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Thread: Genetic Engineering..Next step in our Evolution?

  1. #101  
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    Flick, if we haven't learned to live within the limits of the best bit of habitable space by far without trashing it, that will be "...a testament to misguided priorities and a severe lack of foresight."

    It's worth taking a long view and to aim for immortality as a species, if not for individuals but I think we already have sufficient understanding of the nature of our world, with it's foresight for helping make informed choices, yet by preference and priority we, collectively, are choosing comfortable illusions, distractions and indulgences over incorporating what foresight we have to reach that immortality. The slow and expensively acquired knowledge and understanding of how our world and universe works is relatively easy to dismiss, ignore and obscure as it doesn't reside so much in individuals or form the basis of their everyday options and choices as exist within institutions and organisations and specialised practitioners. Climate problem? Point fingers, impugn people's motives, make up a story about their incompetence - climate problem 'solved'. Simultaneously we indulge in proud self-congratulation for our cleverness at extracting previously unusable accumulations of carbon to keeps those illusions, distractions and indulgences going from strength to strength - all the way from unsustainable to self-destructive.

    Without the kinds of academic and ethical standards that are typified by our institutions and practitioners of science - accurate observation and record keeping, open access, error correction, the organised and scrutinised application of intellect to turn data into knowledge within a framework with those standards - informed foresight will lose out to comfortable illusions. We know there are icebergs and not enough lifeboats, but the papers said our ship is unsinkable and we choose to believe that and glory in our maritime achievements. Stoke up the boilers for full steam ahead.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; September 8th, 2012 at 06:44 PM.
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  2. #102  
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    If our population explodes, I don't think we could ever find new Earth's fast enough to stay ahead of it. Like if it kept doubling every 50 years, then 500 years is multiplying by 1024. That's a lot of new Earths. In 1000 years we'd need 1,048,576 Earths.

    And god help us (or them) if some alien culture has already claimed those lands and doesn't feel like relinquishing them to us.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  3. #103  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    If our population explodes, I don't think we could ever find new Earth's fast enough to stay ahead of it. Like if it kept doubling every 50 years, then 500 years is multiplying by 1024. That's a lot of new Earths. In 1000 years we'd need 1,048,576 Earths.

    And god help us (or them) if some alien culture has already claimed those lands and doesn't feel like relinquishing them to us.
    Life will enter a new phase while colonizing space!
    We are used to paradigmatic thinking. We overlook the obvious:
    What caveman could conceive of farming? What farmer could foresee living in a city?
    What earthling can conseive of spacelings?
    Planets will only be used for mining. Not as space for living!

    In space theres three Natural Resources: Sunshine, hydrogen and vacuum energy.
    Far in the future the Casimir effect will tap the resources of the quantum, but until then
    Hydrogen and Concentrated Sunshine is the foundation of the Space Nations.
    The first colonies exploring the solar system will use any matter at hand.

    Its difficult not to envisage robots mining asteroids...
    but I suspect vaporisation and transport in the form
    of ionised rays is the more efficient method
    of matter transports in space.
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  4. #104  
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    If space colonization happens along with immortality, and we decide not to explode our population, then every man, woman, and the very few children on Earth could live their immortal lives in affluence. If we do explode our population, then probably most of them will scrape by, and continue to live "lives of quiet desperation" as quite a lot of people live now.

    If immortality happens and space colonization doesn't happen quick enough, then the only people to benefit from the new immortality will be the few who are lucky enough not to get killed in the wars that follow.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  5. #105  
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    Multi-decades of effort by the world's biggest and most advanced economies is still struggling to make fusion work - there's nothing inevitable about working fusion becoming cheap and ubiquitous. Expansion into space of the kind being discussed, independent of Earth and Sun, seems to require it not only be a working technology, but that it's easy and cheap to build from raw materials locally, There's a long, long way to go to achieve that, if ever and it doesn't matter how abundant tritium and deuterium are.

    There is fission as an existing alternative but outside of planets with hydro/geothermal processes to concentrate and enrich the ores, the fissionable elements needed will be in short supply. Independence of deep gravity wells makes for lower threshold for sustainable minimum technology levels in space - reusable 'shuttles' for planet to orbit aren't simple or cheap and mining operations on planets that have thick and possibly corrosive and probably toxic atmospheres won't be the kinds of things small economies can achieve. Fission difficult, fusion even more difficult. Achieving an independent economy in space big and complex enough to do it will be a huge undertaking - which won't happen if independence and self-sufficiency are the initial intent; it will only happen as part of Earth's economy with benefits to Earth based investors.

    I think Sigur and others underestimate how much of our current prosperity derives from having 'inherited' a world of abundant resources and environments suited to our use; we like to think it's all been due to our remarkable cleverness but without an existing world to exploit just breathing is a high tech effort. I don't see any self supporting human occupation of space as inevitable; we'll be lucky if humanity survives it's impending head on collision with the limits of planet Earth with any capacity to launch people into space.

    p.s. Just as an aside, would the neutrino output from civilisations that are reliant on fusion (or matter/antimatter for that matter) be detectable from Earth? I know that our own widespread use of radar would be detectable as anomalous by a civilisation at another star (not too far away) with similar tech levels to ours. Major interstellar civilisations that do use fusion at large scale within our galaxy may be detectable. I'd be very surprised if such a thing exists but it is, just barely, possible.
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