It’s almost 2013, so perhaps no one should be surprised that a reality show in the works would mimic the 1996 dystopian flick “Escape From L.A.” What’s chilling is that the show is not fiction and may in the end say more about the post-Sept. 11 surveillance state than anything else so far.
Two everyday Americans will be awarded $1 million if they can successfully sneak out of Los Angeles without being detected by digital video cameras, pilotless drones, GPS monitoring devices and facial recognition technology.
Blackberry phones can be geo-located even if the battery has been removed. That’s one of many realities about privacy in the 21st century, and it’s one of the many tools a team of professional human trackers will have at their disposal for catching the two men. The trackers will reportedly work from an operations center in downtown L.A. “constructed specifically for this project.”
The highly trained team of professional pursuers is led by host and master tracker, Kevin Reeve, whose company, onPoint Tactical LLC, offers a scouting, tracking and wilderness survival skills course, which has been taken by SEALs, Rangers, FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agents.
My only question: If the two men actually succeed, would it undermine the hundreds of millions of dollars L.A. has spent securing the city since 9/11?
“The relevant constitutional text is the Fourth Amendment which says, ‘The right of the people to be secure in their houses, persons, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. But that doesn’t answer the question: Is it an unreasonable search of our persons or effects to be monitored in public spaces?”—On today’s Fresh Air, law professor Jeffrey Rosen talks aboutUnited States v. Jones, a case the Supreme Court is currently considering. At issue is whether police need to have a warrant from a judge before attaching a secret GPS monitor to a car to track a suspect around the clock. (via nprfreshair)
“When I was 16 years old, I assembled a 2.3 million electron volt beta particle accelerator. I went to Westinghouse, I got 400 pounds of translator steel, 22 miles of copper wire and I assembled a 6-kilowatt, 2.3 million electron accelerator in the garage. When it was finished, I would plug it in, there was this huge crackling sound as I consumed 6 kilowatts of power, I blew out every circuit breaker in the house. All the lights were plunged in darkness. And my poor mom would come home every night, see the lights flicker and die, and say to herself, ‘Why couldn’t I have a son who plays baseball?’”—Michio Kaku built a particle accelerator in his garage in high school (via nprfreshair)
Though most are known to deal with drugs and weapons, a new FBI threat assessment says street gangs have been moving into some different territory lately: human trafficking. The FBI says gang members increasingly are pushing women and children into prostitution.
Pilotless drones have become a fixture in the public’s imagination and potent symbol of the nation’s 10-year war on terror. Who could have imagined such a thing when, say, “Back to the Future” was still in theaters?
So says Kenneth Anderson, contributor to the legal blog Volokh Conspiracy. Would we merely call them a fleet? An armada, perhaps? Submit your own idea. I like “collective,” only because it’s funny and no one’s coming to a consensus anytime soon about where and when they should be used.
“Delaying action is a false economy: For every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would be needed to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”—A quote from the 2011 World Energy Outlook report by the International Energy Agency. The agency warns that we are on the path to 11-degree warming if we don’t curb emissions now.
From NPR: “The Nixon Library and National Archives have released a trove of documents relating to former President Richard Nixon’s grand jury testimony. The testimony, taken after Nixon resigned, was the first by a sitting president. Nixon was interviewed at his California home on June 23 and 24, 1975, after he had been pardoned by President Gerald Ford.”
“When we would become friendly with an office and they were important to us, and the chief of staff was a competent person, I would say or my staff would say to him or her at some point, ‘You know, when you’re done working on the Hill, we’d very much like you to consider coming to work for us.’ Now the moment I said that to them or any of our staff said that to ’em, that was it. We owned them.”—Former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now released from prison, explaining how he commonly dangled jobs to win favors from congressional staffers. He told CBS “60 Minutes” that he’s thinking of writing a book: “The Idiot’s Guide to Buying a Congressman.” (via officialssay)
SunPower Corp., a San Jose-based solar power company that received a last-minute Department of Energy loan in September, announced today that it lost more than $370 million in its fiscal third quarter – more than double its second-quarter loss – and that its chief financial officer would resign.
The company said it also would likely lose money in its fourth quarter and would embark on a “reorganization” that would lead to job cuts.