One topic that has caught my attention and that of others is the issue of extra-terrestrials, free forms of energy, covert unacknowledged ops and compartments and funding, or the secret space economy, which also brings in deep underground military bases, military/space technologies, governance of the Republic (have we kept it, Ben?), and more.
That’s enough to keep us chewing our cud for days. Tin foil hats are optional.
I’m not going to put forth a position at this time, except to say that I think this is worthy of our attention. Some have suggested that there are many forms of disinformation here. and the field at large has been the subject of much of that, much propaganda, much misdirection, purposeful confusion, outright lies, etc.
I’m going to put forth a bunch of links, and you can make up your own mind.
I should have included material submitted into a private discussion by one HongPong, who runs a web site by that name: http://hongpong.com . It is here included without change, the dominant point his calling attention in particular to one blog and one or more blog entries:
“FWIW Sirius is a rockefeller faction movie, I think it is explicit in some of the dialogue.
For more commentary on UFO materials in general I recommend http://secretsun.blogspot.com by Chris Knowles, also the facebook group is very good.
By part four: http://secretsun.blogspot.com/2013/07/secret-star-trek-part-4-psychics.html
In this case, the big money often came from Laurance Rockefeller, who saw the spark of genius in Murphy’s ambitious intellect. Rockefeller was not only the heir of a vast fortune and a brilliant investor, he was also interested in the spiritual ferment taking shape around the Bay Area. However a Rockefeller was still a Rockefeller, and needs must.
Murphy opened a dialogue with psychic researchers in the Soviet Union in 1980 and that led to a series of invitationals looking to overcome the barriers of the Cold War. Where Murphy saw kindred spirits, the Rockefeller Globalists looked behind the Iron Curtain and saw vast untapped oil fields, mineral deposits and other goodies to be plundered for pennies on the dollar. And with the arms race breaking Moscow’s back, they saw the opportunity to get their hands on the booty (just like the So’na).
Throughout history the Church often played the broker when two sides looked to make peace but the Vatican made itself a combatant in the Cold War with the election of John Paul II. The Protestant Churches were under the Rockefeller thumb (the family controls the World Council of Churches) and were often useful idiots but Esalen and the New Age offered another interesting possibility, given the Russian fascination with mysticism and the occult.
But the episode with The Nine did a lot of damage to Esalen’s public image so Murphy– who spent very little time at Esalen and hadn’t done so since trying to create an Esalen North in San Francisco beginning in 1966– came back to Big Sur to marshal his forces and get rid of Jenny and The Nine. Steve Donovan (not “Dougherty”) was brought as a third chairman to add an air of corporate responsibility.
We’ll never know how this would have played out given Dick’s death that year. But if that tragedy sent Esalen reeling into a crisis of personal grief and existential confusion, it played out well for the Rockefellers. With Dick and the Nine out of the picture, the new New Age program could be rolled out at Esalen itself, to be made safe for middle class housewives all across the free world.
Another Rockefeller minion, the Rev. Jim Garrison (no relation to the JFK prosecutor, believe me), was set up at Esalen to man the Russia program and brought the walking human disaster Boris Yeltsin to America. Garrison later headed the Gorbachev Foundation- another Esalen/Rockefeller project- at the Presidio in San Francisco.
Later headquartered at the Presidio? Starfleet.
…..Rockefeller and Donovan wanted to use Esalen to create a mainstream New Age but by doing so essentially drained Esalen of its uniqueness (or essence).
Puharich being a friend of R. J. Reynolds found support and protective acceptance, until he fell into disfavor with David Rockefeller, ultimately necessitating him to seek protection from another friend, the [then] Mexican President. Puharich capitulated, acquiescing to Mr. Rockefeller’s demands, promising not to engage in further ‘water as fuel’ research, thereby, stopping all attempts at his sanctioned assassination by the CIA.
…Puharich was well connected, and respected within the most elite of global society. He was known academically, and internationally among the power elite. He therefore was a significant threat to those special interests involving a direct influence regarding energy sources as fuel derivatives. And his use of ‘water as fuel’ was a direct threat to one of the most powerful families on planet Earth. Puharich had to personally assure the Rockefeller family, that he would no longer engage in further research or usage of ‘water as fuel’ to power combustion engines.
Because as much as it’s anyone’s, Esalen is a Rockefeller project. Rockefeller money helped build it, sustain it and grow it. It helped rebuild it after various crises. The Rockefeller in question is the late Laurance Rockefeller, whose very, very deep pockets helped build a New Age Empire in California, including Esalen, the San Francisco Zen Center, the Lindisfarne Association, the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Were Puharich’s problems with the Rockefellers only a function of his work with free energy? Or was his other project– The Nine– causing the Rockefellers grief on the other side of the country?
Because as much as it’s anyone’s, Esalen is a Rockefeller project. Rockefeller money helped build it, sustain it and grow it. It helped rebuild it after various crises. The Rockefeller in question is the late Laurance Rockefeller, whose very, very deep pockets helped build a New Age Empire in California, including Esalen, the San Francisco Zen Center, the Lindisfarne Association, the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the California Institute of Integral Studies.
This isn’t surprising; nothing gets done in this country without people with deep pockets behind it. Not religion, not politics, not media, not even big-time conspiracy gurus. But it might explain why the New Age movement is so arid and inert and unthreatening (especially compared to its early days). It was engineered that way.
in the weeks before Roswell we would also see one of the most remarkable meeting of scientific minds since the war’s end- the Shelter Island Conference, which took place on the first weekend of June of ’47……..
And wouldn’t you know it, Rockefeller fingerprints were all over this little get-together:
The idea for the conference was hatched by Duncan MacInnes, a physical chemist with the Rockefeller Institute and Karl K. Darrow, the permanent secretary of the American Physical Society.
Of course, you’d need Rockefeller kind of money to assemble the kind of talent that showed up at Shelter Island:
The conference featured a veritable Who’s-Who of the physics community, including Edward Teller, David Bohm, John von Neumann, John A. Wheeler, I.I. Rabi, Richard Feynman, Willis Lamb, Linus Pauling, Hans Bethe, and Julian Schwinger (and) discussion leaders J. Robert Oppenheimer, Victor Weisskopf, and H.A. Kramers.
I mean, remember that the Rockefellers and Bell Labs were running this dog-n-pony show, and invoking the old gods was the way things got done. As anyone who’s walked around Midtown Manhattan or looked into Project Nike will tell you.
Anyway I hope this is helpful and not an inordinately huge dump of text for everyone. I thought it was very interesting stuff to nosh on.
And I don’t need to remind anyone how interested the Rockefellers have been involved in the UFO/AAT field over the years.
Sorry about the rough editing, in the last 2 sentences above “anyway” is my sentence and “i dont need to remind anyone” is i think from the lucifers-techs part 1 post.
Also “rune soup” has good pieces. secret sun writer Chris Knowles lives in New England somewhere I believe. the big batch of stuff i put on the WMR thread is a great starting place. the “secret star trek” post series is a must read.
Additional material has been posted in a separate forum but I do not have the poster’s permission to add it here.
Thanks for the heads up and the links. The more the perps lie…the more the public turns to bloggers for the truth. The more the public turns to bloggers for the truth…the more repression from the liars and their co-horts. It’s a vicious cycle.
I guess we should be grateful that there the Internet allowed for this tiny window of truthtelling (the blogosphere) at all.
We know the game, but it appears to be ratcheting up and intensifying in the little ways with regard to Google (Kenny’s blogroll is no longer there, for example, and my e-mail seems suspect). More and more minor players seem to be dropping out. I am thinking of what approach to use in lieu of…
“The biological evidence indicates that humans are hard-wired to seek out the truth. Why? The truth gives us some control over an otherwise chaotic world. We seek a unified vision of what is going on around us…so that we can respond in an effective manner. Otherwise, we would be like a hive of bees that has smoke blown into it. The bees are all disoriented and left powerless. The truth as we see it is absolutely necessary for our survival on this planet…and at some very deep subconscious level, most (but, unfortunately, not all) of humanity understands this immutable law and seeks the truth every day.
So, no matter how much smoke and mirrors are are blown into our world, intelligent humans will find ways to learn the truth and to share it. Ultimately, the war on truth will fail, as it always has.”
Well said, Greencrow. Truth is essential for survival. That’s a great analogy with the bees.
We know the game, but it appears to be ratcheting up and intensifying in the little ways with regard to Google (Kenny’s blogroll is no longer there, for example, and my e-mail seems suspect). More and more minor players seem to be dropping out. I am thinking of what approach to use in lieu of…
“… [the] comment about bloggers being driven by “love of truth” gave me not one but two great ideas! Thanks. I may not implement these ideas myself or in this blog but they are great ideas and someone will eventually implement them. Here they are
1. A special page (I could have it on this blog or it could be a special blog or everyone could have a link to it) where bloggers write a short couple of paragraphs about their blog…what first drove them to do truth blogging and what issues compel them the most. Occurrences would be an excellent site for this special page or link : )
2. A Truth Bloggers Union. This could be a loosely run organization of technical support, information and solidarity for truth bloggers as we move into a new era of increased repression, marginalization, etc. There could be a logo drawn up that all members of the Union could add to their blog face page. It would look like the old Union logos. I really believe in the Union Movement and even tried to spear head a union organization movement when I was a legal secretary many years ago. I won’t tell you how that turned out…lol (or as we said in those days hahahahaha)
Think about all of this folks and please add ideas if you wish…or take up the ball and run with it!
October 9, 2016 at 8:15 AM
# # # # #
The above discussion took place across several days at http://greencrowasthecrowflies.blogspot.ca and is an extension of ideas that have been suggested, circulated or noted for years. Recent trends and events have ramped up the need for such a discussion.
I have set up this blog entry and opened up comments so that they do not require registration or even your identification. However, I suggest that you identify yourself and your blog address.
I recently bought a Nissan Altima. My wife and I are getting older, and comfort and ease of ingress/egress is more of an issue given my hip arthritis. She rode in a friend’s Nissan (who has had two of them and swears by them) and presto change-o we bypassed the Subaru Forester and got out of the Honda CR-V, which was too unstable on the highway by my standards (I was used to smaller, wider, more ground-hugging road cars) and from which she had hip discomfort getting in and out.
So we now drive a car that dings, bings and whistles whenever we drive.
The dings, bings and whistles, as near as I can gather, are the vehicle’s poorly-timed and frail attempts to define the driving lane and let us know that we are about to wander. They let us know that something or someone is in one of our blind spots, behind us qwhen we shift into reverse, and so on. There was only minimal introduction and instruction by the rookie salesman at the dealership owned by a former NASCAR and stock car racer. The manual that comes with the car is typically massive, bland, poorly-written technical writing. The Honda I was used to was an all-wheel-drive-all-the-time model; the Nissan is a front-wheel drive car.
The blind spot warning devices flash lights on the door posts briefly (instead of in a HUD display on the windshield where the driver’s eyes are supposed to be trained). They usually ding just about the time my fellow motorist has overtaken me fast enough to actually be nosing ahead of me; “look, idiot, you’re being passed”. The car does not yet announce — though I’m quite certain many of my fellow drivers have that version — “prepare to qualify”.
The version of the car we bought does not yet come with autonomous braking, steering or parking. Good thing… I’ve gone down the path of automotive autonomy just about as far as I care to go. I may revert and invest in a re-conditioned vehicle from the 70’s before they disappear or are outlawed. The mailman just brought an invitation to subscribe to Hemmings Motor News and I may just take them up on it. I’ve been frustrated with years of NHTSA design anomalies that have taken away any kind of reasonable utilization of cabin space in fear that those things I choose to bring with me might become flying objects in a crash; the space has been taken over by airbags which are continuously being recalled anyway. The Japanese used to have a good feeling for driver ergonomics; the old phrase from the British angle of automotive journalism was about controls “falling readily to hand”. Nothing is where it should be anymore; I spend more time taking my eyes off the road to figure out where the thing is in the first place. I have begun to train my wife, who usually loses herself in a book as soon as we are underway, does not take well to the tasks, to be a kind of co-driver in the vein of late 50’s automotive rallies. She handles the radio, the heat, the air conditioning, the GPS navigation system, drinks, snacks, etc. I handle the road, the idiots who drive on it, the weather conditions, and my own inexorably-advancing age.
The future is barreling down the outside lane of society faster than that cross-town hipster blaring merengue from inside his modified low-rider Honda Civic, or any of the dozens of people in town who are late and think I am in their way.
The powers that be are quite convinced we don’t know how to drive, or at least they are quite convinced that they need to convince us that we don’t know how to drive.
Watching any of the current spate of car ads or insurance ads about driving will tell you that they are gently herding us into giving up the freedom and control of driving one’s own car.
This form of social engineering mimics “the nanny state” and “the surveillance state” in that it is sold through the gentle pushing of the idea that you are at risk, that you need to be saved, and that you can cede your safety to the concerns to the state which, after all, only has your best interests and those of society at stake.
Many of you may know my driving record. I don’t profess to be among the best. I do profess to enjoying it.
My parents wouldn’t let me near a car. As a teenager, I learned how to drive a stick working for a lawn mowing company cross-town; I got the ’39 three-speed Ford pickup truck and learned how to grind coffee. I had the experience of driving a Sunbeam Tiger when I worked at a public golf course. When I got to college, I got my license and my boss in the restaurant let me drive his Mustang. I drove from the Dunkin Donuts in the center of North Adams to the traffic circle interchange with the Interstate in Greenfield in 42 minutes. Try that one on for size some time.
The first car I owned was a 1968 British Ford Cortina GT. It died by dashboard fire and I got by with a used ’62 Mercedes-Benz 220S sedan with four-on-the-column and a very leaky radiator; I used to hand the gear shift stick to my passenger on the way up from third to fourth gear. It had a Blaupunkt radio with AM and FM and shortwave for those who were assigned to the local U-Boat fleet. When it died (I’d already worked for the fire department by then), I got myself a 1970 fire-engine-red Mustang GT with a Cleveland 351 with a four-barrel carb and a Hurst four-on-the-floor that could top out at 135 mph. Downtown Amherst, Mass. to downtown Manhattan in two hours flat. I gave that up for a 1974 Fiat X1/9. By then I was a veteran ambulance driver.
[I wonder if they are going to make ambulances autonomous and driverless and put robots in them to take care of the ill and injured.]
I was deeply into readingRoad&Track, and Car and Driver, and I remember Brock Yates’ suggestions that there be a class of drivers who were superbly skilled and trained and could be designated and recognized with a Master’s Drivers License.
At Car and Driver, we were convinced that the automobile, as we knew and loved it, was as dead as the passenger pigeon. Ralph Nader was at full cry, ringing his tocsin of automobile doom into the brains of the public, convincing them that the lump of chrome and iron in the driveway was as lethal as a dose of Strontium 90 or a blast from a Viet Cong AK-47.
“Hoping to make drunk driving a literal impossibility, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rolled out a prototype drunkenness-detection system for cars that would disallow vehicle operation if the driver is above the legal limit. Working with auto-industry members, NHTSA has been working on DADSS—Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety—and presented its ideas for stopping drunk-driving accidents before they happen before Congress and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Drunk driving is of course dangerous, illegal, and just plain stupid. Helpfully, then, NHTSA is working to make its in-car drunk-detection tech as seamless and unobtrusive as possible….”
“Autonomous cars are coming, and it’s time for everyone to just accept it.
It might seem odd to have to state such a thing so plainly, but denial is a powerful drug. And enthusiasts tend to be heavy users. Yet technology and progress are irrepressible, so here we are. For people that love to drive, the idea of an automated car is an affront to everything they hold dear. But the truth is inescapable. If you consider building-block technologies like stability control, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, and steer-by-wire, this shouldn’t even really be surprising.
The first time I ever experienced a car that could drive itself was three years ago. I was at General Motor’s Milford Proving Grounds in a heavily modified Cadillac SRX equipped with an early version of Super Cruise, some form of which will be in the new CT6. I conducted the interview from the driver’s seat as the car competently looped around the track, in its own lane, at 60 mph (you can watch the video here). After that, it was clear: This is the future.
And it should be. Maybe not all of it, but part of it. There are a lot of logical reasons for having cars with the ability to drive themselves and communicate with each other and even infrastructure: lives will be saved, boring parts of tedious drives can be offloaded, our vehicles and roads will operate more efficiently, people who can’t currently drive will suddenly be mobile. These are just some of the positives, and there are many more, plenty of which we can’t even predict. That is the hard truth.
SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR ENTHUSIASTS? THE PEOPLE WHO STILL THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW ENGINE RPMS AND GET A THRILL OUT OF INTENTIONALLY KICKING OUT THE ASS END? THE HONEST ANSWER IS THAT WE DON’T KNOW YET.
But before semiautonomous cars, which still require drivers, and fully autonomous cars are available on any sort of mass scale, there is much to figure out. These systems still can’t handle the more nuanced decisions human drivers make, and insurance and liability are looming questions. Not to mention real-world technological limitations. My Super Cruise test drive was actually our second attempt. A heavy snowfall had caused the first ride to be canceled because the SRX’s camera was unable to register the lines on the road and center the car in the lane. That was awhile ago, and severe weather remains a challenge (though machine groupthink through connected cars, better GPS, and highly accurate maps will help). Lastly, there’s the inevitable learning curve of people understanding how these technologies work, as demonstrated by Model S owners already having near accidents.
So what does this all mean for enthusiasts? The people who still think it is important to know engine RPMs and get a thrill out of intentionally kicking out the ass end? The honest answer is that we don’t know yet. Nobody does. Despite all of the sensational stories and headlines prognosticating the death of driving, it’s hard to imagine a country where people won’t at least have the option to drive themselves. Even if it’s on designated roads or it means paying a higher insurance premium. Likely, we’ll end up having a mix of cars with semiautonomous abilities and fully autonomous vehicles serving varied purposes.
Then again, maybe in 100 years people will look back and think: Who in the world thought it was a good idea to let all those distracted, careless humans hurtle around in 2-ton death machines?
It’s really hard to say.
Here’s what we do know: Road & Track will always celebrate the analog joys of driving. That much will never change. But the fact of the matter is that the very act of driving and how we will all experience it will morph into something new over the coming decades. It already is. For that reason, it’s as important to understand this shift as any other automotive innovation. To ignore it, to stuff your fingers in your ears and stomp your feet, does nothing.
There’s no stopping progress. Let’s just all hope that in the future there will still be room to have some fun.”
“Autonomous driving—what the high-minded call artificial intelligence and what we call real brainlessness—may not be as vile as we originally feared. One DeLorean DMC-12 directed by a Stanford University engineering crew can perform perfect opposite-lock, tire-cooking, hands-off donuts at will for as long as the rubber lasts. Lead professor Chris Gerdes explained the rationale underlying this class project, timed to coincide with the fictional arrival on October 21, 2015, of the time-traveling Back to the Future DeLorean: “When we no longer have a human driver in the loop, we think that the automated vehicle should be able to harness the full range of vehicle operating capabilities to avoid collisions, even if this means going sideways a bit to stay on the road.” In other words, loading $60,000 worth of navigation gear, two powerful electric motors, and shrewd software into a 30-year-old sports car may have just fried Google’s autonomous eggs.
While on-demand drifting will likely remain in your dreams for the time being, cars programmed to perform other feats are now commonplace. Anti-lock brakes and stability control have been mandatory for years. Lots of cars sound an alarm, shake the seat, and/or nudge the steering wheel when you leave your lane without signaling. Adaptive cruise control that automatically maintains a safe distance from the car ahead is also widely available. Ten manufacturers recently committed to making automatic emergency braking standard across their entire lineups.
Brainless driving is closing in on us like a meteorite because of its potential to avoid accidents. Sadly, we are a nation of mediocre drivers, distracted on our daily journeys by dining, child rearing, makeup applying, and incessant texting. Driver’s ed. is a shadow of its former self, and few of us are able to use the accident-avoidance capabilities built into every new car. Our driving errors cause crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
To gauge progress on the path to brainlessness, we’ve gathered the four luxury cars that have done the most to purge human frailties from the acts of cruising, braking, and steering.
As usual, our test regimen is a balanced mix of on-road evaluations and proving- grounds tests. Other than noting which car can and which can’t steer you snugly against a curb, we skipped automatic-parking maneuvers. All these cars and many others on the market keep watchful eyes on your blind spots, a second form of artificial intelligence we’re taking for granted here. To verify that adaptive cruise control works to maintain a safe interval between your car and the one immediately ahead when an intruder barges into your lane, we used a foam-filled Volkswagen Golf decoy owned by Bosch to supplement our over-the-road observations. Our main focus was automatic lane keeping: how well these four early semi-autonomous cars guide you safely and securely while relying on their electronic wits instead of the driver’s hands, eyes, and judgment. Using a 50-mile mix of freeway stretches, rural two-lanes, and city streets, we tabulated exactly how many guidance interruptions were caused by broken lane marks, inconsistent pavement patches, intersections, and exit and entrance ramps. We also noted when a car lost the lane-keeping sense for no apparent reason. Then we ranked the four contenders according to the number of control lapses each test car experienced.
So cinch up nice and tight, because there’s going to be a lot of near misses.”
When my kids arrived and work become more prominent in my life, I gave up a love affair with cars and started to drive computers. I had my first Macintosh in the late 80’s, one of those cute little slanted colored cubes whose presumptive posture outperformed DEC stand-ups using LP-sized floppies for routine and simple tasks in the office, thus driving my superiors from the Boston high-tech world stark raving angry. Later versions put my kids through high school and college. I did re-invent myself when my son leased himself a brand-new Pontiac Trans-Am but drove himself right out of the car by ignoring the mileage restrictions and costs. I ended up owning it and driving it for nine years. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a finer car on an Interstate highway, but I’m sure the Beemer folks would argue that point. But look here, and ponder the possibilities:
The Vehicle Performance Guidance section, aimed at the industry itself, outlines best practices for the safe pre-deployment design, development and testing of highly automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads. With the guidance, the U.S. Department of Transportation establishes its expectations of industry by providing reasonable practices and procedures manufacturers, suppliers and other entities should follow in the short term to test and deploy the vehicles. The policy asks automakers and tech companies to be able to prove that their semiautonomous and autonomous vehicles could meet a 15-point list of safety expectations before taking to the roads. They’re asked to document how they’re addressing issues like privacy, digital security, human-machine interface and ethical considerations—like whether to program a vehicle to hit another vehicle or a pedestrian in the event of a crash.
The Model State Policy section seeks to reinforce that the traditional role of the states in areas like vehicle licensing and registration, traffic laws and enforcement, and motor vehicle insurance and liability regimes will continue when it comes to autonomous vehicle policy. NHTSA meanwhile will be responsible for federal motor vehicle safety standards, recalls and other enforcement measures, educating the public on safety and writing performance guidelines for industry.
NHTSA notes that it may be necessary for states to clarify the definition of “driver” in regulatory language, which could entail combing through multitudes of policies and state codes. The agency has already clarified for federal purposes that a car’s software can be considered a “driver.”
The insurance and liability issues could prove thorny for states as well. While some automakers have said they’ll take responsibility for any traffic crashes caused by their software, others have not.
NHTSA notes they will continue to exercise their existing regulatory authority through interpretations, exemptions, notice-and-comment rulemaking and enforcement authority. The agency can also identify safety defects and recall vehicles or equipment that pose an unreasonable risk to safety.
But the agency also indicates that existing regulatory tools may not be sufficient to ensure highly automated vehicles are introduced safely and to realize the full promise of the new technologies, so additional regulatory tools may be needed to quickly address the latest developments. Congress could be asked to consider new oversight powers for USDOT to approve vehicle designs before they come to market, give cease-and-desist orders in cases of imminent danger or require software changes for vehicles already on the road, for example.
Next up for the policy is a 60-day public comment period (read the process for submission here), which could yield significant changes. The policy is expected to be supplemented by a related report from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators later this year.
But as autonomous vehicle legal expert Bryant Walker Smith noted this week, none of this is intended to provide the final word on these issues by any means. “I would also expect that this guidance will be the starting point for more thoughtful legislative discussions—not only at the state level but also, for the first time, at the federal level,” he wrote in a blog post. “It will be interesting to see which developers carry the DOT’s implicit requests for new authorities and resources to Congress. The model state policy does not bind states, and some may well decide not to follow it. The performance guidance likewise does not bind developers of automated driving systems, but I would expect few of these developers to deviate from it. This soft guidance could become even more influential if states incorporate it in legislation, if … (NHTSA) considers it in the course of exemption or enforcement decisions, or if courts look to it to understand how a reasonable developer should act. In other words, DOT is establishing expectations.”
DOT officials also made it clear this week they plan to update these guidelines annually.
Furthermore, the guidelines call for states not to just dive in head first but to take a coordinated approach by identifying a lead agency on automated driving regulation and setting up a task force with representatives from offices of information technology, transportation, law enforcement and other relevant areas.
So while the NHTSA guidance has been greatly anticipated, it only kicks off a series of what are likely to be lengthy and complex conversations that will evolve in the years to come just as the technologies do that they will address.
Autonomous vehicles will be on the agenda at the CSG 2016 National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg. On Friday, December 9, the CSG Transportation & Infrastructure Public Policy Committee will convene for a session entitled “Realizing the Future: Changes for Transportation on the Horizon.” Among the speakers will be Chris Hendrickson, Professor Emeritus in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and director of the university’s Traffic 21 Institute. In 2014, Hendrickson was the lead author on “Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: 2040 Vision,” a report prepared for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that assessed the implications of the vehicles on the management and operation of the state’s transportation system including in areas like design and investment decisions, workforce training and driver licensing. We’ll also get a briefing on what the NHTSA guidance means for states and hear from the automotive industry about all the innovations that are on the way. Also on the agenda for the transportation committee: Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne will talk about how his state improved the processes by which it selects transportation projects and chooses which ones to tackle as public-private partnerships. And we’ll hear about what a new President and Congress could mean for transportation in 2017 and beyond. You can check out the preliminary agenda for the full CSG National Conference here and register for the meeting here.
Autonomous vehicles and other emerging technologies bringing rapid changes to communities also will be among the issues discussed during Capital Ideas II, a two-day conference the organization Transportation for America will host in Sacramento November 16-17. CSG is pleased to be a promotional partner for the event, which will offer attendees a highly interactive curriculum of model state legislation, campaign tactics, innovative policies and peer-to-peer collaboration designed to help them advance successful state transportation policy and funding proposals. Just in time to get a jump on the 2017 state legislative sessions, Capital Ideas II (no affiliation with CSG’s magazine Capitol Ideas) will also examine how state departments of transportation are instituting reforms and how California and other states are leading the way in policy innovation. The latest tentative agenda for the conference is available on the T4America website. Registration is available here. For an idea of what the first Capital Ideas was like in 2014, you can read my coverage of the event here, here and here.
“… For months, federal regulators have been preparing to unveil regulations for testing fully automated cars, which garnered attention after a fatal crash involving a Tesla Motors Inc. car that was operating with its automated driving system activated. Rules were expected in July, but became embroiled in debate after the crash.”
“… Author Will Oremus cites a passage from a recent RAND study that envisions a couple of intriguing/worrying future scenarios:
“Imagine a law enforcement officer interacting with a vehicle that has sensors connected to the Internet. With the appropriate judicial clearances, an officer could ask the vehicle to identify its occupants and location histories. … Or, if the vehicle is unmanned but capable of autonomous movement and in an undesirable location (for example, parked illegally or in the immediate vicinity of an emergency), an officer could direct the vehicle to move to a new location (with the vehicle’s intelligent agents recognizing “officer” and “directions to move”) and automatically notify its owner and occupants.”
Situations like these raise countless questions about autonomous cars and the right to privacy. For example, do police need a warrant to search an autonomous car’s hard drive? The scenario is similar to that posed by “black box” recorders found on most modern vehicles, which can be accessed by law enforcement under certain conditions — but then again, maybe not. And if not, can police access all the data on the hard drive, or just some of it? Can they access it remotely, while the car is in use?
Throw in wearable devices, smartphones that connect to the internet via in-car routers, and many other always-on, always-connected technologies, and you see the problem. The minutiae of our lives are recorded via our constant interaction with apps and websites, email and social networks. If the police suspect someone of wrongdoing, why shouldn’t they be allowed to access that information in the interest of public safety?
Thankfully, part of the RAND study — which was commissioned by the National Institute of Justice — involved discussing these matters with a panel of experts in the fields of criminal justice and technology. The experts’ #1 priority at the moment involves creating a system of policies and procedures for dealing with autonomous cars. (If only they’d do the same for license plate readers.) Least important to them? Creating ways for police to take control of autonomous vehicles…..”
“… According to data fromStatisticBrain.com, there about 41 million speeding tickets issued each year on average. At an average fine of $152 per ticket, that equates to about $6.2 Billion in revenue nationwide from Traffic Tickets alone.
Having a fully autonomous car, as they’ve been reported, will effectively reduce the need for speeding tickets to ever be used again…..”
Vehicle makers might bear a greater share of liability as vehicles become more autonomous. Thus, the authors suggest, policymakers and manufacturers may want to seek risk-limiting measures that could include, for example, capping the liability exposure of manufacturers if they comply with government standards.
Citing the obstacles Uber and other ridesharing firms have faced with taxis and regulators, the report suggests that “negatively affected stakeholders”—including taxi and truck drivers, insurers, and personal-injury and traffic litigation lawyers—”may exert significant pressure on public-policy makers to protect their interests.”
The report says policymakers “may need to develop mitigation strategies to soften the blow on the stakeholders that suffer the greatest disruption.”
“… No battle plan, they say, survives the first contact with the enemy. And in this case, the enemy is us — the messy, chaotic, mentally ill, undocumented, angry, frustrated, overworked, underpaid, teeming masses of humanity. No sane person can think that autonomous cars can survive in that environment. It’s them or us in a fight to the death for control of the American road.
I’m not such a narcissistic egomaniac that I don’t realize that many, many intelligent people have pondered this question before today and likely come to conclusions that are better-informed but substantially similar to what I’ve described above. So you don’t have to worry about autonomous cars sharing the roads with human drivers and being subject to all of the hazards we’ve discussed. Rather, you can rest assured that our right to drive will simply disappear whenever it suits our West Coast tech elite. If we’re lucky, this unilateral takeover will only happen in places where population density and wealth make it easy, like San Francisco.
If we’re unlucky, however, the new order will simply be imposed upon us nationwide, the same way that Mr. Clinton imposed urban-focused gun control on rural towns where nobody’s committed a violent crime since before the Taft administration. If that day comes and the “Red Barchetta” scenario becomes law, you can rest assured that any power you have to vote or protest against the situation will have been thoroughly neutralized well ahead of time. You can, however, always pick up a rock.”
John Bonnefon, a psychological scientist working at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, told me there is no historical precedent that applies to the study of self-driving ethics. ‘It is the very first time that we may massively and daily engage with an object that is programmed to kill us in specific circumstances. Trains do not self-destruct, no more than planes or elevators do. We may be afraid of plane crashes, but we know at least that they are due to mistakes or ill intent. In other words, we are used to self-destruction being a bug, not a feature.’
Perhaps there could be an emergency switch that lets the driver take back control. But then the vehicle isn’t really autonomous at all, is it?. Perhaps the real ethical problem was removing the driver’s autonomy in the first place…
Max, in the comments section, says,
“There’s no way to create “ethical software” good enough to replace human judgment…”
Yves Smith says “the hype regularly exceeds reality”.
Subgenius, in those same comments, asks
“Can the image data be accurately and rapidly processed to a greater degree of accuracy than can be achieved by the human visual cortex?”
“… Part of the problem is that so little energy is focused on properly training drivers. In most states, obtaining a driver’s license is a mere formality. Being more accretive with driver’s education, higher standards on driving tests and renewals, and strict enforcement of the rules of the road, basically washing out those who have no business being behind the wheel, would do a great deal to improve driver safety.”
Which brings us full circle to Brock Yates, whose “plan floated years ago was an anathema to politicians and the general public, who viewed driving an automobile on highways as a supreme act of egalitarianism. Nowhere on earth was the constitutional mandate that “all men are created equal” more relevant than on the open road. This, regardless if the driver were a half-blind octogenarian doddering along the streets of Boca Raton or an Indianapolis champion running on an empty interstate.
Still, the notion that driving skills are directly related to physical and mental capacity does pertain, regardless of politically correct dogma. Perhaps the idea of drivers’ licenses tiered to aptitude behind the wheel ought to be reexamined.
For openers, vehicular capability in terms of tires, brakes, suspensions, etc., has been elevated to amazing heights in recent decades, permitting even the cheapest Kia or Hyundai to safely exceed posted 65-to-75-mph interstate limits.
Second, it has been proved to the point of tedium, based on statistics from the German autobahns, that vastly higher speeds can be safely maintained, presuming elemental laws (sobriety, lane discipline, etc.) are rigidly enforced.
Moreover, tiered licenses, based on experience and training, exist in virtually every other form of transportation. Pilots are licensed for everything from puddle jumpers to multiengine jets. Boaters in many states need licensing that escalates as the vessels get larger. Truckers, chauffeurs, taxi drivers, police officers, and others use special operators’ licenses, yet the vast motoring public trundles out onto the highway each day by the tens of millions with no special qualifications. In the context of blind jurisprudence, each man or woman is essentially as qualified as the next. Other than restricted licenses for drivers 15 or 16 years of age, depending on the state, there are no differences in the licenses being issued to a paroled felon, an outpatient psychopath, a drunk, or a healthy, socially responsible average citizen….”
What Brock was talking about, what my own driving experience has told me, is that you can’t discount, excerpt out, or disregard the human factor. Recently my wife and I “piloted” our new autonomy-in-training Nissan to a town about 25 miles away for dinner and a movie. The route was going to take us cross-country. While she waited for the new bank manager-in-training to figure out how to get a routine task done (it took about 45 minutes), I went out to program the vehicle’s navigation system for the addresses of both the restaurant and the movie theater. I don’t need those devices; I have a pretty good map in my head. Ever read up about the tests that London cabbies have to pass?
When I was a probationary firefighter, much of my classroom training was spent looking at street maps with all the names removed and answering rapid-fire questions. “The call is for a fire at such-and-such address; find it on the map.” “You have a medical emergency here; it’s 2:30 PM. What route will you take?” “Nope, not that way. School just let out and tehre’s school busses cluttering up the intersections here, here and here.”
In the late 60’s, I foresaw a dashboard vehicle navigation systems — GPS was still a closely-guarded miltiary secret back then — by envisioning an in-dash microfiche HUD projection system to assist ambulance drivers in situations when time was of the essence and making a wrong turn could mean life and death. Most vehicles do not yet have HUD displays, and using a GPS-based navigation system is still fraught with problems.
I could have gotten to the town wiht the restaurant and theater on my own by driving the lengths of the rectangle on Interstate highways, but I like back roads and the navigation system — not yet voice-activated-or-responsive so it has to handled by the front-seat passanger if you wish to drive safely — thought a cross-country approach made sense too. Halfway there, it took me in circles twice because it could not clearly see (or dictate) the route through a Y-intersection linked into a rotary. I had to turn it off — my wife calls hers Hentrietta and is used to screaming at it— and turn onto a road with which I was already familiar. I found my own way to the town, and then my wife — who’d been to the restaurant with friends — got me the rest of the way.
If you want further examples of this phenomenon of the human mind in the machine, consider seeing the movie we saw after dinner:
New rules of the road for robot cars coming out of Washington this week could lead to the eventual extinction of one of the defining archetypes of the past century: the human driver.
While banning people from driving may seem like something from a Kurt Vonnegut short story, it’s the logical endgame of a technology that could dramatically reduce — or even eliminate — the 1.25 million road deaths a year globally. Human error is the cause of 94 percent of roadway fatalities, U.S. safety regulators say, and robot drivers never get drunk, sleepy or distracted.
Autonomous cars already have “superhuman intelligence” that allows them to see around corners and avoid crashes, said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at Nvidia Corp., a maker of high-speed processors for self-driving cars.
“Long term, these vehicles will drive better than any human possibly can,” Shapiro said. “We’re not there yet, but we will get there sooner than we believe.”
Regulators are accelerating the shift with new rules that will provide a path for going fully driverless by removing the requirement that a human serve as a backup. Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognized Google’s self-driving software as the “driver” in its fully autonomous test vehicles, eliminating the need for a person to be present.
This week, technology industry veterans proposed a ban on human drivers on a 150-mile (241-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 5 from Seattle to Vancouver. Within five years, human driving could be outlawed in congested city centers like London, on college campuses and at airports, said Kristin Schondorf, executive director of automotive transportation at consultant EY.
The first driver-free zones will be well-defined and digitally mapped, giving autonomous cars long-range vision and a 360-degree view of their surroundings, Schondorf said. The I-5 proposal would start with self-driving vehicles using car-pool lanes and expand over a decade to robot rides taking over the road during peak driving times.
“In city centers, you don’t even want non-automated vehicles; they would just ruin the whole point of why you have a smart city,” said Schondorf, a former engineer at Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. “It makes it a dumb city.”
Autonomous vehicles could cost America 5 million jobs. What should we do about it?Los Angeles Times. The hype here reminds me of electric batteries for cars circa 1992. The vision of the future then was that all-electrical cars were coming soon, starting with local delivery fleets like Fedex and bus services, since the 100 mile per charge limit wouldn’t be a problem (they could go back to their garages and charge overnight). Did this happen? No. And the other impediment, charging stations for passenger cars, is no closer to reality than in 1992 (and there were other too-cute-by-half fixes, like charging stations that would swap in charged batteries for depleted ones so as to minimize driver downtime). The short problem here is we don’t have the infrastructure (as in roads) that autonomous cars require and we aren’t getting them any time soon.
**** **** ****
Zack Kanter over at Quartz thinks driverless vehicles will kill millions of jobs, all within ten years. And he’s wrong.
Ok, ready? I should probably start out by saying I have a few pre-existing biases. The first is that I normally love Quartz and what they do, and the second is that I don’t have an enormous amount of respect for people who generally try to predict what will happen a decade from now, if not further out. Mostly because if they’re wrong, no one will remember, so no one will call them out on it, and if they’re right (which they rarely are), the one doing the predicting will be the one doing the trumpeting. And even if they are wrong, most people tend to remember the prediction nostalgically as if it was a big joke, like the flying cars of Back to the Future Part II, or the guy who dismissed the Internet as a bunch of hooey in Newsweek.
But I will boldly dismiss the prediction that autonomous cars will completely change our world in just 10 short years as a bunch of hooey….
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill that for the first time allows testing on public roads of self-driving vehicles with no steering wheels, brake pedals or accelerators. A human driver as backup is not required, but the vehicles will be limited to speeds of less than 35 mph.
The legislation applies only to a pilot project by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority at an autonomous-vehicle testing facility at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station, and at a San Ramon business park containing public roads.
At the “GoMentum Station” in the former naval facility, Honda has been testing self-driving cars, and the firm Otto Motors, a division of a Canadian robotics company, has been working on autonomous trucks. The Transportation Authority has said Google and Apple have expressed interest in using the facility.
While the technological feasibility of autonomous vehicles is being demonstrated by Google, Audi, Volvo, Bosch, and Continental, important obstacles such as high costs and the lack of a legislative framework remain in place. On the other hand, the multiple benefits of autonomous vehicles in terms of safety, cost savings, and efficiency, as well as positive impact on the economy and society as a whole, are driving research and development efforts globally. With ADAS-type features already being implemented on a wide scale, the next step for autonomous vehicles will materialize in the next decade. Fully autonomous, self-driving, robotic vehicles will start appearing between 10 and 15 years from now. The disruptive effects of autonomous driving are only just being discovered and its transformative impact on the auto industry and society as a whole will be huge with car sharing and declining vehicle ownership being two of the main exponents.
This study covers autonomous vehicle classification and types, use cases and applications, technology, main players and initiatives, impact and benefits, and remaining challenges and issues. Comparisons, analogies, and lessons to be learnt from other industries such as aviation and rail are briefly described. The report also provides forecasts for autonomous vehicle shipments and technology value per type and region for the next 20 years.
Table of Contents
1. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES TYPES AND CLASSIFICATION
1.2. NHTSA Classification
1.3. Freescale’s View on Autonomous Driving Evolution
1.4. ABI Research Classification
2. SPECIFIC AUTONOMOUS DRIVING USE CASES
2.1. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
2.2. Drive Trains or Platoons
2.3. Automated or Self-parking
3. USER SEGMENTS FOR AUTONOMOUS DRIVING
3.1. Teenage and Young Drivers
3.2. Elderly and Impaired Persons
3.3. Large Families
3.5. Public and Private Transportation
3.6. Delivery Fleets
4. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE TECHNOLOGIES
4.2. Machine Vision
4.5. Digital Maps
4.6. Location Technologies
4.9. Wi-Fi Direct
4.10. Computing Platform
4.11. Software Algorithms
4.12. Electronically Controllable Electric Power Steering, Throttle, and Brakes
4.13. HMI and Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS)
4.14. Autonomous Vehicle Technologies Diagram
5. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE ECOSYSTEM
5.11. University of Oxford
5.12. Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative (DAVI)
5.15. AutoNOMOS Labs
6. BENEFITS AND IMPACT OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
6.4. Convenience and Efficiency
6.5. Infotainment, Driver Distraction, Smartphone Integration, and HMI
6.6. Vehicle Ownership Decline: Car Sharing and Crowdsourcing
6.7. Public and Private Transportation
6.8. Insurance Telematics
6.10. Economic Impact
6.11. Impact on Society
7. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
7.1. Legal Framework and Liabilities
7.4. V2X Penetration
7.5. User Awareness and Acceptance
7.7. Mixed Environments
7.8. Cost and Pricing
7.9. Aftermarket Solutions
8. AUTOMATION IN OTHER INDUSTRIES
8.3. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
1Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Region, World Market, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
2Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Type, World Market, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
3Autonomous Vehicle OEM Technology Value by Type, World Market, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
4Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Type, North America, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
5Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Type, Europe, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
6Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Type, Asia-Pacific, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
7Autonomous Vehicle OEM Shipments by Type, Rest of the World, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
8Autonomous Vehicle OEM Technology Value by Type, North America, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
9Autonomous Vehicle OEM Technology Value by Type, Europe, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
10Autonomous Vehicle OEM Technology Value by Type, Asia-Pacific, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
11Autonomous Vehicle OEM Technology Value by Type, Rest of the World, Forecast: 2012 to 2032
I’ve reached a fork in the road. I won’t belabor the point or bore you with references to Frost poetry or silly graphics.
Simply said, I need feedback from readers.
The immediate issue is that, by early November, I will need to act on the decision to renew my blog hosting agreements, domain names, etc. for BoyDownTheLane, OccurencesForeignDomestic, andTheSullenBell. This suggests a number of issues.
The first is continuation; the second is focus or topic-oriented; the third involves growth, management, improvement, and style questions; the fourth involves monetization. I’ll work back up that tree in my explanation. This is not a desperate appeal for funds.
I don’t need your help financially to operate at the minimalist level at which I’ve been working. I can afford to pay the renewal fees. Some contribution of small amounts of cash from a large number of people would be welcome. I’ve been doing what I do to pay forward the help I’ve been given. But cash is feedback, and fuels growth and improvement.
Style questions will pretty much remain in my domain (pardon the awful pun), but I’d guess I’ve been doing pretty well so far with the help of WordPress and its crew of software development people. They do deserve to be rewarded and I’d like to go to the next level in terms of my use of widgets, plug-ins and other tools in order to make my three blogs run more efficiently for the reader. I’m not yet technically savvy so if you have ideas, recommendations or tips, I’d like to hear them. (A fully-paid scholarship to a WordPress camp is only slighly less desirable that a two-week workshop on investigative journalism or a three-week intensive residential colloquium at Apple headquarters.)
Other things that might be done to improve the three blogs is to further develop or enhance the comments and discussions capacities, and — by extension — even consider the possibility of doing podcasts with key people or on key topics. I don’t know if I’d have time to manage all that, which leads me to the next topic.
I envision an effort that involves other people who are interested in news, social media, journalism, investigative research, and related efforts. Some media production might be possible. But I can’t do that alone. And the very idea of it might be untenable at this time. I don’t do Facebook, or most of the other social media, but you may feel that these blogs need at least the “share” mechanisms for you to use.
Which brings us to focus and topics. What you’ve seen and read here for the last few years gives you some indication of what I am interested in. What are you interested in? What’s on your horizon that you want to know more about? What’s in your life or world that bothers you, troubles you, or invigorates you?
The current situation of the world with increased surveillance, cyberwar, cyberhacking, malware, etc. make blogging difficult, even tenuous. Some people want an alternative approach to news and information. Some don’t want you to have it.
Should I continue?
You can answer that in your own fashion, free form, or by using the handy-dandy questionaire.
Are you interested in making modest, small contributions?
I have not yet decided how to receive money.
Where do you think I need to improve?
What would you like to see more of?
Should my blogs involve more…
audio? what type?
video? what focus?
Do you think my blogs should be involved with social media?
Actively or passively?
What topics are you interested in?
What’s on your horizon that you want to know more about?
What’s in your life or world that bothers you, troubles you, or invigorates you?
Should I continue?
Send your responses, before October 31st 2016, to: lankyleo14 [at] gmail [dot]com.
As you probably know, late last Friday afternoon President Obama vetoed a bill which had passed both houses of Congress unanimously, and Congress is now trying to work out whether it has enough clout to override the veto.
I don’t think it does. Behind Obama’s veto lie very powerful reasons, and behind those reasons stand very powerful people.
JASTA, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, would have allowed families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for alleged complicity in the terrorist attacks if Obama had signed it. This could not, and cannot, be allowed to happen.
Stephen Hadley, a national security adviser to President George W. Bush; Michael Mukasey, a US attorney general under Bush; William Cohen, a secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton; and Richard Clarke, a national security aide to Bush and Clinton
Obama expressed “deep sympathy” for the families and vetoed the bill.
“The president’s rationales to veto JASTA don’t hold weight. They are 100% wrong,” said Terry Strada, whose husband Tom Strada died in World Trade Center collapse. “For us, the 9/11 families and survivors, all we are asking for is an opportunity to have our case heard in a courtroom. Denying us justice is un-American.”
Well, perhaps “the president’s rationales” weren’t the real reasons. Perhaps politicians don’t always say what they mean. And perhaps the mainstream “journalists” can’t tell the difference. But then, neither can the “dissident” journalists.
So the job of explaining it falls to the humblest of bloggers. In other words, the water in this case is so heavy that it can only be carried by a volunteer porter. Nobody who gets paid for carrying water will tell you this:
There are three very good reasons why JASTA cannot become law, but two of them cannot be discussed in public, lest the discussion jeopardize national security and undermine the war on terror.
What goes on behind closed doors is another matter, and the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election in November. We can be sure they will feel all the pressure the bipartisan national security heavyweights can muster, as they consider the ramifications of a vote to override the Presidential veto.
How many of them will stand their ground? I won’t be surprised if we can count them without taking off our socks. But we shall see.
The bipartisan national security heavyweights are protesting that JASTA might motivate foreign countries to sue the American government for acts of terrorism committed by Americans against their own citizens on their own soil.
And this would be very bad for America, they say, because it could lead to “spurious lawsuits” against our men and women in and out of uniform, requiring them to take “a less forceful approach in dealing with state sponsors of terrorism” and thereby hindering them from keeping you and your children safe.
“We continue to make a forceful case to members of Congress that overriding the president’s veto means that this country will start pursuing a less forceful approach in dealing with state sponsors of terrorism and potentially opens up U.S. service members, and diplomats and even companies to spurious lawsuits in kangaroo courts around the world,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said before Mr. Obama vetoed the measure.
What does he mean by “spurious lawsuits”?
Suppose a drone operator made a mistake and accidentally dropped a bomb in the wrong place, killing half a dozen innocent people.
Should he be held responsible for his actions in a foreign court? Should the American government be liable for reparations?
“Of course not!” say the bipartisan national security heavyweights. This is the realm of International Law, after all, where the guiding principle is “Sovereign Immunity.”
If you are new to International Law, you might assume Sovereign Immunity would mean citizens of a sovereign state are immune to violent attacks from foreign powers. But that would be an error.
Sovereign Immunity actually means a sovereign state can do whatever it wants to the citizens of another state, with no legal repercussions whatsoever.
Sovereign Immunity means big fish can eat little fish whenever they get hungry. And the bipartisan national security heavyweights like it this way. So they don’t want JASTA to threaten it.
To the 9/11 families, this is not a problem. The say JASTA is specifically worded to include only acts of terrorism sponsored by foreigners against American citizens on American soil.
But clearly they don’t understand the power of precedent. And precedent here could be devastating…
… because suppose it wasn’t a drone operator, but an administration. And suppose it wasn’t a mistake, but a deliberate act of aggression. And suppose it wasn’t a bomb dropped in the wrong place, but the invasion, occupation, and destruction of a whole country. And suppose it wasn’t half a dozen innocent victims, but half a million. And suppose it didn’t happen just once, but over and over and over, for decade after decade…
What if there were a means for victims to seek reparations? What if there were a legal precedent for this? And what if the precedent were set by the United States?
Do you see the problem?
That’s not the only problem. It’s a big one, but it’s not the biggest. I think it’s the third biggest; clearly it’s the one that the bipartisan national security heavyweights are least unwilling to talk about in public — even if they only hint at it.
The other two reasons are even darker.
Aside from the question of Sovereign Immunity, there’s another question, which is finessed more often than it’s answered, and for good reason.
What is terrorism? Or more precisely, Who defines terrorism?
Allowing the definition of terrorism to become a matter for the courts would undermine the war on terrorism, according to the terror warriors themselves, but they only say this when they don’t think anyone else is paying attention.
The White House […] argued the classification of terrorism should remain an executive authority, not become a question for the courts.
Stars and Stripes also quotes Lt. Col. Pat Testerman, a retired Air Force commander:
“What we define as acts of terrorism or acts of war is up to interpretation,” Testerman said. “And we open ourselves up to significant danger with this.”
Of course they would prefer to keep this fact as quiet as possible, since it’s far too easy for people to put two and two together when they realize that the entire global war on terror is predicated on the notion that the President will both define terrorism and command the world’s response to it.
This may strike you as similar to the popular notion:
In a courtroom, as opposed to a press briefing room, witnesses are bound to tell the truth, and subject to cross-examination. There is no sure way to control the questions a lawyer might ask, or the answers a witness might give, or the direction in which a cross-examination might go.
In a nation raised on television, in love with litigation and addicted to infotainment, the trial of a former football player accused of killing two people was enough to stop millions in their tracks for weeks.
A generation later, to a population shocked out of its wits with terror, a 9/11 trial would be the spectacle of the century. And just one question, or just one answer, could be enough to bring the rickety official story crashing down on top of the people who built it.
It would only take one sharp defense attorney. But I’d sooner see two.
The first one would say:
PROVE the 4 planes in question were scheduled to fly on 9/11.
PROVE the 19 alleged hijackers were in the airports on that day.
PROVE the 19 men boarded the 4 planes.
PROVE they forced their way into the cockpits.
PROVE they took control of the aircraft.
PROVE they flew those incredible flight paths.
PROVE they crashed into these buildings.
PROVE the buildings disintegrated because they were hit by airplanes!
THEN we can talk about who was responsible.
This attorney would be very scary, of course, because the government cannot prove any of these things, let alone all of them.
But his partner would be absolutely terrifying, because he would say:
Everybody talks about what the Saudis did, but nobody wants to talk about why. Well, I’ll tell you why. They did what they did because they were asked to do it.
This is how things work. Friends do favors for each other. And operatives don’t ask questions.
They had no idea that the people they were helping were going to be used as patsies. They were just following instructions. They didn’t even know they were working for an ally. They just knew what they were supposed to do. This is how things work.
Did the Bush administration know about it? Of course they did. Where do you think the request came from?
Why do you think President Bush and Prince Bandar were so close? Why do you think the White House shut down every single investigation into anything connected to Saudi Arabia?
Why do you think so many important Saudi families were allowed to leave the USA immediately after 9/11? Why do you think they got so much help?
Why do you think the 28 pages were classified for so long? Why do you think the mainstream media keeps trying to make this story go away?
And why do you think the government is so intent on keeping all this quiet that they will do absolutely anything to keep it out of court?
Connect the dots. The 28 pages describe the cutouts who set up the patsies. The “hijackers” are just one part of the story — the part we call “the legend.”
Now: Who created the legend? That’s part of the story, too.
And: What really happened? That’s another part of the story.
What would it take to expose the fraud? Maybe just one court case?
Aha! Now you understand why Obama had to veto JASTA.
Visiting a town as stocked with symbolic monuments as Washington DC is a reminder of very real and provocative linkages between persuasive political systems and the civil space and edifices they generate. Architects are taught to “read” landscape code, and this is a town of emblematic war memorials and presidential temples loaded up with tantalizing national narratives based on fact, myth and propaganda — all of which are inextricably intertwined with theories of power and ideas about ‘security’, including national security, which are the concern of advanced computing systems specialists and this USENIX symposium.
As readers of Cryptome and Cartome may be aware, John Young and I are not systems architects, but practitioners of architecture of the steel, glass, bricks and mortar kind — and so, as ‘legacy’ architects we tend to project the implications of new technologies and their constitutive politics beyond machine and source code, games and simulations — onto the so-called real spaces they enable: the social space of the street, the city, the national boundary, global space.
Washington DC as a weaver of allegory and myth also reminds us of the ancient link between bricks-and-mortar architecture and the first lines of security and defense. The classical language that drapes many of DC’s federal edifices embraces a mythologic history which credits Daedelus as being the first architect. This attribution is especially intriguing because Daedelus was the guy who designed Crete’s pernicious Labyrinth, an early structure of defense and punishment configured, interestingly, as an algorithm of 3D encryption. The Labyrinth was policed by that infamous bully-of a-bull enforcer, the Minotaur. I like to think of the Minotaur as an early bovine ancestor of the MPAA, RIAA and BXA.
Recently, I’ve become somewhat less impressed by Daedelus’ feat of labyrinthine enciphered design, than the insurgent work of someone we may come to respect as a largely unheralded first reverse-engineer — Ariadne. Ariadne did something as brilliant as it was subversive: she provided the ball of fragile silk thread which allowed the captive Theseus to exploit and defeat both labyrinth and Minotaur. Ariadne’s subtle thread constructed an ethereal reverse pathway back out of the convoluted maze, allowing Theseus to escape to safety.
It appears that reverse-engineering continues to enjoy the ancient taboo status it established early on in Minoan culture, as USENIX attendees who heard the Felten team’s paper on the SDMI Challenge last night are only too aware. It’s work that’s being stripped of its fair-use designation, and being increasingly demonized, even criminalized by our latter-day Minotaurs.
“‘Reversing the Panopticon” is the motif of John Young’s and my remarks today. They allude to Cryptome and, more recently Cryptome’s companion site, Cartome’s, modest ongoing project of reverse-engineering, metaphoric in our case, perhaps, and perhaps as vulnerable as silk thread, too — transacted under the assumption that information is power, involving efforts to reverse-engineer labyrinthine information architectures: encouraging a reversal of restricted one-way information flows, a reversal of one-way transparency, a reversal of the one-way power relation captured through the insidious one-way mirror.
I guess our work also falls within architectural design parameters framed by that notable institution, the library, and its open-source, First Amendment sanctuary. In our case it’s the construction of an archive of salient documents relating to technologies with unambiguous — as well as ambiguous — political repercussions, especially those that impact civil liberties — and in Cartome’s case, technologies that impact the space and landscapes in which civil liberties are deployed or suppressed, as the case may be.
Since the end of August signals our perennial duty to humor friends and family determined to share summer travel adventures, I hope you’ll forgive my imposing a not so dissimilar travelogue today, albeit one where summer peripateticism has been charted as much by Cryptome and Cartome’s interests as the ubiquitous Baedeker or Lonely Planet travel guides. The inquisitive global tourist may find something to track in Cartome’s small but growing collection of spatial / geographic documents that focus on the claims and/or deceptions proffered by state-sponsored imaging systems, particularly those produced in the context of the national security state — geographically informative systems such as government cartography, photography, photogrammetry, steganography, camouflage, maps, images, drawings, charts, diagrams.
In the spirit of such tourism, we found ourselves a few short weeks ago tracking what was once a highly politicized historic space, a Tuscan stretch of what had been a key medieval power infrastructure, the Via Francigena — the Frank’s Road or Road to France — the leading trade and pilgrimage route that linked the capitals of Europe with Rome, a route that, in its day, continued on to sacred Jerusalem.
Hooking up with the Via Francigena happened to bring the idea of the encrypted labyrinth back into view once again. It turns out that labyrinths were etched on the floors of medieval cathedrals as compacted representations of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, anagrammatic emblems of the ineffable mysteries of the penitent’s extended itinerary. If you couldn’t book a spot on the latest crusade to the Levant, spiritual benefits awaited those willing to walk-the-walk in the privacy of their own home cathedrals.
But we weren’t dealing with pilgrimage codes out there under the hot summer sun — no scaled down, compressed, enciphered mapping of a mystical itinerary — but the Via Francigena itself, at a robustly full-scale of 1:1, as it unfolded in real time and space through the central Tuscan province of Siena, surrounded by fragmented relics of its medieval security apparatus.
At one significant node, our trajectory intersected San Gimignano, the photogenic hill-town whose wealth had derived from its strategic siting along the heavily trafficked network. Those of you who have visited San Gimignano will agree that despite its glut of tourists, it’s a place of architectural interest that more than does justice to its designation by UNESCO as a World Architectural Heritage Site. “San Gimignano delle belle Torri” or “San Gimignano of the beautiful towers” is famous for the impressive stone shafts, some rising almost 50m in height, that still dominate its skyline. 14 of the original 72 structures remain.
The dueling multiplicity of the fortified towers is a clue of the free commune form of government that represented an emerging burgher class grown wealthy in trade, banking and commodities, which had superseded feudal political models in the late 12th century. The multiplicity of towers was an emblem of the newly decentralized, distributed network of commercial interests. The towers broadcast the competitive streak of prominent local families, signifying their owners’ status in the political and commercial calculus allied with nearby Florence’s Guelph and Ghibelline factions.
In their day, San Gimignano’s 72 towers had multiple roles in service of the free commune, including surveillance and security. They were strategic optical devices serving their owners’ geospatial agenda, loci of observation that overlooked the built town and strategic panoramas of the Tuscan countryside beyond. Among key targets of inspection and intelligence-gathering: ongoing reconnoitering of the dynamic flows of goods and humanity that coursed along the crucial Via Francigena, thronged with medieval agents on the move: merchants, prelates, soldiers, and pilgrims. When conflicts erupted over control of the Via Francigena’s valuable commodity flows — including the saffron, wine and olive oil for which the hill-town was reknown — the towers became integral to the military apparatus, functioning as launching platforms from which offensive and defensive actions could be deployed.
But in the context of another kind of architecture, the kind of information technology and architecture being tracked by projects like Cryptome.org, Cartome.org, and this USENIX Symposium, San Gimignano is even more intriguing because of historical factors that unexpectedly place it along a timeline that charts the emergence of a more modern kind of politicized space and landscape than either the feudal domain or free commune. I’m referring to the technologies, spaces and landscapes that underpin what we affectionately refer to as our own contemporary surveillance state.
Though San Gimignano’s towers were part of the security apparatus of intelligent observation and defense within the free commune environment, their spatial, social and political function can be distinguished from later architectures and technologies of surveillance and social control that would eventually render obsolete the towers’ massive masonry engineering.
The town’s links to precursors of modern theories of security and surveillance are both tragic and ironic, obliging us to go beyond the era of San Gimignano’s communal wealth and dominance. Instead, we linger on the portentous year 1348, because in 1348, developments in culture, politics and commerce came to a devastating, horrifying standstill, leaving the hill-town’s 72 towers shrouded in cataclysmic death.
The usual medieval scourges of fire, war, earthquake and damnation were not to blame. Instead, San Gimignano had been visited by an exotic agent that had made its way along the Via Francigena swiftly and with a vengeance. It was a tiny, unprepossessing creature, Xenopsylla cheopsis, the Oriental rat flea, bearing neither rich saffron nor opulent silk goods, but the bacterium Yersina pestis, which proceeded to decimate the city’s population, reducing it by ¾, a ruthless epidemiological catastrophe that probably originated in a distant trade partner, China. Notwithstanding the impressive security apparatus afforded by looming towers that had successfully policed the pilgrimage and trade route, The Black Plague proved to be a non-negotiable adversary. San Gimignano — like other powerful Tuscan cities, including nearby Siena — would never really recover from its effects.
In a seminal and controversial work of the late 1970’s “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison”, the late French philosopher Michel Foucault tracks the origins of modern institutions of discipline and social control, like the prison, and in a much-debated chapter titled “Panopticism” Foucault points out that by the late 17th century, efforts to combat recurring outbreaks of the Plague –such as had savaged San Gimignano and Europe in years following 1348 — would eventually lead to urban protocols and management technologies that unexpectedly provided a structural and administrative prototype associated with the modern surveillance state. Ironically, epidemiological controls would provide the blueprint of what Foucault called: “the utopia of the perfectly governed city”.
Let me summarize Foucault’s fascinating description of disciplinary mechanisms applied to towns under threat of Plague pandemic — quarantines that, it turns out, would eventually follow very precise urbanistic, administrative and bureaucratic designs:
Documents of the era describe quarantined towns being divided into distinct quarters, each quarter governed by a so-called intendant, each infected street placed under the authority of a syndic, who would keep it under constant surveillance. Each house would be locked from the outside by the syndic, who then submitted house-keys to the intendant of the quarter. Keys would be returned to owners only after the quarantine was lifted. Only intendants, syndics and guards were permitted to move about the streets and between infected houses, or from one corpse to another. All inhabitants were obliged to appear at their windows daily to be individually inspected and scrutinized in regard to their state of health. Each individual’s status was documented by written registration submitted by syndics to intendants, and then remitted to the central authority, the magistrate.
Thus, Foucault describes how under threat of pandemic Death, we find disciplinary machinery in which “social space is observed at every point… the slightest movement of individuals is supervised and recorded…written documentation links the omnipresent and omniscient hierarchic center with the quarantined periphery”. To paraphrase Foucault: during quarantines, the late 17th century inhabitant became “immobilized in a frozen kind of space… an environment in which inspection functioned ceaselessly… and the authoritarian gaze was alert everywhere”. This, says Foucault, was the “political dream of the plague”. This was “the utopia of the perfectly governed city”.
The reconnaissance capabilities of massive masonry observation towers, with their intelligence-gathering and defensive overview of strategic landscape and crucial traffic, had been supplanted by a more lightweight, mobile structure: a technology of administrative compartmentalization, classification and policing, underpinned by technologies of authoritarian inspection, data collection and databanking.
As some of you are aware, Foucault’s description of late 17th century quarantine protocols is a mere prologue to his more trenchant analysis: how a provocative model prison would be theorized and codified a century later, that effectively built on Plague quarantine protocols. The innovations of the infamous Panopticon cited in our talk’s title signaled a modern shift away from massively fortified security architecture and the punishing brutality of dark dungeons. The Panopticon provided novel machinery for social discipline through an ingenious design based on illumination, transparency and vision.
The Panopticon project was theorized in the mid-1780s by a British social reformer trained in law, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of the doctrine of Utilitarianism, who enlisted Enlightenment reason to draw up a utopian scheme for social reform — one he saw as equally applicable to the penitentiary house, mad-house, house of industry, or school.
Bentham’s Panopticon — the Greek neologism signified ‘all-seeing place’– was all about vision and transparency, but vision and transparency operating one-way only: in the service of power. Bentham specifications called for a concentric building whose periphery was divided into non-communicating cellular enclosures, in which confined inmates would be held in isolation, invisible to each other. At the center of the annular design was a tower, the lodge, which housed the omniscient inspector. The panoptic mechanism’s asymmetric system of lighting and wooden blinds ensured that the individual inmate was constantly visible, identifiable, and classifiable to the inspector — who was a kind of secular version of the allseeing god’s-eye.
But while the inmate is seen by the inspector, he himself cannot see. “He is the object of information, never a subject in communication” Foucault points out. The Panopticon’s power was “visible and unverifiable” — that is, the inmate could not see the inspector, only the looming tower: he would never know when he was actually under surveillance. This uncertainty, along with the inmate’s isolation and loss of privacy, is the means of his compliance and subordination. Uncertainty becomes the principle of his own subjection. It assures that, in Foucault words: “surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if discontinuous in its action”. And thus Foucault draws our attention to our own very modern condition, locked within: “a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power”.
In retrospect, Bentham’s social reform is recognized for its modern characteristics, achieved through an unprecedented kind of social control, an institutional architecture that provided for an efficient technology of coercive and punitive surveillance. It was a clean, rational, instrumental architecture whose internal mechanisms constructed physical preconditions of asymmetric power relations. Foucault refers to the Panopticon as a “pure figure of political technology”. And so it remains.
Ever-more subtle and sophisticated Panoptic mechanisms continue to reduce the individual’s privacy and integrity. Panopticism continues to limit the space in which civil liberties can be freely deployed. In the face of manipulative technologies, inventive reverse-engineering strategies are necessarily distributed, multiple, simultaneous, hybrid, interdisciplinary, opportunistic. We recall the dazzling efficacy of Ariadne’s fragile silk thread in the face of the Minotaur’s brutality. Last night, panelists reviewing the challenges to civil liberties wrought by SDMI and DMCA underscored the need for resistance through collaborations that reach across disciplinary boundaries and specializations. Institutional and disciplinary isolation — and preaching to the choir — constitute a prison of their own. Unexpected collaborations can offer productive strategies, and it is hoped that Cryptome and Cartome libraries offer useful tools towards the conceptualization of such novel strategies.
This multi-layered, hybrid approach has characterized Cartome’s recent analysis of the Jim Bell case, which explores unexamined terrain surrounding the case, including Homeland Defense, the new national security policy which is ushering in a troubling and unprecedented era of militarization of the domestic, civilian landscape: “So say goodnight to Joshua…Homeland Defense and the Prosecution of Jim Bell”. Be forewarned, if you are a rabblerousing C-punk, your home address has recently been programmed into precision targeting GIS.
At the far terminus of the medieval Via Francigena’s pilgrimage route, “Jerusalem SKY” (scheduled for online publication, Fall 2001) investigates conflict resolution through dual-use technologies — reconciling hardware and software developed in the context of national security with bird migrations that make the skies of the region one of the world’s premier long-distance migratory flyways, linking Europe, Asia, and Africa — with important implications for the military doctrine of “total air supremacy”.
Intriguing conflict resolution strategies have been forced by the reality of avian biogeography and the effects of catastrophic birdstrikes, in which an F-15 worth $45million, along with pilot and navigator, can be brought down like a stone by a migrant stork. Around 170 military aircraft in Europe and Middle East have been destroyed in such birdstrike collisions.
“Jerusalem SKY” continues research initiated with “Parallel Atlas”, a digital cartographic project that explores the Cold War’s last remaining monument and world’s most fortified corridor, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, whose role as a national security landscape has been redefined since the Korean War by its transformation into a unique ecosystem harboring some of Northeast Asia’s most endangered species of endemic and migratory fauna and flora.
Cartome’s interest in hybridity, in the multiple and simultaneous layering of inclusive datasets — including the cartographic superimposition of biogeographic data onto national security landscapes — is reminiscent of the lesson of San Gimignano, whose security firewall of massive masonry towers did little to address a microscopic biological agent.
In the third, final, podcast we sum up the meaning of Hegelian dialectics and it’s analogies to Posthumanism.
While Hegelian philosophy, like all philosophy of Modernity, suffers from unbridgeable gap it digs between humanity and the world, posthumanism revels in the abyss it digs between narcissistic individual and everything else – both humanity and the world.
We demonstrate that posthumanism is an instance of absolute, metaphysical, egoism which, paradoxically, ends up revoking all individual properties of human being in order to render it absolutely free.
Hegel ends up creating a system of absolute knowledge that was supposed to provide humanity with encyclopedic insight into purpose of history and justification for all the ills it created.
This system was, of course, a failure.
Posthumanism, on the other hand, can move only in direction of absolute power of man over the world, but only on condition that both the man and the world be revoked as they are, and transformed into something else.
This approach doesn’t bridge the abyss of alienation but threatens to finally cast humanity into it.
In a blog post, Schneider sounds the alarm that in the past year, the websites of major companies that provide the Internet’s basic services repeatedly have been attacked, each time more sophisticated than the last, which suggests “someone” is practicing how to take down the Internet by learning from the companies’ defensive moves.…
Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down…..
Writing, like war-gaming, is a strong and effective approach to thinking. War-gaming allows you to try a tactic or a strategy using a method that will do no harm. No one dies; pieces get put back into the box. I’ve saved as many of the pieces as I could from all those war-games I used to play; I’m an INTP, according to the test that the shrink insisted I take, and being an INTP means that I pack away “stuff” on the chance that it will be of some value again. It will be of value very soon as the large empty table in the family room next to my office will become the playground of my kindertotten who just discovered Monopoly, one of whom has re-written the rules of Checkers (with the help of his cousin) such that “king me” has been extended into “Ace me” and “Joker me”.
A Joker is a stack of three checkers topped by a pawn. These guys are naturally deeply into free play already; imagine what will happen when they discover John Boyd. But I digressed…
Writing allows you to work something out on paper too, and if it doesn’t work, you simply crumple the paper up or delete and grab a clean screen.
Blogging is like writing. It allows you to gather a lot of information about what’s going on in the world out there and see if you can make something of it.
A lot of people have been trained and taught that one shouldn’t put writing or blog entries out into the world that haven’t been perfected, proven, polished. Many of us from our own places of perspective, education, training, and self-image tell ourselves and each other that that written output over there is incorrect, lacks critical thinking, or is [insert here you favorite form of pejorative dismissal].
But writing and blogging can be a place where outlandish new ideas are put out into the social milieu in a way that enables further correction, re-construction, more game-playing, re-writing. They get other people to think and say “No, that’s not right because…” or maybe “that might be right; here’s another piece of confirmatory data” or, better yet, “that analysis needs to be re-jumbled and it will tell you this”.
People often don’t know what to make of what I say. People have not known what to make of me since I was a toddler. I’m used to it.
Are those hundreds of millions forty-caliber hollow-point rounds intended for the forthcoming Earth-based war with extra-terrestrials?
Extra-terrestrials? Aliens? You don’t mean to say that you believe in aliens now, do you?
I’ve always been agnostic. I’ve never seen one, nor a unidentified flying anything. But some pretty smart people are suggesting that the topic deserves our attention.
“When investigating financial fraud you encounter a force field that protects it across the board. It’s a matter of policy, it’s built into the structure. It has had an enormous support from a lot of people.”
Catherine Austin Fitts, Secret Space Program conference 2014
Here’s a very long (almost four hours) videotape presentation by Steven M. Greer, M.D., founder of The Disclosure Project, on the deep state and extra-terrestrials. It was filmed at the “workshop held on Nov 21, 2015 in Washington DC. This expose includes: how secrecy is maintained; lists of bases and corporations involved; documents; how the black budget is funded; the connection between drug running and the secret gov’t , how these unacknowledged special access projects work and much more. He discuses disclosure, ufo sightings, EBEs, CIA, NSA, FBI, NSA first contact and more.”
It’s almost four hours long. It’s been left on autoplay; look down to the right for what’s beyond Greer.
given what some suggest about the probability/possibility of life off the planet and extra-terrestrial presence (in history and currently) on the plant, a search engine was asked to cough up the highest-ranking items found when asked about extraterrestrials on earth.
“… when official public announcement of the extraterrestrial presence occurs, “they will be the ones introduced to Earthlings; ’Oh, by the way, we want to welcome our neighbors from the Pleiades, who by the way have been here since [the beginning of Earth] time, but [are] actually living in our place, date, space and time.’” “They are the diplomatic corps.”
In a speech before the European Parliament discussing the consequences of the Brexit vote, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made the stunning comment that he had spoken about it to “leaders of other planets.”
The official transcript released by the European Commission has been edited to remove the reference to “leaders from other planets”. The transcript now reads:
J’ai vu et entendu et écouté plusieurs des dirigeants. Ils sont très inquiets ….
“I saw and heard and listened to several executives. They are very worried …”
Yet, when one listens to an audio loop of what Junker’s actually said, he very clearly includes the phrase “dirigeants d’autres planets,” which translates as “leaders of other planets,” as pointed out by native French speakers discussing Junckers speech, and also by Google Translate.
The writer of the article assumes that everyone knows about Confederate General Ewell’s failure to take the Heights. I think it possibly fool-hardy to take a snapshot of a moment in time and think that one can extrapolate from that some bit of wisdom that can be used in any organization because “leadership” retains the same form in any world. On this particular event involving people from a hospital in Florida, perhaps the fellow conducting the staff ride gave a more complete explanation than did the author who condensed it down to a short article.
The Battle of Gettysburg, by the way, is probably the most intensely study battle in history. YouTube has hours and hours of staff rides conducted by historians and military experts under the aegis of the US Army War College. Equally, there are many tabletop and electronic simulations of the battle through which you can stick you toe into those waters. Reading military history is tremendously worthwhile. Simulations abound. Examples on the European continent, as well as from the Revolutionary War, other battles in the Civil War, and more can be found. Be wary of thinking that you learned something.
In the case of Gettysburg and the article for hospital administrators, I can see at least three or four major items that were or are not considered. First is the degree of desperation present among the Confederates. While it was true that they had just completed a short strong of stunningly successive battles; they were the results of having been out-thought, out-generated and having made fewer critical blunders. Second is that fact that the soldiers were underfed and had marched long distances; that’s in great part why they were in Pennsylvania, the breadbasket of the Union. Third is the fact that their cavalry, their eyes and ears and their most rapid form of advance, was — under Stuart’s direction — absent from the battle. Fourth is the fact that the troops under Ewell’s command who could have taken the Heights had already marched 30 miles to arrive; the early-arriving units suffered significant casualties during massive assaults on Oak Ridge.
Finally, their most audacious leader, the one who units played critical roles in those recent successes, the fellow who led what was known as the foot cavalry, was no longer present to lend and inspirationally direct his men to accomplish those rapid marches. “Stonewall” Jackson had been mortally wounded just before Lee’s move North and his absence was surely measured on the “morale” scorecard. As has been noted, Jackson and Lee worked well together because they were frequently of the same mind; the subordinate responded well to suggestion, and Jackson’s flank attack at Chancellorsville resulted from spartan discussion and a suggestion.
Leadership cannot be discerned in a single moment. Gettysburg is well-studied because, in its early moments, it is an example of a “meeting engagement”, “a combat action that occurs when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.”
A meeting engagement is a dynamic event; it is always changing.
Leadership is not tactics, nor strategy, nor even management. If you want to study management, start with “A Passion for Excellence”. If you want to study strategy, start with a treatise on the art of the indirect approach known simply as “Strategy” and continue on to Sun Tsu and Boyd’s OODA Loop.
If you want to study military leadership, start with this book by this man, in which he described five traits of an effective leader: Will, intellect, courage, presence, and energy.
There is more here, http://guidestarinc.com/miltary-leadership-skills/, but find a good used copy of the book and spend a companionable day or two with it. Leadership is spelled with a C, he says, and the whole idea of emotional intelligence comes into focus too.
You need not spend a lot of time reading the history of battles past; you are immersed in a massive battle right now. Look around you, and open your eyes.
One’s true capacity for moving,
or being moved, can be achieved
only when one’s commitment to others
is in fact connected to and derived from
his primary commitment to himself.
When we find this kind of alignment of purpose,
there is a harmony of motivation
that can provide the fuel and clarity
to overcome great obstacles
in the pursuit of great challenge.
from The Inner Game of Work, by W. Timothy Gallwey