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Security Versus Science 286

Posted by michael
from the for-the-children dept.
dogfrt writes "According to this Wired News article, post-9/11 homeland security has had a decidedly negative effect on US scientific research. In specific, researchers are self-censoring what they publish, talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article), and researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms."
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Security Versus Science

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  • Sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgranade (702534) <cgranade AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @02:58PM (#6952933) Homepage Journal
    Sad, esp. considering how artifical such security is anyway. Frankly, with Ashcroft and Ridge at the helm, I trust the DHS less than what they ostensibly fight against... That aside, if we refuse to allow talented people into our country, what's that do but force them to work for our competitors and perhaps even enemies? Lovely bit of intel there. Oh, well. No one ever accused the Bush administration of having a collective brain cell.
    • Re:Sad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tony-A (29931) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @05:56PM (#6953794)
      Yep, especially considering that any potential short-terms gains in security are more than offset by the assurance of long-term insecurity.
      It's much easier to keep sensitive information away from the good guys than it is to keep it away from the bad guys. Since any metric will be measuring what information is kept away as opposed to who it is kept away from, the "increased security" will work to the relative advantage of the bad guys.

  • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @02:58PM (#6952937) Homepage
    Scientists arent being forced to make these decisions, they are making a conscious effort to do so. This is a different world we live in now and as such, requires different ways of thinking and innovating. Just because some researchers are afraid of doing certain things doesnt mean that others wont.
    • by wmspringer (569211) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:01PM (#6952958) Homepage Journal
      Yes...they're making an effort to make these decisions, on account of they could be arrested if they don't :-p
    • by cgranade (702534) <cgranade AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:04PM (#6952969) Homepage Journal
      A different world? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bush wasn't elected on Sep. 11, either. Moreover, we had already identified Osama as a threat, and Bush was busy cancelling funds to arrest him. Nothing on 9-11 made the world so different. We had terrorist attacks around the world both before and after. There was war before and after. Bush sold us change the same way a used car salesman might. He told us the the world had changed in a fundamental way, and that we had to give up our freedom because of it. IIRC, the founding fathers had to worry about security, too. Security is not a new concern. The OK City bombing should have shown us that much. Alas, 9-11 was used by Bush to justify a huge expenditure of effort and money, at the expense of freedom.
      • by geekee (591277) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:41PM (#6953147)
        Sept. 11 changed everyone's PERCEPTION of the threat of terrorism, including Bush, as you pointed out. This was a change for the better as it's more in line with reality. As you point out, terrorism existed before 9/11. We didn't take it seriously enough before 9/11, however. No one needed to be sold on a wholesale change in policy. It's obvious that changes were needed. Exactly what those changes are is still a point of debate, but your clai that no changes were necessary is ludicrous.
        • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @07:34PM (#6954237)


          > Sept. 11 changed everyone's PERCEPTION of the threat of terrorism, including Bush, as you pointed out. This was a change for the better as it's more in line with reality. As you point out, terrorism existed before 9/11. We didn't take it seriously enough before 9/11, however.

          Arguably we've gone from underperceiving terrorism to overperceiving it.

          Yeah, 9/11 was bad, but how many people have died in car wrecks since then, and how much do your hear about that on the news?

          Or from a less parochial perspective, how many people in the world have died of AIDS or died in the various slaughters that have been running in Africa?

      • I think your views are a little bit simplistic.

        9-11 has cost many billion dollars to someone (insurance companies and their shareholders, airline companies, etc). There is a need for the government to show everyone it is doing its best to improve drastically security. It must prove a second 9-11, if not impossible, will be much more difficult than the original one. It must restore trustworthy in the country economy.

        Why Oklahoma city has not the same effect? Because, perception is this kind of terrorism is

      • "Moreover, we had already identified Osama as a threat, and Bush was busy cancelling funds to arrest him"

        Ok, if you are alluding to this to try to state a case that Bush is the problem or a contributing factor behind the September 11 attack on the World Trade center then you are wrong. The attack would have been carried out either way. That's the beauty of a terrorist organisation and nonconventional armies, they are capable of operating efficiently without central leadership.

        If you are saying that Bus
  • by sunaj (655412) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @02:58PM (#6952941)
    This is something I've beleived for a long time. Security through obscurity (i.e. preventing reserach in areas that may be dangerous), just does not work.
    • This is especially true for scientific research. All that's going to happen under draconian security restrictions is that talented people will go do their work in other countries and the information will still get disseminated through their publications. In the meantime, US research programs have trouble attracting top talent and start fall behind the rest of the world.

    • ok. So we'll just let anyone in Los Alamos, Sandia, etc. since security through obscurity doesn't work. You're confusing issues. Security through obscurity is not the best way to secure a computer system, but for other types of security, you don't have many options.
  • Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This sounds like a society in decline :-( The one that put human beings on the Moon, the one that saved us from Adolf Hitler and the one that kept the USSR in check. Its democracy is broken.
    • Re:Ouch (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 16K Ram Pack (690082)
      Exactly my thinking.

      The next step will be a 'brain-drain', probably to Europe or somewhere like Korea.

      The US attitude to intellectual property and more and more, civil rights will drive bright people away.

      If Linux and open source grow, I think that Germany will have the new Silicon Valley.

  • by k98sven (324383)
    Enough said.
  • by mblase (200735) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:04PM (#6952968)
    One could argue that the real risk, at least where pathogens are concerned, isn't so much the scientists using them for terrorist activities, but someone else getting ahold of them who would. No matter what the research is for, the scientists in this modern climate need to maintain an elevated security when dealing with possible/probable bioweapons.
    • Find me a feasable system for quickly and widley distributing a biological or chemical agent and i'll start to worry. Modern bio/chem attacks have made headlines, but have been mostly innefective. Something like 5 people died in the sarin attack on the tokyo subway, and that was in enclosed railcars. Anthrax spoors seem deadly enough, but there isn't any good method of delivery for them, the best someones come up with is in letters, and that only yeilded a handful of deaths. IMO the only true "Weapon of Ma
      • Find me a feasable system for quickly and widley distributing a biological or chemical agent and i'll start to worry.

        Y'know, the whole point of biological warfare is that it quickly and widely spreads itself through plain ol' cell division. The fact that the anthrax spores failed to do so just means that the wrong delivery approach was used.
        • There is no bug virulent enough to infect and spread quickly enough to work like that. To work like that it would have to be, a virus (could survive varying conditions better outside a host), airborne(the only feasable way for a popluation to become infected not from a primary source), work quickly enough for the infected to become ill and contagious before they could be quarantined and, it goes without saying that it would have to be deadly in the first place. I dont know of any bugs that fit this bill. O
      • Oh, and a highly contagious virus that can go pandemic in hours can't be a weapon of mass destruction? (Think Cholera)

        -uso.
    • There is a very simple reason why you should not hinder the work of such scientists with security-related hurdles in any way. The reason is that if some scientists can still have access to dangerous pathogens, a terrorist mastermind with millions of dollars in cash bent on destruction of the freedom Americans enjoy (pardon the lame joke) certainly can too. The only way to prevent Usama from getting some plague bacteria is to make it impossible for anyone to have any kind of work related to it. Do you want i
  • In our greed soaked quest for the allmighty dollar we have outsourced so much of our tech savy to "cheaper" sources that we now depend on others for our critical infrastructure. If too many other countries were to gang up on us all at once and refuse to sell US things they found "dangerous" we'd be finished. We depend on so many countries to supply tech for us, and this is what has made our security dubious. Any one remember the old days when the us could make everything for its safety?
  • innocuous indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:10PM (#6952996) Homepage
    researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms."


    And have you ever considered that the most dangerous kind of research is not the manipulation of known dangerous organisms (and the associated containment precautions), but of supposedly "innocuous" or "harmless" organisms, organisms where there is no need for increased security or containment protocols?

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilBit (702787) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:17PM (#6953029)
    Why do they feel terrorists could use their work? So far they have been using such advanced technology as trucks loaded with manure, a box-cutter and some homemade explosives.

    Overall they're doing the right thing, but I can't help but feel they're doing it for the wrong reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:18PM (#6953033)
    1) the quoted article said 20% of students in physics were having trouble entering the US--that is a long ways from saying they didn't enter all all.

    2) There is a real question of if the open borders policy has really helped US science in a meaningful way from the 20's-50's the US had a fairly strict immigration policy and quite a bit of science happened in the US. Right now the US has a serious problem of underutilizatin of native US technical/scientific talent.

    • The belief that the USA somehow needs foreign students in order to be competitive in science and engineering is simply wrong. Look at Japan. It has extremely restrictive laws on visas, and the overwhelming majority of engineers are natives. Yet, the ability of Japanese engineers is equal to the ability of their American peers.

      The USA, infested with foreign students, may be slightly ahead of Japan in certain areas of high technology, but is the USA 20 years ahead of Japan? No. The temporal difference is

    • > There is a real question of if the open borders policy has really helped US science in a meaningful way from the 20's-50's the US had a fairly strict immigration policy and quite a bit of science happened in the US. Right now the US has a serious problem of underutilizatin of native US technical/scientific talent.

      I think the reason US graduate schools are packed with foreign technical/scientific talent is that the native technical/scientific talent isn't competing for the spaces. (When one of my Ang

    • The source [refuseandresist.org] for the above linked article is pretty far out there, but what I found the most humorous is their merchandise section. They spend some time harping on the evils of the American free-market system in their manifesto and then ask you to participate in it. Arguably, if you really want to "fight the power" in America, the only real way to do it is to buy as few American products as possible. Whoops. Oh well. I guess the free-market-system is okay when the money goes to them.

      P.S. Don't get me
  • 9/11 killed sisas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:24PM (#6953065)
    I lived in the US on an H1B visa before 9/11. I first got it in 10 months, which is considered fast normally. When I applied for a renewal after 9/11, it was denied, although the first renewal was granted to me without problem and reasonably fast, and I never had so much as a speeding ticket in the US. I thought, well, the US of A doesn't want me no more, so I went back to the EC.

    Now friends who have applied recently told me it's a matter of 2 or 3 years, and that quotas have gone down drastically (read: they can't get one).

    I've started my company in France. So are my friends. We're all experiencing huge pains in the rectal area because the taxman in France is voracious, but we have to stay here (or perhaps go to Canada later, but right now we're staying here) because it seems Uncle Sam can do without enterprising people willing to go to great length and make sacrifices to try to succeed, and eventually pay taxes to the IRS.

    I think the INS is right : there should be a barrier to entry in the US that's high enough to winnow out slackers and let worthy people in only. But when the barrier is too high, Uncle Sam deprives itself of workers who already have an education that didn't cost a cent to the country, are provably willing to work hard to make it, and willing to play the US economy game and pay their taxes. If I was a decision maker, I'd welcome such a population in the country.

    Too bad your current administration doesn't see farther than its nose-tip ...

    • Those recently unemployed don't see that side of the coin. It takes people willing to take risks to create employment - not just "get a job". If the USA was destination one for those people, it will hurt in the long run as those people will create their ventures elsewhere.

      Of course.. then we cry about the jobs going to India, now, don't we?

      Canada has a relatively open immigration policy and free trade via NAFTA with the USA. I recommend you try here. Last time I checked, educated, ambitious people were st
    • I think the INS is right : there should be a barrier to entry in the US that's high enough to winnow out slackers and let worthy people in only.

      Big mistake: You think yourself are worthy. That's wrong in the eyes of the US government.
      Worthy are the creative people from Romania and New Europe, who are standing in one line with the US in the fight against terrorism. (See DV visa lottery statistics.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's consider the options for a bright enterprising US graduate holding a bachelor's degree and considering further education. (I'm talking about our best and brightest here.) That student could go to top law school, medical school or business school and expect a six-figure salary after graduation. On the other hand, that student could go to a top school for a graduate degree in science. The result is 6 years of poverty as a grad student followed by a two or three year postdoctoral stint making $35K. Why w
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:25PM (#6953072) Homepage

    The good news is that the amount of research going into creating friendly, fluffy bunnies is skyrocketing!

    Expect a new species of ultra-adorable housepets in the near future.
  • An example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by f97magu (312756) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:29PM (#6953083)
    I recently started working as a physics Ph. D. student in Innsbruck, Austria. In our group we have a Taiwanese post-doc who is really talented and does a tremendous job, working 12 hours a day, six days a week.
    This guy used to be at Stanford, but when he wanted to get his visa renewed he was told he had to go back to Taiwan and renew it there. So he went to Taiwan, where he was told that he could not get a new visa. There he was in Taiwan, with all his stuff left in California, unable to go back! After some time he managed to get a temporary visa so he could at least go back for 14 days, sell his car and take care of his belongings. Then he went working with us in Austria instead.

    Good for us, bad for USA.
  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:34PM (#6953109)
    It seems to me that if we really want to protect ourselves from chemichal and bio terrorisim, what we need are a lot of researchers who are experts in that area, and a lot of R&D so as to learn how to cope, plan, and respond to disasters. Thanks to my government, just the opposite is happening. So who'se the real threat to national security?
    • ...and you do realize that Rihab Taha al-Azawi al-Tikriti (aka Dr. Germ) and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash (aka Mrs. Anthrax) were educated in the UK and US, respectively, correct?

      Every facet of life is about balance... we can't focus on science at all costs nor can we focus on security at all costs. The article doesn't say what the percentage of rejected foreign physics (and note that the article stated it was 20% of physics students, not 20% overall) students were prior to 9/11 nor what countries those 20% are


      • IMHO, that is because the US has a strong public education system, rather than a private one. I know that people have fears that no public education would mean kids going without and parents paying out the nose, but in practice it saves more people money on average because private schools tend to be more efficient, and in western countries that didn't have public education in the earlier days - such fears of the masses going without never materalized. A strong free market economic foundation does far more
  • by aynrandfan (687181) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:35PM (#6953115)
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
  • by Dashing Leech (688077) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:44PM (#6953159)
    From the parent post:
    ...talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article)

    Actually, the article says that 20% of accepted foreign students in physics "...had problems entering the country last year". It doesn't say they've been denied visas. It also doesn't say what constitutes "problems", and what percent normally had trouble before 9/11. They all may have made it in, just with some troubles.

  • OK... (Score:3, Informative)

    by xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) <xanadu.inorbit@com> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:45PM (#6953163) Homepage Journal
    talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article)

    GOOD!

    Why is it that the US gets flogged for denying someone a VISA, when other countries do it all the time and is considered "common place"?


    Yes, I'm a "Yank" (I live about an hour west of Philly), but I just flat-out don't understand why it's a big deal when the US of A does it, but it's OK for anyone else.

    Can someone please enlighten me?

    • Allowing anyone and everyone into your country can't possibly be considered a good thing for most countries. But I see a lot of good things coming from letting students enter your country - just as students from your country enter mine.

      How about cultural understanding? The USA doesn't exactly have the best reputation here in Europe. You might not care - but we are quite a few people who would have live in a World where people understanding each others cultural backgrounds - so we can all be at least frie
  • by rworne (538610) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:46PM (#6953169) Homepage
    While I don't work with anything as sexy as pathogens, I am trying to get my grad-level thesis on computer security done. Practically any field of research I want to choose potentially opens me up to criminal prosecution.

    As an example:

    My university wanted me to do research on LDAP and its related security problems. They wanted me to do this at first on a strawman system, then on the actual system in use on the campus. I objected to this line of research because if I were "caught" probing or attacking the system and the person who discovered me jumped the appropriate chain of command and called the authorities, I would be up shit creek without a paddle.

    I also brought up the problem on who owns (or has ultimate authority over) the campus network. It is operated by the university, but owned by the state and to some extent, the feds. What if the university gave me permission but the state or federal authorities decided they didn't like my work? What then?

    My professors told me I could do the thesis and "bury" my work. That is, copies would be made for myself, my committee, and a copy in the library under the "restricted section". But if I do so, what's the use?

    • If you want to do useful research, you're simply going to have to leave the US.

      This is going to continue. I'd say... go now while the number of people leaving the country is a trickle, the first refugees will get the best research opportunities and first pick of the jobs open to Americans.

      You want to read about "Reverse Brain Drain, America's New Problem" sitting in Amsterdam or Berlin or London, not as a struggling grad student wondering what the hell you can research that's useful that the Feds and the

      • You know, a short while ago I'd flame you mercilessly for comments like that. Now all I can do is sit here and nod my head knowingly.

        As for Bush, he's the head honcho in charge, but we'd be in this situation no matter who was in office. Besides, our "representatives" in the government were the ones that shoved this down our throats. Republicrat and Demican alike.
        • how to pay for permanent emigration.

          Sounds like you should be doing the same thing. Unfortunately, the only way to do something about this is to be in a position to buy Congress. Voting only works if the votes are counted honestly, unlikely in a nation where the major voting machine vendor is run by Bush supporters. And in any case, you can do that from somewhere else.

  • What is so sad??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I fear that we are forgetting what we are doing. I read and listen to both sides argue continuously, and never do I hear a good fix, just what is wrong.
    It has come to my attention that no one is at fault but us. We take for granted what we see as "our rights", and only when something changes our view, do we jump up.
    Being an independent, I look to both side of the political scene and see faults in both. Neither side is always right or wrong. For example, something I heard this morning... Democrats are ra
    • What is so wrong with locking up foreign nationals and not providing any of the rights that Americans get, when they have no claim to America? What is wrong is that this totally undermines the basis for the existence of the United States. Maybe you remember an old piece of paper saying "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." ?
  • by CausticWindow (632215) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:56PM (#6953220)

    Do you seriously think that any of this research really would make a difference to a terrorist or not?

    How much high tech did it take to fly two planes into two buildings? The planes, that's it. And it's not like they even built the planes themselves.

    Security by obscurity is not the way to go. Anybody who has any experience in real life with security (be it physical security, or more abstract as in network security) knows that security by obscurity is nothing more than a pillow to sleep on for those who are trying to protect themselves.

    And when that "security" measure is hindering science.. I don't think I have to spell it out for you.

    • you're wrong.

      there seem to be two vocal camps w.r.t the "obscurity" issue..

      1) security through obscurity is no security at all (you)
      2) security through obscurity is all you need (most people, especially in meat space)

      both camps of people are idiots. the problem is that camp #1 is especially loud mouthed.

      the real answer lies somewhere in between. Security comes from understanding attack vectors, then presenting a layered defense against vectors you do and do not anticipate.

      I'll tell you how much high
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 13, 2003 @03:57PM (#6953223)
    currently, i'm employed at a major research institution as a postdoctoral researcher. One of our research projects currently is examining the factors influencing the transport of microorganisms in porous media (i.e., what happens to the bugs as they go into the groundwater).

    One of the bugs we're looking at is Cryptosporidium parvum, a nasty parasite that was responsible for an outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993 [nih.gov] that sickened something like 400,000 people and killed at least 100.

    Interesting facts about crypto: It can be purchased over the phone with a credit card. With no previous clearance or paperwork or anything (at least as far as we can tell) to ensure that it is going to someone who won't misuse it. And it comes fully viable and capable of infecting individuals (as we accidently discovered a couple months back).

    back of envelope calculations say that if we were to find a 1 million gallon reservoir, and dumped our sample in, (and somehow could mix it real well) there'd be near 1,000 particles per gallon. Given that it takes 1-10 to cause an infection, that's enough to infect the entire town i live in.

    amazing. and all it takes is a credit card...
  • My stance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent&stonent,pointclark,net> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @04:07PM (#6953262) Journal
    Cooperation within international law is what is needed. The US is forced to take some of these measures because they have to fit people based on minimal information into 2 groups "current or potential terrorist" or "non-threatening". The whole system breaks down when it comes to a judgement call and that can be a very human mistake. Say someone comes to your door and says they think they are going to have a heart attack, you make a judgment as to whether you think he or she is telling the truth and then you act. Do you let this person in your house? You know nothing about them. You get a bad feeling but this person may be at death's door. What do you do? If you are a woman, you may wonder if this person might be a rapist. But that doesn't mean you hate all men.

    From what I can tell the US isn't always able to get the information it needs from international sources. The head of Interpol was on "News Hour" a few months ago and he agreed that the system doesn't work because the right information is not available at the moment it is needed. Interpol can't always get the information it needs from the FBI and vice versa because of a lack of protocols for just-in-time transferring of information.
  • If anyone has had any difficulties in getting visas or has had new security issues impacting on their research, please get in touch at pguinnessy@yahoo.com. I'm conducting research in this area for a story I'm working on, and any or all information would be extremely useful. Discretion can be used for those scientists/students worried about their current status.
  • by nniillss (577580) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @04:18PM (#6953317)
    May I offer one single data point: I am a German physics PhD, I have several offers for working at US universities which would be good for my career. In fact, I have been to the US before, got a Master of Science at the UIUC some 5 years ago, and loved it. But this time I am not coming. I have a family now and will not move to a country where people are held without trial for years (think: Guantanamo).

    My hope is that the situation will improve with the next presidential elections. I can't believe that Americans will not defend their freedom.

    • And how exactly do POWs held without a trial apply to the security (or lack thereof) of your family? Aren't you being a little bit too receptive to European anti-US propaganda?
      • How do you define POW? What war? My understanding is that these terms are defined case by case by the US government. The times when wars started by declaration and ended by a treaty unfortunately seem to be over.

        Regarding your second point: my primary sources are personal US contacts, US newspapers (e.g. Washington Post), US news sites (e.g. CNN), and US community web sites (e.g. Slashdot). If anything, I am not a consumer but an agent of European anti-present-US-politics propaganda.

        Finally, I find Mart

      • by rich_r (655226) <rich@multijoy.co . u k> on Saturday September 13, 2003 @06:41PM (#6954012) Homepage
        POWs I believe you mean 'illegal combatants'. POWs have very clear rights as laid down by the geneva convention. 'Illegal Comabatant' is a highly nebulous term which is being used to deny these individuals their basic human rights. These include lack of legal advice, no contact with their respective embassies and cases of alleged torture.
      • And how exactly do POWs held without a trial apply to the security (or lack thereof) of your family? Aren't you being a little bit too receptive to European anti-US propaganda?

        nniillss, this is the exact level of frightening ignorance shown by the typical Bush supporter. Until the leader of his choice is no longer President, you need no further reason to stay out of the USA.

  • For those of you who haven't read Jerry Pournelle's books, they talk about a future where the hypothetical world powers work to suppress Scientific research in order to preserve "Peace & Stability".

    Of course amatuer historians can also point the Constantine Roman Empire and see similar trends.

    Unfortunately unlike Pournelle's books, we haven't managed inter-stellar travel before the suppression began, there by haven't manage plant the seeds of future civilizations else where, and unlike the time's of C
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @05:02PM (#6953535) Journal
    I think the event at 9/11 might be among the most negative events that have affected USA and probably far beyond what Osama bin Laden and his company had hoped for. I'm not sure he succeeded in the main goal with the act since the purpose of terrorism is almost always to create respect through fear. However, what they managed to do during the few seconds of the act, is to create enormous effects on the american society that is also reaching to other parts of the world. That terrorist act must have been one of the shortest, yet most affecting, event in recent history. When I think about it, only the nuclear bombs (released by USA ironically enough) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to put an effective end to WW2 (in an arguably good way...) comes into mind. These were similar split-second events that changed the way how we think.
  • by Markus Registrada (642224) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @05:26PM (#6953658)
    Everything in the list was something that many people would think is good. They don't want advances, because they have a hard enough time keeping up with what's already out. They don't want foreigners anywhere near them. They don't want any research into illnesses they haven't personally suffered from.

    To many people, it's all been a big success. To a select few, 9/11 was the best thing that's happened in years. Before it, they were worried about getting beat up over a collapsing economy, corruption, and election fraud. Now they're flying high, and all their friends are getting enormous no-bid military procurement and reconstruction contracts. Academic soreheads are easy to ignore.

    • To many people, it's all been a big success. To a select few, 9/11 was the best thing that's happened in years. Before it, they were worried about getting beat up over a collapsing economy, corruption, and election fraud. Now they're flying high, and all their friends are getting enormous no-bid military procurement and reconstruction contracts. Academic soreheads are easy to ignore.

      Some of those people are going to like it a lot less when the research needed to create the technology to build the next-gen

  • "O Brave New World, that has such people in it." Well actually it reminds me of the book, where society is encouraged to worship science and technology, yet scientific research is censored by their government.
  • The Terrorists Won (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 13, 2003 @07:22PM (#6954191) Homepage Journal
    This is exactly the sort of end goal they were trying to achieve.

    If you don't believe me, look around at the changes since then.

    People don't trust anyone, governments are taking away rights and privacy wholesale.. Censorship.. Jailings for expressing yourself, mass carnage, daily bombardments of news, peoples work/life habits changed.. etc, etc, etc.

    The basic fabric of a free society has been ripped to shreds.. They are just loving it.

    THIS is their real goal.. destroy free society so everyone is reduced to their level of poverty and opression...
  • similar to wwii (Score:2, Interesting)

    by juicy_lizard (671346)
    What is being described is similar to what happened during the second world war and the race create the nuclear bomb. Scientists working for Allied countries were quite concscious about what they did and didn't publish so as not to give too much information to the Germans about the direction they were taking in nuclear fission research. This was even before the Manhattan project was established. Of course, the difference is, back then, Hitler was a clear and present danger. In the present day a lot of the d
  • Blah. Homeland Security would have had a field day with his work, but a lot of you would seem to approve of that...
  • I didn't think there was anybody left who still read Wired!
  • ... and researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms.

    This shouldn't be a problem providing that the same tests/results can be performed/achieved, in which case, I would wonder why a scientist would prefer to work with the dangerious pathogen in any case.

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