer include the Social Security numbers of the soldier wearing them. SSNs have been part of this identification system for over 40 years.

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Army says Petraeus shouldn't be punished under military law for leaking top-secret materials

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Army is recommending retired general David H. Petraeus not face further punishment for screwing his biographer and leaking top-secret materials to her.

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In historic shift, U.S. military to open all combat jobs to women

The Associated Press is reporting today that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will soon announce a historic change: The military will open all combat jobs to women.

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Paid Patriotism: Pentagon spent millions bribing sports teams to recognize military service

Those big, splashy shows of gratitude to America's soldiers at halftime? They're the best patriotism the taxpayers' money can buy. Read the rest

US warplane shot at survivors fleeing Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports

Doctors Without Borders released an internal report today that claims a U.S. warplane shot at people who were trying to escape the international medical aid group's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after the building was bombed by American forces.

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A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market

The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Army dudes in yoga poses: now an article of commerce

Yoga Joes started life as a wonderful, weird Kickstarter to produce a set of nine "Green Army Men" in yoga poses; having raised over $100K in direct sales at $20/set ($10 for military personnel) Brogamats is now selling them in retail channels at a $28 premium, for all nine: "headstand, meditation pose, cobra pose, warrior one, warrior two, child's pose, tree pose, crow pose, and downward-facing dog." (via Canopy) Read the rest

GPS, Plan B: US Navy teaches celestial navigation as fallback for cyberattack

The Naval Academy is digging sextants out of their storage spaces and asking the Merchant Marine Academy (which never stopped teaching celestial navigation) and training its students in celestial navigation so that the ships will still be able to find their way after their adversaries infect the GPS system with malware. Read the rest

Wacky dudes in Russia open 1940s war ration can and eat it because Russia

According to the uploader's description, these jolly Russian gentlemen here are opening what is identified as a 70-year-old package of Soviet fighter pilot war chow.

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Video of Flimmer, the US Navy's new drone that flies and swims

"Common across the services, autonomous vehicles are being seen as an effective projection of force, both above and below the water’s surface," according to the US Naval Research Laboratory. Read the rest

Stephen Harper will use 12-18 year old junior rangers to fight the Russians

The largely aboriginal youth club -- historically called upon to fight forest fires and volunteer in parks -- is now part of the Canadian Prime Minister's "arctic soveriegnty" plan. Read the rest

Scalzi's latest Old Man's War novel hits shelves today!

It's called The End of All Things, and it's book six in the series (here's my review of book one); he's touring it all over the USA. Read the rest

WWII slang from the front

As seen in War Slang: American Fighting Words & Phrases Since the Civil War: "Royal Order of Whale Bangers. An 'exclusive' club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines." Read the rest

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