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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?
Read Debates, a
new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every
(2975 previous messages)
- 09:41am Jul 10, 2002 EST (#2976
Statistical data saves lives http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=313131
- 10:29am Jul 10, 2002 EST (#2977
Rational conduct that requires exception making that is
proportionate can save lives - and save waste, as well.
Sometimes, for want of just a little money - more money is
I'm going to make a guess, maybe a wildly wrong guess.
Illustrating a point about "external effects." I think the following
things are true.
1. I could be competently debriefed for about
$50,000 dollars (1/20 of a million dollars). Checkable "facts"
that I've set out on this thread since September 2000 could be
checked for internal consistency, and for consistency with
checkable things out in the world by competent people with real
independence - who could determine the truth, and do it well
enough to make a case that could work in a court of law.
Everything new or useful that I think I have could be understood
and evaluated by others - pretty completely, and safely -- well
enough to justify and get additional money and efforts mobilized
if that happened to be justified.
2. Getting me competently debriefed would have
some small, but real effect on national and business confidence -
perhaps 1 point of the DJA -which would be worth more than 50K$ to
many institutions, and more than a few individuals.
3. Getting me competently debriefed would be
worth more than 50K to the University of Wisconsin - and probably
to the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University as well - -
there are costs of having some questions left hanging -- and the
potential upsides also seem significant to me.
4. If I were competently debriefed, The
New York Times might be a little more comfortable in a few
spots -- though maybe not 50k worth more comfortable.
5. If gisterme is a representative of the
federal government -- then it would be worth much more than $50k
to the country to get me competently debriefed.
6. I only know so much, but I've worked out
some things, and if I were free to convey some information to CIA
and DOD on a workable basis, it would be worth more than 50K$ (not
so much money, after all) to each of them.
7. Getting me competently debriefed is probably
worth more than $50k to the AEA investors - who might get back
8. Getting me competently debriefed might even
have 50k$ worth of entertainment value to some individual
Nonetheless, such things are "just not done" Especially
when the CIA is involved. They would require "breaking" of written
and unwritten "rules."
This is just one example among many (and the example may work
structurally, even if my assumptions are wrong) of a basic fact. We
often do worse than we could, because of problems of organization
and difficulties with exception handling.
That's especially true when someone might, perhaps, be
embarrassed. We could do with better exception handling, and
We could do with better exception handling and checking on
missile defense and in the capital markets, as well. If we had
better exception handling, we could reasonably enforce the
rules when that makes sense. Now, too often, those rules go
unenforced because they are too inflexible - and violated in small
ways often enough that BIG violations come to be tolered.
- 12:56pm Jul 10, 2002 EST (#2978
Let's see...if you're debriefed you get $50K, if not what? Does
your head explode? Why don't you write a book?
- 01:33pm Jul 10, 2002 EST (#2979
Back by 2:30, NY time.
Of course, the upsides for ME are clear -- I get some
credentialling problems solved, and get a chance to pay some debts,
and make a living.
There are some other upsides, too, I believe.
As for "heads exploding":
"The best way to see and imagine the dendrites and the spines is
to see them in three dimensions, and such images are now available
after much long, hard work by many people, pushing the limits of
microscopy. I was impressed by the image of a dendrite, with
from Mark Goldberg's Lab at Washington University in Saint
If you click on the image in the upper left hand corner, you'll
see a beautiful rotating image of a dendrite, with spines shown in
clear three dimensional detail. (The image is 1.5 meg) People have
different tastes, but I find this image awesome and beautiful.
The same dendrite is shown to the right, after internal Ca2+
concentrations destroyed it. (Ca2+ concentration outside neurons is
about 175,000 times the internal concentration. Much lower levels of
free internal Ca2+ break the cell apart.) In the case Goldberg
shows, application of a drug let in the calcium. In a number of
kinds of brain damage, this sort of calcium damage occurs. In
epilepsy, which involves repetitive and intense electrical
fluctuations in the brain, many millions of spines often shrivel in
the sort of way shown, for reasons that are not now understood, or
at least not now completely understood.
I think that happens, inadvertently, in some reading instruction,
and some other places. Happened to me, I think, when I worked too
hard on an assigned math problem. Happens with the kind of treatment
Nash had. Seems to me there are things to fix.
Back in an hour.
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