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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 - 03:41pm May 16, 2002 EST (#2248 of 2251) Delete Message


  • Achieve closure in negotiation of specific issues
  • Define key requirements for closure
  • Clarify language (use of terms)
  • "Connect the dots"
    • provide information relevant to specific issues and tasks
    • aid conceptualization
    • dissipate paranoia
  • Provide a communal memory
  • Establish common ground for discussion; get people "reading off the same page"
  • Validate solutions against human, organizational,  and technical needs [cf. Maslow, Berle]
  • Dispel "lies, deceptions, half truths, and muddles"
  • Replace vagueness with transparency and clarity
  • Provide complete, comprehensive information
  • [Make the same information available to both sides in a conflict]
  • Get conflicting parties to look at each other's position
  • Provide an analytical view of historical data (re positions)
  • Expose provocation
  • Establish common bodies of fact that the parties can
    • Understand
    • Trust
  • Clarification of language is complicated by the difficulties of translation.
  • There's a big difference between making the information available, even in the best form, and getting the right people to use it properly.
  • Organizational systems (for example, quality systems) can give structure to human thought and action. Technology can provide "decision support"  tailored to those organizational systems. 
  • Only human beings can
    • Trust
    • Understand
    • Tell the truth
    • Be fair
    • Agree.
  • Agreements--constitutions, for instance--are fictions dependent finally on the good will of the parties.
  • Audience is one inconstant concept in the thread. Sometimes, the focus is on negotiators and decision-makers. At other times, it is on the "general public."
Dangers "non-genuine poster types who are out to put a particular government line across" [Ichic]
  • Who determines what "the good things" are?
  • How can we place the process of clarifying bodies of fact "beyond politics"?
  • How can we separate meaning from issues of culture, context, and historical moment?
  • How can information be validated, and against what standards?
  • How can it be maintained up-to-date?
  • How can incommensurate data be reconciled?
  • How can information transparency be reconciled with information security?
  • The bias of news media is less due to their need to "entertain," more to their need to maintain believability by validating the prejudices of the audience.
  • What is absent from the thread is consideration of dialogue, the essence of threaded discussion.

rshow55 - 03:41pm May 16, 2002 EST (#2249 of 2251) Delete Message


  • Staff (5-10)
    • With different points of view represented
    • Independent of the market forces that drive the news media
  • A few hundred thousand dollars, perhaps more
  • A few weeks for significant accomplishment
  • "Umpires" and "umpires for the umpires" for each side
  • Different staffs for each side
  • Managed by people who know what questions to ask
  • Managers with IT experience
  • Serving the efforts of Thomas Friedman, Robert Fisk, or other public, extragovernmental leaders/molders of opinion.
  • What is being described is a research staff. I don't doubt that
    • diplomatic entities have their own
    • those staff use web-based tools and do web-based research.
  • To me, the big questions concern sponsorship/ownership and purpose.
  • The very willingness to use the proffered resources, much less to trust them, would itself be an issue for negotiation.
  • The notion of "staff" is unstable in this thread. Sometimes they seem to be knowledge content specialists or web editors, at other times subject matter experts.

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