Through The Static

September 26, 2008

BioMetrics: Welcome to the Novus Ordo SecLorum. And it Fits in Yer Pocket, TOO!

Filed under: Eeeeep!,Government,PoLicing,Technology,Wake Up Call,World News,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 7:44 am

Ze bobbLebot has heardeth of the scary, scary tales of biometrics, but never for once believed it could touch those purple mountains majesty or sea to shining sea.  But if biometrics WERE to happen, living in a post-9/11 world, we’d probably be the first place to git it.

Oh wait.  We already did.

In fact, according to Security Info Watch:

In late June, the president signed HSPD-24, which directed federal agencies to integrate processes and interoperable systems to the fullest extent permitted by law – like the FBI’s IAFIS and the DHS’ US VISIT programs — and make available to other agencies all biometric and associated biographical and contextual information associated with individuals who pose a reasonable suspicion of threat to national security. HSPD-24 was a result of the 9-11 Commission’s report that was strongly critical of federal agencies’ lack of communication and data sharing during the national crisis.

Whaaaaat?  And where was the bobbLebot??!

Oh yeah, living under a rock.

its comfy.

::shrugs:: it's comfy.

But HOLD UP.  WHAT IS BIOMETRICS?!

Well YouTube’s glad you asked.

And it’s not just fingerprints – it’s a system of biological data, from the patterns in our irises to our blood samples, that will be used to create profiles for a larger, national database so that, eventually, every citizen’s movements can be tracked via ID cards or even implanted microchips.  Sound unlikely?

YO!  Workers are being implanted with chips!  And we’re not talking Fritos!  Mmmm… Fritos…

::drooLs::

But yeah, the defense is that the technology for implantable chips are so rudimentary that they can’t yet track movement and location.

::makes a face::

1st of all, how do we know this?  2nd of all, does this mean that this technology will always be out of reach?  3rd of all, couldn’t what is being purported to be for our own protection in fact be for our own enslavement?  To jail us?  To put us in a position where our own information can be misconstrued and used against us?

So what can this biometric system be used for?  Well, W explained it best back in 6/6/06:

Sounds a little Big Brother and Conspiracy Theory.

::pause::

AND?

And it’s going beyond sea to shining sea.  In fact, it’s starting to be implemented in the form of ID cards in Britain.  RIGHT NOW. Think about how fast this will spread in 2 years… and by that time, I wonder if the biometrics utilized will hold more sophisticated technologies.

i always feel like... somebodys watching meeee...and ive got no privacy - whoa-oh!

i always feel like... somebody's watching meeee...and i've got no privacy - whoa-oh!

Cory Doctorow, your average, everyday weird/COOL! news and gadgetry blogger explains his experience via boingboing:

Earlier this year, I married my British fiancee and switched my visa status from “Highly Skilled Migrant” to “Spouse.” This wasn’t optional: Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, had unilaterally (and on 24 hours’ notice) changed the rules for Highly Skilled Migrants to require a university degree, sending hundreds of long-term, productive residents of the UK away (my immigration lawyers had a client who employed over 100 Britons, had fathered two British children, and was nonetheless forced to leave the country, leaving the 100 jobless). Smith took this decision over howls of protests from the House of Lords and Parliament, who repeatedly sued her to change the rule back, winning victory after victory, but Smith kept on appealing (at tax-payer expense) until the High Court finally ordered her to relent (too late for me, alas).

Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students and we spousal visa holders (government is looking to curtail spousal visas altogether, capping all visas at 20,000 per year, including spousal visas, denying Britons the right to bring their spouses into the country once the quota has been filled). The card will be eventually linked to all of the national databases — credit, health, driving, spending. These are the same databases that the government has been repeatedly losing and haemmorhaging by the tens of million (literally).

And so it begins.

Many of my British friends act as if I’m crazy when I say that we must defeat Labour in the next election. We’re all good lefties, and a vote for the LibDems is considered tantamount to handing the country over to the Tories. But what could the Tories do that would trump what Labour has made of the country? The Labour Party has made a police state with a melting economy, a place where rampant xenophobia makes foreigners less and less welcome — where we are made to hand over our biometrics and carry papers as we conduct our lawful business. The only mainstream party to speak out against this measure is the LibDems, and they will have my vote.

To my friends, I say this: your Labour Party has taken my biometrics and will force me to carry the papers my grandparents destroyed when they fled the Soviet Union. In living memory, my family has been chased from its home by governments whose policies and justification the Labour Party has aped. Your Labour Party has made me afraid in Britain, and has made me seriously reconsider my settlement here. I am the father of a British citizen and the husband of a British citizen. I pay my tax. I am a natural-born citizen of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party ought not to treat me — nor any other migrant — in a way that violates our fundamental liberties. The Labour Party is unmaking Britain, turning it into the surveillance society that Britain’s foremost prophet of doom, George Orwell, warned against. Labour admits that we migrants are only the first step, and that every indignity that they visit upon us will be visited upon you, too. If you want to live and thrive in a free country, you must defend us too: we must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.

Would the bobbLebot be correct in assessing that this sh*t is bananas?

This is REAL, people! This is NOW, people!  And what will it take for us to wake up to see what is going on right in front of us?  We all have the power to say NO.

We’ve already heard of China’s All-Seeing Eye, the US government is already implementing biometrics while private companies are voluntarily implanting their workers with chips.  Meanwhile, in Britain, the government is using biometric data to track immigrants and foreign nationals.

Is something wrong with the picture here?

August 12, 2008

INTELLIGENCE! What Is It? Being Educated Out of Our Creativity

‘pologies for lack of witty title.  bobblebot is slogging away at ze moment.

::whirs::

Here’s a segment from the Ted conference they hold every year in Monterey, California.  Sir Ken Robinson (yeh, yeh, SIR!) is charming and funny in that witty, British-but-not-pretentious sort of way and talks about a lot of key issues that so many of us with a bachelors degree find post-undergrad.  He goes off on a lot of tangents but entertainingly so.

Okie dokes — I found his little CATS choreographer chestnut at the end a little too lofty and idealistic.  That isn’t always the case, her life story is the EXCEPTION and not the rule.

BUT he does bring up interesting points:

* intelligence is diverse, dynamic and interactive
* creativity comes through the interaction between multiple intelligences
* we need a new concept for an educational system.  our brains are mined for very specific kinds of intelligences while others are devalued, ironic, since even technological innovation is bread by imagination and creativity.

BobbLebot’s gonna get a little personal here, but when ze robot looks back upon the 2 years it spent in education, there was something about the job that kept it there: it was dynamic, interactive, emotionally engaging and it felt like it was helping people.  Helping students.

But not in the ways in which its helping was valued.

Emotionally abused, isolated, bullied and undervalued kids often hung around the robot’s purple table.  The bobblebot learned something: even privileged kids have problems! In any case, it took a lot of work, a lot of trust and a lot of patience, but what kept the BobbLebot there was the sense that it was helping these kids gain some kind of sense of value for being different, odd or living inside their own BRAINS.  BRAINS!!!

The thing that killed the robot’s spirit was the shift.  Beyond giving tykes the skills to read and write and basic math, the bot was sometimes pressured to help them with their homework or help train them for standardized testing.  And all of this was just so incredibly USELESS!

Basically, if a student can’t pass a standardized test, he or she can’t move onto the next grade — which is a problem in and of itself because the new grade is increasingly geared toward training them for more standardized testing.  TRAINING.  Not educating.  Making sure they MEMORIZE, not learn to think for themselves.  They’re being trained to learn not to think at all.

What was the bot being paid to teach them?  To learn the skills so that they’ll succeed in an educational system that teaches them that if they don’t learn a certain skill set, if they can’t find the answer in an allotted amount of time, if they need more than a single scratch piece of paper or get confused when filling in bubbles, they’re essentially worthless.  They’re gearing them to learn (mostly) arbitrary skills or sets of knowledge (beyond reading, comprehension and basic math) that aren’t really applicable in undergrad anyway.

They’re pressing families to invest money in SAT prep and educational centers for their kids who fall behind, because if they fall behind they can’t get into this private school or get into that AP class to get into this kind of university — AUUUGH!  RAT RACE!  RAT RACE!!

Their brains ARE being mined in a very specific way that is quite disturbing.  This isn’t to say that math sucks (though for the bot, numbers and figures don’t naturally mix – BLIP!) or that physics is without value, but they certainly are overvalued, especially for the many who really don’t have an interest or aptitude for them.  They are being conditioned to desire or work for these fields in ways that destroy creativity.  It’s all for pushing towards economic productivity.

It’s not even about technological innovation, the way education is framed.  It’s about thinking in a very linear fashion.  It’s about plugging in very specific formulas and equations — on a metaphoric as well as literal level.  When we’re taught Shakespeare (BLEH!  not to bash the bard, but MUST he be the standard of ALL Western literary achievement?) we’re taught to read his work in a very specific way, to perform it in a very specific way, to write essays on it in a very specific fashion.  You see, even in highschool English lit, there IS a right and wrong answer, apparently.  Or a right and wrong way to answer.  Fill in the blank.  Agree or disagree.  Thesis statement.  Support.  Quote.  “Analysis” — which isn’t real analysis anyway, but more of a translation of what you think the author’s already saying.

And it’s not even about educational reform anymore. Fixing leaks in an oxymoronic system will not fix the problem.  More teachers is not the answer.  More money is not the answer.  It’s the MATERIALS.  It’s about what is VALUED in an academic sense.  It’s about creative thinking and creative teaching.  But people keep telling us that there aren’t the resources for that.  (resources = funds in their brains)

::ga-DUNK!::

When has creativity ever needed dollars and cents?  Creative things CAN be MADE with materials that are PURCHASED with money, but money is not creativity.  Just like scoring high on a standardized test is not a sign of real intelligence.

The thing is, if the standards of standardized testing (bubbling in, memorization, sitting still, time management) become the authority for entry into higher education (which is getting increasingly static in what’s become standardized academic material – film studies, creative writing, etc) then what are the chances that the brilliant minds will be allowed to burn as bright as stars when these very minds are being mined for rote facts, compliance and mediocrity?

QUESTION: do you think THIS dude would have survived the very academic environment in which we are currently situated???

He’s brilliant, he’s excited, he can’t think while sitting still — can you IMAGINE being in class with this dude?  Most of all – beyond the performance, beyond the eccentricities, he’s HUMAN.  We’re not training humans in our schools.  We’re not training robots.  (robots are COOL!)  We’re training machines.

We need a NEW paradigm.  This sh*t has gone too far.

August 6, 2008

If trends continue, we’ll all be fat in 40 years

Filed under: Health,Wake Up Call — disciplepete @ 10:03 pm

MSNBC:

NEW YORK – If the trends of the past three decades continue, it’s possible that every American adult could be overweight 40 years from now, a government-funded study projects.

The figure might sound alarming, or impossible, but researchers say that even if the actual rate never reaches the 100-percent mark, any upward movement is worrying; two-thirds of the population is already overweight.

“Genetically and physiologically, it should be impossible” for all U.S. adults to become overweight, said Dr. Lan Liang of the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, one of the researchers on the study.

However, she told Reuters Health, the data suggest that if the trends of the past 30 years persist, “that is the direction we’re going.”

Ahh, if only my dad could be around in 40 years to see the day when all Americans are fat…I don’t know why, but he was very amused and got a lot of laughs at the expense of fat people, maybe cuz he never saw anything like American fat folks till he came to the U.S. Well, I’ve never seen anything like American fat folks outside America either. And that’s a good thing.

August 1, 2008

::rolls eyes:: “Obama Too Fit To Be President”

Filed under: Idiots,Politics,Wake Up Call — bobbleheadedbob @ 8:03 am

The idiocy of American media astounds me.  UnLike my own idiotic endeavors, which are not and should not ever be taken as more than 3 shakes of salt….

…that is, 3 shakes of salt over some hot, crisp sweet potater fries.  Korean sweet potater fries… none of that orangey, soggy “yam” mush.

Mmmm…  gohgeumah

Wait on the weight-watching, por favor!

Wait on the weight-watching, por favor!

Sometimes articles like these deeply, profoundly disturb the bobbLebot…not just on the topic of what’s considered news, but just how damn seriously some reporters take such inane topics.  REPORTERS.  PAID, FREELANCE REPORTERS.

Oy(L).

But here’s a report from Fox Wall Street Journal:

Too Fit to Be President?

Facing an Overweight Electorate,
Barack Obama Might Find
Low Body Fat a Drawback

Yes… yes, they are totally for CeReaL. And I’m totally talking Tony-the-Tiger-Snap-Crackle-and-Pop for cereal.  In fact, this may be our new for-cereaLity.  (And can someone PLEASE stop with the idiot polls on which candidate you’d rather shop, barbecue, drink beer, play a game of Wii bowling or eat Campbell’s Chunky Soup with???!!!  JUST STOP THE MADNESS!!!)

The candidate has been criticized by opponents for appearing elitist or out of touch with average Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in July shows Sen. Obama still lags behind Republican John McCain among white men and suburban women who say they can’t relate to his background or perceived values.

apparently im too healthy for America

apparently i'm too healthy for America

“He’s too new … and he needs to put some meat on his bones,” says Diana Koenig, 42, a housewife in Corpus Christi, Texas, who says she voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

So let the bobbLebot get this straight: Obama – the way he is marketing himself – is so eloquent, so cool, so physically and charismatically ideal that he just isn’t “with it” with the mediocrity that is the UniteRed States.  The ghost of the eradicated “left-ist” in me (was I ever really Leftist?  buh.  i wuz sucher poseR!!!) is yelling, “THIS IS WHAT 8 YEARS of DUBBYAH’s doggone DONE to the American PubLic!!”

“I won’t vote for any beanpole guy,” another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board.

Great.  So now they’re citing message boards?  Is this how lazy they’re getting?  Or just out of touch with reality?  Or is it EYE?  Is it the bobbLebot who is out of touch with ReaLity?

According to Sen. Obama’s Chicago physician David Scheiner, the senator works out regularly, jogs up to three miles a day when he can, and has “no excess body fat.”

Dr. Scheiner didn’t disclose his patient’s exact weight, but medical observers estimate that the 6-foot-1.5-inch-tall senator appears to weigh at least 10 pounds less than the roughly 190 pounds that the average American man of his height weighs. The Obama campaign declined to comment for this article.

Though Sen. McCain cannot lift weights due to injuries he suffered as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he “walked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in August 2006” and hikes whenever he can find the time, according to John D. Eckstein, an internist in Scottsdale, Ariz., who treats Sen. McCain. At roughly 165 pounds, his weight is slightly above average for a 5-foot-7-inch man his age, according to nutritionists.

::ga-DUNK!::

And no, this is not a report by The Onion.  This is “Real News.”

While most voters don’t base their decision on physical appearance alone, a candidate’s height, weight and overall look can play a big role in what Americans perceive as “presidential,” says Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

Auuuugh.  You see how they psyche you out there with the “Yeah, most people don’t vote based on PHYSICALITY per se… (faux morality check) BUT…”

But too much time in the gym can cause problems, as Sen. Obama learned last month after he made three stops to local Chicago gyms in one day, for a total of 188 minutes. The marathon workout session sparked a widely circulated Associated Press article titled “Obama Becomes a Gym Rat.” In it, the reporter wrote, “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Barack Obama is running for president of the United States or Mr. Universe.”

what can I say?  i likes to jogs on ze jobs.

what can I say? i likes to jogs on ze jobs.

Republicans have recently picked up on the senator’s fitness regimen. On Wednesday, the McCain campaign launched a new ad titled “Celeb” that compares Sen. Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. In a memo to reporters explaining the ad, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis wrote, “Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day.”

GAHHH!!!

::bangs harddrive against the wall::

It. Just. Doesn’t. STOP!!!

Struggles with weight-loss, on the other hand, can make a candidate seem more human. Some aides winced when footage of a sweat-drenched Mr. Clinton jogging into a McDonald’s in Little Rock, Ark., aired ahead of the 1992 campaign. But the footage is widely believed to have helped the then-governor of Arkansas connect to voters in conservative-leaning states like Georgia and Tennessee, which eluded Democrats in 2000 and 2004. These states have a statistically higher number of overweight people than Democratic strongholds.

“It says: ‘He’s just like one of us,”‘ says Arthur English, a political-science professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who used to see Mr. Clinton stop in for fries and a Big Mac after his three-mile jog.

It says, “He’s just as mediocre as one of us.”  Cuz that’s what we want for America.  Rachel Ray for president.

Sen. Clinton has said she tried Weight Watchers to keep the pounds off during her presidential bid — a tidbit that appealed to her core of middle-age female supporters that Sen. Obama is now trying to woo.

Sen. Obama is not without vices. According to Dr. Scheiner’s medical report, he has quit smoking “on several occasions and is currently using Nicorette gum with success.” People close to the senator say he began smoking nearly three decades ago and smoked about five cigarettes a day.

Some voters say that even this adds to Sen. Obama’s somewhat superhuman persona. “I mean, really, who quits smoking and doesn’t gain any weight?” says 30-year-old Stella Metsovas, an Obama supporter in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Is this how human value – yeh, let’s forget for a moment the FUNCTION of the presidency – is measured?  Quantified?  In one’s fallibility?  Granted, Obama is a Leo and is hence a CONTROL FREAK (which explains hitting the gym several times and Nicorette-chain-chewing), it bothers the bobbLebot that people crave to see some sort of inane mediocrity – however constructed it may be.

This reminds bobbLebot of mommy issues where mummy dearest tried to thrust a consumption disorder upon it.  Buh… too much personal information… buh…

But for serious!  It’s like, “Fail, FAIL!  Show us you’re a lazy slob like one of us!  Become a part of this mob of mediocrity!  Don’t make us feel bad for being stupid, fat and lazy!  FAIL!  WE NEED TO SEE YOU FAIL SO WE CAN FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES!  BECAUSE WE’RE TOO LAZY TO HOPE FOR OURSELVES TO ASPIRE TO BECOME SOMETHING BETTER.”

Dude.  America needs a shrink.  This is what too much privilege does to people: self-imposed neuroticisms.  A voluntary inducement of depression.  Going to Burning Man to find oneself.  (Yes, “leftists,” you, too, are guilty!!)

Not that I take in huge stock into the idea of new world leaders and new world orders, but the people VOTING for these peoples supposedly DO.  So I find it frakkin insane and diabolically disturbing that people are just eating up this ONTD/PITNB/Perez Hilton way of marketing presidential candidates.  I don’t know if media outlets are laughing at their audience or, more disturbingly, actually take this kind of packaged, plastic reporting seriously.

Eye is troubled.  Not self-destructicating, not frazzled, not short-circuiting.  Just really, profoundly troubled.

::worries::

running away from the mediocrity!

augh! he's taking the wrong tactic: running away from the mediocrity!

July 25, 2008

Pa. teens charged in fatal beating of immigrant

Filed under: Culture,Oh White People...,Race,Wake Up Call,White People! — disciplepete @ 3:13 pm

Yahoo:

PORT CARBON, Pa. – Three white teens were charged Friday in what officials said was an epithet-filled fatal beating of an illegal Mexican immigrant in a small northeast Pennsylvania coal town. Brandon J. Piekarsky, 16, and Colin J. Walsh, 17, were charged as adults with homicide and ethnic intimidation in the July 12 attack on Luis Ramirez.

A third teen, Derrick M. Donchak, 18, was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and other offenses. All are from Shenandoah, where the attack occurred.

Additional charges are expected in the case that has roiled Shenandoah, a small, economically depressed town where police have reported friction between whites and a growing Hispanic population…

…The youths goaded Ramirez and the girl, saying, “You should get out of this neighborhood” and “Get your Mexican boyfriend out of here,” documents said. After Ramirez and the girl began walking away, someone yelled an ethnic slur at him, court documents said. He responded, “What’s your problem?”

A fight ensued, during which police said Walsh punched Ramirez in the face. The victim fell and hit his head on the street, leaving him unconscious, after which Piekarsky kicked him in the head, police said.

All three suspects used ethnic slurs during the fight, which ended with Ramirez in convulsions and foaming at the mouth, authorities said. The attackers fled the scene; Ramirez underwent surgery but died July 14 of head injuries.

Piekarsky and Walsh were being held without bail, while Donchak was held on $75,000 bail.

The lawyer of one of the attackers says that this wasn’t a racially motivated attack…umm, ok:

He said that although slurs might have been used, the fight was not motivated by ethnicity.

“I think any time there’s a fight and any time you have one ethnic group fighting another, there’s going to be racial slurs,” he said. “I’ve seen that since I was a kid on a playground 20 years ago, but they never called it ethnic intimidation until very recently.”

July 20, 2008

CHINA: One Nation, Under God(‘s Eye)

look!  its fun AND creepy!

look! it's fun AND creepy!

Talk about the Panopticon Effect, version 10.0.  The panopticon effect (which has been cited by historical theorists like Foucault), in shorthand, is like this: let’s say you’re building a prison yard. But you’ve got a problem.  So many prisoners (can Schwarzeneggar hear a “woot”?), but not enough personnel to police them (“BOOOO!” says ze gov’nah).

it always feels like, somebodys watching meeeeee... and ive got no privacy... whoooa~!

it always feels like, somebody's watching meeeeee... and i've got no privacy... whoooa~!

So you build a high tower in the center of the prison yard.  The tower essentially towers above the entire space, so the dude chilling high up in the tower can see all.  With its span of windows on all sides, the dude can see all without being seen by anyone.  This dude has a God’s Eye view of everything.

Of course, the dude in the panoptic tower can’t see EVERYBODY at the SAME TIME — but since the prisoners don’t know when they’re being watched or who’s being watched when, the logic behind this is that they begin to police themselves.

Security cameras and ittle bittle rittle mirrors also play this role, from streetlights to casinos to your local 7-11.  But you already knew this.

Anyhoo, it looks as though China’s taking it to a whole new level, creating a high-tech police state crowned with an All-Seeing Eye — city by city.  And is coming to a theater near you. It’s basically how technological tools of “liberation” like Facebook, cell phones, and ze interwebs are being used against us as tools of repression and control.

EYE SHALL ERADICATE YOUR FREEDOM WITH MAH CUTENESS.

Kawaii for SaLe: EYE SHALL ERADICATE YOUR FREEDOM WITH MAH CUTENESS.

It’s a super long article, so I’ll try to pluck the juicy bits.  But when y’all have time, y’all should read more about it in terms of how it’s already bleeding onto our shores.  Por ejemplo — our passports, the new versions, have microchips implanted in them, so that you can be globally tracked.

From Rolling Stone magazine:

China’s All-Seeing Eye

With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.

ShenZen, China is being WATCHED... and was WATCHING YOU!

ShenZen, China is being WATCHED... and is WATCHING YOU!

Y’all need some context?

Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it — thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port — to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis. The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture — the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well. Today, Shenzhen is a city of 12.4 million people, and there is a good chance that at least half of everything you own was made here: iPods, laptops, sneakers, flatscreen TVs, cellphones, jeans, maybe your desk chair, possibly your car and almost certainly your printer. Hundreds of luxury condominiums tower over the city; many are more than 40 stories high, topped with three-story penthouses. Newer neighborhoods like Keji Yuan are packed with ostentatiously modern corporate campuses and decadent shopping malls.

Eeep!  A gentrification virus?!!  Turns out, it’s much bigger than that.  And badder.

Eeeep! Okie, mebbe not THAT big... or bad. Or Big. ::cross references database::

Um… but it can be purty ominous.  How so?

This has not happened by accident. China today, epitomized by Shenzhen’s transition from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize society. Sometimes called “market Stalinism,” it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism.

see that black bulb-y thing hovering at the top? yeppers, that's just one of the many millions of cameras implanted into and policing the city.

Now, as China prepares to showcase its economic advances during the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, Shenzhen is once again serving as a laboratory, a testing ground for the next phase of this vast social experiment. Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range — a project driven in part by U.S. technology and investment. Over the next three years, Chinese security executives predict they will install as many as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it the most watched city in the world. (Security-crazy London boasts only half a million surveillance cameras.)

Do you sense the ominous-ness??!!

buh... eye thinks u gits ze picture.  buh...

buh... eye thinks u gits ze picture. buh...

The thing is, unlike the security cams we gots here, these are in high-definition.  Much like that flat panel compyu-TOR screen you’re staring at right now… buh… only better, FASTER, STRONGER…

The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.”

--

it's the all-seeing EYE! auuuugh!!! ::points to black bulb-y thingy:: -->

The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cellphones, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Tsingtao beer and UPS delivery (to name just a few of the official sponsors of the Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed under the unblinking eye of the state, without the threat of democracy breaking out. With political unrest on the rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement like the one that grabbed the world’s attention at Tiananmen Square.

ze wave of the future waves back.  even STARBUCKS SHALL BE WATCHING YOU!!!!  (we can only hope.  and prey.  eep!)

ze wave of the future waves back. even STARBUCKS SHALL BE WATCHING YOU!!!! (we can only hope. and prey. eep!)

One Shenzhen-based company, China Security & Surveillance Technology, has developed software to enable the cameras to alert police when an unusual number of people begin to gather at any given location.

In 2006, the Chinese government mandated that all Internet cafes (as well as restaurants and other “entertainment” venues) install video cameras with direct feeds to their local police stations. Part of a wider surveillance project known as “Safe Cities,” the effort now encompasses 660 municipalities in China. It is the most ambitious new government program in the Pearl River Delta, and supplying it is one of the fastest-growing new markets in Shenzhen.

Jeepers and jankies.  I feels safer already.  Cuz we all know how safe the po po make us feel on a day-to-day basis.

But the cameras that Zhang manufactures are only part of the massive experiment in population control that is under way here. “The big picture,” Zhang tells me in his office at the factory, “is integration.” That means linking cameras with other forms of surveillance: the Internet, phones, facial-recognition software and GPS monitoring.

yayyyy -- even googles watching us, yayyyyy...

yayyyy -- even google's watching us, yayyyyy...

This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.

wha--?  whos dare?

am eye on camera? ah feels laik such a celebrity!

Putting it to the Test.  (AUUUGH!  TESTS!!!) CASE STUDY:

In 2005, by the government’s own measure, there were at least 87,000 “mass incidents” — governmentspeak for large-scale protests or riots.

This increased unrest — a process aided by access to cellphones and the Internet — represents more than a security problem for the leaders in Beijing. It threatens their whole model of command-and-control capitalism. China’s rapid economic growth has relied on the ability of its rulers to raze villages and move mountains to make way for the latest factory towns and shopping malls. If the people living on those mountains use blogs and text messaging to launch a mountain-people’s-rights uprising with each new project, and if they link up with similar uprisings in other parts of the country, China’s dizzying expansion could grind to a halt.

At the same time, the success of China’s ravenous development creates its own challenges. Every rural village that is successfully razed to make way for a new project creates more displaced people who join the ranks of the roughly 130 million migrants roaming the country looking for work. By 2025, it is projected that this “floating” population will swell to more than 350 million. Many will end up in cities like Shenzhen, which is already home to 7 million migrant laborers.

With its militant protests and mobile population, China confronts a fundamental challenge. How can it maintain a system based on two dramatically unequal categories of people: the winners, who get the condos and cars, and the losers, who do the heavy labor and are denied those benefits? More urgently, how can it do this when information technology threatens to link the losers together into a movement so large it could easily overwhelm the country’s elites?

The answer is Golden Shield. When Tibet erupted in protests recently, the surveillance system was thrown into its first live test, with every supposedly liberating tool of the Information Age — cellphones, satellite television, the Internet — transformed into a method of repression and control. As soon as the protests gathered steam, China reinforced its Great Firewall, blocking its citizens from accessing dozens of foreign news outlets. In some parts of Tibet, Internet access was shut down altogether. Many people trying to phone friends and family found that their calls were blocked, and cellphones in Lhasa were blitzed with text messages from the police: “Severely battle any creation or any spreading of rumors that would upset or frighten people or cause social disorder or illegal criminal behavior that could damage social stability.”

buh... yeah.

buh... yeah.

During the Lhasa riots, police on the scene augmented the footage from the CCTVs with their own video cameras, choosing to film — rather than stop — the violence,

INSERTION: buh… can anyone say L.A. Riots???  Cuz, ya know, those Beverly Hills hotels were at a much higher threat than them liquor stores AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL.

…which left 19 dead. The police then quickly cut together the surveillance shots that made the Tibetans look most vicious — beating Chinese bystanders, torching shops, ripping metal sheeting off banks — and created a kind of copumentary: Tibetans Gone Wild. These weren’t the celestial beings in flowing robes the Beastie Boys and Richard Gere had told us about. They were angry young men, wielding sticks and long knives. They looked ugly, brutal, tribal. On Chinese state TV, this footage played around the clock.

The police also used the surveillance footage to extract mug shots of the demonstrators and rioters. Photos of the 21 “most wanted” Tibetans, many taken from that distinctive “streetlamp” view of the domed cameras, were immediately circulated to all of China’s major news portals, which obediently posted them to help out with the manhunt. The Internet became the most powerful police tool. Within days, several of the men on the posters were in custody, along with hundreds of others.

...among other things.  THINGS!

...among other things. THINGS!

In Guangzhou, an hour and a half by train from Shenzhen, Yao Ruoguang is preparing for a major test of his own. “It’s called the 10-million-faces test,” he tells me.

When I meet Yao at his corporate headquarters, he is feeling confident about how his company will perform in the test. His secret weapon is that he will be using facial-recognition software purchased from L-1 Identity Solutions, a major U.S. defense contractor that produces passports and biometric security systems for the U.S. government.

theyre alive!  aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!  and not with the sound of music!

they're alive! aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! and not with the sound of music!

To show how well it works, Yao demonstrates on himself. Using a camera attached to his laptop, he snaps a picture of his own face, round and boyish for its 54 years. Then he uploads it onto the company’s proprietary Website, built with L-1 software. With the cursor, he marks his own eyes with two green plus signs, helping the system to measure the distance between his features, a distinctive aspect of our faces that does not change with disguises or even surgery. The first step is to “capture the image,” Yao explains. Next is “finding the face.”

He presses APPLY, telling the program to match the new face with photos of the same person in the company’s database of 600,000 faces. Instantly, multiple photos of Yao appear, including one taken 19 years earlier — proof that the technology can “find a face” even when the face has changed significantly with time.

“It took 1.1 milliseconds!” Yao exclaims. “Yeah, that’s me!”

Ya see, this started as a Facebook/Flickr/juss-4-fun kinder thing… STARTED, being the operative word here.

Like many other security executives I interviewed in China, Yao denies that a primary use of the technology he is selling is to hunt down political activists. “Ninety-five percent,” he insists, “is just for regular safety.” He has, he admits, been visited by government spies, whom he describes as “the internal-security people.” They came with grainy pictures, shot from far away or through keyhole cameras, of “some protesters, some dissidents.” They wanted to know if Yao’s facial-recognition software could help identify the people in the photos. Yao was sorry to disappoint them. “Honestly, the technology so far still can’t meet their needs,” he says. “The photos that they show us were just too blurry.” That is rapidly changing, of course, thanks to the spread of high-resolution CCTVs. Yet Yao insists that the government’s goal is not repression: “If you’re a [political] organizer, they want to know your motive,” he says. “So they take the picture, give the photo, so at least they can find out who that person is.”

Hm.

You have probably never heard of L-1, but there is every chance that it has heard of you. Few companies have collected as much sensitive information about U.S. citizens and visitors to America as L-1: It boasts a database of 60 million records, and it “captures” more than a million new fingerprints every year. Here is a small sample of what the company does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.”

is face stalking ze wave of the future?

is face stalking ze wave of the future?

Yao, for his part, knows all about the U.S. export controls on police equipment to China. He tells me that L-1’s electronic fingerprinting tools are “banned from entering China” due to U.S. concerns that they will be used to “catch the political criminals, you know, the dissidents, more easily.” He thinks he and L-1 have found a legal loophole, however. While fingerprinting technology appears on the Commerce Department’s list of banned products, there is no explicit mention of “face prints” — likely because the idea was still in the realm of science fiction when the Tiananmen Square massacre took place. As far as Yao is concerned, that omission means that L-1 can legally supply its facial-recognition software for use by the Chinese government.

FACE PRINTS.  Not fingerprints, but FACEPRINTS.  For the paranoid, BobbLebot recommends deletion of Facebook accounts.  DELETION.

Empowered by the Patriot Act, many of the big dreams hatched by men like Atick have already been put into practice at home. New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., are all experimenting with linking surveillance cameras into a single citywide network. Police use of surveillance cameras at peaceful demonstrations is now routine, and the images collected can be mined for “face prints,” then cross-checked with ever-expanding photo databases. Although Total Information Awareness was scrapped after the plans became public, large pieces of the project continue, with private data-mining companies collecting unprecedented amounts of information about everything from Web browsing to car rentals, and selling it to the government.

What is most disconcerting about China’s surveillance state is how familiar it all feels. When I check into the Sheraton in Shenzhen, for instance, it looks like any other high-end hotel chain — only the lobby is a little more modern and the cheerful clerk doesn’t just check my passport but takes a scan of it.

“Are you making a copy?” I ask.

“No, no,” he responds helpfully. “We’re just sending a copy to the police.”

Up in my room, the Website that pops up on my laptop looks like every other Net portal at a hotel — only it won’t let me access human-rights and labor Websites that I know are working fine. The TV gets CNN International — only with strange edits and obviously censored blackouts. My cellphone picks up a strong signal for the China Mobile network. A few months earlier, in Davos, Switzerland, the CEO of China Mobile bragged to a crowd of communications executives that “we not only know who you are, we also know where you are.” Asked about customer privacy, he replied that his company only gives “this kind of data to government authorities” — pretty much the same answer I got from the clerk at the front desk.

yay!  creepy White dude with a nanny goatee is watching me.  yay!

yay! creepy White dude with a nanny goatee is watching me. yay!

When I leave China, I feel a powerful relief: I have escaped. I am home safe. But the feeling starts to fade as soon as I get to the customs line at JFK, watching hundreds of visitors line up to have their pictures taken and fingers scanned. In the terminal, someone hands me a brochure for “Fly Clear.” All I need to do is have my fingerprints and irises scanned, and I can get a Clear card with a biometric chip that will let me sail through security. Later, I look it up: The company providing the technology is L-1.

Creepy!

Oy(L).  This one was a doozy, floozies!  BobbLebot is EXHAUSTIMICATED.  But basically recommends the watching of Death Note.  (Please watched the subbed and not dubbed version.  Contact ze BobbLebot if u so desire a copy.)

Police State!  Yay!

Police State! Yay!

The concept behind the show is as such: bored, overachieving high school team fulfilling the American Japanese Dream comes across a Death God’s notebook.  Basically, he has the power to kill anybody under any circumstances at any time.  Under his possession, he uses the Death Note to kill murderers, and later, serious criminals.  In — literally — killing the crime by putting the world under surveillance (he checks out murder convictions via the newsfeed), he is trying to build a New World Order that is devoid of criminal behavior.

It is this idea of controlling crime through policing the state, by putting everyone under surveillance so that they begin to police themselves.  The reasoning behind such measures is, “Well… if you’re not a criminal, you have nothing to worry about.”

But who defines the criminality of a human being, and what’s the sentence befitting the crime?  For example, a dissenter of the state is viewed as an enemy of the state.  A criminal.  Looking at that word, “dissenter” — so anyone who voices dissent AGAINST the state, who disagrees with the state, is, by definition, a criminal.

In allowing the state to hold God-like power in the surveillance of its people, and subsequently, allowing the state to hold a God-like power in breaking down communications to whatever it deems as a threat, then what is to stop the state from believing that it is, essentially, God?

June 29, 2008

Hussein in the MemBrains: SoLidarity in the PoLarity?

Filed under: Activism,Grassholes,Idiots,Politics,Wake Up Call — bobbleheadedbob @ 11:22 pm

BobbLebot is in the process of changing its planetary address so shall be out of commission.  Humanoids, reJoiCe!  (though this victory shall only be TEMPORARY…!)

Oy(L).  Sometimes the BobbLebot can compute how humanoids have arrived to conclusions of solidarity, what their ultimate designs are, especially in the interests of electing the first humanoid of color into a White Supremacy House…and yet, the rationale is troubling.

As reported by the New York Times,

Obama Supporters Take His Name as Their Own:

Bama Supporters

Interesting.  Oh, Bama supporters,what pale skin you have!  Love how the token tan man and the one woman are pushed out off center and to the side.  It really crystallizes and drives home what this campaign is all about.

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.

The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.

Auuuugh…  HolyTropicThunderRobertDowneyJr.  DammitGwynethPaltrowIamAfrica.  OhMyHeteroFratBoyWearingAThisIsWhatAFeministLooksLikeTshirt.

::gasp – !::

So this is what solidarity looks like?

::strikes a mechanized pose::

Oy(L).

Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.

Let’s deconstruct this paragraph, shall we?  The first two sentences assertively distance Obama from Islam.  How?  By first asserting he is a Christian, NOT a Muslim. In the second sentence, Obama INHERITED his name – he couldn’t help it.  What’s more – ! – the person who gave him his Muslim name wasn’t even properly Muslim!  Oh, the injustice of FATE!

Obama couldn’t HELP being born with a Muslim name, just like ur best friend’s big sister couldn’t HELP being gay.  She was born with it.  She couldn’t help herself.

Third sentence: fact.

Fourth sentence: a projection of something beyond innocent indignance.  Translation: how can these bad bloggers and pundits POSSIBLY label Obama as a TERRORIST?!  This is RidiCuLous!  He isn’t even a real MusLim!  <— Oooooooooooh… hey, hold up, there, leftie-loosey — let’s not get all righty-tighty on issue just yet.

Why?  This frames Muslim affiliation as a pathogen of sorts that Obama needs to be absolved of.  To use an anaology, let’s use Nemo and his gimpy fin.

gimpy fin

Following that same logic, it’s like getting Dorrie and Nemo’s clownfish dad to voluntarily tuck one fin to the side, in a symbolic gesture of solidarity to Nemo’s HANDICAP.  Cuz that’s what Obama’s name is: a handicap.  A malfunction.  So to get (mostly) White people (though non-Muslims-of-color are involved as well) to take on the middle name of Hussein on their Facebook profiles and email signatures — isn’t that a little… no, patriotic’s not the word, what was it… oh yeah — PATRONIZING?!

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on dailykos.com.

And We Are All Africa.

It’s one of those things that just takes off, because everybody got it right away,” said Stephanie Miller, a left-leaning comedian who blurted out the idea one day during a broadcast of her syndicated radio talk show and repeated it on CNN.

Ms. Miller and her fellow new Husseins are embracing the traditionally Muslim name even as the Obama campaign shies away from Muslim associations. Campaign workers ushered two women in head scarves out of a camera’s range at a rally this month in Detroit. (The campaign has apologized.) Aides canceled a December appearance on behalf of Mr. Obama by Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim congressman.

OY.  So how do we solve this conundrum?  Islam’s been pathologized, so the Obama campaign responds to it like it IS a pathogen.  A virus.  So Obama supporters attempt to create a vaccine of some sort — take a portion of the germy cultures, multiply it in internet petri dishes, and then fight to innoculate the Islamophobia.  At the same time, are they the right people to do this?

The thing is, We Are Not All Africa.  Dorrie and Nemo’s clown fish dad don’t really have gimpy fins — and can untuck them at a moment’s notice.  Or when Dorrie forgets.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Lucy Liu can erase their face paint — I mean, after the photo shoot’s over with, how African are they, really?  What exactly does it mean, “We Are Africa”?  Does it mean that “We” (the privileged celebrities) all bleed the same blood?  If so, what does this all really mean, when we don’t even drink the same water, eat the same food, work under comparative conditions of labor?  Who is “we”?  What is “we”?  Can we truly be a “We” if we can readily access a towel to wipe off the face paint, if we can jet out of Zambia the second this sh*t gets too hot?

Doesn’t this come off as disingenous and patronizing to any of y’all???

Why is there a need for the solidarity of the privileged for something that’s perceived as undesireable to be legitimized in the eyes of the many?

The thing is, the middle names on the Facebook profiles can be deleted as quickly as you can log in another status update.  No.  No.  We are not all Hussein, and can’t know what it is to be a Hussein.  Unless we were born as a Hussein.  Lived as a Hussein.  Interacted with the world as a Hussein.

This is as bad as Tyra Banks living on the streets for a day.  The thing is, Tyra, you can go back home to your comfortable-arse bed and 3-million-dollar home at the end of the day.  The thing is, all you faux-Husseins can erase your names as soon as the campaign’s over, Clovers.

Solidarity?  For reals?  THIS is what solidarity looks like?  Okay, fine, then.

So what’s the point in having this breed of solidarity when the campaign can’t even swallow solid food?

June 5, 2008

Video shows bystanders ignoring hit-and-run victim

Filed under: Culture,Wake Up Call,WTF — Tranimal @ 3:35 pm

AP:

A 78-year-old man is tossed like a rag doll by a hit-and-run driver and lies motionless on a busy city street as car after car goes by. Pedestrians gawk but appear to do nothing. One driver stops briefly but then pulls back into traffic. A man on a scooter slowly circles the victim before zipping away.

“Like a dog they left him there,” said a disgusted Jose Cordero, 37, who was with friends Thursday not far from where Torres was struck. Robert Luna, who works at a store nearby, said: “Nobody did nothing.”

Kind of crazy right?

June 4, 2008

U.S. Loses Trade Ruling

Free markets are one of those things often preached and selectively practiced. Al Jazeera:

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) appeal panel upheld on Monday a ruling from December that found that the US had breached trade rules over its subsidies to cotton farmers.

The ruling means that Brazil could now seek one billon dollars in sanctions until the US stops payments to its farmers.

Developing nations, especially in Africa, say the US subsidies lower global prices, squeezing their own poor farmers out of the market.

The US government is estimated to have paid its cotton farmers $2bn to $4bn in subsidies in most recent years.

However, Tony Avirgan from the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank, told Al Jazeera that the US government is unlikely to comply with the WTO ruling and has shown no inclination it will do so.

June 3, 2008

Are Cell Phones Dangerous?

Filed under: Culture,Grassholes,Health,Science,Technology,Wake Up Call — disciplepete @ 10:36 am

There’s some evidence that a cell phone held to your head might increase your risk of getting a brain tumor. It’s not conclusive, but the evidence they do have is enough to make me take the possibility seriously. Personally, I’m not the type of guy who yaps on the phone for hours, but I know a lot of people out there do talk on their cell phones a lot, so this is important if you are a person who talks on your cell a lot. NYT:

Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. “I think the safe practice,” said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.”…

the doctors’ remarks have helped reignite a long-simmering debate about cellphones and cancer.

That supposed link has been largely dismissed by many experts, including the American Cancer Society…

According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects…

No harmful side effects, say these folks…so what do we have to be concerned about?

The F.D.A. notes, however, that the average period of phone use in the studies it cites was about three years, so the research doesn’t answer questions about long-term exposures. Critics say many studies are flawed for that reason, and also because they do not distinguish between casual and heavy use.

But researchers who have raised concerns say that just because science can’t explain the mechanism doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. Concerns have focused on the heat generated by cellphones and the fact that the radio frequencies are absorbed mostly by the head and neck. In recent studies that suggest a risk, the tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone.

The most important of these studies is called Interphone, a vast research effort in 13 countries, including Canada, Israel and several in Europe.

Some of the research suggests a link between cellphone use and three types of tumors: glioma; cancer of the parotid, a salivary gland near the ear; and acoustic neuroma, a tumor that essentially occurs where the ear meets the brain. All these cancers are rare, so even if cellphone use does increase risk, the risk is still very low.

Last year, The American Journal of Epidemiology published data from Israel finding a 58 percent higher risk of parotid gland tumors among heavy cellphone users. Also last year, a Swedish analysis of 16 studies in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed a doubling of risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma after 10 years of heavy cellphone use.

Kids are a particular concern:

“More and more kids are using cellphones,” said Dr. Paul J. Rosch, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College. “They may be much more affected. Their brains are growing rapidly, and their skulls are thinner.”

So what should you do if you are concerned about this issue?

For people who are concerned about any possible risk, a simple solution is to use a headset. Of course, that option isn’t always convenient, and some critics have raised worries about wireless devices like the Bluetooth that essentially place a transmitter in the ear…

…”We cannot say with any certainty that cellphones are either safe or not safe,” Dr. Black said on CNN. “My concern is that with the widespread use of cellphones, the worst scenario would be that we get the definitive study 10 years from now, and we find out there is a correlation.”

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