First adventure…

300px-Vannevar_Bush_portrait First adventure… Into the bush – Vannevar Bush that is. I was reluctant to go; no, not because I was afraid of the electronic undergrowth ( well, ok – maybe a bit…), but rather I just wasn’t sure that I wanted to read the views of this visionary who was an apologist for the Manhattan Project, and highly instrumental in bringing about the the dawn of the nuclear age with all its potential humanitarian and environmental destruction. Don’t worry, I don’t want to get all heavy and philosophical; this is just a blog after all…. I’m just questioning the man’s values that’s all. It appears he never expressed any regret about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and even his epitaph celebrates his “advances in military technology decisive in winning the war”, albeit rather euphemistically. Am I being too hard on the man? After all, although being a visionary he was still a product of his time, wasn’t he? But another man of that time – a scientist too – Joseph Rotblat left the Project as soon as it became clear the Nazis would not be able to develop the bomb, and went on to receive a Nobel Peace Prize with Pugwash; his group committed to nuclear disarmament. I suppose I just find it depressing that so much of our digital communication technology is a product of  warfare;  for example with Arpanet in the 1960s so directly leading to the ultimate creation of the internet, and even more recently the development of GPS for increasingly accurate location-fixed bombing – as Ernesto Priego explained in yesterday’s lecture. Would these wonderful inventions have developed anyway?? Or our advances in science and technology dependent  on boys’ (and it is largely boys) fascination with destructive toys and a dogged determination to win… Let’s  hope not: remember our own national hero – no, not Winston Churchill – but Tim Berners-Lee , who invented the www in peacetime as a global neutral communication platform to share ideas, experiences and knowledge; something freely available “for everyone” – to raise us all up, whatever side we’re on. Truly inspirational…

About Alex Giles

#citylis student
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3 Responses to First adventure…

  1. Alison Pope says:

    Well said Alex. I’d like to read Ian Morris’ book War, What is it Good for? which I heard him talking about on Thinking Allowed ( He argues that war is essential for creating peace which is an interesting point. Sadly, I doubt we’ll ever get to know what we are capable off without war.


    • Alex Giles says:

      Sounds interesting…Just had a look at his programme – looks good. Maybe it depends if you define “peace” as just the absence of “war”(or what comes after war). Or is it something that is much more dynamic, active rather than reactive, vibrant – that demands a constant engagement; so that it has its own momentum…


  2. William Molesworth says:

    Hi Giles, Would be interesting to steer this to how we as information managers can play a role in preventing war…Purely on Monday’s theme, my blog just posted. My contact details are
    William Molesworth


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