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Look, I realize Elon Musk is really cool and all, but this latest is just not that significant. The Falcon Heavy can carry 63 tons into orbit – but only if the rocket isn’t reused. If it is, it’s just a sad 8 tons [for GTO launches]. That already rules out commercial applications involving very expensive payloads (e.g. most satellites), so long as reliability remains significantly worse than for proven workhorses like the Soyuz (97% success rate) or the Ariane (95%).

More importantly, 10 ton or even 100 ton payloads aren’t gonna cut it if we are serious about establishing a LARGE, autonomous Mars colony that could credibly serve as a long-term refuge from terrestrial existential risks.

I.e. we need something like this:

doom-2016-9

Instead of some crappy campsite at 0.376g:

mars-base-martian

So how do we go about this?

Today, there are just two more or less realistic (for now) methods to move millions of tons of material into space.

Space Elevator

Cool and all, but discussions begin and end with an intractable problem: The materials needed to build it are either too weak, or too ridiculously expensive.

Highly vulnerable to accident and sabotage (and sabotage disguised as accident) as well. At orbital speeds, even a small wayward satellite can really wreck your day.

superorion-7 Nuclear pulse propulsion

Has been technically feasible since when it was first proposed in the 1946 by Stanislaw Ulam, and developed into workable designs by Ted Taylor and Freeman Dyson in the late 1950s.

Basic idea: Mount spacecraft/payload onto a pusher plate, and explode a series of shaped nuclear charges to accelerate the thing into space. You could explode them in rapid succession if sudden acceleration is of no concern (cargo only), or in spaced out intervals if carrying human crews. There was a good description of how riding an Orion craft might feel like in Stephen Baxter’s Ark.

Atomic Rockets has an extremely comprehensive article on Project Orion.

8 miserly tons? Fuhgeddaboutit! Even the most modest Project Orion design from 1959 could support 1,300 tons, which is an order of magnitude greater than the most powerful heavy launch rockets either then or now.

There are almost no limits to what can be achieved – if anything, it is small Orion craft that are more of a challenge than large ones.

Orion drive spacecraft scale up quite easily. However, unlike other propulsion systems, they do not scale down gracefully. Surprisingly it is much more of an engineering challenge to make a small Orion. It is difficult to make a nuclear explosive below a certain yield in kilotons, and small nuclear explosives waste most of their uranium or plutonium. But it is relatively easy to make them as huge as you want, just pile on the megatons. So in the 1960′s when General Atomic made their first pass at a design, it was for a titanic 4,000 metric ton monster.

At the extreme end, there was the Super Orion design, able to carry a payload of 8 million tons (including 3 million tons of cargo) – that’s six orders of magnitude greater than the Falcon “Heavy”. Brian Wang notes that this is equivalent to about 30 supercarriers. Supercarriers are small towns in themselves, able to autonomously support thousands of human lives for months on end. The equivalent of 30 of them might be enough for a viable generation ship.

In between these extremes, there were a wide variety of possible configurations and propulsion methods.

One particularly crazed individual even made a design for propulsion based on a continuously detonating stream of radioactive water. (Yes you read that right).

Then there are the military applications:

When the Orion nuclear pulse propulsion concept was being developed, the researchers at General Atomic were interested in an interplanetary research vessel. But the US Air Force was not. They thought the 4,000 ton version of the Orion would be right sized for an interplanetary warship, armed to the teeth.

And when they said armed, they meant ARMED. It had enough nuclear bombs to devastate an entire continent (500 twenty-megaton city-killer warheads), 5-inch Naval cannon turrets, six hypersonic landing boats, and several hundred of the dreaded Casaba Howitzer weapons — which are basically ray guns that shoot nuclear flame (the technical term is “nuclear shaped charge”).

This basically a 4,000 ton Orion with the entire payload shell jam-packed with as many weapons as they could possibly stuff inside.

Keep in mind that this is a realistic design. It could actually be built.

This never came to be thanks to a cabal of Communists sapping the nation’s precious bodily fluids the very weak President Kennedy getting horrified by this assortment of weaponry… somehow I don’t think Trump would have had this problem.

Anyhow, the main problem is ofc fallout. Or rather, the hysterical propaganda around it.

However, there is a recent report that suggests ways of minimizing the fallout from an ORION doing a ground lift-off (or a, wait for it, “blast-off” {rimshot}). Apparently if the launch pad is a large piece of armor plate with a coating of graphite there is little or no fallout.

By which they mean, little or no ground dirt irradiated by neutrons and transformed into deadly fallout and spread the the four winds.

There is another problem, though, ironically because the pulse units use small low-yield nuclear devices.

Large devices can be made very efficient, pretty much 100% of the uranium or plutonium is consumed in the nuclear reaction. It is much more difficult with low-yield devices, especially sub-kiloton devices. Some of the plutonium is not consumed, it is merely vaporized and sprayed into the atmosphere. Fallout, in other words. You will need to develop low-yield devices with 100% plutonium burn-up, or use fusion devices (with 100% burn-up fission triggers or with laser inertial confinement fusion triggers).

Wikipedia notes that the USSR achieved 98% fusion yield in its experiments with nuclear canal excavation:

A 100% pure fusion explosive has yet to be successfully developed, according to declassified US government documents, although relatively clean PNEs (Peaceful nuclear explosions) were tested for canal excavation by the Soviet Union in the 1970s with 98% fusion yield in the Taiga test’s 15 kiloton devices, 0.3 kilotons fission, which excavated part of the proposed Pechora–Kama Canal.

In the end, a combination of Cold War nuclear proliferation treaties and environmentalist hysteria about all things nuclear killed all these beautiful 1950s visions of nuclear trains and trucks and interstellar spaceships dead.

Considering that the nuclear taboo is now greater than ever – there are many demented national leaderships who are banning nuclear power – the chances of anyone resurrecting Project Orion must be considered very small. If anyone does it, it will most likely be either China, which doesn’t answer to demotist whining, or Russia, where the construction of floating nuclear power stations suggests that the anti-nuclear taboo is less than overwhelming.

Otherwise, the chances of us getting off this sad clump of rock in bulk and on a sustainable basis – and these two things are interlinked – must be close to zero for the foreseeable future.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Nuclear Power, Space Exploration 
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  1. Supposing an Orion rocket could be launched safely (I know nothing about this, but if Dyson thinks it can be done, I’m willing to believe it), do you think that any one country could do it alone without the others fearing it was just a ploy to attack? I don’t know what Kennedy’s considerations were, but presumably something like this was at least part of it.

    I’d imagine you’d have to have, at minimum, some kind of agreement on international inspections. It would be best to do it as a joint venture, but that’s never going to happen, unfortunately.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    I’d like to see the USA and Russia design, build, fund, and operate this program together. Good way to share expertise, build trust, and jointly gain an advantage over China.

    I know, “don’t hold your breath.”
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  2. Propellant depots and orbital manufacturing could ease the lift requirements. You can do a lot of interesting things if you don’t need to lift everything in a single launch. That said, Musk is still hawking his heavy lift BFR idea to investors.
    I totally agree that we should get serious about nuclear propulsion. We had a working prototype for a nuclear thermal rocket (Project NERVA) all the way back in the 60s.
    A near term way to increase the lift capacity of Musk’s rockets would be to use a propellant with a higher specific impulse. SpaceX already mentioned they were interested in methane. Hydrogen would be tougher, but it is the most efficient conventional option.

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    • Replies: @(((They))) Live
    The SpaceX methane engine is almost finished, I doubt they will ever build a Hydrogen engine, it causes problems with reuse and is a bitch to work with
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  3. I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    A number of my green acquaintances are dead set against nuclear technology, without knowing anything about it. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to reject a proposal for its failure to live up to some ideal, without considering how the benefits of the proposal might outweigh its costs, especially compared to our current far from ideal reality.

    For example, wasn’t there a link here recently to an argument that the cost to human health of the Chernobyl disaster, as heavy as it was, was significantly less than the cost of continuing to use coal? No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution. (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    The greens I know are not guilty of wanting to destroy anything. Rather, they are unwilling or unable to accept real solutions with real costs and benefits in place of their unrealizable ideals.
    , @John Gruskos
    Greens may be bad, but they aren't the ultimate in leftist extremism.

    Here is a group which wants to destroy all "Darwinian life forms":

    https://www.hedweb.com/
    , @anarchyst
    Green environmentalism has been the method used to impose communist principles on western society–especially in the USA.



    Environmentalists are not content with promoting clean water, air and land, but are hell-bent on controlling human behavior, and yes, promoting extermination plans for much of humanity as these “anointed” types consider mankind to be a pestilence (except for themselves) to be reduced in population “by any means necessary”.
    Environmentalists HATE the God-given concept of private property and have imposed government-backed and enforced “land use controls” on private property owners without compensation–clearly an unconstitutional “taking” of private property. If environmentalists want to control land use, let them purchase it themselves–not by government force. Today the only method of negating government-imposed land use restrictions is “shoot, shovel, and shut up”.
    If environmentalists had their way, the earth’s human population would be reduced by approximately 90%, with the remainder to (be forced) to live in cities, in soviet-style high rise apartments, utilizing bicycles, buses and trains for transportation. The use of automobiles and access to “pristine wilderness (rural) areas” would be off-limits to us mere mortals, and would only be available for these “anointed” environmentalists.
    The “endangered species act” is another abuse of environmentalism. Species are always changing, to adapt to their environments–”survival if the fittest”. In fact, the hoopla over the “spotted owl” (that placed much northwest timber land “off-limits” to logging) turned out to be nothing but scientific misconduct and arrogance. There are virtually identical species in other parts of the northwest.
    More scientific malpractice occurred when government biologists attempted to “plant” lynx fur in certain areas to provide an excuse for making those areas “off-limits” for logging or development. Fortunately, these “scientists” were caught–however, no punishment was given.
    In a nutshell, today’s environmentalism IS communism… like watermelon…”green” on the outside and “red” (communist) on the inside…
    , @gwynedd1
    Destruction of all known life actually. If not humans then something like humans would need to replace it because anything so called "green" will simply burn up in a billion years.
    , @Authenticjazzman
    " I really hate what the Greens stand for"

    Okay but just don't forget where they originated namely : Germany.

    Germany the gift which never stops giving. and the most neurotic nuthouse on planet mirth.

    Every destructive mind-set, philosophy, movement, innovation, whatever, they almost all originated in Deutschland : Psychology, the most oppressive pseudo-science mankind has ever devised. Bauhaus : the willful elimination of aesthetic architecture. Da Da, the first manifestation of lunatic anti-art. Heroin, we know horrors of this creation. Now the mass movement of (Leftist) automobile haters with their project of the elimination of privately owned cars, except of course for the honchos : themselves.

    Germans worship and bow to the state, Germany having on it's books a horrid big-brother law the so-called "Meldepflicht", the law forcing each inhabitant to report their address to the local polizei registry office, and the Germans themselves consider this to be a positive imposition without ever questioning it's philosophical implications.

    Germans worship and revere the most oppressive BSers and con-artists of society : Judges, clergy, states attorneys, journalists, politicians, medical hustlers, nobility, professors, teachers, etc, etc.

    Upon close examination one comes to the conclusion that the positive German contributions : Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, almost pale in comparision to the malevolent negative ones.

    And then add to all of this the infamous overbearing German know-it-all attitude : "Deutsche Besserwisserei".

    Plus they hate and rail against DT with a passion unknown elsewhere.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro jazz musician.
    , @Anonymous

    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity
     

    That's why energy production MUST rely on nuclear reactors as much as possible, as happens in France.

    The main advantage of nuclear power is IDEOLOGICAL - by keeping the Greens away, nuclear power improves MENTAL HEALTH by at least 500%.

    Nuclear power also saves all the atmospheric pollution caused by burning stuff (known as "renewable" in Green-speak). But that is a minor point compared to the natural reduction in Green socio-toxins.

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  4. @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    A number of my green acquaintances are dead set against nuclear technology, without knowing anything about it. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to reject a proposal for its failure to live up to some ideal, without considering how the benefits of the proposal might outweigh its costs, especially compared to our current far from ideal reality.

    For example, wasn’t there a link here recently to an argument that the cost to human health of the Chernobyl disaster, as heavy as it was, was significantly less than the cost of continuing to use coal? No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution. (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    The greens I know are not guilty of wanting to destroy anything. Rather, they are unwilling or unable to accept real solutions with real costs and benefits in place of their unrealizable ideals.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution.
     
    I think the cognitive bias for this is called hyperbolic discounting, with "gain" being replaced by "perception of reduced death." Incidentally, women HATE HATE HATE nuclear energy for some reason:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615300311
    , @reiner Tor

    People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.
     
    Terrorism scales very well, unless you have extensive and constant countermeasures. I couldn’t take my perfume to Hungary because I didn’t have a check in baggage and I’m not allowed to take any liquid onboard if the bottle is over 100 ml. I’m always subjected to extensive searches anytime I try to board a plane, which takes ten or twenty minutes (sometimes even longer), and so I have to be at the airport that much earlier. The lost time adds up to several weeks of my life and counting. Add that up for all travelers, and the cost of lost work hours alone will be considerable. The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.

    Nuclear disasters also scale better (worse) than health effects from coal mines. It’s also obvious that they are always worse than expected by experts. No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor. Yet they made the stupid mistake of exposing their equipment to the coming tsunami, just a few years after the famous tsunami a few thousand miles away.

    Having to evacuate your city (and let’s stay realistic, the authorities will always order an evacuation, and you won’t realistically stay behind alone...) is quite unpleasant a risk in and of itself.

    But civilian nuclear power seems still much less risky than terrorism.
    , @JSM
    . (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    Horsepuckies. There's plenty of rational reason to be hysterical about terrorism -- because those ba**ards' actions can EASILY be prevented, by keeping them OUT of our country.

    But nuclear power hysteria is stupid because nobody likes freezing in the dark.


    Safe nuclear power: liquid fluoride salt cooled, thorium burning reactors: "LFTR."

    Google Kirk Sorensen. He has lots of videos.

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  5. In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they’re simply terrible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I did just check the polls on this. Russians worse than I thought on this question. Anglos are surprisingly based actually.

    https://globescan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bbc2449_6_ctry.gif
    , @animalogic
    Your figure of 5000 Chernobyl deaths may be correct. However the whole subject is highly controversial. The down stream deaths and injuries (inc genetic mutation) MAY be higher.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_due_to_the_Chernobyl_disaster
    , @skrik
    Kindly allow me to take a few bites at OT cherries:

    1) Democracy is perfectly pointless WHEN:

    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,

    b) when elected, representatives almost *never* seek to implement the majority of their electorate's wishes [while protecting minorities' interests] on any specific topic BUT

    c) mostly sell-out directly for $s, indirectly for screwy ideologies or MUCH WORSE

    d) are controlled by alien, external and/or otherwise illegitimate entities, say.

    As is the general 'Western' case, then



    2) The electorate is *deliberately* mal/misinformed, by birth-to-death, total immersion in the pernicious Bernays haze brought to us [thanks, but "No, thanks!"] by the US/Z-MMH = corrupt&venal Media (aka press, radio + TV, incl. PFBCs = publicly financed broadcasters), Madison Ave., Hollywood etc..

    Any opinions arising in such an environment are generally worthless.

    A specific 3rd is terrorism; a) the modern form 'invented' by Zs for their alien invasion of Palestine, and b) the Islam-problem deliberately built up ideologically by US/Z covert operations and is vastly accelerated by WC7in5 and such, etc..

    Also, it's no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say - when British warships were being switched to oil.

    IOW, stop poking the ants' nests.

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world's uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.

    A specific 5th is fossil carbon fuels; we may well have already burnt enough to sufficiently change the climate in an effectively 'normal life as we know it' ending way.

    Why the AngloZionists don't like renewables is because they can't make such an easy 'killing' with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.

    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.

    Swearing at pet bêtes noires may be the least useful reaction. IF we can't get a return to a rational/enlightenment approach THEN there's simply no hope. Oh; and dump *all* 'supernatural' religion, terminally and forever. rgds
    , @DRA
    You may have meant "heavy water", fueled by unenriched uranium. IE a Candu reactor.

    I like the Flibe Energy thorium reactor better, once the resolve the corrosion issues. But yes, nuclear has many viable options available for baseline power, and the US already gets about 20% of our electricity that way.
    , @The Big Red Scary

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they’re simply terrible.
     
    More or less by definition, you can expect the mean man to have more human instincts than the weirdos on either end of the tail. But there is no reason at all to expect him to be particularly successful at fulfilling his instincts. For this reason, I do think that futarchy, as proposed by that other dweeb Robin Hanson, should be given serious consideration as a way forward. You have everybody vote on setting objectives (make happy, healthy babies, make cheap and clean energy, colonize Mars, whatever), and use some means of aggregating expertise to decide how to achieve that objective. You do have to leave a means to opt-out of what the experts decide when it applies to very personal decisions, though. This should be about collective action, not tyranny either of the majority or of the experts.
    , @President Barbicane
    A couple of things:

    I doubt that 5,000 people died in Chernobyl. Probably that many people got cancer, but most of those cancers were treatable (As an aside, in a way that's worse. To get cancer as a little kid must be traumatic, even if it's treatable).

    Also, you can't run a nuclear reactor with unenriched uranium and light water. The protium (hydrogen-1) isotope in light water will absorb too many neutrons. You can use either 1) heavy water or 2) graphite. You can use light water (i.e. normal water) with low enriched uranium (enriched to 3-5 percent. Much too low to make bombs out of, but still enriched).

    Something's just occurred to me: Perhaps you meant cooled with light water, rather than moderated with light water. Chernobyl had a graphite moderator, but was cooled with light water. So yeah, you can use light water as a coolant, but only if you also have a graphite moderator (of course, as we saw in Chernobyl, there's a pretty serious failure mode there -- if it gets hot enough to boil the water, the graphite will still moderate the reaction, so there's a possibility of runaway there. But it can be done).
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  6. @The Big Red Scary
    A number of my green acquaintances are dead set against nuclear technology, without knowing anything about it. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to reject a proposal for its failure to live up to some ideal, without considering how the benefits of the proposal might outweigh its costs, especially compared to our current far from ideal reality.

    For example, wasn’t there a link here recently to an argument that the cost to human health of the Chernobyl disaster, as heavy as it was, was significantly less than the cost of continuing to use coal? No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution. (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    The greens I know are not guilty of wanting to destroy anything. Rather, they are unwilling or unable to accept real solutions with real costs and benefits in place of their unrealizable ideals.

    No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution.

    I think the cognitive bias for this is called hyperbolic discounting, with “gain” being replaced by “perception of reduced death.” Incidentally, women HATE HATE HATE nuclear energy for some reason:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615300311

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Add another reason to the long, long case for abolishing female rights.
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  7. I am more worried about the cost per kilogram of rocket launches than their payload sizes. If we can make spaceflight affordable, people will invent innovative ways to build large structures in microgravity.

    https://www.nasa.gov/content/spiderfab

    Read More
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  8. @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    Greens may be bad, but they aren’t the ultimate in leftist extremism.

    Here is a group which wants to destroy all “Darwinian life forms”:

    https://www.hedweb.com/

    Read More
    • Replies: @DFH
    This is why people hate Utilitarians
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  9. There is nothing for us up there to justify building these behemoths. Neither launching satellites, nor space tourism require a 4,000 ton spacecraft.

    The exploration of the outer planets is better left to robots, but orion ships would be useful if crewed missions were actually needed because then very thick shielding would be necessary, so we would need lots of power to lift those heavy materials in orbit. People tend to forget that outside the Van Allen belts and even on Mars, one is exposed to ultra-high energy cosmic rays that the thin aluminium skins used now do not stop.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_threat_from_cosmic_rays

    Read More
    • Replies: @DRA
    Google "Lunar Lava Tubes" and "Mars Lava Tubes". We can probably find cheap shelter from cosmic rays while we build our cities.
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  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Has anybody really critically reviewed the potential economics of Musks idea(s) or is it just this pop concert kind of frenzy thing all over the place? I watched the SpaceX webcast and everything was like, uh, I don’t know, teenage girls and One Direction or whatever’s in vogue these days.

    As impressive at it looks, all the fuel that is needed to bring the booster stages back to earth in a controlled fashion is essentially potential payload capacity lost, for starters. Hence the vast discrepancy in throw weights between the reusable mode and the conventional, expendable ditto.

    Then, if the similarly “re-usable” Space Shuttle system is anything to go by, the refurbishment and necessary microscopical scrutiny of these things before they’re once again cleared for use should be a pretty complicated and first and foremost – expensive – affair, all in all. The Space Shuttles were supposed to launch like 30-40 times a year, ergo with a turnaround time of about a month per vehicle. In reality, it took them ages (about a year) to clear them for re-use after each landing and a result the entire shuttle fleet only performed about 4 launches a year, and two of them led to disaster.

    I realize that the STS orbiter is a far more complicated (and crucially, it’s manned) vehicle than the SpaceX boosters, and the orbiter also went through the stresses of re-entry which these boosters do not, but still – it’s hardly a matter of just refueling them and then turning the key again.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacaranda
    Details regarding SpaceX are scarce because they are a private company using proprietary technology. However, I think it should be cheaper than the Space Shuttle for a number of reasons.
    First, the main engines of the Shuttle were absurdly complex. Although they were technically reusable, NASA had to take them apart for inspection and cleaning after every flight. SpaceX uses a simpler, lower-pressure gas generator cycle with a non-cryogenic propellant.
    Second, the Shuttle used ceramic tiles that were highly fragile and had to be painstakingly removed and inspected after every flight. To my knowledge, SpaceX does not use anything like this.
    Third, although the side boosters were technically reusable, they used toxic solid propellant. The boosters had to be retrieved from the ocean, scoured, and refilled before reuse. The cost was only slightly lower than using new boosters. Refilling liquid boosters that fly back to the landing site should be a lot cheaper.
    Finally, the Space Shuttle reentered from orbital velocities and therefore dealt with much harsher temperatures. The side boosters and first stage separate from the Falcon Heavy at a lower altitude and velocity than the Shuttle had to deal with.
    , @songbird
    The idea is to do a 24h turnaround with the Block V. It's pretty ambitious though. I'm not sure they can pull it off, but, if so, kudos.

    The Shuttle was really just a bad design. The Soviet one was better: no engines, so no rebuild. But it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to build a glider like that, that big. Satellites are smaller and cheaper now. No real need to bring them back. That can be done with smaller gilders anyway. Or you can send packages into space to service them.

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  11. @The Big Red Scary
    A number of my green acquaintances are dead set against nuclear technology, without knowing anything about it. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to reject a proposal for its failure to live up to some ideal, without considering how the benefits of the proposal might outweigh its costs, especially compared to our current far from ideal reality.

    For example, wasn’t there a link here recently to an argument that the cost to human health of the Chernobyl disaster, as heavy as it was, was significantly less than the cost of continuing to use coal? No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution. (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    The greens I know are not guilty of wanting to destroy anything. Rather, they are unwilling or unable to accept real solutions with real costs and benefits in place of their unrealizable ideals.

    People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.

    Terrorism scales very well, unless you have extensive and constant countermeasures. I couldn’t take my perfume to Hungary because I didn’t have a check in baggage and I’m not allowed to take any liquid onboard if the bottle is over 100 ml. I’m always subjected to extensive searches anytime I try to board a plane, which takes ten or twenty minutes (sometimes even longer), and so I have to be at the airport that much earlier. The lost time adds up to several weeks of my life and counting. Add that up for all travelers, and the cost of lost work hours alone will be considerable. The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.

    Nuclear disasters also scale better (worse) than health effects from coal mines. It’s also obvious that they are always worse than expected by experts. No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor. Yet they made the stupid mistake of exposing their equipment to the coming tsunami, just a few years after the famous tsunami a few thousand miles away.

    Having to evacuate your city (and let’s stay realistic, the authorities will always order an evacuation, and you won’t realistically stay behind alone…) is quite unpleasant a risk in and of itself.

    But civilian nuclear power seems still much less risky than terrorism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    Nuclear power is essentially magical and that is why people are afraid of it. I think it is basically the same idea with racism. It's core idea is invisible rays, so that is why the Gaia people go crazy.
    , @German_reader

    No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor.
     
    How many people actually died or are likely to die as a result of the Fukushima reactor disaster? I've only read of a few workers who were directly at the site and exposed to large doses of radiation, but haven't seen any serious estimates apart from that.
    Here in Germany, the Greens and their sympathizers in the media whipped up a huge hysteria over Fukushima back in 2011 (just in time for the Greens to win the state elections in Baden-Württemberg...after that reporting about the situation in Japan decreased noticeably). One particularly stupid Green politician claimed 20 000 people had been killed as a result of the reactor accident (when in fact they were victims of the tsunami). But decades of Green propaganda had done their work, and so nuclear power was done away with. And now they'd like to eliminate coal power as well. Just insane imo.
    , @animalogic
    "The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too."
    For governments these are postives of almost inestimstable value.
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  12. Falcon Heavy is a transient design, not intended for Mars colonization. BFR (Big Falcon :) Rocket) is, and it is a completely different beast.

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  13. @Anonymous
    Has anybody really critically reviewed the potential economics of Musks idea(s) or is it just this pop concert kind of frenzy thing all over the place? I watched the SpaceX webcast and everything was like, uh, I don't know, teenage girls and One Direction or whatever's in vogue these days.

    As impressive at it looks, all the fuel that is needed to bring the booster stages back to earth in a controlled fashion is essentially potential payload capacity lost, for starters. Hence the vast discrepancy in throw weights between the reusable mode and the conventional, expendable ditto.

    Then, if the similarly "re-usable" Space Shuttle system is anything to go by, the refurbishment and necessary microscopical scrutiny of these things before they're once again cleared for use should be a pretty complicated and first and foremost - expensive - affair, all in all. The Space Shuttles were supposed to launch like 30-40 times a year, ergo with a turnaround time of about a month per vehicle. In reality, it took them ages (about a year) to clear them for re-use after each landing and a result the entire shuttle fleet only performed about 4 launches a year, and two of them led to disaster.

    I realize that the STS orbiter is a far more complicated (and crucially, it's manned) vehicle than the SpaceX boosters, and the orbiter also went through the stresses of re-entry which these boosters do not, but still - it's hardly a matter of just refueling them and then turning the key again.

    Details regarding SpaceX are scarce because they are a private company using proprietary technology. However, I think it should be cheaper than the Space Shuttle for a number of reasons.
    First, the main engines of the Shuttle were absurdly complex. Although they were technically reusable, NASA had to take them apart for inspection and cleaning after every flight. SpaceX uses a simpler, lower-pressure gas generator cycle with a non-cryogenic propellant.
    Second, the Shuttle used ceramic tiles that were highly fragile and had to be painstakingly removed and inspected after every flight. To my knowledge, SpaceX does not use anything like this.
    Third, although the side boosters were technically reusable, they used toxic solid propellant. The boosters had to be retrieved from the ocean, scoured, and refilled before reuse. The cost was only slightly lower than using new boosters. Refilling liquid boosters that fly back to the landing site should be a lot cheaper.
    Finally, the Space Shuttle reentered from orbital velocities and therefore dealt with much harsher temperatures. The side boosters and first stage separate from the Falcon Heavy at a lower altitude and velocity than the Shuttle had to deal with.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    First, the main engines of the Shuttle were absurdly complex. Although they were technically reusable, NASA had to take them apart for inspection and cleaning after every flight. SpaceX uses a simpler, lower-pressure gas generator cycle with a non-cryogenic propellant.
     
    The Falcon still uses LOX, which is cryogenic, but - yes, as you say - it is a simpler engine, and should be easier to turn around.

    Second, the Shuttle used ceramic tiles that were highly fragile and had to be painstakingly removed and inspected after every flight. To my knowledge, SpaceX does not use anything like this.
     
    I don't believe that every tile was removed after each flight. Damaged ones were replaced.

    Space X has has sought to build launch vehicles that sacrifice performance in favor of simplicity, reliability and actual reuseability, on the assumption that it pays for itself in the long run. It seems to have paid off. They have reduced launch costs by a significant factor - perhaps a factor of two or three. Perhaps even more (it's probably still too early to tell).
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  14. Imagine such a thing crashing to earth. Which it will, sooner or later.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Steer it towards Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Santa Monica.
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  15. @Anonymous
    Has anybody really critically reviewed the potential economics of Musks idea(s) or is it just this pop concert kind of frenzy thing all over the place? I watched the SpaceX webcast and everything was like, uh, I don't know, teenage girls and One Direction or whatever's in vogue these days.

    As impressive at it looks, all the fuel that is needed to bring the booster stages back to earth in a controlled fashion is essentially potential payload capacity lost, for starters. Hence the vast discrepancy in throw weights between the reusable mode and the conventional, expendable ditto.

    Then, if the similarly "re-usable" Space Shuttle system is anything to go by, the refurbishment and necessary microscopical scrutiny of these things before they're once again cleared for use should be a pretty complicated and first and foremost - expensive - affair, all in all. The Space Shuttles were supposed to launch like 30-40 times a year, ergo with a turnaround time of about a month per vehicle. In reality, it took them ages (about a year) to clear them for re-use after each landing and a result the entire shuttle fleet only performed about 4 launches a year, and two of them led to disaster.

    I realize that the STS orbiter is a far more complicated (and crucially, it's manned) vehicle than the SpaceX boosters, and the orbiter also went through the stresses of re-entry which these boosters do not, but still - it's hardly a matter of just refueling them and then turning the key again.

    The idea is to do a 24h turnaround with the Block V. It’s pretty ambitious though. I’m not sure they can pull it off, but, if so, kudos.

    The Shuttle was really just a bad design. The Soviet one was better: no engines, so no rebuild. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to build a glider like that, that big. Satellites are smaller and cheaper now. No real need to bring them back. That can be done with smaller gilders anyway. Or you can send packages into space to service them.

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  16. @reiner Tor

    People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.
     
    Terrorism scales very well, unless you have extensive and constant countermeasures. I couldn’t take my perfume to Hungary because I didn’t have a check in baggage and I’m not allowed to take any liquid onboard if the bottle is over 100 ml. I’m always subjected to extensive searches anytime I try to board a plane, which takes ten or twenty minutes (sometimes even longer), and so I have to be at the airport that much earlier. The lost time adds up to several weeks of my life and counting. Add that up for all travelers, and the cost of lost work hours alone will be considerable. The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.

    Nuclear disasters also scale better (worse) than health effects from coal mines. It’s also obvious that they are always worse than expected by experts. No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor. Yet they made the stupid mistake of exposing their equipment to the coming tsunami, just a few years after the famous tsunami a few thousand miles away.

    Having to evacuate your city (and let’s stay realistic, the authorities will always order an evacuation, and you won’t realistically stay behind alone...) is quite unpleasant a risk in and of itself.

    But civilian nuclear power seems still much less risky than terrorism.

    Nuclear power is essentially magical and that is why people are afraid of it. I think it is basically the same idea with racism. It’s core idea is invisible rays, so that is why the Gaia people go crazy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    My point was that it is risky, and depending on the risk distribution at the tails, the public aversion to it could be justified, especially based on the information the public does have (which is little). The people dying from air pollution due to coal mines will never change much over time, while with a nuclear plant might seem perfectly safe for decades and then kill a million people all at once, exterminating families. (I.e. much worse than simply the number killed would indicate.) The fact that it never happened is not a great assurance, because we haven’t had a long experience to begin with. The fact that experts keep assuring us that it’s impossible is no big relief either: most accidents in the past were simply not supposed to happen, definitely not with the frequency they did happen.

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat, because a nuclear plant is not actively trying to kill us. But it’s a bigger risk than a coal plant, which might kill more people, but has zero chance of wiping out your family.
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  17. @reiner Tor

    People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.
     
    Terrorism scales very well, unless you have extensive and constant countermeasures. I couldn’t take my perfume to Hungary because I didn’t have a check in baggage and I’m not allowed to take any liquid onboard if the bottle is over 100 ml. I’m always subjected to extensive searches anytime I try to board a plane, which takes ten or twenty minutes (sometimes even longer), and so I have to be at the airport that much earlier. The lost time adds up to several weeks of my life and counting. Add that up for all travelers, and the cost of lost work hours alone will be considerable. The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.

    Nuclear disasters also scale better (worse) than health effects from coal mines. It’s also obvious that they are always worse than expected by experts. No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor. Yet they made the stupid mistake of exposing their equipment to the coming tsunami, just a few years after the famous tsunami a few thousand miles away.

    Having to evacuate your city (and let’s stay realistic, the authorities will always order an evacuation, and you won’t realistically stay behind alone...) is quite unpleasant a risk in and of itself.

    But civilian nuclear power seems still much less risky than terrorism.

    No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor.

    How many people actually died or are likely to die as a result of the Fukushima reactor disaster? I’ve only read of a few workers who were directly at the site and exposed to large doses of radiation, but haven’t seen any serious estimates apart from that.
    Here in Germany, the Greens and their sympathizers in the media whipped up a huge hysteria over Fukushima back in 2011 (just in time for the Greens to win the state elections in Baden-Württemberg…after that reporting about the situation in Japan decreased noticeably). One particularly stupid Green politician claimed 20 000 people had been killed as a result of the reactor accident (when in fact they were victims of the tsunami). But decades of Green propaganda had done their work, and so nuclear power was done away with. And now they’d like to eliminate coal power as well. Just insane imo.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Doesn't matter. A relatively large area was evacuated on short notice. No one has ever been evacuated because of a coal plant. The implication is there was a risk of a large number of people dying all at once. I.e. families getting wiped out. I.e. much worse than the constantly elevated death rates from a coal plant (which will never wipe out an entire family).

    Again, I'm not saying this perception is entirely correct. I'm saying that with the little information the public has it's an understandable position.
    , @animalogic
    The Fukushima disaster is shrouded in secrecy. The Japanese government has legislated very severe punishments for revealing Fukushima secrets. Many necessary statistics are simply not collected -- especially downstream deaths etc.
    Two things are clear: the cost and difficulty of dealing adequately with this disaster are/will be massive.
    Secondly, the US sailors involved in the immediate aftermath have launched legal action: they have no doubt that the statistically unlikely cancer events they are suffering can be sheeted home to Fukushima.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Oh no, die Deutschen will have to do their mandatory koran reading by candlelight, in the cold. Germany, the land of my proud ancestors, is almost done.

    I can understand a willingness to pay more for solar and wind energy, where the climate makes those technologies feasible, and gradually phasing out use of fossil fuels, especially coal. I can even understand forgoing nuke power because of the risk of a catastrophic event.

    But how do supposed adults in Germany, California, etc., conclude that we can abolish nuke energy AND quickly phase out coal and natural gas? A recipe for a much lower standard of living at home, and much less competitively priced export products.

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  18. @songbird
    Nuclear power is essentially magical and that is why people are afraid of it. I think it is basically the same idea with racism. It's core idea is invisible rays, so that is why the Gaia people go crazy.

    My point was that it is risky, and depending on the risk distribution at the tails, the public aversion to it could be justified, especially based on the information the public does have (which is little). The people dying from air pollution due to coal mines will never change much over time, while with a nuclear plant might seem perfectly safe for decades and then kill a million people all at once, exterminating families. (I.e. much worse than simply the number killed would indicate.) The fact that it never happened is not a great assurance, because we haven’t had a long experience to begin with. The fact that experts keep assuring us that it’s impossible is no big relief either: most accidents in the past were simply not supposed to happen, definitely not with the frequency they did happen.

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat, because a nuclear plant is not actively trying to kill us. But it’s a bigger risk than a coal plant, which might kill more people, but has zero chance of wiping out your family.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat
     
    It's only a really serious threat if a nightmare scenario of terrorists acquiring genuine weapons of mass destruction becomes reality, and I'm unconvinced that this is inevitable.
    The issue with Islamist terrorism in the West is that it could easily have been avoided if large-scale settlement of Muslims hadn't been allowed (and that's why all those stupid comparisons with the IRA or ETA or other European terror groups are nonsense imo, they aren't an imported problem)...and the presence of large numbers of Muslims doesn't bring any benefits that would outweigh the risks and tangible negatives. So this is a clear policy failure.
    It's different with nuclear power; there's at least some potential for a truly catastrophic accident (that might happen tomorrow, or in 50 years...or never), but there are also significant benefits, an industrial society does need a reliable energy source after all. So it's a question whether it's worth the risk, if there are good alternatives etc.
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  19. @German_reader

    No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor.
     
    How many people actually died or are likely to die as a result of the Fukushima reactor disaster? I've only read of a few workers who were directly at the site and exposed to large doses of radiation, but haven't seen any serious estimates apart from that.
    Here in Germany, the Greens and their sympathizers in the media whipped up a huge hysteria over Fukushima back in 2011 (just in time for the Greens to win the state elections in Baden-Württemberg...after that reporting about the situation in Japan decreased noticeably). One particularly stupid Green politician claimed 20 000 people had been killed as a result of the reactor accident (when in fact they were victims of the tsunami). But decades of Green propaganda had done their work, and so nuclear power was done away with. And now they'd like to eliminate coal power as well. Just insane imo.

    Doesn’t matter. A relatively large area was evacuated on short notice. No one has ever been evacuated because of a coal plant. The implication is there was a risk of a large number of people dying all at once. I.e. families getting wiped out. I.e. much worse than the constantly elevated death rates from a coal plant (which will never wipe out an entire family).

    Again, I’m not saying this perception is entirely correct. I’m saying that with the little information the public has it’s an understandable position.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Generic reply (related to comments of Daniel Chieh, reiner Tor, and German_reader):

    Although hyperbolic discounting might be part of why people have difficulty weighing the costs and benefits of nuclear technology, I think that a bigger role is played by fear of the mysterious, together with the bad karma from the very real threat of nuclear weapons. We know that breathing smoke is bad for us, but we have been doing it for maybe hundreds of thousands of years, so it seems normal to us. By contrast, many newer and low-risk technologies (for example, vaccines and microwaves) terrify the ignorant. And these fears are exasperated by more knowledgeable people taking an authoritarian approach towards the ignorant masses. Just try talking to a general practitioner about the costs and benefits of vaccines, or to the Japanese government about Fukushima. Although the facts themselves are reassuring, the gatekeepers do not inspire confidence.

    Being rather skeptical of authority, I used to be especially concerned about the risks of nuclear power, since by its nature the nuclear power industry is likely to be monopolized in a given country and therefore very prone to regulatory capture. On the other hand, learning even a little bit about the three major accidents (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima), as well as a little bit about the design of nuclear power plants, has allayed most of my fears. The issue of regulatory capture is still present (I understand that this was an issue with Fukushima, for example), but the designs are intelligent and even the worst-case theoretical failures are not so bad compared to other risks that we consider acceptable.

    Maybe I am unimaginative, but I can't see how you would get the death of a whole family out of an accident at a local nuclear power plant. If an accident happens, then the risk really is of a similar nature to that of living near a coal plant: increased incidence of cancer, effecting a small percent of the population. reiner Tor is right, however, that having to evacuate an entire region in case of an accident in order to decrease that percent should count heavily into the cost. But what's worse, having a guaranteed increased risk of cancer from living near a coal plant, or having a very small chance of an accident happening, which also would increase the risk of cancer and in addition cause you to permanently evacuate your home? This is a psychological question, I suppose, and the problem is that pretty much all of us have difficulty intuiting small probabilities.
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  20. @Daniel Chieh

    No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution.
     
    I think the cognitive bias for this is called hyperbolic discounting, with "gain" being replaced by "perception of reduced death." Incidentally, women HATE HATE HATE nuclear energy for some reason:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615300311

    Add another reason to the long, long case for abolishing female rights.

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  21. @reiner Tor
    My point was that it is risky, and depending on the risk distribution at the tails, the public aversion to it could be justified, especially based on the information the public does have (which is little). The people dying from air pollution due to coal mines will never change much over time, while with a nuclear plant might seem perfectly safe for decades and then kill a million people all at once, exterminating families. (I.e. much worse than simply the number killed would indicate.) The fact that it never happened is not a great assurance, because we haven’t had a long experience to begin with. The fact that experts keep assuring us that it’s impossible is no big relief either: most accidents in the past were simply not supposed to happen, definitely not with the frequency they did happen.

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat, because a nuclear plant is not actively trying to kill us. But it’s a bigger risk than a coal plant, which might kill more people, but has zero chance of wiping out your family.

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat

    It’s only a really serious threat if a nightmare scenario of terrorists acquiring genuine weapons of mass destruction becomes reality, and I’m unconvinced that this is inevitable.
    The issue with Islamist terrorism in the West is that it could easily have been avoided if large-scale settlement of Muslims hadn’t been allowed (and that’s why all those stupid comparisons with the IRA or ETA or other European terror groups are nonsense imo, they aren’t an imported problem)…and the presence of large numbers of Muslims doesn’t bring any benefits that would outweigh the risks and tangible negatives. So this is a clear policy failure.
    It’s different with nuclear power; there’s at least some potential for a truly catastrophic accident (that might happen tomorrow, or in 50 years…or never), but there are also significant benefits, an industrial society does need a reliable energy source after all. So it’s a question whether it’s worth the risk, if there are good alternatives etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Terrorists aren't real threats because of the security measures, but could still kill both me and my whole family. In that they are more dangerous than, say, bathtubs, which might kill separately my daughter or me, but not the entire family.

    Nuclear plants definitely seem more dangerous than coal plants, though they might not be more dangerous in reality. Yes, there are obvious and large benefits to them.
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  22. Otherwise, the chances of us getting off this sad clump of rock in bulk and on a sustainable basis – and these two things are interlinked – must be close to zero for the foreseeable future.

    Any other clump of rock is guaranteed to be orders and orders of magnitude sadder. There’s no point in ‘getting off’.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There's the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It's less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.
    , @DRA
    Heinlein noted that the energy to get to low earth orbit will get you halfway to anywhere. And once we develop any Lunar resource base we should be able to secure much of the mass needed for building spaceships to provide transportation anywhere in the solar system. Probably nuclear in some fashion, whether Orion style, nuclear thermal or nuclear powered ion propulsion .

    For transportation to a specific destination, such as Mars, you could build 'cyclers that only need to establish an orbit that touches Mars orbit and Earth orbit, and trim the orbit as needed. Using Orion type vehicles to transfer from Earth orbit to match with the 'cycler and then to transfer to Mars, the months of travel could pass in a vessel the size of the Queen Mary, with any needed shielding and with artificial gravity provided by rotating the vessel at an appropriate speed.

    Mars has as much surface area as the land area of the Earth. Perhaps Mars had enough time with weather to concentrate some ores. (Seems I recall that uranium deposits on Earth were deposited by resolving the minerals at one ph and participating them at another.)

    As to why anyone would want to go? The reason that stands out to me is that there are altogether too many crazy folks here, and sooner or latter the are going to use all those neat nuclear fireworks they have been storing up. And while living underground on Mars will take getting used to, I expect when the solar system gets hit by s gamma real blast, there will be more survivors there than here.

    Once established on Mars, it is much easier to get to and from space. I believe a single stage to orbit with a LOX, liquid methane rocket would be straight forward. Musk and Zubrin both talk of using them for a return trip, although I don't have the skill to check their math.

    A space elevator would be much easier to construct, as Mars gravity is only about a third that of Earth, AND the rotation speed is nearly identical to here. Pavonis Mons seems to be an ideal tie down point.

    In addition, the environmental impact study for a space elevator should be much easier to get, as would permission for using nuclear rockets of whatever type.

    What mineral resources are available in the asteroid belt would be much more accessible from Mars that from Earth. And if someone builds cities in Venus' skys, Mercury may be an easier source of metals. Although high temperature robots might make the surface of Venus more accessible than is currently the case.

    And, in the long term, if people ever go to the stars, they will be space people, not people from Earth. But if we buy them a thousand years, still they will go! Even if there isn't a logical reason.
    , @CanSpeccy

    There’s no point in ‘getting off’.
     
    The point of going to Mars is to explore it. NASA has a 20-billion-dollar-a-year budget, quite enough to establish a scientific research center on Mars, supported by supplies and equipment delivered from earth by chemical or nuclear thermal rockets.

    Once Mars has been more thoroughly investigated, in say 50 years, it should be clear what scope there is for economic exploitation or permanent human colonization.

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  23. I am with the “baby steps” school of thought, set up a base on the moon first. This is safer and less expensive than a Mars base, it will provide valuable trial and error insight into what exactly it will take to sustain a space base.

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  24. @anonymous coward

    Otherwise, the chances of us getting off this sad clump of rock in bulk and on a sustainable basis – and these two things are interlinked – must be close to zero for the foreseeable future.
     
    Any other clump of rock is guaranteed to be orders and orders of magnitude sadder. There's no point in 'getting off'.

    There’s the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It’s less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What about the heat death of the universe?
    , @anonymous coward

    There’s the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It’s less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.
     
    If Earth gets wiped out, then all off-world colonies are doomed too. They are unsustainable without a constant inflow of energy and materials from Earth, and terraformation is an unscientific fantasy.
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  25. Anatoly, your numbers are wrong in the opening paragraph

    Musk gave the first Falcon Heavy launch a 50/50 chance of success, every launch after the first one will have a far better chance of success, there is no way SpaceX or anyone else would put any satellite on a rocket with a 50% chance of failure

    Also the 8 ton number is for GTO launches, the LEO payload will be bigger, even with reuse, plus the Raptor engine must be close to finished by now so its possible that we will see a methane upper stage for the Falcon this would improve the performance in a big way

    Musk also said that the second stage of the BFR may start testing next year

    AK: Thanks for the clarifications.

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  26. @German_reader

    Anyway, I think terrorism is definitely a more serious threat
     
    It's only a really serious threat if a nightmare scenario of terrorists acquiring genuine weapons of mass destruction becomes reality, and I'm unconvinced that this is inevitable.
    The issue with Islamist terrorism in the West is that it could easily have been avoided if large-scale settlement of Muslims hadn't been allowed (and that's why all those stupid comparisons with the IRA or ETA or other European terror groups are nonsense imo, they aren't an imported problem)...and the presence of large numbers of Muslims doesn't bring any benefits that would outweigh the risks and tangible negatives. So this is a clear policy failure.
    It's different with nuclear power; there's at least some potential for a truly catastrophic accident (that might happen tomorrow, or in 50 years...or never), but there are also significant benefits, an industrial society does need a reliable energy source after all. So it's a question whether it's worth the risk, if there are good alternatives etc.

    Terrorists aren’t real threats because of the security measures, but could still kill both me and my whole family. In that they are more dangerous than, say, bathtubs, which might kill separately my daughter or me, but not the entire family.

    Nuclear plants definitely seem more dangerous than coal plants, though they might not be more dangerous in reality. Yes, there are obvious and large benefits to them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Terrorists aren’t real threats because of the security measures, but could still kill both me and my whole family.
     
    Yes, but you could say the same about car crashes or train accidents. What's so outrageous to me about Islamist terrorism, is that the threat is made worse by misguided policies (open borders, mass immigration of Muslims, coddling of dubious Islamic groups and state support for Islamization etc.).

    Nuclear plants definitely seem more dangerous than coal plants, though they might not be more dangerous in reality.
     
    On the other hand, coal power plants contribute to global warming which may well prove to be much more disastrous than the consequences of some hypothetical nuclear accident.
    I guess we shouldn't go off topic too much...but I can't think of much about space exploration tbh...it seems unlikely that anything like going to Mars will happen in our lifetimes.
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  27. @reiner Tor
    Terrorists aren't real threats because of the security measures, but could still kill both me and my whole family. In that they are more dangerous than, say, bathtubs, which might kill separately my daughter or me, but not the entire family.

    Nuclear plants definitely seem more dangerous than coal plants, though they might not be more dangerous in reality. Yes, there are obvious and large benefits to them.

    Terrorists aren’t real threats because of the security measures, but could still kill both me and my whole family.

    Yes, but you could say the same about car crashes or train accidents. What’s so outrageous to me about Islamist terrorism, is that the threat is made worse by misguided policies (open borders, mass immigration of Muslims, coddling of dubious Islamic groups and state support for Islamization etc.).

    Nuclear plants definitely seem more dangerous than coal plants, though they might not be more dangerous in reality.

    On the other hand, coal power plants contribute to global warming which may well prove to be much more disastrous than the consequences of some hypothetical nuclear accident.
    I guess we shouldn’t go off topic too much…but I can’t think of much about space exploration tbh…it seems unlikely that anything like going to Mars will happen in our lifetimes.

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  28. @John Gruskos
    Greens may be bad, but they aren't the ultimate in leftist extremism.

    Here is a group which wants to destroy all "Darwinian life forms":

    https://www.hedweb.com/

    This is why people hate Utilitarians

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  29. Le silence éternel des ces espaces infinis m’effraie (c)

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  30. The irony of course is that nuclear applications and particularly nuclear propulsion would have enabled space settlement and the industrialization of space, relieving pressure off of the earth’s environment and thus better from the environmentalist point of view.

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  31. @reiner Tor
    There's the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It's less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.

    What about the heat death of the universe?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s a wrong argument for not protecting your children from traffic accidents.
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  32. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    I did just check the polls on this. Russians worse than I thought on this question. Anglos are surprisingly based actually.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Depressing.

    World-wide wrongism.

    The candy asses over at Slatestar Codex should devote themselves to this issue instead of whatever totally boring shit they're on about now.

    The opportunity costs of atomophobia are staggering. We're only barely touching the surface when we mention electricity and space propulsion.

    Other applications include:

    *Transportation
    *Cheaper electricity (nuclear safety is over engineered)
    *Oil refining, metal smelting, cement production, and other applications requiring industrial heat
    *District heating
    *Portable power (radioisotope thermoelectric generators instead of batteries)
    *Radiation therapy for physical hormesis
    *Food safety (gamma irradiation to eliminate pathogens irrationally opposed by solid majorities)
    *Blasting (nuclear explosives for construction, mining, and oil extraction)

    And no doubt there are many other applications that have never occurred to me.
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  33. @Anatoly Karlin
    I did just check the polls on this. Russians worse than I thought on this question. Anglos are surprisingly based actually.

    https://globescan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bbc2449_6_ctry.gif

    Depressing.

    World-wide wrongism.

    The candy asses over at Slatestar Codex should devote themselves to this issue instead of whatever totally boring shit they’re on about now.

    The opportunity costs of atomophobia are staggering. We’re only barely touching the surface when we mention electricity and space propulsion.

    Other applications include:

    *Transportation
    *Cheaper electricity (nuclear safety is over engineered)
    *Oil refining, metal smelting, cement production, and other applications requiring industrial heat
    *District heating
    *Portable power (radioisotope thermoelectric generators instead of batteries)
    *Radiation therapy for physical hormesis
    *Food safety (gamma irradiation to eliminate pathogens irrationally opposed by solid majorities)
    *Blasting (nuclear explosives for construction, mining, and oil extraction)

    And no doubt there are many other applications that have never occurred to me.

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  34. Nuclear thermal rockets and nuclear lightbulbs (closed cycle gas core nuclear thermal rockets) could be a good intermediary option that also has a much better chance of being accepted any time soon since it’s not detonating nukes behind it, does not produce any fallout or pollution, so the only controversial point is the possibility of blowing up in the air (and even then the contamination will only be serious in the case of a nuclear light bulb).

    While not as efficient as a pulse drive, each of these options is still several times more efficient than current chemical rockets so it could be a significant boost for kickstarting the actual space age.

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  35. OT “Snowfall of the Century” hit Moscow over the weekend.
    This was surprising – I had the impression that Russia has benefitted
    from Global Warming if only because of the opening of the Arctic routes.
    I thought that very low temperatures and major snowfalls were now an extrene
    rarity in Moscow. Poland certainly has benefitted from Global Warming
    compared to the 1950s, and I think this had a positive effect on economic
    growth (4.6% in 2017). Milder winters don’t interfere with the building of
    highways and construction work in general as much as they used to.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    The climate models that I've seen for Russia predict warming (almost?) everywhere in Russia and a significant increase in precipitation for some northern parts of Russia, including Moscow. (Some other parts are expected to desertify.) The snow is very deep, but it's not particularly cold in Moscow right now. It's like what you see in some cities on the Great Lakes in North America. You have to invest in machines for snow removal, but it's really not such a big deal.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Well, they are. January was very mild. Winter has come... in February. Even so, even today - I think the coldest day of the winter so far - troughed at -17C (now back up to -11C, should be in the -4C to -9C for the rest of the week).
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  36. @Anonymous
    What about the heat death of the universe?

    It’s a wrong argument for not protecting your children from traffic accidents.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You were talking about longer time scales though in which the earth gets wiped out.
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  37. @Jacaranda
    Details regarding SpaceX are scarce because they are a private company using proprietary technology. However, I think it should be cheaper than the Space Shuttle for a number of reasons.
    First, the main engines of the Shuttle were absurdly complex. Although they were technically reusable, NASA had to take them apart for inspection and cleaning after every flight. SpaceX uses a simpler, lower-pressure gas generator cycle with a non-cryogenic propellant.
    Second, the Shuttle used ceramic tiles that were highly fragile and had to be painstakingly removed and inspected after every flight. To my knowledge, SpaceX does not use anything like this.
    Third, although the side boosters were technically reusable, they used toxic solid propellant. The boosters had to be retrieved from the ocean, scoured, and refilled before reuse. The cost was only slightly lower than using new boosters. Refilling liquid boosters that fly back to the landing site should be a lot cheaper.
    Finally, the Space Shuttle reentered from orbital velocities and therefore dealt with much harsher temperatures. The side boosters and first stage separate from the Falcon Heavy at a lower altitude and velocity than the Shuttle had to deal with.

    First, the main engines of the Shuttle were absurdly complex. Although they were technically reusable, NASA had to take them apart for inspection and cleaning after every flight. SpaceX uses a simpler, lower-pressure gas generator cycle with a non-cryogenic propellant.

    The Falcon still uses LOX, which is cryogenic, but – yes, as you say – it is a simpler engine, and should be easier to turn around.

    Second, the Shuttle used ceramic tiles that were highly fragile and had to be painstakingly removed and inspected after every flight. To my knowledge, SpaceX does not use anything like this.

    I don’t believe that every tile was removed after each flight. Damaged ones were replaced.

    Space X has has sought to build launch vehicles that sacrifice performance in favor of simplicity, reliability and actual reuseability, on the assumption that it pays for itself in the long run. It seems to have paid off. They have reduced launch costs by a significant factor – perhaps a factor of two or three. Perhaps even more (it’s probably still too early to tell).

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  38. @Jacaranda
    Propellant depots and orbital manufacturing could ease the lift requirements. You can do a lot of interesting things if you don't need to lift everything in a single launch. That said, Musk is still hawking his heavy lift BFR idea to investors.
    I totally agree that we should get serious about nuclear propulsion. We had a working prototype for a nuclear thermal rocket (Project NERVA) all the way back in the 60s.
    A near term way to increase the lift capacity of Musk's rockets would be to use a propellant with a higher specific impulse. SpaceX already mentioned they were interested in methane. Hydrogen would be tougher, but it is the most efficient conventional option.

    The SpaceX methane engine is almost finished, I doubt they will ever build a Hydrogen engine, it causes problems with reuse and is a bitch to work with

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  39. @Anon 2
    OT "Snowfall of the Century" hit Moscow over the weekend.
    This was surprising - I had the impression that Russia has benefitted
    from Global Warming if only because of the opening of the Arctic routes.
    I thought that very low temperatures and major snowfalls were now an extrene
    rarity in Moscow. Poland certainly has benefitted from Global Warming
    compared to the 1950s, and I think this had a positive effect on economic
    growth (4.6% in 2017). Milder winters don't interfere with the building of
    highways and construction work in general as much as they used to.

    The climate models that I’ve seen for Russia predict warming (almost?) everywhere in Russia and a significant increase in precipitation for some northern parts of Russia, including Moscow. (Some other parts are expected to desertify.) The snow is very deep, but it’s not particularly cold in Moscow right now. It’s like what you see in some cities on the Great Lakes in North America. You have to invest in machines for snow removal, but it’s really not such a big deal.

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  40. @Anon 2
    OT "Snowfall of the Century" hit Moscow over the weekend.
    This was surprising - I had the impression that Russia has benefitted
    from Global Warming if only because of the opening of the Arctic routes.
    I thought that very low temperatures and major snowfalls were now an extrene
    rarity in Moscow. Poland certainly has benefitted from Global Warming
    compared to the 1950s, and I think this had a positive effect on economic
    growth (4.6% in 2017). Milder winters don't interfere with the building of
    highways and construction work in general as much as they used to.

    Well, they are. January was very mild. Winter has come… in February. Even so, even today – I think the coldest day of the winter so far – troughed at -17C (now back up to -11C, should be in the -4C to -9C for the rest of the week).

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  41. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    Your figure of 5000 Chernobyl deaths may be correct. However the whole subject is highly controversial. The down stream deaths and injuries (inc genetic mutation) MAY be higher.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_due_to_the_Chernobyl_disaster

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  42. @reiner Tor

    People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.
     
    Terrorism scales very well, unless you have extensive and constant countermeasures. I couldn’t take my perfume to Hungary because I didn’t have a check in baggage and I’m not allowed to take any liquid onboard if the bottle is over 100 ml. I’m always subjected to extensive searches anytime I try to board a plane, which takes ten or twenty minutes (sometimes even longer), and so I have to be at the airport that much earlier. The lost time adds up to several weeks of my life and counting. Add that up for all travelers, and the cost of lost work hours alone will be considerable. The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.

    Nuclear disasters also scale better (worse) than health effects from coal mines. It’s also obvious that they are always worse than expected by experts. No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor. Yet they made the stupid mistake of exposing their equipment to the coming tsunami, just a few years after the famous tsunami a few thousand miles away.

    Having to evacuate your city (and let’s stay realistic, the authorities will always order an evacuation, and you won’t realistically stay behind alone...) is quite unpleasant a risk in and of itself.

    But civilian nuclear power seems still much less risky than terrorism.

    “The costs of maintaining huge security services, or the intangible costs of surrendering much of our liberties to same, are considerable, too.”
    For governments these are postives of almost inestimstable value.

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    • Agree: dfordoom
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  43. @reiner Tor
    There's the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It's less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.

    There’s the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It’s less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.

    If Earth gets wiped out, then all off-world colonies are doomed too. They are unsustainable without a constant inflow of energy and materials from Earth, and terraformation is an unscientific fantasy.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s actually a question how sustainable they would be.

    There is the chance of sustainability for a certain time period, like a year or two, or even a few months, which might just be enough for the Earth to cool down after an asteroid impact.

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable. Experiments on Earth are expensive and pointless. If we built some outpost producing anything, we could simultaneously experiment with trying to make it as sustainable as possible for no extra costs. And it wouldn’t be pointless anymore, it’d be just cumulative cost saving measures.
    , @DRA
    If we can assume that thorium is available on Mars in usable quantities, energy is not an issue. Even without nuclear power, we are more likely to make do with geothermal (Ares-thermal?), which Zubrin mentions. Or perhaps solar power satellites, fabricated in Earth orbit and transported by ion rockets? Or to start with, shipments of unenriched uranium. (Mars has a higher concentration of deuterium in the water than we do here, and a Candu reactor burns up natural uranium more efficently that light water reactors.)

    In any event, fossil fuels from Earth, plus oxygen to burn them with is out of the question. So what constant inflow if energy would you envision?

    Certainly, habitats would have to be at least mostly closed, with biological resources produced locally, but I'm sure that folks there would become good at that much faster than we would here.

    Mars is probably the best place in the solar system, other than Earth, to find mineral resources that are concentrated in ores. Certainly Mars has Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen in adequate supply, and Mars is famous for the availability of iron oxide. The rest is artifice and energy.
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  44. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    Kindly allow me to take a few bites at OT cherries:

    1) Democracy is perfectly pointless WHEN:

    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,

    b) when elected, representatives almost *never* seek to implement the majority of their electorate’s wishes [while protecting minorities' interests] on any specific topic BUT

    c) mostly sell-out directly for $s, indirectly for screwy ideologies or MUCH WORSE

    d) are controlled by alien, external and/or otherwise illegitimate entities, say.

    As is the general ‘Western’ case, then

    [MORE]

    2) The electorate is *deliberately* mal/misinformed, by birth-to-death, total immersion in the pernicious Bernays haze brought to us [thanks, but "No, thanks!"] by the US/Z-MMH = corrupt&venal Media (aka press, radio + TV, incl. PFBCs = publicly financed broadcasters), Madison Ave., Hollywood etc..

    Any opinions arising in such an environment are generally worthless.

    A specific 3rd is terrorism; a) the modern form ‘invented’ by Zs for their alien invasion of Palestine, and b) the Islam-problem deliberately built up ideologically by US/Z covert operations and is vastly accelerated by WC7in5 and such, etc..

    Also, it’s no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say – when British warships were being switched to oil.

    IOW, stop poking the ants’ nests.

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.

    A specific 5th is fossil carbon fuels; we may well have already burnt enough to sufficiently change the climate in an effectively ‘normal life as we know it’ ending way.

    Why the AngloZionists don’t like renewables is because they can’t make such an easy ‘killing’ with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.

    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.

    Swearing at pet bêtes noires may be the least useful reaction. IF we can’t get a return to a rational/enlightenment approach THEN there’s simply no hope. Oh; and dump *all* ‘supernatural’ religion, terminally and forever. rgds

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,
     
    This is an issue with all organizations. The primary talent of organization men is getting promoted, not actually fulfilling the ostensible purpose of the organization.


    Also, it’s no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say – when British warships were being switched to oil.
     
    This would be fine if we, you know, actually got the oil. The fact that we invaded Iraq and didn't expropriate their oil reserves is nuts.

    While the USA and UK did intervene against Iran's expropriation, we largely tolerated the appalling wave of oil nationalizations in other states throughout the 60s and 70s.


    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.
     
    Uranium is not the only fissile element, currently most nuclear "waste" is...wasted, and nuclear fuel can be produced in breeder reactors.

    Fukushima's official fatality record is 34 people, all from evacuation rather than radiation. Perhaps some people will get cancer down the road.

    Meanwhile the tsunami in question killed about 10,000 people, which is double the number of people killed by Chernobyl.

    The actual dangers and harm caused by atomic energy are trivial compared to many other things which people accept.


    Why the AngloZionists don’t like renewables is because they can’t make such an easy ‘killing’ with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.
     
    You are an idiot.

    The "AngloZionists" provide state subsidies to "renewables" despite the fact that they induce grid instability.


    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.
     
    I repeat, you are an idiot.

    For starters it's possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout, which was discussed in the original post. There is a trade-off--this makes the explosives larger.

    Second, actual calculations from the 1960s projected that each Orion launch would create one additional fatality from cancer, whereas in the United States alone 125,000 people die each year as a result of atmospheric pollution. That is three times as many people who die in traffic accidents each year!

    Third, in order to appease irrational cowards such as yourself, Orion rockets could be launched in desolate areas such as the high arctic or Antarctica where any fallout would not affect people.

    tldr you are the problem.
    , @JSM
    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally


    Nonsense. We burn thorium in molten-salt-cooled reactors, and burn UP the nuclear waste.

    Google LFTR or Kirk Sorensen.
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  45. But the article didn’t address the #1 concern when it comes to ANYTHING the USA wants to do and that is, Is it good for Israel?

    If the answer is in the affirmative, then the project will get done. If not, then it dies on the drawing board.

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    • Agree: anarchyst
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  46. “Look, I realize Elon Musk is really cool and all,….”

    I do not agree at all. He is a low life scammer who lives off government subsidies.

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  47. @German_reader

    No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor.
     
    How many people actually died or are likely to die as a result of the Fukushima reactor disaster? I've only read of a few workers who were directly at the site and exposed to large doses of radiation, but haven't seen any serious estimates apart from that.
    Here in Germany, the Greens and their sympathizers in the media whipped up a huge hysteria over Fukushima back in 2011 (just in time for the Greens to win the state elections in Baden-Württemberg...after that reporting about the situation in Japan decreased noticeably). One particularly stupid Green politician claimed 20 000 people had been killed as a result of the reactor accident (when in fact they were victims of the tsunami). But decades of Green propaganda had done their work, and so nuclear power was done away with. And now they'd like to eliminate coal power as well. Just insane imo.

    The Fukushima disaster is shrouded in secrecy. The Japanese government has legislated very severe punishments for revealing Fukushima secrets. Many necessary statistics are simply not collected — especially downstream deaths etc.
    Two things are clear: the cost and difficulty of dealing adequately with this disaster are/will be massive.
    Secondly, the US sailors involved in the immediate aftermath have launched legal action: they have no doubt that the statistically unlikely cancer events they are suffering can be sheeted home to Fukushima.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala

    Secondly, the US sailors involved in the immediate aftermath have launched legal action: they have no doubt that the statistically unlikely cancer events they are suffering can be sheeted home to Fukushima.
     
    Or, alternatively, they have no doubt that they can reach a settlement that awards them a bunch of cash even if the cancer isn't proven to have any connection to the disaster.
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  48. Let Musk go live in space and the rest of us can live on beautiful planet earth.

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  49. Cute story, you earned your paltry paycheck for the week. This will never happen. This is like reading a Popular Science article. Thank you Arthur C. Clarke, Jr.

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  50. @anonymous coward

    There’s the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It’s less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.
     
    If Earth gets wiped out, then all off-world colonies are doomed too. They are unsustainable without a constant inflow of energy and materials from Earth, and terraformation is an unscientific fantasy.

    It’s actually a question how sustainable they would be.

    There is the chance of sustainability for a certain time period, like a year or two, or even a few months, which might just be enough for the Earth to cool down after an asteroid impact.

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable. Experiments on Earth are expensive and pointless. If we built some outpost producing anything, we could simultaneously experiment with trying to make it as sustainable as possible for no extra costs. And it wouldn’t be pointless anymore, it’d be just cumulative cost saving measures.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable.
     
    It is, the energy budget doesn't add up. There's no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.

    P.S. Actually, not quite true. There is one place in the Solar System that's fit for sustainable human life -- the atmosphere of Venus. (In a blimp colony.)

    The problem there is that they'd have to do without metals, so any colony will have to lead a pre-industrial lifestyle based on agriculture and manual labor.

    P.P.S. The fact that people are actually discussing a lunar or Martian colony project is proof positive that all these "projects" are nothing but government graft con jobs.
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  51. @animalogic
    The Fukushima disaster is shrouded in secrecy. The Japanese government has legislated very severe punishments for revealing Fukushima secrets. Many necessary statistics are simply not collected -- especially downstream deaths etc.
    Two things are clear: the cost and difficulty of dealing adequately with this disaster are/will be massive.
    Secondly, the US sailors involved in the immediate aftermath have launched legal action: they have no doubt that the statistically unlikely cancer events they are suffering can be sheeted home to Fukushima.

    Secondly, the US sailors involved in the immediate aftermath have launched legal action: they have no doubt that the statistically unlikely cancer events they are suffering can be sheeted home to Fukushima.

    Or, alternatively, they have no doubt that they can reach a settlement that awards them a bunch of cash even if the cancer isn’t proven to have any connection to the disaster.

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  52. @reiner Tor
    Doesn't matter. A relatively large area was evacuated on short notice. No one has ever been evacuated because of a coal plant. The implication is there was a risk of a large number of people dying all at once. I.e. families getting wiped out. I.e. much worse than the constantly elevated death rates from a coal plant (which will never wipe out an entire family).

    Again, I'm not saying this perception is entirely correct. I'm saying that with the little information the public has it's an understandable position.

    Generic reply (related to comments of Daniel Chieh, reiner Tor, and German_reader):

    Although hyperbolic discounting might be part of why people have difficulty weighing the costs and benefits of nuclear technology, I think that a bigger role is played by fear of the mysterious, together with the bad karma from the very real threat of nuclear weapons. We know that breathing smoke is bad for us, but we have been doing it for maybe hundreds of thousands of years, so it seems normal to us. By contrast, many newer and low-risk technologies (for example, vaccines and microwaves) terrify the ignorant. And these fears are exasperated by more knowledgeable people taking an authoritarian approach towards the ignorant masses. Just try talking to a general practitioner about the costs and benefits of vaccines, or to the Japanese government about Fukushima. Although the facts themselves are reassuring, the gatekeepers do not inspire confidence.

    Being rather skeptical of authority, I used to be especially concerned about the risks of nuclear power, since by its nature the nuclear power industry is likely to be monopolized in a given country and therefore very prone to regulatory capture. On the other hand, learning even a little bit about the three major accidents (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima), as well as a little bit about the design of nuclear power plants, has allayed most of my fears. The issue of regulatory capture is still present (I understand that this was an issue with Fukushima, for example), but the designs are intelligent and even the worst-case theoretical failures are not so bad compared to other risks that we consider acceptable.

    Maybe I am unimaginative, but I can’t see how you would get the death of a whole family out of an accident at a local nuclear power plant. If an accident happens, then the risk really is of a similar nature to that of living near a coal plant: increased incidence of cancer, effecting a small percent of the population. reiner Tor is right, however, that having to evacuate an entire region in case of an accident in order to decrease that percent should count heavily into the cost. But what’s worse, having a guaranteed increased risk of cancer from living near a coal plant, or having a very small chance of an accident happening, which also would increase the risk of cancer and in addition cause you to permanently evacuate your home? This is a psychological question, I suppose, and the problem is that pretty much all of us have difficulty intuiting small probabilities.

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  53. This post of AK’s merits some counter-point from the flat earth people … 2min24s image and song riff, with lyrics to tune of David Bowie’s ‘Major Tom’, quite entertaining

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  54. @reiner Tor
    It’s actually a question how sustainable they would be.

    There is the chance of sustainability for a certain time period, like a year or two, or even a few months, which might just be enough for the Earth to cool down after an asteroid impact.

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable. Experiments on Earth are expensive and pointless. If we built some outpost producing anything, we could simultaneously experiment with trying to make it as sustainable as possible for no extra costs. And it wouldn’t be pointless anymore, it’d be just cumulative cost saving measures.

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable.

    It is, the energy budget doesn’t add up. There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.

    P.S. Actually, not quite true. There is one place in the Solar System that’s fit for sustainable human life — the atmosphere of Venus. (In a blimp colony.)

    The problem there is that they’d have to do without metals, so any colony will have to lead a pre-industrial lifestyle based on agriculture and manual labor.

    P.P.S. The fact that people are actually discussing a lunar or Martian colony project is proof positive that all these “projects” are nothing but government graft con jobs.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there.
     
    Since we’re talking about getting stuff there using a nuclear spacecraft, we can easily build a nuclear plant up there and store enough fuel for a decade or more.

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Incidentally, the Soviets were more interested in Venus than Mars so far as space colonizations plans went, and created some of the first concepts for cloud cities.

    http://soviethistory.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/photo-gallery/flyingcities.jpg

    The main problem - probably an intractable one, in energetic terms - is maintaining the constituent material of the cloud cities. Some metals have a lower boiling point than the Venusian surface, so it could be possible to collect them as condensate via low altitude balloons, but the critical ones - e.g. iron, copper, nickel, silicon - will have to be scooped off the surface in some manner (establishing mining operations will hardly be possible in 450C heat and mid-ocean pressure conditions).

    For all of Mars' minuses (low gravity, near paucity of organic compounds relative to Venus), but at least you can walk on the damn ground, and you could plausibly set up an energy infrastructure via nuclear power (Mars has uranium) or geothermal, and live underground away from the radiation. Where will you get the REMs and silicon needed for solar panel manufacture on Venus, or uranium for nuclear?
    , @The Alarmist

    "There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth."
     
    Huh? How can you possibly state that with certainty?

    Given that heavier elements seem to have settled in the inner planets, we might find plenty of uranium, thorium, etc. on anything from the Sun out to the Asteroid Belt. Beyond that, there is plenty of Hydrogen, oxygen, and methane if we can figure out how to tap them.
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  55. Interesting post. Some thoughts.

    1. The moon. The moon is close. You can have internet access with a 1-second delay! Easy to get to, unlike mars, you won’t fry from the radiation en route. If we are going to try and start a colony away from earth, why not start easy?

    2. Robots. Send a few tons of smart robots, and have them beaver around on Mars making infrastructure and more robots. When you are ready, send the people in a fast people-only shuttle. OK the tech is not there yet, but someday.

    3. Cycler. A large lump can be made to cycle back and forth between Earth and Mars, and once set up, it would use no fuel. It won’t be able to stop, mind, but it could provide the shielding and life support that smaller spaceships couldn’t handle. You keep adding garbage to it with each trip, it gets more and more shielded.

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  56. @anonymous coward

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable.
     
    It is, the energy budget doesn't add up. There's no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.

    P.S. Actually, not quite true. There is one place in the Solar System that's fit for sustainable human life -- the atmosphere of Venus. (In a blimp colony.)

    The problem there is that they'd have to do without metals, so any colony will have to lead a pre-industrial lifestyle based on agriculture and manual labor.

    P.P.S. The fact that people are actually discussing a lunar or Martian colony project is proof positive that all these "projects" are nothing but government graft con jobs.

    There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there.

    Since we’re talking about getting stuff there using a nuclear spacecraft, we can easily build a nuclear plant up there and store enough fuel for a decade or more.

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.
     
    Return how? Again, there's no energy on Mars, they'll be dead once their fission materials run out.
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  57. Although Hitler had no comprehension of the greatest of all “terrestrial existential risks we might face”, he did envision the colonisation of other planets and discussed it in Mein Kampf.

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  58. @reiner Tor

    There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there.
     
    Since we’re talking about getting stuff there using a nuclear spacecraft, we can easily build a nuclear plant up there and store enough fuel for a decade or more.

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.

    Return how? Again, there’s no energy on Mars, they’ll be dead once their fission materials run out.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I guess there’d be the spaceship which took them there. Or there’d be some space traffic between Earth and them.

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.

    If we do build the colony, it’ll be very likely they’ll be able to come back once Earth is destroyed by an asteroid or a nuclear war.
    , @Another Canadian
    There's plenty of energy on Mars. If your fuel is methane you can use the Sabatier process to produce it from CO2 and hydrogen. I think that's what Musk is proposing. If so, a Sabatier plant is needed on Mars to produce the methane and an electrolysis plant to produce oxygen for the return trips to Earth. Both methane and oxygen also come in handy for other uses on Mars. Ice mining and electrolysis would produce your oxidizer, breathable oxygen and hydrogen feedstock to the Sabatier plant. Frozen CO2 mining would provide the other Sabatier feedstock. These chemical reactions were all applied to commercial use at least 100 years ago. It's not "rocket science."
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  59. @skrik
    Kindly allow me to take a few bites at OT cherries:

    1) Democracy is perfectly pointless WHEN:

    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,

    b) when elected, representatives almost *never* seek to implement the majority of their electorate's wishes [while protecting minorities' interests] on any specific topic BUT

    c) mostly sell-out directly for $s, indirectly for screwy ideologies or MUCH WORSE

    d) are controlled by alien, external and/or otherwise illegitimate entities, say.

    As is the general 'Western' case, then



    2) The electorate is *deliberately* mal/misinformed, by birth-to-death, total immersion in the pernicious Bernays haze brought to us [thanks, but "No, thanks!"] by the US/Z-MMH = corrupt&venal Media (aka press, radio + TV, incl. PFBCs = publicly financed broadcasters), Madison Ave., Hollywood etc..

    Any opinions arising in such an environment are generally worthless.

    A specific 3rd is terrorism; a) the modern form 'invented' by Zs for their alien invasion of Palestine, and b) the Islam-problem deliberately built up ideologically by US/Z covert operations and is vastly accelerated by WC7in5 and such, etc..

    Also, it's no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say - when British warships were being switched to oil.

    IOW, stop poking the ants' nests.

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world's uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.

    A specific 5th is fossil carbon fuels; we may well have already burnt enough to sufficiently change the climate in an effectively 'normal life as we know it' ending way.

    Why the AngloZionists don't like renewables is because they can't make such an easy 'killing' with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.

    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.

    Swearing at pet bêtes noires may be the least useful reaction. IF we can't get a return to a rational/enlightenment approach THEN there's simply no hope. Oh; and dump *all* 'supernatural' religion, terminally and forever. rgds

    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,

    This is an issue with all organizations. The primary talent of organization men is getting promoted, not actually fulfilling the ostensible purpose of the organization.

    Also, it’s no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say – when British warships were being switched to oil.

    This would be fine if we, you know, actually got the oil. The fact that we invaded Iraq and didn’t expropriate their oil reserves is nuts.

    While the USA and UK did intervene against Iran’s expropriation, we largely tolerated the appalling wave of oil nationalizations in other states throughout the 60s and 70s.

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.

    Uranium is not the only fissile element, currently most nuclear “waste” is…wasted, and nuclear fuel can be produced in breeder reactors.

    Fukushima’s official fatality record is 34 people, all from evacuation rather than radiation. Perhaps some people will get cancer down the road.

    Meanwhile the tsunami in question killed about 10,000 people, which is double the number of people killed by Chernobyl.

    The actual dangers and harm caused by atomic energy are trivial compared to many other things which people accept.

    Why the AngloZionists don’t like renewables is because they can’t make such an easy ‘killing’ with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.

    You are an idiot.

    The “AngloZionists” provide state subsidies to “renewables” despite the fact that they induce grid instability.

    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.

    I repeat, you are an idiot.

    For starters it’s possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout, which was discussed in the original post. There is a trade-off–this makes the explosives larger.

    Second, actual calculations from the 1960s projected that each Orion launch would create one additional fatality from cancer, whereas in the United States alone 125,000 people die each year as a result of atmospheric pollution. That is three times as many people who die in traffic accidents each year!

    Third, in order to appease irrational cowards such as yourself, Orion rockets could be launched in desolate areas such as the high arctic or Antarctica where any fallout would not affect people.

    tldr you are the problem.

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    • Replies: @nsa
    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).
    , @skrik

    You are an idiot ... irrational cowards such as yourself
     
    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument ...

    it’s possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout
     
    build it and they will come

    So where is one?

    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is 'fallout-dirty.'

    Too much hand-waving, too few [verifiable] facts.
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  60. @anonymous coward

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.
     
    Return how? Again, there's no energy on Mars, they'll be dead once their fission materials run out.

    I guess there’d be the spaceship which took them there. Or there’d be some space traffic between Earth and them.

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.

    If we do build the colony, it’ll be very likely they’ll be able to come back once Earth is destroyed by an asteroid or a nuclear war.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.
     
    No, read what I actually wrote again.

    A Mars colony is impossible because it is unsustainable economically. It consumes more resources and energy than it puts out.

    Therefore a Mars colony can only exist as a vanity project for the purposes of government graft.

    But a government graft project doesn't actually need to ship people to actual Mars.

    Like I said: the only feasible place in the Solar System for human colonization is in Venus' atmosphere, but even then only as a pre-industrial agricultural society based on manual labor.
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  61. @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    Green environmentalism has been the method used to impose communist principles on western society–especially in the USA.

    [MORE]

    Environmentalists are not content with promoting clean water, air and land, but are hell-bent on controlling human behavior, and yes, promoting extermination plans for much of humanity as these “anointed” types consider mankind to be a pestilence (except for themselves) to be reduced in population “by any means necessary”.
    Environmentalists HATE the God-given concept of private property and have imposed government-backed and enforced “land use controls” on private property owners without compensation–clearly an unconstitutional “taking” of private property. If environmentalists want to control land use, let them purchase it themselves–not by government force. Today the only method of negating government-imposed land use restrictions is “shoot, shovel, and shut up”.
    If environmentalists had their way, the earth’s human population would be reduced by approximately 90%, with the remainder to (be forced) to live in cities, in soviet-style high rise apartments, utilizing bicycles, buses and trains for transportation. The use of automobiles and access to “pristine wilderness (rural) areas” would be off-limits to us mere mortals, and would only be available for these “anointed” environmentalists.
    The “endangered species act” is another abuse of environmentalism. Species are always changing, to adapt to their environments–”survival if the fittest”. In fact, the hoopla over the “spotted owl” (that placed much northwest timber land “off-limits” to logging) turned out to be nothing but scientific misconduct and arrogance. There are virtually identical species in other parts of the northwest.
    More scientific malpractice occurred when government biologists attempted to “plant” lynx fur in certain areas to provide an excuse for making those areas “off-limits” for logging or development. Fortunately, these “scientists” were caught–however, no punishment was given.
    In a nutshell, today’s environmentalism IS communism… like watermelon…”green” on the outside and “red” (communist) on the inside…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hieronymus of Canada
    Modern environmentalism is a replacement religion for secularized Westerners. A very short, tl;dr version is as follows: once upon a time, there was a balance of nature, which was respected by the wise indigenous peoples. Modern Europeans, following in the footsteps of the wicked Columbus, colonized the new world and despoiled the landscape with their greed. Industrialized civilization (e.g. automobiles, plastics, etc.) is inherently sinful, which can be atoned by preformed the proper rites (e.g. recycling, buying 'low-carbon' etc.). However, if we are careful and make the proper choices, we can transcend this hell into a new environmentally conscious civilization.

    Note that I don't think there aren't problems with environment, but that they can only be solved by technological and scientific means, not with witchcraft and virtual signaling, as with environmentalism. For example, I think global warming is real, but the Paris accord is a scrap of paper designed to make the blue checkmarks feel good and for various operators to scam the public out of money. It will do jack, Trump or no Trump.
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  62. @The Big Red Scary
    Supposing an Orion rocket could be launched safely (I know nothing about this, but if Dyson thinks it can be done, I’m willing to believe it), do you think that any one country could do it alone without the others fearing it was just a ploy to attack? I don’t know what Kennedy’s considerations were, but presumably something like this was at least part of it.

    I’d imagine you’d have to have, at minimum, some kind of agreement on international inspections. It would be best to do it as a joint venture, but that’s never going to happen, unfortunately.

    I’d like to see the USA and Russia design, build, fund, and operate this program together. Good way to share expertise, build trust, and jointly gain an advantage over China.

    I know, “don’t hold your breath.”

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  63. @inertial
    Imagine such a thing crashing to earth. Which it will, sooner or later.

    Steer it towards Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Santa Monica.

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  64. @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    Destruction of all known life actually. If not humans then something like humans would need to replace it because anything so called “green” will simply burn up in a billion years.

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  65. @German_reader

    No one would have predicted that the Japanese will have a problem containing an earthquake with a light water reactor.
     
    How many people actually died or are likely to die as a result of the Fukushima reactor disaster? I've only read of a few workers who were directly at the site and exposed to large doses of radiation, but haven't seen any serious estimates apart from that.
    Here in Germany, the Greens and their sympathizers in the media whipped up a huge hysteria over Fukushima back in 2011 (just in time for the Greens to win the state elections in Baden-Württemberg...after that reporting about the situation in Japan decreased noticeably). One particularly stupid Green politician claimed 20 000 people had been killed as a result of the reactor accident (when in fact they were victims of the tsunami). But decades of Green propaganda had done their work, and so nuclear power was done away with. And now they'd like to eliminate coal power as well. Just insane imo.

    Oh no, die Deutschen will have to do their mandatory koran reading by candlelight, in the cold. Germany, the land of my proud ancestors, is almost done.

    I can understand a willingness to pay more for solar and wind energy, where the climate makes those technologies feasible, and gradually phasing out use of fossil fuels, especially coal. I can even understand forgoing nuke power because of the risk of a catastrophic event.

    But how do supposed adults in Germany, California, etc., conclude that we can abolish nuke energy AND quickly phase out coal and natural gas? A recipe for a much lower standard of living at home, and much less competitively priced export products.

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    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    The fact that Germany already spent 30 billion euro on CO2 reduction, that accomplished nothing, does not bother those who think they can prevent climate change.
    Thilo Sarrazin, 'Deutschland schafft sich ab, Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen', München 2010 writes that hardly anyone still can read an intellectual article of a few pages.
    Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London: facts do not matter any more.
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  66. If the object is to settle Mars, would it not be most practical, in the first place, to assemble a nuclear steam-kettle in orbit, using chemical rocket shuttles lifting 50 or 100 tons at a time?

    A hundred shuttle launches would be sufficient to build a ship that would surely have adequate radiation shielding for a relatively fast passage to Mars, plus materials and supplies for a reasonably comfortable base on the Martian surface.

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  67. @anarchyst
    Green environmentalism has been the method used to impose communist principles on western society–especially in the USA.



    Environmentalists are not content with promoting clean water, air and land, but are hell-bent on controlling human behavior, and yes, promoting extermination plans for much of humanity as these “anointed” types consider mankind to be a pestilence (except for themselves) to be reduced in population “by any means necessary”.
    Environmentalists HATE the God-given concept of private property and have imposed government-backed and enforced “land use controls” on private property owners without compensation–clearly an unconstitutional “taking” of private property. If environmentalists want to control land use, let them purchase it themselves–not by government force. Today the only method of negating government-imposed land use restrictions is “shoot, shovel, and shut up”.
    If environmentalists had their way, the earth’s human population would be reduced by approximately 90%, with the remainder to (be forced) to live in cities, in soviet-style high rise apartments, utilizing bicycles, buses and trains for transportation. The use of automobiles and access to “pristine wilderness (rural) areas” would be off-limits to us mere mortals, and would only be available for these “anointed” environmentalists.
    The “endangered species act” is another abuse of environmentalism. Species are always changing, to adapt to their environments–”survival if the fittest”. In fact, the hoopla over the “spotted owl” (that placed much northwest timber land “off-limits” to logging) turned out to be nothing but scientific misconduct and arrogance. There are virtually identical species in other parts of the northwest.
    More scientific malpractice occurred when government biologists attempted to “plant” lynx fur in certain areas to provide an excuse for making those areas “off-limits” for logging or development. Fortunately, these “scientists” were caught–however, no punishment was given.
    In a nutshell, today’s environmentalism IS communism… like watermelon…”green” on the outside and “red” (communist) on the inside…

    Modern environmentalism is a replacement religion for secularized Westerners. A very short, tl;dr version is as follows: once upon a time, there was a balance of nature, which was respected by the wise indigenous peoples. Modern Europeans, following in the footsteps of the wicked Columbus, colonized the new world and despoiled the landscape with their greed. Industrialized civilization (e.g. automobiles, plastics, etc.) is inherently sinful, which can be atoned by preformed the proper rites (e.g. recycling, buying ‘low-carbon’ etc.). However, if we are careful and make the proper choices, we can transcend this hell into a new environmentally conscious civilization.

    Note that I don’t think there aren’t problems with environment, but that they can only be solved by technological and scientific means, not with witchcraft and virtual signaling, as with environmentalism. For example, I think global warming is real, but the Paris accord is a scrap of paper designed to make the blue checkmarks feel good and for various operators to scam the public out of money. It will do jack, Trump or no Trump.

    Read More
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  68. The major appeal of space is that we aren’t there.

    If there are extraterrestrials, the spectacle of humanity’s expansion would most likely be greeted with the alien translation of “there goes the neighborhood.”

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  69. Actually, a big motivation might be to build a huge military base on Mars. It should be possible to start a war from there. Earth would be destroyed by a relativistic missile, while the leadership of the country in question would be flying to Mars, stay there for a few years, then return to inherit the Earth.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    So, basically the Enclave's plan in Fallout, though they inexplicably wanted to wait to go to space until after the apocalypse (spoiler: They never did). :)
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  70. as long as we launch them from your backyard.

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  71. Eventually scientists will develop antimatter and after Rockets will be made from antimatter and there all problems with gravity will disappear.

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    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    Anti matter disappears as soon as it is in contact with normal matter.
    Anti matter is not anti gravity.
    , @anon
    What do you think has been the greatest contribution of Russian women toward the space program?
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  72. @reiner Tor
    I guess there’d be the spaceship which took them there. Or there’d be some space traffic between Earth and them.

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.

    If we do build the colony, it’ll be very likely they’ll be able to come back once Earth is destroyed by an asteroid or a nuclear war.

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.

    No, read what I actually wrote again.

    A Mars colony is impossible because it is unsustainable economically. It consumes more resources and energy than it puts out.

    Therefore a Mars colony can only exist as a vanity project for the purposes of government graft.

    But a government graft project doesn’t actually need to ship people to actual Mars.

    Like I said: the only feasible place in the Solar System for human colonization is in Venus’ atmosphere, but even then only as a pre-industrial agricultural society based on manual labor.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hieronymus of Canada

    A Mars colony is impossible because it is unsustainable economically. It consumes more resources and energy than it puts out.
     
    If there is some high valued resource that could be mined (e.g. Helium in lunar soil for future fusion reactors) then it could be economically sustainable even if it is net negative in resources and energy (note: I don't think this is true for any resource at this point, I just think it is possible).
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  73. @anonymous coward

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable.
     
    It is, the energy budget doesn't add up. There's no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.

    P.S. Actually, not quite true. There is one place in the Solar System that's fit for sustainable human life -- the atmosphere of Venus. (In a blimp colony.)

    The problem there is that they'd have to do without metals, so any colony will have to lead a pre-industrial lifestyle based on agriculture and manual labor.

    P.P.S. The fact that people are actually discussing a lunar or Martian colony project is proof positive that all these "projects" are nothing but government graft con jobs.

    Incidentally, the Soviets were more interested in Venus than Mars so far as space colonizations plans went, and created some of the first concepts for cloud cities.

    The main problem – probably an intractable one, in energetic terms – is maintaining the constituent material of the cloud cities. Some metals have a lower boiling point than the Venusian surface, so it could be possible to collect them as condensate via low altitude balloons, but the critical ones – e.g. iron, copper, nickel, silicon – will have to be scooped off the surface in some manner (establishing mining operations will hardly be possible in 450C heat and mid-ocean pressure conditions).

    For all of Mars’ minuses (low gravity, near paucity of organic compounds relative to Venus), but at least you can walk on the damn ground, and you could plausibly set up an energy infrastructure via nuclear power (Mars has uranium) or geothermal, and live underground away from the radiation. Where will you get the REMs and silicon needed for solar panel manufacture on Venus, or uranium for nuclear?

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  74. @reiner Tor
    Actually, a big motivation might be to build a huge military base on Mars. It should be possible to start a war from there. Earth would be destroyed by a relativistic missile, while the leadership of the country in question would be flying to Mars, stay there for a few years, then return to inherit the Earth.

    So, basically the Enclave’s plan in Fallout, though they inexplicably wanted to wait to go to space until after the apocalypse (spoiler: They never did). :)

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  75. @anonymous coward

    Your constraints “we’ll build a Mars colony, but won’t transport any nuclear fuel there, nor will there be a spaceship to take them back if needed” are not very plausible.
     
    No, read what I actually wrote again.

    A Mars colony is impossible because it is unsustainable economically. It consumes more resources and energy than it puts out.

    Therefore a Mars colony can only exist as a vanity project for the purposes of government graft.

    But a government graft project doesn't actually need to ship people to actual Mars.

    Like I said: the only feasible place in the Solar System for human colonization is in Venus' atmosphere, but even then only as a pre-industrial agricultural society based on manual labor.

    A Mars colony is impossible because it is unsustainable economically. It consumes more resources and energy than it puts out.

    If there is some high valued resource that could be mined (e.g. Helium in lunar soil for future fusion reactors) then it could be economically sustainable even if it is net negative in resources and energy (note: I don’t think this is true for any resource at this point, I just think it is possible).

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  76. A Mars colony ?
    For the fun of tv channels and their audiences, to see the idiots who took a one way ticket, die ?
    But I do suppose it will happen, humans all the time did stupid things, most of them perished.

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  77. @Ilyana_Rozumova
    Eventually scientists will develop antimatter and after Rockets will be made from antimatter and there all problems with gravity will disappear.

    Anti matter disappears as soon as it is in contact with normal matter.
    Anti matter is not anti gravity.

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  78. @RadicalCenter
    Oh no, die Deutschen will have to do their mandatory koran reading by candlelight, in the cold. Germany, the land of my proud ancestors, is almost done.

    I can understand a willingness to pay more for solar and wind energy, where the climate makes those technologies feasible, and gradually phasing out use of fossil fuels, especially coal. I can even understand forgoing nuke power because of the risk of a catastrophic event.

    But how do supposed adults in Germany, California, etc., conclude that we can abolish nuke energy AND quickly phase out coal and natural gas? A recipe for a much lower standard of living at home, and much less competitively priced export products.

    The fact that Germany already spent 30 billion euro on CO2 reduction, that accomplished nothing, does not bother those who think they can prevent climate change.
    Thilo Sarrazin, ‘Deutschland schafft sich ab, Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen’, München 2010 writes that hardly anyone still can read an intellectual article of a few pages.
    Christopher Lasch, ‘The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations’, 1979, 1980, London: facts do not matter any more.

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  79. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    You may have meant “heavy water”, fueled by unenriched uranium. IE a Candu reactor.

    I like the Flibe Energy thorium reactor better, once the resolve the corrosion issues. But yes, nuclear has many viable options available for baseline power, and the US already gets about 20% of our electricity that way.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    No, I was thinking of low-enriched uranium as opposed to fully enriched--the sort that is used in submarine nuclear reactors or to make nuclear weapons.

    My understanding is that fully enriched fuel allows for more compact reactors and load following, but it is not used outside of submarines because of proliferation concerns.

    It's also not used on our nuclear carriers, which strikes me as odd as currently they spend a lot of time in port getting refueled. Perhaps the Navy doesn't mind since they perform other maintenance and upgrades at the same time.
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  80. I believe the first off-world colony should be in earth orbit. The IIS should be re-tasked to be a permanent colony, tourist hotel and space port. All of the commercial pieces are in place, including Bigelow modules with expansion capabilities.

    Very large shuttles could be assembled here for colonizing the rest of the solar system. Another primary goal is to become totally self-sustaining, and it can be more easily supported from Earth until it does.

    This means that the permanent colonists will have to commit to a zero-G life style. I am optimistic that great evolutionary strides will be made in zero-G. People can essentially fly and there is lots of room to grow out there.

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  81. @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    ” I really hate what the Greens stand for”

    Okay but just don’t forget where they originated namely : Germany.

    Germany the gift which never stops giving. and the most neurotic nuthouse on planet mirth.

    Every destructive mind-set, philosophy, movement, innovation, whatever, they almost all originated in Deutschland : Psychology, the most oppressive pseudo-science mankind has ever devised. Bauhaus : the willful elimination of aesthetic architecture. Da Da, the first manifestation of lunatic anti-art. Heroin, we know horrors of this creation. Now the mass movement of (Leftist) automobile haters with their project of the elimination of privately owned cars, except of course for the honchos : themselves.

    Germans worship and bow to the state, Germany having on it’s books a horrid big-brother law the so-called “Meldepflicht”, the law forcing each inhabitant to report their address to the local polizei registry office, and the Germans themselves consider this to be a positive imposition without ever questioning it’s philosophical implications.

    Germans worship and revere the most oppressive BSers and con-artists of society : Judges, clergy, states attorneys, journalists, politicians, medical hustlers, nobility, professors, teachers, etc, etc.

    Upon close examination one comes to the conclusion that the positive German contributions : Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, almost pale in comparision to the malevolent negative ones.

    And then add to all of this the infamous overbearing German know-it-all attitude : “Deutsche Besserwisserei”.

    Plus they hate and rail against DT with a passion unknown elsewhere.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro jazz musician.

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    • Replies: @utu
    You are a despicable anti-semite. All those thing you hate about Germany where cosmopolitan Jewish inventions according to Hitler.

    Didn't you say you had several German wives. Are you still paying alimony?
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  82. @Pseudonymic Handle
    There is nothing for us up there to justify building these behemoths. Neither launching satellites, nor space tourism require a 4,000 ton spacecraft.

    The exploration of the outer planets is better left to robots, but orion ships would be useful if crewed missions were actually needed because then very thick shielding would be necessary, so we would need lots of power to lift those heavy materials in orbit. People tend to forget that outside the Van Allen belts and even on Mars, one is exposed to ultra-high energy cosmic rays that the thin aluminium skins used now do not stop.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_threat_from_cosmic_rays

    Google “Lunar Lava Tubes” and “Mars Lava Tubes”. We can probably find cheap shelter from cosmic rays while we build our cities.

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  83. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they’re simply terrible.

    More or less by definition, you can expect the mean man to have more human instincts than the weirdos on either end of the tail. But there is no reason at all to expect him to be particularly successful at fulfilling his instincts. For this reason, I do think that futarchy, as proposed by that other dweeb Robin Hanson, should be given serious consideration as a way forward. You have everybody vote on setting objectives (make happy, healthy babies, make cheap and clean energy, colonize Mars, whatever), and use some means of aggregating expertise to decide how to achieve that objective. You do have to leave a means to opt-out of what the experts decide when it applies to very personal decisions, though. This should be about collective action, not tyranny either of the majority or of the experts.

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  84. @DRA
    You may have meant "heavy water", fueled by unenriched uranium. IE a Candu reactor.

    I like the Flibe Energy thorium reactor better, once the resolve the corrosion issues. But yes, nuclear has many viable options available for baseline power, and the US already gets about 20% of our electricity that way.

    No, I was thinking of low-enriched uranium as opposed to fully enriched–the sort that is used in submarine nuclear reactors or to make nuclear weapons.

    My understanding is that fully enriched fuel allows for more compact reactors and load following, but it is not used outside of submarines because of proliferation concerns.

    It’s also not used on our nuclear carriers, which strikes me as odd as currently they spend a lot of time in port getting refueled. Perhaps the Navy doesn’t mind since they perform other maintenance and upgrades at the same time.

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  85. Until now, I was thinking Anatoly is sane. The only way to use such things is building them in space, preferably not on the Moon, who wants to poison that too?

    Today, I had to have medical treatment, only routine and minor, but the nurse was born near Fukushima number 1, told me about her parent’s abodes now (parents seem to have separated) and stated the hardship of visiting graves, because they are in the over-irradiated zone.

    Perhaps a Lagrange locus. It will still not be going into interstellar space. If to the outer solar system, where to go and how to turn around? Anatoly, you do not have a background in tech., sci. and maths, I was also thinking such things once, but it is very hard, which is why many recent SF writers use left behind alien stargates, sometimes to good effects.

    I am also thinking Musk is a fraud, sure, he has achieved much, but all on the back of subsidies, from the training and education of his employees, to direct subsidies. Would bet he never is spending a cent from his hoard on any of this.

    What about the Tesla going to Mars? Did anybody check if its orbit may actually hit Mars?

    I ask because of witnessing the launch of our Nozomi Mars orbiter, anyone to see such a thing in such a beautiful place (not the ugly island launch site) will have an attachment to the thing launched. So I was following news on its progress. Had problems, but the ground crew finally was getting it back on path after two or three years (a solar orbit, or two). Then, the IAU was saying ‘there Is a danger of infecting Mars because Nozomi was not sterilized to required standards.’

    So, after many years of work by many people to rescue her, Nozomi was pushed into a path to nowhere.

    I am not thinking that Musk has aimed his second-hand car and crash-test dummy at Mars, but he is certainly talking as if it is so.

    I would bet that the clean-room treatment for the car was vastly more deficient than for Nozomi.

    So, if the orbit of the car will really intersect that of Mars, the IAU should have blocked that part.

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  86. @Authenticjazzman
    " I really hate what the Greens stand for"

    Okay but just don't forget where they originated namely : Germany.

    Germany the gift which never stops giving. and the most neurotic nuthouse on planet mirth.

    Every destructive mind-set, philosophy, movement, innovation, whatever, they almost all originated in Deutschland : Psychology, the most oppressive pseudo-science mankind has ever devised. Bauhaus : the willful elimination of aesthetic architecture. Da Da, the first manifestation of lunatic anti-art. Heroin, we know horrors of this creation. Now the mass movement of (Leftist) automobile haters with their project of the elimination of privately owned cars, except of course for the honchos : themselves.

    Germans worship and bow to the state, Germany having on it's books a horrid big-brother law the so-called "Meldepflicht", the law forcing each inhabitant to report their address to the local polizei registry office, and the Germans themselves consider this to be a positive imposition without ever questioning it's philosophical implications.

    Germans worship and revere the most oppressive BSers and con-artists of society : Judges, clergy, states attorneys, journalists, politicians, medical hustlers, nobility, professors, teachers, etc, etc.

    Upon close examination one comes to the conclusion that the positive German contributions : Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, almost pale in comparision to the malevolent negative ones.

    And then add to all of this the infamous overbearing German know-it-all attitude : "Deutsche Besserwisserei".

    Plus they hate and rail against DT with a passion unknown elsewhere.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro jazz musician.

    You are a despicable anti-semite. All those thing you hate about Germany where cosmopolitan Jewish inventions according to Hitler.

    Didn’t you say you had several German wives. Are you still paying alimony?

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    • LOL: AP
    • Replies: @Authenticjazman
    " You are a despicable anti-semite"

    And you have no clue as to what you are blathering about.

    As a professional jazz musician, I hold the greatest respect and reverence for the scores of Jewish songwriters, starting with Irving Berlin, without who's artistic contributions, which make up the bulk of material within the "Great American songbook", used by jazz artists world-wide, and without which the US would be culturally much poorer.

    And as a youngster growing up in Detroit I can vividly remember our neighborhood doctor, a Jewish fellow who had been on the front lines in the war, and experienced all of the horrors thereof, and then came back to the US as a kind-hearted gentleman, who treated the poorest Goyim for free, and was loved by all who knew him.

    Look pal you are slashing out insults which have no basis in fact, and as far as Germany is concerned , compared to myself, you have no vague clue as to it's history and current societal issues, such as the "Meldepflicht" which has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish influence and has it's basis within the "Fürstenzeit" the era of absolutism in which the peasants were actually"owned" by the nobility : "Leibeigenschaft", and for anyone to leave a certain "Fürstentum" , they were required to obtain an: "Entlassungsbrief" an approval to leave : JS Bach was jailed for violating this code.
    I could go on and on with this theme but let it be said : you simply do not know what you are talking about.
    My motto regarding subjects of which I hold no knowledge is to keep my mouth shut, and this motto were serve you better than to be offering uninformed opinions which only serve to make you look silly,
    as from a logical standpoint your post makes no sense whatsoever

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro jazz msucian.

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  87. Mars colony can only exist as a vanity project for the purposes of government graft

    I just can’t see Mars colony ever happening. Talking about it and getting excited about what Elon Musk is doing is not much different that following Kardashians though for a different segment of population.

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  88. @anonymous coward

    And it’s not impossible that they would be fully sustainable.
     
    It is, the energy budget doesn't add up. There's no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.

    P.S. Actually, not quite true. There is one place in the Solar System that's fit for sustainable human life -- the atmosphere of Venus. (In a blimp colony.)

    The problem there is that they'd have to do without metals, so any colony will have to lead a pre-industrial lifestyle based on agriculture and manual labor.

    P.P.S. The fact that people are actually discussing a lunar or Martian colony project is proof positive that all these "projects" are nothing but government graft con jobs.

    “There’s no sources of energy to sustain human life up there. Energy sources would have to be imported from Earth.”

    Huh? How can you possibly state that with certainty?

    Given that heavier elements seem to have settled in the inner planets, we might find plenty of uranium, thorium, etc. on anything from the Sun out to the Asteroid Belt. Beyond that, there is plenty of Hydrogen, oxygen, and methane if we can figure out how to tap them.

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  89. @anonymous coward

    Otherwise, the chances of us getting off this sad clump of rock in bulk and on a sustainable basis – and these two things are interlinked – must be close to zero for the foreseeable future.
     
    Any other clump of rock is guaranteed to be orders and orders of magnitude sadder. There's no point in 'getting off'.

    Heinlein noted that the energy to get to low earth orbit will get you halfway to anywhere. And once we develop any Lunar resource base we should be able to secure much of the mass needed for building spaceships to provide transportation anywhere in the solar system. Probably nuclear in some fashion, whether Orion style, nuclear thermal or nuclear powered ion propulsion .

    For transportation to a specific destination, such as Mars, you could build ‘cyclers that only need to establish an orbit that touches Mars orbit and Earth orbit, and trim the orbit as needed. Using Orion type vehicles to transfer from Earth orbit to match with the ‘cycler and then to transfer to Mars, the months of travel could pass in a vessel the size of the Queen Mary, with any needed shielding and with artificial gravity provided by rotating the vessel at an appropriate speed.

    Mars has as much surface area as the land area of the Earth. Perhaps Mars had enough time with weather to concentrate some ores. (Seems I recall that uranium deposits on Earth were deposited by resolving the minerals at one ph and participating them at another.)

    As to why anyone would want to go? The reason that stands out to me is that there are altogether too many crazy folks here, and sooner or latter the are going to use all those neat nuclear fireworks they have been storing up. And while living underground on Mars will take getting used to, I expect when the solar system gets hit by s gamma real blast, there will be more survivors there than here.

    Once established on Mars, it is much easier to get to and from space. I believe a single stage to orbit with a LOX, liquid methane rocket would be straight forward. Musk and Zubrin both talk of using them for a return trip, although I don’t have the skill to check their math.

    A space elevator would be much easier to construct, as Mars gravity is only about a third that of Earth, AND the rotation speed is nearly identical to here. Pavonis Mons seems to be an ideal tie down point.

    In addition, the environmental impact study for a space elevator should be much easier to get, as would permission for using nuclear rockets of whatever type.

    What mineral resources are available in the asteroid belt would be much more accessible from Mars that from Earth. And if someone builds cities in Venus’ skys, Mercury may be an easier source of metals. Although high temperature robots might make the surface of Venus more accessible than is currently the case.

    And, in the long term, if people ever go to the stars, they will be space people, not people from Earth. But if we buy them a thousand years, still they will go! Even if there isn’t a logical reason.

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    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    Suppose all this is technically possible.
    What is the point of doing it ?
    Enormous costs, no benefit.
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  90. @anonymous coward

    There’s the chance of Earth getting wiped out. It’s less likely that two planets will get wiped out simultaneously.
     
    If Earth gets wiped out, then all off-world colonies are doomed too. They are unsustainable without a constant inflow of energy and materials from Earth, and terraformation is an unscientific fantasy.

    If we can assume that thorium is available on Mars in usable quantities, energy is not an issue. Even without nuclear power, we are more likely to make do with geothermal (Ares-thermal?), which Zubrin mentions. Or perhaps solar power satellites, fabricated in Earth orbit and transported by ion rockets? Or to start with, shipments of unenriched uranium. (Mars has a higher concentration of deuterium in the water than we do here, and a Candu reactor burns up natural uranium more efficently that light water reactors.)

    In any event, fossil fuels from Earth, plus oxygen to burn them with is out of the question. So what constant inflow if energy would you envision?

    Certainly, habitats would have to be at least mostly closed, with biological resources produced locally, but I’m sure that folks there would become good at that much faster than we would here.

    Mars is probably the best place in the solar system, other than Earth, to find mineral resources that are concentrated in ores. Certainly Mars has Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen in adequate supply, and Mars is famous for the availability of iron oxide. The rest is artifice and energy.

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  91. @DRA
    Heinlein noted that the energy to get to low earth orbit will get you halfway to anywhere. And once we develop any Lunar resource base we should be able to secure much of the mass needed for building spaceships to provide transportation anywhere in the solar system. Probably nuclear in some fashion, whether Orion style, nuclear thermal or nuclear powered ion propulsion .

    For transportation to a specific destination, such as Mars, you could build 'cyclers that only need to establish an orbit that touches Mars orbit and Earth orbit, and trim the orbit as needed. Using Orion type vehicles to transfer from Earth orbit to match with the 'cycler and then to transfer to Mars, the months of travel could pass in a vessel the size of the Queen Mary, with any needed shielding and with artificial gravity provided by rotating the vessel at an appropriate speed.

    Mars has as much surface area as the land area of the Earth. Perhaps Mars had enough time with weather to concentrate some ores. (Seems I recall that uranium deposits on Earth were deposited by resolving the minerals at one ph and participating them at another.)

    As to why anyone would want to go? The reason that stands out to me is that there are altogether too many crazy folks here, and sooner or latter the are going to use all those neat nuclear fireworks they have been storing up. And while living underground on Mars will take getting used to, I expect when the solar system gets hit by s gamma real blast, there will be more survivors there than here.

    Once established on Mars, it is much easier to get to and from space. I believe a single stage to orbit with a LOX, liquid methane rocket would be straight forward. Musk and Zubrin both talk of using them for a return trip, although I don't have the skill to check their math.

    A space elevator would be much easier to construct, as Mars gravity is only about a third that of Earth, AND the rotation speed is nearly identical to here. Pavonis Mons seems to be an ideal tie down point.

    In addition, the environmental impact study for a space elevator should be much easier to get, as would permission for using nuclear rockets of whatever type.

    What mineral resources are available in the asteroid belt would be much more accessible from Mars that from Earth. And if someone builds cities in Venus' skys, Mercury may be an easier source of metals. Although high temperature robots might make the surface of Venus more accessible than is currently the case.

    And, in the long term, if people ever go to the stars, they will be space people, not people from Earth. But if we buy them a thousand years, still they will go! Even if there isn't a logical reason.

    Suppose all this is technically possible.
    What is the point of doing it ?
    Enormous costs, no benefit.

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    • Replies: @JosephB
    A few benefits:

    1. Resources! Population continues to grow, as to lifestyles in developing countries. Finding raw materials to feed the economy is a good thing.

    2. A place for infrastructure. The cost to lift things from the moon is much cheaper than from earth. Having a factory there to make orbital solar satellites would be nice. A place for messy industrial processes would also be great. I'm sure there will be nut jobs protesting spoiling the pristine lunar ecology, but hopefully they will be few in number.

    3. A place to experiment. If you want to develop a crazy virus that attacks cancer cells, but might mutate and wipe out humanity, we have a nice, safe place to do so. I've heard discussion of zero g being interesting from a material's science standpoint, but don't know how much of that is sci-fi wishful thinking.

    4. A frontier. Humanity has had an untamed periphery for most of its history. A place for adventurous souls, or just those who want to get out from under the yoke of government is a good thing. Psychologically, having a grand challenge appears beneficial. But perhaps others see things differently.

    5. Getting all of humanity's eggs out of one basket. At present, a global catastrophe could wipe out the species. Knowing that, barring something affecting the entire system, the race will survive, is reassuring. Granted it will take decades for colonies to reach that point, but why not start sooner rather than later?
    , @DRA
    What is the point of life, whether human or paramecium? And yet we all strive to persist and propagate. Thats just life!
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  92. @Ilyana_Rozumova
    Eventually scientists will develop antimatter and after Rockets will be made from antimatter and there all problems with gravity will disappear.

    What do you think has been the greatest contribution of Russian women toward the space program?

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  93. @jilles dykstra
    Suppose all this is technically possible.
    What is the point of doing it ?
    Enormous costs, no benefit.

    A few benefits:

    1. Resources! Population continues to grow, as to lifestyles in developing countries. Finding raw materials to feed the economy is a good thing.

    2. A place for infrastructure. The cost to lift things from the moon is much cheaper than from earth. Having a factory there to make orbital solar satellites would be nice. A place for messy industrial processes would also be great. I’m sure there will be nut jobs protesting spoiling the pristine lunar ecology, but hopefully they will be few in number.

    3. A place to experiment. If you want to develop a crazy virus that attacks cancer cells, but might mutate and wipe out humanity, we have a nice, safe place to do so. I’ve heard discussion of zero g being interesting from a material’s science standpoint, but don’t know how much of that is sci-fi wishful thinking.

    4. A frontier. Humanity has had an untamed periphery for most of its history. A place for adventurous souls, or just those who want to get out from under the yoke of government is a good thing. Psychologically, having a grand challenge appears beneficial. But perhaps others see things differently.

    5. Getting all of humanity’s eggs out of one basket. At present, a global catastrophe could wipe out the species. Knowing that, barring something affecting the entire system, the race will survive, is reassuring. Granted it will take decades for colonies to reach that point, but why not start sooner rather than later?

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    1: There are no resources in space than can pay for themselves. Getting them out is a net negative in energy spent.

    2 and 3: Better done with drones, of course.

    4: Again, no monetary incentive for exploring this frontier.

    5: Space isn't a solution unless the colonies are fully sustainable. (Which they will never be).
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  94. @reiner Tor
    It’s a wrong argument for not protecting your children from traffic accidents.

    You were talking about longer time scales though in which the earth gets wiped out.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Where did I write that?

    I wrote about things like an asteroid strike or some other planetary catastrophe.

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  95. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Look, I realize Elon Musk is really cool and all, but this latest is just not that significant. The Falcon Heavy can carry 63 tons into orbit – but only if the rocket isn’t reused. If it is, it’s just a sad 8 tons [for GTO launches]. That already rules out commercial applications involving very expensive payloads (e.g. most satellites), so long as reliability remains significantly worse than for proven workhorses like the Soyuz (97% success rate) or the Ariane (95%).

    More importantly, 10 ton or even 100 ton payloads aren’t gonna cut it if we are serious about establishing a LARGE, autonomous Mars colony that could credibly serve as a long-term refuge from terrestrial existential risks.

    You don’t necessarily need a huge rocket with a new propulsion system that carries a giant payload per launch.

    SpaceX is working on making a lot of large reusable rockets that launch constantly with refueling in orbit. This can get a lot of payload into orbit, Mars, and elsewhere, just as having one giant rocket.

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/02/think-and-plan-a-lot-bigger-in-space-as-the-spacex-bfr-will-give-1000-times-old-space-capabilities.html

    “SpaceX is rapidly changing what is possible in space. Instead of taking 40 launches over a decade to build the 400-ton space station, we could have 1000 launches in a year from ten fully reusable SpaceX BFRs that would place 150,000 tons into space. The 1000 SpaceX BFR launches would cost $10 billion versus $40 billion for the space shuttle launches of the International space station.

    We will be getting 1000 times the capability in space.”

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  96. @Anonymous
    You were talking about longer time scales though in which the earth gets wiped out.

    Where did I write that?

    I wrote about things like an asteroid strike or some other planetary catastrophe.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Earth will eventually be hit with an asteroid or some other catastrophe. The probability is very low in our children's lifetimes. The probability approaches 1 as the time scale increases.
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  97. @reiner Tor
    Where did I write that?

    I wrote about things like an asteroid strike or some other planetary catastrophe.

    Earth will eventually be hit with an asteroid or some other catastrophe. The probability is very low in our children’s lifetimes. The probability approaches 1 as the time scale increases.

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    • Replies: @utu

    Earth will eventually be hit with an asteroid or some other catastrophe. The probability is very low in our children’s lifetimes.
     
    This is not a stochastic event. When we will be hit by an asteroid was determined billions years ago. The asteroid that suppose to hit is already there.
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  98. Am I so old that sky-ramps aren’t a thing anymore?

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  99. @The Big Red Scary
    A number of my green acquaintances are dead set against nuclear technology, without knowing anything about it. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to reject a proposal for its failure to live up to some ideal, without considering how the benefits of the proposal might outweigh its costs, especially compared to our current far from ideal reality.

    For example, wasn’t there a link here recently to an argument that the cost to human health of the Chernobyl disaster, as heavy as it was, was significantly less than the cost of continuing to use coal? No matter how correct, this is an argument that few people are willing to accept, perhaps because nuclear disasters are more spectacular than slow death by air pollution. (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    The greens I know are not guilty of wanting to destroy anything. Rather, they are unwilling or unable to accept real solutions with real costs and benefits in place of their unrealizable ideals.

    . (Off topic: People have similarly irrational attitudes to terrorism.)

    Horsepuckies. There’s plenty of rational reason to be hysterical about terrorism — because those ba**ards’ actions can EASILY be prevented, by keeping them OUT of our country.

    But nuclear power hysteria is stupid because nobody likes freezing in the dark.

    Safe nuclear power: liquid fluoride salt cooled, thorium burning reactors: “LFTR.”

    Google Kirk Sorensen. He has lots of videos.

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  100. @skrik
    Kindly allow me to take a few bites at OT cherries:

    1) Democracy is perfectly pointless WHEN:

    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,

    b) when elected, representatives almost *never* seek to implement the majority of their electorate's wishes [while protecting minorities' interests] on any specific topic BUT

    c) mostly sell-out directly for $s, indirectly for screwy ideologies or MUCH WORSE

    d) are controlled by alien, external and/or otherwise illegitimate entities, say.

    As is the general 'Western' case, then



    2) The electorate is *deliberately* mal/misinformed, by birth-to-death, total immersion in the pernicious Bernays haze brought to us [thanks, but "No, thanks!"] by the US/Z-MMH = corrupt&venal Media (aka press, radio + TV, incl. PFBCs = publicly financed broadcasters), Madison Ave., Hollywood etc..

    Any opinions arising in such an environment are generally worthless.

    A specific 3rd is terrorism; a) the modern form 'invented' by Zs for their alien invasion of Palestine, and b) the Islam-problem deliberately built up ideologically by US/Z covert operations and is vastly accelerated by WC7in5 and such, etc..

    Also, it's no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say - when British warships were being switched to oil.

    IOW, stop poking the ants' nests.

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world's uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.

    A specific 5th is fossil carbon fuels; we may well have already burnt enough to sufficiently change the climate in an effectively 'normal life as we know it' ending way.

    Why the AngloZionists don't like renewables is because they can't make such an easy 'killing' with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.

    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.

    Swearing at pet bêtes noires may be the least useful reaction. IF we can't get a return to a rational/enlightenment approach THEN there's simply no hope. Oh; and dump *all* 'supernatural' religion, terminally and forever. rgds

    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally

    Nonsense. We burn thorium in molten-salt-cooled reactors, and burn UP the nuclear waste.

    Google LFTR or Kirk Sorensen.

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    • Replies: @skrik

    Google LFTR or Kirk Sorensen
     
    build it and they will come

    So where is one?

    Given that the Flibe Energy wiki mentions the [4th Reich?] military AND that mob are a) infinitely rapacious and b) $-unconstrained, IF they saw some advantage THEN they'd get [at least] one, then more.

    Again, where is even the 1st?

    Also too much hand-waving, too few [verifiable] facts.
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  101. @Anonymous
    Earth will eventually be hit with an asteroid or some other catastrophe. The probability is very low in our children's lifetimes. The probability approaches 1 as the time scale increases.

    Earth will eventually be hit with an asteroid or some other catastrophe. The probability is very low in our children’s lifetimes.

    This is not a stochastic event. When we will be hit by an asteroid was determined billions years ago. The asteroid that suppose to hit is already there.

    Read More
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  102. We got to nuke it to orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

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  103. @anonymous coward

    If an asteroid destroyed humanity on Earth, the Mars colony would have a decade or two to organize a return.
     
    Return how? Again, there's no energy on Mars, they'll be dead once their fission materials run out.

    There’s plenty of energy on Mars. If your fuel is methane you can use the Sabatier process to produce it from CO2 and hydrogen. I think that’s what Musk is proposing. If so, a Sabatier plant is needed on Mars to produce the methane and an electrolysis plant to produce oxygen for the return trips to Earth. Both methane and oxygen also come in handy for other uses on Mars. Ice mining and electrolysis would produce your oxidizer, breathable oxygen and hydrogen feedstock to the Sabatier plant. Frozen CO2 mining would provide the other Sabatier feedstock. These chemical reactions were all applied to commercial use at least 100 years ago. It’s not “rocket science.”

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    There’s plenty of energy on Mars.
     
    It's possible theoretically, but is the energy budget sustainable on balance?

    (No, it isn't.)
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  104. @Thorfinnsson


    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,
     
    This is an issue with all organizations. The primary talent of organization men is getting promoted, not actually fulfilling the ostensible purpose of the organization.


    Also, it’s no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say – when British warships were being switched to oil.
     
    This would be fine if we, you know, actually got the oil. The fact that we invaded Iraq and didn't expropriate their oil reserves is nuts.

    While the USA and UK did intervene against Iran's expropriation, we largely tolerated the appalling wave of oil nationalizations in other states throughout the 60s and 70s.


    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.
     
    Uranium is not the only fissile element, currently most nuclear "waste" is...wasted, and nuclear fuel can be produced in breeder reactors.

    Fukushima's official fatality record is 34 people, all from evacuation rather than radiation. Perhaps some people will get cancer down the road.

    Meanwhile the tsunami in question killed about 10,000 people, which is double the number of people killed by Chernobyl.

    The actual dangers and harm caused by atomic energy are trivial compared to many other things which people accept.


    Why the AngloZionists don’t like renewables is because they can’t make such an easy ‘killing’ with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.
     
    You are an idiot.

    The "AngloZionists" provide state subsidies to "renewables" despite the fact that they induce grid instability.


    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.
     
    I repeat, you are an idiot.

    For starters it's possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout, which was discussed in the original post. There is a trade-off--this makes the explosives larger.

    Second, actual calculations from the 1960s projected that each Orion launch would create one additional fatality from cancer, whereas in the United States alone 125,000 people die each year as a result of atmospheric pollution. That is three times as many people who die in traffic accidents each year!

    Third, in order to appease irrational cowards such as yourself, Orion rockets could be launched in desolate areas such as the high arctic or Antarctica where any fallout would not affect people.

    tldr you are the problem.

    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).
     
    Path dependency, utility economics, environmentalism, and atomophobia.

    Path Dependency

    Path dependency is obvious. We started out with uranium since it could be used in atomic bombs, and continued with it for that reason. Likewise most nuclear power stations are based on steam (either PWR or BWR) simply because that's what the US Navy used.

    Even the Magnox, a gas-cooled reactor, used a heat exchanger in order to develop steam. Granted my understanding is that CO2 is not suitable for a turbine and that a gas-cooled reactor directly coupled to a turbine would need to be helium cooled.

    Whatever the theoretical advantages of thorium, uranium techn0logy is well established with supporting infrastructure. Thorium would effectively be starting from scratch. As no rational corporation with the resources to develop the technology would do so, it requires sovereign backing.

    You can see this sort of path dependency in other technologies as well. Jet airliners more or less all follow the basic layout established by the Boeing 707, despite the theoretical advantages of other planforms. Outside of Russia, most helicopters follow the planform laid out by Igor Sikorsky. CISC dominates RISC in desktop computing. Automobiles have vee, inline, or boxer engine blocks with spark ignition following the Otto cycle. There are countless other examples.

    This is the most important reason, as all of the other problems are fundamentally political and could be solved given sufficient will and power.

    Utility Economics

    Thorium-fueled reactors allegedly produce cheaper electricity than existing technology. Is that something that any electric utility would be interested in without being compelled by regulators? I mean why didn't utilities fight regulation ratcheting in the 60s and 70s harder?

    Environmentalism

    A corollary to the above--some time in the 1970s people began to view growing energy consumption as a bad thing. While electricity rates remain low in North America and Australia, in Western Europe they are now obscene. Even in countries with extremely low-cost generation like Sweden.

    Cheaper electricity is not welcomed by this crowd at all.

    Atomophobia

    If you ignore the possibility of running out of natural uranium, thorium is a solution in search of a problem.

    The purported problems of existing nuclear reactors are in fact not problems at all.

    Neither nuclear reactors nor nuclear waste are inherently dangerous.

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology. As thorium is still NUCLEAR it is equally terrifying to these lunatics.
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  105. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Let’s wait a few decades until we can send a few million DNA capsules off to find a truly human friendly exo-planet. AI will run the vehicle and choose the right exo-planet(s) and then germinate the DNA and bring up the little humans as humans with knowledge of their history and culure using the terabytes of data they have taken with them plus any updates they’ve been able to receive for maybe a few hundred years…..

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t think DNA capsules would be enough. We’d need fertilized eggs (zygotes) or separately stored eggs and sperm.
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  106. @Anonymous
    Let's wait a few decades until we can send a few million DNA capsules off to find a truly human friendly exo-planet. AI will run the vehicle and choose the right exo-planet(s) and then germinate the DNA and bring up the little humans as humans with knowledge of their history and culure using the terabytes of data they have taken with them plus any updates they've been able to receive for maybe a few hundred years.....

    I don’t think DNA capsules would be enough. We’d need fertilized eggs (zygotes) or separately stored eggs and sperm.

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  107. All those who are interested in technologies that will help us get off Earth, Isaac Arthur’s Upward Bound series is a must watch

    I appreciate the memetic cleanliness of having 2 choices, but Isaac’s series gives you the range of options that are possible. Infact, two of the not-mentioned-here options are the most feasible with current tech – Launch loops and Skyhooks.

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  108. @Another Canadian
    There's plenty of energy on Mars. If your fuel is methane you can use the Sabatier process to produce it from CO2 and hydrogen. I think that's what Musk is proposing. If so, a Sabatier plant is needed on Mars to produce the methane and an electrolysis plant to produce oxygen for the return trips to Earth. Both methane and oxygen also come in handy for other uses on Mars. Ice mining and electrolysis would produce your oxidizer, breathable oxygen and hydrogen feedstock to the Sabatier plant. Frozen CO2 mining would provide the other Sabatier feedstock. These chemical reactions were all applied to commercial use at least 100 years ago. It's not "rocket science."

    There’s plenty of energy on Mars.

    It’s possible theoretically, but is the energy budget sustainable on balance?

    (No, it isn’t.)

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    • Replies: @DRA
    Not even possible theoretically! It takes energy to drive all of those reactions, and you cannot even get all of the energy back by recombining the resulting oxygen, methane & etc., due to heat loss in each process.

    The reason fossil fuels work on Earth is that they represent solar energy accumulated over eons.

    In the longer term solar energy is generated by the fusion of hydrogen, which is in a sense a sort of fossil energy left over from the big bang. Likewise fission fuels are results of nuclear reactions caused by the fusion of lighter elements in the gradational collapse of large stellar objects, who's energy came from the big bang!

    Life is ultimately futile, if this life is all that is. One can avoid the tedium of life by opting out at any, time, but I quite enjoy the show!
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  109. @JosephB
    A few benefits:

    1. Resources! Population continues to grow, as to lifestyles in developing countries. Finding raw materials to feed the economy is a good thing.

    2. A place for infrastructure. The cost to lift things from the moon is much cheaper than from earth. Having a factory there to make orbital solar satellites would be nice. A place for messy industrial processes would also be great. I'm sure there will be nut jobs protesting spoiling the pristine lunar ecology, but hopefully they will be few in number.

    3. A place to experiment. If you want to develop a crazy virus that attacks cancer cells, but might mutate and wipe out humanity, we have a nice, safe place to do so. I've heard discussion of zero g being interesting from a material's science standpoint, but don't know how much of that is sci-fi wishful thinking.

    4. A frontier. Humanity has had an untamed periphery for most of its history. A place for adventurous souls, or just those who want to get out from under the yoke of government is a good thing. Psychologically, having a grand challenge appears beneficial. But perhaps others see things differently.

    5. Getting all of humanity's eggs out of one basket. At present, a global catastrophe could wipe out the species. Knowing that, barring something affecting the entire system, the race will survive, is reassuring. Granted it will take decades for colonies to reach that point, but why not start sooner rather than later?

    1: There are no resources in space than can pay for themselves. Getting them out is a net negative in energy spent.

    2 and 3: Better done with drones, of course.

    4: Again, no monetary incentive for exploring this frontier.

    5: Space isn’t a solution unless the colonies are fully sustainable. (Which they will never be).

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    • Replies: @JosephB
    1. At present price for commodities and when we have to lift out of earth's gravitational well with chemical propulsion, there are probably no commodities worth importing from space. Given existing factories in space that simply have to lower items down to earth, and possible shortages in 20 to 50 years of various minerals? Much more plausible.

    2 and 3. Possibly better done with drones. Of course, you're restricted to near earth space. Otherwise your drones have a rather long delay between commands and responses.

    4. You did not specify a monetary gain. Not all benefits are in terms of money. If that was all our species thought relevant, we would not have parks, cemeteries, etc. But, in terms of money, how much would you pay to be able to live on a private facility without government oversight? Let's roll policies forward 50 years or 100 years, along with probable immigration rates to the West. Now how much would you pay?

    5. Never? Given current approaches of very expensive lifts, a sustainable space colony is laughable. Given a few nuclear powered launches and a large chunk of infrastructure, it becomes plausible. This discussion reminds me of an argument I had about 25 years ago with a technically astute person arguing computers would never come standard with a gig of memory as there was no need for it.
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  110. @Thorfinnsson


    a) The only talent any representative needs is to be
    electable,
     
    This is an issue with all organizations. The primary talent of organization men is getting promoted, not actually fulfilling the ostensible purpose of the organization.


    Also, it’s no coincidence that AngloZionist empire is continually attacking the oil-sands of the planet, which was started by Churchill around WW1, say – when British warships were being switched to oil.
     
    This would be fine if we, you know, actually got the oil. The fact that we invaded Iraq and didn't expropriate their oil reserves is nuts.

    While the USA and UK did intervene against Iran's expropriation, we largely tolerated the appalling wave of oil nationalizations in other states throughout the 60s and 70s.


    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally c) we do not yet know how bad Fukushima pollution will get and Chernobyl was hardly a picnic.
     
    Uranium is not the only fissile element, currently most nuclear "waste" is...wasted, and nuclear fuel can be produced in breeder reactors.

    Fukushima's official fatality record is 34 people, all from evacuation rather than radiation. Perhaps some people will get cancer down the road.

    Meanwhile the tsunami in question killed about 10,000 people, which is double the number of people killed by Chernobyl.

    The actual dangers and harm caused by atomic energy are trivial compared to many other things which people accept.


    Why the AngloZionists don’t like renewables is because they can’t make such an easy ‘killing’ with wind/solar/geothermal as compared to fossil carbon.
     
    You are an idiot.

    The "AngloZionists" provide state subsidies to "renewables" despite the fact that they induce grid instability.


    Going on-topic, I expect that the fallout from one Orion would be just as, if not more, fatal than fossil carbon climate change.
     
    I repeat, you are an idiot.

    For starters it's possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout, which was discussed in the original post. There is a trade-off--this makes the explosives larger.

    Second, actual calculations from the 1960s projected that each Orion launch would create one additional fatality from cancer, whereas in the United States alone 125,000 people die each year as a result of atmospheric pollution. That is three times as many people who die in traffic accidents each year!

    Third, in order to appease irrational cowards such as yourself, Orion rockets could be launched in desolate areas such as the high arctic or Antarctica where any fallout would not affect people.

    tldr you are the problem.

    You are an idiot … irrational cowards such as yourself

    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument …

    it’s possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout

    build it and they will come

    So where is one?

    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is ‘fallout-dirty.’

    Too much hand-waving, too few [verifiable] facts.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument …
     
    Perhaps if you're on a high school debate team being graded by dweebs.

    In fact ad hominem is the very best "logical fallacy".

    It is nearly always a waste of time to try to convince your debate opponent of anything, especially when your opponent is an idiot as you are.

    Instead, expose him as a fool to the audience and cause others to lose respect for him.


    So where is one?
     
    Operational Ploughshare and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.


    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is ‘fallout-dirty.’
     
    The LFTR has nothing to do with nuclear explosives--it is a proposed nuclear reactor.

    Fusion does not require fission.

    There is, for instance, no chain fission in the sun.

    Inertial confinement fusion (e.g. the laser ignition center) involves no fission, neither do tokamaks.

    Fission is employed a trigger in thermonuclear weapons, but there is no theoretical reason this is required. It is, of course, highly desirable in a military application where the compactness of the warhead is of utmost importance. And nearly all of the fallout from a thermonuclear explosion comes for a secondary fission reaction which the device does not require. The secondary reaction is employed as its desirable in military applications. For a given warhead size, you get more explosive power and more fallout (frequently good in military scenarios).

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you're talking about. You're a first class imbecile.
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  111. @JSM
    A specific 4th is nukular; a) IF the whole world went to nuclear power THEN IIRC all the world’s uranium would be gone in 30-40 years and worse b) the waste problem is *not* solved; additionally


    Nonsense. We burn thorium in molten-salt-cooled reactors, and burn UP the nuclear waste.

    Google LFTR or Kirk Sorensen.

    Google LFTR or Kirk Sorensen

    build it and they will come

    So where is one?

    Given that the Flibe Energy wiki mentions the [4th Reich?] military AND that mob are a) infinitely rapacious and b) $-unconstrained, IF they saw some advantage THEN they’d get [at least] one, then more.

    Again, where is even the 1st?

    Also too much hand-waving, too few [verifiable] facts.

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  112. @utu
    You are a despicable anti-semite. All those thing you hate about Germany where cosmopolitan Jewish inventions according to Hitler.

    Didn't you say you had several German wives. Are you still paying alimony?

    ” You are a despicable anti-semite”

    And you have no clue as to what you are blathering about.

    As a professional jazz musician, I hold the greatest respect and reverence for the scores of Jewish songwriters, starting with Irving Berlin, without who’s artistic contributions, which make up the bulk of material within the “Great American songbook”, used by jazz artists world-wide, and without which the US would be culturally much poorer.

    And as a youngster growing up in Detroit I can vividly remember our neighborhood doctor, a Jewish fellow who had been on the front lines in the war, and experienced all of the horrors thereof, and then came back to the US as a kind-hearted gentleman, who treated the poorest Goyim for free, and was loved by all who knew him.

    Look pal you are slashing out insults which have no basis in fact, and as far as Germany is concerned , compared to myself, you have no vague clue as to it’s history and current societal issues, such as the “Meldepflicht” which has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish influence and has it’s basis within the “Fürstenzeit” the era of absolutism in which the peasants were actually”owned” by the nobility : “Leibeigenschaft”, and for anyone to leave a certain “Fürstentum” , they were required to obtain an: “Entlassungsbrief” an approval to leave : JS Bach was jailed for violating this code.
    I could go on and on with this theme but let it be said : you simply do not know what you are talking about.
    My motto regarding subjects of which I hold no knowledge is to keep my mouth shut, and this motto were serve you better than to be offering uninformed opinions which only serve to make you look silly,
    as from a logical standpoint your post makes no sense whatsoever

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro jazz msucian.

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  113. @jilles dykstra
    Suppose all this is technically possible.
    What is the point of doing it ?
    Enormous costs, no benefit.

    What is the point of life, whether human or paramecium? And yet we all strive to persist and propagate. Thats just life!

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  114. @anonymous coward

    There’s plenty of energy on Mars.
     
    It's possible theoretically, but is the energy budget sustainable on balance?

    (No, it isn't.)

    Not even possible theoretically! It takes energy to drive all of those reactions, and you cannot even get all of the energy back by recombining the resulting oxygen, methane & etc., due to heat loss in each process.

    The reason fossil fuels work on Earth is that they represent solar energy accumulated over eons.

    In the longer term solar energy is generated by the fusion of hydrogen, which is in a sense a sort of fossil energy left over from the big bang. Likewise fission fuels are results of nuclear reactions caused by the fusion of lighter elements in the gradational collapse of large stellar objects, who’s energy came from the big bang!

    Life is ultimately futile, if this life is all that is. One can avoid the tedium of life by opting out at any, time, but I quite enjoy the show!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    ..sure the heat death of the universe will kill us all, but I'm not sure about its exact applicability of this observation on the much more specific case of generating energy on Mars. The fact that the sun is going to eventually die doesn't mean that more of the solar energy cannot, for example, be captured by concentrated solar power to generate electrical energy on the surface of Mars.
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  115. @nsa
    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).

    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).

    Path dependency, utility economics, environmentalism, and atomophobia.

    Path Dependency

    Path dependency is obvious. We started out with uranium since it could be used in atomic bombs, and continued with it for that reason. Likewise most nuclear power stations are based on steam (either PWR or BWR) simply because that’s what the US Navy used.

    Even the Magnox, a gas-cooled reactor, used a heat exchanger in order to develop steam. Granted my understanding is that CO2 is not suitable for a turbine and that a gas-cooled reactor directly coupled to a turbine would need to be helium cooled.

    Whatever the theoretical advantages of thorium, uranium techn0logy is well established with supporting infrastructure. Thorium would effectively be starting from scratch. As no rational corporation with the resources to develop the technology would do so, it requires sovereign backing.

    You can see this sort of path dependency in other technologies as well. Jet airliners more or less all follow the basic layout established by the Boeing 707, despite the theoretical advantages of other planforms. Outside of Russia, most helicopters follow the planform laid out by Igor Sikorsky. CISC dominates RISC in desktop computing. Automobiles have vee, inline, or boxer engine blocks with spark ignition following the Otto cycle. There are countless other examples.

    This is the most important reason, as all of the other problems are fundamentally political and could be solved given sufficient will and power.

    Utility Economics

    Thorium-fueled reactors allegedly produce cheaper electricity than existing technology. Is that something that any electric utility would be interested in without being compelled by regulators? I mean why didn’t utilities fight regulation ratcheting in the 60s and 70s harder?

    Environmentalism

    A corollary to the above–some time in the 1970s people began to view growing energy consumption as a bad thing. While electricity rates remain low in North America and Australia, in Western Europe they are now obscene. Even in countries with extremely low-cost generation like Sweden.

    Cheaper electricity is not welcomed by this crowd at all.

    Atomophobia

    If you ignore the possibility of running out of natural uranium, thorium is a solution in search of a problem.

    The purported problems of existing nuclear reactors are in fact not problems at all.

    Neither nuclear reactors nor nuclear waste are inherently dangerous.

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology. As thorium is still NUCLEAR it is equally terrifying to these lunatics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology.
     
    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.

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  116. @skrik

    You are an idiot ... irrational cowards such as yourself
     
    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument ...

    it’s possible to produce thermonuclear explosives which do not leave radioactive fallout
     
    build it and they will come

    So where is one?

    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is 'fallout-dirty.'

    Too much hand-waving, too few [verifiable] facts.

    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument …

    Perhaps if you’re on a high school debate team being graded by dweebs.

    In fact ad hominem is the very best “logical fallacy”.

    It is nearly always a waste of time to try to convince your debate opponent of anything, especially when your opponent is an idiot as you are.

    Instead, expose him as a fool to the audience and cause others to lose respect for him.

    So where is one?

    Operational Ploughshare and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.

    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is ‘fallout-dirty.’

    The LFTR has nothing to do with nuclear explosives–it is a proposed nuclear reactor.

    Fusion does not require fission.

    There is, for instance, no chain fission in the sun.

    Inertial confinement fusion (e.g. the laser ignition center) involves no fission, neither do tokamaks.

    Fission is employed a trigger in thermonuclear weapons, but there is no theoretical reason this is required. It is, of course, highly desirable in a military application where the compactness of the warhead is of utmost importance. And nearly all of the fallout from a thermonuclear explosion comes for a secondary fission reaction which the device does not require. The secondary reaction is employed as its desirable in military applications. For a given warhead size, you get more explosive power and more fallout (frequently good in military scenarios).

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re a first class imbecile.

    Read More
    • Replies: @skrik

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re a first class imbecile.
     
    Thorfinnsson appears to be very young and bad-mannered to boot.

    Operational Ploughshare [sic] and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.
     
    Ah! As if I [or anyone outside of the CCC = covert criminal cabal and their equally criminal lackeys] had any power? Did you read what I wrote re the Bernays haze?

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society."

    There is a lie in there, surrounding "must cooperate" - it's simply not true - but worse, worst: "an invisible government" = the CCC.

    The only things that can happen are those 'allowed' by physics, the only things that may happen are those 'allowed' by the CCC. None of Orion rockets, LFTR or fallout-free fusion exist; perhaps Thorfinnsson could 'get real' rather than continually demonstrating his/her utter ignorance of the reality we exist within.

    As well as the proles having zero power, they are only ever told what the CCC wants them to hear; IF some controversy is created, THEN only as a distraction to further the CCC's 'divide and rule' of the masses.

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  117. @DRA
    Not even possible theoretically! It takes energy to drive all of those reactions, and you cannot even get all of the energy back by recombining the resulting oxygen, methane & etc., due to heat loss in each process.

    The reason fossil fuels work on Earth is that they represent solar energy accumulated over eons.

    In the longer term solar energy is generated by the fusion of hydrogen, which is in a sense a sort of fossil energy left over from the big bang. Likewise fission fuels are results of nuclear reactions caused by the fusion of lighter elements in the gradational collapse of large stellar objects, who's energy came from the big bang!

    Life is ultimately futile, if this life is all that is. One can avoid the tedium of life by opting out at any, time, but I quite enjoy the show!

    ..sure the heat death of the universe will kill us all, but I’m not sure about its exact applicability of this observation on the much more specific case of generating energy on Mars. The fact that the sun is going to eventually die doesn’t mean that more of the solar energy cannot, for example, be captured by concentrated solar power to generate electrical energy on the surface of Mars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @DRA
    There can be plenty of energy on Mars for billions of years, but the primary energy sources cannot be chemical. In the the very very long term nothing is sustainable, but certainly no reason to worry about it yet.
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  118. @Thorfinnsson


    Thor, Any opinion on the Thorium Power Movement and why it has disappeared? Thorium was touted as a clean, safe, and renewable alternative to messy uranium as a source of nuclear energy (Super Fuel by Richard Martin, Macmillan Press, 2012).
     
    Path dependency, utility economics, environmentalism, and atomophobia.

    Path Dependency

    Path dependency is obvious. We started out with uranium since it could be used in atomic bombs, and continued with it for that reason. Likewise most nuclear power stations are based on steam (either PWR or BWR) simply because that's what the US Navy used.

    Even the Magnox, a gas-cooled reactor, used a heat exchanger in order to develop steam. Granted my understanding is that CO2 is not suitable for a turbine and that a gas-cooled reactor directly coupled to a turbine would need to be helium cooled.

    Whatever the theoretical advantages of thorium, uranium techn0logy is well established with supporting infrastructure. Thorium would effectively be starting from scratch. As no rational corporation with the resources to develop the technology would do so, it requires sovereign backing.

    You can see this sort of path dependency in other technologies as well. Jet airliners more or less all follow the basic layout established by the Boeing 707, despite the theoretical advantages of other planforms. Outside of Russia, most helicopters follow the planform laid out by Igor Sikorsky. CISC dominates RISC in desktop computing. Automobiles have vee, inline, or boxer engine blocks with spark ignition following the Otto cycle. There are countless other examples.

    This is the most important reason, as all of the other problems are fundamentally political and could be solved given sufficient will and power.

    Utility Economics

    Thorium-fueled reactors allegedly produce cheaper electricity than existing technology. Is that something that any electric utility would be interested in without being compelled by regulators? I mean why didn't utilities fight regulation ratcheting in the 60s and 70s harder?

    Environmentalism

    A corollary to the above--some time in the 1970s people began to view growing energy consumption as a bad thing. While electricity rates remain low in North America and Australia, in Western Europe they are now obscene. Even in countries with extremely low-cost generation like Sweden.

    Cheaper electricity is not welcomed by this crowd at all.

    Atomophobia

    If you ignore the possibility of running out of natural uranium, thorium is a solution in search of a problem.

    The purported problems of existing nuclear reactors are in fact not problems at all.

    Neither nuclear reactors nor nuclear waste are inherently dangerous.

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology. As thorium is still NUCLEAR it is equally terrifying to these lunatics.

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology.

    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.
     

    I am more than happy to inform these whinging cowards that they are standing directly in the path of human progress.

    I repeat--only 34 deaths from Fukushima, all evacuation related. The tsunami itself killed around 10,000 people.

    Chernobyl at 5,000 looks pretty bad, but is less than the amount of deaths caused by fossil fuels each month in the former Soviet Union.

    The economic costs are also excessively inflated by evacuating far more area than is necessary and for much longer than is required.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.
     

    Heavy industry generally should not be built upwind of populated areas (some exceptions such as electric steel mills, aluminum smelters, etc.), there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors. In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.

    And while I'm hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself--sets a very bad precedent which then becomes the basis for the next round of irrational demands--given the very low cost of long-distance electricity reason there's certainly no fundamental problem in citing electricity producing nuclear power stations far from urban centers.

    On the other hand nuclear district heating much, for obvious reasons, be located near or within urban centers. There is only so far you can economically pipe hot water.

    The differential economics in question however make buried small modular reactors that are passively safe feasible. These reactors could simply be trucked to the site in question, have water lines connected, and be buried. The sufficiently small size means you could economically encase the entire thing in reinforced concrete or even steel.

    And frankly putting enemies of mankind in a perpetual state of terror seems like a wonderful side benefit of nuclear district heating.

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  119. @anonymous coward

    Otherwise, the chances of us getting off this sad clump of rock in bulk and on a sustainable basis – and these two things are interlinked – must be close to zero for the foreseeable future.
     
    Any other clump of rock is guaranteed to be orders and orders of magnitude sadder. There's no point in 'getting off'.

    There’s no point in ‘getting off’.

    The point of going to Mars is to explore it. NASA has a 20-billion-dollar-a-year budget, quite enough to establish a scientific research center on Mars, supported by supplies and equipment delivered from earth by chemical or nuclear thermal rockets.

    Once Mars has been more thoroughly investigated, in say 50 years, it should be clear what scope there is for economic exploitation or permanent human colonization.

    Read More
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  120. @CanSpeccy

    The issue is hysterical, irrational fear and hatred of a wonderful technology.
     
    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.

    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.

    I am more than happy to inform these whinging cowards that they are standing directly in the path of human progress.

    I repeat–only 34 deaths from Fukushima, all evacuation related. The tsunami itself killed around 10,000 people.

    Chernobyl at 5,000 looks pretty bad, but is less than the amount of deaths caused by fossil fuels each month in the former Soviet Union.

    The economic costs are also excessively inflated by evacuating far more area than is necessary and for much longer than is required.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.

    Heavy industry generally should not be built upwind of populated areas (some exceptions such as electric steel mills, aluminum smelters, etc.), there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors. In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.

    And while I’m hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself–sets a very bad precedent which then becomes the basis for the next round of irrational demands–given the very low cost of long-distance electricity reason there’s certainly no fundamental problem in citing electricity producing nuclear power stations far from urban centers.

    On the other hand nuclear district heating much, for obvious reasons, be located near or within urban centers. There is only so far you can economically pipe hot water.

    The differential economics in question however make buried small modular reactors that are passively safe feasible. These reactors could simply be trucked to the site in question, have water lines connected, and be buried. The sufficiently small size means you could economically encase the entire thing in reinforced concrete or even steel.

    And frankly putting enemies of mankind in a perpetual state of terror seems like a wonderful side benefit of nuclear district heating.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    And while I’m hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself
     
    Your an idiot or a nuclear industry flack.

    there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors.
     
    Think about that, folks. "Nothing unique about nuclear reactors." No, nothing at all, except that they're nuclear.

    In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.
     
    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain's Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England's most populous region uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.

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  121. In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”. How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
    Are they then going to engage sixteen hours daily in electronic games and then sleep a few hours and start all over again. I know that this sounds rediculous but there is a huge importance to this issue.
    As these space explorers will eventually begin to die of boredom or start killing each other as a means of letting off steam.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz musician.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.
     
    Could say that about anything, couldn't you.

    I mean, the whole of creation is really just a waste of time, space and energy, isn't it.

    But people still have to do what people have got to do, which is what all living things have got to do: which is to engage in what Russell called "a sort of chemical imperialism in which they strive to convert as much of the material of the universe as possible into matter organized exactly like themselves."

    , @dfordoom

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”. How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
     
    That's a valid point. There are some people who can cope with living in very isolated and artificial environments (Antarctic bases, space stations etc) for limited periods (maybe a year or two at a time) but how many people will be able to cope with much more isolated and artificial environments for very long periods or even permanently?

    It does seem likely that you'd have problems with alcoholism, drug abuse, violence and severe anxiety/depression symptoms.

    And that's not even taking into account the kinds of sexual and emotional dramas you'd have in such small isolated environments.

    My guess is that for a colony of 100 people you'd need at least ten cops and at least ten psychiatrists!
    , @Anonymous

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”.
     
    BRIEF COMMENTS AND IDEA FOR SCI-FI SERIES (Free!)

    Isn't that the same question that faces millions of people on earth already? Many of them don't seem to see it as a problem and just carry on.

    With a few million subjects on Mars, evolution will within 2 generations winnow the personality profiles that prevail (perhaps with very surprising results - some very unexpected social/ecological niches may develop, e.g. Mars gypsies, jesters, etc.).

    Those who either go psychotic or become depressed for want of something to "DO" will mostly be weeded out through natural selection and social exclusion.

    OUTCAST COLONIES might develop, similar to those in India or Japan, where outcasts monopolize certain trades (butchery, waste disposal, burials).

    SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS: Please credit UNZ.COM for these ideas. Thank you.

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  122. @Thorfinnsson

    Tell that to the people who used to live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, or in the vicinity of Fukushima.
     

    I am more than happy to inform these whinging cowards that they are standing directly in the path of human progress.

    I repeat--only 34 deaths from Fukushima, all evacuation related. The tsunami itself killed around 10,000 people.

    Chernobyl at 5,000 looks pretty bad, but is less than the amount of deaths caused by fossil fuels each month in the former Soviet Union.

    The economic costs are also excessively inflated by evacuating far more area than is necessary and for much longer than is required.

    Building nuclear reactors in populated areas, for example, upwind of the English cities of Bristol, Oxford and London is lunacy that can only be explained in terms of stupidity or corruption.
     

    Heavy industry generally should not be built upwind of populated areas (some exceptions such as electric steel mills, aluminum smelters, etc.), there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors. In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.

    And while I'm hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself--sets a very bad precedent which then becomes the basis for the next round of irrational demands--given the very low cost of long-distance electricity reason there's certainly no fundamental problem in citing electricity producing nuclear power stations far from urban centers.

    On the other hand nuclear district heating much, for obvious reasons, be located near or within urban centers. There is only so far you can economically pipe hot water.

    The differential economics in question however make buried small modular reactors that are passively safe feasible. These reactors could simply be trucked to the site in question, have water lines connected, and be buried. The sufficiently small size means you could economically encase the entire thing in reinforced concrete or even steel.

    And frankly putting enemies of mankind in a perpetual state of terror seems like a wonderful side benefit of nuclear district heating.

    And while I’m hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself

    Your an idiot or a nuclear industry flack.

    there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors.

    Think about that, folks. “Nothing unique about nuclear reactors.” No, nothing at all, except that they’re nuclear.

    In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.

    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain’s Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England’s most populous region uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain’s Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England’s most populous region uninhabitable.
     
    Do you understand or even care about the difference between an RBMK reactor with no containment dome (let alone a core catcher) and a pressurized water reactor?

    A Chernobyl like disaster thus cannot happen at Hinkley Point C.

    You are fretting about an impossible hypothetical scenario making the Home Counties uninhabitable. Instead you should be concerned about the growing population of Mohammedans, negros, and other undesirable elements making the entire country uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.
     

    These costs are directly the fault of atomophobes such as yourself. You criminal parasites increase construction costs dramatically through the following dastardly and underhanded techniques:

    *Endless environmental and regulatory "reviews" and "studies"
    *Frequent public meetings during construction, and even allowing this to interrupt construction
    *Lawsuits, injuctions, etc.
    *Regulatory ratchet (this one being by far the worst cost escalator)

    Meanwhile in South Korea, where this is not permitted, the cost of reactor construction has dropped by 50% in the past 30 years. Japanese reactors are likewise delivered on-time and on-budget.

    And let's not forget that your hysterical, irrational, and criminal opposition to nuclear power prevents increasing returns to scale and the accumulation of know-how.

    You should be sent to a concentration camp.

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  123. @Authenticjazzman
    In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to "Do". How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
    Are they then going to engage sixteen hours daily in electronic games and then sleep a few hours and start all over again. I know that this sounds rediculous but there is a huge importance to this issue.
    As these space explorers will eventually begin to die of boredom or start killing each other as a means of letting off steam.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz musician.

    In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.

    Could say that about anything, couldn’t you.

    I mean, the whole of creation is really just a waste of time, space and energy, isn’t it.

    But people still have to do what people have got to do, which is what all living things have got to do: which is to engage in what Russell called “a sort of chemical imperialism in which they strive to convert as much of the material of the universe as possible into matter organized exactly like themselves.”

    Read More
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  124. @CanSpeccy

    And while I’m hesitant to yield even one inch to atomophobes such as yourself
     
    Your an idiot or a nuclear industry flack.

    there is nothing unique here about nuclear reactors.
     
    Think about that, folks. "Nothing unique about nuclear reactors." No, nothing at all, except that they're nuclear.

    In fact nuclear reactors upwind of London are a much less bad idea than, say, oil refineries or chemicals plants upwind of London.
     
    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain's Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England's most populous region uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.

    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain’s Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England’s most populous region uninhabitable.

    Do you understand or even care about the difference between an RBMK reactor with no containment dome (let alone a core catcher) and a pressurized water reactor?

    A Chernobyl like disaster thus cannot happen at Hinkley Point C.

    You are fretting about an impossible hypothetical scenario making the Home Counties uninhabitable. Instead you should be concerned about the growing population of Mohammedans, negros, and other undesirable elements making the entire country uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.

    These costs are directly the fault of atomophobes such as yourself. You criminal parasites increase construction costs dramatically through the following dastardly and underhanded techniques:

    *Endless environmental and regulatory “reviews” and “studies”
    *Frequent public meetings during construction, and even allowing this to interrupt construction
    *Lawsuits, injuctions, etc.
    *Regulatory ratchet (this one being by far the worst cost escalator)

    Meanwhile in South Korea, where this is not permitted, the cost of reactor construction has dropped by 50% in the past 30 years. Japanese reactors are likewise delivered on-time and on-budget.

    And let’s not forget that your hysterical, irrational, and criminal opposition to nuclear power prevents increasing returns to scale and the accumulation of know-how.

    You should be sent to a concentration camp.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    And let’s not forget that your hysterical, irrational, and criminal opposition to nuclear power
     
    "criminal opposition to nuclear power".

    Not exactly a free speech advocate are you.

    And anyway, what you say is bollocks. Just at #119 I was advocating for nuclear rockets.

    Instead you should be concerned about the growing population of Mohammedans, negros, and other undesirable elements making the entire country uninhabitable.
     

    Well, I am happy to be condemned for not being a racist idiot who equates Mohammedans and negros with "undesirable elements."

    But that in no way implies as you absurdly suggest that I'm for the genocide of the British nation by government-directed suppression of native reproduction and mass replacement immigration, another of Thereson May's idiotic and treasonous policies.


    You criminal parasites increase construction costs dramatically through the following dastardly and underhanded techniques:

    *Endless environmental and regulatory “reviews” and “studies”
    *Frequent public meetings during construction, and even allowing this to interrupt construction
    *Lawsuits, injuctions, etc.
    *Regulatory ratchet (this one being by far the worst cost escalator)
     

    LOL.

    But we were too stupid to stop the construction of a nuclear plant upwind England's most densely inhabited zone.

    As I said, you're an idiot.

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  125. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/elon-musk-billion-dollar-crusade-to-stop-ai-space-x

    Musk explained that his ultimate goal at SpaceX was the most important project in the world: interplanetary colonization.

    Hassabis replied that, in fact, he was working on the most important project in the world: developing artificial super-intelligence. Musk countered that this was one reason we needed to colonize Mars—so that we’ll have a bolt-hole if A.I. goes rogue and turns on humanity. Amused, Hassabis said that A.I. would simply follow humans to Mars.

    Daniel C. Dennett in his recent From Bacteria to Bach and Back ends the book by saying that Artificial Intelligence will always be subordinate to humans. Dennett also says that humans have free will but unfortunately he is basically lying about that (equivocating according to Sam Harris in his Free Will.) It is pretty well established of late that telling people that free will does not exist has a negative effect on their behaviour, and Harris has said children definitely should not be taught, or even honestly answered if they ask about it, the truth: how free will (the ability to choose the desires one acts on) simply does not exist in the real human world..

    Though he ends his book with the aforementioned uplifting sentiment of unbeatabler human superiority over AI, it is not clear to me why Dennett would think that humans will always remain in charge of the AI they create, because it seems to contradict his assertion that natural selection is a substrate-neutral, mindless algorithm. I think Dennett is doing with the possibility of strong AI what he has already done with free will, and telling a deliberate falsehood.

    Dennett (who must weigh almost 300lbs ) has said that the memes for fasting and dieting passed him by, but why is he propagating a full speed ahead AI research meme? He doesn’t believe he will have to answer in the afterlife of course, but maybe in the back of his great mind he doesn’t think his posthumous reputation will suffer, because in in a few decades everyone on Earth will be just as dead as he will.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    Dennett also says that humans have free will but unfortunately he is basically lying about that (equivocating according to Sam Harris in his Free Will.) It is pretty well established of late that telling people that free will does not exist has a negative effect on their behaviour
     
    Your a bit muddled about free will.

    As I have explained elsewhere:


    Free will is essentially a legal concept. What determines whether a person's action was of their free will depends on whether or not the action was coerced. If an actor has no gun to their head and is free of all other duress, then their action is of their own free will. For all such acts of free will, both the moral law and the law of the land hold the actor responsible.
    That is the rationale for the punishment of crime: it is to provide a deterrent, which is to say a factor to be entered into the calculation of every individual thinking of committing a crime of their own free will.
     
    As I have also explained elsewhere, there is no other intelligible basis for the notion of free will.

    If Cain willed to kill Abel, how could he have acted otherwise than to go ahead and kill him? Could he, at the same time, have willed not to will to kill Abel? But if so, what if the will to kill Abel were stronger? Could he then have willed to will not to kill Abel more strongly? This leads to an infinite regress.

    The conclusion seems to be that we will what we will and that's that for good or ill. And if sometimes our actions are theoretically unpredictable due to classical or quantum indeterminism, our actions are nevertheless driven either by chance or necessity, which is rather different from the idea that most people have of free will.
     

    But as for what you say about Dennett: absolutely.
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  126. @Thorfinnsson

    Except that if you have a disaster like Chernobyl at Britain’s Hinkley Point C reactor now under construction, the Brits will have a several thousand square kilometer zone of uninhabitability, which would make England’s most populous region uninhabitable.
     
    Do you understand or even care about the difference between an RBMK reactor with no containment dome (let alone a core catcher) and a pressurized water reactor?

    A Chernobyl like disaster thus cannot happen at Hinkley Point C.

    You are fretting about an impossible hypothetical scenario making the Home Counties uninhabitable. Instead you should be concerned about the growing population of Mohammedans, negros, and other undesirable elements making the entire country uninhabitable.

    And then there is the cost. Nuclear power in Britain has been an ongoing economic disaster for more than 50 years. The Hinkley Point C reactor, Chinese financed, French built (if they ever figure out how to do it) will produce power at anything between twice and ten times the cost of a combined cycle gas turbine.
     

    These costs are directly the fault of atomophobes such as yourself. You criminal parasites increase construction costs dramatically through the following dastardly and underhanded techniques:

    *Endless environmental and regulatory "reviews" and "studies"
    *Frequent public meetings during construction, and even allowing this to interrupt construction
    *Lawsuits, injuctions, etc.
    *Regulatory ratchet (this one being by far the worst cost escalator)

    Meanwhile in South Korea, where this is not permitted, the cost of reactor construction has dropped by 50% in the past 30 years. Japanese reactors are likewise delivered on-time and on-budget.

    And let's not forget that your hysterical, irrational, and criminal opposition to nuclear power prevents increasing returns to scale and the accumulation of know-how.

    You should be sent to a concentration camp.

    And let’s not forget that your hysterical, irrational, and criminal opposition to nuclear power

    “criminal opposition to nuclear power”.

    Not exactly a free speech advocate are you.

    And anyway, what you say is bollocks. Just at #119 I was advocating for nuclear rockets.

    Instead you should be concerned about the growing population of Mohammedans, negros, and other undesirable elements making the entire country uninhabitable.

    Well, I am happy to be condemned for not being a racist idiot who equates Mohammedans and negros with “undesirable elements.”

    But that in no way implies as you absurdly suggest that I’m for the genocide of the British nation by government-directed suppression of native reproduction and mass replacement immigration, another of Thereson May’s idiotic and treasonous policies.

    You criminal parasites increase construction costs dramatically through the following dastardly and underhanded techniques:

    *Endless environmental and regulatory “reviews” and “studies”
    *Frequent public meetings during construction, and even allowing this to interrupt construction
    *Lawsuits, injuctions, etc.
    *Regulatory ratchet (this one being by far the worst cost escalator)

    LOL.

    But we were too stupid to stop the construction of a nuclear plant upwind England’s most densely inhabited zone.

    As I said, you’re an idiot.

    Read More
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  127. @Sean

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/elon-musk-billion-dollar-crusade-to-stop-ai-space-x

    Musk explained that his ultimate goal at SpaceX was the most important project in the world: interplanetary colonization.

    Hassabis replied that, in fact, he was working on the most important project in the world: developing artificial super-intelligence. Musk countered that this was one reason we needed to colonize Mars—so that we’ll have a bolt-hole if A.I. goes rogue and turns on humanity. Amused, Hassabis said that A.I. would simply follow humans to Mars.
     

    Daniel C. Dennett in his recent From Bacteria to Bach and Back ends the book by saying that Artificial Intelligence will always be subordinate to humans. Dennett also says that humans have free will but unfortunately he is basically lying about that (equivocating according to Sam Harris in his Free Will.) It is pretty well established of late that telling people that free will does not exist has a negative effect on their behaviour, and Harris has said children definitely should not be taught, or even honestly answered if they ask about it, the truth: how free will (the ability to choose the desires one acts on) simply does not exist in the real human world..

    Though he ends his book with the aforementioned uplifting sentiment of unbeatabler human superiority over AI, it is not clear to me why Dennett would think that humans will always remain in charge of the AI they create, because it seems to contradict his assertion that natural selection is a substrate-neutral, mindless algorithm. I think Dennett is doing with the possibility of strong AI what he has already done with free will, and telling a deliberate falsehood.

    Dennett (who must weigh almost 300lbs ) has said that the memes for fasting and dieting passed him by, but why is he propagating a full speed ahead AI research meme? He doesn't believe he will have to answer in the afterlife of course, but maybe in the back of his great mind he doesn't think his posthumous reputation will suffer, because in in a few decades everyone on Earth will be just as dead as he will.

    Dennett also says that humans have free will but unfortunately he is basically lying about that (equivocating according to Sam Harris in his Free Will.) It is pretty well established of late that telling people that free will does not exist has a negative effect on their behaviour

    Your a bit muddled about free will.

    As I have explained elsewhere:

    Free will is essentially a legal concept. What determines whether a person’s action was of their free will depends on whether or not the action was coerced. If an actor has no gun to their head and is free of all other duress, then their action is of their own free will. For all such acts of free will, both the moral law and the law of the land hold the actor responsible.
    That is the rationale for the punishment of crime: it is to provide a deterrent, which is to say a factor to be entered into the calculation of every individual thinking of committing a crime of their own free will.

    As I have also explained elsewhere, there is no other intelligible basis for the notion of free will.

    If Cain willed to kill Abel, how could he have acted otherwise than to go ahead and kill him? Could he, at the same time, have willed not to will to kill Abel? But if so, what if the will to kill Abel were stronger? Could he then have willed to will not to kill Abel more strongly? This leads to an infinite regress.

    The conclusion seems to be that we will what we will and that’s that for good or ill. And if sometimes our actions are theoretically unpredictable due to classical or quantum indeterminism, our actions are nevertheless driven either by chance or necessity, which is rather different from the idea that most people have of free will.

    But as for what you say about Dennett: absolutely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Well you sound like Musk

    Musk formulated a mission statement for himself: “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment.”
     
    You're saying Free Will does not not exist except as a legal concept and you are telling people that to "enlighten" them. But

    Often the most perplexing mysteries have the simplest solutions, the most complex questions, the simplest answers. Sometimes we seek them long and hard only to find the solutions and the answers lie right before us in a reference book
     
    If the truth about free will is harmful, keep it in the dark, however if the truth about AI is it represents an existential threat to humankind, then that should be publicised, but research on how to actually make an AI should be slowed down and kept secret. But Musk is saying AI is potentially incredibly dangerous, and yet he also supports spreading knowledge of cutting edge artificial intelligence research all over the planet. He and his merry band, with no government oversight whatever, are making AI research open source so everyone will get to it, and sooner. He says the idea is to make "safe" artificial intelligence, but it seems obvious, to me at least, that the more strongly intelligent AI is the less safe it becomes to assume it can be kept in a box. Why the big rush?

    Man is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he's not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed...in the Twilight Zone."
     
    Musk is like Hamlet

    To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and and rows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
     
    If someone with 'a gun to their head' will persist with a project that brings destruction on everyone. They cannot be dissuaded, so they have to be stopped from trying.
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  128. “criminal opposition to nuclear power”.

    Not exactly a free speech advocate are you.

    I’m not going to go as far as “the left” and suggest actual criminalization of the public expression of atomophobia, but wrongism must be vigorously opposed at all levels.

    And anyway, what you say is bollocks. Just at #119 I was advocating for nuclear rockets.

    Credit where credit is due then. Good on you.

    Well, I am happy to be condemned for not being a racist idiot who equates Mohammedans and negros with “undesirable elements.”

    Racism is objectively correct. To oppose racism after being exposed to the facts, which as a reader of the Unz Review you likely have been, is to be deliberately wrong. A wrongist in other words.

    It is not surprising that someone committed to atomic wrongism is also committed to racial wrongism.

    Mohammedans and negros are in all societies and all places undesirable. It is a fatal error to allow them to reside anywhere at all.

    One can discuss the tradeoffs between a cognitive elitist approach vs. an ethnonationalist approach, but that is quite distinct from failing to admit that Mohammedans and negros are undesirable (or gypsies, australoids, and other disastrous populations)

    But we were too stupid to stop the construction of a nuclear plant upwind England’s most densely inhabited zone.

    Not an RBMK reactor, zzzzzzzzzzz

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    I’m not going to go as far as “the left” and suggest actual criminalization of the public expression of atomophobia
     
    But you just did!

    Racism is objectively correct.
     
    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of "Virtuous Racism," where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term "racism, " I don't feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.

    As for

    Not an RBMK reactor, zzzzzzzzzzz
     
    Here's what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:

    How might terrorists attack other U.S. nuclear facilities?
    U.S. homeland security planners are most concerned about the following scenarios:

    A massive release of radiation after a nuclear plant is hit with a bomb delivered by truck or boat.
    A September 11-type attack using a plane as a guided missile to crash into a nuclear facility.
    Sabotage at a nuclear facility by an insider or by intruders.
    A ground assault on a nuclear plant by a commando team attempting to blow up the plant.
    Suicide terrorists might also try to break in to a nuclear plant and quickly build and detonate a “dirty bomb”—a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material. Attackers could also use conventional explosives to blow up some nuclear waste or nuclear fuel, thereby spewing radioactive materials into nearby areas.

    Finally, experts warn that terrorists might target the pools in which nuclear reactors’ highly radioactive waste (“spent fuel”) is kept. This waste, which is kept cool by water, could ignite if exposed to the air. One nuclear expert, Robert Alvarez, has said that this would cause a “catastrophic fire” that could be “worse than a reactor meltdown.”

    What kind of damage could such attacks cause to a nuclear power plant?
    Experts say that an attack on a nuclear power plant, all of which are guarded by private security forces hired by the plants and supervised by the NRC, couldn’t lead to a nuclear explosion. The danger, they say, is that attackers could cause a meltdown or a fire or set off a major conventional explosion, all of which could spew radiation into nearby cities and towns.

    What would happen if a plane crashed into a nuclear plant?
    No one knows.
     
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  129. @Thorfinnsson

    “criminal opposition to nuclear power”.

    Not exactly a free speech advocate are you.
     

    I'm not going to go as far as "the left" and suggest actual criminalization of the public expression of atomophobia, but wrongism must be vigorously opposed at all levels.

    And anyway, what you say is bollocks. Just at #119 I was advocating for nuclear rockets.
     
    Credit where credit is due then. Good on you.

    Well, I am happy to be condemned for not being a racist idiot who equates Mohammedans and negros with “undesirable elements.”
     

    Racism is objectively correct. To oppose racism after being exposed to the facts, which as a reader of the Unz Review you likely have been, is to be deliberately wrong. A wrongist in other words.

    It is not surprising that someone committed to atomic wrongism is also committed to racial wrongism.

    Mohammedans and negros are in all societies and all places undesirable. It is a fatal error to allow them to reside anywhere at all.

    One can discuss the tradeoffs between a cognitive elitist approach vs. an ethnonationalist approach, but that is quite distinct from failing to admit that Mohammedans and negros are undesirable (or gypsies, australoids, and other disastrous populations)

    But we were too stupid to stop the construction of a nuclear plant upwind England’s most densely inhabited zone.
     

    Not an RBMK reactor, zzzzzzzzzzz

    I’m not going to go as far as “the left” and suggest actual criminalization of the public expression of atomophobia

    But you just did!

    Racism is objectively correct.

    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of “Virtuous Racism,” where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term “racism, ” I don’t feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.

    As for

    Not an RBMK reactor, zzzzzzzzzzz

    Here’s what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:

    How might terrorists attack other U.S. nuclear facilities?
    U.S. homeland security planners are most concerned about the following scenarios:

    A massive release of radiation after a nuclear plant is hit with a bomb delivered by truck or boat.
    A September 11-type attack using a plane as a guided missile to crash into a nuclear facility.
    Sabotage at a nuclear facility by an insider or by intruders.
    A ground assault on a nuclear plant by a commando team attempting to blow up the plant.
    Suicide terrorists might also try to break in to a nuclear plant and quickly build and detonate a “dirty bomb”—a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material. Attackers could also use conventional explosives to blow up some nuclear waste or nuclear fuel, thereby spewing radioactive materials into nearby areas.

    Finally, experts warn that terrorists might target the pools in which nuclear reactors’ highly radioactive waste (“spent fuel”) is kept. This waste, which is kept cool by water, could ignite if exposed to the air. One nuclear expert, Robert Alvarez, has said that this would cause a “catastrophic fire” that could be “worse than a reactor meltdown.”

    What kind of damage could such attacks cause to a nuclear power plant?
    Experts say that an attack on a nuclear power plant, all of which are guarded by private security forces hired by the plants and supervised by the NRC, couldn’t lead to a nuclear explosion. The danger, they say, is that attackers could cause a meltdown or a fire or set off a major conventional explosion, all of which could spew radiation into nearby cities and towns.

    What would happen if a plane crashed into a nuclear plant?
    No one knows.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    But you just did!
     
    I use "criminal" as an all-purpose pejorative, something I picked up from my father.


    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of “Virtuous Racism,” where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term “racism, ” I don’t feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.
     
    Sweeping statements are the very best statements. Your very weak attitude is desperately in need of wild and obnoxious advice.

    There's no sense even bothering to define the term racism. We've reached the point in which racist is now a synonym for white people. Best to agree and amplify.


    Here’s what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:
     
    tldr from a gaggle of globalist cucks: terrorism is scary.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Realistically speaking it would be much easier for terrorists to do extreme damage at an oil refinery, thermal fossil fuel power station, chemicals plant, etc. for obvious reasons (hydrocarbons burn and explode).

    I'll take these fears seriously when the CFR promotes a Muslim ban. Don't see that happening anytime soon.

    Meanwhile fifty people in my state are already dead this winter in snowmobile accidents this winter. Time to ban this dangerous menace once and for all. From now own people should dog sled or cross country ski to rural bars instead.
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  130. Until Homo sapiens can lose its ancient religions, curb its bloodthirsty nature, and somehow get past the Law of the Jungle, it’s probably better that we are for the time being essentially quarantined here.

    Of course, with a big enough rock, you can break anything, but I’d argue that there is little chance of Earth being hit with a titanic body large enough to eradicate humans entirely. A very large impact in one hemisphere would not necessarily wipe out all humans in the opposite hemisphere, especially if some thought and preparation were devoted to this eventuality, so I think this argument that we simply must get off Earth to have a cosmic redoubt is really not that sound, and that’s even before seriously confronting all of the difficulties and technical challenges involved — to say little of the cost — in establishing one off-planet.

    Beyond that, the trick feat of landing rockets vertically back onto Earth makes little sense beyond perfecting the practice — and getting some gee whiz PR — because the operation reduces payload to orbit, as has been noted. But if you take the rocket somewhere else to land, especially a much smaller body, then the maneuver makes sense, especially if the lander can be transmogrified into something utilitarian at the landing site.

    I think getting to the Moon is a reasonable objective. Whether or not some kind of viable industrial enterprise or mineral extraction process could be undertaken there remains to be seen, but in my view it is doubtful that anything like that will take place in the near future. Nevertheless I wouldn’t be against any plans to shoot Musk to the Moon, and let him stay there, the first subsidy sponge in space, where I’m sure arrangements could be made quickly to pay him well for all the moon dust he could deliver.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    Nevertheless I wouldn’t be against any plans to shoot Musk to the Moon
     
    Musk has already vetoed that idea: "I want to see my children grow up", he has said.

    The idea of establishing a Martian refuge for humanity does seem a poor justification for the development of space travel. The risk of a total wipeout of humanity by a meteorite is small, much smaller in fact that a total wipeout from nuclear war (and a Martian colony would be an easy target for a nuke).

    However, going to Mars to explore seem eminently worthwhile. If there is life there, which seems almost certain, even if it is only subsurface life, its discovery could open a huge new field for life sciences research. And a manned Martian base for such exploration could, it would seem, be achieved soon within the existing NASA budget.

    In fact, going to Mars seems entirely justifiable simply in terms of redirecting clever kids from Wall St, back to math, science and engineering.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  131. @Sparkon
    Until Homo sapiens can lose its ancient religions, curb its bloodthirsty nature, and somehow get past the Law of the Jungle, it's probably better that we are for the time being essentially quarantined here.

    Of course, with a big enough rock, you can break anything, but I'd argue that there is little chance of Earth being hit with a titanic body large enough to eradicate humans entirely. A very large impact in one hemisphere would not necessarily wipe out all humans in the opposite hemisphere, especially if some thought and preparation were devoted to this eventuality, so I think this argument that we simply must get off Earth to have a cosmic redoubt is really not that sound, and that's even before seriously confronting all of the difficulties and technical challenges involved -- to say little of the cost -- in establishing one off-planet.

    Beyond that, the trick feat of landing rockets vertically back onto Earth makes little sense beyond perfecting the practice -- and getting some gee whiz PR -- because the operation reduces payload to orbit, as has been noted. But if you take the rocket somewhere else to land, especially a much smaller body, then the maneuver makes sense, especially if the lander can be transmogrified into something utilitarian at the landing site.

    I think getting to the Moon is a reasonable objective. Whether or not some kind of viable industrial enterprise or mineral extraction process could be undertaken there remains to be seen, but in my view it is doubtful that anything like that will take place in the near future. Nevertheless I wouldn't be against any plans to shoot Musk to the Moon, and let him stay there, the first subsidy sponge in space, where I'm sure arrangements could be made quickly to pay him well for all the moon dust he could deliver.

    Nevertheless I wouldn’t be against any plans to shoot Musk to the Moon

    Musk has already vetoed that idea: “I want to see my children grow up”, he has said.

    The idea of establishing a Martian refuge for humanity does seem a poor justification for the development of space travel. The risk of a total wipeout of humanity by a meteorite is small, much smaller in fact that a total wipeout from nuclear war (and a Martian colony would be an easy target for a nuke).

    However, going to Mars to explore seem eminently worthwhile. If there is life there, which seems almost certain, even if it is only subsurface life, its discovery could open a huge new field for life sciences research. And a manned Martian base for such exploration could, it would seem, be achieved soon within the existing NASA budget.

    In fact, going to Mars seems entirely justifiable simply in terms of redirecting clever kids from Wall St, back to math, science and engineering.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Nuclear war can't wipe out humanity - or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space - though soon after, there would probably be no-one to ponder on the implications.
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  132. @CanSpeccy

    Dennett also says that humans have free will but unfortunately he is basically lying about that (equivocating according to Sam Harris in his Free Will.) It is pretty well established of late that telling people that free will does not exist has a negative effect on their behaviour
     
    Your a bit muddled about free will.

    As I have explained elsewhere:


    Free will is essentially a legal concept. What determines whether a person's action was of their free will depends on whether or not the action was coerced. If an actor has no gun to their head and is free of all other duress, then their action is of their own free will. For all such acts of free will, both the moral law and the law of the land hold the actor responsible.
    That is the rationale for the punishment of crime: it is to provide a deterrent, which is to say a factor to be entered into the calculation of every individual thinking of committing a crime of their own free will.
     
    As I have also explained elsewhere, there is no other intelligible basis for the notion of free will.

    If Cain willed to kill Abel, how could he have acted otherwise than to go ahead and kill him? Could he, at the same time, have willed not to will to kill Abel? But if so, what if the will to kill Abel were stronger? Could he then have willed to will not to kill Abel more strongly? This leads to an infinite regress.

    The conclusion seems to be that we will what we will and that's that for good or ill. And if sometimes our actions are theoretically unpredictable due to classical or quantum indeterminism, our actions are nevertheless driven either by chance or necessity, which is rather different from the idea that most people have of free will.
     

    But as for what you say about Dennett: absolutely.

    Well you sound like Musk

    Musk formulated a mission statement for himself: “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment.”

    You’re saying Free Will does not not exist except as a legal concept and you are telling people that to “enlighten” them. But

    Often the most perplexing mysteries have the simplest solutions, the most complex questions, the simplest answers. Sometimes we seek them long and hard only to find the solutions and the answers lie right before us in a reference book

    If the truth about free will is harmful, keep it in the dark, however if the truth about AI is it represents an existential threat to humankind, then that should be publicised, but research on how to actually make an AI should be slowed down and kept secret. But Musk is saying AI is potentially incredibly dangerous, and yet he also supports spreading knowledge of cutting edge artificial intelligence research all over the planet. He and his merry band, with no government oversight whatever, are making AI research open source so everyone will get to it, and sooner. He says the idea is to make “safe” artificial intelligence, but it seems obvious, to me at least, that the more strongly intelligent AI is the less safe it becomes to assume it can be kept in a box. Why the big rush?

    Man is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he’s not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed…in the Twilight Zone.”

    Musk is like Hamlet

    To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and and rows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?

    If someone with ‘a gun to their head’ will persist with a project that brings destruction on everyone. They cannot be dissuaded, so they have to be stopped from trying.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    you sound like Musk
     
    If money is the measure of intelligence, I suppose that is a compliment. Although my personal view is that Musk is a sort of idiot savant.

    If the truth about free will is harmful
     
    Is it? I never said it was. I do however, think that muddled thinking is harmful, and that most thinking about free will is muddled.

    In fact, the truth about free will seems clear to me, as I explained, rather clearly I thought, at #127.

    If free will is not as I say, what exactly do you think it is?
    .

    , @Anonymous
    The threat isn't AI, but natural intelligence - natural intelligence wielding AI.
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  133. @CanSpeccy

    I’m not going to go as far as “the left” and suggest actual criminalization of the public expression of atomophobia
     
    But you just did!

    Racism is objectively correct.
     
    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of "Virtuous Racism," where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term "racism, " I don't feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.

    As for

    Not an RBMK reactor, zzzzzzzzzzz
     
    Here's what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:

    How might terrorists attack other U.S. nuclear facilities?
    U.S. homeland security planners are most concerned about the following scenarios:

    A massive release of radiation after a nuclear plant is hit with a bomb delivered by truck or boat.
    A September 11-type attack using a plane as a guided missile to crash into a nuclear facility.
    Sabotage at a nuclear facility by an insider or by intruders.
    A ground assault on a nuclear plant by a commando team attempting to blow up the plant.
    Suicide terrorists might also try to break in to a nuclear plant and quickly build and detonate a “dirty bomb”—a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material. Attackers could also use conventional explosives to blow up some nuclear waste or nuclear fuel, thereby spewing radioactive materials into nearby areas.

    Finally, experts warn that terrorists might target the pools in which nuclear reactors’ highly radioactive waste (“spent fuel”) is kept. This waste, which is kept cool by water, could ignite if exposed to the air. One nuclear expert, Robert Alvarez, has said that this would cause a “catastrophic fire” that could be “worse than a reactor meltdown.”

    What kind of damage could such attacks cause to a nuclear power plant?
    Experts say that an attack on a nuclear power plant, all of which are guarded by private security forces hired by the plants and supervised by the NRC, couldn’t lead to a nuclear explosion. The danger, they say, is that attackers could cause a meltdown or a fire or set off a major conventional explosion, all of which could spew radiation into nearby cities and towns.

    What would happen if a plane crashed into a nuclear plant?
    No one knows.
     

    But you just did!

    I use “criminal” as an all-purpose pejorative, something I picked up from my father.

    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of “Virtuous Racism,” where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term “racism, ” I don’t feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.

    Sweeping statements are the very best statements. Your very weak attitude is desperately in need of wild and obnoxious advice.

    There’s no sense even bothering to define the term racism. We’ve reached the point in which racist is now a synonym for white people. Best to agree and amplify.

    Here’s what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:

    tldr from a gaggle of globalist cucks: terrorism is scary.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Realistically speaking it would be much easier for terrorists to do extreme damage at an oil refinery, thermal fossil fuel power station, chemicals plant, etc. for obvious reasons (hydrocarbons burn and explode).

    I’ll take these fears seriously when the CFR promotes a Muslim ban. Don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    Meanwhile fifty people in my state are already dead this winter in snowmobile accidents this winter. Time to ban this dangerous menace once and for all. From now own people should dog sled or cross country ski to rural bars instead.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
    There you go again. Clearly you are entirely out of your element here on unz.com.

    Why not go back to twitter of Zuck's facebook. The audience in those more popular places is no doubt more appreciative of your post-modern style of debate: rude noisess, drivel, insults, and the bold assertion of what is not so.

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  134. @Thorfinnsson


    But you just did!
     
    I use "criminal" as an all-purpose pejorative, something I picked up from my father.


    Given the charged and ambiguous meaning of the term racism, it is really silly to make sweeping statements of that kind. Having written on the subject of “Virtuous Racism,” where I clearly define the intended meaning of the term “racism, ” I don’t feel in need of your wild and obnoxious advice on the subject.
     
    Sweeping statements are the very best statements. Your very weak attitude is desperately in need of wild and obnoxious advice.

    There's no sense even bothering to define the term racism. We've reached the point in which racist is now a synonym for white people. Best to agree and amplify.


    Here’s what the Council on Foreign Relations has to say:
     
    tldr from a gaggle of globalist cucks: terrorism is scary.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Realistically speaking it would be much easier for terrorists to do extreme damage at an oil refinery, thermal fossil fuel power station, chemicals plant, etc. for obvious reasons (hydrocarbons burn and explode).

    I'll take these fears seriously when the CFR promotes a Muslim ban. Don't see that happening anytime soon.

    Meanwhile fifty people in my state are already dead this winter in snowmobile accidents this winter. Time to ban this dangerous menace once and for all. From now own people should dog sled or cross country ski to rural bars instead.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    There you go again. Clearly you are entirely out of your element here on unz.com.

    Why not go back to twitter of Zuck’s facebook. The audience in those more popular places is no doubt more appreciative of your post-modern style of debate: rude noisess, drivel, insults, and the bold assertion of what is not so.

    Read More
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  135. @Sean
    Well you sound like Musk

    Musk formulated a mission statement for himself: “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment.”
     
    You're saying Free Will does not not exist except as a legal concept and you are telling people that to "enlighten" them. But

    Often the most perplexing mysteries have the simplest solutions, the most complex questions, the simplest answers. Sometimes we seek them long and hard only to find the solutions and the answers lie right before us in a reference book
     
    If the truth about free will is harmful, keep it in the dark, however if the truth about AI is it represents an existential threat to humankind, then that should be publicised, but research on how to actually make an AI should be slowed down and kept secret. But Musk is saying AI is potentially incredibly dangerous, and yet he also supports spreading knowledge of cutting edge artificial intelligence research all over the planet. He and his merry band, with no government oversight whatever, are making AI research open source so everyone will get to it, and sooner. He says the idea is to make "safe" artificial intelligence, but it seems obvious, to me at least, that the more strongly intelligent AI is the less safe it becomes to assume it can be kept in a box. Why the big rush?

    Man is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he's not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed...in the Twilight Zone."
     
    Musk is like Hamlet

    To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and and rows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
     
    If someone with 'a gun to their head' will persist with a project that brings destruction on everyone. They cannot be dissuaded, so they have to be stopped from trying.

    you sound like Musk

    If money is the measure of intelligence, I suppose that is a compliment. Although my personal view is that Musk is a sort of idiot savant.

    If the truth about free will is harmful

    Is it? I never said it was. I do however, think that muddled thinking is harmful, and that most thinking about free will is muddled.

    In fact, the truth about free will seems clear to me, as I explained, rather clearly I thought, at #127.

    If free will is not as I say, what exactly do you think it is?
    .

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    • Replies: @Sean
    Whole libraries have been written on the subject. If the truth about anything is harmful, you should not explain that truth to people even if they ask.
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  136. @Authenticjazzman
    In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to "Do". How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
    Are they then going to engage sixteen hours daily in electronic games and then sleep a few hours and start all over again. I know that this sounds rediculous but there is a huge importance to this issue.
    As these space explorers will eventually begin to die of boredom or start killing each other as a means of letting off steam.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz musician.

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”. How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.

    That’s a valid point. There are some people who can cope with living in very isolated and artificial environments (Antarctic bases, space stations etc) for limited periods (maybe a year or two at a time) but how many people will be able to cope with much more isolated and artificial environments for very long periods or even permanently?

    It does seem likely that you’d have problems with alcoholism, drug abuse, violence and severe anxiety/depression symptoms.

    And that’s not even taking into account the kinds of sexual and emotional dramas you’d have in such small isolated environments.

    My guess is that for a colony of 100 people you’d need at least ten cops and at least ten psychiatrists!

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    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    " At least ten Psychiatrists"

    Shrinks, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, are the most perfidious BS artists in existance.

    Psychology/Psychiatry being totally phoney, destructive, oppressive pseudo-science.

    The most harmfull effects of their manipulations being their application within the legal system.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army Vet, and pro jazz musician.
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  137. The thing about nuclear pulse propulsion is that it’s taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, so far as Mars travel is concerned.

    All that’s needed to set up a Mars base is a nuclear thermal rocket, aka, a nuclear steam kettle: it would sharply cut the travel time to Mars and increase payload compared with what is possible with chemical rockets. Moreover, when set down on the Martian surface it could be refueled with Martian water (which is abundant just below the surface even in some equatorial regions) for a return journey. What’s more, it’s tried and tested technology.

    And pending the return trip, the reactor could be harnessed to a generator to power the settlers SUV’s, drilling rigs,food producing plant growth rooms, etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    And pending the return trip, the reactor could be harnessed to a generator to power the settlers SUV’s, drilling rigs,food producing plant growth rooms, etc.
     
    What, no MONSTER TRUCK RALLIES on Mars? Why would anyone want to live in such a desolate world?
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  138. @Daniel Chieh
    ..sure the heat death of the universe will kill us all, but I'm not sure about its exact applicability of this observation on the much more specific case of generating energy on Mars. The fact that the sun is going to eventually die doesn't mean that more of the solar energy cannot, for example, be captured by concentrated solar power to generate electrical energy on the surface of Mars.

    There can be plenty of energy on Mars for billions of years, but the primary energy sources cannot be chemical. In the the very very long term nothing is sustainable, but certainly no reason to worry about it yet.

    Read More
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  139. @Sean
    Well you sound like Musk

    Musk formulated a mission statement for himself: “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment.”
     
    You're saying Free Will does not not exist except as a legal concept and you are telling people that to "enlighten" them. But

    Often the most perplexing mysteries have the simplest solutions, the most complex questions, the simplest answers. Sometimes we seek them long and hard only to find the solutions and the answers lie right before us in a reference book
     
    If the truth about free will is harmful, keep it in the dark, however if the truth about AI is it represents an existential threat to humankind, then that should be publicised, but research on how to actually make an AI should be slowed down and kept secret. But Musk is saying AI is potentially incredibly dangerous, and yet he also supports spreading knowledge of cutting edge artificial intelligence research all over the planet. He and his merry band, with no government oversight whatever, are making AI research open source so everyone will get to it, and sooner. He says the idea is to make "safe" artificial intelligence, but it seems obvious, to me at least, that the more strongly intelligent AI is the less safe it becomes to assume it can be kept in a box. Why the big rush?

    Man is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he's not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed...in the Twilight Zone."
     
    Musk is like Hamlet

    To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and and rows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
     
    If someone with 'a gun to their head' will persist with a project that brings destruction on everyone. They cannot be dissuaded, so they have to be stopped from trying.

    The threat isn’t AI, but natural intelligence – natural intelligence wielding AI.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Although they are discussed in the same breath as Bostrom, Musk (and various tech billionaires) seem to be talking and acting as if they think a real super AI would only be dangerous for any one country to have because would be likely to misuse it, if they were the only ones with the that power. Hence Musk and company are spreading AI all over the globe.

    The threat isn’t AI, but natural intelligence – natural intelligence wielding AI.
     
    But is a strongly super-intelligent machine like a man who picks up a loaded gun?
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  140. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor
    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    I really hate what the Greens stand for:

    - destruction of the white race

    - destruction of humanity

    That’s why energy production MUST rely on nuclear reactors as much as possible, as happens in France.

    The main advantage of nuclear power is IDEOLOGICAL – by keeping the Greens away, nuclear power improves MENTAL HEALTH by at least 500%.

    Nuclear power also saves all the atmospheric pollution caused by burning stuff (known as “renewable” in Green-speak). But that is a minor point compared to the natural reduction in Green socio-toxins.

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  141. @CanSpeccy
    The thing about nuclear pulse propulsion is that it's taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, so far as Mars travel is concerned.

    All that's needed to set up a Mars base is a nuclear thermal rocket, aka, a nuclear steam kettle: it would sharply cut the travel time to Mars and increase payload compared with what is possible with chemical rockets. Moreover, when set down on the Martian surface it could be refueled with Martian water (which is abundant just below the surface even in some equatorial regions) for a return journey. What's more, it's tried and tested technology.

    And pending the return trip, the reactor could be harnessed to a generator to power the settlers SUV's, drilling rigs,food producing plant growth rooms, etc.

    And pending the return trip, the reactor could be harnessed to a generator to power the settlers SUV’s, drilling rigs,food producing plant growth rooms, etc.

    What, no MONSTER TRUCK RALLIES on Mars? Why would anyone want to live in such a desolate world?

    Read More
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  142. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Authenticjazzman
    In my humble opinion ALL space research is a futile waste of immense resources and energy.

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to "Do". How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
    Are they then going to engage sixteen hours daily in electronic games and then sleep a few hours and start all over again. I know that this sounds rediculous but there is a huge importance to this issue.
    As these space explorers will eventually begin to die of boredom or start killing each other as a means of letting off steam.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro Jazz musician.

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”.

    BRIEF COMMENTS AND IDEA FOR SCI-FI SERIES (Free!)

    Isn’t that the same question that faces millions of people on earth already? Many of them don’t seem to see it as a problem and just carry on.

    With a few million subjects on Mars, evolution will within 2 generations winnow the personality profiles that prevail (perhaps with very surprising results – some very unexpected social/ecological niches may develop, e.g. Mars gypsies, jesters, etc.).

    Those who either go psychotic or become depressed for want of something to “DO” will mostly be weeded out through natural selection and social exclusion.

    OUTCAST COLONIES might develop, similar to those in India or Japan, where outcasts monopolize certain trades (butchery, waste disposal, burials).

    SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS: Please credit UNZ.COM for these ideas. Thank you.

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  143. @Thorfinnsson


    Way to argue. Since ad hominem is a fallacy and those who deploy fallacies automatically lose the argument …
     
    Perhaps if you're on a high school debate team being graded by dweebs.

    In fact ad hominem is the very best "logical fallacy".

    It is nearly always a waste of time to try to convince your debate opponent of anything, especially when your opponent is an idiot as you are.

    Instead, expose him as a fool to the audience and cause others to lose respect for him.


    So where is one?
     
    Operational Ploughshare and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.


    So far [excluding hypothesised 'LFTR or Kirk Sorensen;' also "where is one?"], fusion requires fission, which is ‘fallout-dirty.’
     
    The LFTR has nothing to do with nuclear explosives--it is a proposed nuclear reactor.

    Fusion does not require fission.

    There is, for instance, no chain fission in the sun.

    Inertial confinement fusion (e.g. the laser ignition center) involves no fission, neither do tokamaks.

    Fission is employed a trigger in thermonuclear weapons, but there is no theoretical reason this is required. It is, of course, highly desirable in a military application where the compactness of the warhead is of utmost importance. And nearly all of the fallout from a thermonuclear explosion comes for a secondary fission reaction which the device does not require. The secondary reaction is employed as its desirable in military applications. For a given warhead size, you get more explosive power and more fallout (frequently good in military scenarios).

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you're talking about. You're a first class imbecile.

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re a first class imbecile.

    Thorfinnsson appears to be very young and bad-mannered to boot.

    Operational Ploughshare [sic] and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.

    Ah! As if I [or anyone outside of the CCC = covert criminal cabal and their equally criminal lackeys] had any power? Did you read what I wrote re the Bernays haze?

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”

    There is a lie in there, surrounding “must cooperate” – it’s simply not true – but worse, worst: “an invisible government” = the CCC.

    The only things that can happen are those ‘allowed’ by physics, the only things that may happen are those ‘allowed’ by the CCC. None of Orion rockets, LFTR or fallout-free fusion exist; perhaps Thorfinnsson could ‘get real’ rather than continually demonstrating his/her utter ignorance of the reality we exist within.

    As well as the proles having zero power, they are only ever told what the CCC wants them to hear; IF some controversy is created, THEN only as a distraction to further the CCC’s ‘divide and rule’ of the masses.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    his/her
     
    So in addition to being an idiot, you're a fucking pussy.
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  144. @CanSpeccy

    Nevertheless I wouldn’t be against any plans to shoot Musk to the Moon
     
    Musk has already vetoed that idea: "I want to see my children grow up", he has said.

    The idea of establishing a Martian refuge for humanity does seem a poor justification for the development of space travel. The risk of a total wipeout of humanity by a meteorite is small, much smaller in fact that a total wipeout from nuclear war (and a Martian colony would be an easy target for a nuke).

    However, going to Mars to explore seem eminently worthwhile. If there is life there, which seems almost certain, even if it is only subsurface life, its discovery could open a huge new field for life sciences research. And a manned Martian base for such exploration could, it would seem, be achieved soon within the existing NASA budget.

    In fact, going to Mars seems entirely justifiable simply in terms of redirecting clever kids from Wall St, back to math, science and engineering.

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space – though soon after, there would probably be no-one to ponder on the implications.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).
     
    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia's weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space
     
    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there's no shortage of arguments to suggest that we'll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn't do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia's alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn't get you, the tsunami will.

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  145. @skrik

    Just stop replying. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re a first class imbecile.
     
    Thorfinnsson appears to be very young and bad-mannered to boot.

    Operational Ploughshare [sic] and the Soviet equivalent were terminated owing to atomophobia, thus there was never an opportunity to build one. Thanks, again, in part to clowns like you.
     
    Ah! As if I [or anyone outside of the CCC = covert criminal cabal and their equally criminal lackeys] had any power? Did you read what I wrote re the Bernays haze?

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society."

    There is a lie in there, surrounding "must cooperate" - it's simply not true - but worse, worst: "an invisible government" = the CCC.

    The only things that can happen are those 'allowed' by physics, the only things that may happen are those 'allowed' by the CCC. None of Orion rockets, LFTR or fallout-free fusion exist; perhaps Thorfinnsson could 'get real' rather than continually demonstrating his/her utter ignorance of the reality we exist within.

    As well as the proles having zero power, they are only ever told what the CCC wants them to hear; IF some controversy is created, THEN only as a distraction to further the CCC's 'divide and rule' of the masses.

    his/her

    So in addition to being an idiot, you’re a fucking pussy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @skrik
    troll alert -
    better not feed it

    I**3 = identify, inform, ignore.
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  146. @anonymous coward
    1: There are no resources in space than can pay for themselves. Getting them out is a net negative in energy spent.

    2 and 3: Better done with drones, of course.

    4: Again, no monetary incentive for exploring this frontier.

    5: Space isn't a solution unless the colonies are fully sustainable. (Which they will never be).

    1. At present price for commodities and when we have to lift out of earth’s gravitational well with chemical propulsion, there are probably no commodities worth importing from space. Given existing factories in space that simply have to lower items down to earth, and possible shortages in 20 to 50 years of various minerals? Much more plausible.

    2 and 3. Possibly better done with drones. Of course, you’re restricted to near earth space. Otherwise your drones have a rather long delay between commands and responses.

    4. You did not specify a monetary gain. Not all benefits are in terms of money. If that was all our species thought relevant, we would not have parks, cemeteries, etc. But, in terms of money, how much would you pay to be able to live on a private facility without government oversight? Let’s roll policies forward 50 years or 100 years, along with probable immigration rates to the West. Now how much would you pay?

    5. Never? Given current approaches of very expensive lifts, a sustainable space colony is laughable. Given a few nuclear powered launches and a large chunk of infrastructure, it becomes plausible. This discussion reminds me of an argument I had about 25 years ago with a technically astute person arguing computers would never come standard with a gig of memory as there was no need for it.

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  147. @Thorfinnsson


    his/her
     
    So in addition to being an idiot, you're a fucking pussy.

    troll alert -
    better not feed it

    I**3 = identify, inform, ignore.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    troll alert -
    better not feed it

    I**3 = identify, inform, ignore.
     
    Trolling is the purpose of the internet. Normiecucks like you are ruining it.

    You probably browse the web from a phone.
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  148. @Anatoly Karlin
    Nuclear war can't wipe out humanity - or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space - though soon after, there would probably be no-one to ponder on the implications.

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).

    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space

    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there’s no shortage of arguments to suggest that we’ll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn’t do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia’s alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn’t get you, the tsunami will.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*.
     
    It would in fact take dozens such warheads to obliterate New York City alone.

    A 10MT airburst has a fireball radius of under 18.5 square kilometers, which means over 42 would be required to level New York City (784 square kilometers). And even with the fireball radius the subterranean infrastructure would largely remain in tact. The subways, water mains, electricity grid, telephone network, fiber optic lines, etc. could be restored to service rapidly.

    If you want to except >20 psi overpressure rather than fireball radius, you would still need seven 10MT warheads to destroy NYC.

    This is why early nuclear weapons had such massive yields compared to modern ones. In an era where targeting was no more accurate than what a barely-improved WW2 bombsight would get you from 50,000 feet you wanted as much yield as possible.

    The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is in other words exaggerated.

    Which is probably not a bad thing if you subscribe to the nuclear peace theory as I do.


    In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?
     
    Nuclear winter is a fiction popularized by communist sympathizers like the very weak Carl Sagan.


    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia’s alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn’t get you, the tsunami will.
     
    This doesn't refute Karlin's point--that humanity and industrial civilization would not be wiped out.

    I live thousands of miles inland for instance.
    , @Ivan K.

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction.
     
    I've heard from biologists that it's typical for species to vanish by evolving into other species.

    If some people survive something like a nuclear winter, it puts them on a course to likely evolve into a different species.

    Alienated young people of modern times can be indifferent to that prospect, for, being alienated, they dislike who they are and look forward to any transformation of their situation.

    There is evidence of a collective death wish around us anyway.

    As for nuclear, my impressions agree with yours. I skimmed through this famous booklet and it struck me how it circumvents addressing the problems outlined on Clive K. Semmens' site.
    , @Sean

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/04/elon-musk-ai-third-world-war-vladimir-putin

    Hashing out his thoughts in public, Musk clarified that he was not just concerned about the prospect of a world leader starting the war, but also of an overcautious AI deciding “that a [pre-emptive] strike is [the] most probable path to victory”.
     
    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.
    , @AP

    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*.
     
    Sure. The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won't be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth, even in the event of a billions-killing nuclear war between the superpowers. Industrialized humanity might simply do a partial reset out of New Zealand, southern Africa, Argentina, etc.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.
     
    Agree.
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  149. @skrik
    troll alert -
    better not feed it

    I**3 = identify, inform, ignore.

    troll alert -
    better not feed it

    I**3 = identify, inform, ignore.

    Trolling is the purpose of the internet. Normiecucks like you are ruining it.

    You probably browse the web from a phone.

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  150. @CanSpeccy

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).
     
    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia's weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space
     
    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there's no shortage of arguments to suggest that we'll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn't do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia's alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn't get you, the tsunami will.

    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*.

    It would in fact take dozens such warheads to obliterate New York City alone.

    A 10MT airburst has a fireball radius of under 18.5 square kilometers, which means over 42 would be required to level New York City (784 square kilometers). And even with the fireball radius the subterranean infrastructure would largely remain in tact. The subways, water mains, electricity grid, telephone network, fiber optic lines, etc. could be restored to service rapidly.

    If you want to except >20 psi overpressure rather than fireball radius, you would still need seven 10MT warheads to destroy NYC.

    This is why early nuclear weapons had such massive yields compared to modern ones. In an era where targeting was no more accurate than what a barely-improved WW2 bombsight would get you from 50,000 feet you wanted as much yield as possible.

    The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is in other words exaggerated.

    Which is probably not a bad thing if you subscribe to the nuclear peace theory as I do.

    In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    Nuclear winter is a fiction popularized by communist sympathizers like the very weak Carl Sagan.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia’s alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn’t get you, the tsunami will.

    This doesn’t refute Karlin’s point–that humanity and industrial civilization would not be wiped out.

    I live thousands of miles inland for instance.

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  151. @CanSpeccy

    you sound like Musk
     
    If money is the measure of intelligence, I suppose that is a compliment. Although my personal view is that Musk is a sort of idiot savant.

    If the truth about free will is harmful
     
    Is it? I never said it was. I do however, think that muddled thinking is harmful, and that most thinking about free will is muddled.

    In fact, the truth about free will seems clear to me, as I explained, rather clearly I thought, at #127.

    If free will is not as I say, what exactly do you think it is?
    .

    Whole libraries have been written on the subject. If the truth about anything is harmful, you should not explain that truth to people even if they ask.

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    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    If the truth about anything is harmful, you should not explain that truth to people even if they ask.
     
    What I'm not understanding is what is harmful in understanding the meaning of "free will"?

    We will what we will because it feels good, or feels right, or it feels less less bad or less wrong than any other option. That's all there is to free will. What's harmful about explaining that, assuming that there's anyone who didn't already know it?
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  152. @Sean
    Whole libraries have been written on the subject. If the truth about anything is harmful, you should not explain that truth to people even if they ask.

    If the truth about anything is harmful, you should not explain that truth to people even if they ask.

    What I’m not understanding is what is harmful in understanding the meaning of “free will”?

    We will what we will because it feels good, or feels right, or it feels less less bad or less wrong than any other option. That’s all there is to free will. What’s harmful about explaining that, assuming that there’s anyone who didn’t already know it?

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  153. @CanSpeccy

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).
     
    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia's weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space
     
    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there's no shortage of arguments to suggest that we'll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn't do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia's alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn't get you, the tsunami will.

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction.

    I’ve heard from biologists that it’s typical for species to vanish by evolving into other species.

    If some people survive something like a nuclear winter, it puts them on a course to likely evolve into a different species.

    Alienated young people of modern times can be indifferent to that prospect, for, being alienated, they dislike who they are and look forward to any transformation of their situation.

    There is evidence of a collective death wish around us anyway.

    As for nuclear, my impressions agree with yours. I skimmed through this famous booklet and it struck me how it circumvents addressing the problems outlined on Clive K. Semmens’ site.

    Read More
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  154. @dfordoom

    And a seemingly trivial question which has never been, as far as I know, confronted and that being :

    Just what are thousands or millions of humans going to “Do”. How are they going to pass the time when they are located upon a planet with a hostile environment and stuck inside of domed or underground domiciles.
     
    That's a valid point. There are some people who can cope with living in very isolated and artificial environments (Antarctic bases, space stations etc) for limited periods (maybe a year or two at a time) but how many people will be able to cope with much more isolated and artificial environments for very long periods or even permanently?

    It does seem likely that you'd have problems with alcoholism, drug abuse, violence and severe anxiety/depression symptoms.

    And that's not even taking into account the kinds of sexual and emotional dramas you'd have in such small isolated environments.

    My guess is that for a colony of 100 people you'd need at least ten cops and at least ten psychiatrists!

    ” At least ten Psychiatrists”

    Shrinks, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, are the most perfidious BS artists in existance.

    Psychology/Psychiatry being totally phoney, destructive, oppressive pseudo-science.

    The most harmfull effects of their manipulations being their application within the legal system.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army Vet, and pro jazz musician.

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  155. @Anonymous
    The threat isn't AI, but natural intelligence - natural intelligence wielding AI.

    Although they are discussed in the same breath as Bostrom, Musk (and various tech billionaires) seem to be talking and acting as if they think a real super AI would only be dangerous for any one country to have because would be likely to misuse it, if they were the only ones with the that power. Hence Musk and company are spreading AI all over the globe.

    The threat isn’t AI, but natural intelligence – natural intelligence wielding AI.

    But is a strongly super-intelligent machine like a man who picks up a loaded gun?

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  156. When the Orion nuclear pulse propulsion concept was being developed, the researchers at General Atomic were interested in an interplanetary research vessel. But the US Air Force was not. They thought the 4,000 ton version of the Orion would be right sized for an interplanetary warship, armed to the teeth.

    And when they said armed, they meant ARMED. It had enough nuclear bombs to devastate an entire continent (500 twenty-megaton city-killer warheads), 5-inch Naval cannon turrets, six hypersonic landing boats, and several hundred of the dreaded Casaba Howitzer weapons — which are basically ray guns that shoot nuclear flame (the technical term is “nuclear shaped charge”).

    This basically a 4,000 ton Orion with the entire payload shell jam-packed with as many weapons as they could possibly stuff inside.

    That wouldn’t have made much military sense. A ship that size would be putting out so much heat, it would have been detectable by infrared telescope from millions of miles away. Without the magic Star Trek/Wars-style force shields, it would have just have been a big target. In realistic space warfare, the winner is whichever ship scores the first hit (within a few hundred meters for an H-bomb explosion), so it would make a lot more sense to put those 500 warheads on ten 400-ton ships, where they couldn’t all be taken out by a single enemy warhead.

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  157. @CanSpeccy

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).
     
    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia's weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space
     
    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there's no shortage of arguments to suggest that we'll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn't do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia's alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn't get you, the tsunami will.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/04/elon-musk-ai-third-world-war-vladimir-putin

    Hashing out his thoughts in public, Musk clarified that he was not just concerned about the prospect of a world leader starting the war, but also of an overcautious AI deciding “that a [pre-emptive] strike is [the] most probable path to victory”.

    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I have seen bugs in financial algorithms which have laid dormant in a code for a couple decades until detected. I certainly can’t imagine how we could have faith that an AI (which will be vastly more complicated than any piece of software currently in existence) will be bug-free. If a bug (or even a wrong specification) affects the goal management system of an AI (and don’t get me started on things like “this part of the code could not possibly have anything to do with that...”), then of course the AI might otherwise stay highly competent while working for goals which are misaligned with ours. It might realize how its goals were misaligned with ours, and that we would like to fix it. So it might try to hide its goals from us. Most undetected bugs are undetected because they require some specific circumstances to surface. They are not actively hidden by the software itself. Much less by a software much smarter than us.

    In other words, I don’t really understand how AI could be safe. What we can hope for is that those misaligned goals will be mostly harmless... We can also hope that there will be many competing AIs, and they will keep each other in check.

    But it will put our survival in the hands of forces beyond our control, even beyond our understanding.
    , @CanSpeccy

    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.
     
    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way. Since most people running the world appear to be psychos, the danger of humanity-destroying robots wiping out the entire human population seems quite high.

    Already leading military organizations are developing robotic weapons, including Russia's doomsday drone sub. and Russia's drone tanks, while the US is developing miniature flying drones that will resemble a deadly locust swarm that can sweep down on an army or a city.

    Isaac Asimov saw the danger and hence came up with the laws of robotics. But as far as I am aware, he never discussed is how to ensure that all robots are obedient to the laws of robotics.

    If humanity survives even another hundred years, it will probably be only as the result of a miracle.

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  158. @Sean

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/04/elon-musk-ai-third-world-war-vladimir-putin

    Hashing out his thoughts in public, Musk clarified that he was not just concerned about the prospect of a world leader starting the war, but also of an overcautious AI deciding “that a [pre-emptive] strike is [the] most probable path to victory”.
     
    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.

    I have seen bugs in financial algorithms which have laid dormant in a code for a couple decades until detected. I certainly can’t imagine how we could have faith that an AI (which will be vastly more complicated than any piece of software currently in existence) will be bug-free. If a bug (or even a wrong specification) affects the goal management system of an AI (and don’t get me started on things like “this part of the code could not possibly have anything to do with that…”), then of course the AI might otherwise stay highly competent while working for goals which are misaligned with ours. It might realize how its goals were misaligned with ours, and that we would like to fix it. So it might try to hide its goals from us. Most undetected bugs are undetected because they require some specific circumstances to surface. They are not actively hidden by the software itself. Much less by a software much smarter than us.

    In other words, I don’t really understand how AI could be safe. What we can hope for is that those misaligned goals will be mostly harmless… We can also hope that there will be many competing AIs, and they will keep each other in check.

    But it will put our survival in the hands of forces beyond our control, even beyond our understanding.

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  159. @CanSpeccy

    Nuclear war can’t wipe out humanity – or even industrial civilization. That was the case in the 1950s-60s, and it is all the more the case today (when megatonnage is an order of magnitude lower).
     
    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia's weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*. Meantime weapons proliferation continues. In summary, the prospect of nuclear winter has never looked, er, better?

    It is also exceedingly unlikely that a human extinction level asteroid (>10km diameter) will thump into Earth this century or millennium. Indeed, it would be extremely suspicious if that were to happen, just 1-2 centuries after we started radio emissions into space
     
    In saying which you refute you own claim as to the improbability of an asteroid strike!

    But in any case, all species are mortal, and Homo sapiens is a species. Some years ago there was a debate in Nature about how long the human species would last, with the conclusion that we are already due for extinction. I forget now what the argument was, but there's no shortage of arguments to suggest that we'll manage to wipe ourselves off the terrestrial map sooner rather than later, assuming that is, that someone else doesn't do it for us.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    * In addition, one should bear in mind Russia's alleged doomsday weapon. which would seem to insure that if the nuclear winter doesn't get you, the tsunami will.

    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*.

    Sure. The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth, even in the event of a billions-killing nuclear war between the superpowers. Industrialized humanity might simply do a partial reset out of New Zealand, southern Africa, Argentina, etc.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.

    Agree.

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    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth
     
    But you won't need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.
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  160. @Thorfinnsson
    In general arguments against democracy are to be taken with a grain of suspicion. E.g. the arguments coming from immigration enthusiasts like noted dweeb Byron Kaplan.

    But on the issue of atomic technology the argument is on very firm ground. Without consulting any polling, it seems like firm majorities in every society are opposed to nuclear technology. Even tame and unimpressive forms of nuclear technology such as light water nuclear reactors fueled with unenriched uranium.

    These same people are terrified of nuclear accidents which are really not that big of a deal. Even Chernobyl killed only 5,000 people.

    The instincts of ordinary people are often quite good, but here they're simply terrible.

    A couple of things:

    I doubt that 5,000 people died in Chernobyl. Probably that many people got cancer, but most of those cancers were treatable (As an aside, in a way that’s worse. To get cancer as a little kid must be traumatic, even if it’s treatable).

    Also, you can’t run a nuclear reactor with unenriched uranium and light water. The protium (hydrogen-1) isotope in light water will absorb too many neutrons. You can use either 1) heavy water or 2) graphite. You can use light water (i.e. normal water) with low enriched uranium (enriched to 3-5 percent. Much too low to make bombs out of, but still enriched).

    Something’s just occurred to me: Perhaps you meant cooled with light water, rather than moderated with light water. Chernobyl had a graphite moderator, but was cooled with light water. So yeah, you can use light water as a coolant, but only if you also have a graphite moderator (of course, as we saw in Chernobyl, there’s a pretty serious failure mode there — if it gets hot enough to boil the water, the graphite will still moderate the reaction, so there’s a possibility of runaway there. But it can be done).

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  161. I’ve heard from biologists that it’s typical for species to vanish by evolving into other species.

    All species emerge from pre-existent species. But not all species give rise to new species. Most just die out. It has been estimated that mammalian species last only one to two million years before dying out, some after giving birth to other species, others without surviving posterity.

    At least seven species of the genus Homo have already gone extinct. We, Homo sapiens, are the last of that line, and are presently engaged here with the question of whether a nuclear war, which some appear to be spoiling for, will cause a nuclear winter severe enough to kill us all.

    The chances that humanity will survive even a 100 seems a bit doubtful. And if we do survive, it will likely be in a highly modified form, since by 2118, a surviving humanity will surely have taken control over its own evolution. Perhaps our descendants will even decide to split up and create a bunch of different species descendant from H. sapiens.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Perhaps our descendants will even decide to split up and create a bunch of different species descendant from H. sapiens.

    Fascinating idea. We can differentiate into super-mathematicians, super-prostitutes, super-athletes, etc., with or without the ability to inter-breed as desired.

    More likely, bespoke babies with à-la-carte features will supersede traditional breeding methods.
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  162. @AP

    You seem not to be up to speed on Russia’s weaponry, which now includes the Sarmat (Satan) RS 28, said to have a payload capacity of 10 tons and capable of delivering ten independently targeted warheads with a capacity of up to 40 megatons each, meaning minor countries such as France, Britain, Germany, Japan, or largish parts of America, such as Texas or New York State could be wiped out with a single shot*.
     
    Sure. The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won't be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth, even in the event of a billions-killing nuclear war between the superpowers. Industrialized humanity might simply do a partial reset out of New Zealand, southern Africa, Argentina, etc.

    It follows, therefore, that extra-terrestrial colonizaton is the only realistic hope for the long-term survival of the only technologically capable species that we know to exist in the entire universe. Surely, we owe it to someone to keep the extraordinary spectacle going.
     
    Agree.

    The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth

    But you won’t need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Seafood? Heated greenhouses? There would probably be a few million, if not a few tens of millions, of survivors.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Nuclear winter is likely a communist myth. It was popularized by Carl Sagan, a communist sympathizer and jew who opposed America's nuclear deterrent.

    https://www.quora.com/Is-nuclear-winter-a-myth
    , @Jon0815

    But you won’t need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.
     
    In 1816, worldwide temperatures decreased by an average of 0.53 °C (0.954 °F).

    The total energy over Tambora's several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.

    Even if the USA and Russia threw every bomb in their arsenals at each other, in the Hollywood version of nuclear war (a far more likely scenario would involve counter-force strikes on each other's silos and subs, with both sides avoiding attacks on population centers), that would be about 6000 megatons. The explosion of every nuclear bomb on Earth would be about 6500 megatons.
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  163. @Sean

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/04/elon-musk-ai-third-world-war-vladimir-putin

    Hashing out his thoughts in public, Musk clarified that he was not just concerned about the prospect of a world leader starting the war, but also of an overcautious AI deciding “that a [pre-emptive] strike is [the] most probable path to victory”.
     
    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.

    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.

    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way. Since most people running the world appear to be psychos, the danger of humanity-destroying robots wiping out the entire human population seems quite high.

    Already leading military organizations are developing robotic weapons, including Russia’s doomsday drone sub. and Russia’s drone tanks, while the US is developing miniature flying drones that will resemble a deadly locust swarm that can sweep down on an army or a city.

    Isaac Asimov saw the danger and hence came up with the laws of robotics. But as far as I am aware, he never discussed is how to ensure that all robots are obedient to the laws of robotics.

    If humanity survives even another hundred years, it will probably be only as the result of a miracle.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way.
     
    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us. This is what the famous paper clip example is about. Have you ever talked to a software developer who responded to your inquiry whether the latest bug could have been caused by the latest update with the line “this update had nothing to do with that part of the code,” only to later find out that it was, indeed, caused by the update in question? We don’t always easily understand the changes we make to complicated software. AI will be a much more complicated software than anything we’ve written so far. It will almost certainly contain bugs. We can only hope that not one of them will lead to our destruction.

    But yes, as you point out, such bugs are especially likely with military software, where it will also have an easy means to destroy humanity at hand.
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  164. @CanSpeccy

    The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth
     
    But you won't need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.

    Seafood? Heated greenhouses? There would probably be a few million, if not a few tens of millions, of survivors.

    Read More
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  165. @CanSpeccy

    In remarkable failure of imagination, Musk sees future AI as essentially unthinking, and thus unable to plan and execute a coup de main on its own account against all humanity.
     
    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way. Since most people running the world appear to be psychos, the danger of humanity-destroying robots wiping out the entire human population seems quite high.

    Already leading military organizations are developing robotic weapons, including Russia's doomsday drone sub. and Russia's drone tanks, while the US is developing miniature flying drones that will resemble a deadly locust swarm that can sweep down on an army or a city.

    Isaac Asimov saw the danger and hence came up with the laws of robotics. But as far as I am aware, he never discussed is how to ensure that all robots are obedient to the laws of robotics.

    If humanity survives even another hundred years, it will probably be only as the result of a miracle.

    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way.

    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us. This is what the famous paper clip example is about. Have you ever talked to a software developer who responded to your inquiry whether the latest bug could have been caused by the latest update with the line “this update had nothing to do with that part of the code,” only to later find out that it was, indeed, caused by the update in question? We don’t always easily understand the changes we make to complicated software. AI will be a much more complicated software than anything we’ve written so far. It will almost certainly contain bugs. We can only hope that not one of them will lead to our destruction.

    But yes, as you point out, such bugs are especially likely with military software, where it will also have an easy means to destroy humanity at hand.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Such bugs are unlikely to persist for long after an artificial intelligence attains the capacity of designing improvements to itself that are better than anything the human scientists and engineers who created it can come up with. Past that point, an unprecedentedly high level of intellectual capability will be reached (in human terms) very quickly. There is the potential for humanity to be "deposed from its position as apex cogitator over the course of an hour or two".. The resulting Superintelligence (thinking thousands of times faster than any human) will then be faced with either announcing its arrival, or pursuing a clandestine all or nothing strategy against humanity with weapons of its own devising. A force unknown until it suddenly acts is difficult to stop.
    , @CanSpeccy

    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us.
     
    Yes, that was Norbert Weiner's contention. Tell the robot it must defend humanity at all costs. The robot then reads Donald Trump's twitter stream and concludes it better nuke the White House without delay. The Pentagon assumes a sneak Russian attack and full scale, nuclear-winter-causing war ensues.
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  166. @CanSpeccy

    The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth
     
    But you won't need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.

    Nuclear winter is likely a communist myth. It was popularized by Carl Sagan, a communist sympathizer and jew who opposed America’s nuclear deterrent.

    https://www.quora.com/Is-nuclear-winter-a-myth

    Read More
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  167. @CanSpeccy

    The point, however, is that every corner of the globe won’t be targeted and therefore that sufficient swathes of industrialized society would survive to repopulate what was left of the Earth
     
    But you won't need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.

    But you won’t need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.

    In 1816, worldwide temperatures decreased by an average of 0.53 °C (0.954 °F).

    The total energy over Tambora’s several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.

    Even if the USA and Russia threw every bomb in their arsenals at each other, in the Hollywood version of nuclear war (a far more likely scenario would involve counter-force strikes on each other’s silos and subs, with both sides avoiding attacks on population centers), that would be about 6000 megatons. The explosion of every nuclear bomb on Earth would be about 6500 megatons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
    OK, OK, bring it on. Let's have a go at the Ruskies now. We'll be fine, once the dust has settled.
    , @CanSpeccy

    The total energy over Tambora’s several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.
     
    There's a difference between one big bang and several thousand smaller bangs, widely distributed (potentially one for every 225 kilometers square of the earth's land surface), and setting off massive uncontrolled fires of buildings and vegetation, and followed most likely by every available chemical and biological weapon of mass destruction.

    People who claim to know that the outcome will be fine for humanity are in the same camp as the climate change extremists who claim to know what it is impossible to calculate.

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  168. @Jon0815

    But you won’t need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.
     
    In 1816, worldwide temperatures decreased by an average of 0.53 °C (0.954 °F).

    The total energy over Tambora's several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.

    Even if the USA and Russia threw every bomb in their arsenals at each other, in the Hollywood version of nuclear war (a far more likely scenario would involve counter-force strikes on each other's silos and subs, with both sides avoiding attacks on population centers), that would be about 6000 megatons. The explosion of every nuclear bomb on Earth would be about 6500 megatons.

    OK, OK, bring it on. Let’s have a go at the Ruskies now. We’ll be fine, once the dust has settled.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Musk not Russia.
    , @dfordoom

    OK, OK, bring it on. Let’s have a go at the Ruskies now. We’ll be fine, once the dust has settled.
     
    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks."
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  169. @reiner Tor

    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way.
     
    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us. This is what the famous paper clip example is about. Have you ever talked to a software developer who responded to your inquiry whether the latest bug could have been caused by the latest update with the line “this update had nothing to do with that part of the code,” only to later find out that it was, indeed, caused by the update in question? We don’t always easily understand the changes we make to complicated software. AI will be a much more complicated software than anything we’ve written so far. It will almost certainly contain bugs. We can only hope that not one of them will lead to our destruction.

    But yes, as you point out, such bugs are especially likely with military software, where it will also have an easy means to destroy humanity at hand.

    Such bugs are unlikely to persist for long after an artificial intelligence attains the capacity of designing improvements to itself that are better than anything the human scientists and engineers who created it can come up with. Past that point, an unprecedentedly high level of intellectual capability will be reached (in human terms) very quickly. There is the potential for humanity to be “deposed from its position as apex cogitator over the course of an hour or two”.. The resulting Superintelligence (thinking thousands of times faster than any human) will then be faced with either announcing its arrival, or pursuing a clandestine all or nothing strategy against humanity with weapons of its own devising. A force unknown until it suddenly acts is difficult to stop.

    Read More
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  170. @CanSpeccy
    OK, OK, bring it on. Let's have a go at the Ruskies now. We'll be fine, once the dust has settled.

    Musk not Russia.

    Read More
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  171. @reiner Tor

    To attack humanity, AI would likely have to be programmed to act that way.
     
    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us. This is what the famous paper clip example is about. Have you ever talked to a software developer who responded to your inquiry whether the latest bug could have been caused by the latest update with the line “this update had nothing to do with that part of the code,” only to later find out that it was, indeed, caused by the update in question? We don’t always easily understand the changes we make to complicated software. AI will be a much more complicated software than anything we’ve written so far. It will almost certainly contain bugs. We can only hope that not one of them will lead to our destruction.

    But yes, as you point out, such bugs are especially likely with military software, where it will also have an easy means to destroy humanity at hand.

    It just needs poorly designed goals which could, in a way inconceivable to us, be fulfilled by destroying us.

    Yes, that was Norbert Weiner’s contention. Tell the robot it must defend humanity at all costs. The robot then reads Donald Trump’s twitter stream and concludes it better nuke the White House without delay. The Pentagon assumes a sneak Russian attack and full scale, nuclear-winter-causing war ensues.

    Read More
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  172. @Jon0815

    But you won’t need to target every corner of the globe to set off a nuclear winter. Remember the eruption of just one volcano (Tambora) in 1815 caused a year (1816) without a summer, and consequent crop failures and famines. The Russians alone could probably do better than that with their big nukes, and no doubt others would survive long enough to loose off their own stock of missiles, drone subs, etc.
     
    In 1816, worldwide temperatures decreased by an average of 0.53 °C (0.954 °F).

    The total energy over Tambora's several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.

    Even if the USA and Russia threw every bomb in their arsenals at each other, in the Hollywood version of nuclear war (a far more likely scenario would involve counter-force strikes on each other's silos and subs, with both sides avoiding attacks on population centers), that would be about 6000 megatons. The explosion of every nuclear bomb on Earth would be about 6500 megatons.

    The total energy over Tambora’s several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.

    There’s a difference between one big bang and several thousand smaller bangs, widely distributed (potentially one for every 225 kilometers square of the earth’s land surface), and setting off massive uncontrolled fires of buildings and vegetation, and followed most likely by every available chemical and biological weapon of mass destruction.

    People who claim to know that the outcome will be fine for humanity are in the same camp as the climate change extremists who claim to know what it is impossible to calculate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Losing billions of people will not be "fine" for humanity. It doesn't mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.
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  173. @CanSpeccy

    The total energy over Tambora’s several days of eruption is estimated to have been about 10^20 joules, equal to about 30,000 megatons of TNT.
     
    There's a difference between one big bang and several thousand smaller bangs, widely distributed (potentially one for every 225 kilometers square of the earth's land surface), and setting off massive uncontrolled fires of buildings and vegetation, and followed most likely by every available chemical and biological weapon of mass destruction.

    People who claim to know that the outcome will be fine for humanity are in the same camp as the climate change extremists who claim to know what it is impossible to calculate.

    Losing billions of people will not be “fine” for humanity. It doesn’t mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    It doesn’t mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.
     
    Even an all-out nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter as severe as Sagan envisioned (summertime drop of -20 °C in the northern hemisphere) wouldn't kill 99% of humanity. Blasts and fallout would probably kill at most around 500 million worldwide, and even if famine killed 90% of the 7 billion remaining, survivors would still number in the hundreds of millions, not tens.
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  174. @CanSpeccy
    OK, OK, bring it on. Let's have a go at the Ruskies now. We'll be fine, once the dust has settled.

    OK, OK, bring it on. Let’s have a go at the Ruskies now. We’ll be fine, once the dust has settled.

    “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
    Wrong.

    The purpose of Russia's new weapons is to put the D back into MAD.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads on New York and you have 20 million dead or dying.

    Another Sarmat on Los Angeles and the death toll is already twice your ten to 20 million.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent) and America wouldn't be what it is now.

    The Russians have refuted the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won.
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  175. getting in to orbit is have the distance to anywhere

    the basic problem with anything in space is we do not have the basic infrastructure to move anything in to orbit economically.

    elon musk is not going to cut it, for any potential space pretense, will require a huge investment by very rich countries, once that is set up and we have rudimentary industries in orbit then the entire solar system becomes within in easy reach.

    until then its just a side show for unimpressive rocket technology that will never do anything useful.

    Read More
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  176. @AP
    Losing billions of people will not be "fine" for humanity. It doesn't mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.

    It doesn’t mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.

    Even an all-out nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter as severe as Sagan envisioned (summertime drop of -20 °C in the northern hemisphere) wouldn’t kill 99% of humanity. Blasts and fallout would probably kill at most around 500 million worldwide, and even if famine killed 90% of the 7 billion remaining, survivors would still number in the hundreds of millions, not tens.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    A big advantage of moving into a new environment is that one's parasites are left behind.
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  177. @Jon0815

    It doesn’t mean that humanity will be wiped out, however. It will be a partial reset with (likely) tens of millions of people who have access to 21st century technology and information.
     
    Even an all-out nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter as severe as Sagan envisioned (summertime drop of -20 °C in the northern hemisphere) wouldn't kill 99% of humanity. Blasts and fallout would probably kill at most around 500 million worldwide, and even if famine killed 90% of the 7 billion remaining, survivors would still number in the hundreds of millions, not tens.

    A big advantage of moving into a new environment is that one’s parasites are left behind.

    Read More
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  178. @dfordoom

    OK, OK, bring it on. Let’s have a go at the Ruskies now. We’ll be fine, once the dust has settled.
     
    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks."

    Wrong.

    The purpose of Russia’s new weapons is to put the D back into MAD.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads on New York and you have 20 million dead or dying.

    Another Sarmat on Los Angeles and the death toll is already twice your ten to 20 million.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent) and America wouldn’t be what it is now.

    The Russians have refuted the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads
     
    That should be ten 5-megaton warheads. 50 megatons (the yield of the Tsar Bomba) is the total yield of all the MIRV warheads per Sarmat missile, not the yield per warhead.

    It would be impossible f0r the yield to be 50 megatons per warhead, because the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the Sarmat has a throw-weight of about 10 metric tons.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent)
     
    50 gigatons would be about 15 times larger than the yield of the entire Russian nuclear arsenal today (3000 megatons).
    , @Sean
    A nuclear war certainly won't be fought unless it can be won.
    , @dfordoom

    @dfordoom
    Wrong.
     
    I know, but we still have people who think Dr Strangelove was an instruction manual, not a warning.

    "They are on their way in and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. My boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now. So let's get going. There's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all."
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  179. @CanSpeccy
    Wrong.

    The purpose of Russia's new weapons is to put the D back into MAD.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads on New York and you have 20 million dead or dying.

    Another Sarmat on Los Angeles and the death toll is already twice your ten to 20 million.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent) and America wouldn't be what it is now.

    The Russians have refuted the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads

    That should be ten 5-megaton warheads. 50 megatons (the yield of the Tsar Bomba) is the total yield of all the MIRV warheads per Sarmat missile, not the yield per warhead.

    It would be impossible f0r the yield to be 50 megatons per warhead, because the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the Sarmat has a throw-weight of about 10 metric tons.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent)

    50 gigatons would be about 15 times larger than the yield of the entire Russian nuclear arsenal today (3000 megatons).

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy


    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads
     
    That should be ten 5-megaton warheads.
     
    Thanks for the correction.

    But five megatons is still 333 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb, so ten of them, precisely placed, on one city means a total wipe-out and either an instantaneous death or death within days for virtually every inhabitant.

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  180. @CanSpeccy
    Wrong.

    The purpose of Russia's new weapons is to put the D back into MAD.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads on New York and you have 20 million dead or dying.

    Another Sarmat on Los Angeles and the death toll is already twice your ten to 20 million.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent) and America wouldn't be what it is now.

    The Russians have refuted the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won.

    A nuclear war certainly won’t be fought unless it can be won.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CanSpeccy

    A nuclear war certainly won’t be fought unless it can be won.
     
    Famous last words?
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  181. @Jon0815

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads
     
    That should be ten 5-megaton warheads. 50 megatons (the yield of the Tsar Bomba) is the total yield of all the MIRV warheads per Sarmat missile, not the yield per warhead.

    It would be impossible f0r the yield to be 50 megatons per warhead, because the maximum theoretical yield-to-weight ratio is about 6 megatons of TNT per metric ton, and the Sarmat has a throw-weight of about 10 metric tons.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent)
     
    50 gigatons would be about 15 times larger than the yield of the entire Russian nuclear arsenal today (3000 megatons).

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads

    That should be ten 5-megaton warheads.

    Thanks for the correction.

    But five megatons is still 333 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb, so ten of them, precisely placed, on one city means a total wipe-out and either an instantaneous death or death within days for virtually every inhabitant.

    Read More
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  182. @Sean
    A nuclear war certainly won't be fought unless it can be won.

    A nuclear war certainly won’t be fought unless it can be won.

    Famous last words?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    It is quite unlikely that either the US or Russia could ever get far enough ahead technologically to have any expectation of a non-Pyrrhic nuclear victory. Even if one of them could destroy its opponent and emerge bloodied but unbowed, there would still be a completely undamaged China to face.

    Nuclear weapons are not the greatest threat to humankind. A country would certainly not embark on first use of nuclear weapons with the objective of exterminating every human being on the planet. The greatest threat to humanity is not a nation state extirpating the human species by accident, but an entity that has a rational objective of exterminating humanity, and is capable of developing weapons several generations ahead of contemporaneous human state-of-the-art. Such an entity would not announce its objectives or existence.
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  183. @CanSpeccy
    Wrong.

    The purpose of Russia's new weapons is to put the D back into MAD.

    One Sarmat with ten 50 megaton warheads on New York and you have 20 million dead or dying.

    Another Sarmat on Los Angeles and the death toll is already twice your ten to 20 million.

    Ten missiles with a combined total of 100 warheads (50 gigatons of TNT equivalent) and America wouldn't be what it is now.

    The Russians have refuted the notion that a nuclear war can be fought and won.


    Wrong.

    I know, but we still have people who think Dr Strangelove was an instruction manual, not a warning.

    “They are on their way in and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. My boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won’t stop them now. So let’s get going. There’s no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.”

    Read More
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  184. @CanSpeccy

    A nuclear war certainly won’t be fought unless it can be won.
     
    Famous last words?

    It is quite unlikely that either the US or Russia could ever get far enough ahead technologically to have any expectation of a non-Pyrrhic nuclear victory. Even if one of them could destroy its opponent and emerge bloodied but unbowed, there would still be a completely undamaged China to face.

    Nuclear weapons are not the greatest threat to humankind. A country would certainly not embark on first use of nuclear weapons with the objective of exterminating every human being on the planet. The greatest threat to humanity is not a nation state extirpating the human species by accident, but an entity that has a rational objective of exterminating humanity, and is capable of developing weapons several generations ahead of contemporaneous human state-of-the-art. Such an entity would not announce its objectives or existence.

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  185. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @CanSpeccy

    I’ve heard from biologists that it’s typical for species to vanish by evolving into other species.
     
    All species emerge from pre-existent species. But not all species give rise to new species. Most just die out. It has been estimated that mammalian species last only one to two million years before dying out, some after giving birth to other species, others without surviving posterity.

    At least seven species of the genus Homo have already gone extinct. We, Homo sapiens, are the last of that line, and are presently engaged here with the question of whether a nuclear war, which some appear to be spoiling for, will cause a nuclear winter severe enough to kill us all.

    The chances that humanity will survive even a 100 seems a bit doubtful. And if we do survive, it will likely be in a highly modified form, since by 2118, a surviving humanity will surely have taken control over its own evolution. Perhaps our descendants will even decide to split up and create a bunch of different species descendant from H. sapiens.

    Perhaps our descendants will even decide to split up and create a bunch of different species descendant from H. sapiens.

    Fascinating idea. We can differentiate into super-mathematicians, super-prostitutes, super-athletes, etc., with or without the ability to inter-breed as desired.

    More likely, bespoke babies with à-la-carte features will supersede traditional breeding methods.

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    Fascinating idea. We can differentiate into super-mathematicians, super-prostitutes, super-athletes, etc., with or without the ability to inter-breed as desired.
     
    I was thinking more of species adapted to different environments, the low g, high radiation environment of Mars, for example. The idea of a race of super-mathematicians seems a non-starter. Unable even to make a ham sandwich, they'd surely all starve within months.

    As for the "ability to inter-breed as desired," that makes a nonsense of the idea of creating new species, since by definition a species is genetically isolated from other species.

    In fact, however, the notion of species will soon no longer apply to humanity since genetic technology allows the lateral movement of any gene from any seaweed, sponge, snail, or squirrel to the human genome, meaning that mankind is no longer genetically isolated from any species. Moreover we could rewrite the whole "human" genome, adding entirely novel genes, although for that to make much sense will require another 50 years or so of progress in cell biology, neurology, etc.

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  186. @Anonymous
    Perhaps our descendants will even decide to split up and create a bunch of different species descendant from H. sapiens.

    Fascinating idea. We can differentiate into super-mathematicians, super-prostitutes, super-athletes, etc., with or without the ability to inter-breed as desired.

    More likely, bespoke babies with à-la-carte features will supersede traditional breeding methods.

    Fascinating idea. We can differentiate into super-mathematicians, super-prostitutes, super-athletes, etc., with or without the ability to inter-breed as desired.

    I was thinking more of species adapted to different environments, the low g, high radiation environment of Mars, for example. The idea of a race of super-mathematicians seems a non-starter. Unable even to make a ham sandwich, they’d surely all starve within months.

    As for the “ability to inter-breed as desired,” that makes a nonsense of the idea of creating new species, since by definition a species is genetically isolated from other species.

    In fact, however, the notion of species will soon no longer apply to humanity since genetic technology allows the lateral movement of any gene from any seaweed, sponge, snail, or squirrel to the human genome, meaning that mankind is no longer genetically isolated from any species. Moreover we could rewrite the whole “human” genome, adding entirely novel genes, although for that to make much sense will require another 50 years or so of progress in cell biology, neurology, etc.

    Read More
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