Radar scanner near Chesapeake Beach, Annapolis, Maryland: photo by Dick Swanson, August 1973 for the Environmental Protection Agency's DOCUMERICA Project (U.S. National Archives)
Hiding from phantasms: the new American Way
Of Anxiety. Manufacturing fear, perhaps our Most
Important Product, now that GE no longer makes
Those problematic reactors. Or do they?
Would we know, either way? Mere links in the chain
That contains us, as we are. We can see the enemy
Coming from a great distance, and kill him, or
At least hope it's him we've killed -- does it really matter
As long as the technology gets a workout
And we can walk away with no blood on our
Latex surgical gloves? We can change them
Every hour of every day. We'll feel a lot safer that way.
Or then again maybe we won't. And maybe the target
Of opportunity will turn out to have been our --
Yegads -- friend. But can we really afford to have
Friends without compromising our security?
And what if there was an error in the scan,
What then? Maybe we won't know what we've got
Coming to us until it pulls up silently at the door
In the dead of night, and we awaken in a cold sweat
And check to make sure everything's locked
Up tight. But what if our locks don't hold? And when we hear
It creeping up the stairs, can we be sure
The automatic guidance systems have kicked in
As advertised? And what if the lack of a human
Pilot's cockpit vision should prove critical?
Are our eyes like the eyes of Laura Mars?
Can it really be that every living thing
Upon which we train our technological
Gaze then dies? That would seem a bit unfair.
And we're basically decent people. So don't stare too hard.
One sheet poster for Italian release of the film Eyes of Laura Mars (1978): image by D68 art+design, 20 April 2012
HiMAT Remotely Piloted Aircraft Synthetic Vision Display. This is a synthetic out-the cockpit-window 3D perspective view created using a visual display. The object in the foreground is a 3D model of the HiMAT nose probe, and in the distance we see terrain and a runway. From Shahan Sarrafian, NASA: "Simulator Evaluation of a Remotely Piloted Vehicle Lateral Landing Task Using a Visual Display", NASA Technical Memorandum 85903: image by ISoar, 5 February, 2008 (NASA)
Eyes of Laura Mars: image by Brian Howell, 19 October 2009