[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Fwd: LIT e-mail discussion group

At 10:53 AM 1/19/96, Kevin C Houston wrote:
>Kevin To Kelly
>Note, I'm using a different letter than the I'm replying to, because
>there are some new people on the cc list.


>Kelly, you keep trying to compare apples to organges when you talk about
>repair vs. buying new.  On the Repair side, you have materials, labor,
>expertise, and energy.  You then try to say that these are much higher
>than buying new, otherwise groups on earth would be doing this right now.
>by saying this, you are comparing the cost of manufacturing a single
>specific high-tech gizmo with the cost of manufacturing a million
>specific high-tech gizmo's.  That's not the same thing at all.

>Of course buying something new is cheaper,  the economies of scale make
>sure of it.  but in a limited system, repair would be balanced by the
>transport wieght of the spare.  if it weighs 1 Kg, then it's going to
>take a whole lot of energy to boost it up to cruising speed (I still say
>C is possible, and I intend to prove it) and back down again.  This is
>the cost which must be balanced against the cost of repairing an object.
>Some spares should be brought, and other things should be designed for
>easy repair.

Actually there is a three way split.  Build, repair, carry spares.  In our
case the ship would need to be most concerned about mass.  I.E. you might
be able to make new I.C. chips, but the chips manufacturing equip would
weigh more then a 40 year supply of circuts.  Other things like exotic hard
to manufacture alloys, composits, cermats, whatever, that the shuttles
would need.  Might require equipment too large to be carried along.

Bottom line things will wear out.  When it comes to the point that the
frames, hulls, main power systems and such have reached their service
lives.  They are not practical to repair, they are scrap.  Unless your
proposing bringing all the equipment that every high end manufacturer uses.
Sooner or later were going to run out of stuff.  As the gear for things
fails were going to have to give up doing things.  Exploration and
planetary landings would probably go first, but sooner or later even
survival would be chancy.

>as for the amish.  I say if there is trouble with the amish in your area,
>it is probably modern society which is in the wrong.  There is a large
>Amish community near my hometown (Viroqua WI which I'm sure nobody ever
>heard of) and I have always found them to be peaceful people who only
>wish to be left alone.  If modern society is encroaching, then it is not
>the amish's fault.  Anyway, this is not the place for this discussion, my

Yeah the bigges around here with the Amish are that they tend to chew up
(and dirty) the roads with the horses, and they try to run resteranys that
don't meet hygen standards.  Also some problem with pollution since they
don't want to upgrade sanitation and plumbing.

>My point about the amish, is that by sticking to a particular point in
>developement (whether that point is 1840's, 1900's, 1940' or 2000's
>doesn't matter) one can significantly reduce the amount of "effort"
>needed to keep the society going.  Add to that the fact that much of
>earth-bound technology is _deliberately_ inefficient, and I think we can
>get much better than a ten or one hundred fold reduction in personal.  I
>think we could get that, just by standardizing the equipment, and
>roboticizing much of the routine jobs.

Judging from the fact they work harder at maintaining there lowtech comune
life style then I do my high tech style, I'm not sure about your

The military is probably a better example.  They need rugged equipment, and
keep it for decades with limited upgrades.  But sooner or later it wears
out and has to be thrown away.  In a colony situation where your
encountering new phenominon, your not going to be able to freeze yourself
at some 'efficent' form forever.

I totaly disagre with your assumption that a most social effort is senceles
inovation for novelties sake.  Thing have to be replaced routinly. MOst
industries have to live with the fact of market saturation.

>I take execption with your statement that we can't endlessly recycle, the
>limits on recycling are not material, there are energy.  Lint can be
>re-woven into socks, if you are willing to totally break down the plastic
>fibers and re-form them.  Rust can be turned back into iron, you just
>need some electricity.

In theory thats true.  Reality doesn't live there.  The limits are
practicality.  You could break everything down to basic chemicals, ion
separate them to acceptable prurity, and mine that like ore.  But what
sence would that make?  Could you afford to bring along all that equiment?
Even if you could what advantage would it give you?

>I also think your warehouse vs farm numbers are off, as in your farm
>estimates, you are assumeing some kind of soil, and not taking into
>account hydroponics.  without the soil, the weight goes down drastically,
>since the water can be re-cycled endlessly.
>Kevin in the frozen North

The weight estimates were from the old stanford study.  which used mixed
soil and hydro farming.  (Hydro isn't that light, I mean water is heavy
too.)  The big kicker was the weight of the habitation area needed for the
farm gear.  That would roughly double the internal volume needed.  It gets
especially bad if you need to shield it.

The book is on line now at

Oh, NASA giving up on hydroponics to.  Seems the maintenence and
relyability are bad for exploration systems.  Light soil based is now
considered more promising.  I'll reserve judgment.



Kelly Starks                       Internet: kgstar@most.fw.hac.com
Sr. Systems Engineer
Magnavox Electronic Systems Company
(Magnavox URL: http://www.fw.hac.com/external.html)