Space Exploration


By The Professor   Follow   Fri, 16 Nov 2012, 1:47pm   3,782 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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  1. Vicente


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    1   11:56pm Fri 16 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  
  2. New Renter


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    2   6:06pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    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.

    After you my friend. Can I have your house when you don't make it back?

  3. New Renter


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    3   6:21pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    Brought to you by your tax dollars courtesy of NASA.

    To be interpreted as: Our funding is drying up because we squandered our budgeted billions of dollars on stupid space stations, shuttles and sophomoric math errors.

    The Professor says

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

    So do ants.

    The Professor says

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

    I'll bet you bought into Santa Claus too. Can I interest you in a hydrogen economy?

    The Professor says

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

    5000 years and counting.

    The Professor says

    Why aren't we expanding out into the universe?

    Because its nothing but rocks, freezing vacuum and uberhot plasma as far as the eye can see.

    The Professor says

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

    Bush tried that - didn't work.

    The Professor says

    It is the only way growth can continue.

    Or we can make and sell stuff we can actually use right here on earth.

    Seriously man, put the crack pipe down.

  4. The Professor


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    4   8:30pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    Or we can make and sell stuff we can actually use right here on earth.
    Seriously man, put the crack pipe down.

    I don't smoke crack but I do have utopian dreams.

  5. Dan8267


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    5   11:35pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (1)  

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

  6. The Professor


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    6   3:49pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

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

    I'll bet you bought into Santa Claus too. Can I interest you in a hydrogen economy?
    The Professor says
    Instead we have endless wars, increasing uneasiness, and a poverty of vision.

    5000 years and counting.

    @new renter

    Are you even more cynical than me?

    If you watch the video you would see all of the lights growing like a cancer on our (earths) continents.

    Our planet is finite. It can only hold so much "stuff we can actually use". More and more people want more and more stuff. Growth upon a limited base of resources has to end, probably not well.

    We have to expand, change, or die. We have the theory, we merely need to develop the technology. Space technology is much like the technology we use to wage war on each other.

    Our planet is small, the universe is infinite. We have taken "one small step" it is time we learn to walk.

  7. New Renter


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    7   4:04pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    Are you even more cynical than me?

    Possibly - its a requirement for graduate school.

    The Professor says

    If you watch the video you would see all of the lights growing like a cancer on our (earths) continents.

    You see cancer, I see progress. You'd love North Korea though.

    The Professor says

    Our planet is finite. It can only hold so much "stuff we can actually use". More and more people want more and more stuff. Growth upon a limited base of resources has to end, probably not well.

    So use "stuff" more efficiently, recycle and embrace nuclear power. Its not hard.

    The Professor says

    We have to expand, change, or die. We have the theory, we merely need to develop the technology. Space technology is much like the technology we use to wage war on each other.

    What theory would that be? What technology?

    The Professor says

    Our planet is small, the universe is infinite. We have taken "one small step" it is time we learn to walk.

    I STRONGLY suggest you take a few math, science and engineering courses Then you can actually work towards your utopia.

  8. leo707


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    8   4:08pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Dan8267 says

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

    I am always amazed that people are not continuously amazed at the "power" of science.

    People, will gasp and stutter about "accuracy" of a vague horoscope, but shrug and yawn when someone tells them what sex their baby will be months before it is born.

    No other discipline has been able to accurately predict the future, but science does it with such accuracy it has become boring.

    Anyway, there may be limits to what science can do. We are not going to be able to colonize the galaxy without faster than light travel, generational ships, or "stasis." These things simply might be impossible.

    But, yes I agree that we should be trying to escape the earth.

  9. Automan Empire


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    9   4:31pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Haha. In such a discussion elsewhere, I threw out a Heinlein quote.
    The meek shall inherit the earth; the rest of us will go to the stars.

    Someone responded, "Aren't stars hot firey objects? I think I'll stay on Earth."

    That is the mentality you are up against.

  10. New Renter


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    10   4:50pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Automan Empire says

    That is the mentality you are up against.

    No, just the reality.

  11. New Renter


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    11   5:12pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    @new renter

    Are you even more cynical than me?

    Keep in mind I am the offspring of a Lockheed/Aerojet/Loral aerospace engineer. My father worked on numerous space vehicles, platforms, the shuttle and was a chief engineer on the ISS. My childhood and adolescence revolved around the space program including all the bust and boom times. My cynicism towards the space program is reflective of what my father shared with me about his experience working with NASA.

    I also recognize the reality of what is out there - hard vacuum, lethal radiation, tiny rocks moving at speeds that make bullets look pedestrian, temperatures extreme enough to liquify helium or ionize anything with very little compromise. On top of that space is enormous. The NEAREST stars are 4.3 LIGHT YEARS away. How far is it to the nearest habitable rock? No idea, we haven't found one yet.

    You say we have to get off the earth - I ask TO WHERE?

  12. leo707


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    12   5:15pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    New Renter says

    I also recognize the reality of what is out there - hard vacuum, lethal radiation, tiny rocks moving at speeds that make bullets look pedestrian, temperatures extreme enough to liquify helium or ionize anything with very little compromise.

    You forgot to mention the deadly probes.

  13. Bellingham Bill


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    13   5:22pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    New Renter says

    You say we have to get off the earth - I ask TO WHERE?

    yeah, the truth here is that there's no shortage of anything here really.

    Just artificial scarcity, and going to the moon isn't going to change that.

    Anyplace on Antarctica or in the middle of the Sahara would be tons more habitable than anywhere we can get to off this rock.

    Per-capita GDP now is over $40,000. That should be enough for everyone to live a productive, happy life here. We just have a distribution problem.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cZZ

  14. New Renter


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    14   5:37pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Bellingham Bill says

    Anyplace on Antarctica or in the middle of the Sahara would be tons more habitable than anywhere we can get to off this rock.

    True, even the bottom of the ocean is more habitable than any known extraterrestrial real estate.

  15. The Professor


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    15   5:46pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    The Professor says
    We have to expand, change, or die. We have the theory, we merely need to develop the technology. Space technology is much like the technology we use to wage war on each other.

    What theory would that be? What technology?

    Where did you study?

    New Renter says

    I STRONGLY suggest you take a few math, science and engineering courses Then you can actually work towards your utopia.

    Thanks. I'll look into that.

  16. New Renter


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    16   5:48pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    UCD and UCSD

  17. The Professor


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    17   5:53pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    You say we have to get off the earth - I ask TO WHERE?

    Start with the moon.

    It is the perfect off-planet base to start with. It has no atmosphere and less gravity than earth making it easier to launch from. In addition the same side always faces us with the remainder facing the universe.

    Then on to Mars.

    The technology will evolve to meet the challenges. Innovators will continue to solve problems and open new doors.

    Mars would be the obvious next step.

  18. The Professor


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    18   5:59pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    True, even the bottom of the ocean is more habitable than any known extraterrestrial real estate.

    Agreed.

    Still, this big blue marble is finite and the population keeps increasing. The war pigs keep growing, the bankers get fatter, and cannibal anarchy gets closer.

    I was raised on star trek but live in a reality show world.

  19. The Professor


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    19   6:02pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Bellingham Bill says

    yeah, the truth here is that there's no shortage of anything here really.

    Agreed.

    The world has always been and will always be what it is.

    We have everything we need. We get in trouble from our want.

  20. New Renter


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    20   6:13pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    New Renter says

    You say we have to get off the earth - I ask TO WHERE?

    Start with the moon.

    It is the perfect off-planet base to start with. It has no atmosphere and less gravity than earth making it easier to launch from. In addition the same side always faces us with the remainder facing the universe.

    Then on to Mars.

    The technology will evolve to meet the challenges. Innovators will continue to solve problems and open new doors.

    Mars would be the obvious next step.

    Something to consider here. Many years ago my father put the costs involved with getting stuff just into a low earth orbit (~300 miles). The costs involved were roughly equivalent to the value of the object if it were made of pure gold. The costs to get to the moon? Much, much more than that.

    As you point out the moon has no atmosphere. That means nothing to breathe. Sure you can manufacture a breathable atmosphere but for how long? Even here on earth enclosed biodomes have had very poor success.

    Having the same side facing earth is of little importance.

    Mars? Raise the moon colony costs by at least 1000x. There is also the issue of trying to get a living breathing astronaut team just to survive the trip.

    The Professor says

    The technology will evolve to meet the challenges. Innovators will continue to solve problems and open new doors.

    Perhaps but until we find or invent a stargate, or some kind of FTL drive the best option for the foreseeable future is to send unmanned probes. That is unless we are visited by friendly aliens who are willing to give us a lift.

    I am confident we can use technology and innovation to solve things like cancer and STDs; to make nuclear power 100% safe and reliable. To travel to the stars? I'll believe it when I see it.

  21. New Renter


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    21   6:18pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    Still, this big blue marble is finite and the population keeps increasing.

    For now. Prosperity usually brings lower birth rates.

  22. New Renter


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    22   6:19pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    The war pigs keep growing, the bankers get fatter, and cannibal anarchy gets closer.

    Historically speaking 2/3s of this is not true.

  23. leo707


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    23   10:30am Wed 21 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    New Renter says

    True, even the bottom of the ocean is more habitable than any known extraterrestrial real estate.

    For life in general perhaps, but I believe that the bottom of the ocean is a more difficult place for a man to get to and survive than the moon.

  24. New Renter


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    24   9:49pm Wed 28 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    leo707 says

    New Renter says

    True, even the bottom of the ocean is more habitable than any known extraterrestrial real estate.

    For life in general perhaps, but I believe that the bottom of the ocean is a more difficult place for a man to get to and survive than the moon.

    With just an engine block and a rope and I can show you just how easy it is to get to the bottom of the ocean. Surviving? Actually that's not so difficult either. With the magic of nuclear power, modern materials and awesome engineering one could build a submersible that would have the ability to remain on station for years generating air, drinkable water and heat for the crew. Food could be dropped from the surface or harvested locally. Giant squid burger anyone?

    Now the moon is MUCH harder to get to. There is also no reliable source of air, water, or food. Climate control would be difficult as well as there is no atmosphere or ocean to act as a heat sink.

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

  25. marcus


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    25   10:07pm Wed 28 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  
  26. leo707


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    26   11:32am Thu 29 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    New Renter says

    With just an engine block and a rope and I can show you just how easy it is to get to the bottom of the ocean.

    The only thing that makes it easier to get to the bottom of the ocean is gravity. The energy to escape the earths orbit is the huge cost of going to space. It costs about 8 million to drop one person in a cramped cockpit to the bottom of the ocean.

    3 people (one trip had two), and 2 unmanned trips have been to the bottom of the ocean. Hundreds of people have been to space. 12 people have walked on the moon, over 9 missions. We have people living in an orbiting space station. No one has ever walked on the bottom of the ocean.

    New Renter says

    Surviving? Actually that's not so difficult either. With the magic of nuclear power, modern materials and awesome engineering one could build a submersible that would have the ability to remain on station for years generating air, drinkable water and heat for the crew. Food could be dropped from the surface or harvested locally. Giant squid burger anyone?

    First off giant squids only reach a depth of maybe 4000ft, and the deepest fish exist at around 14,000ft. Past 3000ft there is no sunlight to grow food. This is a long way off from the bottom at around 36,000ft.

    The crush depth for the deepest models of nuclear submarines is about 5000ft. The deepest test depths for the current US fleet of subs is 2,000ft. (Note: a US nuclear sub costs more to build than a space shuttle, the total NASA budget is significantly less than the cost of the nuke sub budget--and those subs never got that deep)

    New Renter says

    Now the moon is MUCH harder to get to. There is also no reliable source of air, water, or food. Climate control would be difficult as well as there is no atmosphere or ocean to act as a heat sink.

    At the bottom the pressure is over 8 tons per square inch. There is no food, no air at the bottom. Any attempt to "harvest" water at the bottom would require a system that can handle the 8 tons per square inch of pressure, and then you would need to desalinate it. As I am sure you know desalinization in and of itself is not cheap or easy. Living on a nuclear reactor would make this easier.

    Yes, the ocean is a heat sink, and that is not a bonus with the freezing temperatures at the bottom. Any habitat, plumbing, etc. would have to be constantly heated.

    New Renter says

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

    You will probably have the choice to move to a moon colony before you get the opportunity to live in a colony at the bottom of the ocean.

  27. New Renter


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    27   12:52pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    leo707 says

    The only thing that makes it easier to get to the bottom of the ocean is gravity.

    Great - eliminate gravity and all our space exploration problems are solved.

    leo707 says

    The energy to escape the earths orbit is the huge cost of going to space. It costs about 8 million to drop one person in a cramped cockpit to the bottom of the ocean.

    3 people (one trip had two), and 2 unmanned trips have been to the bottom of the ocean. Hundreds of people have been to space. 12 people have walked on the moon, over 9 missions. We have people living in an orbiting space station.

    And it cost $450M for each shuttle mission just to get to low earth orbit and many billions for the space station.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle_program

    leo707 says

    No one has ever walked on the bottom of the ocean.

    No-one has ever walked at the far edge of the universe either which is the true comparison of the extremes of distance here.

    Just for fun lets make this comparison. The universe is estimate to be 93B light years across. For the sake of simplicity lets approximate it as a sphere. That makes it 47B light years from here to there. That's 2.7x 10^26 miles. Compare that to the 6.2 miles to the bottom of the ocean. The distance to the moon relative to the edge of the universe is comparable to about 10 ATTOmeters to the absolute bottom of the ocean.

    That is 1/175th the diameter of a proton.

    The bottom of the ocean is any portion of the earth's surface covered by ocean water just as "space" is anywhere outside of the earths atmosphere. I have already traveled to the bottom of the ocean many times as have untold millions over human history and it costs nearly nothing. The same cannot be said for a trip to space.

    leo707 says

    First off giant squids only reach a depth of maybe 4000ft, and the deepest fish exist at around 14,000ft. Past 3000ft there is no sunlight to grow food. This is a long way off from the bottom at around 36,000ft.

    Who needs sunlight when you have chemotrophs?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotrophic

  28. The Professor


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    28   2:11pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    And it cost $450M for each shuttle mission just to get to low earth orbit and many billions for the space station.

    And almost $200k an hour to run Air Force One.

    Half a trillion for our war in Afghanistan.

    More of your taxpayer dollars at work.

  29. The Professor


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    29   2:16pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    "Space the final frontier.

    To explore strange new worlds
    To seek out new life and new civilizations
    To boldly go where no man has gone before"

    Send probes. Set up the Moon and Mars Colonies. Figure out how to survive without terrestrial support. Continue the theoretical and practical research. Reach for our potential.

  30. New Renter


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    30   2:28pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    The Professor says

    "Space the final frontier.

    To explore strange new worlds

    To seek out new life and new civilizations

    To boldly go where no man has gone before"

    Send probes. Set up the Moon and Mars Colonies. Figure out how to survive without terrestrial support. Continue the theoretical and practical research. Reach for our potential.

    ...Spout inspirational platitudes with no thought to the economic or indeed physical realities...

  31. The Professor


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    31   3:20pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    New Renter says

    ...Spout inspirational platitudes with no thought to the economic or indeed physical realities...

    The world needs dreamers...

    And cynical criticizers to bring them back to reality.

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

    "Argue for your limitations, and they are yours". - Richard Bach

  32. New Renter


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    32   6:24pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    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?

  33. Peter P


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    33   6:42pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    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.

  34. Peter P


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    34   6:43pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Currency is a religion. Look what it can do. The belief of the mass is so powerful that you may as well subscribe to epistemological subjectivism.

  35. The Professor


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    35   8:55pm Sat 1 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    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.

  36. Dan8267


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    36   8:07am Sun 2 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    New Renter says

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

  37. Dan8267


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    37   8:24am Sun 2 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    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.

  38. Dan8267


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    38   8:27am Sun 2 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    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.

  39. Dan8267


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    39   8:31am Sun 2 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    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.

  40. Peter P


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    40   9:59am Sun 2 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    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)

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