GOOD

Part 1: The ABCs of War Bots

Technological developments have enabled the evolution of warfare from cavemen bludgeoning each other with blunt objects to career soldiers...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO8dLk_QGsMTechnological developments have enabled the evolution of warfare from cavemen bludgeoning each other with blunt objects to career soldiers detonating explosives from miles away. What's next on the battlefields of the future? Military robots are rolling, flying, and swimming into conflict zones, aiding and protecting their human counterparts. We take a closer look at these robo-warriors in our new series, "Military Robots."Continued in Part 2, "Soldiers and Their Bots."

Articles

Part 2: Soldiers and Their Bots

Unlike soldiers, robots can take the worst of a bomb blast and survive to see another battle. So when an explosive needs to...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0Up5YzhVbkUnlike soldiers, robots can take the worst of a bomb blast and survive to see another battle. So when an explosive needs to be detonated, the military sends in Talon, a one-machine robotic bomb squad. With so many lives saved thanks to Talon's skills, it's little wonder that the bond between soldiers and their robot is so strong.Continued in Part 3, "The Overcrowded Skies."LEARN MOREFoster-Miller, Inc.

Articles

Part 3: The Overcrowded Skies

There's a problem brewing over the skies of Iraq, and it's not weather related. Thanks to a new generation of cheaper,...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6fWa8gaprAThere's a problem brewing over the skies of Iraq, and it's not weather related. Thanks to a new generation of cheaper, smaller robots, Iraqi airspace is now filled almost to capacity with unmanned aerial vehicles. These radio-controlled planes give the armed forces unprecedented powers of surveillance, but how will the military respond to the dangerous traffic nightmare overhead?Continued in Part 4, "Rescue Bots of the Future."

Articles

Part 7: When War Becomes A Video Game

We've learned about robots that spy, rescue, aid, survey, and defuse. In the final episode of our "Military Robots" series, we...

We've learned about robots that spy, rescue, aid, survey, and defuse. In the final episode of our "Military Robots" series, we encounter robots that kill. Robots equipped with missiles and guns are a relatively new development, one that raises a host of ethical questions. In the wars of the future, will the killing of humans be left entirely to machines?LEARN MOREFoster-Miller, Inc.
Articles

Refugee Renegades

Somalia's largest privately run refugee camp is a beacon of hope for those plagued by strife and failed by international peacekeepers. David Axe investigates Camp Hawa Abdi.

When 17 years of civil war became too much for Fadumo Xaaji Abuu, the 58-year-old mother of 10, having watched Somalia collapse into war, packed up her extended family and hit the road. Along with her adult sons and daughters, and grandchildren as young as 3, she piled clothes into a donkey cart and abandoned her home in Mogadishu, the ostensible capital of a country that hasn't had a functional national government since the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was deposed in 1991.On the outskirts of the city, Abuu and her family joined hundreds of refugees fleeing in sparse, ragged columns. They shuffled toward the market town of Afgooye on a narrow asphalt road crisscrossed by checkpoints manned by Ethiopian soldiers, there to help defend the corrupt and unpopular transitional government against a rebellion by an Islamic faction known as the Union of Islamic Courts. Abuu and her family pressed on, and after half a day they arrived at the razor-wired perimeter of a refugee camp called Hawa Abdi. More than a year later, they're still there, permanent residents of a community of 6,100 families named for its founder and director, Dr. Abdi, who has turned her rural clinic, nestled on her family's land, into Somalia's largest privately run refugee camp.Today, despite a refugee crisis that easily rivals the one in Darfur, there are few aid agencies operating in Somalia. Most, including the U.N.'s World Food Programme and the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, have fled to nearby Kenya to avoid the fighting. And the government, barricaded in the northern Somali town of Baidoa, can barely afford to deploy its amphetamine-addicted foot soldiers in Mogadishu, much less pay for any kind of humanitarian relief. At camps such as Hawa Abdi-one of more than 70 that line the road to Afgooye-a handful of private citizens do what they can to help.The camp is a city within a city. The thousands who live here owe their safety solely to the camp administrators, who have crafted what amounts to a virtual independent state out of almost nothing. In the absence of a working government, Dr. Abdi, her daughters, and the camp staff perform basic civic functions themselves. And where leadership, planning, and diplomacy are called for, Dr. Abdi, a once-wealthy, Soviet-trained gynecologist, steps in as a head of state. It's a measure of power she never asked for in a country that rarely rewards good deeds. "I would quit if I could," she says wearily. "But how can I?"

A gunshot victim recovers at a hospital at Camp Hawa Abdi.From her residence high in the clinic, Dr. Abdi can see the entire 200-acre camp and, in the distance, the restive city that is the source of all her troubles. Fifty years ago, Mogadishu was a thriving port town with Italian-style coffee shops and a lavish seaside resort hotel. This was before the 1991 civil war, before the brief U.S. intervention that ended in 1993, and before last year, when 50,000 Ethiopians invaded, aiming to destroy the UIC.Back then, Abdi's father managed Mogadishu's port, a job that placed him in the top ranks of the city's elite and helped Abdi win a scholarship to study medicine in Russia. Upon her return she founded the tiny gynecology clinic that years later would become the heart of this citadel."Now I'm the camp coordinator, the director of the hospital-everything," Abdi says. She's dressed in a yellow shawl and purple robes, and despite more than a decade of accumulated stress, she still has an appropriately regal bearing. To her job description, she might add president, sheriff, magistrate, and general.To survive in a lawless land, the camp has had to take on all the functions normally performed by the government. Abdi makes rules and enforces them, ordering her small security force-former militiamen armed with AK-47s-to lock up thieves and brawlers in a makeshift cell "so they can think about what they did." Even murderers have spent time in Abdi's lockup. And when marauders raid the camp, the camp's cops become its army, and Abdi its battlefield commander. In October, bandits attacked, aiming to steal donated food. "We defended ourselves and they took nothing," she says.But for all her careful preparation, Abdi never anticipated the sheer scale of the refugee crisis last year. Intensifying fighting has driven a million Somalis from their homes; the camp's population jumped from 400 families to its current number in just a year. Abdi has had to scramble to provide for them.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles