|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Monday, November 03, 2003
Technology Gets in Its Own Way
: Interference on the airwaves, with a hopeful note: ""The time has come to consider an entirely new paradigm for interference protection," Powell declared in a speech last year at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "Transmitters would be required to ensure that the interference level — or interference temperature — is not exceeded. Receivers would be required to tolerate an interference level."
The idea has shown some promise. Last year, the Pentagon objected to allowing the fast-growing market for wireless computing equipment to use the 5-gigahertz frequency band, saying the technology, known as Wi-Fi, would interfere with military missile radar. After testing the claim, FCC engineers brokered a solution that requires Wi-Fi devices on the 5-GHz band to use dynamic frequency selection and shut down when they sense competing military use of the airwaves." 11:57:12 PM
THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM: WHO BECOMES A TERRORIST AND WHY? An extensively documented 1999 interagency federal report that anticipated much of 911. "Al-Qaida’s expected retaliation for the U.S. cruise missile attack against al-Qaida’s training facilities in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998, could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation’s capital. Al-Qaida could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House. Ramzi Yousef had planned to do this against the CIA headquarters. In addition, both al-Qaida and Yousef were linked to a plot to assassinate President Clinton during his visit to the Philippines in early 1995. Following the August 1998 cruise missile attack, at least one Islamic religious leader called for Clinton’s assassination, and another stated that “the time is not far off” for when the White House will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb. A horrendous scenario consonant with al-Qaida’s mindset would be its use of a nuclear suitcase bomb against any number of targets in the nation’s capital. Bin Laden allegedly has already purchased a number of nuclear suitcase bombs from the Chechen Mafia. Al-Qaida’s retaliation, however, is more likely to take the lower-risk form of bombing one or more U.S. airliners with time bombs. Yousef was planning simultaneous bombings of 11 U.S. airliners prior to his capture. Whatever form an attack may take, bin Laden will most likely retaliate in a spectacular way for the cruise missile attack against his Afghan camp in August 1998."
For the long term, it finds no personality type or pathology among terrorists, making profiling unproductive. It recommends encouraging splits within the groups, through capture and confinement (not martyrdom) for its leaders, and amnesty or other political measures. 10:27:40 PM
As Earth Warms, the Hottest Issue Is Energy: Review of basic global warming/energy/technology issues. Some facts and figures:
- An automobile generates perhaps 50 to 100 tons of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.
- Each American, on average, generates about 45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. That is about twice as much as the average person living in Japan or Europe and many times more than someone living in a developing country like Zimbabwe, China or Panama.
- Currently, the world's energy use per second is about 12 trillion watts — which would light up 120 billion 100-watt bulbs — and 85 percent of that comes from fossil fuels.
- In March, Dr. Hoffert and two colleagues reported in Science that to limit the temperature increase to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, non-carbon-dioxide-emitting sources would have to generate 7 trillion to 25 trillion watts by midcentury, 4 to 14 times as much as current levels. That is roughly equivalent to adding a large emissions-free power plant every day for the next 50 years. And by the end of the century, they wrote, at least three-quarters and maybe all of the world's energy would have to be emission-free.
The End of the West?: "Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister, noted to me in Brussels the other day that for a generation Americans and Europeans shared the same date: 1945. A whole trans-Atlantic alliance flowed from that postwar shared commitment to democratic government, free markets and the necessity of deterring the Soviet Union. America saw the strength of Europe as part of its own front line and vice versa, and this bond "made the resolution of all other issues both necessary and possible," said Mr. Bildt.
Today, however, we are motivated by different dates. "Our defining date is now 1989 and yours is 2001," said Mr. Bildt. Every European prime minister wakes up in the morning thinking about how to share sovereignty, as Europe takes advantage of the collapse of communism to consolidate economically, politically and militarily into one big family. And the U.S. president wakes up thinking about where the next terror attack might come from and how to respond -- most likely alone. "While we talk of peace, they talk of security," says Mr. Bildt. "While we talk of sharing sovereignty, they talk about exercising sovereign power. When we talk about a region, they talk about the world. No longer united primarily by a common threat, we have also failed to develop a common vision for where we want to go on many of the global issues confronting us."" 8:26:09 PM