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Ken Fabian

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Everything posted by Ken Fabian

  1. Not just those who think life was created have a problem with the idea Life exists in order to moderate planetary energy flows. It seems to presume a purpose. It looks more purposeless and opportunistic to me; energy differences made opportunities for chemical reactions. The just right combinations of chemical reactions. A long way from the Big Bang to a world with the just right non-biological chemicals (not quite the same as "inorganic"). It does sound like the Big Bang was when the potential for such worlds with such chemistry was set. We don't yet know if the emergence of life was ine
  2. In evolutionary biology there is no "evil" but there is a lot of thinking about cheating and how that plays out. Wikipedia has a reasonable summation, but if you are serious you will look to the linked sources. Social organisms often have ways of "policing" cheaters.
  3. Seems to me the success of a group of hominids depends on the combination of varied abilities, with varied personality types suiting different roles. I suspect there is no ideal personality and too much uniformity would reduce the group's capabilities.
  4. There were solar updraft towers proposals around, warming the air in a flared "hothouse" base. Is that what Revl has in mind? Other ways of using low grade heat to make mechanical movement or electricity include stirling engines and thermocouples.
  5. I don't think I can address all the arguments from multiple people in one session and some probably deserve their own thread - and I won't keep at this endlessly - but fwiw - We have a growing capacity to assess the scale of the challenges we face before we face them, to know the theoretical and practical limits we can expect to come up against, to model them. I expect we will get a top to bottom theoretical understanding of the physics of our universe and thus of limits of material properties and processes - and I don't expect it to include magical outcomes. That will allow us
  6. But I expect that is not as big a graveyard as for those who thought something could be done but it turned out it couldn't. Seriously, these kinds of arguments around having the right attitude don't answer the fundamental problems. Take it for granted that there will be visionaries and risk takers and that they will be admired for it. And some will get it right and change the course of human history and all but the spectacular failures will be forgotten. But I'd like to hear something more substantive about how the risks and problems are to be dealt with than cliches and slogans.
  7. SpaceX income and commercial viability depends heavily on government contracts and it is a long way short of beng fully funded privately; it receives a lot of government funding, which comes tied to particular projects and outcomes. I am not sure what it is but it is not "private enterprise" as it is usually understood. Even Starlink is getting funding. By operating a business which has the US government as the principle customer SpaceX can't just do as it pleases - and without the strong US government support I think current SpaceX capabilities would be much more modest and big ambitions like
  8. I am not endorsing IDNeon's combative contributions. I remain interested in discussing and debating the real prospects for colonising Mars. I see fundamental problems and am not impressed with "Problems are opportunities" type truisms as responses to them. Those problems are not due to a lack of an optimistic attitude; they need much more substantive solutions than additional optimism. At this point "plans" to colonise Mars are little more than wishful thinking and adding more wishful thinking won't do it.
  9. There is no viable plan for colonising Mars and the improvements SpaceX have made to rocketry are not nearly sufficient to make Mars colonies possible. I suggest Rockets capable of taking missions to Mars part are just one unresolved issue amongst a plethora. Are we not supposed to point out the problems with Mars ambitions? Sorry but the optimistic enthusiasm looks more like Belief and Faith that Elon the Prophet will lead the way to the Promised Land than it being a rational and reasonable ambition for a worthwhile goal that is within reach. At every point the arguments in favor r
  10. Some manufacturers like Tesla already include provisions for taking back batteries for recycling/disposal in the purchase price. It is a serious consideration but I don't think it is being neglected. I fully expect more and better recycling and safe disposal Also I think we need some perspective - projections for battery waste for Australia indicate a rise to above 100,000 metric tons per year by 2050. Not sure what global projections are. It is also projected that by then most of that waste will be recycled. I am inclined to think that the quantities of battery waste is an underestimate,
  11. People can believe and promote whatever beliefs they like but I do think there are or should be obligations for people holding positions of responsibility and trust, including journalists to investigate and report factually and news editors to make clear the difference between reporting and opinion. We have large parts of communities disbelieving the existence or seriousness of the climate problem - profoundly important to our future - because people we rely on to know the difference between fact and fiction chose to promote conspiratorial BS. The US experienced an attempted coup, because
  12. I don't think History tells us that at all. This is the popular retelling of colonial history by space dreamers but I don't see any real substance to it, not adventure as the initial motivation for exploration nor the searching for places to put down roots. What History tells me is that colonies depended on trade and the use of cost effective existing technologies - the gap to bridge between expensive to normal was relatively small. There was an abundance of readily available exploitable resources both for basic survival and for trade. Once provided with maps and rutters plenty of ships c
  13. I don't agree. The resources needed for putting those boots on the ground can do multiple missions and multiple rovers, and can not just deliver and examine a very few samples within close proximity to the lander but do thorough surveys and mapping across vast areas. The data can be on the monitors of teams of the world's best geologists in short time. And in any case I expect any crews will sit within the safety of their base and send out rovers! We've visited Mars by proxy and it offers no path forward to the stated grand dreams of expansion into space I am reading. There are no shortag
  14. We are exploring and better than ever. 21st century humans do space exploration from swivel chairs in front of computer monitors on Earth - it is the in-person explorer thing that is anachronistic. With roots in Astronomy and science, space exploration done from a distance, remotely, is normal and works extraordinarily well, whilst the gloves-on, in-person human space explorer is wishful thinking. Leaving out the crew part simplifies any space mission, extends it's reach and reduces costs enormously. We still do space exploration and we share in it through remote machines and their f
  15. The quoting from SF may be making my point for me. It IS corny, sorry and I don't accept that it is true; machines are doing it better at this point, already going where Man cannot go boldly or at all. We are way short of stagnation and the disparagement of our blue orb is not called for; nothing in our solar system can compare, not even close. Our harshest deserts are more hospitable. And I think the Grand Space Dreams that science fiction inspires absolutely depend on an enduring, prosperous and wealthy Earth economy. Should we manage to achieve some kind of colonising of space I think
  16. I am of the view that the problem must be addressed at the energy industry level, through government policy planning and regulation inducing a transition to very low to below zero emissions. To be effective clean energy abundance such that even people with extravagantly wasteful lifestyles who do not care will have low emissions is necessary. Personal choices to avoid waste, choose lower emissions options and otherwise reduce personal emissions are helpful - and necessary for our sanity and self respect - but without that fundamental shift to clean energy they cannot solve the problem. Going
  17. I don't think that makes it better. Starlink has a huge potential revenue stream that can be reinvested in commercial opportunities and makes commercial sense but trips to Mars do not. There is still no potential future revenue stream from spending all that money going to a dead end destination and will be a bad investment. I think Mars only looms large in popular imagination because of generations of overly optimistic popular fiction.
  18. Ticks usually have specific or preferred host species and will inhabit the range of those... not because they migrate to such places, but because that is where the adult ticks successfully reproduce. Picking one specific individual host over another would be unusual - the way they find hosts doesn't really give them choice. They won't normally seek hosts by walking around on the ground but if lucky enough to find a host like that they won't pass up the opportunity. If it is the wrong host they may drop off - with or without a taste test first. My understanding is that more usually they se
  19. I think SpaceX even doing an uncrewed visit to Mars orbit by 2024 seems overly optimistic. With crew, with landing, with return - no chance. Without outside funding - which I can't see any means for being recouped, which makes funding much harder to find - no. Throwing all resources SpaceX has available at it might get something there - at the risk of going broke. The enthusiastic optimists will tolerate deferred targets better than SpaceX will tolerate going broke.
  20. But don't assume you can't change or influence things and be too willing to give up. Get well informed first.
  21. 50,000 years is short in evolutionary terms. Living with advanced medical care - even if it didn't include fertility treatments or IVF - would be different to free range humans living as hunter gatherers. I suspect selection, ie those with traits that are helpful survive and reproduce better and those without will do worse, but that would mostly be selection amongst existing variations rather than introducing new variations. More time needed for new variations through mutation.
  22. "Evolutionary purpose" is not an evolution science concept. If humans are fitted by evolution to some overarching purpose it will be through Science and Reason that we will work out what that is. Evolution gave us things like our individual will to live and gave us strong social bonds and a strong sex urge and gave us fierce protective love of our children - but those aren't unique to humans. Brain power with powerful memory and language and dreams and ability to think in abstract concepts and with imagination, tool use and invention are human characteristics. We can discover and invent our ow
  23. Trying to figure this out. 90 + posts essentially because someone doesn't understand the difference between force, pressure and work?
  24. It is good it worked out well, but it was not a reliable action to take - not that I'm sure there can be any guarantees, whatever course is taken. Even constant supervision comes with downsides. But it could also have had a bad ending. The potential for an "ordinary" fist-fight to result in serious injury or death is always there - usually without any such intent. Fighting on or around concrete surfaces for example raises the risks greatly. Achieving some kind of just outcome also depends on whether the aggrieved party can win the fight - which is always far from certain. Legal repercussi
  25. And some will be, beyond any shadow of doubt, guilty. Full confessions and all. There is part of me that wants that ultimate punishment but it is that element of satisfaction, even enjoyment at the prospect that troubles me. It is an urge and not necessarily a good urge. Keeping people safe from any further harms doesn't require the death penalty so it will be for other reasons. Cost? Unless the perpetrator is dealt with quickly I am not sure that executions really save money. I suppose I am thinking of other "costs" with my inclination to oppose capital punishment, as in what kind of so
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