Monthly Archives: March 2008

‘Earth Hour’ to plunge millions into darkness

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that the threat of global warming and the like would fit the bill…. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

– “The First Global Revolution”, (1991) published by the Club of Rome

AFP | Mar 28, 2008

by Madeleine Coorey

SYDNEY (AFP) – Twenty-six major cities around the world are expected to turn off the lights on major landmarks, plunging millions of people into darkness to raise awareness about global warming, organisers said.

‘Earth Hour’ founder Andy Ridley said 371 cities, towns or local governments from Australia to Canada and even Fiji had signed up for the 60-minute shutdown at 0900 GMT on March 29.

“There are definitely 26 (cities) that we think, if it all goes to plan, we are going to see a major event of lights going off,” he told AFP.

Cities officially signed on include Chicago and San Francisco, Dublin, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Toronto, all of which will switch off lights on major landmarks and encourage businesses and homeowners to follow suit.

Ridley said it was also likely that other major European cities such as Rome and London, and the South Korean capital Seoul, although not officially taking part, would turn off lights on some attractions or landmarks.

The initiative began in Sydney last year and has become a global event, sweeping across 35 countries this year.

From 8:00 pm local time in Sydney, the energy-saving campaign will see harbourside icons such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House bathed only in moonlight, restaurant diners eat by candlelight and city skyscrapers turn off their neon signs.

Organisers hope the initiative will encourage people to be more aware of their energy usage, knowing that producing electricity pollutes the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels which are contributing to global warming.

But they are also aware that it will be just a small step in solving the problem of rising temperatures around the globe.

“Switching the lights off for an hour is not going to make a dent in global emissions,” organiser Charles Stevens, of the environmental group WWF, told AFP.

“But what it does do is it is a great catalyst for much bigger changes. It engages people in the processes of becoming more energy efficient.”

Stevens said the initiative encouraged businesses to be more careful with their electricity use while at the same time sending “a fairly powerful message to governments that people are demanding action.”

Some 2.2 million people participated in last year’s ‘Earth Hour’ in Sydney, cutting the central business district’s energy usage by more than 10 percent.

While no cities from China or India are involved this year, Stevens said it was hoped that the movement would expand in 2009, which he said would be a particularly significant year given that it is the deadline for United Nations talks to determine future action on climate change after the Kyoto Protocol.

Ridley, who began ‘Earth Hour’ last year while working with WWF Australia, said the initiative was about individuals and global companies joining together to own a shared problem — climate change.

“Governments and businesses are joining individuals, religious groups, schools and communities in this terrific movement that’s all about making a change for the better,” he said.

“It’s staggering to see so much support from across the globe in just our second year and we’re hoping that this will continue to grow year after year.”

Cities officially involved in ‘Earth Hour’ include Aalborg, Aarhus, Adelaide, Atlanta, Bangkok, Brisbane, Canberra, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Darwin, Dublin, Hobart, Manila, Melbourne, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Perth, Phoenix, San Francisco, Suva, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Vancouver.

Vladimir Putin’s last resting place – with Stalin

putin stalin

A drawing captures the grandeur of Moscow’s monolithic Federal Military Memorial Cemetery, Vladimir Putin’s corpse will be transported to the cemetery’s pantheon in an armoured personnel carrier

Telegraph | Mar 24, 2008

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow

Vladimir Putin is to fulfil an unrealised dream of Joseph Stalin’s by creating a grandiose state cemetery.

In a corner of northern Moscow bulldozers began churning the earth his week in a section of wasteland where Mr Putin and Stalin, the dictator he is said to revere, could one day be laid side by side.

The Federal Military Memorial Cemetery, its designers boast, will be Russia’s answer to America’s Arlington. Arguably the most ambitious architectural project undertaken since the fall of the Soviet Union, it remains to be seen whether the cemetery, due to be completed by 2010, will become the landmark the Kremlin hopes.

There is no doubt that the project encapsulates the Putin era, which officially ends on May 7, though the president is likely to remain Russia’s most powerful man in his new job as prime minister.

The cemetery will be a testament to extravagance, a piece of architectural monumentalism intended to reflect the glory of a resurgent Russia. For the critics, it is also a worrying sign of the Kremlin’s flirtation with its Communist past. The design marks a return to the style many assumed had gone with the end of the Soviet Union.

Drawings show that the 132 acre site will feature obelisks, golden statues of figures from Russia’s past and friezes of workers in heroic poses.

It is architecture from the era of heroic realism and a style of propaganda favoured by both Stalin and Hitler – a fact that has dismayed a dwindling number of liberal architects fighting the current trend of Soviet nostalgia.

The concept of a national cemetery was resurrected in the early 1990s by a state-owned body called Mosproject-4. The designer Alexander Taranin said he wanted to create a minimalistic cemetery that gave a quiet and honest reflection of Russia.

“We tried to show the difficult road the country has travelled while still being optimistic about the future,” he said.

The Yeltsin government ignored the project but the plans gained traction after Mr Putin came to power in 2000. But as the liberalism of the 1990s gave way to Putin’s authoritarianism, Mosproject-4 fell out of fashion. Russia’s generals felt that a Soviet theme would be fitting for the final resting place of Russia’s presidents and national heroes.

Mosproject was usurped by the Combine of Monumental Decorative Art, a turgid Soviet-era state institution that was again in the Kremlin’s favour.

Its chief architect, Sergei Goryaev, was only too happy to oblige the generals – even if it meant aping the neo-classical style of the past that had done so much to give Moscow its oppressive atmosphere.

“What is oppressive to you is solemn and glorious to us,” he said. “The Soviet empire’s style has many beautiful examples which are among the highlights of 20th century architecture anywhere.”

An updated funeral ceremony for heads of state is also being developed that restores some of the militaristic traditions of the past. When Mr Putin dies, his corpse will be transported to the cemetery’s pantheon in an armoured personnel carrier before being laid to rest, Mr Goryaev said.

He added that it was possible that leading figures from the Soviet era, such as Stalin, could be reburied in the cemetery.

It is possible that Lenin could be moved there as well.

Spy-in-the-sky drone sets sights on Miami

miami drone

Enhanced technology contains a threat of further erosion of privacy

Reuters | Mar 25, 2008

By Tom Brown

MIAMI (Reuters) – Miami police could soon be the first in the United States to use cutting-edge, spy-in-the-sky technology to beef up their fight against crime.

A small pilotless drone manufactured by Honeywell International (HON.N), capable of hovering and “staring” using electro-optic or infrared sensors, is expected to make its debut soon in the skies over the Florida Everglades.

If use of the drone wins Federal Aviation Administration approval after tests, the Miami-Dade Police Department will start flying the 14-pound (6.3 kg) drone over urban areas with an eye toward full-fledged employment in crime fighting.

“Our intentions are to use it only in tactical situations as an extra set of eyes,” said police department spokesman Juan Villalba.

“We intend to use this to benefit us in carrying out our mission,” he added, saying the wingless Honeywell aircraft, which fits into a backpack and is capable of vertical takeoff and landing, seems ideally suited for use by SWAT teams in hostage situations or dealing with “barricaded subjects.”

Miami-Dade police are not alone, however.

Taking their lead from the U.S. military, which has used drones in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, law enforcement agencies across the country have voiced a growing interest in using drones for domestic crime-fighting missions.

Known in the aerospace industry as UAVs, for unmanned aerial vehicles, drones have been under development for decades in the United States.

The CIA acknowledges that it developed a dragonfly-sized UAV known as the “Insectohopter” for laser-guided spy operations as long ago as the 1970s.

And other advanced work on robotic flyers has clearly been under way for quite some time.

“The FBI is experimenting with a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Marcus Thomas, an assistant director of the bureau’s Operational Technology Division.

“At this point they have been used mainly for search and rescue missions,” he added. “It certainly is an up-and-coming technology and the FBI is researching additional uses for UAVs.”


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been flying drones over the Arizona desert and southwest border with Mexico since 2006 and will soon deploy one in North Dakota to patrol the Canadian border as well.

This month, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Juan Munoz Torres said the agency would also begin test flights of a modified version of its large Predator B drones, built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, over the Gulf of Mexico.

Citing numerous safety concerns, the FAA — the government agency responsible for regulating civil aviation — has been slow in developing procedures for the use of UAVs by police departments.

“You don’t want one of these coming down on grandma’s windshield when she’s on her way to the grocery store,” said Doug Davis, the FAA’s program manager for unmanned aerial systems.

He acknowledged strong interest from law enforcement agencies in getting UAVs up and running, however, and said the smaller aircraft particularly were likely to have a “huge economic impact” over the next 10 years.

Getting clearance for police and other civilian agencies to fly can’t come soon enough for Billy Robinson, chief executive of Cyber Defense Systems Inc, a small start-up company in St. Petersburg, Florida. His company makes an 8-pound (3.6 kg) kite-sized UAV that was flown for a time by police in Palm Bay, Florida, and in other towns, before the FAA stepped in.

“We’ve had interest from dozens of law enforcement agencies,” said Robinson. “They (the FAA) are preventing a bunch of small companies such as ours from becoming profitable,” he said.

Some privacy advocates, however, say rules and ordinances need to be drafted to protect civil liberties during surveillance operations.

“There’s been controversies all around about putting up surveillance cameras in public areas,” said Howard Simon, Florida director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Technological developments can be used by law enforcement in a way that enhances public safety,” he said. “But every enhanced technology also contains a threat of further erosion of privacy.”

Police find more torture dungeons at Jersey children’s home


Police have found two more dungeons at the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home

Daily Mail | Mar 27, 2008

Two more torture chambers have been discovered at the Jersey care home where human remains were found last month.

It brings the number of dungeons discovered beneath the former care home to four.

Search teams have already excavated two chambers at Haut de la Garenne where shackles and a blood-spattered concrete bath were found beside a wooden beam bearing the haunting message, “I’ve been bad 4 years and years”.

Officers yesterday identified another two rooms with a similar layout hidden under the Victorian building.

Victims have described the cellars as “punishment rooms” where children were kept in solitary confinement, drugged, raped and flogged.

Senior investigating officer Lenny Harper said: “We have now established there are a further two rooms and we have received evidence from another victim over the last few days which tells of abuse in one of these.”

He said items been recovered from the first two rooms tended to corroborate victims’ claims of abuse.

The home was dubbed the House of Horrors after the remains of a child were found in a stairwell on February 23.


Jersey childrens home hunt uncovers two more ‘torture’ cellars

Daily Record | Mar 26, 2008

POLICE investigating abuse at a former children’s home in Jersey have found two more “torture chambers”.

The dungeons corroborate new allegations by former residents of physical and sexual abuse at Haut de la Garenne.

Forensic experts had already examined two other cellars where they found shackles and a cement bath with spots of blood on it.

There was also a haunting graffiti message: “I’ve been bad 4 years and years.”

Deputy police chief Lenny Harper said yesterday: “We have now established that there are a further two rooms, and we have received evidence from another victim over the last few days which tells of abuse in one of these two new rooms.

“A number of items have been recovered which tend to corroborate the statements of victims.”

More than 100 former residents have claimed they were physically and sexually abused at the home over four decades dating back to the 1960s.

The bricked-up cellars do not appear on any plans of the home, known locally as Colditz.

Police have been sieving rubble from the first two chambers, no more than 7ft high, for more than a month.

Author claims 24 years of mind-control by Rosicrucian cult

rose cross

Freeman Claims 24 Years of Remote Captivity by AMORC

PRNewswire | Mar 21, 2008

New Book Reveals Secret Indoctrination Techniques of Rosicrucian Order

NEW YORK, March 21 /PRNewswire/ — Pierre S. Freeman’s new book, “The Prisoner of San Jose,” exposes the invasive psychological methods of a secretive Rosicrucian cult based in Canada but with its American headquarters in San Jose, California. Not only does this book expose the shadowy world of the Rosicrucian order — with its secret vows, invisible Masters and omnipotent authority, but also it sheds light on a technique of mind control Freeman calls “Remote Indoctrination.”

The amazing story of Pierre S. Freeman’s enslavement by a mind control cult begins in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, where Freeman was pursuing an engineering degree at the Faculte des Sciences. At this point, a star pupil, Freeman was seduced by the promises of economic freedom offered by the occult and began to invest more time in the Rosicrucian lessons than in his own engineering studies. These teachings were mostly delivered through monographs, developed by Spencer H. Lewis in the early part of the twentieth century. The monographs promised spiritual and material success when followed deliberately. Through these methods, the so-called Ancient and Mystic Order of Rosae Crucis, commonly known as AMORC, would equip the student to face the world from an elevated spiritual perspective. By entering into these teachings, Freeman would encounter severe poverty, homelessness, loss of career, family and friends.

According to the book, “The Prisoner of San Jose,” the power of AMORC lay in its adherence to many mind control practices chronicled by experts like Stephen Hassan, author of “Combating Cult Mind Control” and Margaret Thaler Singer, now deceased, who wrote “Cults in Our Midst: the Hidden Menace in Our Everyday Lives.” Although Hassan and Singer’s cults were generally centers of highly aggressive in-your-face, person-to-person behavior, Pierre found, to his astonishment, the much less obvious techniques of remote indoctrination, practiced by AMORC, rendered the same kind of personality-altering conditions spoken of by both authors. Pierre found that understanding the conventional methods of cult indoctrination gave him the cues to uproot enough of his mental and emotional condition to reverse some of the psychological damage that led to his inability to let go of the cult and to allow him to begin to reverse engineer his psychological entrapment.

“The Prisoner of San Jose,” subtitled “How I Escaped From Rosicrucian Mind Control,” has been released this month by Wheatmark Publishing in Tucson, AZ. It is available online and at bookstores throughout the United States. Books published by Wheatmark are sold on,,,, and at the Wheatmark Bookstore at

For more information about “The Prisoner of San Jose,” visit

Media Contact Information:

Pierre Freeman: or call 1-520-798-0888. Mr. Freeman will be available for radio, television and print interviews.

Teacher Forces Student To Relieve Himself In His Lunchbox | March 14, 2008

ORLANDO — An Orange County student said his teacher made him go to the bathroom in a lunchbox.

Now the boy and his mother want answers.

Quonterius Thomas said Thursday afternoon he asked his Language Arts teacher, Shaneeka Chambers, at Meadowbrook Middle School if he could go to the bathroom.

She said he only had two options — wait until the end of class or go to the bathroom in his lunchbox.

Quonterius’ mother, Shameka Bryant, went to the school Friday morning to confront administrators. Principal Valeria Maxwell told News 13 and Bryant they are investigating the incident.

According to Maxwell, Chambers was not in school Friday because of a teacher’s conference.

“I’m very upset and I want this teacher here to come forward and stop hiding, and own up to what she has done,” said Bryant.

Bryant said she will be seeking legal counsel to advise her on what she and her son should do next.

Kids loaned out for elite pedophile rape cruises

jersey kid rape

This is a place where the authorities allowed 43-year-old convicted paedophile Roger Holland to stand for election as an honorary constable officer— similar to a special cop in the UK, but with more powers. | Mar 18, 2008

Paedophile yachtsmen were given children to abuse at sea

By Lucy Panton & Philip Whiteside

CHILDREN from the Jersey House of Horrors were loaned to rich paedophile yachtsmen as galley SEX SLAVES, a News of the World investigation reveals.

The youngsters were told by care staff the boat rides were treats—only to be assaulted and RAPED at sea by pervert toffs.

Details of the sick attacks emerged as we discovered even more blood has been found in a bath in the dungeon underneath the Haut de la Garenne home—and in the drains.

And our reporters have been told how builders on renovations at the home were urged by staff to BURN any bones they dug up.

We also uncover the full extent of the dark forces of corruption hampering the police investigation.

We can reveal worried cops feel under so much pressure over the abuse allegations they are preparing to BYPASS Jersey’s own legal system and hand their evidence to our government.

This could include files on up to seven social workers and carers who worked at the sinister home—including one nicknamed the ‘pinball wizard’ who HURLED kids against the walls to see how far they would BOUNCE.

At least two previous senior employees of children’s services on the island are also under investigation despite the attempts of corrupt former policemen, politicians and businessmen to scupper the inquiry.

We understand that two weeks ago Jersey ministers SECRETLY VOTED to have senior police investigator Lenny Harper removed from the case because they believed he was too open with the media. But the Chief of Police Graham Power refused.


A source told us: “Such important figures have been implicated in the cover-up of abuse on the island that the cops feel the evidence should now be passed to the British government

“The latest revelations are explosive. It is going to cause massive waves within the political and legal world and could bring the whole of Jersey’s infrastructure crashing down.”

One of the most serious lines of inquiry in the investigation is that children were regularly loaned to wealthy yachtsmen to “do with them what they chose for the day,” according to our source close to the investigation.

Haut de la Garenne staff described the trips as a treat for children who spent long hours cooped up at the home. But in reality the kids were subjected to the vilest sexual abuse on board the luxury boats.

Our source said: “The allegations about the yachting community have come in from a number of different people. It is a very strong line of inquiry and when the evidence is made public people will be horrified.”

Meanwhile about a dozen bones found at the home have been sent to a DNA lab to find out how old they are —yet some bone fragments were too burnt to be tested.

Police have taken statements from local builders who were told: “If you find bones, get rid of them or burn them.” New blood spots have been discovered in cracks in a concrete bath in the underground chamber and have also been sent for tests and sniffer dogs trained to find blood have found scents in the drains underneath.

Forensic officers are now focusing on the wooden trapdoor leading to a second torture cellar in a bid to extract DNA or fingerprints.

Our source said: “Detectives are doing everything they can to ensure every scrap of evidence is properly investigated. They are very aware that the home dates back to 1856 and some of these bones could be very old.

“This is going to be a long process but the officers have been presented with so many accounts of abuse and cover-ups it is crucial we get answers. People disclosing the abuse have been easy to ignore but finally they are getting a chance to be taken seriously.”

The horrors being uncovered at Haut de la Garenne have revealed a Jersey tourists have never seen.

Former abused care home residents claim what happened to them has been covered up by those in high office, desperate not to tarnish Jersey’s good name or risk politicians in London reducing their power over the tiny, but extremely wealthy, island.

Although Jersey is part of the British Isles and under the Queen’s rule, it has a separate government system dating back to King John’s reign, and makes its own rules and laws.

Jersey’s 53-member parliament has no political parties. Its politicians, judges, policemen and business leaders come from a small elite—often linked by friendship or family.

The island’s equivalent of our Commons Speaker is also its top judge—so the system of checks and balances between politics and the law we have in the UK is almost non-existent.

This is a place where the authorities allowed 43-year-old convicted paedophile Roger Holland to stand for election as an honorary constable officer— similar to a special cop in the UK, but with more powers. They knew that six years earlier he had indecently assaulted a mentally impaired 14-year-old girl and admitted molesting another girl. But he got the job and in 1997 rose to become vingtenier—the second most senior cop on the island’s volunteer force.

In 2001 he was jailed for indecently assaulting a young girl in the back of a police van.

“Jersey has for too long been a law unto itself—it is time the truth came out,” says our source.

Among those fighting for that is ex-health minister Senator Stuart Syvret, who resigned over the cover-up and has given statements to police claiming two senior legal figures were involved in the abuse.

Mr Syvret said: “I have given formal statements to the police concerning a number of establishment individuals. Officers I have spoken to are from a force external to Jersey police at the request of Jersey police.” Solicitor Nick le Cornu is also demanding change. “Jersey’s political class have for 60 years been ignoring and covering up poverty and injustice,” he claimed.

Police investigator Lenny Harper, an outsider from Northern Ireland, was the target of a hate campaign— including threats to torch his house —after a string of cops were sacked for corruption. Colleagues say Harper, 56, laughed it off, saying: “I had the IRA on my tail for years—so a few disgruntled people are not going to deter me from doing my job.”

Now he’s facing the biggest test of his career—on the island of fear.


More bones found at children’s home in abuse investigation

Virtual child passes mental milestone | Mar 18, 2008

by Celeste Biever

A virtual child controlled by artificially intelligent software has passed a cognitive test regarded as a major milestone in human development. It could lead to smarter computer games able to predict human players’ state of mind.

Children typically master the “false belief test” at age 4 or 5. It tests their ability to realise that the beliefs of others can differ from their own, and from reality.

The creators of the new character – which they called Eddie – say passing the test shows it can reason about the beliefs of others, using a rudimentary “theory of mind”.

“Today’s characters have no genuine autonomy or mental picture of who you are,” researcher Selmer Bringsjord of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, told New Scientist.

He aims to change that with future games and virtual worlds populated by genuinely intelligent computer characters able to predict and understand players actions and motives.

Bringsjord’s colleague Andrew Shilliday adds that their work will have applications outside of gaming. For example, search engines able to reason about the beliefs of a user might allow them to better understand their search queries.

False Beliefs

In real life, the “false belief test” is used by psychologists to help diagnose disorders such as autism. The subject is shown a scene in which a child puts an object in a drawer and leaves the room. While out of sight, the child’s mother moves the object somewhere else.

Unable to see the world through the eyes of others, young children – and some people with autism – taking the test predict that the child will look for the object in the place his mother left it. Only at 4 or 5 years old can they understand that the child falsely believes the object is still in the drawer.

Bringsjord’s team set up a similar scenario inside the virtual world Second Life. A video shows their character, Eddie, taking and passing the test (15 MB, .mov format).

Two avatars controlled by humans stand with Eddie next to one red and one green suitcase. One human avatar then leaves and while they are gone the remaining human avatar moves the gun from the red suitcase into the green one.

Eddie is then asked where the character that left would look for the gun. The AI software correctly realises they will look in the red suitcase.

Simple logic

Eddie’s software maintains a database of facts that is constantly updated, for example, the location of the gun. The reasoning engine uses these facts to make sense of situations.

Eddie can pass the test thanks to a simple logical statement added to the reasoning engine: if someone sees something, they know it and if they don’t see it, they don’t. The program can reason correctly that an avatar will not know the gun has moved unless it was there to see it.

An “immature” version of Eddie without the extra piece of logic cannot pass the test.

John Laird, a researcher in computer games and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is not overly impressed. “It’s not that challenging to get an AI system to do theory of mind,” he says.

‘Necessary step’

He points out that last year, Cynthia Breazeal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab programmed that ability into a physical robot called Leonardo. A video shows the robot passing the test.

More impressive demonstration, says Laird, would be a character, initially unable to pass the test, that learned how to do so – just as humans do.

But Bringsjord points out his is the first computer character to achieve theory of mind, something necessary if characters are to become smarter, better opponents and collaborators. His team are now attempting to make characters that can lie, which also requires reasoning about other people’s mental states.

Shilliday presented the work on Sunday 2 March at the first conference on Artificial General Intelligence in Memphis, Tennessee, US.

Report predicts 10 million baby boomers will have Alzheimer’s

The Gazette | Mar 18, 2008

By Cindy Hadish

In about the time it takes to toast your bread, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. By mid-century that time will be cut by more than half.

A report released Tuesday shows an estimated 10 million baby boomers — one out of eight — will develop the progressive brain disorder.

Up to 5.2 million Americans have the disease.

“It’s not an aging issue,” said Kelly Hauer, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association East Central Iowa Chapter. “It’s a public health issue.”

In just two years, Iowa’s population of Alzheimer’s patients is predicted to grow from 65,000 to 69,000, according to the report, issued by the Alzheimer’s Association.

With 70 percent of Alzheimer’s patients living at home, the disease touches not only those afflicted, but their families and caregivers.

Last year, 95,733 Iowa caregivers provided more than 82 million hours of unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, valued at $874 million.

“It’s a tough job,” said Kathy Good, 61, of Cedar Rapids, whose husband, David Good, also 61, developed early onset Alzheimer’s at age 56.

A district court judge, David Good lost even simple abilities, such as finding the right word for “toothbrush.”

Kathy Good considers the couple lucky. Friends take her husband out to lunch or the YMCA. She has some flexibility in her job as a social worker. They have financial stability.

That’s not the same for everyone.

A bill in the Iowa Legislature would address the needs of Iowans living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Senate File 2341 calls for a county-by-county review to determine services and future needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and address availability of caregiver services.

Another component of the bill addresses training for people who work in care facilities and those who care for an Alzheimer’s patient at home.

Tuesday’s report showed:

l Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death nationwide and the fifth-leading cause of death for those over age 65.

l Every 71 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease; by midcentury someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

l By 2010, almost one-half million new cases of Alzheimer’s will occur annually; by 2050, there will be almost 1 million new cases each year.

l Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease (17 percent vs. 9 percent) basically because women live longer.

l One in six women and one in 10 men age 55 and older can expect to develop Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime.

Hauer said death rates from diseases such as stroke and breast cancer are declining as research money goes toward finding treatments and cures, but Alzheimer’s deaths continue an upward trend.

“We’ve got a disease that doesn’t have a cure,” she said. “With our graying state … now is the time to develop an effective blueprint to deal with this disease.”


Alzheimer’s cases may quadruple by 2050

Creepy DARPA-funded quadruped army robot straight out of scifi

Boston Dynamics Releases New BigDog Footage

Four-legged robot walks on any terrain with a shockingly creepy gait. | Mar 17, 2008

by Gerry Block

March 17, 2008 – From an enthusiast’s point of view, the Japanese and Koreans have seemed to dominate the modern robotics field in recent times. Honda’s ASIMO is world famous, both for walking up, and falling down, flights of stairs, and both nations have displayed the results of highly active academic programs tasked with building increasingly lifelike robots designed to help the elderly and teach children in schools. Such programs are great for public relations, and are key to easing the public’s fears of a future in which robots will be ubiquitous and in constant interaction with humans.

America isn’t ignoring the developing robotics revolution, but as one might guess, our creations aren’t the type that’ll be playing with toddlers and finding the TV remote for grandma. Indeed, ours are being designed for fields quite removed from playgrounds, which is to say, the fields of battle. DARPA has been leveraging a serious budget to develop a wide range of technologies that will become part of the Army’s Future Combat System, and today, new footage of the product of a $10-million R&D grant and some genius engineering by Boston Dynamics has been released.

The company’s BigDog robot is a quadruped platform designed to help ground infantry cover longer distances by carrying a stockpile of their gear, thereby lightening the 60- to 90-pound loads soldiers currently carry on their backs. What makes the BigDog unique, and also quite frightening, is Boston Dynamic’s application of biologically-inspired movement, balance, and obstacle avoidance systems that, working together, make the BigDog appear horrifying lifelike as it walks over just about any terrain a human on foot could potentially tackle.

Nothing, it would seem, can unbalance the BigDog, be it a solid kick to the side or a slippery patch of ice or snow. The mannerisms of the BigDog AI’s movements in stumbling and then recovering could well be those of a deer’s natural instincts, which is a pretty serious advance in relation to the usual robot attitude of falling over and then continuing to try to walk why lying face down.

The newest BigDog prototype shown in the video is significantly improved over previous versions and is now capable of carrying up to 340-pounds of equipment. The bot has also gained the ability to jump, which is also pretty scary looking. There’s no word on when final products could be fielded, but some Future Combat Systems are expected to enter service as early as 2012. We expect a Fox special, “When Good BigDogs Go Bad” shortly thereafter, followed by the Great Robot Wars of 2023.


Future Combat Systems

Future Combat Systems (FCS) is the Army’s modernization program consisting of a family of manned and unmanned systems, connected by a common network, that enables the modular force, providing our Soldiers and leaders with leading-edge technologies and capabilities allowing them to dominate in complex environments.