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As usual in this kind of international photo competition, there's a couple of winning shots about Palestine, some portraits of magnificently coiffed people, plenty of violent deaths, prisoners living in dire conditions and almost half of these talented photographers are Italian. I'm very impressed by the Afrometals series, btw continue

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Information about Intel's next-generation processor architecture, codenamed Haswell, has been leaking steadily for some time, but presentations at today's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) are finally giving us details on what to expect from the fourth-generation Core processors when they launch in 2013.

Haswell is a "tock", in Intel parlance—a completely new processor architecture manufactured using the same 22nm process and "3D" tri-gate transistors as Ivy Bridge. As with Ivy Bridge, the bulk of Intel's attentions are focused on improving graphics performance and reducing power consumption—while Haswell's optimizations will definitely make it faster than Ivy Bridge at the same clock speeds, CPU performance definitely took a back seat during Intel's Haswell-oriented keynote today.

The CPU: modest improvements in a power-efficient package

Much about Haswell's architecture is similar to Ivy Bridge in many ways: key technologies like Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading are still in play, and the instruction pipeline and L1 and L2 cache sizes remain the same.

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2011 was a year of global tumult, marked by widespread social and political uprisings, economic crises, and a great deal more. We saw the fall of multiple dictators, welcomed a new country (South Sudan), witnessed our planet's population grow to 7 billion, and watched in horror as Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster. From the Arab Spring to Los Indignados to Occupy Wall Street, citizens around the world took to the streets in massive numbers, protesting against governments and financial institutions, risking arrest, injury, and in some cases their lives. Collected here is Part 2 of a three-part photo summary of the last year, covering 2011's middle months. Be sure to also see Part 1, and Part 3 of this series totaling 120 images in all. [40 photos]

Surf rescue swimmer Doug Knutzen carries Dale Ostrander to the shore of Long Beach, Washington, on August 5, 2011. Rescue swimmers Eddie Mendez (left) and Will Green had found Ostrander in the surf, after the boy was underwater for more than 20 minutes. Ostrander was hospitalized and placed in a medically induced coma for a time, but has since returned home and started the 7th grade. His recovery is still in progress, as he continues to undergo speech and physical therapy. (AP Photo/Damian Mulinix/Chinook Observer)

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Enjoy your fighting season, Afghan insurgents. The ones to come might not be particularly pleasant. The technology to detect your fire, stop it in mid-air, and then “facilitate shooter neutralization” is getting closer and closer to battlefield-ready. Which means some of your most powerful weapons — like missiles and rocket-propelled grenades — could be rendered impotent, even dangerous to fire off.

For the better part of a decade, researchers in Israel and America have been working on so-called “active protection” technology — defenses that can stop bullets and rockets and grenades before they ever have a chance to hit. After years of uneven progress (and the occasional accusation of corporate favoritism) these systems are beginning to show that they are ready for war. If they work out, it’s an honest-to-goodness game changer in urban combat: robbing guerrillas of some of their weapons of choice, and making tanks and trucks much, much harder to take out. The open question is whether active protection can be pulled off consistently without hurting nearby civilians.

In March, the Israeli system — known as “Trophy” or “Windbreaker,” and seen in the cheesy video above — was used in combat for the first time. shooting down a missile before it could hit a Merkava 4 tank along the Gaza border. Now, according to documents unearthed by Aviation Week’s Paul McLeary, an American active protection is getting ready for “field testing” and “transition to combat forces.”

Trophy is an especially big deal for the Israelis, who saw 40 of their tanks get hit in their 2006 war in Lebanon. The system uses flat-panel radars to watch out for incoming fire, Defense Update notes. Once a rocket-propelled grenade or other projectile is spotted, Trophy verifies that the round is coming straight at the tank, calculates its time-to-intercept, and picks to best angle to shoot it down. Then it fires off a bunch of explosively-formed penetrators, which produce narrow jets of molten metal that shred anything in their paths. The whole process takes a few seconds, at most.

Ironically, EFPs were once considered the deadliest weapons of the Iraq insurgency, responsible for dozens and dozens of U.S. deaths. The Trophy’s EFPs, however, are meant to be life-savers: peppering the incoming round, and taking it down without blowing it up.

Rafael, which makes the Trophy, swears that it can pull off this high-speed metal-on-metal collision with just a “1%” chance of hitting innocent bystanders. We’ll see if those numbers hold up, when the combat tests for the active protection system become more frequent. If they do, the already-formidable Merkava tanks edge that much closer to invulnerability. If not, it’s yet another example for Israel’s enemies to hold up of the IDF’s heartlessness.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, appears to be in the late stages of combining two active protection systems into a single defense for armored vehicles in Afghanistan. Crosshairs is a series of radars and microphones just far enough apart to triangulate the distance and direction of incoming grenades, mortars, and bullets. (You can see it on the back half of the  armored vehicle’s roof, pictured above.) Hook Crosshairs up to a remote weapons station, like the CROWS that sits of atop many U.S. vehicles, it’ll slew the gun right to where the shots came from. And that “facilitates shooter neutralization,” as manufacturer Mustang Technology Group oh-so-delicately puts it.

In case the counterfire is called into question, “the weapon station will be equipped with visual and infrared cameras for collecting forensic and judicial evidence,” adds Darpa, which backed the development of the system.

Iron Curtain, also funded by Darpa and made by Virgina’s Artis LLC, is similar to Trophy. But Iron Curtain pairs its radar with an optical sensor — a smart camera, essentially –  to track incoming rockets. As our own David Hambling noted in 2009, “a row of explosive countermeasures is mounted on a rail running around the top of the vehicle. The system selects the best one of countermeasures, and fires it vertically downwards at the exact moment the rocket is passing. This does not destroy the warhead but ‘duds’ it so that the warhead deflagrates, rather than exploding properly. By the end of the collision of RPG and countermeasure, Artis claims, the warhead bounces off of the vehicle’s side.”

Two years back, the Army handed out $8 million to merge Iron Curtain and Crosshairs into 25 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. From the documents McLeary examined, that integration work appears to be just about over, and the military is thinking hard about sending a handful of actively-protected vehicles over to Afghanistan soon. If so, that could be extremely bad news for the region’s insurgents.

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We’ve been hanging out with the British soldiers training for action in Afghanistan recently, but it might not come as a total shock to you that the Palestinian security forces are not a simpering bunch of pussies either. In hidden camps in Jericho and Jordan, greenhorn soldiers are subjected to a training program designed to make them impervious to fear. We managed to visit the site in Jericho. (...)
Read the rest of Bootcamp Palestine: The Manmaking Machine (404 words)

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