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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 02:29 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 04:08 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 04:20 
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this certainly qualifies as a vision of hell.

i would implore anyone wanting to go for personal attacks here to at least make them entertaining to read.

i owe you lot a reply though, and omen has hit upon a position i have really wanted to explore/have been thinking about a lot. was doing some grocery shopping last week when I noticed the guy ahead of me in the queue wearing an OCCUPY MARS shirt. and his jpl employee tag over it. evolution requires isolation and, yes, the opportunity to fail.. if we are to become more somehow, I think it will likely happen some other time and some other place.. And we aren't getting any closer to that by squabbling over how to best divide an ever-shrinking pie.

to me that just seems like thinking very small. nation-states, identity group politics, accusations of colonial imperialism etc.. give me a ticket the fuck out of here already. I'm ready to go and live/die on some forsaken rock because it seems infinitely preferable than sitting here, mashing my fingers on keys in righteous indignation :for social justice:

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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 04:30 
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merz wrote:
And that sounds pretty good, except yields from wind, water and sun together aren't currently on the same level where they'd be able to take over for all other means of energy production in anywhere near long term. Some of them come with their own sets of problems that are, you've guessed it, also decried by environmentalists (damming rivers/stream diversion) and assorted NIMBYs (wind farms ruin my property's views and value..) and so on and so on.


Much as economic pressure brought an astonishingly rapid decrease in the cost and size of phones, and much as it continues to push "Moore's law", so we are seeing an astonishing drop in the price and an increase in the efficiency of solar power especially. The money here is coming from China who are going hard ahead for solar, from third world countries where it's easier to set up local solar power than set up an entire grid with a centralised fossil fuel plant, and from the US army, who have been quietly planning for years against the military consequences of climate refugees and food shortages, etc., and who have been investing heavily in solar power while justifying it to the right-wing ideologues in government, whenever they ask, as being for operational reasons (i.e. because solar allows more mobility and independence from a fixed grid). Economists I talk to say that solar power is now cost-equivalent with coal in equatorial countries, and from present projections should soon surpass it--and it is this, not downturns in global markets, that is causing the price of coal to slump. The market already knows--or at least, those watching it do. Ironically, it's the same neolibs who advocate free-market supremacy that are defending fossil fuels, at precisely the moment when those two things are no longer aligned...

In short: we need fossil fuels at the moment, but things are changing very fast. If only our governments would listen, instead of, in many cases, continuing to subsidise the retrograde industries/old-fashioned transport options.

omen wrote:
what i wanted to bring up before is when you keep saying 'finite resources', is something simply not true. are you one of those who refuse to believe that we will colonize other planets, all with their own resources, and not so far from now?

that's not a fantasy, it's a reality. sure, it doesn't solve everything, and the stubbornness of human nature is an unfortunate one, either way it's a "beginning".


It solves nothing. If it indeed happens (I hope it does, but it requires more foresight and long-term planning than most governments seem to possess), the costs of moving resources between gravity wells is astronomical.Even with highly speculative sci-fi style solutions like space elevators, it would still be impractical in any long-term continuous global-population-growth scenario. You just couldn't move enough people or resources per day. Never mind that said elevators would need to be in particular locations (equator) and therefore controlled by particular countries, and never mind that the investment would be so vast that no one would make it unless the amount of money they extracted from it became punitive for private interests attempting to import or export things. And if the limited resources are space, food, water? To turn another world into a viable source of these doesn't solve local water crises in Mexico, Israel, Egypt. As an escape valve for these local populations? The number of people we could move off-world each day would be far outweighed by the rate of population increase for the foreseeable future. In short: colonisation may be a liferaft for the species, and even for parts of our ecosystem if we can learn to terraform other worlds, but it won't help us down here. Cue Tom Waits--we're chained to the world, and we all gotta pull"...

omen wrote:
"b-but which evil mastermind decides to make profits and screw over earth's population from this newly-mined material? that's part of the problem!" you paranoically say. that's a non-issue, the general populace does NOT have a death wish by that time and the reason for that is education and quality of living keep improving (because indeed we've almost destroyed this planet with nukes on several occasions). if things got so dire, there would be co-operation involved, the need for survival is a cycle, screw everyone over but keep yourself alive at all costs, meaning; calm the fuck down.


Sat down for coffee yesterday with a geneticist friend of mine. She's part of a group studying the reasons why certain species can't adapt to climate change and are presently in decline, and why others succeed; with the aim of potentially applying the lessons from the successful; species to the unsuccessful. As with many scientists, they've given up trying to stop the disaster or convince a population who isn't equipped to understand the data or the reasoning surrounding it. They're just trying to prevent the worst. She admitted that it was in many ways depressing, to be already fighting a rearguard action against a defeat that we are doing nothing to stave off. And even more so when science bodies and universities are the first thing cut by rabid right-wing governments (viz. the Nobel Prize nominee recently let go by CSIRO due to 25% funding cuts by our deranged coal-loving PM). If there's a reason why I don't read GBS's links, it's that I already know that doom is likely coming--and I know that I have no power whatsoever to stop it, except campaigning for more reasonable government.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 04:33 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 04:53 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 09:56 
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I'd like to take part in this discussion but I have no idea what you guys are discussing. Is it the problem of a decreasing amount of resources? Is it the problem of nuclear energy? Is it the problem of technological improvements in general? These are three entirely different topics and I'm not sure which of them you're after :-/

Just one point (relevant for all three). In recent years scientific, empirical studies have become increasingly more accessible to the wider audience and so if you want to find out about them, you don't need to rely on (often extremely bad) journalist simplifications and re-interpretations. It suffices to use scholar.google.com (looking for articles from a certain time range can be very helpful).

Once you have found the article, usually you'll have an access if not to the article itself, then at least to the abstract as well as the information on the financial sources of this research. This is an extremely important part since scientific integrity has often been brought into question precisely due to skewed results, fitting the given source of funding.

Another tip is to look at the articles which cite the given one (under the link for each article you can see "Cited by") since you can see whether the given study was brought into question by other studies.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 10:06 
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omen wrote:
but what i wanted to bring up before is when you keep saying 'finite resources', is something simply not true. are you one of those who refuse to believe that we will colonize other planets, all with their own resources, and not so far from now?

that's not a fantasy, it's a reality.


now, I'd really like you to provide some evidence for this claim, since i'd be more than happy to hear it (it would lighten up my day). unless your sources are anything else from the promises of politicians and/or sci.fi. literature, i have no idea what you are talking about and what you mean by "truth" and "reality". i'm all for what merz said on the previous page: let's stick with scientific research and empirical evidence. from what i know on this topic, your claim hasn't been supported by any (quite the opposite).


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 19:41 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 20:25 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 20:45 
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I think that while the improvements of digital technologies have gone relatively well, those related to space travel have been stagnating (especially given the expectations from the second half of the 20th century), mainly due to the lack of relevant developments in physics. But even when it comes to overall expectations, I think they have been much greater than how the technology actually developed. In any case, I think whatever decisions we make, we can't rely in our arguments on the promise of technological inventions that have no realistic basis in the current scientific theories.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 21:02 
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due to lack of economic and social commitment to innovation in physics. the whole 'looking down in the dirt' thing, thinking small. short-term ROIs as a form of religion.

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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2014, 21:16 
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I'm not so sure about that. I think that discovering such possibilities like space travel is if nothing else at least an opportunity to achieve fame, so if the research were feasible even if highly risky (in the sense that the success isn't guaranteed) at this time point, somebody would have for sure pursued it. Sometimes science just gets stuck with certain projects and it takes centuries until they get picked up again. Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a great science fiction novel exactly on this topic.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 00:41 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 00:51 
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hehe, sure, there may be trips offered for space tourists for $$$$$...$$$$$, but this is a far cry from using resources from other planets (let alone living on them) and importing them over here. the costs would be so enormous that i don't know of any such project even in early stages. and that's where the problem is and why I argue that we cannot use this argument when deciding what to do *today*.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 00:55 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 01:00 
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what do you mean i am wrong? if so, show me why. what you posted above shows that touristic trips to other planets are in planning, but like i said, this has nothing to do with possibility of inhabiting those planets or bringing resources over here.

for instance, one of the major problems when it comes to resources is drinking water. i see absolutely no connection between this space trip and this problem. another problem is food scarcity. again, i see no connection. so that's the stuff we need to address if we wanna speak of some alternative ways of solving the resources problem.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 01:21 
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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 01:30 
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well, you can go into it (water and food) all you want since those are some of the key issues when it comes to the debate on resources and their allocation and scarcity. as for the oil, some hydrogen-based cars (or something like that, I don't remember exactly) have already been introduced on the market, so i'm not sure how much the above story (the need for minerals from other planets) even matters at this point.

but either way, i don't agree with your optimism regarding the resources from the space. what else do I want? well, a good argument would be a feasible methodology - at least in the planning - for such an enterprise (not merely traveling, but bringing the resources that are important). otherwise, the first trip to the moon could have been taken as the very same basis for optimism. half a century later we see that not much happened in the meantime (when it comes to resources), so why would it happen within the time frame that is relevant for the humanity and its current needs? you could say now that this is due to the fact that up to now resources weren't needed to that extent, but the question is then, why this plan hasn't been brought up in some concrete ways in the recent debates? big interests are at play here so some of those for whom exploiting resources is essential for their business would have probably reached for this kind of argument ("don't worry because we'll easily get more resources from the space, so let us simply use these ones in the Earth") if it were any good. and again, just because space travel exists, that doesn't mean mining and bringing of resources that are significant is possible any time soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The context
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2014, 01:54 
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