Todd exposes the war photo from space

The internet, newspapers, and television news have been showing this photograph of Israel and Gaza from outer space, purporting to show the explosions from the war in that region:

View image on Twitter

You know tODD, a super-commenter on this blog who specializes in throwing cold water on over-hyped and misinterpreted claims (including those I make in some of my posts, which I actually appreciate!).  He did some sleuthing and found that the photograph is showing nothing more than ordinary city lights!  He sent his findings to Mollie Hemingway, “the scourge of lazy journalists,” who then exposed the mistake, though I’m not seeing any retractions. [Read more...]

Putting “ethical governors” on killer robots

Drone warfare makes some people squirm for the ethical issues it raises, but right now drones are still controlled by human beings.  The upcoming technology, though, would make them autonomous, allowing them to make their own “decisions” about whether or not to kill.  To meet the moral objections in giving machines the option to kill human beings, some techies are proposing tacking on separate software they are calling  “ethical governors” that could automatically run the decisions through international law protocols before going lethal.

What do you think about this?  Can there be “artificial morality’” just as there is “artificial intelligence”?  (After the jump, a defense of killer robots that goes into these issues.) [Read more...]

Civilian airliner shot down over Ukraine

A Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 was shot down over the Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew.  Most were Dutch and Australian.  As many as 23 may have been Americans.  [UPDATE:  Only one American has been identified.] The plane was reportedly brought down by a Russian anti-aircraft missile, and pro-Russian separatists are being blamed. [Read more...]

Israel invades Gaza

With Hamas refusing a ceasefire after its rocket attacks on Israel were met by air attacks, Israeli ground forces have launched an invasion of Gaza. [Read more...]

“Up to now, I’ve given nothing for what I have taken”

Peter Wehner shares a letter written by his wife’s uncle, Frank Keaton, shortly before landing on Omaha Beach.  It makes very good reading for Independence Day. [Read more...]

Never-ending war

Drones that can zap our enemies from above like Zeus throwing down thunderbolts would seem like a great anti-terrorism technology.   But we probably won’t like them as much when other countries–and terrorists–use them to assassinate people on our soil.

But whatever you think of drone warfare, I was struck by a news story reporting on a bipartisan commission studying the issue in which one consequence is said to be a state of “never-ending war.” [Read more...]


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