Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Big Brother in Africa

The story about the elephant's tail hair appeared in the Health & Science section of the "Seattle Post Intelligencer", but it might as well have appeared in the "Fascist Daily News". A foot-long piece of hair and a GPS tracking device helped inform "scientists" of the lifestyle of the elephant known as Lewis.

Lewis had gourmet taste: Whenever the dry season browned grass in his Kenyan sanctuary, he'd abandon the other elephants and race 25 miles to the mountains - to raid farmers' corn fields under cover of night. A foot-long hair plucked from his tail, and GPS technology, tell the tale.

Scientists claim the need to track an elephant's whereabouts and dietary intake is necessary to determine how much land they need and how much food they need to consume, especially as civilization encroaches on their habitat. From the article:

Hair is "like a tape recorder," Cerling said, harboring for long periods traces of dietary chemicals.

He gathered hair from the tails of 35 elephants in Kenya's Samburu National Reserve to analyze for long-lasting forms, called "stable isotopes," of carbon and nitrogen that would appear when an elephant ate mostly grass, trees or some other plant. He matched that testing to Save the Elephants' tracking, using Global Positioning System technology, of elephant movements.

On the surface this is all very scientific and noble. But how soon before cops take the role of scientists and citizens the role of elephants? Don't answer that. I think the elephants are merely guinea pigs, so to speak. I think this program is a front, and the real targets are Americans like you and me (or the two Brits and Israelis that sometimes frequent this blog).

Imagine, you're out on the town, minding your business, when suddenly you feel a small, sharp pain on your scalp. A police officer brushes past, "Excuse me, ma'am." You think nothing of it. Next thing you know, your hair follicle is being analyzed in a lab in Langley. Now the government knows you got hammered at The Gauntlet during a work-sanctioned holiday dinner party gone awray, and there's traces of random uncontrolled substances. A quick look at a GPS log report shows the government where those uncontrolled substances might have been purchased, and WHAMMO! An innocent drug dealer is put in jail, and you're about to be out ten thousand dollars in attorney fees to pay someone for a legally-plausible explanation as to why you were at the Silverlake dog park at 3:32 in the morning without a dog...and a couple ounces of heroin.

Chilling, isn't it? Unless we write our game wardens telling them to stop this program, we're next. The NSA is already monitoring our phone calls. Do we want to let them track our drug deals as well?

Not in my America.


VagabondLoafer said...

This post has been removed by 'The Partment O' Homeland Shur-curity.' He-he-he.

Clinton Freeman said...

I'm disappointed.

1. "tale" instead of "tail"
2. Bragging about getting hammered at The Gauntlet"
3. "uncontrolled substances"
Were you on something when you wrote this? Should somebody call A&E and book an intervention?

Of course I would think nothing of a cop saying, "Excuse me, ma'am." If I thought he or she was talking to me, just think they were being a sea cucumber and let it go.
Have "they" gotten to you somehow? Are you a Jacko-f impersonating the Swish?
I've come accustom to a much higher quality blog entry. I read rosie.com. I trust the next one will be of your regular high standards and be worthy of having come from the mind of Laura Swisher.

Tim said...

If your really terrified of big brother your worried about the wrong thing:


Look at that sucker. For a small fee you can insert that under the skin of your pet and know where they are, and how they are doing.

Now all big brother has to do, is get you to want one. But you don't want one do you! Of course not. So let's see what we could do to turn your mind around.

Well, what if you are a Katrina survivor separated from your family? Wouldn't it be great to sit with a government agent at a pc and see exactly where they are and how they are doing?

Laura you are paranoid but you are not paranoid enough. That little pinch you feel could be way friggen worse than a hair sample.

And it's a good thing they don't stick these things into infants because how the hell would we ever know if they did?

PS I can never tell exactly what side of the gay war your on, but the "girl, boy or I don't know" thing I found full blown unacceptable. If a kid is big enough to read then hopefully they are big enough to identify their own genitals unless they are being reared in an environment where they are encouraged not to know what their genitals are. Be gay. Just don't sell it to kids.

Clinton Freeman said...


I see your raise and I'll raise you a reason to be paranoid.

We carry cellphones, notebooks, wireless car keys, metrocards, credit cards, ATM cards, store customer discount tags, ipods, PDAs, and more portable electronics everyday.
We wear earrings, belt buckles, medic alert bracelets, watches, eye glasses, those support (like "livestrong") bracelets and class, fraternity, and wedding rings.
We get dental work, flu shots, x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, blood tests, cosmetic surgery, colonoscopies, and papsmears.
We swallow numerous pills on a yearly, if not daily, basis. That's not even considering all the fast food, junk food, candy, soda, alcohol, and water we consume.
You think the government can't already keep track of you because of what now?

Tim said...

Not to where any agency I am aware of would know my exact body temp, heart rate and longitude and latitude to 50 feet at this very moment.

Check out the link I posted above.

Tim said...

A closer look at your laundry list shows I am guilty of two things on your list:

The atm card and I had an MRI three years ago. I don't feel weird about these things though anywhere near as much as a grain of rice that can detect and send your vital signs and location to anyone who has the propper receiving program.

Laura Swisher said...

Clinton, I now see that I typed in
1. "tale" instead of "tail".
2. I'm not bragging. Truth be told, I was hammered before I got to The Gauntlet which is one of the reasons we ended up at The Gauntlet.
3. I don't ever take uncontrolled substances unless I think it will make a story funnier.

Butternut said...

I think the tail my hair would tell would be:

1. Spends a lot of money on hair care for a straight guy.
2. Spends too much time indoors.
3. Penchant for cereal.
4. Doesn't smoke, doesn't hang around smokers.
5. Prefers Gin over Jagermeister.

Shotta Blogger said...

Hi there Laura Swisher, I was searching for gps fleet tracking system and came across you post. While Big Brother in Africa is not an exact match for what I was looking for, it was worth the read and the information is appreciated. I will continue to search for more information on gps fleet tracking system but I thank you for the effort and hope that you keep up the good work.

GPS Systems said...

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