Originally posted by intelgurl
Originally posted by bodrul
why do people/scienetists/tecnitions work and develop weapons that would ultimatly be used to take the lives of countless
what motivates them?
No one in the "industry" sits around wringing their hands with an evil grin thinking "what can I do to contribute to the annihilation of mankind".
Speak for yourself! Bwa ha ha!
(scratches head) Ok, we do a lot of defense contracting work. Not everything we do, but a lot of it. I'm in here late working on some interface card
prototypes that will be off to Rockwell as soon as I'm done testing them.
You see, not everything IS a weapon. Things may be PARTS of a weapon. But as a designer, I usually get a spec that says what they want in general,
sometimes a few hints how they want to go about it, some idea of how big it should be etc.
If you're lucky, they'll have a concrete idea of what they want, some specs that say how it fits in with other stuff, maybe an example of the
predecessor system and a biatch list about what they hated, maybe if you're real lucky, a contact that was the user of the previous system. This is
usually what happens with SOCOM designs, sometimes with Marines.
If you're really UNlucky, it'll be for Navy, and you'll end up with so much paperwork from ONI that you'd rather gouge your eyes out that meet
with that dweeby SOB that audits you and your SCIF on top of the crap you already have to endure.
But from my point of view, I usually don't see things like "we hope to see a death count of 10,500 enemy combatants per implementation!" and some
artist's concepts of burnt broken bodies scattered around a smoking crater. It's more like, we want a really fast front end processor for some
camera input, and it has to do this with the data at a minimum rate of that. Or, we need a battery pack that will store 21kWh, break up and fit into
four ALICEs or RAPTORs, and if it takes a slug, it can't burst into flame.
In other words, it's a sub-system with a certain in and out. And it's usually a really fun design, the mil stuff has the budget to let you go mad,
and they always want you to use the bleeding edge stuff. So, it's an enabler for you to get creative without worrying about every penny. It may
actually make SENSE for you to get some freaky-assed cast beryllium heat sink, or silicon-on-sapphire 200 degree C opamp you've only seen the spec
A lot of it you know the general idea of what it's going in, heck, we get to crawl around in the guts of a lot of it. But a lot of projects it's
just sort of tough to perceive as a WMD or something, because there's just a lot of things that you'd have to smack someone over the head with to
use as a weapon, like comm systems. And on a lot of stuff, you really don't have a clue what it goes in, at least not exactly.
Other things, well, they ARE weapons, and no doubts. Which is almost where I have to differ with Intelgrl, I DO enjoy those jobs, and probably more
than the encrypted comm links or video pre-processors for targeting systems. No I don't sit around saying "die little brown muslim people! Mwa ha
ha!", it's more like a feeling that whoever has to use your systems in combat is going to be able to rely on it because I'm going to do a damn fine
What I want to hear back from that isn't "well, we sure roasted a lot of Iranians with THAT one! HA HA HA!", it's more like, "we took the system
through HALT/HASS. The entire rack came to pieces. But in the smoking rubble of the prime's system, your stuff was still running with no errors under
a pile of boards and loose hard drives in the bottom of the test bay. Well done!" or "A lot of people got home alive because your comm system
performed over and above the specs we set you, while every other system was crapping out in the heat"
Here's a question back to you, purely hypothetical. Let's say that there is a military project. It involves, let's go nuts here, antigravity. You
can work on it. You can't discuss it, but you get to work on it. You'll never fly in one. You won't even get to watch. You can't brag about it to
your buds over beers. But you can participate, if only a little bit. Do you say no? Would you not want to be part of that? Even if, say, it will one
day be part of a military craft? I dunno, I don't have that Zen-like detachment to take a dump on that.
Engineers and physicists live to solve problems. The nature of the problem, that doesn't really seem to matter as much as getting to solve one of the
big ones. Look at the history of the nuclear bomb. Full of philosophers and pacifists, but how many said "no, screw you I won't do it"...none? The
lure was too big. You don't need to make twisted Mentats, just offer them a nearly unsolvable problem, a big budget and keep the distractions at bay.