As the technology facilitating the expansion of the surveillance state becomes more advanced, the need for proximity to the target of the surveillance diminishes. For example, the ability to keep drones perpetually airborne is being engineered thanks to multi-million dollar research and development grants offered by the Pentagon to companies on the edge of technological advancement.

One such grant was recently awarded by DARPA (the secretive research and development agency inside the Pentagon) to a company working on shrinking the size and increasing the power of laser-based optics used by snipers.

 

The U.S. Air Force is training more drone “pilots” than those who will be at the controls of traditional aircraft, according to the Air Force chief of staff.

 

To date, there are reportedly around 1,300 people controlling the Air Force’s arsenal of Reaper, Predator, and Global Hawk drones, and the Pentagon plans to add about 2,500 pilots and support crew by 2014, according to an article in published August 3 by The Times (of London).

 

The Times reports that 350 new drone pilots were trained in 2011 “compared to 250 conventional fighter and bomber pilots.”

A new study of the methodology and placement of weather monitoring equipment has found that misplacement of such equipment is giving a false estimation of the threat of global warming.

The Internet-based whistleblower website WikiLeaks appears to have won some battles to recover its financial infrastructure in the past few weeks, winning the first stage of a legal battle in Iceland with Visa Corporation and gaining a French source for accepting donations in the Fund for Defense of Net Neutrality (FDN2). But a WikiLeaks satire of former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller — admitted as a phony by WikiLeaks July 29 on its Twitter feed — threatens to undo much of the organization's credibility. FDN2 claims that banks and credit card companies are legally bound to honor the French-based “Carte Bleue” transfer system. 

 

Moving forward with President Obama’s environmental agenda, the White House is expected to authorize new federal auto standards in the coming weeks that will nearly double fuel economy requirements for vehicles by 2025. The regulations require “fleet wide” gas mileage of 54.4 miles per gallon, or the average fuel economy for all cars, vans, trucks and other vehicles.

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