#NDAA #TrapWire Resistance is not futile

Posted by on August 22nd, 2012

The new totalitarianism of surveillance technology [GUARDIAN]

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TrapWire: The Truth Behind The Hype [STORIFY]
My Abraxas and TrapWire Saga [Tim Shorrock]

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How to Make an Invisible Mask for Video Cameras [WIKIHOW]


DARPA-Funded Researcher Can Take Over Android And Nokia Phones By Merely Waving Another Device Near Them [FORBES]

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When reality resembles one product of the Nolan brothers (Person of Interest), how long until it’s a Bane’esque “fire rising” taking centre stage?

North Korea builds EMP munition [DEFENSETECH]

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The Mutant Future is NOW

Posted by on June 6th, 2012

Let’s get this TED Talk out of the way first: Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species?

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Next, as we remind ourselves, anything that can be done to a rat…

The new study, which appears in Science today, takes a different approach. Instead of trying to repair the main information superhighway from the brain to the body, Grégoire Courtine, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and colleagues focused on alternative routes. Most spinal injuries in people do not sever the spinal cord completely, explains Courtine. To approximate this situation in rats, his team made two surgical cuts in the spinal cord, severing all of the direct connections from the brain, but leaving some tissue intact in between the cuts. Then they had the rodents begin a rehab regime intended to bypass the fractured freeway, as it were, by pushing more traffic onto neural back roads and building more of them.

This regime, which began about a week after the rats were injured, lasted about 30 minutes a day. During each session, the researchers injected the animals with a cocktail of drugs to improve the function of rats’ neural circuits in the part of the spinal cord involved in leg movements, and they stimulated this area with electrodes. With its spinal cord thus primed for action, a rat was fitted into a harness attached to a robotic device that supported its weight and allowed it to walk forward on its hind legs to the extent that it was able. At first, the rats could not move their legs at all, let alone walk.

But after 2 or 3 weeks, the rodents began taking steps toward a piece of food after a gentle nudge from the robot. By 5 or 6 weeks, they were able to initiate movement on their own and walk to get the food. And after a few additional weeks of intensified rehab, they were able to walk up rat-sized stairs and climb over a small barrier placed in their path. Rats that did not undergo rehab, in contrast, showed no improvement at all. Rats suspended over a moving treadmill that elicited reflex-like stepping movement, did not improve either, suggesting that full recovery depends on making intentional movements, not just any movement.



What does every Mutant teen want? Mutant kicks:

Rayfish, a custom footwear company, is marketing leather sneakers that come in every color from shimmering gold to neon green, in patterns that mimick giraffes, zebras, leopard, and lady bugs. And they claim that these designs are grown directly on the hides of custom-engineered stingrays.



And again via our good, good acquaintances at io9:

Susan Dominus has penned a remarkable piece for the New York Times about Krista and Tatiana Hogan, the 4-year old conjoined twin girls from British Columbia who are attached at the head. Scans show that the two girls have brains that are interconnected by a never-seen-before “thalamic bridge,” an indication that they might share conscious thoughts. And if their early behavior is any indication, this may very likely be the case.


Finally, our friend Chris Arkenberg tells us to ‘ware the body net hackers. That’s right, #transhumanproblems:

Security concerns for the nascent field of wireless implants are certainly welcomed but the event stands more broadly as a glowing sign of the times. The relentless ubiquitizing of computation is working its way into our bodies. As has been noted elsewhere [pdf] the path of finance and innovation for these waves of emerging technology typically follows the military-medical-consumer pipeline, walking down the line of survivability from being blown up by an Afghani IED, past spastic hearts and hungry cells, into urban navigation and caffeine acquisition. And maybe transdermal metabolic sleeves for networked jogging or ward implants for not-so-bad convicts squeezed out of overcrowded prison farms and remotely monitored for geofencing violations or the odd spike in muscular adrenergics. The military has the money to develop the tech and treat its soldiers, who are summarily discharged into hospitals that facilitate the transfer of technology into the private sector. Point being, if you’re starting to save up for that cybernetic occipital mat implant, you’d be most well-served to enlist the ready hand of McAfee Security to guard your mind meats from the shady legions of digital malcontents. Standard fees, of course, do apply.

TSA break 16y.o.’s insulin pump with scanner

Posted by on May 9th, 2012

From ABC4:

After participating in a DECA conference in Salt Lake City with several classmates last week, Savannah, who is a type one diabetic and wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day, says she ran into TSA agents who were not prepared to deal with her medical situation. “I went up to the lady and I said, I am a type one diabetic. I wear an insulin pump. I showed her the pump. I said, what do you want me to do? I usually do a pat down – what would you recommend?”

Savannah then showed agents a doctor’s note explaining that the sensitive insulin pump should not go through the body scanner. She says she was told to go through it anyway. “When someone in a position of authority tells you it is – you think that its right. So, I said, Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It’s not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you’re fine.”

The 16-year-old walked into the scanner with some serious reservations “My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on.” She was right to be worried. She says the pump stopped working correctly. “Coming off an insulin pump is rough. You never know what is going to happen when you are not on the insulin pump.”

via Cat Vincent | /.

Democracy Now interview NSA whistleblower William Binney, journalist Laura Poitras & hacker Jacob Appelbaum #longwatch

Posted by on April 23rd, 2012


Posted by on April 15th, 2012

The meatiest part of Bruce Sterling’s annual SXSW closing speech appears to be:

[There's] a new phenomena that I like to call the Stacks [vertically integrated social media]. And we’ve got five of them — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The future of the stacks is basically to take over the internet and render it irrelevant. They’re not hostile to the internet — they’re just [looking after] their own situation. And they all think they’ll be the one Stack… and render the others irrelevant. And they’ll all be rendered irrelevant. That’s the future of the Stacks.

People like the Stacks, [because] the internet is scary now — so what’s the problem there? None of them offer any prosperity or security to their human participants, except for their shareholders. The internet has users. Stack people are livestock — ignorant of what’s going on, and moving from on stack to another. The Stacks really, really want to know you’re a dog.

They’re annihilating other media… The Lords of the Stacks. And they’re not bad guys — I’d be happy to buy them a beer. But really, a free people would not be so dependent on a Napoleonic mobile people. What if Mark Zuckerberg trips over a skateboard?

This structure won’t last very long… But you’re really core people for them and their interests. You are them. I’m them. And your kids are going to ask embarrassing questions about them. And there are voices here and there complaining about them, [like] Jonathan Franzen. He says Twitter is destroying literature. And he’s right. So don’t make fun of him. He’s telling the truth.

The “Predator”, or how to build a camera that learns

Posted by on April 4th, 2011

Via a whole bunch of people, who are justifiably equal parts excited and terrified about what this might lead to:

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My first question, how does it handle CV Dazzle? Find out yourself! More details, including the code itself, are available on developer Zdenek Kalal’s website.

Adam Greenfield’s Cognitive Cities keynote: On Public Objects

Posted by on March 18th, 2011

Here’s Adam Greenfield‘s excellent, thought-provoking keynote at the recent Cognitive Cities conference in Berlin – On Public Objects: Connected Things And Civic Responsibilities In The Networked City



Bioencryption can store almost a million gigabytes of data inside bacteria

Posted by on November 26th, 2010

Antibiotics aren’t the only way we are going to make bacteria work:

A new method of data storage that converts information into DNA sequences allows you to store the contents of an entire computer hard-drive on a gram’s worth of E. coli bacteria…and perhaps considerably more than that.


A single gram of E. coli cells could hold up to 900,000 gigabytes (or 900 terabytes) of data, meaning these bacteria have almost 500 times the storage capacity of a top of the line commercial hard drive.

Full story at io9.com.

New Body Printable Organic Body Armor is Twice as Strong as Kevlar

Posted by on November 25th, 2010

From Inhabitat:

Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest of places. Case in point: scientists have just created a new super strong material based on the plaque found in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The new substance isn’t exactly the same as the plaque that causes the tragic disease, but it has a very similar chemical structure that is then coated with an additional protective layer. The tiny spheres that result are microscopic and when put together, form a printable substance that is tougher than steel, twice as tough as Kevlar and the hardest microscopic organic substance on Earth.

Thanks to vertigojones for the tip!

The SenseFly Swinglet CAM: Your Very Own UAV

Posted by on November 5th, 2010

The SenseFly Swinglet CAM, via crunchgear, who’s calling it “a micro version of real aerial survey vehicles“.

Nice. Need to carry something heavier than 150g? They can design a larger platform to fit your needs.

Movie screens will collect your facial expressions for ‘research’

Posted by on November 4th, 2010

What if I told you that movie theaters may become a little bit similar to Big Brother? A U.K. security firm just earned a grant to use special cameras embedded into movie theater screens to capture your facial expressions — to serve you more relevant ads. Just when I thought privacy couldn’t get any worse, this is sure to shake up movie goers.

The security firm, Arlia Sytems is planning to use infrared to detect the facial expressions of an individual’s face. It will use 3D facial recognition technology to determine things like whether the audience is looking at a certain ad, where on the screen their eyeballs are tracking and how targeted ads are being received.

Via dvice.com.

Q Sensor – new wrist device to monitor stress

Posted by on October 28th, 2010

As reader Tzagash Shal-Goram said, on sending this in, File this one under “shriekyware“. I have to agree.

Developed to help caregivers monitor the mood of autistic children, it’s easy to see other uses for this – from personal alarms to livebloggin’ a night out.

More details from Technology Review:

[The] device developed by Affectiva, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, detects and records physiological signs of stress and excitement by measuring slight electrical changes in the skin. While researchers, doctors, and psychologists have long used this measurement–called skin conductance–in the lab or clinical setting, Affectiva’s Q Sensor is worn on a wristband and lets people keep track of stress during everyday activities. The Q Sensor stores or transmits a wearer’s stress levels throughout the day

When a person–autistic or not–experiences stress or enters a “flight or fight” mode, moisture collects under the skin (often leading to sweating) as a sympathetic nervous system response. This rising moisture makes the skin more electrically conductive. Skin conductance sensors send a tiny electrical pulse to one point of the skin and measure the strength of that signal at another point on the skin to detect its conductivity.

More still in this video from Technology Review.

First human ‘infected’ with computer virus

Posted by on May 27th, 2010
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via 80% of the humans I follow on Twitter.

Animated ink-blot images keep unwanted bots at bay

Posted by on November 4th, 2009

From newscientist.com, animated and 3D captchas make it harder for bots to solve:

Second Sight – Augmented Contacts

Posted by on September 3rd, 2009

We talked about the prototype HUD contact in January 2008. They have been working on improvements:

Today — together with his students — Babak A. Parviz, bionanotechnology expert at University of Washington, is already producing devices that have a lens with one wirelessly Radio Frequency powered LED. To turn such a lens into a functional browser, control circuits, communication circuits and miniature antennas will have to be integrated. These lenses will eventually include hundreds of semitransparent LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye: words, charts, imagery enabling the wearers to navigate their surroundings whithout distraction or disorientation. The optoelectronics in the lens may be controlled by a seperate device that relays information to the lens’s control circuit. Another use could be the monitoring of the wearer’s health and biomarkers f.e. cholesterol, sodium, kalium or glucose.

Link and photo via nextnature.net, though the image is a concept only at this point and not yet a working prototype.

Thanks to LBA for the tip-off!

Quote of the Day

Posted by on September 2nd, 2009

Brain thoughts:

Perhaps most perplexing is the question of legal responsibility. If someone wearing a neural prosthesis were to punch someone, who is to blame? The action may have been deliberate, in which case the patient is to blame, or the chip may have been malfunctioning and the responsibility would lie with the manufacturer. Discovering where the truth lay would be no easy task. The law has had trouble catching up with the self-parking car, never mind an electronically controlled limb gone wild.

From the article Bionic brain chips could overcome paralysis, via newscientist. com.

Need To Fly A Military Drone? Yep, There’s An iPhone App For That

Posted by on August 10th, 2009

MIT Professor Missy Cummings (a former F-18 Hornet Navy Pilot), and her team of 30 students and undergrads, have successfully demonstrated how an iPhone could be used to control an Unmanned Area Vehicle, or UAV.

As part of their work at MIT’s Humans and Automation Lab (HAL, heh), the team thought about ways to improve on the suitcase-sized controller that soldiers must currently lug around to control hand-thrown Raven UAVs.

The iPhone app they developed sends GPS coordinates to the craft, which then in turn can send photos and video back to the iPhone.

Link and video via gizmodo.com.

Bring out the Pain Ray!

Posted by on August 3rd, 2009

For crowd control, when a single taser won’t do:

The Shockwave is meant to “de-escalate/defuse violent crowd/riot situations,” although I have a feeling that if you Taser the first wave of a crowd, it might get a lot more rowdy — especially if they see that your Shockwave is a one-shot device, or three at the most (plus you can duck).

Photo and words via crunchgear.com.

Forget the geese control it’s designed to do: if it could be developed beyond the few shots it makes, crowd control would take on a whole new meaning.

I like to watch…

Posted by on July 29th, 2009

Straight from etsy, that window-shopper’s whorehouse, GrinderMonkeyStudios brings us ‘Salome’

This piece is a life-size cast bronze bust with steel for the arms, crosspiece and tray. The back is finished pressboard and the mounting system is wood. The video display is a b+w security monitor and the video loop (that i created specially for this piece) is ran with a dvd player(included) that is hidden in the back.

For $7,179.00 USD (plus postage) it can be yours. I want it to be mine. I would suggest looking at the other stuff available in the store.

Samsung’s OLED “light-up” ePassport

Posted by on July 12th, 2009

We never got our hologram future, but this seems to be the closest thing. I’m not sure what problem this is trying to solve, but it’s pretty damn cool.

From Mother Nature Network:

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Samsung just released the prototype of its new flexible OLED thin film video passport. The passport contains a small “video” (really a series of images) that simulates a 360 view of the passport holder’s head. The moving image is displayed on a thin film page that contains an active matrix of pixels, each of which are independently controlled by an energy source.

In this case that energy source is simply radio frequencies. There are no batteries or cables involved. Moving the passport closer to a tuned radio source lights up the video of the passport holder.

thanks for the tip-off aboniks!