Klingons in the Living Room

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If you're an old geezer like me, you may remember the Star Trek series. According to the storyline, in the year 2267 the Klingons, a warrior race dreamed up by science fiction writer Gene Coon, made a deal with the Romulans and got their paws on cloaking technology, an advanced stealth system which causes a spaceship to disappear. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, depicted a Starfleet taking the moral high ground, opposed to such a devious technology. But then Roddenbury produced his show, and passed to the world beyond, well before the neocons arrived on the scene, although there was no shortage of shady FBI types, even in Roddenberry's day.

Of course, presented with such a technology -- now apparently possible, if we are to believe applied physics researchers Henri Lezec, Jennifer Dionne, and Professor Harry Atwater -- Klingons working for the NSA, FBI, and the CIA may soon possess the ability to cloak themselves and thus become Super Spooks of a degree only previously imagined by science fiction writers.

In the not too distant future, cloaked snoops may be standing beside your lazy boy in the living room as you plot, in league with al-Qaeda and Osama, the destruction of the world, or more likely as you tell your wife and brother-in-law you plan to attend next weekend's antiwar demo or other such seemingly innocuous (and mostly irrelevant) behavior considered treasonous or at minimum increasingly suspect by our rulers.

And you thought the NSA spy room at the San Francisco switching center was a big deal, especially the nearly incomprehensible act of scooping up all those petabyte and exabytes of data, right down to your neighbor calling the local pizza joint for two large pies with olives and extra cheese, hold the anchovies.

Lezec, Dionne, and Atwater imagine beneficial applications for this technology, such as the manufacture of a "perfect lens" that could have a huge number of biomedical and other technological applications, for instance checking out DNA and protein molecules or perfecting such advanced methods as X-ray crystallography.

But because we now live in Bushzarro world, and are engaged in what is shaping up to be a forever war against tenacious -- if not preposterous - forever enemies, scoping out DNA and protein molecules will likely remain in the province of the university lab.

In the meantime, my bottom dollar is on the use of nanofabricated photonic material in military and intelligence applications. Imagine a legion of soldiers marching undetected into Tehran or Damascus. It is simply a Trojan Horse too alluring to leave to eggheads on government grants, out of touch with the exigent state of political affairs, never mind they might actually cure cancer or something.

But then, considering several trillion of dollars went missing from the Pentagon, and some believe the government has had a pile of exotic technology under its wing for some time -- including secrets gleaned from the innards of UFOs -- what's to say cloaked men in black are not snooping over my should right now as I write this?

Maybe. But more likely not, as the government has bigger fish than me to fry, even if they are listening in -- or at least collecting the data -- of my last cell phone call to the wife, asking her if she wanted a pint of cottage cheese while I was out at the grocery.


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