APC Consultants, Inc.
Control Systems and Asteroid Deflection
Created: 1998 Renovated: November 2016 Revised: April 6, 2017
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Copyright © 2017 by John G. Hackett. All Rights Reserved.
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I am always interested in modest-sized projects related to control systems or other unusual problem-solving projects such as simulations,
model systems, complex systems analysis, failure analysis, or other high-creativity / high-degree-of-abstraction challenges.
For past versions of this web site, or its pre-2016 predecessor "www.apcconsultants.com", visit Archive.org
"John, six engineers over five years have tried to make this system work right - you came in and asked for ten weeks, we gave you six. The betting here was 10 to 1 against you... And you did it!" (Packaging/ Maintenance Supervisor, Second Shift)
"Before you came in this system was working at 40% - now its 90%! Overall the system is great! We sure miss you!" (Packaging/Maintenance Supervisor, First Shift)
"Your programming skills are excellent. You have some very good ideas and concepts that made the system run much better. Your training and involvement of people into the design stage are excellent. You are very dedicated to your work." (Director Electrical Engineering)
"John - You have built us an excellent system. I look forward to your reprogramming our other pallet transfer car system and MMI." (Plant Production Manager)
Control Systems Experience
This 1997 Pallet Transfer Car (TCAR) System for Strohs was my most challenging project ever, both because of its complexity and the ridiculously short development time – six weeks! – although I gained an extra week on site as the plant wasn't quite ready for me. Including the week of startup, everything you see on the TCP Smartscreen display and ALL of the Modicon 984 ladder logic (including the small 984 on the TCAR itself) was programmed by me in 8 weeks! I was at the top of my game then, using tools of that era optimized for ease of use on the plant floor. Today it would take an experienced team a minimum of 24 man-weeks to match this, if they could do it at all – five previous attempts had failed to make any progress (the key was to start from scratch). The company that originally sold and installed this system five years earlier went out of business as a result – because it was so difficult to code. You have to 'rise above' simple ladder logic rungs and use more advanced code structures.
The TCAR picked up four pallets, two at a time, and carried them leftward to the wrapping machine, whose control boundaries are outlined in cyan. I then took the pallets from wrapper to the fork truck pickup que. A photo-eye detected when the fork truck was removing pallets. Note the dark blue future
expansion plan for 'Line-0' and a second wrapping line. Strohs was sold about a year after this photo was taken, and the plant closed.
This 640x480 VGA Smartscreen display was the most densely packed I had ever created, as this both provided for everything-at-a-glance and minimized page changing latencies of many seconds – its maximum data rate was 19.2KB. Nevertheless, as a robust ROM and two-megabyte static-RAM based machine (~30 pages this dense), it was arguably one of the finest MMI / HMI devices of its day, requiring only about 25% of the total project man-hours, making it quite feasible for one (1) controls programmer to take on both the MMI / HMI and control logic responsibilities. As plant floor automation moved to PCs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the cost of plant floor automation increased with the complexity and fragility of their operating systems – since this increased engineering/IT development and support man-hours. In contrast, a Modicon 984 and TCP Smartscreen were more along the lines of 'install and forget'. As plant floor automation became an IT profit center, it also became another reason for the increased outsourcing of manufacturing from the U.S.
Note the festoon cabling system providing power and Modbus-Plus (1.5 Mbps) communications to the TCAR.
This 1996 Case Conveyance System was also one of my favorite challenges. If you have never attempted a case or pallet transport control system, you can't imagine how many things can go wrong with the items you are trying to move. They can get hung-up, twisted, jammed, flaps pop open, you name it!
There were three lines transporting briefcase-sized cardboard boxes (cases) from the bagging machines (upper left) to the unitizer (right-center). The long runs of powered conveyors allowed for surge capacity as the baggers needed to run continuously if possible, rather than start and stop. The cases first pass through a case sealer (CS) to glue the top flaps down. Numerous photo-eyes (3x3 pixels) looked for side- and end-flap problems, which was tricker than you might think. Cases can't move to the next conveyor until it can accept them. The three conveyors at the lower right would accumulate enough cases to make at least one pallet load, and when the unitizer said it was ready, it would count out and deliver the correct number of them (note the 'Released' grouping at the lower center). Jammed cases had to be detected promptly or boxes would rain down from the conveyors. The tiny 3x5 pixel 'E' in a frame
represents the E-Stop switches located at key locations along the conveyance system, so large that it spanned two buildings.
The development lab below was my office for about three months. The 'I/O flow' charts showed the hardwired input/output references for each and every item of equipment, motor, photo-eye, brake, switch and handshake line in the system. It's a critically important tool for a control programmer – as is highly disciplined organization. In my experience, most programmers who lose control of their code do so because at some midpoint in the project the system becomes more complex than what they can track without excellent documentation.
We spent about two months starting up and perfecting everything in the field.
Final Project Documentation: A critical aspect of post-project completion is final documentation. I prefer my own 'hardcover style' as it represents a snapshot of the project 'as built'. It is otherwise difficult-to-impossible to communicate the intricacies of a complex system to future support personnel charged with maintaining its operation. In addition to a Table of Contents there is a very detailed manually-created index. I would also include photos of all MMI / HMI screens and photos of equipment
whose control envolved difficult or tricky aspects. Additionally, I would mark up the ladder logic printouts by hand (the only way to really do it), as otherwise the printouts presented the 'what', but not the 'why'. Understanding both the 'why' and the structure organization of the code is fundamentally necessary to maintaining its operation.
Future changes to the control code could be noted directly in the book, if minor, or in a companion three-ring binder.
The video at left is a 6-minute clip from my Professional Video Abstract. If you have ever written code for any motion control systems, you will understand how difficult this project was. Below is a Modicon ladder logic printout (3" thick) for the primary 984. The handwritten notes (in red) were critical to communicating the flow of logic. The client declined any further documentation, probably anticipating the sale of the company.
The HNT Protocol is based around a relatively simple control system. It's purpose is to prevent the deaths of 100,000 to 500,000 innocent civilians (depending on bomb yield and population density) during a nuclear terrorist attack by providing an alternative to simple 'detonate without warning' scenarios. The most likely targets would be New York, London, or another densely populated western city. While at first glance it might seem counterintuitive for terrorists to be concerned about saving lives, it must be remembered that their goal is policy change. Creating a million evacuees that have to be relocated, fed, and sheltered competently is government's worst nightmare (similar to Hurricane Katrina). Furthermore, by limiting the damage to just property and economics disruption, they reduce the probability of unbounded retaliation. It would be very difficult for any civilized nation to obliterate millions of innocent civilian lives elsewhere when every effort was made to spare the lives of their own people.
Terrorists may have high confidence that their bomb will detonate – yet still offer a city's population and hospitals a week (or longer) to evacuate – in a relatively calm, orderly manner, with food and water. Concrete and steel can be replaced – but not the lives of innocent people. At the very least, the world would know that any loss of life was a deliberate choice -- deliberate over and above the decision to destroy a given city. This constrains those who would use such weapons.
May 15, 2001
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS...
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
The final elements of the 'Humane Nuclear Terrorism' (HNT) methodology referenced above (and first introduced to you in January 2000) have been essentially completed in recent weeks*. After reading in late January 2001 that Iraq probably had completed the construction of two fission bombs, I wrote to President Bush to ask if I should expedite the publication of this paper. As of this date there has been no reply, although I remain hopeful that one will arrive. I have also recently requested legal advice as to whether or not the publication of HNT without its having being requested by the United States Government might trigger criminal or civil persecution, but again, there has been no reply.
I am reasonable confident that should publication of HNT be in fact requested of me by the United States Government, that no legal persecution can then occur. I regret that HNT publication must be postponed while these issues are sorted out. Those nations with an interest in this matter may wish to request of the United States that they explicitly request HNT publication. I would welcome your advice.
Simplified Introduction to HNT:
The basic concept behind HNT is this: If a Nuclear Attack Team succeeds in placing an atomic bomb within a target city, they may certainly detonate it either without warning, or at will. Given this fact, the targeted nation implicitly agrees to leave any self-revealed HNT Attack Team alone and they in turn implicitly agree to allow a week (or more) for the target city to be evacuated. The inhabitants can leave in an orderly fashion with food, water, and some possessions. Minutes before detonation the Attack Team withdraws to a safe location. There is 'Zero Loss of Life' (ZLOL) -- no dead or hideously burned and dying women, children, and babies. I should mention at this juncture that I consider the probability that one or more nuclear attacks on cities will in fact occur during the next 50 years to be 50%, due to the ever-broadening possession of nuclear weapons by highly motivated interests embroiled in fundamental and never-ending political, economic, and religious conflicts. (As an aside, I was relieved that the final religious holidays of our past millennium passed without a nuclear incident.)
[Three-to-six] months would be required to plan, build, test, and deploy the HNT methodology.
HNT discusses some possible solutions to the following issues, among others:
1) Selecting Attack Team personnel.
2) "First hour" HNT recognition by the targeted nation.
3) How to minimize the risk of a premature detonation through an accidental Attack Team lapse.
4) How to prevent an HNT nuclear attack team's bomb from being taken from them by ground forces.
5) How to prevent a single Attack Team member's surrender from altering the outcome.
6) How to prevent the Attack Team's bomb from being destroyed by conventional explosives, artillery shells, or missiles.
7) How to prevent the Attack Team's bomb from being force-fizzled by a nearby small Tactical Nuclear Weapon.
8) How to protect the Attack Team from the detonation.
Without the high level of confidence provided by the HNT concept (as a starting point), an attacking nation would never exert the extra effort needed to [design and] employ it. They would simply detonate their atomic bomb without warning. Under some circumstances the death toll could exceed 100,000 men, women, and children. Since there are some high-probability targets within the United States, these may be American lives.
If and when the United States Government requests publication, HNT on CD-R will be available without cost to any member nation of the United Nations that wishes a copy.
John G. Hackett, Private U.S. Citizen
P.S. Neither this web site nor this research is sponsored by or associated with the United States Government in any way.
P.S.S. I respect all religions. My own religious perspective is presented at: www.Gestationism.com. It is admittedly a work-in-progress and a daunting task.
*A few preliminary aspects of this methodology were placed on my PC over a year ago, but most remains unrecorded.
As of this date: There has been absolutely no communication or contact of ANY kind from or with ANYONE regarding HNT. Not from the UN. Not from the U.S. Government. Also, I will accept no payment of any kind with respect to HNT publication. I am WAITING ONLY for the request of the U.S. Government to publish...
The Humane Nuclear Terrorism (HNT) Protocol
HNT Placard to be displayed on or near the bomb vehicle. The central symbol of the placard shows two Attack Team members holding dead-man switches ('two' to avoid accidental detonation). The remainder of the placard suggests that people should evacuate, and how much time they have to do it.
This placard is a critical aspect of 'first hour' HNT recognition so that law enforcement and SWAT teams understand that any attempt to storm the Attack Team's locale would have dire consequences. In fact, once the nature of the situation is recognized, the task of law enforcement will be to protect the Attack Team at all cost, from a discrete distance. It may be assumed that any attempt to seize control of the bomb will be postponed until the local civilian population has been evacuated, in which case the HNT Protocol has already accomplished 99.9% of its mission.
It should be clear that the HNT Protocol does not make any attack more likely, as any Attack Team will already have accepted the risk of detonation-without-warning during the transportation and final placement of their vehicle.
The Attack Team should provide a microscopic metallurgical sample of the fissionable material, and provide photos and/or videos of the bomb's installation within the vehicle to assure the authorities that this attack is not a bluff. If practical, the Attack Team should permit one nuclear specialist to visually inspect and radiologically record the bomb's radiation signature to establish that it is real.
The outline at right is very general and I have made no attempt to record – anywhere – the finer points of the protocol. As things stand now (November 8, 2016), when I die I think it likely that the HNT Protocol will die with me. That eventuality is for the President to choose or to avoid – my conscience is clear.
Asteroid Deflection by Plasma-Ejecta Impulse Rocket (PEIR)
Professional Abstract & Project References Collage
Here are a few other project photos showing my diverse range of control systems experience.
Keep in mind the HMI interface programming represented only 25% of the project effort. The Modicon PLC logic controlling all of the equipment shown was 75% of the effort.
Extruder Lab Development
Station. I was able to implement a successful extruder auto-start process
Radiology Jacket Tracking System
for a 700-Bed Hospital
Grain and Flour
Unloading and Cleaning System
My HMI and Control Logic Lab
for a new Breakfast Cereal Plant
A small portion of the 1000 I/O points
that I was responsible for on one project
Dryer Control and Charting
Award for creating the functional specifications for a latency-
minimizing exception-driven serial multiplexer and the
corresponding Modicon control logic
2004-0312: The Crossroads "Baker" underwater test at Bikini Atoll, 90 feet below the surface, is a reasonable model for FP devices impacting an asteroid - although rock has five times the density of water. The "Plasma-Ejecta" impulse is clearly evident. About ten such impulses, ejecting more than 40,000 tons of rock (reaction mass) in total, would be needed to slightly alter the orbit of a small asteroid. The underwater detonation is about 100 feet in diameter.
South County Times, Volume 53, No. 39, Jan. 28 - Feb. 3, 2000. This article by Kevin Murphy featured my FP-4 design.
March 1, 2000 presentation of the Plasma-Ejecta Impulse Rocket (PEIR) concept using FP's to the Sunset Hills Rotary International Club.
The original FP-2 design and functional illustration.
The FP-4 Design (left) as printed in the South County Times newspaper (above) is likely the first ever DIS-assembly fission device. Both the yield and physical size may be quite small, as low as 1/10th kiloton (200,000 pounds of TNT). Launch weight (mass) could easily be far more important than yield. Note that if even just one of the three FPs (of any design) impacts and survives to detonate, the Plasma-Ejecta Impulse will still be quite robust.
The excellent DVD Trinity and Beyond shows this government photo (below) of a test reference explosion of 100 tons – 1/10th kiloton – of TNT. That same explosive energy is contained in the size of a large soup can in FP-4. The massive energy density and impact tolerance of fissionable materials are needed for asteroid deflection.
My cautious inquiries to the U.S. Government (right) produced no interest or concern. In light of this, my attorneys gave a green light for publication.
Improving yield as a mechanism to increase plasma-ejecta velocity is the purpose of my EMP DT-Advancer Module (left). I thought of it after reading about EMP artillery shells which – obviously – must be rugged enough to withstand enormous acceleration forces when fired (on the order of 15,000 g's), which makes them impact tolerant as well. The concept is that by rapidly advancing the temperature of the tiny DT (deuterium-tritium) cell at the moment of full assembly but before the fission chain reaction has progressed very far, the DT will begin to produce fusion reactions – adding many more neutrons – at an earlier point in the chain reaction timeline. Fusion begins at about one million degrees K, however, it must be remembered that the Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution (at right) has a very long tail up to higher energies, so that a nominal temperature of 100,000°K (or higher) will produce a significant number of one million °K reactions. The increased neutron production results in a steeper ('boosted') yield slope earlier, increasing the final yield significantly. DT boosting doubles yield even without advancement (see the 24KT magenta line below). By advancing the fusion initiation point the yield might be doubled again, and without increasing the launch weight (mass) of the FP by much more than 5% to 10% – a fair tradeoff. My EMP Advancer concept utilizes both a high current arc and a microwave wave guide to achieve this result.
On the Plains of Hesitation: Assembling the author's gigaton Chain-of-Tertiaries Comet Buster in space. The CoT concept uses twenty 50-megaton Teller-Ulam tertiaries (the largest fusion devices actually tested) to initiate a chain of fusion detonations totaling 1000 megatons (1 gigaton). The detonations would proceed at roughly one 'link' each microsecond. Because each link would weigh many tons, a rocket on the order of Saturn-V capabilities (104 ton payload) would be needed to boost the completed assembly from low earth orbit into a comet-intercepting orbit. The CoT assembly is utterly harmless until the final H-Bomb trigger link is put in place.
Please note that any 'Comet Buster' design would be far too large and heavy to ever be a deliverable weapon. Furthermore, the materials that one would consume would make dozens of more militarily useful H-bombs.
On the Plains of Hesitation: A humorous and speculative discussion of the possible use of one-to-two ton, impact tolerant fission-penetrators in the field of asteroid deflection. Several small nuclear penetrator designs are suggested which might survive the 15,000 g impacts into asteroids - boring in 50-75 feet before detonating with enough explosive force to blast out 4000+ tons of rock as reaction mass. Note that military penetrators such as the Advanced Unitary Penetrator (AUP) have been reported that are capable of penetrating 30 feet of granite at terrestrial velocities. The author may be the first private citizen to design a novel nuclear device which is not a weapon, but the central element in a propulsion methodology: a Plasma-Ejecta Impulse Rocket (PEIR). While the author has had friendly conversations with Los Alamos and INEEL scientists (and has touched base with the DOD and DOJ), all of these designs are speculative concepts requiring much development. The author also includes a warning as to the potential future use of Near Earth Asteroids as 'next generation' weapons of super-massive destruction. Written in a non-technical and humorous style. 36 pages with 18 illustrations. 8.5" x 11" format.
Memory Metal Microcoils
2004-0607, and 2004-0511: Concept for Hollywood: Nickel-titanium "memory metal" micro-coils welded to hollow, magnetized hemispheres are compressed into a hollow ball and glued together. Fired into the victim's body (just under the skin), the glue holding the micro-hemispheres together dissolves and the warmth of the body causes the memory metal to press outward to its original shape. The micro-coils then drift through the body until they come to rest in the smallest of capillaries (ie: brain, ears, eyes, etc.). Permutations: The micro-coils could initiate clot formation ("Murder in the Tiniest Degree", Coroners take note...). The microcoils could apply significant voltages in the presence of high GHz RF. The micro-coils could be coated with pharmaceuticals (good or bad). The micro-coils could act as high-GHz RF ID tags or as tiny analog 'speakers'. The micro-coils would be undetectable at normal xray or MRI resolutions (MRIs might actually prove lethal if numerous micro-coils were lodged in the brain or in critical heart areas). Micro-coils could only be imaged by electron microscopes (non-living tissue). They might also be detected by some advanced form of High-GHz RF frequency absorption spectrum. (Remember: "You can't fear what you can't imagine...")
2005-0203: Rearranging this coil structure into a tightly wound coil of memory metal with two end caps could make a neat micro-bullet (like a 0.05 mm capsule) for delivering chemicals or biological agents (viruses or inoculants). The memory metal would open when heated upon entry just under the skin. Or it could be a glued structure that might open when exposed to strong RF fields of the proper frequency.
Micro- and Nano-Capacitive Resonance
2004-0422: Concept for Hollywood: There was an interesting program on the History Channel (or was it The Learning Channel?) about a year ago which told the story of how during the cold war the USSR bugged the U.S. Embassy in Moscow using a passive capacitive resonance device built inside a large, carved wooden seal. The seal was presented to the Ambassador as a gift. When an RF beam (50~200 MHz or so) was aimed at the building from a few miles away, the capacitive resonator would re-radiate that RF energy with an audio modulation (FM, I think). This allowed the Soviet Union to listen in on the Ambassador's conversations. Because the concept was "unimaginable and inconceivable" (nothing like it had never been thought of before) it took many, many months to slowly deduce its existence.
The near future (5-10 years?) will bring about "Nano-Capacitive Resonance" devices so tiny that thousands could be invisibly added to... salt and pepper shakers... or in sweetener packets! Or placed in micro-particle projectiles (see below). These won't just pass through the human bio-system -- they will be absorbed by the body. They will be completely passive unless subjected to high GHz or THz (TeraHertz) RF beams... in which case they will act both as locators and microphones. They will probably have a limited range of 100-1000 yards. Because each nano-device model could have its own resonance frequency, you could identify individuals by the exact frequency or sets of frequencies of the NCRDs that he or she carried. Activation and identification could be manual or automatic, such as at pedestrian bottlenecks -- hotel lobbies, near embassies, at congressional watering holes, airport entrances, etc., etc. Something like Enemy of the State only 'in mass' and systemic. I would see no problem in tagging and spot checking 100,000 people. Perhaps 1000 people could be monitored in real time -- with some additional manual effort, of course.
Some of you in Hollywood will be receiving a "tease" flier soon. It will go like this: "Nanotechnology is a wonderful thing... because you can't fear what you can't imagine..." Of course, if you Hollywood folks don't feel inclined to retain my creative services... I suppose I could always go work for the NSA or the CIA or something.
Hollywood: Far, far beyond Enemy of The State, Micro- and Nano-Capacitive Resonance (MNCR) will allow tomographic monitoring of body movement for thousands of people: Handshakes, typed PC passwords, bows, body language, gestures, finding secret storage caches, lip reading, snoring, REM, sex.... and all observed passively from hundreds of yards away. No cameras! Do you remember how on Star Trek NG they sometimes use transporter 'pattern enhancement posts' at distant or noisy locations? MNCR tags perform a similar function in an MRI-similar tomographic process... Hey, you're on Candid Camera!!
U.S. Government Senior Executive Service...
Subject: Do SES employees serve at the pleasure of the President?
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 10:01:27 -0600
From: John Hackett <email@example.com>
Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:
Is is true that career Senior Executive Service employees serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States?
-John G. Hackett
2004-0301: There was no reply to the above email. Perhaps it was viewed by human eyes, perhaps not. But it is an interesting question for all citizens, I think -- for if Senior Executive Service employees serve (keep their jobs) at the pleasure of The President of United States, then their behavior and performance reflects directly upon THE OFFICE of The President. The implication clearly is that since every SES executive is now employed, that The Office of The President fully approves of their behavior and performance, collectively and individually. Assuming the premise, the implication would only be invalid if The President wished to plead ignorance...
2004-0307: I was listening to the aftermath coverage of the Martha Stewart trial this morning and pondering the statement by one of the jurors that, "No one is above the law," in the U.S. That is mostly, but not entirely, true -- and I was trying to devine why this was simplistic? Many government personnel (a few percent of some huge number) are to a considerable extent beyond the reach of law, in proportion to the height of their position... But why? Partly it is because government is The Tool for the forceful application of law - it is the conduit through which law flows. If you have thousands of pipes all carrying water under pressure, and you start trying to cut out pieces of bad pipe, you'd better expect to get wet! But as you reach the apex of government you begin to encounter "power tools" - the highest pressure pipes just under the water tower. These people (including the SES) are often the "stealth pets" of politicians. So who is going to go after them? The DOJ? These tools are protected by their owners. There would be both immediate over the table and under the table defensive and/or offensive moves to protect their pets (there is an implied contract - and you should always keep your power tools dry!). Not only would 'back door' phone calls (tit-for-tat threats, trades, deals, etc.) be made but stealth teams willing to find or create "leverage" (but smart enough to not get caught) would, if necessary, be dispatched to undermine the "wave makers." Much along the lines of what happens to government whistleblowers, but worse. So you have a class of people who No One Dares investigate for fear of what will happen to them (and their families) if they do... to my mind, this is as "above the law" as you need to be. These are the 'stealth gods' of government. There is a wonderful SciFi story by Jerry Pournelle called The Mercenary in which the leader of a professional military unit orders a highly skilled and effective trooper - guilty of post-combat rape - to be hanged. A political POW is incredulous at this order, so the leader explains, "I cannot allow rot to take hold in my regiment." We need such people in the U.S. Government. And we don't have any. There is never a plumber around when you need one...
Private Biological Weapons
2004-0103: On the last Saturday of November I took my two grade school boys to the Collinsville Convention Center to see the annual Model Train Show - they're the perfect age - and we spent a couple of great hours roaming through the exhibits. I especially enjoyed the huge layout with the barge and bridge lift... by the Hannibal Train Club, if I remember correctly. When we wore ourselves out we returned to a local Fenton restaurant for a very late lunch - we were the only ones there* - and enjoyed our food until I happened to try the rice side dish, which - I kid you not - tasted exactly the way a horse smells, with an unpleasant oily quality. I enjoy the occasional horseback ride but I don't think their rangy ambiance does much for food. I immediately told my boys not to eat the rice. My stomach was queasy on and off for a week but the boys seemed unaffected. Thankfully it was only one small bite. I notified the St. Louis County Health Department the following Monday (South County Office) and told them the story. If anyone has had a similar experience and later grew a mane or a tail or something, please let me know - by mail, not in person. <grin>
While I'm sure this was just the random bad restaurant experience, I am reminded of a story line (Hollywood take note) with a working title of "Private Stock" that I gave some thought to a couple of years back. It is based upon the real possibility that private collections of biological pathogens - flu and other viruses, streps, food poisoning samples, [ebola], etc, probably exist in the U.S., and certainly do in other parts of the world. These are quite easy to collect and would not usually be fatal, although HIV would be the ultimate weapon. I first wondered if I had been the target of a private bio-weapon in 1981, when I was in Andover, MA about to interview for a significant promotion to Product Marketing Manager. The evening before the interview with the VP, I was invited out for steamed clams by four marketing department staffers... and later back at the hotel became terribly, terribly ill. I very nearly called an ambulance. Needless to say, I missed the interview. Consuming seafood always involves a small element of risk, but the coincidence was curious. It wasn't until the summer of 1983 - after I had left the company to found APCC - that I was told what was really happening within the innermost circles of the marketing/sales departments, and several pieces of a bizarre corporate puzzle fell into place. Being second-hand information, I won't repeat it here... but I drove home with my eyes wide open that day, I'll tell you! The last thing 'inner circles' want in their midst is a idealistic 'boy scout' - it's too awkward to work around someone whose loyalty isn't absolutely under control, and I would have been viewed as a 'security risk' in the reverse sense. In retrospect, there was more than enough at stake to utilize a private bio-weapon, to taint a beer with Ipecac (during a restroom break, for example), or to place a known-bad clam on a plate. Um... easy as pie.
Private bio-weapons are ideal in so many ways: There are no fingerprints, they are absolutely untraceable, they appear as random, accidental events, and there is a long delay (hours, days, or weeks) between the act of bio-poisoning and the onset of symptoms which would allow the perpetrator to escape even a hint of suspicion. There is no 'smoking gun' to find - just a tiny empty plastic bag or empty 35mm film container in a waste receptacle somewhere. The 'knowledge-ification' of humanity is empowering everyone with new opportunities to leverage knowledge for personal gain. Shall we simply say, "Food for thought?"
Covert use of Flat Panel Ultrasonic Arrays
2003-0929: Last night on either TLC or Discovery Channel there was a program called, I think, Extreme Animals, presenting a countdown from 10 to 1 of animals with extreme senses. Dogs were number 7 with their sense of smell, sharks number 1 with their electrical field sense. Around number 3 or 4 was a discussion of dolphins and their acoustical radar, and an ultrasonic flat plate transmitter was demonstrated as a functional analogy. This transmitter projected such a narrow beam that a red laser was built into the center of the emitter plate so that it could be aimed at the head of a targeted person, who was the only one who could hear the music that was modulated into the ultrasonic carrier. I assume that the range of this device would be at least 50-100 feet, and it leads immediately to the fascinating question of the covert use of such a device to communicate to someone is unaware of the existence of this technology. Would they 'hear voices'? Could it be use to deprive people of sleep? Could it be used to affect dreams (Islamic Clerics are said to pay close attention to dreams) or suggest courses of action or spontaneous verbal responses? What would be the affect of such a device on the innocent mind of a child?? (And what punishment would be appropriate for the deliberate use of any such voice-from-afar technology?) An interesting topic for further study... (Do a Google search on "Ultrasonic parametric array", "Audio spotlight", and "Sound from ultrasound Wikipedia").
2003-0610: There is currently an enormous (but largely silent) battle playing out over a case with constitutional implications for the DOE's EEOC program, and this has both sides playing a political chess game at 'maximum effort'. If you would like to see what is going on in Your Government (snicker) about 1% of the case is presented in two articles: See The Chicago Sun-Times, July 14, 2002, Ready to work, but nothing to do all day by Art Golab, and The Washington Times, July 22, 2002, Lawsuit cites 'super bonuses' for minority hiring as racist by Sean Salai. If you find this "surface 1%" interesting, there is an 8 foot tall stack of public evidence at the courthouse. The case is currently at 8 years and counting, and witnesses have and are dying from old age-related health problems. If congress had any spine (!) they would interest themselves in these events at some point. Attorney General John Ashcroft: Some years ago you wrote to me that you were not familiar with "Depositional Perjury" (sworn but perjurious depositions that are usually sealed by a judge's order during a settlement and therefore never come to light)... Most people realize that Senators are rather helpless in the greater scheme of things, but perhaps as Attorney General you can propose some effective changes that make perjury by government employees a serious crime -- instead of a complete joke. And one more thing... 8 years* for a civil case? Do you have any idea how much psychological warfare government managers can exert against plaintiffs over 1/10th of a human life span?? Why even bother to have a judicial system? Do you know how many people would even try to redress a wrong -- maybe 1%? How about the other 99% that we never hear about? What would Thomas Jefferson say.... I mean, after he finished throwing up?
Actually, Mr. Ashcroft, I do have a few additional suggestions for you. As circumstances permit, you might also wish to have your people look for a few other serious government problems -- in addition to systemic depositional perjury...
1) You might wish to set up a watchdog GAO department to actively search for either random or systemic, sanctioned, academic credentials inflation by government employees -- such as a two-year college degree somehow morphing itself into a four-year degree, or a four year general college degree morphing itself into a sophisticated masters degree. It would be amusing to discover whether or not unqualified persons have ever actually attained high-level positions at U.S. National Laboratories by this mechanism, would it not? I would suggest that this new GAO department examine all of the credentials of G14-SES personnel first... and periodically thereafter. And I would also randomly spot-check the credentials of all other government employees. Any positive "finds" would generate wider forensic reviews. At the same time, I would have a limited amnesty program for government employees that wish to confess past errors. Anyone caught with clearly falsified credentials after this new department was operational would be fired and disallowed federal or state employment for seven years.
2004-0511 Addendum: Breaking News: According to a report on CNBC this morning, the GAO has determined that 28 senior government employees have falsified academic credentials, quite a few from "diploma mills". I'm shocked... shocked to discover that there is cheating going on in the U.S. Government!"
2004-0513: An Open Letter to The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee: It is interesting that your discussion of faked academic credentials seems primarily focused upon the petty misuse of taxpayer dollars, rather than upon the far more central question of the use of faked academic degrees to obtain pay grades and job responsibilities beyond (even far beyond) the qualifications of the applicants. The owners of these faked degrees have not only "out-competed" honest applicants with lesser but "real" degrees, but are also subject to exposure and therefore to extortion -- foreign or domestic (ie: political). To say nothing of "peppering" the upper pay grades of government with people contemptuous of truth and personal integrity. The serious questions to ask here relate to remedially restoring competency and integrity of government. Otherwise you, Senators Collins and Lieberman, are simply offering a "wink and a nod" to the creeping deterioration of the human infrastructure that IS government. Power corrupts, and corruption empowers. Do you remember what happened to Rome? Senators?
2) Any legal process which takes 1/10th of a human life span (1/6th of a working lifetime, years 20-68!!) to come to a determination is clearly broken and ineffective. You might wish to consider an independent, non-political arbitration court system for government employee complaints which actually has the power to offer just solutions, expedited transfers, buyouts, early retirements, or to advance selected civil cases to a fast-track basis. You will save time and money, improve government functionality, and spot "rogue" behavior early.
These items assume, of course, that you and others in this administration truly believe that the human infrastructure of our government needs to be more fundamentally honest in order to best serve the citizens of the United States?
*2003-0920 Revision: I have recently learned that this 8-year period includes about 2 years of pro-forma internal processes. A typical case does take 8.5 years, therefore the entire "process" (pre-filing + post-filing) requires 10.5 years, or 13% of a human lifetime -- 1/5th of a working lifetime...
2003-1120 Addendum: It is a matter of public record that the judge in this case is Senior (~ retired) Judge Marovich in Chicago. Also participating is famed attorney David P. Schippers (Former Chief Council to Impeach President Clinton and author of Sellout: The Inside Story of President Clinton's Impeachment). As mentioned in Sellout (highly recommended, by the way) Mr. Schippers is a lifelong democrate and worked under Attorney General Robert Kennedy, leading the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit. He was recruited by Congressman Henry Hyde (Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) to investigate Reno's "Out of Control Monster" (the DOJ) and later to become Chief Council for the House.
For those of you who find Dave's Sellout too tame (and not everything that happened is in his book), some of this week's 40th anniversary TV programming of JFK's life and assassination describes truly chilling applications of Washington D.C.'s political power, including a first-hand report of a CIA 'sanction' to murder an innocent U.S. Citizen on U.S. soil because he knew too much (and could prove it with photos). The marksman in question declined the assignment because murder on U.S. soil was both morally troubling and supposed to be handled by The Mafia!! The left-handed victim apparently committed suicide with 'his' gun found in his right hand. Amazing! You folks all understand that politicians are politicians the world over, right? ONLY The Constitution and The Bill of Rights make this country different. Most of the time.
Media suggestion: It might be interesting if on the first Monday of each month (the day we test the storm warning sirens) every newspaper in the U.S. would print a listing of the "Top 50" longest running court cases for their state (and the "Top 10" for their local city) along with a brief paragraph describing the case, its status, and naming the attorneys and judges involved. Perhaps some interesting patterns would emerge and the public would have something new to talk about...
Question: What is the difference between a nation whose legal system is unbearably expensive and its results far, far in the future.... and a nation whose legal system is based upon wealth and privilege? (Answer: None)
October 6, 2001:
Brain Comm: A quarter-wave antenna for a 27 MHz CB radio measures 102 inches. At 27 GHz this becomes .102 inches. At the ~270 GHz of some satellite systems, .0102 inches -- antennas of about 1/100th of an inch. Within perhaps ten years, individuals with these future micro-implants (see xray photo mockup in illustration #1, and illustration #4 above) will be able to receive totally private voice communications directly from digital satellites (or ground-based transmitters) as depicted in illustration #4's incoming green RF waves -- a bit like the old 'crystal' radios did -- using only the energy of the signal itself**. GPS-based tracking will also be possible, as with the current Digital Angel products at www.DigitalAngel.com. An unbelievable "Pandora's Box" of possibilities awaits, depending on whether or not the existence of the implant is known to the bearer. Note also that a tiny retroreflector the size of a grain of sand could be used for tracking. A retroreflector alters a polarized GHz beam by 90 degrees, which is rare in nature (especially in motion) and would stand out from background noise. Additionally, an implanted retroreflector could act as a GHz RF microphone, in the same way that a laser interferometer can detect sound via a beam bounced off of a glass window (illustration #4 above, the blue path) as shown in the movie Clear & Present Danger. Do you understand the full implications of this technology? In just a few years, undetectably small devices (even by Xray) will exist which are capable of transducing high-GHz RF into sound through direct eardrum vibration** (imagine a microscopic, passive, piezoelectric harpoon), and which are also capable of making eardrum vibrations detectible at a distance. Great for spies and puppet masters, bad for civil libertarians. Rent the old movies: The Chairman with Gregory Peck and The Manchurian Candidate with Frank Sinatra. Also consider the hearing-aid transceiver in True Lies. Multiply the possibilities by a large factor. What kind of world will our children see, I wonder? One which is discretely and carefully 'managed'?
Screenwriter teaser: The year is 2013 and a field-practical, undetectably small nano-transceiver*** has been developed by several nations. An individual with this nano-transceiver is interrogated under truth drugs. In answering questions, the individual repeats whatever he or she hears from the nano-transceiver (some mild conditioning may be required for this response). This individual may: A) actually be a spy whose nano-transceiver provides innocent-sounding answers, or B) an innocent person whose nano-transceiver provides "proof" of guilt (and coincidentally providing perfect misdirection for the real spy) AND complete disinformation at the same time. There are endless permutations... ('Oh, what wicked webs we weave....')
Note also that a eardrum nano-transceiver could, without their knowledge, conceivably make a 'walking microphone' out of every 'person of interest' on earth. Just point a high GHz beam at someone (so equipped) and hear what they say, hear what they hear. Privacy = zero.
**According to Physiological Psychology by Peter M. Milner, p218, "...To give an idea of the amplitudes of movement involved, at its most sensitive point the human ear can detect vibrations of the eardrum of 0.01 nanometer amplitude, less than 0.0001 of the wavelength of blue light [and 1/10th the diameter of a hydrogen atom!]. The amplitude of vibration of the basilar membrane, on which the auditory hair cells are located, may be thousands of times smaller still."
*** 2003-0929 Last night on either TLC or Discovery Channel there was a program called, I think, Extreme Animals, presenting a countdown from 10 to 1 of animals with extreme senses. Dogs were number 7 with their sense of smell, sharks number 1 with their electrical field sense. Around number 3 or 4 was a discussion of dolphins and their acoustical radar, and an ultrasonic flat plate transmitter was demonstrated as a functional analogy. This transmitter projected such a narrow beam that a red laser was built into the center of the emitter plate so that it could be aimed at the head of a targeted person, who was the only one who could hear the music that was modulated into the ultrasonic carrier. I assume that the range of this device would be at least 50-100 feet, and it leads immediately to the fascinating question of the covert use of such a device to communicate to someone is unaware of the existence of this technology. Would they 'hear voices'? Could it be use to deprive people of sleep? Could it be used to affect dreams (Islamic Clerics are said to pay close attention to dreams) or suggest courses of action or spontaneous verbal responses? What would be the affect of such a device on the innocent mind of a child?? (And what punishment would be appropriate for the deliberate use of any such voice-from-afar technology?) An interesting topic for further study... (Try a Google search on "Ultrasonic parametric array" and "Audio spotlight").
Hobbies, Writing Interests, and Random Thoughts
My first 8-transistor radio circa 1963. Note the mock satellite communications "upgrade" -- the paper cone of the speaker has been replaced with a thin metal retroreflective grid (it still sounds great!). And if you didn't look at the speaker itself, you would never know! Add an earphone aka microphone, and 007 can report in directly to London (as long as the satellite knows roughly where to scan and find the grid's signal). Works superbly with more local terrestrial beam transceivers, too! This is the same exact concept as bouncing a laser beam off of a window.
2003-0903: Suggestions for Hollywood portrayal of passive retroreflectors surveillance and tracking in an "Enemy of the State" class movie. "T" is one or more temporary retroreflector pills - the more pills swallowed the stronger the return signal strength. Locations "I", "II", and the "Chain-of-Pearls" represent permanent minor-surgery implants. The CoP implant would require the smallest incision - the longer the chain the stronger the return signal. Note also that a CoP and/or multiple implants allows partial or total body orientation determination. It is also possible to extract an audio signal from implant "I" near the diaphragm. Women have additional "IUD" style implant options. A high-GHz RF source is needed.
January 16, 2003; February 6, 2003:
OPEN INQUIRY: I once read that in the 1960's the KGB developed and tested a micro-sphere projectile weapon that was concealed in the tip of an umbrella and fired silently. The micro-spheres were hollow, much smaller than a grain of sand, and contained the toxin 'ricin' (which has been in the news lately). It was used six times and three died from the toxin.
Does anyone know if a modern micro- or nano-projectile weapon (see illustration #2 above) has ever been created? It might be used to deliver tiny amounts of high potency toxins, drugs (either for their direct effect or for the appearance of drug usage on tests), radioactives, viruses, nano-RF-tags, nano-retroreflectors, or biowarfare agents just under the skin. The victim might feel something like a mosquito or flea bite at impact and the micro-sphere could easily pass through several layers of clothing, including those of the shooter (ie: from inside a pocket). Note that the use of dummy 'practice' loads might be used as a form of 'background irritant'. It would be an ideal weapon as it would be almost impossible to detect when fired, the health affects could appear natural and be delayed minutes or hours by the body's absorption rate, and non-metallic microspheres would be far too small to be imageable by xray, CT, or MRI. [Screenwriters: An especially useful tool in selectively including a list of targeted individuals in a serious epidemic (or terrorist attack) who might otherwise not be exposed. The epidemic provides the perfect cover for their, um... 'removal'. Hundreds might be 'eliminated' and no questions would ever be asked. (So, whose list are you on?)]
Also, there exist small, emergency field xray devices which contain very powerful sources of radiation. A thick lead shutter is opened and the radiation passes through the injury (such as a broken limb) and is viewed on a small fluorescent screen. Does anyone know if there is a weaponized version of this instrument intended to induce illness directly, or damage the immune system or central nervous system? It would be about the size of a AA keychain flashlight (see illustration #3 above), probably be made of depleted uranium (much better shielding than lead) and operated from within a coat pocket.
This is research for a future novel.* Please write or email me at the above address. Thanks in advance!
2003-0516: Book/Movie concept available. Working title: The DNA Dynasty by John G. Hackett
If you doubt the enormous importance of DNA evidence in the world today, just think back to the crisis of President Clinton's White House. Everyone instantly associated his DNA with his being guilty as charged. And it was Clinton's DNA on Monica's dress.... but -- how old was it? After all, he was never very careful with his DNA, was he? Can you imagine one of the most astute politicians in history standing up before the TV cameras and saying, "Well, yes, the tests show it was my DNA... but I'm not responsible for its being there."?? The truth is, whoever possesses the DNA of a congressman or VIP (or their children) controls that congressman or VIP. Whoever possesses the DNA of a CEO (or his children) controls the company that he runs. Because DNA = guilt in the simple mind of the public. Someplace in the near future there may be secluded basement labs with rows of cryogenic freezers stocked with VIP DNA... without their knowledge. And - if the rumors are true - some congressional DNA isn't all that difficult to obtain? But even the most chaste senator or representative sleeps away from home now and then. Perhaps they sleep more deeply than they know?
So, Congressman, would you like to help the NSA or the CIA with their little appropriations problem? Or will your future reputation, career, and home life suffer a disaster of biblical proportions? Or will the DNA of your beloved son be found at some ghastly crime scene when no alibi is possible?
The idea of clandestine DNA collection was first proposed in 1973 by Robert A. Heinlein in Time Enough for Love in Chapter XVII, p459. The recipient of this conversation is "The Senior", the oldest man alive -- over 2000 years old! The year is 4272. Here is a brief excerpt:
"......Lorelei said quietly, "Mathematically extremely likely, Lazarus, because we were all in on it. Justin and Ira and Galahad hung back at just the right times just the way they insured that Minerva's first baby was Ira's and Tammy's first was Justin's. But if it did not work out... then Ishtar will correct it from the sperm bank."
"I'm not in the sperm bank!"
The girls exchanged glances. Lapis Lazuli said, "Want to bet?"
The computer said, "It's a sucker bet, Buddy."
......"Better not say 'Impossible.' What is the perfect container for keeping sperm fresh and alive until a technician can bank it?..... Correct... Place a woman around it.".....
This is an excellent book and recommended for adults, although I wish he would have altered some of the final chapters for a broader audience. In my younger days I once read that most men cannot detect the presence of an ordinary $20 female condom worn by their partner -- especially after a bottle of wine. How about a special, custom $1000 female condom? Unless someone steps forward, we will never know if this concept has ever been secretly applied for the extortion or control of difficult politicians or other VIPs -- either directly or through their children or relatives, but someday it will be! Every weapon of control that has ever been created has - or will be - utilized at some point.
2003-0531: Was SARS the first ever "tracer virus"? Imagine that you are a high level political executive in China and you have just been informed that a dozen members of what is apparently a much more extensive organization of spies and intelligence gatherers has been discovered! You are shocked and concerned! These people have been operating for decades without your knowledge! So just how widespread is their network?! It could take years of traditional counter-intelligence to ferret them out one by one -- and you might still miss many of them. But what if these known members were deliberately exposed to 'V688b' (SARS)? Would they not carry the virus to other members of the group -- even internationally -- so that they would identify themselves? You might very quickly identify 90% of the network in this way... and... eliminate most of them: You see, some SARS cases are more 'severe' than others.........
*Hollywood interest is welcome -- this is just a minimal introduction.
2003-0612: Personal politics: I believe that every citizen of the United States has an ethical obligation to ensure that our government never gets too far ahead of public knowledge in the tools that it possesses which might in the future -- at least hypothetically -- be used to control individuals or to transform civil liberties into illusion. Perhaps you might consider me to be a preemptive libertarian? Many of the above concepts were developed for inclusion in a "technology-spy-thriller" book that I hope to write in the future. But several are potentially of some moment, and I would prefer that other authors be made aware of them and use them in their own creative works so that they can be included in literature and motion pictures for 'back door' public education sooner rather than later.... (I can always dream up more!) Attribution when appropriate would be gratefully appreciated, but is not required.
2003-0613: The 8th Day in May: Will the U.S. Nuke Itself? I have discussed this interesting concept with friends and I thought I would present it here. If Washington D.C. or New York were to be attacked someday -- as in the movie The Sum of All Fears -- the sociological and political results would be hyper-extreme. Unlimited trillions of dollars would flow into the dark recesses of government: the CIA, the NSA, the DOE, and the entire military-industrial complex. And conservative political power would dominate for decades! Borrowing a phrase from The Gripping Hand (Pournelle/Niven): "There is motive here for an arbitrarily large number of murders." And all you need is a handful of people with 200 lbs of foreign HUE (the isotope distribution spectrum must show it came from abroad), and bingo -- 1 kiloton and a vaporized city block later -- you have the largest, fastest shift in money flow and national mindset in all of human history. Let me repeat that: 3-5 people with basic skills and 200 lbs of foreign HUE could change the course of human history. All you have to do is drop 100 lbs of HUE 60-200 feet down a wire cable to crash into the other 100 lbs -- any accessible elevator shaft will do nicely (there are hundreds of other ways to achieve assembly). A high school student could do it. Do you truly think this is impossible? Take a good look elsewhere on this web site and ask yourself if our government consists entirely of altruistic angels? Then watch the movie Seven Days In May. And... we are all half-expecting it anyway, right? Since there isn't much evidence left at ground zero, someone will have to place a slightly radioactive Qur'an with a revenge note in a hotel room... The temptation here must be very high for some.
But my guess is that, given the massive U.S. sociological response to 9/11, the first Islamic atomic bomb (Iranian?) would not be detonated on U.S. soil (at least not in a populated area -- there might be a demo bomb to show they can if they want to). I would speculate either somewhere in Israel or in London, or both, or all three. But the political puppet masters of our world know this, too. So if Islam cannot be provoked into a nuclear attack through successive regime changes (and it just takes a handful of Islamic leaders to decide to use atomic bombs, if they possess a few) they might just get a little 'help'. The U.S. doesn't like to get its hands dirty, so they would probably 'favor' it out to an allied interest in exchange for some future consideration, like free oil.
Geopolitics is unbelievably convoluted and subtle, and the truth is never what it seems to be.
2003-0903: Here is a Pop Quiz for Hollywood:
1) When that Russian November class K-159 sank last month, it's nuclear reactor contained how much weapons grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) relative to its normal fuel load?
C) 100% when it went to sea, 0% when it sank.
2) The Russian Government new the correct answer above at the time of the sinking: True or False
3) The Russian Government new the correct answer above six months ago: True or False
4) The HEU fuel is now:
A) In the hands of the Russian Government.
B) In the hands of non-Western power brokers.
C) In the hands of Western power brokers.
D) 200 meters below sea level.
2003-0413: An Open Letter to President George W. Bush and to The United Nations:
I do not believe that the plan to rapidly convert Iraq into an 'instant democracy' will ever be successful. Many so called democracies around the world are terrible places with ruthless governments. But perhaps the concern for the future of the Iraqi people is simply a facade. Nevertheless, I would ask you all to consider instead a benign directive administration operated under the auspices of the United Nations and administered by... the Japanese. Japan has known conquest by the U.S. - and rebirth. Japan is known to have no territorial ambitions, their religious beliefs are neither militantly-Christian nor Islamic, and as a people they have a far stronger sense of abstract honor and duty than in most cultures. And they have some of the finest engineers in the world. If they would be willing to serve the U.N. for two generations (40 years) it might then be possible to phase-in a constitutional government in the mideast which could survive. The odds for success are probably only one in four. But with an 'instant democracy' the odds are zero. There will be assassination after assassination, endless corruption, endless nepotism, and endless turmoil as there has always been endless turmoil.
-John G. Hackett
2003-0318 Breaking News: At 5:25 AM CST this morning CNN reported that the newest generation of cruise missiles would be reconnaissance-capable. My readers might be interested in the following excerpts from a letter to Colin Powell 12 years ago...
(There was a second news item mentioning the new "holding pattern" [now termed 'loitering'] capabilities of cruise missiles in late March.)
March 3, 1991
To General Colin Powell c/o The Pentagon
Dear General Powell:
"I would like to suggest that consideration be given to the development of a cruise-missile-reconnaissance (CMR) technology... I have come across no mention or hint that CMR exists in scientific or technical literature... There exist three basic variants: 1) Recon & attack, 2) Recon & return, 3) Recon to exhaustion..." [A three-page description followed.] There was no reply to my letter. Since this submission to the DOD is 12 years old these concepts should be considered as elementary... I am certain I could dramatically improve upon them in a very short period of time.