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Drone Swarms as You Know Them Are Just an Illusion—for Now

Liam CobbPhoto by: Liam Cobb Look at all the pretty drones. Hovering above sports stadiums from Houston to Pyeongchang, many hundreds of them have lately sparkled in artful murmuration. On a recentTime magazine cover, 958 drones pixelated the sky. The world record, 1,374 LED-bedazzled microbots, was set by Chinese company EHang UAV in May. So-called drone swarms—the phrase people have taken up with gusto—are having their biggest, buzziest year ever. It’s an evocative word,swarms, and innocuous enough when applied to one ofIntel’s drone light shows. But it’s tinged with alarm—if drones can dance at twilight, they can also attack. Sure enough, a gang outside Denver sent a small fleet to harass FBI agents on a raid earlier this year. In Syria, rebels reportedly sicced a squadron of quadrotors on a Russian base. To the media, both events were swarms. Take comfort, then, in this buzzkill: “The swarm is really an illusion,” says Mac Schwager, an assistant professor at Stanford who studies mul…

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Cold War Artifacts of the day: The 7 Chinese artificial hills of the NorthEastern Frontier

Long before the Chinese started constructing artificial islands, they built 7 artificial hills/fortresses in NE China, hoping to slow down an impending Soviet armor thrust into Beijing. The Soviet cold war goal was to capture Beijing, install a puppet government and divide China into half; knowing full well the Soviet Far East did not have the manpower to conquer entire China while facing a much more powerful NATO in due course.
From 1969 to 1978, the buildup of Soviet troops along the Chinese-Soviet boarder accounted for 80 percent of the total increase in Soviet military manpower. In 1973, Soviet ground troops long the Soviet-Chinese frontier were increased from 23 divisions in 1968 to 45 divisions -- including 8 tank divisions. (Page 34, from Adversaries to Partners?: Chinese and Russian Military Cooperation after the Cold War, By Ming-Yen Tsai)

Here are pictures of fortresses number 4 located in Ejin Banner of Innter Mongolia: Totaling 80 acres in size, 340 meters in diameter and a radius of 160 meters. Elevation of 51 meters and the fortification is surrounded by a gully of six meters deep. Construction started in March 6, 1963 and completed by the end of 1969. Total garrison was 4748 troops. The purpose of those artificial artificial hills/fortresses was to slow down the Soviet blitzkrieg as they were not expected more against such a mighty foe. 

Another one from Zhengding County, Hebei Province.