2020

Documenting the future leaking into the present.
Contributing Authors

This is big in the Grinder community. Most people start off by implanting magnets in their fingertips, which gives you the ability to feel magnetic fields. Your fingertips have lots of nerve endings jammed into one area and they are really sensitive to stimuli. Magnets twitch or move in the presence of magnetic fields, and when you implant one in your finger you can really start to feel different magnetic fields around you. So it is like a sixth sense. At first you will be waving your hand around appliances, probing fields like someone looking for a light switch in the dark. After a few days or weeks you will almost forget you have the implant because your brain has fully incorporated the sense into your normal world experience. When you sleep you will notice that even your dreams have changed to include the sense. You can now perceive an otherwise invisible world.

This makes many curious about all of the other things happening around them that they can’t see and they want more. So let’s expand on the magnet thing. We can buy all kinds of different sensors to detect heat, radiation, radio signals, wifi, whatever you want. If we wrap a wire around our implanted finger and attach that wire to our new sensor, we find that the wire creates a small magnetic field to the beat of the sensor. This of course makes our magnet twitch, and now we can feel heat from a distance, feel wifi, or whatever.

Why limit ourselves to feeling these sensations? We have other senses we can induce synesthesia in. I got some media attention in June of 2013 after I implanted headphones in my tragus to do just that. I had some practical reasons for doing this in addition to my thirst for exploration. A few years earlier I suddenly became legally blind in one eye. Lenses cannot correct it and my original eye doctor informed me that the other eye was likely to follow, at which point I would be legally blind, lose my job, etc. With this inevitability in mind I decided to be proactive. Ultrasonic rangefinders are devices used to determine how far away an object is. I knew that most blind people find acoustic variations help them identify the proximity of objects, so I figured I might be able to amplify this by converting rangefinder data into audio I could send wirelessly to my headphone implants. It turned out to be much more complicated than I thought, but that is a part of Grinding that I have come to appreciate. My setbacks lead me deeper into the rabbit hole of audiology where I discovered knowledge that has unlocked a thousand more possibilities.

I’d say that 25% of the people I talk to about sensory enhancement think it’s really cool and some go get implants themselves. The other 75% will nod their head and hope the conversation ends or they laugh and ask “why would anyone want to feel magnetic fields?” I get asked that question so much, and I still find it hard to articulate. They usually point out that “you don’t need it,” to which I counter “what if you lost the ability to taste? You don’t really need it to survive.” Ask anyone with an implant how they would feel if they lost the implant, and almost all of them will tell you they would miss it. A small bit of richness would be missing from their life experience.

Visible light is but a tiny portion of the greater magnetic spectrum that we cannot see. If we modeled the entire spectrum as a road stretching from LA to New York, the amount of visible light that humans can see would equal a few nanometers. Humans, from our allegorical caves, have nonetheless managed to form and test theories about things at the edges of perception but these discoveries took thousands of years. Where would humans be now technologically if we never developed sight? How long would it take us to theorize the existence of the aurora borealis or to hypothesize about the existence of stars? This reduction of input obviously cripples the rate of input.

So is the opposite true? Would expanding our senses accelerate our advancement? My answer is yes. Some Grinder friends of mine formed a team called Science for the Masses to discover if they could biologically push human perception of visible light into the near-infrared spectrum. This is a small increase, around 6% above our current abilities. The impact is dramatic. The new light allows you to see through fog and haze, tinted windows, and some clothing. Stars can be seen during day hours. Subtle changes in blood flow can be seen under the skin, allowing anyone to detect circulation problems and find clots. Seeing blood flow takes some of the guesswork out of determining what mood your date is in and lying becomes nearly impossible. Imagine how this awareness would have altered human history, politics, art, courtship, and relationships. Does human psychology benefit in a world where sincerity and emotional context can be seen with the naked eye rather than hypothesized or conjured? The new layers of info I’ve detailed above are actually just the tip of the iceberg. The real magic of sensory expansion comes from finding deviations and surprises that don’t fit within our scientific understanding because it makes us reconcile our mental models of the world with reality.

Zoltan Istvan interviews Rich Lee, http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/istvan20140708 (via grinderbot)

(via kenyatta)

(via kenyatta)

South Africa-based Desert Wolf is marketing the device as a “riot control copter” that can tackle crowds “without endangering the lives of security staff.”

Desert Wolf’s website states that its Skunk octacopter drone is fitted with four high-capacity paintball barrels, each capable of firing up to 20 bullets per second.

In addition to pepper-spray ammunition, the firm says it can also be armed with dye-marker balls and solid plastic balls.

The machine can carry up to 4,000 bullets at a time as well as “blinding lasers” and on-board speakers that can communicate warnings to a crowd.

(via BBC News - African firm is selling pepper-spray bullet firing drones)

azspot:

For years, Ramakrishnan, a professor at Virginia Tech, and his team have been sifting through tweets, blog posts, and news articles about Latin America, keeping a close eye on events in ten countries, including Venezuela. These past couple of months have been no different. But Ramakrishnan and his colleagues haven’t been bent over newspapers or straining their eyes scanning streams of tweets. Rather, they were monitoring the dashboard of EMBERS, their computer program that draws on tweets, news articles, and more to predict the future.

(via danielmiessler.com)

(via kenyatta)

Call it the “IMSI catcher” war, with the acronym standing for International Mobile Subscriber Identity. Every device that communicates with a cell tower—mobile phone, smartphone or tablet—has one. What StingRay (manufactured by Florida-based Harris Corp.) and its competitors do is act like a cellphone tower, drawing the unique IMSI signals into their grasp. Once the device is locked onto a signal, the quarry’s data is ripe for the plucking. Major targets include people working for U.S. national security agencies, defense contractors and officials, including members of such congressional panels as the armed services and intelligence committees.

“This type of technology has been used in the past by foreign intelligence agencies here and abroad to target Americans, both [in the] U.S. government and corporations,” former FBI deputy director Tim Murphy tells Newsweek. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re using it.”

Mike Janke, a former Navy SEAL and co-founder of Silent Circle, a company that sells state-of-the-art encryption software, says, “Defense firms in the Washington, D.C. area have found IMSI catchers attached to the light poles in their parking lots. In February, one or two were found in the parking lot of a defense contractor near Washington.”

He adds, “They’ve also been found in Palo Alto,” the capital of Silicon Valley. “The FBI has been called in, but you can’t track who has made it.”

kenyatta:

Skybox Can Predict iPhone Launch Using Satellite Imagery - Mac Rumors

The Wall Street Journal profiles one of Google’s recent acquisitions which has implications on mapping, competitive intelligence and even privacy. Skybox Imaging is an intelligence company that by the year 2018 will be able to take satellite imaging to the next level:

By the time its entire fleet of 24 satellites has launched in 2018, Skybox will be imaging the entire Earth at a resolution sufficient to capture, for example, real-time video of cars driving down the highway. And it will be doing it three times a day.

The ability to take such frequent imaging will certainly aid Google’s Maps product, but it also opens up a market for competitive intelligence. Skybox says they are already looking at Foxconn every week and are able to pinpoint the next iPhone release based on the density of trucks outside their manufacturing facilities.