Wednesday, August 01, 2007

NOW THAT I'M WRITING AGAIN

As you can see, my entries are becoming fewer and farther between. All my life, when I wasn't writing creative stuff, I'd be writing letters or journaling, then back to a poem, a short story . . . back and forth but always putting something down, expressing myself, now blogging. Always writing something. So, now, I'm working on a new novel, putting together poetry to get a book for entering in those turkey shoots they call contests, and I've even sent a couple of short stories off to turkey shoots.

GORILLAS

This happened in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These gorillas were murdered in cold blood for no real purpose, except terror, perhaps. Can't tell you why, but the sight of these executed gorillas, shot by somebody imitating a human being, made me cry. I just can't get my mind around executing these beings so near to ourselves. Human beings killing each other, I've learned to deal with, and I do believe in using animals in experiments that teach us something, but to walk up to defenseless gorillas and gun them down, as if they were gang bangers to be executed, that's too damn much. I wish those environmentalists who are into violence to save the environment would get together a small army and go over there and kill Nkunda and his forces and those others who are entering the gorilla habitat to harvest natural resources. They are probably responsible for these atrocities.

These gorillas are lashed onto these pallets so that villagers can take the bodies back to their village. Probably to eat them, now that someone else has killed the lovely beasts. That's just my guess. Certainly not to bury them with honors. The Newsweek people left out that detail I believe.

Photos are from Newsweek.


HACKER’S DELIGHT or OUTSMARTING OURSELVES

[OPEN QUOTE] The Titan program was an essential part of the United States' policy of "peace through deterrence." Each missile was equipped with a nuclear warhead hundreds of times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Basically, the plan was to assure the Soviets that if they fired nuclear weapons at us, we were sure as hell going to bomb them into oblivion. Mutually assured destruction, or MAD, doesn't sound much like "peace," but it was what we had during the Cold War. With all due credit to Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", the United States and the U.S.S.R. never attacked one another.

Revisiting the strange geopolitical logic of the Cold War is one fascination at the museum [Titan Missile Museum]. For MAD to work, the enemy had to be 100 percent certain that we would bomb them, even if they blew us to smithereens first. Therefore, the Titan silos are built to operate even when under nuclear attack.

For robustness, the underground control room is built on springs to absorb the shock waves from a bombing campaign. There are multiple antennas of various ranges and frequencies, to ensure that the president's order to fire would reach the control room. The control room has two clocks. One operates on electricity, but the other is spring-wound. The electrical clock is the "lunch clock," the spring clock the "launch clock." In a nuclear attack, you can't trust electricity.

All the way through the 1980s, the missile targets were programmed using paper punch tape. When I was writing my college thesis on a Macintosh SE, and around the time that Intel released the 80386 processor, the United States was programming one-megaton nuclear weapons with paper tape. As our guide, retired Army man Jim McMillan explained to our tour group, paper can't be erased, demagnetized or easily tampered with. [CLOSE QUOTE]

—From a piece by Jennifer Granick in Wired News

This is not the first time that we’ve found out that old technology had advantages which are lost when we update it. I don’t spend time reading things while sitting at my computer. It’s not good for the eyes in the first place. Newspapers are better and more easily portable—Sunday New York Times the exception. Insurgents in Iraq keep learning decidedly low tech ways to deliver messages and to attack convoys. Guerillas have found ways to defeat occupying forces through the ages. Even our own Revolutionary troops who fired from behind trees and stone fences rather than marching in ranks across open terrain employed a sort of primitive technology versus their more martially advanced opponent.

No comments: