31 January 2011

The dangers of substituting testosterone for brains in dealing with Iran

I’ve always found American foreign policy, such as it is, alternatively brilliant and unbelievably stupid by turns. When they invaded Iraq they passed out cell phones to Iraqi commanders and negotiated bribes that insured that when the American army rolled into sight Iraqi troopies had no senior officer corps to direct them.  Once they had the country, however, it seemed like American occupation commanders voluntarily underwent a collective prefrontal lobotomy that led them to do patently idiotic things like not hiring the now jobless Iraqi army to rebuild the country and worse still, not making the destruction of the mountains of Iraqi munitions they found a first priority.

So it goes with America’s response to the Iranian nuclear enrichment initiative.  Like him or loathe him, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is correct, Iran has a right as a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to develop its own indigenous nuclear programme.  There is nothing in the treaty that abrogates that right on the pretext that much of the western world perceives that Iran’s President as a terminally dangerous nutjob. 

George Bush, on the other hand, has cast himself in the role of a latter-day King Canute commanding the tide not to turn.  He can negotiate and bluster and even flail the waves with all his enormously powerful country’s military might.  The tide is going to come in all the same, regardless.

Mind, Bush’s rationale is flawless.  It’s a very short jump indeed from being able to enrich Uranium to the few percent U-235 necessary to fuel a light water reactor with centrifuges to being able to create weapons grade Uranium.  Let the Iranians develop the engineering know-how to run centrifuge cascades and they’ve got the bomb.  The South Africans did it twenty-five years ago with much less need or incentive.

I tend to blame a lot of this on the longstanding tradition of the US State Department of exclusively hiring Ivy League law and political science majors whose total grasp of technology seems limited to an understanding that their automobiles start and stop with the turn of a key.  When you let foreign policy be formulated by that kind of nitwit you tend to get foreign policy that forgets the basics of nuclear technology.

To begin with nuclear technology is very old. The means needed to achieve a nuclear bomb need be no more sophisticated than what the US had in the late 1930’s.  It’s commonly forgotten that even then the technology was brought from nothing to a weaponised bomb in well under four years. 

Today, recreating that know-how is much easier, even without a Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan selling you Chinese nuclear warhead blueprints and Malaysian P2 centrifuges rotors built on the sly.  Heavens, even a penny-ante nation-state like North Korea with a net GDP of under US$31 billion can contemplate not only a nuclear weapons programme, but also the development, however haltingly, of a guided missile delivery system for their warheads.  That’s out of a total military budget estimated at US$10 billion which also has to equip, feed and house a million man army.

The bald truth is that virtually any national government outside of Africa and several in Africa has sufficient monetary resources and technical acumen to develop an indigenous nuclear weapons capability in a few years if they see a need.  More frightening still is the fact that there are literally thousands of high-tech corporations which could lose such a development project in their bookkeeping.  Remember that Malaysian firm that made the P2 rotors.

The short answer is that as a practical matter you can’t stop nuclear proliferation.  It’s like trying to stop the swapping music files and movies over peer-to-peer networks.  It’s just too easy.

Given that, what do you do?

I'm usually thought to be on the right ... though it seems to me though that too many there have submitted to a voluntary prefrontal lobotomy since the invasion of Iraq finished up.

During the Iraqi invasion we handed out satellite cell phones to any upper-level Iraqi officer who would take one and cut cash deals with whatever local Iraqi military leadership we encountered to fly the coop whenever it began to look like there might be a problem taking a particular objective. That was brilliant. So was the campaign to oust of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Ever since then, though, the administration has been behaving more like they were directing a second rate Arnie Schwarzenegger or Sy Stallone action movie than running an intelligent military occupation.

I can give you an example that sticks in my mind. I have a video clip of the taking out of an Iraqi sniper that's well over a year old now. Basically, there was a guy with an AK-47 lurking behind a wall about 75 metres down a narrow street in a dusty Iraqi town. He was plinking a few rounds at our guys every time they tried to move down the street. How did our guys solve the problem? They called in the guy's coordinates to an F-16 orbiting over the battle space and he dropped what looked like a GPS-guided 250 kg bomb on the sniper. End of problem.

So what's wrong with that, you say? Simple. It costs about $10K/hour to keep an F-16 in the air, even in the US, the last time that I looked. That GPS-guided bomb costs about $25K. I figure roughly that it cost $50K to take that sniper out. What did it cost the insurgency to put the sniper in place? For the guy, maybe a few hundred a month. His AK-47 costs a few hundred more and his ammunition a few dollars at worst. That's bad economics, any way you look at it.

Krauthammer is urging us to do the same thing in Iran, that is, to substitute testosterone for brains.

Step back and assess the problem rationally for a moment. I know that's hard, but take a shot at it. Like him or loathe him and I certainly loathe him, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is correct, Iran has a right as a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to develop its own indigenous nuclear programme. There is nothing in the treaty that abrogates that right on the pretext that much of the western world perceives that Iran’s President as a terminally dangerous nutjob.

Put into the mix that nuclear weapons technology is basically a bunch of late-1930's engineering tricks and you can begin to see just how difficult halting nuclear proliferation is going to be as an ongoing effort without turning the whole world into a police state. The fact that the South Africans built a nuclear arsenal twenty-five years ago ought to turn on a tiny little light somewhere in Bush's so-called brain trust. Any half-assed little country can build a deliverable nuke if they're sufficiently determined to do so. Heavens, even a penny-ante nation-state like North Korea with a net GDP of under US$31 billion can contemplate not only a nuclear weapons programme, but also the development, however haltingly, of a guided missile delivery system for their warheads. That’s out of a total military budget estimated at US$10 billion which also has to equip, feed and house a million man army.

There was a big deal about Iraq going to Niger to get yellowcake. Do you realise that it only takes a couple of 18 wheeler truckloads of caronite ore to provide the uranium to make a bomb? If you want to keep it quiet you don't even need caronite. You can get uranium out of granite if you want. It costs more to do that, but so what? If you just want a bomb, you can use tuned lasers to do the enrichment. It costs a lot more per kg of enriched uranium to do it that way, but again so what? That Iran is going for centrifuges is a strong indicator that they are being at least partially honest about making fuel stock for reactors. P2 centrifuges ARE economic for THAT purpose.

Okay, so suppose Ahmadinejad actually gets the bomb. Mind, I wouldn't put it past him. But, what can he do with it once he has it? Can he use it on the US or the Israelis? Sure, if he doesn't mind having Iran turned into the world's largest glass-lined parking lot, that is. He may be a nut-job, but he's not that crazy. Neither is Kim Jong Il. Can he threaten his neighbors? You bet. Putting a few Aegis-equipped American warships loaded with SM-3 Block IA interceptor missiles puts paid to that option, though, quite cost-effectively. That's exactly what we've done to North Korea. Can he threaten the "Old Europeans"? Certainly, but who can't effectlively threaten those clowns these days?

Really, the only thing that Iran insures in developing a nuclear arsenal is that it will be effectively impossible to successfully militarily invade Iran. That's why the South Africans developed theirs. There wasn't anything within the range of their air force that cost as much as one of their bombs, never mind being worth dropping one on. Ditto for North Korea.


This article was written in 2005 for the French webzine, Agoravox, which had an English language edition at the time.  

26 October 2010

Tactics for Coping with American Public High Schools

Oddly enough, probably the best thing that the state and federal governments could do to improve student performance is to help school districts hire more bus drivers and buy smaller, more fuel-efficient ’tard buses. The rest of the mechanisms necessary are already in place.

I make my living as an educational consultant. I’m divorced. This being the USA, my ex, of course, got automatic custody of our kids. For the most part she did a fair job getting them through K-12. My son, however, proved to be a special case. As a result, he moved in with me when he started high school. Ironically, my son is probably the child most like my ex-wife, that is, very bright, good with languages and extremely hard-headed.

When he got to my house he was an educational disaster. He hadn’t memorized his number facts, his handwriting would baffle the best cryptographers and his compositional skills were for practical purposes non-existent.

I suddenly found that my day job had also become my nights and weekends job for the next four years as I laboured to prepare my bright and bloody-minded son for university. The effort was a success in which many people aside from me played key roles. He eventually participated in the Stanford programme for gifted youth and was offered a university seat there. He turned that down for a slot at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He’s just returned this week from a summer in Japan where he was polishing his conversational Japanese.

I mention all this to demonstrate to you that what I am going to talk about isn’t theory. It’s all based on very personal at-the-coalface experience. Someday I will write a detailed book about getting my son through high school. This isn’t the venue for that though.

At first glance, most thoughtful people see American K-12 public schools as a train wreck. Indeed, the litany of statistics on American education looks very grim. Fully a third of all American students never complete high school and those that do graduate on average perform at only a 9th grade level.

The annual comparisons of the educational systems’ performance of the 20-odd OECD countries cast a little more light on the situation. The standing of US primary schools is in the top quartile of OECD countries. Given the size of the US, its decentralized public school system and the diversity and economic breadth of its population that is fairly amazing performance.

Middle schools in the US rank about average amongst OECD countries while high schools are a real disaster. They rank just about in the bottom decile of OECD countries. Overall it’s not unfair to say that US kids on average learn nothing in particular in US high schools. As a colleague of mine once dryly put it, “high schools are kindergartens for big kids.”

Well, yes ... that’s true, as far as it goes.

Now, I’m going to tell you about the parts of the story that the politicians, whatever their political orientation, don’t tell you about because doing so is not in their best interests ... as they see them.

Most people don’t know that the US public school system is pretty much a carbon copy of the 19th century Prussian state school system right down to the set curriculum and the bells that signal when students are to go from one class to another. The resemblance is not superficial. Prussian officials wanted their youth to be well enough educated to be useful in their factories and mines. They also wanted their youth to respect and support the state. In short, what students were given in Prussian schools was not so much education as indoctrination.

It works the same way in the US.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that whoever is in control of the curriculum in American public schools owns the political future of the country. Thoughtful people who have actually been around American kids and American classrooms, however, reasonably question that premise.

I first got an inkling of the problem with that kind of thinking when I lived and worked in Sweden in the late 1970’s. The teachers’ unions were owned by the Social Democrats. They couldn’t understand, though, how after over a decade of constant indoctrination in classrooms more and more Swedish kids were graduating and not voting with the Social Democrats. It’s a sad fact that neither politicians nor educationalists tend to be, on average, particularly bright or thoughtful people.

For much the same reasons as were the case in Sweden, American teachers and school administrators form arguably are the most powerful of the coalition of interests that make up the American Democratic Party.

Not surprisingly the Republican Party also subscribes to the notion that whoever is in control of the curriculum in American public schools owns the political future. They, however, know that they will, as a practical matter, never win over the 4-5 million teachers who are owned by and own the left in the US. Instead, they contrive to make life difficult for public school teachers and school officials by such devices as the “No Child Left Behind” law and promoting the notion of vouchers to break the educational monopoly by the public schools that provide teachers’ secure and privileged employment position.

Once you recognise the dynamics in play you realise that the whole educational “debate” has little to do with education and everything to do with power and politics.

So where does that leave us? Remember that figure that I mentioned earlier about only two-thirds of American kids finishing high school? If you pause to think about that for a moment you’d quickly begin to suspect that if it were true, America as an advanced economy would have collapsed decades ago.

Here’s the bit that the politicians, whatever their leanings, rarely mention. If you check on American youth again at age 24 you’ll find that over 80% of them have completed high school. Where at? Mostly at community colleges.

Here is the abiding epiphany that four years of working with my son gave me. School choice in the form of vouchers as it is pushed by the American right still presumes that your kid will be going to a school and that schools are effectively single-source vendors for educational services. If you can break out of that mindset and stop thinking of schools as one-stop shopping for an education, you’ll realise that America, not its politicians and certainly not its special interest groups, has largely already reformed its educational system.

The reforms have happened in a uniquely American way. There was no grand plan, nor was there a guiding principle behind them. The reforms have been a result of a lot of small players trying to solve immediate problems in any and every way imaginable. What has emerged is a set of powerful tools for assuring that your child succeeds in getting an education. Here’s how it works.

Suppose you weren’t paying attention and your child actually fails a course in high school. This is your fault as a parent. You should never, ever let your child stay in a course long enough to fail it. The first tier University of California campuses will typically not admit a student who fails a course after their first year in high school. You should always withdraw your child before the drop-deadline the instant it becomes apparent that they can’t cope. It’s usually obvious within a few weeks of the fall semester’s beginning whether or not your kid is going to prosper in a particular course ... if you’re paying attention.

Okay, now what?

Suppose your kid has either failed or you’ve got them out of the course before they did. If you follow conventional wisdom your child goes to “summer school” to keep them on-track with the school curriculum. There they’ll attempt to do in 6 weeks what they weren’t able to do in 36. Like as not the same teacher will be running the summer school course.

What is wrong with that picture?

If your investment manager , for example, lost half the worth of your retirement account you’d change investment managers and probably long before they’d reduced your account’s net worth by half. Why should it be any different with teachers?

In practice what most educated parents in my area did was to put their kids in the equivalent courses that they’d failed offered by the community college in the summers rather than subject them to high school summer school. Surveying the course catalogs at the local community college and the local state university I discovered that both offered basically the whole high school curriculum.

Thus, I had at least two second sources for any weak places in my son’s high school’s course offerings. Actually I had more than that, but that is a story for another time.
At my son’s high school the “faculty senate” had set a limit of two courses out of six required could be taken off-campus in any given semester. Mind, state law allowed many more than that, but after you’ve been around unionised public school teachers for a while you’ll discover that they aren’t particularly intimidated by state laws, nor do they pay too much attention to them. I won’t get into the reasons for their confidence.

What took the sting out of their two course rule was the fact that the local colleges taught courses that the high school spent two semesters on in one semester. That meant that effectively was my son could take four of the six courses that he needed for a year outside of his high school. My son most often took more than that, but it didn’t affect the mandatory four courses taught by unionised teachers that he had to take at high school.

Often as not, high school students taking courses at local colleges and universities get university credit for the coursework if you are careful with your course selection. In my son’s case, he took five excellent courses in Japanese at the local state university. They were the direct equivalent of 5 years of Japanese had it been offered at his high school. As well, he received university credit for them.

In another case, my son substituted a combined history and government course at the local community college for the equivalent two courses at his high school. The course was taught by the county district attorney. I sat in on several of his lectures and found him to be a brilliant lecturer. I wasn’t the only one who though so, either. The University of California system recognized his course as being the equivalent of both the government and American history core curriculum courses for a University of California degree.

My son entered university last Fall as a second year student after four years of attending high school only in the mornings. Any parent could do that with their child using pretty much the same tactics that I did. It isn’t rocket science, just a lot of hard work and paying attention.

So where do the ‘tard buses and bus drivers that I mentioned at the beginning of this article fit in to all of this?

It’s simple, the hardest part of the whole experience of taking advantage of multi-source educational services was shuttling my son back and forth between his high school and local colleges. Mercifully, he got his driving license at age 16 and was able to do his own driving after that. For the first two years, however, playing taxi driver for my son was probably the most time-consuming part of the whole exercise for me.

If the state and federal governments were really interested in improving educational performance they’d buy those ‘tard buses and drivers for public schools and make them run regular shuttle services between their high schools and the local colleges. As it stands right now the only kids who get that kind of consideration are the ‘tards, the developmentally retarded students whose learning resources are already typically scattered out over several school districts due to their small numbers. And yes, that’s the name that high school students have given those small shuttle buses.


This article was written in 2005 for the French webzine, Agoravox, which had an English language edition at the time.  My son graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in English Literature and minors in creative and technical writing with an excellent GPA in three and one-half years.  The average time that takes in public universities is six years.

20 September 2010

Chinese Growth Hurdles toward a New Great Wall

China’s unique capitalist/marxist hybrid manufacturing-based economy has grown at an eye-watering rate for the last three decades. While economists have predicted a leveling off in its awesome rate of growth for a multitude of reasons, viz, infrastructure, rising labor costs and the like the Chinese miracle has continued completely oblivious to such warnings. Serious trouble for China is on the way, though, from a completely unexpected direction created by hacker technologists who had no intention of causing it.

The “capitalisation” of Chinese industry during the last quarter of the 20th century is strikingly similar to what occurred in the American agricultural sector a century before.

In the last quarter of the 19th century America’s rapidly expanding railroad network put vast areas of new farmland in cost-effective range of both expanding metropolitan areas in the US and its export harbors serving European markets. This was very fortuitous for Europeans in that their farmland was largely exhausted and it would be some time before German chemistry invented inexpensive, ammonia-based fertilizers.

It was at that time that corporate farming in the sense that we know it today first appeared in the US. These large-scale farming operations were predominately found in the new lands of the Dakotas and Iowa which were possessed of rich topsoil hundreds of feet thick deposited there by the glaciers of the last ice age. These corporate farms were vast in extent, heavily mechanized and employed hundreds and sometimes thousands of laborers. The Dakotas and Iowa were that era’s Saudi Arabia of food production. They could put grain and meat on European tables for pennies on the dollar of what it cost European farmers to produce. Exported American foods let Europe avoid famine and poverty and might have staved off Europe’s collapse as a civilization.

Rich, hitherto untilled soils were not the only reason for American corporate farming’s economic success. Its emergence and market domination was also made possible by the invention of steam-powered farm machinery. These machines were huge for that time and capable of efficiently farming very large tracts of land. This machinery was also expensive and its sassy steam technology required skilled personnel to be operated safely. Its very nature demanded large, well-organized operations, the antithesis of small family farming enterprises.

It is shocking, therefore, to discover that within thirty years these large, highly profitable corporate farms had almost completely disappeared. Why? The answer lay in the development of practical, internal combustion engines coupled with the opening of American oil fields that provided their liquid fuels. Their horsepower/lb ratios were immensely better than equivalent steam engines. Internal combustion was much cheaper, safer and less technically demanding of farmers than steam had been.

The most important advantage, however, lay in their scalability. The technology of soils preparation, tilling and harvesting had been developed around the horse and a power supply. These technologies had been scaled up for steam and readily scaled down when smaller internal combustion engines came on the market. Internal combustion engines largely eliminated the economic advantages that large farming corporations over family operations. They disappeared for many decades thereafter.

Chinese manufacturing will be facing in the next decade or so much the same problem that late 19th century American corporate farms faced. Its success thus far has been a result of having access to a large, disciplined and relatively inexpensive labor force and access to international capital to invest in large, expensive manufacturing production lines. That is about to change in a rather dramatic fashion.

When you look at a typical “high tech” consumer item coming out of a Chinese factory dispassionately you quickly discover that it is mostly air and enclosure. Take a laser jet printer, for example. Over 90 percent of it is plastic and air. The actual “high tech” parts of it will fit nicely in a small, zip-lock bag. The cost of those “high tech” parts will typically be less than 20-25% of the cost of the printer. What you are buying is mostly volume and appearance.

The Chinese economic miracle would have been impossible without the transportation revolution made possible by containerized cargo carriers. This technology made it cost-effective to move such low-density cargo as consumer appliances.

When you visit a factory that makes such consumer items what strikes you most forcefully is the sheer size and power of the injection molding machines that make the housing for those appliances. An injection molding machine capable of producing an ink jet printer’s plastic housing will fill the better part of your home. It draws hundreds of kilowatts of electrical power and requires skilled personnel to operate and maintain. It can produce many thousands of such housings per day. They can cost millions of dollars. Is this beginning to sound familiar?

What are known as 3D prototyping machines are rapidly becoming a David to large injection molding machines’ Goliath. 3D prototyping machines began to be seen some thirty years ago. At that time you typically saw them in the aerospace industry making models of complex parts in critical parts of aircraft such as turbines. The machines were expensive as was using them. Since then, however, the technology has leveraged CNC (computer numerical control) technology and gradually come down the market pyramid to the point that you can now buy a full-blown system for about $30,000 that can produce prototypes for under US$2.00/cubic centimeter (US$30/cubic inch). While this sounds rather expensive, it is worth noting that the famous Lockheed “Skunk Works” that produced such aircraft as the U-2 and the SR-71 spy planes and the F-117 stealth fighter has recently adopted 3D prototyping in a manufacturing mode to produce their newest unmanned spy plane, the Polecat at a fraction of the cost that it could be built on a conventional production line.

All this would be a bit too up market for such everyday items as your ink jet printer save for one thing. When someone mentions “open source” thoughts inevitably go to software like Linux. While products like Linux get the press thousands of hackers have quietly been building quite a respectable open source hardware presence. One such team of hackers are busily producing an ultra cheap, open source 3D prototyping machine. The RepRap (Rapid Replicator) project directed out of the University of Bath in the UK. RepRappers are currently in an advanced stage of working the bugs out of their first open source prototyping machine in New Zealand. Their machine is on target for a build price of about US$400 and will be capable of making objects for about US$0.02/cubic centimeter. That represents a considerable slide down the market pyramid from their current commercial competition. Their development systems will easily fit on the top of your kitchen table.

The truly revolutionary aspect to the RepRap 3D protyping machine is that it can more or less make copies of itself save for that small Ziplock bag of “high tech” items like small motors and cheap integrated circuits all of which have long been commoditized. This means that you do not need a conventional factory to make it. It can make itself. It can diffuse over a society in a viral manner like peer to peer file sharing rather than a serial manner like conventional consumer appliances. It also means that anybody can start a manufacturing company for US$400 and scale it up and down to match their production levels.

While a RepRap protyping machine can not reach production levels of a conventional production line such as those that China has invested so heavily in during the past few decades it can, for example, make the parts for five very different appliances one after the other with no retooling or setup time whatsoever. Short production runs now means one-of-a-kind rather than several thousand. The concept of the RepRap machine is not known as the “Santa Claus Machine” for nothing.

Open source consumer technology can be expected to share the same characteristics as its software cousins such as Linux. Can you, for example, imagine an open source ink jet printer that requires ink cartridges that cost nearly as much to replace as it would cost to buy a new printer? More than a few industrial business models are in for some very hard times.

China, with its heavy emphasis on low cost manufacturing is headed for big trouble economically. So are consumer appliance manufacturing industries elsewhere.

{published in Agoravox, 26 July 2006}

A manifesto of sorts

I see both political parties in the US as existing primarily to protect the interests of their moneyed supporters. The two parties otherwise vary only in what special interest interest groups provide their foot soldiers.

The bottom line from where I stand is that the political class hasn't managed to increase the wealth of the majority of Americans, as opposed to the moneyed supporters that bankroll their campaigns in just over 30-35 years.

When I look at the special interests represented in either party, I see their basic demands as comprising...

  • You can twist the rest of society into a pretzel but don't you dare make me change the way I do business.
  • Make laws that either criminalise or bankrupt those who I hate or see myself threatened by.
  • Make laws to protect my interests from competition from new technologies.
  • Throw some tax money my way while you're at it.

Both parties provide this kind of protection for their special interests.

For (1) you need look no further than, inter alia, military contractors' cost-plus contracts, teachers' unions, doctors and trial lawyers.

For (2) you need only review the explosion of behaviours that have been criminalised in the past forty years. Most of the stuff I did as a kid and that my parents did and never thought twice about would get us all thrown in jail quick these days.

For (3) review as an example what's become of copyright law in the past thirty years.

For (4), I don't think I have to give any examples. They're to be seen anywhere both now and in the past.

As to negotiation and compromise, I learned in Africa that negotiations are seen by virtually anybody and everybody involved as merely a means to getting a bit closer to their ultimate goals, and never to create a stable accord. This means that negotiations are inevitably done in bad faith because whatever compromises are reached will be kept only till one side or the other gains enough of an edge to violate the compromises and go even further along the road to where they want to be.

That's not a good recipe for social harmony. In fact it's no recipe at all, yet that's what we do here and that is what has made politics a blood sport in the US, for better or worse.

My personal politics are those outlined in Simak's Ring Around the Sun, which is to say, destroying existing social structures by means of a careful introduction of disruptive technologies.

I've spent my spare hours for the past five years working with the Reprap open source 3D printer project that has brought the cost of 3D printers down by approximately two magnitudes ($50K - $500) and their feed stock down by over one {$250/lb - $8/lb}. In this project I've done a considerable body of work.

That technology was described eloquently in Cory Doctorow's Print Crime back in 2005. You need only browse through Thingiverse to get an inkling of the flood of creativity that widespread availability of 3D printing unleashes.

Reprap epitomizes the last line of Printcrime, viz,

"Lanie, I'm going to print more printers. Lots more printers. One for everyone. That's worth going to jail for. That's worth anything."

Reprap having already achieved that, I'm undertaking to make the technology that served as the basis for Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer, vis, active telepresence.

Active telepresence, the ability to do physical labour anywhere on the planet via broadband, is the ultimate destroyer of the nation state that has caused so much grief for the past millennium.

Basically, my approach is to create disruptive technologies that get inside the OODA loop of societies at a rate that the existing social order collapses for lack of revenue in the manner conceived by Simak in Ring around the Sun.

It's past time that this happened.