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My own résumé nominated me to form and coördinate our go-to cells, including an elite cell that I headed myself. Among my first recruits were several Desert Storm vets whose toughness and loyalty were known to me. They, in turn, helped me do background checks and interviews to fill out their own cells.

People claim that this nation of ours is too polarized, that we hardly recognize the other half that doesn’t think as we do. But I’m here to say there’s one issue that all Americans can agree on, no matter where they stand on most everything else: our nation won’t rest until Osama bin Laden faces justice. This truth alone was our most effective recruitment tool. We characterized the ACC as an off-the-books government black op with one simple mission. The fact that we paid well, and in cash, helped, too.

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Eventually it was time to tether our brainstorming to reality. Our wizard cells were up and running, and we passed them our favorite ideas for critical feedback. They, in turn, fed us weekly “News-to-Use” summaries of developments across a broad range of fields. Our brilliant ideas became somewhat tempered by scientific reality.

For instance, geneticists are cultivating plants that grow medicines in their leaves and fruit. They already have a potato rabies vaccine and a tomato HIV drug. Transgenic tobacco plants alone produce dozens of “farmaceuticals,” everything from human growth hormone to cancer drugs.

What if we engineered a hybrid tomato or lettuce crop that contained a therapeutic dose of Xanax or ­Prozac and introduced it to the Middle East? Could that help reduce the bloodshed? Seriously, treat a whole region like a patient.

Or: Does Osama use sunscreen? For decades, sunscreen was whitish and opaque because of the properties of one of its chief ingredients, zinc oxide. In the 1990s, researchers found that if they made the zinc oxide molecules really tiny, they could produce a much more pleasing clear sunscreen. It was one of the first commercial successes of nanotechnology, and the source of the first nanotech-related product liability lawsuits.

The problem was that nanoparticles are so small they pass through the skin and enter the bloodstream. They even cross the blood-brain barrier and come to rest, like shells on a beach, in the sun worshiper’s brain.

Researchers wondered if nanoparticles could be designed to collect in other kinds of tissue–feathers, for instance. That’s what one radar ornithology group is attempting to find out in an avian-flu-related study for the DoI. They are sizing and shaping nanoparticles of various materials to pass through the birds’ skin and collect in developing feathers. Their ultimate goal is to nanobrand entire flocks of birds on the wing for precise tracking across the globe by radar.

What if we found nanoparticles that collect in hair and beards instead? Our flocks would be the occupants of jihadist camps, caves, and villages. We could detect and track them remotely.

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Credit: Istvan Banyai

Tagged: Communications

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