Military officials and civilian security researchers have been warning us for years: cyberattacks are becoming a very real part of modern warfare. Far from being limited to military targets, cyberattacks can take out everything from vital public infrastructure to commercial and industrial operations, too.
In the early hours of February 24, as the Russian invasion force began raining missiles on Ukrainian cities, another attack was in progress in the digital realm. Suddenly, satellite terminals across Europe were going offline, with many suffering permanent damage from the attack.
Details remain hazy, but researchers and military analysts have pieced together a picture of what happened that night. The Great Euro Sat Hack prove to be the latest example of how vulnerable our digital infrastructure can be in wartime.
Don’t worry, this 8.4 meter (27 foot) Australian Viper won’t bite, but it’s likely to do a number on any Cylon Raiders that wander too close to Canberra. As recently reported by Riotact, creator [Baz Am] has been painstakingly piecing together this 1:1 scale replica of a Colonial Viper Mark II from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series in his shed for several years now, and at this point things are really starting to come together.
On his personal site, [Baz] has been maintaining a build log for the fictional spacecraft since 2017 that covers everything from the electronics that power the cockpit displays to the surprisingly intricate woodworking that went into the lathe-turned 30 mm cannons. He’s even documented interviews he conducted with members of the show’s special effects team in his quest to get his version of the Viper to be as screen-accurate as possible.
No matter how you look at this build, it’s impressive. But one thing we especially appreciated was the skill with which [Baz] manages to repurpose what would otherwise be junk. For example, the main cockpit display is actually an in-dash navigation system pulled from a car, and the engine’s turbine blades are cut out of aluminum road signs. He’s even managed to outfit the Viper with an array of real aircraft instruments by collecting broken or uncalibrated units from local pilots.
While the Viper might look like it’s ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. The craft’s fuselage, made of metal, wood, and foam, needs to be coated with fiberglass, sanded, and then painted to match its televised counterpart. [Baz] says that process will take at least another year, but also mentions off-hand that he’s thinking of adding a functional reaction-control system with cold gas thrusters — so we’re going to go out on a limb and say this is probably one of those projects that’s never quite finished. Not that we’re complaining, mind you. Especially when you consider the shaky track record the Battlestar Galactica franchise has when it comes to neatly wrapping things up in the finale. Continue reading “Life-Sized Colonial Viper Touches Down In Australia”→
In the world of PC graphics, the early standards followed the various video cards of the day. There was MDA, familiar through the original text-based DOS prompt, CGA, then EGA, and the non-IBM Hercules along the way. Finally in 1987 IBM produced the VGA, or Video Graphics Array standard for their PS/2 line of computers, which became the bedrock on which all subsequent PC graphics cards, even those with digital outputs, have been built. It’s interesting then to read an account from [Dave Farquhar] of the other now-forgotten video standard that made its debut with the PS/2, MCGA, or Multicolor Graphics Array. This was intended as an entry-level graphics system to compete with the more multimedia-oriented home computers of the day such as the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.
Offering 320×200 graphics at 256 colors but only two colors at 640×480 it’s difficult to see how it could have been a viable competitor to the Amiga’s 4096-color HAM mode, but it did offer the ability to drive an RGB monitor through its VGA-like socket. The story goes that IBM intended it to provide an upgrade incentive for PS/2 customers to buy a more powerful model with VGA, but in the event a host of third-party VGA-compatible cards emerged and allowed more traditional ISA computers from third parties to retain a competitive edge and eventually sideline the PS/2 line entirely.
We called time on VGA back in 2016, and it’s fair to say that it’s disappeared from PC hardware since then even if much of its technologies still lurk within. It’s pleasing to see though that it remains a stalwart of hacked-together display interfaces, with efforts such as this 7400-based VGA card continuing to impress us.