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Classified: The New Boeing High-Tech Autonomous Fighter

Photo: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

The BATS plane is primarily intended, in its wingman role, to protect against electronic attacks

With every passing year, items of technology once confined to the realm of science fiction make their leaps from the pages of novels and comics and the silver screen of Hollywood into cold, hard reality.

The latest piece of futuristic technology to make the jump from the imaginary to the real is Boeing’s new unmanned fighter-like jet, developed in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force. The aircraft was revealed to the world in February 2019, and is called the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.

The BATS – also called the Loyal Wingman – was developed in Australia, making it that nation’s first domestically-developed military aircraft since the Second World War. Australia has been, though, a perfect place to develop the BATS plane, as this is Boeing’s largest base of operations outside of the US.

Boeing ATS. Photo: Boeing
Boeing ATS. Photo: Boeing

Australia also has a lot of empty airspace in which prototypes can be tested. The BATS project is thought to be Boeing’s largest investment in the development of a new aircraft outside the United States.

The concept of an unmanned plane is hardly a new one. Unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones or UAVs, have been used in a military context since WWI, although the current crop of high-tech drones, based on technological advances made in the 1980s, differs radically from earlier UAVs.

What is significant about Boeing’s new autonomous fighter-like jet, though, is just how much more advanced it is than anything else in the drone field.

Boeing ATS with AEWC. Photo: Boeing
Boeing ATS with AEWC. Photo: Boeing

The BATS fighter-like jet is roughly the same size as a normal fighter jet – it is around 11 meters long (38 feet), with a body and wingspan roughly proportional in size to many current fighter jets used in the Royal Australian Air Force.

The reason it is referred to as a “fighter-like” jet is that the prototype has not been designed to be armed in the traditional manner of a standard fighter jet – although the possibility of arming a BATS plane with missiles and bombs in the future remains open.

Rather, the current focus of the BATS plane is to fly alongside manned fighter jets, hence the “Loyal Wingman” moniker. The designers envision, in one possible example, a squadron of four to six of their autonomous BATS planes flying alongside a P-8A Poseidon, E-7 Wedgetail or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Boeing ATS with SuperHornet. Photo: Boeing
Boeing ATS with SuperHornet. Photo: Boeing

The BATS plane is primarily intended, in its wingman role, to protect against electronic attacks as well as conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions in places deemed to dangerous to send manned aircraft, but could very easily be modified to take on a more aggressive role. While it is unlikely that this model could go as far as getting involved in dogfights with manned jets, the possibility of arming it for a number of offensive missions is there.

One reason a large amount of money has been poured into the BATS project (Boeing has declined to say just how much) is because of the potential such an aircraft offers in terms of overcoming human-piloted fighter jet limitations.

A model of the unmanned Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow Feb. 27. The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide multi-mission support for air control missions. (Boeing photo)
A model of the unmanned Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow Feb. 27. The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide multi-mission support for air control missions. (Boeing photo)Human pilots, even the most gifted and highly trained, can only take a certain number of G’s (gravitational forces), fly for a certain length of time without becoming tired, and can only process a certain amount of information at once. A plane piloted by AI (artificial intelligence), or even remotely, could overcome a number of these hampering factors.

Photo: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

The BATS plane currently has a range of 2,000 nautical miles, and is powered by a commercially-available jet engine. It uses standard runways for landing and take-off, and can quite easily be modified to operate from an aircraft carrier at sea. While Boeing has not confirmed that the BATS plane will be able to fly at supersonic speeds, this does seem like a likely possibility.

Another major advantage of the BATS plane is its price. While the exact price of one of them has yet to be announced, Boeing has described the BATS as having a “very disruptive price point” and has sung its praises for featuring “fighter-like capability at a fraction of the cost.” It could potentially serve as a force equalizer for nations that cannot currently afford to field a large number of fighter jets in their air forces.

Photo: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

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Also, Boeing emphasizes the BATS’ flexibility and its potential for customization, stressing that while it is currently intended for a “Loyal Wingman” role, the scope of its possible future uses extends far beyond this single function.

The first flight of a BATS plane is scheduled to take place in 2020, and commercial production is still an unspecified number of years away. Once Boeing does reach the commercial production phase, it is expected that they will sell the BATS plane globally.

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WHAT DID THEY DRINK ON THE TITANIC?

More than a 100 years after the Titanic hit that fateful iceberg, we’re still fascinated with the legendary steamship—as much because of its glamour as its tragic ending. The pride of the White Star Line and the largest passenger ship in its day, it was modeled after the Ritz Hotel in London, with a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a squash court, four restaurants and 416 first-class staterooms.

titanicThe Titanic was 882.5 feet long, or about the length of four city blocks. At the time of its launch, it was the largest passenger ship in the world.GETTY

Now Titanic expert Veronica Hinke has gone back in time with The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining and StylePart cookbook, part first-person narrative, part anthropolical study, it uses cuisine, cocktails, dress decor and other cultural threads to dive into our obsession with the ill-fated ship and the Edwardian era as a whole.

Bartenders in the dining car saloon would have been whipping up cocktails like the Rob Roy, the Robert Burns and the Bronx to tony travelers like John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim. Some 850 bottles of spirits were brought onboard, and the ship’s wine cellar was stocked with 1,000 bottles—including a lot of Champagne and Bordeaux, apparently.

0831_Titanic_lunch_menu_03An original lunch menu saved by a passenger aboard the Titanic, just hours before it began to sink, will be up for auction on September 30, Lion Heart Autographs.LION HEART AUTOGRAPHS
Lavish 10-course meals were the norm for first-class passengers—chilled spring pea soup, chicken in cream sauce, Oysters à la Russe—and each dish was paired with a glass of wine.

“It’s absolutely incredible that we have menus that Titanic passengers and crew tucked away in their pockets and letters they wrote home describing their meals,” Hinke tells Newsweek. “These letters and menus provide rare and precious glimpses at life and food aboard the Titanic, and also throughout the world in the early 20th century.”

Her recipes, curated in narrative form, include dishes served on the ship as well as Hinke’s moden adaptations. She filled in the gaps by looking at menus from other steamships of the day, as well as from bars and restaurants that were au courant when the Titanic went down—like the Waldorf Astoria and Knickerbocker Hotels and Delmonico’s restaurant (where Hinke had her book launch this week).

“By seeing what someone like John Jacob Astor IV might have eaten while dining out in New York City, we can imagine what he likely would have eaten while on a steamship like the Titanic,” she says.

One drink we know for sure that was served on the Titanic is Punch à la Romaine, a shaved-ice concoction popularized by famed French chef (and spiked slushie fan) Georges Auguste Escoffier. Made with rum and Champagne, it was served as a palate cleanser between courses. Light, refreshing and citrusy, it can easily stand on it own.

Below, try out the recipe for Punch à la Romainé included in The Last Night on the Titanic

1 egg white
1 oz. white rum
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Crushed ice—enough to fill the glass
Twist of orange peel, for garnish

Add the egg whites to an empty cocktail shaker and shake until frothy. To the cocktail shaker add rum, simple syrup, lemon juice, and orange juice and shake vigorously. Mound crushed ice in a coupe glass and pour mixture around it, being careful to leave enough room for the Champagne.

Top with Champagne and garnish with orange peel. The cocktail should be liquid and frothy enough to drink without a spoon.

Punch à la Romaine

Punch à la Romaine

Could Drinking Alcohol Be Better For You Then Exercise And Help You Live Longer?

There are countless studies and articles out there that debate whether alcohol consumption is good for you or not, but I’m fairly certain nobody cares about the negative headlines and we simply choose to believe boozin’ is super healthy. I mean, at least that’s what I do.

If you, too, choose to believe alcohol is good for you, I have amazing news that will definitely justify your reasoning: New research revealed that booze has invigorating, anti-aging powers, and is actually one of the secrets to a long and prosperous life. This is some of the best news I’ve ever heard, so I’ll drink to that.

The research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference, where neurologist Claudia Kawas presented the riveting scientific breakthrough that drinking two glasses of wine or beer a day can significantly reduce your risk of a premature death – and is even better for your health than exercising regularly. Hah! Take that, naysayers.

To determine this awesome conclusion, Kawas and her team analyzed data from a long-term study conducted at the UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, called the 90+ Study, which has been following old-timers who basically all lived to be historic landmarks since 2003, in order to find out which lifestyle practices are best for longevity.

The researchers concluded that people who drank two glasses of wine or beer a day saw an 18 percent drop in their risk of early death, whereas participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day cut the same risk by only 11 percent. This suggests that alcohol is the actualsecret to a long life, and is probably what flows through the Fountain of Youth.

“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Kawas said at the conference. Honestly, I don’t think we need any further explanation. I’m sold.

Remember: 2 is the magic number!

Remember: 2 is the magic number!

Now, if you’re questioning the unparalleled revitalizing powers of booze, let me reassure you that drinking is super healthy with a few examples of some of the oldest people I’ve ever heard of.

  • A super old dude named Mark Behrends lived until the ancient age of 110, claiming a delicious brewski every day at precisely 3 o’clock was the only medicine he ever needed.
  • Another old-timer named Agnes Fenton made it to 112 by drinking three Miller High Life beers and a shot of whiskey every day.
  • Yet another one of the oldest people ever was Pauline Spagnola, who passed away at 101, who literally said the secret to her longevity was “a lot of booze.” Her words, not mine.

It may sound like I totally made all of that up, but I didn’t. But just to be clear, I’m not saying to mummify yourself in alcohol, because that’s definitely not good for you. Everything in moderation, my friend.

The Honda Mean Mower 2

Honda-Mean-Mower-Mk-2-01-1087x725

The Insane 134MPH Mower

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about going fast, it’s the folks at Top Gear. And that doesn’t just mean in cars – as was evidenced when they set a Guinness World Record for building the world’s fastest lawnmower with Honda back in 2014. Unfortunately, they were dethroned shortly thereafter. Now, however, they’re looking to ascend again with the Honda Mean Mower Mk. 2.

To be driven in the world-record attempt by stunt driver, Jess Hawkins, this second iteration grass-cutter features some major improvements over the original. For instance, the output has been nearly doubled – that means 190+ bhp from the new 999cc SP1 Fireblade engine onboard. The team building it is also shooting toward a dry weight of only about 440 lbs, which means – when paired with the engine output – this lawnmower may be able to do 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Whether or not they shatter the record remains to be seen, but by all accounts this is promising to be an impressive machine.

 

 

 

The Classic Italian Scooter With a Futuristic Twist

giulio-iacchetti-vespa-reimagined-1-1

Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti gives a nod to the original 1946 Vespa with his concept for a sleek, minimalist electric bike. The beloved Italian scooter is reimagined as the Vespampère, with Iacchetti linking past and present for a forward-thinking vehicle designed for better riding in urban environments.

Over the years, the Vespa has become increasingly bulky, but Iacchetti’s proposed electric motor allows him to remove lateral side panels for a slimmed down version. This brings his concept back to the days when the Vespa graced the screen during the Golden Age of Italian Neorealist cinema. Yet, while cultivating this nostalgia, Iacchetti doesn’t lose sight of new technology.

A built-in smartphone holder recharges your phone while keeping it protected from the rain. And the speedometer, fuel gauge, and lights are accessed through a wireless app. At the same time, the designer maintains classic elements like the front circular headlight and cleverly integrates turn signals into the rear-view mirrors. Overall, Iacchetti has put an interesting twist on the Vespa, a classically Italian scooter born from the necessity for affordable transportation in post-World War II Italy.

Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti has created a Vespa concept called Vespampère, which features an electric motor.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio Iacchetti

The cantilevered seat is a nod back to early Vespa designs, while the model has integrated smartphone technology.

Vespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio IacchettiVespa Concept by Giulio Iacchetti

The Vespa 98, which debuted in 1946, was a source of inspiration for Iacchetti’s revamped scooter.

Electric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiElectric Vespa Design by Giulio IacchettiIndustrial Design by Giulio IacchettiGiulio Iacchetti: Website | Instagram
h/t: [designboom]

The Battle of the Little Big Horn, A First for Custer Firearms

Top-selling-lot-at-High-Noon-was-this-1874-Sharps-that-has-been-forensically-linked-to-the-Battle-of-the-Little-Big-Horn

A cartridge case discovery leads up to an auction sale of the first firearm forensically proven to have been used at the 1876 battle site.

The “first firearm forensically proven to have been used” at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, as the auction catalog noted, hammered down for a quarter of a million dollars at Brian Lebel’s High Noon in Mesa, Arizona, on January 27.

Collectors of artifacts tied to George Custer-—who history best remembers for his decisive defeat in June 1876 that led to the deaths of him and a detachment of 7th Cavalry troops—first widely learned about this Sharps 1874 rifle in a 1988 article written for Man at Arms Magazine by historical archaeologists Douglas D. Scott and Dick Harmon. They discussed not only the supporting forensic evidence, but also the pitfalls of verifying Custer battle guns in general.

custer's last fight poster
Another lot tied to the 1876 battle is this film poster for the 1912 silent short, Custer’s Last Fight, which a collector got for a winning bid of $2,750.

An accidental range fire in 1983 paved the path for a 1984 survey of the Montana fight site. Southeast of Lt. James Calhoun’s position and also on Greasy Grass Ridge, archaeologists recovered empty .50-70 caliber cartridge cases, among cases from other firearms, on known Indian warrior positions. The ballistic comparisons of two Martin-primed cartridge cases provided near-certain proof that the 1874 Sharps sold at the auction was fired on Custer’s battlefield. 

Further evidence of the rifle’s strong provenance is the unbroken family chain of custody. The rifle, bearing serial C54586, was shipped on April 23, 1875, to Schuyler, Hartley and Graham, one of Sharps’s largest agents who shipped many early rifles west for the buffalo hide hunting trade. It was found on the Little Big Horn battlefield in 1883 by rancher Willis Spear and stayed with the family until it was sold at the auction.

Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.
Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.

If any doubt could be raised on this being a Custer battle gun, it is the fact that the rifle was not found closer to the battle date. Some could speculate that it was fired in 1883 or even afterward, since access to the battlefield was unrestricted, says C. Lee Noyes, a retired U.S. Customs officer and former editor of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association quarterly newsletter.

“And there is at least one known and photographed instance of a military firing demonstration there, in 1886, during the 10th anniversary of the Custer battle. In addition, Capt. Edward S. Luce, a 7th Cavalry veteran and long-time park superintendent, reportedly ‘salted’ the battlefield with cartridge cases and other ‘relics’ for tourists to find,” he adds.

Other Custer battlefield guns before this one, however, had shakier provenance, as they relied solely on historical documentation. As Scott and Harmon wrote, the combination of modern crime laboratory firearms identification procedures with archaeological evidence allowed for this 1874 Sharps to become the “first gun in history that has been scientifically proven to ‘have been there.’”

Collectors who lost out on the chance to bid for a Custer battle gun have another opportunity—at the James D. Julia Auction this April 11-13. A Model 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, serial 5773, is one of three that 7th Cavalry Capt. Frederick W. Benteen reported unserviceable after the 1876 battle. This revolver has a “pure Little Big Horn pedigree,” Noyes says.

Collectors earned more than $1.25 million for their Old West artifacts.

 

Could Gin boost your metabolism and help you to burn calories faster?

1_generic-ice

Britain loves gin.

In fact, last year, we consumed 73 million bottles of the stuff.

Fortunately, experts have found that it could well have health benefits, It’s been reported that gin can help tackle hayfever, but now experts have discovered that it may also boost your metabolism.

A study carried out by the University of Sigulda in Latvia found that gin may have a positive effect on our metabolism by helping to burn calories more efficiently.

Gin
Gin / Experts say that the tipple may have a positive effect on our bodies 

The study was carried out using groups of mice, who were given either gin or water.Their calorie burning potential was then observed, with researchers finding that the mice who drank the gin showed an increase in their metabolic rate and not by a small measure.

Not only that, but some mice showed an increase of a whopping 17% in metabolic rate.

 

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