Med-tech company repossess veteran's artificial legs because the VA won't cover them

Jerry Holliman received Bronze Stars for his military service in Iraq and Vietnam, where he was dosed with Agent Orange. Now 69, Hollman has survived multiple cancers, but lost both his legs to complications from diabetes. Read the rest

Glossary: Chinese futurist military jargon

Via Bruce Sterling, the Chinese characters for "specific ethnic genetic attacks," "combat brain," "winning without fighting" and more. Read the rest

Russian warship 'aggressively approached' US Navy destroyer in Arabian Sea

The ships came within 60 yards of a collision

IRAQ: Multiple Katyusha rockets fall in Baghdad's Green Zone (VIDEO)

By various reports, multiple (two or three) Katyusha rockets hit targets inside Baghdad's Green Zone in the past hour. Read the rest

That text informing you that you've been drafted into the US Army? It's fake. For now.

Apparently there's been a rash of fraudulent text messages informing recipients that they have been drafted in the United States Army and they should call the recruiting office immediately. I'd bet that the phone number is actually an international toll call and most of the fees go to the scammer, like the common "one-ring call" scams. From the US Army Recruiting Command:

The decision to enact a draft is not made at or by U.S. Army Recruiting Command. The Selective Service System, a separate agency outside of the Department of Defense, is the organization that manages registration for the Selective Service.

"The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual,” according to the Selective Service System’s official Facebook page. “In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft."

And of course that's highly unlikely, right? RIGHT?!?

image: Maj. Jessica Rovero Read the rest

Iraq: Chevron evacuates staff from Kurdistan oil site, will Russia's Rosneft benefit?

Chevron said Monday it has evacuated all expatriate oil workers from Iraq, following last week's Trump airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Read the rest

US sends 3,500+ more troops to Middle East as Iran tensions escalate

DEPLOYMENTS COME AS IRAN TENSIONS FLARE AFTER U.S. AIRSTRIKE IN BAGHDAD Read the rest

US Navy building a ship named after Harvey Milk sixty years after he was booted out for being gay

The US Navy is building a ship that they are naming after a true American hero. Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was an inspiring LGBT activist who in 1978 became the first openly gay elected official in California history. On November 27 1978, Milk, a highly effective member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and mayor George Moscone were assassinated by another city supervisor. But before all that, Milk served in the Navy. That is, until his superiors found out Milk was gay and forced him to resign. From CNN:

More than 60 years later, the Navy began construction Friday on the USNS Harvey Milk, a new oiler ship that will resupply fuel to other ships at sea. "(This) sends a global message of inclusion more powerful than simply 'We'll tolerate everyone,'" Stuart Milk said at a ceremony in San Diego, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "(It says) We celebrate everyone."

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Nicole Murray Ramirez, the chairman and executive director of the San Diego International Imperial Court Council, an LGBT organization, was a leader in the push to name a vessel after Milk.

“When ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was lifted, I researched, and one guy picks all these (ship) names — the Secretary of the Navy,” Ramirez said.

His organization, which has chapters nationwide, organized a national letter-writing campaign in 2011 to push then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to name a ship for Milk.

image: "Harvey Milk in dress Navy Blue uniform for his brother's wedding in 1954" (CC BY-SA 3.0 Read the rest

Without right to repair, the military can't fix its own battlefield equipment

Captain Elle Ekman is a US Marine Corps logistics officer; in a New York Times op-ed, she describes how the onerous conditions imposed by manufacturers on the US armed forces mean that overseas troops are not permitted to fix their own mission-critical gear, leaving them stranded and disadvantaged. Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: Applying for a Permit to Exorcise the Pentagon of Evil Spirits, Levitating It Ten Feet Off the Ground

Abbie Hoffman and Martin Carey arrive at The Pentagon to do a literal hand-count on how many protestors will be needed to encircle the building for a protest. On the way out they apply for, and receive, a permit to initiate an Exorcism to rid the base of its evil demons.

Part one of "LEVITATION OF THE PENTAGON" — Continued Next Week

From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall.

(See all Boing Boing installments)

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US Air Force has developed unusual liquid metal conductor

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has developed a new form of liquid metal with very strange conductive properties. Usually, when a flexible, conductive material is stressed or stretched, its electrical conductivity drops and resistance increases when it's stress or stretched. Just the opposite, Air Force's novel "Polymerized Liquid Metal Networks... can be strained up to 700%, autonomously respond to that strain to keep the resistance between those two states virtually the same, and still return to their original state." The researchers published their results in the scientific journal Advanced Materials. From the Air Force:

It is all due to the self-organized nanostructure within the material that performs these responses automatically.

“This response to stretching is the exact opposite of what you would expect,” said Dr. Christopher Tabor, AFRL lead research scientist on the project. “Typically a material will increase in resistance as it is stretched simply because the current has to pass through more material. Experimenting with these liquid metal systems and seeing the opposite response was completely unexpected and frankly unbelievable until we understood what was going on.”

Wires maintaining their properties under these different kinds of mechanical conditions have many applications, such as next-generation wearable electronics. For instance, the material could be integrated into a long-sleeve garment and used for transferring power through the shirt and across the body in a way that bending an elbow or rotating a shoulder won’t change the power transferred.

Read the rest

Nazi bunker in Germany to become "design and lifestyle" hotel

A developer plans to transform the massive Nazi-era St. Pauli anti-aircraft and air raid bunker in Hamburg, Germany into a "design and lifestyle hotel," as described by a spokesperson for the Spanish hotel chain NS Hotel Group designing the property. The structure is currently used as a concert venue and art/music studio space. According to the spokesperson, there are plans for the rebuilt facility, seen in the rendering above, to also hold a World War II memorial. The bunker hotel project comes on the heels of other Nazi-era structures that have been redeveloped. From the New York Times:

In 2018, the former Gestapo headquarters in Hamburg, where Jews, gay people, Roma and other people targeted by the Nazis were tortured and murdered, a cluster of high-end apartments, luxury boutiques and offices opened for business. Protests ensued.

A never-completed holiday resort that Hitler had intended to be used for workers through his “Strength Through Joy” project has been converted to luxury apartments.

The challenge when integrating these sites into modern-day landscapes is “how to reconcile commemoration and consumption or consumerism,” said Thomas L. Doughton, a senior lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who takes students on tours of Holocaust sites across Europe to explore the politics of memory.

Dr. Doughton said there were parallels to places in the United States, including plantations where African-Americans were once enslaved and the sites of atrocities against Native Americans, that have been commercialized at the expense of a blunt reckoning with historical oppression.

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Subtle problem with bayonet design

The bayonet on the MAS-36 rifle seems a straightforward, no-nonsense design. But there's a problem with it: bored soldiers. Read the rest

With state secrets privilege, U.S. ends challenge by journalist over drone ‘kill list’

A U.S. judge today dismissed a lawsuit by an American journalist who sought to challenge his placement on a drone “kill list” by U.S. authorities in Syria. Read the rest

Notpetya: the incredible story of an escaped US cyberweapon, Russian state hackers, and Ukraine's cyberwar

Andy Greenberg (previously) is Wired's senior security reporter; he did amazing work covering Russian cyberwarfare in Ukraine, which he has expanded into a forthcoming book: Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers (I read it for a blurb and a review; it's excellent). Read the rest

Information security and warfare metaphors: a toxic mix made in hell

I once found myself staying in a small hotel with a "State Department" family whose members clearly all worked for some kind of three letter agency (the family patriarch had been with USAID with the tanks rolled into Budapest) and I had some of the weirdest discussions of my life with them. Read the rest

Semper Fur: fursuit technician improves military cooling vest and troops are into it

Furry fans sometimes use cooling vests to make hot fursuits comfortable to wear. Soldiers also have need for such garments. And now a Dutch fursuit maker has improved the state of the art.

Tired of overheating in his own fursuit, Pepeyn Langedijk adapted a military cooling vest to his own ends to create the EZ Cooldown vest. Langedijk, a resident of the Netherlands, goes by “EZ Wolf” in lupine costume and named his invention after his character.

Langedijk and his husband Tom live in Amsterdam and run the EZ Cooldown business together full-time. They met during Elfia, a medieval fantasy reenactment fair, and their hobbies led them to test their product on themselves. The team told The Daily Beast that they sold more than a thousand vests in 2018, which each retail for $215, packs included. Roughly 80 percent of the company’s sales are to U.S. customers.

The pair don’t have official military contracts, but they told The Daily Beast that a small group of U.S. Navy troops in Japan reached out to EZ Cooldown three years ago to ask if the company could ship to military bases. The service members ended up buying 10 vests, then their friends bought 20, then 30, Langedijk said. He still doesn’t know how they heard of his product.

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