location, location, location

In an article in the today’s New York Times about location-sensing devices being built into bracelets and monitored via the Web, the author discusses the fact that in the not too distant future, cellphones will be able to track our movement. Here’s a clip from the story.

And soon the location-information industry will hit the jackpot. In response to Federal Communications Commission mandates, wireless carriers have begun to incorporate location technology into cellphones, partly because many people use them to report emergencies but do not know exactly where they are calling from, hindering rescue efforts.

A side effect of the so-called Enhanced 911 rules is that every cellphone will soon become a mobile tracking unit, monitoring the location from which every call is placed.

In addition to the data’s potential use in marketing, Mr. Rotenberg said, the ability to monitor people’s movements could be used by employers, to find out where workers are using company-issued phones; in law enforcement, to determine where people are at a specific time; or in domestic disputes, to log patterns of behavior of, say, a wayward husband who often makes calls from his secretary’s home.

To read the entire article and become paranoid, just click here.

calling in the exterminators
According to some reports, the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, is being beefed up to take on secret targeted killings around the world and I’m wondering if this might not be something our government would be in favor of. With global “hit” teams funded and directed by they Israelis, there would be a lot less worries about our government violating human rights by holding suspected terrorists without bringing charges. We could just provide the information, turn our heads and keep our hands clean.

As much as I love the idea of foreign assassination squads creeping through our streets though, I can’t help but think that it’s probably not what our founding fathers had in mind when they drafted the constitution.

Here’s a clip from the article:

Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International…

A congressional staff member with deep knowledge of intelligence matters said, “I don’t know on what basis we would be able to protest Israel’s actions.” He referred to the recent killing of Qaed Salim Sinan al Harethi, a top al Qaida leader, in Yemen by a remotely controlled CIA drone.

“That was done on the soil of a friendly ally,” the staffer said.

Gerald Bull, an Ontario-born U.S. citizen and designer of the Iraqi supergun — a massive artillery system capable of launching satellites into orbit, and of delivering nuclear chemical or biological payloads from Baghdad to Israel — was killed in Belgium in March 1990. The killing is still unsolved, but former CIA officials said a Mossad hit team is the most likely suspect…

Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or squadrons of the Kidon, a sub-unit for Mossad’s highly secret Metsada department, would stage the operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning “bayonet,” one former Israeli intelligence source said.

I should add that this comes from a Jewish news source too, so I doubt that it’s just anti-Semitic ranting. To read the article, just click here.

but we can still pretend that stuff like this isn’t happening
I got an email this morning that read: “The fairytale rise to superstardom of America’s favorite Idols continues as Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini make the leap to the big screen in this spring’s biggest beach party… Justin and Kelly are making their first movie, and you can be a part of it! One grand prize winner will get a walk on role in the film “From Justin to Kelly”.

To enter, just click here. I dare you.

Who needs to worry about Israeli hit squads. We’ve got the American Idol movie!!!

cockroaches and sex workers
The “LA Times” has a really interesting article on the lack of regulation in the Adult Film industry. Here’s how the story begins:

During production of the 1997 movie “Mimic,” American Humane Assn. representatives wandered through the Los Angeles set, ensuring that a herd of cockroaches was well taken care of. Licensed animal handlers were to follow state and federal anti-cruelty laws designed to protect the insects, which had been trained to swirl around actress Mira Sorvino’s feet. The roaches had to be fed at a certain time. They could only work a few hours each day. They could not be harmed.

At the same time, in studios in the San Fernando Valley, scores of other actors and actresses were working on movies. They put in long hours, commonly without meal breaks. They often worked without clean toilets, toilet paper, soap or water. More importantly, they were exposed to a host of infectious, and sometimes fatal, diseases.

The article, I think, will depress even the most porn-loving among you out there. Regardless of what you might think about the adult entertainment business, you can’t deny, especially after reading a piece like this, that to a large degree it’s an industry built on the disposable bodies of sad and desperate young people. Whatever you might think, it’s an interesting, well-written article.

we’re all going to die!… i mean, everything’s fine
I got two CNN bulletins today at work. The first one told me that there were multiple vials of bubonic plague cultures that had gone missing at a Texas university. The second, received just a few minutes later, announced that all the vials had been accounted for and that there was absolutely no threat to public security.

Call me a paranoid or a pessimist, but I find it much more likely that the government told CNN to run that immediate retraction than the alternative, which is that someone found the missing vials within the intervening few minutes. I suppose that anything could have happened and that CNN could have jumped the gun with their announcement, but I can’t help but think that there are probably 50 vials of bubonic plague being transported to 50 different Pizza Hut salad bars as I type this.

Salad bar contamination is a legitimate concern. The first bio-terrorism event on US soil was carried out by way of salad bar. It was perpetrated by the followers of Bhgwan Shree Rajneesh in 1984. The cult had opened up a satellite campus in the town of Dalles, Oregon and they wanted to take the town over. To see that accomplished, they ran a number of their own candidates in a local election. Their candidates were somewhat behind in the polls, as only cult members were expected to vote for them though, so they had the bright idea to use salmonella as a means by which to keep non-cult people away from the polls. They conducted a quick test by way of local salad bars, and ended up sending a huge percentage of the population to the hospital.

Here’s a clip from an article on the case:

In 1984, followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spiked salad bars at 10 restaurants in town with salmonella and sickened about 750 people.

Beginning in 1981, Rajneesh assembled nearly 7,000 followers on a 100-square-mile ranch south of town. The cult members incorporated their commune as a city, created an intimidating police force, stockpiled weapons and took over the city council of nearby Antelope…

The cult plotted to win two of three Wasco County judgeships and the sheriff’s office by incapacitating non-Rajneeshee voters in The Dalles.

The cult members had planned to contaminate The Dalles’ water supply. The salad bar contamination was a test of the salmonella.

So, just think about that the next time to go, as I did this afternoon, to Old Country Buffet.

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