ce399 | research archive: (electronic) mind control

Fascist Modernism: Marinetti’s “Mechanical Son”

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 30/07/2010

Likewise, works written at this time – most notably, Mafarka Le Futuriste – abound with images and nonsexual procreation, consistently eliminating the figure of the effeminizing mother. This tendency is expressed programmatically in Marinetti’s railings “Against Amore and Parliamentarism” in “War, the World’s Only Hygiene”: Well then: I confess that before so intoxicating a spectacle we strong Futurists have suddenly felt ourselves suddenly detached from women, who have suddenly become too earthly, or to express it better, have become a symbol of the earth that we ought to abandon. We have even dreamed of one day being able to create a mechanical son, the fruit of pure will, a synthesis of all the laws that science is on the brink of discovering.” (Marinetti SW, p75)

The regulation  of sexuality envisaged in this early work, written in the heyday of the productive model of the machine metaphor, is extremely strict: sex serves the function of procreation. Desire is machinic insofar as it motivates (re-)production.

Again, it is with a reference to the organizing metaphor of the machine that one can begin to understand the shift to a degenitalized sensuality. If the early machine concentrates sexual energies on the act of procreation, then the dissociation of the machine from the act of production – its utilization as a model of order rather than as a principle of proliferation – results in a celebration of the technology of creation and necessarily dissociates sexuality from the act of procreation. Sexuality itself becomes the exercising of a power rather than the creation or regeneration of a power in the act of procreation. Thus the “dispersed” sexuality of the Tactilism Manifesto [1921] – though subversive or progressive when viewed purely in terms of discursive divisions that take no account of the subjugation of ideology to the machine metaphor – corresponds to a shift in Marinetti’s understanding of the function of the machine and gives expression not to liberational impulses but to an ideology of control at the level of the body. The “efficiency” of the body as machine does not consist, here, in its productivity, but in its full utilization, its functioning at full capacity, every orifice plugged and every inch of epidermis aroused.

Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics and the Avant-Garde by Andrew Hewitt. Pg 150 – 51. ISBN#

Visionics and Electronic Apartheid: Automating the Interpretation of Reality

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 30/07/2010

Nevertheless, _Polar Inertia_ is an important book for beginning to assess the revolutionary cultural impact of digital *visionics* in media studies, for affirming the crisis of representation and ambiguity surrounding the factual in the visual domain, and for anticipating the age of paradoxical logic and *telepresence* (as the possibility of the ‘actual’ end of modernity). In this context, one also has to wonder whether Virilio’s acknowledgment of *speed* as the engine of the acceleration, breakdown, and parabolic distortion of images (and imaging) redeems an anti-ocularcentric turn in Western thought (particularly French poststructuralist thought); or does it forewarn of an active *hyperCartesianism* and extension of classical optical communication by ‘electro-optical’ communication. Species of anti-ocularcentric discourse resist the static taxonomies of a rigid space- time in modernist vision, whereby *knowing* was no longer an imitation of the world based on similitude, but a self-contained universal science whose function was to represent forms, magnitudes, quantities, and relations of objects in a homogenous, mechanical space. Virilio pays homage to Foucault and Merleau-Ponty in this regard for shaking up the order of things in the Western eye, disturbing the primacy of perception, and questioning the ‘electronic apartheid’ of the media world (although he perhaps deliberately neglects Gilles Deleuze and Luce Irigaray when they criticize Western thought for its reverence of mimetic representations, for its rejection of phantasms, its consumption of women for *specularization*, and its framed, visual reduplication of male-dominated ideas).


The reader of _Polar Inertia_, then, is led to believe that the shift toward sightless, digital vision is a movement away from the modernist perception that emphasizes the movement of visual information in a mechanical, linear, segmented time, and toward a new perceptual revolution deriving from past and present breakthroughs in quantum theory. Virilio, however, is highly critical of the effects of the ‘lensless’, synthetic, point to point digitalization/manipulation of appearances, and the accelerated ‘photonic’ transmission of those appearances. He suggests that the effects of the new ‘active’ optics are a deepening of some of the negative aspects of Cartesian objectivism and conventional camera cinematography, particularly regarding the emergence of paradoxical forms of duration and space-time regimes.


Paul Virilio – War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception

ce399 notes:

There exists yet another layer to the automation of the interpretation of reality through technological means that Virilio hints at though does not make explicitly clear:

News items in corporate media communications can also trigger an accompanying message in a method similar to a midi sample in computer generated music in order to ‘blanket’ a target geographic area with  spectral or psionic transmissions conveying Pentagon PSYOP deception and misinformation – this further strengthens the effect (a ‘force multiplier’) of the word-image communication broadcasts by ‘traditional’ media.

With the advent of remote brain scanning technology, a keyword read by the target individual or group in print media format, for example, can trigger silent audio (or voice-to-skull) transmissions. These transmissions can further automate anti-critical thinking programming via broadcast of  pre-recorded positive or negative corporate-military propaganda messages which, again, function as psychological operations (PSYOP)  ‘force multipliers‘  via remote, automated and space-based action agents.

Google and the CIA Invest in Recorded Future (Democracy Now! 30/7/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 30/07/2010

Investors at the CIA and Google are backing a company called “Recorded Future” that monitors tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts in real time in order to find patterns, events and relationships that may predict the future. The news comes amidst Google’s so-called “Wi-Spy” scandal, that refers to revelations that Google’s Street View cars operating in some thirty countries snooped on private Wi-Fi networks over the last three years. [includes rush transcript]


Noah Shachtman, contributing editor at Wired magazine and editor of its national security blog, Danger Room

John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google project.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Investors at the CIA and Google are both backing a company that claims to represent the next phase of intelligence gathering, according to a report from Wired. It’s called Recorded Future, and it monitors tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts in real time in order to find patterns, events and relationships that may predict the future. Google has done business with America’s spy agencies before, but this seems to be the first time the CIA and Google have funded the same startup at the same time.

The report comes on the heels of a new opinion poll released by the nonpartisan group Consumer Watchdog that shows nearly two-thirds of Americans are troubled by what’s being called Google’s “Wi-Spy” scandal. Wi-Spy refers to revelations that Google’s Street View cars operating in some thirty countries snooped on private Wi-Fi networks over the last three years. Google has admitted that its cars recorded communications from unencrypted home Wi-Fi networks as they photographed people’s homes for Google’s Street View.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined now by two guests. Here in New York, Noah Shachtman’s with us. He’s contributing editor at Wired magazine and editor of its national security blog, “”http://www.wired.com/dangerroom”>Danger Room,” where he broke the story about Google and the CIA both investing in Recorded Future. And we’re joined in Los Angeles by John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google project. He’s calling for congressional hearings into the Google Wi-Spy scandal.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Noah, let’s start with you. Just lay out what this relationship is. There may be people who don’t even know that Street View of Google, that you can go down the streets of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and see people’s houses. And what else did they record?

NOAH SCHACHTMAN: Right, so, you know, Google—we sort of make an implicit bargain with Google, right? Google reads our email to deliver advertisements. They look at how we’re traveling from point A to point B as they—as we use Google Maps. They look at our searches as we use Google Search. So we make—they read all that information, but we make a bargain with them that they’re not going to do anything too bad with it, that they’re going to observe their “don’t be evil” mantra. And that’s why this latest business arrangement is kind of troubling.

AMY GOODMAN: John Simpson, go further with the Street View and what you found with Wi-Spy.

JOHN SIMPSON: Sure. What most people, I think, realized was that indeed these trucks and vans were taking photographs, but it then developed that they were recording data from open Wi-Fi networks and gathering other information about Wi-Fi networks as they went along. Initially, Google said that they were just locating the networks. And then they said, “Oh, my gosh! We made a mistake. We were actually gathering data,” which seems tremendously disingenuous when you—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what you mean when you say they’re—

JOHN SIMPSON: —learn that they in fact patented the—

AMY GOODMAN: John, explain exactly what you mean when you say there weren’t just taking pictures, but they were gathering data from the Wi-Fi networks as they passed your house.

JOHN SIMPSON: Well, sure, if you—if you have a Wi-Fi network and you’re sending email messages over it, passwords are going through it when you log on to websites, any of that sort of communications could be sucked up by their Wi-Spy snooping. And not only would it be sucked up, it was recorded on their servers. So there are parts of people’s personal communication that they have in their server network. And what they’re doing with that information is part of the problem. No one from Google has said why they were gathering it, what they intended to do with it, and what they have done with it. They’ve essentially said, “Trust us. We’re the company that believes ‘don’t be evil.’”

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you say they’re storing it in their servers, one of the amazing things to me has been, as I’ve learned more about Google, that they virtually have created these huge tank farms all around the United States where they are storing all this data, and they’re collecting basically more information on the American people and on—in the world than practically any other company right now.

Noah Shachtman, I’m particularly interested in this issue of this new company, Recorded Future. How exactly will—how exactly is Recorded Future working? What are they doing with the information they’re gathering now for both the CIA—with CIA investment and with Google investment?

NOAH SCHACHTMAN: So, Recorded Future is a company that strips out from web pages the sort of who, what, when, where, why—sort of who’s involved, you know, where are they going, what kind of events are they going to. And the idea is to find hidden links between actors that might not necessarily have visible links between them. So, for example, if I’m going to Aruba and there happens to be, I don’t know, you know, a terrorism conference in Aruba, perhaps I’m going to that terrorism conference. That’s sort of the idea.

AMY GOODMAN: And how is CIA and Google working together?

NOAH SCHACHTMAN: So, most people don’t realize that the intelligence agencies have an investment arm. It’s called In-Q-Tel. And they invest money in promising companies, both to make a little cash and also to deliver those promising technologies to the intelligence community. So, in the early part of this decade, for example, In-Q-Tel invested in a company called Keyhole. Keyhole was then bought by Google in 2004 and became the basis of Google Earth, which is now how we can look at all those satellite cameras and what eventually became the basis for the Street View project, right? And what Street View is, is it’s part of Google Maps. It’s a way of—instead of looking at how you get from point A to point B, it’s a way to actually see the streets that you’re navigating. And so, when Google was taking pictures to develop that sort of 3-D view of the streets you travel on, that’s when it got into trouble collecting this Wi-Fi information. So that’s how it kind of all ties together.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, there’s a higher-level, much larger secret intelligence agency, and it’s the National Security Agency.

NOAH SCHACHTMAN: Right. So, Google, its relationship with the NSA is unclear, as most things with the NSA are unclear. We know that they’ve done business together before. We know that Google sold them some products before, some servers. And we also know—excuse me—or we believe we know, that when Google suffered a pretty vicious hack attack earlier this year, it turned to the NSA. It turned to sort of the information security specialists of the NSA to help them out and try to figure out what was going on. Now, it gets a little bit complicated because that side of the NSA is not quite as black hat as the side that spies on us. There’s actually kind of two divisions within the NSA, one that’s relatively benign and one that’s relatively not benign. But it’s still—It’s yet another example of how Google and the country’s intelligence agencies are starting to get closer and closer together.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Have there been any attempts in other countries to begin to place limits on some of this cooperation between Google and—or their being able to use what they’re doing here in the United States, has spread to other countries?

NOAH SCHACHTMAN: You know, the answer, I’m sure, is yes, but I don’t have details, I’m sorry.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me ask John Simpson, what are you calling on Congress to do?

JOHN SIMPSON: Well, we want to know exactly what Google was trying to do when it sucked up all this personal communications when it was doing the Wi-Spying. And we’re also very concerned about precisely the nature of this growing relationship between our intelligence agencies and Google. And we think that both of those things need to be a subject of a hearing. Just like Tony Hayward came in and had to explain the Gulf oil spill, we think that Chairman Eric Schmidt needs to be called before the appropriate committee to explain what I think is the biggest information spill, if you will, in history. It’s virtually wiretapping, what they were doing with the Wi-Fi networks. And they need to be called on the carpet to account for that and why they did it. And so far there’s been no adequate explanation of what they were trying to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Who was championing this in Congress?

JOHN SIMPSON: The more troubling aspect, too—

AMY GOODMAN: John, who was championing this in Congress? And what is Google’s response, not to mention the intelligence agency, if you can gather this, to your Inside Google project at Consumer Watchdog?

JOHN SIMPSON: Well, Google has not been our best friend, you could say. In fact, early on, when we put out a press release they didn’t like, they actually tried to get our charitable funding revoked—contacted the Rose Foundation and suggested we ought not to be funded, which was not very good. In Congress, so far, we have not had any one respond to the call. We believe that the appropriate committee would be Commerce and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, possibly House Judiciary Committee, because they have jurisdiction over wiretap legislation. So, we’re still optimistic, particularly when, in the light of our poll, we had overwhelming support for some kind of a hearing from the voters that we polled. We think possibly when the Congresspeople are back in their districts, maybe they will indeed hear some of the concern from their constituents. So we’re optimistic that there will be a hearing.

AMY GOODMAN: John Simpson, I want to thank you for being with us, director of Inside Google project at Consumer Watchdog. And also thanks to Noah Shachtman, contributing editor at Wired Magazine.

White House visitor logs show that Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy and government affairs, has had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council since the beginning of last year. And John Simpson also has written that based on today’s Washington Post series, it appears Google holds classified US government contracts to supply search and geospatial information to the US government. That series, they did last week.


The End of Forgetting (NY Times 25/7/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 26/07/2010

CTRL Identity

Four years ago, Stacy Snyder, then a 25-year-old teacher in training at Conestoga Valley High School in Lancaster, Pa., posted a photo on her MySpace  page that showed her at a party wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup, with the caption “Drunken Pirate.” After discovering the page, her supervisor at the high school told her the photo was “unprofessional,” and the dean of Millersville University School of Education, where Snyder was enrolled, said she was promoting drinking in virtual view of her under-age students. As a result, days before Snyder’s scheduled graduation, the university denied her a teaching degree. Snyder sued, arguing that the university had violated her First Amendment rights by penalizing her for her (perfectly legal) after-hours behavior. But in 2008, a federal district judge rejected the claim, saying that because Snyder was a public employee whose photo didn’t relate to matters of public concern, her “Drunken Pirate” post was not protected speech.

When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever. With Web sites like LOL Facebook Moments, which collects and shares embarrassing personal revelations from Facebook users, ill-advised photos and online chatter are coming back to haunt people months or years after the fact. Examples are proliferating daily: there was the 16-year-old British girl who was fired from her office job for complaining on Facebook, “I’m so totally bored!!”; there was the 66-year-old Canadian psychotherapist who tried to enter the United States but was turned away at the border — and barred permanently from visiting the country — after a border guard’s Internet search found that the therapist had written an article in a philosophy journal describing his experiments 30 years ago with L.S.D.

According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 75 percent of U.S. recruiters and human-resource professionals report that their companies require them to do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants — including search engines, social-networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, personal Web sites and blogs, Twitter and online-gaming sites. Seventy percent of U.S. recruiters report that they have rejected candidates because of information found online, like photos and discussion-board conversations and membership in controversial groups.

Technological advances, of course, have often presented new threats to privacy. In 1890, in perhaps the most famous article on privacy ever written, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis complained that because of new technology — like the Kodak camera and the tabloid press — “gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious but has become a trade.” But the mild society gossip of the Gilded Age pales before the volume of revelations contained in the photos, video and chatter on social-media sites and elsewhere across the Internet. Facebook, which surpassed MySpace in 2008 as the largest social-networking site, now has nearly 500 million members, or 22 percent of all Internet users, who spend more than 500 billion minutes a month on the site. Facebook users share more than 25 billion pieces of content each month (including news stories, blog posts and photos), and the average user creates 70 pieces of content a month. There are more than 100 million registered Twitter users, and the Library of Congress recently announced that it will be acquiring — and permanently storing — the entire archive of public Twitter posts since 2006.

In Brandeis’s day — and until recently, in ours — you had to be a celebrity to be gossiped about in public: today all of us are learning to expect the scrutiny that used to be reserved for the famous and the infamous. A 26-year-old Manhattan woman told The New York Times that she was afraid of being tagged in online photos because it might reveal that she wears only two outfits when out on the town — a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt or a basic black dress. “You have movie-star issues,” she said, “and you’re just a person.”

We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files. The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.

In a recent book, “Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age,” the cyberscholar Viktor Mayer-Schönberger cites Stacy Snyder’s case as a reminder of the importance of “societal forgetting.” By “erasing external memories,” he says in the book, “our society accepts that human beings evolve over time, that we have the capacity to learn from past experiences and adjust our behavior.” In traditional societies, where missteps are observed but not necessarily recorded, the limits of human memory ensure that people’s sins are eventually forgotten. By contrast, Mayer-Schönberger notes, a society in which everything is recorded “will forever tether us to all our past actions, making it impossible, in practice, to escape them.” He concludes that “without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.”

It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances — no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you.

All this has created something of a collective identity crisis. For most of human history, the idea of reinventing yourself or freely shaping your identity — of presenting different selves in different contexts (at home, at work, at play) — was hard to fathom, because people’s identities were fixed by their roles in a rigid social hierarchy. With little geographic or social mobility, you were defined not as an individual but by your village, your class, your job or your guild. But that started to change in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with a growing individualism that came to redefine human identity. As people perceived themselves increasingly as individuals, their status became a function not of inherited categories but of their own efforts and achievements. This new conception of malleable and fluid identity found its fullest and purest expression in the American ideal of the self-made man, a term popularized by Henry Clay in 1832. From the late 18th to the early 20th century, millions of Europeans moved from the Old World to the New World and then continued to move westward across America, a development that led to what the historian Frederick Jackson Turner called “the significance of the frontier,” in which the possibility of constant migration from civilization to the wilderness made Americans distrustful of hierarchy and committed to inventing and reinventing themselves.

In the 20th century, however, the ideal of the self-made man came under siege. The end of the Western frontier led to worries that Americans could no longer seek a fresh start and leave their past behind, a kind of reinvention associated with the phrase “G.T.T.,” or “Gone to Texas.” But the dawning of the Internet age promised to resurrect the ideal of what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has called the “protean self.” If you couldn’t flee to Texas, you could always seek out a new chat room and create a new screen name. For some technology enthusiasts, the Web was supposed to be the second flowering of the open frontier, and the ability to segment our identities with an endless supply of pseudonyms, avatars and categories of friendship was supposed to let people present different sides of their personalities in different contexts. What seemed within our grasp was a power that only Proteus possessed: namely, perfect control over our shifting identities.

But the hope that we could carefully control how others view us in different contexts has proved to be another myth. As social-networking sites expanded, it was no longer quite so easy to have segmented identities: now that so many people use a single platform to post constant status updates and photos about their private and public activities, the idea of a home self, a work self, a family self and a high-school-friends self has become increasingly untenable. In fact, the attempt to maintain different selves often arouses suspicion. Moreover, far from giving us a new sense of control over the face we present to the world, the Internet is shackling us to everything that we have ever said, or that anyone has said about us, making the possibility of digital self-reinvention seem like an ideal from a distant era.

Concern about these developments has intensified this year, as Facebook took steps to make the digital profiles of its users generally more public than private. Last December, the company announced that parts of user profiles that had previously been private — including every user’s friends, relationship status and family relations — would become public and accessible to other users. Then in April, Facebook introduced an interactive system called Open Graph that can share your profile information and friends with the Facebook partner sites you visit.

What followed was an avalanche of criticism from users, privacy regulators and advocates around the world. Four Democratic senators — Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska and Al Franken of Minnesota — wrote to the chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, expressing concern about the “instant personalization” feature and the new privacy settings. The reaction to Facebook’s changes was such that when four N.Y.U. students announced plans in April to build a free social-networking site called Diaspora, which wouldn’t compel users to compromise their privacy, they raised more than $20,000 from more than 700 backers in a matter of weeks. In May, Facebook responded to all the criticism by introducing a new set of privacy controls that the company said would make it easier for users to understand what kind of information they were sharing in various contexts.

Facebook’s partial retreat has not quieted the desire to do something about an urgent problem. All around the world, political leaders, scholars and citizens are searching for responses to the challenge of preserving control of our identities in a digital world that never forgets. Are the most promising solutions going to be technological? Legislative? Judicial? Ethical? A result of shifting social norms and cultural expectations? Or some mix of the above? Alex Türk, the French data-protection commissioner, has called for a “constitutional right to oblivion” that would allow citizens to maintain a greater degree of anonymity online and in public places. In Argentina, the writers Alejandro Tortolini and Enrique Quagliano have started a campaign to “reinvent forgetting on the Internet,” exploring a range of political and technological ways of making data disappear. In February, the European Union helped finance a campaign called “Think B4 U post!” that urges young people to consider the “potential consequences” of publishing photos of themselves or their friends without “thinking carefully” and asking permission. And in the United States, a group of technologists, legal scholars and cyberthinkers are exploring ways of recreating the possibility of digital forgetting. These approaches share the common goal of reconstructing a form of control over our identities: the ability to reinvent ourselves, to escape our pasts and to improve the selves that we present to the world.

A few years ago, at the giddy dawn of the Web 2.0 era — so called to mark the rise of user-generated online content — many technological theorists assumed that self-governing communities could ensure, through the self-correcting wisdom of the crowd, that all participants enjoyed the online identities they deserved. Wikipedia is one embodiment of the faith that the wisdom of the crowd can correct most mistakes — that a Wikipedia entry for a small-town mayor, for example, will reflect the reputation he deserves. And if the crowd fails — perhaps by turning into a digital mob — Wikipedia offers other forms of redress. Those who think their Wikipedia entries lack context, because they overemphasize a single personal or professional mistake, can petition a group of select editors that decides whether a particular event in someone’s past has been given “undue weight.” For example, if the small-town mayor had an exemplary career but then was arrested for drunken driving, which came to dominate his Wikipedia entry, he can petition to have the event put in context or made less prominent.

In practice, however, self-governing communities like Wikipedia — or algorithmically self-correcting systems like Google — often leave people feeling misrepresented and burned. Those who think that their online reputations have been unfairly tarnished by an isolated incident or two now have a practical option: consulting a firm like ReputationDefender, which promises to clean up your online image. ReputationDefender was founded by Michael Fertik, a Harvard Law School graduate who was troubled by the idea of young people being forever tainted online by their youthful indiscretions. “I was seeing articles about the ‘Lord of the Flies’ behavior that all of us engage in at that age,” he told me, “and it felt un-American that when the conduct was online, it could have permanent effects on the speaker and the victim. The right to new beginnings and the right to self-definition have always been among the most beautiful American ideals.”

ReputationDefender, which has customers in more than 100 countries, is the most successful of the handful of reputation-related start-ups that have been growing rapidly after the privacy concerns raised by Facebook and Google. (ReputationDefender recently raised $15 million in new venture capital.) For a fee, the company will monitor your online reputation, contacting Web sites individually and asking them to take down offending items. In addition, with the help of the kind of search-optimization technology that businesses use to raise their Google profiles, ReputationDefender can bombard the Web with positive or neutral information about its customers, either creating new Web pages or by multiplying links to existing ones to ensure they show up at the top of any Google search. (Services begin from $10 a month to $1,000 a year; for challenging cases, the price can rise into the tens of thousands.) By automatically raising the Google ranks of the positive links, ReputationDefender pushes the negative links to the back pages of a Google search, where they’re harder to find. “We’re hearing stories of employers increasingly asking candidates to open up Facebook pages in front of them during job interviews,” Fertik told me. “Our customers include parents whose kids have talked about them on the Internet — ‘Mom didn’t get the raise’; ‘Dad got fired’; ‘Mom and Dad are fighting a lot, and I’m worried they’ll get a divorce.’ ”

Companies like ReputationDefender offer a promising short-term solution for those who can afford it; but tweaking your Google profile may not be enough for reputation management in the near future, as Web 2.0 swiftly gives way to Web. 3.0 — a world in which user-generated content is combined with a new layer of data aggregation and analysis and live video. For example, the Facebook application Photo Finder, by Face.com, uses facial-recognition and social-connections software to allow you to locate any photo of yourself or a friend on Facebook, regardless of whether the photo was “tagged” — that is, the individual in the photo was identified by name. At the moment, Photo Finder allows you to identify only people on your contact list, but as facial-recognition technology becomes more widespread and sophisticated, it will almost certainly challenge our expectation of anonymity in public. People will be able to snap a cellphone picture (or video) of a stranger, plug the images into Google and pull up all tagged and untagged photos of that person that exist on the Web.

In the nearer future, Internet searches for images are likely to be combined with social-network aggregator search engines, like today’s Spokeo and Pipl, which combine data from online sources — including political contributions, blog posts, YouTube videos, Web comments, real estate listings and photo albums. Increasingly these aggregator sites will rank people’s public and private reputations, like the new Web site Unvarnished, a reputation marketplace where people can write anonymous reviews about anyone. In the Web 3.0 world, Fertik predicts, people will be rated, assessed and scored based not on their creditworthiness but on their trustworthiness as good parents, good dates, good employees, good baby sitters or good insurance risks.

Anticipating these challenges, some legal scholars have begun imagining new laws that could allow people to correct, or escape from, the reputation scores that may govern our personal and professional interactions in the future. Jonathan Zittrain, who teaches cyberlaw at Harvard Law School, supports an idea he calls “reputation bankruptcy,” which would give people a chance to wipe their reputation slates clean and start over. To illustrate the problem, Zittrain showed me an iPhone app called Date Check, by Intelius, that offers a “sleaze detector” to let you investigate people you’re thinking about dating — it reports their criminal histories, address histories and summaries of their social-networking profiles. Services like Date Check, Zittrain said, could soon become even more sophisticated, rating a person’s social desirability based on minute social measurements — like how often he or she was approached or avoided by others at parties (a ranking that would be easy to calibrate under existing technology using cellphones and Bluetooth). Zittrain also speculated that, over time, more and more reputation queries will be processed by a handful of de facto reputation brokers — like the existing consumer-reporting agencies Experian and Equifax, for example — which will provide ratings for people based on their sociability, trustworthiness and employability.

To allow people to escape from negative scores generated by these services, Zittrain says that people should be allowed to declare “reputation bankruptcy” every 10 years or so, wiping out certain categories of ratings or sensitive information. His model is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires consumer-reporting agencies to provide you with one free credit report a year — so you can dispute negative or inaccurate information — and prohibits the agencies from retaining negative information about bankruptcies, late payments or tax liens for more than 10 years. “Like personal financial bankruptcy, or the way in which a state often seals a juvenile criminal record and gives a child a ‘fresh start’ as an adult,” Zittrain writes in his book “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It,” “we ought to consider how to implement the idea of a second or third chance into our digital spaces.”

Another proposal, offered by Paul Ohm, a law professor at the University of Colorado, would make it illegal for employers to fire or refuse to hire anyone on the basis of legal off-duty conduct revealed in Facebook postings or Google profiles. “Is it really fair for employers to know what you’ve put in your Facebook status updates?” Ohm asks. “We could say that Facebook status updates have taken the place of water-cooler chat, which employers were never supposed to overhear, and we could pass a prohibition on the sorts of information employers can and can’t consider when they hire someone.”

Ohm became interested in this problem in the course of researching the ease with which we can learn the identities of people from supposedly anonymous personal data like movie preferences and health information. When Netflix, for example, released 100 million purportedly anonymous records revealing how almost 500,000 users had rated movies from 1999 to 2005, researchers were able to identify people in the database by name with a high degree of accuracy if they knew even only a little bit about their movie-watching preferences, obtained from public data posted on other ratings sites.

Ohm says he worries that employers would be able to use social-network-aggregator services to identify people’s book and movie preferences and even Internet-search terms, and then fire or refuse to hire them on that basis. A handful of states — including New York, California, Colorado and North Dakota — broadly prohibit employers from discriminating against employees for legal off-duty conduct like smoking. Ohm suggests that these laws could be extended to prevent certain categories of employers from refusing to hire people based on Facebook pictures, status updates and other legal but embarrassing personal information. (In practice, these laws might be hard to enforce, since employers might not disclose the real reason for their hiring decisions, so employers, like credit-reporting agents, might also be required by law to disclose to job candidates the negative information in their digital files.)

Another legal option for responding to online setbacks to your reputation is to sue under current law. There’s already a sharp rise in lawsuits known as Twittergation — that is, suits to force Web sites to remove slanderous or false posts. Last year, Courtney Love was sued for libel by the fashion designer Boudoir Queen for supposedly slanderous comments posted on Twitter, on Love’s MySpace page and on the designer’s online marketplace-feedback page. But even if you win a U.S. libel lawsuit, the Web site doesn’t have to take the offending material down any more than a newspaper that has lost a libel suit has to remove the offending content from its archive.

Some scholars, therefore, have proposed creating new legal rights to force Web sites to remove false or slanderous statements. Cass Sunstein, the Obama administration’s regulatory czar, suggests in his new book, “On Rumors,” that there might be “a general right to demand retraction after a clear demonstration that a statement is both false and damaging.” (If a newspaper or blogger refuses to post a retraction, they might be liable for damages.) Sunstein adds that Web sites might be required to take down false postings after receiving notice that they are false — an approach modeled on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which requires Web sites to remove content that supposedly infringes intellectual property rights after receiving a complaint.

As Stacy Snyder’s “Drunken Pirate” photo suggests, however, many people aren’t worried about false information posted by others — they’re worried about true information they’ve posted about themselves when it is taken out of context or given undue weight. And defamation law doesn’t apply to true information or statements of opinion. Some legal scholars want to expand the ability to sue over true but embarrassing violations of privacy — although it appears to be a quixotic goal.

Daniel Solove, a George Washington University law professor and author of the book “The Future of Reputation,” says that laws forbidding people to breach confidences could be expanded to allow you to sue your Facebook friends if they share your embarrassing photos or posts in violation of your privacy settings. Expanding legal rights in this way, however, would run up against the First Amendment rights of others. Invoking the right to free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court has already held that the media can’t be prohibited from publishing the name of a rape victim that they obtained from public records. Generally, American judges hold that if you disclose something to a few people, you can’t stop them from sharing the information with the rest of the world.

That’s one reason that the most promising solutions to the problem of embarrassing but true information online may be not legal but technological ones. Instead of suing after the damage is done (or hiring a firm to clean up our messes), we need to explore ways of pre-emptively making the offending words or pictures disappear.

Jorge Luis Borges, in his short story “Funes, the Memorious,” describes a young man who, as a result of a riding accident, has lost his ability to forget. Funes has a tremendous memory, but he is so lost in the details of everything he knows that he is unable to convert the information into knowledge and unable, as a result, to grow in wisdom. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, in “Delete,” uses the Borges story as an emblem for the personal and social costs of being so shackled by our digital past that we are unable to evolve and learn from our mistakes. After reviewing the various possible legal solutions to this problem, Mayer-Schönberger says he is more convinced by a technological fix: namely, mimicking human forgetting with built-in expiration dates for data. He imagines a world in which digital-storage devices could be programmed to delete photos or blog posts or other data that have reached their expiration dates, and he suggests that users could be prompted to select an expiration date before saving any data.

This is not an entirely fanciful vision. Google not long ago decided to render all search queries anonymous after nine months (by deleting part of each Internet protocol address), and the upstart search engine Cuil has announced that it won’t keep any personally identifiable information at all, a privacy feature that distinguishes it from Google. And there are already small-scale privacy apps that offer disappearing data. An app called TigerText allows text-message senders to set a time limit from one minute to 30 days after which the text disappears from the company’s servers on which it is stored and therefore from the senders’ and recipients’ phones. (The founder of TigerText, Jeffrey Evans, has said he chose the name before the scandal involving Tiger Woods’s supposed texts to a mistress.)

Expiration dates could be implemented more broadly in various ways. Researchers at the University of Washington, for example, are developing a technology called Vanish that makes electronic data “self-destruct” after a specified period of time. Instead of relying on Google, Facebook or Hotmail to delete the data that is stored “in the cloud” — in other words, on their distributed servers — Vanish encrypts the data and then “shatters” the encryption key. To read the data, your computer has to put the pieces of the key back together, but they “erode” or “rust” as time passes, and after a certain point the document can no longer be read. Tadayoshi Kohno, a designer of Vanish, told me that the system could provide expiration dates not only for e-mail but also for any data stored in the cloud, including photos or text or anything posted on Facebook, Google or blogs. The technology doesn’t promise perfect control — you can’t stop someone from copying your photos or Facebook chats during the period in which they are not encrypted. But as Vanish improves, it could bring us much closer to a world where our data didn’t linger forever.

Kohno told me that Facebook, if it wanted to, could implement expiration dates on its own platform, making our data disappear after, say, three days or three months unless a user specified that he wanted it to linger forever. It might be a more welcome option for Facebook to encourage the development of Vanish-style apps that would allow individual users who are concerned about privacy to make their own data disappear without imposing the default on all Facebook users.

So far, however, Zuckerberg, Facebook’s C.E.O., has been moving in the opposite direction — toward transparency rather than privacy. In defending Facebook’s recent decision to make the default for profile information about friends and relationship status public rather than private, Zuckerberg said in January to the founder of the publication TechCrunch that Facebook had an obligation to reflect “current social norms” that favored exposure over privacy. “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds but more openly and with more people, and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time,” he said.

But not all Facebook users agree with Zuckerberg. Plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that young people, having been burned by Facebook (and frustrated by its privacy policy, which at more than 5,000 words is longer than the U.S. Constitution), are savvier than older users about cleaning up their tagged photos and being careful about what they post. And two recent studies challenge the conventional wisdom that young people have no qualms about having their entire lives shared and preserved online forever. A University of California, Berkeley, study released in April found that large majorities of people between 18 and 22 said there should be laws that require Web sites to delete all stored information about individuals (88 percent) and that give people the right to know all the information Web sites know about them (62 percent) — percentages that mirrored the privacy views of older adults. A recent Pew study found that 18-to-29-year-olds are actually more concerned about their online profiles than older people are, vigilantly deleting unwanted posts, removing their names from tagged photos and censoring themselves as they share personal information, because they are coming to understand the dangers of oversharing.

Still, Zuckerberg is on to something when he recognizes that the future of our online identities and reputations will ultimately be shaped not just by laws and technologies but also by changing social norms. And norms are already developing to recreate off-the-record spaces in public, with no photos, Twitter posts or blogging allowed. Milk and Honey, an exclusive bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, requires potential members to sign an agreement promising not to blog about the bar’s goings on or to post photos on social-networking sites, and other bars and nightclubs are adopting similar policies. I’ve been at dinners recently where someone has requested, in all seriousness, “Please don’t tweet this” — a custom that is likely to spread.

But what happens when people transgress those norms, using Twitter or tagging photos in ways that cause us serious embarrassment? Can we imagine a world in which new norms develop that make it easier for people to forgive and forget one another’s digital sins?

That kind of social norm may be harder to develop. Alessandro Acquisti, a scholar at Carnegie Mellon University, studies the behavioral economics of privacy — that is, the conscious and unconscious mental trade-offs we make in deciding whether to reveal or conceal information, balancing the benefits of sharing with the dangers of disclosure. He is conducting experiments about the “decay time” and the relative weight of good and bad information — in other words, whether people discount positive information about you more quickly and heavily than they discount negative information about you. His research group’s preliminary results suggest that if rumors spread about something good you did 10 years ago, like winning a prize, they will be discounted; but if rumors spread about something bad that you did 10 years ago, like driving drunk, that information has staying power. Research in behavioral psychology confirms that people pay more attention to bad rather than good information, and Acquisti says he fears that “20 years from now, if all of us have a skeleton on Facebook, people may not discount it because it was an error in our youth.”

On the assumption that strangers may not make it easy for us to escape our pasts, Acquisti is also studying technologies and strategies of “privacy nudges” that might prompt people to think twice before sharing sensitive photos or information in the first place. Gmail, for example, has introduced a feature that forces you to think twice before sending drunken e-mail messages. When you enable the feature, called Mail Goggles, it prompts you to solve simple math problems before sending e-mail messages at times you’re likely to regret. (By default, Mail Goggles is active only late on weekend nights.) Acquisti is investigating similar strategies of “soft paternalism” that might nudge people to hesitate before posting, say, drunken photos from Cancún. “We could easily think about a system, when you are uploading certain photos, that immediately detects how sensitive the photo will be.”

A silly but surprisingly effective alternative might be to have an anthropomorphic icon — a stern version of Microsoft’s Clippy — that could give you a reproachful look before you hit the send button. According to M. Ryan Calo, who runs the consumer-privacy project at Stanford Law School, experimenters studying strategies of “visceral notice” have found that when people navigate a Web site in the presence of a human-looking online character who seems to be actively following the cursor, they disclose less personal information than people who browse with no character or one who appears not to be paying attention. As people continue to experience the drawbacks of living in a world that never forgets, they may well learn to hesitate before posting information, with or without humanoid Clippys.

In addition to exposing less for the Web to forget, it might be helpful for us to explore new ways of living in a world that is slow to forgive. It’s sobering, now that we live in a world misleadingly called a “global village,” to think about privacy in actual, small villages long ago. In the villages described in the Babylonian Talmud, for example, any kind of gossip or tale-bearing about other people — oral or written, true or false, friendly or mean — was considered a terrible sin because small communities have long memories and every word spoken about other people was thought to ascend to the heavenly cloud. (The digital cloud has made this metaphor literal.) But the Talmudic villages were, in fact, far more humane and forgiving than our brutal global village, where much of the content on the Internet would meet the Talmudic definition of gossip: although the Talmudic sages believed that God reads our thoughts and records them in the book of life, they also believed that God erases the book for those who atone for their sins by asking forgiveness of those they have wronged. In the Talmud, people have an obligation not to remind others of their past misdeeds, on the assumption they may have atoned and grown spiritually from their mistakes. “If a man was a repentant [sinner],” the Talmud says, “one must not say to him, ‘Remember your former deeds.’ ”

Unlike God, however, the digital cloud rarely wipes our slates clean, and the keepers of the cloud today are sometimes less forgiving than their all-powerful divine predecessor. In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Eric Schmidt, the C.E.O. of Google, said that “the next generation is infinitely more social online” — and less private — “as evidenced by their Facebook pictures,” which “will be around when they’re running for president years from now.” Schmidt added: “As long as the answer is that I chose to make a mess of myself with this picture, then it’s fine. The issue is when somebody else does it.” If people chose to expose themselves for 15 minutes of fame, Schmidt says, “that’s their choice, and they have to live with it.”

Schmidt added that the “notion of control is fundamental to the evolution of these privacy-based solutions,” pointing to Google Latitude, which allows people to broadcast their locations in real time.

This idea of privacy as a form of control is echoed by many privacy scholars, but it seems too harsh to say that if people like Stacy Snyder don’t use their privacy settings responsibly, they have to live forever with the consequences. Privacy protects us from being unfairly judged out of context on the basis of snippets of private information that have been exposed against our will; but we can be just as unfairly judged out of context on the basis of snippets of public information that we have unwisely chosen to reveal to the wrong audience.

Moreover, the narrow focus on privacy as a form of control misses what really worries people on the Internet today. What people seem to want is not simply control over their privacy settings; they want control over their online reputations. But the idea that any of us can control our reputations is, of course, an unrealistic fantasy. The truth is we can’t possibly control what others say or know or think about us in a world of Facebook and Google, nor can we realistically demand that others give us the deference and respect to which we think we’re entitled. On the Internet, it turns out, we’re not entitled to demand any particular respect at all, and if others don’t have the empathy necessary to forgive our missteps, or the attention spans necessary to judge us in context, there’s nothing we can do about it.

But if we can’t control what others think or say or view about us, we can control our own reaction to photos, videos, blogs and Twitter posts that we feel unfairly represent us. A recent study suggests that people on Facebook and other social-networking sites express their real personalities, despite the widely held assumption that people try online to express an enhanced or idealized impression of themselves. Samuel Gosling, the University of Texas, Austin, psychology professor who conducted the study, told the Facebook blog, “We found that judgments of people based on nothing but their Facebook profiles correlate pretty strongly with our measure of what that person is really like, and that measure consists of both how the profile owner sees him or herself and how that profile owner’s friends see the profile owner.”

By comparing the online profiles of college-aged people in the United States and Germany with their actual personalities and their idealized personalities, or how they wanted to see themselves, Gosling found that the online profiles conveyed “rather accurate images of the profile owners, either because people aren’t trying to look good or because they are trying and failing to pull it off.” (Personality impressions based on the online profiles were most accurate for extroverted people and least accurate for neurotic people, who cling tenaciously to an idealized self-image.)

Gosling is optimistic about the implications of his study for the possibility of digital forgiveness. He acknowledged that social technologies are forcing us to merge identities that used to be separate — we can no longer have segmented selves like “a home or family self, a friend self, a leisure self, a work self.” But although he told Facebook, “I have to find a way to reconcile my professor self with my having-a-few-drinks self,” he also suggested that as all of us have to merge our public and private identities, photos showing us having a few drinks on Facebook will no longer seem so scandalous. “You see your accountant going out on weekends and attending clown conventions, that no longer makes you think that he’s not a good accountant. We’re coming to terms and reconciling with that merging of identities.”

Perhaps society will become more forgiving of drunken Facebook pictures in the way Gosling says he expects it might. And some may welcome the end of the segmented self, on the grounds that it will discourage bad behavior and hypocrisy: it’s harder to have clandestine affairs when you’re broadcasting your every move on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. But a humane society values privacy, because it allows people to cultivate different aspects of their personalities in different contexts; and at the moment, the enforced merging of identities that used to be separate is leaving many casualties in its wake. Stacy Snyder couldn’t reconcile her “aspiring-teacher self” with her “having-a-few-drinks self”: even the impression, correct or not, that she had a drink in a pirate hat at an off-campus party was enough to derail her teaching career.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it had to derail her life. After taking down her MySpace profile, Snyder is understandably trying to maintain her privacy: her lawyer told me in a recent interview that she is now working in human resources; she did not respond to a request for comment. But her success as a human being who can change and evolve, learning from her mistakes and growing in wisdom, has nothing to do with the digital file she can never entirely escape. Our character, ultimately, can’t be judged by strangers on the basis of our Facebook or Google profiles; it can be judged by only those who know us and have time to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, face to face and in context, with insight and understanding. In the meantime, as all of us stumble over the challenges of living in a world without forgetting, we need to learn new forms of empathy, new ways of defining ourselves without reference to what others say about us and new ways of forgiving one another for the digital trails that will follow us forever.

Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, is a frequent contributor to the magazine. He is writing a book about Louis Brandeis.


International Appeal from Würzburg: EUROPEAM (In These Times 11/4/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 23/07/2010

“At the conference it was impressively demonstrated that these chronic diseases are based on similar pathological mechanisms. Common mechanisms are chronic inflammatory processes influenced by environmental factors including chemical pollutants, biological infectious agents, and electromagnetic field (EMF) triggers.”

The European Academy for Environmental Medicine (EUROPAEM) invited many renowned national and international scientists and health care professionals to a medical conference held in Wuerzburg, Germany from April 23 to April 25, 2010. These professionals were from the fields of environmental medicine, toxicology, immunology, neurology and genetics and other health fields as well as physicians and dentist. Also in attendance were representatives of patient initiatives. The theme of this international medical conference was Science Meets Practice. It dealt specifically with the issues of Neuron- Endocrine- Immunology and their importance in environmental medicine.

Greatly concerned, participants noted the increasing prevalence of chronic multisystem illnesses such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CSF), fibromyalgia (FMS) as well as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, neurodegenerative diseases, auto immune diseases, and cancer.

At the conference it was impressively demonstrated that these chronic diseases are based on similar pathological mechanisms. Common mechanisms are chronic inflammatory processes influenced by environmental factors including chemical pollutants, biological infectious agents, and electromagnetic field (EMF) triggers.

Chronic diseases mean long-term patients and such patients require consecutive higher medical costs. This often leads to social exclusion of the affected people. Facing the appalling reports of Europe ́s growing financial constraints, especially in public health, a further increase of chronic illnesses will accelerate the ongoing collapse of the National Health Service and medical insurance companies in Europe. Remedy is only possible with a change of priorities from today ́s unilaterally symptomatic oriented medicine to causally oriented medicine focusing on cost-effective primary prevention.

Conference participants addressed an urgent appeal to the European environment and health ministers, to the European Commission, the European parliamentarians, national governments and to the directors of social and private insurance companies. They urge them to take these findings and developments into serious consideration, stressing and weighting financial investments primarily in prevention, precaution and best early detection and diagnosis of these chronic and environmentally related illnesses.


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All over Europe this requires the full awareness of these research findings of the practicing physicians of environmental medicine and their integration into university research and teaching. The European governments are asked to finally implement the already ratified decisions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health Ministers held in Budapest in 2004.

This appeal was unanimously adopted by the congress. Wuerzburg, April 25, 2010 For the board of EUROPAEM, Jean Huss, Vice-Chairman

Dr. Kurt E. Müller, Chairman Dr. Peter Ohnsorge, Managing Chairman Dr. Hans-Peter Donate, Press, Responsible


UC Irvine: Scientists to Study Synthetic Telepathy (UCI News 13/8/08)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 23/07/2010

Press Releases & Media Advisories Archives > Press Release

Scientists to study synthetic telepathy

Researchers get grant to develop communication system based on thoughts, not speech

Irvine, Calif., August 13, 2008

A team of UC Irvine scientists has been awarded a $4 million grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to study the neuroscientific and signal-processing foundations of synthetic telepathy.

The research could lead to a communication system that would benefit soldiers on the battlefield and paralysis and stroke patients, according to lead researcher Michael D’Zmura, chair of the UCI Department of Cognitive Sciences.

“Thanks to this generous grant we can work with experts in automatic speech recognition and in brain imaging at other universities to research a brain-computer interface with applications in military, medical and commercial settings,” D’Zmura says.

The brain-computer interface would use a noninvasive brain imaging technology like electroencephalography to let people communicate thoughts to each other. For example, a soldier would “think” a message to be transmitted and a computer-based speech recognition system would decode the EEG signals. The decoded thoughts, in essence translated brain waves, are transmitted using a system that points in the direction of the intended target.

“Such a system would require extensive training for anyone using it to send and receive messages,” D’Zmura says. Initially, communication would be based on a limited set of words or phrases that are recognized by the system; it would involve more complex language and speech as the technology is developed further.”

D’Zmura will collaborate with UCI cognitive science professors Ramesh Srinivasan, Gregory Hickok and Kourosh Saberi. Joining the team are researchers Richard Stern and Vijayakumar Bhagavatula from Carnegie Mellon University and David Poeppel from the University of Maryland.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program, which supports research involving more than one science and engineering discipline. Its goal is to develop applications for military and commercial uses.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. For more UCI news, visit http://www.today.uci.edu .

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Human Sensitivities To Electrical and Electromagnetic Fields: Details and Research About Health Perils & Promises

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 15/07/2010

Brief Summaries Of Possible Interacting Mechanisms

Introduction:  It is concluded that many mechanisms, known and unknown, must interact in life processes to support the ultra-sensitive electrical and electromagnetic field (EF and EMF) detection and broadcast capabilities of all living creatures.  When some of the mechanisms that maintain body balance (homeostasis) are overloaded by long-term EF and EMF exposures, it seems that various health problems occur with a multitude of symptoms that often defy conventional solutions.

With the present and growing state of new knowledge in this complex area, there is much confusion and controversy generated by industry, government, research approaches and the communication media, all of whom, understandably,  have large investments in facilities and equipment which generate, transmit, and utilize electric and electromagnetic power.   For those of you who are concerned about your long-term health, this document presents information, which may be useful in determination, of what changes may be necessary in  your life style and how to practice reduction and/or  ‘prudent avoidance’ of known EF and EMF sources.

This is a basic document that tries to summarize how life processes may have originated in the EF and EMF environments of prehistoric and pre-life earth.  Some discussion is presented about the extraordinary EF & EMF receiving and broadcast capabilities of many creatures in all the different categories from microorganisms to mammals.  This information provides perspective to support and clarify why humans also have sensitivities to EF and EMF that can be used to heal (electrotherapies) or harm (uncontrolled long term exposure).

Please note that there is still very little human perspective/awareness anywhere about  our LONG-TERM relationship with the earth and all other living things.  We are a product of our natural earth environment and respond to some subtle degree (and sometimes not so subtle!) to the same geoelectromagnetic and atmospheric factors which affect all other  living things.  We can, and are, affecting the balance of Nature, which in the long-term will affect us….it’s called feedback!

Brief summaries are provided here regarding the more obvious mechanisms, the detection and transmission capabilities of living systems and the reported health effects and ailments which occur.  Those who wish more details can review the references provided herein, or contact the author.

Background:  Liquid Crystals (LCs) are basic to life processes and sensory mechanisms [1].  With some of the orderliness of crystalline solids and some of the freedom enjoyed by molecules in a liquid, liquid crystals are important for biology (they form the membranes around the cells in our bodies), and probably play a large part in our memory and all our known sensory receptions of light, sound, temperature, pressure (touch), odors and taste.  Artificial and refined LCs have become everyday items in our lives because of their advantages in flat-plate LC television and computer displays (EF and EMF sensitivity), detection of temperature, pressure and chemical changes, and, recently, high-density molecular data memory storage devices (3 billion bits per square inch) [2].  The lipid molecules of biological membranes exist in an LC state and provide a matrix for membrane proteins to perform their function.  Not only lipids, but other major classes of compounds (proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids) exist in LC phases under well-defined conditions.  Therefore, it is very important to know the properties of LC materials in order to better understand EF and EMF-related biological processes [3].

The paired planetary resonator and wave interaction hypotheses [4-7] may be key determinants of biological structure (EMF fields intensities and changes acting as an ‘information field’)  These seem to offer detailed and useful explanations about origination of liquid crystal and electric and electromagnetic field relationships  These are the two unique complementary hypotheses proposing the evolution of an ultra-sensitive protein (LC) transmitting and receiving biological communications mechanism reacting to static (direct current) and time-varying (alternating current) fields.  The intense electrical and magnetic fields of Precambrian earth may have supplied the intense energies required as environmental factors and the catalytic sources for the beginning and evolution of living systems [8, 9].

The integrated mechanisms model [10] could explain many of the variable research results.  Weak EMFs that produced localized changes in charge density could alter the conditions required for liquid crystal conditions, and consequently produce small changes within the viable limits of the system.  Changes in phospholipid membrane properties or variations of specific cations, e.g., Na+ (sodium), K+ (potassium), Ca++ (calcium), known to be controlled by membrane properties have been frequently reported in ELF research.  Rhythmicities in heart cells are intrinsically related to lipid levels.  Lipid solvents, which change membrane selectivities to the ionic milieu, are important anesthetics and toxicants.  The membrane selectivity  may be what is affected by the electroanesthetic/electrosleep process [11]. The reported intense attraction of peripheral nerves to magnetic fields also seems dependent upon lipid structure.

Biogenic magnetite [12-15], molecular magnets found in all living creatures, seems to play a most important part.  Analysis suggests that individual crystals of magnetite could contribute enough mechanical energy to activate trans-membrane ion channels.

LC properties in living systems may provide the basic support for several of the background mechanisms proposed to explain the biosystem effects of natural and artificial EMFs.  In this case the LCs in their various biosystem forms may react to amplify unusual internal or external energy inputs, transmitting their sensing reactions to stimulate other systems, e.g., immune system response, melatonin production, various symptoms, etc..  Biogenic magnetite is found primarily in the brain and highly enervated ethmoid sinus area in humans.  It is also found in specific brain areas of insects, fish, birds and mammals, and more concentrated in the brains of migratory creatures which must get their cues from geomagnetic variations and patterns [16-20].

Since biogenic magnetite seems to be everywhere in the environment, internally and externally, it may have played a basic role in the initial development of living systems and various sensing mechanisms.  There is much evidence that biological forms follow the energy patterns laid down by the waveforms of the environment.  Electromagnetic vibration can rearrange molecules and macro-molecules into patterned forms (sound, RF, microwave, heat, light, etc.)  Lissajou or Chladni figures produced in liquid and solids, appear as structural biological patterns in simple organisms (diatoms, for example) [6].

Induced electric currents (eddy currents) mechanism: [21]  During the past decade, a number of reports indicated that the mammalian pineal gland is magnetosensitive in terms of spatial orientation.  This indication is based on observations that artificial alterations of the direction of the earth’s magnetic field (MF) markedly decreased the gland’s capability to synthesize melatonin.  It was shown that magnetic field exposure itself did not affect the pineal.  Rather, induced eddy

currents in the animals, resulting from rapid On/Off switching transients of the artificially applied MF, affect the pineal gland either directly, or, more likely, indirectly, via an action on the neural input.  The eddy current mechanism is most likely the explanation.

Every rapid change of a MF produces an electric field.  Depending on the tissue exposed to such a field, an appropriate eddy current occurs, depending on the tissue’s conductivity.  Hence, if an animal is exposed to a rapidly changing MF, an induced eddy current occurs that may affect the nervous system.  This conclusion is supported by the observation that a nerve’s synaptic transmission is affected by exposure to electric fields.

The above mechanism may interact with biogenic magnetite and other metal ions in biosensor tissues and fluids, perhaps combining with other mechanisms mentioned herein, thus stimulating various liquid crystal and cellular responses to the information perceived.

Non-Linear Mechanisms [22] research indicates that low-intensity, nonlinear, extremely low frequencies (ELF) and low intensity ELF pulse-modulated fields influence various physiological and behavioral processes in cells, tissue, animals, and humans [23-35].  Major shifts in calcium efflux occur with fields that produce very small gradients in the extracellular space (interstitial fluids) surrounding cell membranes [36].  The extracellular fields are far below transmembrane gradients associated with a typical synaptic depolarization.  This implies that cells can act as sensitive detectors of ELF signals.  This apparent capability has led to specific alteration of cell function, including hormone and insulin decrease, accelerated wound healing and bone growth, interference with nerve conduction, entrainment of cell transcription processes, and alteration of brain chemistry.

The effects range from alteration of the firing rates of neurons in the brain, calcium-ion binding disruption on cell surfaces in the brain, to response time…[and] respiration rate changes, and even putting an animal to sleep…[and] spectral components in the kHz range appear to cause effects selectively in bone tissue.

Behavioral modification in animals [10] as the result of weak (as low as 10 microwatts/cm2) microwaves include induction of grooming responses, altered heart and respiration rates, epileptiform seizures, and various others.  The lower the power, the more immediate the effect [23, 24], provided an effect was present (Is there a homeopathy tie-in here?).  Also noted is an adaptivity to the signals.  The greatest response occurs on first exposure; repeated exposures yield a decreasing effect.  It was reported at the May 1993 meeting of the American Geophysical Union (discussed in Science 260:1590) that three epilepsy patients demonstrated bursts of epileptic brain activity a few seconds after being exposed to a moderate EMF a bit weaker than that of a household appliance.  Note: references 23, 24 and 67 are also relevant here.

We have demonstrated that Mast cells in the brain can be degranulated in rats, dumping  stores of histamine, heparin, and other substances into the brain [10, 37].

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that cells can sense the EMF environment and respond to three orders of magnitude lower than self-generated fields.  The dielectric behavior [6, 9, 38] of biosystems in conjunction with nonlinear excitation can give rise to solitary, nondispersive ‘soliton’ waves [22,39,40].  More than 90% of living matter consists of polar molecules of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and water.  Depending on microscopic properties, the energy supply may either make a system hot or result in a new type of order.

These observations [22, 36, 41-43, 69] indicate that investigation of nonlinear molecular information transfer processes may provide a fundamental quantum mechanical model of the life process itself as well as the fantastic data storage/retrieval and holographic nature of mind [69] and memory [2]!

Combined self-organized macroscopic and microscopic mechanisms [44] present a unique combination of mechanisms to deal with both the energetic and the informational aspects occurring during biological EMF coupling.  The simulation results demonstrated EMF response patterns showing dependencies on:

a. The field frequency, in a nonlinear, resonance-like fashion (‘frequency windows’.)

b. The field amplitude, in a nonlinear, resonance-like fashion (‘amplitude windows’.)

c. The combination of appropriate static (DC) and time-varying (AC) fields.

d. The internal biodynamical state of the field-exposed system.

e. The system’s capacity for high-gain amplifications of initially small microphysical field effects.

f. The system’s capacity to stabilize and maintain field effects in the presence of

relatively large incoherent (noise) perturbations.

The model predicted that amplitude and frequency-dependent resonances and the other complex dynamical behaviors may result from primary field interactions in combination with self-organized biochemical states.

It was suggested that neither thermodynamic/energetic concepts nor bioinformational concepts alone would lead to realistic models of EMF biological interactions; only approaches capable of integrating energetic and informational mechanisms.

One can see from the above brief summaries that the various interacting biological mechanisms, known and unknown, at different levels, can be affected by a large number of factors relating to time, environment, health, stress, and diet.

Biosystem Effects Associated With EMFs

Geoelectromagnetic signal information may play a survival role in: [45-47] navigation, migration/location/orientation, and biological rhythms.  There is also anticipation and detection of subtle or catastrophic changes in seasonal variations, weather, hurricane/tornado, and earthquakes.

How much of this information do we humans use or react to unconsciously in our daily life and how much is trainable latent talent?  Consider the excellent sensitivities of the Australian aborigines and martial arts masters.  As understanding increases about our long-term health dependence on natural and artificial EMF factors, our environmental awareness will be increased (on several levels!).

Trends indicate, in insect, fish, bird, primates and human research that continual long-term exposure to EMF pulse rates, intensities and waveforms in specific ranges, may produce behavioral, physiological, and psychological reactions in the living systems exposed  [25, 45, 46, 48-57].

EMF signal information between biosystems [45, 47] includes detection/avoidance  of predators, self-protection, communication, detection/attraction of food and mates and establishing territory.

Discussion.  Research to date, primarily on aquatic lower vertebrates, clearly indicates that these animals can sense very weak electric fields.  So far, this ability has been found in many marine and freshwater fish, several amphibian species; and the platypus.  Sharks and rays are most sensitive to frequencies below 50 Hz and stimuli to 1 microvolt per centimeter.  Many electric fish emit signal pulses of a broad range of frequencies or in continuous waves of constant frequency depending on species.  The discharge of an electric eel can be in excess of 600 volts.  Studies of “specialists” such as electric fish will continue to provide insight fundamental to understanding the more complex nervous systems of higher animals, and finally, humans.

Human Reactions To EMFs

It has long been established (30+ years) that controlled specific pulse-type (sharp rise time or square-wave) waveforms and various  frequencies can be used for:

a. Electrotherapies [25-27, 58, 59] — allergy suppression, pain suppression, bone healing and addiction treatment.

b. Electrosleep/electroanesthesia [11] — insomnia & ulcer treatment and surgical interventions.

c. Prosthetics [40, 60, 61] — noninvasive, wearable, heart pacemakers and artificial, noncontact visual and audio brain inputs (without light or sound).

Discussion.  Known EMF factors used in medical applications on humans utilize the whole spectrum of EMF energies and pulses from direct current. to ionizing radiation, involving various combinations of frequency, waveforms, intensity, rise/fall time, temporal gradients, pulse rates, polarization, etc.  These are already providing invaluable inputs for medical and psychological diagnoses and applications.

Unknown time-varying EMF power frequency factors, primarily from exposure at work or in the home, not specifically powerlines, may involve all of the above, especially additional long-term spikes and transients which may occur in the electrical system, plumbing and appliances of the bedroom sleeping area or in all-day limited-movement working areas.

The applications and research mentioned above are considered the body-penetrating effects of magnetic field pulsing components, principally conducted in other countries.

In this country the electric field is not considered a health factor, because it does not penetrate the body.   However, the whole-body acupuncture system, in all living things, is associated with healing.  It is more primitive (analog) than the nerve system (digital) [55], and has discrete electrical components that change slowly with time.  It appears to be affected by mind, body and environmental changes, and thus may respond to electric field changes (natural and artificial).  Perhaps the acupuncture total body surface system acts as a sort of ‘transceiver’, transmitting and receiving subliminal information on many different levels about EMF variations (external and internal).  These ‘information’ variations may, through liquid crystal detection/amplification, stimulate (or indicate) body, mind and healing reactions, to maintain body health balance ( homeostasis).

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) [70]

The role of mast cells in immunological reactions in animals [10, 22] and humans is known, but the mechanisms are not readily apparent.  However, one of the most frequent experimental EMF results is involved with immunological responses.  Histamine-related diseases such as arthritis, allergies, asthma, smooth muscle spasms, emboli, angina pectoris or edema are the most frequent diseases which are supposedly influenced by electric and magnetic field shielding [62] in those persons with EHS.

It appears that long-term EMF exposure may act as a promoter, an immune system irritant (in addition to any chemical sensitivities present), thus overloading the body’s defense mechanisms.  Environmentally ill (EI) persons with compromised immune systems often find that EMF transients are one more irritating factor to avoid.  The manifesting symptoms may then vary over a wide range, depending upon individual immune system factors, health history,

home/work stress situations, and environment — not just cancer or Alzheimer’s increases, but increases in a host of dis-eases often considered ‘minor’, e.g., allergies, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, etc.

If the above are valid, and an EHS subject profile is not clearly determined for specific group evaluations, then epidemeological studies may be diluted by the general population and confidence ratios will remain low [63].  It appears the general population is not yet seriously affected enough in a specific medical area, to make a case for widespread serious concern in the medical community (yet), because we do not know how many manifesting minor symptoms may be caused by long-term exposure (which may be precursors for major symptoms in years to come!).

News about symptoms, supposedly caused by EMF long-term exposures, have caused popular concern, controversy, confusion, and much initial condemnation without investigation.  The public concern about environmental pollution effects has stimulated government, industry, and legal actions to investigate the biological effects of power frequency EMFs.

Research programs are finally beginning to investigate these anomalous raw signals (transient spikes & surges).  We are becoming more aware in recent months of the sensitivity of various life forms to EMF via their sensory system reactions [47], immune system effects [49, 51-53, 64], allergy reactions [25, 54], behaviors, etc.  Night time EMF effects have been discovered which reduce brain pineal melatonin hormone production, which in turn affects immune system efficiency, especially in ill and/or older people [51, 52].

Potential Initiating/Promoting Factors: [54]  Individuals with multiple sensitivities, including EMFs, have reported reactions to various types of electrical equipment, including powerlines, transformers, electronic office equipment (such as typewriters and computer terminals), video display terminals (VDT’s), household appliances (such as hair dryers), telephones, battery-powered analog watches, digital clocks, other digital electronic devices, and fluorescent lights.

Most common symptoms are skin symptoms [57] manifest as irregular reddening, pinkness or redness, rashes, blushing, prickly sensations, aches, tightness, itching and sensitivity to light.

Nervous and Behavior symptoms [23, 24, 65-68] include dizziness, prickly sensations (like sunburn), flu-like feelings, fatigue, weakness, headaches, breathing problems, perspiration, depression, irritability, heart palpitations, difficulties in concentration and forgetfulness, brain seizure induction.  Porphyria appears to have a connection (ties in to chemical intolerance, which often accompanies EHS).

Most of those who are hypersensitive experience the problems in connection with work at computer terminals (sometimes laptops), but other sources can also be named: fluorescent lights or electrical wiring and machinery.  Many sensitive people, with continued exposure,  develop extremely serious problems and have to take extended sick leaves.  In Sweden about 120 cases of occupational illness due to computer terminal work are reported annually: 30 to 40 of these cases concern hypersensitivity to electrical fields.

Determining Extent and Nature of EHS:  [54] (also, see pages 39, 48, 97)

An individual’s life record and medical history of chemical, electrical, and environmental aspects must be obtained for perspective and determination of applicable therapies.

In general, changes in environment (prudent avoidance of electrical and electromagnetic fields), toxin exposure reduction, a balanced diet, daily exercise, and reduction in personal stress factors are the most likely actions one can take to strengthen one’s immune system.

Author’s Personal Experience With Strong Long-Term EMF Effects:  From 1982-86, at Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems in New Orleans, I jointly developed an electrostatic cooling process (and patent) to improve aluminum welds on the Space Shuttle External Fuel Tank.  In the 1986 final statistical test panel work on the welding process, it was necessary for me to be next to the operating system several hours a day for about six months.  A 25V/125A pulsed-arc welding system was used, mixed with the 35,000 volts and 250 microamperes of the cooling corona wind air jet impinging on the cooling weld bead at the weld torch.  Twice during final tests unusual dizziness forced me to briefly leave the area.  Shortly after project completion I started having acute attacks of hives (urticaria) any time I ate beef, mutton, or pork (protein intolerance).  Within a few minutes my joints and sinuses would begin to swell, and intensely itching wheals would erupt, spreading all over my body.  The allergist said my case was unusual.  I avoid red meats, because the hypersensitivity remains.  No problems with poultry and sea foods; health remains excellent, otherwise.  So, you can understand, based on personal experience, that I feel that the human EHS is a health issue that requires further exploration for the benefit of the public and the medical profession.


1. Liquid Crystals may play a part in the life processes of all biosystems, interacting with natural and artificial EMFs in detection, info storage/retrieval, and stimulus/response.  LCs seem to play a part in the near-quantum-energy sensory detection capabilities of biosystems and the electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in humans.  As understanding of LCs and their interactions with complementary mechanisms increases, many medical and psychophysiological benefits may be realized.

2. To determine extent and nature of human sensitivities to EMFs, it will be advantageous to study in more depth, those persons who exhibit the EHS symptoms.

3. Electromagnetic therapies may emerge as the medicine of the future.


1. Are LCs basic to the understanding of how biosystems sense light (vision), temperature (hot/cold), mechanical stress (touch), chemicals (smell/taste) and EMFs?  Does biogenic- magnetite play a part here?

2. Biosystem brains and bodies collect and store, during a lifetime, phenomenal amounts of retrievable data and high-speed responses to survival threats.  Are the properties of LCs involved in memory storage and retrieval?

3. Is there any LC connection with the genetic transmission of growth and instinctual survival information?

4. Since the range of EHS symptoms may be broad, and because of possible undiagnosed or misdiagnosed symptoms, how many persons may be marginally affected, in mental institutions, in hospitals, seriously incapacitated at home, or labeled as having “psychotic episodes”?


1. Polymer Liquid Crystals programs and research are cooperative efforts between the Dept. of Physics and the Dept. of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western University in conjunction with the Center for Advanced Liquid Crystalline Optical Materials (ALCOM) at Kent State University.  For further LC information and the ALCOM Update Newsletter, contact ALCOM, Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242; Ph:216-672-2654; fax 672-2796; e-mail: <Lori@alice.kent.edu>

2. Kosa, T.  “High-Density Optical Storage.”  ALCOM Update, Vol. 5, No. 4, pg 3, Dec 1995.

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10. Persinger, M.  “ELF Electric and Magnetic Field Effects: The Patterns and the Problems.”  ELF and VLF Electromagnetic Field Effects, pp 275-310, A. Persinger (Ed.), Plenum Press, NY, 1974.

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13. Kirschvink, J., et. al.  “Magnetite-based Magneto-receptors: Ultrastructural, Behavioral, and Biophysical Studies.”  Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA, technical report TR-102008, 1993.

14. Kobayashi, A. & Kirschvink, J.  “Ferromagnetism & EMFs.”  Nature, Vol. 374, pg. 123, Mar 9, 1995.

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20. Jungreis, S.  “Biomagnetism: An Orientation Mechanism In Migrating Insects.”  Fla. Entomol, Vol. 70, No. 2, pp 277-283, 1987

21. Lerchl, A., et.al.  “Pineal Gland “Magnetosensitivity” to Static Magnetic fields is a Consequence of Induced Electric Currents (Eddy Currents).”  J. Pineal Res., Vol. 10, pp. 109-116, 1991.

22. Byrd, E.  “Implications of Non-Linear Interactions In Biological Systems.”  Archaeus 1, No. 1, pp 1-5, Winter 1983.

23. Jacobson, J., et. al.  “A Possible Physical Mechanism In the Treatment of Neurologic Disorders With Externally Applied Picotesla Magnetic Fields.”  Subtle Energies, Vol. 5, No. 3, pg 239, 1994.

24. “The Magnetic Brain?  EM Field Affects Epileptics”, Brain/Mind Bulletin, Vol.18, No 10, July 1993.

25. Smith, C.  “Electrical Sensitivities in Allergy Patients.”  Clinical Ecology, Vol. IV, No. 3, pp 93-102, 1986.

26. Smith, C.  “Electromagnetic Phenomena In Living Biomedical Systems.”  From the Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Conf IEEE Engineering In Medicine and Biology Society, Sept. 15-17, 1984.

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28. Temuriants, N.  “Biological Effectiveness of a Weak EMF of Infralow Frequency.”  In: The Effect of Solar Activity of the Biosphere.  Moscow.  Izdatel`stvo Nauka, pp 128-139, 1982.

29. Shult’s, N.  “Effect of Solar Activity on the Frequency of Functional Leukopenias and Relative Lymphocytoses.”  Academy of Medical Sciences USSR, Moscow, 1967, NASA Technical Translation TT-F-592, Wash. D.C., Feb 1970.

30. Dubrov, A.  “The Geomagnetic Field and Life.”  Hdqtrs, Dept of the Army, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Wash., D.C. 20310, Translation No. K-5533, April 1975.

31. Maxey, E.  “Critical Aspects of Human vs. Terrestrial Electromagnetic Symbiosis.”  Presented at the United States National Committee, International Union of Radio Science, The 1975 USNC/URSIU-IEEE Meeting, Boulder, CO, Oct 1975.

32. Persinger, M.  “Increased Geomagnetic Activity and Occurrence of Bereavement Hallucinations: Evidence for Melatonin-Mediated Microseizuring in the Temporal Lobe?”  Neursci. Lett. (Ireland), Vol. 88, No. 3, pp 271-274, 1988.

33. Fröhlich, H.  “Long Range Coherence and Energy Storage in Biological Systems.”  Int. J. Quant. Chem., Vol. II., p 641, 1968.

34. Presman, A.  “Electromagnetic Fields And Life.”  Plenum Press, New York, 1970.

35. Brown, F.  “Living Clocks.”  Science, 130:1535, No. 3388, December 4, 1959.

36. Adey, W.  “Biological Effects of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation.”  In: Interaction of Electro-magnetic Wave With Biological Systems, J. C. Lin (ed.), Plenum Press, New York, 1988.

37. Rauscher, E.  “Electromagnetic Phenomena & Complex Geometries In Nonlinear Phenomena.”  Report PSRL5116B, under contract to the Naval Surface Weapons Laboratory, Silver Spring Maryland, Nondestructive Evaluation Contract R34-2-0176, 132 pgs, Sept 1982.  System supplied by Van Bise, with Dr. Rauscher providing the theoretical model, used mixed frequencies combinations in the range of 1.2 to 32 Hz.

38. Rivera, H., et. al..  “The AC Field Patterns About Living Cells.”  Cell Biophysics, V. 7, pp 43-55, 1985.

39. Maclennan, J. & Clark, N.  “Solitary Waves in Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals.” In: Solitons in Liquid Crystals, J. Frost & L. Lei (Eds), Springer-Verlag, 1988.

40. Rauscher, E. & Van Bise, W.  “External Magnetic Field Impulse Pacemaker Non-Invasive Method and Apparatus for Modulating Brain Through an External Magnetic Field to Pace the Heart and Reduce Pain.” Patent 4,723,536, Feb. 9, 1988.

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49. Walleczek, J.  “The Immune System & Extremely Low Frequency EMF.”  Frontier Perspectives, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 7-10, 1992.

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51. Reiter, R. & Robinson, J.  “Melatonin:  Breakthrough Discoveries That Can Help You.”  Bantam Books, New York, 1995.

52. Pierpaoli, W. & Regelson, W.  “Melatonin Miracle:  Nature’s Age-Reversing, Disease-Fighting, Sex-Enhancing Hormone.”  Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995.

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54. Smith, C. & Best S.,  “Electromagnetic Man: Health & Hazard in the Electrical Environment.”  St. Martin’s Press, Inc. New York, NY,  1989.

55. Becker, R.  “Cross Currents.”  J. P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, 1990. (Also “The Body Electric.” William Morrow & Co. Inc.,  New York, NY, 1985.

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57. Johansson, O. & Liu, P.  Experimental Dermatology Unit, Dept. of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 Stockholm Sweden.  “Electrosensitivity”, “Electro-supersensitivity” and “Screen Dermatitis:  Preliminary Observations From On-Going Studies In The Human Skin.”  Sept. 1994

58. Matteson II, J.  “The Advantages of Using ‘Intelligent’ Cerebral Electric Stimulators in Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation.”  Professional Nurses Quarterly, pp 24-25, Winter 1986.

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60. Rauscher, E. & Bise, W.  “Magnetic Field Flux Induction into the Visual System of Humans.”  Proceedings of the IEEE/9th Annual Conf. of Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society, CH2513-0/87/0000-1589, 1987.

61. Sommer, H. & von Gierke, H.  “Hearing Sensations in Electric Fields.”  Aerospace Medicine, pp 834-839, Sept. 1964.

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63. Sagan, L. “Electric and Magnetic Fields:  Invisible Risks?”  Chapter 13, p. 153, Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach, 1996.

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65 “One of Seven Sensitive to Electrical Fields.”  Forskning & Praktik (Eng. Ed.), published by National Institute of Occupational Health, 171 84 Solna, Sweden, April 1992.

66. Grant, L.  “A Neurological Profile.”  Electrical Sensitivity News, Weldon Publishing, POB 4146, Prescott, AZ 86302, Vol. 1, No. 4, July/Aug 1996.

67. Persinger, M., & Lafreniere, G.  “Large Scale Solar-Geophysical Electromagnetic Phenomena as Contributory Factors to Unusual Events.”  In Space-Time Transients & Unusual Events, Chapter 15, p.207.  Nelson-Hall Inc, Chicago IL, 1977.

68. Reed, N.  “EMF In Sweden: Utilities & Citizens.”  EMF Health & Safety Digest, pp. 8-13, July/Aug 1993.

69. Pribram, K., et.al.  “The Holographic Hypothesis of Memory Structure in Brain Function and Perception.”  In Contemporary Developments in Mathematical Psychology II, D. H. Krantz, et.al. (Eds.), p. 416, Freeman Press, NY, 1974.

70. The Electrical Sensitivity News, Weldon Publishing, POB  4146, Prescott AZ 86302.  $20.00/yr.  An excellent newsletter about electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS).


If something happens that is not consistent with our present knowledge, it is necessary for us to expand our awareness of the variable space of nature and provide a modeling concept that included both all that we know plus this new fact.  That is what we must start projecting to the people who say:  ‘Look, I don’t understand it; therefore it doesn’t happen.’  We have to get them to start thinking along the lines of, ‘Nature is so much more than I thought, let’s expand our thinking and include this.’  Then they can feel comfortable because they don’t have to throw away what they already know, because what they already know isn’t wrong.  It merely means that it’s not complete.

Dr. Bill Tiller


Star Wars in Iraq (Democracy Now! 25/7/2006)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 14/07/2010

U.S. Broadcast Exclusive: Star Wars in Iraq: Is the U.S. Using New Experimental Tactical High Energy Laser Weapons in Iraq?

In November, a documentary from Italy’s RAI Television accusing the United States of illegally white phosphorus during its attack on Fallujah. A new documentary says the United States is now using experimental laser weapons against Iraqi civilians. We play an excerpt. [includes rush transcript.

From illegal weapons in Lebanon we turn to Iraq. In November, Democracy Now aired a documentary from “”:http://http://”www.rai.it/”ItalyE280%99s accusing the United States of illegally white phosphorus during its attack on Fallujah. The Pentagon was forced to admit to the charge after more than a week of denials. The same Italian team has produced a new documentary. It says the United States is now using experimental laser weapons against Iraqi civilians. Today, in another U.S. broadcast exclusive, we bring you an excerpt. It’s called “Star Wars in Iraq”, produced by Maurizio Torrealta and Sigfrido Ranucci for RAI Television.

* “Star Wars in Iraq”-documents US use of experimental weapons in Iraq, produced by Maurizio Torrealta and Sigfrido Rannuci for Italy’s RAI TV

AMY GOODMAN: Today, in another U.S. broadcast exclusive, we bring you an excerpt. It’s called Star Wars in Iraq, produced by Maurizio Torrealta and Sigfrido Ranucci for RAI Television.

MAJID AL GHEZALI: They used incredible weapons, absolutely.

PATRICK DILLON: Experimental weapons?

MAJID AL GHEZALI: Yes. Yes, I think. Yeah, they shoot the bus. We saw the bus like a cloth, like a wet cloth. It seems like a Volkswagen, a big bus like a Volkswagen.

NARRATOR: This testimony was reported to American filmmaker Patrick Dillon a few weeks after the battle for the airport. The person interviewed, Majid al Ghezali, is a well-known and respected man in Baghdad, who is the first violinist in the city orchestra. In addition to describing the battle, Majid al Ghezali wanted to show Patrick Dillon the site near the airport where the mysterious weapon was used, along with the traces of fused metal still visible, and the irregularly sized ditches where the bodies were buried before they were exhumed. We sought out Majid al Ghezali to hear more details of his story. We met up with him in Amman, and he pointed out some inexplicable peculiarities on the bodies of the victims of the battle for the airport.

MAJID AL GHEZALI: Just the head was burnt, and the other parts of the bodies wasn’t anything happened on it.

NARRATOR: Al Ghezali reported that he had seen three passengers in a car, all dead, with their faces and teeth burnt, the body intact, and no sign of projectiles.

MAJID AL GHEZALI: There wasn’t any bullet. I saw the teeth, just the teeth and no eyes, all of them. With the body, nothing for the bodies. Just the teeth, and all the—I mean, the heads were burnt.

NARRATOR: There were other inexplicable aspects. The terrain where the battle took place was dug up by the American military and replaced with other fresh earth. The bodies that were not hit by projectiles had shrunk to just slightly more than one meter in height.

MAJID AL GHEZALI: Except the bodies killed by the bullets, most of them became very small. I mean, it’s like that. Something like that.

NARRATOR: We asked Majid what weapon he imagined had been used.

MAJID AL GHEZALI: One year later, we heard that this is updated technology they used, a unique one. It’s like lasers.

NARRATOR: We found another disturbing document on the use of mysterious weapons in Iraq, which referred to episodes taking place almost at the same time as those described by Majid al Ghezali.

SAAD AL FALLUJI: Twenty-six in the bus. About twenty of them, some of them have no head. They had been cut. Some of them, the arms, the legs. The only one who didn’t injure was the driver, and really I don’t know how he reached our hospital, because one hand, one arm was in his lap, one head beside him. It was a very, very strange, horrible thing. In the roof of the car there was parts of the bodies: omentum, intestines, brains, all parts of the body. It was miserable. Very, very, very, very miserable.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: Do you have idea with what kind of weapons they attacked that bus?

SAAD AL FALLUJI: This bus, we didn’t know what kind of weapon hit. Really what we saw cut arms, cut legs, cut head, abdomen, open abdomen, viscera outside.

DOCTOR NO. 2: It seems to be a new weapon.

SAAD AL FALLUJI: Yes, a new weapon.

DOCTOR NO. 2: They are trying to do experiments on our civilians. Nobody can identify what the type of this weapon.

NARRATOR: We went to Belgium to find the filmmaker of this sequence, Geert Van Moorter, a doctor working as a volunteer in Iraq.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: Here in this footage is taken in the hospital, the General Teaching Hospital in Hilla, which is about 100 kilometers from Baghdad and close to the historical site of Babylon. Here, we had a talk with the colleague doctor Saad al Falluji, which is the chief surgeon in that hospital. Doctor al Falluji said me that from the survivors that he operated, that they said they did not hear any noise. So there was no explosion to hear, no metal fragments or shrapnels or bullets in the bodies, so they themselves were thinking of some strange kinds of weapon, which they did not know.

NARRATOR: Let’s hear Dr. Saad al Falluji’s story about this more in detail.

SAAD AL FALLUJI: This bus was very crowded. They went from Hilla to Kifil to see their families, but before they reached the checkpoint of American checkpoint, they returned back. They said to them, “Please return.” The villagers, they said to them, “Return back. Return back.” When he tried to return back, they shoot him from the checkpoint.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: No gunshot wounds?

SAAD AL FALLUJI: No, no, I don’t know what it was. We are here, ten surgeons. We couldn’t decide what was the weapon which hit this car.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: But inside the bodies, you did not discover ordinary bullets?

SAAD AL FALLUJI: All of them being—we didn’t find bullets. We didn’t find bullets. But most of the passenger people been dead, so they took them immediately to the refrigerator. We couldn’t dissect and see. But those who were alive, we couldn’t find any kind of shells. We didn’t find shells inside their bodies.

DOCTOR NO. 2: Something cutting organs, cutting limbs, attacking the neck, attacking the abdomen, it goes out.

NARRATOR: Dr. Falluji also ended up speaking about a laser weapon.

SAAD AL FALLUJI: But I don’t think the bombing and the cluster bombs and the laser weapons could bring democracy to our country.

NARRATOR: As in any war, the war in Iraq left us a dreadful gallery of horror, images of mutilations that not even doctors can explain. The witnesses referred to laser weapons, arms with mysterious effects. We do not know what kind of weapons could produce such terrible effects. We tried to learn more about it by asking for interviews to members of companies manufacturing laser and microwave weapons, yet the U.S. Defense Department prevented any information from being released to us. They also did not answer, up to the time the film was edited, the questions we had sent them in order to know whether or not experimental weapons had been tested in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We tracked down the Pentagon press conferences from before the beginning of the second Gulf war to see if they spoke about any new weapons being tested. The words of the Secretary of Defense and General Myers indicate a willingness to try weapons that had never been used before. And the questions from the press about direct energy and microwave weapons made them visibly uncomfortable.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you a question about some of the technology that you’re developing to fight the war on terrorists, specifically directed energy and high-powered microwave technology? Do you—when do you envision that you can weaponize that type of technology?

DONALD RUMSFELD: Goodness, it is in—for the most part, the kinds of things you’re talking about are in varying early stages. Do you want to—do you have anything you would add?

GEN. RICHARD MYERS: I don’t think I would add much. I think they are in early stages and probably not ready for employment at this point.

DONALD RUMSFELD: In the normal order of things, when you invest in research and development and begin a developmental project, you don’t have any intention or expectations that one would use it. On the other hand, the real world intervenes from time to time, and you reach in there and take something out that is still in a developmental stage, and you might use it. So the—your question’s not answerable. It is—it depends on what happens in the future and how well things move along the track and whether or not someone feels it’s appropriate to reach into a development stage and see if something might be useful, as was the case with the unmanned aerial vehicles.

JOURNALIST: But you sound like you’re willing to experiment with it.

GEN. RICHARD MYERS: Yeah, I think that’s the point. And I think—and it’s—we have, I think, from the beginning of this conflict—I think General Franks has been very open to looking at new things, if there are new things available, and has been willing to put them into the fight, even before they’ve been fully wrung out. And I think that’s—not referring to these particular cases of directed energy or high-powered microwave, but sure. And we will continue to do that.

NARRATOR: But what is meant by direct-energy microwave weapons? We went to ask ex-colonel John Alexander, former program director in one of the most important military research laboratories in the U.S., Los Alamos National Laboratory.

COL. JOHN B. ALEXANDER: The research and certainly the concepts for direct-energy weapons go back many decades. What is happening is that the technology has now advanced sufficiently that we’re starting to see the weapons come into fruition. In other words, they’re becoming real.

There are several types of directed-energy weapons, and basically what they do is they’re known as “speed of light,” because they shoot electrons very fast over very long distances. Lasers, of course, are in the light range. Then there’s microwave weapons that are operating at other frequencies, but basically they’re beam weapons, in which nothing physical goes out. The electrons move, but the kinetic weapons we talk about, you’re shooting big bullets to go out and physically hit and destroy something. These work because the energy is deposed on the target and causes some effect.

NARRATOR: These images document one of the THEL tests. THEL stands for Tactical High Energy Laser. In the sequence, you can see the laser beam hit and destroy missiles and mortar rounds as they are about to hit the objective.

In this other test, we see the laser beam identify and destroy two missiles at the same time.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: They don’t make any noise, and they are invisible?

COL. JOHN B. ALEXANDER: Some are visible, some are just outside. You have, you know, in the infrared range, what’s emerging now are laser weapons where the effect is that that of the laser. And they can be hole-burners, what we call very high energy lasers, because with the concentrated energy you can literally drill holes, you know, in a target.

NARRATOR: Former Pentagon analyst William Arkin, who presently works as a journalist for the Washington Post, also confirms this revolutionary change from kinetic weapons to energy weapons.

WILLIAM ARKIN: For thousands of years, the way in which you’ve killed someone is you have hit them with a sword, a sphere, an arrow, a bullet, a bomb. It’s kinetic. You’re killing them by hitting them. And now, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you have a completely new physical principle being applied in killing people, in which they don’t know that they’re being killed because their skin and body is being heated by high power microwaves or they are being shot at by a laser which would have an instantaneous effect.

NARRATOR: There are other types of weapons made with lasers, such as the device we can see in this sequence. The target is not hit by a projectile, but rather by an impulse of energy that manages to bore through the armor of a tank.

Apart from acoustic weapons, so far the only sign of the use of energy weapons in a war scenario is a laser device known as Zeus. According to official Pentagon sources, military vehicles equipped with this laser device have been used in Afghanistan to explode mines or IEDs. According to two reliable military information sites, Defense Tech and Defense Daily, at least three such vehicles are being used in Iraq, as well, and some people report having seen them.

GEERT VAN MOORTER: When you showed me the pictures of what you described that is a laser weapon, it reminds me that I was with some American soldiers talking in August 2003, and there was some kind of box on their tank with a blue light like this. I recall it very well, not because of the soldiers told me what it was used for, but because I was teasing a translator, which was a female Iraqi translator, by telling, “Look, this is some kind of thing where they can look through and see somebody without clothes.” That’s why I remind it, but this kind of thing I have seen for sure on that tank.

NARRATOR: William Arkin is one of the American experts who follows the Pentagon activity most closely. So what does Arkin think about the possibility of the use of direct-energy weapons in battle in Iraq?

WILLIAM ARKIN: I can imagine that there could be some, what we call, “black use” of these weapons, but not in any significant way and certainly not in such a way that one would conclude that they’ve had any impact.

NARRATOR: But let’s look at the Pentagon budget figures to see how important the outlay is for direct-energy weapons.

WILLIAM ARKIN: So, right now you have about $50 million a year being spent on non-lethal weapons. You have about another $200 million or so being spent on high power microwaves, active denial-type systems. You’ve got probably another $100 to 200 million being spent on secret black laser programs. And then you’ve got the big lasers, the high energy laser of the Air Force and the other tactical lasers. So probably, when you add all of that up, you know, the United States is probably spending a half of a billion dollars a year right now on directed-energy weapons, you know, probably somewhere in the order of 300-400 million euros. So this is a significant amount of money. This is the size of the defense budgets of some countries in Europe.

AMY GOODMAN: That was William Arkin in the documentary, Star Wars in Iraq, produced by RAI Italian television. It was produced by Maurizio Torrealta and Sigfrido Ranucci.


Nanoparticles Allow Remote Control of Cells

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 08/07/2010

In an experiment reminiscent of the mind-control rays that featured prominently in B-movies from the 1950s, scientists in the US have used a magnetic field to alter the behaviour of an animal.

The researchers, from University at Buffalo in New York, implanted nanoscale particles of manganese ferrite into the body of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. When the particles were exposed to a radiofrequency magnetic field the particles heated up and the worms changed the direction in which they were moving. By switching the field on and off, the researchers were able to make the worms move back and forth.

Temperature-sensitive fluorescent tags attached to the particles were able to measure the temperature of the nanoparticles, showing that the worms’ behaviour changed when the particles reached 34°C – the same temperature at which the animals show heat-avoidance behaviour in nature.

The researchers also attached the nanoparticles to proteins in the membranes of cultured nerve cells by genetically modifying the proteins to bind to the particles. The membranes contain a temperature-sensitive ion channel – a biological ‘gate’ that can open and close to allow ions to flow across the membrane – which was activated when the nanoparticles were warmed by the magnetic field. This in turn triggered electrical activity in the nerve cells.

Our method is important because it allows us to only heat up the cell membrane,’ says Arnd Pralle, who led the research team. ‘We didn’t want to kill the cell: while the membrane outside the cell heats up, there is no temperature change in the cell.’

The highly localised heating that the nanoparticles permit could lead to a number of applications, such as targeting cancer cells, the researchers say. It could also be possible to investigate the effect of local temperature rises on other specific parts of cells and on whole organisms by attaching molecules to the surface of the nanoparticle that home in on specific cellular targets.

Commenting on the work, Jon Dobson from Keele University in the UK, an expert on the use of nanomagnetic particles in biomedicine, says, ‘This is an interesting study that adds to the growing cannon of work aimed at remote activation of cellular ion channels using magnetic nanoparticles and applied magnetic fields.’ One of the main advantages of this type of approach is that the actuator – the field – does not have to be in physical contact with the target, says Dobson. ’This is a nice example of combining genetic modification with nanomagnetic actuation and demonstrates the possibility of targeting and activating individual, genetically modified cells within a larger cell culture or organism.’