[extropy-chat] MARS: Because it is hard
mlorrey at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 16 18:09:12 UTC 2004
--- Dan Clemmensen <dgc at cox.net> wrote:
> Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> >Agreed. Normal weapons (and time) have shown that we can even get
> >like Saddam. Osama is harder but one can presume his days are
> I don't think a new class of aircraft carrier, nuclear submarine,
> tank, or fighter plane
> is going to help against Ossama Bin Laden. These systems require 10
> or more years to develop.
And while the un-military types who pre-9/11 mocked Bush's "shoot first
and no nation building" attitude are now claiming in their
grandstanding on the 9/11 commission hearings that he didn't shoot
quick enough and deriding his nation building as 'a quagmire', they are
falling for the classic military failure of fighting the last war.
The war we are fighting now needed the planning that many here, like
John Clark, argued for in dealing with assymetric threats: shutting
down the US government with a single envelope of anthrax needed to be
planned for and John was exactly right that we had no capability to
deal with it, and as I argued, the effective measures needed would make
todays Patriot Act look like a Miss Manners column.
In respect to this discussion, basing ten year R&D programs on today's
conflict is a logical fallacy. If we do our jobs right, muslim radicals
will not be a threat in ten years, so planning the next weapons system
on their threat is immensely unvisionary.
The real threat that today's R&D programs need to plan for is a
confrontation by the US with a nation of a billion plus individuals,
mostly unmarried childless males ready to throw their lives away on the
beaches of Taiwan, with a modern industrial infrastructure capable of
building mass quantities of ICBMs, naval and aviation assets equipped
with the most modern EW/ECM capabilities, ruled by a single political
party that tolerates no multi-partisan politics whose military
leadership accepts as a given a major war with the US within 30 years.
> >Here I have questions. There is a significant "research" part to
> >efforts. I'm not sure that the "R" aspect will not lead to
> >something that is not useful.
> Payback in 15 year or less? No. Put the money into computer and
> nanotech. Then use nanotech to do fusion correctly. (And yes,
> nanotech is very, very relevant to fusion.)
Nanotech might be relevant to producing fusion for itself, but how does
it power my 100 inch 3D widescreen television on Superbowl Sunday???
> >> manned spaceflight
> >Agreed. Unless this is directed to a long term distribution of
> >humanity around the solar system so it forms a distributed
> >(something I discussed at Extro III) it may be relatively useless.
> SI and nanotech will yield this as a result before a "traditional
> program could bear fruit.
I see this as nano-santa wishfullness.
> >This part I am not clear about. Alternative energy such
> >as wind power seems to be working. Biomass conversion
> >would also seem to be functional. I would be interested
> >in what specific aspects of alternative energy sources
> >you find unworkable.
> Oil shale, oil sands, tidal, large-scale solar, beamed power, new
> nuclear designs. None of these has a 15-year payback. replicating or
> refining an existing design may or may not.
Energy conservation technologies, as I proved in the 1990's, can have
an ROI of as little as 9 months when they are developed to be more
maintenance free than existing tech.
Solar is quite capable of good ROIs in many rural locales. Thin film
amorphous technolgies have a cost per kwh that reaches as low as
$0.12/kwh in completely possible market size production rates. Wind is
currently sold at $0.05/kwh in various locales.
Tidal and other renewables technologies actually have an extremely
short ROI of less than 5 years because of todays low interest rates.
Renewables are so up front capital intensive that their ROI is highly
dependent upon interest rates available.
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