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Ed  Sawicki

Lectures

The materials in these lectures can be tailored to an audience. The typical time it takes to present the topic is given, but the length can be tailored as well.

Planetwide Monitoring System

About 1/2 to 1 hour. Few people know that the world is covered by a sensor network that can detect nuclear blasts anywhere on, inside, or above the planet. This was put in place in preparation for the international Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that would ban the testing of nuclear weapons. The problem is the treaty has not been ratified by some of the governments of the countries who agreed to the terms of the treaty. This lecture shows you where these sensors are located, what they detect, and how they communicate back to the mother ship.

National debt and taxation

About 1 hour. This lecture examines the time period from just before World War II to the present. It shows how the national debt exceeded the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the war but the high tax rate on the wealthy brought the debt down quickly. Beginning with the Reagan Administration, the tax rate on the wealthy was reduced substantially and the national debt is once again at the same level as GDP. We pay hundreds of billions of dollars every year to service that debt.

Mapping

About 1 hour. This shows how computer applications can be enhanced with geographic mapping. We'll examine how Google's mapping can be used when the need is for satellite imagery and how we can use interactive SVG maps when we don't need the imagery. Numerous examples will be presented, such as mapping all of Amazon's warehouses and all U.S. military bases throught the world to mass school shootings.

Nuclear power

From 1 to 2 hours depending on depth. Nuclear power is one of the best power sources from the standpoint of environmental impact. Unfortunately, the generations of people who grew up during the Cold War seem to relate nuclear power with atomic weapons. Others overemphasize the nuclear waste issue and ignore newer technolologies that dramatically reduce the level of waste. When evaluating power generation technologies, it's important to look at the total picture, from mining the materials used to build the power plants and their fuels to the eventual shutting down of those plants and disposition of the materials.

WWII war materiel

About 1 hour. This lecture describes how U.S. industry geared up for war production and how the military built a worldwide distribution network, supplying aircraft and weapons to its allies, especially Britain, the Soviet Union, and China. The part that women played is highlighted. This lecture could also include the spoils of war—how the U.S. and its allies captured German tools and talent for use at home—and how some of today's largest corporations were boostrapped with taxpayer dollars during WWII.

The U.S. Military—Covering the World

During the presidential campaign of 2012, candidate Ron Paul said that we had “thousands of military bases overseas” and that we should close down some of them to take care of things at home. Was Paul exaggerating? This lecture includes maps that show the locations of past and present U.S. military bases as well as NATO bases.

War in the Aleutians

The only time the United States was directly attacked during a time of war in a significant way was the Japanese attack on Alaska's Aleutian Islands during World War II. Alaska wasn't yet a state, so it didn't register with the American psyche as a direct assault against the homeland, and memory of it faded after the war. We'll cover the events from the Japanese attack at Dutch Harbor to the final assaults on the Japanese home islands. This lecture uses materials and testimony from soldiers and seamen who were there.

WWII POW Labor

1-2 hours. WWII caused a severe labor shortage in the United States. Production diminished by over 30%. One solution was to have German and Italian Prisoners of War work in factories and on farms. Many were paid a small wage. Interesting problems resulted from a clash of cultures but most Americans were hospitable to our foreign guests.

WWII Japanese Internment Camps

At the start of World War II, the United States established exclusion zones in which people of Japanese ancestry were not allowed to live regardless of the citizenship. Depending on how they filled out a Loyalty Pledge, they were forcibly moved to internment camps for the duration of the war. This lecture shows you the locations of these camps, photos, and stories.