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Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's
war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars"
defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make
the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an
application of science be successful? Is a militarized space
inevitable, necessary or impossible?
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new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every
(790 previous messages)
- 09:12pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#791
Debate? Dissent? Discussion? Oh, Don't Go There! By MICHIKO
Wondered re Kakutani's definition of X generation .. has a USA bias
Though many Boomers may have lost faith in the federal
government, X'ers never had faith. .. The generation of high-top
Velcro sneakers, button-fly jeans, and Y-necklaces is also the
generation of smaller government, accountable legislators, and
' .. could not see any unification among Xers. "We just don't
have anything happening. There's nothing to motivate us to be one
force for one cause," ..
"I don't think there was one event," said Poole. "But for us,
it was probably the end of the Cold War because it confirmed the
U.S. as this powerful country. It probably adds to this overall
notion, somewhere between arrogance and confidence, of people
feeling that in this country, nothing's dangerous and that
everything's safe." (1999)
- 09:33pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#792
MICHIKO KAKUTANI's piece does have a US bias. But
it contains a lot of interesting stuff!
It assumes, as postmodernism does, and as the people described
do, that with "cultural relativism" there are no "truths."
And in the real world, of course there ARE things that are really
true - - that may have been derived "statistically" in some sense --
but where the probabilities, in the logic trees that actually apply,
converge to probability values of exactly 0, or
Boundaries may be fuzzy -- but much in logic isn't concerned with
precision where fuzziness at boundaries matters.
The statement that "there are oceans on the eastern and
western boundaries of the "lower 48" United States" is a
And there are many other facts, cultural relativism
notwithstanding, so long as people are connecting the same
There are enough such facts, if people are forced to look
at them, to completely rule out all presently announced "missile
defense" programs as technically valid defenses . . . whether you
happen to like the abstract idea of missile defense or not.
- 10:07pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#793
Wanted to add
subjectivity enshrines ideas that are partial and
fragmentary by definition, it tends to preclude searches for
larger, overarching truths, thereby undermining a strong culture
At the same time, multiculturalism and identity politics were
questioning the very existence of objective truths and a single
It appears in some ways the 'simple overarching' truths are
less obvious -- harder to hunt and find ? Why?
- 10:40pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#794
Part of the reason is that people are uncomfortable
consciously with an idea that has a great deal to do with how
we all "connect the dots." That's the idea that from statistical
correllations we can infer patterns that become very, very clear. If
those inferences match enough -- if they "map" a checkable
"territory" in enough ways -- we may come to trust them as
facts - - for many purposes - - unless there are real reasons
to question them. A lot of things in the interior of math, for
example, are correct - -- though when people started dealing
with them, they were less certain. http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@@.ee7b2bd/240
. . . 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 . . . (Here is a draft of
that paper, which was accepted with revisions, and published in
Psychological Review, v104, n.2, 211-240, 1997 http://lsi.argreenhouse.com/lsi/papers/PSYCHREV96.html
Beyond issues of statistical inference -- there are other
problems having to do with our nature as social, team animals, We
include, and try to tell the truth to, people we regard as "sames"
and exclude and often try to lie to people thought of as "others" -
- people we often think of as "enemies."
Kakutani speaks of multiculturalism and identity
politics . . . . words denoting "team identity." People
WANT to exclude, decieve, and not listen to "outsiders." They
do these things - and the consequences can often be inefficient and
Lchic and I have dealt with these issues in detail in Paradigm
Shift .... whose getting there? ... (ke refs in MD116 rshow55
3/2/02 5:34pm ) and in
Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human
There's more to say, more to think through - - but I'm sure of
this. We have to objectively, clinically, look at how people
actually behave -- including ways where people aren't conscious, or
rational -- - so that we can get a more practical, and humane sense
of what it is to be human beings.
If we did that, I think we could go a long way towards what
Albert Einstein was asking for when he said this:
" We must never relax our efforts to arouse in
the people of the world, and especially in their governments, an
awareness of the unprecedented disaster which they are absolutely
certain to bring on themselves unless there is a fundamental
change in their attitudes toward one another as well as in their
concept of the future. The unleashed power of the atom has changed
everything except our way of thinking."
I think we're close to knowing enough to actually do as Einstein
asks - if we check our work - and set about it.
The missile defense case is a very good one - it shows human
"logic" flaws and deceptive patterns very clearly -- and if we could
sort out the MD mess, we could sort out a number of other messes,
including many that have concerned almarst , as well.
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