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#335195 08/23/21 04:04 PM
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I’m pretty sure of my opinion and why I hold it, but I’m interested in what you think.

Should we be reducing our investment in space exploration and increasing our investment in oceanic research, or are our current priorities reasonable (and why?)

I looked for a previous thread on this but didn’t find one.


Julia
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This might come as a surprise to everyone, but I favor understanding and repairing the planet we live on over diddling around in space just for shits and giggles.


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
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So this topic is in the "Science and scientific thought" forum. I have been enmeshed in a thinking binge for over two hours this morning that was brought on by a question posted in the 'biochar discussion group' I follow. The question was about finding a cheap and easy method of measuring carbon content in biochars made in 3rd world settings - primarily relating to determining moisture content. There is a veritable thicket of variables related to the qualification and quantification of biochars, and some of the variables are themselves can vary over time, so this problem of figuring out how to characterize carbon content for the purpose of granting some sort of credit to the producer is very complicated.

That got me to thinking about the same issues involved in selling biochar - should the measurement be by weight, or volume? Moisture content accounted for? Additives to the char? End use considerations?

The fact is, virtually everything that humans buy or sell, say or hear, think or do, is adrift in a sea of similar variability and complexity.

What's life like for other organisms? Thinking about soil science (a favorite application for biochar), is the microbe/root hair relationship complicated? Are those life forms beset by having more information than they can process, resulting in extremely difficult decisions? Do they often misuse the knowledge they have and make mistakes that are not in their best interests?

The capper of all this musing was the thought that the metaphor of Adam and Eve being banished from paradise by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge might be about this very thing of humans being super smart, but not wise enough to use those smarts intelligently.

As for 3rd world verification of the quantity of sequesterable carbon in biochar, maybe the whole thing is being overthought, and subjected to a paradigm of inappropriate scale and relativity. Maybe we should ask, what would the microbes and root hairs do?

Bringing this back to topic, how well do we understand the desire to go into space? Is it even rational? One of the standard justifications is to point out all of the great technological advances that the space program has produced. But we seldom question the objective value of those advances in the full context of life on Earth. And we are very often completely unaware of the many externalized costs - a for instance is that the aquifer under the White Sands Missile Range is contaminated with perchlorates from the Apollo mission to put men on the moon. Compare and contrast that to the invention of, say, Teflon. Hmmmm...


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
R. Buckminster Fuller
logtroll #335205 08/24/21 01:22 PM
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There needs to be a forum for "The Nexus of Philosophy, Religion, and Science".


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
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... or not. LOL


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
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F*ck space.

The ocean is already exploited and abused beyond its capacity to heal itself.

Space will wait. There's nothing there to feed us.


Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...
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Reduce our investment in space vs increased investment in the oceans?

No. Increase investment in both. The oceans to try to save our planet, which we screwed up and increase our investments in space. So, we can move some of our population to another home, just in case this one is destroyed, killed, or become otherwise uninhabitable.


Vote 2022!

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Space does offer lots of energy, materials, and real estate, but all of those require a lot of spending for a long time before they start to pay off. With today's short-term business philosophy, only billionaires with a very long-term outlook will pay for it. As we are seeing!

Sooner than later, somebody will figure out an economical way to extract more substances from sea water than salt, epsom salt, and gypsum. Yes, there are trillions of tons of those things in sea water, but there is pretty much every other element in there as well. Did you know they make bleach by running electric current through sea water? That's all you need to make it.


We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.
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Originally Posted by Ujest Shurly
So, we can move some of our population to another home, just in case this one is destroyed, killed, or become otherwise uninhabitable.
I'm all for shooting a bunch of humans into space right now! Just get 'em the hell outta here.


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
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Originally Posted by Ujest Shurly
No. Increase investment in both. The oceans to try to save our planet, which we screwed up and increase our investments in space. So, we can move some of our population to another home, just in case this one is destroyed, killed, or become otherwise uninhabitable.

Oddly, that’s the premise of one of my old favorite TV shows, “Firefly.” One off the comments about that show, and one I saw fairly often, was that by the time we have the technology to move on, Earth’s resources will be so used up that it won’t be possible.

Pondering, your comment that someone will find a new way to extract more substances from the sea seems a bit cart-before-horse to me. The oceans haven’t been thoroughly mapped yet. New species, especially in the very deep sea, are being discovered all the time. Energy in space, yes, but energy in major currents/jet streams as well, and tides. And non-critter food sources.

Yes, we need to get/keep plastics out. And yes, we need strong international fishing regulations, particularly to protect big fish and big mammals.

But in a hundred years - if we still have a hundred years - we can probably find more solutions in the oceans than in space. To be honest, I’m not at all knowledgeable about what problems the space programs are trying to solve.


Julia
“It’s the shipwreck that leads you to the magical island.”
(Trevor Noah)
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