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0 CNN Uses Vantage Robotics" Snap Drone to Win FAA Fly-Over-People Waiver

CNN Uses Vantage Robotics

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Small UAS Rule (also known as Part 107) has provisions to obtaining waivers to the usual requirements for flying drones in the United States. For example, you’re not generally allowed to fly drones at night, although the FAA has granted quite a few waivers allowing flight after dark.

But another rule is that you can’t fly drones over people who are not part of your operations, and until about a week ago, the FAA hadn’t waived that rule for anybody. Now it has, for CNN. The FAA is allowing the cable news network to use a drone to obtain video over uninvolved people, even crowds assembled at places like sporting events.

Clearly, the safety of folks beneath the drone was a big concern here. CNN says it was able to address the issue by using a drone called Snap from San Francisco Bay Area startup Vantage Robotics.

Snap weighs just 620 grams (1.4 pounds). And it’s held together with magnets, allowing it to come apart on impact—say, with your head—which makes it less likely to do any lasting damage. AeroVironment has been using the same strategy with hand-launched military drones—not so that they don’t do inadvertent collateral damage, but so that they don’t damage themselves during their rather hard deep-stall landings.

Another safety measure Snap includes are shrouds around its whirling blades. That’s not uncommon for drones, particularly those you might fly inside. But Vantage Robotics cleverly designed blade shrouds using “tensegrity,” a term that American inventor Buckminster Fuller coined more than half a century ago, and which refers to objects that use components in compression or tension to maintain their structure. (NASA is also using tensegrity-based designs, to build robots.) A bicycle wheel would be an example of the kind of thing that inspired Snap’s featherweight blade shrouds.

Perhaps a greater innovation is the strategy Snap adopted to control yaw—movements that make the drone rotate to the left and right. Other quadcopters control yaw using just the torque that develops in reaction to changes in the speed of the blades. Two diagonally opposed blades are made to speed up, while the other two are made to slow down. The overall upward thrust is the same, but because those pairs rotate in opposite directions, the body of the drone rotates in response.

The problem is that this reaction torque doesn’t have much oomph. So it’s hard to make yaw control very responsive in drones of this type. And that was a particular problem here, because Vantage Robotics didn’t want to have to add a third axis to its camera gimbal to damp out yaw motions. So it needed to have the whole drone yaw on command swiftly and precisely. The company’s solution, according to a patent application filed last year, was to cant the propellers: The two on the front point somewhat backward; the two on the rear point somewhat forward.

Small dihedral angles of this type are often used for the wings of aircraft to add stability. In model airplanes, wing dihedral also allows the plane to bank with just rudder control. Snap’s dihedral improves yaw “authority” because when two diagonally opposed propellers spin up, their canted thrust forces apply a torque directly to the frame of the craft.

My hat’s off to the company for creating what looks to be a very benign yet capable drone. It’ll be fascinating to see what kind of video footage CNN is able to attain with it.

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0 We can still save Great Barrier Reef from climate change, bleaching

We can still save Great Barrier Reef from climate change, bleaching

This is part of our series, “Rebooting the Reef,” on efforts to save one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. 

No one would challenge the majesty of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Nearly 1,500 miles long, the reef is alight with a kaleidoscope of vivid colours. It’s home to roughly 9,000 species of fish, molluscs, whales and other creatures. In 1981, the reef was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a status that helps it draw 2 million visitors a year.

It’s also dying. At our own hands.

Two major bleaching events have wracked the Great Barrier Reef over the last two years, leaving chunks of it dead. Bleachings happen when the coral expels tiny algae, called zooxanthellae, that live inside it and provide its food and create its rainbow hues. Without zooxanthellae, the reef’s tissue turns transparent and the coral starves.

Global warming, fueled by our reliance on petroleum and coal, has pushed ocean temperatures 0.68 Celsius over the past century. That might not seem like much, but it’s enough to prompt the coral and algae to abandon their symbiotic relationship. While coral doesn’t die immediately, the bleachings have been intense enough to kill huge swaths of one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders, including 29 percent of its shallow-water coral in 2016 alone.

“Everybody thinks we’ve got to worry about saving the Great Barrier Reef for future generations,” says Daniel Harrison, a research fellow at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, who’s working on a project to brighten clouds so that they reflect sunlight away from the reef. “We’ve got to worry about saving the reef for our generation.”

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef as seen from the air. Thousands of reefs combine to make this complex marine ecosystem, which covers an area as large as Germany. 

Raimund Franken/ullstein bild/Getty Images

It’s not too late to save the the Great Barrier Reef and other coral outcroppings, like those in the Caribbean, that are affected by rising sea temperatures. Australia and Queensland, the state where the reef is located, are committing roughly AU$200 million ($157 million) a year to preserving its glory. Organizations like the Ocean Agency and Great Barrier Reef Legacy are marshalling resources to save reefs. Movie star Leonardo DiCaprio has generated celebrity attention, telling the US Department of State last year that he saw “colourless, ghostlike coral” on a reef trip. He was also named a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change in 2014.

Cutting-edge technology, much of it developed in Australia, can also play a role in repairing the reef, though it won’t substitute for curbing climate change. At James Cook University, a research team is using sonar to create a 3D map of the reef. At the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the government has built an artificial ocean to examine the effects of global warming on coral. And at the University of Western Australia, one scientist is hoping to discover the secrets of coral’s genes and selectively breed heat-resistant specimens.

Over the coming week, CNET will examine efforts to save the Great Barrier Reef. That activity is vital because we’ll lose more than a beautiful tourist destination if nothing is done. Coral reefs are a source of food and medicine. Six million fishermen are estimated to ply the waters of coral reefs around the world, and reef fish provide protein for roughly a billion people. Scientists have developed cancer, cardiovascular and ulcer treatments from reef plants and animals, while coral’s structure has been used to make advanced bone grafts.


See more from Rebooting the Reef. 

In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef generates an estimated AU$6 billion in economic activity, according to the Queensland government. The reef, either directly or indirectly, supports 69,000 jobs. Losing it would be a hit to Australia’s economy, one of the strongest in the world.

And the Great Barrier Reef isn’t called a “barrier” for nothing. It’s a coastal defence against tropical storms and strong ocean movements. Australia’s peaceful shores might not be as serene without coral reefs protecting them.

In short, losing the Great Barrier Reef would be a tragedy.

Made up of 3,000 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef stretches from the tip of Queensland, down to Hervey Bay, just north of Brisbane. It’s as big as Germany, covering 347,800 square kilometers (134,000 square miles). It’s one of the most diverse habitats in the world, ranked near tropical rainforests for biodiversity.

Coral doesn’t die straight away when bleached. If the stress isn’t too intense and bleaching events are infrequent, coral and its inhabitants can return to normal in a decade or two. Marine biologists know this because bleachings have occasionally happened after heavy rainfalls, such as a cyclone, or after a particularly warm summer.

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“Corals will recover, but to do that they need time,” explains Christian Roth, Great Barrier Reef research coordinator for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. “If through climate change, for instance, the frequency of such ocean warming events or major cyclones increases over time, it means that there’s less time between individual events for the corals to recover.”

The year between the Great Barrier Reef’s 2016 and 2017 bleachings, which were caused by climate change and exacerbated by Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, isn’t long enough for recovery. The bleachings were so bad the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority hasn’t been able to determine how much of the reef died. Some of the reef’s coral has started to recover, though more is expected to be dead by the end of this year.

The effects of climate change compound the impact other human activity has on the reef. Polluted water runs off of the land, stressing coral. It comes in many forms: sediment from soil erosion and ports; nitrogen and phosphorus after crop fertilisation; and untreated waste from cities. Overfishing changes the natural balance of the reef, contributing to its struggle to recover.

The story of the crown-of-thorns starfish, which eats coral, pulls together the threads of man’s role in destroying the reef.

Farmers in Queensland use lots of fertiliser to grow sugar cane, a key crop. Some of the fertiliser makes its way to the reef, where the nitrogen in it prompts algal blooms. That, in turn, encourages a population boom in starfish that eat algae as larvae before turning to coral for food as adults.  

Over the last three decades, the reef has been plagued by multiple explosions of the crown-of-thorns starfish population, including a current boom that’s linked to high nitrogen levels. The rising starfish population comes as overfishing thins its natural predators, like the giant triton snail.

“A cyclone happens once off over a period of days. Coral bleaching might happen over, say, a period of a month or two,”  says Cherie Motti, an ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. “But crown-of-thorns starfish are there pretty much until all the coral is eaten.”


This map shows the extent of recent bleachings.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

The Great Barrier Reef is large and diverse. Reefs close to the shore are affected by river runoff. Outer reefs aren’t. Southern reefs, in cooler waters farther from the equator, won’t feel the brunt of bleaching. Those in the tropics will. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to saving it.

Efforts to help the reef recover are underway. Stricter fishing rules have been imposed, pollution has been limited and some dredging banned. Scientists at the CSIRO, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, which runs a mammoth Sea Simulator near the reef, are looking for solutions.

But it will take more than Australia to save the Great Barrier Reef and its sister reefs around the world. The surest way to save them is to curb global warming.

“If we don’t do anything,” CSIRO’s Roth says, “there’s a high likelihood of very large areas of reefs basically disappearing across the world.”

First published Oct. 18, 5:00 a.m. PT.
Update, Oct. 19, 11:56 a.m. PT: Adds reports of improved conditions at some coral beds and map showing extent of bleachings.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.

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0 Amazon Battles Google for Renewable Energy Crown

Amazon Battles Google for Renewable Energy Crown

What happens when Amazon or Google buy 1 GW of green power, does a coal plant gets shut down? No. What happen is that the typical home customer has its share of green power reduced from say, 4% to 3%. The production remains the same. What matters is the total emissions of the country, divided by its population. The US continue to be one of the worst.

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0 ASV Holdings, Inc. Will Report Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results on November 2, 2017

ASV Holdings, Inc. Will Report Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results on November 2, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ASV Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASV), a leading provider of

rubber-tracked compact track loaders and wheeled skid steer loaders in

the compact construction equipment market, today announced that

management will release its third quarter 2017 financial results after

market close on Thursday, November 2, 2017. Management will then host a

conference call at 4:30 PM Eastern Time to discuss the results with the

investment community and conduct a Q&A session.

Anyone interested in participating in the call should dial 800-500-0920

if calling within the United States or 719-457-2605 if calling

internationally. A replay will be available until 11:59 PM ET November

9, 2017 which can be accessed by dialing 844-512-2921 if calling within

the United States or 412-317-6671 if calling internationally. Please use

passcode 4198866 to access this replay.

The call will additionally be broadcast live and archived for 90 days

over the internet with accompanying slides, accessible at the investor

relations portion of the Company’s corporate website, www.asvi.com

in the “Investors” section.

About ASV Holdings, Inc.
ASV Holdings, Inc. is a designer

and manufacturer of compact construction equipment. Its patented

Posi-Track rubber tracked, multi-level suspension undercarriage system

provides a competitive market differentiator for its Compact Track

Loader (CTL) product line with brand attributes of power, performance

and serviceability. It’s wheeled Skid Steer Loaders (SSLs) also share

the common brand attributes. Equipment is sold through an independent

dealer network throughout North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The

company also sells OEM equipment and aftermarket parts. ASV owns and

operates a 238,000 square-foot production facility in Grand Rapids, MN.

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0 WWE® Declares Quarterly Dividend | Business Wire

WWE® Declares Quarterly Dividend | Business Wire

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WWE (NYSE: WWE) announced that its Board of Directors today declared the

Company’s regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A

and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be

December 15, 2017 and the payment date will be December 26, 2017.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media

organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company

consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original

content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family

friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view,

digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more

than 650 million homes worldwide in 20 languages. WWE Network,

the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live

pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand

library, is now available in almost all international markets other than

the People’s Republic of China and embargoed countries. The company is

headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles,

London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and


Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and

corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent

names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos

and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries.

All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their

respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press

release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor

provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are

subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and

uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE

(including the risk that we are unable to attract, retain

and renew subscribers); major distribution agreements; our need to

continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the

possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports

entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the

services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the

regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly

competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the

markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or

marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties

associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to

promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not

comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual

property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our

infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of

our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical

areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or

injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including,

without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well

as travel to and from such events; our feature film business; our

expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic

investments; our computer systems and online operations; privacy norms

and regulations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and

disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our

indebtedness; litigation; our potential failure to meet market

expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect

our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and

his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock;

a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and

the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could

lower our stock price; and the relatively small public “float” of our

Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number

of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical

and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of

capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal

restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving

credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such

other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.

Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date

made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the

Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on

these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties

associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the

“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results

of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of the Company’s SEC filings,

including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and

quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

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0 The Diggers" Death of Money & Other Counterculture Moments of 1966 / Boing Boing

The Diggers

A variety of events from 1966, including Ken Kesey’s Acid Test at The Filmore, Charles Whitman’s attack at The University of Texas at Austin, and John Lennon’s statement about the Beatles popularity over Jesus.

Ethan Persoff will be speaking about the John Wilcock comic at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, on November 7. Free and open to the public.

Read Scott Marshall’s adaptation of Nietzsche, An Illustrated Zarathustra.

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0 Edible Innovations: This Hive Lets You Grow Insects at Home

Edible Innovations: This Hive Lets You Grow Insects at Home

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

Originally from Austria, Katharina Unger packed her stuff in 2015 and flew to Shenzhen, the electronics manufacturing hub of China. There, she formed a company called Livin Farms. Livin Farms’ flagship product is a counter top machine that raises live worms that can be harvested and eaten at home. The project raised $145,429 on Kickstarter and has quickly gone from paper concept to physical product.

Kate, how did you start working on Livin Farms?

I grew up in a rural area of Austria where bringing food to the table was a daily practice. We had a couple of cows and we grew our own produces. Food has always been an important element for me, as well as the way animals are treated. When I moved to Hong Kong to work as an industrial designer, I was extremely fascinated by the variety of food people had access to, and, at the same time, I was shocked by the little space available for growing food.

The country immediately seemed to be very dependent on imported food. I believe that society cannot continue to mass produce cows, pigs, and chicken as we have done for so long. That’s why I started looking into alternatives. I bumped into insect in 2013, but there wasn’t so much hype on the topic yet. I started building tiny farms that were small enough to keep in an apartment. That was my very first prototype!

Why specifically this product?

I believe that we don’t have much power to influence what we can find on the shelves. We go to a supermarket and are forced to make a choice between the options someone else decided for us. Growing your own food allows people to reclaim this power, but a lack of space usually limits a person’s ability to do so. Insects are fascinating because they are not beholden to such a limit. They are tiny, rich in protein, and easy to grow.

How does it work?

Livin Farms consists of a series of trays. Users place live beetles, which come shipped with the device, in the topmost tray. Their eggs filter through a mesh bottom into the tray below, and as the baby mealworms hatch, they filter to the next lowest tray.

This process continues for each phase of the mealworm’s life cycle monitoring their growth with a system of vibrators, sensors, and manual levers that move bugs from one tray to another. Once the live worms are mature, they’re removed from the trays, or “harvested.” After freezing them, they can be fried, baked, boiled, or ground into a powder.

Can you tell us more about the quantities that people can grow?

The current design allows consumers to use their own vegetable scraps to grow up to 500 grams of mealworms each week!

How did you make the first prototype?

At the very beginning, we just cut and glued everything together. The very first time we built the product, we tried 3D printing and it was extremely useful. We eventually moved on to plastic that we heated into different shapes. We’ve now standardized the production of the cases, electronics, and sensors, and we just had our first production batch delivered.

How has your journey evolved?

Everything started as my master thesis. Since we launchd the crowdfunding camping, I did some consulting work related to edible insects, and I went to Africa to build a low-tech prototype there. Back in Hong Kong, I’ve been working with a group of Malaysian researchers who are looking at under-utilized crops to do something with black soldier fly larvae. The truth is that when I start exploring a specific topic, as a maker, I always end up getting my hands on something new!

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0 Researchers are amazed to find nearly complete skeleton with many bones in life position -- ScienceDaily

Researchers are amazed to find nearly complete skeleton with many bones in life position -- ScienceDaily

A remarkable new fossilized skeleton of a tyrannosaur discovered in the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) in southern Utah was airlifted by helicopter Sunday, Oct 15, from a remote field site, and delivered to the Natural History Museum of Utah where it will be uncovered, prepared, and studied. The fossil is approximately 76 million years old and is most likely an individual of the species Teratophoneus curriei, one of Utah’s ferocious tyrannosaurs that walked western North America between 66 and 90 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period.

“With at least 75 percent of its bones preserved, this is the most complete skeleton of a tyrannosaur ever discovered in the southwestern US,” said Dr. Randall Irmis, curator of paleontology at the Museum and associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah. “We are eager to get a closer look at this fossil to learn more about the southern tyrannosaur’s anatomy, biology, and evolution.”

GSENM Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus discovered the fossil in July 2015 in the Kaiparowits Formation, part of the central plateau region of the monument. Particularly notable is that the fossil includes a nearly complete skull. Scientists hypothesize that this tyrannosaur was buried either in a river channel or by a flooding event on the floodplain, keeping the skeleton intact.

“The monument is a complex mix of topography — from high desert to badlands — and most of the surface area is exposed rock, making it rich grounds for new discoveries, said Titus. “And we’re not just finding dinosaurs, but also crocodiles, turtles, mammals, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plant fossils — remains of a unique ecosystem not found anywhere else in the world,” said Titus.

Although many tyrannosaur fossils have been found over the last one hundred years in the northern Great Plains region of the northern US and Canada, until relatively recently, little was known about them in the southern US. This discovery, and the resulting research, will continue to cement the monument as a key place for understanding the group’s southern history, which appears to have followed a different path than that of their northern counterparts.

This southern tyrannosaur fossil is thought to be a sub-adult individual, 12-15 years old, 17-20 feet long, and with a relatively short head, unlike the typically longer-snouted look of northern tyrannosaurs.

Collecting such fossils from the monument can be unusually challenging. “Many areas are so remote that often we need to have supplies dropped in and the crew hikes in,” said Irmis. For this particular field site, Museum and monument crews back-packed in, carrying all of the supplies they needed to excavate the fossil, such as plaster, water and tools to work at the site for several weeks. The crews conducted a three-week excavation in early May 2017, and continued work during the past two weeks until the specimen was ready to be airlifted out.

Irmis said with the help of dedicated volunteers, it took approximately 2,000-3,000 people hours to excavate the site and estimates at least 10,000 hours of work remain to prepare the specimen for research. “Without our volunteer team members, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this work. We absolutely rely on them throughout the entire process,” said Irmis.

Irmis says that this new fossil find is extremely significant. Whether it is a new species or an individual of Teratophoneus, the new research will provide important context as to how this animal lived. “We’ll look at the size of this new fossil, it’s growth pattern, biology, reconstruct muscles to see how the animal moved, how fast could it run, and how it fed with its jaws. The possibilities are endless and exciting,” said Irmis.

During the past 20 years, crews from the Natural History Museum of Utah and GSENM have unearthed more than a dozen new species of dinosaurs in GSENM, with several additional species awaiting formal scientific description. Some of the finds include another tyrannosaur named Lythronax, and a variety of other plant-eating dinosaurs — among them duck-billed hadrosaurs, armored ankylosaurs, dome-headed pachycephalosaurs, and a number of horned dinosaurs, such as Utahceratops, Kosmoceratops, Nasutoceratops, and Machairoceratops. Other fossil discoveries include fossil plants, insect traces, snails, clams, fishes, amphibians, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, and mammals. Together, this diverse bounty of fossils is offering one of the most comprehensive glimpses into a Mesozoic ecosystem. Remarkably, virtually all of the dinosaur species found in GSENM appear to be unique to this area, and are not found anywhere else on Earth

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0 What we know and don"t know about the deadly Niger attack

What we know and don

“The US military does not leave its troops behind and I would just ask that you not question the actions of the troops who were caught in the firefight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once,” he told reporters.

“The US military does not leave our troops behind and I would just ask you not question the actions of the troops who were caught in the firefight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once,” he told reporters.

Three US senior US officials told CNN on Wednesday that Mattis wants answers regarding the ambush in Niger two weeks ago, three senior US defense officials told CNN Wednesday.

Mattis is dismayed at the lack of detailed information he has received about about the attack, but there is no indication he is trying to unduly hurry the investigation being carried out by US Africa Command, according to all three officials — all of whom are in a position to have knowledge of how Mattis views the situation.

“This was a hard fight, this was a very tough fight,” Mattis told reporters last week — providing little detail about what multiple US officials have described to CNN as a scene of confusion on the ground during an unexpected firefight.

Veterans dismayed by Trump's urge to 'punch back' in feud

The investigation will be an effort “to get all the facts correct,” an administration official familiar with the review has told CNN.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders was asked Wednesday whether Trump was satisfied with the information he has received about the mission and ambush.

“I believe they’re still looking into the details of that,” Sanders replied. “But I don’t think that the President can ever be satisfied when there’s loss of life from men and women in uniform.”

What we know

Details related to the deadly military breakdown remain murky two weeks after the incident in Niger as investigators work to determine precisely what happened, a US official has told CNN.

Experts working for Africa Command are trying to establish an hour-by-hour timeline of what happened as part of a comprehensive investigation that includes all the military branches and elements of US intelligence agencies that were involved in the mission.

Officials who have spoken to CNN have cautioned that as the investigation continues new information is likely to emerge and their understanding of what happened could change.

Very little has been said publicly, but the information that has emerged in the wake of the attack paints a troubling picture of what transpired.

Here is what we do know:

Four US soldiers were killed and two wounded: In what is the deadliest combat mission of Trump’s short presidency to date, the Defense Department has identified all four service members killed in the ambush that occurred near the Niger-Mali border by up to 50 fighters from ISIS in the Greater Sahara, a US official said.

Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright died as a result of the October 4 attack, after helping local forces in Niger combat terrorists.

Initial reports suggested the 12-member US team was leaving a meeting in unarmored pick-up trucks when they began taking fire from small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, according to a US defense official.

Niger map

With window glass exploding all around them, the service members, including multiple Army Special Forces soldiers, exited the vehicles, ran for cover, and began returning fire, killing some of the attacking militants.

But later officials said the 12-man Green Beret-led team were actually not in the trucks having just completed a meeting with local leaders and were walking back to the unarmored pick-up trucks when the unexpected ambush resulted in a firefight that lasted 30 minutes until French Mirage jets arrived overhead to fly low passes in an attempt to disperse the attackers.

Sgt. La David Johnson was separated: A large-scale search-and-rescue operation involving US, French and Nigerien troops was launched soon after US officials realized one of the US service members was unaccounted for.

Johnson was later identified as the fourth service member killed in the attack.

Sgt. La David T. Johnson who was part of a joint U.S. and Nigerien train, advise and assist mission. Sgt. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, died October 4, 2017 in southwest Niger as a result of enemy fire.

His body was recovered in a remote area of the northwestern African country by Nigerien troops nearly 48 hours after he was discovered missing in the wake of the attack, according to US officials.

His body was returned to Dover Air Force Base on October 7.

Intel rated it “unlikely” US team would face opposition: One official has told CNN that the military’s intelligence said it was “unlikely” that the team would run into enemy forces.

“This was not expected,” US Africa Command spokesman Army Col. Mark Cheadle said.

“Had we anticipated this sort of attack we would have absolutely devoted more resources to it to reduce the risk and that’s something we are looking at right now,” he added.

ISIS affiliate likely responsible: CNN has reported that 50 fighters of the regional ISIS in the Greater Sahara were responsible for the attack.

The Pentagon has claimed the group emerged in Niger because of defeats suffered by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Sen. John McCain was pressed Wednesday on whether the administration was being up front about the ISIS-affiliated attack, McCain answered bluntly: “No.”

“We do have information on the group that did it, their nature, their disposition and so on and so forth and appropriate organizations within the United States military are digging deeper into that and will take appropriate action if required,” Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told reporters last week.

There are about 800 US troops in Niger and the US military has maintained a presence in the northwest African country for five years, with small groups of US Special Operations Forces advising local troops as they battle terrorist groups, including ISIS in the Greater Sahara, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram.

Private contractor conducted evacuations: A US private aviation contractor conducted evacuations of US and Nigerien troops after they were ambushed, according to US Africa Command spokesperson Robyn Mack.

Mack said that US private contractor Berry Aviation was “on alert during the incident and conducted casualty evacuation and transport for US and partner forces.”

US officials previously told CNN that French military Super Puma helicopters also evacuated the wounded Americans along with those killed in action while also providing covering fire. The wounded were first flown to the capital Niamey and later to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

McCain wants answers: Sen. John McCain said Thursday that he might seek a subpoena in order to receive the information he wants surrounding the attack.

“It may require a subpoena,” McCain told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill when asked what steps he would be willing to take to receive the information he’s demanding on the attack.

On Wednesday McCain said that the Trump administration is not being forthcoming about the attack in Niger.

McCain argued Wednesday that the Trump administration is not being forthcoming about the attack in Niger.

McCain: Administration not being up front about Niger attack

Asked if he thinks Congress should launch an investigation into the attack, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters that first he would like to get the information that his panel “deserves and needs.”

“Then you decide whether a quote investigation is needed or not,” he said.

The Arizona Republican did not go into detail about what kind of information he was looking for, saying only that he was interested in “all the specifics.”

Calls for Benghazi-like investigation: The incident is already raising the prospect of a Benghazi-like investigation similar to when Congress looked into the attack an on American diplomatic compound in Libya that resulted in four US deaths in 2012.

Asked about the prospect of hearings similar to those following the attack in Benghazi, Sen. Mike Rounds said: “In the Benghazi incident you had a case of where there was clear testimony information coming out saying there were hours of activity going on. If similar facts were to be determined in this particular case, you may very well see the same type of a demand for a review.”

What we don’t know (but the military might)

Missed indicators that ISIS was operating in the area?: CNN has previously reported that the fighters who carried out the attack were part of an ISIS-affiliated group called ISIS in the Greater Sahara but the Trump administration is yet to mention ISIS as the responsible party.

Officials familiar with the initial after-action reports say there was confusion and uncertainty on the ground after what was a completely unexpected attack. The team was particularly vulnerable because it was in two separate locations when the attack began. Some were walking back from a meeting with local villagers. Others were waiting outside, guarding the vehicles that the US troops were using.

US launches investigation into deadly Niger ambush and confusion that followed

US officials assess that terrorist groups view Chad, Niger and Mali as being particularity important as they serve as bridges between north and sub-Saharan Africa, saying that local al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates use control of these transit routes to gain revenue that helps them recruit, expand and export attacks.

ISIS uses these North-South transit routes to move fighters northward, where they can more easily access Europe and the West.

One official told CNN that ISIS is attempting to illegally infiltrate the gold mining industry in Niger to sell on the black market and finance world terrorism.

Why did it take so long for Trump to mention the casualties?: Perhaps wary of the political ramifications President Donald Trump has still not publicly stated that an ISIS affiliated group was responsible.

White House officials prepared and circulated internally a statement to be issued on the President’s behalf the day after the attack. But the statement, obtained Wednesday by Politico and confirmed by CNN, was never officially released.

It wasn’t until nearly two weeks later that the President, an avid Twitter user, mentioned the deaths when he asked about them during an impromptu news conference Monday in the White House Rose Garden.

Commenting for the first time Monday on the attack, Trump said he had written letters to those families over the weekend and they were being sent out that night.

The ambush occurred amid news that ISIS self-declared capital in Raqqa, Syria was on the verge of collapse meaning Trump may have been inclined not highlight an attack showing ISIS’s staying power abroad.

There is also the issue that Trump allowed US troops to be in a country that does not allow offensive air operations.

Sources: Kelly didn't know Trump would publicize that Obama didn't call when his son died

While French Mirage jets arrived overhead within 30 minutes of the firefight to fly low passes in an attempt to disperse the attackers, the aircraft did not have permission to drop bombs, multiple US officials told CNN.

Trump has received criticism for his long silence following the attack and handling of the aftermath — particularly his public feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat, over Trump’s phone call with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson.

After multiple visits to the area, why was there an attack at this time?: Last week, Joint Staff director Lt. Gen. Kenneth Mckenzie said the patrol that was attacked had completed 29 patrols in the area without contact with hostile fighters over the previous six months or so and there was no indication an attack would occur on October 4.

How did the body of Sgt. La David Johnson get left behind?: It is unclear how Johnson became separated from the rest of the advisory team during the firefight. None of the other soldiers with Johnson witnessed him being captured or taken away by enemy forces.

The US military initially said it did not believe Johnson ever fell into enemy hands and had reason to believe he might be alive. Military officials launched an urgent search-and-rescue mission, but officials now say initial reports they received electronic signals that indicated Johnson might have been alive in the field were inaccurate.

The lives of the 4 US soldiers killed in Niger

While French helicopters were able to get the team to safety, the critical failure to find Johnson for another 48 hours has not been explained.

His body was eventually found in a nearby area, but military investigators do not know why he was left behind during the French led evacuation and if he was alive even for a short period of time, US officials tell CNN.

Questions remain about how and when Johnson was killed.

Were aircraft contractors in full communication with the French?: While CNN has reported that both a private contractor aircraft and French military helicopters took part in the evacuation mission it remains unclear if both parties shared all necessary information related to the operation.

Private contractor used to evacuate US forces in Niger ambush

It is unknown which aircraft carried the dead and which was responsible for the wounded.

The failure to anticipate an attack and the fact there were no US rescue and recover assets close by meant nearly an hour went by before the evacuation of the two wounded and three dead US troops by French helicopters could be completed.

Mattis said the rescue was timely stating: “I completely reject the idea that that was slow.” But he did say an investigation will determine if changes are needed. “We will look at this and say was there something we have to adapt to now? Should we have been in a better stance.”

UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include Thursday comments from Sen. McCain, Secretary Mattis and CNN’s latest reporting on what happened in Niger.

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