Article jump:
China executes former Official for embezzlement
Sick of Shaq

Monkey think, monkey do brain tricks
First humans to recieve ID chips
Brainprobes Give Rats Thier Marchaing Orders
Tyme Travel: You Humans Are Finally Getting There
TV is Freaking Wierd

Comics

   

China Executes Former Official for Embezzlement

China has executed a former official of the country's national carrier, Air China, for embezzling more than $3 million.
A Chinese court official says Yang Ning was put to death Tuesday after China's Supreme Court rejected his appeal.
Yang is said to have embezzled more than $3 million between 1992 and 1995, when he was deputy director of Air China's finance department. Originally published August 28. 2002 by VOAnews

Eklyptic Commentary:
Hmm... maybe we should take a hint from China and start executing the corperate criminals that have overrun our government and economic infrastructure. Maybe we should actually punish this scourge and not merely send them to country club "prisions" where they continue to suck thier fellow Americans dry like incessantly ravenous vampyric whores.

I was wondering the other day.... not to disrespect or belittle the immensity of the situation, but why does everyone find it so hard to believe that other countries would hate the United States enough to slaughter innocent people? When the towers were hit, the symbol of American economics, the hotbed of financial flow suffered a devastating blow. And, subsequently, the popular "revelation" of the corruption that infests the lifeblood of our country was brought into the public eye. Does it really take such a horrific atrocity for people to realize how disbalanced the wealth of the world is distributed? Why must we be hit so hard before it becomes common knowledge that America, while one of the greatest countries in the world, is still as infested with deception and immorality as our barbaric and backward enemies?

This is what happens when power goes unchecked. This is what happens when people ignore other people because they are content with themselves. This is what happens when wealth is not distributed properly. This is what happens when people look away from the hungry if they are getting a piece of the pie for themselves.

So who is humanity? Are these corperate beasts human? And, in the spirit of war, maybe we should get rid of them before they attack (weather it be directly or indirectly) again.

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Sick Of Shaq
Eklyptic commentary

All right... don't get me wrong here. I mean I love the Lakers. I always have. I have watched them since I was around seven or so and even though I am not a huge sports fan I always catch Laker games whenever possible. BUT DAMN... Shaq is one boring player. He's a one man team. We get a few power dunks out of him in a game and watch the other team bounce off his 400 pound + body. BORING! The other Lakers never even stepped up this year. They all piled on Shaq's back and had him carry them to thier 3-peat. Fox made a few points, Hoary sunk a three every third game or so, Kobe forgot about the acrobatics that makes him so fun to watch, and I can't evn remember the other guys names cause they were so invisible this season!

And common Shaq... let's show some emotion. I know it's tough being in the spotlight for three yers but I want more out of you when you take a third ring in a row. [monotone] "We played a great game, took the opportunities when they were there, and waited for the mistakes. Kobe played great and now I wanna go home and eat some fried chicken." Riiight. Fried chicken, Shaq. You go home and eat some fried chicken. AND STAY THERE. Make sure you pinky toe doesn't get stepped on anymore. Or go be a cop... whatever... I MISS MY LAKERS!

I hated the Bulls when they were hot for this same reason: Jordan was the team. He had a few helping teamates but he was pretty much the heart, soul and body of the Bulls. And now there is Shaq and the Lakers. Maybe I should hate Phil Jackson... wasn't he the coach for the Bulls during thier 3-peat. Maybe he is the culprate.The King of the one man team. My heart will not ever let me hate the Lakers, but I hope things change next season because last season was dissappointing despite the fact that we took the championship... again.

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Monkey think, monkey do brain tricks
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Monkeys implanted with special electrodes moved a cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about it, and learned how to do it better with practice, scientists said. The experiment which was announced on Thursday could eventually lead to the development of better prosthetic limbs for amputees and might even offer a way for paralysed patients to move again. "They were able to move balls around, by thinking about it, in three-dimensional space," said Andrew Schwartz, a neural physiologist at Arizona State University who led the study. The new field, called neuroprosthetics, is small but active. In March, a team at Brown University in Rhode Island reported similar research in the journal Nature.

In Schwartz's experiment, each tiny electrode was attached to a single neuron in the motor cortex, the part of the brain where movement is controlled. Two rhesus macaque monkeys were fitted with 50 to 100 electrodes, which consisted of minuscule wires about half the width of a human hair. The monkeys had been trained to play a computer game, at first using their arms, in which they had to move virtual balls around a three-dimensional virtual space.

After the appropriate neurons were mapped, they were fitted with electrodes that sent signals to the computer. "We basically strapped the animals' arms down so they couldn't use their arms," Schwartz said. At first the monkeys strained to use their arms but as they learned their thoughts alone could move the cursor on the screen, they stopped trying to move.

Writing in the journal Science, Schwartz's team said what was new in the latest experiment was the addition of a "feedback loop" that helped the monkeys, and the computers, learn how to make the virtual movements more accurate. "They learn to get better and better at this," Schwartz said. This means fewer electrodes are needed to achieve more precise movement. "Their performance is approaching that of what we can get when they move their own arms," Schwartz said.

MONKEYS FEEL NO PAIN

Schwartz said the monkeys do not feel pain from the electrodes and have been trained to work in return for a simple drink of water. "They get used to it and they work at it until they get tired. (Then) they stop working and just sit there," Schwartz said.

Schwartz said it will be a long time before the technique can be tried out in people.
"Right now the electrodes we are using are not really appropriate for human use," Schwartz said. "They don't work every time." The electrodes also cause some scarring that may eventually affect their performance.

Although patients likely to want to try the method first may be desperate, Schwartz said regulators would not be willing to approve major brain surgery unless it was clear it was safe. If he were paralysed, Schwartz said, he would overlook the risk. "If I had my druthers, I'd do it," he said.

At least one person has. Dr. Phil Kennedy, chief executive officer of Neural Signals in Atlanta, implanted two glass electrodes into the brain of a quadriplegic man.
The patient was able to move a cursor across a computer screen. But it took great effort and weeks of training.
Originally published June 7, 2002 by Reuters

Eklyptic Commentary:
Cool. I've always wanted to be able to do stuff just by thinking about it... this idea is bordering on 'technokenesis'. It could be developed so we could have electrodes in our brains that we use to control electro-magnetic field manipulators. Then we could levitate stuff and do other cool things like drive and eat a burger at the same tyme.

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First Humans to Receive ID Chips
Technology: Device implanted under skin will provide identification and medical information.

By DAVID STREITFELD, Times Staff Writer


Eight people will be injected with silicon chips Friday, making them scannable just like a jar of peanut butter in the supermarket checkout line. The miniature devices, about the size of a grain of rice, were developed by a Florida company. They will be targeted to families of Alzheimer's patients--one of the fastest growing groups in American society--as well as others who have complicated medical histories. "It's safety precaution," explained Nate Isaacson. The retired building contractor will enter his Fort Lauderdale doctor's office Friday as an 83-year-old with Alzheimer's. He'll leave it a cyborg, a man who is also a little bit of a computer. The chip will be put in Isaacson's upper back, effectively invisible unless a hand-held scanner is waved over it. The scanner uses a radio frequency to energize the dormant chip, which then transmits a signal containing an identification number. Information about Isaacson is cross-referenced under that number in a central computer registry. Emergency room personnel, for instance, could find out who Isaacson is and where he lives. They'd know that he is prone to forgetfulness, that has a pacemaker and is allergic to penicillin. "You never know what's going to happen when you go out the door," said Isaacson's wife, Micki. "Should something happen, he's never going to remember those things."

Applied Digital Solutions Inc., the maker of what it calls the VeriChip, says that it will soon have a prototype of a much more complex device, one that is able to receive GPS satellite signals and transmit a person's location. It's a prospect deeply unsettling to privacy advocates, no matter how voluntary the process may initially appear. "Who gets to decide who gets chipped?" asked Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Parents will decide that their kids should be implanted, or maybe their own aging parents. It's an easier way to manage someone, like putting a leash on a pet."

Applied Digital, which says it has a waiting list of 4,000 to 5,000 people who want a VeriChip, plans to operate a "chipmobile" that visits Florida senior citizen's centers. An estimated 4 million people nationally have Alzheimer's, with more than 10% of them in Florida.

Not Just for Those With Alzheimer's
Jeffrey and Leslie Jacobs and their teenage son Derek, whose "chipping" will be a national media event, don't have problems with dementia. The Boca Raton, Fla., family has a mixture of ailments and interests: Jeffrey has been treated for Hodgkin's disease and suffers from other conditions for which he takes 16 medications, while Derek is allergic to certain antibiotics. Mostly, though, he's a computer buff who considers the procedure nifty. As for Leslie, she's merely hoping to feel more secure in an insecure world. A third group readying themselves for the simple outpatient procedure Friday are executives of Applied Digital, a publicly traded company based in Palm Beach. Even their publicist is doing it. Getting chipped is easy. Making it more useful than a piece of body art will be harder.

"There are a lot of practical issues here, as well as ethical and privacy issues," said Mark Pafford, associate executive director of the Alzheimer's Assn.'s Southeast Florida chapter. "If it were me, I would use something tried and proven, like a ID bracelet or a necklace that has an 800 number. This VeriChip seems like it would inhibit someone being returned home in a timely fashion. Who knows how to look under someone's skin?" Applied Digital says nearly all the major hospitals in the West Palm Beach area will be equipped with the scanners. Yet St. Mary's Medical Center, a major trauma center approached at random by a reporter, said no one had contacted that hospital. Isaacson's family says he has a bracelet. He also has a wallet with an ID. "The VeriChip is more of a 'God forbid,'" said Sherry Gottlieb, Isaacson's daughter. "You feel you have to have it, but hope you never need it."

Applied Digital is charging $200 for a chip, plus a $10 monthly fee to store the information. As the first patients, Isaacson and the Jacobses are getting their VeriChips for free, but that's the only financial consideration they are receiving.

Isaacson's doctor, while agreeing to perform the insertion, has some qualms about it. He consented to be interviewed but asked that his name not be revealed until Friday. While protests against the VeriChip have been minimal, neither the doctor nor Applied Digital are eager to see demonstrations. A few religious groups say the chips are "the mark of the Beast" referred to in the Bible.

"I think this is going to be the cutting edge of the future, because quick information saves lives," Isaacson's doctor said. "I get calls 24 hours a day informing me that a patient has had a stroke or a heart attack and is in the hospital. I have to go to my office, get the chart, and then go to the hospital. All that takes time, while the patient is being treated with limited information." And yet this family practitioner doesn't see himself chipping any youthful patients. While he believes the procedure is safe and the chip can always be removed, he's worried about long-term liability. "You do something to a young person, you may be responsible for years afterwards. He may be carrying this chip for 70 or 80 years." Long before then--by the end of the year, in fact--the next generation of devices will be tested.

An embedded chip with GPS capabilities would be slightly larger than a quarter and require actual surgery to implant. Unlike the VeriChip, it also would require Food and Drug Administration approval. That will slow down its U.S. introduction. "We believe we have solved the battery issue, which leaves the question of an antenna that can transmit through skin tissue," said Keith Bolton, Applied Digital's chief scientist. The devices will be powered by lithium ion batteries, which can be charged remotely from outside the body. Originally published May 9, 2002 by the Los Angeles Times Copyright 2002

Eklyptic commentary:
Christ, that's scary. I'm all for cyborg gear like laser-beam finger implants, thermal-vision optical enhancers and firewire ports direct to the brain... if you really want to slice away your humanity piece by piece... but human tagging? What are we, an endangered species? An experimental strain of DNA and polypeptides that demands close observation by our inventors? Resources for the Corperate Machine that need to be kept accountable for our whereabouts at all tymes?

I knew this would happen as soon as I saw my first "jar of peanut butter" scanned at the supermarket: that it would only be a matter of tyme before we were tatooed UPCs on our foreheads... Hitler did it. We do it to animals. Why not do it to humans? And what better way to get the general public to accept social branding than assuring them that "it is for thier own good? " (Don't worry, it has all your medical history and personal information. That way, if you get abducted by aliens and you memory gets erased you can still find out who you are.)

Oh yeah... one last thing: They "believe they have solved the battery issue?" We can charge the battery from outside the skin? (Ok now, hold still while I zap you with this electrode. I believe I'm not increasing your cancer suceptibility and tissue deterioration.)

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Brain Probes Give Rats Their Marching Orders
Science: Implants can direct behavior. "Implications are scary," an expert says.

By ROBERT LEE HOTZ, Times Staff Writer


Transmitting wireless signals directly into the brain, a group of scientists has produced the ultimate lab rat--an animal that can be guided by remote control over fences, up trees, through pipe and across rubble at distances up to a third of a mile. The researchers, from the State University of New York and Drexel University, say their work with brain implants ultimately could produce "robotic" rats that could be used for rescue missions, video surveillance or detecting explosives. The researchers implanted electrical probes in critical centers of the brain that affect what an animal senses and how it behaves. They then trained the animals to respond to impulses sent through the implants. Once trained, the animals could be readily controlled by an operator with a laptop computer transmitting to a small backpack receiver worn by each rat.

"We developed a way to create seemingly complex behaviors in animals by generating cues and rewards," said lead researcher Sanjiv Talwar at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. "The rats could almost understand what you wanted them to do." The work, published today in the journal Nature, is pretty amazing, say researchers who work in the field of mind-machine interactions. But, scientists acknowledge, many people may find such remote brain control disturbing. The drive behind the research is a humanitarian one--finding better ways to build artificial limbs and other prosthetics that could communicate fully with nerves. Nonetheless, "You would want to be careful how far you took this kind of research," said Caltech neural expert Richard Andersen. "The implications are a little scary."

The brain stimulation technique used to condition the laboratory rats could almost certainly work in other species, including humans, said Paul W. Glimcher, an expert at New York University on the neurobiology of decision-making. "That is what is so disturbing about it," Glimcher said. "It is clearly a technique that if applied to humans would have huge legal, moral and ethical ramifications. That raises real questions about whether a technology of this type could be used to undermine the autonomy of an individual decision-maker." Previously, scientists had only been listening to the electrical signals generated by brain cells. They are able to decipher the brain's output and use it to activate machines. Several laboratories have used brain cell activity from rats and monkeys to control robotic arms, even when the device--connected through the Internet--is hundreds of miles away. Only last month researchers at Brown University successfully wired a monkey to a computer so its mental activity could move a cursor. With this latest accomplishment, scientists are talking back directly to brain cells. To perform the experiment, the scientists injected signals directly into sensory and learning areas of the brain. They want to learn how to create the feedback of touch and other sensations normally provided by a living limb. "We are bringing information back into the brain," said John Chapin, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at the Downstate Medical Center, who was a senior researcher on the project.

In all, the scientists successfully wired five rats in a project funded by the Department of Defense. Each animal had three sets of hair-thin wires implanted in its brain. One wire went to a part of the forebrain that generates a sensation as a reward to reinforce behavior. The other electrodes went to regions responsible for the rat's whiskers, which it uses to navigate. The electrodes, in turn, were connected to a wireless transmitter in a lightweight backpack powered by a 9-volt battery. The rat's backpack also contained a tiny video camera. The researchers are considering adding other sensors, such as a global positioning system unit to better track the rat as it moves. The scientists steered the rats by activating the whisker centers, creating the sensation of a touch on one side or the other. Sending signals to the brain's reward center reinforced correct behavior. "In some real sense, they have produced a computer bridle," said Glimcher. "Instead of a whip and carrot, they use direct activation of the learning circuit in the brain itself, which is pretty cool." The rodents could even be commanded to overcome their natural caution and venture into brightly lit, open areas--environments they normally would avoid. "These guys are showing that there is a way to deliver the signal to the brain directly and apparently the signal can be interpreted. This is a very important result," said Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University, who also works on brain-machine interfaces. It may be most important as a harbinger of things to come, as brain researchers become more adept at manipulating the organ responsible for thought and behavior, several experts said. "Long before we get to the real ethical problems posed by changing our genes, we will have to deal with the consequences of the revolution in neuroscience," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania Bioethics Center. "This rat research is primitive stuff, but it is a shot across our bow that should alert us to the potential consequences." Originally published May 2, 2002 by the Los Angeles Times Copyright 2002

Eklyptic commentary:
Implications are scary? Hello? Not as scary as the fact that we ALREADY HAVE HUMAN REMOTE CONTROL DEVICES! We already have little boxes that tell us who we are, what to do, when to do it, where to go, why we should go and how to get what it was we were told we needed, etc.etc. We alredy have devices that keep our humanity pascified while our leaders program our lives for us. We already have mind-numbing electrical "signals injected directly into our learning circut" that generates "cues and rewards" for proper zombie-like behavior... IT'S CALLED TELEVISION! (Shouldn't you be watching something?)

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Tyme Travel:
You humans are finally getting there!

University of Connecticut physics professor Ronald Mallett, 57, said in April that after years of study, he hopes to begin experiments this year leading to genuine time travel, involving probably no more than a neutron or two at first but laying the groundwork for transporting larger objects. Mallett believes his theory is solid (straight from Einstein's Theory of Relativity), but that amassing the amount of energy necessary even to move small objects may be impossible with current knowledge. Mallett said he's been thinking about time travel since age 10, when his father died, because he wanted to go back in time to warn his dad of the dangers of smoking. [Boston Globe, 4-5-02] Originally Published on April-21-2002 by "News of the Weird"

Eklyptic commentary:
I have been working on developing similar technology myself ever since my original tyme machine got hit by a comet as I was passing your planet on a routine visit. The problem seems to be that there is no natural element on Earth that can focus and concentrate the amount of photonic energy needed to fold space or to create the contained implosion that is required to suggest the existence of wormholes. The secret lies somewhere in a thurmaturgic crystalline structure and tetrahedral matrices and also requires massive amounts of electrical impulse to inspire a static continuum (in and out points, so to speak) in the analogistic wave of tyme's ocean.

A warning to Mr. Mallet: be careful what you hope for. A common misconception of tyme travel is that one can alter the present by traveling to the past. This is ridiculous. Each and every being in existence follows it's own path through tyme. Once one alters his past, the already past present will not "re-happen". A completely alternate present will manifest. Fate does exist and she is subtle. It is unwise to attempt to outwit her. Paradox (the probability of impossibility, the existence of nonexistence, the ever in never) on the other hand, is the questionable theory. It is the chaos in the equation. You may outwit paradox but it will always be looming. So, Mr. Mullet, if your father was fated to die when you were 10, he still will... you might, on the other hand, help him die a more peaceful death, but do not expect him "be there when you get back" because you are here now. You will always be here. Even when you are there, here you are. There is nowhere to get back to, only a place to look forward to.

Blessed Travels.

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TV is Freaking Weird
Eklyptic commentary

I don't know what the hell is going on with TV. We've got mostly-forgotten-about celebrities beating the hell out of each other, a camera crew inside of Ozzy Osborne's house, soft-core porn on Temptation island, people with alligators dangling in front of thier noses while trying to answer trivia and beefy cops shooting at crackheads driving speeding cars. There isn't enough excitement in our programming today. We need more. We want more. We need to take a hint from "The Running Man" and add the real risk of death to these shows. We need "Climbing for dollars": rabid dogs with no leashes. Drugged and tied up alligators are boring. We need to hand our celebrities chain saws and flame-throwers and give them cool names like Buzzsaw and Electro. We need to see some real action on the island. We need to tape the life of a real rock stars who have houses full of drugs and chicks and who inspire mayhem and devil worshiping among our youth. We need to see some cops get blasted themselves every once in a while. Where is the excitement? Where is the danger? Come on cable, don't dish us any of this watered down crap. We are not mindless infidels. We demand REAL ENTERTAINMENT!


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