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Military’s robotic pack-mule gets smarter but can’t shake fart noise

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The U.S. military’s experimental robotic pack-mule has been getting smarter, faster and more agile, but it still sounds like a beast with constant flatulence.

Picture the scene. You’re walking through a warzone when suddenly shots ring out. You crouch down and listen closely for enemy movements, and that’s when you hear it, just beyond the tree line: “Pffffffffffffbbbbbbbbbbttttttt.”

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That may someday mean the Marines have arrived. Unless DARPA can fix that too.

Until then, enjoy this video of the AlphaDog, a robot developed by DARPA meant one day to carry up to 400 pounds of soldiers’ gear. The latest version, shown off in new footage published Sept. 10, proves that the ‘bot is now smart enough to follow its owner over complex terrain.

DARPA still wants to add visual and audio recognition. And though even its current state is a big improvement over the AlphaDog’s predecessor the BigDog, the distracting sound it makes still poses problems, even though engineers told Wired that it’s gotten a lot better of late.

This video was published to YouTube on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.

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75 years ago: When atomic scientist Leo Szilard tried to halt dropping bombs over Japan

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As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention.  They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki).   Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date:  July 3.

On July 3, 1945, the great atomic scientist Leo Szilard finished a letter/petition that would become the strongest (virtually the only) real attempt at halting President Truman's march to using the atomic bomb--still almost two weeks from its first test at Trinity--against Japanese cities.

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‘Insane’: Park ranger shoots unarmed man through his heart and then handcuffs his dead body

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A ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park tased and then fatally shot a man during a New Mexico traffic stop and then handcuffed his lifeless body.

Charles "Gage" Lorentz was traveling March 21 from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family's home in southwest Colorado when he detoured at the national park to meet a friend, and that's where he encountered National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell, reported KOB-TV.

The ranger stopped the 25-year-old Lorentz for speeding on a dirt road near the park's Rattlesnake Springs area, and Mitchell's lapel video shows him ordering Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing.

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Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

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President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "some criminal" in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump's earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

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