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An Interstellar Lifeboat for Humanity
SpacePosted by michael on Thursday November 21, @09:53PM
from the women-and-children-first dept.
cravey writes "From the people who brought you the Oceania project so many years ago comes the Lifeboat project. An attempt to create a spaceship for the purposes of saving the human race from the singularity predicted by Vernor Vinge. Lots of talk about nanotech accidents and biological accidents wiping out civilization, but it has a neat picture of the ship. :)"

 

 
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Toledo Uncappers Getting Shafted | Don't Stymie Nanotech  >
An Interstellar Lifeboat for Humanity | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 378 comments | Search Discussion
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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
Insert your own (Score:4, Funny)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @09:55PM (#4728877)
telephone sanitizer joke here.
Re:Insert your own (Score:2)
by Nept (21497) on Thursday November 21, @10:55PM (#4729266)
(Last Journal: Sunday November 10, @11:14PM)
I hope they calculate the trajectory thingy right.
Re:Insert your own (Score:2)
by EvanED (569694) <`evaned' `at' `netzero.net'> on Thursday November 21, @11:10PM (#4729348)
How did I know a Hitchhiker's reference would be up top...
Possible flaw in their plan (Score:5, Insightful)
by cosmosis (221542) on Thursday November 21, @11:36PM (#4729493)
The possible flaw is that by the time they get the technology necessary to live in space sustainably long-term, mature nanotechnology will be available. So at best, they will have a few short years in which to get ahead start. But more importantly, the speed in which they will be able to travel will more than likely be substantially less than c. And once the singularity happens all bets are off, but chances are nanobot probes will be heading off in all directions at close to the speed of light, which means their ship will more than likely get infected, unless this singularity is benign. But if it is Benign, then there is no reason for their escape in the first place. I do wish them the best of luck.

Planet P [planetp.cc] - Liberation with Technology.
Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:3, Insightful)
by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:52PM (#4729583)
(Last Journal: Tuesday December 03, @06:52PM)
The possible flaw is that by the time they get the technology necessary to live in space sustainably long-term, mature nanotechnology will be available.

You appear to have confused science fiction with reality. There's no context in which a statement like "nanotechnology will be available" (emphasis mine) can be taken seriously. Apart from the fact that the word "nanotechnology," by itself, is too broad to have any relevance... oh, wait.

And once the singularity happens all bets are off, but chances are nanobot probes will be heading off in all directions at close to the speed of light, which means their ship will more than likely get infected, unless this singularity is benign.

Sorry, I should have read your whole post before responding. I didn't realize until after I'd already hit "reply" that you're a loony.

Carry on.
Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:5, Informative)
by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @12:40AM (#4729846)
(Last Journal: Tuesday December 03, @06:52PM)
You obviously are uninformed about nanotechnolgy.

Everybody is uninformed about nanotechnology. It's a term like "theology" or "philosophy," too broad to have any real meaning.

That said, let me summarize what I know about nanotechnology so you can decide if I'm insufficiently informed. It all started with Feynman's APS talk back in '59. If I remember correctly, it was entitled, "There's Room at the Bottom," or something like that. In it, he talked about the theoretical basis for molecule-scale structures: manufacturing through evaporation, the challenge of lubrication, and so on. Interestingly, I seem to recall, Feynman essentially ignored the implications of the Uncertainty Principle in his talk. That may be my imagination, though; it's been a long time.

Meanwhile, von Neumann was doing theoretical work of his own on self-replicating systems. (His work actually predated Feynman's talk by several years, but that's close enough to merit a "meanwhile" from me.)

Drexler first put the ideas together in a serious way in 1981, and in greater detail in his seminal '86 book, Engines of Creation. (I sold my copy years ago to a used book store, so don't expect any chapter-and-verse quotes from me.) He postulated self-replicating devices for manipulating atoms individually; he called them "assemblers." If I remember correctly, he also coined the term "gray goo" to refer to the nightmare of a runaway assembler that devours all available raw materials to manufacture more copies of itself, burying the surface of the Earth in a homogenous sludge.

Since the 80's, Drexler and others have done a mountain of work on nanotechnological ideas, most of them centering around the idea of the atomic-scale self-reproducing assembler. But that's not the whole story.

Back to the 1970's. We have these two basic ideas: atomic-scale manufacturing (Feynman) and self-replicating machines (von Neumann). Drexler jumped to the conclusion that these two ideas can be made to work together and ran with it. But the blanket term "nanotechnology" has since been applied to any non-biological physical process that occurs on the nanometer scale, not just Drexler's blue-sky ideas. That's why I say the term "nanotechnology" is essentially useless in any sort of technical discussion. Electron microscopy is nanotechnology. The synthesis of drugs is nanotechnology. PCR amplification of DNA is nanotechnology. Electroplating is nanotechnology. Drexler's self-replicating assemblers are nanotechnology. Everything is nanotechnology, in one way or another. And some ideas that can fairly be called nanotechnology are... well, let's just say they're a hell of a lot less plausible than others.

To take a specific example, Drexler's ideas of atomic-scale assemblers that replicate themselves and also assemble other atomic-scale structures are here already. They're called enzymes, and they're everywhere. The problem is that they only work inside a narrow range of temperature and environment. If the pH is too high or too low, the enzymes-- or "assemblers," if you prefer-- simply don't work. So they have to be contained inside little self-regulating environment bubbles: cells. And cells-- well, most kinds, anyway-- are too fragile to exist for long without external support. Thus, organisms. And even when an enzyme is in the perfect environment, contained inside a cell that's in turn protected by an entire organism, it still only works about half the time. Even something as seemingly harmless as sunlight can attack enzymes like artillery shells, blasting those fragile molecules into pieces before they can do their jobs. But the biological processes are so ridiculously redundant that 50% or more is an acceptable rate of failure.

Drexler envisions a very clean, precise atomic-scale manufacturing process. He assumes that this is possible because we're talking about putting atoms in place one at a time; there's no reason any nanotechnologically manufactured object should ever have a flaw in it. But, while that's theoretically possible, it's a lot harder to achieve than you might think. Remember what I said about temperature and environment? Nanotechnological-- or, if you prefer, biological, for at this point they're the same thing-- processes are fragile and delicate.

So jumping to the conclusion that we will have nanotechnology is meaningless, because nanotechnology means any number of things that cover the spectrum from the mundane to the fanciful.
Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:1)
by pVoid (607584) on Friday November 22, @03:14AM (#4730409)
/. should create a mod for you called "shaft" =)

that was the most articulate shaft I've read in a long time. Thanks man, it made my day.
Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:1)
by BuR4N (512430) on Friday November 22, @04:48AM (#4730619)
More posts like this one , mod += 99 ,thanks man !
Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:2)
by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @01:00PM (#4733181)
So jumping to the conclusion that we will have nanotechnology is meaningless, because nanotechnology means any number of things that cover the spectrum from the mundane to the fanciful.

Who are you accusing of jumping to this conclusion? The Lifeboat people? Or the person you originally responded to?

Neither one said we _will_ have nanotech, they both just said it was a possibility, and that if there is, there's the chance it could become extremely dangerous. (I read the posters comment as "A possible flaw is... that nanotech will be available," ie a possiblity, not a definite thing)

Arguing that nanotechnology can mean any number of things is meaningless. They've specified what type of nanotech they're worried about, the kind that could be turned into grey goo. Clearly they're not worried about the entire world being electroplated ;)

The only thing i'd argue with is the assumption by the poster your responded to that if nanotech is developed, the lifeboat will be intercepted by near lights speed nanotech probes and therefore any disaster that happens to earth will happen to the lifeboat:

A: I suspect that the ability to create grey goo will occur before near light speed or beyond light speed travel is developed, so if a disaster happens, it's likely to happen before that point.

B: Even if it does happen afterwards, or the nanobots take a longer time catching up at sublight speeds, it's not likely the particular nanobots that are a threat will end up in space probes unless someone is intentionally trying to destroy all human life. The risk of grey goo is that it could be created by accident in an experiment, or be manufactured by (very, VERY insane) terrorists in a small lab. However building it with a time delay function and launching it into space would require both a lot of planning and a lot of resources.

C: As mentioned on the Lifeboat site, it's a lot easier to maintain security over a small area than a large one. Creating an active nanobot defense over the entire earth would be almost impossible, creating one in a spaceship/colony would be many orders of magnitude easier.

Re:Possible flaw in their plan (Score:1)
by Mr. Mikey (17567) on Friday November 22, @07:58PM (#4736473)
Bravo! Once I get my bobble generator set up, you're one of the ones I invite in.
The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:5, Insightful)
by Artifice_Eternity (306661) on Friday November 22, @12:53AM (#4729902)
(http://subintsoc.net/)
I don't know who said that first, but I read it here on Slashdot.

I like Vinge's fiction, but the Singularity thing strikes me as an apocalyptic/transcendent/eschatological scenario for people who can't stomach the Book of Revelation.

Face it: the real underpinnings of the "Singularity" are not any kind of hard science, but human yearning for redemption and transformation. All this talk about the growth of AI is a joke -- in fact most of the field of AI is a joke, since no one can even define what natural intelligence is, much less the artificial kind. And technological trends like Moore's Law are not in any way bound to continue, yet geeks treat them like scientifically proven laws of nature, and then extrapolate the emergence of an Ubermind.

The impulses behind religion -- a desire for collective change and a future utopia -- need not be manifested in traditionally religious ways. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, ostensibly anti- or non-religious people believed in a faith called Marxism, that promised an all-cleansing revolution and a workers' paradise. The "Singularity" nuts are just the latest iteration of this.

There's a term for the movement of people who want to cyborgize themselves, which escapes me at the moment (exomorphs? something like that). But I imagine there's a lot of overlap between them and the "Singularists."
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:1)
by nackrm (571581) <[email protected] minus distro> on Friday November 22, @01:49AM (#4730127)
(http://blackhole.cs.uwec.edu/ | Last Journal: Monday October 28, @10:17PM)
no one can even define what natural intelligence is

Well we can still point at you and say that you definately don't quallify. Who says that geeks treat Moores Law like it's scientifically proven? I'd like to see evidence of this. Also, as someone who is "non-religious" I'm trying remember if I signed up to be a marxist or not. If so, then I haven't paid my dues in an awefully long time.

Jumping to conclusions about groups of people never get you anywhere. Maybe instead of writing people off you should try to discuss ideas. I could go off and just assume that you're a bible-thumping buddy christ wannabe that is out to cleanse the world of us evil doers, but that would be wrong of me. I'll just sit hear and play with my k'nex set instead. I'm working on trying to build myself a new arm.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:2)
by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @01:08PM (#4733266)
This sort of thing is a pretty typical response for a cultist who hears his belief system questioned.

This kind of thing is a pretty typical response for a person who hears their questioning of a belief system questioned.

We could keep this up all day! :)

Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:2, Informative)
by Sdrawcab (627443) on Friday November 22, @02:02AM (#4730169)
Transhumanism/Transhumanists are what you are reffering to, I believe.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:2)
by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday November 22, @07:40PM (#4736400)
(http://localhost/)
Extropians, actually.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:1)
by meadowsp (54223) on Friday November 22, @05:22AM (#4730736)
(http://www.mp3.com/djphilsavage)
Come the revolution, comrade, you'll be first up against the wall.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:1)
by space_hippy (625619) on Friday November 22, @08:58AM (#4731343)
I don't know who said that first, but I read it here on Slashdot. I like Vinge's fiction, but the Singularity thing strikes me as an apocalyptic/transcendent/eschatological scenario for people who can't stomach the Book of Revelation.
It isn't the book I can't stomach, it is the people that interpret it.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:1)
by hawkfish (8978) on Friday November 22, @12:00PM (#4732615)
(http://www.electricfish.com/hawkfish/)
The thing that always bothered me about the Vinge Singularity was that it assumed that an increasing function necessarily becomes asymptotic. As a mathematician, he should know better.
Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:2)
by praedor (218403) on Friday November 22, @03:14PM (#4734404)
(http://slashdot.org/)

What is also nonsensical about the singularity idea is it divorces scientific advancement from those responsible for producing it: humans. There is not an exponentially increasing number of scientists to keep up with the supposedly exponentially increasing level of tech and knowledge. You CAN'T get the amount of scientific advancement in a day that you get in a year unless there is a corresponding increase in the number of scientists doing the work AND they give up on the workday and go hellbent 24/7.


Naw. Science advances only as quickly as humans can do the grunt work. The rate of advancement has a rate wall that cannot be exceeded dependent on 1) number of scientists in each field, 2) the rate they can ingest and gain understanding of other's works and actually process the information into something useable - the larger the body of work, the longer it takes to reach understanding because there is so much more to take in), 3) productive hours in a day, 4) funding (science isn't free - it gets more and more expensive all the time, depending on the area).


I'm certain I'm leaving things out but science doesn't do itself. It is a human activity limited by the limits of the tool conducting it.

Re:The "Singularity" = the Rapture for atheists (Score:1)
by FleaPlus (6935) on Friday November 22, @05:58PM (#4735739)
(http://andrew.cmu.edu/~nsh2/)
But what if science created an entity (either an enhanced human or an AI) that could perform science? This seems particularly feasible in regards to your second point, by increasing "the rate they can ingest and gain understanding of other's works and actually process the information into something useable."
Abandon ship (Score:5, Funny)
by pardasaniman (585320) on Thursday November 21, @09:56PM (#4728884)
We have a slashdotting approaching at nine O'clock Fire the torpedoes Ay Cap.......
Re:Abandon ship (Score:1)
by rainman31415 (576575) on Thursday November 21, @10:40PM (#4729186)
Slashdotting incoming......holy shit, shields up before our systems become smoldering embers...

-shut up
rainman
Sure they can save humanity (Score:3, Funny)
by spike hay (534165) <blu_ice AT violate DOT me DOT uk> on Thursday November 21, @11:32PM (#4729465)
(http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Tuesday April 23, @07:50PM)
But can they save their servers?
Re:Abandon ship (Score:2, Funny)
by Jucius Maximus (229128) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:59PM (#4729634)
(http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Thursday December 05, @06:11PM)
Commander: Shall we engage the slashdot effect, sir?

Captain: Make it slow.

Save the planet... (Score:2, Funny)
by BSOD from above (625268) on Thursday November 21, @09:58PM (#4728889)
go somewhere else.
Straigh to the Sun (Score:1)
by SpelledBackwards (587772) on Thursday November 21, @09:58PM (#4728891)
If we really do get so stupid as to actually cause our own destruction, perhaps the best thing to do would be to send the lifeboat straight into the sun a la The Simpsons.
Re:Straigh to the Sun (Score:1)
by mackstann (586043) on Friday November 22, @01:29AM (#4730057)
(http://incise.org/)
If we really do get so stupid as to actually cause our own destruction

i dont know if, or how much things will change in the future, but as it stands right now we seem to be on the path to self destruction, or at least earth destruction.

Sadly... (Score:5, Funny)
by dirkdidit (550955) on Thursday November 21, @09:58PM (#4728894)
(http://www.dakuinteractive.com/)
There was no lifeboat or amount of bandwidth that could save their server. God bless its smoldering soul.
Site Mirror (Score:1)
by sinistermidget (73363) on Thursday November 21, @11:05PM (#4729323)
It's ok, the trailer video is here: http://www.snowcrest.net/fox/starvid/star.ram
Re:Sadly... (Score:2)
by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Friday November 22, @02:04AM (#4730183)
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a space bound life boat full of backup tapes and singularists.
The best lifeboat (Score:5, Funny)
by cscx (541332) on Thursday November 21, @09:59PM (#4728899)
(http://www.analse.cx/ | Last Journal: Thursday November 07, @12:31AM)
If I would have to be shot into space in a lifeboat, it would have to be in a gigantic Bob's Big Boy.
Re:The best lifeboat (Score:2)
by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Friday November 22, @02:07AM (#4730202)
whats the reference to disco stu? i know the name - but cant remember where from.....
Re:The best lifeboat (Score:1)
by cscx (541332) on Friday November 22, @03:03AM (#4730377)
(http://www.analse.cx/ | Last Journal: Thursday November 07, @12:31AM)
He's the cool 70s guy from the Simpsons.
Ha (Score:1)
by slideshot (201483) on Thursday November 21, @09:59PM (#4728901)
"Lots of talk about nanotech accidents and biological accidents" But they weren't prepared for humanity's end occuring from the slashdot effect.
"wipe out humanity? (Score:5, Funny)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @09:59PM (#4728905)
now there's a thought. more of a long term
thing though...first we need to focus on more
immediate goals." - 12 Monkeys
Re:Peace War (Score:2, Informative)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @10:06PM (#4728962)
If you liked Vernor Vinge's essay on
the Singularity as he conceives it
you should read (hell in my opinion you
should read all of his shit)
marooned in realtime.
Marooned in Realtime discusses extensively
the singularity from the other historical
side. Where people that didn't experience
try to figure out what actually happened
to the human race. When I finished it,
I immeadiately reread it, and I don't usually
do that.
Re:Peace War (Score:2)
by HiThere (15173) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @03:07PM (#4734358)
The problem is, to really understand his point you need to read it together with the "Peace War", and that's been out of print for ages.
Spaceship not large enough (Score:3, Funny)
by product byproduct (628318) on Thursday November 21, @10:00PM (#4728909)
We would need a Beowulf cluster of these to save humanity.
generation starship fleets (Score:1, Interesting)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @11:32PM (#4729467)
Yeah, we need as many of these as we find terrestrial planets with liquid water and abundant O2 [nasa.gov].

Within a 100 light-year radius, that will probably be five or ten.

I'd rather have one generation starship than a dozen LEO space stations.

Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:3, Insightful)
by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:44PM (#4729539)
(http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
Spaceship really not large enough. You might save the population of Christmas Island, and of course politics will rear its ugly head at this point.

Also, they're pushing security and escape. One idiot on the wrong trajectory, perhaps assisted by a bucketful of gravel, would put paid to their marvellous toy - hereinafter referred to as `the basket'. Better to build space elevators and have many baskets.

Better still, of course, to not bugger up our planet in the first place.

There are many grand schemes for bringing that about, but all of the make the same basic mistake (one way or another). They either assume that they're working with altruists (in which case any system would work and these idealists are already redundant), or that their subjects are all idiots (so they build idiot-compatible one-size-fits-all systems, which of course fail).

The only way that this can work is by changing basic human nature. And of course, we just left the sphere of materialism, welcome to religion, we hope you enjoy the life.
Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:3, Interesting)
by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Friday November 22, @02:16AM (#4730248)
heres a question regarding space elevators. If you have a space elevator - regardless of what its made out of - and the ground point of the elevator becomes un-teathered (e.g. no longer attached to earth) what happens?

Does the whole huge ass thing fall to earth causing major scale damage (given there is a lot of civilization near by) - does it flap around like a hose with nobody at the end - or does it float off into space?

So - if there is a major catastrophic event which requires the evacuation of earth via our space elevators - do you really think that the elevators bases would be stable enough (or even flexible enough) to withstand some sort of event that would assumably be coupled with earth shaking upheaval (sp) to such a degree as to make the elevators skyscraping towers of death?

Does anyone seriously know? what considerations have been given towards this issue?

(Not to mention the possibilities for terrorist attacks. For god's sake wont somebody please think of the children!)
Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:2, Informative)
by Grayraven (95321) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @03:08AM (#4730393)
(http://gray.mine.nu/)
RTFF [highliftsystems.com]
`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:5, Interesting)
by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @03:28AM (#4730444)
(http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
If you have a space elevator [...] and the ground point of the elevator becomes un-teathered (e.g. no longer attached to earth) what happens?

Not much, unless the design deliberately called for it to be under tension. The things are in orbit, after all. Some designs call for the `tower' base to be mobile (a ship). It's not really a tower, it's really a bridge anchored on nothing (from the middle out).

Breaking it in the middle would be a bit more disastrous. The bottom half would whiplash around the planet (or maybe the bottom tenth, quite a lot would burn up and/or shatter as it re-entered), and what happened to the other half would be highly dependednt on stuff like where the Moon was at the time.

Terrorist attacks would not be easy to carry off; the elevator would be a very thin low-visibility target to hit, and air defense would be relatively simple. Some quite small computer-co-ordinated guns on the travellers would prove quite lethal to aircraft and missiles alike, and I imagine that provision would be made for directing and focussing the lift laser against larger and/or slower targets. The designs that I've seen would be immune to meteor strikes up to quite sizeable impacts (they're curved - like a tape measure - so even a side-on strike would get at most half of the fibres).

Terrorist attacks against space colonies would be much more of a problem. From orbit, a rocket the size of two soft-drink cans could loft a couple of kilos of small ball-bearings into a widely dispersed cloud on a collision course with a colony. This would be very difficult to even detect, let alone parry or dodge.

Terrorist attacks on ground targets from orbit would also be a worry. `We have many rocks, Man.'
Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:1)
by ratamacue (593855) on Friday November 22, @07:49AM (#4731055)
(http://free-market.net/)
Why do people speak of terrorism as if it's an inevitable, unpredictable problem that can only be solved with more government (more force)? The truth is exactly the opposite. Terrorism is a retaliation to force. Limit the ability of government to initiate force, and you greatly reduce the odds of being attacked by terrorists. If anyone is looking for the answer to why the US is hated by certain groups around the world, look no further than the US government's history on initiating force.
Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:2)
by swv3752 (187722) on Friday November 22, @08:59AM (#4731356)
(http://www.fortuneci...allows/50/index.html)
Terrorism is the result of some small group that tries to force thier ideals on everyone else. Inevitably some group is going to oppose the elevator and attempt to use force to bring it down. Just look at the animal rights groups that blow up labs conducting animal research.
Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:1)
by Mr. Slippery (47854) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @12:08PM (#4732678)
(http://www.infamous.net/)
Inevitably some group is going to oppose the elevator and attempt to use force to bring it down. Just look at the animal rights groups that blow up labs conducting animal research.

Why is it inevitable that someone will oppose a space elevator? I don't know of anyone who thinks that such a construction would be unethical, the way that many people think certain animal research is. The comparison doesn't seem to connect.

Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:2)
by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @01:17PM (#4733368)
A lot of people would be against a space elevator out of fear of the damage done if it ever fell down. Of course those people would be unlikely to try and sabotage it once it was up.

What you'd need to worry about more is anyone who saw it as a symbol of the US/Western Civilization/Whatever group some terrorists have a grudge again. I don't think the 9/11 terrorists thought that the WTC was inherently bad for being a very tall building or something like that.

Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:2)
by swv3752 (187722) on Friday November 22, @04:35PM (#4735102)
(http://www.fortuneci...allows/50/index.html)
Luddites that oppose man going to space? Religious nuts that oppose us going to "heaven"? Eco-terrorists thinking it will destroy the planet? It only takes a little imagination see the potential groups that will try to take it down. Someone will oppose it because some one always does. It is a sad fact of human nature.
Mod parent up! Nasty bushwackin' skyscraper? Ha! (Score:2)
by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @06:29AM (#4737978)
(http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
For this:

What you'd need to worry about more is anyone who saw it as a symbol of the US/Western Civilization/Whatever group some terrorists have a grudge again. I don't think the 9/11 terrorists thought that the WTC was inherently bad for being a very tall building or something like that.
Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:1)
by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Friday November 22, @08:01AM (#4731097)
Common theme in good SF. Study Niven, Heinlein for some good insights.
  • Question: since an elevator would be tethered, does this affect the minimum stable height? Would you have to go all the way to normal geosync orbit? Remember vacuum is only 100 miles up or so, you could find a safe desert anchor point for that sort of length.
  • Would be interesting to know if we'd end up with a permanent oscillation, sort of a Foucalt pendulum effect. Anybody know?
  • Laser systems are already shooting down missles, ref earlier /.
  • Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:2)
    by barawn (25691) on Friday November 22, @09:26AM (#4731520)
    (http://www.personal.psu.edu/~psa104/)
    Space elevators are untethered, by definition: they're in orbit. It just so happens that they happen to be really big and long, so that one end of them nearly touches the ground. You may want to magnetically grab or physically grab the end to try to actively avoid large objects (induced oscillations).

    The minimum stable height of a space elevator is center of mass in geosynchronous orbit, by definition. Otherwise it would drift around the planet. Note that the anchor point (the place it's built above) has to be on the equator as well.

    There'd be quite a few oscillations: there'd be a natural oscillatory mode depending on the actual length of the elevator cable. These could be damped, however, so no, there doesn't NEED to be oscillations - it's just that there likely will be a few, and probably quite a few that are pretty complicated and difficult to damp.
    Equator not vital, but... (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @06:33AM (#4737981)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    Note that the anchor point (the place it's built above) has to be on the equator as well.

    Not true, but the further from the equator you get, the more, er, interesting the engineering problems get. You could have, for example, a spiral-shaped elevator tethered in London, but it would be much longer and subject to larger forces (read, orders of magnitude harder to build) than an equatorial one.
    ...and why not deliberately? (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @06:38AM (#4737985)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    There'd be quite a few oscillations: there'd be a natural oscillatory mode depending on the actual length of the elevator cable. These could be damped, however, so no, there doesn't NEED to be oscillations

    I've seen a proposal for an elevator on Mars that was carefully oscillated to avoid the regular passage of an inconvenient moon.

    Building really, really tall houses for horses (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @06:50AM (#4737995)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    since an elevator would be tethered, does this affect the minimum stable height?

    You couldn't indulge in a great deal of shortening by supporting the thing from below. You would increase the tension along much of its length, requiring it to be thicker there. OTOH having it under tension may be a useful safety feature (the upper lengths would tend to head skyward rather than practicing S&M on the planet if the elecator snapped).

    You could shorten it a lot by nailing a sizeable asteroid to the other end (just beyond geosync), but that has a few technical hazards of its own (e.g. wouldn't want to be on the Moon if it came loose - billiards, anyone?). If you found and refined the carbon (or anything else) in space, that might be useful employment for the slag.
    Re:`Fiiiii-bre!' -or - `When elevators come down' (Score:1)
    by Sri Lumpa (147664) on Monday November 25, @08:48PM (#4755811)
    (http://www.opendvd.org)
    "From orbit, a rocket the size of two soft-drink cans could loft a couple of kilos of small ball-bearings into a widely dispersed cloud on a collision course with a colony. This would be very difficult to even detect, let alone parry or dodge."

    Sir, that's what we've got deflector dishes for ;).

    Deflector shields (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Monday November 25, @10:10PM (#4756276)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    that's what we've got deflector dishes for

    They were actually proposed for the Stanford Torus particularly for cosmic ray shielding, but the side-effects and added difficulty in docking etc with an object charged up to a bazillion volts made them impractical.

    Even so, if I were attacking one I'd give my two-can rocket a slight opposing charge, and dispense with anything reminiscent of a guidance system.
    Good taste in books? (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @06:42AM (#4737990)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    `Highly eclectic' would be more accurate. Pratchett, O'Niell, Dawkins and Baumgardner all on the same day. Not counting my Larsen deck calendar. (-:

    I wonder why anyone would bother to mod you down at all, let alone two points?
    Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:3)
    by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Friday November 22, @06:59AM (#4730946)
    You would just have to pick out a cross-section of humanity. High ranking politicians from around the globe, very very rich businessmen (CEOs, etc.), most of the actors in Hollywood and musicians, and lawyers. Lots of lawyers. By the time they realize they're being fired off into the Sun and the fireworks down below are the rest of humanity celebrating their departure rather than the annihilation of the human race by some "horrible catastrophe" it'll be too late for them to figure out how to return to Earth. Ah the lovely idea of the greedy bastards who would be fighting to claim their ticket to salvation taking a one way trip into the solar system's largest fusion reactor. We can only dream right?
    Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:1)
    by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Friday November 22, @09:34AM (#4731585)
    I can understand you wanting to get rid of politicians and lawyers. But whats wrong with businessmen, actors and musicians?
    Re:Spaceship not large enough (Score:2)
    by leonbrooks (8043) <[email protected]> on Saturday November 23, @08:12AM (#4738083)
    (http://plug.linux.org.au/~leonb/)
    I agree with NDPTAL85 on the musicians (let natural selection deal with those) but otherwise the idea is interesting... `I've got a little list - they'll none of them be missed.'

    I'd put some restrictions on lawyers, too. We had a local one just hammer a spammer into the ground [ilaw.com.au] recently (and the spammer bailed out of the appeal, too - go, Jeremy [ilaw.com.au]!). Hey - let's send the spammers! Tell them they get great bandwidth up there and can downlink to anywhere on Earth.
    One hopes... (Score:2)
    by 3waygeek (58990) on Thursday November 21, @10:00PM (#4728910)
    that their ship will be more robust than their website -- 3 minutes after this story was posted, they're /.'ed
    Re:One hopes... (Score:5, Funny)
    by Metrol (147060) on Thursday November 21, @10:23PM (#4729085)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Obviously their systems work!

    With the end of the world right around the corner the population of the planet would be clammering to get to their site. The server obviously auto ejected itself into orbit after what it perceived to be massive panic on the web.

    If only more nitwit sites had features like this... *sigh*
    Actually, it's well worth the visit... (Score:1)
    by swit (600376) on Friday November 22, @12:12AM (#4729706)
    (Last Journal: Tuesday October 29, @02:39AM)
    I sent the following reply to a friend today (Nov 21, 2002) after
    her email to [email protected] bounced.

    =====
    This does not show well for an organization dedicated to
    saving Humanity. If you can't get your email straight,
    won't saving Humanity, an um, er, tougher job, be harder?!

    I went to http://www.lifeboat.com
    and had a look. This site is amazing, even
    bringing in (in the fine print) Dyson Spheres
    gray goo, man made black holes (inside the Solar System),
    nanotechnology, and antimatter weapons!!!

    You really have to hand it to Eric Klien - when this guy wakes
    up in the morning and has AN IDEA, he really doesn't piss about!
    (Even his name is different from the usual "Klein".)

    I can see the news networks really eating this stuff up!
    Hell, they must get 100 scruffy crazies A DAY
    claiming to hear voices, see aliens, have the personal
    attention of God, etc.

    Suddenly, in comes one guy IN A GOOD SUIT, and with a Vision that
    encompasses not only the near term saving of Humanity, but with
    AN INFRASTRUCTURE that includes a schedule, timeline, cool web site,
    and A PLAN!.
    Nuts, when the first guy who wanted to save Humanity, what
    was his name - um, oh yeah, Jesus - arrived, did He have any of that?
    Hell no, and He didn't even speak English! (Aramaic, or something like that.)

    I always do a WHOIS on the domain record when this happens.
    Below is the WHOIS for lifeboat.com:
    *OFTEN* you start getting email problems because the registration
    expired/whatever. email problems = the canary in the coalmine!

    =====
    Registrant:
    Lifeboat Foundation (WWXVQAOVAD) .....
          Record expires on 30-May-2003.
          Record created on 06-Jun-2002. .....
    =====

                But this registration record is OK, so THAT wasn't the reason
                for the bounced email.
    Note: If I was going to put up a web site dedicated to
                saving Humanity, I would not be cheap enough to
                just register it for one year!

    I really DO love the site, however. They've done a good job on it.

    I'm impressed enough to want to join.
    I.E. The way that I joined and worked hard for
    the Flat Earth Society.

    (BEFORE you speak to the press about it, you practice, practice
      in front of a mirror saying "The Earth is completely Flat!"
      in the same tone and with the SAME demeanor with which you'd say
      "There are fish in the sea." You MUST give a completely natural
      interview. This is a damn bit harder than to go up there and
      just gibber on about how you visit and speak with Jesus when he
      beams you up to his spaceship.
    )

    And now for our educational component:

    ARAMAIC:
    Semitic language closely related to Hebrew.
    Originally the language of the Aramaeans, it was used,
    in many dialectical forms, in Mesopotamia and Syria before 1000 BC
    and later became the lingua franca of the Middle East.

    SWIT.

    My suggestion... (Score:5, Funny)
    by Moonshadow (84117) on Thursday November 21, @10:00PM (#4728914)
    (http://captionthis.com/)
    I say we just offload all the extremists and morons onto Mars. We'll call it the "Get Off Of Our Planet" (GOOOP) project. That should help the longevity of the human race, although I can't speak for the "Mars colonists". :D
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Descartes (124922) on Thursday November 21, @10:04PM (#4728948)
    hmmm, a somewhat extreme suggestion, careful or you might just secure yourself a place on board.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2)
    by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Thursday November 21, @10:04PM (#4728952)
    (http://fark.com/ | Last Journal: Tuesday December 11, @04:03PM)
    I say we just offload all the extremists and morons onto Mars. We'll call it the "Get Off Of Our Planet" (GOOOP) project.

    But there's no atmosphere on Mars! That's an awfully expensive way to kill millions of people! Wait a minute... that makes you an EXTREMIST! Good plan... we'll send you and the Ayatollah and Bin Laden straight to Mars. A little less direct than Zyklon-B, but no less effective.

    I'm sure Ashcroft would approve.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:5, Informative)
    by MouseR (3264) on Thursday November 21, @10:17PM (#4729043)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    For those who don't follow, Zyclon-B [historyplace.com] was a hydrocyanic acid initially used as disinfectant and insecticide that ended up being used by the Nazis in the concentration camps,

    It's also the name of a Metal group [telia.lv] from Norway that ought to disinfect their own style.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:5, Funny)
    by Incon (543198) on Thursday November 21, @11:24PM (#4729427)
    But there's no atmosphere on Mars! That's an awfully expensive way to kill millions of people!

    I do not think millions of people will die.

    As a long line of Mars movies have educated me, only about 1 to 10 people die because of no atmosphere. Then the hero(es) fixes it all up and Mars has atmosphere. And everyone is saved.

    References to get you started in Mars terraforming
    1. Total Recall [imdb.com]
    2. Red Planet [imdb.com]
    Re:2 as a large number (Score:1)
    by Eagle5596 (575899) <[email protected] m . o rg> on Friday November 22, @09:46AM (#4731719)
    (Last Journal: Monday November 04, @11:35PM)
    Two is a VERY large number, when compared with say .00001!
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:3, Interesting)
    by donscarletti (569232) on Thursday November 21, @11:33PM (#4729471)
    There is an atmosphere on mars. Why the heck do you think they whacked parachutes onto viking? As a napkin? Come on!

    Just because an atmosphere is not breathable doesn't mean it does not exist. Take a seedy nightclub or pub as an example. Just because the cigarette smoke, BO and other such cruft makes it absolutely unbarable to breath doesn't make it a vacume.

    Mars' atmosphere is mainly CO2 with a little N2 floating around so it would just be like a paper bag that has been breathed into and from for a while but with a little more CO2.

    I guess you are right that someone would die after landing on Mars because it has no breathable oxygen. However they would live longer than you thought because they would not pop like one would on a planet totally devoid of atmosphere (at least not as fast). The temperature would not be as extreme either. I guess if you packed George Bush, Osama Bin Laden, Areial Sharon, Yasser Arafat and anyone who supports these people into the rocket with a few scuba sets, some warm angora sweaters and some strong Burbon (for staying warm on the cold martian nights) they could form nice friendly community until they either run out of burbon/oxygen or renounce violence and we can fly them back home.

    Come to think about it that is a pretty cool idea.

    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2, Funny)
    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @12:01AM (#4729647)
    (Last Journal: Tuesday December 03, @06:52PM)
    Just because the cigarette smoke, BO and other such cruft makes it absolutely unbarable to breath doesn't make it a vacume.

    Is the "e" key on your keyboard broken? It seems to be failing when you need it, and then firing off at random when you don't.

    Might want to have that looked at.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:3, Interesting)
    by JamesSharman (91225) on Friday November 22, @08:41AM (#4731222)
    (http://www.badtech.com/)

    That depends, if there were less scuba sets than people it could get very interesting very fast.

    Besides, the atmosphere on mars is very very thin, much lower than at the top of everest if I remmeber correctly. The problem with really low air presure (ignoring the lack of any o2) is that your lungs start to leak water ending in what is effectively drowning. Even with an o2 supply climbers effectively start dying once the air gets two thin. Exactly how long you could last in the open on mars with an o2 supply I couldn't tell you but I'm not sure I'd like to find out.

    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2)
    by digitalsushi (137809) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @10:42AM (#4732132)
    (Last Journal: Monday October 28, @10:19PM)
    I would love to hear someone's guess on this as well. I'd guess... 8 minutes.

    A google [google.com] search didn't yield any results, so I guess no one has thought about this yet.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by juhaz (110830) on Sunday November 24, @12:16PM (#4743595)
    If I remember correctly, average temperature of Mars is about -63 degrees celsius (about +15 on Earth, don't know whether annual, geographical and day/night variation is anything alike).

    People don't stay alive in "angora sweaters" at those kind of temperatures for long, something like those clothes used by people on the poles here might give some time, though.

    Combine those with very good tents... yeah, people with oxygen masks just might stay alive.

    And bourbon is not a good idea, despite the warm feeling it causes and reputation, alcohol does not really help keep people warm. Quite the opposite, actually.

    Humans do not pop in full vacuum.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by fredrik70 (161208) on Friday November 22, @08:45AM (#4731243)
    (http://www.clamp.org.uk/)
    But there's no atmosphere on Mars! That's an awfully expensive way to kill millions of people!

    Well, if you gonna do it, you should do it with style! ;-)

    Re:My suggestion... (Score:5, Funny)
    by Cyno01 (573917) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:24PM (#4729086)
    (http://dovetest.tripod.com/)
    I say we just offload all the extremists and morons onto Mars....That should help the longevity of the human race, although I can't speak for the "Mars colonists"
    They'd probably come back and start pushing us around, acting like they're the only planet in the solar system. Look what happened when Europe started sending all its extreemists, nutwhacks and convicts to the 'new world' and didn't expect them to survive.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @10:29PM (#4729117)
    Yeah, they wound up saving Europe's butt on a regular basis. Dreadful result, that.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2, Funny)
    by Markus Landgren (50350) on Friday November 22, @12:44AM (#4729862)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Yeah, if we did not have America, who would then save our butt by supplying Saddam Hussein with anthrax and other biological weapons? [osd.mil]
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by fuzdout (585374) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:46PM (#4729213)
    (Last Journal: Friday November 01, @03:05PM)
    I say we just offload all the extremists and morons onto Mars....That should help the longevity of the human race, although I can't speak for the "Mars colonists".

    Nah, won't change the longevity, but might clean out the gene pool resulting in humans evolving UP for once, instead of down. ;)
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by tricknology (112298) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:05PM (#4729327)
    I say we just offload all the extremists and morons onto Mars.

    Maybe it's just me, but categorically sending people to Mars seems a bit extremist. Have a safe trip.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by SunPin (596554) on Thursday November 21, @11:35PM (#4729485)
    (http://www.cyberista.com/)
    like Austrailia???

    Get a clue, Adolf.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:2)
    by Tharsis (7591) on Friday November 22, @05:07AM (#4730688)
    Now that's an extremist opinion if ever I heard one, I hope you enjoy mars;)
    That's what the USA is made of. (flamebait?) (Score:2)
    by Qbertino (265505) on Friday November 22, @09:22AM (#4731487)
    Basically the US consists of all the morons and extremeists and religious fanatics that where kicked out of europe the last 300 years. And their offspring.
    And now they sort of 'rule the world' and call that wild patch of land 'Gods own country'.
    Talk about irony.
    Re:That's what the USA is made of. (flamebait?) (Score:2)
    by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Friday November 22, @09:40AM (#4731637)
    I thought the Europeans were the extremists, or at the very least extremeist lovers since they can't seem to get enough of all the Middle Eastern peoples of the world.
    The GOOOP (Score:1)
    by riclewis (617546) on Friday November 22, @03:10PM (#4734385)
    It's been done before. It was called Australia.
    Re:My suggestion... (Score:1)
    by rendermouse (462757) on Friday November 22, @05:10PM (#4735387)

    Maybe not.
    According to a Mr. Heinlein [barnesandnoble.com], they could start a revolution and
      loft huge moon-rocks into our gravitational pull.
    Where did NASA go wrong? (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Chris_Stankowitz (612232) on Thursday November 21, @10:01PM (#4728918)
    By not exploiting the fears of man. This is the kond of project that will get you some funding. Or at least collaborating with Ben & Jerry to make some better dried Icream flavors.
    After the gold rush (Score:3, Funny)
    by n1ywb (555767) on Thursday November 21, @10:02PM (#4728928)
    (http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Thursday November 21, @03:26AM)
    Remember the Neil Young song?

    Well, I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
    In the yellow haze of the sun
    There were children crying and colors flying
    All around the chosen ones
    All in a dream, all in a dream
    The loading had begun
    Flyin' mother nature's silver seed
    To a new home in the sun

    Oh fuck I just broke the DMCA. Sorry, Neil.

    Seriously, this theme has been around in modern media. The genesis project from Star Trek, that crappy Don Bluth film, etc. In a lot of sci-fi's the earth is a dump and most people live elsewhere, like in Cowboy Bebop. Sci-fi's are often uncannily accurate at predicting the future.

    Call me a crazy hippy, but in a lot of ways the Earth is a life form and we are like it's organs. If the meaning of life is to reproduce, then wouldn't terraforming and colonizing a new planet be the ultimate form of reproduction?
    Re:After the gold rush (Score:1)
    by reconn (578681) on Thursday November 21, @10:52PM (#4729242)
    This 'meme' (as the kids are saying these days) has been around longer than that, but I think that the strongest voice against the exodus-philia that sci-fi (et al) is prone to, would have to still be Philip K. Dick.

    His mars colonists are lonely exiles, bored stiff and blasting their minds out on drugs to try to recall some better life (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch). They read old [read: 50s and earlier] pulp sci-fi about planetary exploration because it's so much more fun then their own experience (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep). There's no glory. There's just a love and a longing for the earth, and a desire for the right to return to it.

    Re:After the gold rush (Score:2)
    by D_Gr8_BoB (136268) on Thursday November 21, @11:39PM (#4729509)
    (http://dx4.org/)
    On the other hand, a lot of really good paranoia scifi stories have not panned out. In the 40s and 50s there was a whole lot of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature written, from the good (Canticle for Leibowitz) to the not-so-good (Alas, Babylon). The stuff is scary and convincing because at the time it was being written, nuclear war was a very real possibility.

    It's certainly possible that humanity could destroy itself and/or the world with any one of hundreds of new technologies, but the odds are worse than they were in the days of the Cuban missile crisis, and we pulled through that one. Maybe you should check the Doomsday Clock [thebulletin.org] next time, folks.

    Re:After the gold rush (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Scarblac (122480) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @07:31AM (#4731011)

    Sci-fi's are often uncannily accurate at predicting the future.

    Uhm. Jules Verne, yes, he did predict things that did happen - well, submarines, and we did go to the moon. We didn't go to the center of the earth. I don't care about Googling for his other books right now.

    Then we get to HG Wells... Wars with aliens, time machines, anti gravity, ...

    Since then... None of the 20th century SF seems to have gotten the world around the year 2000 right. Cell phones are everywhere, personal computing is cheap and used for games, there's the Internet, and maybe we'll even finish the current space station in ten years. There is some cloning and biotech and we use it for medicine. There have been a few terrorist attacks, and now the whole world is obsessed with them.

    Now what did SF tell us... Rockets! Space colonies! World War Three! One World Government! Aliens! FTL travel! And of course, flying cars.

    My first guess is that SF has been performing less (at predicting the future) than you would expect of pure chance. But there have been great books :-)

    Re:After the gold rush (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Chelloveck (14643) on Friday November 22, @09:20AM (#4731469)
    (http://home.attbi.com/~spking/TeletubbyXP.jpg)
    Since then... None of the 20th century SF seems to have gotten the world around the year 2000 right.

    Read some of John Brunner's work, notably Stand on Zanzibar [scifi.com] and The Shockwave Rider [scifi.com]. Written in the 60s and 70s, it's scary how well they seem to be predicting the early 21st century.

    Re:After the gold rush (Score:1)
    by JonnyCalcutta (524825) on Friday November 22, @10:25AM (#4732033)
    You beat me to it. My favourite author and those two books in particular stand a mile above Gibson and co, even though they were written over a decade before 'Cyberpunk' was even 'invented'.
    Neuromancer to me now seems really dated whereas Brunner's work is just as valid today as when he wrote it in the late 60's/early 70's. If ever sci-fi was literature those books are it.
    Re:After the gold rush (Score:2, Interesting)
    by mobilityguy (627368) on Friday November 22, @12:03PM (#4732641)
    Do you consider 1984 to be 20th century science fiction? Look what it predicted:
    • A world divided into regional coalitions that combine in shifting alliances. The portrayal of other cultures in simplistic black-and-white terms. Government efforts to downplay our previous relations with our current "friends" and "enemies".
    • Perpetual war, mostly in far-away places, to divert attention from domestic problems. Lotteries and content-free televised entertainment to do the same.
    • An anti-knowledge, anti-scientific mindset in popular culture and government, where knowledge and understanding are replaced by doctrinal belief systems.
    • Increasing economic stratification in society, with institutions of power cooperating to place their inter-related self-interest over the common good.
    • Popular music based entirely on rhythmic patterns, with no melody. Yes, in 1948 Orwell predicted rap.
    Given current trends, maybe the only thing Ol' George got wrong was the title.
    They can save themselves from anything but.... (Score:1)
    by ral (93840) on Thursday November 21, @10:02PM (#4728932)
    ...the slashdot effect.
    anyone find it ironic (Score:3, Insightful)
    by f00zbll (526151) on Thursday November 21, @10:03PM (#4728939)
    that this got posted the same day "create a new life" stirred up tons of flames? From all the flames posted on /. today on both sides of the argument, one might think humans really don't have a clue about anything.
    What a unique, new concept! (Score:3, Funny)
    by H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) on Thursday November 21, @10:04PM (#4728943)
    (http://www.timandjeni.com/)
    I have a better name for it though... how about Titan After Earth? Yeah, that would be a cool name. Wait...
    Re:What a unique, new concept! (Score:1)
    by MNJavaGuy (619805) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:26PM (#4729444)
    Wow. I guess you and I are the only ones that thought of that when we read this.
    Someone's been reading a bit much Greg Bear... (Score:2)
    by Spazholio (314843) <[email protected] minus poet> on Thursday November 21, @10:04PM (#4728950)
    Sounds like something straight outta "Forge of God". Either that or Eon. Come to think of it, Bear has some sort of fixation about the end of civilization and the rescuation (shaddap, it's a word, no, really) of a select handful of people...
    Re:Someone's been reading a bit much Greg Bear... (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @02:32PM (#4734095)
    And then we could build some kind of giant weapon on the asteroid (rail driver, big ass laser, something or other) and call it the Slashdot Effect.

    Or perhaps it would just be the system of propulsion, which just happens to obliterate whatever we happened to be around at the time as part of day to day operations :)

    A better idea... (Score:4, Funny)
    by DarkHelmet (120004) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:05PM (#4728955)
    (http://www.seventhcycle.net/)
    Why save humanity? Why not shoot our DNA off into space and hope that some alien race clones us?

    Either that, or hope that when we go bye-bye, the next smart Earth race brings us back Jurassic Park style in hopes there's a storm and we escape our cages.

    Re:A better idea... (Score:5, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @10:26PM (#4729103)
    Why not shoot our DNA off into space...
    I dunno about my DNA reaching escape velocity, i can only get it a good 3, maybe 4 feet.
    Re:A better idea... (Score:1)
    by Cyno01 (573917) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:34PM (#4729476)
    (http://dovetest.tripod.com/)
    jeez, i posted this AC cuz it was the first thing that came to my 12 year old mind, but i didn't think it was that funny, now it gets modded +3 so far, i guess jizz jokes are funny
    Re:A better idea... (Score:3, Funny)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @02:16AM (#4730245)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    I dunno about my DNA reaching escape velocity, i can only get it a good 3, maybe 4 feet.

    You're in luck, I just got an email promising a "5000% Increase Or Your Money Back!" I'll send it to you.
             
    Re:A better idea... (Score:1)
    by hplasm (576983) on Friday November 22, @07:12AM (#4730969)
    That's Darwin in action..
    Re:A better idea... (Score:1)
    by cookie_cutter (533841) on Thursday November 21, @11:52PM (#4729584)
    Ooo! Ooo! Can I come back as a velociraptor? Mmmmmm, scientist flesh
    Re:A better idea... (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @02:10AM (#4730213)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    Why save humanity? Why not shoot our DNA off into space and hope that some alien race clones us?

    DNA alone does not contain enough info to recreate a human. It is kind of like having a machine code EXE for a lost chip. A certain amount of biological context is needed to make sense of DNA.
         
    Re:A better idea... (Score:1)
    by 3Bees (568320) on Friday November 22, @12:01PM (#4732624)
    Why save humanity? Why not shoot our DNA off into space and hope that some alien race clones us?

    C.F. "The Great Space Fuck" by Kurt Vonnegut? :-)

    Steps to Success (Score:4, Funny)
    by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 21, @10:05PM (#4728959)
    (http://www.erickrout.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday November 28, @12:12PM)
    1) Create Web page about your spaceship idea
    2) Get your server Slashdotted and spend all your money recovering the data from the dead hard disks
    3) Project Lifeboat comes to a screeching halt due to lack of funds
    4) Die miserably on Earth

    Oh the humanity! It wasn't supposed to happen like this. [fade out] Happen like this. [fade out] Happen like this...
    Re:Steps to Success (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @10:11PM (#4729004)
    5) ????
    6) Profit

    Sorry, I know it's not funny anymore, but I couldn't help myself.
    Seems a little early. (Score:3, Funny)
    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday November 21, @10:06PM (#4728963)
    ... the Lifeboat project. An attempt to create a spaceship for the purposes of saving the human race from the singularity predicted by Vernor Vinge.

    A good idea.

    But if it's The Singularity they want to dodge it's probably a bit early to start. As The Singularity approaches the cost of such a venture will drop like a rock. (Of course, like buying a computer you have to stop waiting and plunk down cash SOME time. In this case, preferably before something breaks. B-) )

    Now dodging other stuff (like an extinction-level event such as a comet-head impact) should not wait until the incoming comet is sighted.
    Re:Seems a little early. (Score:2)
    by kesuki (321456) on Thursday November 21, @10:53PM (#4729253)
    (http://www.archives....ters_of_freedom.html | Last Journal: Sunday September 22, @11:42PM)
    Now dodging other stuff (like an extinction-level event such as a comet-head impact) should not wait until the incoming comet is sighted.
    that depends on what you mean by 'sighted'
    if you mean waiting until one can see it unaided with the human eye, then you're absolutely on the ball there.
    however, even gravity slingshot comets take months to travel through the solar system... even if we somehow, with all our fancy radio telelscopes and computer aided optical telescopes manage to not realise a rather large chung of mass is on a colision course with the earth until after it's passed pluto we've still got a matter of months to say, put rockets on it and move it into a collision course with jupiter, or blow it up whichever is easier. And remember, the weapons of mass destruction we have now make hiroshima look like a mosquito bite... we can easily pack a billon tons of TNT worth in explosive force into play against an incoming projectile, and thermonuclear bombs are a lot cleaner for the bang than a pure fission bomb.
    Kinda Pathetic (Score:1)
    by Merlin_1102 (594400) on Thursday November 21, @10:07PM (#4728964)
    They could not build a city and now they are trying to build a spaceship! This seems more like a hollywood movie to me. I could not hit there site due to /. but judging from the oceana project they look like they are taking this seriously which raises some questions. Where is funding going to come from.. I mean really, one web page company won't cover it and do they even know what the singularity is. http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Global/Singularity/ This site gives two definitions while other sites give others of what they think the author ment. It seems to mean that future technology will rapidly grow so fast that we will destroy ourselves. O well this might be worth while.. Hey if they dont want to aim for saving the human race anymore they can always build a space ship to enter the X prize. http://www.xprize.org/ I also guess it does not matter what you do as long as you have fun and believe in what your doing but I personally think its a waist of money; money which could be better spent in my pocket :)
    Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:5, Insightful)
    by moebius_4d (26199) on Thursday November 21, @10:07PM (#4728967)
    (Last Journal: Saturday October 26, @01:04AM)
    Just a second... to save the race from the Singularity? The Singularity is a good thing. If you read Vinge's essay [caltech.edu], or any of the other essays on the subject, you'll find that people look forward to this event and are actively trying to move the date forward. One fellow says that the definition of morally good is that which makes the Singularity happen sooner.

    (There's a lot of interesting things at the Singularity Institute [singinst.org] by the way.)

    So either the poster is on crack, or ve represents a new and radically different perspective on the Singularity than I have ever seen in print. Which is it?
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:5, Interesting)
    by Galvatron (115029) on Thursday November 21, @11:56PM (#4729611)
    Huh, I'm not sure it's a GOOD thing. Isn't the idea that it's an unpredictable thing? As I understand it, the theory is that beyond the technological singularity, human society (if it even exists) will be radically transformed. So, as a person born before the singularity, I probably wouldn't like it. Just as many of our grandparents, raised in a time when homosexuality was considered morally equivalent to incest or bestiality, are sickened by the Gay Pride parades, many of us would probably be sickened, frightened, or at least strongly morally opposed to the social norms that arise on the far side of the singularity. Be it cybernetics, cloning, genetic engineering, AI, vat grown fetuses for stem cell harvesting, or God only knows what, there's almost certain to be a technology we will one day use that makes you uncomfortable.

    I'm not sure running away is the right answer, but I would be cautious in calling the technological singularity a "good thing." Those who are a product of it will likely consider it one, but those of us who precipitate it likely will not, and will long for the "good old days" from before the singularity.

    Anyway, the guy in the article isn't afraid of the singularity, as such, he's afraid of the dangers that might arise (accidentally or through terrorism): grey goo from nanotech, killer diseases from bioengineering, Terminators from AI, and so forth. The singularity will simply accelerate development of these technologies (and hopefully, ones to counter the dangers, too).

    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:3, Insightful)
    by moebius_4d (26199) on Friday November 22, @12:38AM (#4729837)
    (Last Journal: Saturday October 26, @01:04AM)

    > Huh, I'm not sure it's a GOOD thing. Isn't the idea that it's an unpredictable thing? As I understand it,
    >the theory is that beyond the technological singularity, human society (if it even exists)
    >will be radically transformed. So, as a person born before the singularity, I probably wouldn't like it.


    Certainly the supposition is that a radical and nearly complete transformation will take place, and that due to the vast qualitiative differences engendered by the intervening changes, we will find the nature of that change unpredictable.

    But, that doesn't mean that we won't change too. Either we will figure out ways to increase and alter our intelligence, or our machine superintelligences will figure it out for us. So there's no getting from here to there without becoming something you'd never recognize.

    Now, maybe you don't like that idea right now, and perhaps you'll stay on the sidelines. But these things have a way of seeming friendly and innocuous after repeated exposure. Remember the "computer-phobia" of the Eighties? They were going to take away our jobs? Now my 75 year-old in-laws have a PC with XP and a Cable modem. They had to get it because the Kiwanis people and the neighborhood garden club people pestered them to get email. Yes! Kiwanis and garden club!

    What will you do when you can't understand your granddaughter's 5th grade math assignment? Will you finally decide, hey, I'm going to get vastened. What's the point of clinging to this outrageous mental modality anyway - like keeping a box of all your nail clippings. Worse, it's like running into a burning building to save your box of nail clippings.

    So I expect relatively few people will make it to the big one without adequate preparation.
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by Metrol (147060) on Friday November 22, @02:40AM (#4730324)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Remember the "computer-phobia" of the Eighties? They were going to take away our jobs? Now my 75 year-old in-laws have a PC with XP and a Cable modem.

    Sounds like the phobia was justified.
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by Jorrit (19549) on Friday November 22, @06:22AM (#4730877)
    (http://crystal.sourceforge.net/)
    Note: the following is not my opinion. I'm just the messanger.


    The reason this singularity is bad (according to the lifeboat people) is that it will cause several inventions that we will not be able to handle correctly. More importantly they talk about 'gray goo', a kind of nano-robot that instantly eats all living organisms and would kill of the entire planet once it is invented. The lifeboat people claim that this grey goo will be invented BEFORE we are able to cope with it. Additionally they also talk about artifical black holes and other calamities that will be invented before mankind is capable of properly controlling that stuff.


    Greetings,

    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by moebius_4d (26199) on Sunday November 24, @10:47PM (#4748314)
    (Last Journal: Saturday October 26, @01:04AM)
    I think you can turn to any recent treatment of the subject to learn why making "grey goo" would be much more difficult than making assemblers in the general case, and that doing it accidently is just this side of impossible. The short form is just to point out that if it were possible to easily get free energy from all the world's molecules, then evolution would already have provided us an example of something that does so, and we'd live in goo land. But, it's not.

    The rest of your discussion is more reasonable, simply because we can't easily rule out threats we can't forsee and don't understand. But the problem with standing on the sidelines is that you have no power to effect the situation. Imagine if the Hottentotts decided to disarm the U.S., claiming that Bush had gotten out of line.

    Seriously, if the mainline of humanity is climbing an exponential curve of intelligence and knowledge, how can a few relative aboriginees stop things from going bad? Or save themselves if active malignancy arises?
    It's a HORIZON, Not a Singularity (Score:2)
    by FreeUser (11483) on Friday November 22, @10:54AM (#4732201)
    (http://jean.nu/)
    Just a second... to save the race from the Singularity? The Singularity is a good thing. If you read Vinge's essay, or any of the other essays on the subject, you'll find that people look forward to this event and are actively trying to move the date forward. One fellow says that the definition of morally good is that which makes the Singularity happen sooner.

    The singularity is neither good nor bad, merely unpredictable. That having been said, I don't believe there is or ever will be a Vinge style singularity.

    Or, put another way, we've been through a dozen singuarlities already. Do you think the future as it played out among the ancient Egyptians was comprehensible, imaginable to the hunter-gatherers five thousand years earlier? Was human flight (with anything other than angel's wings) imaginable to the 9th century serfs in [insert your favorite Christian Country here]? And while Jules Verne was able to imagine submarines and rockets, certainly computers, much less the virtual, digital lives we lead on them, were incomprehensible not only to him, but to our own parents a scant thirty years ago.

    Was there any magical, discontinuity that happened as a result?

    No, because there is no singularity, there never was a singularity, and there never will be a singularity. An airplane or a ship doesn't suddenly drop off the edge of the earth or experience some other weird discontinuity merely because it flies or sales over the horizon ... it simply, gradually and incrementally, sees what is beyond the horizon and eventually goes there, seeing and experiencing what we who have not gone there cannot.

    So too with the so-called technological singularity. It is merely a horizon beyond which we cannot see from our current vantage point. When we reach this horizon (and cross it) there won't be some sudden, miraculous (or disasterous) break, there will simply be yet another incremental, continuious change in our technology and its impact on our lives.

    I live farther up the exponential curve of human knowledge and technology than most ... running an operating system and distribution (Gentoo) which has upgraded packages available every single day. I can get up each morning, to an 'emerge rsync ; emerge -up world ; emerge -u world' and perform the kind of software upgrades, each and every day, that used to happen once every couple of years, then once every few months, now, perhaps, for those who think they're really leading edge in the proprietary world, every few weeks. I do it every day, and I'm sure a time will come when one could do such every hour, every minute, every second, and, someday, probably every microsecond.

    So what? When that time comes, our ability to grasp and keep up with these changes, via tools (such as portage) or enhancements to our own minds, or what have you, will keep pace. The changes will come ever faster, but they will remain incremental, continuous changes, not dramatic, sudden, event-horizon style discontinuities or big technological division-by-zeros that the messianic and hysterical alike imagine.

    The mere fact that many of these changes are beyond our current technological horizon, are beyond our current imagination and ability to concieve, doesn't make them in any way mysterious, miraculous, dangerous, or magical ... and this sort of fearmongering by luddites such as Bill Joy (yes, I know how me made his fortune ... but remember, those who made yesterdays technologies are often the worst luddites against tommorow's) is both disingenuous and destructive to our society, our culture, and our quest for knowledge.
    Re:It's a HORIZON, Not a Singularity (Score:1)
    by moebius_4d (26199) on Sunday November 24, @10:56PM (#4748364)
    (Last Journal: Saturday October 26, @01:04AM)
    I think your discussion is a terrific argument for a Vinge-style singularity, and not against. But then, I think you may misunderstand Vinge.

    You point out that again and again, humans have surmounted the horizon of the possible, and that this is happening more and more closely spaced in time. Great! But Vinge doesn't claim that some lightning bolt will fall and transform everything all at once - he simply points out that the rate of change curves keep climbing such that we can't possibly predict or understand what will happen past a certain point. That seems to be what you are saying, too.

    The main difference between the big event coming up, and say ancient Egypt, is that in ancient Egypt they weren't on the brink of creating tools that could participate in the upward spiral on their creators behalf. They were still limited by economic ineffeciency to having around 1% of the population doing all the thinking.

    I agree that our tools will help us assimilate change. Of course, we're not spinning some foolish fable like Future Shock, this is reality.

    You make a lot of points, and have obviously thought some on the subject, so I urge you to go back to Vinge and see if you really differ from him in the basic description of Singularity.
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by krogoth (134320) <[email protected] ... et minus caffeine> on Friday November 22, @12:23PM (#4732795)
    (http://www.garandnet.net/)
    I don't think it can be prevented (if the theories are true) without stopping scientific advancement.
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by HiThere (15173) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @03:16PM (#4734426)
    The singularity is irredeemably dangerous. There's no way around it. Except being outside the light cone, possibly.

    If you trust the way that society is heading, then the singularity is a viscious threat. If, on the other hand, you feel that society is currently aiming to enslave almost all of humanity, and reduce the rest to peonage, then the singularity is one of the few bright spots on the horizon. People in between those positions would have intermediate reactions.

    Personally, I look at mega-corps, justifications of nuclear weapons, terrorists, "homeland security", etc. and feel that the singularity is on of the few long term hopes. This doesn't mean that a lifeboat is a bad idea, but it's one that would be quite difficult to implement.

    P.S.: Timing. The singularity may be upon us before 2030. Possibly by 2020. Conceivably even earlier. And there isn't just one singularity. Each mode of entry yields a sheave of probable outcomes that is different. But we can't predict ahead of time what they are.

    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:22PM (#4734982)
    So either the poster is on crack, or ve represents a new and radically different perspective on the Singularity than I have ever seen in print. Which is it?

    Perhaps you missed out on Vinge's "Marooned in Realtime"? :)

    In that book humanity reached a point in time equivalent to the Singularity... and all disapeared. There's a lot of theorizing about what eactly happened to them, and only _some_ of the ideas were good.

    Vinge's essay is presenting what _he_ thinks the Singularity would be like, but he can't _know_ by definition. Maybe it will involve us downloading our brains into genetically created intelligent goo a la Greg Bear's "Blood Music."

    And maybe it will be something bad. When you hit the singularity every single human will have the power of a god. Maybe one of them will go insane and blow up the entire species. Or that could happen while we're on our way to the singularity. All the Singularity means is that at some point in the future, we will literally have more technology than we can comprehend (at the moment at least.) Which would be more than enough technology to save the enviroment, explore the stars, and make life easy for every human in existance, and more than enough to kill us all too.

    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:2)
    by moebius_4d (26199) on Sunday November 24, @11:06PM (#4748431)
    (Last Journal: Saturday October 26, @01:04AM)
    No, read them. Actually, re-read both in the last 30 days.

    In _MiR_ one of the ideas you suggest not being "good " was that everyone was destroyed by hostile aliens. I don't recall any other really "bad" ones. It's worth noting that the actual main characters are trying to recreate a singularity, since they missed the first one, and that they maintain this positive view throughout the book. So its evident that the disappearance of all humanity isn't supposed to be seen as a turn-off to a reasoning being.

    Blood Music was a pretty good example of a true Singularity that just happens to be started off by accident. Instead of willing intelligent machines working with humans explicitly to move forward, Bear has us accidently set the match to the fuse by having lots of tiny intelligences that can cluster fire up in an environment where natural selection is still active. It's a typical Bear cop-out on the way to Transcendence.

    Your last paragraph is the reason why I question the idea of a ship of people waiting to flee if things turn bad, or even well out into interstellar space. When you get close to this kind asymptotic behavior, all contacts are "Out of Context Problems" to borrow from Ian Banks.

    We can decide to stop, or not. But if we decide to go, there's no avoiding putting all the eggs in one basket. That's all I am saying here.
    Re:Save humanity from the Singularity? (Score:1)
    by osu-neko (2604) on Friday November 22, @07:35PM (#4736369)
    (http://www.dreamsmith.org/)
    One fellow says that the definition of morally good is that which makes the Singularity happen sooner.

    Are people still coming up with silly definitions like this? It's been, what, a hundred years since G.E. Moore and the "open question argument"...

    Umm... (Score:2, Insightful)
    by doofsmack (537722) <[email protected]@[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:07PM (#4728973)
    (http://doofsmack.tommunism.net/ | Last Journal: Friday October 25, @05:59PM)
    What would we do after we "evacuate" earth? Do we find a new planet to populate? I can't see anybody lasting long enough to get to a planet that is compatible with our biology.
    Re:Umm... (Score:2, Funny)
    by machine of god (569301) on Thursday November 21, @11:10PM (#4729352)
    I don't know about you guys, but I'll be joining up with the gaians. Lets face it, if we get stuck on a continent with two other factions, I'm going to want to have those mindworms on my side.
    Re:Umm... (Score:1)
    by osu-neko (2604) on Friday November 22, @07:37PM (#4736384)
    (http://www.dreamsmith.org/)
    I think the idea is to make a spacecraft people can live on for a real long time. "Generation ships" as they're called in some SF literature. Of course, if you can make a ship you can live on for generations, you no longer need planets anymore, so they're kind of pointless...
    Lifeboat (Score:2)
    by Geeyzus (99967) <<mark_madej> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Thursday November 21, @10:08PM (#4728978)
    I think their server needs a lifeboat... 29 comments in and it's slashdotted. :)

    Mark
    sounds like Rama (Score:1)
    by becktabs (628093) on Thursday November 21, @10:08PM (#4728980)
    by arthur c. clark, one of the best sci-fi books ever written. check it out.
    Re:sounds like Rama (Score:1)
    by tarth (445054) on Friday November 22, @02:35AM (#4730313)
    This sounds absolutely nothing like Rama.
    Exploring Would be nice (Score:1)
    by GeXX (449863) on Thursday November 21, @10:08PM (#4728981)
    Wouden't it be nice if we built a spaceship to explore the solar system, and even the galaxy, insted of a lifeboat to save our asses?
    Better yet (Score:2)
    by Guppy06 (410832) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:30PM (#4729129)
    Why not build a lifeboat for the ISS?
    Re:Better yet (Score:2, Informative)
    by dfenstrate (202098) <[email protected] minus berry> on Thursday November 21, @11:26PM (#4729442)
    (http://www.amishrakefight.org/gfy)
    Already done. They're called 'Soyuz.' Russia swaps them out every 6 months or so. Part of the reason that they only have three people on the space station is that the evacuation capacity is severely limited.
    Excellent idea.. (Score:1)
    by marcushnk (90744) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:08PM (#4728984)
    (http://www.slashdot.org/)
    Now we can put all those REALLY important Lawyers and hairdressers and telephone sanitizers into it and get them of the planet before that huge star-goat comes and eats the planet..

    even better lets do that then make a beowulf cluster of them then crash them on a planet and well have the worlds most pow.. er.. umm...
    Vinges Singularity (Score:5, Informative)
    by Charm (313273) on Thursday November 21, @10:09PM (#4728991)
    The Singularity is not about the end of mandkind but instead about the end of mankind as we now know it. At that point we will need to throw out all our previous conceptions of what humanity is and get new ones. There is no need to flee the singularity.

    See here Vernors Take [caltech.edu]

    This has been a Borg Production

    Re:Vinges Singularity (Score:2, Informative)
    by FirewalkR (27025) on Thursday November 21, @11:22PM (#4729417)
    And as we're talking about Vingean stuff, letīs not forget his brilliant books!

    So far I have read these:

    ---The "deep" series, A Fire Upon the Deep [amazon.com] and A Deepness in the Sky [amazon.com]. Epic in scale, millenia apart (and despite that, there's one character appearing in both books :)), incredibly well thought and "alien" aliens, it's amazing how he bettered the first book with the second one!

    ---Across Realtime [amazon.com], this one being composed of two previously released books, The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime... great SF concepts, like the "bobbles"!

    ---True Names. This is an amazing short novel that in 1981 "created" cyberpunk 3 years before Neuromancer, using magic and a fantasy world as a metaphor through which the mind saw the Net, and there were already glimpses of the Singularity! It was reprinted last year in this book [amazon.com] together with 11 essays by other authors about its effects.

    There's also a short story collection going by the name of The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge [amazon.com] which I haven't read yet, but judging by the quality of his other work... :)

    And don't forget to check the Singularity paper referred to in this thread!

    Read, enjoy, be amazed!
    Re:Vinges Singularity (Score:1)
    by Saeger (456549) on Thursday November 21, @11:42PM (#4729531)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Yeah, I'm currently reading the collected shorts of Vinge - good stuff. It's a compilation of every short he's written except for his famous "True Names" and one other. There's also a new novella named "Fast Times at Fairmont High" included that I haven't gotten to... but the title itself always makes me think of a certain movie with a certain Spicoli.

    --

    Re:Vinges Singularity (Score:2, Funny)
    by Saeger (456549) on Thursday November 21, @11:30PM (#4729462)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    But I'm scared of the unknown! Can't I stay in the womb forever? ;)

    --

    Re:Vinges Singularity (Score:1)
    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) on Thursday November 21, @11:58PM (#4729632)
    Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.

    I wonder if he ever imagined this coming to reality as a giant penguin.
    Re:Vinges Singularity (Score:1)
    by fredrik70 (161208) on Friday November 22, @08:57AM (#4731337)
    (http://www.clamp.org.uk/)
    This has been a Borg Production


    umm, that line sort of made me a bit wary of your otherwise insightful comment...

    Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:4, Flamebait)
    by peterb (13831) on Thursday November 21, @10:11PM (#4729005)
    (http://peterb.telerama.com/ | Last Journal: Wednesday October 23, @10:44AM)

    Look, meat puppets, you are PART OF THIS ECOSYSTEM, you are stuck here in the mud with the rest of us. You are never leaving this planet, at least for any appreciable length of time. Ever. So how about taking some of the energy you put into escapist fantasies and focus those gigantic brains of yours on improving what we've got, instead of running away from our problems, huh?

    -Peterb
    PS: That goes for you escapist religious freaks, also. Same disease, different symptoms.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:3, Insightful)
    by asako (73529) on Thursday November 21, @10:20PM (#4729064)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    ...said the man to Christopher Columbus.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:2)
    by sgage (109086) on Friday November 22, @10:36AM (#4732100)
    "...said the man to Christopher Columbus."

    Not at all analogous, and totally irrelevant.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @03:27PM (#4734512)
    You're right, that model totally doesn't apply anymore. The reason we should be sending ships to outer space is because the Venusians are supposed to have gold and spices, so we should head straight to Mars and kill them all and take their treasure.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:1)
    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) <[email protected][ ] ... et ['sgo' in gap]> on Thursday November 21, @10:42PM (#4729190)
    (http://www.soupisgoodfood.net/)
    I'm sure a lot of the other animals would love to see us off (except the ones which rely on us to survive because we fucked up their little part of the ecosystem).

    ;)

    Might as well get "cheesed" about the tides... (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Logos (80812) on Thursday November 21, @11:15PM (#4729383)
    Because it seems to be just as natural.

    Its been that way throughout human history (throughout life's history?) -- when things got too crowded, too violent, too oppressive, too competitive, too boring, etc. some (usually the very rich and the very poor) moved on to look for new places with better opportunities.

    And in general, it seems to pay off -- intelligence, and skill don't make people successful, getting there first with lots of friends does. It just makes sense, the competition is less, so what's needed for success is less.

    But just like bacteria in a pitri dish, when we run out of room, we will die off. Sure there's too many people, but who's gonna volunteer to fall on the sword first? You? Stop breeding? You? For everyone who says "yes" all you will have done is take yourself out of the running, life doesn't seem to favor the self-eliminating.

    But nature has the answer: We call them War, Famine, Pestilence, and Natural Causes. We still fear them as much as we ever did. There's a reason we call them the four horsemen of the apocolypse: Because they are nature's answer to "surplus inventory." There's also a reason why "celibacy" and "suicide" aren't included -- they don't have what it takes for mass population control -- if they did, nature would have promoted them by now.

    So while your advice might be the rational answer, it doesn't seem to be the instinctive one, and whether we want to admit it or not, instinct and habit drive us much more than reason.

    "A person is smart, people are dumb, panicy dangerous animals, and you know it." -- MIB

    We've known it ever since we became self-aware. And its the arrogance of our self-awareness that makes us think we can change any of it.

    So, go ahead change it I mean the question is so simple: "How does one change life into something its not?" We already know the answer -- its what we spend our "lives" trying to avoid. ;-)
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:5, Insightful)
    by norton_I (64015) on Thursday November 21, @11:56PM (#4729615)
    What kind of small minded demon of impotence are you? If I really believed that we would never get off this planet, I would probably have to kill myself. Mankind's destiny is in the stars, and if it takes a hundred years or a hundred thousand, we will make it there.

    If for no other reason, one day, Sol will die. I, or my intellectual heirs, plan to leave by then. You are welcome to stay.

    We have a 5 billion year reprieve on that, so I am not too worried about that today, but I do think about it from time to time. And as a "real" scientist (as opposed to SF), I like to think I am doing a bit to get us to that point.

    In the mean time, we still owe it to ourselves to work out the space travel thing (which I have no doubt we will). The universe a giant playground, and it seems kind of booring to spend our whole lives on one planet.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:4, Insightful)
    by tjensor (571163) on Friday November 22, @05:04AM (#4730672)
    Don’t be ridiculous. What is more important RIGHT NOW - getting off the planet because it will be engulfed by The Sun in 5 billion years or saving vast tracts of the population from starvation when we already have more than enough food to feed them all!

    Sure we may want to leave at some point, but if you are talking about saving humanity, there is an awful lot of humanity that needs saving right here first.

    You call someone a "small minded demon of impotence" because you would rather save your own ancestors than the millions who will die this year alone due to intransigence on the part of rich nations? Well gee I guess the selfish gene is alive and well in your pool.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:1)
    by magarity (164372) on Saturday November 23, @03:44AM (#4737731)
    "millions who will die this year alone due to intransigence on the part of rich nations"
     
    Don't you mean by the petty dictators who let rot at the pier shiploads of food donated by rich nations? Bad local government in poor countries is almost the sole cause of starvation. A small, small percentage have weather problems.
    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @03:37PM (#4734583)
    No, we're counting on interplanetary colonization to save humanity from the Earth going boom.

    Of course, we can do our best to save Earth also in the meantime, we're not like some video game where you can only research one thing at a time. If you're going to critisize wasted effort, i think there's a long list of trivial and useless stuff you'd have to go through before getting to spaceflight. Then entire entertainment industry for example is a much bigger was of energy than researching space colonies. If the amount of effort being put into spaceflight was enough to solve world hunger, don't you think we would have managed to dix that problem by now?

    I'm not the one without a fire, those guys over there don't have a fire. I'll tell them how to make a fire, i'll try to help them out if i can, but in the long run i'm going to take my fire with me and move south to where it's warmer.

    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Erich (151) on Friday November 22, @10:02AM (#4731857)
    (http://wreck.org | Last Journal: Friday August 17, @11:14PM)
    I suggest you read Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis. You remind me of a character in that book.

    Why do you care about your heirs (or the heirs of mankind) 5 billion years from now? Even if they exist, they don't care about you...

    If all there is to your life is "getting off the planet" for some distant descendant, then God help you; your life is meaningless.

    GREAT Name for a BAND! (Score:2)
    by **SkipKent** (4128) on Friday November 22, @03:10PM (#4734376)
    The Small-Minded Demons of Impotence...

    Wow!

    Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @02:04AM (#4730180)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    Look, meat puppets, you are PART OF THIS ECOSYSTEM, you are stuck here in the mud with the rest of us.

    Bull! We currently have the technology (assuming big bucks) to send multi-generational colonies to other star systems. Are you saying some "ancient spirit" will reach out and grab our asses back to Earth if we try? Been smokin' too much hemp perhaps.

    Given what I call the "Moores Law of Terrorism" [1], eventually it will be possible to for a small group of people to wipe out the entire human species (via nukes, biokillers, nanokillers, etc.)

    Why risk that when we can save at least *some* of our asses so that humans as a species survive rather than allow all 100% to die. (Note: It probably will not be me in the tin can.)

    [1] The number of people who a small group of terrorists can kill doubles every X years.
           
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by wobblie (191824) on Friday November 22, @09:38AM (#4731619)
    (http://www.iww.org/)
    Given what I call the "Moores Law of Terrorism" [1], eventually it will be possible to for a small group of people to wipe out the entire human species (via nukes, biokillers, nanokillers, etc.)

    duh. Doesn't the Government of the United States count as a "small group of people"? There's been "small groups of people" who have the capacity to wipe out the planet for many decades now.

    The crimes commited by states every day dwarf the crimes commited by "terrorists" by several orders of magnitude.

    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @12:37PM (#4732964)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    The crimes commited by states every day dwarf the crimes commited by "terrorists" by several orders of magnitude.

    I assume you mean "countries". Countries tend to play slightly more "fair". I don't know of a single country that would wipe out humanity if given a chance. However, many fanatics would love the chance to "cleans the Earth".

    Country dictators want power. You don't get power by killing off the very people you want to enslave, nor by ending humanity.
                 
    I am not saying that a dictator might not go mad, but IMO dictators are mostly motivated by power, and not extremist religious ideas.
         
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:2)
    by sgage (109086) on Friday November 22, @10:40AM (#4732123)
    "Bull! We currently have the technology (assuming big bucks) to send multi-generational colonies to other star systems."

    Bull! We do not!
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @12:30PM (#4732880)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    [We currently have the technology (assuming big bucks) to send multi-generational colonies to other star systems.] Bull! We do not!

    Do! Just takes a lot of nuclear material to power the ion engines (which have been tested in space already). Note that it does not have to be light-speed. Perhaps say 3% of the speed of light. Remember, it is multi-generational so that it does not require the same crew arrived that started out. And, more than one "partner ship" may be needed to reduce risks, like what Columbus did.

    If we really wanted to do it, we could. What specific technology is allegedly missing in your opinion?
         
    Re:multigenerational starship (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @09:19PM (#4740965)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    gee, how about a total recycling system that actually works?

    If you use nuclear power you don't need that much recycling, you just grow-and-toss after squeazing the water out.

    how about some effective shielding against all the radiation out there?

    It just takes "stuff". Put the water, food, and soil in (inner side of) the walls, and slowly replace it with refuge. The supplies become your shield. Sure, the supplies may be a bit more radioactive than what we are used to, but only slightly. Move the supplies slowly inward as they near usage time, and put the poop on the very outside.

    I seriously doubt you could operate a nuclear reactor - of any type - for 1000 years.

    Why not?

    how about somewhere to GO? as far as I know, we have not detected any earth-like planets anywhere else is the universe.

    I addressed this in another topic.
               
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:2)
    by BinxBolling (121740) on Friday November 22, @12:33PM (#4732913)
    Bull! We currently have the technology (assuming big bucks) to send multi-generational colonies to other star systems.

    Even if we did have the required technology (we don't), what would be the point? Those generation ships would never return. We might not even find out what their fate was.

    Colonizing other planets is of no value to us here on earth, unless it's possible to set up some sort of regular trade (in goods or knowledge) between ourselves and the colonies. Given the limitations that our current understanding of physics puts on effective communications over such distances (much less actual transportation) that isn't going to happen. Our understanding of physics might change, but it would be stupid to spend time and energy on sending out those ships when we don't know what the future holds, technologically.

    Yeah, it would give a few people like yourself warm fuzzies if we did it, because it fulfills a deep need to see yourself as a participant (however minor) in some grand narrative. But without some sort of economic upside, not enough people will be willing to commit the funds to send out the ships. They'd rather fulfill their need for a narrative through religion, which can be much cheaper, when properly implemented.

    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:01PM (#4734758)
    Agreed, most people are stupid and probably wouldn't give a shit unless there were some bucks in it for them. However colonizing other planets is of value here on earth because humanity is here, and colonizing other planets is of value to humanity.

    If we kill ourselves all off, we're a failure as a species. If we manage to colonize other planets, then we're a sucess by the only measure that Mother Nature really cares about.

    That of course doesn't mean that there aren't other worthwhile endeavors, but it's pretty extreme to say that spreading out the species so we don't all go extinct has no value. It's like saying there's no value in a parent dying to save their children, or soldiers dying to save their nation.

    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @03:48AM (#4737737)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    This is a cobbled-together belief system designed to provide an atheist with the same sort of certainty of the meaningfulness of his existence that religion provides to the devout.

    Perhaps. Even athiests have hard-wired "instincts" to anthroporphize nature at times. Just being human.
             
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Monday November 25, @07:32AM (#4750375)
    Why do you care what Mother Nature thinks about your species? You're imagining that our existence is somehow our entry into a competition, and have anthropomorphized Mother Nature into a judge. This is a cobbled-together belief system designed to provide an atheist with the same sort of certainty of the meaningfulness of his existence that religion provides to the devout.

    How have i anthropomorphized Mother Nature into a judge? Things can be successes or failures without a judge. You set up the rules beforehand, and the things that are the best according to the rules "wins" at the end.

    Scientists created the theory of evolution to explain the way life works to the best of our knowledge. Things that pass on their genes "win," things that don't lose and die.

    This isn't a certainty of meaningfulness. Is an intelligent species that dies out but leaves behind works of art and knowledge for another intelligent species to find a sucess? Not really according to evolution/mother nature/whatever you want to call it, but in another sense maybe they are.

    Of course even just going by the criteria of species survival there are issues to work out. Every species dies off eventually, so is sucess a relative thing, based on how long they lasted before the went? Or maybe we're playing against almost impossible odds, and the only "winners" are those that make it to the end of the universe or beyond, which of the species we know of, only humans have even the remotest chance of doing.

    It's all very subjective, and different people can accept different definitions, but i fail to see how believing that being alive is a good thing is a "cobbled-together belief system." Presumably if you didn't think the same thing, you would have removed yourself from the equation already.

    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @03:55AM (#4737743)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    Even if we did have the required technology (we don't), what would be the point?.....They'd rather fulfill their need for a narrative through religion, which can be much cheaper, when properly implemented.

    Perhaps these are not mutually-exclusive. The Mormons spent all their wealth to find a home where they would not be "bothered". (They were kind of a nerdy group who got picked on a lot. Something slashdotters could probably relate to.)

    Perhaps they or a group like them might build their own ships one day. If they accept a bit more risk than what NASA tolerates, they could possibly pull it off.
           
    Don't discount the collective power of fanatics.
               
    As far as gov-backed plans, as terrorism gets worse and worse, it might begin to slowly seem less and less foolish as a country-wide or world-wide project.
    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @01:29PM (#4733498)
    (http://www.infamous.net/)
    We currently have the technology (assuming big bucks) to send multi-generational colonies to other star systems.

    Sorry, but claims like this are based on wild-ass extrapolation. We have just about zero experience in creating a self-sustaining ecosystem such as would be required; no experience in long-term (multi-year) space habiation; no experience in build large structures in space (sorry, ISS is too small to count). To say that we "currently have" sufficient tech is like Ben Franklin projecting from Leyden jars to electric cars and supercomputers on the basis that he currently (no pun intended) has the technology to tame electricity.

    Given what I call the "Moores Law of Terrorism" [1], eventually it will be possible to for a small group of people to wipe out the entire human species (via nukes, biokillers, nanokillers, etc.)

    Which is why we ought to get to work on ending the brutality and repression that breeds terrorism.

    (Note: It probably will not be me in the tin can.)

    That's part two of the problem. Any such project is going to need a substantial part of the planet's resources. Given the choice between spending dollars sending someone else to safety, or working on defenses that might have a change save my own personal ass - or on eliminating the motivation for someone to threaten my ass in the first place - where do you think I'm going to logically direct my ducats?

    A zillion dollars split between efforts towards peace, stability, and relief (on the political, ecological, and economic fronts) in the Middle East and Africa, and efforts to develop defenses againt bioweapons and grey goo (a nuke or two could kill a lot of people, but it would take a full-scale exchange to be a threat) to our species is a better investment than a zillion dollars towards a long-shot lifeboat for someone else.

    Re:Moores Law of Terrorism (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @04:02AM (#4737752)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    Which is why we ought to get to work on ending the brutality and repression that breeds terrorism.

    That is probably impossible. Some people are just pissed at history and nothing will change their mind because we can't change history. Besides, fanatics exist in even the best conditions. Bin Laden and McVey were not "downtrodden", at least not economically. If bread in their belly does not quench them, then nothing will. Many terrorists are just mentally F'd. They seem to have a "hate gene" that looks for something somewhere to hate.
         
    Don't be silly (Score:2)
    by DoctorFrog (556179) on Friday November 22, @03:43AM (#4730476)
    So how about taking some of the energy you put into escapist fantasies and focus those gigantic brains of yours on improving what we've got, instead of running away from our problems, huh?

    Gigantic brains improving what we've got is what brings the Singularity on!

    Re:Sometimes SF weenies cheese me off. (Score:1)
    by hplasm (576983) on Friday November 22, @07:15AM (#4730979)
    Um, I KNOW! Let's eat this guy.
    Not gonna happen (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Pilferer (311795) on Thursday November 21, @10:12PM (#4729013)
    Good idea, but this is about 500 years early. I don't think, even with an unlimited supply of money, humans could put a "station" into space, keep it in orbit longer then ~20 years, and have it GROW food to sustain an existing population, let alone new children. And also include a way to get back to Earth once the "disaster" is over. And somehow have enough energy for the needs of the crew, for many generations... etc etc. I think it would be easier to build a base on Mars -at least it's got something to build ON, and it's not going to crash back into Earth because they "ran out of fuel".
    Re:Not gonna happen (Score:1)
    by frotty (586379) on Wednesday December 04, @11:58AM (#4810959)
    Uh oh! Anyone know how much fuel the moon has left? I'm sure there's a fancy explanation to the contrary but putting a station into orbit and finding a bunch of people to mate is the easy part - its the fact that they'd have little or no resources of their own to barter with... ... what's so different about that and someone raised up in a metropolis today? What would minimum wage be in space? $1.5 million every few weeks?
    An Entire Interview (Score:5, Informative)
    by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 21, @10:13PM (#4729017)
    (http://www.erickrout.com/ | Last Journal: Thursday November 28, @12:12PM)
    I found the following interview on SpaceNStuff.com and decided to mirror it here ('cause Slashdot can take a Slashdotting). August 31, 2002 posted on 08-31-2002 at 09:35PM by Nancy

    Summary: Interview Part 1
    "The Lifeboat Foundation "
    A matter of life and death.....

    Full Story: Space N Stuff has recently learned of the existence of the above Foundation, as a result of a Guest who visited Space N Stuff and contacted me.

    An email request was made and Mr. Eric Klien, Founder and President of Lifeboat Foundation , generously agreed to an interview. As a matter of fact, once Mr. Klien responded to the questions in this interview, I discovered this is like eating potato chips, you can't be satisfied with just "one". At a later date, Space N Stuff will again contact Mr. Klien for a follow-up to this initial query.

    Please understand that this is a very complex subject and due to space constraints, not all of the details can be presented, however, we are providing LINKS at the bottom of this Interview so that you can check their site for yourselves.

    In a nutshell, the purpose of Lifeboat Foundation is to research technology in a serious effort to build vehicles, or "Arks" that will house permanent residents, away from Earth. In essence, self-sustaining colonies would be established, one at a time, in an effort to save Humanity. Lifeboat Foundation 's basic concept of leaving Earth ... as a "matter of life and death."

    This premise is a result of facts that cannot be denied. Human Beings are finding more and more ways to destroy the Earth, and......... each other.

    Their goals are straight forward:
    By 2004, they hope to educate the public as to 'coming dangers', promote efforts to preserve life, encourage advancement in Space Technology and fund SETI research.

    By 2010, the efforts to develop self-sustaining technologies will be in full swing.

    By 2018, complete the development above, launch a for-profit Corporation that would have as its primary goal , to put the first self-sustaining Space Colony in orbit, 248 miles above the Earth, and have subsequent colonies, further from Earth.

    By 2020, to promote free enterprise in the conquest of Space.

    Space N Stuff : Mr. Klien , your site provides a great deal of background information regarding your goals. However, I do have a series of questions to pose:

    Space N Stuff : If I understand correctly, based on your current projections, people will not be off this planet until approximately 2020. In view of the seemingly endless strikes of Terrorism globally, will your "Arks" be too late?

    Mr. Klien : It will be a close call.
    In a technology timeline produced by British Telecommunications (a multibillion dollar conglomerate based in the United Kingdom) which we have a copy of at http://research.lifeboat.com/btexact.pdf [lifeboat.com], it was predicted that in as little as three more years terrorists will unleash dangerous bioweapons on the public. It stands to reason that creating self-sustaining space stations during the time between this prediction and total extinction will be a non trivial task.

    Space N Stuff : It is my interpretation that each 'Ark' will be self-sufficient to accommodate 1,000 permanent residents and 500 visitors. In addition, those who are chosen will be the winner(s) of a lottery or benefit from "Lifeboat scholarships". While security is one of the top priorities for The United States, will that be a priority onboard an Ark? Will Lifeboat screen those who enter/win said lottery or scholarships? In other words, will criminals either present or future be included? If not? Would that be discrimination?

    Mr. Klien : Needless to say, each passenger will undergo an intense screening process before being allowed to board. Someone like Martha Stewart, who may have done a little insider trading, would still be considered a potential candidate. But a convicted murderer would have little chance of being accepted as a candidate.

    Space N Stuff : Human Nature, being just that, "human" ... presents many obstacles. Even if no weapons would be allowed, terrorism could flourish in the Colonies, in other ways. Currently, rules and regulations prevail in civilizations here on Earth. Governments here have impossible tasks and in the United States, laws vary by state. How would this be handled within the colonies?

    Mr. Klien : Each colony will be free to create its own laws and standards of conduct. Security officials will have the benefit of a confined station and its finite number of passengers when monitoring suspicious or malicious behavior. And, of course, the use of practical safeguards such as psychological testing will have to be in place for those onboard who have access to dangerous technologies.

    Space N Stuff : On this planet, we have various means to cope with and handle death. Since these colonies have no capability of returning to Earth, how would deceased individuals be cared for?

    Mr. Klien : Long term, we intend for the colonies to repopulate other planets-- including the Earth. As for those permanently living on spacestations, burial traditions would be unlikely. The departed could, in the fashion of a sailor's burial at sea, be ceremoniously launched into the sun. Simple cremation and cryonic suspension are additional possibilities. In all cases, memorials could also be created to both honor those who have passed and provide comfort to those who have lost loved ones.

    Space N Stuff : Although the world has made significant progress with various Space Programs, we still find 'glitches' that delay progress, at great expense. How will Lifeboat be different in this regard? Since the colonies are forever 'out there' how will replacement parts be stored? It would seem to be quite difficult to predict in advance, how many of each, would be needed to keep the Arks functioning at tip top performance.

    Mr. Klien : The development of self-sustaining technologies is essential to this project. We certainly don't want to replicate the Skylab and Mir experiences where they had to toss their junked space stations into the ocean.

    To create effective self-sustaining technologies will require, at the very least, the primitive beginnings of nanotechnology. This technology, which enables the manipulation of matter, atom by atom, could be used to stop a ship's entropy. Also, whatever plagues, fallout or weaponry was used by terrorists to wipe out life on Earth could be removed by this technology, thereby making the planet habitable again.

    For the record, while it will take hundreds of billions of dollars, if not more, to create nanotechnology, we will let others handle the cost. (Over a billion dollars was spent on nanotechnology development just this year.) We will just slightly adjust such technologies so they are useful to self-sustain a space station. And that is what we will spend ten years doing.

    Space N Stuff : For the first time since Man has walked on Earth, scientists and engineers are capable of mind boggling research and results. Yet, our Universe is constantly changing. Solar storms are perhaps altering many of our 'normal' weather patterns. Discoveries are being made faster than the press can report. Wouldn't it be difficult to plan now, with so many unknowns?

    Mr. Klien : It is always difficult to make plans based on educated guesses, but no plan to preserve mankind seems premature when you consider the consequences. Stephen Hawking warns that "You can't regulate every lab in the world. The danger is that either by accident or design, we create a virus that destroys us." With this in mind, can we afford to wait? Can we afford not to make plans?

    Space N Stuff : Finally Mr. Klien , mankind survives in 'groups.' Families, friendships, coworkers. Would Colonies provide employment? How would normal everyday expenses be handled? Would entire families qualify to climb onboard at the same time? Those who find living in space, is NOT their 'cup of tea' will face great stress, since it appears they will not be able to return, assuming there is a planet here still in existence. Can you elaborate?

    Mr. Klien : The more arks we are able to build, the more room will be available to house entire families. And considering that only a few thousand people will be in such close proximity onboard the station, meaningful bonds will be forged, new families will spring up and, with time, a sense of community will grow strong.

    As to employment, consumerism will not die alongside our planet. There will still be financial reward for services rendered. A new frontier offers new opportunity. Everyone will be encouraged to stimulate creativity and to provide the goods, services and entertainment needed for the station to flourish.

    Comments: Mr. Klien ? Feel free to add whatever you wish.

    Mr. Klien : The idea that advanced technologies are not an appropriate match for our primitive culture is an obvious one, but it wasn't until recently that I figured out why few people are worrying about it. The answer is that non-scientists are oblivious to potential dangers, while on the other hand, those who worship at the altar of science live by the precept that future advancements will cure all the world's problems.

    We are currently working on phase 4, the technical credibility, of our ARK I design and, in two weeks, I will be flying off to England to meet with a multibillionaire. Within a year or two, we expect our project to really gain some momentum!

    Space N Stuff wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to Mr. Klien for his timely response and the use of his valuable time. In the near future, we will pursue additional information in the form of a follow-up interview.
    In the meantime Mr. Klien , have a safe journey to England and back.
    Nancy, Director of Operations, Editor
    www.spacenstuff.com [spacenstuff.com]

    RESOURCES:
    Below you will find various LINKS within Lifeboat Foundation 's web site. It is very easy to navigate. We hope you will visit and see the details for yourself. Thank you.

    http://lifeboat.com/ex/ [lifeboat.com] : Home Page
    http://lifeboat.com/ex/ArkI [lifeboat.com] : Details on Ark I
    http://lifeboat.com/ex/timeline [lifeboat.com] : Current and Future Goals.
    http://lifeboat.com/ex/faq [lifeboat.com] : Frequently Asked Questions
    http://research.lifeboat.com/btexact.pdf [lifeboat.com] : Research
    they should've called it "The Love Boat" (Score:3, Funny)
    by v8interceptor (586130) on Thursday November 21, @10:15PM (#4729026)
    that'd sell a lot more seats!
    Re:they should've called it "The Love Boat" (Score:2)
    by billybob2001 (234675) on Friday November 22, @07:12AM (#4730972)
    And while they're at it, maybe they should consider moving domain to boatse.cx
    Gee... (Score:3, Insightful)
    by TheDanish (576008) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @10:17PM (#4729035)
    (Last Journal: Saturday November 16, @01:50AM)
    Am I the only one that thought "CULT!" when I read the title, and even moreso after reading the article? I mean, how often is this the staple of a cult? Well, suicide aside...
    Cult. (Score:3, Interesting)
    by bstadil (7110) on Thursday November 21, @10:44PM (#4729198)
    (http://www.orbeon.com/ | Last Journal: Sunday September 08, @02:28PM)
    "A cult is a religion with no political power." -- Tom Wolfe.

    The difference between cult and respectable religions are just the size of membership. Example: Eating the body of Christ, handed to you by a priest! Imagine the reaction if someone came up with this POS today. Doesn't get more "Cult'ish" than that.

    Just because your are not paranoid doesn't mean your are not being followed!

    Danish by Nationality not by Name by the way.

    They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious Stuff (Score:5, Informative)
    by exratio (548823) on Thursday November 21, @10:20PM (#4729068)
    (http://www.exratio.com/)

    It's frustrating that /. posts this sort of thing, but never touches on serious stuff dealing with the Singularity. Bah to the moderators.

    For example, the Singularity Institute [singinst.org] has a vast array of comp-sci-related interesting stuff about General Artifical Intelligence and its role in the Singularity. The institute and volunteers are working on Flare [sourceforge.net], a programming language for GAI development.

    Then we have the Foresight Institute [foresight.org] who have a bunch of scholarly, serious things to say about nanotechnology and its implications.

    Just for starters, of course. Then we have a million other resources out there, such as:

    KurzweilAI.net [kurzweilai.net]
    Extropy Institute [extropy.org]

    at which one can learn about the Singularity and associated topics in context.

    But no, we get trash like the spaceship guy. Bah, bah, bah. Reason

    Re:They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious St (Score:1)
    by cryofan2 (243723) on Thursday November 21, @10:44PM (#4729197)
    (http://www.cryonet.org/)
    God ol' Eric Klien. I wondered what happened to him after the Oceana failure. Hey, Eric, you still signed up for cryonics?
    Re:They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious St (Score:2)
    by Saeger (456549) on Thursday November 21, @11:25PM (#4729439)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    I think it's just easier for people - who are even aware of the concept - to laugh off the whole idea of a technological Singularity [sysopmind.com], even though it's an inevitability before this century is out.

    Exponential progress is a fact, and we're currently on the knee of that tech curve, but it's simply too hard for many people to accept how fast things are going to change in the near future, since our minds like to extrapolate linearly and futilely resist change...

    It's easy to be cynical about the future though, after all, "where's my flying car dammit?!" is a free pass to make fun of any wild prediction, because of famous bad ones.

    --

    Re:They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious St (Score:1)
    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday November 22, @12:32AM (#4729804)
    (Last Journal: Sunday September 29, @01:10PM)
    inevitable? says who? you?

    We've stopped growing exponentially, at least so far as computer science goes. It pretty much grows linearly now. CPUS's get faster, but not really more complex. Frankly the spiffy new P4 I just bought is the same technology as my Commodore 64 was, just lots faster.

    There's much more to human intelligence than doing math really fast. Thats why this is a ton of horseshit.

    The idea of a skynet-like being that becomes self-aware and destroys humanity is pure science fiction. Though, for these types, as the scientologists, technology has replaced 'god', and the 'Singularity' has replaced 'Judgement Day'.

    Personally I find the idea of a catastrophic meteor strike, at its current odds of about a bajillion to one, to be much more likely.
    Re:They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious St (Score:2)
    by Charm (313273) on Friday November 22, @02:29AM (#4730292)
    There's much more to human intelligence than doing math really fast. Thats why this is a ton of horseshit.

    You misunderstand the singularity. It doesn't have to come about because of AI. It can also come about because of human augmentation with computers, let me give you some examples.

    A smart person connected to the internet can research a problem faster than one in a library. As the software for research on the net gets better and better more research can be done. Hence better software and hardware can be made and people can study previous research.

    This doesn't mean we will increase forever but that at the current rate we are increasing exponentially. Also the singularity is not judgment day. Some people see it that way because they don't understand. We will not be enslaved or lose our souls any more than we do so today.

    Extropianism & an Obligatory Outpost Reference (Score:1)
    by Cybrex (156654) on Friday November 22, @03:26AM (#4730441)
    Well put- I was hoping that someone had posted such links early in the thread.

    Though I personally look forward to the Singularity, I can certainly understand the apprehension these people feel regarding it, and while I find it extremely unlikely that they'll obtain the necessary funding for a venture of such magnitude it still seems like a wise idea to not put all of our eggs in one basket. Loopiness and conspiracy theories aside, having a backup plan in the face of an unknown/unknowable future makes a good deal of sense.

    I wonder if this guy ever played the Sierra game Outpost. The premise was similar- Earth gets whacked by an asteroid, and the player is left in charge of a lifeboat-like ship and must find a suitable planet and build a self-sustaining colony. Though its bugginess and slow pace didn't win it a large following, the attention to technical accuracy makes this one of my favorites.

    -Cybrex
    Re:They Post This, But Never Comment on Serious St (Score:1)
    by v8interceptor (586130) on Friday November 22, @03:32AM (#4730455)
    But unfortunately they don't have big pictures of big spaceships - and let's face it, that's what the nerds want.
    They're Really All The Same (Score:2)
    by **SkipKent** (4128) on Friday November 22, @03:00PM (#4734298)
    Lot's of pontificating and harumphing. Nothing more than a fun way to pass the time.

    Heaven's Gate (Score:2)
    by Cheese Cracker (615402) on Thursday November 21, @10:25PM (#4729089)
    The sites are /.ed, but after reading the intro, it all sounds like those Heaven's Gate [trancenet.org] people... they didn't need a real spaceship in 1996 when they all took off on the Hale-Bopp comet [crimelibrary.com].
    Re:Heaven's Gate (Score:1)
    by Pastor Fluff (555255) <pastor_fluff@@@softhome...net> on Thursday November 21, @10:47PM (#4729219)
    (http://slashdot.org/)

    Found the next day...

    Date> 1997 March 21 2245
    Subject> URGENT NOTICE: SCHEDULE CHANGE

    An electrical failure aboard HG-HB1 (Heaven's Gate - Hale Bopp) currently located in close proximity to Comet Hale-Bopp has disabled our vessel. We believe that the problem is related to our closeness to the comet. As a result we will be unable to make contact with earth as scheduled. We will keep you informed as to our new schedule.

    DO NOT TAKE THE PUDDING AT THIS TIME

    REPEAT

    DO NOT TAKE THE PUDDING AT THIS TIME

    We regret the inconvenience.
    The easy way to save us from the singularity (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, @10:30PM (#4729130)
    Kill all the scientists.
    an interesting calculation (Score:4, Interesting)
    by dollargonzo (519030) on Thursday November 21, @10:32PM (#4729137)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    i saw once, was to show that it is indeed impossible to save the entire human population. basically, the amount of people we can take off the planet every day is nowhere near the level of population growth. so, even if you can get a few million off the planet, 99% of the people currently on earth will be still living on earth, and any large scale disaster will still wipe out almost the entire human race if we do not prevent it. sure, maybe the human race itself will survive, but it will most likely not be sufficient to maintain itself, and will just die out anyway.
     
    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:2)
    by Christopher Thomas (11717) on Thursday November 21, @11:03PM (#4729318)
    maybe the human race itself will survive, but it will most likely not be sufficient to maintain itself, and will just die out anyway.

    As long as the destination environment isn't hostile, you don't need very many humans to survive (the 50/500 rule for breeding populations).

    If you require an industrial base - e.g. if you were colonizing a hostile environment and needed habitats - the size of a small city would still be fine. What is the smallest community that can be self-sufficient industrially?

    In summary, I think that making colonies that are viable in the long term does not require an unmanageable starting size or resource base.
    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:11PM (#4734863)
    In his "Island in the Sea of Time" Trillogy S. M. Stirling "says" (or rather, one of the characters says) that the entire US on it's own, totally isolated from the rest of the world, could maintain one microchip plant after meeting all the rest of it's needs.

    That sounds a little extreme to me, although i'm sure Stirling has done _far_ more research into the issue than i have. Off the top of my head, the two major factors that i can think of contributing to this figure, that the US is far more dependant on foreign oil than we like to think about (which would not necessarily be relevant in a space colony) and that the US is far more dependant on cheap overseas (or overborder) labor that we like to think about (which could very well be relevant in a space colony.)

    That being said there's a lot of difference between the US suddenly being on it's own, and a colony that was designed from the begining to be self-sufficient.

    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Jerf (17166) on Friday November 22, @01:42AM (#4730104)
    (http://www.jerf.org/irights/ | Last Journal: Saturday August 18, @11:04AM)
    i saw once, was to show that it is indeed impossible to save the entire human population.

    Such a statement must inevitable rest on a set of assumptions. As such, that's not a bad thing, but it should be considered in order to understand the true nature of the statement.

    At current technology, and all reasonably-likely foreseeable technology, yes, it is impossible to get even a vanishing fraction of the population off the Earth. It's impossible to even keep up with the birth rate.

    On the other hand, the very definition of the Singularity is that it is the/a point past which all previous conceptual frameworks for understanding the actions of humanity fail us. ("A" because many people make IMHO well-reasoned arguments that say that Singularities are very POV-based; that for a Medieval alchemist, we're well on the other side of what for him would be a Singularity.)

    Considered for instance in terms of raw energy, assuming cheap, easy fusion or better, there's plenty of power on the planet to take the whole of humanity off, and if you're willing to import power from other sources, we could take the whole biosphere with us. (Not that we want to, per se, but that it's possible.)

    I'm not saying that this is likely or possible or desirable (or not), I'm just saying that such facts must be considered in context, or they can mislead you. Certainly there is no hidden natural law of the universe requiring that all of humanity stay on the planet; just the well-known one of gravity, which has several known workarounds, even at our current level of understanding.
    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:1)
    by CuriousKangaroo (543170) on Friday November 22, @01:55PM (#4733742)
    Although saving a few million people isn't any decent fraction of the world population, how is that number insufficient for it to maintain itself? Surely the human population on the Earth was once only a few million people, no?
    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:14PM (#4734899)
    Screw the millions, according to current genetic theory, if you go back far enough (200,000 years i think it was?) there was at one point just one common mom. Although i'm really not sure how that worked, it seems that the the 50/500 rule would have killed us off, although perhaps that first ancestor had lots of daughters who eventually had kids with the male descendants of the rest of the tribe(s).
    Re:an interesting calculation (Score:1)
    by stmfreak (230369) on Friday November 22, @10:54PM (#4737091)
    i saw once, was to show that it is indeed impossible to save the entire human population. basically, the amount of people we can take off the planet every day is nowhere near the level of population growth.

    Impossible given the approach governments take wherein it is the government's responsibility to herd all the people to designated places, process and screen them, reject the unapproved, board them onto a suitible transport devices and hurl them off into the sun...

    But when fusion is contained in a handy car battery sized package and personal space craft are available down the street for $30K 2002 USD... then humanity should have no trouble saving itself.
    On AI and SuperIntelligence (Score:1)
    by cranos (592602) on Thursday November 21, @10:32PM (#4729139)
    (http://slashdot.org/~cranos | Last Journal: Monday December 02, @11:34PM)
    How do you define AI? Through the ability to make rational logical decisions on your own? That is a scary thought.

    While rational and logical are Good Things there is plenty in this world that we wouldn't have if it hadn't been for a hunch that was completely out of left field.

    Until they can make that happen in AI then I don't think that we are going to achieve the sort of SuperIntelligence that is being predicted here.

    Just remember, intelligence in human beings is not just a function of the brain, it is also a function of the emotional system, hormones and so on.
    Slashboat.org (Score:1)
    by uberstool (470348) on Thursday November 21, @10:35PM (#4729155)
    How about a courtesy site to mirror /.'d web sites
    We Are the Architect of Our Own Dilemma.. (Score:2, Funny)
    by CodePyro (627236) on Thursday November 21, @10:43PM (#4729192)
    "Lots of talk about nanotech accidents and biological accidents wiping out civilization"

    It is "civilization" that created these threats and now the threats might destroy "civilization"...The Irony....

    Completely off topic I just hope none of the Back Street Boys or ‘NSYNC are on the same Space Ship I am on.
    Re:We Are the Architect of Our Own Dilemma.. (Score:2)
    by Zarf (5735) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @06:45AM (#4730911)
    (http://modzer0.cs.uaf.edu/ | Last Journal: Friday December 06, @02:40AM)
    I just hope none of the Back Street Boys or ?NSYNC are on the same Space Ship I am on.

    I believe that they are on the second ship, which we are sending first. That would be the "B" ark.
    Just how capable are they? (Score:2)
    by PeterClark (324270) on Thursday November 21, @10:54PM (#4729259)
    Ok, these are the same people that wanted to make an artificial island so that they could have their own country--see link attached to article. Well, according to that same page, they've abandoned that project. Now, one could argue that they changed their plans because of this "Singularity" business. More likely, they didn't get the funds. Let's do a little match, shall we? If you can't raise enough dough to make an island, what makes you think you can raise enough dough to build a spaceship ark? And given the recent "success" of Armadillo Aerospace, I'd be a little hesitant to fund a private space program, especially with live people on board.
    Re:Just how capable are they? (Score:2)
    by blincoln (592401) on Thursday November 21, @11:22PM (#4729414)

    And given the recent "success" of Armadillo Aerospace, I'd be a little hesitant to fund a private space program, especially with live people on board.

    You know, I wish people would quit harping about that. Do you think NASA just started building flawlessly-operating Saturn Vs from scratch back in the 60s?

    Lovely (Score:1)
    by Captain Beefheart (628365) on Thursday November 21, @10:55PM (#4729263)
    Right before we destroy ourselves, we slip away so we can barely escape destroting ourselves somewhere else. And so on.
    How will they decide who goes on or who doesn't? (Score:2)
    by Ryu2 (89645) on Thursday November 21, @10:58PM (#4729285)
    (http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Saturday August 18, @04:04AM)
    Site is /.ed, but I doubt they can fit all 6 billion members of humanity. Who will be dealing with the extraordinarily difficult task of deciding who goes on, and by what standards?

    Reminds me of the movie "Deep Impact" where they had to decide who went into the underground bunkers to live out the asteroid impact, and how these decisions split families, etc in two.
    Re:How will they decide who goes on or who doesn't (Score:1)
    by SunPin (596554) on Thursday November 21, @11:45PM (#4729544)
    (http://www.cyberista.com/)
    Morgan Freeman will decide. There will be a lottery. Nobody over 40 will be allowed except in certain instances. 12-years-olds "going steady" will be forced to marry.

    Wait! That's not it!
    Big Brain of Death (Score:2)
    by Quirk (36086) <[email protected] minus herbivore> on Thursday November 21, @10:58PM (#4729286)
    (Last Journal: Monday April 08, @02:40AM)
    The Biomass is littered with dead critters who developed overspecialized means of monopolizing their ecological niche and paid the ultimate price of extincition through success. We have only to point to Bill Gates and MicroSoft to see our doom approaching. Our outsized brains have allowed us to dominate the biosphere and promulgate changes evolution might well blush at.The biomass is a system and as such functions by way of principles we refer to as feedback, both positive and negative, and runaway. Sex and death are excellent, at hand ;), examples of positive feedback. While we're busy skirting death and overbreeding nature is being pushed up against the limits of existing tolerances and sooner or later, you know, something's got to give. When the shifts in parameters start to take place no one can say what the outcome will be. We might come out in Eden, we might come out in Hell and suffer the damnation of Faust, or just die out. Either way it's the big brain and our unbridled fears and hubris that will get us there. That having been said, I'm off to quaff a beer and a handful of anti-depressants. This short interlude of anthropomorphizing was brought to atop my own brand of soapbox fashioned after the rhetorical positions of K Galbraith and W. Churchill who repsectively stated: "I right because I'm taller than you" and "These, Gentlemen, are the opinions upon which I base my facts."
    They had better hurry (Score:1)
    by aalex675 (628367) on Thursday November 21, @10:59PM (#4729292)
    I think we are all going to die of jock itch when this [slashdot.org] escapes from it's petri dish...
    The Singularity Will Get Them (anyhow) (Score:1)
    by halfsad (537640) on Thursday November 21, @11:12PM (#4729358)
    Consider the following email hurtling at the speed of light towards the Lifeboat in 2020:

    Dear Eric,

    Everything is Super-Duper here on Earth. Don't know what you wing nuts were so worried about. Here's that picture you asked for of the woman with the donkey:

    <Install ActiveX MS-Singularity>

    with love, wintermute

    And they're cooked.
    Re:The Singularity Will Get Them (anyhow) (Score:2)
    by Charm (313273) on Friday November 22, @02:05AM (#4730186)
    Which is the exact scenario out of the beginning of Vinges book 'A fire upon the deep'

    The new Power had no weapons on the ground, nothing but a comm laser. That could not even melt steel at the frigate's range. No matter, the laser was aimed, civilly on the retreating warship's receiver. No acknowledgment. The humans knew what communication would bring. The laser light flickered here and there across the hull, lighting smoothness and inactive sensors, sliding across the ship's ultradrive spines. Searching probing. The Power had never bothered to sabotage the external hull, but that was no problem. Even this crude machine had thousands of robot sensors scattered across its surface, reporting status and danger, driving utility programs. Most were shut down now, the ship fleeing nearly blind. They thought by not looking that they could be safe.
    One more second and the frigate would attain interstellar saftey.
    The laser flickered on a failure sensor, a sensor that reported critical changes in one of the ultradrive spines. Its interrupts could not be ignored if the star jump were to succeed. Interrupt honored. Interrupt handler running, looking out, receiving more light from the laser far below ... a backdoor into the ship's code, installed when the newborn had subverted the humans' groundside equipment....
    ...and the Power was aboard, with milliseconds to spare. Its agents -- not even human equivalent on this primitive hardware -- raced through the ship's automation, shutting down, aborting. There would be no jump. Cameras in the ship's bridge showed widening of eyes, the beginning of a scream. The humans knew, to the extent that horror can live in a fraction of a second.

    How do they know the singularity society won't go after them?

    Why it won't work (Score:4, Informative)
    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday November 21, @11:13PM (#4729363)
    First, a brief recap. "The Singularity" is a paper by Vernor Vinge which makes an observation. The author noted that the rate of change is in fact accelerating exponentially. He predicted that rather dramatic consequences will result when change reaches the vertical part of the exponential curve, rounding the bend per say. Humans simply will not be able to keep up with things or have any influence whatsoever as new life with greatly improved intelligence goes on to dominate the planet and then the reachable universe. This observation is quite well supported by other evidence. Current obstacles : human stubborness and delusions of their own grandeur, relative technological difficulty, human delusion of some mystical secret "soul" to prevent such a thing will be cleared away by one means or another. I say 'will' because trying to stop something like this would be like a group of humans deciding to end their expansion by refusing to reproduce. Someone else would, and dominate the future. Remember, the improved intelligent life, whatever form they take, will be in reality humanity's children. Random evolution won't bring it about : creating better intelligence will require a vast organized effort, whether it be designing circuitry or modifying the genetics of existing people. The new life, whether it be a baby with special genes or a learning machine that must be taught from the basics onward will require the same parenting process the current people alive must give to their children to carry on the legacy. Unlike the popular view, I see this as a positive step. Yes, biological humans will probably die away eventually...but this need not be a violent process, or any more cruel than the deaths of current humans by their own bodies. The solar system and the galaxy belong to these descendents, as it should be.
    Re:Why it won't work (Score:3, Insightful)
    by spiro_killglance (121572) on Friday November 22, @06:37AM (#4730898)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Just one thing, an exponential curve doesn't have
    a vertical part, it keeps getting more vertical for ever, but never form a vertical asymtote. To
    get a true signularity the curve will have to be
    of the form 1/(x-a)^q. Another words if progress
    remains exponential we never get a singularity.
    Re:Why it won't work (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:27PM (#4735024)
    The singularity is usually considered to be the bend where it _starts_ shooting up almost vertically, not the (as you pointed out, nonexistant) point where it _is_ shooting up vertically.

    Presumably "the vertical part" was a reference to that section of the graph, as opposed to the "flat" part at the begining or the "bend" in the middle, middle being defined here as the part between the vertical part and the horizontal part =)

    Re:Why it won't work (Score:2)
    by seven89 (303868) <.gro.speep3m. .ta. .cr.> on Friday November 22, @07:59AM (#4731086)
    (http://m3peeps.org/manif.htm)
    Random evolution won't bring it about : creating better intelligence will require a vast organized effort, whether it be designing circuitry or modifying the genetics of existing people.
    Perhaps some level of "better intelligence" can also be cultivated by developing new forms of human organization.
    Re:Why it won't work (Score:1)
    by bryane (614590) on Friday November 22, @10:29AM (#4732057)
    Isn't this basically the same argument that Hitler used?
    • We identify better humans (gee, that's us!)
    • We produce more of them (us)
    • We eliminate inferior humans (them)
    You're missing the point (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:34PM (#4735092)
    The blurb is not really accurate. If you would actually _read the article_ you would see that they do _not_ want to save humanity from the Singularity. Rather, they want to save humanity from any major fuckups that happen on the way _to_ the Singularity. Or any fuckups that happen around that time or immediatly afterwards.

    Presumably if all turns out for the best, the people on the lifeboat can join in afterwards. They don't need to be cut off totally from the rest of humanity, they just need to have a big enough buffer to control what enters their enviroment.

    There is one overlooked positive here... (Score:2, Funny)
    by aerojad (594561) on Thursday November 21, @11:18PM (#4729399)
    (http://www.theaerozone.com/)
    All of those people waiting on [email protected] [berkeley.edu] to find something intresting will finally be able to pick up an intelligent lifeform signal.
    Re:There is one overlooked positive here... (Score:2)
    by Kwil (53679) on Friday November 22, @03:25AM (#4730434)
    Well.. at least a lifeform signal.

    Better Idea (Score:1)
    by Best_Username_Ever (582302) on Thursday November 21, @11:21PM (#4729407)
    Instead of trying to save our species, why not try and make sure that other species remember us. Let's use all our technology and make some gizmo and shoot it off into space. The plan is that one day some species will come along in a space ship and our gizmo will take over the mind of one of the life forms and make them think they are one of us. This life form will live a complete life as if they were one of us in the space of about 20 actual minutes. That way they will understand us and the way we lived, which is much better than saving ourselves!.

    Ok, it's a stupid idea, but it was a bloody good Next Gen episode!.
    Re:Better Idea (Score:1)
    by SVDave (231875) on Friday November 22, @01:58AM (#4730157)

    Instead of trying to save our species, why not try and make sure that other species remember us.

    Uh huh. Well, my feelings are best summed up with the following quote:

    "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying." - Woody Allen
    be careful (Score:5, Funny)
    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:47PM (#4729555)
    (Last Journal: Tuesday December 03, @06:52PM)
    I found this little gem in the "Oceania Project" farewell letter [oceania.org].
    In retrospect, the biggest problem concerning The Atlantis Project was lack of interest. Lack of interest and the fact that its precepts were based in Libertarian politics.

    The two problems concerning the Project were lack of interest and the fact that its precepts were based in Libertarian politics. And a lack of funding.

    The three problems concerning the Project were lack of interest, the fact that its precepts were based in Libertarian politics, and a lack of funding. And an almost fanatical devotion to our cause.

    The four... no. Amongst the problems... amongst the challenges... are such factors as a general lack of interest....

    I'll come in again.
    I'm not sure I'm ready to put the responsibility for saving mankind in the hands of a guy who's seen too many Monty Python sketches.

    (No sense of humor? It's a joke. I'm kidding. The first two sentences are actually in the letter. I added the rest, because it's funny. Ha-ha.)
    Prescient? (Score:1)
    by cravey (414235) on Friday November 22, @12:00AM (#4729641)
    I submitted the article last night. Anyone notice the Other two today? "Don't Stymie Nanotech" and "Scientists Attempting to Create Simple Life Form"? Do the admins schedule this stuff or something?
    Lifeboat...to where? (Score:5, Insightful)
    by mbogosian (537034) <mattb@@@columbia...edu> on Friday November 22, @12:20AM (#4729754)
    Okay, I apologize in advance if this is ill-informed (the site was already slashdotted), or redundant by the time I post this, but say for the sake of argument that we have a lifeboat. Where are we going to go with it? Are we to assume we've already terraformed countless other planets with suns similar to our own?
    Re:Lifeboat...to where? (Score:2)
    by krogoth (134320) <[email protected] ... et minus caffeine> on Friday November 22, @01:27PM (#4733482)
    (http://www.garandnet.net/)
    "The ship is sinking! Get in the lifeboats"

    "But where will we go? I refuse to leave until I get an answer!"

    (note: I don't take this threat too seriously)
    Re:Lifeboat...to where? (Score:2)
    by mbogosian (537034) <mattb@@@columbia...edu> on Friday November 22, @02:48PM (#4734207)
    "The ship is sinking! Get in the lifeboats"

    "But where will we go? I refuse to leave until I get an answer!"

    (note: I don't take this threat too seriously)


    Please don't confuse my comment with criticism of the activity of building a "lifeboat". If life is in danger of becoming extinguished, I have no doubts of the popularity of something like a lifeboat. I'm just claiming that popularity doesn't necessarily equate a good plan.

    However, much like your sinking ship analogy, a lifeboat is a pretty weak bet without other measures (flares, other ship traffic in the area, homing beacons, a schedule indicating when your ship was to arrive at port so that when it doesn't someone actually misses you and sends out a search party, etc.).

    In the lifeboat in space idea, I doubt heavily that we'll be picked up by a friendly passing vessel. We would also need to plan for how it can take it's passengers to some area more habitable than the one being left behind (this is less like a lifeboat and more like an ejection seat in an aircraft). I'm just questioning what the rest of the plan is. Don't get me wrong, having a way off this rock is a necessary part, but it is not sufficient in and of itself.
    Re:Lifeboat...to where? (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:36PM (#4735116)
    Well, i'd say, wait till everyone on earth has finished killing themselves, then land again. Cool! Look! An earthlike planet in a good orbit around a G class star! Just might need a little terraforming depending on the nature of the annihilation.
    Re:Lifeboat...to where? (Score:2)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @04:13AM (#4737768)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    Where are we going to go with it? Are we to assume we've already terraformed countless other planets with suns similar to our own?

    Ideally they would be permanently self-sustained. However, another approach is to head in roughly a strait line where a lot of roughly Sun-like stars are known to be. The ships can scan them as they pass through, and stop and back up only if they find a suitable planet during the survey. The course (line) would have to be veered only a small percent to head to the next Sun-like star. Thus, it would not need a lot of energy to keep stopping and changing full direction.
    GIANT INDESTRUCTIBLE ROBOTS! (Score:1)
    by ApharmdB (572578) on Friday November 22, @12:44AM (#4729861)
    Uh oh.

    1) Build human colonies in space.
    2) Get pissed at Earth.
    3) Build indestructible giant robots, or Gundams.
    4) Wipe out all life on Earth!

    No wonder this guy is so convinced life on Earth is going to be destroyed. He intends to do it! Quick, we must build our own robots and train the angsty teenagers necessary to pilot them in order to stop this menace.
    Self-sufficiency? (Score:1)
    by Syn404 (179434) on Friday November 22, @01:05AM (#4729959)
    Self-sufficient arks, maybe. But I wonder how far technology will have progressed by then. I'm sure they'd still have mail shipped up there, as well as computers perhaps .. I suppose online ordering wouldn't be overly convenient. /:

    I'm not so confident in their claims of security, though. Yes, people do build strong bonds, and new families will form, but as a result of that children will be born .. How would they deal with the growth in population, if more children are born than older people die? Ship them back to Earth? Second, regardless of screening their parents, one never knows how the children born there will grow up. They could grow into terrorists or anarchists .. And I wonder about citizenship issues. What would they be considered a citizen of? I don't think the arks would be considered their own country.

    The whole concept is a very cool idea, though I can't say I'm overly optimistic about it. Nonetheless, it'd be great to see them succeed in their goals. And I'd love to head up for a visit. (: I bet it'd be a great view.
    Self-sufficiency? (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @02:23AM (#4730268)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    "...until somebody farted really bad and they all voted to turn back. The End."
    Another Brand of Freaks (Score:1)
    by Ho-Lee-Cow! (173978) on Friday November 22, @01:27AM (#4730047)
    If you like kooks and freaks on parade, then you really need to see this bunch [zetatalk.com]. Divorced grandmothers from Wisconsin have no business being the avatar of the aliens. Believe me on this.
     
    culture of fear (Score:1)
    by Erno_Rubaiyat (585746) on Friday November 22, @01:53AM (#4730142)
    So what is the difference between this and the rest of the culture of fear propagated by the mass media? The only real difference here is that science is the demon and not a black male with a gun.
    An underground/water boat first? (Score:2, Interesting)
    by iamacat (583406) on Friday November 22, @02:10AM (#4730214)
    It seams premature to try to survive in space for long time, when we had no success with settlements deep underwater and underground. They are much easier to sustain, provide a good chance to survive most of the disasters that might wipe out life on Earth and have pragmatic benefits. For example, an extensive underground level - with artificial sky, ventilation and so on - might relief overcrowded cities.

    More to the point of the article, we can probably establish settlements like this now, with current level of technology. Then in future a space settlement will only need to get in space and deal with problems unique to being there. Other problems that a domed settlement on Mars might face - creating a self-sustained biosphere, making repairs using only material inside and so on - will already be solved on Earth.

    Re:An underground/water boat first? (Score:2)
    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday November 22, @04:42PM (#4735159)
    They covered this in the faq. They said that underground "boats" might be a part of the solution, but that the nature of the unknown disaster might make the surface of the earth uninhabitable, which would make the problem of self-sustainemnt would still need to be dealt with, although the problems of low pressure and low gravity wouldn't exist anymore, and the problem of getting all the material and people to the site would be trivial in comparison.

    The other point against it was that "Let's go live in space!" is a much better rallying cry than "Let's all go hide in a cave!"

    Singularity (Score:1)
    by E1v!$ (267945) on Friday November 22, @02:17AM (#4730250)
    (http://www.inficad.com/~elvis)
    It's just like the MHz barrier, the GHz barrier... etc.

    We're @ a point on a curve that's going up. I mean, is the singularity when tech advances faster than 30 fps?

    Hogwash.
    What happens at the singularity? (Score:1)
    by chipwich (131556) on Friday November 22, @02:43AM (#4730330)
    "This event is called the "Singularity" by analogy with the singularity at the center of a black hole - just as our current model of physics breaks down when it attempts to describe the center of a black hole, our model of the future breaks down once the future contains smarter-than-human minds. Since technology is itself the product of intelligence, the Singularity is an effect that snowballs once it occurs - the first smart minds can create smarter minds, and smarter minds can produce still smarter minds. "

    Whe we are no longer the smartest on the planet, then I suppose that we deserve the same treatment that we currently give to creatures of lesser intelligence: eat them, keep them alive for entertainment, or kill them for sport...

    Scary thought!!!
    Anyone else suddenly think of Lexx? (Score:1)
    by md358 (587485) on Friday November 22, @03:41AM (#4730473)
    ....or did that series just warp my mind?
    Possible DMCA violation here, folks. (Score:2)
    by erik_fredricks (446470) on Friday November 22, @03:43AM (#4730477)
    (http://www.lonelymachines.org/)
    I've seen that space station before-in Space: 1999. If the producers choose to sue, then the damn blueprints will be illegal to reproduce or distribute and we'll be stuck on this dumb rock forever. Another reason to hate the DMCA...
    Whose lifeboat is it? (Score:1)
    by asb (1909) on Friday November 22, @03:45AM (#4730484)
    (http://www.iki.fi/asb)

    What if the singularity really is the lifeboat of a higher race to save the universe from the human race?

    I bet you never thought about that.

    Woohoo! (Score:2)
    by BiOFH (267622) on Friday November 22, @03:49AM (#4730496)
    (http://www.biofh.org/)
    Lemme get my tinfoil hat and sign me up!

    Hooboy I hope that /. starts paying more attention to them black helicopters soon!

    "Dale, where in the hell did you hear that?"
    "Alt-dot-conspiracy-dot-helicopter-dot-black."

    We have reached the Singularity! (Score:1)
    by ine8181 (618938) on Friday November 22, @04:08AM (#4730528)
    Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.

    That sounds like an average /.er on Google!
    Hmmph (Score:4, Interesting)
    by malachid69 (306291) on Friday November 22, @04:27AM (#4730566)
    (http://eoti.org/~malachi)
    I was an active member of Oceania, and still believe in the principles... However, I am not so sure about joining any project run by Eric. Though he seemed like a nice guy, he flaked off without telling anyone what was happening or where their money was going.

    I love this quote, in relation to the fact he hasn't replied to anything Oceania in YEARS:
    "Eric Klien, founder of Colossus, Inc., a web hosting company since 1995 and founder of The Atlantis Project, an ambition made obsolete by current events."

    He may be on the up-and-up, but from past experience with Oceania, I have to personally assume that it is a scam.

    Malachi
    Damm (Score:1)
    by Woy (606550) on Friday November 22, @05:06AM (#4730682)
    You mean this was humanity's last home and you go and /. it?

    Oh, humanity will never learn, we're doomed now.

    if you put it sideways (Score:1)
    by lingqi (577227) on Friday November 22, @05:15AM (#4730715)
    (Last Journal: Friday December 06, @01:12AM)
    It would exactly resemble what SUVs will look like a few decades down the line, given the current trend of "one bigger-ness".

    So what we can besically do is wait till Ford re-produce (haha) the Excursion for the 5th time, and launch one, and we can all live lafely within its humongous tires.
    Incase anyone cares.... (Score:1)
    by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Friday November 22, @05:33AM (#4730761)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    The majority of that 'neat picture' was built from models and textures that come with Lightwave 3D ;) As a matter of fact, the solar arrays (among other things) are re-textured versions of the ones used on the model of the Goddard space station from the first episode of Space: Above and Beyond.

    Probably the most useless information to be uttered in this thread... But hey, it's what I do. :)
    Atmospheric pressure in space (Score:2, Informative)
    by FlibbleDwarf (242416) on Friday November 22, @05:44AM (#4730784)
    (http://www.flibble.co.uk/)

    I don't know if this was already pointed out, but the author seems to be slightly unifomed about the properties of a vacuum. Since NASA has stated it would take 10-20 years at THEIR current level of funding to put a man on the moon again (let alone colonise), I wonder how the lifeboat will be ready in less than 18 years.

    Ah well, the quote from the lifeboat FAQ (main, not supplimentary) shows what I am talking about (emphasis mine).

    Why not hide in a deep sea colony?

    This would have all the disadvantages of a bunker/cave.

    Also, the one single atmosphere of pressure in outer space seems inconsequential compared to the hundreds of atmospheres of pressure under the sea.

    The predictions of Eric sound similar to another organisation... your favourite door-to-door salespeople [watchtower.org]. (And the History [observer.org] of the end of the world). Found on Google [google.co.uk].

    Re:Atmospheric pressure in space (Score:1)
    by ahem (174666) on Friday November 22, @05:37PM (#4735606)
    (Last Journal: Wednesday January 16, @07:49PM)
    I beleive he's talking about how you only have to keep 1ATM pressure inside the vessel versus the hundreds of ATM pressure you have to keep outside of the vessel.
    Lance Bass... (Score:1)
    by E-Rock-23 (470500) <{ten.sdoowsnnep} {ta} {kcore}> on Friday November 22, @05:53AM (#4730812)
    (http://ranchorelaxo99.tripod.com/ | Last Journal: Wednesday October 02, @11:22AM)
    ...still has to come up with the $20 million if he expects his behind saved with the rest of humanity. It'd cost that much just to pay me to tolerate him on that kind of trip. Not to mention pay for the pain and suffering from having to hear 1000 12 year old girls screaming cause they're riding a rocket ship with his Backstreet self...
     
    Try not to build it too high, or with any balconys. You all know how Michael Jackson likes to dangle his kids out of four story windows...
     
    And for crying out loud. Make sure the central computer doesn't run Windows! If it does, humanity is doomed no matter what...
    This is not about 'Escaping the Singularity', (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Marr (621782) on Friday November 22, @05:59AM (#4730828)
    ... but some of the comments here do seem to be working on that assumption. From the site: "Our main goal is to get enough of the human race off the planet, as soon as possible, to ensure the future of mankind in case of overwhelming disaster."

    There doesn't need to be a Singularity Point in order for this to be a good idea, people. Does it slip our minds that we already farking have the power to Nuke Ourselves Back into the Stone Age(tm), and even if progress has stopped accellerating as of 3am last night, (Any bets?) things are still set to get a lot more dangerous before they stabilise.

    Seems to me that making a few colony vessels as an insurance policy against the Earth's possible suicide (You're asleep at the wheel if you think it can't happen) as soon as feasable is a sensible and prudent step to take. Provided, of course, that we also continue our efforts here on Earth to keep intelligence and information tech up to speed with our power and weapons capabilities.

    Incidentally, do this societies goals remind anyone else of Iain Banks' SF background essay, "A Few Notes on the Culture"? [soft.net.uk]
    Lifeboat (Score:3, Interesting)
    by hackus (159037) on Friday November 22, @06:47AM (#4730920)
    I believe in many ways we already have "missed" the boat.

    I think Arthur C Clark put it best when asked about the most amazing development of the 20th century was that "We went to the moon, and then, stopped."

    No real progress has been made since then, except we have had better hardware to reach earth orbit.
    (More powerful rockets and robtics...whoop to do to day, yippy skippy.)

    Rocket technology sucks. The whole concept stinks, in my humble opinion. So does Solar sails, that stinks as well. These stupid and dumb propositions to push physical objects around in space are just as quaint as the 300-400 year old laws that describe how to do it. (Newtons laws.)

    Not GOOD ENOUGH though for an ark.

    Those crucial 30-40 years that we sat on our laurels I believe represented a critical time window when, the world had enough resources, and was stable enough to continue invest HEAVILY in space research, without polticians and short cited people to notice.

    Now, it is far too expensive, our governments are basically corrupt, and way too many people are overly concerned about how much consumerism they can accomplish in one lifetime, to worry about the future beyond 1 hour of thier lives.

    We basically lost 30 years since the time of Apollo, and we will pay dearly for it as small bands of humans, seek to destroy civilization, even at the cost of thier own lives for thier impident God they worship.

    The kinds and sorts of technology required for long term duration in space, is something we don't posses, nor will we I do believe for another 100-300 years. Space is just too hazardous, radiation wise, relativistically wise, that an Ark launched with todays technology could become easily sterile before it even leaves the solar system.

    I think I also believe that we are on a cycle. We have just too many "fairy tales" of past civilizations describing "Gods in the Sky" that would travel around the world, to discount that perhaps, we have already been here, or near to here, in our development.

    Then inexplicably, EVERYTHING gets wiped out, and those that survive, tell thier children about the time when we could fly, when people could be "raised from the dead" and that wars were fought using "Great Rays from the Sun".

    No, no ark will save us, because the window of opportunity has passed us by. We have proven our selves as a species that we lack the will to continue and all our eggs will be in this one basket till someone drops the basket.

    The only way to stop the cycle, is for our species to completely die off, not such a TERRIBLY bad thing considering our most recent accomplishments at building ever greater ways of destroying the planet at the push of a button. Or, perhaps next time around, we will get a little further, perhaps going to the moon, a half a million years from now and actually building a base below its surface.

    OR perhaps we HAVE come this far before, and even further, but failed last time as well...

    -Hack
    saved from the Singularity (Score:2, Funny)
    by Shadow-Wing (140086) on Friday November 22, @06:48AM (#4730923)
    We will be saved from the Singularity when
    all the Unix sytems fail in 2036

    Mr. Pedantic (Score:2)
    by dmaxwell (43234) on Friday November 22, @08:13AM (#4731140)
    It won't be a problem for 64-bit and up UNIX systems. It also won't be a problem for 32 bit Unices that do something different about time_t. That's not to say there won't be a brief bonanza of highly paid work for crusty Linux, BSD and Solaris hackers right about then.
    Spoof? (Score:1)
    by griblik (237163) on Friday November 22, @07:52AM (#4731065)
    (http://codingmonks.com/)
    Might be a silly question, but is this supposed to be serious? It's right on the line between parody and paranoid freakism.

    I particularly liked the "Gray goo may or may not appear gray or gooey, but this tiny robot, constructed one atom at a time, is capable of tearing apart the entire biosphere of a planet." quote in the faq. Don't get too worried about it tho, because the fantastic new green solar-powered throbnosticator I'm building is equally capable of rebuilding the torn-apart biosphere of a planet...

    Nice idea about the lifeboat, though. Count me in on that one.
    Right (Score:1)
    by jmcwork (564008) on Friday November 22, @08:12AM (#4731128)
    So the world will be destroyed by technology and to escape we build this space station and go drifting? It will probably just end up crashing into some unknown planet, stranding everyone. They will have nothing but coconuts to eat and one radio to try to contact civilized beings. Has anyone seen Ginger or MaryAnn?
    Its Wagontrain to the stars (Score:2)
    by IPFreely (47576) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @08:24AM (#4731181)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    OK, Now I've seen everything.
    It's Wagontrain to the stars. All they need is big solar sail off one side and it's ready to roll..., I mean sail.
    Neat car! (Score:1)
    by jav1231 (539129) on Friday November 22, @08:26AM (#4731188)
    Okay, it looks like a car with cool solar-panel center-hub knock-offs! No shocks, though. Hang on, Spaceboys! It's gonna be a bumping ride! >
    Silent Running (Score:2)
    by uncoveror (570620) on Friday November 22, @08:43AM (#4731233)
    (http://www.uncoveror.com/)
    Put trees in that thing, and you would have the movie, Silent Running with Bruce Dern. Anyone remember that one?
    Satellite of Love (Score:2)
    by Jim Norton (453484) on Friday November 22, @08:44AM (#4731239)
    So do they plan on making everyone watch really bad movies on this trip?
    Terraforming Earth (Score:2)
    by IPFreely (47576) <[email protected]> on Friday November 22, @08:48AM (#4731259)
    (http://slashdot.org/)
    Author Jack Williamson wrote a treatment of this called Terraforming Earth [amazon.com].

    In his story, a base was set up on the moon to awaite the destruction of earth (by asteriod or other disaster). Once the disaster happened (in their case, asteroid), the moon base would "wake up", create clones of people, raise them and educate them, then they would return to earth to rebuild. It's not the greatest read, but it is an interesting concept.

    I have seen the goo (Score:1)
    by jmcwork (564008) on Friday November 22, @09:16AM (#4731449)
    I started reading the Lifeboat site and ran across the info on the goo. I had just watched part of a movie that I taped off the Sci-Fi channel several months ago called 'Project V.I.P.E.R'. After reading about the 'gray goo' I realized that it was the star of the movie! At least I only watch the bad movies. Other people write papers about them
    Lexx: Season 2. (Score:2)
    by Viewsonic (584922) on Friday November 22, @09:20AM (#4731471)
    I think they've been watching too much Lexx .. In season 2 Mantrid creates these robot arms that self replicate by destroying planets to make even more flying arms.. By the end of the season the entire Light Universe is devoured and Lexx & Crew have a final showdown. I guess it's kinda like the Borg too, in a way. Great season, you can pick it up on DVD.
    everywhere but here? (Score:1)
    by spoonyfork (23307) on Friday November 22, @09:29AM (#4731549)
    (http://eblah.com/ | Last Journal: Wednesday December 04, @11:07AM)

    Colonies in space may be only hope, says Hawking

    From their website, their maojr fear monger cries all contain the word "terrorist". So, their space colony is going to be immune from terrorists? Riiiiiight.
    Missed his calling (Score:1)
    by Vinnie_333 (575483) on Friday November 22, @09:57AM (#4731808)
    Wow, I wish they would have gotten this guy to write a couple episodes of the X-Files! Just reading the FAQ of this web page is better than the crap they played the last couple of seasons.
    scam artist (Score:2)
    by SubtleNuance (184325) on Friday November 22, @10:18AM (#4731974)
    (Last Journal: Thursday November 28, @09:21AM)
    Who is this guy?
     
    It is quite obvious he is running these 'foundations' as personal $ sinks...
     
    does anyone know how to get the financial details of his former foundation and this current foundation? id be very interested to know what he does with the money he recieves as memberships and donations.
     
    Dot-Com-Itis (Score:1)
    by dtobias (262347) on Friday November 22, @10:35AM (#4732088)
    (http://dan.tobias.name/)
    I see from their website that they claim to be a "nonprofit, nongovernmental organization", but still insist on using lifeboat.com as their URL... always a "cluelessness indicator" to me. Though I see that the more appropriate lifeboat.org is already taken by some Christian group...
    Wormholes to the rescue! (Score:1)
    by SiegeX (595811) on Friday November 22, @10:42AM (#4732135)
    By the time we have the technology to create our own localized black holes, im guessing our understanding of blackholes will be far beyond what they are today. Just look at the last two weeks of /. articles and see how many of them are on black holes and new information we have gathered and/or proven. In anycase I think it would be just as far fetched to say that our salvation might in fact be what this site claims to be our damnation -- a worm hole.

    A wormhole at its core are two black holes connected together tearing through the fabric of space-time and allowing matter to pass back and forth between both ends. My guess is keeping the wormhole open is the easy part, passing through it and not be irreversably turned into a trillion atoms is where we will find the difficulty. But assuming we do find the technology, we no longer need a head start to escape the gravitational pull of the localized black hole, and we wont limit ourselves to a few lucky 1000 people who get to be the Adams and Eves of the new era. Crossing through a worm hole can theoretically put us on the other side of the known universe instantaneously (if there is such a thing) and definantly out of harms way (at least in regards to what destroyed the Earth, who knows what is at the other end!) and better yet, we can *all* go through it.

    Now before you toss me in the loony bin, ill admit this is very far fected, but I dont think its as far fetched as a space station being built in the next 20 years that can self-sustain life for what is likly to be quite a long time and be sucessfull.
    Frank Herbert's "Golden Path" (Score:2, Insightful)
    by F34nor (321515) on Friday November 22, @12:08PM (#4732681)
    The goldern path is the idea that if you limit humanity to a closed system at least one path will lead to extinction. For instance if you take a long view of histroy we can safely say the humanity will go extinct... when the sun burns up Earth. Not much of a worry really but we can say it with absolut certanty. From this absolute we can argue the specifics.

    We have to get off this fucking rock. We should honestly have no greater priority, except maybe not doing ireperable harm before we go.

    Somehow the lifeboat seems um... a little small and isolated. I want the Niven's Ringworld / Bank's Culture Orbitals. No Halo Please I don't want the people who thought up Durandal making my habitat. I want billions of people per habitat. The only way to do that is spheres, nano or biological manufacturing, and a large source or raw materials. That and some balls. Oh yeah and a SHIT load of money.

    -F34nor
    If you agree with the goals of Oceania... (Score:2)
    by ChrisGoodwin (24375) on Friday November 22, @01:54PM (#4733730)
    Unfortunately, Eric Klien has somewhat of a reputation amongst those of us who have been (sort of) following Oceania as a bit of a crook. Some of us have been trying to keep the goals and the idea behind the Atlantis Project alive via a Yahoogroups mailing list called fountainhead-l [yahoo.com]. The Free State Project [freestateproject.com] also has some great ideas.
    Sweet but Misguided. Invest here. (Score:2)
    by mattr (78516) <[email protected] minus pi> on Friday November 22, @02:01PM (#4733784)
    (http://telebody.com | Last Journal: Tuesday July 30, @07:28AM)
    It is realistic, not silly, to realize that we need people in space to keep from our eggs being all in one basket (i.e. the planet Earth). It's just not far enough away yet.

    Something like the picture in close orbit and supplied by the earth is still a part of the ecosystem and far more vulnerable than a terrestrial installation built with a similar investment.

    Making a fund for preservation of the species is a great idea though. Primarily it could be used to provide a "safety buffer" by recognizing the need for specific research and quickly funding it.

    Ultimately we need vibrant colonies on other planets (presumably around other stars and not in contact with Earth) to be safe. It might be very difficult to guarantee the "not in contact with Earth" part, but at least a planet-killer meteor impact would no longer be a total loss.

    It would be much better to take the money and invest in some targetted areas.

    It is VERY CLEAR that a possible answer to the "where are all the radio signals from other civilizations" question is, "most of them killed themselves in a science accident soon after getting to the point where sending signals became economic".

    I would off-hand humbly suggest investing in:
    -Nanotechnology Research and related Safety Technology (defensive, maybe it will be possible to make mistakes in a safe environment before others in nonsafe environments).
    -Astronomy and Astrophysics, in particular development of extremely high-power interferometers (to gain clues as to what distant catastrophes looked like).
    -SETI, most bang for your buck and we might get a clue before killing ourselves off.
    -Space construction research, not for colonies in space but for high energy research.(iffy, they'll probably build on Earth where the physicists are anyway).
    -Risk Assessment and related research in biochemistry, nanotechnology, and particle physics. (Of course it is probably difficult to direct research just at risk assessment but at least to fund researchers so that it is something they spend brainpower on regularly).
    -International collaborative research funding and coordination. Basically if all countries could be aligned then there might be less possibility of the defeatist "if we don't study it someone else will".
    -Powerful, pragmatic projects to eliminate poverty, hunger, water shortages, and racial hate.
    -Risk management programs in AI. Needed in the next 30 years apparently (cf. Kurzweil).
    -Stabilization of world politics and maybe even the "War on Terrorism". Don't laugh but I expected this for years. Of course having thousands of people killed is a big impetus but I don't think that is the main reason behind the U.S. administration's actions.
    Basically the world cannot afford "rogue states" or "terrorist cells" which as the years go by will gain progressively scarier weapons. War is perhaps not the answer and already I worry that centuries more of hatred could have been instilled in the middle east, but the fact is you just don't want pathological people to be in control of the real heavy shit. Of course we are a few definitions shy here still.. "what's 'pathological'?" :(
    Still I cannot help but think about some scifi stories, which after all are exercises in imagination and extrapolation. Often a powerful, sneaky alien ship will land on the planet Earth and stop all war, disease, etc. with some strong arm tactics. (sorry can't think of which one now). I'm not advocating such tactics but if you think objectively, as if you were in the ET's place, how would you solve some of the problems you see? You could just let people fight over water, let them die if they have not enough food, create the food and water, or relocate populations. Some things might be solved by giving the UN a set of huge teeth and some imaginitive people. It seems that if the top ten or twenty countries (in money, prestige, population, or whatever) agree they can do most anything. They just never agree very much. So we need money to get researchers to work on how to align many countries on a certain issue. Think about WWII and how Japan was transformed overnight. Why do people think this can't happen in other countries? (No, it doesn't take a bomb!). Groupware and coordinated media might work to feed the same information to the entire world and get everyone literally on the same wavelength. It's just a little bitty world 8000 miles wide, folks!
    Hope we make it. I wouldn't mind living forever..

    On Second Thought... (Score:2)
    by **SkipKent** (4128) on Friday November 22, @03:12PM (#4734396)
    ...This is a silly idea.

    i have been protected (Score:2)
    by Tetsujin28 (156148) on Friday November 22, @03:47PM (#4734649)
    (http://www.tetsujin.org/)
    The Shover Robot will protect me from the Terrible Secret of Space.
    The "grey goo" exists... (Score:1)
    by kclittle (625128) on Friday November 22, @04:12PM (#4734868)
    ... and its name is "man".
    An easier approach (Score:2)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday November 23, @04:23AM (#4737784)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    If bad shit starts going down, then I'll try to hitch-hike on a UFO. You just have to get used to daily anal probings. It is kinda like jail, which is better than death......I think.
             
    Last Post! (Score:1)
    by alpg (613466) on Friday December 06, @01:09PM (#4827974)
    (http://www.coding-zone.com/lastpost.phtml)
    Nasrudin called at a large house to collect for charity. The servant said
    "My master is out." Nasrudin replied, "Tell your master that next time he
    goes out, he should not leave his face at the window. Someone might steal it."

      - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...
    Re:slashdot template (Score:1)
    by CableModemSniper (556285) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:25PM (#4729438)
    (http://thegospeloflogan.com/ | Last Journal: Tuesday July 23, @10:42PM)
    Whats the secret trick to get my laptop above 1024x768?
    Re:slashdot template (Score:3, Funny)
    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <[email protected]> on Thursday November 21, @11:54PM (#4729606)
    (Last Journal: Tuesday December 03, @06:52PM)
    Whats the secret trick to get my laptop above 1024x768?

    It's easy. Just click here [apple.com] and the press the green button.
    Re:Its a scam! (Score:1)
    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday November 22, @02:27AM (#4730282)
    (http://www.geocities.com/tablizer)
    "The president of Nimbobwai wants to introduce you to a special offer to save your family and friends in preperation for a global disaster so large...............So please enclose a check for $35,000 and mail it to the following address...."
     
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