Abstract 1: Technology Overview and Impact.

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Begley S. 2001. Protecting America: The top 10 priorities. Newsweek (5     November): 26-40.

In the weeks following 9/11, a deadly disease started to be spread in the mail. The first fatal case, was written off by the United State’s government as being contracted from drinking out of a contaminated stream. The public was assured that anthrax could not be distributed by mail in the quantities necessary to cause serious harm. Later, two mail employees were diagnosed with the most serious form of the disease, anthrax inhalation. Traces of anthrax were also found in many mail processing centers that processed the mail for many government agencies, the Supreme Court and CIA. Mail was no longer guaranteed to be safe by the Postmaster General John Potter. An announcement by the then-director of Homeland Security stated that terrorists “intended to use this anthrax as a weapon.” This new bacterial threat presented challenges for the government. New policies and technologies were developed as a result of the need for greater security.

I think the great anthrax the United States faced is a powerful example of the impact of technology on everyday life. More advanced technologies allowed for terrorists specializing in biological warfare to spread a potentially deadly disease through the mail. In response to the terrorists’ threat, the United States began using new technology to successfully increase security and disarm the threat so that now, a little over a decade later, we no longer worry about anthrax laced mail.

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Technology and Me

I think that my relationship with technology can most easily be summed up as being completely and utterly dependent on it. I fall into the “must have all the time” category. I love to use technology and hate, hate, hate to not have it. The most recent example of this was a couple weeks before fall finals. I went out one night with a friend. On the way back, my phone had fallen out of my purse and onto the floor of her car. I didn’t realize this until after I got out of her car and she apparently didn’t see me waving like a madwoman trying to flag her down before she turned the corner. Unfortunately she doesn’t go to ODU; and with our schedules it took three days for me to get my phone back. During those three days I experienced the following symptoms: phantom vibrations, panic when I didn’t feel my phone in my pocket (before I remembered it was sorta safe), tardiness to class and lots of stubbed toes in the dark. It really is true when they say you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it. For three days, I had to live with out my thousands of alarms. The wake up, seriously wake up, eat breakfast, leave, you’re running late, you’re running really late, and last chance alarms were gone. Instead I was stuck with your basic two alarms clock that I borrowed from a roommate. Its kind of scary to think about how I’ve become so dependent on this piece of technology, and its not the only one.

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