jm + via:bldgblog   3

Stairs to nowhere, trap streets, and other Toronto oddities
'There’s a set of stairs on Greenwood Avenue that lead nowhere. At the top, a wooden fence at the end of someone’s back yard blocks any further movement, forcing the climber to turn around and descend back to the street. What’s remarkable about the pointless Greenwood stairs, which were built in 1959 as a shortcut to a now-demolished brickyard, is that someone still routinely maintains them: in winter, some kindly soul deposits a scattering of salt lest one of the stairs’ phantom users slip; in summer someone comes with a broom to sweep away leaves.
These urban leftovers are lovingly called “Thomassons” after Gary Thomasson, a former slugger for the San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Yankees, Dodgers, and, most fatefully, the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo.'
trap-streets  maps  ip  google  via:bldgblog  mapping  copyright  thomassons  orphaned-roads 
march 2015 by jm
In Ukraine, Tomorrow’s Drone War Is Alive Today
Drones, hackerspaces and crowdfunding:
The most sophisticated UAV that has come out of the Ukrainian side since the start of the conflict is called the PD-1 from developer Igor Korolenko. It has a wingspan of nearly 10 feet, a five-hour flight time, carries electro-optical and infrared sensors as well as a video camera that broadcasts on a 128 bit encrypted channel. Its most important feature is the autopilot software that allows the drone to return home in the event that the global positioning system link is jammed or lost.

Drone-based intelligence gathering is often depicted as risk-free compared to manned aircraft or human intelligence gathering, but, says Korolenko, if the drone isn’t secure or the signature is too obvious, the human coasts can be very, very high.

“Russian military sometimes track locations of ground control stations,” he wrote Defense One in an email. “Therefore UAV squads have to follow certain security measures - to relocate frequently, to move out antennas and work from shelter, etc. As far as I know, two members of UAV squads were killed from mortar attacks after [their] positions were tracked by Russian electronic warfare equipment.”


(via bldgblog)
via:bldgblog  war  drones  uav  future  ukraine  russia  tech  aircraft  pd-1  crowdfunding 
march 2015 by jm
Forensic Topology
The sounds were not, however, caused by ghosts but by a group of three or four men at least to some degree professionally trained, the FBI now believes, in tunneling: a close-knit and highly disciplined team, perhaps from the construction industry, perhaps even a disgruntled public works crew who decided to put their knowledge of the city’s underside to more lucrative work. After all, Rehder explained, their route into the bank was as much brute-force excavation as it was a retracing of the region’s buried waterways, accessing the neighborhood by way of the city’s complicated storm-sewer network, itself built along old creek beds that no longer appear on city maps. As LAPD lieutenant Doug Collisson, one of the men present on the day of the tunnel’s discovery, explained to the Los Angeles Times back in 1987, the crew behind the burglary “would have had to require some knowledge of soil composition and technical engineering. … The way the shaft itself was constructed, it was obviously well-researched and extremely sophisticated.” Rehder actually goes further, remarking that when Detective Dennis Pagenkopp “showed crime scene photos of the core bit holes” produced by the burglars’ boring upward into the vault “to guys who were in the concrete-coring business, they whistled with professional admiration.”
cities  crime  architecture  digging  tunnels  subterranean  la  lapd  banks  via:bldgblog  sewers 
october 2013 by jm

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