Re: MEDIA: NOVA on Gamma Ray Bursters

From: Wei Dai (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 17:05:29 MST

On Sat, Jan 12, 2002 at 04:36:50AM -0800, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> The critical point Spike makes is the fact that stellar
> civilizations don't go anywhere "quickly". There is a
> big difference between "colonizing" at a milli-c vs. 0.1 c
> (a figure typically used for interstellar travel).
> You can go quickly in a small ship -- but then you are
> a "seed" (perhaps with no qualms about returning to
> steal the resources of the parent). If you go as
> the entire civilization (so you maintain internal trust
> levels), you travel by the slow boat. This *significantly*
> impacts any thoughts that the galaxy should appear "colonized".

Why the assumption that the seed will betray the parent? Are you
saying that it's impossible to build an intelligent agent with stable long
term goals? I don't see how you can justify this given that we have no
theory or practice in this area.

> One point that wasn't clear to me from Spike's post was
> what the point was of going to another system. You can't
> harvest material from the stars quickly. So the only thing
> you can do is rip off the planetary material.

Why can't you harvest material from stars quickly? What's the slow way of
doing it, and why can't it be speeded up?

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