Monthly Archives: August 2008
“The Republicans can’t seem to get a break when it comes to August and when it comes to the weather,” said Rove, a FOX News analyst. “I know this is being thought a lot about in Washington and at the White House and discussed and I suspect they will monitor it carefully and figure out what to do.”
Goddamn, these stupid hurricanes! Here Katrina went and fucked up Bush’s vacation and McCain’s birthday last time! Now Gustave and Hana look to cause more…inconveniences. What’s the deal here?
Why does God hate America?
There comes a defining moment in every presidential campaign where a candidate says something not only profoundly stupid and tin-eared but indicative of who they really are, which, for their opponent, is the political equivalent of a flat, slow pitch dead center over the plate. The kind your wood cracks so solidly that the thwack can be heard across the stadium, and the cover peels from the ball, and one long string unravels and floats down over the back wall, followed by the yowp! of a falling pigeon, which hits the ground with a stomach-churning shlupping sound, bounces, then gets run over by a garbage truck in front of a troop of Girl Scouts who have just emerged from a field trip to a petting zoo.
This is called a “gaffe.”
An example of this would be if, at the height of the current mortgage crisis, when people are literally fighting to keep their homes, one of the candidates, perhaps an older man, pressed to answer how many homes he owns, fumbles, can’t remember, and tells the reporter to check with his staff for the exact number. This means the candidate not only is richer than anyone you probably know but is so unconcerned with his economic status that he can’t bother to keep track of these things. That or he’s senile…take you pick. And that’s exactly what happened to John McCain today:
For the record, the answer is: ten.
In other words: Hey! You kids! Get offa my lawns!
…I thought about it, and I’ve decided I won’t accept Obama’s invitation to serve as VP. I know I should have told him directly, but, shit, I’m busy, man. Why? It would totally screw up Halloween. No way.
I mean, you gotta keep a certain perspective.
So, uh, I wrote this weird play called “Farmhouse” where one of the characters is a soldier who’s had his mind all twisted around with psychedelic drugs and may be fighting with cyborgs and is getting his brain scanned and soldiers are fighting psychic wars and…pretty crazy stuff, eh?
Ah. Then I ran across the following article today.
I think I’m afraid.
Future wars ‘to be fought with mind drugs’ Future wars could see opponents attacking each other’s minds, according to a report for the US military.
By Jon Swaine
Last Updated: 6:22PM BST 14 Aug 2008
It is thought that some US soldiers are already taking drugs prescribed for narcolepsy in an attempt to combat fatigue Photo: EPA
Landmines releasing brain-altering chemicals, scanners reading soldiers’ minds and devices boosting eyesight and hearing could all one figure in arsenals, suggests the study.
Sophisticated drugs, designed for dementia patients but also allowing troops to stay awake and alert for several days are expected to be developed, according to the report. It is thought that some US soldiers are already taking drugs prescribed for narcolepsy in an attempt to combat fatigue.
As well as those physically and mentally boosting one’s own troops, substances could also be developed to deplete an opponents’ forces, it says.
“How can we disrupt the enemy’s motivation to fight?” It asks. “Is there a way to make the enemy obey our commands?” Research shows that “drugs can be utilized to achieve abnormal, diseased, or disordered psychology” among one’s enemy, it concludes.
Research is particularly encouraging in the area of functional neuroimaging, or understanding the relationships between brain activity and actions, the report says, raising hopes that scanners able to read the intentions or memories of soldiers could soon be developed.
Some military chiefs and law enforcement officials hope that a new generation of polygraphs, or lie detectors, which spot lie-telling by observing changes in brain activity, can be built.
“Pharmacological landmines,” which release drugs to incapacitate soldiers upon their contact with them, could also be developed, according to the report’s authors.
The report, which was commissioned by the Defense Intelligence Agency, contained the work of scientists asked to examine how better understanding of how the human mind works was likely to affect the development of technology.
It finds that “great progress has been made” in neuroscience over the last decade, and that continuing advances offered the prospect of a dramatic impact on military equipment and the way in which wars are fought.
It also explains that the concept of torture could be transformed in the future. “It is possible that some day there could be a technique developed to extract information from a prisoner that does not have any lasting side effects,” it states. One technique being developed involves the delivery of electrical pulses into a suspect’s brain and delay their ability to lie by interfering with its neurons.
Research into “distributed human-machine systems”, including robots and military hardware controlled by an operator’s mind, is another particular area for optimism among researchers, according to the report. It says significant progress has already been made and that prospects for use of the field are “limited only by the creative imagination.”
Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist and the author of ‘Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense’, said “It’s too early to know which, if any, of these technologies is going to be practical. But it’s important for us to get ahead of the curve. Soldiers are always on the cutting edge of new technologies.”
Jesus. The first draft of the new play is finished. How the hell did that happen? At some point, it just took off like a rocket, and it was all I could do to keep up with it.
The working title is still “A Great Fear of Falling” but I’m not quite satisfied with that. In the vernacular of the play, I caint be satisfied. It’s a weird sucker. Not that my plays usually aren’t, but this one’s…a weird sucker. And it involves my long unrequited love with music (the blues, in this case).
Will it work? Damned if I know. I’m just riding the buzz right now, and that’s good enough. As Hemingway said: a place you’ll never know. (Unless you’re a writer, of course.)