Aluminum Tubes

Before the internet as we know it, newsgroups especially, I talked my way onto one Global Communications Network, if I remember the name correctly. This was through the New Jersey Institute of Technology. I was living in Jersey City at the time, and excited by the possibilities of hypertext. I’d recently stumbled upon Computer Lib / Dream Machines by Ted Nelson, and was already a fan of the hypertext concept thanks to browsing in open stack libraries.

By the time I returned to Portland and continued using PeaceNet (one of the “groups”) using a 1200 baud modem, I had already written a ton of stuff, made a name for myself with some in WDC, perhaps as a troublemaker in some databases. My adventures with the Fuller syllabus were already considerable.

Portland’s three letter airport code is PDX and Portlanders tend to use that code in other places as well, along with Rose City, Bridge City and Stump Town, as a kind of nickname. I was already pitching a tent around “4D” to keep promulgating the Bucky stuff, so pdx4d made sense as an early email address, at Teleport. You’ll find me using that address in alt.politics.cia back when people were questioning the aluminum tubes narrative. Some fishy looking “intelligence” had surfaced and soon turned out to be fake. I was one of those calling it fake news, or suspecting. As some geek in Portland, I was hardly in Scott Ritter’s position.

However, in the course of posting against the war buildup, I was also thinking a lot about webcams and their use in the anti WMD campaigns. The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, proposed by the UN General Assembly, was still ahead of us, as was the Valerie Plame narrated Countdown to Zero. As an anti-war activist and AFSC guy (off and on), I was keen to see how this international monitoring game might work. How could it be multilateral? What webcams might we have in Colorado?

Fast forward, and Portland’s elders were meeting at Peace House to disavow the drones. We weren’t saying no to surveillance necessarily, as our principal speaker was simply asking that law enforcement make any necessary arrests in person, even if this were a dangerous task. Shooting first and asking questions later is never a good idea, even if entrenched in knee-jerk policies of the past. My work with O’Reilly Media got me thinking about protecting against poachers. Why not protect the game parks? I’m all for drones in such a capacity and again, that need not mean weaponized. Coordinate with people on the ground. Don’t carry out summary justice.

Pushing ahead with a strong verification program, in light of the Ban Treaty, requires working with signer states on designs for better surveillance. Of course those states persisting in holding nuclear weapons may not be at liberty to alter policies, given how weak the states have become. Even when a popular majority wishes for sane policies, a tyrannical minority may insist on having its way. We saw that in the case of the rush to war based on bogus evidence, based on the credibility (some would say gullibility) of Colin Powell. None in the current WDC administration have that kind of gravitas.

None of the work of ecosystem cleanup, ongoing at Hanford among other dump sites, is likely to happen without educated engineers who understand the scope and difficulty of the project. Oregon State University, home of the Linus Pauling archives, is probably the best positioned to offer such a focus, yet we have no evidence of student interest. Is that because students sincerely do not wish to work on cleanup? The link between cleanup and nuclear disarmament is not harped on in the current Global U curriculum. I understand why students may be unaware of their options.

Given the Iranian push in this direction, towards banning nuclear WMDs, I’m thinking some of the leading engineering teams might start collaborating on the protocols, in anticipation. Trying to practice these disciplines in a nuclear state, such as Russia, might seem too oxymoronic. If Colorado someday designs to cease being a nuclear state, so much the better. Until then, I see no reason to just sit on our hands.