New York Times on the Web Forums Science
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?
(7931 previous messages)
- 01:04pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7932
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.
- 08:41pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7933
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
program to yield results.
- 08:53pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7934
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.
- 09:08pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7935
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
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
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
- 09:08pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7936
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
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
The facts, on these matters, should be able to be established on
the basis of engineering practice that is not subject to such an
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
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.
- 09:31pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7937
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.
- 09:35pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7938
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
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!
New York Times on the Web Forums Science