What Is a Covert Earpiece?

Some of these professional writers on the internet are at such a high level that i wonder if any of them have ever created a book? well every now and then i like to focus on these superb items and here’s one i found remarkable the other day.

A covert earpiece is a miniature earpiece worn by an individual while being effectively hidden from plain view. It operates as a radio accessory in times when a user does not want other people to know she or he is communicating with others using radio earbuds. Also known as an invisible earpiece or a surveillance earpiece, a covert earpiece is often worn by government agents, corporate security personnel, undercover law enforcement officers and corporate as well as government spies.

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covert earpiece

While many occupations require the use of a radio headset for communication, a covert earpiece is primarily used in instances where communication is of an extremely private and sensitive nature. This is common in cases of private security details and surveillance projects. Sometimes people also use a covert earpiece to defraud businesses and others. Examples of such instances would include someone using an invisible earpiece to cheat on an exam or to defraud a casino by receiving remote information while playing a game.

On-air television personalities may also use a covert earpiece, which is not distracting to viewers, but allows the person to hear relevant feedback from producers and engineers in order to make sure a taping or live appearance flows smoothly. Individuals may also wear a covert earpiece when making a public speech. By doing so, the speaker can receive important cues or changes in a speech without the audience even being aware that communication is taking place between someone located behind the scenes and the individual delivering the speech.

Some covert earpieces are accompanied by a discreet microphone, which enables two-way communication. These are commonly used by security forces with a need for such communication, particularly during surveillance operations. These types of accessories are not only convenient because they feature hands-free operation, but also because they allow undercover security forces to blend in with crowds without having to use a visible walkie-talkie system of communication.

A covert earpiece does not contain any visible wires and is designed to fit inside the ear without being noticeable to the general public. Some devices are even designed to fit on a pair of eyeglasses while amplifying sound inside a person’s ear. An inductive wire is sometimes worn around the person’s neck, but is covered by clothing so as not to be discovered by onlookers. This wire is not connected to the covert earpiece, but connects to a separate radio device that helps modulate sound.

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Mars Rover Spots UFO…Or Does It?

After much global speculation, NASA has at last put out an official statement regarding the true identity of the ‘white spot’ or ‘UFO’ seen on Mars by the Curiosity Rover on June 20th.

…Sadly, the UFO in question turned out to be only as extraterrestrial as a camera glitch.

Interviewed by The Huffington Post, Justin Maki, the main camera operator for the rover, said, “This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam (…) In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week, these can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.”

As any photographer will tell you, ‘hot pixels’ sometimes occur during long exposure shots. Such glitches are usually caused by the camera’s sensors momentarily overheating (although they pose no danger to the camera equipment itself).

Amateur photographers occasionally mistake hot pixels for paranormal phenomena as well. In fact, the ghost website ‘Photographing The Paranormal.com’ actually has a section on these little buggers. It warns potential ghost hunters that,

“A perfectly symmetric small red dot in your picture is probably nothing paranormal, especially if it is at the same spot in most of your pictures. That’s actually called a hot pixel, if you spot one, don’t call the press!”

Older astronomy enthusiasts will no doubt be reminded of the discovery of the ‘Martian face’, a famous image captured by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.

Various theorists hurried to suggest that the ‘face’ was evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization (complete with ‘pyramids’ and everything), but it was actually just a large formation, captured by the relatively low-resolution cameras of the 1970’s, that looked a bit like a face.

Modern images, of course, reveal nothing so grand. The ‘Martian Face’ fiasco is now seen as an example of paraeidolia, a psychological phenomenon that sees people finding recognizable patterns in otherwise random sounds and images, examples of which include The Man in the Moon, Rorschach tests and those times when people see the faces of religious figures in ordinary household objects.

So it seems that there was no reason for us to get excited after all (except that pictures of Mars are unassailably cool).

…Of course, the conspiracy nutters are never going to buy it, but hey, what can you do?

The Dead Actor’s Studio

Imagine a young Marlon Brando starring alongside Johnny Depp, or Audrey Hepburn playing rival to Sandra Bullock as Marilyn Monroe stops by for a catty cameo.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either tantalizing ‘fantasy film making’ or else an utterly horrible, cash-in exercise in Hollywood excess. Whatever your viewpoint, it does seem likely that someone, somewhere will try this in the near future.

About three years ago, the news broke that George Lucas, the genius behind the ‘Star Wars’ merchandise (and a couple of related movies), was buying up the likeness rights to a plethora of iconic, yet deceased, leading men and famous actresses from Hollywood’s golden age. His plan? To use a concoction of existing footage, CGI and motion capture to create reasonable facsimiles of classic Hollywood stars and have them appear in future films, despite the notable handicap of being, well, dead.

Initially, it was just for one project, but it raised the prospect of other films being made, as well as a number of interesting philosophical issues.

The majority of critics reacted negatively to the notion of these ‘Franken-films’, some saying that the magic of an individual acting performance would be notably absent in the films, others upset that the actors themselves could potentially ‘star’ in projects that they may not have supported in life.

It really must be said, however, that blockbuster movies like 2009’s ‘Avatar’ and 2011’s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ already received plaudits for their use of motion capture techniques and CGI ‘acting’. It is an accepted part of modern cinema, like it or not.

Lest we forget, George Lucas’ own ‘Star Wars’ films also featured a number of purely CG characters. In our era, we are becoming very used to CG characters; even CG versions of real actors are commonplace. It really isn’t a huge leap of imagination (or available technology) to foresee deceased stars headlining blockbusters once again.

We are also living in a world that specializes in the glorification of deceased idols and recycled imagery (take a look at this month’s music magazines and count how many times you see Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain or other dead stars on the covers). Look at the movie magazines as they feature young DeNiro as Travis Bickle, or Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. We, as consumers, are being conditioned to expect our stars to be able to do anything we can imagine, including coming back from the dead.

Why we want it:

The question here, to at least some degree, is ‘do we want it?’ but for now, I’m going to be positive and assume that we do…

Bringing classic actors back to ‘life’ would be a daring and controversial decision and would inspire all kinds of debates. It would also, no doubt, stimulate the film industry by providing literally hundreds of thousands of new prospects, pairings and casting choices.

On the downside, it would probably create an updated version of the old Hollywood studio system that would likely prove to be a legal nightmare involving no small amount of heartache for the families of the stars being featured. It could also have the negative effect of holding down upcoming talent.

However, many Hollywood actors do what they do for a shot at immortality and this is, frankly, the closest that they are likely to get to that goal. It would not surprise me at all if ‘likeness rights’ contracts started containing an ‘after death’ clause that specified use of the actor’s image in posthumous film projects.

Culturally speaking, in a world where dead musicians like Hendrix and 2Pac routinely release albums and where popular music is dominated by the ‘sampling’ (and in some cases, outright theft) of other works, or where film texts constantly, almost obsessive-compulsively, reference each other (in whantat has become the intertextual equivalent of an M.C Escher drawing), rehashing the stars of the past seems like an obvious choice.

Dead icons could spice up Hollywood by adding controversy, class and bankability to the summer’s contrived blockbuster selection. Plus, all their skeletons, secrets and shameful actions are already a matter of public record, so there’s no ill-timed revelatory ‘gossip’ that’s going to rear up and threaten the production.

Even those who oppose the making of such movies will still have to watch them in order to write the requisite bad reviews, this simply proves the old adage that controversy generates cash.

When can we expect it?

Oh snap, it already happened. In the year 2000, actor Oliver Reed sadly died during the filming of Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’. In order for him to finish what would become his final role, the VFX team created a CG ‘mask’ of Reed’s face and used a body double to complete their film.

Remember that car advert with Steve McQueen? It has already begun.

Real, workable CGI stars are already a reality, but the technology does not yet exist to create a completely CG James Dean for a sequel to ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. I’d give it maybe 10-20 years before we start seeing the stars in respectful, tasteful cameo roles, or else old actors performing alongside their younger selves. After that, it’ll be 3-5 years before we see the screen idols like Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Grace Kelly headlining movies again.

Cool factor 3/5 – It really depends on how these ‘stars’ are handled. The results could, potentially, be beautiful codas to a star’s career (which is how they could be sold to the audience), but they could also be horribly insulting, denigrating the work of great actors and actresses. Time is going to tell, as usual…

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Star Trek Star ‘Outed’ simply by Guardian Blunder

Guardian columnist Jane Czyzselska, writing for the newspaper’s companion website, mistakenly ‘outed’ Shakespearean actor and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ star Patrick Stewart as being gay.

In a column celebrating ‘Inception’ actress Ellen Page actually coming out as gay, Czyzselska wrote “some gay people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page’s coming out speech is newsworthy because a high-profile and surprisingly politically aware young actress has decided not to play by the rules that so many closeted Hollywood actors are advised to follow if they are to enjoy mainstream success,”

It just so happens that the 73-year-old Shakespearean actor, best known for his roles as Professor Charles Xavier in the ‘X-Men’ movies and as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and its companion films – isn’t gay.

In fact, Stewart has been married – to Women – three times, most recently in September of last year, when he married American jazz singer Sunny Ozell. He also has two children from a previous marriage.

The Guardian rushed to correct its mistake, adding an addendum at the bottom of the page, but Stewart didn’t seem to mind a bit.

“It makes a nice change” tweeted Stewart in response to the ‘outing’. “At least I didn’t wake up to the Internet telling me I was dead again”. At the time of writing, that post has been ‘retweeted’ 1,181 times.

For those who don’t know, Sir Patrick Stewart is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. He vocally supports gay marriage and was even given the 2013 ‘Straight Ally of The Year Award’ from PFLAG.

Fellow ‘Star Trek’ star William Shatner joined in the fun, Tweeting, “I never get that kind of coverage! I’m jealous!”

The confusion may have arisen because Sir Patrick’s best friend is openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen. If that was the case, Stewart tweeted this response: “I have, like, five or even SEVEN hetero friends and we totally drink beer and eat lots of chicken wings!” Is it just me, or is it impossible to read the above quote without hearing Captain Picard’s voice in your head?

On a more serious note, Stewart has often spoken about civil rights, he once said, “From my earliest years as an actor I have always been proud of the support the creative community gives to all forms of human and civil rights,”

In fact, Patrick Stewart is no stranger to fighting the good fight, the actor has been a vocal opponent of domestic violence (working with Amnesty International) and he is also a patron for Refuge, a UK-based charity for abused Women.

… And no, he isn’t dead.

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On Your Air, Within The Air Radio as well as Air Travel, an inseparable Mix

Radios are a Vital Tool for Air Travel. At London Heathrow airport, for example, three hundred companies employ some 80,000 people every day, whilst 65 million people leave from, arrive at, or pass through the airport. In the face of such staggering humanity, fast, efficient communication becomes paramount.

Medical personnel need to be notified quickly in case of an accident. Security guards must be able to respond and react to any potential threat as swiftly as possible. Other, daily issues such as reuniting lost children with their parents, locating missing luggage and the inspection of imported goods, must also be dealt with in a clear and professional manner.

Without areliable network of two-way radios, the entire daily operation of any airport would be next to impossible.

Today, most modern airports have switched from having individual radio networks specific to each company, to the employment of more integrated solutions. In 2000, the engineering firm Arup was employed by BAA to make these changes possible at Heathrow, specifically in Terminal 5. According to the firm’s official website,

“Previously at Heathrow, individual mobile operators had installed their own infrastructure, resulting in duplication and proliferation of infrastructure across the airport, standards of installation that varied, unreliable records, and unsightly clutter to the terminal landscape”.

Eventually, the site continues,

“It was jointly agreed by BAA and Arup that the most appropriate solution for the new terminal was common infrastructure that could be shared by multiple parties”.

The changes at Terminal 5 proved to be a success. These days, most airports follow this model of radio communication. The benefits are enormous. Airports are running smoother than ever thanks to improved cross communication between individuals and departments (everything from catering, flight and cabin crew to cleaning staff, border controls and freight handling).

Two-way radios are superior to mobile phones for these tasks because they are instant. Also, there are very few lapses in signal and they are sturdy enough for use in almost any environment.

Think of your mobile: if you came upon an accident right now and you wanted to call somebody and report it, you would be dependent on a multitude of factors, wouldn’t you? Do you have signal? Do you have credit? Will they even pick up the phone at their end? However, a two-way radio eliminates most of these problems. The operator simply presses the button to talk and awaits the reply. Easy.

Two-way radios cover a large area, can be used on secure channels and are cost effective solutions to communications challenges presented by organizations such as Heathrow.

The benefits of a two-way radio system have been well known for a long time, it is a system used by police, the armed forces, building contractors, security firms and, of course, cab drivers, the world over. Plus, the technology isn’t upgraded too often, so there’s not much risk of your purchase becoming obsolete by the time you put down your deposit.

In a very real sense, airports would struggle to complete one outgoing flight a day without two-way radio technology.

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The Definition of High Quality TV: It’s Not TV, Its HD TV

It seems that everybody is using high definition television these days. It’s rare you see a house without one. So, if you’re still unsure about if HD TV is right for you, here are a few of the advantages of a Sony TV. I say Sony TV because Sony are currently among the world leaders in HD TV design and their models are usually cutting edge to the point of drawing blood.

Hi-Def television (HD TV to its friends) is preferable for its superior sound and picture quality, when combined with a Blu Ray player and surround sound; you can create a spectacular cinema-lite experience, with screens that seem to get nearly as big, too! Now, whilst I am personally an ardent fan of the cinema experience, there’s a lot to be said for inviting your friends over for a movie marathon complete with microwave popcorn, beer and as-and-when-needed bathroom breaks.

Another cool feature is the ease with which you can hook your Sony TV up to a laptop computer (the cable costs about £7), meaning you can watch DV, MP4 and Avi files at your leisure. HD TV is a great development in television and home technology in general. The option to attach a Sony TV directly to the wall is also a plus; it’s a real space-saver as well as looking very cool indeed.

With HD TV, every movie is a great big adventure. Big budget, special effects-laden movies fare particularly well in HD. My brother recently bought the remastered, all-singing, all dancing Star Trek boxset and they look great on our HD TV. Especially in the case of the newer ones with the CGI Enterprise, the meticulous design and attention-to-detail really shines through. Set design, mise en scene and subtlety are really rewarded with an HD TV.

Television is the focal point of the modern living room. In fact, television seems to be ofincreasing importance to the social fabric itself. Is ownership of an HD TV the latest status symbol? Probably not, but it can’t hurt to upgrade just in case.

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