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Author Topic: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)  (Read 31501 times)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #60 on: September 21, 2016, 04:42:44 PM »
Great discussion! And you brought up some great points @Rostum that I want to add to:

1. Tesla have a problem at the moment with speculation over two deaths.
While true, the real issue has been testers treating the system as if it were not in development and not prone to potentially dangerous issues. Darwin at work for them (and us). I think it's unfair for stupid misuse of prototype systems to weigh against those systems.

2. Jeep and Tesla both have had remote hacks against moving vehicles highlighted this year. This is really a cyber security issue that is ridiculous in comparison to identical-form but radically worse-in-scope analogs: railway centers are run by non-secure WI-FI - think of the potential of huge HAZMAT issues in urban areas... so while I agree this is an issue, it's a different and far more important one that is outside the realm of AI/AA cars.

3. I believe autonomous vehicles will work perfectly right up to the point they don't. This is true of all technology, and should be something addressed in the systems. At a minimum, a variety of "drive-ending" protocols would seem essential IMHO, where there are redundant safeguards in place to get the car to a "safer" state in the event of catastrophic failure. That'd be the feature I'd look for above all others.

4. At some point the correct combination of factors will align themselves and the situation will be much worse than having a driver at the wheel. This is true, but misleading. The risk of death, as you mentioned, due to someone's inebriation, distraction, poor judgment, incompetence, and/or inexperience is far greater - if we assume the system can be raised to a reasonable level of reliability. This is reminiscent of the phenomenon of mass transit - which is safer than driving everywhere, all the time - but when it fails, it fails bigger. And yet, overall, it remains a safer choice.

I am not ready to leap into an auto-driving car ... but I think it is doable and would bring a lot of benefits to a lot of people - impacts of disrupting technologies aside. Those impacts are something humanity needs to get better at foreseeing and managing - our current approach of "Screw 'em, let them find something else to do" lead to a variety of other societal problems above and beyond the terrible situations that real people face all the time.
My two cents,
Gem Cutter
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 04:44:21 PM by The_Gem_Cutter »
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #61 on: September 26, 2016, 05:37:52 AM »
I clicked on this link in the comments section of another article, and ended up spending more than 30 minutes reading the whole story. I'd heard a bit about the "Silk Road" and how it was eventually taken down, but they were really just bits and pieces out of context, and I paid little attention. I had no idea it was so involved.

If you read this story about how the Silk Road (a marketplace founded for anonymous trading that eventually ended up becoming one of the biggest online markets for illegal goods) came into being, and how it was eventually seized by the FBI after they arrested its creator, it's like the online version of Breaking Bad. Fascinating stuff, and absolutely something that could inspire plenty of near future science fiction.

Part 1 is here, and you can find Part 2 at the end of it, if it intrigues you.

https://www.wired.com/2015/04/silk-road-1/

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2016, 05:42:22 AM »
The risk of death, as you mentioned, due to someone's inebriation, distraction, poor judgment, incompetence, and/or inexperience is far greater - if we assume the system can be raised to a reasonable level of reliability. This is reminiscent of the phenomenon of mass transit - which is safer than driving everywhere, all the time - but when it fails, it fails bigger. And yet, overall, it remains a safer choice.

This is where I stand as well. Ultimately, there will always be a chance of accidents or problems with a system of self-driving cars, but overall, they will still (if ever implemented to a large degree) decrease overall deaths and accidents by an order of magnitude over flawed human drivers.

However, I totally understand the reason people hesitate ... loss of control. That's why an airplane crash is so terrifying, in comparison to a car crash. You are probably 100 times more likely to be involved in a crash while driving a car than flying on a plane, but

1) You are in control in a car crash.

2) You are more likely to survive a car crash than a plane crash.

The biggest impediment to adoption of self-driving cars will not be the technology or securing it. It will be convincing people to willingly give up control and allow themselves to be driven by machines. Because even though the chances of you being killed will be drastically lower in comparison to driving yourself (among other people who are driving themselves) the rare case where an accident does occur will occur with no input on your part, which is an innately terrifying concept.

Offline Rostum

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2016, 11:15:08 AM »
Quote
The biggest impediment to adoption of self-driving cars will not be the technology or securing it. It will be convincing people to willingly give up control and allow themselves to be driven by machines. Because even though the chances of you being killed will be drastically lower in comparison to driving yourself (among other people who are driving themselves) the rare case where an accident does occur will occur with no input on your part, which is an innately terrifying concept.

Maybe it will be a fast ban and suddenly you are not allowed to drive any more or they may stop issuing licences and the kids have to be passengers in their own cars. Either way its about profits for companies and not about peoples choices.

I actually think the real danger will be when you have real drivers and autonomous in the same road space.

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #64 on: September 28, 2016, 12:52:45 AM »
Anyone else watch the announcement from Elon Musk about SpaceX today? A 2018 rocket to Mars is still on target.Very exciting!

Offline Raptori

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #65 on: September 28, 2016, 09:11:40 AM »
Anyone else watch the announcement from Elon Musk about SpaceX today? A 2018 rocket to Mars is still on target.Very exciting!
Nope, but I did read this well-reasoned article by Hugh Howey on why going to Mars is completely the wrong thing to do!  :P
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #66 on: September 28, 2016, 11:14:05 AM »
Anyone else watch the announcement from Elon Musk about SpaceX today? A 2018 rocket to Mars is still on target.Very exciting!
Nope, but I did read this well-reasoned article by Hugh Howey on why going to Mars is completely the wrong thing to do!  :P

A few good points, but the moon is not viable as as actual colony. The day/night cycle is 29 days each. That would be brutal extended conditions, including temperature. Gravity is only around 17% that of earth, while Mars is 38%. Imagine what that would do to human growth development should we have full time colonization of the moon. Not to mention, Mars' resources are far superior and offer more options for long term colonizarion, which is Musk's goal.

Baby steps, certainly, but the moon is a dead end. As far as a massive space station, that is not a viable option and won't be for a looong time.

We could use mars as our platform for multiplanetary habitation as well as using it, as Musk says, a backup drive for the human race. It needs to,be able to have independence from earth in case of an extinction event. Having a colony on on the moon would always be dependent on the earth for resources.

Edit: mars is 38, not 62....because i cant math

Edit 2: Musk plans to make a ticket to Mars 200k. If you imagine early New world colonists, it's very feasible comparison to selling your possessions and heading west. The new world developed shockingly fast. No reason to think it wouldn't be similar on Mars with our technogival capabilities.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 11:34:34 AM by night_wrtr »

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #67 on: September 28, 2016, 03:54:50 PM »
An exciting time!
The Gem Cutter
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #68 on: September 28, 2016, 04:00:37 PM »
Baby steps, certainly, but the moon is a dead end. As far as a massive space station, that is not a viable option and won't be for a looong time.

One bit of conventional (I guess?) wisdom I've heard is that a moon base would be a good thing for further exploration of the solar system, not as a colony. For instance, it's a lot easier to build a large ship and launch it off the moon (with its lower gravity) than to catapult one off the earth. So one argument I've heard is that establishing a moon base would be a stepping stone to other planets, like Mars. But I'm not sure if that's still the thinking.

We could use mars as our platform for multiplanetary habitation as well as using it, as Musk says, a backup drive for the human race. It needs to,be able to have independence from earth in case of an extinction event.

One thing I've heard (and agree with) is that we shouldn't send humans to Mars *first*. We should send drones/robots to establish a livable colony and make sure it is habitable before sending live human colonists. Of course, I haven't read the article yet (I will shortly!) but sending humans first seems like a very risky idea.

Also, I've always been interested in how people would process that this is a one-way trip. I imagine anyone with family on Earth would be hesitant to leave, since they could basically never see their loved ones again. I think even when people were colonizing new continents, there was always the understanding they might be able to travel home one day ... I'm not sure if that's true of Mars colonization.

I do, however, think we're rushing things. Colonizing Mars is a good idea, in theory, but I think we should do far more preparation than we have before attempting it. But then again, this is just one non-scientists opinion...

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #69 on: September 28, 2016, 04:16:58 PM »

One thing I've heard (and agree with) is that we shouldn't send humans to Mars *first*. We should send drones/robots to establish a livable colony and make sure it is habitable before sending live human colonists. Of course, I haven't read the article yet (I will shortly!) but sending humans first seems like a very risky idea.

Also, I've always been interested in how people would process that this is a one-way trip. I imagine anyone with family on Earth would be hesitant to leave, since they could basically never see their loved ones again. I think even when people were colonizing new continents, there was always the understanding they might be able to travel home one day ... I'm not sure if that's true of Mars colonization.

I do, however, think we're rushing things. Colonizing Mars is a good idea, in theory, but I think we should do far more preparation than we have before attempting it. But then again, this is just one non-scientists opinion...

Three great points.
First, I agree that not only would drones and robots make colonizing Mars safer, faster, and more successful - using drones and robots to colonize Mars would speed their development and discovery/advancements in general. The distances, environments, and mission demands are daunting - and whenever we face these, we overcome them, and when we overcome them, we advance.

This is more important than it looks, because many of the other challenges of Mars colonization have to do with the distance and its orders of effect. When we went to the moon, practically everything we did was an innovation - and everything from concentrated foodstuffs to Velcro to computers were spurred by the venture. Going to Mars has fewer challenges - not to say they're easier, just fewer, and it is the staying there part where we'll see advances.

As for rushing things - I disagree, but not in the way you might think. The venture itself is irrelevant in the big scheme of things - it will impact the lives of very few humans for the foreseeable future. The lightning in this bottle is the spirit of adventure and progress and practical, mission-oriented international coalitions of scientists and explorers - the mood and spirit of the Apollo missions - the risk and the fame - these are things humanity and America in particular desperately needs - NOW. And the heightened risks to individuals only feeds that fervor.  There is wisdom in a slow, steady, measured course - but we're not going to Wal-Mart. We're going to Mars faster than a bullet from a gun...



The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #70 on: September 28, 2016, 04:46:06 PM »
Baby steps, certainly, but the moon is a dead end. As far as a massive space station, that is not a viable option and won't be for a looong time.

One bit of conventional (I guess?) wisdom I've heard is that a moon base would be a good thing for further exploration of the solar system, not as a colony. For instance, it's a lot easier to build a large ship and launch it off the moon (with its lower gravity) than to catapult one off the earth. So one argument I've heard is that establishing a moon base would be a stepping stone to other planets, like Mars. But I'm not sure if that's still the thinking.

We could use mars as our platform for multiplanetary habitation as well as using it, as Musk says, a backup drive for the human race. It needs to,be able to have independence from earth in case of an extinction event.

One thing I've heard (and agree with) is that we shouldn't send humans to Mars *first*. We should send drones/robots to establish a livable colony and make sure it is habitable before sending live human colonists. Of course, I haven't read the article yet (I will shortly!) but sending humans first seems like a very risky idea.

Also, I've always been interested in how people would process that this is a one-way trip. I imagine anyone with family on Earth would be hesitant to leave, since they could basically never see their loved ones again. I think even when people were colonizing new continents, there was always the understanding they might be able to travel home one day ... I'm not sure if that's true of Mars colonization.

I do, however, think we're rushing things. Colonizing Mars is a good idea, in theory, but I think we should do far more preparation than we have before attempting it. But then again, this is just one non-scientists opinion...

A big factor most, at least from what I have heard, favor the moon over mars is that it only takes 3 days to reach, instead of 6 months in a best case scenario to mars. Definitely the near non-existent gravity would favor launching massive rockets and would make perfect sense to establish a ground-like ISS on the moon to aid in earth or solar system projects like satellites, etc.

There are some private companies that are working toward establishing a base on the moon, but SpaceX is looking at long term colonizing of mars over everything. Its their main goal as a company. Moondust is a major hazard to mechanical parts, so that could be a heavy impact for not housing massive mechanicals there, but I suppose hangars could be build to shield the development of rockets and such.

If the moon were a launching point, we could have an easier path to getting ships through the universe absolutely, but still we are so far from developing a decent method for deep space exploration. I think it has to be looked at in terms of goals.

The moon is not good for colonization, but is excellent for having a ground space station for the earth, with potential for developing and launching rockets, satellites and any other cargo. With that said, not many would disagree that the moon has very little long term potential to maintain extended periods of occupation, and would require return trips and rotation of his astronauts and inhabitants.

Mars is the closest earth-like planet with plentiful resources, which also has potential for terraforming(don't shake your head!). It is our best opportunity as it stands now to begin long term colonization. SpaceX has a long term goal of colonization, and like you said, more preparation is needed, but we have to start progressing toward that eventuality.

So in terms of goals, I fully support that SpaceX starts to send rockets to Mars, and hopefully, leaving undamaged cargo for manned large scale missions. Hopefully there is a company that will carry through with developing some kind of base on the moon, which it would also make sense that multiple countries join together to do so as a single unit.

Working on both projects seems like the best course of action, though that means one of those private companies needs to take the lead.

That is true about a one-way ticket. Even at 200k, that is quite the sum. And until a launching site is built on mars that could house and launch the same bus style rockets, they may not get the opportunity to do so even if they wanted, at least not for the commoner. A home-trip seat would probably cost closer to the $10 million range that it stands at currently. That would likely reduce the number of early volunteers.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 04:53:12 PM by night_wrtr »

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #71 on: September 28, 2016, 06:49:20 PM »
Pardon the conjecture, but here's my thoughts on the moon.

Bases on the moon would allow the permanent establishment of a variety of instruments ranging from telescopes of various kinds, all of which would benefit from the moon's lack of atmosphere, shielding from RF noise, etc., in addition to its utility as a source of minerals.

It's main minerals include aluminum, iron, and titanium - all utilized in space craft and SC support equipment, and comprising the bulk (by weight) of space cargoes and vehicles. The primary costs of any space endeavor is currently spent in getting there, development of specific payloads not withstanding. The relatively tiny weight increments that are feasible in standard rockets and shuttles conceived of to date greatly inflates the cost and time required to launch and then assemble large space vehicles and space stations.

Four mountainous regions at the Moon's north pole may remain illuminated for the entire lunar day, creating peaks of eternal light. Combined with the very high temperatures of the moon's surface in sunlight, solar powered facilities could perform far beyond their potential on Earth, allowing for mining and refining. The moon is extremely brightly lit, far more brightly than its brightness suggests, given that it is essentially the color of asphalt, indicating a high solar energy potential. The low or non-existent capacity of current solar technologies to mine and refine metals and then produce high-quality metal equipment and parts on the moon (compared to Earth) may be offset by the expense and risk of launching heavy loads from Earth. The absence of rusting water and atmosphere suggest relatively low maintenance costs of operations and long life cycles for equipment on the moon compared to Earth.

A comparison would have to be made to determine if the energy required to launch vehicles from the moon was greater or less than the energy to launch from the Earth. Some of this energy could be recovered, as the moon's location is ideal for harnessing the gravity of the Earth to propel craft further and faster, potentially greatly reducing mission duration, a key factor in travel across the greater solar system. Breaking up missions into parts, i.e., traveling first to the moon and staging from there, allows for a greater concentration of limited resources (crew endurance, consumed power, food, and other resources) to the voyage from near-Earth space to distant destinations, effectively expanding range and/or expanding endurance at the destination.

So let's go.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

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Offline night_wrtr

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #73 on: September 30, 2016, 12:52:18 AM »
more detail on the bfr:  http://waitbutwhy.com/2016/09/spacexs-big-fking-rocket-the-full-story.html


I love waitbutwhy  8)

Seriously. 8 years from now, a human may step on Mars. Can't wait for this to start getting more publicity.

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like)
« Reply #74 on: October 04, 2016, 11:56:04 AM »
Some speculation the SpaceX explosion could have been sabotage. Article