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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 - 01:04pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7932 of 7944) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

My own view is that the US should be acting more sensibly, but that Russia's costs, if it handles things reasonably in its own interests, would be small, both financially and diplomatically.

lunarchick - 08:41pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7933 of 7944)

1000xbigger than Deep Blue, requiring the power supply of a small city (3megawatts) to cool .. sounds quite a stud .. and so it is ASCI White the computer's_computer $110m. Yet a computer ten times as powerful again - coming 2004 is required to 'certify the nuclear arsenal with confidence' (AP)

Computers can juggle numbers, yet are reliant on the efficiency of the
program to yield results.

lunarchick - 08:53pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7934 of 7944)

Checking: mirror mirror on the wall! athletes at the Univerisity games in Berlin will produce urine samples, in booths that are mirror monitored - to prevent sample swapping.

rshowalter - 09:08pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7935 of 7944) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Checking is important.

The Bush administration is committing a great deal to missile defense -- when they OUGHT to know that, in key ways, it doesn't work for the purposes they're selling it for.

But who can CHECK ? And produce answers that are WIDELY credible?

It seems to me that professional engineers, with PE licenses implicitly but clearly at risk, can discuss the technical issues. And an excellent source of umpires for checking would be the trusted people who prepare the Professional Engineering Examinations in the US. - These are nation-wide exams, essentail to professional accredation. Engineers above a certain level of responsibility on defense contracting firms are required to have this credentialling.

I've got a PE ticket to put at risk, too. Enough so I have to be careful of what I say.

What if, on some key technical issues (some now discussed on this thread) people with PE credentials FOR missile defense, and others, with the same credentialling, saying it couldn't work on the basis anywhere near those available in the open literature - met on a web site, with calculations UMPIRED by people who wrote the PE exams?

If politicians wanted this to happen - it could easily happen.

It could happen with enough backing to see that the technical arguments were WELL ILLUSTRATED, in the same sense that technical arguments that go before juries are well illustrated. In the same sense that articles in the Science Times section are well illustrated.

rshowalter - 09:08pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7936 of 7944) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

People might FEEL very differently about many things. But it ought to be possible to establish "islands of technical fact" on an entirely nonpartisan basis. Having these facts would make a difference for action.

I'll be working tonight, and in the morning, to set out key technical points (including some, on lasar weapons, already discussed on this thread) where it ought to be possible, and reasonably inexpensive, considering the stakes, to establish FACTS beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the "islands of fact" are established -- and are as I believe they are --- some very bad decisions might be avoided -- and some excessive fears, on the part of China and Russia, might be adressed.

If the "islands of fact" depend on believing a particular person -- Coyle or Postol, for instance -- then the conclusions aren't well enough established for action -- because issues of professional bias of individuals can be raised. And can persuade people who don't want to listen.

The facts, on these matters, should be able to be established on the basis of engineering practice that is not subject to such an objection.

On KEY issues, technical issues, the question of "what miracles are going to be required" should be answerable, in an entirely objective and defensible way, that the whole world can see. With engineers and scientists clear about all details.

And with the work clear to "ordinary people" --as well.

Given the political and financial stakes, this would be a tiny expense -- with all the arguments discussed, and set out -- at the level of sophisication that technical litigators are able to bring to bear.

I think it would be in the interest of almost everybody in the whole world to get right answers here.

If some key politicians, or leaders of nation states, wanted this to happen, it could happen straightaway.

lunarchick - 09:31pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7937 of 7944)

Ordinary people get 'gut feelings' about the wide concepts. Were the search button re activated it would be possible to check back re Professor Brian Wynne of Lancaster University - who notes how the British Public who caught_out the UK government re failing to tell the truth in matters of life and death (CJD), are now very skeptical of 'politically biased' information (propaganda) intent on protecting specific industries close to government.

lunarchick - 09:35pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7938 of 7944)

A factor that the Brits came across related to the situation of professionals who are paid by the government. Here 'vets' and 'scientists' on the government pay-roll were over-ruled re ethical stances.

Where the search button working (above): see the post re NewZealand HumanRights / writing academic freedom into their constitution. Is America that advanced? Australia isn't!

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