"MINNEAPOLIS -- Thousands of school librarians from all over the country were a captive audience to an author with an idea about technology Thursday night.
An idea that suggests it may do as much harm as good.
Nicholas Carr penned the New York Times bestseller "The Shallows" and the essay "Is Google Making You Stupid."
Carr's premise in both is simple, information overload is killing our ability to construct meaning.
"We are just encouraged to spend all this time gathering new bits of information and we are not encouraged to stand back and form the flow and actually weave all of those bits of information into knowledge," Carr said.
Carr's audience was a captive one.
"I am already seeing kids that are what we call digital natives. They are very used to using it but when they have to step back and synthesize information that is where the problem comes in," Hill-Murray librarian Jane Rolnick said, agreeing with every point Carr made.
That is precisely the fear, kids are learning today to consume information at a level that values quantity over quality and decimating their ability to absorb information and think it through one piece at a time.
"I watch them click on a link to open it, they spend 10 seconds scanning and they say to me it doesn't have anything what is the next one," elementary school librarian Dierdre Jameson of Stillwater said.
Carr's suggestion to his choir was to give students books. Books, he said, have no pop ups, tweets or texts rather they are the original vehicle to narrow the focus one page at a time.
When asked point blank to explain his essay title, "Is Google Making You Stupid," Carr was quick to answer. "I think Google as well as the rest of the internet is making us superficial."
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.) "
Some users of mobile phones complain of sensations of heating, headaches and nausea when using their mobile phone. However, whether these effects can result from the RF levels associated with mobile phones has not been verified by scientific studies. Some research has shown that RF radiation levels below the limits specified in the Standard can cause certain biological effects but has not established that these biological effects can adversely affect health. It is important to know the difference between biological and health effects, for example, moving from near sea level to somewhere in the mountains causes more blood cells to be m"
"Sydney, January 21: Researchers from the US and Sweden have found in a study, funded by some of the world’s biggest phone makers, that radiations emitting from mobile phones cause headaches and interrupt vital sleep patterns. ..
"..(CNN) -- Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
What that means is they found some evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users, but have not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers
"The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences," said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles....
The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.
"What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain," Black said. "So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."
Wireless industry responded to Tuesday's announcement saying it "does not mean cell phones cause cancer." CTIA-The Wireless Association added that WHO researchers "did not conduct any new research, but rather reviewed published studies."
The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. The head of a prominent cancer-research institute at the University of Pittsburgh sent a memo to all employees urging them to limit cell phone use because of a possible risk of cancer.
"When you look at cancer development -- particularly brain cancer -- it takes a long time to develop. I think it is a good idea to give the public some sort of warning that long-term exposure to radiation from your cell phone could possibly cause cancer," said Dr. Henry Lai, research professor in bioengineering at University of Washington who has studied radiation for more than 30 years.
Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor. To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage among children.
"Children's skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger." said Black of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In February, a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, revealed radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells. The effects of brain activity being artificially stimulated are still unknown.
Neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says Tuesday's announcement, "dealt a blow to those who have long said, 'There is no possible mechanism for cell phones to cause cancer.' By classifying cell phones as a possible carcinogen, they also seem to be tacitly admitting a mechanism could exist."
Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body.
The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says users' radiation exposure should not exceed FCC guidelines: "When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) away from the body."
BlackBerry Bold advises users to, "keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 inch (25 millimeters) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting."
Verizon Wireless has begun selling information about its customers' geographical locations, app usage, and Web browsing activities, a move that raises privacy questions and could brush up against federal wiretapping law.
The company this month began offering reports to marketers showing what Verizon subscribers are doing on their phones and other mobile devices, including what iOS and Android apps are in use in which locations. Verizon says it may link the data to third-party databases with information about customers' gender, age, and even details such as "sports enthusiast, frequent diner or pet owner."
"We're able to view just everything that they do," Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, told an industry conference earlier this year. "And that's really where data is going today. Data is the new oil."
Verizon Wireless says that its initiative, called Precision Market Insights, is legal because the information is aggregated and doesn't reveal customers' identities. Also, the company says, its customers can opt out at any time.
But hyper-detailed monitoring of customers' activity looks a lot like the deep packet inspection techniques that landed NebuAd in hot water -- including a congressional investigation -- four years ago. NebuAd's chief executive, Robert Dykes, claimed he had created "anonymous profiles that cannot be hacked or reverse-engineered," but the controversy led to the company's demise.
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said a wireless carrier that discloses information about which URLs a customer visits could run afoul of the Wiretap Act. In general, the law says, carriers may not "divulge the contents of any communication."
"I don't see any substantive difference between collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else," Fakhoury says. "In the end, there is still a capturing of content from the user at some point -- and that's what the potential (Wiretap Act) problem is."
Paul Ohm, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School currently working at the Federal Trade Commission, concluded in a law review article that federal privacy law "likely forbids many invasive forms of ISP monitoring."
"We're able to view just everything that they do," Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for Verizon Wireless' marketing initiative, says at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Data to Dollars event.
In a video that was posted of the industry event sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles, Verizon's Diggins touted the carrier's extensive monitoring abilities: "We're able to analyze what people are viewing on their handsets. If you're at an MLB game, we can tell if you're viewing ESPN, we can tell if you're viewing MLB, we can tell what social networking sites you're activating, if you're sending out mobile usage content that's user-generated on video."
Verizon Wireless declined to answer questions that CNET posed last week about how its technology works, but it did provide this statement:
Verizon is committed to customer privacy and takes the issue seriously. The Precision program complies with the law and protects the privacy of our customers. The reports available through the program will not disclose the content of specific customer communications because each report will contain aggregate data from a large number of customers to protect privacy. Customers who do not want their data used as part of the program can opt-out at any time.
"Deep" vs. "shallow" packet inspection
It's true, of course, that any company selling Internet connectivity needs to know the destination of packets so it can route them properly, a practice sometimes referred to as shallow packet inspection.
But monitoring which mobile apps customers are using and which URLs are visited typically means engaging in deep packet inspection, which is controversial because it's more intrusive.
Verizon Wireless' marketing literature acknowledges that it sells "mobile-usage data that offers insights on the mobile-device habits of an audience, including URL visits, app downloads and usage." (Not all carriers do: Google guarantees that its proof-of-concept Google Fiber project "will not engage in deep packet inspection" except when necessary to fend off network attacks.)
Ryan Radia, associate director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank, agrees with the EFF's Fakhoury that disclosing aggregated URLs visited can be legally risky. "If Verizon Wireless discloses the URLs you've accessed without your consent, it has violated (the Wiretap Act) -- even if Verizon Wireless doesn't disclose any other identifying information," Radia said.
The 2003 In Re Pharmatrak decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit offers a glimpse of how judges view whether customers truly consented. The court ruled in a case involving Web tracking "that it makes more sense to place the burden of showing consent on the party seeking the benefit of the exception." The judges approvingly cited a second case, which said "consent can only be implied when the surrounding circumstances convincingly show that the party knew about and consented to the interception."
In addition, a Florida appeals court has ruled that a state law closely resembling the Wiretap Act is violated when information about "websites visited by the user" is intercepted without consent. Wiretap Act violations can be punished by damages of $100 per victim per day or $10,000 per victim, whichever is greater.
Verizon's Diggins said the carrier had created "a very sophisticated system" so advanced it can predict what customers will want: "We're able to identify what that customer likes not by filling out a form, but by analyzing what they do on a day-to-day basis. We're able to serve them products that we know they like because we've seen that they've gone through and downloaded products like it." One potential customer for the Precision program, he said, is a sports arena that wants to know more about who's attending a game.
There is an irony here: as the online advertising market is shifting toward behavioral targeting, sometimes called interest-based ads, companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft are able to compile detailed profiles on their users. But because of legal twists -- and, perhaps, an old-fashioned cultural norm skeptical of the telephone company listening in on calls -- broadband and wireless providers are being left behind.
However, ads make Facebook and Google free to use. Says Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project: "When you pay a company $80 a month, they have no business monetizing the data they're collecting."
"USA (MNN) ― "The world has lost a visionary," President Barack Obama said in a statement posted Wednesday night on the White House blog. "And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented."
The devices he invented have also impacted the Kingdom for eternity. The technology has made possible the spread of God's Word to places never before imagined says Bill Lohr, spokesman for Faith Comes By Hearing.
FCBH specializes in distributing dramatized New Testament. Lohr says, "We have moved into the digital world in terms of getting God's Word out there in ways people can access it. And Apple has been a big part of that: Iphone, Ipad, the ITunes store, through our Bible.is ap -- all of those areas they can actually touch God's Word now."
While Steve Jobs probably had no intention of helping Christians share God's Word into hard-to-reach areas of the world, that's exactly what has happened with this Iphone and Ipad technology. Lohr says, "Folks aren't looking at them as 'This is the Gospel' or 'This is a Bible coming in.' They're basically looking at it as technology. Being able to piggy-back that technology and put God's Word on those devices has really given us access to countries that sometimes are a little more difficult to get into."
This technology has had an incredible impact already. In just over a year, FCBH has seen millions worldwide download God's Word on their Iphones and Ipads. "5,812,562 downloads from the AP store. So, through that store which was created by Apple through Steve Jobs' undertaking, many people have been able to turn around and access God's Word."
The FCBH audio New Testament is available on Bible.is in 590 languages. Lohr says the future is bright with this technology. "In the next five years, there are going to be five billion of these smart phones in the market. That's five billion [people] who can be reached through this technology."
Lack of funding, however, is preventing FCBH from expanding to even more languages. "We do need to have the funds available to go out and do the recordings. Our partners need the funds to go out and do the translations. We need the funding to be able to keep [offering] these free."
If you'd like to help Faith Comes By Hearing reaching people in other languages, click here. ..
"WEST ST. PAUL, Minn -- The Oregon Trail shaped an entire generation. Many people in their 20's and 30's probably played it on an Apple computer. It continues to be one of the most popular education games and it all started in an apartment in Minneapolis.
Bill Heinemann and Paul Dillenberger were student teachers living in Minneapolis in the 70's. Their roommate Don Rawitsch was teaching history and wanted to create a game about the Westward Expansion. Rawitsch started building a board game when his roommates walked in.
"When they saw what I was doing they said 'you know there's probably a better way to do this with the computer,'" Rawitsch said. ..
"CNN) -- Pennsylvania parents are suing their son's school, alleging it watched him through his laptop's webcam while he was at home and unaware he was being observed.
Michael and Holly Robbins of Penn Valley are suing the Lower Merion School District, its board of directors and the superintendent. The parents allege the district unlawfully used its ability to access a webcam remotely on their son's district-issued laptop computer.
The lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The suit said that on November 11, an assistant principal at Harriton High School told the plaintiffs' son that he was caught engaging in "improper behavior" in his home and it was captured in an image via the webcam.
According to the Robbinses' complaint, neither they nor their son, Blake, were informed of the school's ability to access the webcam remotely at any time. It is unclear what the boy was doing in his room when the webcam was activated or if any punishment was given out.
Doug Young, a spokesman for the Lower Merion School District, said the district would only remotely access a laptop if it were reported to be lost, stolen or missing.
Young said if there were such a report, the district first would have to request access from its technology and security department and receive authorization. Then it would use the built-in security feature to take over the laptop and see whatever was in the webcam's field of vision, potentially allowing it to track down the missing computer.
Young said parents and students were not explicitly told about this built-in security feature.
To receive the laptop, the family had to sign an "acceptable-use" agreement. To take the laptop home, the family also would have to buy insurance for the computer.
In an "acceptable-use" agreement, the families are made aware of the school's ability to "monitor" the hardware, he said, but it stops short of explicitly explaining the security feature. He termed that a mistake.
Young added that mistakes might be made when combining technology and education in a cutting-edge way.
All 2,300 students at the district's two high schools were offered laptops to "enhance opportunities for ongoing collaboration and ensure that all students have 24/7 access to school-based resources," according to a message on the superintendent's Web site, which the suit quoted.
Young said the district is proud of the laptop program and the ability to close the technology gap between students who have computers at home and those who don't. But he acknowledged schools will have to take a step back to re-evaluate the policies and procedures surrounding the program.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania isn't involved in the litigation, but its director, Vic Walczak, criticized the school district's action.
"Neither police nor school officials can enter a private home, physically or electronically, without an invitation or a warrant. The school district's clandestine electronic eavesdropping violates constitutional privacy rights, intrudes on parents' right to raise their children and may even be criminal under state and federal wiretapping laws," Walczak said "... George Orwell's '1984' is an overused metaphor, but it applies here in spades. Part of the school officials' punishment should be to retake ninth-grade civics class."
Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation who specializes in electronic privacy, also said the school may have broken federal wire-tapping laws. He called the school district's action "foolish and dangerous," saying the matter could prove to be a warning to other districts.
Multiple requests for further comment from the Robbinses' attorney, Mark Haltzman of Lamm Rubenstone LLC, went unanswered."
Crosswalk.com: “Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion” An Interview with Tim Challies - Movies
"Popular Christian blogger, Tim Challies, sits down with Crosswalk.com to discuss his new book “The Next Story”
(Zondervan) and how to explore technology from a faithful perspective. Can Christians can live in this new digital age with character, virtue, and wisdom, responding to these revolutionary changes as true followers of Christ? www.crosswalk.com www.challies.com "
" Several days ago a 20-year-old student discovered a GPS tracking device hidden on his car. After his friend posted a picture of it online, speculating about its ties to a secret FBI investigation, the feds themselves came a-knockin', according to Wired.com. They wanted their toy back.
Based on the discussion with the six FBI agents who arrived at his doorstep, Yassir Afifi believes he'd been under surveillance for three to six months. When Wired asked an FBI spokesman about the case, he did not acknowledge ownership of the device, but said that there was an "ongoing investigation."
Afifi says that he cooperated with the FBI and, according to Wired, "did nothing to merit attention from authorities." He is a U.S. citizen who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., where he attends Mission College.
Afifi's father, an Islamic-American activist, died a year ago in Egypt. It is not clear what the circumstances of his death were, or if this was the reason for the FBI's investigation of Afifi.
The gadget itself — a GPS receiver identified as a police-issue-only Cobham Orion Guardian ST820 tracking system, connected to a battery pack and radio transmitter — was magnetically attached to the car. A shot of it made its way around the blogosphere on Monday, after appearing on the community news site Reddit. After Afifi spotted an antenna sticking out during an oil change, the garage owner offered to yank it out. It apparently popped off quite easily.
The question of whether or not sticking a GPS on a car is legal is actually in the middle of a hot debate right now. One federal court recently said that it was legal, while another said that tracking for an "extended period of time" would in fact require a warrant. (For more on this, here's a great piece in Time written by lawyer and tech journalist Adam Cohen.)
Legality aside, the tactic itself might have been carried out with something less than precision. Simply put, tracking devices shouldn't be so easy to find. Wired talked to an agent who said that not only is the tracking device out of date, but state-of-the-art snoops hardwire the stuff directly to the car's electrical system, avoiding the need for a battery.
What's impressive is how quickly Afifi got an identification of the gadget by crowdsourcing it on the Web. On the flipside, that kind of exposure isn't good PR for the FBI. Surely the revelation of the magnetic tracker will cause many people to check under their own cars. Like many noble efforts to keep us safe from terrorism, this one may be turning out to not be so effective. After all, those who already know they're involved in illegal activity probably check their cars every day, rain or shine.
This piece originally appeared on Technolog. For more details on the Afifi story, read the report at Wired.com."
This is an extremely timely and important essay. It overviews a secret Pentagon psychotronics technology known as Silent Sound Spread Spectrum (SSSS) that has been fully operational since the early 1990s. I first found out about the use of this technology from Al Bielek in a 1992 video he made with Vladimir Terziski. This technology was used against battle-hardened Iraqi troops fortified in deep underground bunkers in Kuwait and Iraq in the first Gulf War in January of 1991.
The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of this technology were so severe that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops surrended en masse without firing even a single shot against US led coalition forces. The numbers reported in the news were staggering: 75,000 and then annother 125,000 (or more) Iraqi troops would come out of their deep desert bunkers waving white flags and falling to their knees before approaching US troops and literally kiss their captor’s boots or hands if given the opportunity.
Why would eight year veterans of Middle Eastern warfare (with Iran 1980-1988) behave this way? Simple. They were subjected to a technology that was so extreme and incomprehensible that they were suddenly reduced to the level of compliant children and felt grateful to still be alive in the wake of their mind-wrenching experience.
This technology is about to be used, albeit in a more subtle fashion, against American citizens in a highly classified and covert operation to mind control and manipulate the entire population into ‘compliance’ with our New World order overlords. The technology will utilize a combination of HAARP transmitters, GWEN towers, microwave Cell Phone towers, and the soon-to-be-mandatory High Definition Digital TV that will enter your home via: a) cable, b) satellite, c) HD TVs, or d) those oh-so-easy-to-obtain “digital converter boxes” that the government is so anxious to help you obtain and underwrite most of the cost on your behalf.
But why is the government so anxious to help American citizens experience a clearer and more highly defined television picture? Does that make sense to you? Since when is the government so concerned about the visual quality of our televised entertainment that congress would pass an undebated statutory proclamation which mandated that the HD conversion take place on Feb. 17, 2009 and and then subsidze about 90% of the associated cost?
I’m only guessing, but if there are 200 million “regular” televisions in America to be converted into HD, then that $40 in government subsidy per TV × 200,000,000 = $8 billion. Why is the government so anxious to spend 8 billion dollars on her citizens to improve the clarity of a TV picture? Or is the recently touted “additional bandwidth” cover story that supposedly is to be gained with the HD technology the only and genuine reason for spending so much taxpayer dollars on HD conversion?
The second service that this author performs is to “out” two of our more deceptive CIA/Pentagon ‘assets’ masquerading under the rubric of natural health advocates. Their names are Rima Laibow and her husband, “former” Major General Albert Stubblebine. If your e-mail Inbox has been filling with warnings and articles in recent months about the coming Codex regulations and the “wonderful” job that Rima and her retired Army husband have been doing to try and stem the tide, then you know who I’m talking about.
Folks, is it time to wake up yet? Or should we just resume our slumber and wait for them to take us away in those spiffy Gunderson cattle cars that Phil Schneider warned us about in 1995 (you know, the ones with the built in shackles and manacles)?
Ken Adachi, Educate Yourself.org
" The technology called FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance) is old and archaic actually. Mengele and others were “reading” brain waves via magnetic resonance graphing in the early 70’s. Boston-Logan Airport is already using new light-wave beams to scan and read air traveler’s intentions before they board the planes...
Many computer monitors and HD TV screens, when displaying pulsed images, emit pulsed electromagnetic fields of sufficient amplitudes to cause such excitation. It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or DIGITAL TV set. For the latter, the image pulsing may be embedded in the program material, or it may be overlaid by modulating a video stream, either as an RF signal or as a video signal. "
8 Household Electronics That Are Hurting You, Part 1 - Dr. Debra Greene
"Uploaded by DrDebraGreene on Oct 21, 2010
www.YourEnergyMatters.com In part 1 of 2 in the series "8 Household Electronics that are HURTING You," Dr. Greene shows the health hazards and free solutions for dealing with common household electronics such as light bulbs, cordless phones, microwave ovens, cell phones, and baby monitors. She offers eye opening and important information as well as simple solutions. Be sure to watch Part 2 for MORE demonstrations and FREE solutions for wireless computers, decreasing your body voltage, and how radiation travels through your walls.
"Las Vegas (CNN) -- The former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center raised concerns Wednesday about an impending "code war" in which hackers will tamper not just with the Internet but with technology that runs real-world infrastructure.
Somewhat fittingly, Cofer Black's keynote talk at the Black Hat hacker conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was interrupted by a literal alarm: flashing lights, sirens and the whole bit.
"Attention, please. Attention, please," a robotic woman's voice said repeatedly as Black smiled, apparently confused. "We are currently investigating the alarm signal you are hearing. Please remain calm."
After a pause and some laughs from the audience, Black kept going.
"This is a very delicate window into our future," he told the hackers. "Cold war, global war on terrorism and now you have the code war -- which is your war."
It's unclear what caused the alarm -- whether it was planned to help make Black's point, was an accident or was the result of a hack. Black Hat is a computer security conference attended by thousands of hackers.
One Black Hat spokeswoman said that sort of thing happens every year at this event, and she's not sure exactly what causes the alarms.
Another said it wasn't a hack. "With over 6,500 people in here it's hard to control who pulls the alarm!" Natalia Wodecki wrote in an e-mail.
In any event, Black's siren-punctuated words carry weight, since he's credited with warning the United States government about a September 11-type terrorist attack in August 2001. Black recalled the moment he told defense officials about the threat of al Qaeda, and he compared that moment to his Black Hat talk.
Officials should be more concerned about a cyberattack, he said.
"People say, 'Were you surprised when 9/11 took place?' and I can tell you neither myself nor my people in counterterrorism were surprised at all. Instead it was a strange validation of what we had anticipated had indeed taken place. ...
"In the technology world, you may face similar issues in the future."
He referenced last year's Stuxnet computer worm, which some researchers think was designed to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
"I'm here to tell ya ... the Stuxnet attack is the Rubicon of our future," he said. "I don't necessarily understand how this was executed, but the important points are (that) it was really expensive, so a nation-state had to be involved."
Hacking, once see as "college pranks," has moved "into physical destruction of a national resource," he said. "This is huge."
He left the talk on an optimistic note, calling on security researchers in the audience to work to prevent such attacks.
"We're all in this together, and we're counting on you," he said."
Drones Are Weapons of Choice in Fighting Qaeda By CHRISTOPHER DREW
Published: March 16, 2009 nytimes.com "A missile fired by an American drone killed at least four people late Sunday at the house of a militant commander in northwest Pakistan, the latest use of what intelligence officials have called their most effective weapon against Al Qaeda.
And Pentagon officials say the remotely piloted planes, which can beam back live video for up to 22 hours, have done more than any other weapons system to track down insurgents and save American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The planes have become one of the military’s favorite weapons despite many shortcomings resulting from the rush to get them into the field.
An explosion in demand for the drones is contributing to new thinking inside the Pentagon about how to develop and deploy new weapons systems.
Air Force officials acknowledge that more than a third of their unmanned Predator spy planes — which are 27 feet long, powered by a high-performance snowmobile engine, and cost $4.5 million apiece — have crashed, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pilots, who fly them from trailers halfway around the world using joysticks and computer screens, say some of the controls are clunky. For example, the missile-firing button sits dangerously close to the switch that shuts off the plane’s engines. Pilots are also in such short supply that the service recently put out a call for retirees to help.
But military leaders say they can easily live with all that.
Since the height of the cold war, the military has tended to chase the boldest and most technologically advanced solution to every threat, leading to long delays and cost overruns that result in rarely used fighter jets that cost $143 million apiece, and plans for a $3 billion destroyer that the Navy says it can no longer afford.
Now the Pentagon appears to be warming up to Voltaire’s saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
In speeches, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has urged his weapons buyers to rush out “75 percent solutions over a period of months” rather than waiting for “gold-plated” solutions.
And as the Obama administration prepares its first budget, officials say they plan to free up more money for simpler systems like drones that can pay dividends now, especially as fighting intensifies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A rare behind-the-scenes look at the use of the Predator shows both the difficulties and the rewards in pushing out weapons more quickly.
“I’ll be really candid,” said Col. Eric Mathewson, who directs the Air Force’s task force on unmanned aerial systems. “We’re on the ragged edge.”
He said the service has been scrambling to train more pilots, who fly the drones via satellite links from the western United States, to keep up with a near-tripling of daily missions in the last two years.
Field commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Air Force is in charge of the Predators, say their ability to linger over an area for hours, streaming instant video warnings of insurgent activity, has been crucial to reducing threats from roadside bombs and identifying terrorist compounds. The C.I.A. is in charge of drone flights in Pakistan, where more than three dozen missiles strikes have been launched against Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in recent months.
Considered a novelty a few years ago, the Air Force’s fleet has grown to 195 Predators and 28 Reapers, a new and more heavily armed cousin of the Predator. Both models are made by General Atomics, a contractor based in San Diego. Including drones that the Army has used to counter roadside bombs and tiny hand-launched models that can help soldiers to peer past the next hill or building, the total number of military drones has soared to 5,500, from 167 in 2001.
The urgent need for more drones has meant bypassing usual procedures. Some of the 70 Predator crashes, for example, stemmed from decisions to deploy the planes before they had completed testing and to hold off replacing control stations to avoid interrupting the supply of intelligence.
“The context was to do just the absolute minimum needed to sustain the fight now, and accept the risks, while making fixes as you go along,” Colonel Mathewson said.
It is easier, of course, for the military to take more risks with unmanned planes.
Complaints about civilian casualties, particularly from strikes in Pakistan, have stirred some concerns among human rights advocates. Military officials say the ability of drones to observe targets for lengthy periods makes strikes more accurate. They also said they do not fire if they think civilians are nearby.
The Predators were still undergoing basic testing when they were rushed into use in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s and then hastily armed with missiles after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
But it was only after the military turned to new counterinsurgency techniques in early 2007, that demand for drones became almost insatiable. Since then, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary North, the air-component commander for the combined forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the service has gone to “amazing lengths” to increase their use.
The Predators and Reapers are now flying 34 surveillance patrols each day in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from 12 in 2006. They are also transmitting 16,000 hours of video each month, some of it directly to troops on the ground."
Enemy of the State (1998)
"Scenes from the 1998 film "Enemy of the State", Touchstone Pictures. Plot deals with government spying, cover-ups, surveillance police state."
Terminator 2 Trailer
Full-body CT scan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "..is a scan of the patient's entire body to support the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. It may also be known as a full-body CT scan if computed tomography (CAT) technology is used, though there are many types of medical imaging technology which can perform full-body scans (see box on bottom of page)...
"BALTIMORE — Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.
The Transportation Security Administration recently started using body scans on randomly chosen airline passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and New York's Kennedy airport.
Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month. Reagan National Airport near Washington starts using a body scanner Friday. A total of 38 machines will be in use within weeks.
"It's the wave of the future," said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint...
"Outrage was growing today over the abuse of naked airport body scanners after it was revealed that a Heathrow worker perved over a naked image of a female colleague after she passed through one of the devices, before commenting, “I love those gigantic tits".
Jo Margetson, 29, reported John Laker, 25, to the police after she had entered the x-ray machine by mistake and Laker took the image before making lewd comments.
One of the most important aspects of this story which the media has completely failed to mention is the fact that, despite a barrage of propaganda on behalf of the government claiming that the images produced do not show sensitive areas of the body in detail, the fact that Laker was clearly able to distinguish Margetson’s breasts proves once again that the scanners do show crisp details of genitals and other sensitive body parts.
As we have exhaustively emphasized, the body scanners do allow airport workers to see intricate details of your body – penis length, breast size, implants, piercings, including crystal clear naked shots of your children. The fact that authorities initially lied and denied this was the case as part of the agenda to hastily install scanners after the staged Christmas bombing incident was clearly a case of mass public deception and one of the primary reasons why the scanners need to be removed now.
Action for Rights of Children warned that the scanners broke child porn laws in the UK after their widespread introduction, but the government refused to make an exception and now force all Brits who are asked to go through the scanners without the alternative option of a pat down. If travelers refuse then they are barred from flying, another complete violation of the basic human right to mobility.
“I can’t bear to think about the body scanner thing,” Margetson told the Sun last night, “”I’m totally traumatised. I’ve spoken to the police about it. I’m in too much of a state to go to work.”
Laker was given a formal warning for harassment by police and faces the sack.
“When privacy-invading machines are installed at our airports, abuses like this are inevitable,” said Barrister Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch. “We are disturbed to hear of this case, which will lead to greater calls for these scanners to be banned.”
“For every official caught ogling like this, there are plenty more eyeing up law-abiding travellers. These expensive machines are totally disproportionate.”
Airport Worker Pervs Over Woman In Body Scanner: I Love Those Gigantic Tits article 1260222 08D8AEC8000005DC 955 233x301
Heathrow Airport worker Jo Margetson.
As we reported last month, Indian film star Shahrukh Khan claimed that Heathrow staff printed out and circulated an image of him taken by the naked body scanner. Heathrow denied the claim but Khan did not make a retraction and had no motive for inventing the story.
Airport security staff workers are among the least trustworthy people to operate these machines. These individuals are routinely caught abusing their authority for their own ego trip or sexual perversion.
As the video below illustrates, the fact that naked body scanner machines in the U.S. are manned by TSA thugs who are routinely caught abusing their power in treating the public like prison inmates only heightens the danger posed by the use abuse of the new devices.
TSA Discriminates against disabled people then violates rights to privacy
People in the United States need to lobby for states to pass laws nullifying use of the body scanners as a threat to privacy, health, and a total violation of human dignity, a virtual strip search that wouldn’t even have stopped the Christmas day bomber who was allowed to board the plane as a result of a U.S. State Department directive.
Idaho is leading the revolt, by passing a law that limits the use of the x-ray scanning devices in airports and government buildings and also forces Homeland Security to disprove health concerns.
We are joining the hundreds of other Americans who have filed complaints in protesting naked body scanners as an affront to privacy, dignity, and a health risk, by launching our naked body scanner contest in an effort to focus public attention on how we must stop these machines now before they are installed in the streets and become another tool of control and oppression as part of the prison planet being constructed around us.
Not only have authorities in Europe promised to roll out mobile body scanners on the streets to mass scan crowds of people, but Homeland Security has even gone a step further, developing Orwellian mind-reading devices that are set to be installed as part of unconstitutional checkpoints at public events.
We are offering our biggest prize fund ever of $15,000 for the entries that most successfully highlight the true agenda behind naked body scanners and where this is all heading unless we put our foot down now and help to build momentum behind public pressure to remove the scanners from airports."
"" Xbox death highlights game addiction dangers
By Mike Smith
By Mike Smith | Plugged In – 10 hours ago (Friday, August 19th 2011) "Addicted to games? That isn't just trouble for your social life — it could be bad news for your health, too.
The sad story of gamer Chris Staniforth, who collapsed and died earlier this year shortly after concluding a lengthy Xbox session, has thrust the issue of game addiction back into the spotlight.
An autopsy found a blood clot had formed in his leg and moved to his lungs, causing a fatal pulmonary embolism. The condition -- known as "deep vein thrombosis" -- is more commonly associated with long-haul flights. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, at least 100,000 Americans die every year from conditions linked to deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
So just how much of a risk does compulsive gaming pose?
As it turns out, a pretty substantial one. While video game sales are in a bit of a slump, there's no evidence gamers are actually playing them less. Electronic games are a fixture in two-thirds of American homes, and research indicates as many as 8% of American kids are so addicted to their electronic entertainment that it's causing real-world problems for their personal development. Still, convincing health professionals to take it seriously can be hard -- and finding resources for sufferers and their loved ones can often be harder still.
Tempting though it is to view these problems as new, they're almost as old as online games themselves. Way back in 1994, when internet use was confined to a handful of geeks and academics, Wired magazine reported on a college student ditching class to play a MUD -- one of the text-based, community-run online worlds that were precursors to today's vast, sprawling, massively-multiplayer hits.
It's one of those that's most often associated with stories of gaming gone too far: Blizzard's World of Warcraft, easily the most successful such game of all time. Once played by over 12 million regulars worldwide, Warcraft's subscriber numbers have dipped of late, but it's still well into eight digits. And an increasing number of the game's chronic players are searching for ways to curb their addiction.
Gathering on sites like wowaholics.org to share their stories, many Warcraft addicts have tales that make alarming reading. Broken marriages, foreclosed homes, destroyed careers, dramatic weight gain (and dangerous weight loss), even suicides; it could be enough to put you off video games for life.
"I've always done well at school, been very close to family, had a good social life, worked on the weekends for my parents' business and enjoyed many activities," writes Wowaholics contributor Erika. "However, during my addiction, I hated, truly hated, going out with family during my 'WoW time.' I never organised anything with my friends, I sulked about having to work during the weekends, I dropped all my interests... just because of WoW. I became withdrawn, irritable and lifeless."
But is this level of compulsive gaming really a clinical disorder, in the same way as compulsive gambling or chemical addictions? Not according to the American Medical Association, which in 2007 declined to include the condition in its upcoming revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the biblical volume used by medical professionals to categorize, diagnose, and treat psychiatric problems. While expressing concern about the problem, the AMA said it required more research before gaming could be classified as a formal addiction.
That's not going to come as much comfort to sufferers -- and it hasn't stopped a rash of practitioners from setting up clinics dedicated to treating compulsive gamers. Centers have opened in China, South Korea, Amsterdam and even the U.S. Based in Fall City, Washington, the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program offers a 45-day residential rehab and therapy package aimed at game addicts. Boasting a reported price-tag of around $15,000, the program is hardly cheap, but it might be worthwhile for the seriously afflicted.
It's bound to be a growth industry. Sure, Warcraft's popularity is finally on the wane, but creator Blizzard is unlikely to be worried. The company's hard at work finishing up Diablo III, the long-awaited sequel to the fast-paced role-playing game that had a serious reputation for addictiveness in its day.
Meanwhile, Blizzard's next project, another online RPG bearing the codename "Titan," is rumored to be even more approachable and friendly for the casual gamer than Warcraft ever was. That bodes well for the company, but could spell trouble for those already struggling with addiction.
Concerned your game playing habits could be affecting your health? Try these tips:
-- Get up and move around. Just a few minutes spent walking can stimulate blood flow to the legs, reducing the chances of a clot forming, and you don't even need to put down the controller.
-- Take breaks. Most game and console makers recommend taking a 10-15 minute break every hour, which'll reduce your risk of developing repetitive strain injuries, eye problems, fatigue, and skin irritation.
-- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water, but avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Dehydration raises your risk of blood clots.
-- Feet up. Try sitting with your legs elevated, propped on a footstool or similar support. This may help increase blood circulation to your lower extremities.
-- Pay attention. If you notice extreme soreness in your hands, arms, wrists, or eyes during or after playing, stop playing and seek medical attention."
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Are the Chariots of Fire mentioned in Elijah's abduction in the Bible UFOs? ... The really easy example is the account of Elijah being taken up to heaven. ...
-Unmanned aerial vehicle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "(UAV; also known as a remotely piloted vehicle or RPV, or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)) is an aircraft that flies without a human crew on board the aircraft. Their largest uses are in military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a reusable, uncrewed vehicle capable of controlled, sustained, level flight and powered by a jet or reciprocating engine. Therefore, cruise missiles are not considered UAVs, because, like many other guided missiles, the vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided.
There is a wide variety of UAV shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple drones (remotely piloted aircraft), but autonomous control is increasingly being employed in UAVs. UAVs come in two varieties: some are controlled from a remote location, and others fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans using more complex dynamic automation systems.
Currently, military UAVs perform reconnaissance as well as attack missions. While many successful drone attacks on militants have been reported, they are also prone to collateral damage and/or erroneous targeting, as with many other weapon types. UAVs are also used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as firefighting or nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty, or dangerous" for manned aircraft.
The abbreviation UAV has been expanded in some cases to UAVS (unmanned-aircraft vehicle system). The Federal Aviation Administration has adopted the generic class unmanned aircraft system (UAS) originally introduced by the U.S. Navy to reflect the fact that these are not just aircraft, but systems, including ground stations and other elements....
Iraqi Drones May Target U.S. Cities
Monday, February 24, 2003 foxnews.com "WASHINGTON — Iraq could be planning a chemical or biological attack on American cities through the use of remote-controlled "drone" planes equipped with GPS tracking maps, according to U.S. intelligence.
The information about Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program has caused a "real concern" among defense personnel, senior U.S. officials tell Fox News. They're worried that these vehicles have already been, or could be, transported inside the United States to be used in an attack, although there is no proof that this has happened.
Secretary of State Colin Powell showed a picture of a small drone plane during his presentation to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.
"UAVs outfitted with spray tanks constitute an ideal method for launching a terrorist attack using biological weapons," Powell said during his speech. "Iraq could use these small UAVs, which have a wingspan of only a few meters, to deliver biological agents to its neighbors or, if transported, to other countries, including the United States."..
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