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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?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

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almarst2020 - 03:47pm Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1906 of 1917)

For those who may not know, the Arabs are Semites just as Jews are. They can't by definition be Anti-Semitic.

If and When history looks back on events of a recent centuries defined by a Hegemony of White European Nations responcible for all the horrors of Imperialism, Colonization, Rasism, Nazionalism, Religious puritanism and extremism, Wasteful Expluatation of wast majority of World's populations and resources and Brutality of its Wars, it may hardly find a printable words to properly describe it.

rshow55 - 04:02pm Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1907 of 1917) Delete Message

Even when "All the News that's Fit to Print" is actually printed, and even if bias is nonexistent, not every American can read - and too few do. Fewer think clearly all the time. All the same, juries often do make sensible decisions. Sometimes exposition and logic has to be set out at high, or detailed levels, and at simpler, more elementary levels, too. Not everybody wants to deal with the kinds of details that experts do - but often enough, the experts actually can and do explain themselves well.

MD834 lchic 3/26/02 12:49pm ... MD835 rshow55 3/26/02 2:31pm

Some words and ideas need to be understood - - and failures recognized, and fixed. Here's part of an undelivered speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death:

" Today, we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships --- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."

Americans, often enough -- are VERY far below the level needed even to read these words. The rest of the world needs to know this - and make some decisions that reflect discourse that is, often enough, as crude as it looks.

rshow55 - 04:06pm Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1908 of 1917) Delete Message

manjumicha2001 4/30/02 2:55pm . . . Wonderful post, wonderful column by Cohen.

When life is complicated, easy answers can be grotesquely bad fits to real cases -- and classify hope out of existence.

It seems to me that more people are learning this - - and that as they do, hope for a better world gets more realistic.

One fact, that needs to be understood, is the brute complexity of things. Just a count of NYT articles on the subject of Missile Defense offers a daunting sense of how complex patterns of fact are -- last year, I posted a number of lists of NYT articles, some with links to text on this thread - some week by week. I've collected them - there are 30 html pages of these lists. Something over 200 articles -- all written to NYT standards, which are high standards.

There are limits to what condensation can do. Sometimes, it is necessary to "connect the dots" and there are a lot of dots to fit in and check for consistency.

With the internet, "collecting the dots" and "connecting the dots" can be done in new ways, at different levels of detail - including very condensed ones, and also very complete ones.

MD1821 rshow55 4/27/02 12:00pm . . . asks

" When large news organizations such as The New York Times cannot solve problems by covering the facts about them -- why don't the solutions happen, when they often seem very clear?

Part of the reason, sometimes, involves the brute complexity persuasion takes -- in formats that simply aren't set up for "collecting the dots" and "connecting the dots" at the level human beings really need. We can do better now - with new tools that are now possible, and need to be developed (and funded.)

We need both condensed explanations and detailed formats that make crosschecking to closure possible.

Patterns don't have to be perfect to be a lot better than the patterns we have now.

rshow55 - 04:28pm Apr 30, 2002 EST (#1909 of 1917) Delete Message

almarst2020 4/30/02 3:21pm . . .

"at least half of Americans polled in a recent survey by the National Science Foundation did not know that Earth orbits the Sun"

Almarst , you're right to be concerned, but very often America works well, and it happens because Americans, in their day to day lives, know a great deal, know what they have to know, and know how to check."

Dealing with people, including Americans, the best persuasion is at the level of

"Look for yourself."

But a great deal happens on trust. You'd be hard pressed to find a person who is widely trusted, who would stand up in public and deny that the earth orbits the sun. When pressed, people very often check, and very often get what they have to get right right.

Most people in America likes a sufficiently diffuse "idea of missile defense". But it might be very hard to find real people, with real reputations, who would be willing to answer the following key questions -- subject to discussion in public about details. The questions, for real systems, subject to real countermeasures -- are simple

Can it see the target?

Can it hit the target?

Can it hurt the target?

People who said that a particular system could see, hit, and hurt the real targets it would have to might be scarce indeed. That is, if they had to answer in the face of detailed questions, if evidence was brought to bear and organized where people could actually look for themselves.

By convention, it is very hard to force people who are trusted into the position where they have to react to evidence.

The conventions should be challenged.

Almarst , I think your links are very interesting!

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