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Monday, January 22, 2007

News of Interest for 1/22/07

Mind Games
"New on the Internet: a community of people who believe the government is beaming voices into their minds. They may be crazy, but the Pentagon has pursued a weapon that can do just that."
Lip service
"'The grant has been awarded under the crime-fighting initiative and the Home Office Scientific Development Branch is giving us a lot of help and expertise,' said Harvey. 'Lip-reading from surveillance footage, for example, has been used to solve crimes. In some situations it may not be safe or feasible to place a microphone close enough to hear voices, but a long-range camera might still be able to see faces.'"
Burdened U.S. military cuts role in drug war
"Internal records show that in the last four years the Pentagon has reduced by more than 62% its surveillance flight-hours over Caribbean and Pacific Ocean routes that are used to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and, increasingly, Colombian-produced heroin. At the same time, the Navy is deploying one-third fewer patrol boats in search of smugglers."
World is running out of water, says UN adviser
'Since Asia's green revolution, which began in the 1960s and saw a transformation of agricultural production, the amount of land under irrigation has tripled. However, many parts of the continent have reached the limits of their water supplies. "The Ganges [in India] and the Yellow river [in China] no longer flow. There is so much silting up and water extraction upstream they are pretty stagnant," said Prof Sachs.'
The Invisible Enemy in Iraq
"The wounded soldiers were not smuggling bacteria from the desert into military hospitals after all. Instead, they were picking it up there. The evacuation chain itself had become the primary source of infection. By creating the most heroic and efficient means of saving lives in the history of warfare, the Pentagon had accidentally invented a machine for accelerating bacterial evolution and was airlifting the pathogens halfway around the world."
State inmates outlive people on outside
"For black inmates, the rate was 57 percent lower than among the overall black population — 206 versus 484. But white and Hispanic prisoners both had death rates slightly above their counterparts in the overall population."
Meet Grace, she'll be running your home
"All these remain 'concepts' which may or may not see the light of day. The home of the future offers some tantalising hints about the way we might live in the not so distant future. But those who want to move in now should think twice. Microsoft did not build a bathroom."
Missing a buddy? GPS can track him
"It’s an age-old question, but it got Alton thinking of a different way of arriving at the answer. Alton’s creation, for which he left school after his sophomore year, is a service called Loopt, which allows mobile phone users to locate friends using Global Positioning Satellite technology on a cell phone."
Plan Will Allow 911 and 311 Lines to Accept Digital Images
'“If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you’ll be able to transmit images to 911, or online to nyc.gov,” the mayor said in his annual State of the City address. “And we’ll start extending the same technology to 311 to allow New Yorkers to step forward and document nonemergency quality of life concerns, holding city agencies accountable for correcting them quickly and efficiently.”'
Walking like a Bomber
"A new radar-imaging technology expected to reach market later this year could solve the problem by directing low-power radar beams at people--who can be 50 yards or more away--and analyzing reflected radar returns to reveal concealed objects. And early research indicates that this method could one day be augmented with video-analysis software that spots bombers by discerning subtle differences in gait that occur when people carry heavy objects."


Blogger Dave Starr said...

I posted a opinion piece of the buddy tracking service here:
It doesn't seem to matter much what our views are, the genie is certainly out of the bottle and I don't think we can stuff it back in.

Regarding your news item on reduced military participation in the "war on drugs" ... whaever that is ... this is just one of the many long-term consequences of the attitude of our current leadeship who thinks the mlitary is just an endless resource. Like Iraq, the "War On Drugs" in undeclared, ill-advised and unwinable.

There's nothing wrong with a strong nation getting into a brawl now and again, but let's pick those brawls thta have a purpose, a perceivable end point, and are acheivable.

Wed Jan 24, 02:40:00 AM 2007  

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