~e; Electromagnetic News & Views #15

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 23 Feb 2003 15:49:59 -0600

Electromagnetic News & Views -- #15

00) Electronetwork.org Commentary (2/23/2003)

01) 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--

With war on the horizon, the news is saturated by every story
that conceivably relates, and technology, economic, energy,
and other industries in one way or the other feed into this.

A certain fatigue sets in, single-minded, where the richness and
excitement of everyday happenings is boiled down to one issue,
or one idea, or one ideology. It seems war will be a prevalent
theme in the coming weeks, as it has been months prior to this.

Education, on the other hand, is not war. There is little about
electromagnetic education, if anything at all, in known discourses.
Yet, having been participating in a local museum class for young
inventors, it is purely amazing to see how young people naturally
take to electrical wires, motors, fans, gears, switches, lights, and
the rest. The magic is that there is a freedom of discovery and of
learning, and what results is a transformation of a child's abilities.

Also a child with regard to electromagnetism, I wish more had the
chance to experience this type of education and invention. To be
able to risk not-knowing, and in the end, learn by trial and error,
by doing, and figuring it out. It may sound trivial compared to war,
education. But without the inventive mind, the freedom of the human
imagination, the desire to change things for the better, and the risks
and rewards for going beyond where one finds themselves in the
world-- this basic act of learning, it may open up options for future
generations and a more accurate understanding of what we face.

It is proposed that a basic knowledge, and learning about EM is
a critical part in this complex everyday society. Not that everyone
is to be an electrical engineer or a particle physicist or technologist,
instead, that a basic understanding and literacy permeates culture
and becomes knowledge of the present binding people together.

Maybe someday such an opportunity will present itself. Until then,
there are peoples, here and there, working on it, bit by significant  

01) --top stories--

// this could potentially make some public EM-related research
// dealing with infrastructures a threat to national security...

Public Access to U.S. Critical Energy Data Closed

"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has finalized a plan that
would restrict public access to a variety of information regarding
power plants, natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure."

Our New Hydrogen Bomb // GM's Hy-wire hydrogen car...

Can You Turn That Down, Please?  // EM noisescaping...

Weapons That Disable Circuitry May Get First Use in Iraq

"...the biggest technical revelation of another war in the region
may not be improvements to old systems but rather a new category
of firepower known as directed-energy weapons.
Think invisible lasers, using high-powered microwaves and other
sorts of radiation rather than the pulses of visible light common
in science fiction. These new systems, ... are not designed to kill
people. ... Rather, most of the directed-energy systems are meant
to kill electronics, to disrupt or destroy the digital devices that
control the information lifeblood of modern societies and modern
military forces. By contrast, traditional jamming equipment
blocks communications gear from functioning but does not
actually damage the device.
There are two main families of anti-electronics directed-energy
weapons: ultra-wideband devices and high-power microwave systems.
Ultra-wideband weapons, known as UWB, emit energy across a relatively
large swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. High-power microwave
devices concentrate high amounts of energy in a very narrow frequency
band. High-power microwave devices are generally used to destroy
electrical components, while UWB devices are more likely to only
temporarily disrupt target devices."

Military turns to software to cut civilian casualties

"In devising the targeting plan for a possible war against Iraq,
U.S. military planners are hoping to reduce the potential for
civilian casualties by using a new computer program called
"Bugsplat." The program allows users to plot potential
damage patterns from bombs and missiles.
Collateral damage assessments come into play when the attack plan
is being drawn up. Each potential target is examined for proximity
to civilians or civilian property, which is where Bugsplat is intended
to help. To lessen potential collateral damage, targeting specialists
can try substituting a smaller weapon or one with a delayed fuse that
lets a bomb penetrate first and then detonate. Changing the type of
aircraft and its angle of attack also can make a difference,
officials said. ... If Bugsplat fails to resolve questions about
a bomb's projected blast effect, a proposed attack can be sent for
review to the Joint Warfighting Analysis Center in Dahlgren, Va.,
which developed Bugsplat and which has even more sophisticated
analysis tools. But this option takes time, at least four hours,
officials said, compared with five to 10 minutes to run Bugsplat."

02-- electromagnetic health & medicine

Doctors Look Ahead to 'Pacemakers for the Brain'

"Aided by smaller and faster computers, researchers say
they will soon be able to predict seizures and to design
tiny implantable devices that will interrupt them with
jolts of electricity or tiny squirts of medication
directly into the brain.
scientists started using methods that are derived from chaos
theory, and the seizure patterns started to become clear."

X-ray trick picks out tiny tumours

"An ingenious advance in mammography may make it possible
to detect cancer at a much earlier stage."

The good, the bad, and the laptops // ergonomics...
Now that every seventh-grader in the state has an iBook, what do they
do with them? Academically, the state appears to be going in the right
direction, but the risk of major health problems is being ignored.

03-- electromagnetic trash & treasure

European Electroscrap Laws Enter into Force

7 States to Sue E.P.A. Over Standards on Air Pollution

04-- electromagnetic security & surveillance

Be Informed: Nuclear Blast (U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security)

"A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a
damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that
can contaminate the air, water and ground surfaces for miles
around. While experts may predict at this time that a nuclear
attack is less likely than other types, terrorism by its nature
is unpredictable."

Be Informed: Radiation Threat (U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security)

"A radiation threat or "Dirty Bomb" is the use of common explosives
to spread radioactive materials over a targeted area. It is not a
nuclear blast. The force of the explosion and radioactive contami-
nation will be more localized. While the blast will be immediately
obvious, the presence of radiation will not be clearly defined until
trained personnel with specialized equipment are on the scene. As
with any radiation, you want to try to limit exposure."

How to get an ATM PIN number in 15 guesses

"Mike Bond and Piotr Zielinski have published a paper detailing
how a complex mathematical attack can yield a PIN in an average
of 15 guesses. By design, it shouldn't be possible to guess a
four-digit pin in less than an average of 5,000 attempts."

[and, in related news...]

Crypto research under fire in U.K. suit

GPS devices increasingly are used to spy on people

05-- electromagnetic power & energy

Hidden Coal Fires Create Visible Problems

"Fires are blazing in underground coal seams around the globe,
sending tons of soot, toxic fumes and greenhouse gases into
the atmosphere. These fires can burn unchecked for decades,
but researchers speaking at a scientific meeting today say
new techniques offer hope for extinguishing the blazes."

Questions Beset Bush CO2 Underground Storage Plans

"Storing carbon dioxide inside coal seams or reservoirs far
below the Earth's surface, rather than releasing the gas into
the atmosphere, is a tempting prospect."

Magnetic Storms on Sun Create Their Own Weather

"Large complexes of magnetic sunspots form weather patterns
on the Sun, according to new research by a team of University
of Colorado at Boulder scientists."

How Batteries Work -

Tiny Battery May Power Next-Gen Gadgets
As cell phones, video cameras, computers, and scores of other
electronic products continue to shrink, so must their batteries,
which today contribute up to 35 percent of a laptop computer's weight.

India Asked To Join The Trans-Afghan Gas Pipeline Project

"The petroleum ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan
on Saturday reached an agreement to invite India for multi-billion
pipeline to carry Turkmenistan's natural gas to the Indian Ocean
via Afghanistan and Pakistan."

06-- electromagnetic current & human affairs

Strange Clouds // electric blue. non-EM. of human interest...

Hacking democracy?
Computerized vote-counting machines are sweeping the country.
But they can be hacked -- and right now there's no way to be
sure they haven't been.

07-- electromagnetic transportation & communication

Teleportation moves on

"The aim of the experiment is to transfer, or teleport,
the polarization of photon 1 to photon 3. This is normally
done by making a joint measurement on photons 1 and 2 which
changes the polarization of the latter in such a way that
photon 3 - which is entangled with it - always acquires the
same polarization as the first photon. In other words the
quantum state of photon 1 - which was unknown to Alice -
has been teleported to photon 3."

Brains Behind the Brawn - How Car Computers Work

"Sophisticated Engine Controls, Advanced Diagnostics, Easier
Design and Manufacturing, Simplified Wiring, Safety Systems..."

How DSL Works -

Look Ma, No Film!  How Digital Cameras Work

Study lauds open-source code quality

"A consulting group that scrutinizes the source code underlying
several operating systems has found that a key networking component
of Linux is of higher quality in several ways than that of competing
closed-source software."

08-- electromagnetic matter & information

18th-century theory is new force in computing // thanks *

"Bayesian theory can roughly be boiled down to one principle:
To see the future, one must look at the past. Bayes theorized
that the probability of future events could be calculated by
determining their earlier frequency. Will a flipped coin land
heads up? Experimental data assigns it a value of 0.5.
The appeal of the Bayesian technique is its deceptive simplicity.
The predictions are based completely on data culled from reality--
the more data obtained, the better it works. Another advantage is
that Bayesian models are self-correcting, meaning that when data
changes, so do the results."

How Computer Memory Works -

How Semiconductors Work -

How Electric Motors Work -

Why Analog Is Cool Again
Super-sensitive switches etched in silicon? This is not
your father's solid state.

09-- electromagnetic trends & inventions

 From Demo: 10 technologies to watch

Word 'bursts' may reveal online trends

"Searching for sudden "bursts" in the usage of particular words
could be used to rapidly identify new trends and sort information
more efficiently, says a US computer scientist.
Kleinberg suggests that the method could be applied to weblogs
to track new social trends. For example, identifying word bursts
in the hundreds of thousands of personal diaries now on the web
could help advertisers quickly spot an emerging craze."

Chinese Computer Maker Plans a Push Overseas

"The company plans an extensive marketing campaign to raise awareness
of its brand as it enters other countries. Legend is also considering
overseas acquisitions as it studies how best to distribute its
computers, Ms. Ma said, comparing Legend to Dell Computer."

10-- electromagnetic weaponry & warfare

US plan for new nuclear arsenal:
Secret talks may lead to breaking treaties

"The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in
August to discuss the construction of a new generation of
nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters"
and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological
agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document."

Nuclear-powered drone aircraft on drawing board

"...the idea is bound to raise serious concerns about the
wisdom of flying radioactive material in a combat aircraft.
If shot down, for instance, would an anti-aircraft gunner
in effect be detonating a dirty bomb?"

Full Spectrum Dominance // Executive Summary...

11-- electromagnetic business & economics

Opinion: Restructuring the Energy Economy

Bad economy causes drop in greenhouse gases, for one year anyway

"A poor economy and high electricity costs in the West have
produced an unusual environmental bonus, the government says..."

War Spending Could Boost Tech Industry-- Despite increased
federal spending on technology, it probably is not enough to
lift the overall tech sector out of its worst downturn ever.

Perspective: Explaining the tech brain drain

Customer Service E-Mails Still Vanishing into Black Hole

12-- electromagnetic art & artifacts

Electronics shaping our home decor

"An unmistakeable trend at last weekend's Interior Design Show
was how much home electronics has become an integral part of
home decor. ... Paintings over mantels have been replaced by
plasma-screen television monitors."

Museum of Soviet Synthesizers // via gizmodo.net

Machines target art-lovers starting small // Art-o-Matic...

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