Discussion Group Issues
Bill Schrader Pavilion
22 February, 2016
12 noon to 13:30
B D A E C
A – Answer question 1 on the following page.
B – Should autonomous vehicles be developed by independent companies, or (following rules established) by a central intergovernmental agency? Independent companies might develop a “Kamikaze Pilot” that will pass all the other program on every day but Sunday; a built-in radar detector, etc. The UN’s program might focus on community features like electric signals so that vehicles, motorcycles and kids bikes can be recognized even if not readily “seen”; dynamic speed limits based on weather, traffic volume, etc.; black-box capability for accident analysis and road maintenance alerts. Car-wize, are you libertarian or liberal?
C –Alternative truths are a hallmark of the demagog. This article illustrates that argument by looking at recent Albanian politics. This one by arguing that America’s get-a-job education robs, people of the background to vote intelligently. Is Trump a demagog, or simply the winning personality for a dumbed down America?
D – If you are going on a cruise that includes a daily gratuity in the price. Do you know that you do not have to pay it? Now you do, will you?
E – Pew Research shows atheists are highly disfavored by a large number of Americans (tied with Muslims in electability). Why is this rather small group so unpopular. I have one theory and I’d like to hear yours. (Mac)
Question !: Are we any closer to preventing nuclear holocaust?
“Since 9/11 the U.S. has had a major policy focus on reducing the danger of nuclear terrorism by increasing the security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium and removing them from as many locations as possible. A nuclear terrorist event could kill 100,000 people. Three decades after the end of the cold war, however, the larger danger of a nuclear holocaust involving thousands of nuclear explosions and tens to hundreds of millions of immediate deaths still persists in the U.S.–Russia nuclear confrontation.
Remembering Pearl Harbor, the U.S. has postured its nuclear forces for the possibility of a bolt-out-of-the-blue first strike in which the Soviet Union would try to destroy all the U.S. forces that were targetable. We don’t expect such an attack today, but each side still keeps intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles carrying about 1,000 warheads in a launch-on-warning posture. Because the flight time of a ballistic missile is only 15 to 30 minutes, decisions that could result in hundreds of millions of deaths would have to be made within minutes. This creates a significant possibility of an accidental nuclear war or even hackers causing launches.
The U.S. does not need this posture to maintain deterrence, because it has about 800 warheads on untargetable submarines at sea at any time. If there is a nuclear war, however, U.S. Strategic Command and Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces want to be able to use their vulnerable land-based missiles before they can be destroyed. So the cold war may be over, but the Doomsday Machine that came out of the confrontation with the Soviets is still with us—and on a hair trigger.”
—Frank von Hippel, emeritus professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-founder of Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security