Political Animal


CATCHING CROOKS VIA MINDREADING….TalkLeft has a story today about a guy who has a technique for peering into someone’s thoughts to find out if they’ve committed a crime:

A technique called “brain fingerprinting,” which seeks to probe whether a suspect has specific knowledge of a crime, could become a powerful weapon in national security, its inventor believes.

As it turns out, it’s unlikely his invention actually works, but what if it did? Would it be a good idea?

Here’s a thought experiment: suppose this guy actually had a foolproof, nonintrusive way of determining if a suspect in a crime were telling the truth:

  • What restrictions would need to be placed on its use?

  • Would we need courts and juries (as we know them) any longer?

  • How could it be abused?

  • Is there a downside to a 100% reliable way of catching criminals?

The reason these questions are interesting is that it wouldn’t surprise me if such a technique ? genuinely reliable and easy to use ? were developed sometime in the next few decades. If it is, should we use it?


OSAMA BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE?….According to an AP dispatch, Osama bin Laden is alive and talking:

The Al Jazeera Arab satellite station confirmed it received an audio statement from Osama bin Laden which it said will air later Tuesday. Chief editor Ibrahim Hilal told The Associated Press the 16-minute tape was a message to Iraqis to remain steadfast in the face of a potential American attack.

….A headline at the bottom of the screen during regular programming Tuesday night read, “Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden calls on all Muslims to unite to defend the Iraqi people, in an audio message Al-Jazeera will broadcast later.”

(The story is developing, so the excerpt above will probably be replaced by other text as the day goes on.)

Only time will tell if this message is genuine, but if it is ? well, it’s a powerful weapon in the campaign to truly galvanize American opinion to invade Iraq. Thanks, Osama.

UPDATE: Here’s a BBC translation of the entire message.