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Armies have always sought to guess the enemy's next move based on past experience. Such crystal gazing took on a fresh urgency during the Cold War as the new discipline of military futurology grappled with the threat of nuclear war. Since then, military futurists have taken their imaginings into more apocalyptic realms. Charged by Western policy makers with the task of 'thinking the unthinkable', they foresee future threats which owe as much to science fiction as to real life. They anticipate cities controlled by terrorists and drug cartels, dictators who've acquired the genetic secret of longevity, even the development of a 'magic bullet' which can't be countered. But do such grim predictions provide a justification for an endless global war against enemies that may never exist? Laurie Taylor discusses a new survey of military futurism with its author, Matthew Carr, and with the geographer Stephen Graham.

Also, from Richard Pryor to Lenny Henry - how humour can reinforce or subvert racial stereotypes. The sociologist Simon Weaver tells Laurie about his research into the nature and variety of anti-racist comedy.

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30 minutes

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Mon 15 Mar 2010 00:15

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