Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


kya100 last won the day on September 16

kya100 had the most liked content!

About kya100

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

184 profile views
  1. The U.S. Army recently asked high-tech defense firms for ideas on how to develop a non-lethal weapon capable of knocking out remote weapon stations on enemy vehicles without endangering nearby civilians. "The sociopolitical ramifications of collateral damage, especially the type of damage that can be inflicted with traditional anti-armor assets, have made it increasingly difficult for the dismounted soldier to engage lightly armored vehicles," according to an April 20 solicitation posted on www.sibr.gov, a government website for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which is designed to encourage small business to engage in federal research and development. Remote weapon stations, or RWS, are "often highly instrumented to provide vision, range finding as well as weapon stabilization," the solicitation states. "If the instrumentation can be blinded or the stabilization destroyed, they become far less dangerous to the dismounted soldier and the civilian population as a whole," it continues. "If the entire electronics of the RWS can be disrupted, even basic traversing and firing functions become disabled." The solicitation, which closed to submissions June 20, sheds new light on the Army's increased emphasis on electromagnetic and other non-kinetic weapons to give dismounted soldiers an edge on future battlefields in densely populated areas. In addition to enemy vehicles, weapons such as surface-to-air missiles systems that are placed near housing, hospitals, schools and other civilian structures make it more difficult for ground forces to engage them. "The ability to disable these targets in a manner that provides for very low collateral damage, with respect to civilian loss of life, would increase the effectiveness of the dismounted soldier in the modern, news-centric, politically charged environment," the solicitation states. The goal of the effort would be to develop a system that could be deployed by a single dismounted soldier in an urban setting, according to the solicitation. "The mechanism must be easy to deploy by an individual soldier and inexpensive enough that dismounted soldiers feel free to deploy them," the solicitation states. "The proposed mechanism must be able to be delivered in a payload weighing less than five pounds, and be effective in disabling or disrupting the intended component of the mechanized system in under 5 minutes." There is no timeline given, but the initial phase of the effort directs firms to "evaluate multiple non-kinetic-kill mechanisms that can provide either a mobility kill, defeat of a remote weapon station with a low collateral damage mechanism for leveling the playing field against mechanized assets." The Army is interested in prototypes that feature different modes that can be selected "prior to deployment in order to maximize their utility against various armored vehicles (ie. light vehicle vs. structure)," the solicitation states. The effort will also involve working with the Defense Department, the National Institutes of Justice and law enforcement agencies to develop guidelines for the use of these devices. "It is imperative that these mechanisms are not viewed as lethal to bystanders save for concerns of an accidental kinetic effect from the deployment itself," the solicitation states. "Evaluate the mechanism's utility versus its propensity for accidental collateral (property) damage."
  2. At next week's Euronaval exhibition in Paris, Saab will be unveiling the latest version of its Lightweight Torpedo (SLWT). Already ordered by Sweden and Finland, the compact submarine hunter/killer weapon is designed to be launched from a variety of sea and air platforms and is tailored to both blue water conditions and the complex environment of the shallow Baltic Sea. With increased tensions between Russia and NATO, as well as China's growing regional and global ambitions, anti-submarine systems are gathering interest at a level not seen since the Cold War. This is especially true in dealing with possible Russian incursions in the Baltic, which is notorious for its shallow water, variable salinity, temperature layers, complex seabed topography and the bewildering noise levels caused by heavy sea traffic. To deal with this ideal submarine hidey hole, Saab has been developing its SLWT system aimed at both the Swedish Royal Navy and global export markets. Though it can operate in the open sea, Saab says the new torpedo works best in dealing with littoral anti-submarine warfare. At first glance, the SLWT doesn't seem like much when compared with the huge torpedoes like the US Mark 48 and British Spearfish. It's only 2.85 m (9.35 ft) long, 40 cm (15.75 in) wide and weighs in at 340 kg (750 lb) soaking wet, but inside, it has a state-of-the-art, fully digital homing system that gives it a fire-and-forget and wire-guided capability. Small enough to be launched by submarines, surface ships, helicopters, airplanes, or from improvised launchers, the SLWT's electric pump jet powered by a lithium-based rechargeable battery can propel it at over 40 knots (46 mph, 74 km/h) and at depths of over 300 m (1,000 ft) for more than an hour. Additionally, the SLWT is an intelligent weapon. Operated either autonomously or by wire using a two-way data connection, the torpedo can pilot a preset search pattern or series of waypoints while scanning with its multi-beam active/passive sonar system. As it does so, it can adapt to changes in temperature and salinity, while its onboard computer can distinguish between rock outcroppings, wrecks, and active submarines as well as navigate around obstacles. Saab says that once engaged with a hostile craft, the SLWT can pursue, attack, and even break off and re-engage multiple times. It can even distinguish between submarines and active decoys and can work with other torpedoes to pen in a target. After pressing in its attack, the torpedo's PBX omnidirectional explosive warhead can deliver the fatal killshot. Another feature of the SLWT is that it can be ordered to abort an attack at any time or go into training mode. If it does so, the torpedo will not strike the target, but will veer off and activate a flotation mechanism, so it can be recovered and its onboard data studied for mission evaluation. "The SLWT project is going very well," says Stefan Sjögren, Programme Director, Lightweight Torpedoes at Saab. "We are in the process of finalizing the second demonstration torpedo with all the features as in the final product. We are bringing key advances in torpedo technology to SLWT, which translates into endurance, accuracy, and complete control." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlXbG3cXJSc Source: Saab
  3. The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens what it believes is the first testing area in Canada for drones, autonomous vehicles and other technologies. The city has set aside a 50-hectare site in its industrial southeast to offer airspace for an increasing demand from companies and educational institutions wanting to do mass tryouts of commercial drones. A downturn in the energy industry when oil prices took a free fall in 2014-15 spurred the development of geospatial sciences, said Patti Dunlop of Calgary Economic Development. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was on hand at a new testing facility for drones and other technologies, which the city says is the first of its kind in Canada. After a failed attempt, Nenshi managed to help get a drone airborne. The Canadian Press “There’s many companies that came out of the downturn that actually took their engineers, mathematicians and … transitioned into … another burgeoning technology,” she said. “Energy will always be our backbone but we are more than that.” Geographic information systems are designed to capture, store, analyze and manage spatial or geographic data. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the Calgary testing site will be a boon to many sectors, including oil and gas, film and financial services. “We have a part of the city that is part of the endless prairie where there are no buildings, so the concept of the living lab, here, for the first time in Canada … really allows us to help these companies grow,” he said Friday at the official opening of the testing area. Nenshi gave an example of how new technology can be used in everyday life. “I had my roof damaged in a hailstorm. The insurance company was able to send a drone over my roof to look at the damage without having to send someone over to climb a ladder and have a look there.” Dunlop said a pilot project last year offering a test area within the city was so successful it led to the permanent site that opened Friday. “From what I know, nobody else has started doing this. There’s places in the United States that have testing, but in Calgary we’re the first municipality that’s allowing this type of testing to happen.” There are requirements companies have to meet to use the test centre. They include licensing fees, proof of $2 million in corporate liability insurance and a special flight operations certificate for drone technology.
  4. Earlier this month, Canadian telco regulator CRTC denied a controversial site blocking proposal put forward by the FairPlay coalition. This came as a major disappointment to Bell and Rogers, two of the main proponents of the plan, who are now trying to tackle various piracy issues through a revision of the Copyright Act. The Canadian Government is currently exploring if and how the current Copyright Act should be amended to better fit the present media landscape. One of the key issues is the compensation that artists receive for their work. This was also the focus of a hearing before the House Heritage Committee this week, at which Bell (BCE) and Rogers both made an appearance. The companies are Canada’s largest Internet providers, but both also have their own media branches. As such, they have an interest in copyright issues, which they made quite apparent during the hearing. Bell and Rogers called for several changes to the Copyright Act to address the piracy issue. Interestingly, the proposals were identical on many fronts, with both companies highlighting how piracy is causing millions in lost revenue. First up was Rob Malcolmson, Bell’s Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Instead of addressing artist compensation directly, he drew the focus to the “impact of organized content theft” instead. “This issue is fundamental to the topic the committee is studying because no matter what remuneration model you adopt, creators can never be fairly compensated if their work is being widely stolen,” Malcolmson said. He went on to cite a series of piracy statistics published in recent years, including the increased popularity of pirate streaming boxes, and the fact that more than a quarter of all Canadians are self-proclaimed pirates. To address this rampant “theft”, Bell presented three recommendations. The first is to criminalize online streaming of pirated material. This doesn’t mean that any end-users would end up in jail, but it should act as a deterrent for operators of pirate streaming sites and services. Bell’s second suggestion is to get the authorities and public officials actively involved in anti-piracy enforcement actions. The UK and US were cited as examples where local police and special units help to deal with piracy issues. “We recommend that the government should create and consider enshrining in the Copyright Act an administrative enforcement office and should direct the RCMP to prioritize digital piracy investigations,” Malcolmson notes. Finally, Bell also reintroduces the piracy blocking proposal of the Fairplay Canada Coalition. The CRTC denied this application earlier this month, noting that it lacks jurisdiction. This is something the government could change through an update of the Telecommunications Act. Alternatively, website blocking could be addressed by an update to the Copyright Act, which would make it easier for courts to issue injunctions against ISPs and other intermediaries. This would simplify site blocking, but could also apply to search engines, hosting companies and payment processors. “In addition, a new provision could be added to the Copyright Act that would apply more broadly to intermediaries such as ISPs, web hosts, domain name registrars, search engines, payment processors, and advertising networks,” Malcolmson said. Following Bell’s testimony, the committee’s attention moved to Pam Dinsmore, Vice-President Regulatory, Cable, at Rogers Communications. She also stressed the importance of addressing piracy, mentioning various statistics and the rise of online streaming in particular. Interestingly, Rogers’ proposals to deal with this problem show a lot of overlap with those put forward by Bell. For example, the company also suggests criminalizing online streaming. “The Act should make it a criminal violation for a commercial operation to profit from the theft and making available of rights holders exclusive and copyrighted content on streaming services. In our experience, the existing civil prohibitions are not strong enough to deter this kind of content theft,” Dinsmore said. Rogers also raised the site-blocking issue. Specifically, it should be easier for rightsholders to obtain injunctions against intermediaries in the piracy ecosystem. This includes ISPs, domain name registrars, search engines, and content delivery networks. “For example, a rights holder should be able to quickly obtain an order from a court to require an ISP to disable access to stolen content available on pre-loaded set-top boxes without concern that the operation of section 36 of the Telecommunications Act might impede this effort,” Dinsmore added. While none of these suggestions directly impact the compensation of artists, which was the topic at hand, Rogers did present an idea at the end. According to the company, section 19.3 of the Copyright Act could be updated to change the current 50/50 royalty split between artists and labels to 75/25, favoring the artists. Not all members of the Heritage Committee were impressed by the idea, which comes at the expense of the labels, with some asking what Rogers was willing to hand out itself. “Are you willing to give up some more money as you suggested the record label should?” Conservative MP Martin Shields said. When Dinsmore replied that she didn’t know what the mechanism for that would be, the MP replied: “It’s a little strange that you’re suggesting someone else to give up money, but not your company.” MP Randy Boissonnault, in particular, was not at all impressed by the telco’s proposals and stressed that the hearing was not the right venue to call for these changes. “Your submissions to this committee ring hollow and tin ear,” Boissonnault said, noting that they are too technical and not addressing the topic at hand. “This is the place where we’re advocating for artists. You said so in your submissions and yet what we see is – go after the ISPs – shut down the piracy. We get that, we know that.” Even if the claimed $500 million in lost subscriber revenue could be recouped, artists would still get the same size of the pie, the Liberal MP noted. “There’s nothing more that’s coming from your shareholders to go into the pockets of artists. So where’s the creativity from industry to put more money in the pockets of artists? Because you won’t have things to sell from Canada if we don’t support the artists and consumers.” While Bell and Rogers likely hoped for a different response, and may not get what they want out of this hearing, it’s clear that their push for tougher anti-piracy measures didn’t end at the CRTC earlier this month.
  5. Twenty-eight days. That's how long members of the RCMP and Toronto police have been ordered to abstain from smoking or vaping recreational pot before reporting for duty. Calgary police officers won't be allowed to use cannabis at all while off the job. Such prohibitions have sparked a growing firestorm, with the national association representing front-line officers calling the policies "offensive" and the union for Toronto cops describing the ban as "ill-contrived" and "arbitrary." But is demanding that Mounties and municipal police officers forego a soon-to-be legal substance for such a lengthy period justified, when there's no similar policy governing alcohol or potentially mind-altering prescription medications? That depends on how much a person consumes and how often, said Dr. James MacKillop, co-director of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University. "So if you smoke today, within a few days it will be entirely out of your system because a single instance may be longer-lasting than alcohol but it still nonetheless will be metabolized and will be excreted," MacKillop said from Hamilton. "If a person is a regular, frequent user, then that window gets much longer because cannabis is what's called lipophilic, which means it's absorbed into the body's fat cells and then it leeches back out from the fat tissue into the bloodstream. And that's why it's also detectable in urine," he said. "So if a person's a heavy user, it may indeed be detectable for up to a month." MacKillop said a number of studies provide evidence of lingering effects of cannabis, including one that found reductions in cognitive performance in active pot users compared to non-users, which returned to normal levels with protracted abstinence. "It's not clear that any of those chronic effects on cognition persist after a person stops, but a 28-day washout period would be expected to eliminate virtually all of the cognitive consequences," he said. "That's a high bar, but optimal performance from the police or the military or airline pilots or other people in highly safety-sensitive jobs is very desirable. So it's hard for me to disagree with policies that prioritize safety." 'Super cautious' However, Rielle Capler, a researcher with the B.C. Centre On Substance Use, considers such lengthy periods of pre-work abstinence unreasonable based on how long the active psychoactive component of cannabis and breakdown products known as metabolites can affect the brain. "While the metabolites might still be present in the urine or blood that long, there is no connection to actual impairment," she said Friday from Vancouver. "Impairment with cannabis depends on the mode of use, how much you use and your tolerance," said Capler, who specializes in cannabis policy. "If you're inhaling it, the peak impairment is about one to two hours and the impairment dissipates after three to four hours. "If you're ingesting it, then you might start to feel impairment after an hour or two. It might peak at three or four hours, and be in your system for six to eight hours in terms of it having an effect," she added. "If you wanted to be super cautious and conservative, you could say no consumption eight hours before work." Capler maintains the police forces are creating a prohibition for a legal substance without the backing of scientific evidence, and that they should carefully examine the research literature on marijuana-induced impairment and revamp their policies based on the findings. Despite recreational cannabis being previously illegal, many Canadians have been toking or vaping the drug, she said. "And that's why we're changing the laws to coincide more with reality and not criminalize people for something that is happening. "We don't want anybody impaired on the job — that's very important, and I think that's always been important. "It doesn't become more important after Oct. 17."
  6. Parks Canada confirmed this week that marijuana can be consumed at its campsites — part of a policy of offering visitors a "consistent and predictable" experience at national parks across the country. "While Parks Canada campgrounds are public areas, the agency treats individual campsites as temporary domiciles for our visitors. For this reason, at Parks Canada campgrounds, consumption of cannabis will be permitted in campsites," spokesperson Marie-Hélène Brisson wrote in an email. In some provinces — British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, as well as Nunavut and the Northwest Territories — campers will be allowed to smoke marijuana on hiking trails, as long as those trails aren't within the campgrounds themselves. Marijuana won't be permitted in common areas within campgrounds, either — such as playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, parking areas or roads within Parks Canada's networks of parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and historic waterways. Brisson said Parks Canada's approach to cannabis will be similar to its policy on the possession and consumption of alcohol. "As with alcohol, from time to time Parks Canada may implement specific prohibitions on consumption in specific campgrounds or at specific times of year as operational requirements arise, or in an effort to ensure that all visitors enjoy their stay," she wrote. Increased injury risks Parks Canada said campers should learn about local provincial, territorial or municipal laws on cannabis before bringing marijuana to a national park — and warned that marijuana impairment can increase the risk of serious injury from wilderness activities. "It is important to maintain environmental awareness and a clear mind when performing activities in Parks Canada's places to help prevent accidents, incidents or injury," Brisson wrote. Cannabis becomes legal for recreational use in Canada on Wednesday. Each province and territory is setting its own rules on pricing, the legal age for consumption, where marijuana can be purchased and where it can be smoked. The federal government has announced that Canadians also will be allowed to take up to 30 grams of cannabis with them on domestic flights. Transport Canada said that legal amount can be carried in either a checked bag or a carry-on. Flying high? While smoking is forbidden on commercial flights, there is no such ban on consuming marijuana in other, non-smokeable forms before landing. Asked about its policy, Transport Canada would only point to its rules regarding 'dangerous behaviour'. "Under the Aeronautics Act, behaviour that puts the safety of passengers or crew at risk on board an aircraft will continue to not be tolerated," wrote department spokesperson Marie-Anyk Côté in an email It remains illegal to transport cannabis outside of Canada, even to another jurisdiction where it's legal. Transport Canada is warning travellers about the laws by erecting signs at airports, ferry and cruise terminals, and at railway stations at exit points from Canada. The department also has been working with provinces and territories to install road signs near the border. So what would happen in the event that a Canadian domestic flight is diverted or forced to make an emergency landing in a U.S. jurisdiction where cannabis is still illegal? A government official, speaking on background, said that flight would either sit on the tarmac with the passengers aboard, or allow the passengers to disembark but limit them to a secure area until the issue with their flight is resolved and they are able to return to Canada. "In either case, the passengers would not technically be entering the U.S. unless they were to present themselves to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer and make the formal application to do so," the official said. Canada Post, meanwhile, is bracing for an increase in pot deliveries. It said that with its experience in delivering up to a million parcels a day — and with shipments of medical marijuana — it's ready to handle the volume. Proof of age will be required for all Canada Post pot shipments from licensed sellers, or those delivered to be picked up at a postal outlet. The postal service has been training staff in the run-up to legalization. "In preparation, we have been ensuring our employees understand the expectations in terms of proof of age, handling the product from pickup to delivery and how to deliver safely," Canada Post spokesperson Phil Legault said.
  7. If the rollout of legal recreational marijuana goes (more or less) smoothly this week, an Ottawa-based tech firm will be able to claim at least some of the credit. Canadian cannabis-fanciers are expected to log on in large numbers to buy the product online after it becomes officially legal one minute after midnight tonight. In four provinces, that online shopping experience will be shaped largely by a single company: Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify. The company was chosen to design the retail platform for online sales in Ontario, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Shopify's Vice-President and General Manager Loren Padelford laughed when asked whether he thinks he's joining the marijuana trade this week. "We're not the seller of the products," he said. "We're the facilitator of the technology. We give people the platform to sell whatever they want, as long as that's legal." Padelford points out that Shopify isn't in the business of selling marijuana — any more than it's in the business of selling clothing, or spa services, or any of the thousands of products now sold online using the company's e-commerce platform. Shopify's Vice-President and General Manager Loren Padelford: "We give people the platform to sell whatever they want, as long as that's legal." All the other elements of the online sales system appear to be in place. Distribution centres across the country are ready to go. In Ontario, for example, pallets of dried cannabis are stacked floor to ceiling in warehouses that look like home renovation stores. Even those who file their orders online at a minute past midnight will have to wait at least a few days for them to be filled and delivered. There is no same-day delivery. "That's a function of online sales in a lot of ways," said Padelford. "You've got to buy it first and it's got to get shipped to you." One potential wrench in the gears could be Canada Post itself: its workers are in the midst of contract negotiations and in a legal position to call a strike with 72 hours' notice. Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said the delivery of legal recreational cannabis by mail could be delayed as a result. "There is the potential that these negotiations will impact all mail delivery," Palecek told CBC News. "Canada Post has been struggling lately with a massive increase in parcels, not just from cannabis, but of course from the shift from retail to online shopping. "We've seen exponential growth in parcels and that is causing a whole number of questions that playing out at the bargaining table right now." Palacek said Canada Post is quite ready for recreational cannabis delivery and isn't expecting problems. "We've been delivering medical cannabis for years already. This is a service we already provide. "We are used to delivering parcels with age verification, with signature required, with all of these things, so we really don't expect to see anything different." The union, however, said it does expect to see an overall spike in the number of parcels being delivered by mail as the online recreational cannabis market ramps up. Canada Post spokesperson Phil Legault told CBC the carrier had continued to refine its approach to marijuana delivery since it first started carrying the medicinal product. "Awareness and training for our people has been ongoing across the country in the lead-up to October 17," Legault said. Shopify has been preparing for October 17 in its own way. The company has been working with medical cannabis for a few years, but "this lead up to cannabis legalization has been really going full tilt for about a year," Padelford said. Padelford added he is confident Shopify's tech is robust enough to handle the volume. "In combination with our data security and safety, our ability to handle large volumes is one of the things that makes Shopify so special ... we've been prepping our whole lives to handle large volumes of sales." Padelford acknowledges that Shopify probably will have more work to do on the online shopping experience after October 17. "Legalization is a process, not a single day," he said.
  8. https://i.postimg.cc/L6RTMbGh/images.jpg The RCMP are expecting to see their national forensic labs flooded with blood test requests over the next four years as Canada's new impaired driving laws mature. The force's National Forensic Laboratory Services operation (NFLS) receives bodily fluid samples, including blood and urine, that require forensic toxicology analysis to hold up in court. Bill C-46, in effect since Parliament passed it in June, introduced three new drug-related offences for drivers who have consumed drugs within two hours of driving. All of them require a positive blood test from a suspect before a Crown attorney can secure a conviction When RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki took over the top job earlier this year, she was warned those requests could increase 12-fold over the next four years. Waiting longer for samples is only going to increase court delays. "The RCMP estimates the volume of samples submitted to the NFLS for analysis and interpretation will increase to 6,400 by 2021-22, from the approximately 550 samples already submitted annually," notes Lucki's briefing book, obtained by CBC under access to information law. The national lab service receives forensic service requests from across Canada — except from Ontario and Quebec, which run their own public forensic laboratories for provincial and municipal investigations. Unlike the case of alcohol-impaired driving, which has seen an overall decline, "the number and rate for almost all drug-impaired driving violations has increased," notes the briefing book. "While the actual demand for forensic services and court support required for cases involving drug impaired driving is yet unknown, the RCMP anticipates a steady increase in drug impaired service requests over the next five years," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Marie Damian. Court concerns Kyla Lee, founder of the Canadian Impaired Driving Lawyers Association, said an increase in sample requests likely will cause more court delays. "That's going to be completely unmanageable for the RCMP labs," she said in an interview. "There's a significant wait time already for blood results in impaired driving investigations. If you increase 12-fold the number of cases that are being sent to the lab, you increase those delays 12-fold, and that has a huge impact on the administration of justice." The RCMP say that, between April and September of this year, the average turnaround time for a routine toxicology service request connected to impaired driving was 130 days. Both suspects and victims in impaired driving cases might have to wait longer to see where their cases stand if the RCMP labs are backed up, Lee said. "Waiting longer for samples is only going to increase court delays," she said. "Any time you have an issue where there's this long period of waiting, it raises certain kinds of scientific concerns about the reliability of the analysis and whether that analysis is viable as proof in court." Courtrooms across the country have been more conscious of delays since the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark Jordan decision in 2016, which set limits on the amount of time defendants should be expected to wait between charge and trial. Since then, hundreds of criminal cases have been tossed due to unreasonable delays. Robert Solomon, a law professor at Western University in London, Ont., and the national legal policy director for MADD Canada, said he expects to see an uptick in convictions. "I think the recent amendments for drug impaired driving will improve the apprehension rates, and (to) the extent you improve the apprehension rates, you discourage driving after drug use. So that's good," he said. So far, there's nothing to suggest requests for lab testing of samples gathered under the new law have started flooding in. During a media briefing earlier this month, government officials said they weren't aware of anyone having been charged with one of the new offences Solomon said law enforcement will be playing catch-up for quite some time. "There are inherent limitations ... fact is, we have no simple, fast, highly accurate way of screening large numbers of drivers for drugs. So there are technological limitations on our ability to enforce the law," he said. The RCMP closed their forensic labs in Halifax, Regina and Winnipeg in 2012 and consolidated labs in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa. The closures were expected to save the federal government $3.5 million per year. iting longer for samples is only going to increase court delays," she said. "Any time you have an issue where there's this long period of waiting, it raises certain kinds of scientific concerns about the reliability of the analysis and whether that analysis is viable as proof in court." Courtrooms across the country have been more conscious of delays since the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark Jordan decision in 2016, which set limits on the amount of time defendants should be expected to wait between charge and trial. Since then, hundreds of criminal cases have been tossed due to unreasonable delays. Robert Solomon, a law professor at Western University in London, Ont., and the national legal policy director for MADD Canada, said he expects to see an uptick in convictions. "I think the recent amendments for drug impaired driving will improve the apprehension rates, and (to) the extent you improve the apprehension rates, you discourage driving after drug use. So that's good," he said. So far, there's nothing to suggest requests for lab testing of samples gathered under the new law have started flooding in. During a media briefing earlier this month, government officials said they weren't aware of anyone having been charged with one of the new offences Estimate called into question Damian said the RCMP based their 12-fold estimate on the experience in the United Kingdom. "After increasing the amount of police officers who were trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired drivers, the U.K. had a 12-fold increase in bodily fluid samples submitted for toxicological analysis," she said. Lee was quick to point out that the U.K. has a different legal system. "They don't have the same rules around searches and seizures and constitutional rights that we do," she said. In preparation, the RCMP plan to set up next year a department within the lab dedicated to drug-impaired driving investigations, and expect to hire 26 additional full time lab employees by the spring of 2021. Their training is expected to take 15 to 18 months. Lee said the force should have started the hiring process months ago. "Frankly, I think they've been dragging their heels," she said. Solomon said law enforcement will be playing catch-up for quite some time. "There are inherent limitations ... fact is, we have no simple, fast, highly accurate way of screening large numbers of drivers for drugs. So there are technological limitations on our ability to enforce the law," he said. The RCMP closed their forensic labs in Halifax, Regina and Winnipeg in 2012 and consolidated labs in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa. The closures were expected to save the federal government $3.5 million per year.
  9. Wouldn't it be neat if there were a boat with three retractable wheels that allowed it to get in and out of the water on its own? Well there is, and it's made by New Zealand-based Sealegs. Now, the company has unveiled a new electric-drive model, the Electric E4. As is the case with Sealegs' other amphibious boats, the idea with the rigid-hulled inflatable E4 is that it can be driven short distances on land, going in or out of the water wherever there's a ramp or beach – no docks or trailer-launches are required. Once on the water, the wheels are retracted up and out of the way. While the Electric E4 still utilizes a 150-hp internal combustion outboard engine for aquatic propulsion, its wheels are equipped with brushless high-torque electric motors – buyers can choose between two- and three-wheel-drive setups. All of the motors are powered by a central 48-volt 7-kWh lithium battery pack, which is helped out by a regenerative braking system, an optional solar panel, and a step-up charger that draws power from the outboard motor while it's in use. Utilizing a traditional mains power source when the boat is on land, one four-to-five-hour charge is claimed to be good for up to 1.5 hours of drive time – the company says this should be about the same as 20 typical launches and returns. Measuring 7.3 meters long by 2.7 meters wide (23' 11" by 8' 10"), the E4 weighs in at 1,390 kg (3,058 lb) and can handle a maximum payload of 700 kg (1,543 lb). A top speed of 10 km/h (6 mph) is possible on land, with the craft reaching up to 74 km/h (46 mph/40 knots) on the water. Other features include a 24-inch touchscreen information/control panel, push-button wheel deployment/retraction, seating for up to eight people, and a sun lounger located in the bow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUwmF8MyfYw Source: Sealegs
  10. Of all the robots designed to induce cold sweats, a locomotive snake wiggling its way up a ladder might make you the chilliest. You can thank Japanese researchers at Kyoto University and the University of Electro-Communications for the video below, which shows the robotic serpent in action. It was presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Spain last week. Unlike its humanoid counterparts, which cover both cute and cuddly and demonic-looking variants, the smooth, black robot snake is controlled remotely by a PC and a Playstation controller. The machine appears to writhe as it scales the ladder. Researchers note that their scary creation moves by forming a series of basic shapes. Grooves similar to joints in a skeletal system, or pectinate muscles in the heart, allow it to shape-shift. Though it doesn't dazzle like MIT's Cheetah bot, the snake could prove useful in disaster relief efforts, especially when the terrain is rugged and first-responders can't access victims with jetpacks. The snake could ostensibly alert authorities to your location if you're ever trapped under a pile of rocks. Still, the snake doesn't bode well for your comfort when watching it wiggle up a ladder for the sake of experimentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5UvFkt87NE
  11. In yet another move to replace humans, Boston Dynamics has introduced its Atlas robot to parkour. The Atlas is the same robot that can run to hunt down humans, do backflips over our cold dead bodies, and now navigate obstacles. Atlas feels appropriate as a name here since this thing will likely literally one day support the weight of the world on its lightweight 3D-printed robotic shoulders. The company says Atlas "uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace." The steps are 40 centimeters high (about 1 foot, 4 inches) and Atlas uses computer vision "on the approach to hit the terrain accurately." Boston Dynamics calls the robot "the world's most dynamic humanoid" and it weighs 75 kilograms, or about 165 pounds. Basically what that means, and what you can see in the video, is that Atlas can shift its weight to leap over a log and then up on a three-tiered platform at speed using its 28 joints and hydraulic actuation. If Atlas scares you more than Boston Dynamics' Spot, that cute little dog that can open doors and walk itself, then congratulations, you're smart and maybe the robots will spare you for your healthy fear. And in case you want to invite the robots directly into your home, Boston Dynamics says it'll begin selling its SpotMini robot next year to companies that want a mechanical quadruped to go where wheels cannot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LikxFZZO2sk
  12. How much data does Twitter collect when you click on links within its social network? We may eventually find out. The social network is under examination by the Data Protection Commission in Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters, Fortune reported Friday. The investigation was sparked by a complaint that Twitter may not be complying with strict new data privacy rules, known as GDPR, which kicked in across the European Union in May. The case is significant because it's the first time since the introduction of GDPR that a regulator has decided to investigate Twitter. Facebook and Google are already the subjects of multiple investigations in Europe. Under GDPR, internet users across the EU are allowed to ask companies what data is being collected about them, and the companies are obliged to tell them. But Michael Veale, Twitter user @mikarv and a researcher at University College London, claims that Twitter isn't playing ball. When you post a link to Twitter, the social network uses its own tool to shorten the link to keep track of popular articles or identify malware. But what -- if any -- other data does it collect on users when they click? Veale wants to know but said that Twitter has refused to tell him. The company said it would require disproportionate effort to supply him with the information he wants, according to Veale. "The user has a right to understand," Veale says. The Irish regulator sent Veale a letter Thursday, confirming that it's looking into his complaint and noting that the investigation will likely be handed off to the European Data Protection Board, a body set up specifically to examine potential GDPR violations. Representatives for Ireland's Data Protection Commission didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
  13. Some of the most cutting-edge weapons in the US's military arsenal can be "easily hacked" using "basic tools", a government report has concluded. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found "mission-critical" cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapons systems tested between 2012 and 2017. That includes the newest F-35 jet as well as missile systems. Pentagon officials had no immediate response to the 50-page report from the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee's members expressed concerns about how protected weapon systems were against cyber-attacks. The report's main findings were: the Pentagon did not change the default passwords on multiple weapons systems - and one changed password was guessed in nine seconds a team appointed by the GAO was able to easily gain control of one weapons system and watch in real time as the operators responded to the hackers it took another two-person team only one hour to gain initial access to a weapons system and one day to gain full control many of the test teams were able to copy, change or delete system data with one team downloading 100 gigabytes of information The GAO added that the Pentagon "does not know the full scale of its weapons system vulnerabilities". Ken Munro, an expert at security firm Pen Test Partners, said he was "not at all surprised" by the findings. "It takes a long time to develop a weapons system, often based on iterations of much older systems. As a result, the components and software can be based on very old, vulnerable code. "Developers often overlook 'hardening' the security of systems after they've got them operating, with the philosophy, 'it's working, so don't mess with it'. "However, that's no excuse. This report shows some very basic security flaws that could easily have been addressed by changing passwords and keeping software up-to-date."
  14. Friend or foe? A new Pentagon program wants to make insects that spread viruses to food crops to ensure food security, but scientists say the "Insect Allies" program is a biological weapon waiting to happen Can a task force of insects carrying genetically modified viruses save America's farms — or are they an uncontrollable bioweapon in the making? This is the debate swirling around a controversial new Pentagon research project called "Insect Allies." Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project involves using gene-editing techniques like CRISPR to infect insects with modified viruses that could help make America's crops more resilient. If a cornfield were hit by an unexpected drought or suddenly exposed to a pathogen, for example, Insect Allies might deploy an army of aphids carrying a genetically modified virus to slow the corn plant's growth rate. According to the DARPA website, these "targeted therapies" could take effect in a single growing season, potentially protecting the American crop system from food security threats like disease, flooding, frost and even "threats introduced by state or non-state actors." [Biomimicry: 7 Clever Technologies Inspired by Nature] Members of the scientific community are skeptical. In a letter published today (Oct. 5) in the journal Science, a team of five scientists voiced concerns that the project could be easily exploited as a biological weapon — or at least be perceived as one by the international community. "In our opinion the justifications are not clear enough. For example, why do they use insects? They could use spraying systems," Silja Voeneky, a co-author of the letter and professor of international law at the University of Freiburg in Germany says."To use insects as a vector to spread diseases is a classical bioweapon." Blake Bextine, program manager for Insect Allies, is less concerned. "Anytime you're developing a new and revolutionary technology, there is that potential for [both offensive and defensive] capability," Bextine told The Washington Post. "But that is not what we are doing. We are delivering positive traits to plants… We want to make sure we ensure food security, because food security is national security in our eyes." Insect Allies is still in the early stages of development, and at least four U.S. colleges (Boyce Thompson Institute, Penn State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin)have received funding to carry out research. Bextine told The Washington Post that the project recently achieved its first milestone — testing whether an aphid could infect a stalk of corn with a designer virus that caused fluorescence. According to the Washington Post, "the corn glowed."
  15. On the eve of legalized recreational marijuana and concerns about supply shortage, one of Canada's largest producers believes automated machines will be the key to producing more cannabis. Leamington-based Aphria currently has supply agreements with every province and Yukon, boasting about plans to produce roughly 20,000 kilograms of marijuana a month by spring. As they expand their footprint to 3 million square feet, they're constantly looking at automation to reduce costs and maintain quality, said co-founder John Cervini. "It's what's made us the low-cost producer, helped us to maintain that low-cost producer status," he said during a recent tour of the facility. Robots and humans One part in the process of growing marijuana that Aphria said is almost ready to become automated is the beginning of the plant's life cycle. In a bright, white room with industrial equipment, there are three machines that have a claw-like arm hanging above a conveyer belt. This machine will use a robotic claw to gently place cuttings from Aphria's mother plants into trays to grow new plants. "This particular robot in front of us is placing cannabis cuttings into a fresh Rockwool cube to grow roots," said Cervini, who was showing the process with a video. Once the three machines are running, Cervini believes it will only take five days to process 250,000 cuttings, which grow to become plants. Currently, Cervini said six full-time employees can produce 15,000 cuttings a week — production levels that the three machines would be able to reach in three hours. Job losses from robotic gains? Aphria has between 400 to 500 employees and are constantly looking to hire more qualified people, said Cervini, and automation won't limit a growing workforce. "Honestly we don't see any actual job loss from the automation. What we're going to see is maybe some repurposing of jobs," he said. Using the automation of cuttings as an example, Cervini said the six to eight people now in charge of manual processing, and potentiality more, will be in charge of making sure those higher targets are reached with automation. Aphria is still weeks away from getting those machines running — but even after they're fully functional, the automated process won't be able to start until Health Canada gives them a green light. 'Ebb and flow' of Health Canada As Aphria anticipates those approvals, Cervini said the government body has been handling the legalization of an entire industry well. "You could see there was times when approvals took longer and then all the sudden approvals took less time, so there's been an ebb and flow of timing with Health Canada," he said. "If you look at what's been accomplished in a very short period of time in Canada around regulations for cannabis, I have to do nothing but commend Health Canada." He said the automation plans go beyond the cuttings process. The packaging and labelling aspects are also ready for automation, according to Cervini, as well as a trimming line currently staffed with about 12 people, which he envisions to be done by robotic arms in the future.