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Friday, April 08, 2011

Somewhere, Helen Thomas Is Crying

Over Iron Dome, which IMO looks like something the Israelis put together out of stuff they found out back in the dumpsters at Walmart. Nonetheless, it works. It shoots down the rockets which the delightful little Palestinians shoot over the border at Israel as invitations to play peacefully.

The reason I find this so interesting is that one of my brothers' response to political correctness was largely formed during his sojourn in graduate school while he was getting his PhD in physics. The grad school in question was one of those extremely pretentious Ivy League schools. And you would think that a science/tech discipline would be immune from the political correctness, but no, no, no. Far from it.

My brother spent several years being besieged to sign the Star-Wars-Won't-Work petition (not his university.) (SDI, see Wiki). My brother would not do it, because he never could find any actual science that said it could not work. Oh, yeah, there were names in physics that said it wouldn't work, and couldn't work, but my bro, who is the earnest type, never could get any info (from physicists, mind you) that showed WHY. You were just supposed to take the thing on faith and sign the damned petition if you knew what was good for you and if you ever wanted to be an Ivy League professor with all the grant money. All the experience taught my brother was that he never, under any circumstances, wanted to be an Ivy League professor, much less have to sign petitions for grants. He can wax poetic about the entire thing, even after all these years.

So I find it interesting that the Israelis appear to have accomplished a more difficult task in rocket interception than the completely impossible Brilliant Pebbles (Who thought that name up? The Flintstones vitamins ad campaign?) I am also guessing that the Israelis aren't exactly busting their defense budget on these. The Israeli defense budget is an interesting study in and of itself - approximately one-third of it appears to go toward their cell-phone bills for calling the Palestinians to tell them to get out of the houses they are going to bomb because they appear to be rocket-shooting depots.

There are several possible explanations for the Iron Dome success. One I got from Ace. The laws of physics are just different for the Israelis than for everyone else! This theory has the comforting result of protecting the egos at some extremely pretentious Ivy League institutions, but I question it, because all other physical processes in Israel seem to work the same as they do everywhere else.

My variant theory is that this is the fruit of the academic boycott movement. All the time and effort spent by progressive intellectuals to prevent Israelis from being allowed on faculties of "right-thinking" universities may be paying off big-time for Israeli science; their graduate students don't have to do the faith-based science bit, so they spend their time doing science-based science, and over time, that yields dividends. (Getting rid of that debased Jewish physics did not work so well for Hitler, either.) In another ten years of academic boycott, the Israelis may actually have the back-pack personal transport jets we were all promised by Weekly Reader when I was in elementary school.

Anyway, coming back to Helen Thomas, just think how this looks to her. Whether you assume that the laws of physics are different for Israelis (THEY ARE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE - AAAAIIIEEEEAAAAEEEEE) or that they are just better at rocket science than other people (AAAAAIEIEIEIEEIEIEAAAAA they're coming to kill us all) there is definitely some potential for running, screaming and frothing at the mouth here. Helen reported to Playboy that Jimmy Carter has been supportive in her troubles. I thought I heard an odd banshee wailing drifting on the wind from Plains the other day.

The big question is "Will the Israelis share the back-pack personal transport jets?" I am presuming they will not be dumb enough to offer them to the Palestinians, because they'd just strap their kids and some bombs to them and jet them over to Israel for martyrdom, so I am not sure. You might want to find yourself an academically-boycotted Zionist rocket scientist and be nice to him/her. Just in case. You wouldn't want to be the last person walking who wasn't carrying a Koran.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving person, than Ms. Thomas, the former reigning witch of the WH press corps.

After what she said about the Jews going home from Israel to wherever they came from, I was hoping someone would suggest she return to Lebanon. We don't need angry old anti-semites occupying space in a country that tries to be tolerant.

It is true, you know. The Jews are the chosen people. At least it certainly looks that way to me. Too much success in too many fields to be anything but blessed.

Kudos to your bro. It's nice to know there are some scientists who have not thrown themselves on the altar of PC.
Ummm, having participated in the U.S. DoD procurement process a few times, it's pretty easy to imagine how the Israelis can put together Iron Dome from zip ties, duct tape, an old HP calculator and a few packs of MacGyver's chewing gum.

In the U.S. procurement process, somebody dreams up a requirement to meet a threat that somebody else dreamed up. The engineers then spend 10 years throwing cool technology at it to see if they can stretch either the requirement or the threat to fit the technology. Finally, somebody bribes the VP of Business Development at the prime contractor to knock off the "cost plus" invoices and deliver something. At which point, the guys in the field have to start finding the bugs in the system.

The Israelis usually have a pretty dire need to meet a pretty dire threat. That clears the mind wonderfully. Not that I'm recommending the experience.
A lot of US money funded the shield directly
and indirectly.. One espouse to your reply on
An earlier thread MoM. The large corporations
and super wealthy individuals are becoming
parasitic in my opinion due to the fact that
The tax code has been rewritten to favor them.
I think this has helped suppress money velocity
and the distribution of money throughout the
population. The power shift has been so great
that the only why to correct the problem is
through tax code and breaking up TBTF entities.
Yes it will cause pain all around, but to continue
our current policies will guarantee a disaster.
Let's get that Iron Dome thing over here so we'll be safe when Canada starts shooting rockets over our border.
In that interview, Helen Thomas says "I hit the third rail." I have news for you, Ms. Thomas. You didn't 'hit' the third rail. You squatted down and p**d on it! You've had an obsession with the "problem" of a people who have survived for six thousand years though defeat and diaspora, and given the world most of what makes it a good place, and you've had nothing but ill will for them.

You deserve much worse than for people to see you as you are.
NJCommuter - Helen of Destroy is very definitely an old witch, but isn't Jimmy the Grin worse?

For one thing, he's an ex-president. And anyone who knows even a trace of US history has to find it abjectly embarrassing that he walks around accusing Israel of apartheid.
Jimmy - the nice thing about Jews, even if they are chosen people, is that these things they keep working out work for other people as well. Given the rather unfortunate history of the Jews, it is hard to argue that they are blessed. People keep trying to kill them.

It's easier to argue that if you want to be a humane but secure country, the Jews might well turn out to be a great blessing to you.

Iron Dome is already attracting some international interest. It has uses for many countries.

CF - the US has been very fortunate in its neighbors, but I certainly hope that what we have in missile defense systems is as good as Iron Dome. For example, the threat of an EMP weapon is real.

It looks a lot like it is "Be nice to Israel Day".

I suppose one could argue that Israel accomplished this out of necessity, but it is worth remembering that the necessity exists only because they refuse to use conventional weapons to kill a large mass of civilians who are trying to kill them. If the US imposed such restraints on ourselves, we might have experienced similar necessity.
The anti-star-wars people loved to mock the idea of 'hitting a bullet with a bullet.' There is nothing inherently mockable about this, of course, the laws of ballistics being quite deterministic.

Someone told me that way back in the early 1980s he saw a video of a Vulcan gun, controlled by radar and computer, destroying a 5-inch shell in flight. (I'd guess this was a prototype of the Navy's Close In Weapons System)
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