Author Topic: Let me............... Tel-e-port you!  (Read 39122 times)

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Offline Flipside

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
To be honest, the 'apex of evolution' is a very subjective thing, from the point of view of Evolution, probably the apex of its achievements would be things like Cyanobacteria, which were not only one of the first organisms on the planet, but are still here. They have evolved over time (strictly speaking, into practically everything) but the original one-cell design is still going strong.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Well said.

Evolution is a big hedge, not a tree or a ladder.

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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Yet we can't build our own self-sustaining biospheres.

Why do we need that? If we were to setup an outpost somewhere a large part of our food would most likely be grown hydroponically (meat would be imported), the plants would also recycle the oxygen in the form of photosynthesis (and/or blue green algae if the plants aren't doing a good enough job), and the waste recycling system would be pretty much what we have on the space station now.

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Not yet. We're the current dominant species, but we haven't held that seat for very long.

I don't think there are any other animals capable of doing even half the things we do. For example Grizzly bears can't launch sattelites into space.
"The reason for this is that the original Fortran got so convoluted and extensive (10's of millions of lines of code) that no-one can actually figure out how it works, there's a massive project going on to decode the original Fortran and write a more modern system, but until then, the UK communication network is actually relying heavily on 35 year old Fortran that nobody understands." - Flipside

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Offline Ford Prefect

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
That's not in dispute, as far as I can tell. (At least, I wouldn't dispute it.) But that's a far cry from saying we're at the "apex of our evolution."
"Mais est-ce qu'il ne vient jamais à l'idée de ces gens-là que je peux être 'artificiel' par nature?"  --Maurice Ravel

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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but the original one-cell design is still going strong.

To be fair its simplicity gives it a big edge, although even it is kind of vulnerable to our technology (more specifically anti-biotics). :p


EDIT: People keep replying too fast. :p

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"apex of our evolution."

I never said the apex of our evolution, of course we are still evolving. With the development of genetic engineering and cybernetics, in the 21st century we will evolve in a very dramatic way.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 09:34:05 pm by Kosh »
"The reason for this is that the original Fortran got so convoluted and extensive (10's of millions of lines of code) that no-one can actually figure out how it works, there's a massive project going on to decode the original Fortran and write a more modern system, but until then, the UK communication network is actually relying heavily on 35 year old Fortran that nobody understands." - Flipside

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Offline Snail

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Humans are advancing at an amazing rate, though. 1,000 years is usually considered a cosmic blink, but that time in human history is actually enormous.

Humans are the supreme species on teh planet so let's go dalek this **** up and boogy.


Though to be perfectly honest I wouldn't be surprised at all if some virus mutates that kills the entire human population in a few days. **** happens, and often without warning.

 

Offline Ford Prefect

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
I never said the apex of our evolution, of course we are still evolving. With the development of genetic engineering and cybernetics, in the 21st century we will evolve in a very dramatic way.
Oops, my bad; I imagined the "our" in there.
"Mais est-ce qu'il ne vient jamais à l'idée de ces gens-là que je peux être 'artificiel' par nature?"  --Maurice Ravel

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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Though to be perfectly honest I wouldn't be surprised at all if some virus mutates that kills the entire human population in a few days.

It wouldn't happen, unless it came from outerspace or something like the Andromeda Strain. There are so many of us, and we are not exactly the same, even with HIV and Ebola, there's always at least a few that are immune.
"The reason for this is that the original Fortran got so convoluted and extensive (10's of millions of lines of code) that no-one can actually figure out how it works, there's a massive project going on to decode the original Fortran and write a more modern system, but until then, the UK communication network is actually relying heavily on 35 year old Fortran that nobody understands." - Flipside

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Offline Scotty

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Cases in point:  Bubonic Plague, Spanish Influenza.

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Thing is, whilst it's difficult to describe evolution as having a goal or an apex, it's interesting to note how it tends towards systems of self-improvement, each 'great leap' (entirely the wrong term, but it'll do) in evolution has been based around a change in the creatures ability to co-exist with its environment, cold blood to warm blood, eggs to live-birth, all those changes were based around removing an evironment requirement from the creature, warm blooded creatures survive better in the cold, live-born young are less vulnerable to the elements and predators pre-birth etc.

It's interesting to note that one ratchet point of evolution was to evolve a whole new concept of dealing with the environment, humans. rather than a creature that was shaped to its environment, humans learned to do the opposite to a degree, to shape the environment to themselves. It was a unique evolutionary niche, and we flourished in it.

If you look at the cause of most extinctions, it's not hard to see what adaption to the environment played a key role in Evolution, but I suppose that also makes us, in a strange way, like one of those wierd evolutionary blips that pop up from time to time, in some ways, we are the Platypus of Primates ;)

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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Yet we can't build our own self-sustaining biospheres.

Why do we need that? If we were to setup an outpost somewhere a large part of our food would most likely be grown hydroponically (meat would be imported), the plants would also recycle the oxygen in the form of photosynthesis (and/or blue green algae if the plants aren't doing a good enough job), and the waste recycling system would be pretty much what we have on the space station now.

And yet we can't do that. We've tried, but we do not at the moment have the ability to build a self-sustaining, stable ecosphere. Check out the 'Biosphere' experiments for an example. We do not have the ability to build self-sufficient colonies.

The ISS is a great example of this: Murphy's Law in action.

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Not yet. We're the current dominant species, but we haven't held that seat for very long.

I don't think there are any other animals capable of doing even half the things we do. For example Grizzly bears can't launch sattelites into space.

Absolutely. And yet we do not yet have evidence that our capabilities will translate into a survival advantage. We won't for many million years.

We're highly adaptable (incredibly so) and extremely capable at spreading, but we have not yet demonstrated endurance in the manner many species have.

The point isn't that 'humans suck'. The point is that there are probably many organisms Out There who outperform us at the game of Galactic Domination...and some of them may have stumbled upon solutions that we've missed.

That could change if we get our act together and become posthuman, of course.

 

Offline Snail

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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Though to be perfectly honest I wouldn't be surprised at all if some virus mutates that kills the entire human population in a few days.

It wouldn't happen, unless it came from outerspace or something like the Andromeda Strain. There are so many of us, and we are not exactly the same, even with HIV and Ebola, there's always at least a few that are immune.

Sure, even if some of the human population survived, I'm sure civilization would go to **** pretty fast.

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
In essence, we are not the most numerous, we are not the longest lived, we are not the most immune to disease, we are not the fastest growing and we haven't been dominant for long.

Our niche is certainly being exploited to the full, but then, we've never really had a challenge for it, and any challenges are likely to come from without, not within. Oddly enough, maybe that's why we evolved into a warlike mentality? Because, at some level, humanity needed the drive to evolve, and if it were not an arms race with predators, it would be a mind race with other tribes? I hesitate to speculate because it's too easy to try and personify evolution and give it a 'purpose'...

 

Offline Snail

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Oddly enough, maybe that's why we evolved into a warlike mentality? Because, at some level, humanity needed the drive to evolve, and if it were not an arms race with predators, it would be a mind race with other tribes?
That's a very interesting thought...

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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And yet we can't do that. We've tried, but we do not at the moment have the ability to build a self-sustaining, stable ecosphere. Check out the 'Biosphere' experiments for an example.

Um, what I am talking about is quite feasible, and it is not related to the Biosphere experinments in any way. Hydroponic farming has been proven, as it is becoming a popular way to grow illegal marijuana and the waste recycling systems I'm talking about are already in place on the ISS.

The biosphere experiments were to create a a complete ecosystem, which is not what i am talking about.

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The ISS is a great example of this: Murphy's Law in action.

How so?
"The reason for this is that the original Fortran got so convoluted and extensive (10's of millions of lines of code) that no-one can actually figure out how it works, there's a massive project going on to decode the original Fortran and write a more modern system, but until then, the UK communication network is actually relying heavily on 35 year old Fortran that nobody understands." - Flipside

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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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And yet we can't do that. We've tried, but we do not at the moment have the ability to build a self-sustaining, stable ecosphere. Check out the 'Biosphere' experiments for an example.

Um, what I am talking about is quite feasible, and it is not related to the Biosphere experinments in any way. Hydroponic farming has been proven, as it is becoming a popular way to grow illegal marijuana and the waste recycling systems I'm talking about are already in place on the ISS.

The biosphere experiments were to create a a complete ecosystem, which is not what i am talking about.

We do not have the capacity to create an environmental system capable of supporting a long-term colony on another world or in a hostile environment without outside support.

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The ISS is a great example of this: Murphy's Law in action.

How so?

The ISS cannot function without constant repair and resupply from groundside. The failures it has undergone are rapid, largely unanticipated, and symptomatic of our inability to generate and control self-sustaining life support systems.

In fact the waste recycling system broke down within a week of installation.

 

Offline Black Wolf

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
Quote
Yet we can't build our own self-sustaining biospheres.

Why do we need that? If we were to setup an outpost somewhere a large part of our food would most likely be grown hydroponically (meat would be imported), the plants would also recycle the oxygen in the form of photosynthesis (and/or blue green algae if the plants aren't doing a good enough job), and the waste recycling system would be pretty much what we have on the space station now.

And yet we can't do that. We've tried, but we do not at the moment have the ability to build a self-sustaining, stable ecosphere. Check out the 'Biosphere' experiments for an example. We do not have the ability to build self-sufficient colonies.

The ISS is a great example of this: Murphy's Law in action.

Why would we need to go biosphere on a planetary colony? We'd be exploiting the environment - if you assume we can magic wand the distance issue away (eg. we get a wormhole generator) then we're going to look for planets that are at least vaguely earthlike. Even if we don't get an earthlike planet, there'll be something there we can exploit, even if it's just drawing oxygen out of the rocks themselves (Of course, there'd probably be a lot more we could do - any martian colonies (and, following recent evidence, maybe lunar colonies as well) would be able to optain potentially huge amounts of water locally.


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The point isn't that 'humans suck'. The point is that there are probably many organisms Out There who outperform us at the game of Galactic Domination...and some of them may have stumbled upon solutions that we've missed.

Actually... I kind of think Fermi's Paradox implies that there aren't actually that many things better adapted than we are at all - certainly not within our local little region of space.
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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Why would we need to go biosphere on a planetary colony? We'd be exploiting the environment - if you assume we can magic wand the distance issue away (eg. we get a wormhole generator) then we're going to look for planets that are at least vaguely earthlike. Even if we don't get an earthlike planet, there'll be something there we can exploit, even if it's just drawing oxygen out of the rocks themselves (Of course, there'd probably be a lot more we could do - any martian colonies (and, following recent evidence, maybe lunar colonies as well) would be able to optain potentially huge amounts of water locally.

Sure, but I'm afraid we can't magic wand the distance away, can we?

Look at early efforts to colonize the Americas. That's what you'll see en masse in colonization. It will be a long, hard road before it goes right.

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Actually... I kind of think Fermi's Paradox implies that there aren't actually that many things better adapted than we are at all - certainly not within our local little region of space.

I wouldn't argue. But space is big. There's a lot out there. If anything, Fermi's Paradox suggests that civilizations like ours don't last long.

 

Offline Kosh

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
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The ISS cannot function without constant repair and resupply from groundside.


Because it has no capability of growing food by itself? It was never intended to be that way. You're comparing two completely different situations.

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We do not have the capacity to create an environmental system capable of supporting a long-term colony on another world or in a hostile environment without outside support.

I also don't recall saying it would be 100% self supporting, just mostly self supporting. Spare parts would be imported, and as I already said meat would also be imported. Mineral resources get sent to space bound refining and manufacturing facilities, also whatever low g research that get s completed would go back to Earth.

At least that is the way it work initially.
"The reason for this is that the original Fortran got so convoluted and extensive (10's of millions of lines of code) that no-one can actually figure out how it works, there's a massive project going on to decode the original Fortran and write a more modern system, but until then, the UK communication network is actually relying heavily on 35 year old Fortran that nobody understands." - Flipside

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Offline Mongoose

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Re: The Earth is uninhabitable
I kind of feel like the whole argument of humanity being not-so-great just by virtue of our relatively niche survival requirements is a bit silly to begin with.  Presumably, any species that hasn't advanced to the post-singularity, turn-ourselves-into-energy-beings stage would face the exact same issue, by virtue of the simple fact that they're biological life, so we're all in pretty much the same boat in that regard.  Sure, certain intelligent races out there may be able to survive in a somewhat wider range of raw conditions than we can, but they're still going to have some sort of limitations placed upon them, since that's how the game of evolution is played.  Now, if we do come across one of those energy-being races that happens to be hostile, we'll most likely be screwed, but until then, we should at least be able to acknowledge what our adaptability and ingenuity does allow us to accomplish survival-wise.  Supported from the surface or not, the ability to keep several human beings in a tin can 100 miles up alive for six months is no small accomplishment.