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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 (5379 previous messages)

rshow55 - 11:34am Oct 30, 2002 EST (# 5380 of 5437) Delete Message
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.

lchic 10/30/02 10:36am

To get incremental improvements - decisions have to be made on the basis of correct-enough understandings. That takes work - - and sometimes things are more dangerous and expensive than they have to be because that work isn't done.

U.S. and France Near Deal on Iraq Attack By STEVEN R. WEISMAN

Maybe not a bad deal, everything considered.

Interesting dealings.

A complete, thoroughly understood history of the negotiations during the last few weeks would be a fascinating and wonderful thing for the world. Perhaps too much to ask for. It would take staff and effort (and therefore some money) to put together. But if we had it - and it was widely enough known so that staffs responsible for action, all over the world - could see the muddles and conflicts in existence - we'd be a long way along toward getting a lot sorted out.

How many strains, starts and stops in the negotiations and discussions have been based on disagreements about facts? How many about ideas, ideals, or priorities? Surely many of each kind - falling into some patterns - including patterns that might bear looking at, and some sorting out.

On 5 May, lchic and I did a two hour, 70 post session on negotiation in the middle east in the Guardian thread Anything on Anything from to on negotiating tactics that could use the internet.

Later we talked about using the internet and logic to help get to, and explain, facts and ideas that people could agree to. Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? from to

I don't know if these things were useful, or even read -- but they do reflect some of the new opportunities that come with the web and related capabilities.

A friend of mine who is an IT professional looked at to and made comments that I thought were very helpful. He's John Mark Heumann of Houston Tx. Here's an outline he wrote that illustrates how complex things are -- what tools are available -- and how hard, as a technical matter, it can be to get a "meeting of the minds."

2246 rshow55 5/16/02 2:39pm . . 2247 rshow55 5/16/02 2:41pm
2248 rshow55 5/16/02 2:41pm . . 2249 rshow55 5/16/02 2:56pm
2250 rshow55 5/16/02 3:34pm . . .

One thing about the internet is that it can be used to produce context and definitions so that when documents are signed, people are clear about what they mean by the words in them.

. . . . . . . . . .

Sometimes, to avoid conflict, one tolerates ambiguities. Sometimes that's just what's needed. But when problems mount up - a time comes for clarity.

The alternative, too often, can be instability and unintended consequences.

rshow55 - 11:52am Oct 30, 2002 EST (# 5381 of 5437) Delete Message
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.

Often enough, out of the complexity - simple answers converge.

When there are conflicts - sometimes somebody is clearly in the wrong - and even more often - - clearly using words, and marshalling evidence - with an intention to mislead.

There is plenty of good reason to be careful now - and remember what was said, and why it was said.

Basic issues of international law are being tested, and renegotiated. International organization, both formal and informal - is being renegotiated, too.

5375-6 rshow55 10/29/02 9:04pm includes something I think is vital, in the sense of life and death:

"Some explosive instabilities need to be avoided by the people who must make and maintain . . . relevant agreements. The system crafted needs to be workable for what it has to do, have feedback, damping , and dither in the right spots with the right magnitudes. The things that need to be checkable should be.

" Without feedback, damping, and dither in the right spots with the right magnitudes -- a lot of things are unstable - even when those things "look good," "make sense" and there is "good will on all sides."

The current negotiations may be meeting those tests - but if that is true - countries supporting the resolution must be clear about the meaning of the words they are signing on to. Otherwise, the "agreement" can easily be explosively unstable. However much time it happens to take - there should be time enough to avoid that.

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