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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 - 07:46pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1617 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 10:19am Aug 22, 2001 EST (#8000 of 8012) ...Robert Showalter

lunarchick 8/22/01 9:44am .. is great stuff !

Getting things to fit in different people's heads -- getting things to work from different contexts - the exposition has to have some diversity, too. Even if perfection is attainable for a specific context, there are many contexts, and the need for different patterns of exposition, different correllations with argument and evidence, at different levels of detail.

At many stages, getting things checked matters -- because errors can propogate. These are common problems, that human organizations handle, in various ways, all the time.

The exposition job is a hard one. The problem of getting credibility is a hard one. The problems involved with proceeding with grace and fairness is a hard one. The problem of touching, not just minds, but the emotions that necessarily connect to consequential action is a hard one.

But with the internet, and its greatly expanded memory and tolerance for complexity -- and with the accumulation of expository power in organizations like the TIMES - more is possible than used to be.

The analogies to litigation of technical matters are pretty close. Procedures that work for "discovery" are fairly close to many informally used on this thread. Procedures that work for TRIAL -- where "laymen" have to make judgements, and results have to be clear at many levels -- are different -- and not yet done.

But there's hope of getting FACTS, on which so much depends, clarified here -- and doing it in ways that work for a very wide range of people, from a very wide range of different perspectives. How we FEEL about facts may be very different. But some technical issues -- once subject to examination, by fair rules, with fair umpiring when needed -- aren't subject to substantial question.

Sometimes pictures really ARE worth a thousand words.

MD6689 lunarchick 7/6/01 1:38pm shows some beautiful pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope

Dec-97- Hubble Butterfly

MD6690 rshowalter 7/6/01 1:46pm

With these pictures, one can get a feel for what "resolution" means. And get a sense of how wonderful the resolution of Hubble is.

But it isn't nearly good enough to make lasar space weapons practical.

Combining facts, connected solidly to evidence, to arguments that can be understood in context, points can be made clear.

For a number of reasons, involving issues like resolution -- issues of numbers and in details -- the overwhelming mass of what the Bush administration wants to fund for Star Wars isn't workable.

It will take work to show that - - and may take some force, formal or informal, to get key parties involved. But getting clarity on key points, "beyond a reasonable doubt" - - and in ways all can see -- is something that can be done.

almarst-2001 - 07:49pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1618 of 1634)

mazza - "What is the cost of moving the world's population to another class M solar system with an appropriate new home planet. Moving heavy industry off-planet is a cheaper alternative."

You not only think outside the planet. I am afraid, you reached quite far outside the coomon sense.

rshow55 - 07:50pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1619 of 1634) Delete Message

Numbers do matter.

Checking matters, too.

rshow55 - 07:51pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1620 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 01:19pm Aug 24, 2001 EST (#8107 of 8109) Robert Showalter

MD8100 wrcooper 8/24/01 10:11am says:

" Either they have darn good reasons for deploying this thing--reasons we civvies sans security clearances don't know about--or else it's just a bad hangover from the Cold War.

" And contrary to what you said, I don't think we can find out from publicly available documents. You'd have to demonstrate your prowess in that department if you want to convince me.

Let's consider what can , and cannot be discussed in terms of the open literature (not only publically available documents, but also public knowledge embodied in the ordinary practice of engineers.) You cannot say that something is "impossible in general" if "in general" is broadly enough construed.

But you CAN say that a specific, well enough specified thing is impossible. Some times, when you plug numbers, something just can't work.

Other times, with less specification, but still a clear picture of what is being discussed, you can say that a job is very far beyond what can be done, in terms of what is available in the open literature. Engineers make this sort of decision all the time, on subject matter that's clearly stated.

So in terms of specific things that are being proposed to be done in specific ways -- you can say - - - - "to do this would take a "miracle" -- a large advance over the state of the art." And be clear about how large the advance has to be, specifically.

I believe that, on the missile defense projects that are being proposed (for example, the one that is subject to the Coyle report) -- getting to tactically sensible levels of performance takes one miracle after another.

On the lasar weapons, which are key elements to proposed weaponizations of space, the technical requirements can be set out clearly -- whether the setting out is right or wrong - - and what is said can be checked . I think I've done that, with respect to points made by gisterme cited in MD7136 rshowalter 7/17/01 12:05pm in the case of the lasar weapons:

MD7137 rshowalter 7/17/01 12:08pm . . . MD7139 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:24pm
MD7140 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:25pm . . . MD7141 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:26pm

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