Amazon set to be next big U.S. defense contractor — critics urge for 'effective oversight'

"We seem to be racing toward a new configuration of government and industry without having fully thought through all of the implications," Steve Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told MIT Technology Review.

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  • The U.S. Department of Defense is choosing between Amazon and Microsoft as the winner of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.
  • JEDI is a massive cloud-computing deal reportedly worth $10 billion.
  • Amazon appears to be the favorite. But it remains unclear how such a partnership between industry and government would affects concerns over privacy and the storage of sensitive military data.
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The ‘warspeak’ permeating everyday language puts us all in the trenches

Warspeak has relentlessly crept into most aspects of American life and public discourse.

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In a manifesto posted online shortly before he went on to massacre 22 people at an El Paso Walmart, Patrick Crusius cited the “invasion" of Texas by Hispanics. In doing so, he echoed President Trump's rhetoric of an illegal immigrant “invasion."

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What does it take to overthrow a dictator? Reflecting on this question in exile, Leon Trotsky wrote in History of the Russian Revolution (1930):

There is no doubt that the fate of every revolution at a certain point is decided by a break in the disposition of the army … Thus in the streets and squares, by the bridges, at the barrack gates, is waged a ceaseless struggle – now dramatic, now unnoticeable – but always a desperate struggle, for the heart of the soldier.
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Silicon Valley: How Stanford, science, and war made tech history

The history of Silicon Valley: The rise of a technological unicorn.

  • In the first part of the 20th century, Silicon Valley wasn't known as the "Silicon Valley." It was the "Santa Clara Valley." It was a agricultural region, best known for being the "Prune Capital of America.
  • In terms of getting its start, Sherman Fairchild created Fairchild Semiconductor in the area because he had inherited a lot of money from IBM stock. In this way, IBM is sort of granddaddy of all computer companies because of this.
  • Remaking another Silicon Valley in the world would be tough — but not impossible. The region has become what it is today because it succeeded in a certain kind of time.
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U.S. Army to deploy tiny helicopter drones in Afghanistan

The drones are nearly silent and are able to identify and track enemy soldiers.

FLIR Systems Inc.
  • The U.S. army plans to start using the tiny, helicopter-like drones sometime this month in Afghanistan.
  • The drones are manufactured in the U.S. and would be used for surveillance.
  • Drones are becoming more affordable and accessible, which presents unprecedented threats.
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