Panic Strikes East Europe Borrowers as Banks Cut Franc Loans


The Hungarian National Bank stands in Budapest, Hungary, on Oct. 16, 2008. Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg News

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Imre Apostagi says the hospital upgrade he’s overseeing has stalled because his employer in Budapest can’t get a foreign-currency loan.

The company borrows in foreign currencies to avoid domestic interest rates as much as double those linked to dollars, euros and Swiss francs. Now banks are curtailing the loans as investors pull money out of eastern Europe’s developing markets and local currencies plunge.

“There’s no money out there,” said Apostagi, a project manager who asked that the medical-equipment seller he works for not be identified to avoid alarming international backers. “We won’t collapse, but everything’s slowing to a crawl. The whole world is scared and everyone’s going a bit mad.”

Foreign-denominated loans helped fuel eastern European economies including Poland, Romania and Ukraine, funding home purchases and entrepreneurship after the region emerged from communism. The elimination of such lending is magnifying the global credit crunch and threatening to stall the expansion of some of Europe’s fastest-growing economies.

Read morePanic Strikes East Europe Borrowers as Banks Cut Franc Loans

Police will use new device to take fingerprints in street

Civil rights campaigners say images must not be added to databases


Photograph: Roger Tooth

Every police force in the UK is to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners – handheld devices that allow police to carry out identity checks on people in the street.

The new technology, which ultimately may be able to receive pictures of suspects, is likely to be in widespread use within 18 months. Tens of thousands of sets – as compact as BlackBerry smartphones – are expected to be distributed.

The police claim the scheme, called Project Midas, will transform the speed of criminal investigations. A similar, heavier machine has been tested during limited trials with motorway patrols.

To address fears about mass surveillance and random searches, the police insist fingerprints taken by the scanners will not be stored or added to databases.

Liberty, the civil rights group, cautioned that the law required fingerprints taken in such circumstances to be deleted after use. Gareth Crossman, Liberty’s policy director, said: “Saving time with new technology could help police performance but officers must make absolutely certain that they take fingerprints only when they suspect an individual of an offence and can’t establish his identity.”

Read morePolice will use new device to take fingerprints in street

Darpa Wants to See Inside Your House

The Pentagon wants to be able to peer inside your apartment building — picking out where all the major rooms, stairways, and dens of evil-doers are.

The U.S. military is getting better and better at spotting its enemies, when they’re roaming around the streets. But once those foes duck into houses, they become a whole lot harder to spot. That’s why Darpa, the Defense Department’s way-out research arm, is looking to develop a suite of tools for “external sensing deep inside buildings.” The ultimate goal of this Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance (HIBR) project: “reverse the adversaries’ advantage of urban familiarity and sanctuary and provide U.S. Forces with complete above- and below-ground awareness.”

By the end of the project, Darpa wants a set of technologies that can see into a 10-story building with a two-level basement in a “high-density urban block” — and produce a kind of digital blueprint of the place. Using sensors mounted on backpacks, vehicles, or aircraft, the HIBR gear would, hopefully, be able to pick out every room, wall, stairway, and basement in the building — as well as all of the “electrical, plumbing, and installation systems.”

Darpa doesn’t come out and say it openly. But it appears that the agency wants these HIBR gadgets to be able to track the people inside these buildings, as well. Why else would these sensors be required to “provide real-time updates” once U.S. troops enter the building? Perhaps there’s more about the people-spotting tech, in the “classified appendix” to HIBR’s request for proposals.

Read moreDarpa Wants to See Inside Your House

The International Interphone Study Confirms: The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic

The official publication of the first intermediate results of the International Interphone Study from the International Research Centre on Cancer (CIRC) dependent on WHO confirms the increased tumors and cancer cases due to the use of mobile phone.

The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic: Here (PDF)

INTERPHONE Results latest update Oct. 08, 2008: Interphone Results Update (PDF)

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The REAL brain drain: Modern technology – including violent video games – is changing the way our brains work, says neuroscientist

Phoenix Lander sees snow falling on Mars


In this artist conception, the Phoenix Mars Lander, which launched in August 2007 and the first project in NASA’s Mars Scout missions, landed on Mars on May 25, 2008. (UPI Photo/NASA)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) — The U.S. space agency says its Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds, vaporizing before reaching the planet’s surface.

And the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that, plus soil test experiments, have proven evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water — both processes that occur on Earth.

“A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars detected snow from clouds about 2.5 miles above the spacecraft’s landing site,” NASA said, adding data shows the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.

“Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars,” said Jim Whiteway, of Canada’s York University, the lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. “We’ll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.”

Since landing May 25, Phoenix has also confirmed a hard subsurface layer at its far-northern site contains water-ice. NASA said determining whether that ice ever thaws will help answer whether the environment there has been favorable for life, a key aim of the mission.

Published: Sept. 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM
Source: UPI

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Canadian laser gadget finds snow in Martian sky

OTTAWA – Trust a Canadian weather instrument to find snow. Even on Mars.

A Canadian university’s laser aboard a NASA Mars lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds about four kilometres above the landing site, and vaporizing before reaching the ground.

Read morePhoenix Lander sees snow falling on Mars

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening – a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person – not the device – set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security’s directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and imagers that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious tells invisible to the naked eye – signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

But this is no polygraph test. Subjects do not get hooked up or strapped down for a careful reading; those sensors do all the work without any actual physical contact. It’s like an X-ray for bad intentions.

Read moreHomeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Who Killed The Electric Car? (Documentary)

Google removed the video.

I’ve found a replacement.

A MUST-SEE!!!


Documentary about GM killing of the electric car. It has been here since ’96 but they killed it off.

The film features interviews with celebrities who drove the electric car, such as Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Alexandra Paul, Peter Horton, Ed Begley, Jr., a bi-partisan selection of prominent political figures including Ralph Nader, Frank Gaffney, Alan Lloyd, Jim Boyd, Alan Lowenthal, S. David Freeman, and ex-CIA head James Woolsey, as well as news footage from the development, launch and marketing of EV’s.

Nominated: Best Documentary – Environmental Media Awards (2006)
Won: Special Jury Prize – Mountain Film (Telluride) (2006)
Nominated: Best Documentary – Writers Guild of America
Won: Audience Award – Canberra International Film Festival
Nominated: 2007 Best Documentary Feature – Broadcast Film Critics Association

The “gasoline” for operating this car only costs 16 cents per gallon!

Who Killed the Electric Car? from Julien Chaulieu on Vimeo.

A murder mystery, a call to arms and an effective inducement to rage, Who Killed the Electric Car? is the latest and one of the more successful additions to the growing ranks of issue-oriented documentaries.
– The New York Times

A potent hybrid of passion and politics fuel this energetic and highly compelling documentary.
– Michael Rachtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

If $3-a-gallon gasoline doesn’t make you hate the big oil companies, the shocking revelations in Chris Paine’s thought-provoking documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? will.
– V. A. Musetto, New York Post

Top 8 Large Hadron Collider Videos

The Large Hadron Collider has become fodder for tons of viral videos. Some are hilarious, others are informative, and the best are somewhere in between. Here are our favorites:

8. CERN Explained in 3 Minutes
A great introduction to the whole European Center for Nuclear Research, not just its highest profile project.

Read moreTop 8 Large Hadron Collider Videos

Large Hadron Collider to Be Stalled for 2 Months

The giant Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most expensive scientific experiment, will be shut down for at least two months, scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, in Geneva said today.

The shutdown casts into doubt the hopes of CERN physicists to achieve high-energy collisions of protons in the machine before the end of the year. “It’s too early to say whether we’ll still be having collisions this year,” James Gillies, head of communications for CERN, said in an e-mail message. The laboratory shuts down to save money on electricity during the winter.

A gala inauguration party scheduled for Oct. 21 will still take place, Dr. Gillies said.

The collider is designed to accelerate the subatomic particles known as protons to energies of 7 trillion electron volts, far surpassing any other accelerator on Earth, and bang them together in search of new particles and forces.

Read moreLarge Hadron Collider to Be Stalled for 2 Months

The Army’s Totally Serious Mind-Control Project


Army scientists want to cram this array of brain-wave reading sensors into a helmet.

Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That’s why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing “thought helmets” that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will “lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.”

If this sounds insane, it would have been as recently as a few years ago. But improvements in computing power and a better understanding of how the brain works have scientists busy hunting for the distinctive neural fingerprints that flash through a brain when a person is talking to himself. The Army’s initial goal is to capture those brain waves with incredibly sophisticated software that then translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. “It’d be radio without a microphone, ” says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. “Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.”

Read moreThe Army’s Totally Serious Mind-Control Project