[extropy-chat] Panicmongering

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Tue Jun 27 05:53:09 UTC 2006

Spike writes

> > Russell wrote:  Well, there was a bit more to it in this case - what I was
> > objecting to was the proposal that we allow fear of terrorism to dominate
> > our lives to the extent of dismantling much of our infrastructure...
> Oh dear, I have surely overstated my case, inadvertently.

No, I don't think you did, FWIW.

> I have a vision of the US containing a billion people within fifty years.
> We are trying to stop them at the borders, but in the long run I see this as
> futile.  So we need to triple our current everything.  My notion is to build
> the newer cities on a Silicon Valley model as opposed to a New York City
> model.  More land for everyone, less attractive as terrorism targets.  Of
> course, when we get this continent with the populations densities I
> envision, it will then be full.

Let's see what population densities that might be. Suburbs currently 
run at about 10,000 people per square mile, or 6000 per square

Space is not only expanding in cosmology, but sociologically and
economically too. The mid-West is being abandoned by people. Vast
areas of the Dakotas, for example, used to exhibit small towns,
but are vacant now. Food production has increased per acre by
about a factor of 5 since 1950, while the population has only
about doubled. Julian Simon writes about the marvels of hydroponics
in "The Ultimate Resource2", and an area the size of San Antonio,
Texas could feed the present population of the U.S.

Anyway, at roughly 3,000,000 square miles, by the above reckoning
there is room for 3,000,000 times 10,000 or about 30 billion souls
in the U.S. And that's before uploading!  :-)

> For instance, we may wonder why Europe Inc. is so interested in stopping
> Iran from refining nuclear fuel.  I see why Israel and the US would have
> heartburn from that, but why England, France and Germany?

Western democracies often respond to the will of the people.
Politicians try to at least stay out in front of the crowd,
even if they're not doing any leading at all.

> I recognize that this is outside the comfort zone of many here, and for this
> I apologize.

That should not be necessary!  This forum not only still welcomes
topics that may make people, but if I have any say in it, positively
encourages them. I read this list not only to have my ideas
criticized, but precisely to be made uncomfortable by certain
ideas or arguments. I am sure I am not alone.

You probably meant, of course, something like "too bad.".

Hmm. That's not it. You probably meant "I feel very sorry 
for you."

Hmm. That's not it either. Let me try "It's unfortunate that
these ideas are outside your comfort zone". Close, but no
banana. "You are unfortunate that these ideas are outside
your comfort zone, and I feel your pain"?  No, that's not
it either.

I give up. I thought I could nail it. Maybe you were just trying
to be "nice".


> If the world allows Iran to refine uranium, then any nation can refine
> uranium, and this old planet will be awash in low level radioactive waste,
> never mind nukes for now.  Do you see any dangers in dozens of poor starving
> nations selling or giving away this stuff?  England and France are sitting
> over there with that tunnel under the English Channel, a stunningly
> expensive bit of infrastructure that they would be loathe to see getting
> contaminated by all that loose rad-waste that may result if Iran is allowed
> to refine yellowcake.

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