from the hawkwind-fans dept.
The State Department has not provided further details about the medical condition of the affected staffers. But government officials have suggested anonymously that the diplomats may have been assaulted with some sort of sonic weapon.
Sound can cause discomfort and even serious harm, and researchers have explored the idea of sonic weaponry for years. But scientists doubt a hidden ultrasound weapon can explain what happened in Cuba.
"I'd say it's fairly implausible," said Jürgen Altmann, a physicist at the Technische Universität Dortmund in Germany and an expert on acoustics.
Once again, the New York Times gets it wrong. James Bond is not the movie genre they're looking for.
mrpg also brings us this less-critical AP report, What Americans Heard in Cuba Attacks: The Sound.
"A team of computer scientists from the University of Michigan may have solved the mystery behind strange sounds heard by American diplomats in Havana, who later suffered a variety of medical disorders.
Professor Kevin Fu and members of the Security and Privacy Research Group at the University of Michigan say they have an explanation for what could have happened in Havana: two sources of ultrasound — such as listening devices — placed too close together could generate interference and provoke the intense sounds described by the victims."
This is an update of previous stories here:
US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack'
U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks"
A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It
A preliminary case report on the victims of mysterious "health attacks" in Havana, Cuba details the results of extensive clinical evaluations, concluding that the individuals appear to have sustained "injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma."
The report offers the first medical glimpse of the victims—US government personnel and their families who were serving on diplomatic assignment in Havana. From late 2016 to August 2017, they reported experiencing bizarre and inexplicable sonic and sensory episodes. The episodes tended to include directional, irritating sounds, such as buzzing and piercing squeals, as well as pressure and vibrations. Afterward, the victims developed a constellation of neurological symptoms.
In clinical evaluations of 21 of 24 individuals affected, an interdisciplinary team of doctors at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine retrospectively pieced together symptoms—an average of 203 days after individuals were exposed. They found that the most common issues persisting more than three months after exposure were cognitive impairment (17/21); balance issues (15/21); visual (18/21) and hearing (15/21) problems; sleep impairment (18/21); and headaches (16/21).