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      CommentAuthorJehrot
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008
     (690.21)
    I don't think war makes us human, it's the genital twinge when your opponent becomes biology.
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      CommentAuthoratomsk
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008 edited
     (690.22)
    I really don't think it was our lowest and most ignoble of impulses that lifted us out of the darkness of proto-humanity. I personally believe it was hallucinogenic substances that set us reeling down the road toward culture and civilization. War is a throwback, not our defining trait. Besides, no definition of humanity can possibly encompass the whole of human history simply because none of us have any idea how far into the future it will extend or what exactly happened in the lives of all those long dead early humans that laid the groundwork for the development of what we were to become. humanity is a meta-organism that is growing and changing over time, with a life-span and development cycle analogous to any organism. It would be unfair to characterize an adult by their childhood patterns; unless of course that child never became aware of its flaws and allowed them to propagate into adulthood. Let's not do that with this meta-organism that we are all a part of; let's become aware of our collective flaws and try to actively prevent them from propagating through time and human history 'cause it's truly the only hope this mentally deranged meta-life has.

    And to those who are justifying wholesale human slaughter on the grounds that it helps develop non-lethal technologies: the products of war cannot be disassociated with each other. They are not isolated bubbles of invention. Everything is bought and paid for, not only with human lives, but with the derangement of human minds and the degeneration of the human meta-organism. Trading your sanity and integrity for a shiny new toy is not acceptable behavior for an individual of our species, but it seems to be acceptable for our species as a whole, and I just don't buy it.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008
     (690.23)
    The same kind of technological breakthroughs occurred during the Space Race, which granted was brought about by the Cold War, but still didn't involve anyone dying by anyone else's malice (yes, I know several astro- and cosmonauts died). Exploration can do the same thing for science and culture as war can, and we get the bonus of all the benefits of exploration.
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      CommentAuthoratomsk
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008
     (690.24)
    I completely agree. I would definitely classify the human need to explore as something other than ignoble.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2008
     (690.25)
    I think there is credence to what Unsub said, if I don't wholly agree with him. Without war we wouldn't even have many of the personal technological enhancements that we use in everyday life. Computers where originally built to calculate trajectories of ordnance, after all. Accomplishment and atrocity are often tangential. Both the Soviet and American space programs were headed by ex-Nazi scientists, and we wouldn't have had the Manhattan Project if not for the war (as was previously mentioned).

    War is a part of society that is inevitable--at least, for the time being. When we finally create Killbots to do it for us, well, that will be one hell of an advancement. But remember, Killbots are made for one reason: to kill. And what happens when the killing is finished? Well, for Killbots, the killing is never finished.
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      CommentAuthorUnsub
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2008
     (690.26)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I am not justifying war because of it's advancement in tech. More like you could not have had war without civilization and you can't have civilization without war.
    You can't repress the impulse for war any more than you can for sexuality. War is like Darwinian evolution for different civilizations.

    War is not always a negative thing. Was WW2 a bad thing getting rid of the nazis? War is a instrument of change as well. Also being a warrior where you dedicate yourself to the martial arts and to a principal bigger than yourself is one of the best thing a human can do.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2008
     (690.27)
    World War II was a bad thing because over fifty million people died in it. The losing side was wrong, and they lost, but that doesn't make it a good thing, it makes it a necessary thing.
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2008
     (690.28)
    Okay, it's not that War itself is the driving force behind it.

    It's the impetus of really having to get shit done in a certain amount of time before the Ratzis kick down your door.

    And what drove the Space Race was the same thing, there were many theaters in the Cold War and that was one of them.

    You know, that whole, "Oh, crap! We need to get to the Moon before the Commies do so we can stop them from building a RAILGUN to bombard us with!"

    {just had to bring it full circle, sorry}
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008
     (690.29)
    Okay, it's not that War itself is the driving force behind it.


    That's kind of what we're talking about. War gives the excuse to expand industry and invent new technology, and we can call it necessary to the effort. So, in a way, the driving force behind the war also drives the invention. But in another way that force wouldn't be directed without the clarity of having an enemy to overcome.
  1.  (690.30)
    Is it just me or does the general course of discussion in this thread boil down to: Sure war is really terrible and I wish the government would spend less money on nukes and more on healthcare or something but on the other hand the technologies developed to make better cruise missiles also worked to make my shiny new iPhone! I mean I guess the iPhone is pretty cool and all but I'm just wondering how many dead bodies we think it's worth?

    There's no reason that we have to have a war every time we want to develop some new technologies. It's just that we (by which I mean the government) subsidise high technology industry through so-called defense spending. Though who exactly the US is defending itself from that it needs to spend almost as much money on defense as the rest of the world COMBINED I'm not sure. Are we anticipating an alien invasion?

    Well, this is kind of my point. All that money isn't actually being spent on defense it's just poorly disguised economic protectionism for the high-tech industry. So take the example of this rail-gun. The company being payed to develop it (BAE systems) will have some big development contract with the navy to produce the rail-gun. Ok rail-guns can't be built yet and you can't really say to someone "Go build me a rail-gun" because that's not really how these things work. There're too many problems in the way. All the researchers can really do is keep researching in the general area they're working in (magnets or whatever) and hope that that they make some break through that brings them a step closer to their goal. So the rail-gun needs some kind of new material to be made out of so it doesn't tear itself apart. You can't just sit down and say "ok time to design a new super-strong metal". You just have to keep working away on the research in that general area (molecular structure or something) and see what you find. Because if you knew where to look for the answers we'd already know it all.
    So say BAE are working on some research with large molecules or ions or something and they make a discovery, they've found a way to make much smaller batteries. Well, they keep the patent on that and they can sell that technology on at a profit, even though it was developed with tax payer money. And that's the way thing more or less work the taxpayer pays for all the development costs and once you get something valuable out the other end you hand it over to some corporation so they can make a profit off it. It's pretty much just a way of funding high-tech industry with taxpayer money.
    Well, why not just subsidise these companies directly? Certainly it'd be more efficient than the current system. Well, the answer is that it's more or less just total robbery. Huge sums of tax payer money dumped into research on lasers or magnets or new processors or whatever and as soon as the technology becomes commercially viable then the company that did the research gets the patent and starts selling it back to the public (who payed for the research to begin with). Well, that's not very good and if people knew about it they'd be all pissed so you call it defense and you tell the people that the reason you have to give all of thier money to some private company while the infant mortality rate in America remains worse than Cuba is to protect them from Saddamn Hussein or from the North Koreans or some other bullshit.

    So ok, as long as technological spending is done through the military then yeah, you'll need to build a new doomsday machine every few years in order to fund research into super-conductors or whatnot. There's no reason why it couldn't be done another way.

    And as a quick response to those people who're arguing that warfare is inherant to human nature and can't be prevented. I wonder if you've thought through what the arument means. It means there will NEVER be an end to war. That's pretty pessemistic. I'd like to think that someday, probably long after I'm dead we'll manage to achieve peace.

    Holy hell, I've rambled on for a long time here. Let me just finish by saying:
    Disregard that, I suck cocks.
  2.  (690.31)
    Here's my question, as the greatest threats to the US military/empire are no longer big armies but rather small, insurgent forces what is the point of this weapon? All the MOABs, bunker-busting nukes and stealth bombers aren't worth shit when the force you're fighting is using IEDs and RPGs.

    Spending millions to produce bigger and less useful weapons while dismissing arabic linguists cause they've got 'the gay'.

    Who am I kidding, this is a country that spends half it's budget on the military and calls health care for the elderly wasteful and bloated. Logic doesn't live here.
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      CommentAuthoratomsk
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
     (690.32)
    The things that were invented collaterally during wartime were invented out of a necessity, but to reverse that flow of causality to claim that war was necessary for their invention is not a logical step; there is no reason behind such a reversal. I think it would be more accurate to say that without war we could not have developed this particular civilization, but as a number of you have pointed out: this particular civilization is not all that satisfactory for many of its inhabitants.


    It's like that King Missile song lyric:

    I killed it because I did, because that's the way I am


    And is WWII the only war that's ever been waged by humans? It seems to be the only one talked about here. What about all the smaller, less glorified wars; what about all the wars where the bad guys didn't lose because nobody could tell who the bad guys were? Like the war against the Native Americans, or the conflicts that have plagued Africa for decades, or the Korean war or Vietnam. Sure, these wars may have produced some ubiquitous inventions, but people are still suffering from the perturbations those wars have sent through thought/space/time. Hell, entire populations are suffering not only at the hands of the (what some claim to be necessary) invention process, but also now by the manufacturing process itself. Lives spent on the development and manufacture of our luxury.


    and that Sole lyric:

    whether you like it or not somebody in China died for what you own


    I will conclude by saying:
    war is the method we have chosen to use to invent our technology, it is not, however, the method that must be used.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
     (690.33)
    I do concur! My point was that technological advancement has in the past been tangential with war efforts!

    We spend 480 billion a year on defense. Imagine taking one billion of that and outright distributing it amongst the paychecks of public school teachers. Just one billion out of 480 would be a boon to the other section of society. I, like others, think it's really cool that a rail gun exists in a purely nostalgic way, but I do not condone the price of production versus the lack of universal health care and the simple idiocy of our educational structure.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
     (690.34)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Of course it's the method we use. How could it ever be otherwise? All that is human is a history of desires made explicit via force and often violence. To pretend otherwise is folly - and usually leads to far worse excesses anyway.

    But I suppose we're raised to think otherwise, because authority figures know better, right?
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      CommentAuthorobliterati
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008 edited
     (690.35)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    The Longbow, Battle of Agincourt, right around Samhain in 1415, the superior range of this weapon was hailed as a means to end all wars. Hilarious!

    There <i>are</i> practical military uses for a device like a 32 megajoule rail gun, long-range precision firing can be limited by where certain borders are located in an emergency for instance. But the best long-term use I can think of for a gun so gigantic is either for missile defense or, and I mean this seriously, to help shoot down incoming meteors, you know, just in case they're not <i>Coalition</i> meteors.

    When NASA crashed that probe into the Eros asteroid in 2001 they found out you couldn't blow it up with a bomb if you wanted to because of it's loose structure. So that Bruce Willis movie is all completely wrong. Maybe sustained shooting with rail gun projectiles could do something different though. Eros is coming back in 2012 of course and it has lots of friends. There's a non-war-related function for you maybe.

    Some friends of friends of mine built a rail gun at Cal Tech in the early 90's and lost it when momentum was conserved during a test firing and the thing buried itself inside a hill. Imagine what that monster the Navy has now will do when they fire it from a boat. It seems kind of incomprehensible. What'd that guy in <i>Jaws</i> say? <i>"We're gonna need a bigger boat</i>."
  3.  (690.36)
    OIrwellseyes; It's perfectly logical for the government to spend all that money on development of weapons that can never be used. You just have to accept that the final goal is not to create weapons (that's just an inefficient side effect) but rather to give a hell of a lot of public money over to private interests.

    @Dracko: You paint a pretty bleak picture of humanity there. Most people, if they happened to be hungry, wouldn't take food from a starving child. Some people might, but those people a pathalogical. There's no reason to assume that people are fundementally millitant or agressive or self centered.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008 edited
     (690.37)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I don't see how I do. But then again, I'm not one to get squeamish over our nature, let alone despise it as is institutionalised in most everyone from an early age. The benefiter always being the one already in power, curiously enough.

    If people who happened to be starving weren't prepared to do what it takes to survive, well they'd die.

    I'm not seeing how this has anything to do with fundamental militancy or aggression, though, let alone pathology.