Posts Tagged ‘security’

A group of scientists has developed a way to 3d-print fingerprints, from 2-d scans (the type you normally get from existing fingerprint scanners) in order to “help manufacture better fingerprint scanning technology.”

Who’s got dibs on the website where you can download someone’s set of fingerprints, put them on your own hands, and go commit whatever unspeakable acts you desire?

Can I get a complete Deluxe Congress Combo Pack?

A team at the Manchester Metropolitan University has developed a new millimeter-wave mobile scanner that can detect hidden weapons on a human body from a distance of 25 meters. They claim it can differentiate between keys, mobile phones, belt buckles and other common harmless objects, and even detect 3d-printed guns.

“The machines work at a distance of up to 25 metres using low-power millimetre-wave radar signals that reflect off a weapon and back to the scanner, but without compromising people’s privacy or health.”

Well, back when I used a radar device on my boat, it had loads of health warnings not to be anywhere near the emitter when it was in use. Not anywhere near its path. The goal being to avoid being irradiated to cancer death levels by an otherwise “harmless” electronic device. Radar is not harmless, millimeter-wave or not.

Like Raaytheon’s “Active Denial System” which uses millimeter wave radiation.

With Raytheon the U.S. Air Force has developed a nonlethal weapon system called Active Denial System (ADS) which emits a beam of radiation with a wavelength of 3 mm. The weapon is reportedly not dangerous and causes no physical harm, but is extremely painful and causes the target to feel an intense burning pain, as if their skin is going to catch fire.

In testing, pea-sized blisters have been observed in less than 0.1% of ADS exposures, indicating that second degree surface burns have been caused by the device. The radiation burns caused are similar to microwave burns, but only on the skin surface due to the decreased penetration of shorter millimeter waves. The surface temperature of a target will continue to rise so long as the beam is applied, at a rate dictated by the target’s material and distance from the transmitter, along with the beam’s frequency and power level set by the operator. Most human test subjects reached their pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none could endure more than 5 seconds.

How is that not harmful? Oh, it won’t kill you. Immediately.

However, overexposures of either operators or targets may cause long-term damage including cancer. According to an official military assessment, “In the event of an overexposure to a power density sufficient to produce thermal injury, there is an extremely low probability that scars derived from such injury might later become cancerous. Proper wound management further decreases this probability, as well as the probability of hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation.”


So be sure to get “proper wound management” after your scan, terror suspect!

And remember, Millimeter Wave is safe! Just like x-ray machines, and drinking mercury!

During an unfortunate layover in JFK airport (which is, in my experience, the most worthless airport in North America I have yet had the displeasure of transiting), wherein I had to exit security and re-enter in order to change terminals from domestic to an international flight, and had my second TSA handjob of the day, the TSA asshole in charge of staring you down while you wait for your opt-out molestation decided it would be fun to ask me questions about why I didn’t want to go into the cancer scanner.

“Do you know about these new machines?” he asked.

“I don’t care,” I replied. He didn’t like that.

“That’s not what I asked you,” he started in. Oh, so we’re going to play this game.

So I stared back at him, letting the uncomfortable silence and subtle form of my disrespect soak into him.

“I know I don’t have to go into them if I don’t want to,” I answered. He didn’t like that at all.

But he wasn’t the one doing the inspection, so he couldn’t retaliate. Yet. I had about 90 minutes to wait until the boarding call for the flight, so I went looking around for some source of calories that was remotely edible, at midnight, in a frozen-over airport. Not much. McDonalds would have to do.

So I am standing in line, and I notice that there are a few TSA agents sitting at the tables taking a break. TSAsshole must have been one of them because he showed up. But instead of joining his friends, he just came up and stood next to me in line, not looking for food, but just standing there, within the creepy boundary of my personal space limit. And then when he was certain I had noticed, he went to join his friends.

Then, while I was eating, he came up behind where I was sitting and just stood there, facing me, for about 60 seconds. Not doing anything but standing there looking at the back of my head. No checking a phone, no looking around at anyone else, just Helter Skelter bury-bodies-in-the-basement style creepiness. I didn’t turn to look at him, because I didn’t want to validate his weird behavior, but I could see the reflection of the whole horror film scene in the windows.

Nice that we’re paying this fucker to “keep us safe” from “those who wish to terrorize” us.

At least he’s not driving your kids to and from school. But he’s probably wanting to diddle them anyways. And you let him, when you fly.

It was a while ago that I started playing with security cameras when my car was broken into and my toolbox stolen…

Well, I started playing with that box again, and now I have it set up to sit there and robotically monitor anything that moves. Which it did before, but now it will email me alerts when stuff moves, along with attached timelapse video files of stuff it sees. So even if some scumbag ladron comes in and nabs stuff, and disconnects the camera, or unplugs the device, it will have already mailed his photos off to me as soon as he set foot in the room. Which is pretty awesome. And it will run for like a week on battery backup if the power is out.

It only took me about 8 hours of dorking around with the Raspberry Pi, grinding through about 500 how-to tutorial pages that of course didn’t work even though they are only a couple of months old. And of course the easiest no-brainer solutions are the ones that are buried under mountains of crap. Welcome to the Pi development community.

So that 8 hours, calculated into usable time, could have bought me a dozen or more plug-and-play robot cameras which do the same thing…

But I made it myself! Look at this cool spaghetti bowl of wires! It does stuff!

Not that it’s a total waste of time. I can use this thing for a lot of things now, not just video surveillance. I’ve built, essentially, a sensor watchdog, which I could tune to look for just about any sort of input and let me know what is going on when I am not around. Which is not a bad thing to have if you’ve got an apartment that sits empty while you travel. Empty no more! RoboDog is on watch.

Now that I have it working, I want to set these up EVERYWHERE. MUAHAHAHAAAA! I shall have killer robot drones patrolling the skies in no time. My army grows…

Ahhhh, when one thinks that one is done with something in Uruguay, just when you think you can finally relax, one is always slapped in the face by the turds of slothful, knuckledragging mouthbreathers from the shallow end of the gene pool.

I present to you another chapter of the Neverending Story of Uruguay that I thought I had left last year.

MexicanBob’s family has been living at the old beach house for months. They have been very good at paying the bills and keeping up with things there. Up to, and including, the payment of various and sundry bills and utilities including the alarm.

Not that this is any of my concern, as the house is no longer mine, BUT, it’s in Uruguay, where things are never done, never finished, and never correct. In communist Uruguay, house lives on YOU! What a country!

So, because the tenants were paying the alarm bill, which was previously never automatically debited from my credit card as it was requested many many times to the point where I gave up trying years ago, suddenly the alarm company decided that it would charge the year’s bill automatically (to the tune of nearly USD$600.00). This is after MexicanBob paid the bill in cash.

I saw the charge on my bank statement and inquired about the situation. Seems it was double-paid and I never should have been charged. Bless their hearts, the MexicanBobs been attempting to rectify the situation. So they went in and explained what happened. “No problem,” said the alarm company, “we will set up a credit refund and it will show up in his account in a few days.”

So a few days pass and no refund. MexicanBob goes in again. “No problem,” said the alarm company, “semana que viene (next week NOOOOOO NOT SEMANA QUE VIENE PLEASE NOT SEMANA QUE VIENE those words are the fucking curse of curses!!!) it should show up. If it does not, please let us know.”

So a few more days pass, and a week, and no credit shows up in my bank account. Que sorpresa!!!!!!!!!

MexicanBob goes in again, to find out what is going on. Nobody at the alarm company seems to recall any requests for a refund. At this point, MexicanBob goes postal.

“No problem,” says the alarm company, “We will issue a check for the refund. It will come in from Montevideo in a few days.”

MexicanBob, knowing the score, asked them a pertinent question: “How will you know what name to put on the check?” to which AlarmBob responded, “Oh, they send us a blank check and then we write your name on it.” MexicanBob smelled bullshit but left without murdering anyone. A blank check for $600 is going to arrive ANYWHERE near where it is meant to be sent? HA! HAHAHHAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA  HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! The concept fills me with mirth. As you can see.

Days later, MexicanBob actually received a phone call, notifying him that the check had arrived. He asked them what name was on the check, and AlarmBob said it was in the name of WifeBob. To which MexicanBob goes postal again, as he has no way of cashing or depositing said check, and WifeBob will probably never return to Uruguay unless it is to sign the bulldozing orders for the beach house.

To date, the refund issue remains unresolved. And it began months ago.

Further notes…

Said alarm company called MexicanBob to inquire if everything was OK because the alarm was going off, only that it was not; it was going off at the neighbor’s house. “Isn’t this (neighbor’s house)?” asked the alarm technician…

“No, it is not.” Lord help the neighbors if they ever have a break-in.

Then the MexicanBobs had another scheduled technical visit from the alarm company, whose truck arrived at the neighbor’s house. MexicanBob went over to explain to them that they were in the wrong place. “Oh, it says here in the GPS system that it is attached to (neighbor’s house).”

“No, it is not.”

Keep in mind that it has always been a separate structure on a separate lot and since its construction years ago, we have been using the same alarm company and only now is it somehow magically listed as attached to another structure.

Gee, I am so glad I decided to leave that dreadful place so I wouldn’t have to deal with the native morons anymore!

Seriously, no wonder Punta Del Este gets robbed bare every single year at Christmastime. If this is how the security companies really operate, when you are on top of them daily?


As I said a week or so ago when thieves relieved me of my car’s toolbox and sundry items, I was playing with turning a Raspberry Pi computer into a security camera. Well, I succeeded. With help from this link, I was able to get it up and running, and recording, with a cheap $6 webcam.

Now I understand the fascinating power which has intoxicated the US and Britain. It’s a strange sort of power-trip you get knowing that you’ve got everything on record wherever you point the camera, with the capacity to record it all and keep it on hand at nearly zero cost, and it will just sit there like a good robot, recording whenever something moves, without the need for supervision.

They wear their smiley faces but their body language is not in sync with smiley faces, and the thoughts behind their eyes are compatible with neither smiley faces nor their body language. They are like Mormons or Canadians; they smile too much and stare through you with their x-ray vision instead of making eye contact.

In short, it’s f’ing creepy.

They come outside and politely inform the people standing in a loose-knit semiorderly mob to go and please stand in the official cues designated at the right. You know that if people even lagged a moment the guy would not hesitate to put on his ugly face and mow us down with machine gun fire.

I am standing in the non-visa line, and ItchyTriggerFingerBob asks me if I am American. Yes, I say. Come on in, he says, and waves me in VIP style. VIP entrance to the TSA-like screening chamber. VIP feeling crushed instantly.

You cannot take your stuff in with you, other than a wallet and any papers you might have. Cel phones are a no-no.

On the forms I am filling out for these new passport pages, there are required fields for this-and-that, and WindowLady asks me why I didn’t fill in the space for WifeBob’s phone number. We need this filled in, or it’s off to the gas chambers for you. It’s in my cel phone, I tell her, and you forbid that. So make something up because it’s just as good as my senile memory. Some fine print somewhere says I’ll be prosecuted for perjury or somesuch if I fail to report information 100% accurate. Ah well, it was a good run.

They also need WifeBob’s Social Security Number, which is hell-if-I-know. WindowLady seems surprised that I fail to give a shit about memorizing WifeBob’s SS number. “I would have been able to call her, but…”

No smile. Not funny, apparently. To her.

Add that one to the perjury list. Don’t you people have that in your magical database? Oh, yes, they do. Why is it on the form then? Oh, yeah, the perjury bait. Hmm…

So then WindowLady tries talking us into getting new passports. You can save money if you don’t need them in the next few weeks, just go ahead and order new ones, and they come with 52 pages. That way you don’t need to bother with new pages in your old passports. Well, I don’t want to be microchipped, thank you. Not that I am not already in umpteen databases as a bastion of misanthropic, anarchistic sarcasm. But leave me this one tiny splinter of choice and freedom, please.

“I like my old passport and I want to keep using it.” WindowLady thinks it is odd. There is probably a new database entry in the troublemaker file after that. This one resists the chip. Winston Smith will make me an unperson soon.

She also seems surprised that we are residents, have been for some time, and we never registered ourselves. “Why haven’t you registered with us?”

None of the responses my brain comes up with will end without me being taken into custody, so I shrug and say nothing.

I am informed to come back after 11, so I come back at 12:30. Consular section is now closed. For siesta. You have got to be f’ing kidding me. This is American soil, and you dare defile it with the brainrot concept of siesta??? “Come back at 2, they will be open again.”

So I go outside and take a nap for an hour and a half. Perfect day for a nap.

New lines. New scary guy with itchy trigger finger. Same smiley faces but this time more intense. The security people are so tightly wound, it’s disturbing. I wonder what being on a hair trigger while trying to maintain a happy public face does to the psyche over long periods of time. Each one has his own strict protocol and he’s watching all his buddies for the littlest twitch of strange behavior, lest he be some sort of terrorist-in-disguise. They are positively schizophrenic and the vibe is totally not groovy.

At the second security checkpoint a woman guard who I have not seen before asks me if I was there earlier. “Yes,” I say. “Why?” she asks. “Here to pick up my passports.” Creepy…

“Go ahead,” she directs. I go to the heavy inner blast door which takes about all my ogre strength to pull open, and it won’t open. In a nervous tone, she tells me, “You can’t go in there yet, it’s been locked by a Marine.”

Then why did you tell me to go ahead? Is there some weird protocol I am supposed to know about Marines and their door-locking habits? Is there some Jar-head with veins popping out of his neck all freaked out because I tried to enter the door he locked? Why even mention Marines? Why tell me to try to open a locked door? I am confused, and she looks nervous now. Great.

Do they do this little psychological thriller crap to people to see if they suddenly break out in a cold sweat, shout Allah Akhbar, and pull the ripcord that reveals their dynamite vest so that all present have an opportunity to scream for a scant few seconds before the thing blows? It’s like they have been thinking about it so much for so long that they actually want it to happen, so that they can relax knowing that their mental preparations weren’t a waste. Like sugarplums dancing in their heads, they have visions of wild-eyed Arabs shaking AK-47s in upraised arms, standing atop a hill of skulls and shouting Lakalakalaka! Derka Derka! and they can’t wait to mow them all down with shock, awe, and hellfire. If only the bastards would show up…

BZZZZT the door unlatches and I can now go through. I go back in and WindowLady gives me the obesely modified passports. Quick and efficient, and now $164 in the hole (fees they don’t advertise on the consular website. And they supply a phone number that dials in to a constant busy signal, so you can call in for information about it and not get any).

I wasted no time leaving; I couldn’t wait to get out of there.