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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 - 08:39pm Apr 5, 2002 EST (#1130 of 1148) Delete Message

rshowalter - 10:31am Jun 23, 2001 EST (#5878 of 5878)
Robert Showalter

With the ingenuity the Bush administration is now devoting to making its case for missile defense (and you have to credit them with ingenuity and initiative on this) they could probably figure out how to achieve real peace, solve the global warming problem, and assure the whole world an adequate and safe energy supply, forever.

They'd get a lot more credit for that than they're getting for what they're now doing.

  • **

    With a significant chunk of the money being spent on defense spent on setting up conditions of peace -- there'd be much less for America to fear.

    The needs of the world are very great -- and it is hard to justify the money spent on the military -- and the skilled human resources that money represents --- when US expenditures are so disproportionately large, and there is so much else to do.

    . . . . . . . . . .

    rshowalter - 07:05pm Jun 23, 2001 EST (#5902 of 5906)
    Robert Showalter

    almarst has come up with reference after reference for a reason that "defense" can take "offense" according to a simple logic, that both Americans and Russians can find compelling

    Here's an example:

    MD3871 almarst-2001 5/14/01 10:32pm

    gisterme 5/14/01 7:58pm ---- gisterme 5/14/01 7:58pm

    " It is interesting you decided to dig back into the events of WWII. I never intended to go that far, but if you will, here what I believe.

    " The WWII was all about one thing - the energy resources - the coal and oil. Remember, that was an age of the heavy industry and electricity - the source and the key to the prosperity of a nation.

  • **

    almarst cited more references than I was able to read - framing military conflicts as a struggle for energy resources.

    A really strong argument that the American military uses - - and right as far as it goes -- is that the US, which vitally depends on oil supplies, has to fight for them -- no matter what.

    You can still ask "when is enough enough?"

    But you can see, perhaps, why the connection between military and oil matters has been so close -- in the United States especially --

    You can also see some very solid reasons for trying to get our energy dependences under control.

    That's an argument for other energy sources -- including nuclear energy, or solar energy.

    If the US was not totally dependent on oil resources from abroad, the only solid argument I've heard for the US's need for "overwhelming force" would be removed.

    rshow55 - 08:40pm Apr 5, 2002 EST (#1131 of 1148) Delete Message

    rshowalter - 07:21pm Jun 23, 2001 EST (#5903 of 5906)
    Robert Showalter

    MD4524 rshowalter 6/5/01 9:08pm
    MD4611 rshowalter 6/8/01 1:58pm .... MD4612 rshowalter 6/8/01 1:59pm

    " In some other areas -- solar energy and global warming control, for instance - we face large scale but simple problems. With loose tolerances, and many different ways to proceed on many of the technical details involved.

    " 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 day. Exactly the kind of "wing it" approach Rumsfeld just proposed for MD might actually work for solar energy -- we need to find ways to use very extensive areas available on earth -- and the equatorial oceans look like a good place. For "space available" we might SOLVE essential military and economic problems for the whole world --

    MD4613 rshowalter 6/8/01 2:13pm MD4614 rshowalter 6/8/01 2:14pm

    People can now print photovoltaic layers on flexible plastic sheets. For very large areas, in large scale production, the marginal cost per unit area would approach 0 -- and metal conductive layers with small conductive losses for tens of meters are also workable.

    " The key technical problem is floating thin assemblies of sheet plastic (perhaps 30 microns thick in all, including top sheet, bottom sheet, and bubble floatation) with very extensive areas -- and having the assemblies stand up to wind, rain, wave, and whale problems, on the equatorial seas.

    At 5% net efficiency, the area needed would be a square 450 km on a side (which would practically disappear on a map of the equatorial seas, which are much bigger). That would supply all the energy needs of the world. And the technology, once developed, could be expanded far into the future - and produce all the energy one can forsee people needing -- ever.

    " That's a sloppy kind of engineering problem. Once it was solved - getting photocells onto the top surface would be straightforward. From there to a hydrogen based economy -- the engineering is all doable. - And the world's energy problem would no longer be the current "hopeless" one. Easier than Star Wars.

    " Actually doable. By engineers and institutions that have been struggling with missile defense, and failing.

    " And more important, just in military terms, than a limited missile defense could ever be.

    This isn't just something the US could do -- Russia, or the EU, or Japan or even Australia, could probably do it, too.

    Other possibilities? Sure. The point is, this looks doable, and could remove some essential reasons for war, and make the world more hopeful and prosperous, too.

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