Photos from Above: 4 Cool Camera-Carrying Commercial Drones

Commercial Drones – The Sky High View

Commercial Drones

This is a Quadra copter by DJI - "Inspire 1" that can record 4k video and take 12mp photographs.

Commercial drones have become a popular way for people to engage in aerial or extreme photography. Being able to attach a digital camera to a quadcopter has enabled professionals and hobbyists alike to capture unique scenes from the sky.

Whether you’re interested in recording high-definition aerial footage, or you just want to experiment with capturing high-flying views, here are some of the coolest camera-carrying drones available on the market.

  1. The EYE-Droid 4, developed by Infinite Jib, is a compact, lightweight drone that can carry a variety of camera types and styles. It is marketed as a “ready-to-fly flight system with features for the professional.” The drone can be flown by one or two pilots (with two people, one pilot focuses on the position of the vehicle, while the co-pilot manages the camera’s perspective.The EYE-Droid 4 drones starts at $10,500, and the price includes a one-day training session at the company’s facilities outside of Toronto, Canada.
  2. The Phantom 2 Vision is a remote-controlled, camera-carrying drone developed by DJI. The vehicle can snap photos or record high-definition video from nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) in the air. A high-performance battery offers up to 25 minutes of flight time, and live video from the onboard camera can be streamed to an iPhone or Android smartphone through DJI’s app.The $1,200 system comes with a remote control, but if connection is lost with the Phantom 2 Vision, the drone can use GPS to land itself at the same site where it launched, company officials said.
  3. The Storm Drone 4, designed by Helipal, is a quadcopter designed to carry a GoPro camera to capture aerial photos and high-definition videos. The small but durable drone can fly for six or seven minutes. The drone is also equipped with two white LED lights in the front and two red LED lights in the back, which can create an interesting effect at night, according to company officials.The Storm Drone 4 is targeted at people interested in experimenting with aerial photography, or hobbyists looking for a versatile drone to fly for fun. The vehicle retails for $359.90.
  4. While many commercial drones are being designed to carry cameras high in the sky, one robotic system can help you capture fun photos underwater. Ziphius, developed by Azorean, is an app-controlled aquatic drone that can take high-definition photos and videos under the water.Users can control the movements of the drone and camera with a smartphone or tablet. Ziphius can also play augmented reality games and exhibit autonomous behaviors, according to company officials. The drone, which functions similar to a remote-controlled boat, can swim at a speed of up to 6 mph (10 km/h).Ziphius began as a crowdfunded project on Kickstarter, but can be ordered online starting at $199.

Article Provided By: Live Science

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Hurricane Joaquin – The National Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Volunteers

Hurricane Joaquin

The Volunteers of Hurricane Joaquin

We’ve all seen or heard about it on TV, radio, and social media. Hurricane Joaquin caused wide spread flooding throughout the state of South Carolina. Among the hardest hit, were areas in the lower parts of the state. The historic flooding, which has caused damage, destruction and death throughout South Carolina, has been the result of record-setting rainfall during what has been considered a 1000-year rain event delivered by Hurricane Joaquin as it went up the East Coast.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin the South Carolina National Guard partnered with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and first responders combined with members of the Urban Search Rescue and Army National Guard to setup health and welfare checks points. The check points were in response to widespread flooding in many areas as a result of the heavy rain.  Meanwhile the Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, conducted an aerial flood survey of Georgetown, Andrews, and other surrounding counties in the area.

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadets, ages 12 to 20, and adults helped take over 4000 aerial images of the flooded areas and provided observation flights for federal and state officials.  The CAP also responded to a high priority search request from FEMA in the Canady’s region, looking for distressed individuals in the flooded area. No one was located. CAP personnel from five states conducted over 138 flights, spending over 240 hours in the sky above the state.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees.

We at Liquid Video Technologies would like to say thank you to all the young women and men, and all of the volunteers who have given so much of their time to help the flood victims of Hurricane Joaquin. You are a shining example of what it is to be American.

Article By: Lance Roberts 

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Top 10 Safety Tips For Women

Womans Safety

Safety

Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when out walking alone? Have you ever wondered what you should do if approached by an attacker? Have you ever worried about becoming yet another home invasion statistic?

The sad reality is that we live in an increasingly violent society in which the fear of crime is ever-present. Personal safety has become an issue of importance for everyone, but especially for women. Concerned about safety and the state of affairs, Sgt. Darren Laur and his wife Beth Laur began teaching self-defence classes and safety seminars in 1993, and have since reached thousands of women. The demand they saw for reliable safety information, coupled with the need to debunk widespread myths regarding self-defence measures, convinced the two experts to write a book.

The following points are ten things that every woman should know about personal safety, and are covered in the Laurs’ newly published book, Total Awareness: A Woman’s Safety Book:

1. Awareness: Your first line of defence. Most people think of kicks to the groin and blocking punches when they hear the term “self-defence.” However, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact. The first, and probably most important, component in self-defence is awareness: awareness of yourself, your surroundings, and your potential attacker’s likely strategies.

The criminal’s primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Studies have shown that criminals are adept at choosing targets who appear to be unaware of what is going on around them. By being aware of your surroundings and by projecting a “force presence,” many altercations which are commonplace on the street can be avoided.

2. Use your sixth sense. “Sixth sense.” “Gut instinct.” Whatever you call it, your intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people. All of us, especially women, have this gift, but very few of us pay attention to it. Learn to trust this power and use it to your full advantage. Avoid a person or a situation which does not “feel” safe–you’re probably right.

3. Self-defense training. It is important to evaluate the goals and practical usefulness of a women’s self-defense program before signing up. Here are two tips:

a) Avoid martial arts studios unless you specifically wish to train in the traditional martial arts techniques and are prepared for a long-term commitment. Many women’s self-defense programs teach watered-down martial arts techniques that are complex and unrealistic under the stress of an actual attack;

b) The self-defense program should include simulated assaults, with a fully padded instructor in realistic rape and attack scenarios, to allow you to practice what you’ve learned.

4. Escape: Always your best option. What if the unthinkable happens? You are suddenly confronted by a predator who demands that you go with him–be it in a car, or into an alley, or a building. It would seem prudent to obey, but you must never leave the primary crime scene. You are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you go with the predator than if you run away (even if he promises not to hurt you). Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window–do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.

5. Your right to fight. Unfortunately, no matter how diligently we practice awareness and avoidance techniques, we may find ourselves in a physical confrontation. Whether or not you have self-defence training, and no matter what your age or physical condition, it is important to understand that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself physically. You have both the moral and legal right to do so, even if the attacker is only threatening you and hasn’t struck first. Many women worry that they will anger the attacker and get hurt worse if they defend themselves, but statistics clearly show that your odds of survival are far greater if you do fight back. Aim for the eyes first and the groin second. Remember, though, to use the element of surprise to your advantage–strike quickly, and mean business. You may only get one chance.

6. Pepper spray: Pros and cons. Pepper spray, like other self-defence aids, can be a useful tool. However, it is important to understand that there can be significant drawbacks to its use. For example, did you know that it doesn’t work on everyone? Surprisingly, 15-20% of people will not be incapacitated even by a full-face spray. Also, if you’re carrying it in your purse, you will only waste time and alert the attacker to your intentions while you fumble for it. Never depend on any self-defence tool or weapon to stop an attacker. Trust your body and your wits, which you can always depend on in the event of an attack.

7. Home invasions: A crime on the rise. The primary way to prevent a home invasion is simply to never, ever open your door unless you either are certain you know who’s on the other side or can verify that they have a legitimate reason for being there (dressing up as a repair person or even police officer is one trick criminals use). In the event that an intruder breaks in while you’re home, you should have a safe room in your house to which you can retreat. Such a room should be equipped with a strong door, deadbolt lock, phone (preferably cell phone), and a can of pepper spray or fire extinguisher.

8. Avoiding a car-jacking. Lock all doors and keep windows up when driving. Most car-jackings take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.

9. A travel tip. Violent crimes against women happen in the best and worst hotels around the world. Predators may play the part of a hotel employee, push their way through an open or unlocked door, or obtain a pass key to the room. As with home safety, never open your door unless you are certain the person on the other side is legitimate, and always carry a door wedge with you when you travel. A wedge is often stronger than the door it secures.

10. Safety in cyberspace. Although the Internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn’t careful. When communicating on-line, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same. Keep current on security issues, frauds, viruses, etc. by periodically referring to “The Police Notebook” Internet Safety Page.

Article Provided By: Power to Change

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Register Your Drones, Government Says

Drones Soon Will Be RegisteredWhy Government Want to Register Drones 

The government will require people to register their recreational drones in a national registry, federal regulators announced today (Oct. 19).The move is an attempt to prevent small, unmanned aircraft from compromising air safety, as the number of complaints about errant flyers has skyrocketed in recent months, the regulators said.

“We are certainly seeing a significant increase in reports,” Michael Huerta, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said in a press briefing. “Clearly, this is an industry that is taking off, and there is a lot of activity taking place in the national airspace system.” 

Drones are taking to the skies in droves, and the number of tiny fliers is expected to multiply in the coming years; Amazon’s Prime Air initiative and Google’s Project Wing aim to use drones to deliver commercial goods in the next decade. Already this year, pilots and others have reported 100 complaints about drones a month, roughly double the rate of complaints in 2014, the regulators said. Many of those complaints are about close calls, in which drones narrowly miss other aircraft.

The FAA bars people from flying drones within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of an airport, or higher than 400 feet (122 meters) above the ground. But increasingly, drone pilots are breaking those rules. In August, for instance, two airplanes landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York came within 100 feet (30 m) of a drone flying at an altitude of roughly 800 feet (244 m). When such rogue drones violate airspace, the government currently has no way to tie a particular drone back to the person using it.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and FAA are still working out the details, but right now, the new registry would not require drones to carry transponders or trackers, said Anthony Foxx, the secretary of transportation. And it would not institute a policy of “geofencing,” which involves creating marked-off safe spaces where drones would automatically be deactivated, he said.

Unless a drone crashes or investigators have it in hand, it could be difficult to identify tiny flyers from sight alone. Still, that’s not the primary problem, as in most cases investigators have gotten a good look at the rogue drone, Foxx said.

“Our challenge so far has not been identifying the drone itself,” Foxx said. “It’s been connecting it back to the person who’s using it.”

Article Provided By: Live Science

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Tesla Motors’ Model X Is Here, and It’s as Awesome as We Hoped

 

Tesla Motors’ Model X Is Here, and It’s as Awesome as We Hoped

Tesla Motors’ Model X

tesla motors falcon wings doorsTHE WORLD’S FIRST luxury electric SUV is gorgeous. It’s futuristic. And once again, Tesla Motors is redefining the electric vehicle.

The Silicon Valley automaker has teased us for years with the Model X, and tonight it finally gave the world its first look at the production model, then handed six customers the keys.

Those people now own a $130,000 electric vehicle that will go 250 miles on a charge, carry seven people and haul more stuff than anyone but a hoarder might want with him. And although the X shares much of its DNA with the impressive Model S P90D sedan, in many ways it eclipses that phenomenal car. It’s not just the design, which is futuristic without being weird. It’s not just the performance, which isholy shit fast. And it’s not even the dramatic “falcon” doors that lift like the wings of a bird.

It’s how all of those features come together in a vehicle that somehow makes an SUV not just cool, but desirable.

But then, that’s what Tesla does.

“The mission of Tesla Motors is to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” CEO Elon Musk said at the car’s reveal, held at the company’s factory in Fremont, California. “It’s important to know that any kind of car can go electric.”

Complications

Reaching this point has been a longer journey than Elon Musk hoped. This is the car that’s supposed to prove his company is more than a one hit wonder, and an interlude before the long-awaited Model III brings a $35,000 EV to the masses in 2017.

Musk unveiled a prototype X in 2012, saying production would begin the following year. He later pushed that to 2014, which came and went with a promise that we’d see the X this year. But then that’s Musk—he often makes big promises with short timelines, which might explain why he told us tonight that if he had it to do over again, he’d have made the X less complicated and therefore easier to engineer and build.

Be that as it may, the car is here, and first impressions suggest it was worth the wait. If you order one today, though, you’ll have to wait a while longer: Tesla Motors estimates it’ll take 8 to 12 months to deliver cars ordered now.

Complexities

The X is, in a word, stunning. Its most amazing features are its mind-bending acceleration, gorgeous design, and amazing rear passenger doors. Tesla Motors calls them “falcon” doors, because they lift like the wings of a bird. And because it sounds cool.tesla motors model x

The big drawback of doors that open like wings—the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS has them, as did the DeLorean—is they require a lot of room to open, so you’re always worried about hitting something. Tesla Motors got around this by double-hinging the doors, and fitting each with an ultrasonic sensor and putting a third on the roof. They scan the area around the vehicle to determine how much space there is, then adjust the “span” and open accordingly.

It sounds complicated as hell, and it is, but it works beautifully. Tesla Motors engineers say the doors can open with as little as 12 inches on each side of the vehicle—then proved it by having us park between two cars. The mirrors on the X were mere inches from those of the car on either side, yet the doors opened flawlessly. Capacitive sensors in the edges of each door sense obstacles within 2 to 4 inches, so you don’t have to worry about a descending door whacking your head or crushing your fingers.

All of this may sound like a frivolous extravagance, and in some ways it is—and you know part of the reason Musk wanted these doors was to prove he could make them—but it’s remarkably clever, even practical.

Unless you regularly haul enough cattle to supply all the leather in this thing, space is not a problem.

Yes, practical. The doors make it easy to get in and out of the vehicle. No gymnastic contortions to get into the (standard) third row seating. No more cantilevering yourself to get your kids into their child seats. No more playing Tetris trying to get your stuff in. Just throw open those doors—actually, push a button and let the doors lift automatically, in 6 to 7 seconds—throw in your groceries and bags and whatnot, and climb in after it.

Speaking of stuff, the X is cavernous. No one could tell us the internal volume—you’d think someone at Tesla Motors would have had that figure—but one engineer said you could carry a sheet of plywood. Another said the X would easily swallow a surfboard. And yet another said you could carry a load of two-by-fours. Suffice it to say, this thing will swallow as much cargo as any normal person would carry. Tesla offers an accessory hitch that holds four bikes or six pairs of skis, and can be attached to the back of the car in just a few seconds.

Should you somehow manage to run out of room, the Model X has Class 3 towing capacity, which in lay terms means it’ll haul 5,000 pounds.

In other words, unless you regularly haul enough cattle to supply all the leather in this thing, space is not a problem.

Cavernous

Another clever trick is the “monopost” design of the second-row seats, which is fancy way of saying that each seat (two if you get the six-passenger model, three if you get the seven), sits on its own chrome-plated post. That makes each seat almost infinitely adjustable fore and aft and provides ample room for everyone’s feet. The designers drew inspiration from high-end office chairs and admit they were, like the doors, a bitch to engineer.

Along with the doors and the seats, Musk is especially proud of the “panoramic” windshield, which extends back over the front seat seats to provide an exceptional view. Tesla Motors claims it is the largest windshield ever installed in a production vehicle—yet, oddly, no one had actually measured the damn thing and so couldn’t say exactly how big it is.

Inside, the X is futuristic without being funky, with acres of white leather, plenty of cubbies and cupholders, and that enormous 17-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash.

Whatever the number, we can tell you that if you look at the X head-on, it appears to have a glass roof, and riding up front almost like being in a convertible.

Equally impressive is the sound system which is, in a word, glorious. But then, with 560 watts and 17 speakers, how could it not be? Tesla designed the system in-house specifically for the X because it wanted to ensure the system delivered the best sound with the smallest power requirements—essential in an electric vehicle. (General Motors took a similar tack with the Chevrolet Volt, tapping Bose to design a system specifically for the car.) The sound is crisp, clear, and loud—even when standing 15 feet away from the car.

The styling is perhaps best described as a Model S on steroids. It’s a taller, obviously, and, at 5,441 pounds, about 740 pounds heavier than the S. That said, it also looks more than a little like the BMW X6 from the rear three-quarter view—but when it glides by you silently on the freeway, you’ll know it’s a Tesla.

Inside, the X is futuristic without being funky, with acres of white leather, plenty of cubbies and cupholders, and that enormous 17-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash.

Competition

Although the Tesla Motors Model X is the first electric luxury SUV, it won’t be alone for long. Bentley promises a plug-in hybrid version of its new, ultra-luxe Bentayga SUV in about a year. Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini have hinted at similar plans. Last month, Audi showed off an all-electric crossover concept that’s probably a preview of the 2019 Q6. Aston Martin wants to have one ready in two years.

If you decide to stomp on the accelerator, make damn sure you’ve got plenty of open road ahead of you.

No one at Tesla Motors would say just what performance, handling, and comfort benchmarks they aimed at with the X, but they’re well aware of everyone’s plans and not terribly worried. And the fact they had a Porsche Cayenne and a BMW X5 in the parking lot for comparison suggests they’re quite confident of the Model X’s sporting capabilities.

They have every reason to be.

Let’s start with the acceleration. It’s crazy. Every Model X comes with a 90 kilowatt-hour battery and dual motors, a model known as 90D. Drop another 10 grand and you get the P90D, which is the performance model with its “ludicrous mode.” Yes, Tesla Motors actually calls it that, and it’s fitting. If you decide to stomp on the accelerator, make damn sure you’ve got plenty of open road ahead of you, because things happen very quickly. Sixty mph comes in 3.2 seconds, which is on par with the some of the best sports cars from anyone in Italy, Germany, or Britain. We tried it. That number’s legit.

We didn’t have the room to do a quarter-mile run, but Tesla Motors says the Model X P90D will do it in 11.7 seconds. That put its alongside cars like the BMW M5, Corvette Z06, and Porsche Panamera Turbo. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.

If you find ludicrous mode just a bit too, well, ludicrous, or you don’t want to spend that extra dough, the base model adds about half a second to the acceleration and quarter-mile times. Which is to say, it’s still bloody fast. The Model X 90D starts for $132,000 and goes 257 miles on a charge, the more acceleration-friendly P90D will cost you $142,000 and cover 250 miles.

Under the skin, the Model X is identical to the Model S. Same 90 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery. Same drive motors (259 horsepower at the front, 503 at the rear). Same software controlling it all. And the vehicles share the same (semi) autonomous capabilities.

The two vehicles both “quick charge” at one of Tesla’s stations in 30 minutes. They are designed to be updated in tandem, so any software updates or performance upgrades will apply to both the S and the X. And they will roll down the same assembly line at Tesla’s sprawling factory in Fremont. The company plans to ramp up production, immediately, but wouldn’t say how many might be built by the end of the year.

Of all the things that, at first glance, make the X so remarkable, the most impressive thing about it is the overall impression it imparts. It’s a practical car—Musk has five young children, and clearly considers the demands of hauling them all when designing vehicles—but it’s not a minivan or station wagon that embarrasses parents and kids alike.

Tesla Motors has made the family car cool.

Article Provided By: WIRED

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Chip-based credit cards are about safety

chip-based credit cardsChip-based credit cards

By now, most of us have received one of the new chip-based credit cards (or debit cards) from our bank or credit card issuer. At least we should have, given that today is the deadline for consumers and merchants to have switched over to the new cards. Because these cards have a microchip implanted on the front, they contain significantly enhanced fraud protections.

And not a moment too soon. While the U.S. accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s credit card transactions, it accounts for a disproportionate 50 percent of all fraudulent transactions, which is why these new chip-based credit cards (also called EMV cards, short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa), are being rolled out to consumers. Many merchants (but certainly not all) have upgraded their card readers to the new chip-enabled terminals that read and accept chip-based cards.

On the way out is the familiar “swipe and sign” process at the point-of-sale card reader. Now, if you try to swipe one of the new chip-based credit cards in one of the new terminals, you’ll be prompted instead to insert the end of the card with the chip into a slot at the bottom of the reader. Then you’ll wait a few seconds while the reader “interacts” with the chip on your card.

Because the chip is actually a small microprocessor, the card reader activates it,encrypts the transaction information and generates a secure code to authorize the purchase. All this happens without the card reader being connected via a telecom line or a wireless connection. That keeps your card’s information off merchants’ servers and off their wireless networks, thus preventing the data-skimming technique fraudsters have commonly used to steal customer data from major retailers such as Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD).

Chip-based credit cards can use either a PIN or a signature for authentication. So-called chip-and-PIN cards require you to enter a PIN to complete the transaction. Debit cards use this process in the U.S. as do most credit cards issued outside the U.S. If one of these cards is lost or stolen, it’s impossible to use without the correct PIN.

However, most of the new chip-based credit cards (EMV) issued in the U.S. are chip-and-signature cards, which still require your signature — not a PIN — to complete the charge. In this case, if your card is lost or stolen, you need to report it immediately, so it can be frozen.

Also, if you use your chip-and-signature card when traveling outside the U.S., some unattended terminals (such as at gas pumps) require a PIN. So, before you travel abroad you should contact your card issuer to establish a PIN for your card.

It’s important to note that neither type of chip card offers much protection against fraudulent purchases submitted online or over the phone. These transactions require only the information printed on the front of the card and the three-digit CSV code printed on the back. Because credit cards offer the best protection against fraud and or when you dispute a charge, using a credit card, and not a debit card, for online purchases is the much safer bet.

Article Provided By: CBS NEWS

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