Entries Tagged "camouflage"

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Friday Squid Blogging: New Research on Squid Camouflage

From the New York Times:

Now, a paper published last week in Nature Communications suggests that their chromatophores, previously thought to be mainly pockets of pigment embedded in their skin, are also equipped with tiny reflectors made of proteins. These reflectors aid the squid to produce such a wide array of colors, including iridescent greens and blues, within a second of passing in front of a new background. The research reveals that by using tricks found in other parts of the animal kingdom — like shimmering butterflies and peacocks — squid are able to combine multiple approaches to produce their vivid camouflage.

Researchers studied Doryteuthis pealeii, or the longfin squid.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on March 22, 2019 at 4:45 PMView Comments

Military Carrier Pigeons in the Era of Electronic Warfare

They have advantages:

Pigeons are certainly no substitute for drones, but they provide a low-visibility option to relay information. Considering the storage capacity of microSD memory cards, a pigeon’s organic characteristics provide front line forces a relatively clandestine mean to transport gigabytes of video, voice, or still imagery and documentation over considerable distance with zero electromagnetic emissions or obvious detectability to radar. These decidedly low-technology options prove difficult to detect and track. Pigeons cannot talk under interrogation, although they are not entirely immune to being held under suspicion of espionage. Within an urban environment, a pigeon has even greater potential to blend into the local avian population, further compounding detection.

The author points out that both France and China still maintain a small number of pigeons in case electronic communications are disrupted.

And there’s an existing RFC.

EDITED TO ADD (2/13): The Russian military is still using pigeons.

Posted on January 24, 2019 at 6:38 AMView Comments

Hidden Cameras in Streetlights

Both the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are hiding surveillance cameras in streetlights.

According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time.

It’s unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA’s most recent purchases were funded by the agency’s Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia.

Fifty thousand dollars doesn’t buy a lot of streetlight surveillance cameras, so either this is a pilot program or there are a lot more procurements elsewhere that we don’t know about.

Posted on November 16, 2018 at 6:02 AMView Comments

Friday Squid Blogging: Mimicking Squid Camouflage

Interesting:

Cephalopods – squid, cuttlefish and octopuses – change colour by using tiny muscles in their skins to stretch out small sacs of black colouration.

These sacs are located in the animal’s skin cells, and when a cell is ready to change colour, the brain sends a signal to the muscles and they contract.

This makes the sacs expand and creates the optical effect which makes the animal look like it is changing colour.

[…]

To mimic these natural mechanisms, the team used “smart” electro-active polymeric materials, connected to an electric circuit.

When a voltage was applied, the materials contracted; they returned to their original shape when they were short-circuited.

“These artificial muscles can replicate the [natural] muscular action… and can have strong visual effects,” said Dr Rossiter.

“These materials, and this approach, is ideal for making smart colour-changing skins or soft devices in which fluid is pumped from one place to another.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 4:40 PMView Comments

Camouflaging Test Cars

Interesting:

In an effort to shield their still-secret products from prying eyes, automakers testing prototype models, often in the desert and at other remote locales, have long covered the grilles and headlamps with rubber, vinyl and tape ­ the perfunctory equivalent of masks and hats. Now the old materials are being replaced or supplemented with patterned wrappings applied like wallpaper. Test cars are wearing swirling paisley patterns, harlequin-style diamonds and cubist zigzags.

Posted on November 12, 2010 at 6:28 AMView Comments

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.