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  1. #61
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Python isn't 300 years old and have applications outside of computers.

    Comparing physics to algorithms would be more accurate than comparing it to Python. The same algorithm can be implemented in many languages. The same physics applies to many areas. Aerodynamics applies to cars and airplanes but using a more general term fluid dynamics brings submarines in too.

    So why aren't we on a 3-day work week with longer lasting products?

    Why doesn't the economics profession report the demand side depreciation but the replacements get added to GDP. 42 years after the Moon landing and economists can't do algebra.

    psik
    It's not that, it's simple reality. We know lots about fusion physics. We still can't simply snap our fingers and make fusion reactors. We knew how to make plumbing during Ancient Rome. We lacked oil and the modern synthetics industry that followed along with the rest of the oil-backed late industrial revolution, and didn't have PVC.

    The depreciation is irrelevant because value in any economy is entirely dependent on human belief. If you don't believe it is valuable, then it isn't. A brand new diamond necklace can be worthless before you even buy it if people stop valuing diamonds and jewelry. Things get old, we value most of them less, depreciation is automatic and unavoidable.

    Societies, such as this one and all others, happen organically NO MATTER what those who think they know better imagine. You can't have Hitler, or Churchill, without societies to give them definition, meaning, and their (temporary and conditional) cooperation. If the people don't cotton to something, there's nothing you can do to get them to in the genuine way you want. Life is truly what happens while we make other plans.

    We don't have a three day week and products you think would be more durable because the rest of your species doesn't see a need for them. And given that the system they have evolved is keeping the lion's share of them employed or at least not starving, they're probably right. You want a three day week? You need far more functional robots and manufacturing that can be done at present, and certainly more than we can presently afford at current start-up costs, and you'd immediately reduce the labor done by people, hence the pay they received. All you'd do is cut the workers' paychecks by two days and an equivalent amount to their benefits including health and retirement.

    And no, people could not buy robots and then rent them to businesses because the business has a superior economic position for robot purchase and can simply buy an entire factory full and fire all the fleshies. Now you have a zero workday week, and you have no income and thus no housing or food, and you can't buy the nifty products the robots make. But, that being so, the businesses have no one to sell anything to, because no one has money. Therefore, we all have to live with each other as we are until we evolve something better that doesn't just whiplash us into the decline of modern civilization.

  2. #62
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Servant View Post
    But whenever I think about this I always come back to the notion of private homesteading of space. Families or tribes building their own ships and leaving by their own means, like Asians crossing the Bering Land Bridge or pilgrims heading for the New World. Of course they'd be leaving a very different Earth than the one we know now.
    Homesteading is one of the pipe dreams that the O'Neill colony people used to toss around during the 70s and I used to shake my head. Given the current political knowledge about humanity that humans have, given the current costs of space travel, given resource control and rights thereto, there is ZERO way for it to happen. The UN can say whatever it likes. So can the US, Russia, etc. They have absolutely no positive control to enforce it, and all the positive control to prevent it. Global laws on aerospace already make it next to impossible for you and me to legally fly into space without total oversight and control, and if we try flaunting their rule, you can be assured they will shoot us down.

    The asteroids represent TRILLIONS of dollars, AND a valid threat to planetary security (oops, some homesteader/prospector's ship was off-course and a hunk of rock a mile wide is headed for the middle of France). The comets are positively dangerous to go near when they are in the inner solar system. In the outer solar system, good luck efficiently extracting water. You'd need a really good power source (nuclear or better) to melt the ice, purify the water from all the dust, and then find a way to collect it, and ship it back. And of course, no one wants a comet accidentally heading for Earth.

    The asteroids and the Moon also represent a new ground for the usual whizzing matches and no one should think for a moment that Mars is going independent. The first settlements will be built by temporary people, and crewed by them for decades to come. Permanent multi-generational involvement with Mars is a lot less attractive with regular as clockwork transfer orbit flights by space colony sized ships taking the slow but very comfortable approach. The asteroids and the Moon are resources for colonies and colonies are places to put flags.

    You can bet the UN would NEVER itself go for handing out the limited real estate to unlimited individuals, much less try to hold the member nations to it. The UN is very vociferously on the socialism whether you like it or not and screw the individual side of thing. They'd redistribute your CD collection to Tibet if they could because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy as they give human rights commission seats to flagrant and open violators of human rights. The idea of them being in favor of you and me claiming little asteroids is ridiculously far fetched because it would be a frame of mind on the order of that which ran the US government around the mid 19th century and that mindset is regarded as evil in 2011. The UN would be the first to back government control of everything out there, and leaving it unused while we argued about it for the next thousand years. It's sad, I wished for better, but after the League of Nations, did we really think so highly of humanity that this was going to be any better?

    It's a nice dream, but falls apart short of truly sci-fi transportation technology suddenly becoming as affordable as a Prius, and if that happened, the government could all the more easily project force and keep you from claiming anything. You can homestead your own ship if you can buy one, but that's about it. And even that is likely to be rigidly controlled because government being what it is, it cannot withstand all that fizzing away of its sovereignty and control. No Earth government would stand for it, and their people would back efforts by them to stop it.
    Last edited by Wojciehowicz; May 25th, 2011 at 01:55 AM.

  3. #63
    "Dime Store Rock"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wojciehowicz View Post

    We don't have a three day week and products you think would be more durable because the rest of your species doesn't see a need for them.
    The problem actually is the people don't come out in mass and demand them. Because if they did, we would have them. For example: If we, in mass, decided to boycott buying cars and simultaneously give a list of upgrades we want to see to cars before we buy them again, you'd see cars metaphorically leap from being cavemen to landing on the moon virtually overnight.

  4. #64
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wojciehowicz View Post
    The depreciation is irrelevant because value in any economy is entirely dependent on human belief. If you don't believe it is valuable, then it isn't. A brand new diamond necklace can be worthless before you even buy it if people stop valuing diamonds and jewelry. Things get old, we value most of them less, depreciation is automatic and unavoidable.
    If you want to believe economics is nothing but psychological bullshit that is your business. Economists think what they call VALUE is more important than natural resources and technology. Go to a junk yard and look at all of the piled up cars and think about the hours of labor that went into making that junk.

    Food is not valuable if you don't mind starving to death. It is just so much PSYCHOLOGY!

    But machines do wear out because of PHYSICS not psychology. Machines do not need to be redesigned because of PHYSICS but people will pay for them to be redesigned because of PSYCHOLOGY.

    But then our economists don't compute and report the DEPRECIATION of all of the junk so billions of lives are being affected by decision based on DEFECTIVE ALGEBRA. Is that science or SCIENCE FICTION?

    Of course making excuses for that defective algebra is more PSYCHOLOGICAL NONSENSE. Sounds like something out of

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Merchants

    psik

  5. #65
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    I'm baffled. What exactly is your complaint? Depreciation is actually a big part of economics; it explains how things decline in value over time. Marginal utility (the "psychological" or subjective side of value) is important but depreciation plays a major role in determining what utility will be.
    The UN is very vociferously on the socialism whether you like it or not and screw the individual side of thing. They'd redistribute your CD collection to Tibet if they could because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy
    What a ridiculous strawman. The UN is not an omnipotent big gum't agency; it's a rather weak international forum with very limited sovereignty. Socialism has nothing to do with it; I doubt you properly know what socialism is.
    But whenever I think about this I always come back to the notion of private homesteading of space. Families or tribes building their own ships and leaving by their own means, like Asians crossing the Bering Land Bridge or pilgrims heading for the New World.
    Romantic as this notion is, it has nothing to do with reality. Space exploration will continue to be a big gum't project for quite a while; sheer economies of scale prohibit anything else. The colonization of the Americas was very much a state project.
    Last edited by Chekhov; May 25th, 2011 at 06:24 PM.

  6. #66
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    I'm baffled. What exactly is your complaint? Depreciation is actually a big part of economics; it explains how things decline in value over time.
    So try finding data on how much Americans have lost on the depreciation of automobiles each year since 1990.

    psik

  7. #67
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    And what would the point of that be? If you want to find out how much your own car has depreciated, it's not hard to do.

  8. #68
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    What a ridiculous strawman. The UN is not an omnipotent big gum't agency; it's a rather weak international forum with very limited sovereignty. Socialism has nothing to do with it; I doubt you properly know what socialism is.
    Actually, I do know what socialism is, and I know it very very well.

    The UN is run by people who imagine they have power and relevance, whose attitude is that those who do nothing should not be encouraged to do anything, but sit and panhandle by guilt at the UN, to get the other nations to give them things that those nations never will. Poor third world nations are not encouraged to build up, and the UN's dominant mindset is that it would be wrong for them to do so because it would lend legitimacy to capitalism and open them to exploitation.

    This has only encouraged tyranny, poverty, and suffering. They know it. They don't care. They only care about their beautiful theories, never admitting that they are slain by facts the moment they are put into the wild. However, this is known and encouraged. The reason they are a weak bunch is that the UN was never designed to do anything other than allow the member nations to go on doing things as they always did. That is why they put severe abusers of human rights on their human rights commissions, that is why they ignore repeated attempts at genocide around the globe, why they allow tyrants and despots to speak with respect at the UN, etc. They don't exist to change the world, they exist to give a fig leaf to business as usual, and they are fully encouraged to persist in being useless and irrelevant, playing with their fool's ideas.

    Does that sound like a prescription for a vibrant multinational organization taking humanity to the solar system? You're not going to see massive build-out of launch facilities across North, Central, and South America, Africa, India, and SE Asia with all the attendant marine shipping ports, terrestrial airports, large scale ground mass transit, new towns and cities, governments in the spotlight having to behave, and people from Mogadishu to Quito to Phuket up and deciding they want to see the Moon and having a realistic shot at it.

    Redistribution of proceeds of space exploration will never work, neither will hoping to one day join the first world after the first world has already laid claim to 90% of the real estate. It needs to be an everyone invited affair, everyone putting up money and people, not a welfare program, not a pat on the head, and not a catch us if you can system. It has to be with mutual dignity or it won't work.

  9. #69
    "Dime Store Rock"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wojciehowicz View Post
    Actually, I do know what socialism is, and I know it very very well.

    The UN is run by people who imagine they have power and relevance, whose attitude is that those who do nothing should not be encouraged to do anything, but sit and panhandle by guilt at the UN, to get the other nations to give them things that those nations never will. Poor third world nations are not encouraged to build up, and the UN's dominant mindset is that it would be wrong for them to do so because it would lend legitimacy to capitalism and open them to exploitation.

    This has only encouraged tyranny, poverty, and suffering. They know it. They don't care. They only care about their beautiful theories, never admitting that they are slain by facts the moment they are put into the wild. However, this is known and encouraged. The reason they are a weak bunch is that the UN was never designed to do anything other than allow the member nations to go on doing things as they always did. That is why they put severe abusers of human rights on their human rights commissions, that is why they ignore repeated attempts at genocide around the globe, why they allow tyrants and despots to speak with respect at the UN, etc. They don't exist to change the world, they exist to give a fig leaf to business as usual, and they are fully encouraged to persist in being useless and irrelevant, playing with their fool's ideas.

    [/U][/B]
    You hit the nail on the head. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

  10. #70
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    Somebody explain to me like one would to a child what the UN Human Rights Council, misguided as that unfortunate body may be, has to do with space exploration.
    Actually, I do know what socialism is, and I know it very very well.
    Here's your first hint: It has nothing to do with any of what you said.

  11. #71
    Shatterling wannabe Fire Servant's Avatar
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    @ Chekhov and Wojciehowicz...

    Your critiques of the private homesteading notion are true enough, given current economics and tech, of course. I did however stipulate that the Earth these explorers would leave would have to be very different than the one we know.

    I don't consider this a 'romantic' notion. It may never happen, but it strikes me as more realistic than government or corporate control of space and its resources, ultimately. In the relatively near future you might get that, but space is vast. I often think of it like the boiling point of water, which goes down with ambient air pressure. If you think of population density as air pressure, and organizations like governments, corporations, and empires as the liquid, then you'll see my perspective, at least. If space opens up, population pressure could be next to nil.

    Again, I suppose I'm talking about the more distant future. Naturally, I agree that governments and business will play a role in space exploration in the next couple hundred years at least, if it's to happen at all.

    Finally... perhaps 'homesteading' was a poor choice of word on my part. I was thinking more of nomadic tribes or families. Mobile foragers.

    Whether or not we're in agreement, I hope this makes the idea more clear.

  12. #72
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    Somebody explain to me like one would to a child what the UN Human Rights Council, misguided as that unfortunate body may be, has to do with space exploration.
    Exactly nothing, and that is the entire point. The ostensible point of the UN is to promote peace, advancement, and progress for all mankind. It by design does none of that. We have treaties worth about as much as the newspapers my dogs use, which basically put a feel-good face on future space colonization, about how it belongs to everyone. In practice, it can't, because of what I said. The UN remains irrelevant, toying with their inane ideas that no one in the real world will ever cooperate with, and the member nations all know it, because that is the whole point. It exists to maintain the status quo, not bring everyone together.

    So, the inevitable result is that the space colonization of the future remains the first world nations footing the bill, bearing the labor costs, and as such only slowly trickling down to everyone else any of the benefits. That fact is well known, and is the cornerstone of the argument by the third world AGAINST space exploration. Spend the money down here first goes the cry.

    Instead, the UN, if they were responsible and not entirely living in a fantasy world, should be saying, let's build the launch facilities outside of Russia and the USA. Let's build lots more in Africa, India, South America, and Asia. They should be saying to the third world, send some people, and to the first world, take these people and put them in the space program.

    Those people take their experiences home. They will take those and spread them. They will tell stories, and they will gain adherents. More will come. We have the technology. Bring the bodies and the minds to see the Earth. You can't easily remain as you have been once you've seen what's up there. You can't remain grounded in the mundane any more. You can literally see the tininess of humanity's ONLY home and the hugeness of everything else.

    They will keep having the same religions. They will keep practicing the same customs. But, they will add to those things the experience of having seen that there is a grandeur to their world they never really had before. They will remain the same while changing completely. Now, it will be less "me and them" and more "us and we".

    Everyone on Earth deserves a part in that, but it won't happen unless we encourage them to contribute. We have to say to the smallest and poorest, what do you have? Fine, send ten people, some food, and regular moral support. Got ten bucks? Send it in. Got a billion to spare? We can use that? Got some materials that can be used? Out of sight. Got land for launch facilities? Thank you for your support. Everyone's help is needed and to me, welcome.

    If a book could show me where that was feasible and realistic, where it made sense and that I could believe that this current world as it is would buy it, I'd love it. And this is a very good area to consider given Dune. Much of Dune's appeal is in the cultural and social aspects. If you want to put out a hard science near-term sci-fi book, it would be more believable if those aspects were taken into account. I think Dune is more easily swallowed because of those things being taken into account. AI that goes evil, war to survive, religious backlash, feudal local governments and loose collective government, all believable more than the idea that the current yahoos will suddenly go Dalai Lama and join hands. Something in between is missing.

  13. #73
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Servant View Post
    I don't consider this a 'romantic' notion. It may never happen, but it strikes me as more realistic than government or corporate control of space and its resources, ultimately. In the relatively near future you might get that, but space is vast. I often think of it like the boiling point of water, which goes down with ambient air pressure. If you think of population density as air pressure, and organizations like governments, corporations, and empires as the liquid, then you'll see my perspective, at least. If space opens up, population pressure could be next to nil.
    All collectives must ultimately follow the reinforcing traits of their constituent individuals. Government, like humans, exists to perpetuate itself first and foremost. It is not only beyond dogma, it is a priori fact. The governments of today and the foreseeable future, descendant as they will be directly from today, will seek to perpetuate themselves anywhere that the governed might go. Read American history. Much beyond the very early history, land grabbing was a government ordained and blessed affair. In the near future, that is unlikely to change. Sovereignty for governments is about like personal space for you or me. They do not take the challenge lightly and without argument. Don't underestimate their need to maintain power. It's simply because government is a reflection of human nature.

    Eventually, MAYBE, the governments ten generations from now relent. On the other hand, while we likely have resources to give everyone their own gigantic O'Neill colony eventually, we by that time might well have interstellar flight. What then? What if alien governments have claimed star systems that independent humans go after? Those who govern the humans will need to represent them to those that govern the aliens. We go back to collective systems, away from individual ownership.

    Living beings have their own personal space. House, car, bed, bric-a-brac. Nations' personal space is in governorship of the lands of the individuals and the individuals themselves. It's a difference in scale. Homesteaders in the old USA still lived under the government sooner or later, and their lands have always been considered government property by right of eminent domain. So, when it comes to property, you're hardly sovereign. It would be great to have your own planet someday ala Star Trek. I'd love a planet of my own off the beaten path. But, I already have one named Earth and I share it with six billion other people. I outsource the governing and management, I get to make my own hours, and I don't have to invite people to come to it. I hope people in 3944 have made a few more by then, but right now, it's step by step.

    And I hope that the homesteaders don't require colonial marines to help them out with a bug problem.

  14. #74
    martinelillycrop martielillycrop's Avatar
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    Does all this mean the deed for the acre of Mars I bought from Moon Estates isn't worth the paper it's printed on?

  15. #75
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martielillycrop View Post
    Does all this mean the deed for the acre of Mars I bought from Moon Estates isn't worth the paper it's printed on?
    Well, if it is enforceable, you might want to wait until you see what happens to Mars. Your acre might be in the path of a comet, or it might end up under the ocean if they terraform. But if it does, I'd recommend being open to a settlement. It sounds silly, but with genetic engineering, Bikini Bottom might actually end up on your acre of Mars ocean bottom, and you could be Spongebob's landlord.

    Now there's a fantastic hard science story to write. "I should have seen it coming when they asked me if they could use my land for some wildlife experiments..."

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