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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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lchic - 05:52pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1153 of 1164)

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rshow55 - 06:18pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1154 of 1164) Delete Message

MD1136 lchic 4/6/02 3:16am . . . asks what advice I'd give "to a future generation looking at career employment in this a rogue-unregulated area - - " One thing is that, if one works for a classified agency, for the rest of your life, they can always "get to you." The more hidden and unconventional what you are doing is, the more vulnerable you are. Some of the vulnerabilities were set out in a movie starring Robert Redford - "The Day of the Condor."

My own case was especially awkward, and not only for me.

In some ways, I got a superb education, both broad and deep, and was given opportunities to do things that fit me very well. I hadn't realized what a Faustian bargain I'd made until I decided I had to refuse an order.

Until Bill Casey died in 1989, one could argue that I had been reasonably dealt with.

In general, I don't think anyone should ever permit themselves to be deflected from the conventional credentially sequences "for the convenience of the government" -- because our society, for all its flexibilities, isn't flexible enough to accomodate that.

rshow55 - 06:20pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1155 of 1164) Delete Message

MD1140 almarst-2001 4/6/02 9:32am is an incisive, useful posting. I'm honored to have a chance to converse with almarst . It would be desireable to get a safe and renewable source of energy, large enough to serve world needs. At the rough level I've described, from MD1129 rshow55 4/5/02 8:35pm on, it "looks possible."

How hard would it be to convert "possible" to "real?" How could real people, in real organizations, proceed to do so, in ways that would actually work?

Here's the key part, I believe. It would be necessary to proceed, step by step, in ways that could be understood, and justified, as investment decisions. In the real world as it is. That means that the steps of the program have to be sold to people with resources and power of decision - step by step.

It would have to make sense, in detail, from an "investment decision" viewpoint, whether the work was funded by one or more governments, or by a private concern, or by some mix. Every step of the way - as part of an assembly of steps.

Some things we talked about on this thread a year ago, just after "Muddle in Moscow" ..... appeared, are worth looking at again in that regard.

MD1140 almarst-2001 4/6/02 9:32am raises important concerns about cooperation -- and about the blocking of what would be in the interest of the many, by powerful, entrenched organizations. Those questions arise in most cases where technical cooperation has to occur. And they're usually difficult. I'm not sure that they are especially difficult in this case -- so long as the jobs that need to be done can be structured so that they make sense, together, in the sequence they have to occur, as the risky, but potentially very high payoff investment decisions that have to be involved.

I'm working to answer your welcome question:

Any suggestions on how this idea can be advanced?

I think so.

rshow55 - 06:31pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1156 of 1164) Delete Message

One key thing, very much related to the "missile defense" boondoggle.

If a particular and specific technical project, originally promising, proves to be impossible for an inescapable reason - there has to be a way to kill it -- because life is short and resources are scarce -- and we need to do things that can work.

If you know how to kill what should be killed on a rational basis -- you also know a lot of what you need to know to make hopeful decisions. Decisions to back things that actually can and actually do pay off, as rational gambles.

Thomas Edison thought a lot about these problems - and sometimes solved them well.

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