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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 10:03am Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1431 of 1434) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

A lot of America, these days, is set up to cut off understanding -- to stop questions from being asked. But if you look at the structure, a lot of these barriers are set up according to a very few patterns -- patterns that haven't been changed for many years, even as the world has changed.

rshowalter - 12:14pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1432 of 1434) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 3/24/01 7:58am

"Self regulated organizations are subject to abuse --" that's right -- but we are ALL self-regulated organizations - at the level of the individual, and at the level of groups.

I got a very, very good question from Lunarchick on the email -- since there are hundreds of thousands of Russians living in the US, and all over the world - how come there are communication problems that are deep and intractable?

Partly by mistake among all concerned, and partly with due to the actions of all concerned. Communication, to work, takes active cooperation, always within defined limits. To cut off that cooperation, so that communication stays within limits, and to see that certain kinds of questions aren't asked -- one responds in conversation in ways that stop the other person's train of thought -- either by saying something senseless, that doesn't connect at all, or by lying, saying something the person you're talking to won't or can't believe, or that leads into contradictions. That stops thought and conversation dead.

People do this hundreds of times a day in ordinary conversation -- and at a certain important level, we are all liars at least at this level. To cut off trains of thought, we mislead and deflect.

Just now, I've got a little searching to do, and a bit of typing, - trying to set out a couple of quotes that I think might interest Russians, and Americans, too. One of the best things I saw this morning was a passage from Quinn's

.. Strategies for Change: Logical Incrementalism

which might well have been named

"Illogical, humane, incrementalism."

people have to take things step by step, and get used to things, and make adjustments. And they are right to be wary -- because they live in worlds too complicated for them to completely understand.

rshowalter - 12:38pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1433 of 1434) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Human Beings are both much more and much less than "logical beings" -- and some of the best things about us are associative and intuitive. Humanity would be unthinkable otherwise. But that also means that groups of people can convince each other of ideas that are dangerous and wrong.

In I wrote this:

A body of work with profound philosophical and practical consequences is

A Solution to Plato's Problem: The Latent Semantic Analysis Theory of Acquisition, Induction and Representation of Knowledge by Thomas K. Landauer and Susan Dumais ..... (Landauer is at the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, and Dumais is now at Microsoft.)

Here is a draft of that paper, which was accepted with revisions, and published in Psychological Review, v104, n.2, 211-240, 1997

I'm also hotkeying a piece of my own, that was intended to be part of a thesis proposal that has not been accepted. "Statistical-Associational Correllation and Symbol Reasoning may be mutually reinforcing. The example of LSA."

It includes these passages:

"Landauer and Dumais draw this basic conclusion:

" " . . . with respect to (correlations) supposed to allow the learning of language and other large bodies of complexly structured knowledge, domains in which there are very many facts each weakly related to very many others, effective simulation may require data sets of the same size and content as those encountered by human learners. Formally, that is because weak local constraints can combine to produce strong local effects in aggregate(9).

" ". . . a particular computational arrangement is not assumed.

" " We, of course, intend no claim that the mind or brain actually computes a singular value decomposition on a perfectly remembered event-by-context matrix of its lifetime experience using the mathematical machinery of complex sparse-matrix manipulation algorithms. What we suppose is merely that the mind-brain stores and reprocessed its input in some manner that has approximately the same effect(10)."

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