Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Stateside with Rosalea: Fries with that?

Stateside with Rosalea: Fries with that?

By Rosalea Barker

Back in September of 2002, I fell in love with a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle called the Hummer. The TV and print ad campaigns featured a bright yellow one, and on TV it was driven by a lone woman through grey, empty but menacing streets. The campaign took advantage of the Hummer's ugly, utitilitarian look and somehow managed to convey a sense of staunch individuality, fun and safety all at the same time.

The Humvee, as it is properly known, is a military all-terrain vehicle with the stance of a bulldog - low, square and flat. You might have seen one recently if anyone has been doing TV news stories about journalists being embedded in the troops going into Iraq. CNN and Disney's ABC News are adapting Hummers into mobile units by putting a largish microwave dish on top and editing facilities inside so that stories can be sent immediately via satellite as the Hummer rolls on into the streets of Baghdad.

Were we being prepared, even last summer, for an invasion of Iraq? More pertinently, are we prepared even now for what the Hummer will do? Not the news-gathering ones, of course, but the military ones.

Let me direct you to a website. Before you go there I should tell you it has a disclaimer that says your accessing it means you agree to being monitored. Without my telling you that, you have no way of knowing it. (Google really needs to put a generic warning on its search page in these Orwellian times.) By telling you to expect that disclaimer, I'm doing something the disclaimer warns me against doing: discussing the material on the website. And hell, I'm only telling you about the disclaimer!

It's an open-to-the-public website for the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratories. You probably have a bunch of the type of directed energy they are experimenting with sitting in your home, right now. You print out pages off the computer with it - lasers - and heat up your cold cup of coffee with another type of it - microwaves.

Picture this: a Hummer rolling into town with a largish microwave dish on top, its energy not directed upward to a communications satellite, but at people level. Not enough energy to actually cook them of course, but enough to make them want to get out of the way. You could print out the graphic on the AFRL website and put it beside the photo that was on SFGate in the "embedded journalist" story, write "Spot the Difference" on it and have people puzzled for weeks.

Do those hotshots at CNN and Disney know how they're being used?

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news