Re: TERRORISM: looking for solutions

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 10:47:23 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>

> So, in memory of today's sad events I would like to challenge the
> members of the Extropian community to think long and hard about
> what ways might be used to create innovative solutions to
> terrorism that would increase trustability and personal security
> without imposing restrictions on freedoms (in other words, please,
> please lets not make it a debate about guns).
> Now, with the situation at hand, a couple of ideas occured to me.
> At the first sign of any struggle to take over a "flying bomb"
> the plane could be programmed to enter autopilot mode such that
> it could only be unlocked using commands from the ground after
> flight controllers could convince themselves that the pilots were
> in control. Obviously this has problems with technical difficulties
> such as loss of communications.
> Another possibility would be a more sophisticated program that would cause
> the plane to fly itself to "safe" locations such as military air bases.
> Monitors for vocal stress patterns in pilot communications would be
> another possibility.
Presumably we will need a multipy prong strategy in the end so I think your
hi-tech solution and others proposed have much merit. I wonder about
something as low tech and banal as double doors to the cockpit such that
only one person at a time can get through; with entry and exit controlled
from the cockpit. Presumably the thinking in the past was that the pilots
were somewhat protected by the bargaining chip of being the only ones
capable of flying the plane. Since this is obviously not the case, the
cockpit in particular needs to be better protected. A separate air supply
for the cockpit, and the ability to release an anesthic gas into the cabin,
might also be part of an overall strategy.
(This terrible terrible tragedy has also affected us slightly here in
Canada. Our airports also were shut down yesterday in part to allow
international flights destined for NY or Washington to land. I live close
to a little airport in Mnt Hope (about 70K from Toronto) and we took four
flights in here. Apparently the passangers were not told what was going on
until they landed. Imagine thinking you are going to land in NY and getting
off in Mnt Hope. The poor passengers had to wait around for hours to get
their paper work processed. Our airport is almost never used for
international flights except during an emergency so there were not enough
customs officials around to process the 1000 passengers. I understand the
Mounties were pressed into service).

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