two-fisted street cops have a new kind of backup: a point-and-click
surveillance network tied to a citywide crime-fighting database.
Smile for the camera. On a warm afternoon on Chicago's West
Side, a young man leans against a wall at the corner of Chicago
Avenue and Homan Street. Thirty feet up, a camera mounted
on a telephone poll swivels toward him. Three miles away,
in a bunker-like, red granite building near Greektown, Ron
Huberman watches the young man on a PC screen. "You see
that guy?" asks Huberman, the 33-year-old chief of Chicago's
Office of Emergency Management and Communications. "He's
pitching dope -- you can tell." No cop, even undercover,
could ever get this close for this long. But the cameras -
housed in checkerboard-patterned, 2-foot-tall boxes -- the
police here call pods - can zoom in so tight I can see the
wisps of a moustache. Chicago has evolved. A pilot network
of 30 cameras keeps watch over the West Side, capturing images
that have been used in more than 200 investigations. It's
the first step on the way to a 2,250-camera system. And the
electronic eyes are merely the most visible part of a strategy
to completely remake police work in Chicago. A massive set
of databases now collects and collates the minutiae of law
enforcement -- everything from mug shots to chains of evidence.
Installed in patrol cars, it turns every PC in every station
house into a node on a crime-fighting network. At headquarters,
superintendents and commanders use it to pore over patterns
of criminal behaviour, figuring out how to deploy swarms of
cops. By embracing the cameras, the network, and this immensely
powerful database, Chicago's once-creaky police force has
become an inspiration for departments around the country looking
to get spry. "There has never been another comprehensive
program like this in a major police department," says
Northwestern University political scientist Susan Hartnett,
who's been studying the CPD for more than a decade. Whether
it means the end of crime or the beginning of the surveillance
state, or both, Chicago is building the future of law enforcement.
the brain to control human behaviour
understanding of the brain will one day be so profound that
the brains of serial killers and paedophiles could be "rewired"
to prevent their offensive behaviour. Discoveries involving
how genes control the growth of the brain should also be able
to find treatments for epilepsy, motor neurone disease and
schizophrenia, said David Price, a professor of Edinburgh
University, one of only two-dozen something researchers in
the world working in the field. The human brain is staggeringly
complex -- 15 billion cells with about a thousand billion
connections between them. "Understanding how the development
of such a complex structure is controlled might seem an impossible
task but research in the past 20 years has made us more optimistic."
Although, it might take several decades, most of the brain's
functions would be eventually unravelled, he said. This would
even include correcting behavioural flaws in serial killers
and paedophiles to make them harmless. "I think the next
20 years will be really exciting." One reason is the
ability to use genetic engineering to produce mice with tiny
differences in their genetic make-up. This allows scientists
to see how their brains develop and therefore discover which
genes control which areas.
New Moons for Saturn
trying to perfect a model for how the solar system formed
got a dozen tiny steps closer to their goal last week, thanks
to the discovery of 12 additional moons around Saturn. The
moons were discovered by a team of astronomers at the University
of Hawaii and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, with
the help of several powerful telescopes atop the Mauna Kea
volcano in Hawaii. Astronomers believe the retrograde orbits
may be a sign that the moons were captured by Saturn's gravitational
pull rather than formed from the same material as the planet.
If so, they could reveal clues as to how that capture took
place. "It's kind of a window on a process that's ancient
and no longer happens," said co-discoverer David Jewitt,
an astronomer at the University of Hawaii. Because scientists
have only recently begun to study captured moons up close
-- for instance, with the Cassini spacecraft -- they have
yet to perfect a model for how planets capture objects and
turn them into moons. Particularly thorny is the issue of
what causes objects travelling through space to slow down,
enough to get pulled in by a planet's gravity. The findings
bring the total number of Saturn's moons to 46. Jewitt believes
astronomers could spot as many as 50 more over the next several
decades as improvements in telescope and camera equipment
allow researchers to detect smaller and smaller objects. "At
some point, you have to decide when to quit," he said.
John Titor was at the Time Traveller Convention last week
at MIT, he kept a low profile. Titor, the notorious internet
discussion group member who claims to be from the year 2036,
was among those invited to the convention, where any time
traveller would have been ushered in as an honoured guest.
The convention, which drew more than 400 people from our present
time period, was held at MIT's storied East Campus dormitory.
It featured an MIT rock band, called the Hong Kong Regulars
and hilarious lectures by MIT physics professors. The profs
were treated like pop stars by attendees fascinated by the
possibility of travelling back in time. East Campus house-master
Julian Wheatley, also a senior lecturer in Chinese at MIT,
wore a name tag suggesting he had come back from 2121 to attend
the convention. "East Campus is known for taking a certain
kind of zany approach to science," Wheatley said. The
East Campus dormitory house students with a reputation for
turning out offbeat inventions, such as a person-sized hamster
wheel and a roller coaster built from two-by-fours. This dorm's
peculiar reputation and the Time Traveller Convention's far
out theme may explain why so many people made the effort to
travel in driving rain to a two-hour event. A fan of the Cat
and Girl internet comic strip, which Dorai credits with giving
him the idea for the convention, drove a band of jugglers
up from the Yale University campus. "We thought it would
be cool to be visited by ourselves from the future,"
said Shauna Anthony, who travelled from New York. The MIT
convention was the second public attempt this year to draw
time travellers to a specific place at a more-or-less specific
Hari a, student of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
has devised an anti-thief devise to be used on two and four
wheelers. The devise based on the integrated circuit principal.
It is user-friendly and can be used a s simply as an ATM.
It works with computerised safety system. The user will just
have to enter a password to use it. The vehicle engine cannot
be activated until and unless one enters the correct password.
The software developed by IIT was co-ordinated by the Director,
Research and Development, Prashant Kumar who's supported Vivek
to achieve the feat. " It's really a great feat. We will
be applying for its patent. In the mean time we are looking
for some one to manufacture the device in commercial basis,"
said Prashant Kumar.
Wired, ANI and Webindia123
by: Imran H. Khan
(R) thedailystar.net 2005