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Humans quest in science and technology


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#1 johnfwd

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 10:16 AM

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s.  The space age from Sputnik to the Apollo moon landings to Viking and the rovers on Mars.  The quest for space exploration, scientific discoveries, technological developments--initiated mostly by the national government.  But also, during that period, the proliferation by the military industrial complex of nuclear weapons and the building of nuclear reactors for energy production.

 

During this period, I heard  proponents applaud our achievements when the projects were constructive (e.g. space exploration) and the opponents when the projects were destructive (e.g., nuclear weapons).

 

And there was continuing refrain that went "why are we spending billions to send men to the moon when we could be spending it to eliminate poverty and disease."

 

Lately, we've heard the same "guns versus butter"-style refrain about Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, the billionaires who are heralding the era of commercialization of space travel and exploration.  Not exactly "guns" in this case, but the term "toys" to characterize a space rocket and space plane is derisive enough.

 

I applaud the peaceful commercialization of the space industry because it contributes to the human quest for discovery and truths in science and the further development of technology.  We all benefit, eventually, from this quest--whether it's pursued by government or the private sector.  And I believe we have enough resources to combat poverty and disease at the same time.

 

I applaud the peaceful development of nuclear energy.  But I strongly oppose wasteful spending on nuclear weapons, which should be universally eliminated.



#2 Nitixope

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 08:11 PM

Do you think perhaps part of them has given up on Earth as a viable long term dwelling place and that Utopia exists somewhere in the Beyond? Either that or maybe it is just a really expensive hobby or a carnival ride.

#3 roverone

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 09:11 PM

I think these things are about pushing boundaries, as so much innovation is.  It is not my place to read motivation into that.  But no matter, all such innovation includes unintended consequences -- and likely some of them are positive.



#4 Nitixope

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 09:39 PM

Speaking of pushing boundaries, I enjoyed this: David Blaine Ascension

https://youtu.be/QwzvNAAqH3g

#5 renamerusk

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 05:22 PM

Do you think perhaps part of them has given up on Earth as a viable long term dwelling place and that Utopia exists somewhere in the Beyond? Either that or maybe it is just a really expensive hobby or a carnival ride.

A really expensive hobby with the potential to book the ultra-rich for a joy ride. 

 

If there is to be a positive from all of this, perhaps the "3 geniuses" would have scholars and academicians from higher education on board to share their findings or to allow science experiments to be perform by the higher education community.

 

But it appears to me that the intended goal has been to attract extremely wealthy individuals and to make money off of them; so far not to advance science foremost.



#6 roverone

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 08:18 PM

If there is to be a positive from all of this, perhaps the "3 geniuses" would have scholars and academicians from higher education on board to share their findings or to allow science experiments to be perform by the higher education community.

 

It really sound to me that you are choosing not to understand this:  when you go to the symphony do you make fun of the conductor because all they are doing is waving a little baton?  The science at this point is not about which human bodies are going up, it is the decade+ of research that has gone into the space vehicles and what they can do.  And you know what, it takes a lot of money to do that and so as a part of it there are fund raising events, like auctioning off seats.  Exactly like the symphony or great museums could never exist on ticket sales alone, and the have black tie fund raising events, that is what is happening here.

 

Extremely wealthy people can contribute to society in ways that far exceed what you or I could ever do, or even what 100,000 of us could do.  Sure, we could question their motives, and I expect their motivations are not always 100% honorable -- but they make things happen.  Instead of trying to cancel them, be happy that in the process of trying to reach their goals, the whole world is gaining some benefit.

 

So very many great achievements of humankind through all of time have happened from the motivations and controlled wealth of flawed but functional people.  It is actually a little hard to come up with great achievements that did not come about that way.

 

Stop hating money so much.  It is the agreed upon mechanism that much of life works on.  It is not perfect, and there are people who do bad things with it -- but so very much good is made possible by having a common way to exchange one thing for another that it dwarfs the bad.  Nothing would help this city more than more wealth brought in to ultimately fund better social services, better infrastructure, better education -- those are all things that take very significant money.


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#7 Nitixope

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 11:41 PM

Why can't a female aeronautical engineer, commercial astronaut and employee stand on her own merits rather than being hoisted upon Branson's shoulders in some sort of frat house style celebration?  What other company would it be acceptable for your boss to carry around a young female subordinate on his shoulders?  Why is it that both female astronauts are hanging on his right and his left for the official team photo?  Is it to reinforce the role of the tall, strong, white male figure and establish the subservience of those invited along for the ride?  What's even more bothersome is that all of this (Musk, Branson, Bezos, Gates) screams 'white savior' coming to rescue humanity from its own self-destruction.  So who gets a ticket?  The "Have's" or the "Have Not's?"  Who's last and who's first in this kingdom?  Do you kiss the king's ring before he allows you to board the ship?  What if the king creates his own rules, then who goes and who stays?
 
Elon Musk tweeted **Those who attack space maybe dont realize that space represents hope for so many people.** How do we know that when we reach a new destination that the same problems won't exist there as well?  So we pack up and leave it all behind and let the rest of humanity rot, only taking with the chosen few, hand-picked based on what criteria?  Everyone can't be invited, especially the trouble-makers. Who draws the line?  This obsession with growth and expansion should not be used as a means of escapism from our problems if the real problem lies within.  Does a baby learn to tie its shoes before it learns to walk?  If we can't learn even the basics here on Earth, it doesn't matter where we go, its not going to solve anything by writing a new set of rules or more rules on top of rules.  If you take away this element of "choice" and self-identity, we've essentially become robots.
 
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#8 renamerusk

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 06:39 AM

Stop..full stop!

 

I know what creeps me out whether it be rich or poor.  I never used the word "hate" in expressing my feelings towards Bezos (Amazon 2 scammer), Zuckberg (enabler of falsities) or Branson (lifestyles of the rich). I called them creepy.

 

I admire Gates and Buffett who each pledged to give away their wealth and make generous donations on endeavors for the good of mankind across the globe.

 

Now go and open your bottle of champagne.

 

 Those optics: sophomoric and meritless.

 

 Look  E&J , I just won the first leg of the atmospheric version of the America's Cup..weeee!

 

 When does real science behave in this way?



#9 roverone

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 08:27 AM

I want to point out that there are thousands of engineers behind these projects and to read into pictures of seemingly very happy people an up and down narrative of patriarchy seems to be more in the eye of the observer than what we know or do not know about the actual function of these development teams.

 

The world will not and does not have to change all at once.  We make incremental progress and try not to backtrack too much (we are just trying to recover from a period like this).  Every wrong is not righted with the wave of a magic wand but with encouraged uneven forward progress.

 

If we spend all of our time tearing down progress that isn't everything we hoped for it to be, we end up inhibiting the new growth that could some day be the future we really want.  Let's focus on and encourage the positive parts rather than criticizing all the things that might be in the right direction, but not go far enough.



#10 renamerusk

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 11:28 AM

Poster #9, your point of view has been heard. You want to put lipstick on a pig..got it!  But you don't win a discussion by invoking "the hate accusation". Stop the inflammatory bullying! Present your argument without making it personal.

 

There are plenty of people who may feel as you do; and there are plenty of people who may not feel as you do. Such is the arena of public debate.

 

If the optics are terrible, frivolous and if the words out of their mouth are insensitive, then it is not the fault of those watching or hearing  them, but the fault of those who are exhibiting the silly behavior. Creepy and wasteful reality TV -The Househusbands of the Atmosphere; the Flying Kardashians.

 

I will stand by my opinion until the "3 berks" learn to demonstrate class in front of that segment of the public who care enough to watch their grandiose puffery.



#11 roverone

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 08:15 PM

I understand your concerns that it is personal, but I'm trying to show you that you seem to have a vendetta against these folks:  You've used words like "creepy", "wasteful", "egotistical", "cowardly", "terrible", "frivolous", "insensitive", and "silly" in the two threads -- that kind of sounds like a personal evaluation against them.

 

They for sure do not need me to defend them, and for sure I understand that they are each flawed.  But it would be unfair to attack them when their contributions to science and to society far outshine ours.

 

Although we could discuss their business practices, if I understand correctly, Branson sold another business to make certain his airline employees were paid, and Amazon, despite the terrible press, pays $15 hour + some degree of available healthcare -- better than many local businesses.

 

The wealth from those folks has been pledged or donated in amounts that are at least 10 years of our entire city budget.

 

Are they perfect?  None of us are.  But they are not only the adjectives you have used about them.

 

I do not believe it makes sense to villainize the very people who are in a position to fund the science and societal and climate change issues we need to deal with.  We should encourage their investment.

 

It seems perhaps you have never found yourself in a situation to run a benefit for a worthy cause.  You don't spend your time shaming potential contributors because you think they have too much from some unfair entitlement... Instead you pitch your cause, provide an experience that is of value to them, and then in the end you have won if you raised the money you needed to fund your worthy cause.  Is that being complicit or subservient?  Maybe a little, but it is getting money to do the honorable things that need to be done, and then that cause can be advanced.

 

These people are pouring money into the technical details to get into space; with different approaches; in ways that NASA cannot afford right now -- I'm happy about that, no matter the showmanship.  In addition, these people have given more than we could ever dream of giving to causes like climate change and world hunger and criminal justice reform.



#12 Nitixope

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 09:51 PM

But don't whitewash their road to success only because they are doing these great things in the name of "science."  I'm paraphrasing this a bit.... "Do not sit down to dine with a king while having your appetite whet."  It's always about their agenda.  The rich know how to use (and in some cases abuse) people, that's what they do.  I think we need to hit pause on all of this altruistic marketing that we see before us and use a bit more caution before placing these men on a pedestal.  They are first and foremost businessmen and very successful businessmen.  They didn't become successful by looking out for others but by running a business.  What's the real agenda here?  Is it science or business?  What strings are attached on the other end of this deal?



#13 hannerhan

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 01:16 PM

But don't whitewash their road to success only because they are doing these great things in the name of "science."  I'm paraphrasing this a bit.... "Do not sit down to dine with a king while having your appetite whet."  It's always about their agenda.  The rich know how to use (and in some cases abuse) people, that's what they do.  I think we need to hit pause on all of this altruistic marketing that we see before us and use a bit more caution before placing these men on a pedestal.  They are first and foremost businessmen and very successful businessmen.  They didn't become successful by looking out for others but by running a business.  What's the real agenda here?  Is it science or business?  What strings are attached on the other end of this deal?

 

These are good questions.  Bezos' 2001 interview went around last week where he basically said that he'd love to build a rocket and go into space and "look around" but that it was a very difficult challenge.  20 years later, he did it.  So you've got a guy who can buy literally anything on this earth given his current wealth.  But he has never been about what's easy, and he's fascinated by space, so here is where you end up.  I don't think there have to be strings attached.  To me, it's more about how these guys view their own mortality, what they do with the time they have, and what kind of legacy they will leave. 






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