Re: Why bother (was Re: Introducing myself)

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Sun Apr 07 2002 - 12:57:04 MDT

--- Carlo Wood <> wrote:
I've always been convinced that
> humanity will
> die unless we manage to get away from this planet
> and
> colonize other planets. If not because there is a
> high risk
> of putting ALL our genes (and everything we every
> accomplished)
> on one planet together with atom bombs and polution,
> or because
> soon we'll run out of materials, energy and destroy
> our environment
> beyond the point where we can survive

There are several flaws in the above thinking.
(1) most of the atomic bombs are already mounted
on rockets. What makes you think they won't follow
you to other planets?
(2) the materials of which the Earth is composed
aren't 'used up'. Aside from the small amount
converted in nuclear reaction, atoms are forever.
I like to think of landfills as future resource
mines we haven't figured out how to use effectively
yet, kind of like mineral reserves that are not
economic to mine at the present time.
(3) even the most heavily polluted places on
Earth are easier to colonize than any planet.
Take a good look at the Moon. Nature bombed it
for 500 million years, there's no atmosphere or
biological materials, and has a higher radiation
environment than downtown Hiroshima the day after
we bombed it.
(4) The Earth isn't a closed system from an energy
standpoint, so we can't 'run out' of that either,
at least until the Sun dies.

 then because
> the sun
> will burn up (or explode) in the end.

Left to itself (which won't happen if the Singularity
does), the Sun will last ~5 billion more years and
end up as a red dwarf. It won't go boom.
it isn't reasonable to expect we will change
> anything until it
> is too late (poisoned atmosphere, more humans then
> the earth
> and feed and a civilisation that is fragile and will
> break
> down totally when we don't even get MORE people,

Poulation growth is slowing:
when America, or Europe or Japan etc
> turns into
> an area like Libanon or Irak.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution
250 years ago, the trend has been for 'developed'
areas to spread. The drivers have been the search
for cheap labor and the spread of literacy.

The world view you have of impending doom and
gloom started with the Club of Rome's "Limits
to Growth" study. They used computer models
to project where society was going. There were
two critical flaws in their study, though.
one was the assumption of constant technology
over time spans of a century, which is clearly
wrong. The other was to treat the Earth as
a closed system, which it is not as long as
the Sun shines. So cheer up.


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