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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    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.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (16549 previous messages)

rshow55 - 06:28am Nov 5, 2003 EST (# 16550 of 16552)
Can we do a better job of finding truth? YES. Click "rshow55" for some things Lchic and I have done and worked for on this thread.

16536 includes this:

I did hope that the basic point of would interest some people - maybe Jorian most of all.

and asked:

"How many people know how high the frequency of "the most common things" is - not just in language - but in most things people do?

In 16541 Jorian gives his answer:

" Everyone who is not comatose."

If only that were true, we'd be able to sort out a lot more messes than we can - and people could, and would, make better decisions.

Jorian refers to my

" Jorian has a low opinion of platitudes - but when there are basic facts and relations that should be platitudes - because they are of very wide application - yet those fact and relations are not widely known - it can be useful to work those things out.

and suggests that I substitute "luck" for "platitude" in the passage.

How about substituting the phrase " culturally standard search keys" instead? It doesn't roll off the tongue, I'll admit. But it does deal with the function that "platitudes" serve in cultures. ( If you ask a friend for advice - the best thing he can do is give you "something to think about " so you can sort your problem out for yourself. That something is going to be a platitudinous search key. Some search keys are much better than others - and much better than no search key at all - but no search key works for every purpose.

- - -

Here's a fact. If you will, a "search key" - a way of organizing material. I don't believe that it existed, in such a clear form, until I worked it out - with lchic's help.

Fact: All the math that is applicable to engineering comes from these basic fields - each old - each informing each of the others dialectically, in focusing fashion - every which way.

. Geometry . . . . Calculus

. Arithmetic . . . Algebra

If people knew that - and it could be presented at every piagetian level above the sensorimotor, they'd be able to learn and talk about math more easily than they do now. I'd like that simple fact about the core of math to become part of our common culture.

"Search keys" of that kind are organizing principles - and people need them. People who work together have to share a lot of the same "search keys" so that they can communicate efficiently.

THE NEW YORK TIMES is continuously engaged in building culture - in entertaining and useful ways. It doesn't want to bore - but it makes sense for it to ask "what matters?" in ways that serve its readers - and often - common ground about simple things matters.

- - -

When I first learned the relations in - the most useful facts in classical cryptography - I was amazed at how powerful they were. Could it be that everybody else knew them?

There's a very widely respected book in education

The Struggle for the American Curriculum 1893-1958 by Herbert M. Kliebard Routledge, 1995

That struggle would have been far different from the way it was - and better for society - if the importance of very common things were widely understood.

Curriculum decisions, and many other decisions all through society, would improve radically now if the importance

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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense