• They've gone and done it again
    • They've gone and done it again

      • The thing about precision bombing is that you need a manageable number of targets - its fine dropping a bomb in a coffee cup, but you need to drop bombs into tens of thousands of coffee cups to make a significant impact. I realise the balance of force is on the US side, the question is really one of application. Especially against a large decentralised low tech opposition, I would question the effectiveness of anything short of mass destruction (which you very sensibly rule out). Yes its true the Red Army wouldn't have a hope of reaching mainland USA (thus US superiority is probably assured in a defensive action). Even with unchallenged air superiority, it would be so problematic to conduct a campaign on the ground that you would end up with a military stalemate (for at least as long a time as it took the Chinese to catch up with you).
      • Feb, 16 2010 07:01pm
    • The Taxman cometh
    • The Taxman cometh

      • Of the two great certainties in life, my money would be on scientists coming up with the secret of eternal life first...
      • Feb, 16 2010 07:02am
    • They've gone and done it again
    • They've gone and done it again

      • Hard to believe anyone would suggest Iran would provide a serious challenge for the US military although the real challenge would be selling it to the US population methinks. As for China, well it would hardly be a conventional conflict - the finance point is a red herring as the first thing the US government would do would be to default on its Chinese debt - carpet bombing didn't work in Vietnam, and even with technological advances I suspect it would be even less effective in China given the vast geographical spaces - so the best the world could hope for would be a perpetual armed stalemate - more likely it would be fought with Nuclear ICBMs and while it's possible the US might stop most Chinese missiles, it would only take a few to render the continent uninhabitable - still as the rest of the world would also be a radioactive cinder, the politicians and generals in the deepest bunkers could console themselves with the fact that they had indeed 'won'.
      • Feb, 16 2010 06:57am
    • Evolution, science and religion
    • Evolution, science and religion

      • for less complex, less frequent for more complex animals), assume a mutation rate of one in 100 billion that makes 50 million mutations in the period in question. Assume 0.1% are useful, and that still leaves 50,000 major morphological changes for natural selection to work on. Not saying these numbers are real, simply that looking at whole populations over long periods, mutations don't need to be at all frequent to have a considerable impact.
      • Feb, 12 2010 08:42pm
    • Evolution, science and religion
    • Evolution, science and religion

      • The maths is less unlikely than you suggest. Two points to consider - mutation is not the only mechanism for natural selection. Sexual reproduction by its nature expresses genes differently between generations (this is obvious - you are not an exact copy of your parents after all). Natural selection can be shown to work on the small differences between generations. There are also a number of other approaches to morphological change that are being explored (as I mentioned one particular 'darling' of the scientific community at the moment is Horizontal Gene Transfer - Secondly, over the long periods under consideration mutation does not have to be at all frequent to have an impact. Consider a population of 10 billion (quite small for a single celled organism) over a period of 50 million years (the approximate length of the Cambrian 'explosion' - even assuming an average reproductive rate of 10 times a year (far more frequent f
      • Feb, 12 2010 08:14pm


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