Happy TechGiving!

With modern air travel, it is possible to visit family members and dear friends who live in other parts of the country for Thanksgiving. Indeed, Thanksgiving week is the busiest time of year for airlines and airports.

It is not uncommon for people to think twice about Thanksgiving travel, given the crowds and commotion. And now, much of the country is socked in with blizzards, massive snows, and temperatures well below freezing. These conditions make travel even more daunting, if not impossible in some circumstances. Continue reading

Dangerous Technology Requires Old-Fashioned Diplomatic Solution

In these blogs over the years, we have covered many of the fantastic advantages of high technology. Unfortunately, though, tech also can be used for unsavory purposes, to put it mildly. Indeed, with tech, mankind has developed new and different ways to kill other people. As an example, fairly recently a Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying civilians was shot out of the sky, apparently by an advanced missile.
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Veterans Day: One WWII Vet Lives Long and Goes Tech

Today is Veterans Day. We have much to be thankful for in terms of the valuable service dedicated to our country by our veterans. I want to take the opportunity in this blog to talk about one amazing veteran in particular.

Phil Economon just celebrated his 97th birthday. He still is going strong, working out in the gym, driving his car, and living independently in the house that he has owned for years. Phil is a dear friend and a mentor to me. On numerous occasions Phil has provided indispensable wisdom, counsel and advice to me, and to other people who know and count on Phil. Indeed, when in doubt, we always go by this mantra: “Do what Phil would do.” Continue reading

The Skies Are Still Friendly, Despite Virgin Galactic Crash

First, we took to the air by hot air balloon. Next, we went even higher via ever-developing aircraft. Astronauts then made their way into outer space and even to the moon.

And now, with the advent of Virgin Galactic, there has been the prospect of non-astronauts going into outer space in a new-age space plane. Indeed, more than 700 celebrity non-astronauts have reserved seats on Virgin Galactic with tickets costing $250,000 a piece.

Unfortunately, as we know, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo recently crashed in the Mojave Desert. It is easy to think that this calamity, along with prior notable aviation accidents, means that it is not safe to fly. Is that true? Read on. Continue reading

Cyberwarfare Is Here; Is the U.S. Prepared?

Practically every aspect of life now takes place in cyberspace in addition to in the traditional world we know. While at first blush that generally may sound like a good thing, warfare now also takes place online as part of real conflicts, and not just in the realm of computer games.

U.S. Strategy; Sectors at Risk

As The Wall Street Journal has reported, U.S. military planning considers cyberattacks to constitute acts of war, just like traditional acts of war. Accordingly, cyberwarfare currently is part of U.S. military strategy, not only as part of cyber defense, but also as a platform for attacks. And prominent American lawmakers have been warning that the threat of a major attack on U.S. telecommunications and computer networks is greatly on the rise.

U.S. intelligence officials even have indicated that cyberwarfare, for the first time, is considered a larger threat than Al Qaeda and standard acts of terrorism. This is not altogether surprising, given that President Barack Obama has declared America’s digital infrastructure to be a strategic national asset.

A number of critical sectors of the U.S. economy are at risk from cyberwarfare. These sectors include banking and finance, transportation, manufacturing, medical, education, and government — all of which are dependent on computers and online communications and information for their daily operations.

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High-Tech Violations of International Human Rights

The United Nations was born in the aftermath of the atrocities committed leading up to World War II. The United Nations Charter is plain in its support for the development of international human rights protection.

The most fundamental human right is the right not to be killed by another human being.

Indeed, Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example, provides: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”
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The Failure of International Organizations to Prevent War

World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” And the League of Nations and the subsequent United Nations were designed to keep countries at peace. But unfortunately, wars are still part of the international landscape, including the emerging threat of cyberwarfare.

As the UN prepares to celebrate its 69th anniversary October 24, let’s take a look at how it and the League of Nations have tried — and often failed — to prevent conflict between nations. Continue reading

States v. Nations: An International Challenge

The fact that states and nations do not line up neatly on the geographical global map continues to create international problems.

Under the Montevideo Convention of 1933, a state is defined as “an entity that has a defined territory and a permanent population under the control of its own government, and that engages in or has the capacity to engage in, formal relations with other such entities.”

There is no minimum size for a state. Monaco, which is only 1.5 square kilometers, is a state. The Vatican, with a population of only about 300 people, also is considered a state. Continue reading

The Limitations of the International Court of Justice

The world is becoming a much smaller place given international transportation, multinational corporations, and Internet communications that know no geographic boundaries. With more frequent and heightened dealings with people across the globe, there necessarily are increased international disputes that require resolution.

So, one might think that there is a global court in place to deal with such disputes, right? We do have the International Court of Justice (aka the World Court or the ICJ). But can the World Court get the job done in terms of resolving the vast majority of international disputes?

Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “no.” Continue reading

When It Comes to Tech, Size Matters

Big, small or in-between? When dealing with tech, it seems that there are preferences, and fortunately there options currently.

Long, long ago and far away, back in the disco days of the 1970s, the only available computer to me was a massive, computer punchcard-eating behemoth that appeared to take up the entire basement of my college library. While it was a floor-to-ceiling piece of junk by today’s standards, size was not an issue — because if you wanted to work on a computer, that was the only game in town. I declined.

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