Nothing embodies the law of unintended consequences more than weapons systems. When drones were first introduced as possible battlefield tools, contractors said that there was nothing to worry about in terms of them being converted into weapons systems. They would only be used for surveillance. Now we’re using them to kill top government officials.
Democrats occupied the floor of the House of Representatives to demand that people on the federal “no fly” list be denied the right to buy firearms. But the no fly list is maintained by the incredibly incompetent TSA. Why should they get to decide whether you have your Second Amendment rights?
Originally published by ANewDomain.net:
aNewDomain exclusive Auckland, NZ, 01.04.2015 — Apple is soon to announce a smart firearm and will unveil the new weapon, called the Apple Gun, at a special scheduled to coincide with next spring’s Las Vegas Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade show, the largest gathering of gun fans and dealers in the nation.
The event, according to documents leaked to aNewDomain reporters at the Auckland Gun Show in New Zealand, will be timed to coincide with Apple’s 40th anniversary celebration in early April 2016.
The Apple Gun is a continuation of the Cupertino giant’s strategy of expanding its reach beyond personal computing into other products, like its planned Apple Car and widely-anticipated Apple Drone, sources close to the effort told aNewDomain.
Legal correspondent T. E. Wing unearthed Apple’s Apple Gun patent application, as filed with US Patent & Trademark Office, in August 2014. A rendering of the Apple Gun as Apple lawyers drew it in the Apple Gun patent application is below. At this writing, the patent is still pending.
Apple PR woman Katie Cotton refused to comment on the Apple Gun information that sources revealed to aNewDomain, saying Apple does not confirm or deny “rumors or unannounced products, however slim and sexy.” Apple CEO Tim Cook, contacted via his Google + account, refused to comment on the report, saying simply: “Imagine.”
Luckily, we don’t have to. Early ad copy obtained by aNewDomain reveals a forthcoming Apple-branded firearm that is is “beautiful, simple and accurate.” Not necessarily affordable to every consumer, Apple Gun is about to do for personal protection what the Apple iPhone did to the telephone, sources say.
The ad copy, leaked to aNewDomain at the New Zealand firearms convention early today, continues:
Imagine a firearm that doesn’t make a sound when fired. A weapon that doesn’t look ominous, but to the contrary, sports beautiful design that fits in at the office, at Whole Foods, even in the classroom. A gun with state-of-the-art quality front and center, making accidental maimings a thing of the past.
“A weapon for design freaks and liberals,” comments one source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s brilliant. And deadly.”
“Though it’s going to surprise some of the company’s crunchy NPR-listening client base, this is a logical move for Apple,” said Shell Jackson, an analyst at Goldman Sachs’ tech division. And it’s just the beginning.
“Guns are a $32 billion a year business in the United States. Not only is Apple Gun a smartplay for market share in an industry that hasn’t seen a major design development since the demise of the flintlock, it will familiarize the red states – currently PC country – with the Apple brand.” He adds:
“Once Apple Gun has achieved significant market share, it will expand throughout the weapons and munitions sector into high-caliber heavy weapons, long-range missiles and laserguided bombs, armed drones, maybe even nuclear.”
Featuring smooth, clean lines, a clickwheel and translucent whiteness, Apple Gun is the culmination of Steve Jobs’ last product initiative, Project DeepSix, which was initiated 17 months before his death with the goal of reimagining the handgun. “What if guns were invented today? They wouldn’t be hypermasculine death machines for dimwitted nativist jocks. They’d be pretty. They’d have multiple functionalities: text messaging and other telecommunications, music player, flashlight, sports fitness applications, all tethered to your iPhone and uploaded to iCloud. They’d simplify our lives with beautiful design,” Jobs, a Buddhist known for his angry rants, told his team from his hospital bed, angrily yet calmly.
The Apple Gun “will free the gun from the gun owner,” the source said.
According to an internal company memo accidentally shared to a Dropbox folder owned by an Indian restaurant in Mountain View, California, Apple Gun “will revolutionize the gun concept” by “freeing the gun from the gun owner.”
Let’s say, for example, that you’re worried about someone breaking into your home while you’re at work. Simply leave Apple Gun on a table near your front door. A laser-activated sensor will notify you if someone enters, flash their image to your iPhone, which then relays to your Apple Watch, which must be fully charged to work properly.
If you don’t know the person, press “Y” to fire. If it’s your cleaning lady, press “N.”
What if you want to kill someone, or many someones, but you are too busy to stop them or lay in wait for them? Subscribers to the premium version of Apple’s iCloud storage service can load high-resolution photographs or personal descriptions of the target subjects, rank them in order of kill priority, sync up their Apple Gun, and violà! Just like that, thanks to Apple’s patented iHead facial-recognition software, whenever the intended victim steps anywhere near the line of fire, termination is automatic and guaranteed.
The twin problem is still being worked on.
A brief look at the Apple Gun patent application reveals a number of intriguing firearm tech features.
Merging traditional bullets and heat-seeking missile technology, Apple’s proprietary iBullet ammunition costs $100 each and will be sold in clips of 20.
Thanks to special casing and the replacement of gunpowder by the release of an electric charge, the dynamic rotation of the iBullet is fueled by the spin of the Earth’s electromagnetic field, working around the laws of physics that create that unpleasant bang in traditional modern firearms.
The last thing you’ll hear before an Apple Gun kills you is a soft “poof,” like the sound emanating from an especially mellow baby blowing a very tiny bubble.
Relatively small at the traditional barrel equivalent of .375 caliber, Apple Bullets locate a target’s heartbeat and follow it anywhere, even around corners. Upon striking flesh, DNA analysis determines the species of the victim as well as its obesity (or lack thereof), telling the bullet to travel the precise distance to the center of its heart before releasing its explosive charge.
Apple engineers on the gun team spent two years killing, and attempting to kill various life forms at a secret research facility in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, near the site of the annual Burning Man festival. It is pictured at left.
“It’s a combination of experimentation, algorithms and good luck,” explained one member of the team on the condition of anonymity. “Provided the gun is fully charged” – battery power, company insiders concede, has not yet been fully optimized – “you can take out a rhesus monkey, a rattlesnake, a groundhog, a capybara or a drug-enraged human sociopath at 250 meters with 99.965% accuracy,” he said.
I for one am excited — no, thrilled — about the forthcoming Apple Gun. You know, I wouldn’t buy a gun. But you can take my smartgun out of my cold dead hands.
For aNewDomain, I’m Red Tall.
“The drone is the ultimate imperial weapon, allowing a superpower almost unlimited reach while keeping its own soldiers far from battle,” writes New York Times reporter James Risen in his important new book “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War.” “Drones provide remote-control combat, custom-designed for wars of choice, and they have become the signature weapons of the war on terror.”
But America’s monopoly on death from a distance is coming to an end. Drone technology is relatively simple and cheap to acquire — which is why more than 70 countries, plus non-state actors like Hezbollah, have combat drones.
The National Journal’s Kristin Roberts imagines how drones could soon “destabilize entire regions and potentially upset geopolitical order”: “Iran, with the approval of Damascus, carries out a lethal strike on anti-Syrian forces inside Syria; Russia picks off militants tampering with oil and gas lines in Ukraine or Georgia; Turkey arms a U.S.-provided Predator to kill Kurdish militants in northern Iraq who it believes are planning attacks along the border. Label the targets as terrorists, and in each case, Tehran, Moscow, and Ankara may point toward Washington and say, we learned it by watching you. In Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan.”
SkyNet, you recall from the Terminator movies, is a computerized defense network whose artificial intelligence programming leads it to self-awareness. People try to turn it off; SkyNet interprets this as an attack — on itself. Automated genocide follows in an instant.
In an article you should read carefully because/despite that fact that it will totally freak you out, The New York Times reports that “arms makers…are developing weapons that rely on artificial intelligence, not human instruction, to decide what to target and whom to kill.”
More from the Times piece:
“Britain, Israel and Norway are already deploying missiles and drones that carry out attacks against enemy radar, tanks or ships without direct human control. After launch, so-called autonomous weapons rely on artificial intelligence and sensors to select targets and to initiate an attack.
“Britain’s ‘fire and forget’ Brimstone missiles, for example, can distinguish among tanks and cars and buses without human assistance, and can hunt targets in a predesignated region without oversight. The Brimstones also communicate with one another, sharing their targets.
“Israel’s antiradar missile, the Harpy, loiters in the sky until an enemy radar is turned on. It then attacks and destroys the radar installation on its own.
“Norway plans to equip its fleet of advanced jet fighters with the Joint Strike Missile, which can hunt, recognize and detect a target without human intervention.”
“An autonomous weapons arms race is already taking place,” says Steve Omohundro, a physicist and AI specialist at Self-Aware Systems. “They can respond faster, more efficiently and less predictably.”
As usual, the United States is leading the way toward dystopian apocalypse, setting precedents for the use of sophisticated, novel, more efficient killing machines. We developed and dropped the first nuclear bombs. We unleashed the drones. Now we’re at the forefront of AI missile systems.
The first test was a disaster: “Back in 1988, the Navy test-fired a Harpoon antiship missile that employed an early form of self-guidance. The missile mistook an Indian freighter that had strayed onto the test range for its target. The Harpoon, which did not have a warhead, hit the bridge of the freighter, killing a crew member.”
But we’re America! We didn’t let that slow us down: “Despite the accident, the Harpoon became a mainstay of naval armaments and remains in wide use.”
I can see you tech geeks out there, shaking your heads over your screen, saying to yourselves: “Rall is paranoid! This is new technology. It’s bound to improve. AI drones will become more accurate.”
Combat drones have hovered over towns and villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the last 13 years, killing thousands of people. The accuracy rate is less than impressive: 3.5%. That’s right: 96.5% of the victims are, by the military’s own assessment, innocent civilians.
The Pentagon argues that its new generation of self-guided hunter-killers are merely “semiautonomous” and so don’t run afoul of a U.S. rule against such weapons. But only the initial launch is initiated by a human being.” It will be operating autonomously when it searches for the enemy fleet,” Mark Gubrud, a physicist who is a member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, told the Times. “This is pretty sophisticated stuff that I would call artificial intelligence outside human control.”
If that doesn’t worry you, this should: it’s only a matter of time before other countries, some of which don’t like us, get these too.
Not much time.
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and cartoonist, is the author of the new critically-acclaimed book “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” Subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)
COPYRIGHT 2014 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
War is raging in Syria between the Baathist government of President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State (ISIS). The United States doesn’t want either side to win. The solution, naturally, is careful calibration to keep both sides equal until they both kill each other.
As the largest, most expansionary military empire in history and the world’s number one arms supplier, often to both sides in conflicts, the United States is once again offering, hilariously, to broker a peace agreement, this time between Hamas in Gaza, and Israel. First you start the war, or at least expand it, then you get credit for making peace!
The motto of California’s State Senate had might as well be changed to homines qui pravis — men behaving badly.
As Patrick McGreevy reports in The Times, three members are currently under suspension due to scandals.
Roderick Wright of Los Angeles County was convicted of voter fraud and perjury for lying about living in his district. Ronald S. Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco have been indicted by the feds, accused of influence peddling. Yee, who presented himself as a staunch proponent of gun control, has also been formally accused of offering to connect an undercover FBI agent posing as someone in the market for automatic weapons and RPGs with an international weapons dealer.
Smarting from these blows to their reputation, Senate leaders put their heads together and decided to recruit potential candidates from only the most morally upright, self-sacrificing Californians.
Actually, they really did come up with a solution: a proposed list of 12 “Standards of Conduct” members would be expected to abide by.
McGreevy calls the standards “fairly common-sense.” Which is true. They’re so common-sense as to prompt the question: why do they need them?
Among the highlights:
- “A Senator or officer or employee of the Senate shall not accept outside employment that is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his or her duties.”
- “A Senator shall not use the prestige of his or her office, and an officer or employee of the Senate shall not use the status of his or her position, for material or financial gain or private benefit.”
- “Each Senator and each officer or employee of the Senate has an obligation to be informed and prepared, recognizing all sides of an issue.”
- “Each Senator and each officer or employee of the Senate has an obligation to make proper use of public funds.”
May I suggest Rule 13? “Each Senator shall wear pants, or a skirt, or a pantsuit or other suitable article of clothing as to properly cover his or her private parts when conducting his or her duties in the Senate, with the exception of when nature calls, and then only in a suitable restroom and then with the latch firmly attached so that others may not observe.”
We have finally arrived, it seems, at the stage when it is no longer reasonable to expect behavior that society once considered so standard that it needed neither to be taught nor explained, much less enforced by law. Conflict of interest was always, obviously unethical. Diverting public funds for personal use was always embezzlement, clearly illegal, evidently wrong. Political service was a public trust; while one always had parochial, partisan interests to consider, it was a given that the greater good took ultimate precedence — at least that it should.
You know what would be a better way to improve the ethical standards of state senators than these painfully obvious Standards of Conduct? Subject them to an IQ test. Because if you don’t know this stuff by the time you’re old enough to run for public office, you’re too stupid to serve.
After yet another mass shooting, this one claiming 28 lives in Newtown, Connecticut at a local elementary school, right-wing politicians including Texas Governor Rick Perry are calling for students and/or teachers to be allowed to carry guns at school so they can defend themselves from future massacres.