[Noisebridge-discuss] Sigh -- I'm not helping with Maker Faires this year.

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Tue Apr 3 14:08:58 PDT 2012


I think bandit is touching on the heart of the matter.

The discussion that this prompts is important.  And the discussion
that I am putting forth is on the topic of Ethics in STEM.  And I
think that STEM initiatives should have a discussion on ethics as a
component to them.

Now the productive discussion is what that should take the form of?

When we introduce kids to engineering, math, science, tech in general
we need to make sure they are aware that technology can be used in a
manner never intended.  That is the very heart and soul of hacking.
The trouble we have is getting them an understanding of consequence.
And that is very hard for a kid to wrap their head around since
experience is the best teacher in that field.

When I think about it like that, vilifying DARPA or anyone else
doesn't make sense.  Promoting an understanding that STEM can lead to
consequences sometimes never intended is important and makes a world
of sense.

-Matt

On Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM, bandit <bandit at cruzio.com> wrote:
>
>> On Tue, Apr 03, 2012 at 09:42:26AM -0700, Matt Joyce wrote:
>>> So, I don't really see the distinction sometimes between "military
>>> application" and any other application.
>>
>> Stuff designed for killing people, stuff designed for reasons other
>> than killing people.  Seems pretty straightforward to me.
>>
>> Yeah sometimes you can use your M-16 to open your MRE tin to feed a
>> starving child, and sometimes you can bash in the head of your ex-lover
>> using your cellphone.  I'm capable of applying some common sense and
>> understanding the basics of why a given artifact was created; I hope you
>> are too.
>>
>> -andy
>
> Speaking for myself, as one who has worked on military oriented projects,
> things are not always clearcut on their usage.
>
> First, an aside: the purpose of a military is to kill people and destroy
> things.
> The *political* purpose of a military *by politicians* is the threat of
> using the military
> to kill people and destroy things.
> This is *a critical* distinction.
>
> Another critical distinction: This country seems, for the most part,
> to have learned the difference between the *political* goals of a war
> and the *military personnel* who have taken the King's Shilling to fight.
> I happen to be against what we did in Iraq and (mostly) Afghanistan.
> I think it was very unwise to start these wars, and how we fought them.
>
> *But*, I make it a point (as many I know) to *thank the military folks*
> for their service. They, and their families, pay a large price for their
> service.
> Go to any school in New Mexico.
> Lots of kids have family members on their third tour.
> You think *you* have stress?
> A fair number have parents with severe wounds,
> and some with folded flags in a box and a little plaque with their
> parents' name.
>
> As far as the usage of a military tech: most are dual-use (think
> battlefield medicine).
> Some are mostly offensive (artillery).
> Some are defensive (threat of using the military).
>
> I worked on a project to measure a directed energy sensor.
> Basically, a sensor to measure the effectiveness of a
> *big hawnkin lazer* to shoot down a missile.
> This is a 2-edged weapon - it can attack aircraft or missiles.
> The laser heats up the missile and causes a failure.
> Thus, it does not deliver the warhead to a target.
>
> The same basic laser can be used against an aircraft.
> Is this offensive or defensive?
> Depends on who is on the aircraft, what is on the aircraft,
> and the intent of the flight.
>
> Personally, I am torn between recognizing budget issues and the recognition
> that where I live (Albuquerque) is highly dependent on Federal and
> military spending.
> That is a primary reason I have a gig in California right now.
> There are no gigs in Albuquerque.
>
> As far as DARPA funds going to MakerFaire?
> I don't have a problem with it, because their intent is STEM education.
> The press release http://press.oreilly.com/pub/pr/2962
> shows this very clearly.
>
> "Makerspace (http://makerspace.com/), developed by Dale Dougherty of
> O'Reilly Media and Dr. Saul Griffith of Otherlab, will integrate online
> tools for design and collaboration with low-cost options for physical
> workspaces where students may access educational support to gain practical
> hands-on experience with new technologies and innovative processes to
> design and build projects."
>
> DARPA does fund military projects;
> they also fund STEM education that applies across the board.
> This country has a severe shortage of STEM kids,
> which will lead to a severe shortage of STEM adults,
> who will develop the next generation of technology which the world (and
> USA) will need.
>
> Let us not forget ARPA-net - we could not have this conversation without
> that effort.
> ARPA hired BBN, a major Defense contractor, for the basic work.
>
> Please note I have full respect for Mitch and others who agree with Mitch.
> I would encourage Mitch and those others to reconsider,
> because by not participating in MakerFaire, one removes oneself from helping
> kids in STEM education, hacking.
>
> One also removes oneself from the ability to continue engaging
> in a discourse on the proper use of the military, and technology for civilian
> and other peaceful uses.
> If one is preaching to the choir, one gets a lot of "Amens", but little
> transformation.
> One needs to be where those on the "other side" will hear one's message.
>
> An absolute refusal to associate oneself with anything tainted by the
> military also
> leads to the refusal to have anything to do with technology transfer from
> military use to civilian use. The medical advances alone are reason enough
> for tech transfer - think of the blood clotting bandages as a zen-like
> example.
>
> ... bandit
>
>
>
>
>
>
> --
> bandit at cruzio.com
> 505-228-8197
> bandit.name
>
> I am a systems engineer, specializing in:
> - Mission-Critical embedded systems
> - device drivers
> - control and data acquisition systems
> My stuff *works* - *all the time*.
>
> Member: INCOSE.org, PACA.org, IEEE.org, CaliforniaConsultants.org, quelab.net
>
> And to support my son: Proud members of the New Mexico .NET User Group.
> Please go to the community website at www.nmug.net.
>
>
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