Better technology a big boost in U.S. Border Patrol work

shutterstock 724542 Better technology a big boost in U.S. Border Patrol work The patrolling area of Campo Station in Pine Valley, Calif., covers 13.1 linear miles of the border and 417.8 square miles in total. Much of it is largely undeveloped and contains one of the most rugged and difficult areas patrol, with dense vegetation, deserts and mountains that exceed 6,500 feet. Much of the terrain can only be accessed by all-terrain vehicles or by foot.

For the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Border Patrol officers aiming to contain illegal immigration and drug and human trafficking, this poses a tough challenge. But since that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Government has ramped up security along its borders and is using impressive technology to help do the job.

Sites like Campo Station, where an estimated 7,000 vehicles pass through its checkpoints on a daily basis, is where this high-tech defense can be displayed.

Go-Go Gadget Patrolling

The U.S. Border Patrol still relies on old fashioned strategies like sniffer dogs to control illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but technology has given the agency an even bigger edge against smugglers and illegal aliens. X-ray cameras, radar and night-vision gadgets have been an extra help for patrolling the border.

By the time a car pulls up to a checkpoint, Border Patrol officers have already run its license plate run through a large computer database. As vehicles stop, officers drive along side them with a Z Backscatter Van with a mobile x-ray machine, which is mounted on a Ford F-550 chassis, to scan vehicles. Drivers and passengers then go through a digital fingerprinting process where data is pulled up from federal databases.

This year, in an effort to provide better coverage during the day and especially the night, U.S. Border Patrol officers are equipped with optical/infrared cameras and ground-scanning radar mounted on the flatbeds of trucks. The radar is capable of covering a radius of 15 miles, which cuts down the number of officers needed from 15 to three.

Eye In the Sky

In areas like Afghanistan, U.S. airmen are flying out of planes with dirt bikes into combat zones that provide a stealth and quick way to maneuver when they touch ground. At the U.S.-Mexican border, however, unmanned drones have been the aerial weapon of choice for the last few years.

Though U.S. Customs and Border Protection has indefinitely grounded drones after one of its drones had to be deliberately crashed because of unknown mechanical problems, the potential in what they can provide when they are functioning is invaluable. These drones can multitask as surveillance weapons, intercepting electronic communication and videotaping movement on the ground, or act as combat weapons, snuffing out any sort of dangerous conflict using attached weaponry.

The Predator drones, which cost $12 million each, weigh roughly 10,000 pounds and fly 20 hours nonstop. They can distinguish between an animal and a human being with a backpack and can intercept communication so well that it can pick up phone conversations.

Beast Mode Patrolling

The U.S. Border Patrol has used a variety of vehicles for the job. Typically, most stations use Chevy Tahoes and Ford Expeditions for their power, room and ruggedness. In recent years, it has been known to go with more aggressive vehicles, like Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor, a rugged vehicle with with almost a foot of suspension, and 6.2-liter V8, which can withstand the daily pounding it typically goes through on and off the road.

When things get pretty hairy though, they roll out the big guys — the Strykers. These are tank-like vehicles made by General Dynamics, a contractor with the military. Strykers aren’t your typical tanks. They are more compact, can travel up to 69 m.p.h. and are loaded with state-of-the-art communication and tracking systems. These bad boys have been in the Border Patrol’s ground fleet since at least 2012.

Just Can’t Beat the ATV

When an officer has to go mobile and is on hot pursuit, the best choice of equipment is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Recently, Border Patrol officers at Texas’ Del Rio Sector received 15 new Yahama Grizzly ATVs. These bad boys have a 4-stroke engine, a single camshaft with automatic transmission, four-wheel drive and differential lock.

Polaris is contracted with the U.S. military to provide side-by-sides, four-seated side-by-sides and “2 Up” ATVs. These vehicles have all the typical features, but also include features specific for Special Forces use. Your typical civilian ATV will have interchangeable parts and accessories you can typically find at a MotoSport store, but you’re not going to see anything like a military-issued one, which is equipped with a belt-fed machine gun, a grenade launcher and a stretcher that is great for locations typical larger vehicles can’t get to.

The added features allow Border Patrol officers to to get into hard-to-reach places and be equipped with enough necessary equipment and supplies to do the job. The special-equipped ATVs cut down on response time and allows Border Patrol units to patrol larger areas.

Episode 36: The Nature of Brunch with Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

By Mary
We’re in the South Side for an enlightening conversation with Kitty Vagley, the Director of Development at the newly opened Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Kitty walks us through the story of how it took nearly 10 years to transform this abandoned coal mine into the region’s first comprehensive outdoor garden, and how its development is emblematic of the progress and innovation occurring in Pittsburgh.

Recorded on location at Waffles INCaffeinated in the South Side.

Follow the show @brunchburgh, online at, and on iTunes.

Follow Mary on Twitter @maryestew .

For more information on the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, visit their website.

Mentioned in this episode:
Settlers Cabin Park
Justin Severino

Source: Brunchburgh

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Stock Video Manipulation 101

shutterstock 189240230 Stock Video Manipulation 101The demand for skilled manipulation of video has grown in recent years as we continue to attempt to do more with less. Amateur filmmakers, small business owners and the average Joe don’t have access to teams of videographers, studio-quality equipment and dozens of editing bays to produce original content. Oftentimes, smaller firms have to rely on blending original content with stock video.

Once you own stock video, it’s possible to pick and choose the footage that works best to augment your digital messages. You’ll often need to find general, clip art images to insert into your company videos. B-roll isn’t always easy to come by.

As the demand for video increases, so does the demand for quality stock photo, video, and time-lapse. Follow these tips to get the most out of editing stock video footage.

Quick Edits to Save Cash on B-roll

Shoot what you can. For example, if you have to strictly focus on interview testimonials, it might not be possible to capture b-roll of every single element the subject discusses. Engage the audience by integrating original footage with a mix of stock video. This will make the film much more visually pleasing.

In contrast, there are some scenarios in which filmmakers may have limited access to the subject or focus of a project. Take the example of a company official who shares details about a new building that has yet to be built. There’s no way to capture footage of activity at the site itself. So, what’s the premise of the new building? There is much left to the imagination. Is it a classroom, factory or store? A challenge like this could require a savvy videographer to find stock footage of students in a learning environment, an assembly line at a plant, or customers shopping.

Sites that sell stock footage make their clips searchable by subject or type to make the process effortless. Editing is also easy. Simply upload the clip into your video editing software, trim or modify to fit the flow of your reel, and insert the clips to fit as b-roll. Footage as simple as a smartly shot city landscape, a beach or real people represent your company’s products or services can enhance the viewer experience. B-roll is important to keep the average viewer engaged.

Maximize Editing Tools for Artistic Effect

Final Cut Pro X and similar editing software have developed into advanced technologies that any user can operate. Even iMovie 11 has a variety of standard special effects tools that can be used to produce professional caliber Web videos.

Small alterations like changing the speeds of clips can be an effective way of capturing an audience’s attention. Similarly, if you’re looking for uniformity, you can find prepared clips that fit the speed or tone of the video you’re producing. Consider using time-lapse video, too. Shutterstock provides a range of time lapse videos that could serve effectively as bookends on a video, either to speed people into the beginning or conclusion of the video. Stock video footage, saves time on filmmaking, which allows videographers to dedicate more time to the post production process.

The Need for Power Quality Control

Everyone at some time or other has experienced a power outage in their neighborhood. It is a major inconvenience and irritation to suddenly not be able to go about your every day activities in the normal way. However, an interruption in power at the commercial level, where an office, production line or expensive equipment are suddenly made idle at an unchosen time, can have major financial consequences.

Increased Vulnerability

It is widely agreed that our society has become more dependent on technology than ever before. That is certainly true in the business world, where many jobs that were once done by humans are now done with machines. While this has resulted in increased productivity and quality control, it has also meant that interruptions in power flow are even more disruptive than ever. Fortunately, the increased awareness of the need for steady, uninterrupted power has resulted in technological innovations that help to insure power quality.

What is Power Quality?

The extent to which you can depend on getting sufficient power on a regular basis is called the degree of power quality. There are many things that can cause power interruptions. These include naturally occurring events such as ice storms and other forms of bad weather, accidents that damage power generating equipment or anything that acts to prevent the steady flow of electrical power. There needn’t be a complete power loss to cause havoc. Voltage variations, harmonic distortion and power surges can all cause production problems without ever actually turning off the lights.

Power Quality Solutions

Fortunately, an array of options exist to help companies preserve and restore power quality. Although the general quality of power generating systems in America and around the world has been continually improving over the years, the degree of dependence on electrical power has also constantly increased. The solid state electronics so often used today are especially vulnerable to loss of power quality. That is why many companies hire specialists in protecting power quality such as Thomas & Betts Power Solutions to maintain their level of power reliability. Click here for examples of some of the types of technology available.

The goal of power quality control is to provide an individualized power protection plan that is specifically geared to the needs of that particular business. That way, back up systems and protective technology can be installed that will immediately go into action should a power crisis occur.

Texting: The Patient Communication of the Future

 Texting: The Patient Communication of the Future
Presented By TeleVox

Episode 35: Brunch and a Movie with Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project

By Mary
We’re dropping the episode a bit early this week for a venture into Lower Lawrenceville with Kahmeela and Dan from the Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project. We delve into the difficult and rewarding process of making a short film in only 48 hours and why this festival is a great showcase for the local film scene. Other topics include: the art of storytelling, the evolution of PGH neighborhoods, our shared hatred of grocery shopping, and the hierarchy of the Furry community.

Recorded on location at Tamari in Lower Lawrenceville.

Follow the show @brunchburgh, online at, and on iTunes.

Follow Mary on Twitter @maryestew .

The 48 Hour Film Projects will have its premiere screening on July 18, 19, and 20 at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont. Tickets can be purchased here.

For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project, visit their website or follow them on Twitter @Pittsburgh48HFP.

Follow Kahmeela on Twitter @The_RuggedAngel

Follow Dan on Twitter @danielfriedson

Mentioned in this Episode:
Manchester Craftsman Guild
Steel City Improv
Hotel Nowhere
Well Known Strangers
Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Ritter’s Diner
Brian Cottington Creations
Coherence (film)

Source: Brunchburgh

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Portable 24 Volt Power Supply Units Have A Wide Variety Of Applications

A portable power supply has many applications in construction and in the aeronautics industry. For example, construction workers on sites in which the power grid is not accessible may use them to power tools. To lessen the number of power cords and improve safety, portable power supply units are used on different floors and areas.

In the aeronautics industry, powering tools is one application for the unit. They are also used to charge aircraft batteries without long, heavy cords. This promotes safety on airfields and in production hangars. The supply unit is also useful for charging automobile batteries as well as providing power to a wide range of appliances.

One example of a popular unit is the 24 volt power supply. The batteries provide 78 ah, or ampere-hours at a 10- hour rate. This allows the user to plug in a wide variety of tools or appliances. Since a unit can weigh over 200 pounds, it is mounted on a trolley and pulled with a handle. Placing the handle in the upright position engages the brake, ensuring the safety of the user. When the unit needs to be recharged, a cord is plugged into a regular 110-volt outlet and in approximately two hours, the unit is ready for use again.

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Episode 34: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh with Ayne Terceira

By Mary
We’re back on the Pittsburgh’s “fashionable” Penn Ave for a meal with improv star and interactive performer Ayne Terceira. We unravel the secrets of her upcoming show, Her Things, and discuss the process of interactive theater, collaboration with artists, and bringing improv instincts to a mystery piece.

Recorded on location at Caffe Mona on Penn Ave.

Follow the show @brunchburgh, online at, and on iTunes.

Follow Mary on Twitter @maryestew .

Follow Ayne on Twitter @ChixWithSchtix

For more information on Her Things and to buy tickets (they’re going fast, so jump on it), visit

Mentioned in this Episode:
Modern Formations Gallery
Sleep No More
Steel City Improv
Arcade Comedy
Pittsburgh New Works Festival
Hotline by Cheryl Navo
T.B.D. Sketch

Source: Brunchburgh

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