Re: spears versus shields

Michael Lorrey (
Sat, 28 Feb 1998 17:12:45 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Michael Lorrey <> writes:
> > On the contrary, most forms of personal defense can readily handle most any
> > personal threat, even so far as poison gas.
> It should be noted that this thread deals with defenses in general,
> not just personal defense. Can the shields protect better than the
> spears hurt? How do you create a personal defense, usable in daily
> life, that can save you from (say) half a tonne of ammonium nitrate
> explosives? Is there a *workable* defense against unexpected attacks
> with nuclear weapons or killer nanites?

> > I think that the day some terrorist group demonstrates their ability to deploy
> > a nuke in an urban area is the day that SDI technologies will quickly come to
> > the market, if only at first for cities to purchase for their police forces.
> Huh? I assume you are assuming the terrorists would be silly enough to
> use a missile of some kind, possible to track from afar (and leaving a
> trail to the launch point). A more likely use would be to drive a van
> with a nuke to the destination, leave by commuter train or something
> similar, and then blow it up. How does SDI help in this scenario?
> If you can see your enemy and know he is your enemy, then things are
> much more even. But surprise attacks with weapons of mass destruction
> are hard to deal with, since you may not know there is a real threat
> until it is to late.

True, but setting up a perimeter around a city to sense excessive radition sources
is rather easy and low tech. Up to now there has not been a need, and of course
nobody will do anything about it till someone gets nuked.

High energy lasers are quite workable. SDI found this out rather early. What is
difficult in a large layered defense is not a defense against the occasional
terrorist attack but in the MAD type attack using thousands of warheads at once.
THis sort of attack requires the use of rather large computing and network
capabilities, that are on the verge of being commercially feasible. Contrary to the
media propaganda, SDI was a smashing success as a research program. The only reason
we don't have such a system in place right now is politicians and money, not
technology. As Ashton Martin of Physicians for Social Responsibility has
acknowledged, "The debate is not longer scientific." (this quote dates back to 1987)

Thus, for a distributed system, where rather than a few huge battlestations, every
community has a ground based system to protect against air attacks, with a radiation
sensor network to locate ground mobile warheads, this could be a rather robust
system for defense. Oh, and BTW, if you can track a nuke-in-a-truck with a sensor
network, then all it would take to disable the nuke is one of my handy dandy hand
held EMP guns to fry the controlling circuitry in the warhead. Voila, end of story.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?