Wednesday, April 6, 2011

6 April 1957 “Computers, India, and Modern Worries”

This year we see computers advancing to the point that they are able to have radar displays. In this short film we see how the computer receiver is placed in the nose of war ships. Technology is going hand in hand with defense. And, sadly, this defense can also be used in offensive positions as well as defensive. A move we seem to be taking here in the 21st century.

fortranmanual This year we also see IBM’s Fortran programming language. This computer language dominated for over 50 years (through successive fortran I, II and so on). It aided in everything from Numerical weather prediction to computational physics and chemistry. The mind of man was now being greatly aided by the machine. We are moving from the Industrial Revolutions machine, which helped to replace the ox and cart, to the technological machine, which is aiding and often replacing man’s need for calculations and innovation. This decade truly is an almost intensified kernal of pre and post modern living.

india Yesterday, 5 April, the Communist Party in India won its elections in Kerala, the southern most state on the west coast. This state was just created last year, 1956,  when India  reorganized its boundaries along linguistic lines. This was the first time that an opposition party won control over an Indian state.

What often happens when I am researching history for the year (1957 now) I often find an interesting line from it to the future. In this case I found that on 8 July 2008 the communist party withdrew its support over a decision with our country.

bushsingh This withdrawal was due to the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singhand  and George W. Bush signed the contract which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

At first I thought, well this is good as the IAEA is set in place to try and keep Nuclear power/energy towards peaceful purposes. However, this act partially ammeded the U.S. domestic law, in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

eisenhower54 Now, stay with me here, this act signed by Eisenhower in 1954 was changing the same Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The changes made in ‘54 with Eisenhower allowed:

increased support for the possibility of a civilian nuclear industry. Notably it made it possible for the government to allow private companies to gain technical information (Restricted Data) about nuclear energy production and the production of fissile materials, allowed for greater exchange of information with foreign nations as part of Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program.

Now what is interesting to me about Bush reversing this part of the contract is it takes away the possibility of individuals (that is you and me or any business0 which might want to address this energy as a clean source of future power.

But, regardless of that, the main thing I found interesting in the 2008 agreement was this: On 1 August of 2008, the IAEA approved safeguards with India then the USA allowed a grant  waiver to India to commence civilian nuclear trade. What this then means is that now India is the only known country with nuclear weapons which is not a party to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but is still allowed to carry out nuclear commerce with the rest of the world. 

Therefore we look at the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty). This is a treaty to limit the spread (proliferation) of nuclear weapons. So, we now have allowed India, a producer of Nuclear power/weapons, to not be held accountable to a treaty in which Nuclear weaponry is prohibitive or controlled.

Why this scares me: In our current political climate we are set to be a great competitor to China for control and use of power. This is oil, resources and so on. China is vastly becoming in a strange way a version of the USA around 1900 when Industrialization began to change the face of the country and also an odd mix of 1950’s when the production of cars and the build up of a middle class is beginning. India is a main area to want to control in an offset to China. We, through our connections with India, are now saying to the world, we can (and not have to tell you) make and create nuclear weapons.

It seems whenever I try to innocently spend a day here in the 1950’s it is becoming harder and harder to keep out the 21st century. This is increasingly becoming true here in 1957. As the 1950’s close, I see more and more the writing on the wall for our country and our world. In many ways I feel I would be better served to be doing the wartime years of the 1940’s as it seems large countries are now gearing towards a global world and the means of that end might be war.

After a morning like this, I think I need to go into my kitchen and do some baking. Tomorrow I will be having a sewing bee with some friends, so I shall try to close out our world for a few days. But, I know I must keep my eyes open and keep looking around me. I wonder if this was how the ladies in the war years felt, when the news and the impending feeling of bad times were coming? Did their abilities in home knowledge help them to ‘get to work’ to keep their minds of it all. Yet, have the smarts to make sure they still listened to the wireless enough to keep abreast of situations, to know the best plan for their families? I think they must have.

We are living in vastly changing times. So, today,learn more about your countries policies and the history that lead to them, then go bake a cake. It seems the best equation to use for we modern homemakers.


  1. Donna, I hope you loved your sewing bee. Please post about it. It's a good idea that some of us could explore.
    I was interested to read about Fortran. I had no idea the various versions had been around so long. My father is a physicist and used Fortran. When I was in high school, we learned to do some simple programing using Fortran IV.
    It is interesting how you compared present day China to the USA during the early part of the 20th century.
    My husband's aunt and uncle were English teachers in China before and after the acceptance of capitalism (not so much during). One of the most noticeable things to them was that as capitalism became more prevalent, Chinese people were more able to adopt Western diets and they began to become overweight. Sadly that has been the trend in many cultures who have switched to the Western diet. Rice with a little fish now and then may not have been as exciting, but it prevented a lot of health problems that come with obesity.
    Have a wonderful weekend, dear........Denise

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