AFSC: peacekeeper pods (a futurist's vision)

From: Kirby Urner (urner_at_alumni.Princeton.EDU)
Date: 12/27/98

From: urner_at_alumni.Princeton.EDU (Kirby Urner)
Subject: AFSC: peacekeeper pods (a futurist's vision)
Date: 	Mon, 28 Dec 1998 04:09:22 GMT
Message-ID: <>

On Sat, 19 Dec 1998 16:51:00 -0500, Patrick G. Salsbury wrote:
> I also met with Dr. Magda McHale, my other design professor while in
>Buffalo. She also loved the Corrulite and pictures, and was dragging in
>folks from the hall of the Architecture & Planning School to show them. It
>was really funny to watch these architects & designers' faces light up when
>they saw it. It wasn't simply "Hey, that's a nice material", but more of a
>"WOW! I could build some really neat stuff with this!" Very fun to see. :-)
> Dr. McHale is one of the early members/founders of the World Future
>Society, and it was her class that I wrote the floating-cities paper for,
>back in '92.

Patrick --

A scenario I've been storyboarding includes "peacekeeper pods"
i.e. equipping civilian observers in negotiated settlement
situations with high tech gear, including models of Fly's Eye
with GIS/GPS, internet, webcam monitors etc.

Pods will deploy under various organizational schemas, with
logos identifying accordingly e.g. I'd like the AFSC black and
red star to show up on some models. UN agencies will be eager
for theirs. Companies like Boeing will do the units and apply
logos as per orders from clients, with other vendors installing
the necessary mission-critical electronics etc.

Medical units, ecosystem monitors, weather trackers -- all
manner of remotely deployable and later-removable "pod",
sometimes designed to co-exist in complement i.e. a "mess unit"
plus several others ("sanitation unit") would constitute a
complete (temporary) community for some purposes. Recycling
is built in to the product cycle -- components swap in for
older ones over time (as we do with computers today) and the
"shell" itself has a half-life, ways of feeding back into
the cycle (some German car manufacturers have experimented
a lot with this).

Looking to the day when a AFSC peacekeeper pod might come with
pre-installed "Java bean" -- a software kernel which makes this
pod specifically useful for Quaker service. Here in Oregon,
we've already tested "distance worship" using a gutted and
revamped Diku MUD (our "hearthkeeper" was only 16, gets an
Eagle merit badge for assisting Friends in this way).

Training for front lines duty in a peacekeeper pod in places
like Kosovo and the Sudan doesn't start with such
advanced-skills tours however. I envision building on
camp/retreat cycle already built in to the faith and practice,
to establish communities the primary purpose of which would be
orientation of new recuits (boot camp for Quakers -- or for
non-Quakers willing to be subjected to Quaker ideology
delivered by serious-minded trainers known for their "right
stuff"). We want a no nonsense operation, more disciplined
than NATO's or even the Greenpeace outfit (although the latter
has a head start with Rainbow Warrior and such).

Kirby Urner
Ast. Clerk, Mult. Monthly Meeting
Program Committee Clerk, Portland AFSC
NPYM AFSC Corporation representative

For further reading:

AFSC as training agency for civilian peacekeepers (memo)


In sum, my leading is to assist Friends in continuing to
fulfill their historic mission as a peace church, meaning
members of our Society, along with non-Quaker affiliates with
similar values and training, should be available for deployment
to such places as Kosovo and the Sudan. Furthermore, I would
like to see such civilian teams supplied with technologies
which better enable them to perform their jobs effectively.
My hope is the AFSC will use such programs as HIP as a spring-
board towards developing and providing more access to more
intensive trainings adequate to meeting whatever challenging
field conditions.

Brainstorming on Buckyworks:


Another cultural institution wherein life style options are
explored, without being adopted as permanent, are the camps and
retreat centers, often matched with non-urbanized natural
settings. Here people congregate for conferences or trainings
in circumstances refreshingly different those found in their
everyday lives. Here one might find out what life in a
PillowDome could be like.

Project Earthala:


In order to "grok" the ethos of Earthala, youth will need some
training (perhaps borrowing from HIP and AVP) which give the
big picture view, and which equips with the polymath type
concepts required to operate with integrity using a lot of
delicate, expensive equipment which corporations are sponsoring
with a bottom line in view (this is not merely frivolous
entertainment, but a readying of operations bases for
undertaking serious-minded disaster relief work, ecosystem
monitoring in harsh conditions, and so on). The goal is to
sufficiently get over whatever reflex-misconditioning
superficially interferes with our ability to coordinate (e.g.
racism, ethnocentrism), and to get some real work accomplished.



The after market here envisioned parallels the desktop computer
industry in that hardware is sold bundled with device driving
software and documentation. The higher end hardware has EPROM
or other FLASH-type memory allowing as much of the device
driving as is practical to remain at the software level,
hardware electronics phasing in only at the level where
dedicated mechanics are required to optimize performance (where
speed and throughput considerations usually predominate). Since
changes to the API will have ripple effects when devices are
embedded in the local ecology, upgrade paths must be well
signed. Users who download a new driver for their coffee-maker
need to be clearly warned if the ON switch has been coupled
with a self-turnoff default or of any other bell/whistle that,
if not documented, might result in cold coffee at 6 AM, or

Book on Gaviotas experiment also relevant, as a lot of what Project
Earthala is about is developing eco-friendly, energy-autonomous
solutions for longer term living (not just temporary deployments).
Link from Earthala paper at my personal AFSC-related archival

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