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Weapons software

I want to write embedded software for stuff that blows up. Or even client-server applications, or even like a customer relations app - just so long as there is a kaboom.

Not a virtual kaboom, like in a game, or a computer kaboom like the BSOD, but a real live kaboom.

Who do I go see about that?

three martini lunch
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Assuming you've got the right background, are a US citizen, and can get a security clearance: http://dod.jobsearch.org/

Greg Hurlman
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

unfortunatelly all of the terrorist work is outsourced to afghanistan


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

You wouldn't be saying that when you see the death and destruction that happens because of what you've done.  How do I know... I can neither confirm nor deny that.

PC
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Become a radiologist - you can zap people all day...

Chris Peacock
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

---"but a real live kaboom.

Who do I go see about that?"----

A psychologist?

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Find a job that involves getting a security clearance.

Matt B
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

lol.  i really hope the original post was a joke...

Kenny
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

>> i really hope the original post was a joke...

Do you really care if it isnt? I thought not.

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

On some levels, working on something like a cruise missile could be pretty cool. Just think about the amount of technology that goes into the guidance & engine systems on those things. Lots of challenging problems to sink your teeth into.

Until we live in a world where nobody every shoots at anyone else, we need this kind of work done.

As far as the OP is concerned, getting the security clearance will get you closer to this kind of stuff. Be warned, though; you probably won't be working on the guidance system. You'll be reviewing the project plan for deciding the process to determine the next round of upgrade plans for the guidance system.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

If you have the inclination and the right background, you can also talk to your local recruiter about doing similar stuff as a member of the military.  The U.S. Air Force, in particular, is always looking for technical types for this kind of work.

It's not for everyone, but it's an option worth considering if this is a field that interests you.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

go dude, go, build those rockets so when aliens r coming we can shootem

 
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

If you have a computer science, engineering or physics degree, your local Air Force recruiter will be happy to see you in his office. If you dig the whole military lifestyle, there's a lot of perks to showing up there too.  A friend of mine has his schooling completely paid for, while drawing his full pay, all the way through his Ph.D.  Having a disqualifying medical condition, it is, alas, not for me.

On a completely different level, you're a little disturbing. Science and technology when applied to war lead to things like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The ability to level a city by bringing together two relatively small lumps of metal is a little disturbing. The survivors are more disturbing.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

LLNL Slogan -- "If we don't do our job right, millions of people might live."

Quote from my compilers professor, who worked on missile targeting systems -- "If you want to avoid being killed by a missile, stand within 10 feet of the target."

Capn' Kirk
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Hollywood special effects specialist.

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

LLNL Slogan - Science in the national interest.

...
Wednesday, August 04, 2004


A friend of mine works building guidance systems for "large weapons".


The running gag in their office whenever they see the news is that "it takes a precise system to always hit the only hospital/school/mosque in the area".


It's tasteless... but oh well.

KC
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Don't be so down on weapons systems. I recognize the horror of war, but it seems the human race can't keep it away 100% of the time.

If we *do* need to go to war, what's wrong with saying we should have the best tools available to work most effectively?

For that matter, consider the hospital example: if it is necessary to destroy a hospital, isn't it better to destroy just the hospital with a cruise missile, instead of carpet-bombing the entire city (and being happy just to get the right city, let alone building)?

Yes, war is terrible. The power of nuclear weapons is frightening. But until the human race can guarantee peace, I want my country to be able to fight a war the best.

Maybe my faith in humanity is a bit lacking. I hope so. But I think I might just prefer another Hiroshima to another rape of Nanjing. That's a choice I don't want to have to make, but in the future, many times probably, that's the choice we'll have. When it happens, I want more than a club to fight with.

Anon to protect the guilty
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The hospital example was a horrible, horrible joke, and it kind of scares me that you didn't get it.

This reminds me of that John Gotti story. Some guy wrote a book that claims he was Gotti's friend, and the guy hired to kill Gotti. When they asked him why he did it he said "Because if I didn't do it, we'd both be dead."

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Three Martini, don't get a DoD job if you want to actually design (or program) the instruments of death, because that's all done by contractors. Pentagon/DoD jobs are all paper-pushing project management,  test evaluating, or  developing specs.

If you don't have a clearance, start with a big contractor who will sponser you for one -- check Lockheed, Raytheon, Hughes, Boeing websites, etc. Also check the jobs and defense industry recruiters in the washingtonpost.com classifieds.

Bob
Wednesday, August 04, 2004



If you're in the Washington, DC area (or atleast familiar with it), there are *clearance-only* job fairs at a hotel in Tyson's Corner.  You have to have a clearance to even get in the door and many groups show up...

KC
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

MarkTAW, I that was Jimmy Hoffa's friend.  Gotti died in prison.

Yet another anon
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Weapons software is an interesting ethical dilemma.

Let's say you're a pacifist.  The only thing more abhorant than soldiers dying in battle is innocents dying due to "collateral damage".  Assume that a lot of the collateral damage is due to inaccurate missile systems.

Let's also say that you are a genuine Paul-Graham-Uber-Hacker.  Do you ...

(a) Never write weapons software because you're against war?
(b) Write weapons software (in Python, of course) because if you don't then some other less apt programmer will write it, thereby increasing the chance that guidance systems are less accurate and more innocent people will die?

Yet another anon
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Most of the planet would rather you guys got over the weapons fixation. If you want big bangs, consider mining engineering. 

caltrop
Thursday, August 05, 2004

"MarkTAW, I that was Jimmy Hoffa's friend.  Gotti died in prison. "

Thanks, I figured I got it wrong. You think I'd know these things, being from Brooklyn and all, but I just don't pay that much attention to them.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 05, 2004

>Chris Tavares: Until we live in a world where nobody every shoots at anyone else, we need this kind of work done.

It's exactly the opposite around: If nobody did that kind of work we'd live in a world where nobody ever shoots at anyone else. The real question is why do people this kind of work? Why do people want to hurt each other?

Lurker
Thursday, August 05, 2004

I worked on a system for the Royal Navy's Nuclear Submarines a few years ago. That was pretty cool, although a bit scray to install in the reactor control room - an hour to get into the radiation-proof suit, then only allowed 30 minutes work time in the room, before you had to get out to avoid over-exposure.

It wasn't their weapons system though. Actually something more dangerous, in some ways, it was more to do with the reactor and the drive systems.

Stupid MoD, let me work on this without signing the OSA. Anyone want a copy of the blueprints for one of our nuclear subs ? Only kidding about giving the blueprint away, before they send the boys round, I'm keeping it ;-)

Nemesis
Thursday, August 05, 2004

> [military service] Having a disqualifying medical condition, it is, alas, not for me

A conscience is a bitch, isn't it?


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Unfortunately nemesis the OSA applies even if you don't sign it.  Signing it just buggers up the "but I didn't know.." defence.

a cynic writes...
Thursday, August 05, 2004

When I was at university, we had a lecturer who apparently spent a lot of her time doing engineering on what were termed "one-way-robots".

A lot of her route-finding algorithms were non-reversible on the basis that "why we want them to come back?"...

Katie Lucas
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Oh well, perhaps I will get a knock at my door after all then ;-)

I think the real reason I didn't have to sign the OSA was that the MoD's main contractor didn't want the Navy to realise that they had sub-contracted the work me.

I was just a student at the time, doing the work part-time to finance my way through university.

That probably doesn't fit in with their defence procurement rules ;-)

Nemesis
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Lots of good things come out of weapons/defense/etc programs, technologies that otherwise wouldn't have been created.  I.E. computers, lasers, etc.  Generally, anything that could serve an evil purpose will be co-opted by someone to do that (laser weapons), but may also yield incredibly good and useful products (CD players).

sir_flexalot
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Also, most military work is NOT on weapons and their guidance systems. Most has to do with information processing: intelligence, sensors and sensor processing, communication, etc. So actually the better your skills, the fewer people that will die (and less chance we might go to war over faulty information).

Bob
Thursday, August 05, 2004

"Pacifism practiced is taking the straight road to a world in which there will be no Pacifists."

C.S. Lewis
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Actually, Bob, most of it probably has to do with ensuring recruits get the wrong size boots.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

If no one did this kind of work no one would kill anyone else?  That doesn't really make a lot of sense.  People were killing eachother long before software or guided missles or companies that own them.  Go all the way back in history, to pre-history and you will find that on occasion groups of people get together to attack and kill other groups of people.

In fact, I dare say the reason this sort of think is unthinkable in such a large proportion of the world today is because of weapons technology.  Early in the 20th century the Europeans twice divided up into teams and set about killing eachother.  One might argue that it was the deadliness of the weapons that finally convinced them that this was kind of a sucky idea.

As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I often wonder why people find it so much more appalling to kill that many people at once, kinda by surprise, that to do it in smaller numbers over a period of time.  No offense to our Japanese friends of today, but if ever a group of people deserved a nuclear sandwich for lunch it was the WWII era Japanese.

It's just a shame those Nazi bastards surrendered before we could introduce them to fatman and little boy.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, August 06, 2004

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