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Re: Re: Re: starship-design: scoops and sails and something to push against

In a message dated 10/12/98 11:37:17 PM, stevev@efn.org wrote:

>KellySt@aol.com writes:
> > No, we might come to understand more details about the mechanisms that
> > them, but as for discovering a fundemental new "society, culture,
> > or economics" that would seem pretty unlikely.  At this point that would
> > like finding gravity didn't work the same on the 4th thursday of every
> > century, or you really could lose money on every item you sold, but make
> > in volume.
>Considering that you don't even demonstrate a basic understanding
>of other cultures, Kelly, claiming that we know everything there
>is to know about sociology is pretty arrogant.  There can easily
>be fundamentally new societies, cultures, psychologies, and
>economics because we can barely model any of these things well,
>and the models all have some very basic assumptions that will be
>valid only in an Earthly environment.  We don't have anything
>as powerfully predictive of society as Newton's laws are
>predictive of mechanics.

economics is a science with understood laws and rules that even apply across
species (where aplicable).  Psychology isn't well researched, but is a
reflection of the structure of our minds, which excluding extensive gene work,
isn't likely to change in the next few million years, and seems to trace it
roots back through most mammals.  Society, culture  ignoring trivialities like
music art etc falls into a couple major groups (feudal/dictator, democratic)
which have existed for a few thousand years.  So were pretty sure some sort of
law based, probably democratic society will dominate long term (dictatortships
lack productivity to compete long term).

So for the purposes of this discusino, I can't see any major changes that
would alter things.

> > In a message dated 10/12/98 6:56:40 AM, ajcrowlx2@ozemail.com.au wrote:
> > >Besides saying they won't find anything new is the same as saying that
> > science
> > >is
> > >dead, and that's a proposition we're all implicitly assuming is incorrect
> > >trying to limit our designs to what we can reasonably imagine now. We
> > >agree that we can't predict what might be possible by 2050, and I'd say
> > same
> > >applies to all the sciences.
> > 
> > Not at all.  There a difference between expecting science to never learn
> > anything new, and expecting to find everything known before was wrong.
> > Neutons laws of gravity still work fine.
>There are some implicit assumptions behind life on Earth that
>won't be true in space.
>For example, on the surface of the Earth the materials needed to
>support life (oxygen, water, food) are basically laying around
>ready for anyone to take and use.  A self-sustaining biosphere
>exists more or less independently of humans to renew these things 
>(although humans have been interfering more and more with that
>In space, you have to bring or make everything you'll need for
>life support -- air, water, and food.  Any self-sustaining living
>environment will require labor to make or import these
>essentials; there won't be a self-sustaining environment that
>makes these things for the people who live in it without lots of
>work from them.

Actually humans can't live without artificial work.  Our food is grown in very
artificial eco-spheres that don't self propigate (farms).  Our water is all
processed through artificial purification.  Enough thats its ben argued that
it would save us trouble and expense to just close the water cycles of our
cities and recycle everything rather then dump and import new.  Air is
partially artificial given our poplution problems.  A space colony would be
more artificial then living in a city, but its a mater of degree not kind.

>On Earth, no one really questions anyone's right to breathe,
>because air is everywhere and nobody has to do any work to
>maintain it (although environmentally we are increasingly having
>to do work to keep from destroying it).  When people have to make
>all the air everyone will need to breathe, won't this produce
>some very different economic, and hence social, pressures on that 
>society?  Exactly what existing human society do you think models 
>that situation, and why?  Why are you sure that this won't
>produce a social organization different than what has existed in

This is a little silly.  You might sell bottled air at the docks, and maybe
add municiple air charges to the taxes.  But people will be no more likely to
refuse someone the rigt to breath thier air then they will to walk on a public
street.  Now vagrant may get exported just like they do from many cities.  But
again thats not a fundemental change in any sence.