Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Thurs day, March 11, 2004
New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Picture of the Day
Venus in the evening
We all have the tendency to react to events depending upon how close they are to home. If it touches someone in our family or a close friend, our emotions will be affected more strongly than if it is a colleague at work or a friend's cousin. If tragedy strikes elsewhere in our town or country, we are touched more deeply than if it happens in a "foreign land." Think of your response to the news of today's bombing in Madrid. Then of your reaction to last week's bombing of the mosque in Iraq. Then think of 9/11.
While it is normal to feel closely the joys and sorrows of those we know, it is more difficult to understand why the deaths of an American, if you are American, should affect you more than the deaths of an Iraqi, unless you have been programmed to respond this way. All things considered, shouldn't the death of one human be equal to the death of another? Shouldn't the joy of a stranger give rise to the same feelings whether or not he or she lives 100 kilometres away or 10,000?
Unfortunately, from our birth we are trained to react to the lives of others based upon a series of criteria that we had no participation in elaborating. If you are in North America, the tragedy in Madrid today will most likely affect you more than the bombing of the mosque in Iraq a few days ago. The Spaniards are Europeans, Christians, members of the civilization that "discovered" and conquered the New World. The Iraqis are Moslems and live halfway around the globe.
We spend our lives drawing lines between ourselves and the rest of the world, accumulating facts and elaborating theories on why we are different than others. This acknowledgement of difference then becomes the justification for weighing and measuring and calculating why our differences make us better than others. We see ourselves as more democratic, or more elite, or more holy, or more powerful, or cleverer, or richer, or less attached to the world, or white or black or yellow, or part of a conquering people, or part of a conquered people. Any difference can be used to justify a feeling of self-righteousness.
Everywhere we look, no matter what country we live in, what kind of house we call home, what political system our politicians use to manipulate us, what economic system the haves use to oppress the havenots, we live immersed in a sea of propaganda to justify those structures. Our languages, our flags, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive or refuse to drive, our sports, all serve to divide us one from another.
It is no surprise, then, that we react to the suffering of others based upon an internalised hierarchy of us and them.
Notice that the group identifications work by attaching a strong emotional charge to these differences. Americans are filled with pride because they are "Americans." There was no personal choice in being born an American, so it is difficult to see what real value there could be for someone to attach so much importance to a mere chance event. It is not only Americans that succumb to this emotional manipulation. We all do on one level or another, or on many levels at once. For some it is national pride, for others it is racial or monetary, and many, many others depending upon the circumstances.
Once the programming is complete through our schooling and exposure to the media, they become vehicles of our emotional destabilisation as we read about "attacks" upon others who we associate with our own groups or go to movies where the "hero" blows away people who look different than we do. When the "national pride" button is pushed, it is very difficult for someone strongly identified with that idea to resist the programming that will follow. The various socialist parties, who had vowed never to participate in "bourgeois wars," immediately fell into line at the start of World War I. More recently, look how easily the American people were maneuvered into war after the events of 9/11.
Once the emotional trigger is set off, reason goes out the door, and the emotional energy released can be used to move people in the direction chosen by those pulling the trigger.
It has become a science.
Note also that the ideas that become emotional triggers are all related to what we call the 'A' influences, that is, aspects of the material world: national differences; language, colour, and religious differences; economic or political differences. This is true even when the war is waged in the name of God, a favourite pastime of the monotheistic religions. These battles are for temporal power. The Soul has no need for war.
How Machiavellian to keep us focused on our differences, because it is very clear from history and from the daily news, that there is a group of people of great power who are able to see the events of the planet without identifying themselves with these divisions, a group that is able to play upon them to keep us divided, victims of our programming and of our insistence that our group is better than the others. Because this group has no such allegiances, they can set one group against another at will, not with the aim of building anything, but rather, with the intention of sowing chaos and confusion. This group does not identify with any of the differences that are perceivable in the material world. These differences are but the playground for their control over the chicken coop we call earth.
On the Signs page, we present the world from a different point of view, a point of view removed from the influences of nation, colour, or creed. When we speak of "objective reality," we are speaking of a reality that is not seen through the filters of programmed emotional responses. The horror of 9/11, the bombing in Madrid, or an attack on an Iraqi mosque are equal. When we are able to step back and see the common horror of these events, we can also see how they fit into the larger picture of the manipulation of peoples the world over. Having broken with the programming, we are free to work for other explanations, explanations that fit the facts without the deformations that come from emotional identification.
By breaking with the 'A' influences, we can begin to align ourselves with the 'B' influences, the longer viewpoint of the evolution of the Soul. As long as we remain within our programming, we are the subjects of our mechanical responses to our triggers. This is a closed loop of action-reaction. There are only two ways out. The first comes when the those who set up the loop end the game. Such an ending cannot be in your favour because it is still controlled by others. They have decided. If your only existence is as a part of the game, then you cease to exist with the game.
The second way out is to refuse to react according to the program. In this way, you remove yourself from the game but open yourself to horizons never before imagined. You see the game from the exterior.
But this does not mean that you will no longer feel the horror; rather, you will stop making distinctions based upon your programming. You will understand how suffering is generated by our inability or refusal to see the game for what it is. No longer identifying solely with "American" or "French" or "Iraqi" or "Christian" or "Moslem" or "white" or "black," you will understand this suffering as lessons for the soul and its overcoming as the rich soil within which the soul can grow.
Thursday, 11 March,
Ten bombs exploded without warning on trains at three stations during the morning rush hour, killing 190 people and wounding more than 1,200.
Mr Aznar made it clear he believed the armed Basque separatist group Eta was behind the co-ordinated blasts.
But a political group close to Eta denied that it carried out the attacks.
Campaigning for Sunday's general election in Spain has been suspended, and three days of national mourning have been declared.
In a national address, Mr Aznar urged Spaniards to take to streets in protest at the attacks on their capital - and some have already heeded this call.
"Terrorism is not blind," he said.
"These terrorists wanted to cause as much damage as possible. It is a massacre. They have killed many people simply for being Spanish."
added: "The criminals who have caused so many deaths today will be
arrested... We will succeed in finishing off the terrorist
A reader in Madrid sends us his analysis:
Today is a sad day for the people of Spain and for all humanity. This may seem a little melodramatic, but, as we shall see, it is very likely that this attack is linked in many ways to the current US sponsored world wide "war on terror" and the dire state in which the world finds itself as a result. In attempting to understand who is responsible for today's carnage in Madrid, as always, we must look to who benefits.
While the Spanish government has immediately laid the blame on the basque separatist group ETA, there are few if any hallmarks that suggest that this group was behind the bombing. Firstly, the attack, and the approximately 200 people that were killed as a result, dwarfs any previous attack by ETA. Until now, the highest death toll was 21 killed in a supermarket blast in Barcelona in 1987. In the last 3 years there have been just 3 people murdered by ETA. Furthermore, in every previous attack ETA has claimed responsibility, and in almost all cases they have telephoned a warning beforehand. There was no warning, no claim of responsibility. Indeed, Arnaldo Otegi the leader of ETA's political wing Herri Batasuna, has said he refuses to believe the attacks were carried out by ETA and blamed what he called the "Arab resistance" for the bombings.
Clearly something does not fit.
Many commentators are justifiably perplexed as to why ETA would carry out such an attack, since it merely serves to compound public resentment to their cause. This was no attack against the ruling elite of Spain, who would be the logical object of the ire of ETA. It was rather an attack against the working classes of Madrid as El Mundo points out. As such it is all the more perplexing and unlikely that this was the work of the Basque separatist group.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a worldwide clampdown on "terrorist" organisations was instituted, with many European governments increasing "anti-terror" resources and activities. As a result, just over a year ago the political wing of ETA was outlawed by the Spanish government. In the last year Spanish authorities have arrested more than 150 members or collaborators in Spain and France, including the leaders of ETA's commando network. A bombing at this time then, with large numbers of civilian dead, would be tantamount to suicide by the ETA leadership. Are we to believe then that the intelligent and highly skilled ETA leaders were completely unaware of this fact? Or that they actually desire to bring the full force of the Spanish security apparatus down upon them? It seems unlikely.
Long ago, the IRA in Ireland realised that the armed struggle was ultimately futile. ETA, after more than 30 years of guerilla warfare, appeared to have realised the same. Why then would they carry out an attack killing hundreds of innocent civilians that can in no way serve their cause? We are reminded of the continued "suicide bombings" by "Palestinian terrorists" in Israel that serve only to further Israel's agenda, while at the same time seriously damaging the Palestinian cause. So who's agenda is best served by today's attacks in Madrid?
We should remember that almost 90% of the Spanish people were against the US and Spanish government backed Iraq war. Most Spaniards apparently disbelieved that there was any "terror" threat from Iraq, a fact that Prime Minister Aznar chose to completely ignore. It is no secret that Aznar, along with Bush and Blair was one of the most vocal exponents of the reality of the "terror threat" and used it as a way to consolidate his power. It is surely no coincidence then that the bombing happened just 3 days before Spanish voters go to the polls to elect a new government.
Who then had the most to gain from a "terror attack" just before voting day?
There has been speculation in the Spanish press that Aznar's ruling "Partido Popular" and his potential successor Mariano Rajoy might be defeated in the upcoming election. Looking at the US and the effects of a well timed terror attack, and the political boon it provided for the Republican party, we might speculate that the today's bomb is a timely gift to Aznar and his now likely successor Mariano Rajoy. The attack also benefits Bush and Sharon and the Neocons in the Pentagon, all of whom have played the terror card for all it is worth, and depend upon continued "terror" attacks to justify their positions.
In a telling remark, some Spanish journalists are already calling today's attack "A Spanish 9/11". If the atrocities committed by the US and Israel in the aftermath of their 9/11 are an indicator of what is to come, then the Spanish people, have much more than ETA to concern them.
Another interesting point to note is that just last week, a previously unknown group warned of bombs planted on French railway lines. At the time we presented theories about who might be behind such threats and again who had most to gain from them. We pondered on the possibility that in that case too, the US and Israeli backed "war on terror" would be the main beneficiary. As we investigate further into the activities of Israeli and US agencies over the years, we find evidence to suggest that they are literally everywhere.
Despite the Spanish governments insistence that ETA is responsible for today's attacks, due to the inconsistencies with previous ETA attacks, there is much speculation that it may have been al-Qaeda, or an al-Qaeda affiliated group. If this turns out to be the case, we should remember that in all likelihood, al-Qaeda is an asset of American and Israeli intelligence agencies.
In researching the history of alleged ETA bombings, we came across a very interesting story.
Back in 1995 ETA was blamed on a car bombing in Madrid in which one person was killed. At the time "El Mundo" reported that one of the people slightly injured was an "Israeli beggar". While this story is verifiable here, there are other, as yet unverified claims that the Israeli was not a beggar at all, but was in fact an Israeli Colonel named Saul Goldblatt. It is alleged that the initial reports of the man's true identity were scrubbed from another Spanish paper, "El Pais" at the behest of Spanish media magnate Jesús de Polanco, owner of the paper in question. It is further alleged that Mr Polanco has very definite ties to Israeli and US government institutions.
While it is well know that Hamas and ETA have worked together, it is not so well known that Hamas is very likely a creation of, and managed by, Israel.
Flashback: Israeli Roots of Hamas Are Being Exposed
Speaking in Jerusalem Dec. 20, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer made the connection between the growth of the Islamic fundamentalist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Israel's promotion of the Islamic movement as a counter to the Palestinian nationalist movement. Kurtzer's comments come very close to EIR's own presentation of the evidence of Israel's instrumental role in establishing Hamas, and its ongoing control of that organization.
Kurtzer said that the growth of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian territories in recent decades—"with the tacit support of Israel"—was "not totally unrelated" to the emergence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their terrorist attacks against Israel. Kurtzer explained that during the 1980s, when the Islamic movement began to flourish in the West Bank and Gaza, "Israel perceived it to be better to have people turning toward religion rather than toward a nationalistic cause [the Palestinian Liberation Organization—ed.]." It therefore did little to stop the flow of money to mosques and other religious institutions, rather than to schools. [...]
The ambassador's comments are an acknowledgment of what any serious Middle East observers knows: Hamas has always been seen as a tool by which Israel could undermine the nationalist movement led by Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat. Similar statements by Arafat have been dismissed by Israel as "cranky" propaganda. In an interview with the Dec. 11 Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Arafat said, "We are doing everything to stop the violence. But Hamas is a creature of Israel which at the time of Prime Minister [Yitzhak] Shamir [the late 1980s, when Hamas arose], gave them money and more than 700 institutions, among them schools, universities and mosques. Even [former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin ended up admitting it, when I charged him with it, in the presence of [Egpytian President Hosni] Mubarak."
Mohamad Sadiq Al Husseini Al-Hayat 2004/03/10
We all remember how the world almost unanimously condemned Israel's racism in Durban, South Africa. At the time, it adopted an equation that equated Zionism to racism. Soon enough, the free suspicious gift of 9/11 came about and transformed the equation to one that equates Islam to terrorism.
Only the naive, the dull-witted or the believers in the Greater Middle East (GME) promote that the perpetrators of the massacres in Karbala and Al Qazimiah are Arab Muslim Sunnis. The aim is clear. Martin Indyk, former American ambassador in Israel said it before; it is to implement a policy of divide and conquer. The instruments of the crime are not important, for they could be bought in the cheapest of prices, if the decision to ignite ethnic or sectarian strife has already been taken. In Iraq today there is only one active player, at least when it comes to security, who is in dire need for such strife - after the Iraqis have proven their awareness and unity. In all respects, the main beneficiary from such acts is the American-Israeli partnership and the intention behind them is replacing the culture of resistance and suicide operations against the Israeli and American occupier into a culture of absurd and futile terrorist crimes.
An Israeli teenager suspected of hacking into a US police system and erasing records has been arrested and questioned by local police.
The unnamed 19-year-old was released on bail after appearing before a court yesterday in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. The youth, who may be charged with computer fraud offences, allegedly hacked into a police computer system in Pennsylvania. Israeli police brought the youth in for questioning following a tip-off from the FBI, which is leading the investigation in the US.
Details of the alleged attack remain sketchy, but Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman told AP that the hacking "destroyed some records in the computer system of the [Pennsylvania] police department".
Israel to Cut 110 Miles from W.Bank Barrier
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a move to please Washington, has ordered a cut of 110 miles to the route of Israel's controversial West Bank barrier, a senior political source said on Wednesday.
News of the proposed change to the planned route of the 450-mile strip of wire and concrete broke on the eve of a visit by U.S. envoys to discuss Sharon's plan for unilateral steps to separate from the Palestinians if peace talks fail. [...]
Istanbul, Turkey-AP -- A suicide bomb blast by two suspected Islamic militants on a Masonic lodge in Turkey isn't believed to be the work of al-Qaida.
Authorities say the style of yesterday's attack is very different from the four bombings that took place in November -- in which al-Qaida cells are believed responsible.
The bombers yesterday blew themselves up at the entrance of the lodge after opening fire on some 40 people in the private dining hall. One person was killed and five others were hurt.
One of the bombers survived, losing an arm and a hand and suffering severe abdominal injuries.
Radical Islamic circles widely see the Masons as being supportive of U-S and Israeli policies.
Police offered a rare inside look at Israel’s increasingly bloody mob wars today after arresting four suspected hit men from Belarus and seized a large weapons stash in their hideout, including shoulder-held missiles, explosives and silencers.
An MPs father and several alleged crime bosses were among the contract killers’ would-be targets, police said.
Israel, with a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union, is considered a major outpost of the Russian mafia. A recent string of gangland bombings and shootings which have killed or maimed innocent bystanders have put increasing pressure on the police to wage war against organised crime.
The last straw came in December, when a bomb aimed at alleged mafia don Zeev Rosenstein – the seventh attempt on his life – left him with scratches but killed three passers-by and wounded 18 in Tel Aviv.
Three days later, the government ordered a crackdown on organised crime. Police said today that in recent months they rounded up 41 people on charges such as attempted murder, drug-smuggling, trafficking in women and extortion.
In the biggest catch, detectives arrested four men from Belarus and 14 Israelis on suspicion they tried to kill several mob bosses.
In the apartment of the suspected hit men in a Tel Aviv suburb, officers found pistols, silencers, assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, explosives, night vision equipment and hand grenades. They also seized a stock of disguises and makeup.
“This was a collection with a deadly potential on an unprecedented scale,” police said in a statement. [...]
Ultra-Orthodox Jews under the influence of alcohol attacked four Arab cab drivers in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding them.
On Joseph Karo Street, dozens of drunken ultra-Orthodox Jews attacked an Arab cab driver. When police arrived at the scene to rescue the driver, they also beat the policemen, and tried to steal equipment from their patrol car. The cab driver sustained light wounds. Police dispersed the crowd and arrested three suspects. [...]
A taxi driver was stabbed Thursday in Be'er Sheva by two Palestinian youths. He was taken to the southern city's Soroka Hospital with moderate-to-serious injuries.
Be'er Sheva police, who believe the motive behind the stabbing was nationalistic, said the two youths had originally planned to carry out a shooting attack after a stealing soldier's gun. [...]
When Vladimir Putin became president four years ago, the Kremlin was largely impotent.
Defiant, often corrupt governors held seats in the Federation Council, which gave them heavy political weight, immunity from prosecution and the freedom to run their territories like fiefdoms.
Oligarchs ran swaths of the economy in similar fashion, while the Kremlin turned a blind eye, or, in some cases, winked, conferring perks like cars with government tags to the privileged few.
The nomenklatura, who were complicit in this merger of government and business, had grown antsy that they would be exposed once Boris Yeltsin left office, but after Putin's succession was assured, they had relaxed, feeling confident he would protect them.
All these characters were fair game, however, for NTV, which skewered them along with Putin on its popular weekly satire program, "Kukly." The feisty station, which had supported the Kremlin's opponents in the elections, was also unrelenting in its coverage of the Kremlin's bloody war in Chechnya.
One by one, Putin has brought them all into line with the power vertical.
Comment: For a look at who's who in the new Putin government, click here.
JACQUELINE CHARLES AND DAN DEVISE
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- A former Haitian foreign minister and popular South Florida television talk-show host was selected Tuesday to become Haiti's next prime minister.
Gerard Latortue, a critic of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was chosen after two days of painstaking deliberations by a U.S.-backed ''council of sages'' to fill the power vacuum created Feb. 29 when Aristide resigned. Latortue will lead a transitional government that will pave the way for presidential elections early next year. [...]
A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.
In July of last year, after just over 20 years of service, I retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I had served as a communications officer in the field and in acquisition programs, as a speechwriter for the National Security Agency director, and on the Headquarters Air Force and the office of the secretary of defense staffs covering African affairs. I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College seminar programs, two master's degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation in world politics at Catholic University. I regarded my military vocation as interesting, rewarding and apolitical. My career started in 1978 with the smooth seduction of a full four-year ROTC scholarship. It ended with 10 months of duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution we had all sworn to uphold. Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered "a republic, madam, if you can keep it" would come to have special meaning.
In the spring of 2002, I was a cynical but willing staff officer, almost two years into my three-year tour at the office of the secretary of defense, undersecretary for policy, sub-Saharan Africa. In April, a call for volunteers went out for the Near East South Asia directorate (NESA). None materialized. By May, the call transmogrified into a posthaste demand for any staff officer, and I was "volunteered" to enter what would be a well-appointed den of iniquity.
The education I would receive there was like an M. Night Shyamalan movie -- intense, fascinating and frightening. While the people were very much alive, I saw a dead philosophy -- Cold War anti-communism and neo-imperialism -- walking the corridors of the Pentagon. It wore the clothing of counterterrorism and spoke the language of a holy war between good and evil. The evil was recognized by the leadership to be resident mainly in the Middle East and articulated by Islamic clerics and radicals. But there were other enemies within, anyone who dared voice any skepticism about their grand plans, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Gen. Anthony Zinni.
From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.
I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.
I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.
While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account. [...]
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has lent her name and presence to a lecture series co-sponsored by the liberal NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, an advocacy group that often argues before the court in support of women's rights that the justice embraces.
In January, Ginsburg gave opening remarks for the fourth installment in the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture Series on Women and the Law. [...]
The liberal Ginsburg's involvement with the legal activist group, and recent outside activities by a conservative colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia, have touched off a debate over what kinds of extra-judicial appearances and contacts are appropriate for Supreme Court justices.
The code of conduct for the federal courts does not set clear rules for judges' involvement with advocacy groups. But it warns jurists to steer clear of outside legal activities that would "cast reasonable doubt on the capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before" them. [...]
Comment: Apparently, belonging to any "liberal" advocacy group is verboten, but installing a conservative Texan governor in the White House - against the will of the people - is acceptable.
By JOHN SOLOMON
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Setting up a possible murder trial defense, Terry Nichols' lawyers say state and federal prosecutors did not provide them more than a dozen FBI documents that raise the possibility of additional accomplices in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. [...]
States will wind up paying at least $29 billion this year to cover the costs of programs and initiatives handed down by the federal government -- from education to homeland security -- as Washington leaves an increasingly large burden for states, according to a new report. [...]
The US House of Representatives has voted 276-139 for a bill that would prevent lawsuits against the food industry for making people fat.
The so-called Cheeseburger Bill bans frivolous lawsuits against producers and sellers of food and non-alcoholic drinks arising from obesity claims.
The bill supporters say consumers have to realise they cannot blame others for the consequences of their actions.
Critics say the food industry now does not have to worry about public health.
The vote came a day after a new study said obesity was likely to become the nation's biggest preventable killer, overtaking smoking.
Thursday March 11, 2004
[...] For years, reference data were based on male values, leading to both under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis of heart disease in women. In occupational health, safe levels for a wide variety of workplace chemicals are based on exposure level thresholds derived from young men. Those whom such exposure is most likely to affect simply don't figure. [...]
The robots are coming. And when they get here, they will take out the trash.
Mobile, intelligent robots that can perform tasks usually reserved for humans are starting to creep into mainstream society and could become a multibillion-dollar market in a few years.
iRobot says it has sold hundreds of thousands of units of the Roomba, a self-guided, self-propelled vacuum cleaner that sells for around $200, in just one year.
Other inventors are eyeing the health care market. Joe Engelberger, widely known as the father of robotics, is trying to get funding to build robots that will dress, cook for and generally take care of senior citizens. Home health care robots are being tested in Japan, while U.S. hospitals are already using machines to deliver charts, carry medicines or even assist in surgery. [...]
Whittaker has also created robots that can drive harvesters, clear out sewer lines and clean up nuclear waste. [...]
iRobot's PackBot is designed with practicality in mind. It's a 40-pound battlefield robot designed to perform reconnaissance missions, help wounded soldiers, find chemical leaks and deliver equipment, all over rough, unpredictable terrain.
"One took a 25-foot fall and righted itself," during an operation recently in Afghanistan, Angle said. "It is an incredibly mobile 800MHz Linux machine."
PackBots aren't cheap: They cost between $50,000 and $100,000 apiece. But their main customer--the U.S. government--seems happy. Besides deploying PackBots in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has given iRobot $25 million to develop automated battlefield vehicles.
Another recent success is the Predator, an unmanned plane used to attack al-Qaida in Yemen and other locations. The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue several large research grants to this project in coming years. [...]
The da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical, for example, is a set of precision robotic hands for doctors. The system, which costs a little more than $1 million, can drill through bone or make incisions.
Surgery is made far less intrusive because the machine can accurately control its movements and "see" in 3D through graphical images. That, in turn, makes recuperation quicker, less painful and cheaper, according to the company. Around 192 da Vinci systems are in use at hospitals to date. [...]
Still, robot capabilities are growing rapidly. A 1,500-gram human brain can churn at about 100 trillion instructions a second, according to a paper recently published by Carnegie Mellon's Moravec--nearly three times the power of the Earth Simulator, the world's most powerful computer. [...]
The human brain aside, anthropomorphism will grab a piece of the market. Sony, Honda and some other Japanese companies are marketing robot companions, and a $99 "RoboSapien" will be coming soon from tech-toy company Wow Wee.
Mimicking human behavior in most robots remains complex, however, and the demand remains low. "You can get a robot to speak with you, but you can't get it to talk Spinoza with you," Engelberger said. [...]
Comment: It is most interesting that the world would create physical automatons that are so symbolic of the mechanical nature of man. Aside from making people even more lazy, what is the point? Sending robots off to fight wars may sound great, but real people will still die. In a sense, the rise of robots is the ultimate act of dehumanizing and tranquilizing the masses. Eventually, robots could be smarter, stronger, faster - mechanically better than humans in every respect. If man's only purpose is to be a lazy machine served by other machines, why exist at all?
It is quite clear that thus far, technology has not truly improved humanity in any respect. We are hypnotized by our technological toys. Although communication technologies have advanced dramatically, they are still used to propagate lies. We have "smart" weapons that have not reduced civilian casualties or the frequency of war itself, even though our leaders would have us believe otherwise. Although alternative, clean energy sources exist, the oil cartel tells us to use and love their product, and we nod and smile.
We would like to think that the problem is "out there", and that if we vote for a different politician, all will be well. The truth seems to be that we are docile sheep, addicted to the very items that are ultimately leading to our own spiritual - and perhaps physical - obsolescence and annihilation.
On the other hand, it appears that this reality is the way it is for a reason. If we view everything around us a school, we may see that we should not endeavor to change anything. Perhaps we should use drugs like technology as a "stimulant" to work on ourselves and to see, instead of allowing them to tranquilize us as intended. Obviously, the capacity for objective seeing is lacking in our default mechanical mode of being. If nothing changes within us, our path will lead to nothing.
Only by realizing that our mechanical objectivity is, in reality, subjectivity, will we be able to proceed on the path to truth. This realization, of course, requires a great deal of work. The first step into the unknown is perhaps the most difficult. The task is certainly not made any easier by the nature of the reality in which we presently find ourselves. Mired in the 'A' influences, man is lazy. In the physical world, we create all sorts of gizmos to make our lives "easier". We drive cars with cruise control, fly in airplanes with autopilot, pay our bills automatically each month, and even use bread machines that don't even require that we mix any ingredients together by hand.
Bread is perhaps a good example of laziness. In America, most people simply buy bread from the local supermarket. The bread may sit in a truck and on store shelves for months before it is consumed. As a result, preservatives must be added to ensure that the bread remains "fresh". The drawback is that the flavor and nutritional value may suffer. Contrast this process with bread available in France. Although French supermarkets do have prepackaged, preserved breads, most people purchase their bread fresh each day from a boulangerie, or bakery.
The bread is not loaded with preservatives or other chemicals, and is usually based on very old recipes. If the bread is not eaten, it is generally hard as a rock by the next morning. Although the technology exists to produce more "convenient" bread with a longer shelf life, the French prefer their bread fresh and delicious. They have decided that excellent bread, a cultural tradition, is worth the effort of traveling to the boulangerie each day. In fact, they even develop friendships with their local merchants. What a concept!
It is evident that the easy, lazy route is not always the best path. As individuals, we each have the choice of the type of "bread" we eat as food for the soul. Do we rush for the easiest, longest-lasting chemical concoction, or do we choose the French bread?
Our inner world is like a large stone slab. We must recognize that the block of stone in front us can be shaped into something different. At first, the task of sculpting the rock may seem impossible. As we are, we believe that we have only our hands to work the stone. Thus, after theorizing that the we can at least attempt to reform ourselves, we must seek the appropriate tools to do so. The question is how we choose to use the tools in front of us. And before we can use any tool, we must be able to see that there are, in fact, tools available for our use. As we gain knowledge, we may find an even better tool.
Many readers have written asking where they can find some of these tools, and how to use them. There are, of course, many useful sources. We generally encourage readers to review past Signs pages, Commentary on Boris Mouravieff's Gnosis, The Wave Series, and The Adventures with Cassiopaea series. We are attempting to point out where the hammer and chisel can be found. What you choose to do with these implements - if anything - is up to you.
Jiji Press English News Service
TOKYO, March 9 — QRIO, a humanoid robot developed by Sony Corp., is set to make its debut as a musical conductor, taking the baton for the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in the performance of a Beethoven symphony.
QRIO is due to conduct the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 at a Tokyo Philharmonic concert in central Tokyo on Saturday [13 March].
QRIO, first unveiled in 2000, is a robot that uses artificial intelligence and other sophisticated technologies to make performances such as walking on two legs, dancing, recognizing faces and voices and holding conversations.
On Tuesday [9 March], a public rehearsal for the coming concert was held. The 58-centimeter-tall robot appeared before some 70 orchestra members as he grumbled, "I'm feeling nervous."
British Robot Unveiled to Help
LONDON (Reuters) - A robot which looks and moves like a caterpillar to help the disabled in the home was unveiled in Britain on Thursday.
The Flexibot, which can clamp itself to specific points on the wall and ceiling, could be used to aid the elderly and disabled with domestic tasks such as shaving, cooking and cleaning. [...]
Scientists from Staffordshire University's Center for Rehabilitation Robotics developed the robot with help from colleagues in universities and engineering firms across Europe.
The project, which began in 2001, was subsidized by a $2.8 million grant from the European Commission as part of its goal to make society less discriminating and accessible for everyone. [...]
Microsoft has been mailing free copies of its pricey Office productivity software to government employees, but CNET News.com has learned that at least two federal agencies are warning recipients to return the gifts or risk violating federal ethics policies.
Since the launch of Office 2003 last year, Microsoft has given out tens of thousands of free copies of its flagship software, which retails for about $500, to workers at its biggest customers. The giveaway was expanded to government workers this year, but ethics offices at the Department of the Interior and Department of Defense have said the offers constitute unauthorized gifts and must be returned. [...]
A scientist says one of the most sought after particles in physics - the Higgs boson - may have been found, but the evidence is still relatively weak.
Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity has begun recording eclipses on the Red Planet, the first time the phenomenon has been witnessed on another world.
The rover's panoramic camera has taken pictures of the moons Deimos and Phobos as they passed in front of the Sun on 4 March and 7 March respectively.
In the early morning hours of June 30,1908, a huge fireball streaked across the Siberian sky and crashed into the Earth.
“The sky split apart and a great fire appeared,” said one eyewitness in Vanavara, Russia. “It became so hot that one couldn’t stand it. There was a deafening explosion and my friend was blown over the ground across a distance of six metres. As the hot wind passed by, the ground and the huts trembled. Sod was shaken loose from our ceilings and glass was splintered out of the window frames.”
What was this cosmic visitor? For years, researchers have gone back to the site and tried to find out. Antonina Vasiliev, ten, walked with her father Nikolai and her brother, 100 kilometres through mosquito infested swamps and bogs to the site.
“I still remember,” she told the Belleville group of the Royal Astronomical Society at its March 5 meeting at Loyalist Pioneer building.
Antonina showed slides her father and other scientists have taken investigating the phenomenon. Her father died in 2001 and she is dedicating her talks to his memory. Antonina currently works as a microbiologist at a Canadian organics company in Belleville.
The event in 1908 is called the Tunguska named after a river in Russia. The object left a trail of light 800 kilometres long and at first nobody knew what it was. Some thought it was an explosion of anti-matter. Others suggested a black hole. Some even claimed it to be the work of extra-terrestrials. But most scientists now agree it was a comet or an asteroid.
“It was the biggest event of its kind in recorded history,” Antonina said.
The power of the blast felled trees outward in a radial pattern of over 2,000 square kilometres, fires burned for weeks. The mass of the object has been estimated at about 100,000 tons and the force of the explosion at 40 megatons of TNT, 2,000 times the force of the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima in 1945. By comparison, the explosive force of the Arizona asteroid that struck some 50,000 years ago, has been estimated at 3.5 megatons.
“Had such a cosmic body exploded over Europe instead of the desolate region of Siberia,” notes Nikolai Vasiliev in a report, “the number of human victims would have been 500,000 or more, not to mention the ensuing ecological catastrophe.”
Vasiliev stresses why continued investigations of the Tunguska event are important. “Because it will happen again, sometime.”
Antonina adds that with research they can make predictions and be ready. She urged members of the astronomical society to study the event themselves by researching old news reports around the world for any mention of unusual sky events or appearances during the five-day period before and after June 30, 1908. [...]
Comment: A very interesting article that includes a link to one of the better Tunguska sites: The Cosmic Mystery of the Century. Biological mutations and strange geomagnetic disturbances occurred after the blast.
GARDEN GROVE, California – There is certainty in the thought that an asteroid or comet loitering in deep space has Earth’s name on it. While a civilization-snuffing impact is a low probability, it is not zero.
But there are other trouble-makers out there too. They are the smaller asteroids, and far more numerous. They too could mess up the day, but in a more localized way.
The technologies and techniques to defend Earth from such malicious cosmic interlopers were tackled at The Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids held here February 23-26, and sponsored by The Aerospace Corporation and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). [...]
Comment: So many seem to be gathering lately and discussing the dangers of impact. How will this be used by the government? Well:
The threat will probably be used for justification of a build up of space based weapons, perhaps after a particularly disastrous hit. Whether these weapons will be actually used for NEO's is another question.
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
The California Institute of Technology and Cornell University are in the planning stages for a new 25-metre telescope to be built in Chile. The submillimetre telescope will cost an estimated $60 million and will be nearly two times larger in diameter than the largest submillimetre telescope currently in existence. [...]
A new study from the University of California shows, for the first time, that the deep-ocean circulation system of the north Atlantic, which controls ice-age cycles of cold and warm periods in the Northern Hemisphere, is integrally coupled to salinity levels in the Caribbean Sea.
This research reinforces concerns that global warming, by melting the glacial ice of Greenland, could quickly and profoundly change salinity and temperatures in the north Atlantic Ocean. One consequence might be much colder weather in northern Europe and Britain and perhaps even in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast. [...]
Thursday 11th March, 2004
During the first week of March 2004, Stromboli Volcano continued its normal "Strombolian" eruptions, with frequent summit explosions at the high end of normal activity. Some larger explosions sent scoria to an elevation of 200m above the craters, and produced fallout of fresh bombs and lapilli on Pizzo Sopra la Fossa. During February 2004, explosive activity was high at the three summit craters, and there was significant growth of the cinder cones located in the craters. [...]
Latest list of state's 'impaired' streams at its deepest ever
Colorado's latest list of polluted waters has grown to 117 river, stream and lake segments, the highest number in the 15 years the state has tracked such problems.
The list of "impaired" waters, approved Wednesday by the state Water Quality Control Commission, includes stretches in every major river basin, including the Colorado and South Platte, and involves nearly two dozen contaminants harming fish and degrading water. [...]
[...] Many ecologists think the Amazon rainforest is one of the major "carbon sinks" that keep atmospheric CO 2from rising more quickly than it already has.
If anything were to interfere with that, says Oliver Phillips, a tropical forest ecologist at the University of Leeds, UK, "that's bad news". [...]
www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-11 17:55:29
HOHHOT, March 11 (Xinhuanet) -- A snowstorm that hit north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning has caused traffic to come to a halt on a section of a national highway and on the Harbin-Manzhouli and Hailar-Manzhouli railways.
March 9 — Inside a nondescript Cambridge, Mass., office building, the president of a new company that conducts Internet auctions thinks he has a better idea about outsourcing.
"I have a number of people I know who are unemployed in the tech community and to the degree of keeping jobs here, that's just better for everybody," said Jon Carson, CEO of CMarket.
When Carson started CMarket several months ago, a consultant urged him to send his computer programming jobs overseas to lower his costs.
That's because a programmer in the United States makes about $80,000 a year, but the same job overseas would cost only $40,000.
So Carson placed a help-wanted ad in The Boston Globe offering overseas wages for computer programmers. Within 48 hours, he had more than 100 résumés. [...]
On the eve of his trip to Ohio to "focus on jobs," President Bush claimed yesterday that "we're creating jobs - good, high-paying jobs for the American citizen." His comments come despite the country having lost more than 2 million manufacturing jobs since he was elected. In Ohio, which lost 270,000 manufacturing jobs alone, the economic crisis has raised questions about why the president last month strongly endorsed the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. A look at the president's donors offers an answer.
Misleader compared the
companies that outsource the most U.S. jobs (referred to as
"captive remote services companies" on page 11 of the trade
The breakdown of campaign contributions is as follows:
OUTSOURCER: American Express
OUTSOURCER: Dell Computer
OUTSOURCER: Delphi Automotive
OUTSOURCER: General Electric
OUTSOURCER: Hewlett Packard
OUTSOURCER: McKinsey & Co
OUTSOURCER: Sallie Mae
Greenspan: Employment 'About' to Pick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Thursday that flexible labor markets had proved their worth by creating jobs in the United States and that employment was poised to pick up.
"I am fairly well convinced that employment is about to pick up or should be more explicit, new hires are going to be picking up reasonably quickly if this economic growth rate continues," he told the House of Representatives Education Committee, adding he supported extending unemployment support. [...]
Comment: In other words, if Americans want to be employed, they better pack their bags and move to one of the Asian countries to which US companies are outsourcing their jobs. On the other hand, one could always join the War on Terror by visiting the local armed forces' recruitment office.
Thu Mar 11, 2004 08:21 AM ET
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's army has asked local authorities for information on individuals who could undermine the state, including ethnic minorities, magicians and people who practice meditation, local media said on Wednesday.
In a rare statement to the press, the military General Staff confirmed it had asked authorities to "gather intelligence because it was necessary to makes plans to take effective measures against incidents that could arise."
Turkey's largest newspaper Hurriyet on Wednesday published a document from the army command asking for information on people who supported the European Union and the United States, as well as "the socially elite, members of artistic groups and children of wealthy families."
Foreigners living in Turkey and ethnic minorities, including Circassians, Gypsies, Albanians and Bosnians, were on the list. Satanists, freemasons, sympathizers with U.S. white supremacists in the Ku Klux Klan and groups that meditate or congregate on the Internet were also targeted, Hurriyet said.
Even necromancers, or magicians who summon spirits from the dead, were included, the paper said. "Writers and thinkers who are working against Turkey" were also to be investigated. [...]
COMPTON, Calif. (AP) -- A jury awarded more than $950,000 to an instructor of Roman Catholic principles who accused a now-deceased priest of punching her during an argument over how to teach. [...]
The Environmental Protection Agency is studying the chemicals released into the air when a bag of microwave popcorn is popped or opened.
Exposure to vapors from butter flavoring in microwave popcorn has been linked to a rare lung disease contracted by factory workers in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has said it suspects the chemical diacetyl caused the illnesses.
However, health officials insist people who microwave popcorn and eat it at home are not in danger. [...]
11 March 04
A technique for inferring how much of a drug a patient has taken may be putting innocent people behind bars.
The problem seems to be that doctors are incorrectly applying the method to corpses, in a bid to establish how much of a drug a deceased person took, or was given, before their death. That error can result in vastly inflated readings. [...]
Security Gates Going Up at
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Reality is coming to Disneyland's fantasy world, in the form of permanent security gates. Bowing to terrorism fears, the Walt Disney Co. plans to build the gates at the Disneyland Resort next fall. The company had resisted security gates around Disneyland and the California Adventure theme park next door, believing the sense of fantasy would be spoiled. [...]
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