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the asinine cretin

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Everything posted by the asinine cretin

  1. Lol. Hey, thanks for the friend add. I'm somebody now.

  2. "Some Parts of the Old Testament Written to Try Us." That's an interesting question. I recall a friend, who is a devout believer, complaining about the discrepancies and confusing passages in the New Testament and wondering why God chose to make it that way. To me this is a very strange concept. Why would God want to "test" people's credulity in the first place? Is there really merit in believing things in spite of evidence to the contrary? How is this sincere? Wouldn't sincere disbelief be preferable to insincere self-delusion? I'm curious to know what the explanation of this might be. Thanks.
  3. Um... Damn. Rockets. . . *picks up jaw off of floor*
  4. I think the global population is expected to plateau at around 9 billion by 2050. Something like that anyway. And many countries are below replacement level. I really don't think a Malthusian runaway population explosion is going to happen. The lower birth rates are correlated with quality of life, education, opportunities women, and the like. As far as causation, I think there is actually a pretty good case for economic and social development (e.g., human rights, democratic structures, secular public education, equality of women, etc.) as the best means for stabilizing population. I'm pretty sure there is good evidence supporting this thinking. The ludicrously immense resources that would be required to ship millions of people off to the Martian ghetto (a futile endeavor btw) would be better spent on developing infrastructure and quality of life on Earth. If we're discussing something as far-fetched as a Martian exodus I'd just say that my fantasy for world-improvement would be the disbanding of all the world's militaries and the use of those resources for pure science, humanitarianism, and environmentalism. Call me a romantic.
  5. Bangarang!!

    1. Ben Banana
    2. Joatmon


      Hope you find them - both boys and marbles. Enjoy your fun-dip!

  6. What if something crazy happened and the Earth was annihilated and the only trace left of our species and civilizations was a jump drive embedded in a rock containing the following video that was then found by aliens in the far future? P.S. That's an example of what I might call a silly question. Want more examples? <-- Itself an example.
  7. So much to do, so little time...

  8. Neat. I'll have to look into that. I can remember learning of some engines and things that were popular in the industry but far too expensive for me.
  9. D H, I was having some layout issues with the bullets when using normal quote blocks so I've decided to respond inline with bold text. Forgive me if this is difficult to read. What is the attraction for terraforming? Basically all of the reasons that we might want to have a human presence on Mars. Exploration, development of resources, building a space-faring civilization, et cetera, et cetera. The value of Mars for these things could be greatly enhanced by modifying its environment. Also just the kind of wonder that drives a lot of futurist speculation. It is too far in the future. I'm interested in terraforming but that doesn't imply that I think it's plausible in the foreseeable future. There are crude "plans" that are more realistic than others, but I can't imagine actually supporting a concrete terraforming endeavor in my lifetime. Want some laughs? Dig up some Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazines from the 1950s where they try to predict fifty years into the future. They got almost everything wrong. Trying to predict 100 years or more into the future now is even more of a laughable endeavor. The world is changing at an even faster pace now than it was in the 1950s. Speculating about what may be possible is still as interesting as it was back then. Why shouldn't people think about such things? Science fiction has often inspired scientific and technological reality -- there's another side to that coin. And while I'm far from an expert, there are some pretty knowledgeable folks who have devoted some of their time to the subject. It's not merely fiction. But assessing the plausibility is part of the topic. The example of Carl Sagan's classic paper on terraforming Venus comes to mind. Reconnaissance revealed that the sheer volume of carbon in the Venusian atmosphere rendered Sagan's plan implausible. To me that paper was not therefore a waste of time. But not to go off on a rant... It is fraught with political peril. Politicians have a hard time committing to anything long-term. This is a very long-term project. I think the terraforming literature that I've seen would agree. The epic challenges are part of what is interesting about the subject. It is fraught with economic peril. Terraforming would be a massively expensive venture. Once started, it would have to be followed through to completion without interruption. A multi-year hiatus due to some future economic collapse could easily set the project back to step one. There are many perils for sure. It is fraught with ecological peril on Earth. What if life is discovered on Mars? This is a huge uncertainty, and a huge risk. Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars faction is somewhat real right now, and would become very real should life be discovered on Mars. I am very much a proponent of planetary protection measures considering that we've barely scratched the surface in Mars exploration, but the terraforming discussion is very speculative and this isn't an objection to having that discussion. My view is that if Martian biology exists (not likely) terraforming may be out of the question, but more for ethical reasons than from fear of back contamination (I currently find there to be compelling responses to the back contamination fears). But I won't assume that our descendants will see things the same way - perhaps they'll "terraform" in a way that works with the existing biota. Anyway, these are all highly speculative scenarios and I think it's at least as likely that Mars is sterile. It is fraught with ecological peril on Mars. The focus of most terraforming articles is on the physics and chemistry. The messy biological issues are just hand-waved away. Ask a biologist for their opinions on the viability of those proposed terraforming efforts. Which is one of many reasons why "we" are not going to terraform Mars. But it is possible in principle, given a sufficiently capable future civilization. It isn't scalable. Instead it's an all or nothing kind of venture. Habitats are scalable. Exploiting asteroids is scalable. I don't believe the first part of this statement is true; the second part is in dispute by no one as far as I know. Mars would approach a fully habitable environment and each stage along the way would bring considerable value. Greater atmospheric pressure, warming temperatures, availability of water and other resources, more protection from radiation and small impacts, and so on. I think I'm misinterpreting you given how standard this is. Terraforming is counterproductive to the goal of a permanent human presence in space, at least for the foreseeable future. Yes, I agree. I had to shut down the enthusiasms of a friend recently when this topic came up. And yet it is no less interesting and enjoyable a topic for me. Terraforming is a project for two or more generations into the future. Leave that problem to them. Our problem now is to get a start on that permanent human presence in space so that the people two or more generations in the future have a chance at that. I don't agree with this dichotomizing. I think it's valuable to consider the far future and the remote possibilities. To allow for wonder and free speculation. There is no reason why this would necessarily distract from the near-term practical goals. There is no tension or dichotomy as I see thing. That's assuming that our successors two or three generations into the future will even want to terraform another planet. Why go back down into a deep gravity well once we've learned how to reliably and safely get out of one on a regular basis? I like to imagine the possibilities. The introduction of life on Mars. The evolution of very distinct Martian biology. Perhaps human speciation will occur and there will be distinctly Martian people fully adapted to a terraformed but still VERY different Martian environment. I like to imagine touring Mars in a speeder bike. Exploring the vast canyons and mountains. Given the gravity perhaps our Martian descendants will take up human-powered (err, Martian-powered) flight as a typical mode of transportation and recreation. And endless more speculations. I vividly imagine the landscapes and the scenes. The alien flora and fauna. Even the distinct architectures and cuisines. This is of course pure science fiction and fantasy, but to me it is inspiring. Different temperaments perhaps? I must stress the very different types of discussion here. The latter fantasy is in a separate compartment from the more technical type of literature that seeks to explore things on a concrete and practical level (as much as is possible given the issues and limitations you've rightly pointed out.) The idea that off-loading people to space is a good way to reduce the human footprint on Earth is irksome to me. Wrong on so many levels. Thanks for addressing that so well.
  10. Continued. This paper suggests that Phobos may break up into an interplanetary ring, or impact the surface, in about 11 million years. I've got nothing on Deimos at the moment and don't care enough to look into it since I'm sure it's far less relevant than Phobos as far as impact is concerned.
  11. That's a good thought. I don't know about Deimos off the top of my head but I know that Phobos is slowly decelerating due to tidal forces and will impact Mars at some point in the future. I think I'd remember if this were to happen in human-relevant time scales. I'd guess a scale of at least millions of years. I'd look it up but I hear thunder and have to power down this machine... damn it.
  12. dmg, What an interesting question. I have no insight on the matter, but I'll definitely be following this thread. Good stuff. Peace.
  13. If this is in response to my post you've gotten the wrong impression. The moon is very important and the range of obliquity variations would surely be much greater if Earth were moonless. I wasn't denying this, but pointing out that at last year's AAS meeting a paper was presented which significantly lowered the range of probable variation from previous modelling. My basic thought is that this new range, coupled with the time scales involved, don't pose a "show stopping" obstacle for terraforming. Perhaps confusingly dovetailed together with that bit of info (although a distinct topic) was the idea that if we assume that a civilization has the capability of terraforming Mars on millennial or centennial time scales, then they presumably have the ability to adapt and cope with the 175,000 year Martian precession cycle. P.S. I am sorry that I was unable to find the AAS paper mentioned. While I've yet to watch it (hopefully today) I can safely say that the above SETI talk covers what was in the AAS presentation.
  14. Seriously, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. I don't remember you being rude, just blunt. And even if you were, I'm rude all the time so it would be hypocritical of me to care particularly.

  15. I see it the other way around. But thank you for caring. :)

  16. Mars is easily millions of times more massive than both its moons combined. I think there is no way that their influence could attenuate the planet's obliquity like our moon does. Even in the case of a moonless Earth, we're talking about cycles that occur over tens of thousands of years. Presumably a civilization with terraforming capabilities could adapt over those timescales. I just did a quick Google search and the precession cycle on Mars is 175,000 Earth years. Another thing is that there is research that contradicts the claim that without our moon the Earth's axial tilt would vary to a much greater magnitude. I recall posting a paper last year (I think not on this forum, however) which studied the question and found it to not matter so much. I'll find it later. I'm thinking it was something from the AAS meeting last year. One moment. I found the SETI talk version. (Incidentally, SETI has I think my favorite channel on youtube.)
  17. Other than my embarrassment at having been a crass windbag, it's a fond memory. No worries.

  18. Hehe. Now that you mention it, I do remember that. :-D

    Being rebuked or rebutted is fine by me. I'm sure it was quite called for. I'm a pretty frivolous poster.

  19. Based on what you've said, if I had to make a bet right now, I'd totally bet in your favor. You've got this. ETA: Sorry I don't have any real advice. I'd encourage you to go for your dreams though. You're good enough.
  20. Yes, something lol-worthy about autotuned scientists. haha.
  21. I can hear Feynman in the back of my mind at times, particularly when things are getting tough, whispering "juice, juice." I've got to have my daily orange juice.
  22. Wow, thanks for posting. You're clearly much more into it than I ever was. I had Frank Luna's book, a book from some place called The Game Institute, some AI books, and the DirectX SDK. Other than that I was just making shit up as I went. Funny that I reinvented the wheel on the world editor side instead of researching what was out there. But of course I was only in it for fun, and perhaps such an exercise was my idea of fun. I give you props and I must say that I wish that I had your education and experience. These days I write pretty tedious medical software that leaves relatively little room for creativity and all that. Congrats on those opportunities! Thanks again for the info. Peace.
  23. No problem at all. I apologize for hasty posts and lack of clarity. I'm thinking of stepping out for a while as there are about 20 pages in this thread that I've not read and the things I'd like to say, while relevant to the topic, represent a slightly different discussion than that which seems to be taking place at the moment. Cheers!
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