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To Kelly:

>> Yes, but how much equipment are we talking about, we need machines for:
>> - Metal treatment
>> - Plastic treatment
>> - Semiconductor treatment
>> - Glas treatment
>There are whole industries dovoted to each of those topics.  They each have
>tremendous amounts of specialization depending on what sybtype you want.  For
>example Kevlar manufacture and composite aircraft layup, and lexan window
>manufacture, both fit under "Plastic treatment".

We may need to limit our subsets of needed products, so only one type of
window if possible, if it is in the Asimov or in a small planetary vessel.
We not only have to offer personal needs, but also general customized methods.

>Its not like you can just toss an aluminum can into a melter and cast a new
>can out of it. In a lot of cases to 'recycle' the materials you'ld need to
>break it back down to to the periodic table, then build it back up.  Thats
>why so little real recycling is done now.  (Most materials in the U.S. that
>are collected for recycling, wind up in special landfills where they are
>stored as neatly separated garbage.)

How many of these separated objects were made for recycling? What I meant
was that a lot of plastics should not be used, only the onces that can be
recycled easely and more that one time. It doesn't need to be recycled
infinite times but at least for some 100 years (10 times). So that does mean
that a lot of materials can not be used, maybe too many, then there may be a
problem. For the construction of object using several components, they
should be build to easely separate them. That would also be handy while
repairing them. The way Philips recylces their TV-sets is a good idea of
what is needed. Now adays, they make the whole outside out of one kind of
plastic, all parts of the TV are easely separated (no brute force needed). A
lot of the tin solder is melted of the prints. The prints and their
components are crumbled and the metals can easely be extracted. The
glass-tube that is made of several kinds of glass, is a bigger problem, but
they are working on that.

>> Using this analogy, won't the futere bring us a complete automatic world,
>> where no one needs to work?
>In theory it could, but historically we use most of the extra time to get
>extra stuff out of life.

Yes, but we will reach a time when the extra stuff isn't needed for say 21st
century living, so that means it isn't necessary to work. Nowadays, we could
live a 20th century lifestyle by almost doing nothing. Machines would do
almost all the work for us, much less were needed to keep those machines
working. Looking to earlier remarks, I'm almost certain that you don't agree
to this...

By the way, do you think that human AI can be rivalled by "computers" within
say 300 years? (Just to get some idea of your ideas)

>But they don't have enough people or equipment to do so.  So I doubt our
>little (?) ship would manage it.

Don't they, if the soldiers wouldn't train all day couldn't they replace the
army gear in that time?

>>A lot of computers are not being replaced because they completely don't work
>> any more but just because the competion has faster ones. ----
>And because the cost of maintaining the old ones are more the the cost of
>buying the new one.

Yes, that is what I meant when I wrote that a lot of time is spend on R&D,
if you would maintain what you have, the computers would become cheaper and
cheaper because only the maintenance and rebuild cost would have to be paid.
These days a lot of money is paid for the development. Of course this
doesn't take in account the time that can be spared after the new products
can be used.
So if we go one developing like today's society, one day the amount of
spare(d) time will be more than the time used for R&D :)

>> Isn't it possible to make objects with unmixed materials, so that the
>> recycle-ability is enlarged much more, long enough to last the lives of the
>> crew.
>Only if the object can functionwith the simplified subset of materials.
> Obviously cutting edge or high performance equipment (superconductors,
>reentry heat shields, aircraft or high streangth alloys, fusion reactors,
>computer circuts, life support gear, medical equipment, drugs, etc...) can't
>get by with such lowgrade materials.  So those systems would die as soon as
>they ran out of spare parts.

Indeed, some materials need to be refined to a high degree, but not all.
Probably these materials are needed in small amounts, unless you want
solar-collectors which need high grade silicon in large quantities.
So maybe for a small amount of materials we can allow ourselves small
refining machinery. Now indeed the question stays open, how many highgrade
materials do we need? I've to think about that.

By the way, do we need reentry heat shields, that is only needed if you
don't have enough energy to brake yourself.

>Come to think of it even the rest might not make sence.  After all, unalloyed
>metals wear out and corred FAR faster than alloys.  So the alloyed version
>would outlive several recycled generations of the simpler primal metal

Do we need alloyed metal or can we find a substitude, look at the cars that
have a body of plastics instead of metal. OK their inner structure is still
of steel, but it saves a lot. But is it difficult to recycle steel easely?


If only we had replicators and the energy they needed.