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Steve_S last won the day on November 13 2013

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About Steve_S

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  • Birthday 10/29/1980

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    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

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  1. North Korea Backs Down

    I'm not really making that case. I'm simply stating that donald trump does not communicate in traditional political terms. The last US president to really make a threat such as this was harry truman and he was obviously pretty serious about it. The point that I'm getting at is that I don't think it's necessarily safe to assume that trump wasn't serious simply because of the language he used in the statement. He said a lot of things through the campaign that folks were 100 percent positive that he wasn't serious about at the time, starting with announcing that he was running for president. Where most recent presidents, obama or bush for instance, would've probably said something along the lines of "the united states would view the launching of a missile from the territory currently controlled by the democratic people's republic of korea in the most serious of terms and such a thing would carry grave consequences" or something along those lines, trump just said "if you attack us we will burn your country to the ground" or thereabouts. I mean, all he's really doing is saying what would actually happen as opposed to couching it in politicized rhetoric. He seems to not be willing to speak in that sort of way, so he just says it how it crosses his mind. At the very end of the day those things are pretty much equivalent in meaning. That's primarily why i think that it's at least possible that it wasn't just "trash talk."
  2. North Korea Backs Down

    I think that it may be a mistake to simply assume that this is no more than mindless trash talk. This may be a serious attempt at the administration to communicate to the north koreans that they are legitimately contemplating war. How they go about it may not be what you or I would consider a logical way to do so, but that doesn't mean that's not their true intent.
  3. North Korea Backs Down

    I don't know that I'd call this equivalent to what they've been doing for the past 50 years. They made a specific threat and provided a timeline and then backed off of it, which is fairly unique for them. I think mattis basically saying, in a more direct than usual manner, that there would be a direct military retaliation if they shot anything at guam probably would've been the statement that stopped it, if indeed a statement from an american official is responsible.
  4. I'm not sure that's really relevant, though, the trust factor. If you have intel saying something is going to happen, such as that, and it's more than conjectural, i.e. you either have assets on the ground relaying this information or some sort of signals intercepts, etc., then at that point, I don't see how you just ignore it, knowing full well that it could be inaccurate. I don't disagree with you about iraq, either, insofar as the intel debacle there. I do think, however, that the situations are different. In that case you had the iraqi government, and many others, claiming that there is no wmd program, there are no wmd caches, it's a witch hunt, etc. The US government basically claimed they were lying and presented very borderline circumstantial evidence to the contrary, which obviously turned out to have been either incorrectly misinterpreted or simply bogus. In this case, though, the country in question is basically openly, loudly, and proudly declaring not only its nuclear weapons and long range missile programs, but openly, loudly, and proudly claiming that they plan to use them against the united states. There is direct, openly available evidence that at least half of this equation is indeed true, the weapons and missiles program half. The other half, the attack the united states part, is tbd. So, instead of trying to prove that a despot is lying about not having weapons that he may plan, at some point in the distant future, to use against the US and/or its allies (the iraq situation), we are left trying to prove that one either can't or won't use the ones we know he is currently in the final development phase on, and is openly claiming that he plans on using. I do understand that you can draw parallels between intelligence failures, but you cannot draw parallels to the two situations on a broad scale. If you're in a theme park and some guy who thinks you cut ahead of him in line says he want to hit you with a bat as you pass by from the front seat of a roller coaster, you really don't have much to worry about, after all, he's standing there batless. If that same guy says he wants to hit you with a bat while he's getting in his car, driving away, still not much to worry about. If later that day the same guy says he wants to hit you with a bat while walking into the local sporting goods store, you may start to wonder if he's serious. If he walks out of the sporting goods store, still saying he wants to hit you with a bat, bat in hand, though he's not yet at your current location, you have to start taking that seriously. We are approaching that point with north korea. There are no do-overs in a nuclear war. If they thought that there was more than a marginal chance of pyonyang nuking bejing and a dozen other cities, though, in spite of what russia, the US, or anyone else (including estonia) thought, they'd act, though. Because there are lines that can be crossed where things like trade pale in comparison to the potential adverse implications that inaction could result in. I really don't think that the US would lose trade with china, anyway, even if it outright conquered north korea. China nets hundreds of billions of dollars a year in US trade. Japan and south korea, both large trading partners with the US, would likely support such an act, and russia is currently under sanctions by none other than the united states, so their opinion is irrelevant insofar as a trade relationship goes. They also just recently conquered and annexed part of ukraine, so they obviously don't care very much what anybody thinks when they believe something is in their own best interests. I'm not suggesting that we conquer north korea, just that there is a point we are going to get to, if the rhetoric coming out of north korea continues concurrent with the actual beginning of deployment of nuclear weapons. Ignoring someone who has actual nukes actively threatening to use them against you is borderline madness.
  5. Minaturization has always been the key as far as the warhead itself, but they've been working on minaturization for probably in the vicinity of 15 years. It's highly likely that they are there or close. As or more difficult than minaturization is creating a functional icbm itself. This, they just achieved. I would be shocked if they can't minaturize smaller nukes with what would be considered tactical yields to today's standards already (even that would be at least as much as hiroshima). The main question is whether or not they can put a high yield fission or, more probably, a fusion warhead on an ICBM and have it hit a target. That goes unanswered. The only real question here is whether or not the intelligence is correct. Are you suggesting it would be preferable, in the face of your intelligence agencies giving you specific warnings, to risk, say, more than a dozen 50+ kiloton warheads land on US cities in order to avoid "losing the world?" This is not a position any US president should ever, ever take, no matter what the party. Past intelligence failures aside, there is no point to having intelligence agencies if you are going to ignore warnings on something so very important as a potential nuclear attack. If there is verifiable and legitimate evidence that an unprovoked nuclear attack is imminent or even being seriously considered, I see no possible way you ignore it in hopes that it doesn't happen just so you can maintain the "global standing" of the united states. That would be total lunacy from where I stand. If he were openly threatening the entire world with nuclear weapons, I would agree with you, but he's not, he's threatening one nation primarily. If the state-run news agencies in north korea were threatening to annihilate bejing on a daily basis i have serious doubts that the chinese government would really care what the estonians thought about the actions they would take. We shouldn't either, if it seems as if he is actually preparing to carry out those threats. Personally, i wish we'd dump about 5 times as much as we currently spend into ABM and fund it by repatriating 95 percent of our foreign personnel, basically every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine not attached to a consulate or an embassy, but we're not going to do that, no, not in any way, shape, or form. The situation we have now is the situation we have now and from my perspective, an armed conflict with north korea is starting to feel at least marginally inevitable. That could change and I hope it does, but right now, that is how it feels. In spite of the recent security council resolution, I don't see this as happening. Neither russia or china want to see such a thing happen, because unrest in north korea could also go the other way. Kim may, in the face of the growing threat of a coup, choose general war with south korea/the united states in order to just attempt to keep his power. After all, if the domestic pressure begins to build in a significant manner over a short period of time, what is the difference in a bullet in the head from a subordinate versus a US smart bomb or a navy seal sniper rifle? Time and time again despots have shown a willingness to choose to start a conflict to avoid being deposed. You say you do not believe he is totally insane or suicidal? I cannot speak to that one way or another definitively, though my guess is that he isn't either. That does not mean he is wise, though, or even smart. The only real hard data we have on this guy so far is that he really wants nukes and he keeps intimating that he is planning on using them against the United States. Whether or not he is serious can be argued, but the statements themselves are on the record. I would, personally, argue that it is not very wise, rational, or reasonable behavior to push forward with a nuclear weapons program that is keeping your country from becoming far more prosperous while simultaneously threatening the most militarily powerful nation on the planet with them. This is asking for disaster in the long term just due to the law of averages. Even if he's not not serious, eventually someone may decide to take him at his word. Furthermore, all he would have to do to drastically increase his country's prosperity in a very short period of time is cancel the program in a verifiable manner. That would also be a rational move, one which he has not made, nor has he given any indication that he is willing to. In fact, they feigned doing so 20 years ago while pressing on with the program.
  6. I think the only real question at this point is minaturization. The physics involved are fairly well open and settled insofar as the tests of the missiles themselves go. The last test had an apogee of 2300 miles at a very highly lofted trajectory. That would make it physically capable of 5500-6000 miles at a more optimal trajectory. The RV supposedly broke up on reentry, but most seem to think that's because of the severity of the trajectory and that it would likely have survived a more traditional course that a ballistic missile would take at a longer range (though, that's an estimate and nothing more). As far as the rhetoric goes, I won't defend that from the US side, but, the man was elected by the people to represent us and that is his chosen way of doing so. I can say for sure that it is not shocking to me, at least. I think that it's fair to say at this point that even if they don't have a functional ICBM with a functional warhead (and they might already), they almost certainly will in the near term (probably 6 months to three years and I'd say three years would be by far the most conservative estimate you'd find from even the most skeptical section of experts who have been looking at the data). At this point, to me, it's simply a question of whether or not we are willing to live with them having them. For a long time my instinct was to say that the guy is blustering, he's trying to force lifting of the sanctions, etc., and he may be. The concern that I have, growing in the back of my mind, is with regards to scale and scope. There is nothing preventing them from building 50 missiles, 100 missiles, 500 missiles, etc. They don't have the typical checks and balances that even other more totalitarian states have. They simply don't seem to care about their economy, don't seem to care about any sort of public opinion, don't care about potential consequences from foreign nations, even china or russia. Many of the things that would hamper a country such as this from building a large nuclear arsenal simply does not come into play with North Korea. What if it comes to the point where they build enough missiles (enough to feel assured that they can defeat our ABM shield) that they feel comfortable in issuing a true ultimatum? We may find ourselves in a position where either catering to the demands of a dictator or preemptive nuclear strike are the only two options to avoid an attack. I don't think this is a highly likely scenario, but it is also not a scenario that I would place anywhere near as low as 0 percent. I, for one, do not want to be in a position where a conflict with north korea turns into a zero sum game. They have basically dumped immeasurable resources into their various nuclear weapons programs over the past 15-20 years. I see no reason to assume that they are going to stop at 20-30 servicable missiles once they reach their goal of production line quality ballistics munitions. Mutually assured destruction with the soviet union, as bad as that was (and still is with russia, in a way) was a whole different ball game than it would be with north korea, if they were able to get there.
  7. Do you think the intel is incorrect? Just from what is in the public sphere, recorded nuclear weapons tests (through seismography, etc.) and missile tests (reported by multiple intelligence agencies across the world), it would seem that the underlying premises behind the intel are far, far more reliable than the intel on iraq. The question is, if the intel is accurate, what do you think should be done?
  8. Might be worth remembering that advisers can be wrong too. He may have advisers pushing him for anything from no action at all up to and including a full scale invasion or preemptive nuclear attack.
  9. Pilotless planes

    I sort of view it along the lines of computer operating systems. The folks who design windows are pretty smart, too. I suppose the main issue is that they are not the only smart people and, as such, they cannot foresee every possible potentiality. The people who would attack such as a system have an advantage, just like hackers who attack operating systems have, which is that once the system is complete, they can't really know all of the vulnerabilities until those who have ill intent in the wider technological community actually get a crack at it. Unfortunately, this will probably have lethal consequences in the case of self-driving cars or self-flying planes, if they are implemented on a large scale. Scale really is the main point here to me in the end-game. Rarely used operating systems or browsers are attacked far less frequently than something like windows, or chrome or firefox. I would also venture to guess that as the number of self directed vehicles on the roads increase over time, more people will be participatory in attempting to exploit their vulnerabilities, particularly if there is some sort of financial gain that could be made in doing so, though I'm not sure what that would be, perhaps blackmail of companies. Imagine what happens if a vehicle that has sold two or three million units has to be immediately taken off the road for an indefinite period of time because of something such as this happening. I don't know, a company may choose to simply pay a ransom instead of taking the devastating hit that their company would suffer were something such as that to go down. There is also the issue of liability. If a car's driver malfunctions (makes a mistake or is negligent) leading to an accident, then their insurance company gets sued. Who gets sued if a software exploit leads to 500, 1000 accidents, 10,000, in a week, a day, an hour maybe? I'd have to bet that something such as that could take a seriously large company to the brink of collapse, even the toyotas or fords of the world. The only way to really prevent this would be to pass laws that limits or removes liability from the producers of self directed vehicles, but my guess is that such legislation would be highly unpopular and there's simply no way it would get passed in most states. Having said all this, I'm not against the technology at all, I just believe it may be moving a little quickly and it's quite possible that it moving along too quickly could stall its implementation long-term. All it would really probably take is one really catastrophic occurrence to have the tech banned in a lot of states, if not the country.
  10. Pilotless planes

    My general concern would be things like pranks. The whole knock a stop sign over and replace it with a replica of a speed limit sign is a true danger. Once folks really figure out precisely how and why the computer does what it does in any given model, there are all sorts of possibilities as far as that sort of thing goes.
  11. That goes to my point, when I said it should be the states job to stop murder. If murder did not exist as a "legal concept," it would still still exist as an act. I don't think that "preventing unwanted pregnancies" should be coupled with the abortion debate at all, because it implies that it is fine to kill a baby because a person did not intend for that baby to exist. Qualifying the value of a human being's existence based simply on whether or not that person's mother wanted to be pregnant is disgusting. Whether or not the government should fund a crisis pregnancy center should not, at all, come in to play when deciding whether or not one should be allowed to kill their child.
  12. I'm not sure what that matters or why it is at all relevant. It's not really the state's job to try to attempt to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It is, however, the state's job to try to stop babies from being murdered, or should be, anyway.
  13. The military isn't subject to typical civilian court jurisdiction. That's why they don't have to abide labor laws, etc. They can basically set any guidelines they want, really.
  14. Fixerupper has been banned from the thread for the above comment.
  15. Gina's operation