In recent days, the coronavirus pandemic is wrecking havoc on our society. However, the next pandemic is likely to come from one of either two sources: 1) man-made bioterrorism agents or 2) man’s encroachment on nature.
PS: The stock footage from this photo comes from Videvo!
This chapter describes detection of explosives by terahertz Imaging ™. There has been an amplified interest in terahertz (THz) detection for imaging of covered weapons, explosives, chemical and biological agents. THz radiation is readily transmitted through most nonmetallic and nonpolar mediums. This process enables the THz systems to see through concealing barriers, which includes packaging, corrugated cardboard, clothing, shoes, book bags, and such others to find potentially dangerous materials concealed within. Apart from many materials of interest for security applications, which include explosives, chemical agents, and other such biological agents that have characteristic THz spectra which can be used for fingerprint testing and identify concealed materials. The Terahertz radiation poses either no or minimal health risk to either a suspect being scanned by a THz system or the system’s operator. As plastic explosives, fertilizer bombs, and chemical and biological agents increasingly become weapons of war and terrorism, and the trafficking of illegal drugs increasingly develops as a systemic threat, effective means for rapid detection, and an identification of these threats are required. One proposed solution for locating, detecting, and characterizing concealed threats is to use THz electromagnetic waves to spectroscopically detect and identify concealed materials through their characteristic transmission or reflectivity spectra in the range of 0.5–10 THz.
On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, leaked data from the defunct neo-Nazi forum, Iron March, emerged online, exposing the personal information of more than 1,200 members, including the locations of their IP addresses and, in some cases, their real names. Already, activists sifting through the database have uncovered several fascists around the country, including some in uniform. A thoroughly transnational network, Iron March stemmed from a site called International Third Position Forum, was launched by a Russian, produced a terror group in the U.S., and facilitated coordination among terror groupings in the U.K. and elsewhere, all through the power of the internet.
Perhaps most intriguingly, Iron March involved members whose goals of recruiting through the U.S. military underlied their fantasies of ultimately destroying liberal democracy through a fascist paramilitary insurgency. It went on to develop a small but lethal “accelerationist” terrorist group called Atomwaffen Division (Nuclear Weapons Division), responsible for murders, an assassination attempt, and failed bomb plots. It also recently became famous for adding journalists from a Quillette article to a hit-list called “Sunset the Media.” Though what they mostly seem to do is put up stickers in what they laughably call “the stickening.”
The intentional release of biological agents by belligerents or terrorists is a possibility that has recently attracted increased attention. Law enforcement agencies, military planners, public health officials, and clinicians are gaining an increasing awareness of this potential threat. From a military perspective, an important component of the protective pre-exposure armamentarium against this threat is immunization. In addition, certain vaccines are an accepted component of postexposure prophylaxis against potential bioterrorist threat agents. These vaccines might, therefore, be used to respond to a terrorist attack against civilians. We review the development of vaccines against 10 of the most credible biological threats.
The potential threat of biological warfare with a specific agent is proportional to the susceptibility of the population to that agent. Preventing disease after exposure to a biological agent is partially a function of the immunity of the exposed individual. The only available countermeasure that can provide immediate immunity against a biological agent is passive antibody. Unlike vaccines, which require time to induce protective immunity and depend on the host’s ability to mount an immune response, passive antibody can theoretically confer protection regardless of the immune status of the host. Passive antibody therapy has substantial advantages over antimicrobial agents and other measures for postexposure prophylaxis, including low toxicity and high specific activity. Specific antibodies are active against the major agents of bioterrorism, including anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin, tularemia, and plague. This article proposes a biological defense initiative based on developing, producing, and stockpiling specific antibody reagents that can be used to protect the population against biological warfare threats.
Defense strategies against biological weapons include such measures as enhanced epidemiologic surveillance, vaccination, and use of antimicrobial agents, with the important caveat that the final line of defense is the immune system of the exposed individual. The potential threat of biological warfare and bioterrorism is inversely proportional to the number of immune persons in the targeted population. Thus, biological agents are potential weapons only against populations with a substantial proportion of susceptible persons. For example, smallpox virus would not be considered a useful biological weapon against a population universally immunized with vaccinia.
Vaccination can reduce the susceptibility of a population against specific threats provided that a safe vaccine exists that can induce a protective response. Unfortunately, inducing a protective response by vaccination may take longer than the time between exposure and onset of disease. Moreover, many vaccines require multiple doses to achieve a protective immune response, which would limit their usefulness in an emergency vaccination program to provide rapid prophylaxis after an attack. In fact, not all vaccine recipients mount a protective response, even after receiving the recommended immunization schedule. Persons with impaired immunity are often unable to generate effective response to vaccination, and certain vaccines may be contraindicated for them.
The plaintiffs have sought $20 trillion, which is a bigger amount than China’s GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities.
They have accused China of aiding and abetting death, provision of material support to terrorists, conspiracy to cause injury and death of US citizens, negligence, wrongful death, and assault and battery.
The super-charged face scanning tech is costing the military at least $4.3 million.
The United States Army is currently building a super-charged facial recognition system — tech that could be ready for action as soon as next year.
The system, as described in a new One Zero story, analyzes infrared images of a person’s face to see if they’re a match for anyone on a government watchlist, such as a known terrorist. Not only will the finished system reportedly work in the dark, through car windshields, and even in less-than-clear weather conditions — but it’ll also be able to ID individuals from up to 500 meters away.
One Zero tracked down two military contracts for the development of the tech.
Sam Harris discusses the coronavirus withAmesh Adalja.
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Amesh Adalja about the spreading coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the contagiousness of the virus and the severity of the resultant illness, the mortality rate and risk factors, vectors of transmission, how long coronavirus can live on surfaces, the importance of social distancing, possible anti-viral treatments, the timeline for a vaccine, the importance of pandemic preparedness, and other topics.
Amesh Adalja, MD, is an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. His work is focused on emerging infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity. Amesh has served on US government panels tasked with developing guidelines for the treatment of plague, botulism, and anthrax. He is an Associate Editor of the journal Health Security, co-editor of the volume Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, and a contributing author for the Handbook of Bioterrorism and Disaster Medicine. Amesh actively practices infectious disease, critical care, and emergency medicine in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
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Bioterrorism is defined as the intentional use of biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological agents to cause disease, death, or environmental damage. Early recognition of a bioterrorist attack is of utmost importance to minimize casualties and initiate appropriate therapy. The range of agents that could potentially be used as weapons is wide, however, only a few of these agents have all the characteristics making them ideal for that purpose. Many of the chemical and biological weapons can cause neurological symptoms and damage the nervous system in varying degrees. Therefore, preparedness among neurologists is important. The main challenge is to be cognizant of the clinical syndromes and to be able to differentiate diseases caused by bioterrorism from naturally occurring disorders. This review provides an overview of the biological and chemical warfare agents, with a focus on neurological manifestation and an approach to treatment from a perspective of neurological critical care.
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011‑0097-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.