Why do we restrict the use of nuclear technology?

The Flynn pushed to share nuclear tech with Saudis story seems like something people are likely to overlook. The story is about:

Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons if the U.S. technology were transferred without proper safeguards.

But, why?

  1. The Middle East turmoil is in part over what kind of Islam will prevail. Iran is controlled by Shi’a sect clerics (Baptist) while Saudi Arabia is controlled by followers of the Sunni (Catholic) sect.
  2. Both countries manipulate others in the region. Much of the fighting in the region is proxy fighting. Yemen has a Saudi-backed government. The opposition forces that almost took over are backed by Iran. Syria has an Iranian-backed government. Some of the opposition forces are backed by the Saudis.
  3. Saudi Arabia wants the potential capability of nuclear weapons because Iran is far ahead of them towards that.
  4. The Atomic Energy Act section 123 stipulates how the US may cooperatively work with other countries to have safeguards to prevent the development of weapons from nuclear reactors.
  5. The United States (and Europe) helped Iran with the start of nuclear reactors in the 70s. See, the Shah was our friend. The conflict has to do with him being overthrown and the clerics taking charge. The current government HATES us.

Sure, the plan is to build nuclear reactors, not weapons, but the normal deal includes safeguards to prevent the development of nuclear weapons from them. This Middle East Marshall Plan is also interesting given the Saudis extract so much oil, but realize these fossil fuels face lowering demand as people switch.

I get it. The Saudis are our allies (like the Shah was). But, the current decision maker, MSM is just as bad as the Shah was. He locks up people for speaking bad about him. A woman publicly drove a car before he was ready to allow women to do so. He had her imprisoned for it, let his sister do it, and still has the first woman locked up years later.

We’ve been here before. We gave nuclear technologies to Israel who exacerbates the Middle East turmoil. Everyone is worried Pakistan and India the clash in Kashmir is going to result in a nuclear exchange. China is still peeved at us giving the tech to Taiwan who it considers its territory. Our choices to help countries have this technology embroils already tense situations. The safeguards are supposed to make it more palatable to the world, so giving it to Saudi Arabia without them is an open provocation.

Unknown Knowns

Yesterday’s post mentioned unknown unknowns. When I heard this matrix, it pained me that one of the quadrants was missing. Over the years, I have thought about that missing one and what it might mean.

Donald Rumsfeld in 2002 talking about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq a year before the invasion:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.

We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.

But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

What is interesting about this matrix is the lack of an “unknown known.” This we know, but we do not know that we know them.

  • Known knowns = are evaluated risks. There is confidence in they can be handled.
  • Known unknowns = are poorly evaluated risks. There is no confidence in handling them.
  • Unknown unknowns = are unevaluated risks.

Unknown knowns, I think, are evaluated risks which are ignored. They are our blindspots. The knowledge is there, but not used. Either we disagree with the assessment. Or we think they are too trivial to matter. Or we lie to ourselves about it. In any case they are left out of the calculus or justification of a decision. Possibly a high level administrator never sees them in making the decision.

Too much information overwhelms making a decision. Too little information risks a bad decision. What information is the right information is itself a decision. 🙂

Data > Information > Knowledge > Wisdom (ITIL)

TED Talk: Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence

Wow, not sure why I have not posted this one yet. In college, I was one of four students who showed up to the showing of a video of Pinker talking about his book How the Mind Works. It reinforced for me Psychology was a good choice for me.

So this talk on decline in violence seems appropriate for September 11th.

If the below video does not work, then try Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence.

MS Includes Sun Java


M$ is caving on one of their monopolistic behaviors: allowing their Java Virtual Machine to be implemented in Windows XP as something other than a plug-in the user has to locate and isntall.

Why is it that features Microsoft wants included cannot be sumamrily ripped from the Windows operating system? Yet features they do not want can be ripped out? Microsoft to Include Java in Windows XP

What was ISS thinking? Give your data and concerns to the creator of the software and sit on your hands for a month except to send inquiries as to whether the company acknowledges the problem. See if they will release a patch. Problem is ISS released their own patch which does not work! Security flaw exposes holes in government-backed alert system


No, it will not stop… Sharon cannot see a Palestinian state being any good because there are too many Arabs near Jerusalem. The Arabs in the Middle East cannot see anything less that Arab control of Jerusalem because theare are too many Jews near Jerusalem. Bush’s Mideast peace plan under fire


Navy Brass Latest Hacking Victim

World News:

Even Middle East countries have problems with plane hijackings.Yahoo! News – Security Agents Foil Iranian Hijacking

There was a thing Friday on CNN about Chinese soldiers attempting to stop people from entering an embassy. Pretty scary. Wonder what they know or did? Yahoo! News – Two North Koreans enter Canada’s embassy in China


hello… it’s AotC! of course someone bootlegged it and put it online. If I had a decent computer and internet connection at home, then I might have looked for a copy. Yahoo! News – Star Wars film clones invade the Net

How many times does someone have to get hacked? Developer News — Navy Brass Latest Hacking Victim


Hackers in Sheep’s Clothing

Tech News:

I’ve said it often enough… students are hackers in sheep’s clothing. This true too… “the majority of academic networks are tempting targets for hackers because of their lack of security, abundance of bandwidth and overworked administrators.”University systems a haven for hackers – Tech News – CNET.com

World News:

Don’t approach a U.S. Navy ship in a small motorboat… you will be fired upon. These Iranians are probably glad they were going for an oil tanker and not a warship. CNN.com – U.S. Navy fires on small boats thought to be pirates – May 3, 2002


Bike Trail

Work Saturday morning was not terrible. I hear we were complimented. Noticed I had a tendency to cradle my hands in front of me. Think that is a weird nervous habit.

Went driving yesterday afternoon. Followed this “bike trail” for 75 miles. Figure it must go across the state along some of the most backwater places. I never use the highway it followed because it is longer to the town where I turned around than the route I used to come home. 75 miles vs. 63. If I were a superspeeder and attempting to outwit police, then I prolly could hit 100+ on that road and no one be the wiser.

It was a nice sunny day yesterday. Like just about every day. The people reporting on the weather were indicating the drought was lifting this winter cause we got a little more rain. Yet for the past month we’ve gotten what… 3-4 inches of rain? When it does rain it rains 2+ inches at a time so most of that runs off to the gulf rather than soaking into the soil. We have been under water restrictions for the past 3 years and people still do not understand them. Think using odd and even numbers in people’s addresses is too challenging. Don’t let them water their yards.

You only get the dress? Pfffft…. Yahoo! News – Lara Croft Outfit Auctioned Online for Charity

So Clinton was not the only waffle… BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Bush ‘still undecided’ on Iraq

Turkey wants the job, huh? Let ’em go for it. The former custodians of the Ottoman Empire finally get on the international scene. CNN.com – Turkey to head Afghanistan force – April 29, 2002