Category ►►► Futurism

July 20, 2009

The Day the Universe Changed...

Futurism , Space: HEO Or Bust!
Hatched by Dafydd

Or at least, the day it should have...

July 20th, 1969 ~ July 20th, 2009

Moon Landing

"One small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind"

Moon Landing

No, the "international community" never landed on the Moon

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 20, 2009, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 4, 2006

Ten Thousand Armies of One

Future of Warfare , Futurism , Scaley Classics
Hatched by Dafydd

My second post on Patterico's. (Yeah, like you couldn't see that coming!) Originally heaved at the roiling masses on May 28th, 2005.


That slogan of the U.S. Army -- “an Army of one!” -- has always set me to pondering. What do they mean? On the one hand, they extol teamwork; but on the other hand, the brass seem to want recruits to feel like individuals, cardinal numbers instead of merely ordinal numbers. It seems confused, to say the least.

But what if it were literally true? What if one man (or woman) could be the hyperpowered equivalent of an entire army back in the days of the so-called “greatest generation?” What if the United States had ten thousand “armies of one?” To explore this intriguing idea, do the obvious....

This may seem a diversion, but it actually drives into my point from an oblique angle.

Wretchard, over on Belmont Club, had an interesting post a while back:

Wretchard contemplated what it would take actually to carry out the mission we seem to have chosen for ourselves: to institute regime changes around the globe, casting out the most repulsive, venomous dictatorships, the ones that test the will of civilization, in favor of democracies that allow the people of those lands the greatest expression of individual liberty they have ever known. Wretchard noted the obvious: the United States is ill-equipped for what we would really need: a “Colonial Corps” specifically designed for long term occupation of hostile nations, rather like the British army of the nineteenth century.

We have always shied away from the imperial hubris of dedicating multiple armies to occupying other people’s countries; instead, we focus on the blitzkrieg, as in Iraq -- the lightning strike, the disabling blow. We have an army of combat, not occupation. But if we plan to protect ourselves by civilizing the worst hellholes on the planet (probably a good idea), we’ll have to get over our squeamishness.

This Colonian Corps would not be entirely military; it would include administrators, engineers, diplomats, jurists, politicians -- everything needed to tear down the repugnant elements of a terrorist state and build on the ashes the foundations of a modern democratic, liberal state. One presumes it would not be hamstrung by the rampant racism that infested the Raj and other European colonial institutions.

What it would be, however, is hideously expensive, requiring a tremendous amount of manpower and resources. It would, in fact, cost at least as much as our entire armed forces today; thus, most military analysts argue it would have to be created in place of our current military force. And for that reason, almost nobody supports the idea because of the danger to our republic.

As Wretchard notes, the British Army, so focused on supporting and enforcing colonialism, simply crumbled the first time they ran into a military force that was their equal: the Boers in South Africa, and later, the Germans and Austrio-Hungarians in World War One. Clearly, in today's world, we dare not sacrifice our ability actually to fight for the strange and foreign idea of "colonialism."

Although there is no military our equal, there are militaries at least in our ballpark -- the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, for example, which is modern enough that its massive size would make war between them and us a dicey affair. Also, many countries have nuclear weapons and other WMDs; if we had only a Colonial Corps and suddenly found ourselves facing off against the PLA, we might be in as serious trouble as the Brits were in 1914.

So the question arises: is it possible for a military to be both a Colonial Corps and also a Blitzkrieg Batallion?

Conventional wisdom says no: it would require two entirely separate armed forces, one for colonial occupation, the other for warfighting against technologically sophisticated enemies... and no country could afford both at the same time.

And this is exactly where, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, the “army of one” trendline comes into play. Where is the empowerment of the individual American soldier headed? What is the omega? It is possible in theory that a single, “hyperpowered” soldier of the realistic future could defeat an entire army of today?

The theory has already been set forth. The scenario above should ring a very loud bell with those who have read Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers (1959). (It will not ring any bells with those who only watched the movie, which is as curious as the dog that did not bark.) Heinlein, writing long before the current trend towards more individually adept and technologically armed and armored soldiers, postulates the ultimate extension of the individualization of combat: the “mobile infantry,” or MI, where every man wears an armored “power suit” that gives him fantastic strength, mobility, and survivability, along with weapons that range all the way up to tactical nuclear weapons at the MI’s individual discretion to use.

But here in the real world, we’re edging closer to that astonishing, science fictional world every day. DARPA is indeed working on crude versions of a “power suit;” C³I piped from overhead AWACs funneled through battlefield simulators give our soldiers the vision of Superman and the ESP of Doctor Strange; and there are even programs to develop “smart ammunition” that can shoot over cover, around corners, and distinguish between friend and foe.

Imagine an army with just one of these soldiers a scant twenty years from now. Now imagine ten of them. Imagine ten thousand “armies of one.”

Ten thousand soldiers is not a lot. It’s a single division. And one extra division of Mobile Infantry would hardly break the bank, leaving plenty of money left over for the Colonial Corps. If we were to go this route, we would end up the first “empire” in the world that conquered only to liberate, colonized only to build independence, and yet still could shake the Earth with our thunderbolts.

With such a numerically small strike force, however, the biggest problem would be transportation: how to quickly move your lone MI division from wherever they happen to be to wherever they happen to be needed. The only possibility that would be fast enough would be a fleet of hypersonic transport vehicles -- like the National Aerospace Plane (NASP), the “Orient Express” as Ronald Reagan called it, but much bigger. Suborbital hops could carry the MI into combat anywhere in the world in a mere hour or two of flight time. Logistics would have to evolve to the point where the entire MI division (if necessary) could be mobilized in a day or two... they would literally have to be packed and ready, “locked and loaded” at all times.

They would have to be professional Soldiers, career men (and possibly women) all. With such small numbers, it would be tedious and time-consuming to have to destroy entire enemy armies, as we did in the World War II-style wars (we fought WWII six times: in Kosovo, Bosnia, Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, and of course during WWII itself). Instead, the MI would focus on the terrifying demonstration: moving in so quickly and devastatingly, albeit in a small area, that tyrants and terrorists alike would walk in fear and lie sleepless at night.

I’m not sure of the international ramifications of such a combination of forces -- the unbeatable Mobile Infantry coupled with the Colonial Corps to utterly transform the conquered. Certainly we would have to inure ourselves to hysterical cries of “imperialism”... but since we hear that every day anyway, what would be the difference?

It would require a much stronger willed national government than we have now or have had since the 1940s; and that in turn means a greater risk of the national government overreaching and seizing too much power from the states. But that, too, is nothing new; we have a lot of experience finding that precise balance. Even if it tilts too far towards nationalism today, it is nowhere near as bad as in nearly every other country on Earth.

Still, it certainly would depend upon American exceptionalism to pull off; nobody but us could do it.

Ten thousand independent armies of one -- how American!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 4, 2006, at the time of 1:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 31, 2006

Future Shock & Awe

Future of Warfare , Futurism , Scaley Classics
Hatched by Dafydd

This piece was originally posted at Captain's Quarters on July 7th, 2005; I subsequently reposted it here on Big Lizards -- the future is in the past! I'm posting it a third time because it fits the theme of the next post, which is new.


Extree, extree, getcha red-hot future combat today!

As has been the case for, oh, a few thousand years, the violent tendencies of human beings are leading the way to tomorrow's technology. War is not only good for business, it's good for science. Here are just a few of the goodies that await us in future battlefields.

Warning! This is a very long post, nearly all of which is tucked into the "slither-on" section. Forwarned is forlorned!

Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation

The weak link in the combat chain is often the human body. We run slower than horses; we carry less cargo than a camel; our skin is more fragile than a rhinoceros; we can't even jump like a gazelle.

But all that is going to change, if DARPA has any say in it. Joe Pappalardo of National Defense Magazine writes that the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been hard at work for several years now on the Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation (EHPA) program. The idea is to create a tough and powerful exoskeleton that would surround the soldier's body and augment his own native abilities.

At the moment, political correctness rules. Ever since the public-relations fiasco of the Terrorism Information Awareness futures market, DARPA has been almost paranoid about bad publicity... which can lead to investigations, budget cuts, and in a pinch, mass firings. So all they will admit at this point is the utility of exoskeletons for loading and unloading cargo:

“This is a fairly boring transportation program,” [DARPA project manager John] Main said, with a small grin. “We’re not jumping over buildings. We’re getting into rough terrain that is denied to Humvees.”

But the combat implications are obvious: a man who can carry 200 lbs of fuel or MREs can also carry 200 lbs of body armor or a 200 lb weapon (or a mix: a hundred devoted to armor, and the other hundred to weaponry). Although they're not really willing to speculate, it's hard to see, once you have the basic idea of exoskeletal augmentation, how you can fail to think of putting jets in the boots, heavy weapons that can be fired by merely pointing the hand, or all the other accoutrements of Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers.

Stepping way, way out on a limb, the head of the UC Berkeley robotics engineering lab, which is working on a DARPA grant, Homi Kazerooni, reluctantly admitted the possibility:

Kazerooni conceded that robotic enhancements worthy of combat were feasible, given a system design that could keep up with soldiers’ reflexes. “Can the machine shadow our reflexes? These are not voluntary, and sometimes 200 microseconds is not fast enough.”

The first key is acceleration: no matter how well a soldier is armored, a fall from 100 feet is a fall from 100 feet, with the same sudden stop at the end. But if DARPA can control the acceleration -- for example, by using boot-mounted, gyro-controlled attitude jets -- the soldier can "leap" high into the air, then "land" safely.

The second key is psychological: will the American people accept Starship Troopers style "Mobile Infantry?" Or will the princes of the Senate strangle the technology in its cradle? As the song says, only time will tell.

Brain Machine Interface

But perhaps we don't need anybody in those suits at all -- if the human can stay safe several miles away, controlling the empty suit by a direct brain-machine interface.

Thoughts are not ghostly apparitions made out of ectoplasm, it turns out; they are electrocolloidal impulses that travel from neuron to neuron across the synaptic gap. And that slight spark is readable... if you have the code.

That, not coincidentally, is exactly what another DARPA project aims to do: crack that neural code, so that machines -- or weapons -- can be controlled by thought alone.

Some research projects funded by DARPA have already achieved significant success, according to a 2003 article in the National Journal, written by Bruce Falconer. Duke University neurobiologist Miguel Nicolelis headed a team that planted "100 hair-like sensors" in a South American owl monkey (coincidentally, the same owl monkey that has been directing the recent reactionary political reaponses by the Democratic Party). As the monkey used a joystick, the scientists could monitor its neural activity and program the impulses into a computer-readable code.

The monkey repeated the motion - only this time, two robotic arms (one in an adjacent room and another 600 miles away in a Boston laboratory) also moved in response to the wireless signals sent straight from the monkey's brain.

In a similar, more recent experiment, the same scientists taught a macaque to direct a cursor to illuminated targets on a computer monitor. When scientists disabled the joystick, the monkey gradually stopped moving its arm altogether and learned to do the experiment just by thinking.

The article in the National Journal notes some of the uses. Right now, the biggest limitation on military aviation is the inability of the human body to take stresses much greater than about nine Gs, nine times the force of gravity. A typical 185-lb pilot in a 9-G turn feels as if he tops the scales at a cool 1,665 lbs. At that force, it's so difficult even to raise his hand that modern jets use fly-by-wire systems that require only slight finger movements for the pilot to guide the craft. Grayouts and blackouts are commonplace -- and can lead to death.

But if a pilot could sit on the ground and control the plane by his thoughts, then the rest of the airplane could withstand far greater stresses; this means an aircraft that could outmaneuver any plane in the sky that carried human cargo, such as a pilot and flight officer.

The same is true with a tank. Rather than relying upon a true "ogre" tank, which is completely artificially intelligent (a daunting computational task, considering that we cannot even design an AI car), a gigantic, solid tank can be controlled by a full crew... who sit safely back behind the lines in a simulator, their thoughts controlling the tank via a satellite uplink. With the absence of the most vulnerable part of the weapon, the human crew, the tank itself would be virtually unstoppable, short of dropping a tactical nuclear weapon on top of it.

There are civilian uses too, of course, notably in the area of prostheses for amputees and paraplegics. But the subject of civilian spinoffs from military research is big enough to warrant its own post. Or article. Or multi-floor library.

Smart Bullets

We have smart missiles that find their targets by several methods. Some are literally connected to a wire that trails out behind them, allowing the missileer to guide the bomb to its target. Others home in on a laser dot "painted" on the target by a forward spotter. Cruise missiles actually have topographic maps programmed into their brains, so they can swoop and swerve through gullies and across mountains to find a target by its GPS coordinates.

So why can't we do the same with rifle and pistol ammunition? Imagine bullets that can literally chase the target, racing around corners and over obstacles to hit the poor terrorist in his own trench, as in the 1984 Tom Selleck movie Runaway.

Well, it turns out that United States Air Force (and likely other branches of the service -- and I wouldn't rule out DARPA) has not only been imagining such a thing, it has been actively trying to develop them for more than eight years, according to the 1997 article "You Can Run, But You Can't Hide...", by Justin Mullins, published in New Scientist (reproduced here by

The Air Force calls the program Barrel Launched Adaptive Munitions, or BLAM, in an unusual display of wit. The researchers agree that the guidance technology is the easy part; it's already available for missile systems and only needs to be made smaller. The difficult part is designing a bullet that can turn in mid air and can become aerodynamic to prevent falling towards the ground as it moves towards the target, in accordance with our ancient enemy, gravity.

Some programs have experimented with tiny attitude jets on the bullet to steer it. But BLAM uses a more exotic, science-fictiony method: the front of the bullet actually flexes to create lift in various directions. Lift on the bottom keeps the bullet flying at the same altitude it was fired, without dropping; lift on the right steers the bullet left, and so forth.

The mechanism is simple. The nose is connected to the body by a ball-and-socket joint, and held in place by a number of piezoceramic rods, or tendons, which change length when a voltage is applied to them. Increasing the length of a rod on one side of the bullet while shortening its opposite number changes the angle of the nose (see Diagram). The nose can move by up to 0.1° in any direction.

Snipers are the ideal persons to use smart bullets; slithering into enemy territory on their bellies, becoming invisible via ghillie suits, then drawing a bead on the target enemy personnel are pretty much the same skills needed to paint a target with a laser dot (which can be invisible to the naked eye, preventing premature target panic). The invisible dot would guide a smart bullet for a targetted assassination from an astonishing distance -- several kilometers, for example. Unless every bad guy spends all day, every day, in a room with no windows (or wears American power armor), he will be vulnerable to just such a "bolt from the blue."

In another arena, the New Scientist article notes that airplanes fitted with smart bullets can bring down bogies with just one or two well-directed shots, rather than the hundreds typically used to destroy a target. This can lead to cost savings, even though smart bullets would not be cheap:

Aircraft bullets cost more than $30 each. [Ron] Barrett [who tested the BLAM system] says the piezoceramic materials would add $10 to this while the microelectronics would cost another $100. But he argues that the increased strike rate would lead to cost savings. "You'd only fire one when otherwise you'd fire hundreds."

Smart bullets would also lead to less collateral damage, because there would be less lead (or depleted Uranium) flying around.

But I'm still holding out for small, man-portable and firable rail guns!

Heat Rays

Finally, bringing us up to today's technology, we have a "phaser" -- American style, not that touchy-feelie stuff you see on Star Trek, where the target just falls over unconscious. This version is actually more of a heat ray, manufacturing fake feelings of searing agony, like "touching a hot frying pan or the intense radiant heat from a fire," except it does no actual damage. The pain is all in the target's neurons.

In "US aims Star Trek ray guns at nuclear sites" on, Robert Jaques writes that the Department of Energy has teamed with the Department of Defense to create a milimeter-wave directed-energy weapon system with the catchy title of Active Denial Technology (ADT). The first use will be to protect critical sites, such as nuclear power plants, from terrorist (or protester) intrusion.

ADT emits a 95GHz non-ionizing electromagnetic beam of energy that penetrates approximately 1/64 of an inch into human skin tissue, where nerve receptors are concentrated.

Within seconds, the beam will heat the exposed skin tissue to a level where intolerable pain is experienced and natural defence mechanisms take over....

The sensation caused by the system has been described by test subjects as feeling like touching a hot frying pan or the intense radiant heat from a fire. Burn injury is prevented by limiting the beam's intensity and duration.

Sandia labs have already tested a prototype, and they believe a smaller model will be ready to deploy by 2008. Perhaps it can be used in the White House briefing room whenever an MSM feeding frenzy erupts during the next presidential campaign.

So there you have it -- the three of you who managed to make it all the way to the end of this excruciating post: four windows into the brave new world of continued American military dominance over the rest of the world. And if you think that is a bad thing, well I suspect you're reading the wrong blog!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 31, 2006, at the time of 2:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 15, 2006

The Law of Conservation of Kvetching

Hatched by Dafydd

I have a theory.

(Actually, I have a theory about virtually everything. Why do you think I blog, anyway?)

I have a theory about protest during wartime. See, I've been trying to understand why a war such as Iraq, for which casualties and deaths are so incredibly low, produces such a passionate geshrei that you'd think it was as bad as the Civil War or World War II.

My theory is that there is a stable human need for psychodrama. This acting out lets us blow off all the accumulated stress and tension from day to day life.

Many people emote by going to football games and acting a fool: going bare-chested in the winter and painting themselves in the team colors; jumping up and down on the seats and screaming until they lose their voices for days; crying inconsolably when their team wins but doesn't beat the point spread.

Others work it out in church: three hundred people singing gospel hymns (in four hundred distinct keys), beating themselves, and flinging reptiles about (to which I take personal exception).

But others get their minimum daily requirement of hystrionics by protesting: by chanting "hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go!" By chaining themselves to the Ladies room. By rolling on the ground and speaking in tongues (usually Maoish)... and in general, by acting like jungle chimpanzees when an alien tries to infiltrate the pack. They whine and complain, they accuse and scream, they peel bananas with their feet, they yield to the wild roller-coaster of emotional loop-de-loops that accompanies most protests and "street action."

Puppets. There's usually puppets in it somewhere.

I call this the Law of Conservation of Kvetching: it doesn't matter whether the war is big or small; those folks who depend upon "peace activism" to validate their lives and release all the inner tensions will protest at exactly the same intensity -- whether for Iraq, Vietnam, the Great War, or the War of Jenkins' Ear.

And that's why Cindy Sheehan, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Russell Feingold metaphorically fall to the ground and foam at the mouth over even such a well-managed and inoffensive war as this... for the same reason that Paul Mirengoff invests just as much passion into cheerleading for Everton as he would for a real soccer team: it's not the war -- it's the chance to wear funny hats and motley.

Anyway, that's my theory.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 15, 2006, at the time of 4:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

The Wishing Ring, part 1

Future of Technology , Futurism , Scaley Classics
Hatched by Dafydd

Here are three upcoming inventions that you probably haven't thought much about, but which will revolutionize the world. I will divide this post into three parts, to give the illusion that I have more to say about it than my feeble imagination can actually dig up.


Assuming you are over the age of twenty-five and know what a book or magazine is, open one up. Take a look at it. Very different from a computer screen, eh? You can lie on the couch or on the floor and still read it. You can even read it in the bathtub without electrocuting yourself (unless it's the Neve Campbell issue of Maxim). You can take it with you to the beach or the mountains, read it in direct sunlight or by flashlight on a camping trip. You can look at the centerfold under the covers when your Mom thinks you're asleep, which is how most of us got our first glimpse of Byte Magazine.

Now imagine a book or magazine that looks exactly like print -- but whose software driven words and pictures morph on the paper like a webpage. That, my slavish devotees and soon to be competitors, is e-paper, also sometimes called smart paper, though one company seems to have trademarked that phrase.

In one version under development by Gyricon, Inc, a spinoff from Xerox's famous Palo-Alto Research Center (PARC), the "paper" actually comprises tens of millions of tiny balls, like pixels... say as many as 1250 to the linear inch, the typical density of professionally printed magazines today. These spheres are contained between two sheets of clear polymer by a sticky fluid, allowing them to twist and spin freely (much like Bill Frist's political spine).

That would make almost a hundred and fifty million on an 8½ x 11 size sheet. In the simplest case, these spheres are black and negatively charged on one side, white and positive on the other. Like registers in a computer, tiny currents running alongside the spheres can flip any particular one to be either black side up (a black dot at that position) or white side up (a white dot). Flipping the right sequence of balls creates words, line drawings, even graytones. Anything that a super high quality laserjet printer can print can appear instantaneously on a page of e-paper, only to be replaced by the next page whenever the reader clicks the page-turn button.

The albedo (reflection) would be identical to ink on paper, meaning you could view it in direct sunlight or under a reading lamp; it would not be backlit. The smart book would probably include its own book-lamp, so reading in the dark would be just as easy as in the daylight.

A more complex version would use spheres with red, green, and blue sectors, in addition to adjacent spheres with black and white. This would operate like a color television screen or monitor, giving you full color illustrations.

Other versions of e-paper include products under development by E-Ink, where extremely tiny black spheres and white spheres float together in a viscous medium. Please don't start singing "Ebony and Ivory," or I shall do you a violence. All these black and white spheres (and the fluid) are contained within a larger sphere (about the diameter of a human hair).

The black spheres have a negative static charge, the white are positive. By creating a static charge on the bottom of the container, either the black or the white spheres can be sent to the top, where they become visible, giving you either a black dot or a white dot. Add them up, and you have a "printed" page. Distinct hotspots on the bottom of the hair-sized container with distinct static charges can send a mix of black and white spheres to the top, giving you a grayscale.

Finally, there is the possibility of crystal "pixels" that can simply change color in response to tiny electrical currents.

How would this change the universe? You must understand that the huge majority of readers cannot read lengthy books or entire magazines on monitors... or at least, we do not enjoy doing so. Those who get much of their news from online sources sometimes have a hard time grasping how many people are locked out of instant, online publication simply because they can't or won't read on a computer monitor. But with e-paper, "books" would be reduced to mere software, yet would be just as readable as the printed page. Online would cease to mean "on a CRT screen," and could mean on a "paperback book" in your pocket, with the same flexibility and internet access as a hand-held web portal. Blackberry soup for the soul.

Ordinary readers could carry hundreds of books with us wherever we went. If we needed a book we didn't have, it would be a download away.

But more to the revolutionary point, e-paper -- which is coming sooner than you might think -- will end up blogifying the mainstream print media. Today, if you want to publish a book or magazine in any quantity, you have to scrape together $20,000 or more. Various "instant press" companies can print you single books at a time; but they require a much higher unit cost to print than printing in quantity, which cuts into your profits as an author.

Therefore, authors have to submit proposals or manuscripts to editors at big publishing houses in New York. These editors have tremendous power to determine what does and does not get published; before a reader can read a book, an editor (usually a New York leftist) has to buy it first. The few publishers that will handle conservative or libertarian books (notably Regnery Publishing) get so many submissions from authors locked out of the mainstream press that they cannot possibly publish them all... or even the tiny fraction of authors who are worth more than $1.29 -- clothes, pocket change, blood chemicals, and all. And you know they're just going to love me for putting their URL up here!

But when anyone who can use text-editing and page-layout software can "publish" a book or magazine (by selling downloads) that looks just as professional as those from Warner Books or Time Life Publications, the distinction between a professional e-paper magazine and an e-paper magazine from the pajamahedin will boil down to editing and advertising. This will break the back of the New York literary mafia, the gatekeepers to literature and nonfiction for the masses. Reviewers will become the new elite; if you know you like the type of books that I like, then if I recommend some e-paper book in a review, you'll likely buy a download... especially since the cost will be tremendously less than buying a hardback from Amazon.

The author makes much more money per book because he owns it; rather than getting a mere 10% royalty on each copy sold, as he gets today (if he's lucky), his profit would be income minus expenses; books could be sold for half of today's prices and still net the author five times what he makes per book today. Which is another way of saying that an author can make the same profit from a book by selling only 20% of what he would sell through a big publisher. Ordinary people, who don't have multi-million dollar advertising budgets and distribution to thousands of bookstores, can still sell enough books to live on writing income alone.

E-paper is to books and magazines what blogging is to online publication... except E-paper will reach orders of magnitude more readers.

Next invention from the ring of three wishes: High-Temperature Ceramic Engines.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 11, 2005, at the time of 11:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

ab Hugh's Universal Rules of Intelligence

Futurism , Scaley Classics , Terrorism Intelligence
Hatched by Dafydd

Thinking about the many intelligence failures -- the collapse of the Shah of Iran, the failure to find "large stockpiles" of WMD in Iraq, the tragic case of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, shot to death in London by police who mistook him for a suicide bomber -- and about the many intelligence successes (all those terrible terrorist attacks that didn't occur on American soil because they were thwarted -- suggests some rules of intelligence and analysis that we should always keep in mind:

1. The Law of Imperfect Precognition: Sometimes there is no "right choice." Throw the dice.

2. The Law of Imperfect Postcognition: Not even hindsight is ever really 20-20.

3. The Law of Colliding Interests: Five different people can each make a rational decision and still wind up in a melee.

4. The Law of the Onion: There is always another layer of analysis that contradicts everything you've already concluded. At some point, you just have to stop.

5. The Law of Models: There is a real reality out there, whether you can see it or not. And it will bite.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 19, 2005, at the time of 7:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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