Sunday, February 10, 2013


The resolution of surveillance drones just got a whole lot better. In a recent episode of NOVA (see link below), details of the ARGUS 1.8-gigapixel imager were revealed. My initial thoughts of the system are: 1. Sure the imager is impressive, but the applications of the imager are even more impressive. 2. Details of the imager were described at a high level, as expected, but I did notice in the playback that the program was using Object Video for video analytics. Having personally dealt with some of their early software, I can only imagine the capabilities of this system, both good and bad. Setting up rules for motion and object detection are hard enough with a fixed camera. Making those rules adapt to changes in altitude, speed, object size, and lighting that's a challenge. Kudos to all the engineers working on that one. 3. Based on the modular pod shown, it appears this sensor is adaptable to a whole host of aerial platforms. The ideal platform for a rig like this, in my mind, would not be the helicopter, as shown in the video, but a stable
low earth orbit superpressure platform specifically engineered for long mission duration. With 100+ day capabilities, a low earth orbit platform carrying Argus is the first step in continuous deep-recording wide-area surveillance. The ability to rewind EVERYTHING that happened days, or even weeks, ago and zoom in ANY area within a 15 mile diameter (or more) will be more than helpful for future defense and law enforcement use. Although some will fear yet another new Eye In The Sky, I'm a fan of the project and will be posting updates on the technology as they are released. So far, it looks like a winning solution.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

People don't kill people. Pistol grips kill people.

I typically don't post about politics, but this whole gun control thing is getting ridiculous. An evil man can't be trusted with a knife. An honest man can (and is) trusted with a nuclear bomb. Why then is the majority of the emphasis being placed on the efficiency and killing potential of the weapon itself, and not the man (or woman) behind it? I think we can all agree that an average American citizen should not be allowed to own a nuclear bomb, due to the potential destruction it might cause if that citizen were to develop poor judgement, poor reliability, and evil intentions. We do, however, trust that same powerful killing potential with a select few Americans (President and SECDEF) with the highest background check level (Yankee White), and trust them to only use it to defend our country. That trust literally comes only from a background check that includes, "certification by competent medical authority that no physical or mental disorder is noted in the record that could adversely affect the individual's reliability or judgment". Isn't this whole gun control issue really about reliability, judgement, trust, and character? Will introducing blanket laws on gun features and capabilities really correct the problem? Those with mental disorders are still going to find ways to hurt people, regardless of the weapons they use. Over 500K people were killed in less than 100 days with mostly machetes during the Rwandan genocide. It is all about the person behind the weapon. If an American citizen feels they need a double-canister 150 round clip for their AR-15 to protect their family against tyranny, shouldn't they be allowed to, just as long as they pass the appropriate background check that deems them "reliable"? It seems to me we like to take the easy road, and point at the objects causing the damage, instead of having a fierce conversation about those with mental disorders and evil intentions pulling the trigger. Let's have a conversation about how we can instill more reliability and good judgement into the population, instead of more gun laws. Or, have the fierce conversation about how to remove weapons only from the hands of those with mental disorders causing poor reliability, judgement, and evil intentions. - TB