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Chances of Technology Supression

  1. May 13, 2008 #1
    As many of you have seen on the internet, there are a few nut-cases out there who believe in free-energy suppression, MIBs, UFOs, aliens, etc, etc, without proof.

    But, IF it were possible to make something potentially dangerous to the world with readily available parts/components. Would the governments of the world, or scientific establishments, try to suppress the knowledge/information that would make it possible?
     
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  3. May 13, 2008 #2

    turbo

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    It is already possible to build stuff that is extremely destructive with readily-available materials, or to use things available on the black market to leverage manageable risks into disasters. I won't mention any specifics, but in practice, all the governments can do is try to keep tabs on people who look up such stuff on the Internet, or infiltrate groups that they suspect "might" be motivated to wreak havoc.
     
  4. May 13, 2008 #3

    f95toli

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    Not really.
    It is interesting to note that the first official report from the Manhattan project (released just after the war) contained quite a few details about how to build an atomic bomb. Groves argument for releasing so much information to the public was that anyone who was actually planning to build a bomb would be able to find the information anyway (the science was already known and now everyone knew that a bomb was possible) and a proper report was the best way to stop speculations.

    Groves argument is still correct. Most of the "dangerous" information is out there anyway for the simple reason that most of it can be used in peaceful ways as well. Biological weapons is a good example; many labs have the tools and knowledge needed to produce e.g. a virus simply because they need it in research which is aiming to cure disease. Hence, the information is available in books and journals.
    The same is true for most weapons and other types of "dangerous" knowledge.
     
  5. May 13, 2008 #4
    Known science technologies aren't what I'm thinking here..

    Assume someone could go to say, Petco, Radio Shack, and Lowe's. Spend $100 bucks, and build a device that could say .... Make all petroleum products within a 2000 mile radius turn into Lime Jello. Lol

    If this was possible, would this information be available to the public? Or would the science behind it be suppressed?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  6. May 13, 2008 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Anything that poses a threat to national security could be classified. Something like you describe would certainly pose a threat to national security.

    Stealth technology was kept secret for about thirty years. The SR-71 even employed primitive stealth technology.

    This is not a subject for S&D - moving to GD.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  7. May 14, 2008 #6

    BobG

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    Your first line creates one big contradiction. Unless some alien race suddenly drops some technology eons beyond our current knowledge, then even your most state of the art inventions are based on known science. Whatever new technology someone develops is going to be developed independently by someone else within several years, or a decade or two at most.

    This simple fact means the chances of total technology suppression is impossible. You classify new developments that would provide a threat to national security or a tremendous advantage to national security to slow others from matching your own current technology level. At best, you gain a few years or, if suppression of the knowledge is particularly effective, maybe a decade at most. Anyone who believed suppressing the spread of knowledge about a new technology provides a permanent advantage would be terribly naive. As soon as some new technology is developed (and somewhat suppressed), the race is on to take the next step to maintain that advantage.

    One example: Newton and Leibniz developed a whole new branch of mathematics - calculus - independently of each other within about 10 years of each other. Why? Because calculus was the next logical step based on the current level of mathematics. If they hadn't developed it, someone else would have in about the same time frame.

    Another, even more puzzling example: Civilizations totally isolated from each other - say ancient civilizations in Western hemisphere and Eastern hemisphere - tended to develop the same new technologies surprisingly close to each other in time considering there was absolutely no interaction between them. Civilizations in the East tended to always be ahead, probably because there more civilizations, which meant more chances for interaction and a spread of knowledge, but you would think that more opportunities for interaction would create an ever increasing gap in technology. Perhaps it was starting to, but as soon as transportation reached a point to really start spreading knowledge effectively, it also spread colonization to the Western hemisphere, meaning the two hemispheres weren't isolated any longer.
     
  8. May 14, 2008 #7

    vanesch

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    I fully agree with you, and this is why the fight against nuclear proliferation is a kind of fight against the second law of thermodynamics. Even in the early stages, there were at least 4 independent developments of nuclear weapons (of which only one came to terms: the Manhattan project). They had different degrees of advancement, but they all were slowly converging towards more or less the same path.

    The British had done some research (in the beginning without the US's knowledge) - which is what enabled them to fear that Nazi-Germany could be on its way too. In Germany (probably very fortunately) due to boron impurities in the used graphite, one had come to the conclusion that the only way to make a reactor was with heavy water (hence the whole episode with the Norwegian heavy water factory and so on). This slowed them down seriously, but their plan wasn't wrong. At the end of the war, they were on the verge of having a working heavy water reactor which would have enabled them eventually to make plutonium. They already had the rudiments of chemical plutonium separation in their hands.
    The Japanese had started their own investigations, following the path of uranium enrichment, but they realised that they didn't have the technical means to build a large factory that would give them a weapon before the end of the war, so they canceled this to put their ressources elsewhere.

    In fact, Manhattan wasn't further than these features in 1941. This means somehow that the others were only 3 or 4 years behind on the Manhattan project, and had assigned less ressources to it. But independent paths (which were going in the right direction!) were already created from the beginning.

    And note that all this was before the biggest secret was out: that it is actually *possible* to build a nuclear weapon.
     
  9. May 14, 2008 #8

    Danger

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    And in reference to the OP subjects mentioned, bear in mind that 200mpg carbeurators, over-unity machines, etc. are pure hogwash. They aren't suppressed; they just don't exist.
     
  10. May 14, 2008 #9
    I agree. There's a difference between things that are dangerous and possible, to things that are dangerous and impossible (Or unproved/improbable like UFO's).
     
  11. May 14, 2008 #10

    Danger

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    Quite so. There's no question that UFO's exist; that existence is imbedded in their name: Unidentified Flying Objects. Most of them are mirages, sundogs, bad moonshine, you name it. The rest have rational explanations as well, although in some cases we don't know what those are. The ET thing is next to impossible.
     
  12. May 14, 2008 #11
    My question isn't about the likely hood of something like fuel -> jello, over-unity machines, etc.. This thread is simply about the odds that science/physics laws, etc, could be custom tailored/manipulated or suppressed to prevent terrorists from causing mass damage, etc.


    I'm just asking if there was a science law that explained how something like that is possible. Do you think that information could be kept from the public, or intentionally modified to make it less harmless.
     
  13. May 14, 2008 #12
    And, from what I'm reading here, the answer is conclusively "No". We don't live in a cyberpunk world, in 1984, or in Fahrenheit 451-land :D. The means to learn how to build something obscenely destructive is easily obtained by persons not in league with the government.
     
  14. May 14, 2008 #13
    "I don't know" is the correct answer, actually.
     
  15. May 14, 2008 #14

    Danger

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    If you knew the answer, why did you ask the question?
     
  16. May 14, 2008 #15
    To see what you guys would say.
     
  17. May 14, 2008 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Actually, we don't know that. We only know it to be true to the limit of our own understanding of physics. It could be that visitations are a near certainty given enough time.
     
  18. May 14, 2008 #17

    NoTime

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    Yes.
     
  19. May 14, 2008 #18

    BobG

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    No.

    If it could, Aviation Leak (also known as Aviation Week and Space Technology) would go out of business within a month.
     
  20. May 14, 2008 #19

    Danger

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    Fair enough. I'm beginning to wonder, however, if this might not belong in the Political Science section. It seems to be more a matter of opinion over actuality. For one thing, no government can suppress something that happens outside of its borders (although some entities who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are USA, keep trying).

    edit: Sorry, Ivan. I had a client come in half-way through this, and thus posted it without seening your response. What I meant by that is that it would take a gross violation of the laws of physics, probability, and common sense for an extraterrestrial visitation to take place.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  21. May 14, 2008 #20

    NoTime

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    And if everyone that rediscovered the actual truth agreed with the original perpetrator to keep it quiet.
    What then?
    Not governments or groups (I don't give them that kind of credibility), just random people acting independently and deciding that letting the contents out of Pandora's box was probably not a good idea.
     
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