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The CIA has its own investment capital firm called “In-Q-Tel,” and it’s been funding innovative tech firms for years. This is both good news and bad. One the one hand, it allows the CIA to invest in technologies they deem useful for the intelligence community; however, some of these technologies are a little creepy when it comes to personal space and privacy.
In-Q-Tel has the ability to reach deep into the pockets of the U.S. government’s Black Budget, which is pretty hefty given that the Washington Post reported that a staggering $52.6 billion was set aside for Black Budget operations in fiscal year 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with the Black Budget program, that’s not very surprising; the entire point of the program is to keep these funds and the programs within it top secret.
To learn more, check out the following CE article:
Though these investments are much smaller than the total Black Budget spendings, amounting from somewhere between $500K and $2 million per investment as per a 2005 story in Washington Post, they’re still strategic contributions made in hopes of using the technology in the future.
Here’s a list of 14 firms the CIA has funded:
The CIA invested in Cylance last year, the company behind the product CylancePROTECT. It uses artificial intelligence to distinguish whether or not a file is malware prior to opening it, and if it detects it as malware, it can prevent it from being opened entirely. It’s easy to understand why an intelligence agency would love to have this product on their hands, or anyone else, for that matter.
The CIA invested in this company last year as well. Orbital Insight will search through millions of satellite images of Earth in order to answer a variety of questions. It could count the precise number of cars on a highway and all sorts of other things. Can you imagine how much data is stored in satellite images?
The company intended to use the data to help big box stores understand how they’re performing by determining how many people walk in and out of their stores, how many people are parked in their parking lots, etc.
It would be fascinating to know how the CIA would use this technology, because it would essentially give the intelligence agency insight into operations occurring all over the world. Talk about “Big Brother!”
The CIA invested in Cyphy (pronounced Sci Fi) in 2015, which has designed a drone that can spy on anyone from up to 10,000 feet high. That’s right, you may not even know that someone’s spying on you, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere!
That’s not all though — the company even has a tiny drone called a “pocket flyer” which can fly through doors and windows and is small enough to fit in your pocket. Again, it’s easy to understand how the CIA could use this technology, particularly in military or undercover operations, but it’s still a little creepy.
4. BlueLine Grid
An investment that In-Q-Tel made in 2015, BlueLine Grid created a platform for communication that’s entirely web-based, similar to Slack (a communication platform that’s become popular amongst smaller and online-based businesses).
GridTeam is the name of the platform, and it’s extremely secure, allowing users to share messages, images, and even files quickly and safely. It can even host conference calls! The app is typically used by law enforcement and first responders, but since it was designed with security in mind, it’s understandable why the CIA would consider taking advantage as well.
5. Atlas Wearables
The CIA invested in this company in 2015, and it designs fitness trackers similar to FitBits, but a little more accurate. For example, the Atlas wristband would know when you’re doing a bicep curl versus when you’re doing a specific form of cardio.
In addition, the company also designed an app that works with you, sort of like a personal trainer. It’s effective enough that it would literally know whether or not you did the exact amount of push-ups asked of you, which is pretty neat!
An investment made by the CIA in 2014, Fuel3d created a handheld device that can literally scan anything in an instant, including three dimensional items. The device is called Scanify, and it’s already being used to advance different industries!
For example, full-face scans have been used to create and design eyewear, and it can even build 3-D models to help solve crime scenes. Who knows how the CIA would use this technology, but the opportunities seem endless.
Perhaps one of the creepiest investments made to date, the CIA invested in MindMeld in 2014, which is creating a voice command system for practically everything. Think of Siri for your iPhone, but then applying that wide-scale. Seriously, imagine a voice-activated computer, oven, anything.
The creepy part is, this means that your appliances and electronics are always listening to you, which begs the question, where’s all that data being stored, and who’s listening to it? It’s pretty interesting to ponder how the CIA would use this technology if it were to be implemented large-scale.
The CIA invested in this technology in 2012, and it has some pretty incredible capabilities. The company designed a device that allows DNA to be completely analyzed in a matter of minutes. Typically, this process takes hours and requires DNA samples to be sent to a lab, which then need time to be analyzed.
Instead, this handheld, portable device allows you to analyze the DNA immediately — no lab time required.
The CIA invested in this company back in 2009, and it’s pretty cool. Imagine a fun adventure/spy movie in which high-level spies are communicating with one another on tiny, fancy ear pieces. Well, Sonitus makes this a reality but takes it one step further, as their tiny products go inside the mouth and allow users to communicate with one another.
These products can be used in even the nosiest of environments, like during skydiving!
The CIA invested in this company in 2005, and some U.S. spies are already using their software. Palantir’s software is able to connect tons of data from the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies. The military can use it to establish who built certain bombs, detectives can use it to build a greater understanding of different criminals and their connections, and more.
11. BBN Technologies
This investment was made in 2004, and it serves as one of the oldest startups the CIA invested in, as the company was born in 1948. The company has supplied the military with numerous high-tech gadgets, so the investment has certainly paid off.
For example, BBN’s “Boomerang” technology communicates to helicopters and on-ground personnel when they’re being fired at, tells them where the firing came from, and it even has advanced speech recognition capabilities to help military personnel comprehend different languages.
The CIA invested in this firm in 2003, which has developed an extremely advanced 3D mapping technology that allows people to literally “fly” over different places. Think of Google Earth, because that’s how Google actually created that! Google bought the company in 2004 and used it to create its infamous mapping technologies.
Other technologies the firm created, included EarthViewer, work similarly and have been used by troops during the Iraq War.
13. Basis Technology
In-Q-Tel invested in this company in 2004, whose software can actually take a foreign document, analyze it, and then translate it. It’s so advanced that it can even identify when something is written in different contexts. This was obviously a great investment for the CIA, as I’m sure anyone could find use for it!
14. Oculis Labs
The CIA invested in Oculis Labs in 2011, which designed products to stop people from eavesdropping on your technology. Its technologies, called PrivateEye and Chameleon, can literally track whether the mobile or computer user is looking at the screen and will only display the contents of the screen to the user. So, if anyone else tries to use the monitor, they can’t, because once the user turns away, the screen is no longer visible.
Interestingly enough, someone two feet away peering at the screen behind the user still wouldn’t be able to see the screen, so it inhibits even the most persistent of “Peeping Toms.”
It’s pretty neat to think that all of these technologies exist, and in many ways it can be comforting to know the CIA is investing in them. However, it’s no secret that the U.S. government has also been a bit of a “Peeping Tom” themselves, so let’s hope that our privacy isn’t invaded any more than it already has been.
CE Related Articles:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and their ilk have concocted a growing list of declared “hate issues.” If you have made it this far, then you are an English speaker. So let’s define the word “hate” and carefully consider whether such a concept should be some type of crime. Hate is, by definition, intense dislike. Synonyms would include loathing, detestation, dislike, distaste, abhorrence, abomination, resentment, aversion, hostility, ill will, and bad feeling. These are all standard human emotions.
So if a person committed a crime against another person, more often than not it might involve one or more of those synonyms. On its face, a crime is a crime, and any ill feeling adjective used is very secondary. Of course the poison of cultural Marxism championed by the SPLC is designed to link dislike of other races or even individuals with a crime, even if no actual physical crime was committed. It has gone so far that the dislike might not even be intense, but more of a preference or an opinion. In the Brave New World that also is labelled hate and also racist.
But this is where it gets more tricky, as crime is defined as “a transgression of law.” One would assume that very few would call loathing, bad feelings or intense dislike a crime. You would be wrong. The poison has entered the system so much so that Americans are about split on criminalizing hate speech. Notice that I emphasized speech exhibiting intense dislike or even just dislike, not violence.
Speech is defined as “the expression of or the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds.” So if one were to simply utter something that hurt the feelings of someone of another ethnic group, race, or even age or gender, those mere words constitute a harm in the world of cultural Marxist -Social Justice Warrior shadow language. The dictionary and law, at least up to now, has defined harm as “physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted.”
The term derogatory is useful to this discussion. We hear it a lot. To my ears it is commonly directed at white people, but to be fair it flies about everywhere in our society. It means showing a critical or disrespectful attitude. So being disrespectful and critical is called hateful by snowflakes, and if directed at the wrong party, might constitute hate speech and by extension crime.
How ironic that cultural Marxism is also know as “critical theory”. However this form of criticism is not even handed.
If it is directed at a white person it is called disrespectful. Honestly I am not aware of any serious person in the white population, who is on the receiving end of disrespectful or hateful speech, calling that a crime.
The same is true of the word hostility which is defined as unfriendliness or opposition. The word anti-semitism is defined as hostility (opposition) towards Judaics. Indeed Congress is considering passing a resolution calling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions opposition movement against Israel “anti-semitism.”
Red Queen Trump has now promised to “forcibly condemn anti-Semitics”, or those people unfriendly or in opposition to Jews. The word condemn is a slippery slope as it has two meanings in English: 1. express complete disapproval of, censure. The second meaning is “sentence (someone) to a particular punishment.”
In today’s climate, especially since Trump used the word “forcibly” along side “condemn”, this could be seen as a veiled threat given all the talk about “hate crimes”, and white supremacists boogeymen. In fact the dictionary defines, forcibly as “using force or violence.” For English speakers, not using shadow language, this could be construed as a criminal or a form of star chamber justice threat. Whoever wrote this script for marionette Trump knows exactly what they are doing here.
As far is real unlawful harm, if individuals and/or their property are physically harmed by “unfriendly” or hostile types, there is existing rule of law in place going back millenniums to deal with it. There is a whole body of existing law to deal with intimidation and verbal threats of harm as well.
Here is a prime example of just how far this hate crime scam has gone. A transgender, one Ebony Belcher, age 32, was using the women’s bathroom at a supermarket when a female security guard swung open the door and ordered her to get out.
“She opened the door and came in and started calling me derogatory names,” Ms. Belcher claimed. Ms. Belcher said the guard told her, “You guys cannot keep coming in here and using our women’s restroom. They did not pass the law yet.” She said the guard grabbed her by the arm and removed her out of the store.
Belcher then proceeded to file a complaint with D.C. police. Instead of shrugging off the incident as a matter of private property, police arrested the guard pursuant of “hate crime” charges.
Here we have a whole slippery slope of what is being defined as a crime, and what is a transgression of a crime- being called a derogatory name resulting in hurt feelings or perceived slight real or imagined.
A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine explores sensory deprivation in a flotation tank as a form of preventative healthcare. Its results showed substantial reductions in levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and along with improved sleep quality and overall mood, proving that flotation therapy is an excellent way to prevent and treat many emotional and physical ailments.
Sensory deprivation cuts off all the senses from the mind, removing it from the average barrage of stressful situations that most of us face each day. In the absence of distracting external stimuli, the mind enters a state of deep relaxation and meditation. The research shows how this state can actually be medicinal, as it has tremendous potential to reduce stress and thus the damaging symptoms that come with it.
Chronic stress expresses itself through things like depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Flotation therapy can directly relieve this, but how?
The relaxation response method (RR) is essentially the exact opposite of the fight-or-flight response. It is the physiological process that relieves stress, occurring during states of deep relaxation. RR is able to combat stress so efficiently because of its calming effects on the parasympathetic nervous system, the portion of the nervous system responsible for many physiological changes within the body including energy conservation and deep relaxation. It is through this process that RR lowers heart rate and blood pressure and slows down breathing.
The authors of the study noted that to successfully ignite the RR response while the body is under stress it is crucial to reduce all sensory input and movement by the body — which makes floatation therapy the perfect solution. The research described the mechanisms of this method: “During flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) an individual lay in a horizontal floating posture immersed in highly concentrated salt water (magnesium sulphate) in a flotation tank. All incoming stimuli are reduced to a minimum during this period (usually 45 minutes), i.e. sound and light, and the water is heated to skin temperature. ”
Sixty-five participants — 14 men and 51 women — took part in the study. The participants were divided into a flotation-REST group, which consisted of 37 people, and a wait-list control group, with 28 people. The flotation group received 12 45-minute sessions over the course of seven weeks. Subjects were assessed for depression, anxiety, stress, sleep quality, energy, pain, and optimism before and after the study. These same measurements were assessed for the control group.
The flotation group displayed radically improved scores in comparison to the control group, with participants exhibiting reduced anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.
Here’s Some Data
The average score for stress before flotation treatment was 1.86; afterwards, it dropped to a remarkable 0.95. The control group scored 1.84 before and 1.89 after treatment, meaning their stress actually increased during this period.
The score for anxiety for the flotation group was 7.92 before treatment and 4.28 afterwards. On the other hand, the control group scored 7.03 before and 6.96 afterwards.
For depression, the flotation group started out with a score of 4.42, which then dropped to 2.25 after treatment. The control group started at 4.00 and ended the period at 4.30, another increase.
Researchers also saw an improvement in various lifestyle factors. Sleep quality, pain, optimism, and mindfulness were all measured and shown to increase with treatment. These results further strengthen the case for flotation therapy.
In the conclusion of the study the researchers were confident that flotation therapy can be an excellent practice to improve overall health by greatly reducing stress (and thereby stress related illnesses) while increasing psychological factors in healthy participants as well.
Isn’t it just amazing what a little bit of rest and relaxation can do for our mental and physical well-being? While it’s easy to say we should all just make the time to relax more, the issue here is that many of us won’t. If you actually make the effort to go to a float spa, which are becoming increasingly popular across North America, then you will be dedicating this time to yourself and will experience the ultimate form of relaxation. In fact, flotation therapy is one of the most potent methods of activating the relaxation response, and shows how our environment can directly impact our physiological and psychological well-being. Instead of taking prescription drugs for such ailments, consider giving this a try!
Have you tried a sensory deprivation tank? Please share your experiences and thoughts with us in the comments section below, or on our Facebook Community.