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To Kelly

Tim replies to Kelly:

>> OK, but we don't need much manufacturing after the initial build up. It
>> takes much less effort to keep what you have than to build something from
>> scratch.
>> Also a big amount of the 95% spend on manufacturing are the cost for raw
>> materials, I expect the cost of mining raw materials will be less at TC
>> because we can pick the easiest sites. No deep-sea oil drilling, most ores
>> we need will be somewhere near the surface.
>Raw materials will be in space.  MOst of the best ore beds on earth are
>crashed asteroids.  We can go to the source!

Yes, that's what I meant, so that means a saving of say 80% with respect to
the raw materials. Thus we have 5% spent on R&D and 15% spent on other

>Its not allways easier to maintain an established thing then to build a new
>thing to replace it.  Often its much more expensive to maintain the old thing
>then replace it.  Thats especially true of light high performance things like
>space ships, trucks, and cars.  We could be a bit more effocent then people
>are here on earth, but not dramatically so.  If we could, people would do
>that here to save money.  Actually since we'ld be doing things in small
>coustom bunches, not large mass production lots like back here on earth.
> We'll be far less efficent in T.C. space.

People do buy new things because they can faster earn the money for a new
object than repair it themselves or take the trouble and time to get it
>> I still don't see why it is not possible to scale things down. If you need
>> 1 million people to feed 3 million people why can't you do with 100 workers
>> for 300 people?
>Actually it takes a couple dozen people to feed 3 million people.  But to
>maintain a socyiety it takes millions of differnt professions.  You cant
>train 100 people, to each do 60,000 professions and do them well.  And we
>arn't in a good position to deal with a lot of sloppy workmanship.

I hoped you would take the word feed not literally...
Anyway a lot of these professions are sub-divisions of other ones, how many
"professions" are taught at universities and schools? All economic,
administrative, trade and a lot of social professions won't be needed that
bad in a small independant colony. You said yourself that the bigger the
group, the more coordination is needed.

>>>Later in this letter you mentioned this idea again and suggested if systems
>>>were designed to be maintained they would require less replacement.  To a
>>>degree true.  But after a couple decades everthing wears out; and the reason
>>>we got used to throwing away things rather than repairing them, is its
>>>cheaper and takes less effort.
>> Yes, but in those decades you would need much less new materials meaning a
>> lot less work. The cheaper-throwing-away habit will not work on TC because
>> it will take more effort to build a completely new object than to replace a
>> single part. The reason that I mentioned this was not to say that things
>> wouldn't wear out, but that the amount of work needed would be less since
>> not all parts of the object have to be replaced each time.
>Why do you say, a few decades?  What would change after 30 or 70 years?  Are
>you expecting better ships or something?

No, you misunderstood, I meant the time that the objects would last. Of
course there isn't really a duration that an object lasts because it has had
many repairs, but I meant that time was equal to the breakdowntime of the
last part.
So by the time all parts have been replaced once or more times, you should
add up the work for building say 100 new sets each having 100 parts OR
replacing and making 1000 new parts.


>No the fuel is still multiplied by tweenty. Thats the whole point.

OK, I think I see what you mean.

>Earth got life very quickly after it cooled.  Mars may have life.  Then their
>is Venus whose crust is wrong which makes it to hoot.  What does that give
>you for odds?  And is it an average sample?  Given the extreams of
>temperature, radiation, chemistry, etc.. that life lives in on earth.
> (icewater, nuclear reactor cores, water hundreds of centigrade above 0,
>deserts) I'ld expect to find life almost anywhere.

What kind of live lives around nuclear reactor cores? I've heard that some
old corpses were not decomposed because they were burried in a cave where
the radiaton level was so high that even the decomposing bacteria couldn't
live there.
Mars may have life but if we won't check it we can't be sure, so lets launch
a simple rocked, that takes some samples and analizes them for some traces
of life.

>Venuses temp is NOT due to its atmosphere.  Its due to its crust, its a
>fraction of the thickness of earth crust and doesn't insulate well enough to
>keep the surface cool.

So after the venus cools down slowly, the crust will get thicker and it may
become like Earth?

>You can get just as dead in liquid air as in liquid metal.  Eiather way your
>pushing equipment hard, and without a good survival odds when it fails.

I wasn't assuming a planet with an liquid metal atmosphere. By the way it
would be hard to build something there.

>> I'm not sure, would recycling not have a bigger influence on reducing the
>> need for raw materials? Taking all the rubbish down means that the rubbish
>> on Earth would increase, and we already have to much of that.
>For ecology purposes moving heavy industry off planet would do more than
>anything else to ease ecology strain.  Of course their are international
>political and cultural problems with that (proably a couple of wars with the
>third world).

Heavy industry on Earth is so dirty because it uses a lot of energy and
doesn't take enough care about its side-products. When fusion becomes
normal, energy is very clean. And in space you can't just leave all the dust
flying around either.

>Stuff can't be recycled forever.  After a while it just doesn't make any
>sence.  Right now we in the (throw it all away) U.S. have litle real problem
>with waste disposal (though an incredible amount of political problems).
> about 80%-90% of our garbage is paper and similar compustables.  The small
>fraction of metals and plastics %5ish, can be broken down or shiped into
>space if you crazy enough.  Besides if the industry moves off planet to get
>to the resources, the materials to be recycled would need to be shiped up to
>be recycled anyway.

Shipping up takes large amounts of energy, that means an environmental
problem unless you use fusion power.

>No I ment no food raiseing.  Oh, you can have a couple of tomato plants in
>your apartment for recretion.  But farm systems weigh too much if your only
>going out for a couple of decades..

But why did you speak about veggies(10 tomatos a year?), bread/pasta(corn),
meat/chickens(need food=plants too)?

>I know ther are dozens of differnt anti-biotics each tailored to various
>things (and most becoming ineffective), but I don't know much more than that.

You are talking about the small-spectre anti-biotics. The ineffectiveness is
caused mainly by the not finishing the cure and thus allowing the bacteria
to become resistant.
Broad spectre are useful if a bacteria with a lot of different brothers and
sisters is active. Broad specre anti-biotics kill several different bacteria.

> Why would you think we could fight them?

Because I think we are smart and that since life is universal it will be
like the organisms we know because the set of chemical reactions that can
support life is very limited. 

In fact if there is alien intelligent live (which is no doubt about) they
will have hands like we do (a finger more or less) just because that is
necessary to get intelligent. (intelligence without a need means nothing to
So they won't have claws or hoofs or fins because these don't need a big
brain to use.
They also will have some light sensative organs (otherwise a even small
brain isn't needed). They will need touch and taste/smell senses. So that
makes them already a lot like the organisms we know. 
So, the don't walk on all limbs otherwise the hands cannot get sophisticated
enough. That makes that they are standing up if the have 4 limbs. If they
have more limbs. More limbs is not very efficient for larger organisms that
have to carry a brain of 1 kg.
So they have a brain, would it be like we know it or are there some radical
different possibilities, I don't think there are, as I said before there is
a very limited set of chemical reactions that can be used.
So they have a large brain similar to ours, and need a lot of oxigen to keep
it working. So they have one or 2 longs and hearts. They need to feed
themselfs, so they have teeth. They are probably omnivores, planteaters need
to much time eating, so haven't time to do something else. Carnivores need
all their legs to catch their prey.
OK why not reptiles? They are half coldblooded and can't really function
without some external heat.