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30 Apr 2010

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Friday’s Food for Thought: There’s a Toothbrush Lost in Space

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Welcome to the highly lauded Friday’s Food for Thought post on got geoint? Is everyone happy that it is Friday? Rhetorical question, right! Well, this has been a most interesting week in the GEOINT world. We have a potentially devastating oil spill that is headed to the Louisiana coast, the CIA is developing micro UAV’s that are the size of a pizza platter, and DARPA lost contact with its Hypersonic Glider. So, we thought that this week’s FFT post can be all about being lost in space. There’s even a toothbrush floating around in space as we speak. Read on and enjoy.

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29 Apr 2010

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NASA Releases Images of Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. And, my how the times can change within a week. Now, rather than focusing on the beauty and majesty of our planet, we are covering the potential devastation from last week’s oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated Wednesday night that oil could be pouring out of the ground at a rate of up to 5,000 barrels a day — five times more than previously estimated. And, the Washington Post reported today that the Coast Guard and BP set fire to a portion of the crude oil on Wednesday in a bid to limit the impact of the widening slick. On the GEOINT front, NASA released satellite images of the devastation, which you can see in this post.

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28 Apr 2010

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This is Major Tom to Ground Control: US Hypersonic Glider Flunks First Test Flight

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

The highly anticipated test flight of the unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) — designed to fly through the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to Mach 20 — turned out to be a complete failure as military scientists lost contact with the glider nine minutes into the mission, last week. The glider was intended to be a new way of hitting distant targets with conventional weapons within an hour, which is being dubbed a “prompt global strike.” The test flight was a 30-minute mission in which the vehicle would glide at high speed before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. A DARPA spokesperson had this to say to AFP about the failed mission: “This was our first flight (all others were done in wind tunnels and simulations) so although of course we would like to have everything go perfectly, we still gathered data and can use findings for the next flight, scheduled currently for early 2011.” Look forward to seeing if this glitch is fixed by the 2011 test flight. Read the full AFP article here.

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27 Apr 2010

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Death by PowerPoint on the War Front

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

For most, the PowerPoint can be a mind-numbing thing in an office setting. Often people make them too cumbersome with too many bullets and a long PowerPoint presentation can drive any executive to the brink. Well, it seems that PowerPoint has made its mark on the war front. The New York Times today ran a front page story that features the PPT slide below that maps out the complexity of the war in Afghanistan. And, complex it is. According to the article, the slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. And, the amount of time expended on PowerPoint in the military has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have included the actual slide in this post, and please let us know if you can make sense of it.

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27 Apr 2010

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CIA To Use “Micro-UAVs” — the Size of a Pizza Platter — To Minimize Civilian Casualties

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

In an effort to minimize civilian casualties, the CIA is using smaller missiles and more advanced surveillance techniques to target suspected insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Some of these efforts, as highlighted by the Washington Post, include a 21-inch Small Smart Weapon that is roughly the diameter of a coffee cup with four different guidance systems that allow it to home in on targets as small as a single person, in complete darkness, as well as “Micro-UAVs.” These are un-manned surveillance drones that carry no weapons and can be roughly the size of a pizza platter. They are capable of monitoring potential targets at close range, for hours or days at a stretch. At night, they can be nearly impossible to detect. Wow. Little pizza platter-sized drones floating through the air – without anyone seeing them. Invisible GEOINT that causes more accuracy and decreases the likelihood for civilian casualties. Sounds like a step in the right direction. Read the full Washington Post article here.

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26 Apr 2010

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Monday Morning News Kick Off: Air Force’s Secret Space Plane, IC Imagery Processing Problems, and the “Emasculation” of the IC

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

Welcome to the Monday Morning News Kick Off post from got geoint? Monday, Monday. Here we are again. You come back way to soon. But, as true professionals, we have to embrace Monday and all the possibilities that come with this special day. As such, we have all the actionable GEOINT news you need in one place. This week, have stories about the U.S. Air Force launching a “secretive space plane,” the latest from NGA’s Pathfinder, and a rather scathing Op-Ed on the Obama Administration’s “emasculation” of the intelligence agencies. As we always say, fire up that second cup of coffee and read on.

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23 Apr 2010

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Friday’s Food for Thought: GEOINT and the GREAT WILD

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Welcome to the Friday’s Food for Through post on the world-famous got geoint? blog. We hope you achieved all of your professional and personal dreams during this past work week. And, if not, you have this post to provide you with a much needed reality break. Sometimes its good to “shut down the engines” and take some time for yourself – especially on a Friday. We were so inspired by the post we did about the penguin census that our editorial board decided that a FFT post on GEOINT and wild life would only be too appropriate. We hope you enjoy and happy Friday!

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22 Apr 2010

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Earth Day Turns 40: Earth’s Majestic Beauty From Up Above

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

As GEOINT professionals, Earth Day is a pretty special thing. And this year is very special. It marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. In 1970, Democrat Governor of Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson initiated the Earth Day by staging an environmental rally to raise awareness around the delicate issue of environment which had become a haunting problem due to excessive industrialization at the time. The premise behind “Earth Day” is that every human being regardless of territory, race, creed, or wealth, has an ethical right to a natural and healthy environment. And on April 22, 1970, more than 20 million Americans joined together to mark this special occasion.

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21 Apr 2010

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Google Earth Used To Arrest Man Who Illegally Dumped Boat

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

Here’s a word to the wise when it comes to ditching an old boat, or car for that matter. Think twice. Google Earth is now being used by law enforcement for collecting evidence when it comes to dumping old “assets.” Last month, it was reported that a Florida deputy sheriff used a satellite image from Google Earth to track down the owner of a 1-ton boat who had illegally dumped it in a vacant lot. The suspect was arrested on a felony charge of littering more than 500 pounds of waste and faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 and five years in prison. So, if you are thinking about offloading that old broken down barnacle barge, rather than ditching it in a vacant lot, perhaps just give it to your brother-in-law?

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20 Apr 2010

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Penguin Census: Using GEOINT To Track Penguins

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

We probably sound like a broken record when we say this: the diversity of GEOINT applications is absolutely astounding. You may recall we did a post recently about GEOINT and ski resorts. Well, this new application takes the cake. British wildlife ecologists are using satellite imagery from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) to track – and do a census of – penguins in Antarctica. The satellite images have such a high resolution that it is possible to count each penguin. We recommend you check out this full article from the Wall Street Journal for more on the penguin census. In addition, we have included a very cool video from WSJ in this post. Read on and enjoy.

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