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Space Exploration


By The Professor   Follow   Fri, 16 Nov 2012, 5:47am PST   5,190 views   74 comments
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Brought to you by your tax dollars courtesy of NASA.

http://www.wimp.com/walkingair/

Our planet is so beautiful and fragile. This video makes it obvious that we are impacting our finite world.

When I was young America went to the moon. We were promised a future world of flying cars, trips to mars, and unlimited possibilities.

Instead we have endless wars, increasing uneasiness, and a poverty of vision.

Why aren't we expanding out into the universe?

I propose that we declare victory and end all the wars (terror, poverty, drugs, Afghanistan, etc.) and start getting off this little planet.

It is the only way growth can continue.

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The Professor   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 12:55pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 35

New Renter says

The Professor says

Kennedy dreamed of a moon landing. Less than a decade later we took that 1st small step.

Kennedy...what ever happened to him?

Kennedy believed in the greatness of America. He started the peace corp. He might have got out of Vietnam. He might have been great.

We'll never know. He was assasinated by the oligarchy for not going along with the program.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 12:07am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 36

New Renter says

Given my choice I'd take the bottom of the ocean.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 12:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 37

Melmakian says

Where's my flying car? Hell, where the fuck is my space colony!

Only private enterprise in a business environment w/o government screwing things up can deliver either of those to real life.

It is mainly the diversion of resources from long-term goals to short-term profiteering caused by capitalism that prevented us from developing space colonies.

Capitalism is inherently short-term. We could have had mp3 players back in the 1960s and fiber optic Internet connections in the 1980s. Business does not make long-term investments.

Here's how capitalism works. An idea comes about and lays dormant for years, decades, even centuries because no resources are devoted to it. No resources are devoted to it because there is no expectation for profits until years or decades later.

Eventually technological advancement reaches a point where is becomes plausible to profit on the idea with a few years. Then a game a chicken occurs. No one wants to be the first person to contribute resources to developing the idea since it's still a few years off. No one is willing to spend even a few years developing the idea even though once developed, it will return the investment many times over. It's still too long of a horizon.

As technology continues to advance and become cheaper, there comes a tipping point where all of a sudden everyone wants to immediately develop the idea as fast as possible before someone else capitalizes on it. A land rush occurs. The idea is implemented in a rushed manner with all corners cut, quality is shit, and smoke and mirrors are used in place of actual working components. The same assholes who wouldn't look at the idea a year or two ago, now expect the engineers to do all the work implementing the idea in a few months. The engineers, of course, have to do a rushed, crappy job as a result.

And that's how capitalism works. It's a short-sighted resource allocation algorithm that results in substandard development, incorrect architecture, shotty products, and great wasteful of time and resources. Yeah, other economic systems may be worse, but capitalism sure as hell isn't the best we can do, especially in the technology age.

I guarantee you that once space travel becomes relatively cheap, there will be a tipping point where mega corporations try to land grab all the asteroids and planets for their natural resources. There's more gold in asteroids alone than has been mined in all of human history.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 12:27am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 38

Melmakian says

Only private enterprise in a business environment w/o government screwing things up can deliver either of those to real life.

Another thing about private enterprise, it will never, ever give us a cure for AIDS or cancer. It is far more profitable to treat a life-long life-threatening disease than it is to cure it. Private enterprise has a huge profit motive to keep AIDS and cancer patients on drugs for the rest of their lives rather than curing the disease.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 12:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 39

Peter P says

Dan8267 says

It's amazing what science and engineering can do, and what religion and superstition cannot.

Science is a religion. Your unwavering dedication further proves my point.

Ah, expanding the false argument "atheism is a religion" to "science is a religion". It's still a ridiculous claim and for the exact same reason as illustrated by this video.

As long as the religious keep fucking that chicken, I'll keep posting the above video.

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 1:59am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 40

Dan8267 says

Another thing about private enterprise, it will never, ever give us a cure for AIDS or cancer. It is far more profitable to treat a life-long life-threatening disease than it is to cure it. Private enterprise has a huge profit motive to keep AIDS and cancer patients on drugs for the rest of their lives rather than curing the disease.

Yep. Healthcare needs to be provided by the government.

Private enterprises can still compete in niche markets. (like luxury clinics, lifestyle procedures, etc)

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 2:01am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 41

Dan8267 says

And that's how capitalism works. It's a short-sighted resource allocation algorithm that results in substandard development, incorrect architecture, shotty products, and great wasteful of time and resources. Yeah, other economic systems may be worse, but capitalism sure as hell isn't the best we can do, especially in the technology age.

Capitalism is the only system that will withstand time.

There is no such thing as "correct" architecture. Correct for what?

The only problem with capitalism in the world is that it is not applied far enough.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 8:20am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 42

Peter P says

Capitalism is the only system that will withstand time.

That's a bold statement. What proof do you have that there is no other possible economic system that could withstand time?

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 8:41am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 43

Dan8267 says

Peter P says

Capitalism is the only system that will withstand time.

That's a bold statement. What proof do you have that there is no other possible economic system that could withstand time?

I just know it. Wait until the end of time to prove me wrong.

Dan8267   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 8:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 44

Peter P says

Dan8267 says

Peter P says

Capitalism is the only system that will withstand time.

That's a bold statement. What proof do you have that there is no other possible economic system that could withstand time?

I just know it. Wait until the end of time to prove me wrong.

That's a really bad reason to believe that no other economic system could possibly be invented that would be better than capitalism. It's also a real bad reason to never try.

Considering that there have only been three economic systems ever tried, it seems a bit premature to say that no other economic system could be better than capitalism.

The only three economic systems ever tried are
- Market (capitalism)
- Command (communism)
- Traditional (feudalism)
and mixtures of these three systems.

That's it. That's everything. Three ideas. Seems a bit soon to stop research.

It would be like trying three foods (head cheese, haggis, and a McDonald's quarter ponder) and concluding that the McDonald's quarter ponder is the best possible food you could ever eat.

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 9:29am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 45

Capitalism is the only system that is compatible with human nature. Hence the world will always revert back to this system no matter what you try.

Other systems are based on wishful thinking and/or willful ignorance.

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 9:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 46

People are individuals. Only capitalism (or a close derivative) can make individuals work together.

Bellingham Bill   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:06am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 47

And only socialism can enable them to live together.

Boy, your pronouncement-out-my-ass style is fun!

Rin   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:11am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 48

Ppl, if you want science & engineering to advance, then we need more naturally born billionaires like Tony Starks or Bruce Wayne. In other words, brilliant, pioneering types who have so many diversified assets across the board, that they don't need to make money off their inventions in the pure or applied sciences. During prior times, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Goethe were sponsored by landed noblemen. If ppl like them are around today, they'd be recruited to do spreadsheets at a Morgan & Stanley or GE Capital.

Thus, it's not capitalism per se, which is the problem, but the fact that not all creative minds are born into a rich family. I believe Maxwell & Darwin were the last of the smart fellas, born into money. Even Einstein had to work as a Patent Agent.

marcus   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:18am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 49

Peter P says

Only capitalism (or a close derivative) can make individuals work together.

Is that your idea of an epiphany ?

Even Russia and communist China have capitalism. The question isn't whether capitalism works.

A far more specific and interesting question is, are there better ways to make capitalism work well ? Surely we are nowhere close to reaching that. And I guarantee that in the long run, governemt's role is here to stay (even if we briefly swing towards too much privatization and fascism).

Some coldly argue for social darwinism, and for the harsh view that poverty is in a sense necessary, to provide an ample source of cheap labor to our capitalist system. And they argue that too many programs supporting the poor (through taxation ) are evil and anti capitalistic.

I think the question is: Is it possibly to have a fairer and more economically sound (capatalist) system while still having plenty of room for incentivising hard work and rewarding talent appropriately?

I too believe that the money that we spend on prisons and on programs supporting the poor could be better spent other ways. And I believe that under a different system, many people who are in prisons or on "welfare" now could be gainfully employed and paying taxes instead.

Bellingham Bill   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 50

marcus says

A far more specific and interesting question is, are there better ways to make capitalism work well ?

"[Henry George] built up the most complete and most impregnable defense of the rights of capital that was ever constructed, and if the capitalists of his day had had sense enough to dig in behind it, their successors would not now be squirming under the merciless exactions which collectivism is laying on them, and which George would have no scruples whatever about describing as sheer highwaymanry." Alfred J Nock

http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Capitalism_Refining.html

Bellingham Bill   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:25am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 51

marcus says

programs supporting the poor could be better spent other ways.

problem is that 80% (?) of our welfare is just pass-through to the economic actors victimizing them, eg:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/housing_choice_voucher_program_section_8

The Professor   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:29am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 52

marcus says

I too believe that the money that we spend on prisons and on programs supporting the poor could be better spent other ways. And I believe that under a different system, many people who are in prisons or on "welfare" now could be gainfully employed and paying taxes instead.

Amen.

Bellingham Bill   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 10:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 53

Funny thing is that we only need space exploration to get away from all the landlords!

There is land out there with no title on it yet! Imagine that!

But TBH, there's land at the bottom of the ocean that is also title-free, and I would think it would be more economical (and safer) to colonize that than to colonize the Moon.

Hell, Antarctica also fills that bill.

The Professor   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 11:15am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 54

Bellingham Bill says

there's land at the bottom of the ocean

There is water at the bottom of the ocean. Land starts at shore.

Any way you look at it Earth is finite. The universe is infinite.

Bellingham Bill   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 11:26am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 55

The Professor says

There is water at the bottom of the ocean. Land starts at shore.

No, the entire surface of the planet is "land" in the economic sense.

Land (Economics)

The Professor says

Any way you look at it Earth is finite. The universe is infinite.

Actually, human stupidity is infinite. The universe is unbounded, but finite. There's actually enough stuff here for all of us, so far. Economics won't drive us off this planet, just stupidity.

The most uneconomic patch of the Sahara is more economically viable than any other (known) place you can point to up in space.

Peter P   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 11:28am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 56

The Professor says

The universe is infinite.

The universe is only as big as the perception of its existence.

New Renter   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 1:41pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 57

Bellingham Bill says

Hell, Antarctica also fills that bill.

Bellingham Bill says

The most uneconomic patch of the Sahara is more economically viable than any other (known) place you can point to up in space.

Breathable air, temperature always in a range above the condensation point of oxygen yet below the boiling point of lead, earthlike gravity, tolerable radiation levels, no monsters...

What's not to love?

thunderlips11   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 11:40pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 58

The problem with the space program was the Space Shuttle. It didn't perform as advertised (we should be at STS-1000+ by now, not 133), with a 3-4 month turnaround per mission. Instead it was more like a year and a half-two year turnaround. It's also a very expensive way of getting payloads into space.

The Space Shuttle is the reason NASA lost a great deal of income, and the USAF had to step in just to launch their own needs as the Shuttle's schedule kept falling so far behind that military-critical satellite launches were delayed by years.

What we need are our heavy rockets back.

The program kept going because it was a big boondoggle for certain congressional districts. It was a good technology demonstrator, but the concept should have been retired 20-25 years ago.

We need to get our ass to Mars because it's there. And it should be a one-way trip with no expectation of return for the first astronauts, like other exploration missions. There would be no shortage of qualified volunteers, who could all be 55+.

Unlike the Shuttle, the Mars Rovers actually performed many times beyond their estimated life time, so we're ahead of the 8 ball there.

No Company is going to spend $50-100B a year over 10 years just to land somebody on Mars.

CaptainShuddup   Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 11:59pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 59

Melmakian says

They took a blow torch to a space shuttle tile and then pressed the tile to a student's hand to show it wasn't even warm.

You caught that show too?

CaptainShuddup   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:05am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 60

The Professor says

Kennedy dreamed of a moon landing. Less than a decade later we took that 1st small step.

Nixon is the only President that put a man on the moon.

He was also the only president impeached for lying.

Coincidence? I think not!

Dan8267   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:11am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 61

Peter P says

Capitalism is the only system that is compatible with human nature. Hence the world will always revert back to this system no matter what you try.

Other systems are based on wishful thinking and/or willful ignorance.

Two more bold statements. Again, what reasoning are you using that no other economic system could ever be created that is "compatible with human nature" or based on anything but "wishful thinking and/or willful ignorance"?

Dan8267   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:12am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 62

Peter P says

Only capitalism (or a close derivative) can make individuals work together.

Aside from the fact that this statement is empirically false, what was the reasoning that no one could ever come up with a better way for individuals to work together?

Dan8267   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:16am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 63

CaptainShuddup says

Nixon is the only President that put a man on the moon.

He was also the only president impeached for lying.

1. Engineers put men on the moon, not presidents.
2. If you are going to give any president credit for the lunar landing, it would be Kennedy who allocated the resources to do so.
3. Nixon was not impeached for lying. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached for his role in the Watergate scandal. You see, back in the 1970s sabatoshing elections was actually considered illegal rather than a legitimate campaign strategy.
4. If you are suggesting that the lunar landing was faked, well, I can't say that I'm completely surprised.

CaptainShuddup   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:34am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)     Comment 64

Dan8267 says

2. If you are going to give any president credit for the lunar landing, it would be Kennedy who allocated the resources to do so.

It could have been George Washington that promised to go to the moon.
But it was still this GUY, that did it.

The Professor   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 12:47am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 65

CaptainShuddup says

It could have been George Washington that promised to go to the moon.
But it was still this GUY, that did it.

Yep, and Obama killed Osama, with his bare hands!

Let's give Kennedy credit for the vision, the engineers, technicians, and astronauts credit for the work, and America credit for the bold accomplishment of landing the first person on the Moon.

CaptainShuddup   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 1:10am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 66

The Professor says

Let's give Kennedy credit for the vision, the engineers, technicians, and astronauts credit for the work, and America credit for the bold accomplishment of landing the first person on the Moon.

OK but then you'll have to admit that we had superior technology in 1969 with the equivalent of a single 0086X Intel processor, than we do now with a network of global super computers.

We're still landing objects on Mars with the aid of parachutes and airbags, while in 1969 we were doing articulated landings with only 16 megs of rope memory and no proper owners manual. Sounds logical to me. If that was some damn fine engineering, then we must suck now.

Dan8267   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 2:01am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 67

CaptainShuddup says

But it was still this GUY, that did it.

And what precisely did Nixon do for the Apollo program that warrants giving him the credit for it?

Dan8267   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 2:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 68

CaptainShuddup says

If that was some damn fine engineering, then we must suck now.

NASA's budget was a lot larger in real terms during the Cold War. You think that might have something to do with it?

msilenus   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 2:54am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 69

Dan8267 says

Nixon was not impeached for lying. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached for his role in the Watergate scandal. You see, back in the 1970s sabatoshing elections was actually considered illegal rather than a legitimate campaign strategy.

Suffering sabatash!

New Renter   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 3:34am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 70

thunderlips11 says

The problem with the space program was the Space Shuttle. It didn't perform as advertised (we should be at STS-1000+ by now, not 133), with a 3-4 month turnaround per mission. Instead it was more like a year and a half-two year turnaround. It's also a very expensive way of getting payloads into space.

The Space Shuttle is the reason NASA lost a great deal of income, and the USAF had to step in just to launch their own needs as the Shuttle's schedule kept falling so far behind that military-critical satellite launches were delayed by years.

What we need are our heavy rockets back.

That's one way. Or perhaps we can buy surplus heavy rockets from Russia. I wonder how much they go for on E-bay?

Or buy Chinese rockets. They did invent them after all.

Vicente   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 6:15am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 71

thunderlips11 says

The problem with the space program was the Space Shuttle.

The problem with the Space Shuttle wasn't NASA, it was the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex. They had a vision of a space 18-wheeler to deliver and service their MASSIVE spysats and that perverted the project. The Hubble was merely the cheap civilian byproduct of the KH-11 which came in an identical form factor. This was made manifest when the NRO donated a bunch of spare parts for Hubble recently, leftovers from their spy satellites they wanted to clear out of the closet. If STS hadn't had to live up to a whole bunch of requirements to be a do-everything HUMV with civilians along for the ride, it would have been a very different design I think.

Bellingham Bill   Mon, 3 Dec 2012, 6:26am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 72

Dan8267 says

And what precisely did Nixon do for the Apollo program that warrants giving him the credit for it?

he inherited Apollo just like he inherited Vietnam, LOL.

Both got wound up on his watch, on very parallel schedules.

I'm just old enough to remember that Apollo-Soyuz thing, that's the only pre-Shuttle thing I remember about our space program, actually.

thunderlips11   Tue, 4 Dec 2012, 2:09am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 73

Vicente says

The Hubble was merely the cheap civilian byproduct of the KH-11 which came in an identical form factor. This was made manifest when the NRO donated a bunch of spare parts for Hubble recently, leftovers from their spy satellites they wanted to clear out of the closet. If STS hadn't had to live up to a whole bunch of requirements to be a do-everything HUMV with civilians along for the ride, it would have been a very different design I think.

Interesting stuff about Hubble. Amazing that we can put dozens of spy satellites into space, but every penny spent on science is begrudgingly doled out only after years of intense lobbying and begging.

Dan8267   Tue, 4 Dec 2012, 2:23am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 74

Bellingham Bill says

he inherited Apollo just like he inherited Vietnam, LOL.

Both got wound up on his watch, on very parallel schedules.

If I remember my history correctly, Nixon was a hawk regarding Vietnam all during the 1960s before he became president.

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