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Programmable Matter

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Date Host Art Bell
Guests Wil McCarthy, Linda Moulton Howe

An aerospace engineer, sci-fi novelist and science columnist, Wil McCarthy was Art's main guest on Friday night. He discussed forthcoming technologies involving "programmable matter," which could take the form of "quantum dots," which are similar to transistors but much smaller. These "artificial atoms," have the ability to transform our world by changing the composition objects are made of.

"Malicious hackers may have the ability to reprogram the material around us in a way that does not suit our purposes. They could for example imbed sensors in your wall that you didn't know were there and spy on you. Or they could turn your walls transparent so that you didn't have any privacy...They could even potentially collapse buildings," McCarthy said, outlining the potential downside of the technology.

But "the real promise is magic," McCarthy said. We could have "programmable houses," with "windows that move across the wall to track the sun," and ceilings that could become light sources that could change from sunlight to moonlight to firelight.

Messages from Art

"Now let me try and answer a few questions," Art Bell said when he returned to the airwaves Friday evening to fill-in for George. "I was a walking pretzel," he said of his back problem, after he retired from the show back in December. But after a 5-week program of diet and exercise, his health greatly improved.

Art said he misses doing Coast but is keeping busy with his ham radio hobby and operating the radio station KNYE with his wife Ramona. He also commented on the war, and continues to have lingering questions about why our country went to Iraq. Art's email is artbell@mindspring.com.

SARS Update

"It's great to hear you back in the saddle again," Linda Moulton Howe said to Art Bell, as his first guest of Friday evening. Linda presented a report on the alarming SARS epidemic. She detailed some of the latest evidence which indicates that the virus could be spread in feces and urine, and how it may have traveled in the sewage system of an apartment complex in Hong Kong. Linda also interviewed a "probable" SARS patient from Chapel Hill, North Carolina who said the hospital there took few precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Friday Night Feature: Encounter with "Dimensional Tourists"

This is a very frightening and totally unexplained event that happened to me seven years ago on a lonely, desolate road in Texas. My name is Markham A., and I am a former US Marine (0315-Recon), and I now work in the film industry as a cinematographer. In January of 1997 I was supervising the construction of my first home in north Houston, Texas. At the time, I was dabbling in semi-pro wrestling to make extra money.

I had just left a match at a Bingo Hall around 1am, and was driving my Ford Explorer home down FM 1485 (small highway) in Montgomery County. I was thirty minutes into the one hour drive home. There were no other vehicles on the road, and I was not particularly tired or even sleepy.

I stopped at a red light and bent down to grab my container of Gatorade. When I looked up, I immediately noticed a bright pair of headlights coming up behind me very fast! I jammed on the accelerator and proceeded to avoid getting hit. For the next mile or so, this vehicle rode my butt and would not back off. Experiencing some road rage, I slammed on the brakes. It did not have the effect I thought it would. In some bizarre motion, this vehicle behind me that had been menacing me, seemed to avoid hitting me by drifting sideways...as if it were on some kind of track or something.

What happened next made me freeze up with fear. The vehicle pulled up slowly beside my driver's side door and stopped even with me. Even though it was cold outside and humid, there was no exhaust or even an engine sound, which struck me as odd. Then...I took a good look at the vehicle: It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Every detail was just....wrong. It looked like a hybrid of an armored car, a mini van, and an SUV. It was dark brown, with big aircraft type rivets all over it! Completely bizarre and impractical I remember thinking. Then...I turned my attention to the two occupants.

I had my right fingers wrapped around the combat grip of my .40 caliber Smith, so I wasn't too worried, but then a sudden wave of nausea came over me, and I felt like I was being held down in my seat by a metal band....just too weird, and VERY FRIGHTENING. I felt like a caged animal. I don't even know if I could have fired my weapon in this state. I was transfixed on the male driver of the strange vehicle. He was motionless, wearing a big leather hat which resembled a witch's hat. He had jet black hair, and a HUGE jaw. He was wearing aviator sunglasses with red lenses. And by red I mean they kind of glowed red, but didn't...almost like night vision goggles. I had a strong sense of dread at this point. The man stared straight ahead. I glanced at his passenger, who was clearly female. She was just as bizarre, with platinum hair, the same weird red glasses, but a SMALL jaw. She looked like a living Muppet...if that is possible. She turned and looked right at me and then they both smiled at the same time. It was a smile like the Cheshire cat....I became even more nauseous.

Suddenly, I felt free, and jammed on the gas to the floor. I sped away from them, looking in the rear view mirror the entire time. They stayed at the railroad crossing where we had been idling. Suddenly, as clear as day, a voice like an AM radio came into my head and said "Ya' caught us!" Now I drove even faster, not sure what had just happened to me. I didn't know what they meant by that, and I didn't care. I cannot describe in words the fear I felt, and the adrenaline rush I had experienced throughout this event!

I continued on home, and pulled my truck into my garage and slammed and locked the garage door. I looked at my watch and it read 4:20 am...THAT WAS IMPOSSIBLE. I went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. I opened and DRANK an entire GALLON of Gatorade in one sitting. I was so dehydrated, that the next day I had a headache all day and drank tons of water, tea, and juice. I slept poorly for three or four nights. I finally told my mom and one of my brothers what had happened....neither believed me. My mom thought I was having a waking dream or something!

About four months later, I was looking at some program on cable about UFOs. My blood ran cold when I heard the narrator talking about a UFO case in north Houston from the early 80's. I went to the bookstore and got a book about famous UFO cases. The case of Betty Cash and Vicky Landrum drew me. Why?! Because their UFO sighting and subsequent exposure to radiation happened almost EXACTLY at the same mile marker on FM road 1485 in Montgomery County, Texas! Since then I have tried to rationalize things and have formed some theories based on an inner sense. I think it is quite possible that what I saw that night were dimensional "tourists" who had arrived in a conveyance of some kind that was meant to look similar to a car. I can't stress to you how every little detail of this event just felt "wrong" and "out of place." I feel strongly that there are natural portals here which travelers can pop in and out of...without too much control over when...and how. Betty and Vicky watched as their UFO was escorted away by military helicopters which ascended on the craft rather quickly.....and then there was the strange message from my two visitors:"Ya' caught us." I guess I did.
Markham Anderson
Houston, Texas

Bumper Music:

Bumper music from Friday April 18, 2003

Last Night

Nelson Thall is a media scientist, and archivist for the late Marshall McLuhan, the philosopher whose work is among the cornerstones of media theory. Thall joins Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss McLuhan’s theories on mass media, along with how...

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