The Moon

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The Moon

Postby McBean on Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:36 pm

What is Clark's position on The Moon? Bush is offering a fantasmical Moon base and even Mars base! What can Clark offer me in the way of crazy way-out there dreams?
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Postby RevSam on Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:50 pm

i think that clark proposes a mission to jupiter three years ago

so it looks like he is the true pro-space candidate
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Postby SBernard81 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:52 pm

I agree that Clark (or any other democrat for that matter) shouldn't run on an anti-moon platform, but they probably will. I think the majority of the public, conservative as well as liberal, is completely uninspired by this plan (because they are too cynical towards science), and can't understand why this is a priority right now.

In fact, as big a fan of space as I am, I can't for the life of me bring myself to actually say that this is what our tax dollars should be doing right now. If Bush hadn't cleaned out our surplus and turned it into a big ass deficit (Reaganomics hard at work), I would be dancing in the streets at this plan. But, I'm going to be perfectly honest and say maybe this plan should wait a few years, until we manage to repair our economy again. Then again, maybe instead, we can proceed as planned on this NASA thing, and instead we can cancel Bush's proposed 1.5 billion dollar plan to PROMOTE MARRAIGE, and repair diplomatic relations with other countries to lighten the load on Iraq's reconstruction bill. Yes, Bush is seriously spending 1.5 billion dollars to promote marraige. I'm not kidding.

So... I will understand and forgive democrats who run on an anti-Mars platform. However... I would still rather they did not. Five billion dollars over the next five years is pretty small compared to some of the other idiotic commitments George W. has dragged us into (like PROMOTING HETEROSEXUAL MARRAIGE), and this is something we should have done five years ago anyway. NASA needs a shot in the arm, and space kicks ass, and I want to go there before I die.
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Postby SBernard81 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:55 pm

I'm going to build my home on Jupiter someday. A blimp home powered by the fierce winds of Jupiter. Either that or I'm going to hollow out one of the ice rocks in Saturn's rings and live in that. I think some of them are big enough for that, anyway...
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Postby Chris Crosby on Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:44 pm

After we turn the deficit into a surplus again... we should STILL not go to the moon or Mars.

We should not go into space EVER AGAIN until somebody invents the Warp Drive, or something like it.

End Of Story.
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Postby SBernard81 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:10 pm

"I think the going to Mars is a great idea. George Bush should be the first to go." - Howard Dean

Zing-of-the-day!!!!!

We should not go into space EVER AGAIN until somebody invents the Warp Drive, or something like it.


Warp drive = impossible (Einstien is not to be triffled with), and space travel doesn't need to be sci-fi style to be cool. I'm sick of people asking for practical applications for Mars rovers and stuff. The search for life and truth in the cosmos, I would think, is something that is a bit higher in purpose than the search for a better microwave, and it would be nice if people had a great enough respect for things like science and truth to not badger and deride a poor NASA planner lady on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart!!!!

Ahem. Sorry. Space travel forever, even if Star Trek technology is non-existant!!!
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Postby Dezro on Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:52 pm

Gah. We can travel through space, but not too far out. We can travel through time, but not before 1902. Science sucks ass.

Personally, I think all the money should go towards these dudes. All of the money. All of it. Then, computers would give us the faster than FTL space travel and all that other crap and we'd all live like gods among equally powerful gods!
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Postby effovex on Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:12 pm

I don't think dollars would be wasted on a space program. In fact, dollars can't be wasted, as long as they're not left sitting on their ass. Inactive dollars are bad dollars.

Anyway, my point is that this is a way like any other to inject capital into the economy. That money will find it's way to other things. Money moves. The only thing that gets wasted, then, are perishable ressources, and time. Time we can not care about: in an individual life, there isn't enough, but collectively humans have more than they need. As for ressources, well, they are better spent that way than they would be building bombs, for one, and more importantly, there's this thing called recycling.

On the other hand, I'm sure that from the research done to get humans to mars, many things actually helpful and beneficial to our fellow non-spacemen will be developped. Recycling is one domain where space research would no doubt have a hand, since there are many things you can't very well extract from space. Space travel, then, requires an efficient management of ressources, and what better way to manage ressources than to reuse them?

So I think investing in space might not be totally dumb. Certainly it will have many benefits, including - but not limited to - moon bases.
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Postby SBernard81 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:41 pm

Don't give those Ray Kurzweil-esque guys too much stock dude. They're insane.
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Postby SBernard81 on Wed Jan 14, 2004 10:08 pm

Oops looks like a moon hoax post leaked in while I called Ray Kurzweil technology-will-soon-make-man-omnipotent people insane. Moon hoax people are more insane.

Please note that many of the problems that conspiracy theorists point to are related to the fact that perspective is REALLY confusing on the moon. For example, hills that look like they are small and a hundred yards away from the camera may actually be mountains that are miles from the camera. This is because the moon has no atmosphere, so, unlike on earth, objects do not fade out and lose contrast as they get farther away.

The shadow riddles are largely due to the fact that bumps, slopes, and inclines are very hard to identify in lunar photographs. The shadows that appear to be falling at incorrect, steeper angles are actually bending down slopes. There are equally rational explanations for all of the inconsistencies moon hoax people point out.

The basic solution to the moon hoax question is thus; what purpose would we have to fake the moon landing? Obviously, the goal would be to beat the Soviets, correct? Well, what most people never think about, is that the USSR had plenty of lunar scientists that were on par with our own. If ANYONE could have debunked our great lie, it would have been the Russians. They, however, had no problem with our evidence and never made any claims that we had faked our moon mission.

Yet, now, a few nutjobs with zero scientific background and using simple logic have uncovered this amazing conspiracy? Unlikely.

P.S. I have no idea whether you posted the moon hoax link in sarcastic jest. This rant is not directed at you, but to all the moon hoax people out there that may still be saved. And you, if you are one of them. Which I doubt you are. But whatever.
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Postby Dezro on Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:21 am

SBernard81 wrote:Oops looks like a moon hoax post leaked in while I called Ray Kurzweil technology-will-soon-make-man-omnipotent people insane. Moon hoax people are more insane.
Singularity freaks are crazy. Moon hoax weirdos are stupid. Neither are really insane. Trust me on this one. I know sanity. I went to an asylum once. Well, actually a children's mental hospital. Same difference. Either way, it was a week I can look back on and laugh at. Especially that gigantic kid who was batshit insane. That was funny.
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Postby Shepherd on Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:17 am

Singularity people scare me.

"Say, what are you doing tonight, Rob?"
"Not much, Todd. What do you say we get together and BUILD SKYNET?"

Ugh.
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:27 am

Let me extend your vignette a little bit.

Todd: "Say, what are you doing tonight, Rob?"
Rob: "Not much, Todd. What do you say we get together and BUILD SKYNET?"
Bob: "Do you think that's such a good idea? I mean aren't you naming it after an instance in a science-fiction movie where bad things ha-"
Todd: "NEO-LUDDITE!!!!"
Rob: "NEO-LUDDITE!!!!"
Todd: "NEO-LUDDITE!!!!"
Rob: "NEO-LUDDITE!!!!"
Bob: "Wait, is everyone who points out that technology has POTENTIAL NEGATIVE APPLICATION really a-"
Todd: "NEO-LUDDITE ALERT, LOOK OUT!!!!"
Rob: "You're such a NEO-LUDDITE, Bob, why don't you just go worship an ancient pagan god and hunt animals with a pointy stick, if you HATE TECHNOLOGY so much?"
Bob: "I never said I hate technology. I'm just saying we should be prudent about-"
Todd: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!" [head explodes with a soft thud noise]
Rob: "NOW LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO POOR TODD, YOU AMISH BASTARD!!!"
Bob: "I..."
Rob: "Don't you see?! To hate SKYNET is to hate THE VERY THING THAT MAKES US HUMAN!!!"

DAH DAH DUMMMMMM! The end.
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:37 am

Oh, and, I'm sorry that I didn't immediately assume that your moon hoax link was in jest, but sometimes the most sane people buy into that thing. My dad and my sister both do, and despite my having won many debates on the subject they have not changed their minds. There was also a kid in an animation class I took once who was spouting off about it, so I defeated him. The greatest thing is that people who believe insane things with little well-thought-out evidence love to believe the people who HAVEN'T bought in to their insanity are just mindless easily-led automatons. The only argument this kid had left when I was through with him was thus: "well, if we really went, why haven't we gone back???"

"Well, the answer is quite simple, really. We haven't returned to the moon because the political motivations for us going back have completely dried up, and all that is left is pure, impractically motivated "science" and the search for the truth, which typically isn't great at getting billions of dollars in funding, now is it? Also, recent calculations reveal that a new moon mission would actually be pricier than the old one (even after you take inflation into account)."

"Well, I still think we would've gone back, so I'll hold on to my belief system that I gleaned in a FOX special hosted by Agent Skinner from the X-Files."

"I'll hold on to my belief that you're an idiot, in that case."

"Done and done." [we shake hands]

So yeah, those moon hoax people are everywhere, like bacteria.
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Postby Paul Ganssle on Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:37 am

Who wants to go to the moon? It's covered in Wolfbats!
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:41 pm

Oh, and I don't want to imply that I am some enlightened skeptic who never falls for hoaxes. In 2000 I fell for that moon special hook, line and sinker, before finally being so distraught that I did additional research. It happens to the best of us, even me, the finest human specimen to ever live.
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:33 pm

AUGH, the forums look insane!!!

And yeah, seeing Buzz Aldrin punch that dude in the face may have been the most satisfying thing to see ever.
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Postby Dezro on Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:10 pm

The 'extended vignette' is pretty stupid for a number of reasons, most of which is that it KILLS THE HUMOR that Matt so carefully raised from a tender humorling, but I'll just ignore most of the stupidity and argue against the "ignoring the bad" part.

Actually the website I linked to dwells a lot on the negative application of superintellegent AI. I haven't read everything (there is a hell of a lot), but one of the ideas goes like this:

Say GWBush5.0 sets up the bomb, and the only way of saving the human race from extinction is starting up an AI and sending it to superintellegence. Unless you can gaurentee the AI will not turn evil, this is a horrible decision. Even if there's only a %5 chance of evil, humanity is better off dead. Since if the thing turns out evil, it could put every human alive in their own personal hell just for the DATA.

I can't explain things very well, but that's the gist of it. I don't know about most singularity guys but the guy behind the SIAI, Eliezer Yudkowsky, really knows his shit. He's some kind of weird genius. A lot of people are into transhumanism and singularity crap as some kind of masturbatory fantasy, "I could upload my brain into a computer and live forever!" Not this guy. He's got his shit together.
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:47 pm

The 'extended vignette' is pretty stupid for a number of reasons, most of which is that it KILLS THE HUMOR that Matt so carefully raised from a tender humorling[...]


Damn. I will make sure not to harm other people's jokes in the future and only mangle my own. Hehhhhhhh (I would put an uncomfortable smirk emoticon here but I hate emoticons).

Ray Kurzweil types DO acknowledge many of the inherent dangers in the approaching "singularity" (whether it really exists or not is an open question), but at the same time, if you think they are not easily offended by people who have trepidations about certain forms of technology (say, virtual reality or genetic engineering), we must not have read the same people. Hell, I remember Ray Kurzweil openly rebuked the movie 'The Matrix' as being 'neo-luddite.' The term neo-luddite is often used by the guy as a way of dismissing the opinions of others.

For example, if you told Ray Kurzweil that artificial realities are a bad idea and that it's probably a bad thing for human sanity to fully immerse ourselves into fake realities, I have no doubt he'd call your views neo-luddite. Expressing dangers, they approve of, suggesting that maybe the dangers outweigh the rewards... BAD. At least with Kurzweil. I cannot comment on Yudkowsky and his organization.

Also, I have to add this... I think most of these singularity guys have really fucked up time tables. By 2050 humans are going to be immortal, nanomechanical god-esque organisms? Come on Kurzweil, get real. I think people like him think this shit just because it's more comfortable than acknowledging we're probably all gonna be dead before humans defeat aging, and thus the singularity won't be our battle to fight/reward to reap.

Man, my poor sense of humor. Why must you be so cruel Dezro???

P.S. You're almost as cruel as that horrible Simon Cowell!! How dare the man tell people who can't sing that they cannot sing??

P.S.S. Note my topical humor above. Do I recieve bonus points?
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:51 pm

I probably deserved it anyway, after picking on Scott Kurtz' PvP in another thread in a cruel manner.
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Postby Dezro on Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:35 pm

Eh, Kurtz deserves to be picked on.

As for time tables, one of the things Yudkowsky argues is that the stuff will come along as early as next year. Which is kinda freaky, but there are supercomputers that have at least a fifth the power of the human brain, so who knows? All we really need is the right software, a few years, and mature nanotechnology. Oh, crap.

It seems SIAI is going to try programming the 'seed ai' in Java when they get the funds to hire some programmers. That'd be neat. Ooh! They could make it an applet! So you could doom humanity to the hell of enslavement by robots in your web browser!

About Kurzweil: It seems that avoiding reading his crap was a good idea. So at risk of being labeled a neo-luddite, I'll continue to do so. I have also decided he's a dumbass. THIS IS MY DECREE, IT SHALL BE SO.

In any case, this is too far off topic. So. The moon. Why haven't we blown it up yet?
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Postby SBernard81 on Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:08 pm

Well, there's nothing I'd love more than to be proven wrong by the singularity types (timescale-wise), as I very much want to fight (and inevitably die) in the great War of Robots.

It is true that computers have one-fifth the power of the human brain, and it will not be long until computers surpass us in pure computational prowress. However, I think equating power with intelligence is a common mistake singularity types make. Kurzweil, for example, was fond of saying that, once computers become that powerful, they will "evolve" intelligence. I fail to see how Darwinism would necessarily favor artificial intelligence in the PC market. We're not talking about computers figuring out methods of finding food and water on a harsh savannah here... we're talking about a form of Darwinism run by economics instead of natural processes and death.

Then again, who knows. I just read an article about a genetics computer that doesn't just crunch numbers, but rather, makes hypothesis and chooses what data to go after and experiments to perform. Maybe the singularity people aren't as alarmist as I make them out to be.

Nanotechnology is even more hyped up. It is certainly a vastly interesting field that holds enormous promise for the future, but I think the technology is going to wind up growing much more slowly than the singularity folks think it will. I can't imagine us figuring out how to enhance our own brains using nanotechnology in less than 50 years when we both have a far from full understanding of how our brain functions and are even farther from any idea on how to "improve" said functioning.

Then again, we went from no human space flight to visiting the moon in less than ten years, right?

Speaking of the moon, Carl Sagan didn't feel we should waste our time with more moon missions before moving on to more pressing matters. He felt the experience of another moon mission would hardly be applicable "practice" in terms of gearing up for a Mars mission, and that it would simply be a waste of time and would fail to interest the general public, being a dry dustball that we already have a pretty decent understanding of.

He thought we should practice our skills by visiting a near-earth asteroid. This would be much more useful experience than another moon mission, much more interesting, and to get funding you could always send Bruce Willis, film it, and sell it as Armageddon 2: The Awakening.

Of course, establishing a permanent human presence on the moon IS an interesting concept. However... I can't imagine how we would be able to do that. The idea seems to rely on the opinion some scientists hold that there is water ice on the moon, but that idea has recently begun losing stock. If there is no water there, and no resources to speak of other than solar energy and some oxygen trapped within the moon rocks, I can't imagine setting up any kind of sustainable community there. Then again, I'm no scientist (or president Bush).
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