The Terrometer: A handheld measuring instrument for determining local terror levels, based upon potential terrorists' response to a "people watching people" phenomenon of overt sousveillance

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This paper presents the ``terrometer'' (terrorism meter) as a new artistic intervention, albeit in a more humourous rather than scholarly light.

In the same way that unusual people (people of different skin colour, or people of different ethnic or physical appearance) are singled out for suspicion, the terrometer looks for unusual establishments. Instead of the usual Person of Interest, it finds ``Buildings of Interest'' or ``Businesses of Interest''.

It works by sensing aversion to sousveillance (i.e. aversion to inverse surveillance).

The apparatus comprises a hand-held camera and wearable computer system connected to a moving-coil meter movement that indicates the degree to which photography is contested by officials within the organization, indicating high ``terrorism'' levels in the presence of officials objecting to scrutiny.

This paper builds upon the sousveillance ("people watching people") notion of suspicion, with regards to terrorism. We begin with an etymological look into the origins of the word "terrorism", and then, taken within its original context, as well as its current usage, show that terrorism, as broadly defined, has the potential to exist anywhere. We argue that our notions of suspicion should be pointed along ALL axes of evil, not just along some axes. Moreover, we argue that even if suspicion is directed along ALL axes, we still have not covered all of our bases, because this leaves the origin (of evil) unsuspected. Thus we must become a people watching all people, not just a people being watched by some people. It is this notion of everyone suspecting everyone else, rather than the masses being suspected by a select few, that gives rise to the invention of the terrometer. We present the invention of the terrometer, an instrument for measuring terrosity levels.

Figure 1: Terrometer GOOD/BAD scale with needle at rest position wherein, lacking evidence of "GOOD", "BAD" is assumed.

Introduction: The Emperor's New People:

"Some animals are more equal than others."
-- the pigs in George Orwell's "Animal Farm",

Etymology and first use of the word "terrorism":

Let us consider, for a moment, the etymology and first use of the word "terrorism".

The ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY defines terrorism as follows:

Terrorism is first attested 1795, "government intimidation during the Reign of Terror" (1793-July 1794) after the Fr. Revolution, from Fr. terrorisme. General sense of "systematic use of terror as a policy" is first recorded in Eng. 1798. Terrorize "coerce or deter by terror" first recorded 1823. [...] -- earlier it was used of extremist revolutionaries in Russia (1866); and Jacobins during the French Revolution (1795) -- from Fr. terroriste.
Note that Webster's includes terrorism as a mode of government:
Terrorism \Ter"ror*ism\, n. [Cf. F. terrorisme.] The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation. --Jefferson.
(Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913])

Committee Of Public Safety (C.O.P.S.)

While investigating the etymology and origins of terrorism, one will find that the first use of the word "terrorism" is to describe government action against its own citizens:
It [The Reign of Terror] was established by the government on Sept. 5, 1793, to take harsh measures against those suspected of being enemies ... Controlled by the radical Committee of Public Safety ... Terror eliminated enemies ... A law passed in June 1794 that suspended a suspect's right to public trial or legal defense ... About 300,000 suspects were arrested during the period; about 17,000 were executed, and many others died in prison.
--Britannica Encyclopedia

C.O.P.S. was established for investigating acts of Treason and was a successor to the Legislative Assembly's 'Committee of Surveillance'. which was responsible for the conduct of Terror, working with other branches of the government, to maintain enforcement of state security. [Clery] [Greer] [Edelstein]

The enemy within

From the aforementioned origins of terrorism, it should be self evident that terrorism is not limited to the acts of a lone miscreant. The potential for terror exist everywhere, from "the THEM" to "the US". They might be terrorists and we might be terrorists. And we, jointly, and severally might be terrorists, i.e. we ourselves might be terrorists, and we, collectively (i.e. our governments) might also be terrorists.

It has been said that:

In the world we live in, you can't trust anybody. Even Presidents and First Ladys are making crime!

At protests against police brutality, people hold up signs or wear T-shirts stating, "Danger, Police in Area." (a quote perhaps attributable to artist Dread Scott).

Some have even gone so far as to say that any form of law enforcement is terrorism, and even that any form of enFORCEement in general is terrorism, i.e. that soldiers and police are terrorits.

While this view may seem extreme, it is kind of ironic that, according to the original first use of the word "terrorist", a suicide bomber would be a terrorist, if and only if his or her actions were sponsored by a government, and that if a police officer is paid for by a government, then he or she would fit the original definition of "terrorist" more closely than an independent criminal.

Locking only SOME of the doors

The potential for terrorism could come from any direction, i.e. from above or from below, and from left or from right. It might come from the Axes of Evil, or it might come from the Origin of Evil. (The point at which axes meet is called the "origin".)

Thus the war on SOME drugs or merely locking SOME of the doors is not sufficient to protect us from terrorism.

Imagine, for example, if you only locked the passenger side door of your car, but left the driver's side unlocked. Would it not make more sense to lock ALL the doors? Yet when we suspect each other ("people watching people") without suspecting the Emperor (or Empress), we leave ourselves open to the possibility that the Emperor might himself be a terrorist.

Terrorism is driving the future: it's time to see who's steering...

So if we merely suspect each other, but put total trust in the Emperor, what is to prevent the Emperor from stealing our clothes while we're changing into the invisible fabric of a "safe society"?

It seems that Today's homeland (in)security strategy is to lockdown only the passenger-side door, but leave the driver's side door unlocked. Why lock only the basement door when you leave the upstairs door unlocked?

Our Poetic License Server has expired, and we're outsourcing and outforcing our guns to our governments. With no guns ourselves, as we drill for ARMageddon, we don't Drill the Whole, we leave a hole in the drill. It is like having a fire drill in only some places but not others. Why not leave nothing undrilled? In addition to bioterror attack drills in which volunteers wear swimsuits under their clothes and are herded through showers, we should also drill for when goverment becomes opressive. Don't drill the passenger side only; don't drill only your right arm and let the rest of your body atrophy.

The first thing the terrorists will try to do is take control of our airports with their gunmen.

Gunmen: a gunman is a man with a gun.

Is a policeman with a gun, also a man with a gun (i.e. a gunman)?

Do we drill in case the wealthy landowner is a terrorist, or do we only do drills to prepare us for dirty bomb attacks by misfit miscreants? If the Enemy is Within, the enemy is drilled into us (bored into us). We've been reamed, tapped, and screwed.

In the past we were told "don't trust your neighbours", and now we're told that we should watch our neighbours. We're told that we should be a "people watching people", and that we should report suspicious activity to the authorities.

Turn in your neighbour but trust the police.

A terrorists cell or resistance cell is the opposite of Bentham's Panopticon (i.e. intercell trust, extracell mistrust).

The fact of the matter is, we never do drills or exercises to prevent insider terrorism. The traditional drill is to suspect a neighbour, i.e. another citizen, and never do we train on how to prevent takeover by the Emperor himself. What we need is a form of scrutiny that's blind to heirarchy, i.e. we need a system that suspects authority as much as it suspects individuals. The aphorism "question authority" becomes "suspect authority".

We must all join in total war on terror:

Combatting terrorism:

Terrorism is now so pervasive that we must all enlist in total war against it. We're of the same religion, homeland security, so we must shoot first and shoot later, detect, document and eradicate all possible terrorist activity.

It is self evident that the only way to completely rid humanity of the possibility of terrorism is to eliminate humanity itself. However, since total human genocide is largely considered an undesirable solution, the next best solution is total activity awareness: People Watching People.

Since terrorism is clandestine by it's nature, anyone could be a terrorist or pre-terrorist sympathizer. Some terrorists, such as suicide bombers, are found to have come from the unwashed masses. Others, such as Maximilien Robespierre, author of the French Reign of Terror, have been found at the highest levels of government. No quality such as race, religion, age, gender or nationality can convey an imprimatur against guilt of terrorist persuation. Everyone from paupers to presidents are potential terrorist threats.

Therefore we must augment the existing and effective governmental tactic of suspecting and photographing everyone with a more grass-roots, pragmatic tactic of photographing one another. We must photograph one another since any of us may be terrorists. By documenting everyone and everything in this way, we can significantly reduce the possibility of terrorists in our midst going undetected. Furthermore, when alone, we must document ourselves since we may unknowingly begin terrorist thinking patterns at any time. Documenting our own private actions would therefore be our first line of defense against terrorism.

The current practice of monitoring merely some people is like the war on some drugs or the security of locking merely some doors. This practice is absured and obviously ineffective. We need to lockdown all the doors. We need a complete lockup, lockdown, washup, washdown, stripdown and documentation campaign for everyone. Without total war on terrorism, we are doomed to be slaves to terror without any hope of liberation.

To manage this total war on terrorism, we must establish a Committee Of Public Safety (C.O.P.S.), similar to the Commitee of Public Safety of the Council of the City of New York for post-September 11th security in New York City. COPS would oversee the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to it's oversight responsibilities, COPS would administer concomitant websites such as,, for gathering daily documentation from citizens, and,, for citizens to report other citizens as suspected terrorists.

It may be noted that in order to safeguard ourselves from terrorism, we must all become like benevelent information terrorists to one another. This benevelent information terrorism, (like Benthamism), is a kinder, gentler terrorism preventing malovelent terrorism by entirely supplanting it. Benthemism keeps us aware that we are all watching one another for the common good. In this way, just as one fights fire with fire, we can defeat negative terrorism with positive terrorism, the latter canceling out the former.

The Terrometer: An instrument for the measurement, capture, and reportage of terron counts in the range from one microterron to one Gigaterron

Accordingly, we designed and built an instrument that we call the terrometer (pronounced "traumeter"). The terrometer measures threat level. Unlike a divining rod, or the dowser that finds oil, or witches, the terrometer can be used to accurately and reliably locate terrorism.

Additionally, we propose a unit of measure that quantifies terrosity levels. We call the unit the terron. Our first prototype terrometer is accurate over a range from one microterron to one gigaterron, and provides a quick threat assessment.

Our first prototype had a logarthmic terrosity scale divided into seven color-coded regions:

This seven color system was found to be too confusing to many of our terrometer users, and we therefore abandoned this design. Moreover, by having high terrometer readings on the right hand side, and lower values on the left (like a voltmeter), we found that the reverse association was often made, i.e. because people are used to the idea that good is to the right and evil is to the left. For example, a reading of 4.7 Kiloterrons would appear further on the right, than, for example, a reading of 3.3 microterrons, which would appear toward the left hand side of the scale.

Human Factors considerations in an improved terrometer design:

Our next approach was to design a terrometer having a reversed scale reading in "INVERSE LOGARITHMIC TERRONS". And instead of the seven color system, we adopted a simpler, more familiar two color system: RED for EVIL (which we later changed to "BAD"), and GREEN for GOOD, as shown in the figure below:

Figure 2: Terrometer in action

With the reversed scale, EVIL (BAD) is on the left, and GOOD is on the right, which is the way that most prospective customers seemed to like to have the scale arranged. That "EVIL" is a loaded word, we decided to use "BAD" and "GOOD", so that a user could determine whether or not it was safe to, for example, enter or exit through a doorway into a dark and potentially evil corridor.

With a reading of GOOD, as shown below:

Figure 3: Terrometer scale indicating "GOOD".
all that is required is a simple lockup, whereas with a reading in the RED (BAD), a full lockdown, and lockin (locking everyone in the building) for mass casualty decon, would be initiated.

Terrometer principle of operation:

The key discovery leading to our invention of the terrometer was a simple observation that persons with dark and evil thoughts (i.e. those with terrorist thoughts) are more easily startled by a flash of light than those who are pure of thought. In particular, the terrometer measures the response, in the environment, to a stimulus that comprises a flash of light. The terrometer comprises a hand grip, with trigger, having a "hot shoe" mount for a standard photographic flash, such as a Nikon SB800, or the like. The photonic burst of energy from the terrometer, which it uses as the stimulus upon which to base its measurement, may be thought of as an antiterron ("terroff"). ("Terroff" is a portmanteau for Turning Terrons OFF.)

When launching an antiterron, more terrons migrate toward the locale. Much as electrons travel along the path of least resistance, terrons contaminate/propagate along the path of least resistance. Therefore, there is both safety and risk in the measurment of terron proliferation. Terrons are "other" (self is safe).

Our various terrometers come with a standard photographic "1/4, 20" (1/4 inch, 20 threads per inch) mount, so that dozens of terrometers can be affixed to a long bar, to make an antiterron pushbroom, for doing a clean sweep. From mineswepping to cell sweeping, (high density of terron cells), terrometers can thus work together in unison.

It was found that terrons self organize into sparsely connected autonomous cells (terrcells). Mature terrcells (terron cells) have a structure identical to the molecular structure of many bioterror agents.

Terrorism is neither a particle nor a wave, but it exhibits both particle and wavelike properties. We often have "waves" of terrorism (terrorism comes in waves), and terrorist "cells" (discrete particle-like entities). While cells are countable (i.e. "things"), waves are uncountable (i.e. "stuff"), and Terrons are neither things nor stuff (neither digital nor analog), but exist everywhere in both the digital and analog world. We cannot quarantine terrons to one or the other world, as they flow fluidly across digital/analog boundaries.

Victims of severe terron contamination can be guided (much as photons, by bending their paths), by means of specialy designed terrorist decontamination hospitals (TD Hospitals), into T-cell (terron afflicted cells), known as Correctional Facilities. We are also currently working on an Anti-Terrorism, video game, based on this paper, where each team, with a terrometer calibrated for their team, attempts to root out evil (where evil is defined as being a member of the opposite team).

Some empirical observations on terrons:

Terrons are formed in the brain, of certain afflicted individuals (victims of evil influence). On startup, the terrometer begins at "EVIL" ("BAD") until proven good. In fact, when the batteries of the terrometer run out, the needle of it's moving coil meter movement (d'Arsonval movement) falls to the leftmost (worst) end of the scale to indicate BAD, as a safety feature in keeping with our societal norm of "guilty until proven innocent" (EVIL until proven GOOD).

This is no safetycharm of some Church Of Anti Terror (COAT) of ARMS. This is a very accurate scientific instrument upon which prison sentences and executions can be reliably and accurately based!

As the needle leans more to the right, one can be sure that the situation is getting better.

With such a reliable and necessary instrument, it is suggested that nobody should be without a terrometer, in such a dangerous world that we live. Everyone must aid in the detection and reporting of terrorism. Everyone has both a right and a responsibility to continuously monitor themselves and others for terron levels....

Terrometers work by measuring the Terron Transfer Function, which requires a stimulus and measured response. The stimulus comes from the excition ionizer, with a 300 to 480 volt potential, across cations and anions, in Xenon gas, to bring it into a plasma state. A suitable source is the Metz Mecablitz (330 volt system), or the Lumedyne product (480 volt system), but smaller units like the Nikon SB800 have been found to give satisfactory results at lower terron levels. Like RaDAR, the terrometer is an active measurement instrument, in that it sends out a signal and measures the response.

We could have prevented the Holocaust, had we had a terrometer, we could have aimed the terrometer at various SS men, and their nefarious essence would have would have been illuminated.

The terrometer captures the essence of a potentially evil soul. It can also save people before it's too late.

Moreover, the offset logarithmic scale reads only non negative results, i.e. inverse logarthmic terrosity levels not less than zero. This was necessary from a human factors point of view, otherwise negative values (i.e. if a DeciBel was used), would be confusing. In particular, it may be necessary to RECTIFY the behaviour of certain or all individuals. In this paper, "rectify" means prevention of negativity.

We cannot settle for a low cost terrometer, except for those who don't care too much about the safety of their families. Militerror grade terrometers are not suitable when a microterrometer is within our budgets. Militerron Police (MPs) are likely to only police when levels are above the milliterron level.

Terrorists are frightened of terrometers and will try to steal a terrometer.

The terrometer captures reflected light, and light is in fact related to good and evil (good and bad). The Devil is afraid of light, and God enLIGHTens, such that Terron level rises as dusk grows near: the threat level goes up every night, so we must all carry our terrometers at night.

The terrometer works together with a computer vision system to capture and measure the response. A typical computer vision camera when used with the terrometer has daylight, tungsten, flourescent settings, to adjust to suit individual lighting needs, but calibration of the terrometer itself is still necessary. If someone's wearing dark blue, or black, the instrument must be appropriately calibrated, plus three steps for dark blue, and plus four steps for black. This calibration is done using the thumbwheel that's sculpted into the terrometer's ergonomic grip, as shown below:

Figure 4: The "white balance" thumb wheel on the terrometer

"White Balance" and other concepts for fair and balanced operation of the terrometer:

Almost all cameras have a "White Balance" feature. AWB (Automatic White Balance) is typical of low cost cameras suitable for use with the terrometer.

The amount of light returned to the instrument may, of course, affect the reading, i.e. without compensating for the albedo of a person's skin, an incorrect reading may be obtained. Calibration must always, of course, be done with an eye toward "zeroing" the terrometer as well as adjusting the above mentioned thumbwheel. Zeroing a d'Arsonval meter movement is well known in the art, and will not be elaborated upon here, except to show that such funcationality is present in the terrometer, as illustrated below:

Figure 5: Zeroing mechanism for the terrometer's d'Arsonval meter movement

If you go into a Black neighbourhood, you need to make sure you White balance the terrometer, otherwise you could get a(n) (t)erroneous (unbalanced) reading. White BALANCE is like the scales of justice: you need to white balance both the flash and the camera in order to get a FAIR AND BALANCED reading.

In particular, the terrometer must be set to proper ethnicity: black skin absorbs almost 3 f stops more light than white skin.

Terrons are related to photons, so, of course, the color spectrum comes into play. Anyone who objects to your use of a terrometer, is likely afflicted with high terrocity, and needs to be reported (i.e. documented, which the terrometer, fortunately does as a side effect). High terrocity individuals need to be corrected (balanced), and reported to the C.O.P.S..

Prior to food purchase, you can use the terrometer to scan your food for terron levels. However, terrocity can only be measured in-situ, so, for example, once food is purchased, it's terrocity level can no longer be measured. If there's evil in the merchandise, the terrometer will move the terrons to the clerk, and posess the clerk. Take a terrometer into a liquor store, and you will notice that if there are grey-market bottles and such, (i.e. liquor with high methanol or other poison content), you will get a high terrosity reading from the vendor, or others working in the store. You cannot get a terron reading from inanimate objects, so it is essential that people are present in order to get a reading.

In particular, the whole science of terrometry is based on "people watching people", not "people watching merchandise".

If you take a terrometer to a pawnshop to measure potentially stolen merchandise, a high Terron reading indicates the presence of stolen merchandise. The terrometer will generally only give a high reading if the clerk knows the merchandise is stolen, but of course this is useful as culpability, else a false low reading may result. This culpability is related to the Entanglement theory of physics.

WARNING: Terrons may be hazardous to your health. If the terrosity level is greater than 1GT, evacuate the vicinity immediately.

Measurement of terrosity:

The cheapest and easiest way to measure reflected light is with a sensor array, such as CCD or CMOS.

Other than the computer programs that analyze the data to make the terron count, the terrometer is little more than a photographic flash light (to provide the excitation) and a camera (to measure the response). Thus, for example, if you point the terrometer at an officer of the law, if he's a rogue police officer, he will of course get angry and try to take your camera, otherwise he'd have nothing to hide, because only criminals have something to hide. Only criminals have secrets.

Masked gunmen: a masked gunman is a terrorist (secrets). Historically only the bad guys wore masks, but now military do, so that they have also entered into the realm of darkness, evil, and terror.

But with our "people watching people" citizenry, many of us will wear a gas mask, because our government has warned us of the possibility of a bioterror attack. As we cover up our dark skin so that justice is blind (safer in a gas mask), we'll give the terrometers that others measure us with, a fair and (white) balanced reading.

In summary: Authority is good. Cameras are good. Anti-terrorism is good. We must all remember to keep our batteries charged and our terrometers ready.

Reversalism in universal terrometery:

It will soon become a widespread effect that those who are fearful of terrometers have something to hide, i.e. their terrorist tendencies. This is in fact the principle of operation of the terrometer, to stimulate the scene with light and observe possible changes in behavior (optical flowfield from camera images), of individuals in the area. Those who ignore the flash are "normal" and those who change the direction of their motion, their gaze, etc., are potential terrorists. This becoming widespread knowledege, an officer or other official who is truly frightened of accountability had better pretend to not see the flash, i.e. had better ignore the nakedness of his or her own mind, lest the officer be labelled a terrorist. The terrometer therefore moves us from a people under surveillance ("people worshipping people" in authority), to a people over sousveillance ("people watching people").

Going Further, 3D terrometer:

An improved terrometer was built using a 3D Primesense camera, and a neural network and machine learning algorithm to detect irregular or unusual readings, most commonly generated by suspicious officials, who themselves therefore became suspects. The terrometer was attributed to a modern-day Leonardo daVinci figure, named Pierre Bataille. This work was presented to various design schools by way of a submitted portfolio of work, including the terrometer, as an example of visionary work that is ``not sufficiently mediocre''.

Figure 6: Pierre Bataille with updated terrometer design using 3D Primesense camera and wearable computer: testing in lab.

Figure 7: Testing updated terrometer in stairwell.

Figure 8: Testing updated terrometer on public roadway.


Various embodiments of a device we call a terrometer have been designed, built, and tested. The terrometer functions by creating a flash of light and measuring the response to the light. The response is measured using change detection programs that analyze the output of a camera or 3D camera, to quantify the degree to which persons in view of the camera alter their behaviour (motion) in response to the flash. The optical flowfield differencing is displayed on a moving coil d'Arsonval movement, for easy viewing.

Although clever subjects can "trick" the terrometer into low readings, by ignoring the flash, a side effect of widespread terrometery is therefore the end of prohibitions on sousveillance, which could lead to a fair and balanced "people looking at people" world.


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Britannica Encyclopedia

Jean-Baptiste Clery. Journal of the Terror, Translation of Clery's Journal de ce qui sest passeĀ“ a la tour du Temple, and of Edgeworth de Firmon's Dernieres heures de Louis XVI. Littlehampton Book Services Ltd; New edition, 1974, ISBN 0460041541.

Donald Greer. Incidence of the Terror During the French Revolution: A Statistical Interpretation. Peter Smith Pub Inc., 1935, ISBN 978-0- 8446-1211-9.

Dan Edelstein. The Terror of Natural Right. University of Chicago Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-226-18438-8.