Now a fixture at Department of Homeland Security science and technology conferences, SIGMA is a loosely affiliated group of science fiction writers who are offering pro bono advice to anyone in government who want their thoughts on how to protect the nation.
The group has the ear of Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Jay Cohen, head of the science and technology directorate, who has said he likes their unconventional thinking. Members of the group recently offered a rambling, sometimes strident string of ideas at a panel discussion promoting the group at the DHS science and technology conference.
Among the group’s approximately 24 members is Larry Niven, the bestselling and award-winning author of such books as “Ringworld” and “Lucifer’s Hammer,” which he co-wrote with SIGMA member Jerry Pournelle.
Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.
“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
“Do you know how politically incorrect you are?” Pournelle asked.
“I know it may not be possible to use this solution, but it does work,” Niven replied.
Words fail. I always knew Niven was a bit of an ass but I'm still baffled at his 'logic' (and really, the entire SIGMA concept itself -- I mean, wtf thought that was a good idea?).
Actually, I think the SIGMA group was in many ways a good idea. Sure, there were jerks in the group, but think about this. Science fiction writers, in a way, specialize in anticipating how technology may develop or be applied and the idea was to anticipate unforeseen risks for terrorist attacks. My friend got a bit of a reputation as "Dr. No" since writers would throw out ideas and he would explain how the science could not possibly work. Some of the discussions I think were also fruitful for helping make our country safer. I would recommend reading Greg Bear's "Quantico" which cam out of some of these ideas. http://www.quanticothebook.com/
Last book of Bear's that I read, was Eon. It had an super-evolved human civilization from the future that had an entire social class that revered the teachings of Ralph Nader. They were called Naderites. Aside from that, it wasn't half bad.
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