Apr 9, 2008

Honey, Is That a Cyborg Bug that Just Got Fried in Our Bug-Zapper?

A wee little flying insect flits by your face. You wave a hand to shoo it away. The bug persists. For a second, your eyes focus on it—hey, isn't that a little antenna sticking up? A little gadgetry sticking out? And isn't the drone a bit, well, electronic? That's no quotidian insect, that's a cyborg insect. A high-tech spying device or a weapon, depending on the U.S. government's intent. Sound far-fetched?
Not any more:

"[. . .] the Pentagon's urge to weaponize the wild kingdom is a topic [author Nick] Turse has long been familiar with and that he deals with powerfully in his remarkable new book, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives. It is—believe me—the single most powerful look yet at all the subtle and complicated ways American lives have been militarized during the last decades. "

Literally, researchers working for the Pentagon are growing part-electronic, part biological insects in labs right now. Moths and flying beetles are first out of the lab; with surveillance and reconnaissance the immediate mission goals. You think cell phone and e-mail snooping was bad? Just imagine what a flying bug could grab from your private life . . . your clandestine trysts, your offshore bank accounts, why, even your hiring of a foreign housekeeper without checking to see if she has a green card first. These hybrid insect micro-mechanical systems, or HI-MEMS, are, according to sources involved in the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),

"aimed at developing tightly coupled machine-insect interfaces by placing micro-mechanical systems [MEMS] inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis." Put simply, the creation of cyborg insects: part bug, part bot.”

Surprising that this spying-cyborg information is allowed to escape—unless it is purposefully allowed to escape, as in the case of the recent Ricin Man incident. Is this another case of fear-mongering or is it for real?

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