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Re: Newsletter of MINILIT

re T.L.G.vanderLinden@student.utwente.nl (Timothy van der Linden)

> Tim replies to Kelly:
> >> >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
> >> the raw materials. Thus we have 5% spent on R&D and 15% spent on other
> >> man-power.
> >
> >80% 5% and 15% of what?
> Of the total budget spend by companies. You said only 5% was used for R&D,
> say about 80% is used by getting the raw materials. Here on Earth those raw
> materials are difficult to obtain, in space it may be much easier (just
> scoop the surface) and thus less manpower is needed.

Most industries don't spend 80% on raw material (probably more like 10% -
30%) the bulk is in labor costs.  So automation will have a big effect.

> >I was speaking of professions in the sence of jobs.  Yes you could do
> >a lot of coordinators in a smaller group.  But you'll need someone good at
> >all the little jobs a society takes to keep it runing (not to mention a
> >starship).
> Like a hairdresser, shoemaker, tailor, dentist, doctor, cook? Are these the
> jobs you mean?
> I wonder if we can come up with more than 100 or 1000 completely different
> jobs that are needed in a starship.
Well it takes 10,000 to operate an aircraft carrer, and far more than that to
maintain it.  Add in other professions to maintain the entire civilization
needed to support them, and you get millions.

> >Depends on the type of bacteria.  Yes a type of bacteria (or maybe an
> >was found living inside some of the old reactor cores.  (I think the new
> >sealed U.S. reactors are to clean to feed them.)  They have also found
> >on the ocean bottom that thrive in water heated to hundreds of defrees C
> >loaded with heavy metals, or in a few cases that were happily eating old
> >toxic waste dumps.  
> On the bottom of the sea, I can imagine, but in a high radiative field is
> hard to believe, the DNA would be mutated beyond repair within seconds. Can
> you recall the source? 

Several sources.  Its an old story of some interest.  Last I remember for
sure was Science.  They were studing the cell repair mecanisms that allow the
bacteria they were studying to repair their genetic and tissua damage that
fast.  (No not in secounds!)  They were fairly sure it developed to allow the
bacteria to repair themselves fast enough to survive high temperatures, and
woundered if it could be transfered to humans.  I think they said the cell
repair rates were high enough to allow the bacteria to survive thousands of
times the human fatal radiation dosage.  (Effectivly the radiation couldn't
kill them untill it physically cooked them!)

> >> >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
> >> >to keep the surface cool.
> >> 
> >> So after the venus cools down slowly, the crust will get thicker and it
> >> become like Earth?
> >
> >If the sun doesn't swallow it first.  Its been cooling for 4.5 billion
> >so I think its a bit to slow to make it in time.
> I've been reading some data about Venus, and am quite certain that the
> biggest part of its temperature not caused by the bad insulating crust.

The latest NASA reports say differently.  The Magelin probe showed the
thinner crust during its radar scans.

> There are is a lot of dust and posionous gasses, which create a very dense
> atmosphere (90 bar). This dense atmosphere full of greenhouse gasses (much
> worse than CO2) and the higher radiation level are the main reasons for the
> higher surface temperature.

Given the debacle about greenhouse effect predictions on earth I'm cynical
about predictions on alien worlds.  Also its generally agreed that if earth
was where Venus is, it would not become dramatically hotter.  (Well not as
dramatic as Venus.  You could still live here.  But you'll want to move north
a bit. ;)  )

> >Well its not just that.  When you have to throw away 90% of the ore you
> >to get the remaining good 'refined' part, you generate a lot of waste.
> >tend to be more than a little messy too.  Fusion wouldn't intrinsicly
> >any of that, or much about industry in general.  Of course if you move
> >everything off planet you've obviously removed all the sources of Earth
> >polution.
> Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn't it...

Unless you sell or to the developed world like the third world does.  Expect
them to scream as their economies fold.

> >I don't follow.  10 tomatos a year?  Why would frozen/irradiated/cryoed
> >need to be feed?  I was just saying I was expecting to feed the crew a
> >diet, of normal food, just like they would get from a grocery store.
> > (Withthe exception of very light concentrated emergency rations.)  I was
> >expecting to do no/none/zero farming on board the ship. I did mention the
> >crew could grow a few plants in their rooms if they wanted, but all
> >assumes no extra solar food production.
> My misunderstanding, but can food be kept for 20 years?

Sure.  We kept some cold war rations around for that long without
refrigeration.  With high tech, you can keep normal foods almost indefinatly.
 (Give or take a few problematic fruits like apples.)

> >???  You need to study life more.  There are other chemical combinations
> >ours that can suport life.  Some are radically differnt.  Some could not
> >survive the presence of oxegen (as most early earth life couldn't).  We
> >know they are used, but they could be.
> Why have these organisms never evolved beyond a single cell?
> And if they did as you suggest, why did they change to use oxigen?

Algae poluted the atmosphere with so much oxegen everything was killed off.
 To survive the remaining life forms had to adapt to oxegen or avoid oxegen
rich areas (its hard to evolve multi celular when you in those little
enclaves.).  Even now our cell nucleus is destroyed by oxegen contamination.
 But we do the best we can. ;)

In a world without photosyntisis the non-oxegen forms could still dominate.

> >As for your quick anatomy breakdown.  We have hands and are the preeminent
> >endurence pack preditors on the planet.  Our closest runners up are
> We may be partly preditors, but the larger part of our food were

That depends on where we live.  A lot of aborigional tribe are still largely
pure carnavore.  But your right we are omnivors, and eat veges as a large
part of our diet.  So do wolves and bears, but I never heard anyone debate
they were preditors.

> (In these days of Kingsized burgers that may be hard to believe)
> Indeed wolves eat also some plants much less than we do. So as far as I'm
> concerned apes which also eat some small amounts of meat are a lot closer
to us.

Chips do prey on other animals (even other chimps in some cases), but they
are not evolved as endurance pack preditors.  Only we and Wolves specialize
in that niche.

> > We have some notable anotomical differences for two preditors that
> >specialize in the same eco-nich!  ;)  Our bodies are however, both
> >to support the same pack endurance preditor lifestyle.  (We are adapted
> >hotter climates though.)  
> I'm not sure anymore what you mean by predator, don't forget our
> intelligence has brought us far above any other species. So if we hadn't
> big brain we would be very poor preditors.

We were preditors before we had brains.  Our ability to track game, and run
for extreamly long distences without tiring, are our bigest adaptation for
hunting.  Thou naturally we wouldn't be nearly as good at it without our

> >As for the rest.  A set of crab claws could work as well as hands.
> >trunks can pick up indevidual penuts out of lose debreis, or lift a log. 
> Although crab claws and elephant truncks are able to pick up things and
> perform some simple tasks, they don't come near the amount of possibilities
> that 2 five fingered hands have. ----

Chavanist!  ;)

> ---- Imagine you have a hand with a thumb and a
> single finger, that would mean a serious handycap all things you could
> normally do, would not be able or very hard, even many years after you had
> become customed to it. (And we don't have a solid finger like crabs do)

But what if you had 6 claw/hands like crabs doi?  In general our hands are
very good for what we use them for, but their are many alternatives with
stregths and weakness over ours.  Ours is not the only design that would
work, or even the best of all possible hands (we've tested robots with

> So while an organism gets some usefull "hands" it also gets a smarter brain
> to use that "hand". Once the brain gets bigger it may be usefull for other
> purposes too, like better perception, better remembering, better learning.

Most of our enlarged brain isn't devoted to our hands.  Dolphins brains are
even larger (proportionally) than ours.  (Thou they are not evolved for
inteligence.)  We are not the only model the universe could use.