Gambling on the Future
Financial education: I just want to let you know that I enjoyed reading the article "It Takes a Tribe" (Laura Laughlin, August 1). It was very interesting and educational. I just hope and wish that all Indian communities in Arizona read and understood what needs to be done on their reservations. It's not all about the money that the casino makes. If they have one on their land, it's about the future, the education of the children and/or adults who want to further their education.
I am not a Native American, but my daughter is Pascua Yaqui, and she is an enrolled tribal member. There is a casino on the Pascua Yaqui reservation in Tucson. I personally don't rely on the funds or the assistance that are there for her as a tribal member, but it is nice to know that they are there for her if and when she needs them. However, I know there are others who abuse the funds and assistance that their tribe provides for them, and that's not right!
Name withheld by request
Drinking it in: I can't believe you guys did a cover story on a new soda pop ("X Man," Robrt L. Pela, August 8)! I got all excited thinking it was about that new hangover preventer, Xo3 which everybody I know really wants to know more about. At least that product does you good! I certainly hope New Times isn't turning into just another "raver" paper.
Terrorist technology: I recently read Mark Adkins' letter (Letters, July 11) regarding a recent article in New Times by Robert Nelson ("Apocalypse How?" June 20). In his letter, he scoffs at the notion of a "Soviet-style directed-energy weapon," the idea that such a weapon could exist and actually do what it does. He seems incredulous that such a device could be built small and relatively cheaply. He does note that typical electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects do exist, which can knock out electronic circuits that are not hardened and protected, but says "this phenomenon is a by-product of nuclear detonation."
It is true that EMP effects are typically generated by high-altitude nuclear detonations, and that these effects are more than capable of disabling and possibly "destroying" the functionality of most electronic circuits.
It is possible to disrupt and possibly destroy electronic circuits in a smaller scale manner. These devices can be thought of as "tactical EMP devices." They are small, some designs are mostly silent, and they are portable. These devices also tend to be cheap to build (some designs start at $500 for parts and labor, even less if the parts are used or scavenged).
Demonstration-quality devices have been built by groups and individuals. A lot of this information has been documented but is classified by our government, because our government undoubtedly already has similar devices for use and wouldn't want this information to be released, for fear of rendering its equipment ineffective.
Individuals have created devices using discarded microwave oven magnetrons, large capacitor discharge units and custom feedhorn assemblies to create directed microwave technologies (called High Energy Radio Frequency, or HERF guns) that are able to render electronic devices useless from a distance. These devices have been publicly demonstrated, and descriptions of these demonstrations, as well as plans, are available on the Internet to those interested in looking. HERF guns tend to be mostly silent and highly portable.
You see, Mr. Adkins, this technology is real. It may seem strange to you, the idea that an explosion can compress and direct a magnetic field, to high energies, before the apparatus is destroyed, but it is a fact. Enough details are given on the LANL site that one could, with a bit of time, design and deploy such a device nearly anywhere. If you need the high explosives, several Internet sites, as well as many books, give detailed instructions for the chemistry to create them.
Such a device wouldn't be capable of rendering a city immobile, but if the device were placed in a strategic location (near a hospital, financial center or Internet backbone interconnect), it would easily cause the main goal of terrorists: fear. The demonstration of how vulnerable the engines (computers and electronics) our society runs on are would quite possibly cause a major panic.
I caution readers not to have a knee-jerk reaction and wonder why such sites and people are allowed to continue their experiments and publicly make available their knowledge. Liberty is a founding principle of our society. Safety can only be had at the expense of that liberty. However, perfect safety is an impossibility, even in a totalitarian regime.
Name withheld by request
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.