~e; Electromagnetic News & Views #8

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sat, 21 Dec 2002 12:00:55 -0600

Electromagnetic News & Views -- #8

00) Electronetwork.org Commentary (12/21/2002)

01) Links to Top Stories of Electromagnetism
02) Electromagnetic health & medicine
03) Electromagnetic trash & treasure
04) Electromagnetic security & surveillance
05) Electromagnetic power & energy
06) Electromagnetic current & human affairs
07) Electromagnetic transportation & communication
08) Electromagnetic matter & information
09) Electromagnetic trends & inventions
10) Electromagnetic weaponry & warfare
11) Electromagnetic business & economics
12) Electromagnetic art & artifacts

00) --commentary--

There are many themes in this edition of the newsletter
including a boon in surveillance developments, the role
of oil in current events, the everpresent spectre of
political influence, and the grinding down of competing
interests in broadband and 3G wireless developments.

Yet there is something much simpler which has been a
focus, and it relates to something Sony's President
said of robots awhile back in an interview. Recently,
when shopping for a gift for my little relatives, I
realized how the vision of robotics, as was said to
permeate culture, became a reality in the toy store.

Having searched online and offline for a musical key-
board, like those older Casio models that once were
widely available, it was to my surprise that they are
virtually non-existent in today's inventories. In both
retail outlets and musical shops, including the most
professional merchants, one cannot find a beginner's
electronic piano keyboard anymore. One can find the
largish and much more complicated electronic pianos
which are half-size, about that of a synthesizer. But
none of smaller models, good for little hands and with
simple controls.

Instead, what one can find is a toy cellphone which
plays 'ringtones' as a musical device, a one-way toy
in which an adult consumer product, which makes bleeps
and blips, replaces a musical device for children in
the toy section of well-known stores. It is something
hard to get over, as the musical instruments are gone,
and the consumer electronics scaled down to toy-land
have replaced them, the creative aspects of play lost
in the mimicking of older adults play- such that a
child may pretend to talk on a cellphone as play, which
has been compared as a type of madness in adults who
talk in private conversations on cellphones in public,
seemingly talking to themselves. If this is what is to
be replicated in play, it may not be such a good thing.

Eventually, after an extensive hunt (even online, where
nothing was found) a foldable/compact version was found
unadvertised at a toy store, including a keyboard and an
electronic drum kit. These, taking advantage of some of
the advances in more professional equipment, I'm guessing,
such as with portable MIDI drumpads, and getting a decent
sound and a mechanism to translate pressure from a drum-
pad to a type of sound. In any case, once found it was a
relief that they even exist anymore, and all was well. A
friend also sent a link to some new types of musical toys
which would be great to see as musical instruments today:

Deciding to look at today's toys, I asked for 'robotics'
as I've never seen a display of Lego Mindstorm's and so
went looking in the store, which was in the Boys section,
across from the pink aisled Barbie land. What I encountered
was not some of the little things I've been seeing or even
hearing about, such as some kind of mini-car with radio
remote control, or these things called 'micropets' which
apparently respond to voice commands and have 12 functions.
No, I saw one of those Robots in a box that purposefully
is designed to look like a classic robot. And a button
stuck out of the box and its packaging instructed me to
push the button. Once I did, the robot began to speak and
what it said, and in the surreal toy environment it said
it in, was that it was the smartest toy that has ever
existed, the most advanced robot, et cetera. It made me
start laughing, this ego-bot. As it was a pretty grand
claim for such a toy. In any case, since then I've read
of robotic kittens, dogs, seen the various sized knock-
offs that were the result of the Sony President's Aibo
robotic dog launch, a demonstration of which I once saw.

I have no idea what it means that younger and younger
children are interacting with toy cellphones or robots
or remote-controlled cars. It would not be all bad if
children knew how 'wireless' cars worked, if this could
be explained to them, instead of an assumed fact. Or
that cellphones with ringtones are not the same as
musical instruments such as keyboards and drums. Or
that playing with these robots may limit children's
creativity in some ways, while making imaginations
soar in other ways, possibly. It seems so detached,
though, the toys, so technological. Maybe this is
just a change in relation to these things, and their
integration deeper into shared cultures. And yet I
question how such toys, and further, such 'computers
as brains' pale in comparison to real experiences and
if these real experiences will ever become the content
that is celebrated in work and play, and not the toys
and technologies, the interfaces, to access experience.


01) --top stories--

A First Step to Cutting Reliance on Oil
By TOM REDBURN // NYTimes opinion-editorial...

Feds Want To See Enron Videotape

' The governor's father also offered a send-off to Kinder,
thanking him for helping his son reach the governor's
mansion. .. "You have been fantastic to the Bush family,"
the elder Bush said. "I don't think anybody did more
than you did to support George [W. Bush]." '

Total Information Awareness cartoon by the ACLU

Limits Sought on Wireless Internet Access // .biz vs .mil

// some time ago Sony's Mr. Ando predicted how robots would
// become a central part of the consuemr electronics industry,
// this about the time of the robotic Aibo dog's launch. today
// there are little robots everwhere, in varying degrees, and
// robotics as a cultural phenomenon has taken over. now- it
// is to be about brains... or, possibly, networking content.

Sony's Ando: PCs to function like a brain

"If Sony President Kunitake Ando is right about the near
future, people will finally be able to retrieve their
personal information from powerful networks that allow
anytime, anywhere across a variety of individual devices.
The typical desktop computer in that broadband nirvana
will bear little resemblance to today's conventional PC."

02-- electromagnetic health & medicine

Eye microchip could save sight

Brain scan clues to 'memory marvels'

My life as a cyborg
Three months after having an electronic device
implanted into his brain to control the symptoms
of his Parkinson's disease, David Beresford
reports on his progress

// one way to localize radiation therapy- outsourcing...

Out-of-body operation banishes tumours

// another way- using ultrasound to trigger pills...

New Method Of Delivering Chemotherapy Using
Ultrasound Works; Procedure Could Reduce Side
Effects And Enhance Potency Of Anti-Cancer Drugs

03-- electromagnetic trash & treasure

// instead of butterflies, it's powerplant emissions...
// given today's energy policies, this will increase...

Mercury From China Rains Down on California

Archaeologists advise on nuclear waste disposal
Ancient [Iraqi] glass gives clues to the future
of buried radioactive material.

Trashlog // scanning daily bits of trash

Cells' magnets bared
Natural compass exposes life on Earth and beyond.

"Some bugs carry tiny magnetic compasses to help
them swim at a comfortable depth in water. These
have been preserved in rocks up to 2 billion years
old. They give clues to prehistoric Earth's life,
magnetic field and climate."

EU wants printer refills made easier to recycle

Mobile makers sign up for recycling
Every year 15 million old handsets join the mobile
phone mountain in the UK alone - this is 1,5000 tonnes
of hazardous waste. Now manufacturers have committed
to do something about it

// like early Ham Radio operators, vacuum tubes needed...

Rediscovering a Secret of 60's Sound: Vacuum Tubes

"The prevailing yet highly arguable theory is that
while all stereo components introduce some distortion
to music, tube circuit distortion is itself musical."

04-- electromagnetic security & surveillance

Terror what if?
Computer model maps out impact from attack on city

Agencies see homeland security role for surveillance drones

"An increasing number of federal agencies are pursuing
plans to use pilotless surveillance aircraft to help
patrol the Mexican and Canadian borders, protect the
nation’s major oil and gas pipelines and aid in other
homeland security missions."

The Cell-Tower Anthrax-Detection Network

"In 2002 came the ''SensorNet'' proposal, the first coherent
plan to transform the American cellphone system into an
organized, state-supported bulwark of homeland security."

How Workplace Surveillance Works

"More than one-third of the 40 million American workers
with Internet access have their e-mail and Internet
usage under constant surveillance, according to a
study from the Privacy Foundation.

GPS may provide early earthquake warning

"A new network of 250 Global Positioning System stations
in California could provide rapid early warnings of major
earthquakes. The alerts could provide enough warning to
automatically shut down gas lines, slow or stop trains,
warn doctors performing surgery or even prevent a
nuclear reactor melt down."

US intelligence appeals court sanctions increased domestic spying

"These limitations were discarded by this week’s ruling,
leaving the field wide open for warrantless domestic
wiretapping under the pretext of foreign intelligence

The 10 best (and worst) security trends of 2002

Tech Sniffs Employee Offenders 

"Computer forensics applications are typically used
to investigate computer crimes and to preserve digital
evidence so it's usable in court. But these applications
aren't just for law enforcement officials anymore.
Computer forensics software is helping stop corporate
crime before it happens."

// an interesting article on phreaking voice-mail machines...

Phone hackers discovered by system service business

Bush to propose requiring ISPs to monitor Net
Bush Administration to Propose System for Monitoring Internet

05-- electromagnetic power & energy

Judge Knocks GAO Out of Cheney Task Force Lawsuit

"Two other civil organizations are using the courts
to seek the Energy Task Force records."

Warnings From Al Qaeda Stir Fear That Terrorists
May Attack Oil Tankers

Washington Expresses Concern About Venezuelan Oil

Iraq said to cancel oil deal with Russia

California agrees to drop energy lawsuits

06-- electromagnetic current & human affairs

Sexism 'rife' in cyberspace

GM and Ford Shareholders File Climate Resolutions

"The resolutions call for both automakers to measure
and report to their shareholders on carbon dioxide
emissions from their plants and products by August
2003 and to commit to significantly reducing those
emissions by 2012, with further reductions by 2020.
They also call for an evaluation of what new public
policies would enable and assist the company in
achieving those emission reductions."

Human or Computer? Take This Test

// backgrounder on the 'confrontation on the prairie'
// that launched Paul Wellstone into national politics...

Powerline Blues

Longtime Computer TV Show Shutting Down

End in Sight for Single hull Oil Tankers

07-- electromagnetic transportation & communication

// redux of 1970s US automative manufacturers mindset...

Hybrid Cars Are Attracting a Broad Range of Americans

"Toyota's production plan means "this is going to go
from being an environmental curiosity to a commercially
important product," said John Casesa, an analyst at
Merrill Lynch. .. "I don't think anybody's got confidence
that the economics make any sense," Rick Wagoner, G.M.'s
chief executive, said in a recent interview."

Carbon Chip Breakthrough May Crush Silicon

// great article, informative about many things...

Radio Free Software
Call them hackers of the last computing frontier:
The GNU Radio coders believe that any device with
a chip should be able to do, well, anything.

'"We're pretty much turning all hardware problems
into software problems," Blossom says.'

Web Calling Roils the Telecom World

"Internet-based calls account for more than 10 percent
of all international calling traffic today, up from
almost nothing five years ago, as they reached about
18 billion minutes worldwide, up from 9.9 billion at
the end of 2001, according to TeleGeography, a research
firm. Most of these calls originated or terminated
in poor countries."

Honda Shows Off Upgraded Walking Robot // a robot's robot...

Fastest Computer Spawns High-Tech Race // Vector...

"According to the Department of Energy, the Earth Simulator
has put American scientists at a 10-100 fold disadvantage
in weather studies. And there are much deeper implications."

Airlines to offer internet access in '03

Phone Makers Grapple with Environmental Issues

"Mobile phones typically are used for just 18 months before
being replaced. That means that by 2005, about 130 million
handsets -- with a collective weight of some 65,000 tons --
will be discarded annually in the United States alone."

HowStuffWorks: How VDSL Works

"...VDSL could be as significant as the migration from
  a 56K modem to broadband..."

  Companies Reach Agreement on Digital TV
Proposal Would the End Need for Cable Boxes,
Enabling 'Plug-and-Play' Sets

08-- electromagnetic matter & information

Fractal Magnets May Fracture Old Technologies

"Plastics with fractal magnetic fields "may provide
ways to store a high density of information" in a
very small space because of their intensely ordered
structure, explained Arthur Epstein, director of
the Center for Materials Research at OSU."

IBM laying storage-brick foundations // Terabyte storage

"IBM researchers are working on a new storage system
prototype that packs hard-drive modules into a dense,
Rubik's Cube-like structure."

Immobots Take Control // excellent overview article...
 From photocopiers to space probes, machines injected
with robotic self-awareness are reliable problem solvers.

Laser pulses could speed memory

IBM creates tiniest transistor for silicon chips

Remote-control for bacteria
Radio waves switch proteins on and off.

Tiny transistors to lift lid on cell life
Silicon sensors show cell's molecular machinery
working in real time.

Is Linux Ready for the Living Room?
Sony and Panasonic are working on a version of the
open-source OS that will power consumer electronics devices.

09-- electromagnetic trends & inventions

Cooling Down Hot Computer Chips

"The "smart heat pipe" is a simple, flat copper plate
that contains tiny hollow flat channels. The "pipes"
measure about 7 microns thick -- about the depth between
the individual ridges of a human fingerprint -- and
carry liquid methanol."

Media Center Madness Gathers Steam

"If the computer crashes, will the TV, DVD player
and fish tank crash as well?"

// this is the beginning of the OLED screen...

'Firefly' display could light up TVs

"OLEDs, coupled with mature inorganic LED technology that
already brightens traffic signals and auto taillights,
could replace incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
with wallpaper that changes lighting patterns and colors,
sheets of radiant film that could be cut to size or light
cords that accent walls, handrails or steps, Heeger said."

// related OLED info...

The Next Plastic Revolution
Plugged-in polymers - from electronic paper
to gene detectors - are on a roll.

Self-serve kiosks free digital photos from your PC

Wireless? You Bet. Compatible? Well, Maybe. // Wi-Fi alphabetsoup

Sharp's 3D monitors: Look, no glasses
Consumer-electronics giant Sharp next year plans to sell notebooks
and flat-screen LCD monitors that can show three-dimensional images.

10-- electromagnetic weaponry & warfare

// the microwave-bomb sounds similar to an EMP weapon...

Hi-tech arms 'would finish war in a week'

"One weapon that is completely untested in battle is
the microwave bomb, which British and US experts have
been working on for several years. Exploding in mid-air,
these bombs release pulses of magnetic energy that seek
out electrical systems and computers and burn them out –
even if they are buried underground. These can also be
used to create a fizzing sensation on a person's skin –
something US law enforcement agencies have been testing
for crowd control."

IDC: Cyberterror and other prophecies

"Among one technology research firm's predictions for
2003 is this sobering thought: A major cyberterrorism
event will disrupt the economy and bring the Internet
to its knees for a day or two."

// there was a supposed hoax published in a major newspaper
// which detailed a similar story about this same issue...

Does al-Qaida have
20 suitcase nukes?
Author claims bin Laden purchased them in '98 from ex-KGB agents for  
$30 million

11-- electromagnetic business & economics

In the World of the Very Small, Companies Make Big Plans
By BARNABY J. FEDER // nanotechnology in new materials...

'Although the basic chemical structure of materials in
this microscopic landscape remains unchanged, the materials
often exhibit surprising properties shaped by the unfamiliar
forces of quantum physics, which governs the behavior of
individual atoms. Silicon, for example, becomes fluorescent.
Other materials show unusual electrical qualities or become
amazingly strong. Some, like silver, have unseen medical
effects, like fighting inflammation."'

Twenty minds on tech's future

Wi-Fi Internet Access Is Hot, but Its Profit Potential Is Tepid

"the communications giants that operate wide-area networks
may very likely become controlling partners, if not the
outright owners, of localized Wi-Fi networks..."

Perspective: Sidestepping the new IT crisis
By Marc Andreessen

// interesting news for several reasons. one being that it
// could relate to B2B wireless applications, and secondly,
// possibly a greater amount of wireless services including
// newsfeeds through traditional AvantGO for Wi-Fi content...

AvantGo Purchase Sends Shares Soaring

12-- electromagnetic art & artifacts

Scanner Photography // scanner as camera

Pocket Calculator Show
"Vintage Electronics Have Soul"

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