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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 (5908 previous messages)

rshow55 - 07:46am Nov 18, 2002 EST (# 5909 of 5911) 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 11/18/02 2:44am

5522 commondata 11/7/02 8:41am quotes from

"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. . .

5223 rshow55 11/7/02 10:31am includes a line that bears remembering:

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"

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

Didn't keep a promise I made in 5224 rshow55 11/7/02 10:45am , but think that post fits here.

I gave Mazza some limited praise in 5225 rshow55 11/7/02 3:37pm

And gave a bit of an excuse for not keeping the promise in 5524 in 5526 rshow55 11/7/02 3:49pm - because I have problems communicating what differential equations are - because I found that only so much can be explained to "ordinary folks" - - unless they have some sense of what the bolded parts below are

. Geometry . . . . Calculus
. Arithmetic . . . Algebra

and some sense of why there have to be a set of relations for dealing with things that have to be described with geometry that includes curves in addition to straight lines. A set of relations that we have given the name of calculus .

Without that, you can't say anything at all useful about what a differential equation is - and how a problem in differential equations might come to exist - or be worth solving.

When I face problems like that, I sometimes have difficulties answering Mazza, or Kalter.

rshow55 - 07:46am Nov 18, 2002 EST (# 5910 of 5911) 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.

That sort of discourse problem is pretty common - and science writers sometimes notice it. And related discourse problems occur even in the sciences.

In Theory, It's True (or Not) By GEORGE JOHNSON

deals with science (perhaps so-called science) where things are so far removed from math that can be connected step-by-step to

. Geometry . . . . Calculus
. Arithmetic . . . Algebra

that it is hard to know what parts of it, if any, might make sense. That's a subject that I discussed with a lot of posters, some I thought were Johnson himself - in a Science forum here before Steve Kline died - with some reactions set out in . Kalter, in kalter.rauch 11/18/02 2:44am you say some things about the need for containment, and about the predictability of explosives - that aren't true, though from time to time a lot of people have wished they were.

People know a lot about explosives, and the distinctions between deflagrations and detonations - issues determined by the interaction of geometry, activation energies, and chain breaking in the particular case at hand. Chain Breakers

Maybe the idea might start to propagate that it is time to make peace - and that we've learned enough, and things have changed enough - that we can. Maybe the idea is spreading already. And ready to detonate. The world could use some redemptive and detonative solutions, it seems to me.

And I could use a lawyer - and some funding - so that things could be checked - and I could go on with other things. Though, for now, this work seems to me to be worth doing.

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