Ross Brawn

a great name indeed. the one who engineered benetton and ferrari to success. his brilliance coupled with schumi’s skills proves all. together they’ve conquered the Formula 1 Grand Prix for a number of times. after quitting ferrari in 2006 i never thought that he’d be back in this sport again. i didn’t even realize when he actually came back the season after and join Honda. but i wasn’t following 2007 and 2008 season that closely. didn’t see the excitement like schumi brought to this sport before. this season starts yesterday. it was a great race. and ross brawn is now the team principal of Brawn GP. a team formed after honda decided to quit F1. using the chasis left by honda, brawn added a mercedes engine to the car. they started superbly in australia with a one-two finish. malaysia awaits their magic again..

here’s the letter by ross brawn himself:

We have worked incredibly hard for the victory in Melbourne and to see the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work come to fruition with Jenson and Rubens bringing home a one-two finish for Brawn GP at the first race of the season was immensely rewarding. After everything that our team has been through over the past four months, it was quite simply a sensational result.

It is just the beginning for us and it wasn’t a perfect race by any means so we will learn and continue to improve. We have to keep developing the car throughout the season if we want to challenge for further wins and the championship.

I would like to express our sincere thanks to Norbert Haug and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines who have been so supportive over the past few months and have worked closely with the team to ensure we were in a position to go racing this year. Thanks also to Virgin, Henri Lloyd and all our team partners for having the vision to see what the team could do and wanting to be a part of it. It’s difficult to put into words what this win means to our team but I’m sure that I speak for every single one of them, here at the track and back at the factory in Brackley, when I say it was a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for eveyones support.
RB Signature
Ross Brawn
Team Principal

Brawn GP take dramatic one-two victory in Melbourne

Not since the French Grand Prix in 1954 has a team new to Formula One racing finished one-two on their debut. That day it was Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling for Mercedes-Benz. This afternoon it was Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello for Brawn-Mercedes after an extraordinary ‘race of two halves’ in Australia.

Button led from pole as Barrichello bogged down when his car activated its anti-stall device, and the Brazilian was then embroiled in a first-corner clash with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Force India’s Adrian Sutil and McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen.

Button streaked away from Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, Robert Kubica’s BMW Sauber, Nico Rosberg’s Williams and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. But the face of the race changed on Lap 19 when Kazuki Nakajima crashed his Williams heavily, bringing out the safety car until the end of the 24th lap.

By then Button had watched a 47.7s lead reduced to nothing, and began to struggle to generate heat in his tyres. But he got his head down and opened a gap to Vettel again. As the Ferraris faded, Kubica found his BMW Sauber getting better and better on the harder Bridgestone tyre and gradually began to put Vettel, on the softer option tyre, under serious pressure in the closing stages.

Going into Turn Three on the 55th lap – with three left to run under a setting sun which made driving conditions very difficult – Kubica got alongside Vettel but they touched. Both spun, but continued. But not for long. Vettel had lost his front wing and crashed heavily just as Kubica, further down the road, did the same thing. Out came the safety car again.

Incredibly, that melee had promoted Barrichello back to the second place, despite his first-lap incident and a later touch with Raikkonen which damaged his Brawn’s front wing. It was changed during his first pit stop on the 18th lap. As the race finished under the safety car, he admitted that he had never expected a one-two after all his dramas.

Jarno Trulli started from the pit lane after Toyota’s rear wing infringement yesterday, but hauled through to take the final podium finish, while a very determined drive brought a hugely valuable fourth place for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. The world champion was briefly third in the dying stages after Trulli ran off track behind the safety car, before the Italian subsequently retook the place – an infringement which prompted stewards to subsequently add 25s to his race time, later dropping him to 12th.

In the second Toyota Timo Glock came home fifth. The German survived a spin while battling from his own pit lane start, when he and Fernando Alonso tangled.

The Spaniard brought his Renault home sixth, while seventh place came as a bitter disappointment to Rosberg. The German was running fourth with six laps to go and had set fastest lap, but had used up his Bridgestone option tyres and was simply in no position to defend the place. By the finish he had rookie Sebastien Buemi thirsting after him as Toro Rosso’s Swiss driver scored a point for eighth place on his debut.

Neither of the Ferraris finished. Both struggled with tyre wear, and as Massa suffered a mechanical problem late in the race, Raikkonen spun and subsequently retired.

Sebastien Bourdais was ninth in the second Toro Rosso, ahead of Adrian Sutil, who survived a brush with Force India team mate Giancarlo Fisichella. They were separated by Heidfeld, who was consigned to a recovery race after the first corner fracas, while Fisichella further delayed himself by missing his pit marks in his first stop.

Webber, another in recovery mode, was the final classified finisher, ahead of Vettel, Kubica, and Raikkonen. The retirements were Massa, Nelson Piquet who spun his Renault after the first safety car restart, Nakajima and Kovalainen.

Button’s great victory marked the 200th for a British driver.

“It’s not just for me but for the whole team,” he said, “a fairy tale ending really to the first race of our career together and I hope we can continue this way. We are going to fight every way we can to keep this car competitive and at the front. This has got to continue and this is where we want to be. Bring on Malaysia!”

found this great post from Official F1 Website.

Button and Brawn come back from the brink with surprise F1 win

Less than four months ago Jenson Button seemed to be heading for a Christmas in the dole queue while his Honda formula one car was destined for the scrapyard, both of them casualties of the credit crunch. Yesterday, however, after helping to save his team by reportedly accepting a pay cut from around £9m to about £3m a year, the 27-year-old British driver sealed one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of his sport by leading last year’s no-hopers to a crushing victory in the Australian grand prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

The proud and mighty battalions of Ferrari and McLaren crumbled as Button was followed home by his Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello, whose career had been similarly imperilled. The sleek white cars, renamed Brawn after their technical chief, and with engines acquired from Mercedes-Benz hastily bolted to their chassis, ran for the first time earlier this month once a last-ditch management buyout had secured the team’s immediate future.

On his arrival in formula one nine years ago, Button was touted as Britain’s most likely successor to Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill. But then in roared Lewis Hamilton, who became the youngest world champion in history, ascended to the status of national hero and cast his rival into the sort of shadows from which few drivers emerge. Button’s career stalled, and the fortunes of his team along with it. When Honda announced their decision to leave the sport, early in December, a once promising story seemed to have ended in anti-climax.

Yesterday, however, a dramatic victory carried a team that had been on the verge of extinction to the top of the championship table at the start of the new season. Not even the drivers’ pay cuts could prevent the necessity of laying off 270 employees this month, more than a third of the team’s workforce. But the payback for the hectic race to assemble their new car in time for the opening round was to hear some of their rivals – such as the Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who fought Hamilton for the title last year – describe them as “untouchable”.

The next reward is likely to be an association with Sir Richard Branson, who flew into Melbourne on Saturday for the announcement of a sponsorship deal which may shortly result in the cars assuming the name of his Virgin companies. Encouraged to enter formula one by Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s controversial ringmaster, Branson also announced plans to develop a form of clean petrol, the use of which use could be initiated by the new team.

“I’m one of the greatest polluters in the world and we’re trying to redress the balance,” the boss of the Virgin airline said. “We’ve developed a fuel that would be quite capable of running all the formula one cars without any carbon output. We’ve invested a lot of money in a company in America and they’ve come up with this fuel that will not eat into the food supply – it’s not ethanol – and could be very exciting for the future. It may be possible to use it on our planes as well, but first things first – let’s use motor sport to pioneer it.”

Known for his record-breaking exploits in boats and balloons, Branson, 58, has no intention of asking Button for a turn at the wheel. “My driving abilities are abysmal,” he said. “I’ve turned over cars three times on normal roads, so I’m going to leave it to guys like Jenson to do the driving for me.”

from guardian. i watched this race. right from the qualifying stages to the raceday. it was awesome. full of drama. this albert park is really tough start-of-the-season race. for this season, like the past seasons and ever since i watched F1, my favourite team always Scuderia Ferrari. why Ferrari? the red car definitely.. it looks brave strong and handsome.. and then there’s schumacher. my fav driver. i followed him since he joined benetton. so when he joined ferrari, its all schumi and ferrari for me. now i’ve got only ferrari. the race yesterday was pretty bad for ferrari. both massa and kimi went out. massa had a good start early on but somehow went out at mid-race. button was up-front since race-start. the drama was all behind him. barrichello had a bad start. his car bogged down before it took off. giving a chance for vettel and kubica storm past him.. they raced hard.. but with just few laps to go kubica tried to get past vettel and it was done quite stupidly. he crashed to the side of vettel’s car. vettel was pushed off-track. kubica lost his front wings. yet he sped up to get pass vettel. with aerodynamics already off his car crashes to the side at one turn. kubica out. vettel crashed as well and lost one tire but still tried to race. but he had to retire as well after trying so hard to get to the pit.. at the end it was one-two finish for brawn gp. button taking 1st place and barrichello in 2nd spot. third was jarno trulli. brawn gp – new team guided by ross brawn with only a single sponsor name on the car, richard branson’s virgin air. the race was a great start to the season.

Malaysia Joins Earth Hour Lights-Off

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) — Malaysia plunged into darkness tonight with many of its famous landmarks and skyscrapers switching off to mark Earth Hour.
Tens of thousands of households and businesses nationwide joining millions others across the globe in solidarity to turn off non-essential lights for the one hour campaign aimed at raising awareness on global climate change.
This is Malaysia’s first participation in the event initiated by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since it started in Australia in 2007.
In Kuala Lumpur, the gleaming Petronas Twin Towers went blackout as the clock struck 8.30pm while at KL Tower, a base jumper carrying the Earth Hour flag parachuted from the tower to signal the start of the event.
Other landmarks including the historical Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Angkasapuri, Menara TM, Menara Maybank, Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur Hospital and National Heart Institute also had their lights turned off.
To commemorate the event, various events were held by shopping malls, including a Formula 1 ticket draw for lucky shoppers at Suria KLCC.
Restaurants and entertainment joints around the capital also dimmed their lights while some offered candle light themed dinner and programmes for their patrons.
At Dataran Merdeka and KLCC, thousands of people gathered to observe the moment of darkness which was telecast live on TV1.
In Perlis, the state’s biggest Putra Palace Hotel, Wisma TNB and several recreational spots in the state’s capital such Dataran Kechor also joined the campaign.
Seventy-four-year-old Sum Senapi from Taman Dato Wan Ahmad near Kangar switched to lighting up candles after he knew about the campaign through the media.
In Kuching, major hotels also supported the campaign by switching off lights in the lobby and the non-essential lights in their compounds.
Information Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Kamaruddin Siaraf said at Angkasapuri here that the campaign was a serious effort to reduce the effects of climate change.
Meanwhile, WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dionysius Shama said the campaign was a success and showed that Malaysians were also very concerned about environment issues.
He said the public’s response toward the campaign was overwhelming even though only 500 companies and some 60,000 households had registered to support the event.
“The actual number is more than that. This shows that people are fully aware of what global warming is all about and that everyone should be committed to pushing for more serious commitments to tackle this issue,” he told Bernama.
He said Earth Hour would provide a visual global mandate to pressure world leaders to strike a new global deal on climate change when they meet in Copenhagen in December.

news from Bernama. earth hour was a success in malaysia. from my own simple analysis a total 2335MW  was saved during that 60 minutes. this is in comparison with the previous three saturdays. the power drops almost 550MW at 2030hrs. TNB was making a big loss but the world is making lots of profit. save the cheerleader save the world.. i was on standby that night. preparing in case of any frequency drop during that light-off period. no issues reported. we’re (TNB) back in business..

Mahathir expects ‘firm’ leadership under new Malaysia PM

KUALA LUMPUR – The rise to power of Malaysia’s next leader Najib Razak has been overshadowed by allegations he will crack down on dissent, reverting to the hardline tactics of former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Recent moves including the use of tear gas to break up a rally by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and the banning of the opposition’s two main newspapers, have triggered talk of a return to “Mahathirism”.

But Mahathir himself, a feisty 84-year-old who remains a colossus of Malaysian politics six years after retirement, is unconcerned about his name being used as a byword for repression.

And he said in an interview with AFP that he expects Najib to be a much more assertive leader than Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who resigns Thursday after a lacklustre term in which he allowed a little more democratic space, but failed to implement promised reforms including combating corruption.

“If he feels he has enough strength, I think he will be more firm. Not necessarily oppressive but firm in his decision and his acts,” Mahathir said of 55-year-old Najib who spent the past six years as deputy premier.

“Of course people are wanting to call this Mahathirism. I’m quite aware of that but I don’t care whether people call me a dictator or not. In any case I’m the first dictator who resigned of his own accord,” he said.

The Barisan Nasional coalition, which has governed Malaysia for half a century, paints itself as a bulwark against racial bloodshed in a country where majority Muslim Malays live alongside ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

Mahathir justified controversial acts during his term in power, including mass detentions of political opponents and rights activists under internal security laws, as being aimed at preserving peace.

“This country needs a firm hand because we have the potential for racial pressures, and it has not happened in this country because the government was strong and knows how far people should play around with sensitive issues.”

After deciding to step down, ending more than two decades in power, Mahathir hand-picked his successor but became enraged when Abdullah began dismantling mega-projects close to his heart.

After disastrous elections a year ago, the veteran leader stepped up his attacks, slating Abdullah as weak and accusing him of nepotism and corruption, helping force him into an early retirement.

Mahathir ridiculed suggestions that Abdullah has allowed Malaysians a measure more freedom, by giving the government-linked mainstream press more room to operate and tolerating a little more dissent.

“What has happened is that Abdullah has got no power to administer this country. His tendency is to bow to the opposition. He doesn’t want to be all this ‘free’ and all that, but he feels he doesn’t have enough support to be strong,” he said.

Mahathir also had sharp words for Najib, who was once his protege but disappointed the grand old man of Malaysian politics when he refused to oppose Abdullah’s policies or campaign openly for him to quit.

“Unfortunately as a second man (deputy) he hasn’t performed very well. His tendency is just to follow blindly his leader,” he said.

“It doesn’t speak well of a leader who allows himself to be so overawed by his superior.”

Najib on Saturday hit out at accusations that he will be a hardline leader, as well as opposition attempts to paint him as corrupt, and link him with the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman,

“They are malicious, baseless lies. I have given my replies but they persist because it a ploy by the opposition,” he said. “Give me a chance, judge me by my actions, don’t judge me on rumours and baseless allegations.

Mahathir quit the ruling party UMNO last year in protest over Abdullah’s leadership, but said on the weekend that he has decided to rejoin, ensuring he will continue to play a prominent role on the Malaysian political stage.

an article from abs-cbn news. so pak lah stood down and najib step up to be the new Prime Minister of Malaysia. i sincerely wish him best of luck. i’ve read and heard lots of rumors and news of him but i’m not even sure who to believe. after all this is the political life. its not just here, its all around the globe. if its politics, there will be lies, conspiracy. i don’t care. for as long as they can keep the nation peaceful with good economy, good enough. mahathirsm or not does not matter.. after all what we achieved today is because of mahathirsm.. nevertheless whoever is up there, just get the stability in economy, cultural and let us all live a peaceful life.. just my humble opinion..

Discovery Makes Safe Return

Space Station Gets Final Solar Wings, Is Up to Full Power

The space shuttle Discovery drops her landing gear before landing on runway 15 Saturday March 28, 2009 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)The space shuttle Discovery drops her landing gear before landing on runway 15 Saturday March 28, 2009 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) (Chris O’meara – AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 28 — The space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven returned to Earth on Saturday, successfully wrapping up a construction mission at the international space station.

Discovery’s 13-day flight — which ended just as a new Russian-launched crew was settling into the space station — was highlighted by the installation and unfurling of the station’s last pair of solar wings. The $300 million addition brought the orbiting outpost up to full power, a vital part of NASA’s plan to double the space station population and boost the amount of science research in a few months.

NASA conducted a heat shield test during Discovery’s reentry. A new type of tile with a slight bump was attached beneath the shuttle’s left wing to disrupt the hypersonic airflow. Engineers measured the extra heat generated on downstream tiles, and the area looked to be fairly clean afterward, officials said.

Discovery brought back four to five liters of recycled water that had been the astronauts’ urine and sweat. The water was produced after Discovery delivered a new processor that fixed the recycling machine.

NASA hopes to have the water samples tested within a month. If the toxicology results are good, the three space station residents will start drinking the recycled water.

so finally job done.. they’re back on earth.. leaving the jap up on the ISS. article from Washington Post.

Action video games sharpen eyesight: U.S. study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Adults who play a lot of action video games may be improving their eyesight, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.

They said people who used a video-game training program saw significant improvements in their ability to notice subtle differences in shades of gray, a finding that may help people who have trouble with night driving.

“Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery — somehow changing the optics of the eye,” said Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester in New York, whose study appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

“But we’ve found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped.”

For the study, the team divided 22 students into two groups. One group played the action games “Call of Duty 2” by Activision Blizzard Inc and Epic Games’ “Unreal Tournament 2004.” A second played Electronic Arts Inc’s “The Sims 2,” a game they said does not require as much hand-eye coordination.

The two groups played 50 hours of their assigned games over the course of nine weeks. At the end of the training, the action game players showed an average of 43 percent improvement in their ability to discern close shades of gray, while the Sims players showed none.

Bavelier found very practiced action gamers became 58 percent better at perceiving fine differences in contrast.

“When people play action games, they’re changing the brain’s pathway responsible for visual processing. These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it,” Bavelier said in a statement.

She said the findings show that action video-game training may be a useful complement to eye-correction techniques.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

great news for individuals like me.. so now i can play games a lot longer.. thanks to Reuters.

How a Brainy Worm Might Jack the World’s PCs on April 1

It’s lurking in millions of PCs around the world. It’s incredibly sophisticated and resilient, with built-in p2p and digital code-signing technology. It revels in killing security software. On April 1, the Conficker worm will activate.

The scariest thing about the Conficker worm is that literally millions of infected Windows PCs could be linked together to do its bidding. The second scariest thing is that no one really knows what its creator is going to do with this virtual army on April 1, when it’s scheduled to contact a server for instructions. It’s so bad, Microsoft has a running $250,000 bounty for the author, dead or alive. (Well, they probably want him alive, but they hate his guts.)

The New York Times’ John Markoff rounded up some of the more ingeniously evil possibilities in a compelling article, the most sinister being a “Dark Google,” postulated by University of California at San Diego researcher Stefan Savage, that would let bad people scour zombie machines all around the world for data to sell to other bad people.

But let’s back up a bit. Conficker—whose weird name is a combination of “configuration” and a slightly more polite word for f***er, according to Urban Dictionary—actually began life as a lowly, “not very successful” worm in November, says Vincent Weafer, VP at Symantec Security Response. Weafer told us it exploited a Microsoft remote server vulnerability that had already been announced and patched the previous month, so the only systems that were vulnerable were the ones that weren’t up to date.

The B release, pushed in December, on the other hand, was “wildly successful,” says Weafer, infecting millions of unpatched computers because it’s an aggressive little bastard—the first worm in years on a scale like Blaster. It has built-in p2p capabilities, and brute forces its way into open shared folders or printers, so it can crawl an office network quickly. It also piggybacks onto USB flash and hard drives. On top of all that, it’s designed to be incredibly resilient, killing security software, disabling Windows Update, and digging down deep.

The C release came out this past month. It doesn’t go after new machines—it’s actually a payload for computers already infected with B. It transformed Conficker from a sneezing pandemic into a seriously nasty plague. With C, its p2p powers are extended further, with digital code-signing, so it only accepts trusted code updates from itself. That means security experts can’t simply inject code to neutralize it. The patch also made Conficker better at killing security software. And it expanded the scope of the domains it tries to contact for instructions from 250 to 50,000, completely neutralizing security experts’ previous tactic of seizing the domains. There’s effectively no way to the cut the head off of this demon snake. The stage is set: On April 1, Conficker will reach out for the millions-strong zombienet’s next set of instructions.

So what will happen? Well, no one knows for sure. Conficker’s creator can do whatever he wants with his army. Launch massive denial-of-service attacks, setup the “Dark Google” syndicate, target millions of new machines, or generate a tidal wave of spam that’ll crash against servers all over the world.

Most likely though, Weafer told us, Conficker’s creator is motivated by money—they’ll rent it out. And if Conficker’s used as a massive doomsday tool, they’ll “quickly lose the ability to make money” with it. A low key operation harnessing the power of computers that are mainly located in developing nations may not have a big impact, though it would certainly set a terrible precedent: Whatever Conficker’s results, they will lead others to develop this idea in frightening new directions.

Conficker’s innovative approach that utilizes p2p, code-signing and a distributed domain setup will very possibly serve as inspiration to other malware writers, who Weafer said “you can bet” are watching Conficker’s success very closely, just as Conficker’s creators have clearly learned from past malware. It’s like evil open source.

That doesn’t mean April 1 will be a “digital Pearl Harbor.” If your machine is patched and up to date, the Microsoft Report’s Ed Bott tells us, you’ll probably be totally fine. And yes, you can get rid of it if you happen to be infected. There is an outside chance Conficker could turn into a massive parallel computer that borders on self-aware, come April 1, but more than likely, the day will come and go without you noticing anything weird, just some extra spam in your box for some V@ltr3xxx.

worm incoming this 1st April..hopefully this wont hit me bad.. from Gizmodo.

C&C Red Alert 3: Soviets Campaign

i have just completed my RED ALERT 3 Soviets Campaign on my beloved XBOX360. it was rather easy i guess, despite this being my first attempt of RTS genre on console. with the soviets, i love to use the twinblade. coupled the migs, they terrorized fast and violently.. at times those anti-air units distrupts my assault. so i put in those tesla trooper. and that was quite sufficient to start my invasion. with help from other units, it becomes a lot easier..

“twinblade inspection ready”

“migs ready to fight”

“tesla troopers”

through out the game, i was assisted by this sexy dasha. whenever she talks, delivering infos, i would listen to her but my concentration was mere 40%. the rest was concentrated somewhere else. u should play the game to really understand where the focus was lost. ivana milicevic.

Intelligence Officer Dasha Fedorovich

Dasha Fedorovich is the Soviet Intelligence officer in the game. She performs essentially the same function as the Allies’ Lt. Eva and the Empire’s Suki Toyama. Her loyalty is with the commander, proven when Premier Cherdenko goes mad and attempts to kill the commander. She is perhaps the firmest believer in communism on the Soviet side, in the Allied campaign she actually considered the Soviets invading New York liberators. In the end of the Russian Campaign she toasts the commander on his election to Premier.

She returns in Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising as the new Soviet Leader.[1]

In uprising, Dasha is a respected leader commanding the resistance forces of the Soviet Union who is only a shadow of its previous glory. Dasha and the Russian Commander together sever the influential corruption of President Rupert Thornley. When proven triumphant by destroying the Future Tech Harmonizer, the Allies leader leave alone the Reds and Dasha at their command. She proclaims in the soviet ending that they will begin to rebuild the greatest USSR

Dasha Fedorovich is portrayed by Ivana Milicevic.

got this from Wikipedia.

Wired for War: Author Explains Revolution in Robotics

If you shrug off Terminator and Battlestar Galactica as never-gonna-happen impossibilities, PW Singer has news for you. His spine-tingling book, Wired For War, carefully explains the robotics revolution that’s gripped our military since 9/11.

If you believe Singer (shown at left with an unarmed robot), the biggest revolution happening in the world today is the one taking place in military robotics, unmanned fighting systems, which were next to non-existent before 9/11, and have multiplied exponentially since the Iraq invasion of 2003.

You don’t have to read Wired for War (or Gizmodo) to know why military robots are awesome: On the battlefield, they won’t hesitate to take a bullet for you, and when they bite it, you don’t have to go and tell their mama how sorry you are. But robots are no longer just an extra layer of protection for our flesh-and-blood warriors, they are a new fighting force—the US has 12,000 on the ground and 7,000 in the air—that are changing the way the generals see the battlefield, and the way soldiers define what it means to fight.

I got in touch with Singer after Wired for War was published, and the cool, calm way he explains how different the world will be from now on—how the extended conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned robots from novelty items to autonomous killing machines, how cute dormroom debates over Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics have morphed into heated arguments at the Pentagon—has really got me convinced.

This week we’re celebrating the book with a series of posts on topics it covers, but at first, it’s time for you to hear from Singer himself, and drink in some of that truth. As he himself would say, citing The Matrix, it’s time to swallow the red pill:

Giz: One of the biggest purposes of your book is to make, for the first time, a compelling argument for the reality of the scary sci-fi future, right?

PWS: There are a couple of points of the book. One, to sell lots of books. Two, to get our heads out of the sand when it comes to the massive changes happening in war, to say this is not science fiction but battlefield reality. Next, this is not the revolution that Rumsfeld and his people thought would happen. You may be getting incredible new capabilities, but you’re also getting incredible new human dilemmas to figure out. The fog of war is not being lifted. Moore’s law may be in operation, but so is Murphy’s law. Mistakes still happen. The final aspect is to give people a way to look at the ripple effects that are coming out of this, on our politics, the warrior’s experience, our laws, our ethics.

We’re experiencing something incredibly historic right now, and yet no one is talking about it. Think about the phrase “going to war.” That has meant the same thing for five thousand years. It meant going to a place where there was such danger that they may never come home again, may never see their family again. Whether you were talking about my grandfather’s experience in World War II or Achilles going off to fight the Trojans.

Compare that to what it means in a world of Predator drones, already. One of the pilots I interviewed says you’re going to war—for 12 hours. You’re shooting weapons at targets, killing enemy combatants. And then you get back in your car and you drive home. And 20 minutes later, you’re sitting at the dinner table, talking to your kids about their homework. So we have an absolute change in the meaning of going to war, in our lifetime right now, and nobody was talking about it.

Giz: That’s mind blowing. The thing you’re hitting on here is the role of humans in war. Many argue that you can’t take the human being out of war, but will there be a time when robots just fight robots? And what’s the point? Doesn’t there have to be a human target? If robots fight robots, who cares?

PWS: Basically you’re asking the question that’s the famous Star Trek episode [“A Taste of Armageddon,” TOS 1967], where two machines fight each other, they calculate what would happen, and then a set number of humans are killed based on the computer calculations. That’s how they do the wars.

If we do get to that scenario, is it war anymore? We’d have to reconfigure our definitions. This is something we do. Some people back in the day thought that the use of guns was not an act of war, it was murder. It was a crime to use guns. Only cowards used guns. Well, we changed our definitions.

Giz: But the human has always been in the target of whatever murderous weapon—I’m asking what happens when Predator drones on our side go after Predator drones on their side over the Pacific Ocean.

PWS: It’s not a theoretical thing. Is that war anymore? Or does it take away the valor and heroism that we use to justify war, and just turn it into a question of productivity? Maybe that’s where war is headed.

But things don’t always turn out as you described. Every action has a counter-reaction. You develop these systems that give you this incredible advantage. But as one of the insurgents in Iraq says, you’re showing you’re not man enough to fight us [in person]. You’re showing your cowardice. You’ve also shown us that all we have to do is kill a few of your soldiers to defeat you.

Another one says that you are forcing my hand to become a terrorist. Say you get to drones vs. drones. Someone else will say, “A ha! That’s not the way to win. The way to win is to strike at their homeland.”

And with drones on drones, this very sophisticated technology, you’re also taking war in a whole ‘nother direction. Because now the most effective way of defeating drones may not be destruction, it may be wars of persuasion. That is, how do I hack into your drones and make them do what I want? That may be better than shooting them down.

Or, if they’re dependent on communication back to home, I’ve just pointed out a new vulnerability. The high tech strategy may be to hack them, and disrupt those communications, but of course there’s a low-tech response. What’s an incredibly effective device against the SWORDS system, a machine-gun-armed robot? It’s a six year old with a can of spray paint [says one military journalist]. You either have to be bloody minded to kill an unarmed six year old. Which of course will have all sorts of ripple effects, such as who else will join the war and how it’s covered. Or you just let that little six year old walk up and put spray paint on the camera, and suddenly your robot is basically defused.

Of course, in a meeting with officers from Joint Forces Command, one of them responded, “We’ll just load the system up with non-lethal weapons, and we’ll tase that little six year old.” The point is, robotics are not the end of the story, they’re the start of the new story.

Giz: Okay, so if everyone can get their hands on a crate of AK-47s these days, will robots be traded like that, on the black market? How can countries without technological sophistication make use of robots?

PWS: There is a rule in technology as well as war: There’s no such thing as a permanent first-mover advantage. How many of your readers are reading this on a Wang computer? How many are playing video games on an Atari or Commodore 64? Same thing in war: The British are the ones who invented the tank, but the Germans are the ones who figured out how to use the tank better.

The US is definitely ahead in military robotics today, but we should not be so arrogant as to assume it will always be the case. There are 43 other countries working on military robotics, and they range from well-off countries like Great Britain, to Russia, to China, to Pakistan, to Iran. Just three days ago, we shot down an Iranian drone over Iraq.

The thing we have to ask ourselves is, where does the state of American manufacturing, and the state of our science and mathematics education in our schools take us in this revolution? Another way to phrase this is, what does it mean to use more and more “soldiers” whose hardware is made in China, and whose software is written in India?

A lot of the technology is commercial, off the shelf. A lot of it is do-it-yourself. For about $1,000, you can build your own version of a Raven drone, one of the hand-tossed drones [which you launch it by throwing in the air, shown at left] our soldiers use in Iraq and Afghanistan. What we have is the phenomena that software is not the only thing that has gone open source. So has warfare. It’s not just the big boys that can access these technologies, and even change and approve upon them. Hezbollah may not be a state, may not have a military, but in its war with Israel, it flew four drones.

Just as terrorism may not be small groups but just one lone-wolf individual, you have the same thing with robotics and terrorism. Robotics makes people a lot more lethal. It also eliminates the culling power of suicide bombing. You don’t have to convince a robot that it’s going to be received by 70 virgins in heaven.

And about not being able to get it like an AK-47. Actually, two things. One, there’s a bit in the book about cloned robots. One of the companies was at an arms fair and saw a robot being displayed by a certain nation in their booth. And they’re like, “That’s our robot, and we never sold it to them. What the hell?” It’s because it was a cloned robot.

And two, there’s a quote, “A robot gone missing today will end up in the marketplace tomorrow.” We’ve actually had robots that have been captured. We actually had one loaded up with explosives and turned into a mobile IED.

Giz: So, in other words, only a few years after being deployed, they’re already being turned against us.

PWS: This is war, so of course it’s going to happen. It doesn’t mean the AK-47 is disappearing from war. War in the 21st century is this dark mix of more and more machines, but fights against warlords and insurgents in the slums. Those players are going to be using everything from high-tech to low-tech.

such scary world. such advancement in tech nowadays.. great interview by Gizmodo.