Off Earth

Erika Nesvold 2023 Beav. Lib 629.442 NES


What I read in the book (a few dozen page-samples, not the whole whiny thing) shows similar evasion of responsibility. If you think you know better than the entrepreneurs busting 100-hour weeks for a few tiny gains, find solutions YOURSELF, and RIGOROUSLY test them. Don't demand their attention like a spoiled toddler.

Space settlement advocates spend thousands of hours thinking and writing about social solutions, in addition to technical problem solving. I have 20 shelf-feet of that. The biggest problem is that societies are REALLY COMPLEX and INTRICATE, and we haven't got anywhere close to "Newton's Laws" of human behavior. Indeed, a model-able mind is subvertable mind, perhaps the explanation for why free minds aren't modelable.

Develop the analytical tools, and ethical engineers will gladly apply them. Sadly, this is VERY DIFFICULT; one brain neuron is more complicated than a Saturn V rocket. Not as complicated as a precise model of an exoplanetary dust cloud. Driven, of course, by Lyapunov instability; the model won't be precise for long.

Fortunately, we have enormously capable computers to implement analytical models. Unfortunately, we lack rigorous, reproducible models. If this is the important problem (I believe so), study brains and minds and their interactions, not exoplanets. Avoid politically-correct newspeak, the word-salad phlogiston of human behavioral "science".

The real message is "engineering is easy, people are hard". With excellent analytical tools for the former (which still fail most of the time), and a practical absence of people analytics (opinion polls and nose counts are NOT analytics), it is unsurprising how engineers and entrepreneurs actually choose to allocate their limited attention.

Gerard K. O'Neill asked "Is a planetary the best place for an advanced technological civilization?"

Most space advocates say "probably NOT the best place". The CO₂-driven heat death of Canadian forests and the 100℉ oceans off Florida as I write this suggest "almost certainly not". I'm sure better is possible, but it is way easier for my shaved-ape neighbors to ignore physics, park their SUV with their engine running, air conditioning running, and windows open while they use their "smart" phone. An activity creating 20 times as much CO₂ as electricity powering my house, my too-many computers, and my Mb/s share of the global internet.

OffEarth (last edited 2023-08-20 03:07:48 by KeithLofstrom)