Monday, February 07, 2005

Technological Repercussions

Much has been made of the "unintended consequences" of our high-tech society, with our credit cards and airplanes turned into deadly weapons against us on 9/11, for a relatively low cost.

While this is true, the analysis does not go far enough, its proponents mostly wishing only to wallow in the "isn't it awful" sardonic schadenfreude.

The real interesting issue we should be wondering about is how it works both ways.

The wise would worry more about what could be done by the non-state actors who actually, you know, invented the technology.

GPS technology is cheap and widespread, for example. This story indicates how a jet-engine hobbyist in New Zealand essentially built the equivalent of a multi-million-dollar cruise missile, except for the warhead, at a cost of about $5,000.

Consider also that motivated by the $10 million X-Prize, private citizens (of the Free World) have recently shown a capability to launch a human into Space, making it no longer the exclusive domain of governments. This news from last October hasn't been fully appreciated:
"It looks great," said Brian Binnie, SpaceShipOne's pilot, on his way up to space at Mach 3.

Binnie, now only the second person in history to earn his commercial astronaut wings, reported a shaky flight with "a little roll" but did not experience the 29 rolls Mike Melvill experienced last week.
Recall too how a high-school student built a working nuclear pile in his backyard:
With a curious combination of scientific acumen and amorality, the high school student from suburban Detroit eventually managed to assemble a model breeder nuclear reactor in his mother's backyard. David was caught before anyone was poisoned or burned, although it eventually cost $60,000 in Superfund money to clean up the site.
Now combine those facts with a sampling of sentiment from the internet, and a prognosticator shouldn't have much trouble connecting the dots to make a prediction about what might happen should Islamists commit another 9/11-style atrocity in this country.

(I did not create that image; that someone else did is an indication of what others are thinking about. The internet hive-mind already has the coordinates of the black stone from outer space filed away.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Spiney Widgmo said...

Great Post!
Guidance, Propulsion and Payload!

There was another event a few years back IIRC where some guys flew a remote control plane across the Atlantic! There is your range.

11:58 AM, February 07, 2005  
Blogger Joseph said...

I've posted similar ideas.

2:38 AM, February 13, 2005  
Blogger RDS said...

Joseph -- yes, interesting analysis!
--RDS

2:20 AM, February 15, 2005  

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