Sunday, February 24, 2008

SciFi Writers Helping DHS

Yep, this is what I wouldn't call helping.
Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.

“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.

“Do you know how politically incorrect you are?” Pournelle asked.

“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied.

“I cannot guarantee I’m going to be a great help to Homeland Security,” Niven said earlier.

Pournelle said that once mobile phone technology and the devices tacked on them to take pictures and record video become more ubiquitous, then ordinary citizens will be empowered to take security into their own hands — a prediction some have said already has come to pass.
Great. Probably be best just to ignore Niven. As to Pournelle's mobile phone thoughts, that's one of those double edged swords. Yes, they'll be able to report in problems, but that isn't taking security into their own hands. Just gives them an easy way to report non-issues. Something Schneier has called the War on the Unexpected. They may have their place, but I'm not sure how effective it really is.
The 45-minute panel discussion quickly deteriorated as federal, local and state homeland security officials, and at least one congressional aid, attempted to ask questions, which were largely ignored.

Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.
Yeah, I suppose this is what is to be expected. Not dissimilar from what you get from asking actors for foreign policy advice.

No comments: