Thursday, July 13, 2006

A quiet Thursday afternoon in the shadow of WWIII...

Today's Drudge Report stirred up a little piece of nostalgia for me. An article in the Daily Mail detailed the progress of a program designed to help amputees control robotic prosthetic body parts through technological connections to their brains. Real-life "Bionic Man" stuff. The link is below:

"Bionic Man" controls robotic arm with brain

This story is nostalgic for me because three years ago I wrote about this project in grad school. Only back then the project was still using monkeys, which provided obvious comic fodder:

Beneath the Planet of the Mecha-Apes

Just more evidence that the world of science fiction continues to evolve more and more into science fact...

Speaking of evidence...

The big news on Drudge today is the ever-expanding list of article links that describe the different facets of escalating violence in Israel. Between the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the regular instances of terrorism popping up elsewhere, some people are wondering not whether we're at the doors of World War III, but whether we've already crossed the threshold. Personally, I think we have, staring at 9/11.

Thing is, even though things can still get a lot worse, the nature of the post-9/11 world is too unique to necessitate direct comparisons to world atmosphere in the 1940's or the early 20th Century. Once those towers fell, the days of having a clear cut enemy with national allegiances and borders pretty much ended. We may still be squaring off against folks like Iran and North Korea--or at least against their leaders; I'm not so sure everyone in their countries is thrilled with their lives under the "regime du jour"--but the larger enemy is an ideology, not a nation.

Once again I am reminded that the Book of Mormon is a perfect mirror for the circumstances of our day. The Gadianton Robbers, often mistaken for the Nephite Mafia when I was a kid, clearly seem to be the Jihadist terrorists of the meridian of time. The books of Helaman and 3rd Nephi detail an insurrectionist culture that sought to subvert and overthrow a society from within it's borders, while living next door to the very people they were seeking to destory. Ultimately, and ironically, the "good guys" of that day had to cut themselves off from their comfort zones and join up with the nationally-identified former "bad guys" in order to literally starve off the insurrectionists. I wonder what the 21st century equivalent would have to be in order to pull off a similar maneuver.

Whether you want to call it WWIII or not, we live in a difficult world. And that has nothing to do with politics.