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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.

Personal Information

I'm M. Robert Showalter of Madison, Wisconsin -- email . I'm in the Madison phone book.

I've been working on this thread since September 25, 2000^4029808@.f28e622/2006 where I had an all-day meeting on the web with an authoritative figure.

A recounting of what this Missile Defense thread has done since then is set out in Psychwar, Casablance - - and terror from #151 on. Links before March 1, 2002 are no longer on the web, but are available on CD. Discussion of this thread continues from #265

If you want a sense of how good this thread is -- sample lchic's work ! - (search lchic ) - - . You'll find a wealth of thoughtful, wide-ranging citations. I think she's the most valuable mind I've ever encountered. Search lchic on other NYT threads and on the Guardian Talk threads, too. You'll be impressed. Lchic and I are partners on this thread - and she is much the better half.

I think we're both proud of the accomplishments described and put in context in MD1999

That work involved great contributions from "stand-ins" who have taken the role of senior Russian and American officials - - a role that has continued since March 1, 2000 207

Some of my personal background - and to some degree the story of my somewhat unusual life, is set out in readable form in these links (3894-3904):

In the links above - there are these links, that provide more detailed information - especially on my relationship with William Casey, former Director of CIA:

More details have been posted here on the NYT MD board since then.

When things are complicated, truth is our only hope:

I've had some difficulties. Some might be interested in the results of a search of "CIA;" or "movie;" or "week in review;" or "gisterme" or "coulter."

Here are facts and relations that I believe are MUCH underappreciated:

If you're looking at random combinations, and only one possibility is right, the search is BIG. For complex things - impossibly big, without guesses to take it down to size.

How much does it help to eliminate possibilities (correctly), in the random case?

Let's compare N! , N!/(N/2)! , and N!/(N/5!) for three values of N . . . 10, 20, and 40

10! = 3,628,800 . . . . . . . 5! = 120 . . . . . . . . . . . .2! = 2
20! = 2.433 x 10e18 . . . 10! = 3,628,800 . . . . . 4! = 24
40!= 8.16 x 10e47 . . . . 20! = 2.433 x 10e18 .....12! = 4.79 x 10e8

For N= 10 . . N!/(N/2)! =3.024 x 10e4 . . N!/(N/5)! = 1.814 x 10e6
For N= 20 . . N!/(N/2)! = 6.704 x 10e11 . . N!/(N/5)! = 2.027 x 10e16
For N= 40 . . N!/(N/2)! = 3.358 x 10e29 . . N!/(N/5)! = 1.703 x 10e39

or, looking at reciprocals

2!/10! = 5.513 x 10e-7 . . . . . . . 5!/10! = 3.307 x 10e-5
4!/20! = 4.932 x 10e-17 ....... 10!/20! = 1.492 x 10e-12
12!/40! = 5.871 x 10e-40 . . . . 20!/40! = 2.978 x 10e-30

Suppose one child is trying to read a text, and knows 80% of the words? Suppose another child approaches the same text, and knows 20% of the words? Who has a chance? Many other similar questions can be asked, with similar answers.

Getting the most basic, most frequent facts and relations straight is very important. And if people keep checking against facts - - odds of making progress can be surprisingly goo.d

All the same, for fundamental reasons, for the most common things, progress is also very hard. The odds are overwhelming that both individuals and cultures have made, and will make, many mistakes - - many of them important and deeply embedded in areas where performance is not good. That's both a challenge and a source of hope.

When we learn basic things, the odds of our successfully solving problems can get much better - and impossible jobs can become possible, and sometimes even easy.

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How a Story is Shaped.
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