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Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch

On 02-05-11 8:29 PM, Fred Baker wrote:
> On Feb 5, 2011, at 6:11 PM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
>> On 2/5/2011 6:43 AM, Fred Baker wrote:
>>> On Feb 4, 2011, at 9:49 PM, Hayden Katzenellenbogen wrote:
>>>> Not sure if it has been said already but wasn't one of the key
>>>> point for the creation of the internet to create and
>>>> infrastructure that would survive in the case of all out war
>>>> and massive destruction. (strategic nuclear strikes)
>>> Urban legend, although widely believed. Someone probably made the
>>> observation.
>> Maybe not quite an UL...
>> <http://www.rand.org/about/history/baran.html>
>> On the average, The Rand Corp is extremely careful about what it
>> publishes, yet here it is, repeating the claim.
> But Len Kleinrock adamantly disputes it.
>> Back in the '70s, I always heard "survive hostile battlefield
>> conditions" and never heard anyone talk about comms survival of a
>> nuclear event, but I wasn't in any interesting conversations, such
>> as in front of funding agencies...
> To survive an EMP, electronics needs some fancy circuitry. I've never
> worked with a bit of equipment that had it. It would therefore have
> to have been through path redundancy.

For more specifics from Paul Baran himself, you may read his interview 
with Stewart Brand. Lots of good stuff circa late 50s - early 60s.


one fun excerpt, re: asking the phone co to build a packet switch:

SB: How seriously did AT&T look at the proposal?

PB: The response was most interesting. The story I tell is of the time I 
went over to AT&T headquarters - one of many, many times - and there's a 
group of old graybeards. I start describing how this works. One stops me 
and says, "Wait a minute, son. Are you trying to tell us that you open 
the switch up in the middle of the conversation?" I say, "Yes." His 
eyeballs roll as he looks at his associates and shakes his head. We just 
weren't on the same wavelength.

Paul's memory is backed up by his meticulous records. I worked at Com21 
1997-2K and heard similar recounts from Paul over Com21 BBQ lunches at 
the company's Tasman site. I wished for a while he'd write a history but 
came to understand he's always been a doer not a historian.


  - Michael