Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Upgrade Your World. Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

"Should our best minds be dedicated to solving our biggest problems" - Bill Gates

One of the events that influenced the course of my recent years was seeing Bill Gates speak at the Harvard Commencement in 2007.

I remember Gates pointing out an irony. He said that the brilliant people who create and market software do such amazing things -- and, hey, it's just a piece of software! Why can't we put that same brilliance to work to save the lives of thousands and millions of people around the world -- say, by eliminating malaria.

These problems are solvable, he said. It's just a matter of execution.  (Watch the speech.)

I'm noticing that Microsoft is releasing yet another version of its software (Windows 10), and that it is pulling out all the stops. The campaign is called "Upgrade Your World."

In the spirit of Bill Gates, I would like to ask: what would it look like if we REALLY upgraded our world?  What would it mean if all the great minds of the tech world tackled a life-and-death problem.

There are several confronting us. I suggest they start with the most urgent.

 Upgrade Your World. Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

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The logic is simple: nuclear power and nuclear weapons result in irreparable harm to human health. Decades of evidence is in. There's no more disagreement. Now it's just a political problem. (And everyone knows: Bill Gates is nothing if not logical.)

(See NO NUKES PHILANTHROPY: How to spend $1 billion wisely)

Do we have a way to immerse ourselves in the experience of what the use of those nuclear weapons would really mean -- prospectively -- so that we can truly cause ourselves to confront our own inaction?

(See Stop engaging in risky behavior )

Let's dedicate June, July, and August this year to recognizing the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9, 2015). . . AND let's do something about it: make a nuclear ban a reality.

(See TIME FOR A NUCLEAR BAN? On the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki )

Perhaps most startling of all, the area affected by 3rd degree burns would extend far beyond the city limits to encompass towns as far north as Waukegan, as far west as St. Charles, and as far south as Crete, and as far east as Gary, IN.

(See What Would a Nuclear Weapon Do to Chicago? (Go ahead, guess . . . )

Met Lab scientists convened a "Committee on Social and Political Implications of Atomic Energy" to quickly compile recommendations for the U.S. government. Their report recommended . . . .

(See Unfinished Business in Chicago (Nuclear disarmament, that is))