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View Diary: This week in science: billions and billionaires (107 comments)

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  •  I'm Torn (6+ / 0-)

    about space exploration and the cost associated.  On the one hand knowledge about out solar system, galaxy and universe are a good thing that can greatly benefit society. However, on the other hand, what seems to be implicit in space exploration (at least in the minds of some) is that we (future generations) will have to colonize space because we will destroy this planet with overpopulation and pollute ourselves (destroy the environment) forcing an exodus. In fact, there are powerful economic forces at play that have no conscience when it comes to their effect on the environment.

    Our future is here, we have to take care of Mother Earth.  I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't want to live in a containerized environment.  I wouldn't want my future family living in that kind of environment because we didn't have the foresight to take care of our planet.

    I guess I don't want space exploration viewed as an a escape hatch for our poor stewardship here and a license to destroy our planet.

    •  Let me respond to this (7+ / 0-)

      1)  I would argue that space development and space settlement can go hand in hand with helping the planet.  Its not an escape hatch, but rather, its a place where certain activities that really shouldn't take place on earth are more conducive.  

      Added to that, is the point that, at the end of the day, I don't believe our "world" should be limited to a single planet.  We should be able to develop space, and settle space, and still keep the planet in good shape (or rather, return it to good shape).  

      2)  Technically, we live in a containerized environment, even now (its just a very big container).

      So, done properly and responsibly (and I admit that asks a lot of us as a species) space development isn't about leaving one house you've trashed to move into another.  Rather, its about adding on new sections to your original small house

    •  Amen! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Happy Ones, Visceral
      I understand the resentment some billionaires have rightfully earned with us progressives, but those are not the same people!
      No, these are the zillionaires who think they can escape the wrath of a dead planet by moving on to other planets.  They are worse than the out and out deniers; they think they can escape the worst without using their billions to save THIS planet.
      •  Why assume they aren't trying to find a way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBNathan85

        for everyone to come?  And why assume that this is an either/or situation?  

        Whats your proof?  Particularly when you have someone like Elon Musk who is funding a LOT of clean tech, and space development?

        •  Its self evident most everyone isnt going anywhere (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Visceral

          Not when the clock is going to run out in 200 years or less.
          A BLADERUNNER dystopia is an optimistic scenario compared to whats actually likely to happen on Earth.

        •  and ruin Galt's Gulch with proles?! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Happy Ones

          The whole point of Galt's Gulch was to leave everyone behind to die.  They go and they build their perfect little society just for them, while all the dumb animals that bit the hand that fed them one too many times are deprived of their genius and mighty ubermensch Will and without leadership will just stumble around without a clue or a care until they starve.

          They might bring a handful of people who personally wait on them, but they might instead go back to how it was in the days before professional servants, when junior aristocrats served senior aristocrats.  Mere billionaires will become servants to low multi-billionaires, who will become servants to high multi-billionaires.

          Besides, these people are such complete narcissists that I doubt it would even occur to them to bring working folk.  They truly think it's their CEO magic that makes stuff happen because they want it.

          •  Being rich doesn't mean you are an @$$ hole (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Happy Ones, TexasTom, JBNathan85

            Yes, I will fully accept that there are rich people who are jerks, who take the attitude that of "I earned everything good that happens to me" and so forth, who subscribe to Ayn Rand's ideals, and so forth.  

            But that is NOT a prerequisite for  being rich.  Or even Mega-rich.  I've known more than a few people who are poor who have a total Ayn Rand perspective.  And I've seen people who are wealthy take an enlightened attitude (look at George Soros, or Warren Buffet, or Elon Musk).  

            •  do you think you'll have a seat on their lifeboat? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not so deluded as to think they're going to let me go to space, much less give me a seat on the ark, so I honestly could care less if anyone goes to space.  In and of itself, space isn't wrong, just irrelevant.  I'm far more interested in dealing with the brewing (and surprisingly literal) shitstorm here on Earth that I'm going to have to live through no matter how much "epic" the Heinleinian supermen are having up in space.

              To the extent that space will interfere with dealing with the terrestrial shitstorm, I am definitely opposed to it.  And no, escape for a handful of rich people and/or breeding stock is not "dealing with it".

              •  Am going to repost my response to Happy Ones (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JBNathan85

                1)  I would argue that space development and space settlement can go hand in hand with helping the planet.  Its not an escape hatch, but rather, its a place where certain activities that really shouldn't take place on earth are more conducive.  

                Added to that, is the point that, at the end of the day, I don't believe our "world" should be limited to a single planet.  We should be able to develop space, and settle space, and still keep the planet in good shape (or rather, return it to good shape).  

                2)  Technically, we live in a containerized environment, even now (its just a very big container).

                So, done properly and responsibly (and I admit that asks a lot of us as a species) space development isn't about leaving one house you've trashed to move into another.  Rather, its about adding on new sections to your original small house

                In short - no, space is NOT irrelevant.  We already know that it won't be.  

              •  Climate science started with probe to Venus (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Happy Ones, JBNathan85

                According to Neil deGrasse Tyson our probe discovered a phenomenon in its atmosphere now called the runaway green house effect. Once aware of it and of carbon dioxide being a primary driver we started looking at our own atmosphere and effects of carbon dioxide. Without NASA we might be decades behind realizing the global warming we are encountering. Space exploration may help us dodge a bullet which we might have never seen coming otherwise.

      •  There are a lot of assumptions in this... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roberb7, Happy Ones, bythesea
        No, these are the zillionaires who think they can escape the wrath of a dead planet by moving on to other planets.  They are worse than the out and out deniers; they think they can escape the worst without using their billions to save THIS planet.
        This is making assumptions about the billionaires who are funding this Mars flyby that I don't believe are justified by the facts.  Really, can you point to a single comment made by any of the funders that suggests that this Mars flyby is part of a plan for them to escape?

        I doubt it very much, because if that is their plan, it is a flimsy one indeed.  Because based on a flyby (with no landing) in 2018, it will likely be decades more before we can land and set up a permanent habitat on Mars.

        If they were looking for an escape hatch, they'd probably be looking somewhere a little closer -- like the moon.

        Instead, this just seems to be Republican-grade paranoia that ascribes evil motives to people you dislike, without bothering to find any evidence to back it up.  

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:26:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I think the super-rich (0+ / 0-)

        plan to take over Africa as a place they can assert their will and have vast tracts of land etc.....that is relatively unpolluted and undeveloped.

        "escape to another planet' is hogwash for our lifetimes. Anything remotely viable is light-years away and...just preposterous at this stage. Without FTL travel, where are we going to go?

        And we already have a spaceship - we need to stop screwing it up. Space travel research would likely return a dollar for ever nickle invested, or better in terms of positive developments we can actually use.

        At least, that is what I believe.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:43:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm probably too old but I'll volunteer to at (0+ / 0-)

          least go into space and help.... I ain't no astronaut, but I'm smart and I'll work.

          (Volunteer meaning I'll go, but I'll need my palms greased...)

          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:48:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  They no where to go, and if they ever do (0+ / 0-)

        it will be in the far future or because humans (or their robots) will have built it.

    •  That (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Happy Ones, bythesea, teknohed

      is a well stated, coherent, constructive point. I want everypone else on this thread to take a look at this and see how it is done.

      In response, I simply don't know if taking care of Mother Earth will work or not. My fear is it might not because life has this built in drive to expand, to reproduce, to populate and over populate, and those qualities will always be selected for, the opposite qualities tend to get selected out. What is good for the gene or the individual is not always good for the family or clan or group.

      One can get into a long blow hard conversation about how well that translates into culture, but it's just a fact that the human population keeps going up. Short of global pandemic or technology crash, this seems to always be the case. There were more people on earth at the end of WW2 than at the beginning of it!

      Barring an unforseen plague with 50% mortality -- whicikh would merely delay things -- I think we're headed for a crash no matter what we do. But if we can use the resources in space, that crash might be in a Volvo at lower speed into a cushioned railguard with airbags, instead of on a motorcycle into a solid concrete pillar at 100 mph without a helmet.

      •  You may be right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noodles, DarkSyde

        but I see our advancement as a species including problem solving such as over population and self-annihilation by pollution.  These are things that government and business should be involved in, but seem to ignore resigning ourselves to the crash you speak of.  Space travel isn't achieved by civilization that destroy themselves in my estimation.  Of course that doesn't include destruction by forces beyond their current control like stars exploding or asteroid hits etc....

    •  Anything related to space exploration (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBNathan85

      particularly manned space flight/planetary exploration will serve to advance technologies that benefit everybody. Capitalists are the ones who fuck it up to make shitloads of money squelching access to it.

      I think a Mars mission will require further advancements/breakthroughs in battery technology, and such, things we needed 20 years ago and still dont have.

      THAT alone would make it worthwhile.

      Medical advancements from suspended animation research would be invaluable (at least until capitalists get them).

      Oh... yeah... waste management systems - a big win there, too.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:37:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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