~e; Electromagnetic News & Views #55

From human being <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Fri, 17 Oct 2003 15:48:17 -0500

Electromagnetic News & Views -- #55

00) Electronetwork.org Commentary (10/17/2003)

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

00) --commentary--

Quick note: those electrical transformer plugs also known as
'wall warts' among other things, seem to be a major bottleneck
in the cost and efficiency of electronics devices. It is the
difference between using batteries and a power cord-to-outlet.
And there must be some factor of loss involved, as batteries
corrode or somehow break down both themselves and equipment,
if not being used for a period of time, so, energy is wasted,
and equipment can even be ruined. So, hearing of a 'variable
power supply' for use in electronics, it made me wonder why
such devices are not available for homes. At the Radio Shack
they sell 80 different electrical wall plugs, and these may
even be ones that have a variety of modular end-adapters so
that this number may be even higher. Each electronic device
has specifications for a particular voltage and amperage so
that one cannot place any power plug into any device, as it
may require a different AC/DC adapter, and it could in turn
ruin whatever device it is plugged into, even with polarity
issues from what I can tell. Thus, each one of these wall
warts is costing somewhere in the range of 10-20 US dollars
to get power supplied to a device, and it is unknown if one
can just pick up a used/second-hand power plug or if there
are even more issues for their specifications that make them
even more proprietary systems (such as warnings: Only use
the plug provided by company X for this device). It is now
wondered if since this is a common issue, and the repeated
need for variable power supplies in addition to the need
for advancing the socket and plug wiring systems in houses
to be more efficient, could in turn incorporate changes in
the design of electrical wiring to allow 'outlets' to be
'tuned' or variable in supplying power, or if somehow an
advance in electronics someday will conquer this impasse.

01) --top stories--

The decline and fall of the Enron empire
The company's e-mail archive captures everything: Ken Lay's
livin'-large heyday, the political schemes of his minions, and
hate mail that employees sent their CEO when the company collapsed.

	'.... the Enron e-mail library posted on FERC's Web site also contains  
a remarkable glimpse into the culture of Enron -- how the family of Ken  
Lay lived large in the glory days, how Tom DeLay and other members of  
Congress used the company as a veritable ATM for campaign  
contributions, how Enron plotted to place employees in the Bush-Cheney  
administration, how company executives almost obsessively followed the  
investigation into price gouging during California's energy crisis, and  
ultimately how Enron employees suffered when the company collapsed.'

// microprocessors and Los Angeles freeway analogy...

New Diode Could Enable Faster, More Efficient Electronics

History of Neon:
 From Geissler to Vegas: A Brief History of Neon.
By Bill Concannon // thanks *

	'An overview of the history of neon from its beginings in the  
experimental physics laboratories of the nineteen century to its  
current commerical and artistic applications.'

Mac Supercomputer: Fast, Cheap // to 17.6 teraflops or not?

02-- electromagnetic health & safety

Tanning salons linked to cancer risk

	'Compared to women who never used a solarium, women between the ages  
of 20 and 29 who reported using artificial tanning systems once or more  
per month increased the risk of melanoma about 150 percent.'

GEIPE: Gentle Electrotherapy to Inhibit Pivotal Enzyme // via bioEM...

New NASA Facility Will Help Protect Space Crews From Radiation

	'Approximately 80 investigators will conduct research annually at the  
new facility. "The NSRL will enable us to triple the ability of  
researchers to perform radiobiology experiments and the resulting  
science knowledge," said Frank Cucinotta, the program scientist for  
NASA's Space Radiation Health Project at Johnson Space Center, Houston.  
"Scientists at universities and medical centers across the nation will  
use the facility to investigate how space radiation damages cells and  
tissues such as the eyes, brain and internal organs," he said.'

Pathways Of Emotion  From Cortex To Peripheral Organs

03-- electromagnetic trash & treasure

ENRON e-mail and documents

[and] Search ENRON e-mails, documents, transcripts:

Odd mishaps cause computer grief // via NewsScan
A man so angry with his laptop that he shot it has topped
an annual league table of the oddest computer mishaps.

04-- electromagnetic security & surveillance

Super-Radar, Done Dirt Cheap // celldar = passive cellular radar
A radar system that uses ubiquitous cell-phone signals is on its way

	'... As the technology bears fruit, it should give the world's police  
and homeland security agencies new tools for monitoring shipments of  
illegal weapons and drug smuggling operations. Highway officials could  
gain a detailed window on traffic flows, helping them to minimize  
congestion. But because passive-radar systems could be cheap enough for  
hobbyists to buy -- or cobble together themselves -- the technology  
could also become the next fad among people who own police-radio  
scanners or who enjoy snooping on their neighbors' comings and goings.'

Digital technologies post-September 11th: more security
but less privacy for the European citizen? (6/10/2003) // Y/N? thanks  

	'Will new technologies protect privacy or hamper it in the  
post-September 11 world? Trends in information society technology will  
have a significant impact on the balance between citizens' security and  
privacy, according to a report released today by the European  
Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The study on Security and  
Privacy for the Citizen in the Post-September 11 Digital Age: A  
Prospective Overview, commissioned by the European Parliament, analyses  
the security and privacy implications of three emerging technologies:  
identity management (on-line services based on the identification of  
the user), location-based services (focusing on local positioning and  
tracking of the user) and virtual residence in an ambient intelligence  
environment (with smart and mobile electronic devices connected to our  
home, office, car etc.). According to the report, there is a need to  
restore the balance in favour of privacy as the use of these  
technologies for some governmental or commercial actions stretch the  
ability of current legislation to provide adequate personal data  

Teenager cleared of hacking // via syndicate list...
A teenager has been cleared of trying to bring one of the US's
biggest ports to a standstill by hacking into its computer systems.

	'[The attack] froze the port's web service, which contained vital data  
for shipping, mooring companies and support firms responsible for  
helping ships navigate in and out of the harbour.'

05-- electromagnetic power & energy

// there is a story about Toyota planning many new hybrid models
// but it could not be located (Oct 16) in USA today, may be related...

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Can Cut National Fuel Consumption In Half

Schwarzenegger Asked To Explain Ken Lay Meeting
Schwarzenegger, Bush To Meet In California

	'"A meeting with the biggest corporate crook in recent memory, while  
he and his firm were in the midst of ripping off the state, should not  
be taken lightly," FTCR wrote.  "As Governor, you must explain to  
Californians what you were doing at that meeting, what information Ken  
Lay shared with you and how the meeting has influenced your thinking on  
energy issues." .. 'In addition to calling on Schwarzenegger to come  
clean about the meeting with Lay, the group highlighted key aspects of  
the governor-elect's energy program that reflect an Enron perspective  
on energy policy.' ... 'The policy proposals.. call for the expansion  
of California's failed experiment with electricity deregulation,  
including a dramatic ceding of power from state regulation to federal  
control.' .. 'Schwarzenegger also proposes to dismantle the California  
Power Authority, which FTCR identifies as the "state's last line of  
defense against a real or manufactured energy shortage."' "Your  
proposal to revisit the deregulation experiment that exploded into  
California's single worst financial and public policy disaster directly  
contradicts the public interest in ending deregulation once and for  
all. Californians cannot afford another deregulation nightmare," FTCR  
wrote.' ... 'President George W. Bush and Governor-elect Arnold  
Schwarzenegger will meet this week in California.'

Only 15 Minutes Of Life, No Fame, For Lone Neutrons // e-lone wolf

06-- electromagnetic current & human affairs

Businessman fined for sending text message curse in China

Compass Mobile Phone for 300 million Muslims // gizmodo.com

07-- electromagnetic transport & communication

Intel crams more memory into mobiles // 1 gigaBIT/BYTE storage

// CERN to Caltech: 1.1 terabytes at 5.44 gigabits per second

Data Faster Than Speeding Bullet

Einstein was right, experimenters find // light and information

// do not know if this is appropriate, yet there is something
// about human beings getting into orbit that is exciting as an
// event, as a milestone and while there is a lot to consider in
// such advances such as space-war, it may also bring a level of
// competition to the 'space race' in that new technologies may
// be developed and sciences adopted, that changes the current
// approaches as a result, so space technologies such as solar
// panels, sensors, imaging, basic knowledge, communications,
// may all be challenged to innovate, which may be a benefit...
// and, as a human being, congratulations to China's taikonaut.

China Says Space Walk, Space Station in Plans // 'divine ship'

08-- electromagnetic matter & information

// note: voted in Minneapolis on one such machine that sent the
// vote via wireless protocol, almost certainly unsecured, to a
// central polling station (over the cellular network, it would
// seem from the antenna, or a van outside) itself pure folly
// in terms of the sanctity of protecting votes and identities.
// the state had an upset, in which the running incumbent Senator
// Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash right before election
// time, with a 'highly-unlikely' upset over VP Walter Mondale...

All the President's votes? // HACK THE VOTE. via nettime-l
A quiet revolution is taking place in US politics. By the
time it's over, the integrity of elections will be in the
unchallenged, unscrutinised control of a few large - and
pro-Republican - corporations. Andrew Gumbel wonders
if democracy in America can survive.

	'The machines, however, turned out to be anything but reliable. With  
academic studies showing the Georgia touchscreens to be poorly  
programmed, full of security holes and prone to tampering, and with  
thousands of similar machines from different companies being introduced  
at high speed across the country, computer voting may, in fact, be US  
democracy's own 21st-century nightmare.' ... 'Georgia was not the only  
state last November to see big last-minute swings in voting patterns.  
There were others in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and New Hampshire -  
all in races that had been flagged as key partisan battlegrounds, and  
all won by the Republican Party.' ... 'Although the programme was  
designed to be run on the Windows 2000 NT operating system, which has  
numerous safeguards to keep out intruders, Ms Jekot found it worked  
just fine on the much less secure Windows 98; the 2000 NT security  
features were, as she put it, "nullified".' ... 'In July, a group of  
researchers from the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins  
University in Baltimore discovered what they called "stunning flaws".  
These included putting the password in the source code, a basic  
security no-no; manipulating the voter smart-card function so one  
person could cast more than one vote; and other loopholes that could  
theoretically allow voters' ballot choices to be altered without their  
knowledge, either on the spot or by remote access.' ... 'A key security  
question concerned compatibility with Microsoft Windows, and Ms Jekot  
says just three programmers, all of them senior Diebold executives,  
were involved in this aspect of the system.' ... 'If much of the worry  
about vote-tampering is directed at the Republicans, it is largely  
because the big three touchscreen companies are all big Republican  

Digging for Nuggets of Wisdom // text mining...

Better Switches Could Mute Cell-Phone Static
Researchers at the University of Missouri and Motorola are developing  
three-dimensional switches and tiny fuel cells to improve the reception  
quality and extend the operating time for wireless communications and  
other wireless-sensing devices.

	'The meso-MEMS switches work much like a light switch -- they are  
either on or off. Present-day solid state technology -- on at some  
level all the time -- wastes energy, so the MEMS switches represent a  
definite energy savings, Drewniak explained.'

09-- electromagnetic trends & inventions

// electronic countermeasures for the educational system...

For Techies, School Bells Mean 'Let the Games Begin'

'The microprocessor is dead' says Sun // micronetworks...
A computer on a single chip is the future, says Sun - and it'll
only take a decade for the microprocessor to become extinct

	'As new chip manufacturing techniques converge with new realities  
about the software jobs that computers handle, central microprocessors  
will gradually assume almost all the functions currently handled by an  
army of supporting chips, he said.' .. 'Eventually, Papadopoulos  
predicted, almost an entire computer will exist on a single chip -- not  
a microprocessor but a "microsystem". Each microsystem will have three  
connections: to memory, to other microsystems and to the network,  
Papadopoulos said.'

10-- electromagnetic weaponry & warfare

// this one was called out in the popular press by Stratfor a
// long time ago, relating to the .US position on total space
// dominance (full spectrum dominance) as a strategy. thus it
// is unsurprising to read this, yet entirely disheartening...

Space set to become war zone, warns US general

	'"I believe space is the place we will fight in the next 20 years,"  
said Haver, now vice president for intelligence strategy at Northrop  
Grumman Mission Systems.' ... '"When the true history of the Cold War  
is written and all the classified items are finally unclassified, I  
believe that historians will note that it was in space that a  
significant degree of this country's ability to win the Cold War was  
embedded," Haver said.'

11-- electromagnetic business & economics

// heard of PowerLight in Berkeley (thought it was Emeryville) a
// few years back- they have a modular roofing system that was
// pitched as being easy and quick to install. very slick. in a
// sense, if houses were designed with the major conversion issue
// (solar direct current to grid alternating current), with new
// buildings having this built-in, for plug-and-play solar add-
// ons, it would be possible to add modular systems to a main
// wiring system without customizition, if it were standardized.

In Search of Savings, Companies Turn to the Sun // solar growth...

	'On Janssen's roof, silicon solar panels the size of ceiling tiles  
snake around fans and ventilation ducts, absorbing the afternoon sun.  
As the sun hits each panel, the silicon molecules produce electrical  
charges - a positive charge on one side of the panel and a negative one  
on the opposite side. Pipes containing wiring from each panel lead to a  
small shed behind the building, where the solar-generated power is  
converted from direct current to alternating current. It then flows  
into the building's electrical system.' ... 'That impressive growth  
rate has lured investments from large corporations, many of which are  
better known for electronics or even pumping oil. Sharp is the world's  
largest provider of solar products, followed by the the BP Solar unit  
of BP;  Kyocera; the Shell Solar unit of Royal Dutch/Shell ; and Sanyo.'

Israel slams the door on Microsoft // no comment.

// note Grove's comments/warning from last week's news...

Intel sees China PC market overtaking U.S.

Open Source Everywhere : Software is just the beginning ...
open source is doing for mass innovation what the assembly
line did for mass production. Get ready for the era when
collaboration replaces the corporation. By Thomas Goetz

	'The revolution is in the method, not the result. Open source involves  
a broad body of collaborators, typically volunteers, whose every  
contribution builds on those before. Just as important, the product of  
this collaboration is freely available to all comers. Of course, there  
are plenty of things that are collaborative and free but aren't really  
open source ... And many projects aren't widely collaborative, or are  
somewhat proprietary, yet still in the spirit of open source ... Not to  
mention that, as with any term newly in vogue, open source is often  
invoked on tenuous grounds. So think of it as a spectrum or - better  
still - a rising diagonal line on a graph, where openness lies on one  
axis and collaboration on the other. The higher an effort registers  
both concepts, the more fully it can be considered open source.'

12-- electromagnetic artworks & artifacts

* [ by the way, if anyone on the list is going to be nearby
Minnesota in early-mid November, I will be a participant
in an exhibit and will be assembling a hands-on display
of various electromagnetic artworks and artifacts. will
send more information as it becomes available. Brian ]

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