Thursday, January 11, 2007
The Science of Evil
...In ABC News' version of the Milgram experiment, we tested 18 men, and found that 65 percent of them agreed to administer increasingly painful electric shocks when ordered by an authority figure.
22 women signed up for our experiment. Even though most people said that women would be less likely to inflict pain on the learner, a surprising 73 percent yielded to the orders of the experimenter.
Out of the 30 people we tested with an additional accomplice acting as a moral guide, 63 percent still inflicted electric shocks, even though the accomplice refused to go on.
Our subjects had an unusually high level of education. 22.9 percent had some college, 40 percent had bachelor's degrees and 20 percent had master's degrees.
The group was also ethnically diverse with 54.3 percent (white), 18.6 percent (Asian), 12.9 percent (Latin/Hispanic), 8.6 percent (Indian-Asian) and 4.3 percent (African -American).
Posted by JLT at 5:26 AM
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Can You Hear Me Now?
Cell phone users, beware. The FBI can listen to everything you say, even when the cell phone is turned off.
A recent court ruling in a case against the Genovese crime family revealed that the FBI has the ability from a remote location to activate a cell phone and turn its microphone into a listening device that transmits to an FBI listening post, a method known as a "roving bug." Experts say the only way to defeat it is to remove the cell phone battery.
"The FBI can access cell phones and modify them remotely without ever having to physically handle them," James Atkinson, a counterintelligence security consultant, told ABC News. "Any recently manufactured cell phone has a built-in tracking device, which can allow eavesdroppers to pinpoint someone's location to within just a few feet," he added.
According to the recent court ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, "The device functioned whether the phone was powered on or off, intercepting conversations within its range wherever it happened to be." ...
Posted by JLT at 6:42 AM
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Chris Hedges: America’s Holy Warriors
The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.
During the past two years I traveled across the country to research and write the book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” I repeatedly listened to radical preachers attack as corrupt and godless most American institutions, from federal agencies that provide housing and social welfare to public schools and the media. But there were two institutions that never came under attack—the military and law enforcement. While these preachers had no interest in communicating with local leaders of other faiths, or those in the community who did not subscribe to their call for a radical Christian state, they assiduously courted and flattered the military and police. They held special services and appreciation days for all four branches of the armed services and for various law enforcement agencies. They encouraged their young men and women to enlist or to join the police or state troopers. They sought out sympathetic military and police officials to attend church events where these officials were lauded and feted for their Christian probity and patriotism. They painted the war in Iraq not as an occupation but as an apocalyptic battle by Christians against Islam, a religion they regularly branded as “satanic.” All this befits a movement whose final aesthetic is violence. It also befits a movement that, in the end, would need the military and police forces to seize power in American society. ...
Posted by JLT at 6:47 AM