CT Scans Emit Massive Doses of Radiation, Promote Cancer

(NaturalNews) A British government report has called for tighter regulation of private clinics that offer full-body computed tomography (CT) scans, saying that such scans expose patients to a massive and cancer-promoting blast of radiation.

Many private clinics offer full-body CT scans to patients who want to search for early indicators of heart disease or cancer. In the United Kingdom, such scans typically cost between £500 and £2,000 ($1,000-$4,000).

The new report by the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation strongly advises that private clinics end this practice, and says that the government needs to better regulate the practice.

Full-body CT scans expose patients to approximately 100 times the radiation of a standard chest X-ray. Any radiation exposure is known to increase the risk of cancer, in particular, radiation in high doses. The report says that for every 2,000 people getting a full-body CT scan twice per year, one can be expected to contract a fatal cancer.

Read moreCT Scans Emit Massive Doses of Radiation, Promote Cancer

The Microwave Scream Inside Your Skull

The U.S. military bankrolled early development of a non-lethal microwave weapon that creates sound inside your head. But in the end, the gadget may be just as likely to wind up in shopping malls as on battlefields, as I report in New Scientist.

The project is known as MEDUSA – a contrived acronym for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio. And it should not be confused with the Long Range Acoustic Device and similar gadgets which simply project sound. This one uses the so-called “microwave auditory effect”: a beam of microwaves is turned into sound by the interaction with your head. Nobody else can hear it unless they are in the beam as well.

The effect has long been a laboratory curiosity, with no application. But, over the years, the military has been intrigued. The idea (dubbed “the telepathic ray gun”) was mentioned in a 1998 US Army study, which turned up in a recent Freedom of Information Act document dump. Five years later, the Navy decided to put some R&D dollars into the project. Now, as I note on the New Scientist website, Dr. Lev Sadovnik of the Sierra Nevada Corporation has provided more details.

There are health risks, he notes. But the biggest issue from the microwave weapon is not the radiation. It’s the risk of brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse. Clearly, much more research is needed on this effect at the sort of power levels that Dr. Sadovnik is proposing. But if it does prove hazardous, that does not mean an end to weapons research in this area: a device that delivered a lethal shockwave inside the target’s skull might make an effective death ray.

Read moreThe Microwave Scream Inside Your Skull

MIT group makes low-cost dish to tap solar energy

Photo

Spencer Ahrens, a 23-year-old mechanical engineer, was on MIT’s campus last week, holding a wooden plank, surrounded by onlookers.

Slowly, he turned that wooden plank before a series of mirrors that had been placed inside an aluminum frame, until the wood caught fire.

That was quite a moment, recalled Matthew Ritter, one of the onlookers.

“Let’s just say it was a small combustion for wood materials, but a giant explosion of solar energy,” he said.

Ahrens, Ritter and the other people who helped create the solar-powered dish that harnessed the sunlight that eventually burned the wood say they’ve just created the world’s most cost-efficient solar power system.

They also say these dishes may revolutionize global energy production.

“You can stick these things wherever there is a piece of sunlight, and power a home or an industrial plant,” said Ahrens, who just received his master’s degree from MIT.

Since January, he’s been working with Ritter, an Olin College student; Micah Sze, a recent graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management; University of California-Berkeley graduate and Broad Institute engineer Eva Markiewicz and MIT materials science student Anna Bershteyn.

Together, they built a 12-foot wide solar panel by piecing together lightweight aluminum tubes to make the frame. Inside, they arranged a series of mirrors and then attached a water-filled coil at the bottom of the frame.

When the frame is properly positioned, the mirrors will direct concentrated sunlight toward the coil.

As the water heats up, it is converted to steam, and that steam, the creators say, can be used to generate electricity to heat and cool homes and power machines.

They now say its design is so simple, it can be built and placed just about anywhere the sun shines.

“We made it by hand and transported the parts by car or by bike,” Ritter said.

The crew spent about $5,000 to build the dish, and according to MIT Sloan School of Management lecturer David Pelly, it is the cheapest way he’s seen to harness that much sun power.

“I’ve looked for years at a variety of solar approaches, and this is the cheapest I’ve seen,” he said.

Ahrens, Ritter and the others are now packing up and moving to California, where they plan to mass-produce the dishes, probably for less than it cost to build the first one.

Their new company is called RawSolar, and Ahrens said its possibilities are endless.

“The energy crisis affects so much of what we do,” Ahrens said. “It’s driving food prices and water problems and airline fares, and we are trying to work through these things in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.”

After all, he said, “Sunlight is free.”

Source: Boston Herald

Photographer Documents Secret Satellites — All 189 of Them


Artist Trevor Paglen’s time-exposure photographs show the streaks of light left by classified satellites.
Photo: Trevor Paglen

BERKELEY, California — For most people, photographing something that isn’t there might be tough. Not so for Trevor Paglen.

His shots of 189 secret spy satellites are the subject of a new exhibit — despite the fact that, officially speaking, the satellites don’t exist. The Other Night Sky, on display at the University of California at Berkeley Art Museum through September 14, is only a small selection from the 1,500 astrophotographs Paglen has taken thus far.

In taking these photos, Paglen is trying to draw a metaphorical connection between modern government secrecy and the doctrine of the Catholic Church in Galileo’s time.

“What would it mean to find these secret moons in orbit around the earth in the same way that Galileo found these moons that shouldn’t exist in orbit around Jupiter?” Paglen says.

Satellites are just the latest in Paglen’s photography of supposedly nonexistent subjects. To date, he’s snapped haunting images of various military sites in the Nevada deserts, “torture taxis” (private planes that whisk people off to secret prisons without judicial oversight) and uniform patches from various top-secret military programs.


The nearly vertical streak in this image shows a satellite called Keyhole 12-3 crossing the sky near the constellation of Scorpio. Photo: Trevor Paglen

While all of Paglen’s projects are the result of meticulous research, he’s also the first to admit that his photos aren’t necessarily revelatory. That’s by design. Like the blurry abstractions of his super-telephoto images showing secret military installations in Nevada, the tiny blips of satellites streaking across the night sky in his new series of photos are meant more as reminders rather than as documentation.

Read morePhotographer Documents Secret Satellites — All 189 of Them

The Microchip: Health, Privacy, Civil Rights And Freedom Under Siege

June 22, 2008
The Infinite Unknown

Introduction:

Governments will microchip…

…your animals as introduction, to have their foot in the door,

…prisoners so that they cannot so easily commit crimes anymore,

…your children so that they can be found if something “unexpected” happens to them,

…the rich so that they can be protected.

They sell this to the people like an insurance agent sells his products by using FEAR…

…and then the microchip will be mandatory for everybody.

Welcome to the New World Order and the Orwellian, Fascist, Police State.

PS: The Microchip is not just a transmitting device!

It is also a receiver, like your brain.

Now they can send frequencies, carrying information, directly to their selected target only!

This is a very effective way to control what you do, what you think, how you behave and it is also a nice way to control overpopulation.

How about taking out people like Ron Paul by causing a heart attack without leaving a trace of an assassination?

Related articles:

CASPIAN RELEASES MICROCHIP CANCER REPORT

Met Police officers to be ‘microchipped’ by top brass in Big Brother style tracking scheme
Every single Metropolitan police officer will be ‘microchipped’….
…there will not be any choice about wearing one.

UK: Compulsory microchipping of dogs

U.S. School District to Begin Microchipping Students
So far the RFID chips are only implanted in the schoolbag to monitor the students movements.

The Microchip is here !!! – New World Order

And now:

Source: Natural News

U.K. to Begin Microchipping Prisoners

Saturday, June 21, 2008
by: David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) The British government is developing a plan to track current and former prisoners by means of microchips implanted under the skin, drawing intense criticism from probation officers and civil rights groups.

As a way to reduce prison crowding, many British prisoners are currently released under electronic monitoring, carried out by means of an ankle bracelet that transmits signals like those used by mobile phones.

Now the Ministry of Justice is exploring the possibility of injecting prisoners in the back of the arm with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that contains information about their name, address and criminal record. Such chips, which contain a built-in antenna, could be scanned by special readers. The implantation of RFID chips in luggage, pets and livestock has become increasingly popular in recent years.

In addition to monitoring incarcerated prisoners, the ministry hopes to use the chips on those who are on probation or other conditional release. By including a satellite uplink system in the chip, police would be able to use global positioning system (GPS) technology to track subjects’ exact locations at all times. According to advocates of such a measure, this could help keep sex offenders away from “forbidden” zones like schools.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, blasted the measure as degrading to the people chipped and of no benefit to probation officers.

“Knowing where offenders like pedophiles are does not mean you know what they are doing,” Fletcher said. “Treating people like pieces of meat does not seem to represent an improvement in the system to me.”

Shami Chakrabarti of the civil rights group Liberty had even stronger words:

“If the Home Office doesn’t understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don’t need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.”

Quotes to contemplate on:

“If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” – G. W. Bush

Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,’ he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. ‘I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.’ – G. W. Bush

Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper! – G. W. Bush

Read moreThe Microchip: Health, Privacy, Civil Rights And Freedom Under Siege

Japanese Invent Car That Runs On Water

Source: Nikkei Business Publications

Genepax Co Ltd explained the technologies used in its new fuel cell system “Water Energy System (WES),” which uses water as a fuel and does not emit CO2.

The system can generate power just by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes, respectively, the company said at the press conference, which took place June 12, 2008, at the Osaka Assembly Hall.

The basic power generation mechanism of the new system is similar to that of a normal fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as a fuel. According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.

Though the company did not reveal the details, it “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA,” said Hirasawa Kiyoshi, the company’s president. This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. But compared with the existing method, the new process is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time, the company said.

With the new process, the cell needs only water and air, eliminating the need for a hydrogen reformer and high-pressure hydrogen tank. Moreover, the MEA requires no special catalysts, and the required amount of rare metals such as platinum is almost the same as that of existing systems, Genepax said.

Unlike the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which uses methanol as a fuel, the new system does not emit CO2. In addition, it is expected to have a longer life because catalyst degradation (poisoning) caused by CO does not occur on the fuel electrode side. As it has only been slightly more than a year since the company completed the prototype, it plans to collect more data on the product life.

At the conference, Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. In the demonstration, the 120W fuel cell stack was first supplied with water by using a dry-cell battery operated pump. After power was generated, it was operated as a passive system with the pump turned off.

This time, the voltage of the fuel cell stack was 25-30V. Because the stack is composed of 40 cells connected in series, it is expected that the output per cell is 3W or higher, the voltage is about 0.5-0.7V, and the current is about 6-7A. The power density is likely to be not less than 30mW/cm2 because the reaction area of the cell is 10 x 10 cm.

Meanwhile, the 300W fuel cell system is an active system, which supplies water and air with a pump. In the demonstration, Genepax powered the TV and the lighting equipment with a lead-acid battery charged by using the system. In addition, the 300W system was mounted in the luggage room of a compact electric vehicle “Reva” manufactured by Takeoka Mini Car Products Co Ltd, and the vehicle was actually driven by the system.

Genepax initially planned to develop a 500W system, but failed to procure the materials for MEA in time and ended up in making a 300W system.

For the future, the company intends to provide 1kw-class generation systems for use in electric vehicles and houses. Instead of driving electric vehicles with this system alone, the company expects to use it as a generator to charge the secondary battery used in electric vehicles.

Although the production cost is currently about ¥2,000,000 (US$18,522), it can be reduced to ¥500,000 or lower if Genepax succeeds in mass production. The company believes that its fuel cell system can compete with residential solar cell systems if the cost can be reduced to this level.

More:

Reuters: Petrol Pricey? Japanese Invent Car That Runs On Water

Genepax (Japanese)

Genepax (English)

Source: BlackListedNews

American Inventor Presents an Answer to the World’s Water Crisis

Related article: Water crisis to be biggest world risk

(NaturalNews) Dean Kamen is not a new player in the innovator’s arena. He has been inventing and innovating ever since he dropped out of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the 70’s. Since then, he invented such things as the insulin pump, a mobile dialysis system, and an all-terrain electric wheelchair called the iBot. His best-known invention is the Segway, a self-balancing, gyroscope-using, automatic-steering, scooter-like device that did not sell well in the U.S. but is expected to do better in Europe.

His newest invention could turn out to be world-changing. The term “revolutionary” comes to mind but may be too overused to express what this device could do for the world’s poor. It could save the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the third world. And it’s really quite simple. This invention answers the question — “How do you get drinkable water to the world’s thirsty?”

The Slingshot, A Revolutionary Water-Purifier

The invention, known as Slingshot, is basically a distiller. Distilling technology is not new. In fact, distillers have been around for decades. What makes this distiller unique is the low price and the large amount of water that can be produced. Other machines like the Slingshot can cost as much as $200,000 to $1 million. The Slingshot is expected to cost only $1,500. And it can filter 1,000 liters a day, using only 500 watts of electricity per hour. To put that into perspective, a toaster uses about 1,000 watts every time you make toast.

Possibly even more exciting than the cost-effectiveness and simplicity of the technology is its power. It can purify any source of moisture, whether ocean water, urine, or mud. And it does it all without filters, charcoal, or any other parts that must be replaced each time you use it.

The Slingshot has been slated for release within the next 12-18 months.

Saving Millions of Lives Every Year

“In the emerging world, in the under-developed world, a gallon of water is so precious that without it, you’re going to die,” says Kamen.

“In some places, the average amount of time per day spent looking for water that’s safe for their kids by women is four hours. And they carry this stuff, which weighs 62 pounds per cubic foot, four or five miles. And if it didn’t turn out to be the right stuff, or they put their hands in it and contaminated it, they spend the next day or two burying the babies.”

What will these women do with their extra 4 hours every day? How many families will be blessed by mothers who have the power to give water to their thirsty children? And with other inventions like the Merry-Go-Round power plant (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQu_Jppvzyk&eurl) , we may start to see our friends in the third-world finding a luxury that we have taken for granted for hundreds of years in the U.S. — fresh, drinkable water.

To see a video of Stephen Colbert questioning Kamen about the Slingshot, go to ((http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/ind…) .

Read moreAmerican Inventor Presents an Answer to the World’s Water Crisis

Pentagon OKs ‘brainwave binoculars’

THE Pentagon has approved $US6.7 million ($7m) to develop binoculars that would tap a user’s brainwaves to home in on threats.

Northrop Grumman Corporation said today it was leading an academic and industry consortium for the project, known as the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System program, or CT2WS.

The plan featured a custom helmet equipped with electrodes placed on the scalp to record neural responses to the presence or absence of potential threats, Northrop said.

The brain’s input would “train the system’s algorithms, which will continue to be refined over time so that the warfighter is always presented with items of relevance to his mission”, the company said.

The contract was awarded by the Defence Advanced Projects Agency, or DARPA, a Pentagon arm that acts as a cradle of new technology for use by the US military.

The goal is to detect enemy forces and vehicles over 1-10km while surveying a 120deg or greater field of view, according to documents on DARPA’s website.

“At the same time we must look at the projected size, weight and power of the notional system to determine if the capabilities we are aiming for can be constrained into something fieldable by our military,” said DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker.

Neither Northrop nor the military provided precise details on how the project might work if put into operation.

After the project’s initial 12-month, $US6.7m stage, DARPA has the option to extend the contract for two more phases to develop the subsystems and a final prototype of portable assemblies.

“A prototype is not a product, so if we are three years away from a prototype we might be five years or more away from a device that might be considered a product,” Ms Walker said.

Northrop Grumman said it was striving for “persistent surveillance” in the system to give early notice of any enemy “move-stop-move tactics”.

If and when deployed, such a system could play a role in such things as force protection, defeating roadside bombs, border surveillance and other advanced military and homeland defense applications, the company said.

Read morePentagon OKs ‘brainwave binoculars’

Weapons lab develops world’s fastest computer dubbed Roadrunner

WASHINGTON – Scientists unveiled the world’s fastest supercomputer on Monday, a $100 million machine that for the first time has performed 1,000 trillion calculations per second in a sustained exercise.

The technology breakthrough was accomplished by engineers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the IBM Corp. on a computer to be used primarily on nuclear weapons work, including simulating nuclear explosions.

The computer, named Roadrunner, is twice as fast as IBM’s Blue Gene system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which itself is three times faster than any of the world’s other supercomputers, according to IBM.

“The computer is a speed demon. It will allow us to solve tremendous problems,” said Thomas D’Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons research and maintains the warhead stockpile.

Read moreWeapons lab develops world’s fastest computer dubbed Roadrunner

The Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least

Before we get to Ray Kurzweil’s plan for upgrading the “suboptimal software” in your brain, let me pass on some of the cheery news he brought to the World Science Festival last week in New York.

Do you have trouble sticking to a diet? Have patience. Within 10 years, Dr. Kurzweil explained, there will be a drug that lets you eat whatever you want without gaining weight.

Worried about greenhouse gas emissions? Have faith. Solar power may look terribly uneconomical at the moment, but with the exponential progress being made in nanoengineering, Dr. Kurzweil calculates that it’ll be cost-competitive with fossil fuels in just five years, and that within 20 years all our energy will come from clean sources.

Are you depressed by the prospect of dying? Well, if you can hang on another 15 years, your life expectancy will keep rising every year faster than you’re aging. And then, before the century is even half over, you can be around for the Singularity, that revolutionary transition when humans and/or machines start evolving into immortal beings with ever-improving software.

At least that’s Dr. Kurzweil’s calculation. It may sound too good to be true, but even his critics acknowledge he’s not your ordinary sci-fi fantasist. He is a futurist with a track record and enough credibility for the National Academy of Engineering to publish his sunny forecast for solar energy.

He makes his predictions using what he calls the Law of Accelerating Returns, a concept he illustrated at the festival with a history of his own inventions for the blind. In 1976, when he pioneered a device that could scan books and read them aloud, it was the size of a washing machine.

Two decades ago he predicted that “early in the 21st century” blind people would be able to read anything anywhere using a handheld device. In 2002 he narrowed the arrival date to 2008. On Thursday night at the festival, he pulled out a new gadget the size of a cellphone, and when he pointed it at the brochure for the science festival, it had no trouble reading the text aloud.

This invention, Dr. Kurzweil said, was no harder to anticipate than some of the predictions he made in the late 1980s, like the explosive growth of the Internet in the 1990s and a computer chess champion by 1998. (He was off by a year – Deep Blue’s chess victory came in 1997.)

Read moreThe Future Is Now? Pretty Soon, at Least

Study: Surveillance software revenue to quadruple by 2013

Wi-Fi and other technological advances boosting video surveillance adoption

In a new study that has potentially Orwellian implications, ABI Research projects that revenue for video surveillance software will quadruple over the next five years.

According to ABI Vice President and Research Director Stan Schatt, revenue generated from surveillance software will increase to more than US$900 million in 2013, up from current revenues of US$245 million. Schatt says there are several big drivers for this increase, including increased spending on security systems by the government, on theft prevention systems by retail outlets and on surveillance by market researchers. Additionally, he says that the advent of Wi-Fi has made it possible to place wireless cameras just about anywhere while still sending footage back to a central location.

Looking at the broader picture, Schatt says that technological advances are also increasing the scope and the potential uses of video surveillance. He says that one of the more disturbing uses is the ability of store marketing departments to actually monitor the eyeball movements of customers to figure out what products or displays draw their attention.

“When stores have the ability to observe you as you walk through a store, what I can imagine is that more and more stores will try to basically have a pretty in-depth knowledge of their customers,” he says. “So let’s say for instance the store issues you a discount card that also has a radio frequency ID that identifies who you are. And then let’s say they observe you looking at, but not actually purchasing, movies in the adult video section. Well, the next thing you know you’re getting all these promotional materials for racy movies you’re not even interested in.”

Read moreStudy: Surveillance software revenue to quadruple by 2013

Children will learn by downloading information directly

Children will learn by downloading information directly into their brains within 30 years, an education expert has predicted.

Chris Parry, the new chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, said “Matrix-style” technology would render traditional lessons obsolete.

He said: “It’s a very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge.”

Read moreChildren will learn by downloading information directly

Big Brother CCTV Cameras In Airplanes

CCTV cameras are bringing more and more public places under surveillance – and passenger aircraft could be next.

A prototype European system uses multiple cameras and “Big Brother” software to try and automatically detect terrorists or other dangers caused by passengers.

The European Union’s Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project uses a camera in every passenger’s seat, with six wide-angle cameras to survey the aisles. Software then analyses the footage to detect developing terrorist activity or “air-rage” incidents, by tracking passengers’ facial expressions.

The system performed well in tests this January that simulated terrorist and unruly passenger behaviour scenarios in a fake Airbus A380 fuselage, say the researchers that built it.

Systems to analyse CCTV footage – for example, to detect violence (with video) or alert CCTV operators to unusual events – have been designed before. But the SAFEE software must cope with the particularly challenging environment of a full aircraft cabin.

Threat indicators

As crew and passengers move around they often obscure one another, causing a risk the computer will lose track of some of the hundreds of people it must monitor. To get around this, the software constantly matches views of people from different cameras to track their movements.

“It looks for running in the cabin, standing near the cockpit for long periods of time, and other predetermined indicators that suggest a developing threat,” says James Ferryman of the University of Reading, UK, one of the system’s developers.

Other behaviours could include a person nervously touching their face, or sweating excessively. One such behaviour won’t trigger the system to alert the crew, only certain combinations of them.

Ferryman is not ready to reveal specifically which behaviours were most likely to trigger the system. Much of the computer’s ability to detect threats relies on sensitive information gleaned from security analysts in the intelligence community, he tells New Scientist.

Losing track

But Mohan Trivedi of the University of California, San Diego, US, is sceptical. He has built systems that he says can track and recognise individual people as they appear and disappear on different floors of his laboratory building.

It correctly identifies people about 70% of the time, and then only under “optimal conditions” that do not exist inside an airplane cabin, he says.

“[Ferryman’s] research shows that a system detects threats in a very limited way. But it’s a very different thing using it day in and day out.” Trivedi says. “Lighting and reflections change in the cabin every time someone turns on a light or closes a window shade. They haven’t shown that they have overcome these challenges.”

Ferryman admits that his system will require thousands of tests on everyday passengers before it can be declared reliable at detecting threats.

The team’s work is being presented this week at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems in Greece.

Read moreBig Brother CCTV Cameras In Airplanes

Computer trained to “read” mind images of words


The predicted fMRI images for celery and airplane show significant similarities with the observed images for each word. Red indicates areas of high activity, blue indicates low activity. A computer has been trained to “read” people’s minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.
REUTERS/Carnegie Mellon University/Handout
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A computer has been trained to “read” people’s minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.

They hope their study, published in the journal Science, might lead to better understanding of how and where the brain stores information.

This might lead to better treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities, said Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study.

“The question we are trying to get at is one people have been thinking about for centuries, which is: How does the brain organize knowledge?” Mitchell said in a telephone interview.

“It is only in the last 10 or 15 years that we have this way that we can study this question.”

Mitchell’s team used functional magnetic resonance imaging, a type of brain scan that can see real-time brain activity.

They calibrated the computer by having nine student volunteers think of 58 different words, while imaging their brain activity.

Read moreComputer trained to “read” mind images of words

Military Recruits Thousands More Warbots for New Unmanned Surge

Dsc_0596_2

In December, after all the lawsuits, the private eyes and the backroom deals, iRobot finally wrestled away the biggest ground-robotics contract in military history from its former employee and his secret partner. This “unmanned surge” was worth up to $286 million and 3,000 machines. And it didn’t look like it would be topped any time soon.

But appearances can be deceiving in the world of military robots. Turns out, there’s been a second unmanned surge. And yesterday, iRobot’s rival, Foster-Miller, announced that it had won the contract to supply it.

The five-year deal is worth up to $400 million. And it will cover thousands of Talon bomb-handling robots and spare parts — maybe between 2,000 and 4,000 robots, F-M executive Bob Quinn tells Xconomy.

That would more than double the 2,000 Talons already in the field, finding and getting rid of improvised explosives. If all the robots are actually ordered under this “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contract, that is.

Once the absolute darling of military bomb squads, the rugged, easy-to-drive Talon now has a more serious competitor in iRobot’s upgraded Packbot. With the number of bombs dropping overall in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with a beefed-up rival, is there really room to double the number of Talon machines?

Read moreMilitary Recruits Thousands More Warbots for New Unmanned Surge

RFID-tracking at the Olympics to Include Sensitive Personal Data

Opening_ceremony_sample_ticket_of_b

The Chinese Olympic Committee for the 2008 Games has revealed that all tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies will include RFID-enabled microchips with spectators’ passport information and home and e-mail addresses, among other sensitive personal info.

This high-level precaution is in response to the increasingly sensitive security issues surrounding the games, due largely in part to the host’s controversial positions on human rights and freedom of speech.

All tickets for the ceremonies are valued at $720 and the RFID tagging is supposed to decrease the possibility of scalping and pirated tickets, which is obviously a big problem in copy-happy China. But carrying around all of that information with you is still a dangerous proposition.

We’ve heard that tickets were supposed to have the bearer’s photograph printed on them, which would have cut down on theft and the likely problem a family will face when distributing tickets right before a gate entrance. As you can see in the official ticket above, it appears that the idea has not been implemented.

Most security experts vacillate between thinking that a too-secure RFID system will put the Games at a standstill, or that a basic RFID set-up will expose people to hackers. According to Sports Illustrated, all tickets for the games will include RFID tags, but only the main two will have the passport and photo information. The Games’ security team will employ an IT team of at least 4,000 experts with 1,000 servers at their disposal — and they’ll begin testing the system full-bore for the next two months.

Yet, most of the stress about the tickets, apart from the RFID issue, can be traced to the fact that that it’s taken the committee a little bit longer to deliver the tickets than they originally thought –- it’s almost two months to the event and almost no one has received them. This has led some people to believe that the security restrictions are making it difficult for the hosts to actually deliver them on time.

However, the official ticketing website of The Games kept its dates conveniently open-ended –- it says the tickets will be delivered up to the end of June. This is not great if you’re traveling to the city for the opening event on August 8th.

China_demonstrators

The tense atmosphere might also point to the fact that the RFID tags were developed by Tsinghua University in conjuction with Beijing Tsinghua Tongfang Microelectronics Company — and no one wants a company in a country with privacy concerns to have access to your personal information.

So what do you think? Are the committee members practically begging for people to get jumped with those RFID-packed tickets? Or are they making the most out of a very tough situation?

Read moreRFID-tracking at the Olympics to Include Sensitive Personal Data

Weather warfare

‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Michel Chossudovsky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and an editor at the Centre for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca
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Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare, says Michel Chossudovsky

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’.

During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, ‘offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.’

Read moreWeather warfare

Telstra chief hosts conference as hologram


Telecommuting … Dr Hugh Bradlow appearing in Adelaide as a live hologram, and right, shaking hands with an executive / AAP

HE was slightly flat, a touch blurry and a smidge taller than reality but Telstra chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow made a huge impression on his Adelaide audience today.

In an Australian first, Dr Bradlow’s life-sized, real-time hologram walked, talked and interacted with business executives at an Adelaide conference while he stood in front of cameras in Telstra’s Melbourne office.

Cameras and microphones in Adelaide allowed Dr Bradlow to see and hear his subjects from 725kms away as his audience watched his high definition image projected onto a transparent screen or “foil”.

The technology created by British company Musion Eyeliner has already enabled former US vice president Al Gore to speak to the Live Earth concert’s London audience from Tokyo and retailer Target to host a model-less virtual fashion show in New York last year.

UK band Gorillaz has also used Musion to give life to three-dimensional cartoon characters who performed their song at a 2005 MTV Awards concert in Portugal as rappers interacted with them live on stage.

But it’s not just for entertainment value, said Telstra enterprise and government group managing director David Thodey who shook “airhands” with Dr Bradlow during the function.

There are real applications for this “gee whiz” technology, he said.

He said companies wanting to reduce carbon emissions could replace business flights with live broadcasts.

Read moreTelstra chief hosts conference as hologram

Atom-smashing lab says experiment to start end-June

European particle physics laboratory CERN is set to launch its gigantic experiment which hopes to throw light on the origins of the universe within a month, the laboratory’s head said Tuesday.

If things go according to plan, the greatest experiment in the history of particle physics could unveil a sub-atomic component, the Higgs Boson, known as “the God Particle.”

The “Higgs,” named after the eminent British physicist, Peter Higgs, who first proposed it in 1964, would fill a gaping hole in the benchmark theory for understanding the physical cosmos.

Other work on the so-called Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could explain dark matter and dark energy — strange phenomena that, stunned astrophysicists discovered a few years ago, account for 96 percent of the universe.

The LHC device “will be in working order by the end of June,” CERN director general Robert Aymar told journalists.

A gamble costing six billion Swiss francs (almost six billion dollars, 3.9 billion euros) that has harnessed the labours of more than 2,000 physicists from nearly three dozen countries, the LHC is the biggest, most powerful high-energy particle accelerator ever built.

Beams of hydrogen protons will whizz around at near-light speed in opposite directions until, bent by powerful superconducting magnets, they will smash together in four bus-sized detector chambers, where they will be annihilated at temperatures hotter than the sun.

But Aymar played down hopes of any immediate discoveries once the LHC is set in motion.

“We will accumulate data for two years and it will take a lot of time to interpret,” he said.

He also scoffed at fears that the massive experiment could create a black hole with potentially devastating consequences for life on Earth.

“The system is totally safe. There is nothing to fear,” he said.

May 27 02:29 PM US/Eastern

Source: AFP

Access To Next Gen Internet May Be Uneven

The lack of high-speed Internet access in some areas of the U.S. has been hotly debated, even as that digital divide has narrowed. But a new, wider gap is being created by technology that will make today’s broadband feel as slow as a dial-up connection.

Much like broadband enabled downloads of music, video and work files that weren’t practical over dial-up, the next generation of Internet connections will allow for vivid, lifelike video conferencing and new kinds of interactive games.

But while access to cable and phone-line broadband has spread to cover perhaps 90 percent of the U.S. in the space of a decade, next-generation Internet access looks set to create a much smaller group of “haves” and a larger group of “have nots.”

The most promising route to superfast home broadband is to extend the fiber-optic lines that already form the Internet’s backbone all the way to homes. Existing fiber-to-the-home, or FTTH, connections are already 10 times faster than vanilla broadband provided over phone or cable lines. With relatively easy upgrades, the speeds could be a hundred times faster.

In the U.S., the buildout of FTTH is under way, but it’s highly concentrated in the 17-state service area of Verizon Communications Inc., which is the only major U.S. phone company that is replacing its copper lines with fiber. Its FiOS service accounts for more than 1.8 million of the 2.9 million U.S. homes that are connected to fiber according to RVA LLC, a research firm that specializes in the field.

Read moreAccess To Next Gen Internet May Be Uneven

Man Builds Electric Car for $4750, Costs $7 For Every 300 Miles

Also here the article (and the video) have been removed.

I have only found a bad but watchable replacement for the video.



YouTube

Source: NBC5

With gas pushing $4 per gallon, many people are looking for ways to save some green at the pump. One North Texas man found a way to help the environment and commute to work for just pennies a day.

David Murray may drive the quietest car in North Texas, powered only by a small electric motor, and not creating any emissions.

“The most common question I get is, ‘Is this an electric car?’ and then they’re like, “Is it a hybrid?’ Nope, it’s a real electric (car),” Murray said.

When his car is low on fuel, Murray simply plugs the power cord into the nearest outlet.

“Yeah, just plug it in here. Just a regular old extension cord,” Murray said.

The self-described computer geek from Kennedale bought the 1993 Eagle Talon from a junkyard for just $750.

“First thing I did when I got the car home was pull the engine out,” Murray said.

He then spent about $4,000 more to convert the gas-guzzler to run on electricity alone, doing all the work himself in his garage at home.

“I bought the electric motor and I was like well, I gotta figure out a way to couple it together with the original transmission,” he said.

The car can hit 55 mph, driving right past the high prices at gas stations.

“I hear people complain about them at work all the time. I just grin,” he said.

Murray spends just $7 per month on electricity to charge the batteries — enough to go about 300 miles.

“I don’t even look at the gas prices,” Murray said.

China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

“Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

“Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

“Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

“It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
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Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Laser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

Step by step, Boeing and the Defense Department are getting closer to flying a gunship that fires lasers, instead of bullets.

After years and years of development, Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser, a modified C-130H turbprop plane, last week fired its chemically-powered ray gun “in ground tests for the first time,” the company says in a statement.

The plane is supposed to be a prototype for a flying laser blaster that can “destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.”

If “it performs to spec,” Lew Page at the Register notes, the ATL could “take out targets such as individual vehicles or cellphone towers, silently and from as far as 18-20 kilometers. People in the vicinity of an ATL strike might not realize what had happened until well after the event, if at all. This could be especially handy for Boeing’s initial customer – the US military’s secretive Special Operations Command.”

Last year, in lab tests at Kirtland Air Force Base, the ATL’s laser was fired 50 times. By the end of 2008, the plane is scheduled to “fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets… through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly,” according to the company.

“Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon,” Scott Fancher, vice president of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, says.

It’ll certainly be a major day in ray gun history, if it happens. But the ATL relies on vats of toxic chemicals, to produce its laser blasts — which seriously limits its utility. So the military is hoping to get the integration, aiming, and beam-control kinks worked out with this chemical-powered ATL — and then switch over to electric lasers in the coming decade, to make for a more manageable airborne ray gun.

Read moreLaser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

‘Peel and Stick’ Tasers Electrify Riot Control

Pretty soon, cops won’t just be packing stun guns. They’ll be carrying electrically-charged riot shields, zapping their unruly without unholstering their weapons. That is, if the folks at Taser International have their way.

The company just introduced the “Taser Shield Conversion Kit featuring the Taser Repel Laminate Film Technology.”

The kit “features a peel and stick perforated [f]ilm, power supply and necessary conversion equipment. This laminate becomes electrified providing a powerful deterrent to protect officers and keep suspects or rioters at bay.” What could possibly go wrong?

Taser is demoing all kinds of gear this week — from shock-inducing shotgun rounds to “area denial” zappers that can fry groups of people at once. It’s all part of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization’s Mock Prison Riot, a showcase for new police and correctional tech, held annually at on the grounds of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville. (David Axe covered the so-called “Rage in the Cage” for DANGER ROOM last year.)

The peel-and-stick zapping film will be available towards the end of the year, the company says. Our buddy Lew Page, over at El Reg, wonders, “Whatever’s next? Electrified body-armour suits? Gauntlets? Truly, the day of the electric cop would seem to be upon us.”

And we can think of lots of other things one might do with this sort of Taser-on-a-roll technology. Troublesome dogs or drunks relieving themselves against your wall? People keep touching your car? Borrowing your stuff? Cover it in peel-and-stick zappercoat (with a car-key-style remote disarm as required), plug it in and watch the fun (and lawsuits) begin.

By Noah Shachtman
13, 2008 | 10:29:00 AM

Source: Wired