Motherboard: Ukrainians Will Write Your Message on Munitions Aimed at Russians for Donations. “A Ukrainian Telegram account is offering to write a message of your choice on artillery shells that will then be fired at Russian in exchange for $40 per message. The account claims that the funds it raises will go towards arming Ukrainian soldiers.”
The Star: Sheffield’s amazing cutlery history celebrated at online project launch. “The Name on a Knife Blade project, which actually began last year, is the brainchild of the city’s unique and internationally-renowned Hawley Collection, which is housed at the museum. The Ken Hawley Collection Trust looks after Ken’s lifetime’s work to preserve the history of Sheffield’s edge tools and cutlery manufacture and silversmithing, which amounts to more than 100,000 items of all sorts.”
Arms exports control: launch of online database increasing transparency on EU arms exports (European Union External Action)
European Union External Action: Arms exports control: launch of online database increasing transparency on EU arms exports. “Today the European External Action Service has launched an online database on its website that will allow everyone to consult and analyse the data on Member States’ arms exports in a user-friendly manner. The database contains information on the value, destination and type of arms export licenses and actual exports from Member States, covering the years 2013-2019. The database will be updated on an annual basis.”
Digital Trends: Instagram bans influencers from promoting tobacco and vaping in branded content. “Social media influencers on Instagram aren’t allowed to promote vaping, tobacco products, or weapons anymore as part of newly updated rules on the platform. Facebook-owned Instagram announced on Wednesday that branded posts promoting any of those goods are no longer allowed on either social media platform.”
Engadget: Report: US weapons systems are highly vulnerable to cyber attacks. “The Department of Defense will have to ramp up its cybersecurity efforts now that it’s planning to spend $1.66 trillion to develop major weapons systems. According to a new report (PDF) by the Government Accountability Office, nearly all of Pentagon’s weapons systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks.” Sometimes I have to do ResearchBuzz with a side order of Tums.
Search Engine Land: Bing will start banning more weapons-related ads starting July 1. “Bing is expanding the scope of its policy prohibiting certain weapons-related advertising. As of July 1, 2018, Bing will no longer allow ads for BB guns, paintball guns, air rifles or parts that can be attached to weapons, used to create ammunition or aid in the reloading of a weapon.”
Now available just in time for May 4: an archive of lightsabers. From the about page: “The lightsabers collected in the archive are illustrated in a flat minimalist style, and I attempt to stay faithful to the original proportions/design. My digitally illustrated collection has quickly outgrew my actual collection (I only own 11 lightsabers, to be passed to my sons when they’re older), and I will be adding new lightsabers to the archive over time.”
The Diplomat: Every North Korean Missile Launch Since 1984 Visualized. “…the Nuclear Threat Initiative has published a new database to help make sense of North Korea’s pace and breadth of testing and to keep track of the precise systems Pyongyang is developing. Prepared by Shea Cotton, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, the database offers the most complete public dataset on North Korean missile launches, going all the way back to North Korea’s first series of Scud-B tests in 1984 under Kim Il-sung.”
Now available: a database of open-access 3D ballistics research. “To seed the database with data, [Xiaoyu Alan] Zheng went to forensics and law enforcement conferences asking agencies to test-fire every 9-mm firearm in their reference collection—9 mm being the caliber most commonly used in the commission of crimes. After completing the test fires, labs sent the bullets and cartridge cases to Zheng at NIST, along with data on the gun that fired it. At the lab, technicians scanned these samples using a microscope that produces a high-resolution, 3-D topographic surface map—a virtual model of the physical object itself. These surface maps produce more detailed comparison data than the two-dimensional images that are traditionally used to match bullets. For this reason, the field of forensic firearms identification is starting to make the transition to 3-D.”
Now available: A site tracking and timelining the effects that the nuclear weapons testing of the 1950s had on the people living “downwind” in Utah. Strangely some of the things presented on the site’s timeline are only available via University of Utah resources (an article available through ProQuest, for example.) There are enough “open” resources, however, to make the site worth a visit.
There are a lot of weird things you can say about 2016, but to me this takes the weird cake: People buy and sell guided missiles on Facebook. “A terrorist hoping to buy an antiaircraft weapon in recent years needed to look no further than Facebook, which has been hosting sprawling online arms bazaars, offering weapons ranging from handguns and grenades to heavy machine guns and guided missiles.” Hey Facebook — more going after this sort of thing, less shutting down the accounts of 175-year-old pubs because they have a name Beavis would smirk at. Okay?
Facebook and Instagram have both banned private sales of guns. “A Facebook spokesperson said that the policy only applies to ‘peer-to-peer’ sales of guns, but not advertisements for guns that are posted about on Facebook by licensed retailers.”