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    Missile Defense

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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rshow55 - 06:25pm Apr 5, 2002 EST (#1127 of 1148) Delete Message

Back to you!

I'll go back and get a few references -- getting the world an endless source of energy -- getting global warming handled -- getting enough food - those are things that we can do - not particularly fancy from where we are -- not impossible, like NMD.

But before I go do the searching, I'd like to say that, though I worry in spots, fear the world could end, and have some other concerns - - it seems to me to be a time that ought to be full of hope.

Not so very long ago, smallpox was one of the great killers of all time - - and now, it is gone. Could war become extinct - or at least the worst kinds of war?

Plenty to fear, but still, it seems possible -- and maybe possible pretty soon.

"All" we'd really have to do (not that it would be easy) would be

1. to get better about "connecting the dots" - since most wars occur, escalate, and go out of control in ways that require fictions.


2. to really learn how dangerous people really are, and how they are dangerous - so we could know enough to avoid putting individuals and groups into "fight to the death" modes.

I thought Kristof's Kids With Bombs was a fine contribution - probably steadied a lot of people.

I'll be back in a while, on more cheerful stuff.

As I go, I would like to point out that the current situation is a little cheerful, compared to what it could be. The Palestinian-Isreali mess is a classic set-up for a war of extermination, by historical standards. And at least so far, body counts are pretty low. Maybe the situation, ugly as it is, is close to a solution. If it is, that's hopeful -- because every kind of ugliness and complication involved in war shows up in the Middle East, these days.

rshow55 - 07:40pm Apr 5, 2002 EST (#1128 of 1148) Delete Message

Basic fact: There's a LOT of solar energy

"1,750 Gb, the estimate of all the conventional oil that there ever was or ever will be, is less than the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in one 24 hour day."

rshow55 - 08:35pm Apr 5, 2002 EST (#1129 of 1148) Delete Message

manjumicha2001 4/5/02 5:57pm ... ends

Maybe Rshow's enlightening ideas of hydrogen-based fuel system or aquacultural solution to world hunger will lighten my spirit ? So spill the beans, rshow, how can aquaculture program feed hungry NKs, for example?

Feeding hugry NKs requires talking to them, and some issues of complex cooperation. For starters, let me review some posting from last year on solar energy, and aquaculture. Just to convey some ideas.


rshowalter - 09:08pm Jun 5, 2001 EST (#4524 of 4529) Robert Showalter

I don't feel like going on about technical possibilities just now, in light of what Almarst has said. Anyway, some facts, once you see them, have consequence that trace though pretty easily.

The energy content of world oil consumption (70 billion barrrels/day) could be matched, if 2.1 x 10^11 square meters of photocell area - at 5% efficiency, could be equatiorially placed -- there's plenty of room for that in equatorial oceans (that area, in one floating square 460 km on a side would look very small on a map).

I think odds of practical, thin, inexpensive floatation, under equatorial ocean conditions, look good. The plastic film supporting structure for that would have a volume around 4.5 x 10^6 cubic meter - which would take something like 5 days of oil supply to make.

Energy could be transported as hydrogen. The hydrogen would be useful as feedstocks, and, combined with high carbon sources now in oversupply, would work well for making natural gas.

Practical? - yes - I think so.

It would also be practical to put enough photosynthetic area on equatorial oceans to fix all the carbon needed to control global warming. (The carbon would have to be disposed of -- at the bottom of the sea -- taken out of the photosynthetic cycle.) (about the same area would be needed for this as would be needed for solar cells.)

Practical? Yes, I think it could be made to be.

Both approaches, it seems to me, could be a lot cheaper, and more direct, than conservation in a world where most people are now impoverished, and NEED much more energy than is now available if that is to change.

We could have unlimited energy -- and the engineering resources to make that supply real are available - in some ways "going wrong for want of something to do" -- trying to make weapons that nobody really needs, and that nobody can figure out how to make work.

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