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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 (5520 previous messages)

rshow55 - 08:20am Nov 7, 2002 EST (# 5521 of 5524) 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.

kalter.rauch 11/7/02 6:52am

Kalter, when one makes condensed statements, they may not do full justice to the subject matter in all details. It would be nice if there really was a "technological pot of gold which may yet deliver Reagan's SDI "umbrella" over The West!!!"

I'm not alone in having my doubts about that, though.

Still, it seems to me that kalter.rauch 11/7/02 6:52am , like some of your other postings, shows ( ahem )a certain lack of proportion. The whole human race has its problems with proportion - and explanation of things in involving math - even the high-shots who write about science at the NYT - and I wish they'd work harder about making things that involve questions of "how much" clearer than they do - when a little math really is needed.

I'm for any research on MD that actually makes technical sense - - and I've said that a lot on this board - but we differ a good deal on what standards of checking about "making sense" are like.

commondata - 08:41am Nov 7, 2002 EST (# 5522 of 5524)

kalter.rauch 11/7/02 6:52am

Whilst you're encouraging the proliferation of electromagnetic weapons you might like to consider their relative effectiveness against New York and Kabul. From the full article at

The relative simplicity of Flux Compression Generators and the Vircator suggests that any nation with even a 1940s technology base, once in possession of engineering drawings and specifications for such weapons, could manufacture them.

As an example, the fabrication of an effective FCG can be accomplished with basic electrical materials, common plastic explosives such as C-4 or Semtex, and readily available machine tools such as lathes and suitable mandrels for forming coils. Disregarding the overheads of design, which do not apply in this context, a two stage FCG could be fabricated for a cost as low as $1,000-2,000, at Western labour rates [REINOVSKY85]. This cost could be even lower in a Third World or newly industrialised economy.

While the relative simplicity and thus low cost of such weapons can be considered of benefit to First World nations intending to build viable war stocks or maintain production in wartime, the possibility of less developed nations mass producing such weapons is alarming. The dependence of modern economies upon their information technology infrastructure makes them highly vulnerable to attack with such weapons, providing that these can be delivered to their targets.

rshow55 - 10:31am Nov 7, 2002 EST (# 5523 of 5524) 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.

commondata 11/7/02 8:41am . . . the importance of finding ways to arrange stable and peaceful relationships is enormous - and the more you know - the more important.

I hadn't followed the EMP bomb literature, and is very well written, and an eye-opener.

There is no effective way to prevent proliferation of these weapons - they are too simple, too cheap to build - too easy to understand.

The old line

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"

bears remembering. Sometimes military responses are necessary - and I've never disputed that. But we should be careful about them - because we are vulnerable.

How hard would it be to make and ship EMP devices into areas where the United States has key interests - either military or civilian?


We need to learn to make peace - and one doesn't have to deny that it can be hard.

The E-Bomb - a Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction by Carlo Kopp Department of Computer Science Monash University Clayton, 3168, Australia is important.

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