Reagan, Bush and Visualizing Star Wars
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Dateline: May 30, 2001

According to a recent Washington Post article "Even with President Bush's political support, significant leaps in technology are needed to make his vision of missile defense more than what its critics call 'a shield of dreams.'" It is completely baffling why critics don't like the idea of spending upwards of 100 billion (with a B) dollars on a system that won't work, to scare off a few major countries that might launch missiles that have an obvious return addresses. This is an incredible opportunity which we must seize!

By now you are of course wondering what Ronald Reagan has to do with the story. Well he came up with this brilliant idea to address the "evil empire". Furthermore even though he's not dead, Congress and other independent organizations are naming ships, buildings, and airports after the beloved 40th president. Planning for the Reagan Memorial on the Mall is already underway. (Yes it's true memorials are usually planned after death.)

Clearly all of these memorial and honored places have one problem, they are all earthbound. Why limit the Reagan name to earthbound places? Why not save a few bucks on an earthly memorial and rename the forthcoming National Missile Defense system the Ronald Reagan Death Star. Technically of course the particle beam system is known as the Global Intercontinental Pulsed Particle Elimination Reactor or GIPPER. Why bother with an earthbound monument when we can wake up in the morning with the knowledge that the GIPPER is up there circling the earth ready to zap those pesky projectiles.

Now let's get to the all important 3D portion of the project. George W. Bush, not known for being a rocket scientist clearly needs some good visual aids when it comes to the GIPPER in the sky. What a perfect application for 3D! One of the great strengths of 3D is to simplify complex information along with command and control systems. In order to help the President get a better feel for the global systems we can represent the whole global endeavour using a baseball. The sattelites circling the globe can be place into orbits that follow the seams of a typical baseball. Control of the system can be performed in a similar way that pitchers control a baseball. Placing the fingers in certain positions when throwing the ball causes different actions, the sinker, the curveball and the slider for example. When the US is attacked by an enemy our President can simply tell the Joint Chiefs to execute a slider or curve ball response. User interfaces can't get any better!

Let's get serious folks, the development and deployment of the GIPPER will be a broad based economic boon to those ailing defense contractors. Clearly the GIPPER won't work, at least in our lifetime, and the economic expenditure on failed tests, harebrained schemes, and exaggerated needs is desperately needed in order to prevent the much maligned "peace dividend" from taking hold. Please urge Dubya to get the GIPPER going!

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