Wednesday, August 30, 2006

UK examines civilian use of UAVs

UK examines civilian use of UAVs: Covers plans in the United Kingdom (UK) to deploy Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) for broad surveillance purposes in Great Britain. There are a range of positive uses envisioned, like helping firefighters track forest fires, or crowd control during public events.

Like in the U.S. the machines aren't currently allowed to fly in UK airspace. As it says in the article, every rule of flight has assumed a human would be in the cockpit and able to decide how to avoid obstacles or other aircraft. To resolve that issue the Astrea Project is studying UAV designs that allow them to operate in the airspace, cohabitating well with other (human occupied) aircraft.

Guardian coverage: On the horizon ... pilotless planes as fishermen's and firefighters' friends

Earlier coverage:

High Altitude Surveillance Aircraft

High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) - 'Eternal Planes' to watch over us

Electric airplane (UAV) stays aloft for 48 hours

Web sites: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment


ASTRAEA (Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation & Assessment) is a national programme that focuses on the technologies, systems, facilities and procedures that will allow autonomous vehicles to operate safely and routinely in the UK.

Autonomous vehicles, such as unmanned air vehicles, will bring real economic, environmental and security benefits in many areas and ASTRAEA will position the UK at the very forefront of these opportunities.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

George W. Bush singing "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"

Did you think GW could sing? Neither did I. But here he is "singing" the song Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Enjoy.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Dear Group Members,

I want to share my article with you. This is about the link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues. The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





To read the complete article please follow any of these links :


Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bushflash on Depleted Uranium


A very effective flash animation discussing the usage and effect of depleted uranium weapons. The animation claims that the current Iraq war was the third "nuclear war" in world history. The first, they claim, was in Iraq in 1991. The second, they claim, was in Kosovo in 1999. The third, Iraq again, in 2003. In each case depleted uranium weapons were used, making each a nuclear war.

Project Censored: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects


The Project Censored report, from 2004, on the under-reporting of Depleted Uranium use by British and American forces.

British and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a UN resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction.

Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Helen Caldicott, states that the tiny radioactive particles created when a DU weapon hits a target are easily inhaled through gas masks. The particles, which lodge in the lung, can be transferred to the kidney and other vital organs. Gulf War veterans are excreting uranium in their urine and semen, leading to chromosomal damage. DU has a half-life of 4.1 billion years. The negative effects found in one generation of US veterans could be the fate of all future generations of Iraqi people.

The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU)


Focuses specifically on trying to achieve a global ban on the manufacture, testing, and use of depleted uranium weapons. We also have a strong interest in identifying the extent of its civilian use and achieving as much limitation of this as possible.

The misnamed 'Depleted' Uranium is left after enriched uranium is separated from natural uranium in order to produce fuel for nuclear reactors. During this process, the fissionable isotope Uranium 235 is separated from uranium. The remaining uranium, which is 99.8% uranium 238 is misleadingly called 'depleted uranium'. While the term 'depleted' implies it isn't particularly dangerous, in fact, this waste product of the nuclear industry is 'conveniently' disposed of by producing deadly weapons.

Depleted uranium is chemically toxic. It is an extremely dense, hard metal, and can cause chemical poisoning to the body in the same way as can lead or any other heavy metal. However, depleted uranium is also radiologically hazardous, as it spontaneously burns on impact, creating tiny aerosolised glass particles which are small enough to be inhaled. These uranium oxide particles emit all types of radiation, alpha, beta and gamma, and can be carried in the air over long distances. Depleted uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years, and the presence of depleted uranium ceramic aerosols can pose a long term threat to human health and the environment.

Uranium Medical Research Centre


Current and recent developments, published research, conference proceedings, reports on Depleted Uranium and other uses of Uranium.

UMRC is an incorporated non-profit research organization (with registered charity in the US and Canada). UMRC is associated with scientists and medical doctors in Europe, the UK, and other parts of the world. To ensure the independence and objectivity of its research, UMRC collaborates with university and other research laboratories.

UMRC is the only independent research group providing analysis for exposed individuals and populations. Often, individuals have been sick for many years and unable to get proper testing. They include veterans who were exposed during wars where depleted uranium (DU) munitions were used and civilians who have worked or lived near nuclear facilities.

Depleted Uranium usage in Afghanistan


"The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by Uranium."

"They (the bombs) combined significant explosive force with hard-target penetration features. These weapons punched through three or more layers composed of steel reinforced roofs and two or more concrete walls without detonating. They then passed through the concrete floor/foundation slabs, to bury 3 to 4 meters in the earth before exploding."

"People rush to look for survivors and pull out the bodies. Mr. Sahib Daad digs through the remains of their house to rescue his two young sons. They died in his arms as the sun rose over the mountains. Entangled in the remains of the neighbour's house are eight bodies - mother, grandmother and six little girls."

Asthma and Air Pollution


Asthma is a serious chronic lung disease that appears to be on the rise in California, the United States and many other countries around the world. The prevalence of asthma in the U.S. has increased by more than 75% since 1980; children and certain racial groups, especially African Americans, have experienced relatively greater increases in asthma prevalence. An estimated 11.9% of Californians - 3.9 million children and adults - report that they have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives, compared to the national average of 10.1%. Nearly 667,000 school-aged children in California have experienced asthma symptoms during the past 12 months. Asthma causes breathing problems due to a narrowing of the airways causing the lungs to get less air. Attacks are characterized by a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

Air pollution plays a well-documented role in asthma attacks, however, the role air pollution plays in initiating asthma is still under investigation and may involve a very complex set of interactions between indoor and outdoor environmental conditions and genetic susceptibility. The Research Division of the Air Resources Board has been a leader in developing and supporting research to understand the relationship between air pollution and asthma. Most notably, the ARB-funded Children's Health Study at the University of Southern California found that children who participated in several sports and lived in communities with high ozone levels were more likely to develop asthma than the same active children living in areas with less ozone pollution. In another ARB-funded study, researchers at the University of California, Irvine found a positive association between some volatile organic compounds and symptoms in asthmatic children from Huntington Park. Additional ARB studies are underway and many will focus on the role of particulate matter pollution on asthma. In the Central Valley the ARB F.A.C.E.S. project is examining the role of particulate matter pollution in the exacerbation of childhood asthma.

The Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study (FACES)


The Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study, which began in 2000, is a large epidemiological study of the effects of air pollution on children with asthma. About 250 asthmatic children who reside in the Fresno area of the Central Valley of California will be enrolled in the study. The overall goal of this study is to determine the effects of different components of particulate matter (PM), in combination with other ambient air pollutants, on the natural history of asthma in young children. The study is sponsored by the California Air Resources Board and conducted by investigators at the University of California, Berkeley. An overview of the Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study is available here and the Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study Fact Sheet is here.

Importance of the Fresno Asthmatic Children's Environment Study

  • The information provided by the study will help the Air Resources Board (ARB) protect public health. The ARB sets California's ambient air quality standards to protect people who are most sensitive to air pollution.
  • Children may be more strongly affected by air pollution because their lungs and bodies are still developing. Understanding the effects of air pollution on children with asthma is essential for setting health standards protective of sensitive populations.

The Children's School Bus Exposure Study


Study was conducted to characterize the range of children's exposures to diesel vehicle-related pollutants and other vehicle pollutants during their commutes to school by school buses. It was the most comprehensive school bus exposure study ever conducted. Researchers at the University of California's Riverside and Los Angeles campuses, measured pollutant concentrations inside five conventional diesel school buses while driving actual school bus routes in Los Angeles. For comparison, a diesel bus equipped with a particulate trap and a bus powered by natural gas were also included.

Buses were outfitted with dual sets of real-time instruments, which allowed front versus back and inside versus outside comparisons. The researchers measured multiple diesel vehicle-related pollutants, including black carbon and particle-bound PAHs, as well as many other exhaust pollutants. A tracer gas was used to determine the bus's own contributions to on-board concentrations. The study measured exposures inside the buses and did not include tail-pipe emissions tests.

Major Findings:

Measurements indicated that for some buses, significantly higher exposures of vehicle-related pollutants occurred during the bus commutes than roadway pollutant concentrations alone would indicate. The high commute concentrations were a function of several influences:

  • the high concentrations of pollutants already present on roadways, especially if traffic was heavy;
  • the direct influence of other vehicles being followed; and
  • the contribution of the bus’s own emissions. The extent of a bus’s own contribution to these high concentrations appeared to be highest when windows were closed for the older diesel buses, but bus-to-bus variability was high.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Natalee Holloway is missing, and so are a lot of other people

Natalee Holloway's mom crushed by loss of 'last shot': In case you were hiding under a rock on Mars .. the capsule summary of who Natalee is/was: She was vacationing with her family in Aruba (an island country off the coast of South America) when she disappeared under mysterious circumstances. There was a big whoopdedoo made over the case, and it made the national media frenzy pattern for a couple weeks.

This kind of media frenzy happens all the time. The facts are someone gets killed, or gets arrested, or exposes their private parts, etc. Somehow that event triggers the national media frenzy pattern when other people doing the same event does not trigger that frenzy.

For example the current media frenzy is because Mel Gibson got arrested for Drinking while Under the Influence of Alchohol (DUI). People get arrested for DUI every day, in the hundreds. Yet, it's Mel Gibson, and he was recorded swearing at the Jews and how they control everything etc. So his ravings about the Jews are making the news frenzy go nuts, fueled I think by the belief that racial slurs against the Jews are more important than racial slurs against others.

In the case of Natalee Holloway let's get some perspective here. NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics for 2005 is statistics published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (U.S.).

The National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC’s) Missing Person File was implemented in 1975. Records in the Missing Person File are retained indefinitely, until the individual is located or the record is canceled by the entering agency. The Missing Person File contains records for missing who:

  • have a proven physical or mental disability (Disability – EMD),
  • are missing under circumstances indicating that they may be in physical danger (Endangered – EME),
  • are missing after a catastrophe (Catastrophe Victim – EMV),
  • are missing under circumstances indicating their disappearance may not have been voluntary (Involuntary – EMI),
  • are under the age of 21 and do not meet the above criteria (Juvenile – EMJ), or
  • are 21 and older and do not meet any of the above criteria but for whom there is a reasonable concern for their safety (Other – EMO).

As of December 31, 2005, there were 109,531 active missing person records in NCIC. Juveniles under the age of 18 account for 58,081 (53.03 %) of the records and 11,868 (10.84 %) were for juveniles between the ages of 18 and 20.

During 2005, 834,536 missing person records were entered into NCIC, an increase of 0.51 % from the 830,325 entered in 2004. Missing Person records cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 844,838. Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid.

There were over 834,536 missing person reports during 2005. Yet this one, of a cute white girl vacationing in Aruba, gets huge media attention when the others do not.