Category Archives: Technology and Society

Knock It Out Of The Sky

Who would know if we fired at the Nork missile and missed?

If we could knock it out of the sky, it would take a lot of wind out of Kim Jong (mentally) Il’s sails. But the down side would be the black eye and seeming impotence if the world knew that we tried to and couldn’t.

So does Russia have radar that would see an interceptor launch over, say Alaska? If not, does anyone else? And if not, what would we have to lose in taking a shot? If we take it down, it’s a huge coup, and if we miss, we just don’t mention that we even attempted it.

I should note that I would think the chances of failure small, since we’d presumably be sending multiple interceptors, rather than the single ones we’ve used in previous failed tests. The fact that we have had successful single-shot tests would indicate to me that chances of success for a multi-shot attempt should be pretty high.

By the way, here’s a good overview of the current missile defense situation.

I recall back in the eighties, when people were poo pooing the concept and saying that even if we could knock down some missiles, we couldn’t get them all in a massive Soviet strike. One rejoinder to that (in addition to the fact that even getting half of them would put enough doubt into a Soviet commander’s mind to perhaps preclude the attack at all) was that we needed it against rogue states. Like North Korea. This would result in scoffs by the anti-BMD folks.

“Why would they build a missile that we could shoot down when they could just smuggle the bomb into a container ship?”

I guess that Kim didn’t listen to them. Fortunately, neither did we. At least ultimately, though it’s taken much longer than it should have to deploy, as a result of years of obstruction from the port side of the political spectrum.

[Update on Wednesday at noon]

There’s a long discussion in comments to a post by Jonathan Adler over at Volokh’s.

Virus Alert

I’ve been getting a little flurry of emails, all of which say that they’re publishing something about me somewhere (no mention of my name in the body of the email, of course), with a copy of the article and a photo supposedly attached for my approval. I also got one with a similar attachment indicating that it was a crime scene photo and they were looking for potential witnesses. No two alike yet, except for these features. I unzipped the attachment on a Linux machine, and it contains a *.exe file (presumably Windows executable). I’ve no idea what it does, but if you get one, too, my free advice is to not execute it.

Oh, wait. Now I see that Symantec has scrubbed one of them.

Here’s the culprit. Backdoor.Naninf.E

It’s a Trojan horse.

Can It Be Done?

Technology Review has some of the initial attempts to knock off Aubrey de Grey’s thesis on the feasibility of immortality (actually, indefinite lifespace is a better phrase). I haven’t read them yet, but my readers may be interested. They also contain a response to each by de Grey, and a counterresponse.

[Via the newly redesigned Cosmic Log website, which now looks a lot more bloggy, though I suspect that Alan still goes through an editor, or at least an uploader…]

God And The Singularity

Some thoughts, over at The Speculist. Not sure how to categorize this post, but I went with “Technology and Society.” The notion of “celebrities as proto-transhumans” is interesting.

And as a complete aside (based on a comment over there mentioning her), am I the only heterosexual American male who doesn’t find Jessica Simpson particularly attractive?

[Update a few minutes later]

Just to take the post further off topic, I also have no idea what it is that anyone sees in Drew Barrymore (though I know from experience that Michael Mealing will find this heresy).