Cozy Futurism – False Choices Without Substance

There is a new meme called “Cozy Futurism” which is pretending that there a choice between colonizing Mars and fixing Earth-based poverty, inequality and homelessness.

I think they are basing this on the historical example of the European countries that did not colonize the Americas from 1500-1800 and solved inequality, poverty and homelessness. Oh that’s right, that never happened, they made up a false choice of colonize Mars or fix homelessness.

Colonization Benefited the Colonizing Countries

The British Empire and colonialism provided economic benefits to British citizens. Most of the benefits went to shareholders in the colonizing companies. The colonized did not benefit but the home countries got some gains that slightly reduced the tax burden of all citizens. There are no native Martians or Moon People to exploit. Those who did the colonizing (aka future Americans or Canadians) ended up benefiting. There is the historical precedent that future Mars, Moon or space colonists will benefit or their descendants will benefit. Those doing the colonizing would presumably be making a personal choice.

Mixed Up Mess

One of the proponents of “Cozy Futurism” categorizes projects and concepts against other technology and/or problems. Somehow he thinks lazy and meaningless categorization is useful and insightful.

This is mixing projects and problems without putting in the effort to understand the problems, challenges or having any specific plans or budgets. Jose believes he is adding to an informed discussion by mixing project titles for future project concepts with what environmentalists have defined as futures that they fear and want to avoid.

Do You Make Purchasing Decisions Without Asking the Price? How About Finding Out What You Might Buy?

Should you buy a business or donate to charity? Make this decision without looking at any financial or project plan. You could invest in a bad business and lose all of your money in a year or less and obligates you to a lot of wasted time or you could invest in a good charity that achieves some useful goals and gives you a 40% tax deduction. This makes the charity a better choice. You could invest in a great business that gives a payoff of a hundred times your initial investment within four years or you could invest in a bad charity that is a scam that wastes your money. This time the business is a better choice. You can see how having a few numbers and some specifics are important instead of choosing blindly between labeled black boxes.

Jose wrote a short article describing more about his concepts. You will notice there is no history, context, plans or numbers.

IEEE Spectrum then had an article that picked up Cozy Futures and contrasts a strawman choice between a Jetson Future and a sustainable future. Again there are few numbers or specifics. The writer applauds Jeff Bezos for creating a US $10 billion fund to make investments in organizations fighting climate change. The $10 billion fund has yet to be fully deployed and has yielded minimal results and CO2 levels are still increasing. CO2 levels are not heading down rapidly toward zero, they are still going up. Bezos has put over $5 billion into Blue Origin and just got a suborbital human flight out of it. Bezos has not proven to be effective at getting to space or fixing the climate. Bezos has been good at online commerce and cloud computing business.

IEEE Spectrum used to be about engineering and technological details and rigor. The Jetsons Future vs Sustainable Future is pretending that the imagined morality and conjured empathy and twitter polls need to guide all choices.

Which Climate Change Proposal?

Various proposals are to spend tens of trillions every year to fight climate change. The most cost-efficient climate change proposals are in the $1 per ton of CO2 reduction. The Green New Deal was talking about spending tens fo trillions to fix the US portion of the annual emissions. This would not fix or reverse an extra 2 trillion tons of CO2 to get to the pre-industrial age but just stop adding 5 billion tons of CO2 each year from the US. The Green New Deal is looking at $1000 per ton of CO2 reduction.

The global agricultural sector emits around six billion tonnes of GHGs in 2011 or about 13% of total global emissions.

Regular plastic greenhouses can reduce some of those emissions, but a lot more is reduced with reuse of waste water, locating greenhouses closer to consumers and having more energy efficiency.

China is spending about $50 billion to build greenhouses over the next five years that will bring half of its crop production indoors. This would make crops for 700 million people about ten times more water-efficient and mostly immune to temperature variation.

You Do Realize Trillions Are Spent in the Name of Cozy Future Goals

If there is a debate about spending and choices about spending then it is about which specific source of money or funds? Trillions have been spent on reducing inequality and all of the cozy futurism goals. This spending has been ineffective and sometime counter productive.

In the US taxes, were lowered for the poorest Americans and transfer payments were increased.

During the pandemic, the US spent $4.55 trillion on stimulus to businesses, individuals and various government programs.

There was about $30 billion spent by the government on Operation Warp Speed to develop the mRNA vaccines. Pfizer and other companies and Venture capitalists and investors spent a few tens of billions on vaccines and drug treatments.

The spending on the successful development of vaccines has changed the course of the Pandemic. This was a good spending of $30 billion and hundreds of times more effective than the trillions on enhancing unemployment to partially offset lockdown policies.

Here is a comparison of what the US did for unemployment during COVID compared to other developed countries.

NASA has a $23 billion per year budget. NASA has budget that goes toward monitoring climate change.

SpaceX has gotten $6.6 billion in investor funding and has a valuation of $74 billion. SpaceX has made about $2-3 billion per year from launch contracts and now Starlink services. SpaceX got a few NASA contracts. There was a $3.1 contract to develop the Commercial Crew program (Dragon capsule and launch system) to get American rockets launching astronauts into space again.

The Space Shuttle program cost $206 billion for 132 successful launches and 2 fatal missions. This program and the $200 billion on the ISS did not meaningfully advance toward the goal of space colonization or toward a real future in space.

SpaceX is far more efficiently developing fully reusable rockets which will take us to the equivalent of the 747 age of passenger aircraft for rockets instead of the Hindenburg (one trip and done) age of flight. The Space Launch System and Space Shuttle were the billion to $2 billion per flight age of space travel. The Space Launch System has used $30 billion and is struggling to have a first test flight.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to raid money from all corporations, individuals to put a tsunami of money at the insatiable problems and bad solutions he has created for them.

So does Bernie want to kill a private company just because it is successfully fulfilling private contracts? Does Bernie just want to take all of the wealth of successful businessmen? Does Bernie want to cancel 100% of NASA and put the money into a 2% larger social program?

The answer is yes, Bernie wants all those things. The Russian and China historical examples of national wealth redistribution failed. China did not start to become wealthy until it adopted capitalism.

SOURCES – Wikipedia, IEEE Spectrum,
Written by Brian Wang,

219 thoughts on “Cozy Futurism – False Choices Without Substance”

  1. That's because updates change what doesn't need to be changed:

    • Where the controls are
    • What the controls look like
    • How to use the controls
    • What it looks like when the controls are working
    • What the controls do

    And do not change what would actually benefit the user

    • How long it takes to do something
    • How stable the whole thing is from falling over

    Admittedly some things have improved

    • Although the files produced by the software have sometimes grown along with available memory and storage size, other files such as raw data logs, have not. So you can do more with bigger files.
  2. It's nice to have a standardized user experience. We've FINALLY got pretty much everyone where I work using email. Mostly. Got every age from fresh out of college to 70+, and the folks 50+ are using the programs needed (Office and specialized stuff) with few complaints.

    So once we get everyone comfortable, it's time to update the OS and Office version… which will confuse the older folks once again. Sigh.

  3. I am less optimistic about hard AI than many around here. While I do expect super-human AI servants relatively soon, they will still be profoundly stupid and non sentient for a long time, lacking any of the things that make humans what they are.

    Which is fine: we need servants, not competition. But IMO the real problem is that consciousness is either a hack of physics we will need to decipher in order to have it, or a very complex thing we can't really fathom yet, or both.

    Anyway, this would mean that we can populate space with diligent robots that still need significant supervision. Robots that dig a hole in an asteroid, others that can take the rubble and turn it into ores, and others that turn the ores into bolts, ingots, beams and panels, and so on and so on.

    Robots upon robots in a long chain of R&D to keep us busy for generations, of course with all their caveats (they're stupid and rigid), but that can indeed be our ambassadors and laborers in outer space for quite some time.

    When the day arrives they and their remote masters can build something as complex as an habitat, we will be truly in measure to jus go and take possession of it. That will the the beginning of the true interplanetary age, with some earlier efforts done by humans, learning how to live (and die due to mistakes) in space.

  4. I have, over many years, reluctantly come to the conclusion that space will be colonized by the inorganic and, possibly, the mostly inorganic.

    That means AI's (narrow and strong), uploaded human minds, and, perhaps, the heavily borged. For the self-aware, that will likely mean spending most of their off time in interactive VR environments.

    It will happen because the American Society of Civil Engineers once estimated that asteroid mining and orbital manufacturing could support an industrial capability that might be as much as ten thousand times greater than what the human race currently has. They may even be right.

  5. I'd go along with that up to, but not including, engineered/weaponized COVID.

    I would suggest that COVID occurred just outside the gates of the facility they have for studying such things due to sloppy security. It's hardly the place they would wish to deliberately release such a thing. (Which does not exonerate them for covering it up.)

    If the Chinese were altering COVID, it would most likely be so they could make it more deadly, more communicable, and more focused on the elderly, all while creating a highly effective vaccination for those elderly members of society they wished to preserve (senior leadership). And the most likely target would be their own elderly . . . in about twenty years, when the demographic disaster they have gotten themselves into begins channeling nearly all their resources into caring for the elderly. Not that they necessarily intend to do this, but someone is probably thinking ahead so they can have "options."

  6. Or another possiblity; however "well-heeled" they are financially they might have become too adapted to 0.38g to be able to return to 1g Earth and live comfortably. They may have married and had children even more attuned to the lower Mars gravity who wouldn't do well on Earth. Even worse for "rock-rats", that is asteroid miners & their kids.

  7. "The good ones had heaps of people, not just the manual labourers but including the managers and executives, who had nowhere to "go home to" if and when they "made their fortune".
    The bad ones had a "make it big and then go home" target."

    Gee….I wonder which one space specifically my "bank of mars" scenario would be closest to? If one had heaps of undeclared income from asteriod mining deposited in said martian bank and/or a Mars colony/colonist(s) so knee deep in taking transferred money from concerns on earth seeking tax shelter, one might feel you couldn't risk going back to Earth after one has made your fortune. You might not even want to risk a country with no extradition treaties with the tax-hungry likely bellicose US government; you might decide you are better off in space on Mars maybe, or no closer to earth than some kind of luxury space colony financed by you and similairly well heeled other's largess. One modeled after the most attractive parts of Earth say; "more earth-like than earth" might be the selling point. Of course a space-colony although more attractive than mars might not have any protection from claims of soverignty from Earth governments. The 1967 Treaty only protects against claims of such for heavenly bodies (Moon, Mars, etc.). A space colony might only have the legal status of a "satellite" no matter how large even if it isn't in orbit arount the Earth proper.

  8. "People and corporations syphoning money out of large economies into tiny offshore tax havens are parasites…"

    Personally I think the real "parasites" and/or "pirates"are the governments that people and corporations are trying to protect their money from. The ones who easily control more than half the worlds wealth and are itching to control what's left. The ones who get to take/spend/borrow/print our money as they see fit and spend it where/how they see fit. For the "greater good of all mankind" of course.

    "The pirates were often backed by one country against another, and became 'privateers', but eventually they became too much of a scourge on everyone, and were collectively stamped on. I can see the same thing happening with tax havens – being off-world wouldn't help them, if the real source of the wealth was on-world."

    As I have conceded if all the countries of the world (or at least the most powerful) collectively banded together in some kind of world government or quasi-government as in Earth vs Mars than yes Earth would likely win. It just that I don't see that happening anytime soon with the level of rivalry/tension between nation states. And Piracy was never really "stamped out" it still flourishes many places around the world, just like drug trafficking does.

  9. "And even today the Earth only has a couple of fabs capable of the latest chips."

    Which leaves the before mentioned industrial espionage & smuggling; also who says an isolated colony would necessarily need "the latest chips"? Probably running allot of old equipment computer and otherwise. Therefore quite practiced at making parts for such to keep it running what with shipments from earth being so infrequent as a matter of course.

    "That's not the sort of thing that a remote colony would be doing for itself until they were already an independent power. And not a minor power like France or Brazil."

    Isolated colony; Ceres the rest of the belt settlements and Mars very isolated from Earth and therefore strongly incentivized to learn to be self-suffient. Shipments from earth being infrequent because of time/distances/launch windows would strongly encourage that.

  10. Fabbing 1 nm cutting edge chips is a completely different thing than building spare parts for mining equipment.

    And even today the Earth only has a couple of fabs capable of the latest chips. That's not the sort of thing that a remote colony would be doing for itself until they were already an independent power. And not a minor power like France or Brazil.

  11. "Even starting up fabrication of the 2048 core model which is a near drop-in replacement."

    Unless with their three-d printers and abundant raw materials (and likely flourishing industrial espionage) the belters/luna/mars colonies don't figure out how to make their own copies in short order.

  12. "Let's say 1 million tonnes of Platinum group metals, delivered to the old L5 staging area that you were using before that silly war of independence disrupted our shipments."

    If it were the just the "Independent Duchy of Ceres" by itself versus a unified world government "Earth" I might agree with you. We don't have anything like that so they (Ceres/Martian settlements/rest of belter settlements) would have to negotiate a better price for your "Heptium 1024" or "pharmatech rejuvenation medicine" from a different supplier Earthside. You would have to have the ability to pull off a global embargo to make that not happen. Unless you think "Elon" would be Dictator of earth by then. Historically economic monopolies (Musk/SpaceX) never last for long. Just ask Henry (Ford) or John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil).

  13. Dear Independent Duchy of Ceres,

    How's independence treating you? Still sticking with it? That's cool. We fully support your right to self determination and have no intention of trying to get you back under control. Don't worry about it.
    By the way, how's your supply of Heptium 1024 core computer chips? The ones that make up the controlling brains for 90% of your computer systems? The ones that run your space ships, robots, life support, etc? Our estimates are that most of them will be starting to show faults by now. With functional cores down to 80% and falling. Cosmic rays are such a bi7ch aren't they?
    Don't worry though, we have plenty rolling off our production lines here on Earth. Even starting up fabrication of the 2048 core model which is a near drop-in replacement.
    And we are happy to send you a shipment. Of course, we'll need you to pay our shipping costs. And handling fees. And administration.
    Let's say 1 million tonnes of Platinum group metals, delivered to the old L5 staging area that you were using before that silly war of independence disrupted our shipments.
    If you'd also like any of the new pharmatech rejuvenation medicine that we've developed, we can come to some arrangement on that too.

    love Elon

  14. There is "able to do" as in being the only one trying but broke, and able to do if You (all people) were to get to it and do it. The proof is that You did Mars stuff that is far harder! That proves that O'Neill stuff could *if wanted* have been done. "Nobody wanted to do O'Neill". The problem!

  15. But that just shows that you WEREN'T able to do O'Neill. If you could, why didn't you?
    Answer: It was too expensive.

    If my transport budget is $50/week, then I can't buy a new Ferrari Roma. No law against it. It's physically possible. There is one for sale in the local dealer. But I can't do it if I can't afford it.

    Therefore, Musk making it cheaper is exactly what needs to be done.

  16. Yes, that's what I meant. The plantation states, especially in the 1600s and early 1700s, were
    a) A place you could make good money in a handful of years if you started with enough capital to establish/buy a plantation
    b) Without air conditioning, and especially in earlier times when people were still dressing and building for Europe, they were not a place where a rich man, or his wife, wanted to live.

  17. Seems like a vast exaggeration to me.
    If CO2 ever dropped to the point where plants started to, not die, but just grow less, then the lack of plant growth would automatically result in a CO2 level spiking up.
    It's a self limiting system.

  18. SR71 was doing mach 3.3 in the mid 1960s.

    4 years from project start to first flight. Current lockheed would be well into their second powerpoint by that point. Though arguably the current Lockheed wouldn't hand over a plane that leaked fuel all over the runway.

  19. "(I do wonder if that same factor had some influence between the Northern States and the Southern states of the USA??)"

    In the Southern states, that would have been tobacco.

  20. For me, winter blizzard country, but, yes. Apparently it's something only rural people in places that have vicious weather do.

  21. "The presumed advantage of vacsteading over seasteading is that it's actually possible to get far enough away that somebody's navy won't show up and sink you."

    Yes. You can't effectively claim sovereign independence for your settlement if you settled the Siberian Tundra (or Antarctica). Likewise with a "seastead"; guv's don't recognize your claim of an "island" as new land. You also wouldn't necessairly have effective control/ownership of whatever you discover/mine/or maybe even invent. There would still be extradition (financial assets as well as human) by "treaty" or otherwise. Imagine a mars colony flush with electronically transferred tax shelter money going on the gold/precious metals (mined from Asteroids) standard? In no time at all it "mars-dollars" would be the most desired currency in the solar system, especially compared to deficit spending money printing US/European dollars?

  22. SABRE is basically what I had in mind. We were doing mach 3.3 in the 70's, it's really pretty sad that we're still trying to top that.

  23. If you design for redundancy instead of wringing out the last few percent of efficiency by eliminating it, that risk can be fairly small. Every house can be self-sufficient for food, air, and possibly energy.

  24. The presumed advantage of vacsteading over seasteading is that it's actually possible to get far enough away that somebody's navy won't show up and sink you. Which is typically what happens to sea steaders the moment they start to make the slightest progress; Existing governments don't want new entrants to the club.

    If it weren't for that, I'd be all in on colonizing Antarctica, it IS easier to do than Mars, if not for the soldiers showing up and kicking you out.

  25. That's because they use almost all of the increased performance on a combination of less efficient (But easier!) coding, and computationally expensive bells and whistles, like windows smoothly dragging, or using icons instead of text menus. (If I'd meant to learn 1,500 icons, I'd learn

    There are exceptions, like high end engineering software, that actually put that performance to good use.

  26. "I think Musk might tell you that, in the gold rush, the real money was made by people feeding and supplying the miners, not the miners themselves, very few of whom became rich."

    Yes. But enough did to cause many more to try; which led to a huge growth in the population of California (Belt/Mars/etc.).

    "Avoid indentureship as a mechanism for funding the trip, unless it's VERY tightly regulated. It degenerates into slavery very easily."

    Yes. I would say a "labor contract" not indentured servitude. Of course heavily armed (three-D printers) Mars colonists or asteroid miners likely wouldn't be "slaves" for very long. If there are several hundred thousands or even low millions on Mars, the Moon, the belt etc. even accepting that the company/government bosses have their hired thugs, Earth is a long way off. The colonists would have the logistical advantages.

    "Families, not single men, must be the units of colonization. The goal has to be establishing a functioning society, not just getting rich quick."

    Yes. Some variation of the Homestead Act(s) would probably need to be applied.

  27. Air-breathing engines alone top out at about Mach 5 for a ramjet. That's probably not fast enough for an optimized rotovator + ground launch system. A single-stage suborbital rocket, or a hybrid air/rocket like Reaction Engines SABRE can get up into the 1/3-1/2 orbit velocity optimum (2.5-4 km/s, Mach 8-13).

    If the rotovator has 4 km/s capacity on the lower half of rotation, it can also release payloads at LEO + 4 km/s, which is more than escape velocity. So it can cover all missions in the Earth-Moon system.

    With 4 km/s and 1g at the tip (for human comfort) the arm length is 1630 km. The length of the other side depends if it is two symmetrical arms or a more massive ballast mass. It will always rotate and orbit about the center of mass, wherever that is.

    A 1600 km cable is better than ~60,000 km for a stationary elevator, but it is still a *big* project. So you need lots of traffic to justify building it. So for now we need things like Starship to open up space and develop the traffic.

  28. As you know, O'Neill plans are about the same independent of rocket situation. Main difference is whether crew is avail at first to help set up. Remember the plan, late 70s or early 80s, for a small conveyor belt to test various processes as rego was moved thru stations? Merely doing the easy Moon version of the Mars stuff we do would have been huge difference. People would have seen that Mars was a waste of time, so they were forbidden. I was there. I saw it first hand. Moon forbidden. No doubt about it.

  29. Which re states the problem I was working on in the 70s. And on. And on. Nobody wanted to do O'Neill. It was Mars First/Direct/Only, as it was until recently. Proof? Vikings. Similar on Moon? Not quite yet.

  30. Ivermectin prophylactic for years, maybe a lifetime if Covid is now endemic as many believe? That could be more dangerous than annual Covid vaccines, and at this point we don't even know if people will need it annually. Israel is starting to give third shots to semi-annual injectees, but that may not be necessary, even if antibodies have mostly vanished by then. We just don't know that yet.
    And Ivermectin as just a cure has to be given in a narrow window between diagnosis – still not available as a home test – and hospitalization – still a tiny percentage of patients. People may have to just keep some at home, along with a home test, then take it when they feel sick, and confirm by home test. Cost might keep people from taking it too often, but there's a lot of assumptions here for a prescrpition-only drug.

  31. People and corporations syphoning money out of large economies into tiny offshore tax havens are parasites, the same as pirates used to be back in the 1700s. The pirates were often backed by one country against another, and became 'privateers', but eventually they became too much of a scourge on everyone, and were collectively stamped on. I can see the same thing happening with tax havens – being off-world wouldn't help them, if the real source of the wealth was on-world. In the next couple of decades, collective and unilateral action against climate change is going to get serious, and there'll be little patience for dodgers.

  32. There are huge tracts of land on Earth that are essentially unpopulated. They're claimed by governments, but there are far bigger areas of ocean that are not. If seasteading is too much of a technical challenge, there's not much chance of vacsteading.

  33. Nobody did any O'Neilll stuff in the 70s or 80s. Why not? The people who wanted to do it couldn't afford it.

  34. I don't remember any such science fiction story but at least it finally provides a coherent reason why aliens would be kidnaping Earth women.

    The other approach used in the past is to drive entire families to migrate by persecuting them in the old country.

  35. So your real complaint is that you aren't idle rich yourself. The existence of billionaires (many of who work 100+ hour weeks themselves) is hardly the cause of you not getting everything without work.

  36. 'Flawed ivermectin preprint highlights challenges of COVID drug studies
    The study, now withdrawn, deals a blow to the anti-parasite drug’s chances as a COVID treatment, researchers say.' From Nature.

  37. 8 billion dollars ? You're talking serious coin there.. hang on, did you say billion with a 'b' ?
    'A pair of Harvard economists estimates that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the nation at least $16 trillion if it ends by next fall'

  38. I think it was Bill Bryson who described going for a short walk in the outback, that he wouldn't have thought twice of in, say, Arizona, and nearly dying of heatstroke.

  39. I intellectually understand that there are probably people who don't have 2 weeks food in their house, even in month 20 of a world wide plague with random lockdowns a constant feature. But it's pretty difficult to understand.

    I mean you'd surely have a few weeks food in the house at all times even before covid? Or is that an artifact of me growing up in cyclone country?

  40. Jim Lovelock was contracted by Nasa to suggest chemical signals they could look for that Mars had had life. It lead him to the line of thought that life totally changes a planet's atmosphere, and even rocks, so that the whole surface of the planet becomes an artifact of life. Earth had life from it's first few hundred million years, but it still took about two billion years to get an oxygen atmosphere. Enzyme's are usually much more efficient than natural catalysts, and life can push reactions to places they'd never normally get to.
    This article does suggest some oxygen as the hydrogen was lost, but as you say, that might mean there wasn't much water left to sift minerals.

  41. I remember a vague theory that I didn't see fleshed out, but the basic idea was:

    That the distinguishing factor between colonies that turned into independent wealthy societies (USA, Australia, NZ, even to some extent, partially, South Africa) and the ones that never developed at all and ended up having to go from 0-100 in a handful of years once independent (most of South America, most of Africa) was that

    1. The good ones had heaps of people, not just the manual labourers but including the managers and executives, who had nowhere to "go home to" if and when they "made their fortune".
    2. The bad ones had a "make it big and then go home" target. YOu made your money in the colonies and then retired to a Chateau in France , or bought yourself a seat in Parliament in England, or a Spain or where ever.

    So in the first case the local leadership was looking to stay around, have families, bring their children up in the local area. This meant they cared about how the colony would be long term.

    As to WHY the colonies were in these categories:

    • Some colonies had quick, easy wealth available. Silver mines or sugar plantations had a fast return. You could "make your fortune and then go home".
    • (I do wonder if that same factor had some influence between the Northern States and the SOuthern states of the USA??)
    • There were a number of cases where the "home country" was legally barred to convicts or exiled religions.
  42. I think Musk might tell you that, in the gold rush, the real money was made by people feeding and supplying the miners, not the miners themselves, very few of whom became rich.

    Lately I've been reading "Conscious Choice: The Origins of Slavery in America and Why it Matters Today and for Our Future in Outer Space"; It has some interesting reflections of the long term effects of how the various colonies were started and run, leading to some of them being free states, and others slave.

    A few of the take aways are,

    1) Avoid indentureship as a mechanism for funding the trip, unless it's VERY tightly regulated. It degenerates into slavery very easily.

    2) Families, not single men, must be the units of colonization.

    3) The goal has to be establishing a functioning society, not just getting rich quick.

  43. Licensure is done by the several states. If anyone bucks me, it will be fun writing all those letters to various agencies. Want me to take an experimental vaccine rather than a well knows antiviral off label, that is already used as a prophylactic? Which seems more dangerous to your?
    As far as insurance companies paying, it's an inexpensive drug, and most of the prophylaxis protocols call for two doses of around 25 mg per month for someone of my mass. That should be less than almost all pharmacy co pays.

  44. "People like Musk can't go into space even if they want to. It's moderately risky, and their stock holders and insurers would have a fit."

    Okay; granted. But I was actually more interested in opinion(s) about the rest of what I said in the post especially the part about being able to go even if you can't afford it out of pocket, by enlisting someone to "grub stake" you. And I am an old Robert Heinlein fan myself.

  45. Let's say 200 million US citizens get their two shots each @ $20. That's 8 billion dollars. Now, there's talk of booster shots being needed……

  46. "Anyone who thinks the Earth is too cramped should try walking somewhere on it."

    In a strickly physical sense? No. In the sense that any desirable stretch of real estate on earth has long since been claimed by other powerful concerns? Yes. You would get to live there only at their behest subject to their control. So the short answer of why one might choose to live in space might be summed up with one word, freedom; though obviously at a high price in terms of initial costs and yes human safety.

  47. "There may technically be more material resources in the rest of the Solar System than on Earth, but I doubt they'll be anywhere near as concentrated, accessible, and so cheap."

    Yes. But with a few caveats; If I wish to mine some of the estimated $10,000 Quadrillion worth of precious metals from say Asteroid Psyche

    GOLDEN ASTEROID – Most Expensive 1 000 000 000 000 $ Trillion – YouTube

    nobody has any prior claim of ownership. The cheaper, easier recoverable resources on Earth are already for the most part claimed by concerns on Earth. Nobody owns Psyche or the rest of the belt, or has any claims of soverignty anywhere else in space. What one acquires in space would undoubtedly be more expensive than the same on earth at least in the short to mid-term but provided one figures out how to do it profitably the difference might be worth it. Why does for instance Japan invest in trying to figure out how to extract Uranium from seawater? No question it would be cheaper merely to buy it from some foreign concern but the difference is that concern could threaten Japan to make it toe the line; whereas no one owns the minerals extracted from the ocean surrounding Japan. And the likely environmental concerns of say mining Magnesium nodules from the ocean floor wouldn't be an issue for mining Asteroids.

  48. .. or maybe they were the less legitimate musings of someone without much grasp of how societies work ( or of how things work either – static electricity engines ??)

  49. '..and the courts and political institutions wouldn't permit it.' In China, the political systems enforced it – check the covid stats there versus the States. You need more socialism, Comrade ! ( They did it here in New Zealand too, which isn't quite as Red, no matter what Jacinda Ardern's critics say.)

  50. You're wrong – most of the fast feedbacks in the climate system are positive, not negative. Warm oceans outgas more CO2, making it warmer still. Pack ice not only reflects 90% of sunlight, instead of absorbing it, it is also able to drop far below zero C, so it gets thicker, stops any water vapour, the major greenhouse gas, from getting into the air, and isolates the poles with a powerful jet stream. The negative feedbacks are much slower – that's why we've been oscillating between warm and cold eras over multi-thousand year timescales.
    Methane is oxidised by hydroxyl radicals in the air, and these are formed by ultra-violet radiation acting on ozone and water vapour. Half-life is ten years.

  51. Siberia has been getting heatwaves and massive fires – don't tell me that's overpopulation and hippies running the government.

  52. That's an interesting point.

    I think it's possible Mars had an oxidizing atmosphere at some point; The surface today is very oxidized, and while Mars was losing its atmosphere, hydrogen would have been lost a lot faster than oxygen.

    So even absent life, Mars could have developed an oxidizing atmosphere by abiotic processes. But, would it have had one concurrent with hydrothermal ore processes?

    I guess we'll find out.

  53. Not producing more CO2 would be a good start – the countries that make the least are the poorest ones, but the rich ones that have cut carbon the most use nuclear.
    That still doesn't get the billions of tonnes of extra CO2 that we've put in the air, and ocean, out of them. We have to do that, or positive feedbacks – lost ice albedo, permafrost methane, forest fires – will tip us past the point where we can get back to the climate humans evolved in. The most plausible method I've seen just involves mining 'negative carbon'. We've spent 200 years pulling coal and oil from deeper and deeper in the earth, and burning it. Weathering and tectonic movement would eventually have done the same thing, but over billions of years. If that had happened, it would have been counteracted by the weathering of fresh, deep volcanic rock, which binds CO2 as carbonates with the aid of iron and magnesium ions. This is an exothermic reaction – the main energy input is in grinding the rock to increase the surface area -'enhanced weathering'. Here's how –

  54. There may technically be more material resources in the rest of the Solar System than on Earth, but I doubt they'll be anywhere near as concentrated, accessible, and so cheap. The biosphere and geosphere here have been stirring minerals for four billion years, with the effect that they often concentrate to levels very unlikely elsewhere. The metal nodules coating thousands of square miles of the deep ocean are an example, as are the oceanic ridge 'smokers', and the deposits of uranium and copper that precipitated from groundwater at oxygenation fronts. As for water and air, you don't have to go all the way to the asteroid belt for it, or mine it from rocks – it's freely available in billion ton quantities. Ditto gravity – you don't have to build the equivalent of dozens of Golden Gate bridges, connected end to end and side to side, to make a few square miles of living space – we have vast empty tracts, already fitted with breathable air and human-friendly night/day cycles. You might even see the odd wild animal ! Even if runaway warming happens, it would still be much cheaper to engineer climate-controlled domes here than bubbles in the sky.
    Anyone who thinks the Earth is too cramped should try walking somewhere on it.

  55. People like Musk can't go into space even if they want to. It's moderately risky, and their stock holders and insurers would have a fit.

    It's like D.D. Harriman in Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold The Moon". They've made themselves too important to do as they please.

    That's why Bezos had to retire to ride New Shepard. You'll likely see Musk travel to Mars after he retires.

  56. The best uranium-bearing ores on earth date from back when a free oxygen atmosphere developed, making the metal much more soluble. Mars probably had oceans, but never an oxygen atmosphere, so it might always have to rely on fissile imports from Earth. "We now have a much better idea of how oxygen changed in the ancient atmosphere and how this relates to the generation of large and rich ore deposits in ancient rocks. Australia has extensive areas of rocks deposited after the Great Oxygenation Event and our research provides a new lead to assist geologists in the discovery of rich deposits of copper, zinc and uranium.”

  57. Oh, come on. There's a huge practical difference between the capacity to do something as a stunt that consumes a fair portion of GDP, and the capacity to do it cheap enough that it can be done by a motivated minority of the population.

    Sure, we could put small things on Mars at great expense in the 80's. Soon we will be able to put big things on Mars at moderate expense, and that's a difference of kind, as well as degree.

  58. I agree on Ivermectin, but Medicare and Medicaid are specifically and legally prevented from negotiating drug prices, and effectively from using cheaper generic drugs like Ivermectin, unless they are the "standard of care" decided by the compromised FDA and AMA – the last one being a private group of doctors – and insurance companies, who don't always act in patients' best interests. Good luck trying to get a doctor to prescribe Ivermectin when they could lose their license, or in getting insurance companies to pay for it or pharmacists to supply it to you off-label.
    But the solution is not to abandon all government oversight on corporate greed and corruption, it's to make it stronger and more independent.
    Since gov't can, and has, controlled the creation of money independently of taxes or corporate campaign donations, this should, in theory, not be hard to do. But, of course, they do not WANT to cut off corporate control, that's the problem.

  59. Covid vaccines cost something like $20 per shot. Two shots per person. If anything that is a great example of how CHEAP modern medicine can be.

  60. Don't tell anyone but Australia is actually the safest continent on the planet. We just pretend that "sure, a wombat is far more lethal than a kodiak bear" and somehow people believe it.

  61. "Cozy" is widely recognized as a euphemism for "cramped and small" in real estate and cars, so why would futurism be any different.

    At the very least they could have chosen a euphemism that most people haven't caught on to yet. What about "petite"?

  62. I thought the joke in IT is that the user experience hasn't really changed at all in the last 10-20 years.
    My computer takes the same time to boot up. Excel takes the same time to open a file. It looks the same, acts the same, gives the same answer.
    The MS word files have 100 times the storage requirements for reasons that 99.5% of users will never exploit, and the hard disk has 100 times the storage. So no difference.

  63. I am officially intrigued. Now it is a life goal to taste the finest tonkotsu ramen made with pork noodles.

  64. The joke we've got in IT is that the problem isn't solved until the user is fixed. If they don't think their computer's ok, it isn't. (Especially for executives. Though things are a lot better now than they were 10-20 years back on both a hardware and software standpoint…)

    I fear it's going to take the things they depend on going away to get people to realize just how good we've got it.

  65. You know what is conspicuously absent from this analysis? China! Today, China is the most ruthless colonial power on the planet. They have conquered Tibet and through their "Belt and Road" scheme, they are trying to dominate the Third World. They have over a thousand slave labor camps, and they are in the process of exterminating the  Uighurs, Christians, and Tibetans, as well as any other minority that dare to face up to the CCP. Also, let's not forget the CCP infected they world with their engineered/weaponized Covid too. And by the way, the world has never seen such an influx of charity as from the wealthy western nations. Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty – Not Marxism! So, before anyone get on their high horse about 'Western Colonialism' they had better realize that most the peoples on the face of the earth – FROM THE DAWN OF TIME – have been 'conquering colonials' right? Yeah!…

  66. Unfortunately, One Side -to be unnamed- requires the wealth and ingenuity of the Other in order to realize its own goals… so?

  67. Yes yes but are your noodles sustainable, organic, locally sourced, non-GMO, plant based, fair trade, gluten free noodles?

    I mean we live in the hardest of times and suffer as none have before. So many boxes we must check and eliminating space exploration just might make it easier to check a box.

  68. Well, the artificially released CO2 is a misleading and very short signal then. We are in control of this, once we decide to stop asteroids and comets, we have taken responsibility. We may decide that slow CO2 death is not good, and add it at later times to continue the goodness. We know it can't hurt anything.

  69. This lead to a society that valued its savers, makers, preservers, conservers. A society of industriousness, with artisans and industries making all nature of products (and services, stores and supporting businesses) to make it thru Winter relatively unscathed. 

    Extrapolate this to extraterrestrial settlers and you'll get the lefties worst nightmare: a society of meritocratic over-achievers, where every single person has to carry their weight and prove to be successful on every step, at all they do, to be even considered part of the society (and I mean migrating and/or remaining).

    That doesn't mean a libertarian utopia, though, because they will have to have very strict social rules against destructive mental illness, vagrancy, vandalism and any kind of idleness/loitering, or they'll all die when a suicidal nutter or a vandal damages life support.

    People that will be raised by tiger moms, have to comply all their lives with the societal rules, prove they are not crazy and be very frowned upon when deviating from the society's values.

    Not sure if that can even exist in the long term, at least not if done by just us humans, considering the high risk of sudden collapse of the artificial environments due to any neglect to maintain them.

  70. Suborbital is not the primary purpose. It is way overbuilt for suborbital. H for example. Moon and ship landing system design on booster. Will land Lunar lander on Moon, and New Glenn booster on ship. Already tested in production setting. Legs for lunar lander, engine for second stage New Glenn, fins and brakes for NG booster. Everything scalable. He has a plan!

  71. You could do a rotovator pickup with an airplane, but it would have to be SR-71 or better performance. Given when the SR-71 was designed, there's no good reason private enterprise couldn't pull that off.

    New Shepard's performance is pretty pathetic for a modern rocket, isn't it? Just enough to sorta technically reach space for a few minutes.

  72. Epigenetics is a "slam dunk" for Nurture, in the Nature v Nurture controversy. Even power addicts are victims of their childhood abuse.

  73. What Louis XVI and most people fail to realize today, is that their "rabble" and "undesirables" are people, and people are the most valuable resource of a country.

    Yes, they are a problem because they have no place where they can thrive at home, because everything is already owned by the elites or the state, or because they are undesirables from birth and denied access to what allows them to thrive (property and freedom of enterprise, mostly).

    But export them to other settings and that surprisingly resets their old habits, or in the long term, it does, by producing a new generation that no longer has them.

    Keep people stuck in a calcified society devoid of opportunities to earn a living, like rats in a Malthusian experiment, and they'll behave just like that.

    Set them free in other place with the minimum but necessary tools, and they'll fare surprisingly well.

  74. Effectively quantifying of money well-spent (or budgeted) means nothing to many people. It's all feel-good and bleeding heart. Hey, if you're life is not concerned with anything greater that your day-to-day life, you can't care about bigger goals or 'society wide' improvements. You might as well try to get the rural generations-farmer who has never been beyond 30 miles of their home to care about subways, rockets, and nuclear energy.

  75. I was going to mention her, as Galt's Gulch is yet another amazing *technovision* of hers, a rotating habitat in free Space.

    As to your question, the mixture of Janov, Rand and Brandon is quite interesting, but later. Rand gets to libertarian type ideas from a well deserved hatred of commies. Their suppression of the individual is opposed by her glorification, some would say. Her descriptions of collective power addiction are gold. However, neither she nor most intellectual libertarians have a theory for why people are not just already libertarian, it is so reasonable a way to be. Janov does!

  76. We have been perfectly able to "get there" and start O'Neill plan experiments since the 80s. Mars rovers prove this.

  77. There are many who do not realize that the night sky is flooded with sunlight. Planet thinking is genetically strong, but false.

  78. "and by that I mean a communist". Yes, OK. Bernie is a commie, sure. But not all socialists are *by definition* commies, naught sees for obvious example. Current big commies are using drug war to arrest opponents. Think of anything important to someone as part of the market, not just things that involve money directly.

    The *official* definition of "libertarian" is actually a careful def of "socialism" with a "not" in front of it. Thus, "socialist" is defined by me as: "advocates or supports the initiation of force or fraud to achieve political or social ends." There is much ado about each word. Thus the claim or hope that one of the two types of liberty, personal, will follow the economic liberty that seems to work pretty well. The market demands it!

  79. The solution you offer might help in the cookie-cutter state of California, but it does not address the underlying problem, global warming.

  80. not sure this follows from anyone who mingles the cafes, government offices' lower echelons, artistic environs, part(or less)-traditional families/ associations (religious), etc… " …modern leftism is devoted to hierarchy and bureaucracy…"
    I think modern leftism is a Reaction to elitism, keenerism, and classism (british style). In that it 'defies' extreme/ optimistic goals and individualistic objectives; extreme (high) work ethic and ambition; and objectively defining anyone's place, potential, and socio-economic place. In summary, leftism is the preservation of 'feel good' values – unquantified, unchallenged, unexamined.

  81. Probably depends a lot on the prevailing administration. What is the over-arching system? Great or Fair?

  82. because it makes me feel bad about my mediocrity and lack of goals and having to work 50+ hours a week to keep up with the souless Joneses living up the street for every working age year of my existence. Because it means I have to find meaningful experience for employment and my career and my useful life during every single weekend, summer and unstructured month from age 13 to 27. Because it means that all my friendships are strategic employment opportunities and 'getting-ahead' objectives surrounded by ruthless non-friend narcissistic, sociopaths. Because it promotes the commodification and techno/econometric-driven disposal of all skills, workplace networks, and physical assets one accumulates and finances during your functional years of existence. Because it demeans, undervalues, and chastises all hobbies, free-time undertakings, and passion-driven side hussles that actually rounds out the personalities and backgrounds of those who would seek to establish a common interest network outside of one's talking-shop bubbles and neworks. That's why.

  83. No, it's not unrealistic.

    But I think a key point here is that you have to consider social/political implications of design decisions, not just thermodynamics. Sure, you COULD manufacture most of the food in a factory, and it might even be more efficient in terms of energy conversion. (Have you read the Campbell novel, "The Moon is Hell"?)

    But it centralizing production of existential necessities has horrible implications for the colony's social structure and political dynamics. And they need close attention, too. We need a colony that encourages liberty and independent thinking, we don't want to plant the seeds of a totalitarian state.

  84. Self-administered hypoxia works for me.

    One of the advantages Mars will presumably have as a society, initially, is the LACK of a robust social safety net.

  85. As with anything.. it's how you spend the Common Pot and allow Private Industry to realize its own goals. Common Pot is typically Good but Wasteful -while- Private Industry is Efficient, Goal-oriented, and Not-Good (in the sense of catering to the common people). The easy answer is to Measure the sum Benefit of both systems with maximum Effect (medium Common Pot (taxation and debt) and heavy Private Industry (low regulation and low taxes)) to count the pros and cons – essentially the Biggest Pie or Highest Tide which Raises the Most Boats (to seek political concepts on the last century). The Greatest Mobilized Funding with hopefully, the most efficient use, will benefit the greatest number while still pushing the boundaries of technology (while hoping that some or most will trickle down and create more efficient lives).

  86. In part it's because the left have made a deliberate program of subverting bureaucracies. "The long march through the institutions". Right-wingers join organizations to further the purpose of the organization, and make money. Left-wingers join organizations to further the cause, and make money.

    Then the people on the right, even when in hiring positions, hire on the basis of how people will do the job. On the left, they hire on the basis of ideology first. 

    Literally, there is polling on this, and half of Democrats think it appropriate to fire on the basis of politics for non-political jobs. Only a third of Republicans think that. 

    And this was a year ago, it's only gotten worse.

  87. what does it matter? if you tell the techno-billionaires they can no longer have their society-modifying dreams, live with/apart from society as they wish, and free-market themselves to their own version of success — then they will retreat/ withdraw/ hide their wealth/ influence/ goals away – hibernating until better times — did no one read Ayn Rand?

  88. Interesting proposal, but it brings the "homeless problem" back into focus. I'm not referring to the people without shelter themselves, but the society's problem with people whose behaviors leave them without the ability to provide a shelter for themselves, addiction, mental illness, disabilities. What level of force (coercion, incentive for those who avoid blunt terms) can the society bring against someone who DOESN'T maintain their personal hydroponic O2 supply? What if they have children? Do they get to take some of yours, do they get charged for air, do you let them die of lack of oxygen, vent the apartment to kill things then set up for the next colonist?
    These answers will start similar to the current solutions, but end up very different.

  89. False dichotomy.
    Doesn't have to be either-or.
    Many were raised/ indoctrinated to service the lower tier of 'community' therefore cutting themslves off from ambition and technology greatness within their 'cone of influence and goal'. Others are individualists and pro-techno-futurists.
    Both have to co-exist or balkanize themselves from each other with functional trade arrangement. Their values are fundamentally anti-thetical.

  90. Amphibious cars actually tend to be fairly practical; They don't require much more than a sealed undercarriage, and provision for diverting engine power to a prop or water jet, so the dual role isn't much of a burden. Which is why amphibious cars actually have been commercially available for decades, even if it is a niche market. The flying cars are much more problematic, because of the larger mismatch between the requirements.

    The obstacles are more regulatory than engineering, having to do with the car regulations being very unfavorable to small producers.

  91. "Perhaps states that currently suffer from drought and forest fire shouldn't have banned clearing underbrush,"; That's the main problem in California.

  92. Well, sure, but it just goes to show that we're not really in a position to apply that prescription, even if it would in theory work. People don't have 2 weeks of food and water in their homes, all sorts of infrastructure would break down in 2 weeks if not maintained, and the courts and political institutions wouldn't permit it.

    Which means that the lockdowns, in practice, cause economic damage without significantly stopping the pandemic.

    But the limited extent we shut the border did give us a bit of breathing room.

  93. Cozy Futurism seems like a forced meme rehash of Solarpunk with more societal bludgeoning. Or a more family friendly rephrasing of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism… with organic cookies and GMO unicorns…

  94. The reason medical costs are so high, is that Medicare, Medicaid, and other medical insurance have more, or less insulated the patient from costs, added enormously to the overhead of providing care, and pretty much destroyed private medical charities. There is one branch of medicine that has innovated, cut costs, and increased productivity.

    The "plastic surgery" industry is mostly for purely cosmetic purposes, which are not covered by insurance, with the exception of dealing with disfigurement due to accident, or disease. Customers are price sensitive, and go to the provider with what the customer perceives as the best price/quality offerings.

    If you want to lower medical costs, patients need to stop being patient, and become customers who demand performance from providers. The current medical establishment ignores patient wellbeing, to maximize profit.

    The covid vaccines are the perfect example. They are patented, and very profitable, however ivermectin is out of patent. Widespread use of the drug Ivermectin as a prophylaxis could probably crush the pandemic, before more deadly, or contagious strains evolve, but it is ignored, and actively "hidden" from the public, and practicing physicians. The link below is to a paper published in the American Journal of Therapeutics. According to the meta-study it details, ivermectin does an amazing job as both a prophylaxis, and a therapeutic for severe cases.

  95. That's not just true of California. On the costal plain of North Carolina, the natural long leaf pine, and bunch grass savannahs are fire adapted, even though rain is usually plentiful. They are suffering thanks to short sited fire suppression bias.

  96. I understand that commercial greenhouse operators benefit from higher than atmospheric CO2 in their greenhouses, whether from unvented heaters, or from the decay of plant matter. In the summer ventilation is required so it's not feasible, but when the houses are buttoned up in the winter, CO2 is fertilizer.

  97. Over the long term, the oceans, particularly at high latitudes will store a lot of CO2 as cold water sinks to the bottom. Presumably, less ice coverage increases absorption of CO2, as well as increases thermal radiation until the winter freeze, both clearly stabilizing feedback mechanisms.
    As long as the oceans do not become too acidic, this will be a net positive. The often mentioned iron fertilization can increase CO2 absorption, as well as fisheries productivity.
    Methane and other light hydrocarbons are metastable in the atmosphere, so they convert to the much less infrared opaque CO2. Presumably higher temperatures make it easier to reach activation energy. Another stabilizing feedback mechanism.

  98. Nah they exist its in the inner city and the back woods where people dont go and there arent a lot of places to eat.

    This is assuming they arent talking about not having fresh food.

    Same problem as feeding the hungry around the world. Its getting it to them and theft which is the problem.

  99. Bureaucratic organizations tend to attract and retain the kind of people who love (and usually can only thrive) in a bureaucracy.

    Leftists are making inroads into the corporate world (e.g. HR and inclusivity managers), but their educational baggage and life attitude is usually only good for a bureaucrat.

  100. after the shut down, ruthlessly exclude/quarantine people from elsewhere.

    So a win-win solution then!

  101. The other advantage of longevity science is that most medical tech falls in cost to the point where everyone can get it within a couple of decades.

    I will want longevity tech in a couple of decades.

  102. I think the best analogy for a flying car is the aquacar. ROad vehicles that could also function as boats were mass produced in WW2, but nobody actually drives them around as normal cars.
    The design that works as a good boat is a lousy car. The design that works as a good car is a lousy boat. The compromise is not that good at either.

    FLying cars are the same, but at a higher level of difficulty.

  103. But ruling elites have ALWAYS been fat and happy and valuing preserving their relative positions more than society becoming wealthier.

    What changed?

  104. By "heavily subsidized" do you mean "they are the cheapest supplier so the public sector hires them to perform services"?

  105. The explanation of rule 2 is intriguing. Why would this be so?

    I suspect that it's an outcome of "Pournelle's iron law of bureaucracy":

    In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals that the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

    Given that modern leftism is devoted to hierarchy and bureaucracy, once people who are devoted to such structures take control, the result is always going to be leftism.

  106. It's not shading into unrealistic science fiction to have
    Basic food production ie. CO2 + H2O -> sugars + O2; and sugars -> starch and proteins both turn out to be viable when done as an industrial scale chemical process rather than getting other life forms to do it for us.
    The actual chemistry can be done today in a lab. The reason it's never scaled up is that it's cheaper to get plants and animals to do the conversion, and the population prefers the natural approach.
    But this is here, on Earth, in 2021.
    If we were living underground on another planet, with less sun, and cheap plentiful electric power then maybe it would be cheaper to go the industrial chemical processing vat approach.

    Not saying this would be preferable. But when writing SF about an oppressed Martian colony it isn't stretching credibility at all to have the oxygen (and food) production in a controlled industrial machinery.

  107. Society's long term problems like poverty, inequality, etc. which no matter what we do, never go away.

    By the standards of say the 1500s, poverty and arguably inequality, HAVE gone away.

  108. It's hardly a new comment on Australia. Only about 3 of my actual ancestors were literal convicts.

    As a general approach, the "ship off your criminal underclass to another continent" has a lot going for it. It historically benefits both the shippers and the shippees.

    I wonder what would have developed if Louis XVI had sent the "Paris mob" to Louisiana. No French revolution? A French country that extended up the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico to St Laurence to Quebec?

  109. Where do you get your information from Bellmore? Not only is the average wildfire season three and a half months longer than it was a few decades back, but the number of annual large fires in the West has tripled — burning twice as many acres. Severe heat and drought fuel wildfires, conditions scientists have linked to climate change.

    Perhaps this suggests we need to get serious about a carbon tax and reducing greenhouse gasses. Also, we should get serious about not promoting inaccurate information.

    Here in Montana, we are having extreme drought and a lot of fires and it sure has nothing to do with being over-populated.

  110. New Shepard has a maximum speed of about 1 km/s, while orbital is 7.5. Rockets and rotovators both scale exponentially in mass as a function of delta-V. So optimizing for mass ratio makes you want to split the velocity evenly between the two systems.

    When you bring cost into the calculation, it gets more complicated, but I don't think New Shepard does enough of the job to be optimum.

  111. Also as I am sure you likely know extradition treaties between countries are a comparatively modern invention. Back in the day lots of money/gold/etc. was held in the bank of NY (or similiar) facility to evade the tax man in Europe. Or yourself if there were warrants against you in said countries; many expats took advantage of that. Imagine a future version of Bernie Maddoff hiding money in the bank of mars to avoid paying taxes back on earth, to say nothing of avoiding jail by immigrating to Mars where there are no extradition treaties. In no time at all there would be trillions of dollars electronically transferred off-planet to avoid taxes. We are all here looking for some kind of killer-apt way space can make money; especially human colonization of say Mars. Think this is it, the value of any piece of real estate is determined primarily by one factor its' location. Mars's location outside the reach of earth law/regulations/taxes/ is said key to its profitable development.

  112. Somehow I don't think if the US imposed a trade embargo against the Mars colonies because of all that money rich Americans (and other countries' rich) were depositing in the bank of mars to avoid the IRS that Russia and China would necessarily agree with said embargo. Especially if allot of that money ended up invested back on Earth in Russia and or China. They might also be making allot of money themselves selling equipment/supplies etc to the mars colonists. And of course it is by no means a fixed point of there being only 2-3 concerns capable of launching said rockets to Mars; competition/economic incentives produce more competitors.

  113. Yeah, and if rockets were launching from every country on Earth, instead of 2-3 with similar incentives, you'd have a point there.

  114. He seems to think that you can't do anything in space if you can't get there, so that he's doing the first thing first. And he thinks that it's unfair for people to expect him to do EVERYTHING, all at the same time.

  115. Two problems:

    You can't actually shut down EVERYTHING for two weeks, unless you've made advance preparations to do so, like having people stockpile food, and industrial and other systems being modified to be able to operate or be shut down for that long.

    And, that only works if you shut down everywhere, or after the shut down, ruthlessly exclude/quarantine people from elsewhere.

  116. My definition of socialism is government control of the means of production, whether accomplished by open ownership, (The communist version.) or 'merely' regulating private nominal owners to the point where they're functioning as extensions of the state. (The fascist version.)

    Bernie himself will tell you he's a socialist. His parents were outright communists, (That's what "red diaper baby" means.) he has praised communist dictatorships all his life.

    He's a communist with the sense not to say it. That's my assessment. And not just mine.

  117. Perhaps states that currently suffer from drought and forest fire shouldn't have banned clearing underbrush, or should have required people building in areas where periodic fires are actually a natural feature of the ecology to build more fire resistant. And maybe they shouldn't have over-populated relative to available water in the first place.

    There's a widespread belief that these things have gotten more common, when it's just a matter of more people living in areas where they've been happening all along.

  118. If CO2 is actually present, it's not a false signal.

    You have to understand that modern photosynthetic life actually evolved under considerably higher CO2 levels than we think of as 'normal', and the plants using C3 photosynthesis are actually starved for CO2. But, as plants and weathering reactions do sequester CO2, and not all of it get recycled, the atmosphere/biosphere carbon inventory has been gradually dropping over geological time.

    During the last glacial period, before we started returning that CO2 to the atmosphere, we came very close to the CO2 level dropping so low that C3 plants would have gone extinct. Would have been a very boring ecosystem, without a lot of niches for humans, with just various grasses available. Even today, the plant life we see is skewed towards grasses due to the other plants laboring under a CO2 shortage.

    Now, granted, we might embark on a program of genetically engineering C3 plant life to use C4 (or better!) photosynthesis, and permit the ecosystem to retain diversity at lower CO2 levels than were reached just before we started returning carbon to the biosphere. It might even be a worthwhile project.

    But we're not up to doing that, yet.

  119. Note that the correct optimal solution to the pandemic was ignored even here: shutdown everything for two weeks. Would have been cheaper and more effective in the long run

  120. Indeed! Musk should do those things. As it is, someone else has to do it, and buy Musk rockets. He seems unable to think about space itself at all.

  121. Your specific comments about Musk are spot on. He has absolutely no plans for "space itself". All about planets. Well, comm sats are in Space. This needs to change! Perhaps micr0g factories will interest him. Musk-alloy. There has to be something. Other than the obvious Space Solar, which he has rejected already.

  122. Agreed that you need to go nuclear, but not that switching to gas was a very good move. Granted that gas only makes half as much CO2 as coal ( and much fewer particulates ), but half is still far more than none, or negative, which is what we need, plus methane is 85 times worse than CO2 on a twenty year timeframe. How much of the increase in methane is from fracking, abandoned wells, and pipeline leaks, is unclear, since the Trump administration gave the industry a free pass on monitoring. Levels in the atmosphere had plateaued after 2000, but have been climbing steeply again, and the isotopic signature of the methane suggests that the increase is due to fossil fuels. 'We know the increase is largely due to fossil fuel production and this research suggests over half is from shale gas operations,” Howarth says in an interview.'

  123. This is the problem with the ancient division between crew and robot exploration camps, it leaves out robots for humans. Of course, there has to be something for the robots to do. Branson Hotels? Bezos Space Solar? Things that pay, and require humans to assist the robots, and robots to assist the humans. Your descriptions seems to match someone going to Mars. Stay cislunar. Help the Earth.

  124. So, how much more spunk would New Shepard need to get the capsule to survivable rotovator pick up? That would be pretty simple compared to carried by a plane?? And drop off capsule at same speed. A Ferris Wheel.

  125. I like the word transcend(ent), for important stuff. A new (strange!) attractor, on a higher level of organization, that seems to come from above and solve the problem. Like a beam from heaven. So, does the Bezos patent to use the same array for sending and receiving the Kuiper signals apply such that: Set up distributed Earth solar collectors with such two way rectennae/transmitter fields that they send around power when in the sun, Earth to Earth power beaming with orbiting reflector screens. The question seems to revolve around the size required of such a transmitter, given short distance Earth to Earth compared to GEO let alone Moon. This I suppose assumes the standard 1 KM dia rectennae for receiver size. I *want* a very small radar to be able to send power to a full size Space Solar ready rectenna. Near my house.

  126. Starship enables all kind of exciting space industrialization opportunities, by virtue of being cheaper, reusable and with a big payload, more so than any other rocket before.

    In fact, I imagine Starship itself can function as some kind of workshop or factory for processes requiring what space has in abundance : vacuum and microgravity.

    These orbiting workshops could be custom designed to perform some part or all of the manufacturing process, launched with crew/workers or just with machines, connected to others and kept resupplied (or taking manufactured goods back to Earth), with the help of other Starships in periodic rotation. With the added advantage that most of these won't ever require going beyond LEO.

    It's obvious that Starship itself can serve as space station modules (much cheaper than the ISS ones!), just fill it with different kind of machines and functions and keep it in orbit for a while doing something useful.

    This could make sense for some very high value items better manufactured in microgravity, or only possible there, which we haven't really had the chance to produce before because it was so expensive.

  127. Nat Geo's gone full green – and the concept of food poverty is so tasty to their green sensibilities that they practically drool over it. Best to get a good solid definition of the problem – as I recall one survey for that asked "Do you have enough food in the house so you're not worried about eating for the next two weeks?"

    Don't know about you, but… yes, we do, and it'd be stuff like noodles… but we could manage. But for the purpose of the survey, even THAT answer would indicate food poverty.

    Re solving the Earth's problems – get the warlords and corrupt politicians out of the way, and the problems in Africa would solve themselves. (With hopefully fewer corrupt politicians and warlords – but in a lot of countries over there 'Strong Man' leadership IS the norm, and it'll take generations to get away from it.

    And it's funny how a lot of problems seem to be perpetuated in the Western world so money will be thrown at them in an attempt to solve them… with no real attempt being made to solve them. (Take CAGW. Want to solve that? Go nuclear in a big fashion. As it was, we went with natural gas, got our emissions well below the Paris Accords agreement level – which we never signed on to – and as soon as Biden got into office he cut fracking… which raised the price of natural gas. Go figure…) But there always seems to be money available for Solyndra-style scams.

    Politicians never solve problems that can get them re-elected.

  128. We don't "let" the CO2 level rise, we dig C out of the ground and burn it. Out of the ground where it is *stored* long term for much later use by the very plants you claim to be helping by releasing it. We are giving plants a false signal of abundant CO2, leading to a wrong direction in plant evolution. Think long term.

  129. How could it be that those who did the colonizing (aka future Americans or Canadians) ended up benefiting, but not the colonized? Benefit to the colonized is particularly obvious when you considered that for the most part, the two groups of offspring are the same people. There has been a whole lot of interbreeding between the colonizers, and the colonized, particularly in the eastern US. My girlfriend has ancestors that were members of tribe from the coastal plain of North Carolina. A previous sweetheart was 1/4 Cherokee, at least that's what her dad said.
    Besides that, there were tribes that adopted the superior technologies of the Europeans quickly. The prime example is the Cherokee, that inhabited the Appalachian mountains of Georgia, North, and South Carolina, and Tennessee. They kept livestock, had gristmills, smithies, and log cabins. Things were going well for them until gold was discovered in their territory, and those that could be caught were sent to Oklahoma, where later huge petroleum reserves were discovered. The Cherokees got to keep the oil.
    Consider how much more food you can grow with steel tools, and mules, as opposed to stone, wood, and bone tools, with only your own hands. Consider the benefits of livestock, particularly domesticated cattle. They can provide milk, meat, and some serious pulling from the oxen. Even if you are lactose intolerant, properly made cheese contains very little lactose, despite what sitcoms imply.

  130. What is your definition of "socialist"? Please make it consistent with National Socialism, that is, including it as "socialism".

  131. And what cost would you anticipate with reducing insolation or albedo and putting up sun shields tuned for green light? Perhaps the desperation and panic you have noticed is in states suffering from drought and forest fires. If your house is on fire, it's hard not panic. We not only need to be SMART, but we need to take demonstrable action NOW. (For example, China is preparing for the worst building green houses.) So what about Preparing for the Worst. PW
    Begin building underground structures connected by the boring company for living accommodations and giant green houses for agriculture? I built my own Environmental Living Pod (ELP) – a super insulated box which is set up for minimally expensive air purification and conditioning. It is safely sequestered in the ground – now I just need to set up an algae farm.

  132. I think Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer has been in politics just as long. Why were they not included in the list of crusty old politics.

  133. Pretty much their definition of "food poverty" is something like, "Skips an occasional meal, and doesn't have enough money in the bank to eat for a year if laid off, without going on public assistance."

    Actual starvation in the US is pretty much limited to the mentally ill.

  134. "If you make the money by doing something Earthly governments don't like, and you're still reliant on shipments from Earth, the fact that you could pay for the shipments with money on Earth won't get your necessities past the embargo."

    Perhaps. But their is no “earth” collective government. One country (USA) might agree not to sell to the mars colony other countries might not agree. As long as the 1967 outer space treaty remains in force no country can claim sovereignty over Mars (or any other heavenly body). The money deposited in the “bank of mars” like any bank would be invested back on earth in a variety of places. Generating income for the colonists (and interest for the depositors) that’s how the colony would pay for its imports.

  135. Entertaining, though "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" made more technological sense.

    I have to say that the graphic designer takes on Mars colony design are horrible, both from a technological and political perspective. I've estimated that, properly managed, you need about 20 square meters of hydroponics per adult, and 20 square meters of living space isn't excessive.

    So just co-site the hydroponics and the living space, and let people manage their own air supplies. 2 story habitats, everybody lives under and between the hydroponics.

  136. CO2 per ton of lettuce is joke; OF COURSE CO2 per ton of lettuce is low, it's 96% water! Even watermelon has twice the non-water content!

    CO2 per ton of potatoes might mean something, lettuce is just repackaged water.

  137. If you make the money by doing something Earthly governments don't like, and you're still reliant on shipments from Earth, the fact that you could pay for the shipments with money on Earth won't get your necessities past the embargo.

    There's no way around it: Mars has to become self-sufficient to have self-rule. Nobody who's dependent calls their own shots.

    Self-sufficiency at the earliest possible date has to be the goal. After that, sure, trade can be a bonus. But if trade is a necessity, you're under their thumb.

  138. First we'd have to confirm that it's actually a good idea to do so. And, though you might get the impression they did that long ago, that's really just an assumption.

    And then we'd better sequester that carbon where we can get at it easily, not inject it into subduction zones, in case we realized a century or a millennium from today that we'd screwed up, and needed it.

    I think we'd generally be better off letting the CO2 level rise, and moderating insolation or albedo. Remember, the energy balance is barely off at all, on the order of 1 watt per square meter.

    If we put sun shields up in orbit that converted green light and IR into useful power, and let the frequencies plants actually use through full strength, you wouldn't even notice the shift in illumination necessary to cancel out any plausible atmospheric CO2 level.

    That way we'd get to keep the added plant efficiency the CO2 provides.

    Really, we need to be SMART about this, not just panic and desperately try to put things back to where they were when political leaders were kids.

  139. Is going to sound pessimistic, which I'm not, but is there even a way to clean up the atmosphere back to pre-Indistrual Revolution at this point? I know we could try to sequester (sic?) carbon, but that comes down to efficiency [or so I thought]. That's only a small part of the overall theme of this article, though.

  140. Without the grants from the early days, there would be no Tesla, no internet, no space program (which, as others have pointed out, achieved far more space-faring and science than anything offered by any private company to date. SpaceX's main contribution so far is to reland a rocket with destroying it. A big accomplishment, to be sure, but 60 years after Mercury (1958-1963) sent men into orbital space, SpaceX can only do that more comfortably, plus do the docking to the ISS, specifically only, that the Space Shuttle did from the 1980s. Bezos and Bransen can't even do that much; it's all suborbital and given their ages, it's doubtful they'll do much more at the current pace. After them, who knows what will happen to their profitless dream companies.
    Longevity science is a better bet. If people lived healthy lives for an extra 50 years, they'd be a lot more concerned about what the Earth will be like for all of us in 2100. It wouldn't mostly be teenagers like Greta Thunberg worrying about such things. Plus, the Elon Musks of the world are few and far between, and they would get more time to develop their dreams.

  141. Why the assumption that all government programs are useless "money holes?" Social Security and Medicare are the two largest expenses the federal government spends upon. SS is undeniably one of the greatest anti-poverty programs for seniors ever devised and countries around the world have more-or-less tried to emulate our program. Before SS, there were poorhouses and charities, for a MUCH smaller population of senior citizens. Living past 65 was a rarity when FDR started SS. Now, it's just assumed that people born today will live near 80 years, or more and that SS will provide a substantial portion of their income, though not all of it.
    Without Medicare, seniors would go without meaningful health coverage. The combination of lost income in retirement and prohibitive medical costs at that most vulnerable age would kill any market solution before it got out of the gate. And modern medicine is only getting more expensive, not cheaper; the experience of other countries show that semi-socialized health care works better than our hodge-podge mixed system. We spend more than any other OECD country on healthcare and have some of the worst outcomes for longevity and quality of life.
    Medicaid saves the lives of millions of poor people. OK, if you think they should just get on with it and die, I can't convince you this is a good expense.

  142. "Everyone's dreams of an awesome space future far away from the g-man telling them what to do is just not going to happen." Certainly not without widespread understanding that power addiction is a symptom of curable mental illness.

  143. Instead of asking Sanders what's his plan to make the lifestyles of millionaires more like yours, you should be asking him what's the plan to make your lifestyle more like those of millionaires such as himself.

  144. valued preserving their relative positions

    So, they became conservative, nothing wrong with that.

  145. where's my flying car, already?

    There is no such thing, it's long past time everyone let go of that dream.
    A vehicle fit for the purpose of flying is arguably called a plane, chopper etc. Anything that flies is less than fit to operate on the roads, we can pretend and call such a thing a car, but why bother.

    Everyone's dreams of an awesome space future far away from the g-man telling them what to do is just not going to happen. Nothing short of a piece of unobtainium tech in the form of a molecular assembler would change that outlook for the foreseeable future.

  146. There are only 74 million kids in the US, so that sounds unreasonably apocalyptic.

    I'm pretty sure that food poverty isn't defined as "not eating" but instead is one of those measures like "doesn't have the money set aside to pay for next week's meals". It's about uncertainty rather than actual skipped meals. This is what you get when you live paycheck to paycheck.

    Admittedly, Covid-19 did throw a wrench in a lot of paychecks, but we do have unemployment benefits, food stamps, and food banks already. For any kids that actually aren't eating, it's because their parents are negligent.

  147. Until spacex demonstrates otherwise, it remains what it's always been, a commercial vc backed business heavily subsidized by the public sector.

  148. What do you think of this GoatGuy?

    “A Mars bank, or some similar location, could mint their own currency backedby a portfolio of precious metals stored safely off world.”

    "Yes eventually; but they would start off with deposits sent to them from
    earth-side folks eager to make tax free interest. After Asteroid mining takes
    off, you are likely right. Even if the bank of mars only pays for instance
    1600/oz for gold or platinum deposited in said bank of mars, it pays you tax
    free income. If earth pays 2000/oz your net is likely about 50% after taxes so
    effectively 1000/oz. Any any interest earned in said earth-side bank would also be taxed."


    "…a gold/precious metals backed currency “Mars dollars” would
    be an excellent hedge against inflation. Especially compared against massive
    earth side deficit spending. The relative gain in value compared to say the US
    dollar would be like a hidden extra “interest payment”."

  149. "I think the main thing we look to gain is the technologies they'll develop on Mars out of a combination of necessity and being out from under the
    regulators' heels." 

    I posted this at a different site some years ago; would love to hear some of your opinions about:

    “Elon Musk said elsewhere that he thinks that 500K a ticket is the price for
    being able to send people to Mars privately at a profit. He said that he thinks
    that there are at least 8000 and probably very many more willing/able to pay.
    Let assume he is right. How would the colony make money? How about: The Cayman Islands in space?. Mars has one big thing to trade upon, its location beyond all claims of any government as to sovereignty. Meaning it does not have to follow any earth laws. The colony bank of mars (probably a bunch of
    server/routers/cpu’s in a room) could offer clients tax free interest on
    deposits (say 5% more for big investors) and total confidentiality. Records not
    available to any gov agency wanting to know anything about, no legal obligation to do so.”

  150. Forget Mars. Space Solar is the key next thing on your list. Start with Earth to Earth power beaming.

  151. "So they locked things down, and brought progress in most fields screeching to a halt. Because progress brings change, and change brings the risk of
    somebody else being on top tomorrow."

    So far that has achieved mixed results; the "food-chain" is always shakiest at the top. There are too many hungry wolves out there who covet what the top dog has:

  152. 'a governing structure' in Nature, Chimps for example, is something that "makes sense" from Darwin and later discovered sex selection mechanisms. In humans, we build upon those structures with our unique way of *needing* power, not just using it for real purposes. See Janov for details. As you say, this Primal Science will never change.

  153. "The artificial environments aren't stable, they will tend to decay and fail
    as everything technological does. And people will get killed by trivial
    oversights that aren't problems on Earth."

    Which is why billionaires like Musk & Bezos won't go into space much other than relatively brief excursions for publicity/ego gratification. The hard difficult dangerous work would be left to others. If the Moon/Mars/Asteroid belt are developed it will be by those willing to take the risk. The rich will likely grub stake them for a share of the profits of such. One wouldn't necessarily be limited to what one could directly afford to finance a trip to a Platinum group rich Asteroid out of ones' own pocket if some rich benefactor/investors are willing to finance it. You and the other "miners" might be paid generous shares of such multi-billion dollar mineral wealth; enough to make it worth the risk to you. There is a big difference between financing the development of space both directly and by developing the enabling technology than going there yourself for the long term. The construction crews building the SPS in Geo-synchronous orbit won't be billionaires but they could be well paid for their hazardous duty. The millionaires/governments that financed the Panama Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad weren't hammering the stakes in themselves or dying of malaria in Panama.

  154. Of course, Sanders is a 'socialist', and by that I mean a communist. A red diaper baby who never changed his undies.

    It's perfectly appropriate that, as an upper level party figure, he'd have multiple dachas, but there is a certain disconnect between his rhetoric and actions.

  155. Space travel for the hoi polloi still is very much a pipe dream.

    I fully expect it will remain the domain of the very wealthy, or the very powerful for quite some time. Elon's plans non withstanding.

    And this not only because of launcher economics.

    Space is hard, space is dangerous. Every single cubic centimeter of space outside of Earth wants to kill you. Just step a little bit outside of your suit or habitat to confirm it. Going there for some time is perfectly possible, but living there is another matter.

    The artificial environments aren't stable, they will tend to decay and fail as everything technological does. And people will get killed by trivial oversights that aren't problems on Earth.

    Thinking we can soon go and open a McDo on the Moon and drive through it in our lunar buggy, just because Elon Musk has a new big honking rocket, is a fantasy (The Jetsons dream).

    We will learn that going to space still is only part of the problem.

  156. How about them paying their taxes, too?One man's crust is another man's form of expression.

  157. The kind of people that loathe that any wealth exists at all, anywhere, thinking we would be better off taking apart rich people's fortunes and historical treasures, and giving them as handouts to every person they see as needy. Everyone's fortune but theirs, of course.

    Resulting in failing to remove poverty at all, and instead making all equally poor.

    Wealth is not the problem, poverty is, wealth is the solution. What produces wealth is good, what destroy it, is bad.

    The actual problem is not of definition of terms, though, but on admitting what your true motivations are. And these people's biggest motivation is envy, which was a sin until the left turned it into virtue.

  158. "I'm looking for equally compelling "well if we go to Mars and set up
    cities there, we — as a species — will stand a darn good chance of
    seeing the following 5 Big New Things materialize, that'll pave a way to
    a way more operationally prosperous future for Humanity itself"

    Colonizing Mars in and of itself? Maybe not. The point is that if humanity moves out in large numbers into the larger environs of the Solar System that there are probably two or three orders of magnitude greater amounts of material and energy resources available than on Earth alone. Which would likely increase the odds of long term human survival without requiring drastic declines in the standard of living of most, assuming we stay on Earth in perpetuity. The cost of using such depends on cheap reusable space tech; like what especially Musk is working on. From Solar Power Sats to asteroidial mineral wealth and much more. Never mind for instance the Lunar low part per billion He3 fusion fuel the atmospheres of Jupiter (high radiation levels), Saturn & Uranus (lower radiation levels) contains trillions of tons of He3. Bezos as an aside is more of a Space colony buff than Mars colony advocate; difference between him and Musk.

  159. Just to be clear…

    I do not think it is "obscene" that anyone owns 2, 3 or 5 houses.  Until yesterday, we owned 3.  One next door, which we keep up as an especially cozy rental, exclusive to relatives and/or close friends, and another a few hundred miles distant, again as a rental, to a very nice Hispanic family that's "making it" in a great way. Both extra houses are not matching "market value" rents. Way less. BECAUSE that's our contribution to the world.  

    I also don't think it is unreasonable — if one is just "modestly wealthy" to own a couple of houses at opposite-sides of the country, either opposite-in-weather, or opposite-in-business.  East-West in a business opportunity sense, and North-South in a seasonal weather sense.  If you got the money, at least 2× a year, you're dropping part of it into both regions.  Not bad, really.  

    The thing that gets me though is when people are deeply dug into "vanity plates" properties, toys, penthouse apartments and all that.  There really is a super-wealthy "crust" which is definitely "Crusty" with their trappings of wealth. They could mitigate that by copiously investing in low-income rental housing, and making it available at rock bottom prices. And virtue signaling that they do.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  160. My question for anyone who don't like billionaires making launch vehicles and sending paying customers outside the atmosphere is what are you planning on doing to stop them. Seize the billionaires' assets? Enact a communist takeover of the economy, which has worked so well in the past (like Venezuela). Shoot down manned spacecraft heading to Mars? Imprisoning would-be colonists with violent rapists and murderers for the crime of leaving Earth? This is what every person that says "there ought to be a law against…" whatever should ask themselves. How far are they're willing to go to enforce it and is it really worth using the state's monopoly on the legal initiation of force.

  161. That's why I qualified the expression with "that kind of unsolvable problems". Not mathematical, nor engineering problems.

    Society's long term problems like poverty, inequality, etc. which no matter what we do, never go away.

    And the 'orthogonal' buzzword applies for anything that isn't in the same problem space (technically in an axis with 90 degrees of separation, metaphorically, some problem that is tackled with completely different tools and methods to the one we talk about).

  162. When people usually talk about the "elites", they include politicians who have been elected office longer than half of the population (median age in the US is 40) have been alive. How come you left them out? I think I know why but I would like to hear it from you.

  163. I think the main thing we look to gain is the technologies they'll develop on Mars out of a combination of necessity and being out from under the regulators' heels. 

    Better nuclear power, self-replicating factories, things like that.

  164. I don't disagree with you regarding the benefits from having invested in well over 70 years of space flight.  

    Yes, GPS. 
    Yes, worldwide Internet at reasonable cost. 
    Yes to worldwide telephony service. 
    Yes to spy satellites. 
    Yes to scientific discovery. 
    Yes to weather sats. 
    Yes to geosats.  
    Yes to the ISS. 

    Yes to all that.  

    Thing is, I'm looking for equally compelling "well if we go to Mars and set up cities there, we — as a species — will stand a darn good chance of seeing the following 5 Big New Things materialize, that'll pave a way to a way more operationally prosperous future for Humanity itself"

    That's my point, actually. It has nothing to do with flying cars, per se. Or really for ubiquitous domestic robotics. It has everything to do with The Hype, without an attendant construction of a believable route to heightened prosperity-of-existence for the common bloke.  

    Thats all.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  165. I think it is obscene that Sen. Sanders owns 3 houses and is a Millionaire$ and yet does not share his wealth with BIPOC or the homeless or immigrants.

  166. Yes, the universal rabble, wandering the field, always know best. Like Reagan, they know government is the problem (as Reagan's elite gobbles up all the goodies.).

  167. Could you tell us more about the ruling elites? Companies that don't pay taxes, for instance – fossil fuels? What about Musk and the space billionaires? And what proof do you have progress in most fields is locked down? Some bold generalizations?

  168. SpaceX intends to go to Mars without tax dollars if necessary. 5 million Starlink customers generates $6 billion in revenue, which produces enough profit to fund Mars development. They are currently at 100K customers, but it is still in beta and the constellation isn't complete.

  169. The orthogonal solution is "self-improving systems" – production systems which make parts for their own expansion, and thus grow exponentially. Coupled with automation, you can build enough stuff to satisfy everyone's needs.

  170. But you'll be able to experiment with different forms, now, won't you? Maybe try out something you might like better than what's on offer today.

  171. Our ruling elites got risk adverse, that's what happened. They got fat and happy enough that they valued preserving their relative positions more than society becoming wealthier, but possibly with them no longer at the top.

    So they locked things down, and brought progress in most fields screeching to a halt. Because progress brings change, and change brings the risk of somebody else being on top tomorrow.

  172. Jet-setter"So where's my flying car, already?"

    Flying used to be so expensive that only rich people flew semi-regularly; where the term "jet-setter" came from. Now pretty much everyone other than the poor fly whenever the distance involved makes it attractive; for business or pleasure. So the fact that my car doesn't fly is neither here nor there.

    "With nothing to show for space itself."
    Yes; "nothing" other than GPS world-wide with internet access to soon to be billions of people and the resulting huge increase in potential knowledge that entails. More accurate weather forecasting of storms/Hurricanes etc., greatly lowering the death rate from such.

  173. And ironically, this is said by people who are by and large the most responsible for the billionaires existing in the first place. If Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, or any of the other A's depended on people like me for their existence, they would be in deep trouble.

  174. ⊕1 for 'as soon as there are two people (standing on Mars permanently)'

    That's the thing, isn't it! Just as with prides of lions, packs of wolves, warrens of elves and conclaves of witches, the likelihood of there becoming 'a governing structure' rises to 0.99.  Inevitable. Taken unabashedly from J. Peterson's musings. 

    Many (who knows, maybe super-majorities!0 of the rabble on The Left, the Right, down The Middle and wandering The Field all believe that failings-of-government are at the root of our seemingly increasing societal delapidation and decay.  

    Could be right!

    On the other hand, one thing is also clear: the less SEASONAL HARDSHIP, the more the decay. Its the old (northern hemisphere) North versus South conundrum, eh?  Until the mid 20th century, you simply didn't survive Winter if you didn't plan for it, work in preparation to it and save your beans to survive it. This lead to a society that valued its savers, makers, preservers, conservers. A society of industriousness, with artisans and industries making all nature of products (and services, stores and supporting businesses) to make it thru Winter relatively unscathed.  

    The South by contrast needed near-none of that. A cool wet Winter, all green and bright was the worst it got in Alabama or Florida. Or México. Not much to prepare for. Completely changed the mindset of politicians, industry and business dynamics. 

    Anyway, could write a book about that. 

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  175. We're complicated, humanity is. 

    I'm old enough to remember NASA's Apollo, Pioneer, Shuttle, Hubble, Mars shots, Outer planets fly-bys. I remember the breathless anticipation for the Moon landing, people tearing up just talking about it. It wasn't fiction! NASA apparently was single-handedly leading the way to Humanity-in-Space.  

    Then what happened?

    Or as wags still ask, "Where's my flying car and my domestic robotics", a la the 1960s animated cartoon, The Jetsons?

    Here we are, in 2021, getting all breathless about self-driving cars and electrified vehicles that you can plug into your garage carport and get a fill up at night. 

    Flying cars? NOT A CHANCE. 
    Daily Moon-to–2001-Space-Odyssey flights? NOT A CHANCE.  

    Elon's Rocket version 3.0 program holds substantial potential to 'change things up' a bit. Intercontinental vomit-comet service for the über-wealthy to barf around the globe in a few hours.  Or fling around really, really valuable (and equally time-sensitive) products in thundering ballistic service. Cool!

    Doesn't accomplish the Space-as-Extension-of-Civilization paradigm much, does it?

    Not … if you are honest. 
    Just quicker product moving, and über-rich people transport. 

    With nothing to show for space itself.  

    Thing is, space is dâhmned expensive to competently surive.  
    Especially in our lifetimes.

    So where's my flying car, already?

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  176. It's more about people thinking that "if only we had more money to throw at this problem, it would go away," which is completely fallacious. Some things (like inequality) won't be fixed even if we have an infinite amount of money available to give to everyone who asks for it.

    These are the same people who usually point fingers at the Church for having beautifully-appointed cathedrals with golden ornaments. Even if she could sell those buildings and those artefacts to raise money and give it to the poor (most important churches in Italy are owned by the Italian government and the Church only has custody over them), you could argue that those people who would buy them could instead just donate the money for charity, instead.

    Finally, none of these people seem to be complaining about the CW spending copious amounts of money producing flop after flop after intersectional flop instead of spending it making a soup kitchen or something. I mean, why spend money on entertainment if we have people who do not have enough to eat?

  177. I understand the joke, and appreciate it, but there is an underlying assumption that they are able to leave to go somewhere there is no government. Sure, there is no government on Mars *now,* but as soon as there are two people standing on the surface there will be one, as surely as the carbon dioxide in the air.

    Of course, we can escape these particular politicians and subject ourselves to others, but we can do that moving country on Earth right now.

  178. The onion video about the money holes is funny. I don’t see any reason to take “Cozy Futurism” any more seriously than that or any Onion story.

  179. Not according to a recent article I read in Nat Geo that says 65 million US citizens are struggling with food poverty since the pandemic started, up from around 40 million pre-pandemic. I'm British, so I don't know what the reality is on the ground in the USA but that doesn't sound great…

    For the record, I don't think space colonisation and solving Earth's problems are mutually exclusive. We can tackle both. After all, there's 6 billion + people to delegate to these issues.

  180. You support nasa giving public money to spacex to go to mars, you cant expect everyone to agree to that. Other people have other interests and priorities, and they're not wrong in their preferences just like you're not in yours.
    No one is stopping spacex from going to mars, but since that can only happen with "muh tax dollars", it will be subject to everyone's priorities.

  181. I tend to agree. They're aware that, once we escape into space, their eternal dream of having everybody under their heel will be forever dead.

    Keep in mind the fall back tactic, though: Forcing space colonies to have Political Officers.

    Fortunately, the colonies will also have airlocks…

  182. "IEEE Spectrum used to be about engineering and technological details and rigor."

    (Robert) Conquest's laws:

    1) Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

    2) Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

    3) The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

  183. What's this ' CO2 emissions per tonne of lettuce harvested ' ? I've gone vego, but I'm not gunna try living on lettuce…

  184. That's because they rounded up all the crims and sent them in shackles to Australia ! ( Sorry, Dr Pat, I couldn't resist a bit of cross-Tasman sniping.)

  185. These phony doogooders are more about preventing anyone from escaping and making us all suffer the same problems forever (thus needing saviors), than about fixing any actual problems. Oh, and spending other people's money.

    In general, that kind of unsolvable problems require orthogonal solutions, or new places where they can become irrelevant, not the same old an busted "solutions" that have never worked.

  186. Sometimes I get the feeling that politicians are realizing that their productive cash cow citizens might want to leave.

  187. The colonization of Australia was an integral part of the UK building a peaceful, gentler, utopian society.

  188. I ran in to this “we must make Earth utopia before we spend a penny on space!!’ Nonsense in college in the 90s.

    Show me in the doll where billionaires spending their own money hurt you.

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