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Thread: Another unpopular opinion

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Another unpopular opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    One point that the orbiting telescopes have been driving home over the last few decades is that the scope of time and space is utterly beyond the human body.
    The notion of colonizing other planets, particularly distant ones, is driven by an imperialist, colonial impulse, along with the collective fantasies nurtured by entertainment such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and similar leaps of imagination.

    But given our need for a narrow set of conditions to support life, and the apparent lack of such resources on other planets, let alone in interstellar space, the sheer weight of what we know about physics rules against humans ever being able to explore and colonize even other planets in our system.

    Most space operas rest on a single pivot: faster-than-light travel. But the chances of achieving that seem vanishingly small. The overwhelming fact is the tremendous distance between stars compared to the span of a human life.

    I enjoy space operas in the same way I enjoy elaborate fantasies, such as Lord of the Rings. But I also like the real world, and recognize the difference.

    A strikingly good novel on the topic is Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    The money. I've said it here before: nobody stuffs dollars into a capsule and launches it into orbit. All that money is spent here on Earth. Spent on research programs, on training future engineers and scientists, spent on things that can benefit human lives and further knowledge.

    The efficiency of robots. Curiosity, the rover on Mars for ten years, has driven 17.5 miles. A human geologist could have gone further and studied more in a week. Even on foot, with a shovel. The robots are good, but they're currently no substitute for humans on the ground.

    The future of humanity. The dinosaurs died out because they didn't do space. Don't be a dinosaur.

    The inspiration. Humans, floating in orbit, bobbing about in lunar gravity, is simply awe-inspiring. Cool as...well, just see what this ape can do, if it tries hard enough.

    The risks. 243 set off to circumnavigate the world with Magellan. 56 returned. Would you have boarded one of those ships? Death in space will occur: it's inevitable. But people take risks all the time, and we know that no-one gets out of here alive. Would I rather die on Mars or worn-out in some Earthbound care home? I'll take the Mars option, thanks.

    Andy, still space-cadetting.
    It is all as cool as hell but the funny thing about the sea faring analogies is that they “discovered” places where people were already living. And places where people can’t live, they don’t. Our civilization has enough excess wealth to have individuals camp on the moon and Mars but that doesn’t make them New Earth.

  3. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post

    The efficiency of robots. Curiosity, the rover on Mars for ten years, has driven 17.5 miles. A human geologist could have gone further and studied more in a week. Even on foot, with a shovel. The robots are good, but they're currently no substitute for humans on the ground.
    Curiosity is tech from the 2000s, and yet it went to Mars decades before humans possibly could. Perseverance drives much faster, and now we have Mars helicopters.

    Putting humans on Mars will take 20 years and loads of money. In 10 years, with a fraction of the money, you could have a fleet of modern rovers and drones, visiting lots of places on Mars instead of just one. I bet they would cover far more ground than a manned Mars mission.

  4. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    The notion of colonizing other planets, particularly distant ones, is driven by an imperialist, colonial impulse, along with the collective fantasies nurtured by entertainment such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and similar leaps of imagination.

    But given our need for a narrow set of conditions to support life, and the apparent lack of such resources on other planets, let alone in interstellar space, the sheer weight of what we know about physics rules against humans ever being able to explore and colonize even other planets in our system.

    Most space operas rest on a single pivot: faster-than-light travel. But the chances of achieving that seem vanishingly small. The overwhelming fact is the tremendous distance between stars compared to the span of a human life.

    I enjoy space operas in the same way I enjoy elaborate fantasies, such as Lord of the Rings. But I also like the real world, and recognize the difference.

    A strikingly good novel on the topic is Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora.

    Methinks the “out of this world” exploration will come from on world artificial realities. Making chit up is a human characteristic.

  5. #40
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    We could eliminate football (the real one), and use that $15 billion for a moon and mars base. No brainer. But nooooo.

    Also, we could go all project plowshare. Get a much better idea of what’s under the surface and prep a kick-ass crater that we could put a dome over. Radiation will be dissipated long before we are ready to move in.

    You want to get kids invested in science, let’s blow some **** up.

    Sedan crater. I’m sure we can do much, much better these days.

    D2B69C0D-2DB1-439D-A49D-A849C771FF37.jpg

  6. #41
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    Couple of observations. The driving force behind virtually all technical advances has been improving the ability to kill ever larger numbers of people more efficiently. The space program, like the effort to use nuclear power, was an effort to create a publicly supported "peacetime" alternative to war. That is the essential reason to put a human into space, rather than a robot. (Might note that a chimp, or was it a dog? came first.) The science is irrelevant, since it originated in an arms race, and seems to continue in that direction. The question keeps emerging "If you can put a man on the moon, why can't you....?" It remains relevant. Might note that I live in a city, where in 1967, one side was set in flames over the closing of an after-hours bar, while on the other side of the same city, they were doing final testing on the rocket that put the first man on the moon.

  7. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Curiosity is tech from the 2000s, and yet it went to Mars decades before humans possibly could. Perseverance drives much faster, and now we have Mars helicopters.

    Putting humans on Mars will take 20 years and loads of money. In 10 years, with a fraction of the money, you could have a fleet of modern rovers and drones, visiting lots of places on Mars instead of just one. I bet they would cover far more ground than a manned Mars mission.
    And it’s quite possible that this century could be the last chance for $100 billion camping trips to Mars in which case a rich repository of data accumulated on Earth for future generations to mine will yield more bang for the buck than a couple campsites on Mars.

  8. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Couple of observations. The driving force behind virtually all technical advances has been improving the ability to kill ever larger numbers of people more efficiently.
    is this really true?

    was this driving force behind most agricultural advances throughout time?

    was this the driving force behind most medical advances?

    was carl benz interested in mechanizing war when he invented the car? same same the wright brothers??
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  9. #44
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    I figure getting high with that dopamine endorphin stuff motivated a lot of people. And fermented beverages.

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    I was all for it when man put up Sputnik and landed on the moon. But no longer, it's a distraction from the main game now, survival on THIS planet, let alone another. And as has been said, beyond the envelope of earth space is a fatal place for humans and automated equipment will explore what of space we can access in useful time in a cheaper more efficient way. Sending humans to say Mars is just hubris.

  11. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    is this really true?

    was this driving force behind most agricultural advances throughout time?

    was this the driving force behind most medical advances?

    was carl benz interested in mechanizing war when he invented the car? same same the wright brothers??
    There is a good argument that agriculture, which requires setting aside land to grow things and domesticate animals, also meant defending that land--which is what war is all about. The Wright Brothers cut a deal with the defense department about two years after their first flight. By WWI, bombers and air-to-air combat had prompted huge advances in aircraft. The personal car was quickly followed by the development of the tracked tank, and so on. Steam powered battleships preceded commercial cargo carriers. Medical? Penicillin was first mass-produced in !943. Infection from war wounds was huge. Battlefields and the monstrous results of war prompted much of medical research.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    I enjoy space operas in the same way I enjoy elaborate fantasies, such as Lord of the Rings. But I also like the real world, and recognize the difference.

    A strikingly good novel on the topic is Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora.

    Awesomely good book. Apart, maybe, from the description of sailing in chapter one. But the main take-out I got is that any living planet will try to kill us.

    ...Which feels right.

    Andy
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  13. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    The Wright Brothers cut a deal with the defense department about two years after their first flight.
    but was the war dept contract what motivated the wrights to begin with?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Awful lot of flotsam in that opinion, Andy!
    Fire away! I have more.

    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    And places where people can’t live, they don’t.
    Yeah...we'd best stay in Africa. Northern Europe? Cold as heck and full of mammoths, cave lions and freaky rhinos. Don't even think it.

    Andy
    "In case of fire ring Fellside 75..."

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    I’m ok with nuclear propulsion. Then there’s all the ion and other energized particle engines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    Yeah...we'd best stay in Africa. Northern Europe? Cold as heck and full of mammoths, cave lions and freaky rhinos. Don't even think it.

    Andy
    nahh, I was thinking the Antarctic, places where you simply can’t live.

  18. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    but was the war dept contract what motivated the wrights to begin with?
    It certainly was the main (maybe the only) way to commercialize aviation. The Wrights were demonstrating their invention when it killed a US Army lieutenant--the first fatality from a powered plane crash.

  19. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    nahh, I was thinking the Antarctic, places where you simply can’t live.
    You can live in Antarctica way longer than you can live on Mars. Years vs seconds.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Another unpopular opinion

    How do all the naysayers feel about using google earth, instead of travelling away from home on vacation. It's so much more cost effective, and you still get to see everything, right? And you can just pop down to your local ethnic restaurant for a taste of your virtual destination. Even Joe was surprised that his pizza in Florence was EXACTLY the same as at his local SoCal gourmet pizza joint, I mean, why travel all that way?
    Nah, it's just not the same, is it!

    Spam in the can will see, hear, feel and experience things that no silicon pea-brain ever will, and as fellow travellers we can relate to that. It's absolutely not all about the science.
    And let's be brutally honest, figuring out the age of Mars, or whether it once had life, or a thousand other scientific things we might discover has zero bearing or practical application to our life on earth. It's science for the sake of science and curiosity, and arguably a complete waste of money in its own right - interesting, but useless. JWST is the pinacle of this - ooh look, three billion years ago the upsilon antares cluster blew up, and we made this really pretty picture. And there was water there!!
    That's probably an unpopular opinion too.

    Edit - we've probably gained more useful knowledge, materials science, electronics etc, from figuring out how to put these things onto other planets, than we've learned from actually putting there.


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  21. #56
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    We are in the middle of a second space race...

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/24/world...scn/index.html
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  22. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    We are in the middle of a second space race...

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/24/world...scn/index.html
    Why does the SLS even exist?

    The first three flights of the NASA's SLS rocket will cost $4.1 billion each, according to NASA's inspector general, who told the US Congress in March that the price tag was "unsustainable."
    Unlike Elon Musk's SpaceX which is developing a fully reusable moon rocket called Starship, NASA's SLS rocket is fully expendable, meaning it can only be used once. The ability to reuse rockets brings down the cost per launch dramatically, and China is considering developing a fully reusable heavy-lift rocket for future projects to the moon and beyond, according to SpaceNews.

  23. #58
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    Conclusion: Not such an unpopular opinion after all. There’s a lot more work to do here before even thinking about exporting our brand of greed to space. I think most informed people realize that at this stage of development we’re better served by correcting our abuses here than abandoning a perfectly good planet for one entirely unsuited to habitation. Now tell that to “the Space Farce” that Pence so proudly hailed as the American future.
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  24. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Why does the SLS even exist?
    Mainly because NASA rejected the idea of a reuseable booster rocket in the late 1960s.

  25. #60
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    ^ There is, indeed, that.

    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Waste of money...
    Shirley we could come up with better ways of spending money we don't have.
    Back then.. Peeps weren't doing too badly and the focus was on beating the 'ruskies'. Now, times are tough and people quite rightly cannot see the reason for looking to 'colonise ' other planets,at huge cost.
    While there have been materials that we got from the 'race', likely they would have been developed anyway, possibly a bit later.
    Still, nothing like hosing money to boost one's ego.

  27. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Mainly because NASA rejected the idea of a reuseable booster rocket in the late 1960s.
    But $4.1 billion a launch? Must be the MIC procurement culture.

  28. #63
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    'Other Peoples money' syndrome. I look at it in terms of bang/buck, and I don't see it. Looking at crumbling infrastructure here - where we are all going to live/die - imagine what those funds could do.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  29. #64
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    If exploration and the growth of scientific knowledge are priorities, than it would make much more sense to develop artificial intelligence applications to pilot vessels and perform perform assessments. The idea that a human being needs to be there to plant the flag is pure romance.

    Interesting piece on AI developments.

    We Need to Talk About How Good A.I. Is Getting

    We’re in a golden age of progress in artificial intelligence. It’s time to start taking its potential and risks seriously.

    Kevin Roose


    Aug. 24, 2022
    . . . .

    In the past, A.I. progress was mostly obvious only to insiders who kept up with the latest research papers and conference presentations. But recently, Mr. Clark said, even laypeople can sense the difference.

    “You used to look at A.I.-generated language and say, ‘Wow, it kind of wrote a sentence,’” Mr. Clark said. “And now you’re looking at stuff that’s A.I.-generated and saying, ‘This is really funny, I’m enjoying reading this,’ or ‘I had no idea this was even generated by A.I.’”

    There is still plenty of bad, broken A.I. out there, from racist chatbots to faulty automated driving systems that result in crashes and injury. And even when A.I. improves quickly, it often takes a while to filter down into products and services that people actually use. An A.I. breakthrough at Google or OpenAI today doesn’t mean that your Roomba will be able to write novels tomorrow.

    But the best A.I. systems are now so capable — and improving at such fast rates — that the conversation in Silicon Valley is starting to shift. Fewer experts are confidently predicting that we have years or even decades to prepare for a wave of world-changing A.I.; many now believe that major changes are right around the corner, for better or worse.

    Ajeya Cotra, a senior analyst with Open Philanthropy who studies A.I. risk, estimated two years ago that there was a 15 percent chance of “transformational A.I.” — which she and others have defined as A.I. that is good enough to usher in large-scale economic and societal changes, such as eliminating most white-collar knowledge jobs — emerging by 2036.

    But in a recent post, Ms. Cotra raised that to a 35 percent chance, citing the rapid improvement of systems like GPT-3. “A.I. systems can go from adorable and useless toys to very powerful products in a surprisingly short period of time,” Ms. Cotra told me. “People should take more seriously that A.I. could change things soon, and that could be really scary.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/24/t...e=articleShare

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Another unpopular opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    How do all the naysayers feel about using google earth, instead of travelling away from home on vacation. It's so much more cost effective, and you still get to see everything, right? And you can just pop down to your local ethnic restaurant for a taste of your virtual destination. Even Joe was surprised that his pizza in Florence was EXACTLY the same as at his local SoCal gourmet pizza joint, I mean, why travel all that way?
    Nah, it's just not the same, is it!

    Spam in the can will see, hear, feel and experience things that no silicon pea-brain ever will, and as fellow travellers we can relate to that. It's absolutely not all about the science.
    And let's be brutally honest, figuring out the age of Mars, or whether it once had life, or a thousand other scientific things we might discover has zero bearing or practical application to our life on earth. It's science for the sake of science and curiosity, and arguably a complete waste of money in its own right - interesting, but useless. JWST is the pinacle of this - ooh look, three billion years ago the upsilon antares cluster blew up, and we made this really pretty picture. And there was water there!!
    That's probably an unpopular opinion too.

    Edit - we've probably gained more useful knowledge, materials science, electronics etc, from figuring out how to put these things onto other planets, than we've learned from actually putting there.


    Pete
    pete, i don't think manned space exploration is at all equivalent to the family vacation.

    the difference is, almost none of us will get to go to space. for almost all of us, there will be no difference if we see things through the eyes of an unmanned probe, or have some person describe it with platitudes while they look out the window at it.

    i mean, we could have professional describers in a room at nasa headquarters talking as if they were there while looking at images, and we might never know.

  31. #66
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    We’re not moving to another planet as meat. We won’t leave until we evolve into robots. May as well practice by shooting robots off into space.

  32. #67
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    I think that there is much that can be achieved by robotic means, rovers, robots or whatever. But for all their amazing versatility, what those machines cant do, is nurture the souls of humanity. We're hard wired as a species to find the boundaries and step over them, to explore and expand our horizons, and even if its only a very very few individuals who in this case do that, thats representative of humanity and the effect washes through us all.

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  33. #68
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    I suspect that getting farther than the moon is harder than we think.

    Space is an environment that is bad for humans. The international space station shows that. The longer you are up there the stranger the effects and they all seem bad.

    It's seldom discussed, but the only evacuation from the international space station was for mental health reasons. A lot of work has been done to help keep space travelers on an even keel mentally, but it's still very possible that we will have mission failures and lose people for mental health reasons.

    I don't really buy the "it costs too much" argument. If we stop spending $10 billion on space exploration that money will go to gold plated bathrooms in the Hamptons and dietary supplements that fund conspiracy theories. Spending on manned space flight gives many people inspiration which is not really a waste of money.
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  34. #69
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    I’m a bit surprised that my opinion wasn’t nearly as negatively received as I anticipated… and surprised that Dave Hadfield hasn’t weighed in
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    pete, i don't think manned space exploration is at all equivalent to the family vacation.

    the difference is, almost none of us will get to go to space. for almost all of us, there will be no difference if we see things through the eyes of an unmanned probe, or have some person describe it with platitudes while they look out the window at it.

    i mean, we could have professional describers in a room at nasa headquarters talking as if they were there while looking at images, and we might never know.
    You can't picture yourself in Neil Armstrong's space boots, on the moon? The Russians landed two rovers on the moon, it was really memorable....not. Why is that?
    I dunno, I'm an early 60s baby, manned lunar missions were the bomb.
    Fifty years after the fact, I spent a ****load of my own money after a work trip to a rig in the GOM, to go to Houston so I could eyeball the Saturn V there - the one that would have been Apollo 18. The engineers and technicians who sweated blood to deliver two guys to the surface of the moon are my heroes, every bit as much as the the astronauts. Standing in front of that monument to ingenuity, skill and courage had me wiping a tear. I think there was a display about Voyager there. It's an amazingly long lived piece of kit, that has left the solar system. It is still doing good science way past it's use-by date, but it's never been anything more than a glorified radio with a few crappy sensors, and a very cunning system to keep its antenna aligned. As an engineer, the fact it still works impresses the hell out of me, the pics it sent back would only excite its mother, and it will never bring me to tears. No people.
    JWST is an amazing piece of technology, but nobody has put their balls on the chopping block, climbed aboard, and made it a human experience. It is irrelevant in the same way that using google earth to do an overseas vacation would be irrelevant.
    It doesn't matter (to me) that only a vanishingly small percentage of the human race has even been into space, or that only a tiny percentage of those individuals have set foot on another world. That they can, and have, is infinitely more exciting than than yet another Mars rover that can't even wipe the dust off its own solar panels (seriously, WTF is it with that, a wiper isnt rocket science? A HUMAN could do it without even thinking).
    What makes vacations memorable is the human experience, and sure, they are more accessible than space travel. People get all excited and invested in sports teams because they can relate to the people.
    Robotic F1 cars could quite likely go faster than drivers, but without people in the cars, how much support or interest do you think it would get?
    Whoever the movie star du jour with a pretty face, nice bum and pert titties is, has orders of magnitude more followers than the number 3 mirror actuator on JWST - because she's an actual person.....and who knows, pigs might yet fly .
    Robotic space exploration and virtual overseas holidays are very cool demonstrations of technology, and they are both dull as ditch water for the same reasons. No risk, no relatable experience, no humans were harmed in this production.

    Pete
    Last edited by epoxyboy; 08-25-2022 at 03:32 AM.
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