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[links] Link salad drives with its top down in the rain - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-06-07 05:09
Subject: [links] Link salad drives with its top down in the rain
Security: Public
Tags:cool, funny, healthcare, links, movies, personal, politics, religion, reviews, science, sex. christianism, tech, videos, weird, writing
Obama issues statement on Ray Bradbury's deathSic transit gloria mundi.

Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203 — A Paris Review interview. (Snurched from @lilithsaintcrow.)

Artisanal Pencil Sharpening — Hmm. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

[info]dr-phil-physics on Snow White and the Huntsmanimdb ]

Steampunk Summer — This is pretty cool. (Via [info]goulo

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit — Speaking of the unbounded future. (Via AH through [info]tillyjane.)

Tiny Robots Mend Broken HeartsMillimeter-scale devices could give surgeons the ability to operate on beating hearts.

Medication Nation: We Pop Way Too Many Painkillers For Our Own Good

Tree of Life Project Aims for Every Twig and Leaf — This is cool. (Via my Dad.)

The Squid and the Electric Current: Remembering the Work of a Brain Pioneer

10 Strangest Uses For Sex Dolls — Probably not a work-safe link.

Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded — As usual, Christianists want to impose their arbitrary personal values on all of society.

Religious Pilgrimages: 14 Of The World's Most Spiritual Destinations

Mitt Romney Addresses Cthulhu And Other Supporters At A R'lyeh Fundraiser — (Snurched from Slackivist Fred Clark.)

?otd: Got wet?




6/7/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (birthday madness)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.25 (fitful)
Weight: n/a (forgot)
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

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jetse
User: jetse
Date: 2012-06-07 21:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ehrm, about the Baffler article (to quote):

"Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?"

"That pretty much answers the question of why we don’t have teleportation devices or antigravity shoes."

The article then points the finger to a plethora of culprits (capitalism, government bureaucracy, the inability to give the truly brilliant a free reign, neoliberalism, et al), yet completely glosses over the point that the utmost of the inventions/innovations wanted are either, most probably, physically impossible, or mostly economically not feasible.

To wit:

--teleportation, anti-gravity, immortality, tractor beams, force fields: physically impossible or so immensely difficult (in theory, let alone in practice) as to be practically unfeasible;

--flying cars, colonies on Mars, human space travel, personal robots for everyone: all of those are *economically* uninteresting.

Industrial robots are already decades old: they produce your cars, computers, smartphones and what-have-you. But they are so expensive that they can only make back their investment if they mass-produce. Not if they are the butler of a single person (unless that person is Bill Gates): just way too expensive.

Same for a flying car: the fuel consumption per mile is insane, apart from little things like everybody needing his own runway (unless we use VTOL flying cars, whose fuel consumption per mile is even more insane), and the practical consideration: why use a flying car when a normal car can get you there for 1% of the cost? The super-rich have flying cars: they only call them helicopters or private planes. It's the economy, stupid.

Similarly, colonies on Mars (or even on the Moon): space travel is prohibitively expensive. To get a kilogram out of Earth's gravity well is immensely expensive. That's why Earth orbit satellites are used (they make their investments back through communication, GPS and other usage), and unmanned vessels traverse the solar system: making an environment that supports human life in a hostile area called space is, so far, prohibitively expensive (apart from the rare moments that national pride demands it, which is still stupendously expensive, but a price that seems worth paying at that moment).

Now, I do sincerely hope we will have colonies on the Moon and Mars (and even my compatriots are working at it: just Google MARS ONE). But we need to make it economically feasible, first and foremost.

Why invest a several trillion dollars on a Mars mission when for the same money you could greatly relieve poverty and hunger in Africa, give decent healthcare to everyone in the US, or create a huge amount of jobs world-wide (just to name a few)?

We need to get our priorities straight, and -- sorry to say -- flying cars, teleportation and anti-gravity are not our current priorities.

Now you can call me an anarcho-capitalist, or worse...;-)
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