Matchstick-sized sensor can record your private chats – 26 September 2013 – New Scientist

[New Scientist] A sensor previously used for military operations can now be tuned to secretly locate and record any single conversation on a busy street

EVERYONE knows that to have a private chat in the NSA era, you go outdoors. Phones, the internet, email and your office can all be compromised with ease. But soon even that whispered conversation in the park may no longer be safe from prying ears.

Carrying out covert audio surveillance along a city street or a wooded path, say, currently requires parabolic microphones, which look like large, clear salad bowls and need a direct, unobstructed view of the subject. Hardly 007 territory.

Now, a Dutch acoustics firm, Microflown Technologies, has developed a matchstick-sized sensor that can pinpoint and record a target’s conversations from a distance.

… A number of countries are now testing the matchstick sensor attached to drones and crewed vehicles, says de Bree. He foresees governments placing them on small dirigibles that tail suspects or hover over political rallies….

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929364.400-matchsticksized-sensor-can-record-your-private-chats.html#.Ukeo3H9vC7s

Polar Bears of Kaktovik

Polar bears of Kaktovik http://www.alaskadispatch.com/slideshow/photos-polar-bears-kaktovik

Zombie Endocrine Disruptors Threaten Life

Many U.S. ranchers implant cattle with the synthetic androgen trenbolone acetate to beef them up, but concerns have been raised that its metabolites leach into streams and ponds, disrupting endocrine systems of aquatic life. Sunlight was though to permanently degrade such metabolites but a study shows that the degradation products can revert at night, zombielike, back into the endocrine-disrupting metabolites. The same could be true of metabolites of other hormones that make their way into the environment.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6153/1441.summary

hmmmm….

dogz r amazin’

Drought Map for September 26, 2013

Cats … with thumbs…

Thinking Big And Small About The Winona Fire by Emilio DeGrazia

Thinking Big And Small About The Winona Fire by Emilio DeGrazia

There have been so many recent floods and fires that medieval philosophers––those who believed that fire, water, earth and air were the only four “elements”––must be in their heavens and hells wondering if fire and water are at war with earth and air. Wars here and there––those who sponsor them––can share the blame for some of the fires, and it’s apparent that the wildfires devastating parts of the American landscape result more from human misdeeds than from any tendency nature has to destroy itself. We can’t help wondering what causes things to burn. Though in Greek the word for “fire” is puros, also the root of our English word for “pure,” fire seems the most devilish of the four medieval elements.

When things go up in smoke people begin looking for things, often in the smoke itself. When the World Trade Towers came crashing down on 9-11 some saw Satan in the cloud of smoke rising from the scene. Though many of these same people believe that a loving God is in control of everything on earth, no one is said to have seen the face or hand of God in the smoke.

When a fire recently destroyed the Islamic Center in the heart of downtown Winona, the smoke hovered in the air above the town like sad thoughts. The fire leveled not only the Islamic Center but seriously damaged shops and offices that represent much that is good about the town––a coffee shop named Blooming Grounds, a gift shop named Pretty Things, a kid’s shop named Pipe Dream Toys, a sporting goods store called Sole Sport, a law office, and offices for Integrative Health Care and Outreach and Emergency Services organizations. A sex shop on the same block selling eros-enhancing artifacts seems to have escaped serious damage.

Some dark thoughts, so big and airy they no doubt had holes in them, also were lurking in the smoke moiling over the scene. Was the fire the work of Satan or God? Did some fanatical Christian want to do Muslims in, did Muslims conspire to destroy their own Center in order to make Christians look bad, or was the fire some sort of divine revenge for having a sex shop in the middle of town? Some Christian groups and officials at the Islamic Center had been opposed to having the sex shop on the same block, but learned to live with it when the decision came down that the shop’s right to exist was protected by law. Continue reading