dragonfly

Leak shows Google lied when it claimed it wasn't near launching its censored Chinese search tool

When Google employees discovered last August to their horror that the company had been secretly working on a censored search engine ("Project Dragonfly) for use in China, the company assured them that this was only an early-stage prototype and nowhere near launching. Read the rest

Detailed look at Google's secret, censored, spying Chinese search tool

Jack Poulson is one of several googlers to quit the company over Project Dragonfly, the company's secret plan to launch a Chinese search tool that will incorporate state surveillance and censorship on behalf of China's authoritarian government. Read the rest

More googlers are quitting over the company's plan to launch a censored, surveilling search product in China

The revelation that Google had been secretly creating a censored, surveilling search product (codenamed Project Dragonfly) in order to re-enter the Chinese market prompted more than 1,000 googlers to sign a letter of protest and a high-ranking resignation from the one of company's top scientists. Read the rest

Google's censored Chinese search engine links every search to the user's phone number

Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize." Read the rest

Senior machine learning scientist quits Google over plan to launch censored Chinese search tool

Jack Poulson was a senior research scientist at Google whose work on machine learning work was used to improve Google's search results; now he's quit the company over its Project Dragonfly, a once-secret plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine; Poulson called the move a "forfeiture of our values." Read the rest

1,000 Googlers sign petition opposing Google's plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine

Over 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition urging senior management to reconsider the company's plan to launch a censored Chinese search product (codename: Dragonfly), a revolt that's been in the works since the news broke; the employees demand transparency about the project and point out that it violates the Association of Computing Machinery's code of ethics. Read the rest

American Conservative laments market concentration and private property as bad for free expression

For years, the big social media platforms have used their market dominance to decide who could speak and on what terms: they forced drag queens and trans people to use their "real" names; kicked Black Lives Matter activists off their platforms; and allowed autocratic rulers to force opposition activists to expose themselves to arrest and torture as a condition of using their platforms. Read the rest

Googlers revolt against Google's secret plan to offer censored search tools in China

Two days ago, a source leaked the existence of "Project Dragonfly", a super-secret Google plan to create a censored search-tool for use in China. Read the rest

Leaked documents reveal Google's plan to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market

Project Dragonfly is a secret Google plan to create an Android-based search tool (early versions were called "Maotai" and "Longfei") for use in China (where Google is currently blocked), in collaboration with the Chinese government, where search results related to human rights, democracy, protest, religion and other "sensitive" topics will be censored. Read the rest

The CIA's 1970s-era "Insectothopter" spy drone

In the 1970s, the CIA created a dragonfly-shaped drone that carried a microphone, with the goal of using it to snoop on remote targets. It was a pretty ingenious piece of engineering: propelled by a liquid fuel and guided by a laser, it actually achieved flight in a few tests. The CIA has released footage of one here:

The drone didn't maneuver very well, though, as IEEE Spectrum notes:

Unfortunately, even the gentlest breeze blew the 1-gram Insectothopter off course. It’s unclear if the laser guidance and data link were ever implemented. In any event, the UAV never flew an actual spy mission.

Why fashion it after that particular insect?

Dragonflies are nimble aerialists, able to hover, glide, and even fly backward. They can turn 180 degrees in three wingbeats. The Insectothopter’s 6-⁠centimeter-long body and 9-cm wingspan were well within the range of an actual dragonfly’s dimensions. Plus, dragonflies are native to every continent except Antarctica, so their presence would be unremarkable, at least in the appropriate season.

Me, I wonder if the CIA designers had another influence: The sci-fi YA novel Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy. It came out in 1974 -- right around the time that the CIA was making that invention -- and it's the story of an inventor who creates a dragonfly-shaped drone that contains a tiny camera and microphone, and is piloted by a user who wears a VR-style headset.

I wrote about the novel a few years ago, because it was amazingly prescient about the civil dangers of omnipresent high-tech governmental spying ... Read the rest

Unknown hackers have gained near-total control over some US power generation companies

Hacker takeovers of power infrastructure have been seen in Ukraine (where they are reliably attributed to Russian state actors), but now the US power-grid has been compromised by hackers of unknown origin, who have "switch-flipping" control -- that is, they can just turn it all off. Read the rest

Gorgeous metallic insects and skulls with engraved patterns

UK-based artist Billy Bogiatzoglou creates intricate images of engraved insects and skulls. The Engraved Entomology series has especially detailed beetles, dragonflies, and arachnids. Read the rest

Crowdfunded robot dragonfly project in trouble

In another high-profile failure of a successfully-crowdfunded gadget, it turns out that TechJect's robot dragonflies won't be flying their way to pledgers' pockets any time soon. Read the rest

The "Medieval Monsters" of England's ancient forests

Beautiful footage, perfectly narrated by Phil Reynolds, of the billions of beasties underfoot—and underground—in the New Forest. Beetles, bugs, dragonflies, and the law of an unseen landscape, all shot on a Super35 digital movie camera and a Canon 7D.

Read the rest

Driver turns up music and starts dancing after 2am traffic stop

"A dancing driver has been banned from the roads," report police in England, "after parking his car on a roundabout and claiming he was on his way to Stonehenge." Read the rest

Fluffiest galaxies discovered

The adorably-named Dragonfly 44 is 70,000 light years across—about twice that of the Milky Way—and one of the most diffuse galaxies yet observed.

“If the Milky Way is a sea of stars, then these newly discovered galaxies are like wisps of clouds”, said van Dokkum. “We are beginning to form some ideas about how they were born and it’s remarkable they have survived at all. They are found in a dense, violent region of space filled with dark matter and galaxies whizzing around, so we think they must be cloaked in their own invisible dark matter ‘shields’ that are protecting them from this intergalactic assault.”

The fluffy galaxies, captured by Keck Observatory, are about 300 million light years away and something of a cosmic mystery. Read the rest

Fruit fly and zebrafish brains may help unlock secrets of our human minds

At a facility considered a Nirvana for scientists, researchers pursue greater understanding of biomedical processes, using test subjects like dragonflies and zebrafish

Next page

:)