[ExI] Easter Island again

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Thu Mar 26 05:32:41 UTC 2009

On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 10:57 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> What I was looking for is technical suggestions about how people with
> human labor, knowledge, six square miles of rocks and a little
> charcoal could implement a modern technological society on Easter
> Island.  This is in the context of mining the moon.  I don't see how
> to do it.  I don't know if I could do it on a budget of many billions
> and ship loads of equipment.

I honestly doubt that you- or any one else- knows how to do it even
with a trillion dollars. The knowledge simply isn't there at the
moment. Especially if charcoal is the only available material- sure
there might be some chemistry that you can do to extract out and
purify the carbon, but there carbon isn't enough to make modern
industrial civilization work (e.g., see the nitrogen cycle and the
agricultural system).

So, I think that it's a problem that we don't know exactly what
equipment would be the minimal set of tools required to bootstrap
modern technological society. There's been a lot of thought put into
this that you might want to read up on-


Starting with limited resources is what would happen out in space, but
what about just assuming we have access to any material we need? Do we
know- precisely- without running into patents, IP barriers, and so on,
the exact steps and sequences of processes that we would have to strum
together to make this happen? So far, I don't think so, but that's
what open manufacturing is somewhat about.

Since we don't have many billions, or even trillions, what are the
minimal set of steps that we can perform today, to help work on
something like this? The way I see it, it's mainly a large lack of
knowledge that impedes the work on bootstrapping industrial
civilization- such as a formulation of different modularized
manufacturing unit processes and how much each piece 'opens up' in
terms of capacity- or on the other hand, simply an internet-accessible
repository of these different processes that people could dump
standardized, structured information into so that these analyses of
how to 'mine the moon' with a limited set of vitamin parts (or
something) can happen. I'd be happy just seeing it happen with
detailed models for a good first step- not just a list of names of
tools (which is even better than what we have now, but an actual CAD
models and parametric information- which would then lead to a
collaborative platform for engineering work on this front, instead of
O'Neill's work from the 70s being lost (and so on) becoming
inaccessible and otherwise dying in terms of active work. Among other
advantages that I've harped on for about just about forever now.

- Bryan
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