Totalitarian Surveillance is Here (and lifehacking: massive productivity though TMS)

Creepiest thing I read all day, and not just because it mentions both Facebook and Disney in the same paragraph. Guy goes on a ride, ride takes photo, guy gets handed form to buy photo — and the form has his credit-card info prefilled. Guy never told anyone at the theme park so much as his name.

Yeah. I did post a link a while back on using cleverly-designed makeup and hairstyles to defeat facial recognition. Maybe that’s an area that needs more research.

Lifehacking: So binaural beats, flashing lights, and all those other forms of brainwave entrainment are neat. The problem is it’s hard to get anything done while staring at a flashing light or listening to a pulsing tone.

There’s tons of research showing the brain responds to magnetic fields too, particularly in the form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Thing is, most of those applications use electromagnets strapped to the head, which is awkward. But they also seek instantaneous results, stuff like getting someone hot and bothered or seeing deities because they pushed a button on a helmet.

I don’t care about that. I want a continuous, low-level signal to boost focus and improve energy levels, or other neat, positive, but not overwhelming or potentially hazardous things. So, maybe a much weaker field further away would do just as well. After all, we’ve already seen that the brain has a fantastic DSP. And one core principle of spotting signals is that the longer you listen for a signal, the fainter a signal you can detect.

As it turns out, a device on these principles may have been designed by a West German doctor to protect high-level diplomatic and military personnel from the adverse physiological effects of a high-power Soviet electronic warfare attack in the event of WWIII. Sounds good enough for me.

The gadget I built is simple: a 555 timer chip (apparently the most popular chip in the world) configured as a 7.8Hz oscillator, driving a 15kOhm coil that I pulled from a relay. (I also removed the metal bits from around the coil, leaving just the base and the round core.) The positive/north side of the coil (found with a compass) points in the general direction of my head. The whole thing sits on a table (or whatever other surface is convenient) about half a meter away from wherever I’ve working.

Just about anything driving a coil around an core at 7.8Hz seems to work: the initial prototype was a signal generator feeding a 3 ohm spool of enamel wire with the steel handle of a pair of pliers stuck through the center.

(I chose 7.8Hz as we already get exposed to it in tiny doses courtesy the Earth’s magnetic field oscillating after lighting strikes, so I figure it’s less likely to cause cancer or other unknown side-effects. It’s also more or less in the alpha brainwave band, which is associated with the effects I was hoping to get.)

Effects so far have been very positive. More energy, better concentration, and distractability way down. It’s like I had ADD and never noticed until it went away.

Caveat: I haven’t ruled out the placebo effect, because I can’t really do that with my current setup until the battery dies without me noticing.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/15/new-totalitarianism-surveillance-technology?0

“A software engineer in my Facebook community wrote recently about his outrage that when he visited Disneyland, and went on a ride, the theme park offered him the photo of himself and his girlfriend to buy – with his credit card information already linked to it. He noted that he had never entered his name or information into anything at the theme park, or indicated that he wanted a photo, or alerted the humans at the ride to who he and his girlfriend were – so, he said, based on his professional experience, the system had to be using facial recognition technology. He had never signed an agreement allowing them to do so, and he declared that this use was illegal. He also claimed that Disney had recently shared data from facial-recognition technology with the United States military.

Yes, I know: it sounds like a paranoid rant.

Except that it turned out to be true. News21, supported by the Carnegie and Knight foundations, reports that Disney sites are indeed controlled by face-recognition technology, that the military is interested in the technology, and that the face-recognition contractor, Identix, has contracts with the US government – for technology that identifies individuals in a crowd.”

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