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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?
(7652 previous messages)
- 02:54pm Jul 31, 2001 EST (#7653
Handling the complexity involved isn't hopeless, and it is best
done when different kinds of people, with different equipment and
skills, work together in a medium that can accomodate those skills.
The analogy to courtroom exposition is so close that I'm copying
parts of a very interesting web site, for Exhibit Services . .
run by a photographer and artist who started in newspapers, Mike
Here are topics on that web page.
Models . . . Documents ...Preparation ... Graphics
...Creation ....Commercial Photography ....Typesetting
....TimeLines ....How Do We Remember? . . . .Top Ten Reasons To
Use Demonstrative Evidence . . . Check out who's winning what. . .
3D Models as demonstrative evidence includes
working models, roadway models, equipment models, . . . these
models in the courtroom make a statement with impact.
Graphics as demonstrative evidence include graphs,
illustrations, floor plans, technical drawings, roadway drawings,
Photography as demonstrative evidence include
scene photography, commercial photography, interior, exterior,
roadway, aerial photography, injury photography.
Documents as demonstrative evidence are cleaned
up, important information is enlarged and highlighted.
Cut and paste to maximize the data in the space
Patterns like these are well known, and well worked out -- and
often used already, all over the internet.
Dawn and I have been suggesting that crucial issues about missile
defense, and related matters of military balances, be checked in
detail, in ways that other people could judge. In a real sense, for
people with enough interest, background, and attention span, this
thread has shown some of that checking and shown how more checking
can be done. But the evidence wouldn't work well in a courtroom, for
real jurors, and probably wouldn't work as well as it "logically"
should even for juries of engineers. The jobs of persuasion and
illustration done here may be good in some ways, but in other ways
they fall short of standards that are needed to convince real
people. Especially, to convince enough people.
If some basic facts could be checked, especially
about the existence and dynamics of mistrust between our nation
states, the problems of nuclear terror, and related issues of
missile defense and military balances, may find solutions of
The requirements of that checking are small
compared to the stakes, but they may, given the barriers, involve
some institutional responses. There have to be ways to get things
The requirements are comparatively small, but they involve
resources that no one person can bring to bear. Including
illustration and evidence presentation skills. For example, I've
shown, in words, simple calculations, and references, that lasar
based space militarization is technically hopeless. Logically, and
in words, the job is pretty good.
7/17/01 12:05pm ... MD7137 rshowalter
7/17/01 5:24pm ... MD7140 rshowalter
7/17/01 5:26pm ...
By the standards of exposition needed, in a competitive
environment, before juries, the presentation is nothing like
complete. With a few tens of thousands of dollars worth of effort,
spent on skills I lack, that case could be much better.
- 03:02pm Jul 31, 2001 EST (#7654
There's gross error in the control logic, such as it is, that
leads people to think they can make any of the militarization
of space schemes now being floated work.
To show that, ideally, in an ideal world working with super
people, you'd want words, pictures, and math, together.
We don't live in that ideal world. Words and math might work for
a few people. But most people, including most scientists and
engineers, are allergic to math. One needs clear words, and
pictures -- including pictures fashioned so that the quantitative
issues that matter can be illustrated so that people can
Essentially all the missile defense computer programs (at
least, the big ones that matter most) have an error in one of the
standard algorithms that they trust without checking. There's no
question about the fact, but to show it would take data presentation
skills - - so that complete checking would be possible, that would
be b clearer to professionals, and much, much clearer to other
There are many other problems, too, that make it clear that
"missile defense", as it has been sold, simply doesn't make military
sense. Many are set out, in indigestible but technically clear form,
in the Coyle report. In every case, there are persuasion challenges
involved in explaining these difficulties.
In court, resources count -- but the quality of the case to be
made counts, too. For anything like comparable resources, the
better factual case usually carries the day. As of now, the
military-industrial complex, and the Bush administration, has a
miserable factual case, sensationally well illustrated, and with all
the salesmanship money can buy supporting it. The factual case
against missile defense is much stronger -- but the persuasive
resources brought to bear so far have been, in some crucial ways,
much, much less.
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