Humanity’s Future in Space



I’ve been watching The Expanse. Beyond its kinetic story lies an assumption that mankind will someday build colonies on Mars, the asteroids, and the outer planet moons. Will we really? What trends do we see today that suggests we’ll be successful? And what headwinds are we encountering? Eric, David, and I discuss current advances towards moving people to space, problems humans will encounter living and working in space, and whether or not the future lies with AIs rather than meatbags like us.

Tools

I needed to buy business clothing, but I can’t just walk into a store and buy stuff at random. Nope, I have to approach buying suits, jackets, and ties as a real geek would — understanding what goes into quality, classic men’s business attire and buying the right stuff. I learned what I know about clothing from a classic book by Alan Flusser, Clothes and the Man. Out of print and stylistically obsolete, the book’s discussion of how good quality clothing gets made is still pertinent today.

I also mention possibly the last Blu-ray drive I’ll ever buy for my PC.

Eric’s finally exporting his old Aperture archive to individual photo files and folders, and it’s proving to be a major headache. He also mentions how he’s trying to extend his WiFi network. Finally, Eric buys an AVR (A/V receiver), which sets off a lively discussion about when and how to buy AVRs.

David’s struggling with more mundane things, such as how to get home in the Santa Cruz mountains given the flooding and mudslides going on in his neck of the woods. He also talks about Microsoft’s Git Virtual File System (GVFS), resources for using the ESP32 processor, and VR support in Windows 10.

Fun

The latest episode of The Expanse was just… wow. The show offers some of the sharpest written dialog on TV today. For an example, take a look at IO9’s article on the writing in the show — but watch out for spoilers!

I’ve also been playing Stellaris, a real-time (but pausable) 4x space exploration game. It’s almost soothing in how it plays out but can still get frenetic at times. I’m also finding myself using VR less and less, mainly due to “friction” — it just takes to long to set up a VR game and I wonder if it’s worth the time involved.

Eric and his son, Nick, have been modding their Nerf guns, making them look like weapons from some science fiction universe. He’s also wrapped up season 2 of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, giving it a big thumbs up.

David echoes my impression of this week’s The Expanse episode and suggests Ars Technica’s Decrypted podcast, which has been following the show. David’s also taking a look at electric cars (one in particular), and thinking about the upcoming game Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Oh, yeah, and David gives a big thumbs up to “Pepsi 1893”.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Max Heim says:

    You guys are a lot more optimistic than I am. Now that “anti-science” is a mainstream political movement (controlling 2 branches of government in the US), I’m seriously worried that we will fall off the curve in dealing with climate change. Combining that with the end of internationalism (the other dominant current trend), that leaves the next generation with a hundred individual governments struggling to maintain their economies and infrastructure in the face of massive challenges. Throw in population growth beyond the new carrying capacity, and I don’t see a lot of discretionary governmental spending, especially on expensive and risky space projects with no immediate return. I don’t expect the private sector to fill the gap, either. Other than sheer vanity projects by “eccentric billionaires”, the return just isn’t there. Even in boom times, the wolves on Wall Street aren’t going to lend you half-a-trillion dollars for a ten-year project to build an L5 station that has zero prospect of turning a profit for another ten years (if ever — really, it would require an entire near space infrastructure of miners, ferries, shipbuilders, etc., and where is that coming from?). I’m afraid we may have missed the window. Our next shot may not be until we have completely re-adapted to a warmer planet (after a 3 billion person die-off)… or maybe never.

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