The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Spam e-mails able to bypass (proposed) strategic defense filters!

I was going to post this as an update to the Star Wars story below, but I thought it merited a post. And I think my analogy will become very clear after these two sentences:

The launch took place at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia at 1420 (1020 GMT) on Tuesday.

The missile, called RS-24, can be armed with up to 10 warheads and was designed to evade missile defence systems, the Russian defence ministry says.

SDI has been the Platonic form of 'boondoggle' since its inception. While sci-fi tales of a floating space platform bristling with laser guns gave way to ever-more-humble, but equally improbable, versions that continued to gain tens of billions of dollars in funding before being scrapped.

BushCo, being what it is, took a look at the decades of scuttled systems and failed tests and came to the inevitable conclusion: spend billions more on improbable plans.

Reality, being what it is, has come to the inevitable conclusion: the money was wasted and missile defense is still a pipe dream.

Irony, being what it is, has also reached an inevitable conclusion: Reagan's Folly has cost us more than a hundred billion dollars, and brought about diplomatic tensions and-- because that isn't ironic enough after FEMA, Iraq, the DOJ, et al.-- perhaps the "next generation" in nuclear weapons technology. A new, globalized cold war would just be the icing on the cake.

I might have to hang on to the whole SDI as anti-spam thing. It really is a pretty apt comparison, I think. While spam filters require very sophisticated programming and constant, pricey upgrades, they're obsolete by the time they're introduced. Because all the spammers have to do is reach for another simple and inexpensive way to get around them. Or just launch-- I mean send-- a whole lot more spam messages. Some of it will always get through. And the same, tragically, is true of ICBMs.