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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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(2812 previous messages)
- 02:32pm Jul 1, 2002 EST (#2813
4/30/02 11:16am ... MD1901 rshow55
currently, there are conventions , and social patterns, that
stand against checking, most of the time, when somebody with power
To do better, we need to consider some conventions.
How do you check? is a big question - and not even the NYT
has fully satisfactory answers, so far as I can tell, in cases of
How do you persuade? is another big question. Some
answers, though they are hard answers, come from experience in jury
Some answers, and often easier answers, come from experience with
Problem is, sometimes an ideal approach for one set of objectives
is exactly wrong for another - and things may be complicated enough
that both kinds of approaches may be necessary. That takes exception
The Music Man is a famous movie about checking, and
courtship, exception handling, and redemption. It is a very black
comedy, utterly charming at some levels, unnerving in others, about
the things that worry me most.
1. Gestalt switches, in our current understandings
and the new ones we forge. In our thought, communication, and
language as it unchangeably is and will always be.
2. The problem of "fast talking" - of
"salesmanship" - where a person can turn other people completely
around, by arguments that seem fine step by step - because though
the listeners seem to follow each step, and give feedback saying
"yes" -- they can't remember, or keep track of what's said.
There's a physiological problem here --- our memory structures are
in some ways similar to resonance coded devices, which cannot
store more than 90 degrees of phase shift stably. People need,
after they've heard a certain amount, in detail, to have time to
reconstruct the argument, so that it works for them in
their heads. If they don't -- frauds and misunderstandings can
happen -- often very expensive, tragic, dangerous ones. For clear
understanding, when it matters enough, some teaching and
interrogation and crosschecking has to happen face to face, has to
take as long as it takes for the people involved - and contains
elements of coercion, and circumstances where, subject to rules,
different people involved, at least in small ways, "take turns
being helpless." There are problems in peacemaking, that often go
explosively wrong - where some things need to be understood and
checked for here. The Bush administration isn't doing it, because
it doesn't know enough. Neither is anybody in the Middle East.
Neither are the Russians, though they do a pretty good job,
sometimes, in spots, as other people and groups sometimes do, as
The problem of punishment, and redemption. In
The Music Man , there's an entirely unjust, and
"unbelievable" redemption at the end, that I liked a lot, and
found believable. Professor Hill, married to Marion, could, with
work, do an outstanding job of leading a band. . .
None of these issues are "new" -- but they go wrong so often,
that I'm concerned.
A recent movie, The Sum of All Fears involves some similar
themes, among others, in a much blacker context. It is a movie that
I wish the whole country would see.
I wish I could talk to some of the people who played an
operational part in that movie. Or one of a number of other movies,
including The Bourne Identity or Good Will Hunting .
Could I just call up the relevant organizations, cold, and get the
interaction I'd want? Maybe, but I think not. There'd have to be
some courtship, and maybe some discussion among intermediaries.
Casey could do that sort of thing in a minute, which is one of the
reasons I miss him.
- 02:34pm Jul 1, 2002 EST (#2814
Lots of people at CIA could, too -- but they won't - and have
made that clear. Lots of people at The National Inquirer or
The New York Times could, as well -- but the web of
inhibitions and rules involved baffles me.
Anyway, there are a number of things I'd like to tell people
close to gisterme - - and perhaps the most important things
are involved with indented bullets in the posting just above.
Problems in the areas involved need to be more clearly understood,
and more safely handled.
I think, with some help, that I can make a contribution there.
Not anything that anybody should trust blindly. But things people
can check and judge for themselves.
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