Pentagon report investigated lasers that put voices in your head

first_img Citation: Pentagon report investigated lasers that put voices in your head (2008, February 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-02-pentagon-lasers-voices.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. With another weapon, electromagnetic pulses could be used to disrupt the brain´s functioning, although this technology was still in the theoretical stages at the time. Under normal conditions, all brain structures function with specific rhythmic activity depending on incoming sensory information. Sometimes, the brain synchronizes neuronal activity in order to focus on a specific task, but the degree of neuronal synchronization is highly controlled. However, under certain conditions (such as physical stress or heat stroke), more areas of the brain can fire in a highly synchronized manner, and may begin firing uncontrollably.The report describes a method for replicating this highly synchronized neuron firing across distances of several hundred meters. High-voltage (100 kV/m) electromagnetic pulses lasting for one nanosecond could trigger neurons to fire, disrupting the body´s controlled firing activity. Short-term effects may include loss of consciousness, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and seizures lasting for a couple minutes. These high-voltage pulsed sources, which would require an estimated frequency of 15 Hz, exist today.Another form of non-lethal torture described in the report is microwave heating. By raising the temperature of the body to 41°C (105.8°F), humans can experience sensations such as memory loss and disorientation, and exhibit reduced aggression. According to the report, humans can survive temperatures up to 42°C (107.6°F), at which time prolonged exposure can result in permanent brain damage or death.The microwave heating technique was tested on a Rhesus monkey, where a 225 MHz beam caused an increase in the animal´s body temperature. Depending on the dosage level, the temperature increase occurred within a time of 15 to 30 minutes. After the beam was removed, the animal´s body temperature decreased back to normal. The report suggests the technique could be useful for controlling crowds or in negotiations.While the investigations reveal intriguing techniques for non-lethal torture, the report does not mention plans for carrying out specific experiments or studies in the future.Full report: Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weaponsvia: Wired A US citizen requested access to the document, entitled “Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons,” under the Freedom of Information Act a little over a year ago. There is no evidence that any of the technologies mentioned in the 10-year-old report have been developed since the time it was written.The report explained several types of non-lethal laser applications, including microwave hearing, disrupted neural control, and microwave heating. For the first type, short pulses of RF energy (2450 MHz) can generate a pressure wave in solids and liquids. When exposed to pulsed RF energy, humans experience the immediate sensation of “microwave hearing” – sounds that may include buzzing, ticking, hissing, or knocking that originate within the head. Studies with guinea pigs and cats suggest that the mechanism responsible for the phenomenon is thermoelastic expansion. Exposure to the RF pulses doesn´t cause any permanent effects, as all effects cease almost immediately after exposure ceases. As the report explains, tuning microwave hearing could enable communicating with individuals from a distance of up to several hundred meters.”The phenomenon is tunable in that the characteristic sounds and intensities of those sounds depend on the characteristics of the RF energy as delivered,” the report explains. “Because the frequency of the sound heard is dependent on the pulse characteristics of the RF energy, it seems possible that this technology could be developed to the point where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except that it could only be heard within a person´s head. In one experiment, communication of the words from one to ten using ´speech modulated´ microwave energy was successfully demonstrated. Microphones next to the person experiencing the voice could not pick up these sounds. Additional development of this would open up a wide range of possibilities.”The report predicts that communicating at longer distances would be possible with larger equipment, while shorter range signals could be generated with portable equipment. Putting voices in people´s heads could cause what the report calls “psychologically devastating” effects. The technology might even allow for communicating with an individual hostage surrounded by captors, although this would require “extreme directional specificity.” A recently unclassified report from the Pentagon from 1998 has revealed an investigation into using laser beams for a few intriguing potential methods of non-lethal torture. Some of the applications the report investigated include putting voices in people’s heads, using lasers to trigger uncontrolled neuron firing, and slowly heating the human body to a point of feverish confusion – all from hundreds of meters away.last_img read more

Virology Journal retracts paper on Jesus curing possible case of influenza

first_img Citation: Virology Journal retracts paper on Jesus curing possible case of influenza (2010, August 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-08-virology-journal-retracts-paper-jesus.html Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Robert F. Garry, publicly apologized for publishing the article, saying it “clearly does not provide the type of robust supporting data required for a case report and does not meet the high standards expected of a peer-reviewed scientific journal.” He also apologized for any “confusion or concern” the article may have created among readers.Garry said the paper, entitled “Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time,” was only intended to be an opinion piece and a “bit of relief from the ‘normal’ business of the journal,” but the speculations in the paper did not belong in a peer-reviewed journal, and its contents did not represent the views of BioMed Central journals.The retraction came after criticisms, including those made via blogs and a comment posted on the paper by Paul Gray of the Washington University School of Medicine, expressing the view that it was unclear how the paper met any of the normal standards of such a journal other than someone paid to have it published.The paper was a “case study” of a woman described in the gospels of Mark (1:29 to 33), Luke (4:38-39), and Matthew (8:14-15). The woman was said to have had a high fever and was “cured by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Among the reasons given for the conclusion the woman must have had influenza was that she was unlikely to have had a severe acute bacterial infection because such a disease would not be resolved instantaneously. The paper concluded that if their postulation is correct the case is one of the earliest descriptions of human influenza.One of the blogs that brought the paper to notice was This Scientific Life, by Bob O’Hara. O’Hara said the lead author of the paper, Kam L.E. Hon from the Department of Paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, had replied by email to his queries and confirmed he had agreed to the retraction and was “astonished” the article had produced such a negative response since it was only intended for thought provocation. He went on to apologize for the inconvenience caused to the Journal and anxiety caused to himself. He said he would never to write this kind of article again. More information: doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-169 Explore further Medical journal to retract water articlecenter_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The Virology Journal published a paper on July 21 speculating that a woman said in the Bible to have been cured by Jesus had influenza. Now, the journal has retracted the paper and apologized for publishing it online.last_img read more

OrcaM is new kid on block for 3D data capture

first_img The OrcaM system involves a large sphere, likened by one viewer as a giant maw, inside which one places the desired object for 3-D scanning. Once the object is placed inside, the sphere is sealed shut and the seven cameras and lights go to work. The cameras take simultaneous high-definition photos of the object at different angles. Serving to define the object’s geometry, various combinations of lights illuminate the object differently for every shot, capturing the finest details. After the photo processing, computer processing of the image creates the 3-D model. Observers say the end result is a highly impressive agreement of the real object. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Explore further OrcaM Reconstruction Sequences The system is also identified on the DFKI site as having been developed “in the context of a project” of the Augmented Vision arm of DFKI, which stands for Germany’s Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.NEK sees the camera system as a way to conduct automated transfers of real objects into high-quality digital representations for media such as on the “Internet, cinema, and computer games.” The DFKI envisions its application being to create super-accurate models of museum and art objects, models that are good enough to be used instead of the originals. The 3-D models produced by OrcaM are said to be fully textured and of high enough quality for the archives of valuable artifacts from museums.A useful selling point for both the above two applications is that, with the OrcaM system, key tasks are automatic. The user does not have to calibrate the cameras or lighting system, which the system performs automatically. According to the web site I Programmer, which assessed the video, the wire frame model used 20,000 triangles based on 300 million measured points “accurate to less than a millimeter.” The camera system, said the report, is worth the look when accuracy is paramount.A camera system of this size and scope may seem easily destined for the confines of powerhouse R&D labs in the sciences, but OrcaM is also generating interest in how it is being promoted.Developers of the camera system are identified as NEK. According to the company, “Within the range equipment construction we developed and finished an automated photograph station (OrcaM) for digital visualizations and reconstructions of objects.” Citation: OrcaM is new kid on block for 3-D data capture (2012, January 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-orcam-kid-block-d-capture.htmlcenter_img More information: www.nek-kl.de/de_DE/produkte/o … bital-camera-system/ (PhysOrg.com) — Call it automated photograph station, seven-camera system, 3-D model showcase, or digital reconstruction tool. OrcaM is being described as all these things. Whatever the tag, the “OrcaM” name stands for Orbital Camera System, according to its Germany-based developers NEK GmbH. A video demo was making the rounds of web gadget blogs and news sites this week as a camera system to watch. Creating 3D models with a simple webcam (w/ Video) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Research station on skis withstands Antarctic ice and snow

first_img Copyright 2013 Phys.org Citation: Research station on skis withstands Antarctic ice and snow (2013, February 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-station-antarctic-ice.html Russia celebrates 50 years at Antarctic Seven blue modules contain living spaces and laboratories. In consideration of the residents’ psychological needs, a central red module, intended for use as a social space, contains communal dining areas, a hydroponic garden, and climbing wall. Colors were even chosen on the advice of a color psychologist. Construction of Halley VI began in Capetown, South Africa. The first modules were shipped to Antarctica at the end of 2007. Halley VI delivered its first scientific data in 2012. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Credit: BAS Halley Research Station, devoted primarily to work in atmospheric science, was established by British Antarctic Survey in 1956. Halley researchers also perform glaciology and geology studies. Notably, scientists first recorded ozone layer depletion in the stratosphere above the Antarctic here.Antarctic conditions have caused problems for Halley research bases. Accumulated snow, measured at more than three feet per year, crushed buildings in the first four bases. Movement of the ice shelf toward the ocean at an annual rate of a quarter of a mile means that research stations are at risk of falling into the ocean when ice separates from the mainland. These factors give buildings that cannot be moved a lifespan of only ten years. Halley VI, commissioned in 2006, consists of eight connected modules, each of which sits atop hydraulic legs. The legs allow the individual modules to be raised above the snow. Additionally, placement of the modules at a right angle to the prevailing wind encourages snow to blow underneath the station. Skis positioned beneath the legs allow inland towing of each module, thereby minimizing its proximity to the ocean. Antarctica Halley VI Halley V had extensible steel legs, allowing operators to maintain the buildings above the snow’s surface. The legs, though raised every year, were eventually trapped in 75 feet of ice. Because the station was rendered immobile, it was carried along with the ice and was therefore at risk of plummeting into the ocean when the ice caved.In June 2004, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched a competition to design a new research station. In addition to being able to cope with moving ice and heavy snow accumulation, this new station would have to provide psychological comfort to the station’s residents—around 70 in summer and around 16 in winter—who are at great risk of stress and depression related to the harsh Antarctic weather and permanent lack of sunlight in winter. Credit: James Goby/BAS (Phys.org)—The world’s first completely transportable research station officially opened in Antarctica on February 5. The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, utilizes a modular design that incorporates hydraulic legs fitted with skis. This design allows Halley VI to survive in conditions that have destroyed its five predecessors. The Halley VI modules at the Halley VI site. Credit: British Antarctic Surveylast_img read more

Study suggests common pesticide clothianidin causes immunity problems in bees

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Headlines over the past couple of years have made it very clear that something is causing honeybees to die in unexplained ways. Whole colonies suddenly die, with no clear explanation. Now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the problem has reached the point of panic as honeybees are the chief means for pollination of crops around the world. At this point, scientists suspect that the disorder involves something that is causing the immune system in the bees to break down, leaving them unable to fight off bacteria and viruses. In this new effort, the research team contends that they’ve found one of the missing links—a single pesticide that causes bees exposed to it, to develop immunity problems.In their lab, the researchers started by isolating a family of proteins (called LRR) that are similar to other proteins found in other animals that are known to regulate immune response—specifically, its presence, they found, causes another protein (NF-κB) directly involved in immune response, to be inhibited. Next, they exposed honeybees to the pesticide clothianidin and subsequently measured gene expression and protein levels in them. They found an increase in the expression of the gene responsible for LRR levels and lowered levels of NF-κB, which the researchers claim, suggests a direct link between exposure to the toxin and a damaged immune system. The researchers ran the same tests on bees exposed to another pesticide— chlorpyriphos—and found no ill effects, which they suggest means CCD might be caused by one or a just a few pesticides. Next, the researchers exposed the bees that had been exposed to clothianidin to a pathogen called the deformed wing virus. Normally, healthy bees show resistance to the virus and are not impacted by it. After exposure to clothianidin, however, the researchers found the virus was able to reproduce in the bees, suggesting the bee’s immune response had been compromised. (Phys.org) —A team of researchers with members from several universities in Italy has found that exposure to the common pesticide clothianidin can cause immunity problems in honeybees, leading to an increased risk of dying from common viral infections. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that exposure to clothianidin resulted in an increase in a family of proteins that inhibit the development of other proteins that are involved in the immune process. More information: Neonicotinoid clothianidin adversely affects insect immunity and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees, PNAS, Published online before print October 21, 2013, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314923110AbstractLarge-scale losses of honey bee colonies represent a poorly understood problem of global importance. Both biotic and abiotic factors are involved in this phenomenon that is often associated with high loads of parasites and pathogens. A stronger impact of pathogens in honey bees exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides has been reported, but the causal link between insecticide exposure and the possible immune alteration of honey bees remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin negatively modulates NF-κB immune signaling in insects and adversely affects honey bee antiviral defenses controlled by this transcription factor. We have identified in insects a negative modulator of NF-κB activation, which is a leucine-rich repeat protein. Exposure to clothianidin, by enhancing the transcription of the gene encoding this inhibitor, reduces immune defenses and promotes the replication of the deformed wing virus in honey bees bearing covert infections. This honey bee immunosuppression is similarly induced by a different neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, but not by the organophosphate chlorpyriphos, which does not affect NF-κB signaling. The occurrence at sublethal doses of this insecticide-induced viral proliferation suggests that the studied neonicotinoids might have a negative effect at the field level. Our experiments uncover a further level of regulation of the immune response in insects and set the stage for studies on neural modulation of immunity in animals. Furthermore, this study has implications for the conservation of bees, as it will contribute to the definition of more appropriate guidelines for testing chronic or sublethal effects of pesticides used in agriculture. Explore further Researchers find high-fructose corn syrup may be tied to worldwide collapse of bee colonies © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Study suggests common pesticide clothianidin causes immunity problems in bees (2013, October 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-common-pesticide-clothianidin-immunity-problems.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Researchers suggest modern gourds would not have survived without domestication

first_img © 2015 Phys.org More information: L. Kistler et al. Gourds and squashes (Cucurbita spp.) adapted to megafaunal extinction and ecological anachronism through domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516109112AbstractThe genus Cucurbita (squashes, pumpkins, gourds) contains numerous domesticated lineages with ancient New World origins. It was broadly distributed in the past but has declined to the point that several of the crops’ progenitor species are scarce or unknown in the wild. We hypothesize that Holocene ecological shifts and megafaunal extinctions severely impacted wild Cucurbita, whereas their domestic counterparts adapted to changing conditions via symbiosis with human cultivators. First, we used high-throughput sequencing to analyze complete plastid genomes of 91 total Cucurbita samples, comprising ancient (n = 19), modern wild (n = 30), and modern domestic (n = 42) taxa. This analysis demonstrates independent domestication in eastern North America, evidence of a previously unknown pathway to domestication in northeastern Mexico, and broad archaeological distributions of taxa currently unknown in the wild. Further, sequence similarity between distant wild populations suggests recent fragmentation. Collectively, these results point to wild-type declines coinciding with widespread domestication. Second, we hypothesize that the disappearance of large herbivores struck a critical ecological blow against wild Cucurbita, and we take initial steps to consider this hypothesis through cross-mammal analyses of bitter taste receptor gene repertoires. Directly, megafauna consumed Cucurbita fruits and dispersed their seeds; wild Cucurbita were likely left without mutualistic dispersal partners in the Holocene because they are unpalatable to smaller surviving mammals with more bitter taste receptor genes. Indirectly, megafauna maintained mosaic-like landscapes ideal for Cucurbita, and vegetative changes following the megafaunal extinctions likely crowded out their disturbed-ground niche. Thus, anthropogenic landscapes provided favorable growth habitats and willing dispersal partners in the wake of ecological upheaval. Cucurbita seeds were found in mastadon dung. Credit: Lee Newsom, Penn State Cucurbita pepo gourds. Credit: Public Domain Explore further Prior evidence has shown that plants of the genus Cucurbita, which includes pumpkins, gourds and squashes, flourished during the Holocene in areas where large mammals such as giant sloths, mastodons and mammoths roamed—the huge mammals not only trampled and grazed in such areas, clearing land that the plants needed to survive, but also dispersed their seeds via their dung—thus there’s was a mutually positive relationship. But then things changed, the climate grew warmer and humans arrived with their advanced hunting skills—over time, the large mammals ceased to exist. The squash and gourds soon found it much more difficult to survive in overgrown vegetation and had little to no means of seed dispersal, which, the researchers suggest, means they would have all gone extinct had humans not begun to domesticate some varieties.To come to these conclusions, the researchers studied gourd and other seeds found in preserved large mammal dung (going back 30,000 years), which revealed a wide variety of lost species. They also tested the degree of bitterness in ancient gourd skin and then compared what they found with the results of a genome study they conducted looking at bitterness sensitivity in 46 modern animals–they found that the ancient varieties were so bitter that they would have been toxic to very small mammals and unpalatable to those somewhat larger, leaving just the largest mammals able to consume Cucurbita. The evidence indicates that most Cucurbita species began to decline approximately 10,000 years ago, and that most of them eventually went extinct. Those that we favor today only survived because humans began using them first as containers and floatation devices for fishing nets, then later, as a food source, presumably as domestication led to sweeter varieties. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: Researchers suggest modern gourds would not have survived without domestication (2015, November 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-modern-gourds-survived-domestication.html (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from several institutions in the U.K. and U.S. has found evidence that suggests that modern gourds would have gone extinct long ago if humans had not domesticated them. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study of the history of gourds in the New World and why they needed domestication to survive. Researchers try to understand consequences of declining populations of large-bodied mammalslast_img read more

Some People Are Great At Recognizing Faces Others…Not So Much

first_img“The guy just froze,” says Julie Doerschlag, Marty’s wife, who was with him for all of these incidents. “It was probably 15 years before. And [the waiter] said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’” Doerschlag began to recognize his talent well into adulthood, after a series of strange encounters and sightings. There was the man he recognized in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, someone he’d sat behind three years earlier at a Michigan vs. Ohio State football game. (Doerschlag remembered the man but not the score of the game.) There were the company Christmas parties where he could always remember exactly who was whose spouse. And there was the time he asked a waiter serving him in a Las Vegas restaurant if he’d also served tables many years earlier at a particular restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Every day, Marty Doerschlag moves through the world armed with what amounts to a low-level superpower: He can remember a face forever.center_img But here’s the thing. Just as some humans are spectacularly skilled at recognizing faces, others are completely incompetent. Read the whole story: NPR “If I spend about 30 seconds looking at somebody, I will remember their face for years and years and years,” he says.last_img read more

Delhi to host Indian Languages Festival

first_imgThe theme of the third edition of this annual festival is Jodti Zubanein, Judti Zubanein, and will deliberate on connections between languages and the connections languages make. ‘This year’s theme goes beyond the literary and cultural connections across languages and encompasses the connections between divergent media of expression, like literature, cinema, music, between various ideologies and between languages and dialects,’ said Satyanand Nirupam, festival’s creative director. Acclaimed personalities from diverse fields like Gulzar, Jerry Pinto, Ketan Mehta, and Mahesh Bhatt will be holding discussions on various subjects about literature, Bollywood, music and literature.They will cover issues ranging from Dalit and women writing, alternative voices from literature, cinema, radio, publishing, gender violence, aspirations, dreams and voices of the marginalised.Sessions titled Language into Language, Civil Society and its Activism among other will also take place.last_img read more

Ktaka circular asks women employees not to loiter around

first_imgThe Secretariat of Karnataka Legislature has issued a circular directing women employees not to “unnecessarily” loiter around.The circular has also asked officers and employees to practice discipline at work and warned them of action against gathering in groups, talking loudly on mobile phone and unnecessarily walking in the corridors during office hours in the Assembly.It says “some officials and employees of this Secretariat are still found gathering in groups, talking loudly on mobile phone, and women employees unnecessarily walk in the corridors during office hours. This type of behaviour will not only disturb official functioning but also reflects indiscipline.” Referring to an earlier circular issued in 2011 that warns of action against such activities considering it as “disturbance to official functioning and indiscipline”, the Secretariat on May 21 has issued the fresh circular in this regard. It has also called on the officials and employees to cooperate in official activities by following “self- discipline”.last_img read more

Teach toddlers emotions to help them behave better

first_imgHelping your toddler understand and express emotions may reduce behavioural problems later on, says a new study.“Our findings offer promise for a practical, cost-effective parenting strategy to support at-risk toddlers’ social and emotional development and reduce behavioural problems,” said lead investigator of the study Holly Brophy-Herb, professor at Michigan State University in the US.The research, part of a larger study funded by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, involved 89 toddlers (ages 18 months to about two years) from low-income families.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Mothers were asked to look at a wordless picture book with their toddlers. The book included many emotional undertones as illustrations depicted a girl who lost and found a pet.Brophy-Herb and her fellow researchers focused on mothers’ “emotion bridging” with the child. That involves mothers not only labelling the emotion (for example, sad) but also putting it into context and tying it back to the child’s life.During a follow-up visit with the families, about seven months later, the researchers found fewer behavioural problems in the higher-risk children. This might be because emotion bridging acts as a tool through which toddlers can begin to learn about their emotions and gradually learn simple words to express emotions, needs and wishes, instead of acting out physically, Brophy-Herb said.The findings appeared in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics.last_img read more