Re: What Extropians can do

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 11:44:03 MDT

"Chen Yixiong, Eric" wrote:
> I propose that, if we implement this project, we emphasise to the
> world that we would like to experiment on how to build space colonies
> and new Infostructure systems instead of liberating ourselves from
> Earth. This could turn potential enemies into allies, since many
> other nations would want to do space exploration too.

Which is why I think your idea might be a good thing, *if* done as an
actual space colony rather than another micronation on the Earth. We
can say anything we want; the proof is in what we do - thus, we will be
believed a lot more if we are quite visibly doing space research by
dint of living up there. Plus, once up there, we gain easier access
to asteroids et al, which helps solve the resource problem. (If there
were an equally rich source at some spot under the sea, then one might
likewise suggest founding a colony near said spot, either underwater or
on the surface with a column for easy mineral and mining robot
transport down to it.)

> I must bring the important issues into our awareness now instead of
> finding ourselves confronted with this unpleasant issue in the
> future. In space living, we absolutely require high power weapons to
> deflect or destroy asteroids or we have to have very good rockets or
> non-Newtonian populsion (to avoid problems with acceleration on human
> bodies).

Ah...that's not too much more of a problem for a colony in Earth orbit
than for the Earth itself. That is to say, for the most part, it's no
problem at all. Micrometeorites and solar radiation are more of a
problem, but neither of those can justify high powered weapons. OTOH,
mounting (low-power) rockets on the colony will do wonders to confound
anyone lobbing weapons at us, since with most such weapons, we'll have
easily an hour's (probably a day's) warning if we have some automated
telescopes scanning for objects incoming from Earth...and (at least at
first) they will probably be ballistic once launched, meaning they
can't react to our dodging.

> These weapons can also act as a good deterrent to any nasty nations
> that irrationally want to destory us. The luddites may think that we
> want to take over the world but:
> 1) we can go far away and say we don't want to interact with Earth
> except for the purposes of trade

Except that anyone outside the gravity well can drop stuff into the
gravity well, with significant destructive potential and little ability
for the targets to guard (or dodge). Orbital bombardment is not a new
concept, even if it hasn't (yet) been put into practice much (though
see the accidental results of Skylab's reentry). Therefore, merely
being up there, by itself, gives us half of a major weapon; the other
half (gathering the mass, building the launchers, and programming our
computers with targetting software) can easily be hidden behind
legitimate colony construction where it's even visible.

> 2) we let someone else build their colony first, and wait for them to
> arm themselves when they find too many asteroids. Then we can excuse
> ourselves (provided we can find enough suitable fission material) on
> the basis of space defence.

Won't work: no one else has an excuse to arm themselves either, except
as overt anti-Earth weaponry. OTOH, if anyone else has significant
space transport capability, we could certainly justify small arms (say,
enough to shoot up a space shuttle transporting a large hostile
boarding party).

> I suggest purchasing an island or chain of islands at low cost. For
> instance, some uninhabited islands which have to routinely have to
> deal with tsunamis. Then we place "wave breakers" under the waters
> around the islands. I don't know if these exists or not, however, I
> think we can find it technically possible to redirect and reduce the
> flow of water before it hits land. Someone once suggested using
> bubbles to do the job. As for tropical storms, we can probably use
> some well-placed powerful bombs to disrupt the air flow and stop
> them.

Ah...that'd take more resources (mainly money) than, I suspect,
everyone on this list pooled together has, or will probably have for
the next 10 years (assuming no Singularity before 2015).

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