Archive for the ‘Georgia Tech’ Category

Austin Scott’s effort to rein in domestic drones

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night in 2010. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night in 2010. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

For the last several months, civil libertarians have watched deadly, unmanned flying drones circle Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen with their unblinking eyes and constantly cocked ears.

What happens, they’ve worried, once that technology follows the U.S. military home?

Last week, farming websites in Iowa and Nebraska were scorched by rumors that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had launched drones over local cattle herds. As things turned out, the surveillance – the EPA was looking for evidence of large deposits of manure entering the water supply – was of the manned Cessna variety.

But it was during this Midwestern uproar that U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican who represents a large swath of South Georgia farmland, dropped the first piece of legislation designed to restrict the use of government-operated drones over …

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The first hints of flying drones in metro Atlanta

Earlier this week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell stirred up the libertarian wing of the Republican party with this pronouncement:

WASHINGTON – Police drones flying over Virginia would be “great” and “the right thing to do” for the same reasons they are so effective in a battlefield environment, the state’s chief executive said Tuesday….

McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, says he is open to any technology that makes law enforcement more productive.

Which raises an obvious question: Which law enforcement agency in Georgia will be the first to pursue drone technology, and what will it be used for?

Like McDonnell, Gov. Nathan Deal apparently has no qualms.

Late last year, the Georgia State Patrol applied to a private company, AV Aerovironment, to become part of a research and development project that involved a small drone helicopter for use by tactical weapons teams, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright confirmed.

In this case, the drone — called the Qube — was about the …

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Ga. Tech crime sparks NRA-backed push for campus guns

Jason Stubbs, left, of Georgia Students for Concealed Carry on Campus sets up a booth with Georgia Tech College Republicans' Andrew Mullins during a December debate on campus. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com.

Jason Stubbs, left, of Georgia Students for Concealed Carry on Campus sets up a booth with Georgia Tech College Republicans' Andrew Mullins during a December debate on campus. John Spink, jspink@ajc.com.

Nearly five years ago, a disturbed English major at Virginia Tech killed 32 of his fellow classmates and wounded a score more.

The campus massacre occurred at the height of that year’s session of the Georgia Legislature. A bill to rewrite the state’s gun laws — and overturn bans on where firearms could and could not be carried — was stopped in its tracks.

But every yin has its yang. The recent spate of robberies and assaults on or near the Georgia Tech campus near downtown Atlanta is about to unleash an equal and opposite reaction — a furious debate over the place of guns in public spaces long declared gunpowder-free.

Including, and perhaps especially, in college dormitories and classrooms.

Representatives of the National Rifle Association were in town and stopped …

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The inherent, inherited dangers of being a Georgia Bulldog

The quick succession of bulldogs at the University of Georgia – Uga VII, Uga VIII and Uga IX – are at the center of a provocative New York Times Magazine piece on the dangers of overbreeding and whether it amounts to animal cruelty. Something to read while you wait for Saturday’s game with Tech.

The late UGA VII at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, FL October 31, 2009. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

The late UGA VII at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, FL October 31, 2009. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

It includes this thought from James Serpell, the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania:

“We have, to some extent, accentuated physical characteristics of the breed to make it look more human, although essentially more like caricatures of humans, and specifically of children,” he told me. “We’ve bred bulldogs for their flat face, big eyes, huge mouth in relation to head size and huge smiling face.”

So it’s not just a happy accident that so many animals look like their owners.

- By Jim …

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Of Fort Benning, Ga. Tech, and ‘look-ma, no-hands’ warfare

Important, Skynet-like doings have been happening down in Columbus. From the Washington Post:

One afternoon last fall at Fort Benning, Ga., two model-size planes took off, climbed to 800 and 1,000 feet, and began criss-crossing the military base in search of an orange, green and blue tarp.

The automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control.

After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.

Target confirmed.

This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial …

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UGA president nixes Thursday night football, more Dome games

Don’t expect the Georgia Bulldogs to start scheduling any Thursday night games. And not because of any Georgia Tech copyright.

UGA President Dr. Michael Adams at February’s dedication of a renovated athletics headquarters in Athens. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

UGA President Dr. Michael Adams at February’s dedication of a renovated athletics headquarters in Athens. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) had Michael Adams, the president of the University of Georgia, on his morning radio show this morning. Bryant thoughtfully shared a sound clip in which Adams said:

”To the best of my knowledge, and I think this is accurate, we’ve not played a home or away Thursday night game during my time here, and we won’t.

“I don’t do scheduling, but I do set certain parameters and certain rules within which the athletic departments are expected to operate. We don’t let teams play on exam days, for instance. We don’t like for them to play on reading days, but there’s been a time or two that has been unavoidable because of conference commitments.

“But generally, I think football …

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UGA leads, Georgia Tech trails in diplomas among state lawmakers

The Chronicle of Higher Education today has published a worth-reading national study of the academic backgrounds of 7,000 legislators in all 50 states.

It comes with a very cool interactive map.

In Georgia, 82 percent – numerically, that’s 193 — of our 236 lawmakers in the state Capitol have a bachelor’s degree or better. Another 5 percent have some college.

By ranking, Georgia is neither high (California, 90 percent) or low (New Hampshire, 53 percent). Nationwide, the figure is 75 percent.

More important, the CHE study shows the continued dominance of the University of Georgia as the alma mater of choice in this state. One-third of all Georgia legislators with bachelor’s degrees have a UGA diploma.

If you think that doesn’t matter come budgeting time, think again.

By contrast, Georgia Tech didn’t make it into the top 10 of matriculation venues for state lawmakers. Only five legislators reported attending one of the nation’s finest engineering schools. (On its …

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The IRS goes after the University of Georgia — and others

Updated at 6:15 p.m.: pokesman Tom Jackson called this afternoon to point out that the University of Georgia is one of 30 or so universities systematically targeted by the IRS.

The taxman is chasing the Bulldog for income generated from non-educational activities such as golf courses, parking and such.

Which, if you’re a Tech fan, makes it extremely difficult to decide who to root for.

This from today’s Athens Banner-Herald:

The IRS has asked University of Georgia officials for detailed financial records about income the university receives from activities not related to the university’s main mission – raising the possibility that the university might have to pay income tax on some of its activities….

[In response to a] request for documents under state open records law, UGA officials released a Sept. 10 letter from the IRS to UGA comptroller Holley Schramski, along with the university’s responses to an earlier IRS questionnaire.

“As we discussed on August 12, 2009, the Form …

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Your morning jolt: Roy Barnes rips state officials for taking free college football (and other) tickets

From this morning’s Athens Banner-Herald:

Former Gov. Roy Barnes ripped state officials Wednesday for taking free tickets to college sporting events while tuition and student fees are rising.

Lobbyists for state universities, mainly the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, gave away 570 sets of football and basketball tickets worth $93,771 in the past five years, according to State Ethics Commission records.

Dozens of elected officials took the tickets, including three Republican candidates for governor – Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former Senate President Eric Johnson and former Secretary of State Karen Handel – and two Democrats, Attorney General Thurbert Baker and House Minority Leader DuBose Porter.

“It’s not right,” said Barnes, the Democratic frontrunner for governor. “It sends a bad signal for legislators and governors to come down here, living high on the hog and seeing championship games and everything else, and not pay. Let them pay.”

The newspaper …

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Sonny Perdue ignores offer of a Tech-Iowa wager

The Sioux City Journal has uncovered proof that Gov. Sonny Perdue has no interest in a 2012 presidential bid:

DES MOINES – An offer for a friendly wager over Tuesday’s Orange Bowl from Iowa Gov. Chet Culver was apparently ignored by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office.

The University of Iowa Hawkeyes are taking on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the FedEx Orange Bowl Tuesday night in Florida.

Culver spokesman Troy Price said a message left with Perdue’s office was not returned.
“We reached out and never heard back from them,” Price said.

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