On of the justifications for building a massive project like the Large Hadron Collider is that it has the possibility of producing new technologies as spin-offs. A good example is that the World Wide Web was developed at CERN, or that accelerator technology is routinely used to treat and find new cures for cancer.
Since I’ve been thinking about this, I was amused to note that a much, much, much bigger field — political propaganda operations — has also had at least one notable spin-off. This week’s On The Media has a segment with Jennet Conant about the Brittish propaganda operation durring WWII aimed at increasing public support among Americans for the United States to enter the war. This operation found a young flying ace, who had been grounded due to injuries, and asked him to write up his “adventures” in the Royal Air Force. These stories turned out to be quite good. So good that the pilot, by the name of Roald Dahl, was convinced to take up writing for a career. In the middle of the current political noise-storm, it’s good to think that someone involved will go on to produce something worthy of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.
The full OTM story also has spies and forgeries and other fun stuff. Check out the transcript or audio here.