Wed, 4 February 2009
Jerry Pournelle (author, journalist, editor, technology columnist, and military textbook writer) is today's featured guest. (This is the second portion of our two-hour interview. The third and final portion will be provided next week.)
Topics today include: How he contributed to President Ronald Reagan's State of the Union Address in 1980, and became part of Reagan's group of advisers concerning the Strategic Defence Initiative (which Ted Kennedy, by the way, dubbed Star Wars because he did not believe it would ever be possible to shoot down an incoming missile with one of our own missiles). And how this lead directly to the Patriot Missile and other missiles which routinely do the impossible by routinely shooting down incoming missiles.
Laser-based warfare: including one proposal that would turn Grand Coulee Dam into a space-based weapon of immense power and very nearly global reach. A weapon so powerful that only one would be needed in a war.
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, which states that, 'In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals which the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.' Doctor Pournelle explains and gives examples.
He also mentions working with: Buzz Aldrin, Robert Heinlein, Greg Bear, Jim Baen, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Ben Bova, and Dean Ing. He describes a fundamental problem he sees with today's space suits; and talks of Patton and MacArthur, military theory, teacher's unions, and NASA.
Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the February 4, 2009 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 47 minutes]
Doctor Jerry Pournelle has written more than thirty novels and at least thirteen books of non-fiction. More than a dozen of his novels, he coauthored with his friend Larry Niven, including The Mote in God's Eye, Lucifer's Hammer, Footfall, Inferno; and their new sequel to Inferno: Escape From Hell.
Novels, however, have been only a portion of Jerry Pournelle's work. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he acquired Master's degrees in both experimental statistics and systems engineering, and Doctorates in both psychology and political science. He co-wrote a military textbook called The Strategy of Technology which became required reading at West Point and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He worked in operations research at Boeing, The Aerospace Corporation, and North American Rockwell Space Division. He was founding President of the Pepperdine Research Institute. He was campaign manager for Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., as well as for Mayor Sam Yorty. And he was a columnist for Byte Magazine beginning in 1982.
News Note: Last week, in the January 28 2009 episode of this show, Jerry Pournelle mentioned his battle with a brain tumor, described the annoyances of his radiation treatment, and reported that he is now cancer-free.