Star Apps: Semi Precious Weapons

It's been four long years since Semi Precious Weapons released "You Love You" (2010), the follow-up to its debut, "We Love You" (2008). The LA-based quartet is best known for supporting artists such as Lady Gaga and Kesha, and now it's back with "Aviation," whose kick-off single, "Aviation High," is in heavy rotation on alternative rock radio. The 12-track disc, produced by Grammy-winning, multiplatinum producer Tricky Stewart (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Frank Ocean) finds the band flying from its rock roots into more R&B and pop territory. Semi Precious … Read more

Army laser weapon KOs mortar rounds

It's another small step on the long march toward laser weapons.

The US Army said this week that its big, boxy HEL MD system turned in a bang-up performance in its recent shoot-'em-up on the test range. During a three-week run between November 18 and December 10 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the truck-mounted High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (PDF) successfully engaged more than 90 mortar rounds, along with "several" unmanned aerial vehicles in flight.

No specifics were given on what exactly constitutes a successful engagement, but judging by various earlier tests … Read more

Behold the new world of digitized guns

As the world becomes more digitized, smartphones, smart watches, and smart cars have begun to hit the market -- and smart guns are no exception.

High-tech weapons, gun-centric apps, and tech-infused optical shooting scopes are popping up not only at hunting and gun shows but also at consumer-focused electronics shows. Earlier this year, one of the world's most high-tech long-range shooting rifles, Tracking Point's XS1, went on sale. And it has competition.

While many of these firearms and apps are geared toward perfecting a shot or feeding the shooter ballistics information, some new inventions are focused on making … Read more

Now you're a sharpshooter: The smart rifle arrives

AUSTIN, Texas -- As Hillman Bailey studied the flat, white target through his rifle's magnified scope, he spotted a brown, six-legged stinkbug, about the size of a dime, crawling across the target. He leaned into the rifle, hot from the sweltering Texas sun, and said to himself, "Let's see what happens." The target was 98 yards away. He steadied the gun, lined the crosshairs over the insect, and pulled the trigger.

The stinkbug was no more.

Bailey isn't a marksman, but he certainly knows his way around a high-powered firearm. He's an engineer for Tracking Point, the manufacturer of the tech-heavy gun responsible for the stinkbug's demise. For the last three-and-a-half years, Tracking Point's team has labored in a nondescript office park in the flats of north Austin, Texas, with one mission in mind: create a "smart rifle" that lets almost anyone hit targets up to 1,000 yards away with near 100 percent accuracy. That's right: Ten football fields.

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Yes, atomic bomb that fell in US almost went off, says document

Newly declassified documents are on everyone's mind these days, as are inadequate safeguards on national-security programs. But the latest secret doc to see daylight makes the NSA's surveillance missteps look rather like child's play -- at least in comparison to nuking your own country.

That's right, the Guardian reports that the US nearly took out a nice chunk of the Eastern seaboard in 1961 when a B-52 bomber broke apart in midair over North Carolina and dropped two hydrogen bombs -- one of which came one electrical switch away from detonating.

The incident has been talked about for years, but this is the first time this secret document discussing the matter has been published in declassified form, the Guardian says.… Read more

Fish the depths in this fun and funny arcade game

Ridiculous Fishing - A Tale of Redemption is a simple and hilarious fishing game with an old-school graphics style, tilt controls, and addictive absurd gameplay. Loved by critics and iOS gamers alike, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about for what -- at first blush -- seems like a game you might have played on the original Nintendo. Also, some recent updates added new items and fixed earlier issues, making the game better than ever.

In Ridiculous Fishing, you play as a fisherman named Billy, sending a line into the depths to catch as many fish as … Read more

U.S. airport-security agency fills Instagram feed with photos of guns and grenades

Short on good Instagram feeds to follow? Well, the Transportation Security Administration certainly has a colorful new account.

Peppered with images of Bowie knifes, handguns, grenades, and more, this account specifically features "prohibited items found at TSA checkpoints."

The TSA recently opened its Instagram account and posted its first photo on Saturday. The inaugural image is a collage of fireworks with the statement "#Fireworks don't fly. (On planes)." One of the photos in the collage also shows brass knuckles.

Other images in the feed include a bayonet and throwing knife discovered at the Long Beach … Read more

Apple: Don't make nuclear weapons using iTunes

I've been feeling a little crabby this week.

People have been annoying me for seemingly no good reason. But it hasn't yet gotten to that stage where I want to build a nuclear weapon and set it upon them.

I mention this only because, should I reach that demented level, I cannot use iTunes in the manufacture of that weapon.

You see, I have an iTunes account. And, thanks to the diligent Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, I now realize that I have already agreed not to design or produce nuclear weapons with the help of Apple's … Read more

Crazy engineer electrifies Wolverine's claws

While most of the X-Men have shiny superpowers, it seemed like Wolverine couldn't quite match up to some of the science-fiction abilities found among his peers -- until now.

Engineer James Hobson, who calls himself the "hacksmith," created a homemade upgrade for the comic book slasher by electrifying a pair of claws he created himself. The experiment, inspired by a similarly electrifying Thor's Hammer post on Hackaday, looks radically unsafe (and is definitely not recommended for all you at-home DIYers), as Hobson utilizes a transformer from an old oil furnace and feeds the electrical current into the claws.… Read more

Lockheed laser weapon hits its mark again

Lockheed Martin's ADAM laser weapon wants to step up its game.

In a series of tests in March and April, the prototype directed-energy system destroyed eight small-caliber rocket targets in flight at a range of approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile), Lockheed said Wednesday. The defense contractor described the targets as "free-flying Qassam-like rockets," making reference to the simple but deadly projectiles developed by the military arm of the Palestinian group Hamas.

You can see a video of one of those test-firings below.

The 2013 tests follow a series of trials in 2012 when the ADAM (… Read more