Skip to main content


Showing posts from June 8, 2015

Isis Slaughter in the Sacred Syrian City of Palmyra: The Survivors' Stories

We’ve heard about the threat to the monuments - but what about the human tragedy?

By Robert Fisk

When the black-cowled gunmen of the 'Islamic State' infiltrated the suburbs of Palmyra on 20 May, half of Assad Sulieman’s oil and gas processing plant crews – 50 men in all - were manning their 12-hour shift at the Hayan oil field 28 miles away. They were the lucky ones. Their 50 off-duty colleagues were sleeping at their homes next to the ancient Roman city. Twenty-five of them would soon be dead, among up to 400 civilians – including women and children – who would die in the coming hours at the hands of the Islamist militia which every Syrian now calls by its self-styled acronym ‘Daesh’.
Oil engineer ‘Ahmed’ – he chose this name to protect his family in Palmyra – was, by chance, completing a course at Damascus University on the fatal day when Palmyra fell. “I was appalled,” he said. “I tried calling my family. It was still possible to get through on the phone. They said ‘Daesh’ (al…

Droning on forever? Boeing patents UAV that could fly indefinitely, recharge in mid-air

Still from YouTube video/PatentYogi

As drone technology continues to advance, Boeing has raised the bar even higher. The aerospace giant has received a patent for a UAV that could fly forever – recharging in mid-air via a tether attached to the ground.

The patent – filed in March 2013 and approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office last week – could revolutionize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as we know them, foregoing the need to refuel or recharge on land.

According to the patent, the electrically-powered drone would have a retractable tether cable that would connect to a power source. When the drone was fully charged, it would automatically fly off to continue its task, and another UAV could then take its place at the charging station.

The drone could be connected to a number of sources, including land- and sea-based power supplies. It could even be connected to moving vehicles, allowing the drone to fly while charging.

The concept could be extremely beneficial for drone delivery s…