Posts Tagged ‘scientific experiments’

KONY 2012: State Propaganda for a New Generation

By | March 13th, 2012 | Category: Vigilant Reports | 254 comments

The overnight viral sensation KONY 2012 brought worldwide awareness to the African war criminal Joseph Kony. Beneath this commendable cause, lies however an elaborate agenda that is presented in the video in a very manipulative way. We’ll look at the agenda behind KONY 2012 and how it uses reverse psychology to not only justify a military operation in Africa, but to actually have people demand it.

KONY 2012 is a viral sensation that swept the entire world in less than 24 hours. Its main subject is the African rebel leader Joseph Kony, his war crimes and the clearly defined “movement” to stop him.  Countless celebrities have endorsed the movement, news sources have reported it and social media is buzzing with it. While the problem of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers has plagued Africa for decades, and several documentaries have already been produced regarding the issue, this particular 29-minute video made managed to obtain mass exposure and support.

KONY 2012 is less of a documentary than it is a highly efficient infomercial that is tailor-made for the Facebook generation, using state-of-the-art marketing techniques to make its point. Young people like “underground movements” and want to feel like they are changing the world. KONY 2012 taps into these needs to bring about something that is not “hip” or “underground” at all: A military operation in Uganda. Not only that, it urges the participants of the movement to order stuff, to wear bracelets that are associated with an online profile and to record their actions in social media. This makes KONY 2012 the first artificially created movement that is fully track-able, monitor-able and quantifiable by those who engendered it. In other words, what appears to be a movement “from the people” is actually a new way for the elite to advance its agenda.

A Propaganda Experiment

The video begins with an interesting statement: “The next 27 minutes are an experiment. But in order for it to work, you have to pay attention”. It is an experiment as it tests a new, groundbreaking way to get an agenda accepted by the Facebook generation. In the past, when the government needed to justify the invasion of a country, the President would sit in front of the camera and tell the public why war should be declared in this area of the world. In the case of KONY, the military agenda is disguised as grassroots activism, where the US army entering Uganda would be perceived as a “victory of the people”, effectively reversing the communications model.

Towards the end of the video, an image is displayed explaining how decisions (and messages) start from the top of the pyramid (the elite) and are communicated to the masses through mass media and such.

Due to the advent of social media, the above diagram has become a lot less effective to get a message across to the young generation. It is not CNN reports and the President addressing the nation anymore, it is about “liking” Facebook pages and viral YouTube videos. This is where messages now come across. Always studying, analyzing and exploiting the most effective ways to persuade public opinion, KONY 2012 appears to be an attempt to test out the effectiveness of a “viral” propaganda campaign. By creating this “movement” and making young people actually DEMAND the U.S. government intervene in Africa, the masterminds behind this campaign would manage the impossible: Reversing the propaganda model in order to make it emanate from the people. By doing so, the elite’s agenda is not only accepted by the masses, it is perceived as a victory by them.

“We are living in a new world” indeed. The KONY 2012 logo aptly represents how a viral video and social media can reverse the propaganda model. Don’t be fooled however. Power is still not in the hands of the base of the pyramid … far from it. It is all about appearances.

When the war on Iraq was declared, a great portion of young Americans opposed the war. How is it they are now begging the government to send troops to Africa? A simple video, specifically conceived for the Facebook generation did the trick. As it is the case in most campaigns to justify a war, the first goal was to identify a bad guy.

Identifying the Bad Guy

By associating Kony with Bin Laden and Hitler in this poster, KONY 2012 is promoting war.

I have absolutely no intention of defending Joseph Kony or to say “he’s not that bad”. He, along with many other guerrilla factions across Africa, has committed despicable atrocities. However, the problem of child soldiers has existed for decades and there are literally hundreds of Joseph Konys across the African continent. In some cases, some of the armies are actually funded by Western countries. If we would truly go to the root of the issue, we’d discover that Africa has been plagued with the problem of warring factions and rebel guerrillas ever since Western forces “liberated” their colonies and divided the continent of Africa according to Western interests. Indeed, instead of setting the boundaries of each country according to the geographic location of the ethnic groups and tribes that live there, countries were created according to the economic needs of colonizing forces such as Great Britain, France and others. The net result is: A bunch of artificial countries that each contain several tribes, ethnic groups, languages and religions. When one group takes power, the others are repressed, which leads to violence and rebellion. Add to the mix extreme poverty due to resources being siphoned out of Africa by Western countries and you’ve got a breeding ground for merciless warlords. As long as this problem exists, Joseph Konys will continue to emerge in Africa.

But the video mentions none of this. All it says is that arresting Kony would “make the world better”. KONY 2012 is all about identifying a bad guy, “making him famous” and have people demand his death by U.S. forces. Fixing the true cause of problems in the third world has never been on the Agenda. But picking out a “bad guy” to justify military action has always been part of it. If in the case of Saddam Hussein, “facts” (that ultimately proved false) were given to justify the invasion of Iraq. A different technique is being used with Kony, one that originates from advertising.

Any marketing specialist will tell you: “Facts don’t sell, emotions do”.  The first part of KONY 2012 solely addresses emotions. It is about making the filmmaker likeable, showing gut-wrenching images of African kids in pain, in misery and in despair. Then, the turning point: Joseph Kony is the cause of all of this. Not centuries of exploitation and devastation by Western forces in Africa that lead to chaos, lawlessness and poverty. No, it’s Kony. That bastard. George Clooney is really mad at him right now. He even tweeted about it.

Another marketing strategy is to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In other words, to get a message across, one must address the audience as if it was made of kids. KONY 2012 does exactly this by ridiculously oversimplifying the problem and explaining it to an actual child – who represents the viewers.  This is not surprising though, as this is how the masses are perceived by the higher ups.

Once the viewers had their emotions stirred, got infantilized and had the problem spelled out to them as if they were in kindergarten, the table is set for the true goal of the video: Defining the agenda.

Defining the Agenda

KONY 2012 is a movement backed by some of the world’s most powerful entities and has precise goals. As the movie’s intro states, it is an experiment. It is an opportunity to create a movement that can be fully trackable, quantifiable and manageable through social media whose culmination is a U.S. military intervention in Uganda. The carrying out of this mission will not only be perceived as a victory, it will restore young people’s faith in democracy. What the members of this movement might not realize is that they are helping the advancement of the elite’s agenda towards a New World Order.

This poster aptly summarizes how the Illuminati works. Political parties are irrelevant as both work towards the same Agenda.

The second part of the movie let’s go of emotions and describes to the viewers what the elite expects from them. U.S. troops are already in Uganda, but, according to the movie, Kony “changed his tactics”… Damnit Kony, you and your sneaky tactics. Apparently, high tech satellites, unmanned drones and all kinds of radars are not enough to catch this guy. Nope, in order to catch him, a complicated plan, involving the purchase of an “Action Kit” and the registering an ID bracelet on a website is required. Makes sense.

Those who want to “Stop Kony” are required to wear a bracelet bearing a unique code which needs to be registered at a website. Of course, personal information is requested.

Once the bracelet is registered, members can associate it with their Facebook account, which will keep track of all KONY-related actions. The end result is: every single member of KONY 2012 will be known, identified and easily tracked – with constantly updated information. All of this data will of course be collected, scrutinized and stored by those in charge.

Furthermore, members are asked to contribute a “few dollars a month” to TRI, an organization whose ultimate goal is American military intervention in Uganda.

TRI’s logo is an inverted “Peace” sign. In symbolism, an inverted sign means that it stands for the opposite of the regular sign. In other words, TRI is about war. Peace does not involve “equipping” and “training” government forces to fight rebel factions. As the novel 1984 states, WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

To support the cause and to make it popular, a bunch of elite-sponsored artists and politicians have been enlisted, including Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Oprah, George Clooney, Bono, etc. While some of them might be genuinely concerned about problems in Africa, most of them are pawns of the elite that are used to promote its agenda.

Am I seeing warmongering George W. Bush in here? The dude that lied to the whole country in order to attack Iraq for its oil and stuff? Hmm. Weird.

After going past the celebrities and the emotions, the end result of this campaign is simple and steeped in real politik: Since the fall of rival superpower USSR, Western forces have sought to bring down and to control regional powers around the world, mostly in third countries. Uganda is part of that plan. The same way the spectre of Bin Laden was used to invade Afghanistan, Kony is being used to enter Uganda.

The video clearly shows what is the goal of this “movement”: U.S. troops taking charge of the Ugandan army, the same way it took charge of the Iraqi, Libyan and other armies in the past few years.

In Conclusion

KONY 2012 is a cleverly orchestrated campaign specifically aimed at today’s youth, the future citizens of the world. Using state-of-the-art techniques and new technologies, the campaign is a first attempt at “reverse propaganda”, where the agenda APPEARS to emanate from the people. By using emotions, irrational thoughts and superficial explanations, KONY 2012 attempts to trick well-meaning people, who desire to make a positive change in the world, to instead fuel a gigantic war machine that is controlled by the world’s elite.

Is KONY 2012 trying to eradicate child-soldiers or is it attempting to create a new kind of child-soldiers?

…Right.

Article Source Link: http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/kony-2012-state-propaganda-for-a-new-generation/

JP

The mining accident that happened in Copiapo, Chile in 2010 brought the entire region worldwide attention as the 33 miners miraculously survived what has been called “a cave-in” at the San Jose copper-gold min in the Atacama Desert.  The men somehow survived for a record 69 days.  When they emerged safe and mostly sound, rumors began to spread from their friends, families, coworkers, eyewitnesses to the rescue, and people there on vacation or otherwise passing through.

First, United States government involvement.  A U.S. drilling company was brought in to take the lead in drilling efforts, although this role has been somewhat minimized after the rescue.  Upon rescue, most of the 33 miners were immediately quarantined and debriefed by black-suited U.S. agents of an unknown agency.  Only 3 men were exempt from this initial debriefing because of extreme dental problems and required immediate dental surgery under general anesthesia.     

The official account states that the other miners were in general good health except for scratch, gouge, puncture and slash wounds resulting from the cave-in and attempts to dig out.  U.S. defense contractors, heavily armed, discreetly guarded a mini-compound occupied by U.S. interests inside the tent city that sprang up around the mining site.    

Stranger is the fact that immediately after “Los 33” (the name given to the miners translating as “The 33”), a team of NASA scientists entered the tunnel system, escorted by armed defense contractors and what appeared to be a Special Forces team, eyewitnesses reported.  A perimeter was then secured around the entrance as a fence was erected, preventing further visual observation.

“What is NASA doing in Chile?” you might ask.  Here is the official answer:  NASA is conducting soil tests of the most arid desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, which also happens to harbor an extensive array of large cavern systems perfect for simulated Mars research.  NASA has stated that the arid conditions and cave formations in the Atacama Desert are good matches for the terrain on Mars and has dispatched a team of scientists there to explore the regions caverns.  It has also been reported that this team of scientists has security provided by defense contractors and Special Operations operatives.  It is quite possible that this team of NASA scientists is the very team sighted entering the San Jose mine after Los 33 was rescued.  But why?

While NASA has publicly admitted to exploring the caves of the Atacama Desert to conduct “Martian research,” there subterranean forays might have a classified mission attached to them as well.  A defense contractor for security who wishes to remain anonymous to retain his or her position has stated that NASA is looking for alien life on our own planet.  The life may or may not be indigenous to Earth, but certainly lives here, deep in major cavern systems, said the contractor.  “For years NASA has had reports of ‘reptoids’ or ‘reptilian humanoids.’ Something happened and they decided to begin investigating. Why in the Atacama, I don’t know.”  He or she continued, “But we found things.  Remains of weird, shredded animals.  Molted skin or something.  And there was a brief firefight after one of our contractors went missing.  The strange thing about his disappearance was all the blood, and then reading that he had been killed in Afghanistan four months later.”  NASA officially ended their Atacama exploration in 2010, perhaps with the events leading up to the Chilean mining disaster in mind.  The friends of Los 33 tell a chilling tale that is far different from the official account provided by mainstream media outlets.

Accoring to people close to Los 33, friends, family and some who simply overheard the stories circulating around, the incident was no simple “cave-in.”  This accounting has been pieced together from various conversations, emails and written letters…

Apparently, while searching for the source of a vein of gold, one of the mining detachments blasted through a wall of rock and discovered an enormous natural cavern on the other side whose walls shined with over a dozen thick veins of gold and other precious metals.  The detachment members were quite happy and some of the men broke protocol by charging into the room to pick-ax gold nuggets.  Word spread quickly, “like bad air,” someone said.  Soon, dozens of miners were all over the cavern entrance, picking at the gold, making lots of noise and ignoring their jobs.  As the detachment leader tried to wrangle the men back into the mine, a small group of men explored farther into the cavern.

Soon, things quieted down a bit, as miners focused on picking at the gold veins.  “Everyone was very happy,” a miner’s relative stated, “until they heard screams coming from across the cavern.  Most of the miners were spooked and ran back into the mines except for the detachment leader who ordered men from his team to come with him to help the screaming men.”  By the time they got to the location of the screaming, it was too late.  They found four or five men (it was hard to tell who was who and if all the parts were still there) in pools of splattered blood.  “It was a gory mess,” said someone.  One of the detachment crew had gotten blood all over himself, having slipped on a puddle of it.  He lost his wits, trying to wipe the blood and gore from his face with an fresh handerchief (later confiscated by NASA for DNA testing).  As they tried to calm him down, the detachment heard hissing and crackling, like nails or claws making way across wet stone.  The team called for help on their walky-talkies and immediately left the cave (“ran for their lives,” in one email account).

Having made their way through the blast hole, they realized that two of them were missing.  More screams echoed from the cavern, these more bloodcurdling than the first set.  The detachment leader made a decision as he saw “bloddy, walking lizards” coming for the blast hole.  He ordered the hole blasted shut immediately and set three crews to work.  In a frantic rush, they rigged explosives as the “reptoids” advanced, still chewing on the remains of the doomed miners who had ventured too far.

One or two repotoids made it through the initial blast hole as crews rolled wire down the tunnel, so as not to be caught in the blast.  Reptoids now in the mining tunnels began to kill anyone foolish enough to challenge them with hand-held, powered mining equipment.  Finally, the explosives were ready and the detachment leader ordered the blast.

The explosion resulted in a cave-in of sorts, sealing the original blast hole under tons of rock.  However, an untold number of the reptilian fiends was loose in their tunnels.  Most, they hoped, had been killed in the blast, but no one was certain how many, if any, were roaming.  More screaming told them that at least one was still lurking.  At this point, the miners believed there were about 44 survivors in the area.  After fighting with the reptoid in the dark for a few hours of hide-and-seek (and having many more deaths), the remaining 33 took shelter in protected area built for cave-ins.  The area also prevented the reptoid from entering.  Here they remained in horror and shock for the next 17 days as more cave-ins happend around them, unsure whether they were caused by the reptoid(s) trying to dig in, out or from blast damage.

Many of Los 33 have developed herpetophobia (fear of lizards, reptiles) since their ordeal. 

With the above account in mind, one might wonder about the true nature of NASA’s ventures into the caverns of the Atacama Desert.  Why bring heavily armed defense contractors and special operations forces on a scientific jaunt into the “underdark?”  Perhaps it is because NASA and our government know something about “what’s down there” than they are letting us in on.  For decades, there have been reports of special operations teams (including British SAS) “exploring” caves around the world, specifically in Central and South America.  Now NASA is involved.  Could there be “alien” life, or at least unknown life, beneath our feet?  For now, it seems that NASA is in some kind of confrontation with subterranean reptilian entities (SREs).

Article Source Link: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/561/214/NASA_VS._REPTOIDS_IN_CHILEAN_MINES.html

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

An engineer has come up with macabre rollercoaster concept where passengers are thrilled and then ‘killed’.

The chilling Euthanasia Coaster is a theoretical machine engineered to ‘humanely, with elegance and euphoria, take the life of a human being’.

It is designed to subject the rider to a series of unique experiences from euphoria to thrill and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness.

 
Chilling: The model looks like an ordinary roller coaster until you realised it was designed to kill youChilling: The model, designed by Julijonas Urbonas, looks like an ordinary roller coaster – but is designed to kill

 
Euthanasia
euthanasia
euthanasia
 
Ghoulish: A simulated face shows the process of going from consciousness (left), to becoming drowsy and finally dead (right) after succumbing to cerebral hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain, during the ride
 

When travelling at 100m/s, the passenger would then pass away following a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.

The surreal structure is the brainchild of Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas.

Julijonas has been involved in the field of amusement park development since his childhood and describes himself as an architect and engineer whose work is ‘artistic and philosophical’.

He said: ‘Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful.

 
Loop the loop: The force of going round and round continuously causes the brain to be starved of oxygenLoop the loop: The force of going round and round continuously causes the brain to be starved of oxygen

 
Spiraling to death: The loops get tighter and tighter as the roller coaster progresses

Spiraling to death: The loops get tighter and tighter as the roller coaster progresses

 
Dizzting: Urbonas's creation is designed as more of an artistic creation than real possibility

Dizzting: Urbonas’s creation is designed as more of an artistic creation than real possibility

‘Celebrating the limits of the human body but also the liberation from the horizontal life, this ‘kinetic sculpture’ is in fact the ultimate roller coaster.’

Julijonas’ design is inspired by the words of John Allen, the former president of the famous ride maker, Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

Allen once said: ‘The ultimate roller coaster is built when you send out twenty-four people and they all come back dead.’

However, the surreal concept has been criticised by a leading anti-euthanasia organisation which sees the ‘imaginative’ coaster as something which could be easily abused.

 
Madcap: The roller coaster's Lithuanian creator Julijonas Urbonas.

Madcap: The roller coaster’s Lithuanian creator Julijonas Urbonas.

Dr Peter Saunders from Care Not Killing said: ‘Whilst appreciating the artist’s sense of humour and light-heartedness, we also need to remember that the life a human being cannot ever be taken ‘humanely with elegance and euphoria’ and with this method the last sensation would more probably be one of overwhelming vertigo and fright.

‘Euthanasia rightly remains illegal because any law allowing it could so easily be abused.

‘Vulnerable people – the sick, elderly, disabled or depressed – would feel under pressure, whether real or imagined, to request early death.

‘Let’s hope that this imaginative method never becomes legal.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2107238/Euthanasia-Macabre-concept-roller-coaster-thrills–kills-you.html#ixzz1nldDiDUR

 
JP

In this weekly series, Life’s Little Mysteries explores the plausibility of popular sci-fi concepts. Warning: Some spoilers ahead!

If a bunch of sci-fi flicks have it right, a war pitting humanity against machines will someday destroy civilization. Two popular movie series based on such a “robopocalypse,” the “Terminator” and “Matrix” franchises, are among those that suggest granting greater autonomy to artificially intelligent machines will end up dooming our species. (Only temporarily, of course, thanks to John Connor and Neo.)

Given the current pace of technological development, does the “robopocalypse” scenario seem more far-fetched or prophetic? The fate of the world could tip in either direction, depending on who you ask.

While researchers in the computer science field disagree on the road ahead for machines, they say our relationship with machines probably will be harmonious, not murderous. Yet there are a number of scenarios that could lead to non-biological beings aiming to exterminate us.

“The technology already exists to build a system that will destroy the whole world, intentionally or unintentionally, if it just detects the right conditions,” said Shlomo Zilberstein, a professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts.

Machines at our command

Let’s first consider the optimistic viewpoint: that machines always will act as our servants, not the other way around.

“One approach is not to develop systems that can be so dangerous if they are out of control,” Zilberstein said.

Something like Skynet – the computerized defense network in “The Terminator” that decides to wipe out humanity – is already possible. So why has such a system not been built? A big reason: Nuclear-armed nations such as the United States would not want to turn over any of the responsibility for launching warheads to a computer. “What if there is a bug in the system? No one is going to take that risk,” said Zilberstein. [What If There Were Another Technologically Advanced Species?]

On a smaller scale, however, a high degree of autonomy has been granted to predator drones flying in the Middle East. “The number of robotic systems that can actually pull the trigger autonomously is already growing,” said Zilberstein.

Still, a human operator monitors a drone and is given the final say whether to proceed with a missile strike. That certainly is not the case with Skynet, which, in the “Terminator” films, is given control of America’s entire nuclear arsenal.

In “The Terminator,” the military creates the program with the objective of reducing human error and slowness of response in case of an attack on the U.S.

When human controllers come around to realizing the danger posed by an all-powerful Skynet, they try to shut it down. Skynet interprets this act as a threat to its existence, and in order to counter its perceived human enemy, Skynet launching America’s nukesat Russia,  provoking a retaliatory strike. Billions die in a nuclear holocaust.Skynet then goes on to build factories that churn out robot armies to eliminate the remainder of humankind.

In a real-life scenario, Zilberstein thinks simple safeguards would prevent an autonomous system from threatening more people than it is designed to, perhaps in guarding country’s borders, for example. Plus, no systems would be programmed with the ability to make broad strategic decisions the way Skynet does.

“All the systems we’re likely to build in the-near future will have specific abilities,” Zilberstein said. “They will be able to monitor a region and maybe shoot, but they will not replace a [human] general.”

Robots exceeding our grasp

Michael Dyer, a computer scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, is less optimistic. He thinks “humans will ultimately be replaced by machines” and that the transition might not be peaceful. [Americans Want Robots, and They’re Willing to Pay]

The continued progress in artificial intelligence research will lead to machines as smart as we are in the next couple hundred years, Dyer predicts. “Advanced civilizations reach a point of enough intelligence to understand how their own brain works, and then they build synthetic versions of themselves,” he says.

The desire to do so might come from attempts at establishing our own immortality – and that opportunity might be too much for humanity to resist. (Whowouldn’t want to spend their ever-after with their consciousness walking around in a robot shell?)

Maybe that sort of changeover from biology to technology goes relatively smoothly. Other rise-of-the-machines scenarios are less smooth.

Dyer suggests a new arms race of robotic system could result in one side running rampant. “In the case of warfare, by definition, the enemy side has no control of the robots that are trying to kill them,” Dyer said. Like Skynet, the manufactured might turn against the manufacturers.

Or an innocuous situation of overdependency on robots spirals out of control. Suppose a factory that makes robots is not following human commands, so an order is issued to shut off power to the factory. “But unfortunately, robots happen to manage the power station and so they refuse. So a command is issued by humans to stop the trucks from delivering necessary materials to the factory, but the drivers are robots, so they also refuse,” Dyer says.

Perhaps using the Internet, robotic intelligences wrest control of a society that depends too much on its automata. (“The Animatrix,” a 2003 collection of short cartoons, including some back stories for “The Matrix” movies, describes such a situation.)

Overall, a bit of wisdom would prevent humankind from falling into the traps dreamed up by Hollywood screenwriters. But the profit motive at companies has certainly engendered more automation, and the Cold War’s predication on the threat of mutually assured destruction points out that rationality does not always win.

“Doomsday scenarios are pretty easy to create, and I wouldn’t rule out that kind of possibility,” said Zilberstein. “But I’m personally not that worried.”

Plausibility rating: Military leaders and corporations probably will not be so stupid as to add high levels of programmed autonomy to catastrophically strong weapon systems and critical industrial sectors. We give the “robopocalypse” two out of four Rocketboys.

Article Source Link: http://news.yahoo.com/science-fiction-fact-could-robopocalypse-wipe-humans-175403124.html;_ylt=ApN8d.EGDv74bFaZSfNwaBsPLBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNqODY0ZXZoBGNjb2RlA2N0LmMEcGtnA2JjYzgwZjFkLTQyODAtMzJlYy05YWIyLTVlMGNlZDIxYmZjZgRwb3MDNgRzZWMDbW9zdF9wb3B1bGFyBHZlcgNhN2Y0MTZlMC01ZjExLTExZTEtOWZkYi0wYTFkNGIzNWY0ZTk-;_ylg=X3oDMTFycGwxa2xhBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANzY2llbmNlBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Radical human modification is coming, like it or not, by the end of this century—if not earlier. How much are you willing to alter yourself?

eskobionics-body.jpg

This is my first column on TheAtlantic.com, which will regularly cover the interface between new discoveries in the life sciences and how it impacts people and society — and other random topics.

Last fall at the TEDMED meeting in San Diego I watched a man walk who was paralyzed from the waist down. Injured a year earlier, Paul Thacker hadn’t been able to stand since breaking his back in a snowmobile accident. Yet here he was walking, thanks to an early-stage exoskeleton device attached to his legs.

This wasn’t exactly on the level of “exos” we’ve seen in sci-fi films like Avatar and Aliens, which enable people to run faster, carry heavier loads, and smash things better. But Thacker’s device, called eLEGS — manufactured by Ekso Bionics in Berkeley, California — is one harbinger of what’s coming in the next decade or two to treat the injured and the ill with radical new technologies.

Other portents include first-generation machines and treatments that range from deep brain implants that can stop epileptic seizures to stem cells that scientists are using experimentally to repair damaged retinas.

No one would deny that these technologies, should they fulfill their promise, are anything but miraculous for Paul Thacker and others who need them. Yet none of this technology is going to remain exclusively in the realm of pure therapeutics. Even now some are breaking through the barrier between remedies for the sick and enhancements for the healthy.

Take the drug Adderall. A highly addictive pharmaceutical prescribed for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the drug works as a stimulant in people without ADHD — and is now used by at least one out of five college students to bump up their energy and attention when they want to perform well on tests or pull all-nighters.

Saying that college students are popping pills is like Claude Rains in Casablanca saying to Humphrey Bogart: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Yet the widespread use — and acceptance — of Adderall and other stimulants by students to enhance their academic performance is bumping up against something new. It’s pushing us into a realm where taking powerful pharmaceuticals that boost, say, attention or memory is becoming acceptable beyond pure recreation.

Can we be too far from a greater acceptance of surgically implanted devices that increase our ability to hear or see? Or new legs that allow us to run like cheetahs and scramble up walls like geckos?

Or that allow us to run in the Olympics like Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who may qualify for the games in London this year despite missing his lower legs? He runs using two sleek, metallic “legs” that combine with his natural speed and skill to do far more than overcome a disability.

Which leads us to the crucial question for the approaching age of human enhancement: How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medtech?

Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger?

Would you take a daily pill that not only stimulated your brain to help you do your best on a test, but also bumped up your memory?

Would you sign up for a genetic alteration that would make you taller and stronger?

Let’s up the ante and declare that these fixes had no deleterious side effects, and were deemed safe by a newly appointed U.S. Agency for Human Augmentation. Would this change your mind? (As an aside, I’m trying to imagine what the candidates now vying for the Republican nomination for president would say about an Agency for Human Augmentation.)

And what if everyone else at work — or all of the rest of the kids in your child’s class at school — were taking advantage of these enhancements?

Currently, none of these hypothetical modifications would be ethical, and most are illegal. Yet one doesn’t need to spend too much time delving into the world of near-future medtech to understand that each of these possibilities are likely to occur in one form or another in the lifetime of those college kids now swallowing Adderall.

For now, the device attached to Paul Thacker’s legs is clunky. The apparatus is little more than a pair of sophisticated braces with whirring mechanics attached to a computer he wears on his back — which is guided by a technician walking behind him, holding a control box attached to the computer with a wire. But it won’t be too long until this 37-year-old former champion snowmobile jumper will be walking with ease using an advanced exoskeleton.

In a few more years, you might be wearing your own eLEGS to carry heavy loads around the house, or as a soldier on patrol in some distant corner of the world (assuming we aren’t using only drones). Flash forward a few more years, and you may have the option of permanently implanting in your legs the “eLEGS LXII,” an endo-skeletal implant that stays with you like a futuristic hip or knee implant does today.

Back at TEDMED, Paul Thacker wasn’t thinking about anything nearly as grandiose as this. When I asked him what he wishes for most using the new eLEGS technology, he smiled and said something refreshingly mundane considering he is a herald of the future.

“Right now I’d like to be able to stand up and pee,” he said. “I really miss being able to do that.”

Article Source Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/redesigning-people-how-medtech-could-expand-beyond-the-injured/253236/

JP

 

Ten years before an alien craft crashed onto rancher Mack Brazel’s property near Roswell, New Mexico, a flying saucer lost control and crashed onto the countryside of Nazi Germany. This incredible story—covered-up by both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. for more than 70 years—is allegedly the actual basis for the Nazi’s intense research into wingless, disc aircraft; Hitler’s and Himmler’s near obsession with exotic technology and flying saucers; and the incredible experiments by S.S. physicists that culminated with flying saucers and the ‘Bell’—a bizarre multi-dimensional motor that neutralized gravity and ripped a gash into the very fabric of the time-space continuum creating incredible and horrific effects.


Similiar saucer alleged to have crashed in USSR, 1950s

The Third Reich’s saucer

In 1937, as Nazi Germany was rising from the ashes of the old German Republic and becoming the world’s first real superpower, an incredible thing happened: aliens crashed their distressed craft into the German countryside. [Secret Treaty: The United States Government and Extra-terrestrial Entities]

The German army was there to pick up the pieces. No record exists, however, indicating whether any bodies were also retrieved.

When word of the crashed disc made ir’s way back to the German High Command and the report landed on the Führer’s desk, he immediately ordered elements of the Luftwaffe and Germany’s top aeronautical experts to sift through the remains. Ostensibly, the damaged saucer was moved into a warehouse facility under 24-hour guard near the Rhine. Some parts were also flown to a facility near the Austrian border.

Allegedly, members of the teams that worked on the advanced alien technology were from the Luftwaffe, the Speer Ministry of Arms headed by Albert Speer, and the formal research council, the “Reichsforschungrat,” composed of university professors and industrial engineers.

Horton brothers of flying wing fame were consulted

The teams were assembled to reverse engineer what was salvaged and among the experts called upon were the Horton brothers—who later designed and tested revolutionary flying wing aircraft and the world’s first stealth jet fighter-bomber. Some of their resulting technology may have been gleaned from intense study of the alien craft, although that cannot be proven.

Genius Viktor Schauberger invented the imploder vortex motor

Later, the expertise of Viktor Schauberger was tapped. He was the inventor of the revolutionary imploder motor that created an imploding vortex.

Nazi experiment with anti-gravity device, the Glocke

That motor may have been the basis for later S.S. experiments in Poland with the notorious Glocke (Bell) device that reportedly created inter-dimensional rifts in space-time. [The S.S. Brotherhood of the Bell: The Nazis’ Incredible Secret Technology]

Renato Vesco’s books on the Nazi flying saucer research programs

Italian researcher Renato Vesco, in his classic and well-researched book, Intercept – But Don’t Shoot: The True Story of the Flying Saucers asserts that the Nazis were working on many advanced propulsion systems and rudimentary anti-gravity devices to power their disc-shaped, or lenticular, aircraft.

German schematic of an advanced disc version

Alien craft spurred German’s engineering efforts

Although vastly influenced by the capture of an actual disc, research into circular aircraft had been going on as far back as the experiments in Italy before 1920 with crude jets attached to aerodynamic discs. [Hitler’s Flying Saucers]

The ET craft served to advance propulsion, electronics and provided clues to workable designs, but the scientists were at a loss regarding the metallurgy as the craft was composed of materials unknown to them and impossible to duplicate in the lab.

Some of Germany’s most advanced theoretical engineers and physicists were personally tasked by Hitler to get the technology working and make it available for the war effort. In that regards, geniuses like Ballenzo, Habermohl, Miethe and Schriever were recruited.

Artist’s interpretation of first Nazi disc built by Schriever

Documents captured by the Allies after the war ended indicate that Schriever was the first to have some success with the disc technology. His own research, augmented by what had by then been deduced from the retrieved saucer, enabled him to build a working craft powered by specially designed jet engines. The craft, however, was unstable. The first two versions ended in disasterous crashes killing the test pilots. [Man-Made UFOs, 1944-1994: Fifty Years of Suppression]

Tides of war turn, Nazis expand saucer projects

As the years advanced and the Allies began counter-attacking Germany, some Nazi officials began pressuring Schauberger to adapt a verson of his Repulsine imploder to serve as the motive force for a different type of disc craft using the vortex propulsion motor.

Viktor Schauberger’s incredible implosion motor

 

German saucer designed around the imploder motor

Although the Nazi engineers and scientists built their first experimental saucers from light steel or heavy aluminum, the steel still proved too heavy and the aluminum too soft and not tough enough to withstand the stress subjected to it when molded into a lens-shaped craft.

Frustrated scientists finally gave up trying to unravel the mystery of the alien metal and succeeded in creating their own version with an alloy of aluminum and magnesium in 1944. The new alloy was exactly what they needed to design bigger and better craft. The metal was light, yet more durable than simple aluminum.

Primitive experimental propeller-driven disc airplane never saw production

Hitler pressed the engineers onwards with greater frenzy. Germany was now suffering nightly bombing raids and factories across the country had been moved to gigantic underground facilities. Aircraft production lines were being hampered and destroyed and the rocket facility run by Werner von Braun at Peenemünde was not back up to full capacity after being bombed in 1943.

Slave laborers, mostly Slavic, were pressed into service to produce V-2 rockets, advanced aircraft, synthetic fuel, high explosives…and incredible remote-controlled flying saucers.

Nazi Kugelblitz attack Allied bombers over Germany

The astounding Nazi Kugelblitz

According to documents and the testimony of surviving Polish slave laborers, the Germans actually created an assemblyline to manufacture a flying disc weapon called the Kugelblitz (ball lightening).

The Allied pilots called them Foo-fighters.

The Kugelblitz was the first real flying saucer ever manufactured by any nation on Earth. Several of the tests were secretly attended by Hitler and his S.S. chief, Heinrich Himmler.

Rare daylight photo of Nazi Kugelblitz trailing bomber

According to captured documents, the radio-controlled craft were made in the underground factories at Thuringia and the craft varied in size from 10 to 15-feet across. Reportedly they were amazingly manueverable and were able to achieve speeds of more than 1,250 miles per hour. They emitted a strong electo-static field designed to disrupt the electrical circuits of conventional aircraft causing enemy planes to falter, dive, and crash.

Other saucers

Prototypes of other saucers were designed and engineering mock-ups were made. Some made it as far as wind tunnel tests. A few disc craft other than Schriever’s early attempts were constructed and flown.

About 18 months before the Germans surrendered, Hitler pinned his hopes—and those of Germany—on the incredible potential of a mind-boggling array of superweapons. The greatest of the weapons were his new class of Vengeance weapons.

Germany’s planned hypersonic cruise missile V-3

The old V-weapons were the rocket plane V-1 and intracontinental missile V-2. Hitler’s dream envisioned the world’s first cruise missile: a V-3 sub-orbital, intercontinental hypersonic rocket capable of hitting New York and Washington.

Nazi Vril disc craft during test flight over undetermined German airfield

And then there were the flying saucers…

German officers at airfield with Vril saucer prototype in distance

S.S. Reichsführer Himmler recommended S. S. Grupenführer Hans Kammler to head the saucer projects and save the Fatherland. Hitler agreed.

Saucer chief: S.S. Grupenführer Hans Kammler circa 1944

Later Kammler is said to have overseen the Glocke project as well.

Undoubtedly, Germany’s superweapons—specifically those they were perfecting in the closing months of the war—would have defeated the Allies and helped Germany conquer and rule Western and Eastern Europe, suppress the U.S.S.R., and keep America neutered—even with the new atomic weapon the U.S. had developed.

But the Germans ran out of time.

Some argue that no matter what the Nazis had, they could not have staved off American atomic attacks. Yet evidence exists that in the final weeks of the war the Germans successfully detonated their own low-yield atomic bomb and that coupled with stealth aircraft, the imploder vortex motor, advanced television bombs, the hypersonic V-3 “Amerika Bomb,” and flying saucer fighters—ostensibly augmented with harvested alien technology—would have sealed the fate of the Nazi’s enemies…

…and perhaps Adolf Hitler would have attained his twisted dream of a Thousand Year Reich.

Article Source Link: http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/02/28/hitlers-roswell-alien-saucer-crash-in-1937-nazi-germany/

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

JP

An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.
An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.

Abstract:
Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought.

Nanoparticles in food, vitamins could harm human health

Ithaca, NY | Posted on February 16th, 2012

A research collaboration led by Michael Shuler, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering and the James and Marsha McCormick Chair of Biomedical Engineering, studied how large doses of polystyrene nanoparticles — a common, FDA-approved material found in substances from food additives to vitamins — affected how well chickens absorbed iron, an essential nutrient, into their cells.

The results were reported online Feb. 12 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

According to the study, high-intensity, short-term exposure to the particles initially blocked iron absorption, whereas longer-term exposure caused intestinal cell structures to change, allowing for a compensating uptick in iron absorption.

The researchers tested both acute and chronic nanoparticle exposure using human gut cells in petri dishes as well as live chickens and reported matching results. They chose chickens because these animals absorb iron into their bodies similarly to humans, and they are also similarly sensitive to micronutrient deficiencies, explained Gretchen Mahler, Ph.D. ’08, the paper’s first author and former Cornell graduate student and postdoctoral associate.

The researchers used commercially available, 50-nanometer polystyrene carboxylated particles that are generally considered safe for human consumption. They found that following acute exposure, a few minutes to a few hours after consumption, both the absorption of iron in the in vitro cells and the chickens decreased.

But following exposure of 2 milligrams per kilogram for two weeks — a slower, more chronic intake — the structure of the intestinal villi began to change and increase in surface area. This was an effective physiological remodeling that led to increased iron absorption.

“This was a physiological response that was unexpected,” Mahler said.

Shuler noted that in some sense this intestinal villi remodeling was positive because it shows the body adapts to challenges. But it serves to underscore how such particles, which have been widely studied and considered safe, cause barely detectable changes that could lead to, for example, over-absorption of other, harmful compounds.

Human exposure to nanoparticles is only increasing, Shuler continued.

“Nanoparticles are entering our environment in many different ways,” Shuler said. “We have some assurance that at a gross level they are not harmful, but there may be more subtle effects that we need to worry about.”

The paper included Cornell co-authors Mandy Esch, a research associate in biomedical engineering; Elad Tako, a research associate at the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health; Teresa Southard, assistant professor of biomedical sciences; Shivaun Archer, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering; and Raymond Glahn, senior scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and courtesy associate professor in the Department of Food Science. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation; New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research; Army Corp of Engineers; and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Article Source Link: http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=44525

JP