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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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lchic - 04:39am May 21, 2002 EST (#2332 of 2340)

Author : Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winner)

There are the rushing waves
mountains of molecules
each stupidly minding its own business
trillians apart
yet forming white surf in unison
Ages on ages
before any eyes could see
year after year
thunderously pounding the shore as now
For whom, for what?
On a dead planet
with no life to entertain

Never at rest
tortured by energy
wasted prodigiously by the sun
poured into space
A mite makes the sea roar
Deep in the sea
all molecules repeat
the patterns of one another
till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves
and a new dance starts
Growing in size and complexity
living things
masses of atoms
DNA, protein dancing a pattern ever more intricate

Out of the cradle
onto dry land
here it is standing
atoms with consciousness
matter with curiousity

Stands at the sea
wonders at wondering: I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.

rshow55 - 09:35am May 21, 2002 EST (#2333 of 2340) Delete Message

manjumicha2001 5/20/02 9:52pm .... Thanks! What happened to me was a very American thing - with aspects in gross conflict with ideals Americans hold dear in other ways. It seems to me, overall, that I've done, especially in the last 3 years, exactly what Casey would have advised and wanted -- and that considering the difficulties, many things have gone well.

I'm hopeful, and trying to be careful.

How I wish I could be debriefed face to face ! It would be ideal, now, I believe, to have it done before witnesses NOT in the government. . . . That would take funding - and ideally would be done by academics (perhaps including grad students) at a university that is neither the University of Wisconsin, nor Johns Hopkins -- by academics with CLOSE contacts with the New York Times. Too much to hope for, perhaps -- maybe even too much to dream of. But it would serve my interest, and I believe, the national interest and world interest, as well.

Casey was terribly concerned, eloquently concerned, thoughtfully concerned with some of the issues of information handling manjumicha2001 5/20/02 9:52pm speaks of - - and some of what I did was a "penetration" of the US society, as if it were a foreign society, to try to find some things out. Many of the things I was asked to find out, I did. Not everybody will like all the answers - be we'd be safer if more people knew them.

I'm being careful, and taking a little time. A key question to ask, again and again, is

. How do you check?

and also

What do you really know if you don't check?

If those questions were asked competently, and thought of reasonably, we'd all be considerably safer, and somewhat richer, pretty shortly.

I think the OpEd pages in the last few days have been great - and I remain a big fan of Paul Krugman. Also a big fan of WuDunn's husband. (I'd like to meet WuDunn, ideally with a chaperone, to discuss to context of a story she covered about TV show generated epilepsy in Japan a few years ago.)

I'm taking time to feel rested, and think carefully - and trying to be constructive.

rshow55 - 09:46am May 21, 2002 EST (#2334 of 2340) Delete Message

A Modified Equation for Neural Conductance and Resonance starts with this:

Recently, a Japanese television cartoon broadcast bright and repetitive T.V. screen flashes. Many hundreds of children and adults who saw the cartoon had epileptic seizures that resulted in hospital visits(1). More than ten thousand children, and many adults, seem to have been affected(2). The cartoon makers accidentally repeated experiments that are discussed below(3). None of the children who watched the cartoon seems to have been permanently hurt. Even so, this event underscored again the need to reconsider the differential equation now used to describe passive neural conduction.

1 Sheryl WuDunn "TV Cartoon's Flashes send 700 Japanese into Seizures" The New York Times, December 18, 1997.

2. Sheryl WuDunn "Japan TV to Act Against Seizure-Causing Cartoon Flashes" The New York Times, December 20, 1997.

. . .

Taking time to be careful.

rshow55 - 10:08am May 21, 2002 EST (#2335 of 2340) Delete Message

If what I suggest in rshow55 5/21/02 9:35am or rshow55 5/21/02 9:46am are hard for the New York Times -- then journalists ought to consider other responses, in addition to moral indignation, when they think of rigidities at the FBI, the CIA, or elsewhere.

We are facing some common problems here.

Common challenges. Common solutions. And a common need for human tolerance if anything is to be workably solved. Though toleration also has limits.

rshow55 - 10:15am May 21, 2002 EST (#2336 of 2340) Delete Message

rshow55 5/21/02 9:35am . . If the NYT wanted to facilitate something, but not fund it, and I knew that, and others knew that . . . . the money could be found.

If the point I just raised is broadly improper, I feel proper asking:

. Why exactly?

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