[ExI] OP-ED: The billionaire space race reflects a colonial mindset that fails to imagine a different world

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 00:34:53 UTC 2021

Look down at what you wrote:  lots and lots of words about
specifications of this and that and tiny bits about plants, vistas, trees
and dirt.  Hardly any color.  So people can tell that you are a tech person
and not a poet.  Or in other words, the way you wrote would be just about
the opposite of what you would want to present to prospects for living
there.  You want words like 'lush'.   What percentage of the ecology of the
earth could be represented?  Two of everything including microbes?  Two
kilometers is rather small.  The place needs different environments, such
as prairie and jungle.  Different seasons.

It could be very attractive to me if I had to leave Earth.  But it's kind
of like Disney World:  you know everything is fake in a way.  I would still
want to visit planets if I was on a habitat.  You have to realize that I am
difficult to please.  Look at what most people are happy with:  an 8 x 10
deck to plant a few ferns.  I have 100 roses.    Maybe I am just a bit
claustrophobic.   bill w

On Thu, Aug 26, 2021 at 5:24 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 26, 2021 at 2:16 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Vastly better quality of life?  Hah.  I cannot imagine living in space in
>> some rotating asteroid or totally manmade thing.  I am quite sure I would
>> not like it at all.  I want to look out the window and see a real sky and
>> dirt and trees and flowers and animals.  I don't want a high res image of
>> the sky - I want real sky.
> I can imagine it.  Let me paint you a vision from one of my upcoming
> works.  (Coming out...maybe November, more likely early next year.)
> There exists an alien race (the K'kree, from Traveller) who are
> substantially more claustrophobic than humans.  There are tales (in
> universe), possibly exaggerated, of some having panic attacks so severe
> that they tore their way out of spaceships just to be "outside" with no
> consideration of first donning spacesuits (in fact, viewing them as a form
> of further confinement), which had predictably fatal consequences.  And
> yet, they wished to conquer the stars.  (The setting includes a FTL drive.)
> Some of them got around this by constructing giant arks - mobile O'Neill
> cylinders (the setting includes a drive that can handle gravity and
> inertia; a comparable habitat for RL humans wouldn't need to move).  These
> arks are 2 kilometers in length and diameter, with concentric decks each 50
> m radius (100 m diameter).  The outermost deck is spun to 1 G; each deck
> inward reduces gravity by 0.05 G, down to a minimum 0.25 G; the space below
> the 250 m radius is hollow, to afford a 0 G space for industrial efforts
> and docking.  (Independently rotatable docking rings line the central
> corridor; when a ship wishes to dock, it settles onto one of these rings,
> which secures the ship then spins up to match the ark's rotation, finally
> synchronizing position with transit tubes to let crew, passengers, and
> cargo transfer between ship and ark.)
> On each of the outermost decks (used for habitation; the outer skin is
> shielded enough that even the outermost deck has about the same radiation
> exposure as one would get on the surface of a typical planet), habitable
> structures rarely rise beyond 10 meters tall, very rarely beyond 20, and
> never beyond 30 unless they mean to link to the deck above.  There is about
> 10 meters of interdeck plating, leaving 40 meters of occupied space.  The
> decks above tend to be covered by cloud-like mist at all times; if and
> where they are not (which may be "never"), they are covered by plants.
> The horizon may curve up instead of down, but it is a true horizon: one
> can only see so far along the curve of the world, and if one travels to
> that point, one can see further in the direction traveled but not so far in
> the other direction (what used to be in sight, now being beyond the horizon
> back that way).  The horizon may be only along one axis, but on the other
> horizontal axis (if you are not right next to one of the walls), the ark is
> long enough that the far distance fades into the blue of air - like how
> trees on a planetary horizon, when you can see that far, appear more sky
> colored than green.
> Unless specifically excavated for a building, the "ground" is covered by
> thick dirt, with trees and flowers and grass.  Some arks even have areas
> with wildlife, monitored so they do not damage ship systems or residents.
> A majority of the internal volume is "wasted" being open air with little
> function beyond aesthetics, but it is these aesthetics that enable the
> aliens to permanently live in space.  If repurposed for humans, a few
> million humans could live on one, with ample industrial space with which to
> maintain it (given sufficient raw materials input, such as from asteroid
> mining).
> That's a better living situation than some spacefaring volume-optimized
> apartment brick, no?  It does require costs to come down so planners of
> space structures don't have to be hyperfixated on minimizing mass; getting
> resources from space and building in space should help with this.
> I simply cannot imagine some tech being lost unless it is to a more
>> advanced tech.
> It's not that the tech is lost, per se, just that it becomes uneconomical
> to make in changing circumstances - and thus becomes effectively lost.
> I can imagine a future person having the ability to make his own chips or
>> just anything he needs just by pushing buttons.
> Getting there requires the kind of effort that you need to distribute the
> cost of over lots of people - billions, maybe more - who would use,
> benefit from, and fund, or it just doesn't happen.
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