[p2p-research] Fwd: 20 Theses against green capitalism

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Thu Aug 13 05:12:51 CEST 2009

Ryan Lanham wrote:
> More time and research could make this much better (for which I
> apologize)...but...
> It is frightening to realize that this is the only planet and the only set
> of resources humans in the next few hundred years are likely to use or
> inhabit.  Space elevators and other technologies not withstanding...this is
> the ultimate mothership.  There is no other, nor will there be by any
> assessment I've seen from reasonable futurists.

Well, Gerard K. O'Neill was a physics professor at Princeton. By 
conventional standards, that seems a person likely to be "reasonable".

(I took a course from him and had some other interactions with him. Still, 
he called *me* a dreamer for focusing on building one self-replicating space 
habitat instead of a slow expansion into space drive by capitalist 
economics. :-)

And this guy thinks such are possible too:

> We don't even begin to have the elements of technology necessary for deep
> space travel...

That has no relation to building moveable cities in space around the sun.

> and many astrobiologists have said that, for now, we couldn't
> survive it for long--our bones would, for example, decay in zero G over
> time. 

One can spin habitats for artificial gravity.

Still, whales have strong bones and basically live in zero-gravity. They 
just are always pushing against resistance. This could be duplicated using 
clothing or by living in a liquid.

Also, how hard can it be to have a pill for this?

Also, it may not matter if people never plan to return to Earth.

 > Even a trip to Mars for 3 people is highly difficult now and would
> require upwards of 20 years to plan and get right.  

Sure, on a US$10 billion a year budget. Crank that up to a trillion dollars 
a year, or the equivalent in peer efforts, and we may see faster results. If 
TV consumes (in the USA) about 2000 Wikipedias a year,
there is plenty of potential peer engineering time, even if you have to 
train all the would-be space engineers first. So, if Wikipedia is worth US$5 
   "Is Wikipedia Worth $5 Billion?"
then that is a trillion dollars of tappable peer energy just in the USA if 
we can get people to turn off their TVs. :-)

Also, moving a big habitat would be a better way to go, taking thousands of 
people together. Not that I'm a big Mars fan, but many are, and if they want 
to do it, I'll not stand in their way. Lots of tourists go places I have no 
interest in on cruise ships.

 > I have read that the
> risks are astonishing.  


> It is, for comparison, highly difficult just to keep
> the space station in orbit and functioning normally.  Staffs of thousands of
> people work on the problem full-time.  That is mostly to support an empty
> ship not that high in space.

Just because something is new, or done badly, does not mean it will stay 
that way.

It used to take lots of people to administer computers too, but now most 
people do it themselves.

> The energy challenges alone of deep space operations are incredible.  It is
> speculated that most advanced species would be found near to stars so that
> they can easily harvest energy.  Just travelling to the next nearest star
> would take decades to centuries with anything like technology that is
> feasible.  We have a perfectly stable star right here.  Why go anywhere
> else?

I didn't say anything about that. :-)

We can fit quadrillions of people in space habitats within the solar system. 
There is plenty of raw materials to build the equivalent surface area of 
millions of Earths eventually.

> We cannot yet live reasonably underwater more than 1000 meters for extended
> periods--overwhelmingly the most resource rich portion of our planet.

Actually, I was thinking of seasteads on or near the surface of the ocean.

> To my mind, space research, space travel, space anything...is a colossal
> waste of time and effort.  I'd much rather see resources go toward studying
> our oceans and our sustainability problems.  I have heard it said that we
> have 10 times more people in space related ventures than we do in deep water
> ventures, yet water is 5/6s of the planet...and while it is very cold in
> deep water...it is far warmer than in deep space.

Space varies in temperature in a sense, depending whether you are in the sun 
or in the shade. Sure, that is true about the deep oceans (Mariana trench) 
but millions of people have sailed the seas. Lots of people study marine 

On space, this one image from the Apollo program may save us all, justifying 
almost any cost to get it:

It shows a lonely planet that needs caring for (your very first point. :-)

We can learn a lot about sustainability by thinking about things is space 
terms (like "Spaceship Earth" as Bucky Fuller called it).

The US military has something like 50X the budget, so why pick on NASA? :-)

Likewise, Prussian-derived schools have 100X the budget globally, and 
agricultural subsidies have 100X or so, and oil companies and the nuclear 
industry have 100X the subsidies, and so on... :-)

But sure, I think we should put more money into understanding the oceans. 
Lots more. Tons more. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

More information about the p2presearch mailing list