Posts from the ‘Archives’ Category

Tooth Phone

Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK

Put your mobile where your mouth is
That ringing in your ear could be your phone

Soon you could be swapping your mobile phone for a molar phone.
Royal College of Art students in London have developed a phone that fits inside a tooth.

The concept device picks up signals with a radio receiver and uses a tiny vibrating plate to convey them as sound along the jawbone to a person’s ear.

The designers said the mini-molar phone could be implanted in a tooth during routine dental surgery.

The prototype phone is the work of graduates James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau and forms part of the Royal College of Art’s annual summer exhibition.

Known as The Show, this exhibition shows off the best ideas of the current crop of RCA designers and students.

Bits and bites

Currently, the tooth phone is only a mock-up and lacks the communications chip to actually turn it into a functioning device.

Mr Auger said the technology to turn it into a working device already existed and it would be a simple matter to build the relevant chips into the gadget.

The designers speculate that, if the tooth phone becomes a working device, it could be used by stock traders to receive up-to-the-moment information about share prices or to help football managers communicate quickly with players during key matches.

However, the existing design is only supposed to help stimulate debate about future wearable computing devices and to help explore the social and cultural ramifications of in-body technology.

The tooth phone is on show at the Science Museum in London from the 21 June to November.

Development of the device was funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts as part of a collaboration between the Science Museum and the Royal College of Art.

news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_2055000/2055654.stm
web.archive.org/web/20021127185548/

Parole Hearing For Manson Follower

Parole Hearing For Manson Follower
Wednesday June 5, 2002 2:10 PM

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – A judge ordered a new parole hearing for former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, saying her good behavior behind bars should be considered.

Superior Court Judge Bob N. Krug also suggested Monday that the state Board of Prison Terms provide further guidance on other things she can do to earn her freedom.

The judge said last month that the board had not given specific reasons for denying parole to Van Houten, who was convicted of a double slaying in the 1960s.

The state board has rejected parole for Van Houten 13 times, most recently in June 2000. Board members said she could benefit from further therapy in prison.

A new parole review was scheduled for later this month, a spokesman for the state prison system said.

Van Houten’s lawyer, Christie Webb, declined to comment, saying she wanted to discuss the decision with her client first.

Van Houten, now 52, was a teen-ager when she was convicted in the slayings of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca. She was a part of the Charles Manson cult that also murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in the summer of 1969 – one of California’s most notorious crimes.

www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-1785197,00.html
web.archive.org/web/20021127185246/

Should the moon be developed?

Date:   06-11-02 00:54

The Moon Society, a nonprofit organization of astronomers, computer programmers and other scientists, advocate ‘large-scale industrialization and private enterprise’ on the moon.

Should the moon be developed?

Lunar golf courses, largescale industrialization under debate

By Jim Carlton
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

May 24 — A dispute over prohibiting development on the moon is causing rising tides of controversy on earth.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/756847.asp?0si=-

US plan to strike enemy with Valium

US plan to strike enemy with Valium

Pentagon scientists aim for future battlefield victories with the aid of tranquillising drugs and GM bugs

Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
Sunday May 26, 2002
The Observer

American military chiefs are developing plans to use Valium as a potential weapon against enemy forces and to control hostile populations, according to official documents seen by The Observer.

The Pentagon has also asked scientists to evaluate proposals to use genetically modified bugs that ‘eat’ the enemy’s fuel and ammunition supplies without harming humans.

The development of these ‘non-lethal’ weapons angers campaigners who claim that they would breach international treaties on biological and chemical weapons.

US documents reveal that two years ago the Pentagon commissioned scientists at Pennsylvania State University to look at potential military uses for a range of chemicals known as calmatives. The scientists concluded that several drugs would be effective to control crowds or in military operations such as anti-terrorist campaigns. The drugs they recommended for ‘immediate consideration’ included diazepam, better known as the tranquilliser Valium, and dexmedetomidine, used to sedate patients in intensive care. The scientists advised that these drugs can ‘effectively act on central nervous system tissues and produces a less anxious, less aggressive, more tranquil-like behaviour’.

Other official documents reveal how genetically engineered micro-organisms to destroy equipment but not harm troops are also being considered by US military scientists as ‘non-lethal’ weapons. One proposal from the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia, proposes creating genetically modified bugs that would corrode roads and runways and produce ‘targeted deterioration of metal parts, coatings and lubricants of weapons vehicles and support equipment as well as fuels’.

This group of scientists has already patented micro-organisms that would decompose polyurethane, ‘a common component of paint for ships and aircraft’. Another proposal from a biotech laboratory at Brooks air force base in Texas was to modify ‘anti-material biocatalysts’ already under development. One of these breaks down fuels and plastics.

Most of the research was funded by Washington’s joint non-lethal weapons programme, in which Britain plays an active part. But further US documents, also seen by The Observer, reveal how a split has developed between the two nations, with British officials backing campaigners’ claims that using drugs such as Valium or other calmatives would be outlawed under the 1991 Chemical Weapons Convention. This protocol prohibits ‘any chemical which… can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm’.

A report of a meeting in the Ministry of Defence’s headquarters in London in November 2000 states: ‘The US and UK interpret the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) differently regarding riot control agents (RCA). The UK interpretation considers them to be chemical weapons under the CWC and thus proscribed; the US view is that they are not banned under that agreement. This could lead to difficulties in combined operations in certain circumstances, a situation compounded by the fact that the UK is a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights, which further governs the use of NLW [non-lethal weapons].’

Some experts believe the use of genetically-modified microbes in military operations would breach the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

Ed Hammond of the Sunshine Project – the US campaigners against biological and chemical weapons that obtained the documents – said: ‘What is absolutely shocking about these disclosures is that it represents either a massive institutional failure to implement US commitments under international treaties or it reflects an effort by some people in the Pentagon to undermine those treaties.’

A US military spokesman has denied that the Pentagon is developing ‘non-lethal’ biological or chemical weapons.

A spokesman from the Foreign Office said: ‘There are discussions between Britain and the US on all sorts of technical issues. But we both share a commitment to comply with all the international conventions governing chemical and biological weapons.’

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,722395,00.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20021129160946/

Weather Wars by Jim Wilson

WEATHER WARS
BY JIM WILSON

It is 2025. An enemy unknown to 20th-century Americans has massed its army at the border of a friendly country in a remote part of the world. High above them flies a single, unmanned stealth aircraft. A faint wisp of black dust sprays from its tail, spurring the creation of the only weapon capable of stopping the threatening horde.

The weapon the dust engenders is mud–old-fashioned, sink-up-to-your-knees, spin-your-tires mud. There’s nothing unusual about this slippery mixture of soil and water. It’s the same sloppy goo that forced the Roman legions to build Britain’s first real roads. What is different, in this futuristic scenario, is the way it’s delivered. Like a meal at a fancy Japanese restaurant, it is being created on the spot and to order. The “chef” is an isolated downpour that swirls only above the heads of the aggressors.

In much the same way that infrared and low-light viewing equipment has made it possible for 20th-century soldiers to own the night, U.S. Air Force planners hope to give 21st-century warriors advanced technologies that will enable them to own the weather. A declassified version of a 2-year study prepared by the Air War College and obtained by PM reveals that this is no dreamland scenario. The Pentagon’s top meteorologists believe the United States will be ready to fight–and win–a weather war early in the next century.

The study, titled “Weather As A Force Multiplier: Owning The Weather In 2025,” envisions future generals having at their disposal an impressive weather-control arsenal for tactical operations. These weapons would include unmanned stealth aircraft that could seed clouds above massing troops with fine particles of heat-absorbing carbon. This next-generation cloud-seeding technique would, in turn, produce localized flooding and create mud, which has been the bane of all of history’s armies. Airborne lasers would cause lightning to discharge over the airframes of attack and surveillance aircraft. Other lasers would fire at fog banks, clearing a temporary flight path to high-value targets, such as command posts. In addition, still more powerful microwave transmitters would heat the ionosphere, altering its reflective properties in ways that would disrupt communications among enemy field commanders.

To reach this future battlefield, the military is planning to piggyback on weather-prediction and weather-modification technologies being developed by the private sector. They estimate that by 2015 supercomputer and atmosphere-monitoring technologies will have advanced to the point where military planners will know exactly what sort of weather to expect over an operations area throughout the course of a campaign lasting several weeks.

The great leap forward, however, is expected to occur between 2015 and 2025, spurred on largely by a growing global population that will put increasing pressure on the worldwide food and drinkable water supplies. “These pressures [will] prompt governments and/or other organizations who are able to capitalize on the technological advances of the previous 20 years to pursue a highly accurate and reasonably precise weather-modification capability,” the report states.

“Our vision is that by 2025 the military could influence the weather on a mesoscale [theater-wide] or microscale [immediate local area] to achieve operational capabilities.”

The report makes the limitations of the military’s current weather-predicting abilities disturbingly clear: “During Operation Desert Storm, Gen. Buster C. Glosson asked his weather officer to tell him which targets would be clear in 48 hours for inclusion in the air tasking order (ATO). But current forecasting capability is only 85% accurate for no more than 24 hours, which doesn’t adequately meet the needs of the ATO planning cycle. Over 50% of the F-117 sorties weather aborted over their targets and A-10s only flew 75 of 200 scheduled close air support missions due to low cloud cover during the first two days of the campaign.”

If weather modification can actually turn the tide of battle remains an open question. The American military’s only acknowledged recent experience in using weather as a weapon occurred with Project Popeye, which began in 1966. The experiment’s objective was to extend the monsoon season, thereby increasing the amount of mud that formed on the Ho Chi Minh trail, a supply route that wound from what was then North Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam. To produce the rain, a silver iodide rainmaking agent–dubbed “Olive Oil”–was dispersed from WC-130, F4 and A-1E aircraft into the clouds over the trail.

Positive results during the initial program led to its continued operation until 1972. But to this day, analysts remain divided over whether the rain created enough extra mud to significantly reduce the delivery of supplies. When you’re slogging through ankle-deep mud, another inch of it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference.

popularmechanics.com/science/military/1997/2/weather_wars/
http://web.archive.org/web/20021129160745/

If your brain’s been bugged, give a listen to this album

The Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com, May 9, 2002,
cleveland.com
Music News

If your brain’s been bugged, give a listen to this album
05/09/02

John Soeder
Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic

As a member of the Kinks, rock ‘n’ roller Dave Davies was a key figure in the British Invasion of the 1960s. Now he’s into space invaders.

For his latest solo project, ‘Bug’, the singer-guitarist has cooked up a doozy of a concept album about how our lives are manipulated by mind- controlling implants. And who planted those nasty devices in our noggins, you ask? Why, the aliens, of course!

“It’s tongue in cheek,” Davies says, not entirely convincingly. He’ll perform tonight at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, backed by a four-piece band.

‘Bug’, which came out Tuesday, is “a metaphor for getting rid of all the negative things holding us back,” Davies says during a recent phone interview. “It’s very much a rock ‘n’ roll record. … But I also try to address some issues, like electromagnetic pollution.”

The title track, “True Phenomenon,” “Whose [sic] Foolin’ Who” and other new tunes embrace sci-fi themes and conspiracy theories, with plenty of crunchy, Kinks-style power chords ringing out throughout the album. If the Weekly World News ran CD reviews, this one would get five stars.

The 55-year-old Davies “very much” believes we are not alone in the universe. “I’ve been fairly involved with some UFO research groups over the years,” says this dedicated follower of paranormal activity.

Apparently, extraterrestrials have been fairly involved with Davies, too. In his autobiography, ‘Kink’, he recounts how “strange voices” struck up a telepathic conversation with him before a 1982 concert.

“The intelligences did not tell me who they were,” he writes, “but two of them said they had always been my spirit guides and two others were entities that were not of this Earth, but were involved in missions here as watchers and nurturers of our race.”

Twenty years later, Davies is still coming to terms with his “epiphany,” as he describes the close encounter. “I was fortunate to have been given a lot of information all at once,”
he says. “It takes a long time for some of this stuff to actually seep into the conscious mind…. It’s all related to my personal growth, to a consciousness shift.”

On a less metaphysical note, the good news for Kinks fans is that Davies recently has been communicating (via e-mail, not telepathically) with his sibling rival Ray, the band’s frontman.

“We’re not quite sure what to do, but we definitely want to work together on something,” Davies says. “I don’t want it to be a purely retro thing. I’d like it to be something new.”

The oft-bickering brothers haven’t teamed up for a Kinks album since “To the Bone,” released in 1994 in their native England and two years later in the United States. It featured stripped-down reworkings of “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the
Night” and other classic-rock keepers from the Kinks catalog. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Alongside selections from ‘Bug’, Davies has been dusting off Kinks favorites during his solo gigs.

“I’m very proud to be associated with such a body of work,” he says. “Ray and I work best when we give each other space to create… I’ve always tried to nurture his ideas, because he’s a special person, as well as being an [expletive].”

Contact John Soeder at:

jsoeder@plaind.com, 216-999-4562

Mothman Prophecies reviewed

Source: The Scarborough Mirror – Toronto
Sunday, January 27, 2002
Film Review by Stuart Green

Mothman Prophecies Heavy On Horror, Chills

Its not easy to make a monster movie that never shows the
monster. It takes a certain skill on the director’s part to make
us believe there is this menacing being or beast or entity
that’s threatening and tormenting our protagonists without
relying on special effects and pup pets to give the monster
form.

But director Mark Pellington has done just that with the
effective and chilling supernatural thriller ‘The Mothman
Prophecies’.

Based on actual events in West Virginia more than 30 years ago,
the film is the eeriest, smartest and most unpredictable tale
of other-worldly happenings since ‘The Sixth Sense’, with the
added impact of having its roots in real life happenings.

‘The Mothman Prophecies’ crosses ‘X-Files’-like paranormal
investigation and the compelling story of a man trying to get
over the death of his wife some two years earlier.

Richard Gere stars as the grieving widower, a journalist named
John Klein, who gets lost on his way to an interview and ends up
in Point Pleasant, W.Va., some 600 miles from his intended
destination with no recollection of how he got there.

But he, quickly discovers that being lost and without a
functioning automobile is the least of his troubles. It seems
there have been all sorts of strange goings on in the town
that local police are at a loss to explain.

And the more he hears about those goings on, the closer to home
they hit. Apparently dozens of townsfolk have been reporting
seeing a strange moth or bird-like creature and hearing odd
squeals emanating from their telephone receivers.

Klein is particularly struck by the Mothman sightings as his
wife claimed to have had the same vision shortly before she
died.

He quickly teams up with a local cop (Laura Linney) and puts his
investigative journalism skills to use as he attempts to
discover the reality behind the fantastic stories.

The investigation leads him to a local mystery man and a Chicago
author who reveal the sightings are premonitions of a tragic
event that Klein is determined to prevent.

Based on John A. Keel’s 1975 book of the same name, ‘The Mothman
Prophecies’ is part thriller, part love story and part urban
legend.

But as realized by Pellington (director of the equally powerful
crime thriller ‘Arlington Road’), it’s almost all horror. The
former music video maverick turned feature film director has
obviously spent a great deal of time watching movies like ‘The
Exorcist’ and ‘Carrie’ or anything by Alfred Hitchcock that
effectively use lighting, sets and music to evoke terror. We
only ever catch brief glimpses of the Mothman and even those
glimpses are not definitive in portraying the creature.

Gore and Linney as the hapless duo trying to get to the bottom
of the mystery are great as a Mulder and Scully team; he a
believer, she a skeptic. But it’s Will Patton as a local who is
the conduit between the real and supernatural worlds who gives
the film’s most dynamic performance. He’s angry, confused and
scared to death of what’s going on around him and it shows.

Pellington uses him wisely to punctuate an already well-crafted
movie.

‘The Mothman Prophecies’ is both creepy and captivating… and
jump-out-of-your seat scary as hell too.

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