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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 - 02:52pm Jul 31, 2001 EST (#7652 of 7772) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

MD7637 lunarchick 7/31/01 8:22am includes some very important links.

complexity -

A Beginner's Primer on the Investigation of Forensic Evidence ~

Tainting Evidence -

MD7641 rshowalter 7/31/01 8:54am

. . .

Sometimes, the broad need for human good and safety can be achieved by focusing tightly on narrow, key facts.

There are issues of engineering --- about controls, about equations, about the way computer programs get slower and slower with increasing complexity -- that may be uninteresting in isolation -- but that bear crucially on matters of life and death, and wide interest.

The entire missile defense program, considered as a whole, with few relatively unimportant exceptions, is fraudulent at the levels military conduct takes. For the safety of the world, and the honor of the United States, certain facts, some "too detailed" from many other points of view, matter a great deal. Is this a "hopeless case" ?

A major criticism of this board is "too complicated" . . . even if it is right -- how could the argument ever be sold to real people, who would have to judge?

Some of the problems in this situation are common to others, and have been dealt with successfully by whole "sociotechnical systems" -- especially systems of people who have learned how to present complicated cases in court. Such problems come up in court cases very often. Patent litigation, something I used to know and love ( and still think about, for reasons set out in The Virginity, by Rudyard Kipling ) is full of such problems.

This thread, set out to exploit some new possibilities with the internet, including the internet's expanded memory capacities, and expanded ability to handle complexity, resembles in some ways an incomplete part of a court case. The words are here. Logic is here. Evidence is here. Discourse, and disagreements that others could, in theory, judge, are here. The complexity is daunting, and the medium is "monochromatic" - - the case does not, as it stands, easily fit in people's heads, though key parts of it, involving "show stopper" technical problems, are no harder than technical problems that are successfully explained to "ordinary people" when it counts.

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