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Author: TriSec    Date: 12/03/2019 10:46:27

Good Morning.

It's snowing up in these parts, and has been for about 36 hours now. Fortunately, it's not a heavy amount - mostly "snizzle" for the better part of the last two days.

In any case, on to the news at hand. We've occasionally written about "stolen valor" here; Soldier-wannabees that have obtained fake medals and service ribbons and pretend to be something they are not.

Did you ever consider people do the same thing with their dogs? I'm in tourism - I see this all the time. Some silly little "pocket dog" is magically declared a service animal so they can ride with "mama" all day and go in and out of places where dogs aren't normally allowed. We've put our foot down here, and have started denying boarding unless people can produce a credential. It's actually illegal, but as the mandate from Corporate has noted, if a "service dog" is behaving badly, not following commands, or has pooped on something while on board - that's not a service animal, as they would not do these things.

But there's more damage than that.

Every day, legitimate guide and service dog users are asked to leave hotels, restaurants, taxis, movie theaters, airplanes, malls, apartment houses and other public places because people don't understand our dogs' access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, all of which protect people with disabilities.

But even more often, people buy fake credentials and jackets for their pets and bring them on planes ... especially during the holidays. This abuse of the system makes the situation even worse for people like me. It shouldn't be so easy to pass off a pet with false credentials, but it is. In Florida, it's a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and community service time.

So please don't do it.

Dogs like my life-saver, Pella, are trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs to perform tasks that mitigate invisible AND physical disabilities. They spend two years learning obedience and commands at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and are provided to veterans like me free of charge. A service dog can calm someone with severe anxiety, retrieve dropped items, provide stability, remind a handler to take his/her medication, turn on a light, give reassurance and much, much more.

Pella makes it possible for me to face crowds, to shop in a busy supermarket and eat in a restaurant without anxiety. Far from being a pet, she provides me steady empathy, support and sensitivity to the flashbacks, nightmares and stress that used to be crippling.

By contrast, non-housebroken, aggressive or otherwise untrained pets being passed off as service dogs often create trouble for merchants, the airlines and restaurateurs. People can fly with an emotional support animal as long as they have a doctor's letter, and many professionals say they now get pressured to write such letters for their patients.

Many times, these animals bite, make a mess in public or otherwise give legit service dogs a bad name.

This holiday season, please stop and think. Fake service dogs aren't just wrong. It is also against the law to pretend your pet is "working" to mitigate a disability when you know it isn't. On behalf of the guide and service dog handlers out there with true need, please don't do it.

But let's change gears and think about the future a minute. There have been plenty of movies featuring cyborg-enhanced humans and worse, soldiers. It seems like an unholy marriage of man and machine, but you know our Pentagon. Of course they want this to happen! Methinks this won't end well.

By 2050, the U.S. military could have the ability to implant sophisticated machine technology into combat troops for enhanced performance capabilities such as super eyesight and advanced brain function for controlling unmanned drones and other weapons systems, according to a recent Defense Department study.

In "Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DOD," the Biotechnologies for Health and Human Performance Council study group surveyed several current and emerging technologies designed to augment human performance to present the feasibility, military uses, and ethical, legal, and social implications of the technology.

"The [study group] predicted that human/machine enhancement technologies will become widely available before the year 2050 and will steadily mature, largely driven by civilian demand and a robust bio-economy that is at its earliest stages of development in today's global market," the report states.

The report's analysis states that the development of "direct neural enhancements of the human brain for two-way data transfer would create a revolutionary advancement in future military capabilities."

The study group predicted that by the half-century mark, special neural implants would enable operator's brains to interact with battlefield assets such as weapon systems and reconnaissance drones as well as personnel within "proximity or across distances through hierarchical relays with a central network."

"The potential for direct data exchange between human neural networks and microelectronic systems could revolutionize tactical warfighter communications, speed the transfer of knowledge throughout the chain of command, and ultimately dispel the 'fog' of war," the report states.

The procedure for implanting such technology could be "invasive and involve methods that use microelectrodes directly implanted into regions of the brain or extended across the surface of the brain," according to the report, which adds that noninvasive methods such as using electrodes on the scalp can also be used.

"The level of invasiveness of early iterations and the potential irreversibility of these implants may limit acceptance by military personnel and society, although specialized teams (Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, etc.) may be more inclined to accept these technologies if they could provide significant improvements in capability, lethality, survivability, and overall battlefield superiority," it continues.

Finally, as we enter this season of giving, let's think about our national resources. We've posted for a long time about our national priorities. Just sitting in your chair, think about things in your neighborhood, city, or state that could benefit from the application of money.

Well, sorry. Another 22 Billion is going to the Pentagon.

GROTON, Conn. (AP) — The U.S. Navy has awarded a $22.2 billion contract for the construction of nine additional Virginia class submarines.

The office of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island on Monday announced the contract for General Dynamics’ Electric Boat in Connecticut and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in Virginia, the two companies that have been building the attack submarines in partnership.

The submarines included in the latest contract are to be delivered to the Navy between 2025 and 2029.

They also will be slightly larger and have additional capabilities compared with earlier Virginia class submarines. The newer subs will weigh about 10,200 tons and have a length of 460 feet.

Reed’s office says the contract includes an option for a tenth submarine that could raise the contract value above $24 billion.

So - we're trying to decide right now if we're running tours in Boston today. Stay warm out there! (Florida need not comment.)


12 comments (Latest Comment: 12/03/2019 19:24:32 by wickedpam)
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