Sramana Majumdar

"Violence, Identity and Self-determination: Narratives of conflict from the Kashmir Valley" 4:15 PM, Monday 18 Nov Room 239, BYC Bryn Mawr College

Exposure Index

Tired of paper and pencil questionnaires about integration and intergroup contact? Try the new and improved EXPOSURE INDEX (click tab above on this page).

The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

Drones and the NSA: two of the biggest stories in military technology meet in this article.  The NSA provides targets’ cell-phone location data, and drones often collect signals intelligence data for the NSA to analyze.  Perhaps even more interesting than this predictable synthesis is the terrorists/insurgents’ adaptation.  By changing or trading cell phones, the article claims targets have degraded the NSA’s intelligence data to near uselessness.

Driverless Trucks Will Keep Army Safe From IEDs

Convoys are historically desirable targets in warfare.  They are also unarmed.  Unmanned convoys can keep people out of dangerous situations while sidestepping the growing debate over the ethics of autonomous killing machines.

Navy’s 757-Sized Drone Will Provide Big-Time Surveillance

Once again, the Navy demonstrates its interest in drones, this time with a high altitude surveillance vehicle.  The article hints at an impressive amount of automation in both flight and sensor analysis.

Drones in Culture: Dilbert

This cartoon neatly combines fears on safety and corporate spying with a reference to an earlier era’s air technology fad.

Yemen’s New Ways of Protesting Drone Strikes: Graffiti and Poetry

Drones have become a major issue in Yemen, as their artistic pursuits are reflecting.  Based on the article’s main image, the predator drone is becoming strongly symbolic in the region.

Amazon Drones: The Rebuttal

Since Jeff Bezos made headlines with his plan for drone deliveries, many have offered their opinions on proposal.  Many have declared it impractical or contrary to Amazon’s business plan, or just plain absurd.

Amazon Is Experimenting With Autonomous Flying Delivery Drones

In Amazon’s constant quest for efficiency, CEO Jeff Bezos is hoping drones can bring the gap between payment and delivery down to thirty minutes.  So far, this plan is nothing more than a good press release, as the FAA has yet to finalize the rules for flying drones.  However, Bezos seems confident that the drones will be implemented in 2015.

Coming Soon, a Night Watchman With Wheels?

This prototype illustrates just how far the field of robotics has come.  With half a dozen kinds of sensors and some level of autonomy, this device still has an expected effective cost of just $6.25/h.  Needless to say, privacy is a concern.  As it is designed to be networked, perhaps security should also be a concern – a hacked security robot could be a major problem, even if it is unarmed as this model is.

Army Scores a Super-Stealthy Drone That Looks Like a Bird

In the U.S. military’s ongoing battle against insurgents and terrorists, radar stealth is less important than invisibility – or, in this case, disguise.  Designed to look like a circling bird from a distance, this small drone model is designed to provide short-range surveillance without alerting the subjects.

Drone crew caught attempting to deliver smokes to prison inmates

As the article suggests, it’s only a matter of time before drones are a standard tool in the arsenal of criminals and terrorists.  Perhaps building off the occasional success of helicopter prison breakouts, some would be smugglers in Georgia attempted to supply a prison with tobacco.