Posts Tagged ‘Space’

Libertarians are WEIRD

Mark Lutter advances the following thought experiment:

Earth is dying, unable to further sustain human life. Mankind has thrown their last resources into creating a space ship that can reach a habitable planet. However, the space ship can only carry 10,000 people and little is known about the planet beyond gravity and oxygen levels. With the literal fate of humanity lying before us, who do we send and why?

After that, it gets WEIRD (+ ++). In a nutshell, Lutter’s ‘we’, while — apparently in absolute innocence — employed to represent the voice of humanity as a whole, is self-evidently processing the problem in a way that would make no sense beyond its own peculiar thede. ‘We’ could probably all come to the reasonable conclusion that only the Swiss get to survive. (Right?)

In passing, he notes that ‘we’ all agree multiculturalism is a dysfunctional mess: “For all the praise of multiculturalism, no one would seriously bet a diverse group of cultures would give the greatest chance for success. …” (The whole paragraph is a jaw-dropper.)

The main point, however: “Picking a cultural group to colonize a new planet and save humanity forces the mind to focus on positive and negative attributes of the cultural group.” This perfectly exemplifies the weirded out intelligence of libertarians, expressed as a detached universalism wholly incognisant of its own deracination. The obvious rejoinder: No one thinks like that (except you guys). It might be over-compensation to suggest that two-thirds of the world’s population would respond to the total extermination of the Swiss with vague amusement, but it’s at least as plausible as Lutter’s assumption that the good people of Helvetia would be neutrally evaluated, selected, and then cheered on as the sole remnant of ‘humanity’, to such an extent that not being Swiss would be cheerfully accepted as an ethnic death sentence.

This isn’t meant to be any kind of denuciation — it’s very possible Lutter is playing his (weird) audience hard, and doing something subversively dark around the back. As barb-hooked bait for libertarian nuttiness, his post is really something. I can’t wait to see what his comment thread looks like.

ADDED: “I do not believe anything I wrote was terribly controversial …” (At least one of us has to be psychotically dissociated — not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

November 11, 2014admin 20 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

Chaos Patch (#33)

(Open thread and links (this week, a lot of links (if not quite at Free Northener dimensions))

ClarkHat took the #Gamergate discussion to the next level (to massive and sustained applause). If we’re framing this as the long war, argues Ben Southwood, then there’s only one way to bet: “Like it has won almost every major political battle since the Glorious Revolution ([if slowly, sometimes]) the left is going to win this one because it controls the commanding heights of the media, allowing it to bring the mass public on side, and because its adherents follow their faith with a religious zeal. … Gamergate is one of the most interesting things to happen in years, but I don’t think it will win.” In any case, we shouldn’t get too excited about the players here, or believe much that is attributed to them. Best to focus on Gawker losing it completely. On the creation of nerds. Dissymmetry.

On the Ebola-Channel, it was New York, Mali, and bio-warfare rumor week. The highlight article was Richard Preston’s New Yorker piece, but there was plenty of additional quality commentary. Also, a variety of political responses, and policy review pieces. (other diseases are falling through the cracks.)

Continue Reading

October 26, 2014admin 69 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , , , ,

Quote note (#113)

Elon Musk (in conversation with Ross Andersen) ponders upon the Fermi Paradox:

We might think of ourselves as nature’s pinnacle, the inevitable endpoint of evolution, but beings like us could be too rare to ever encounter one another. Or we could be the ultimate cosmic outliers, lone minds in a Universe that stretches to infinity.

Musk has a more sinister theory. ‘The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation,’ he told me. ‘Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish.’ Musk flipped through a few more possibilities, each packing a deeper existential chill than the last, until finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’

September 30, 2014admin 16 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Abstract Horror (Note-2)

A very special jolt of bliss for Friday (Horror) Night — a whole new monster (the ‘Phantom’):

Most models of dark energy hold that the amount of it remains constant. But about 10 years ago, cosmologists realised that if the total density of dark energy is increasing, we could be headed for a nightmare scenario – the “big rip”. As space-time expands faster and faster, matter will be torn apart, starting with galaxy clusters and ending with atomic nuclei. Cosmologists called it “phantom” energy.

To find out if this could be true, Dragan Huterer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor turned to type Ia supernovae. These stellar explosions are all of the same brightness, so they act as cosmic yardsticks for measuring distances. The first evidence that the universe’s expansion is accelerating came from studies of type Ia supernovae in the late 1990s.

If supernovae accelerated away from each other more slowly in the past than they do now, then dark energy’s density may be increasing and we could be in trouble. “If you even move a millimetre off the ledge, you fall into the abyss,” Huterer says.

Huterer and colleague Daniel Shafer have compiled data from recent supernova surveys and found that, depending on which surveys you use, there could be slight evidence that the dark energy density has been increasing over the past 2 billion years, but it’s not statistically significant yet (Physical Review D,

Phantom energy is an underdog theory, but the consequences are so dramatic that it’s worth testing, Huterer says. The weakness of the evidence is balanced by the fact that the implications are huge, he says. “We will have to completely revise even our current thinking of dark energy if phantom is really at work.”

(If I’d been making this stuff up, about the entirety of cosmic space being a concealed monster poised to rip every particle in the universe apart, I’d have named the hero ‘Dragan Huterer‘ too.)

September 5, 2014admin 5 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , , ,

Chaos Patch (#21)

(Open thread.)

Some bits and pieces, which everyone if of course free to ignore:

Commercialization of war (video). This trend seems to be huge.

The (first) Age of Unqualified Reservations has now formally passed: “I think it’s clear that UR has gone on de facto hiatus, so it seems best to adhere to my own philosophy and make it official. … UR will reemerge, of course. But not here, and not soon – and probably not even in this form. I’ll also try to do something non-lame with the archives.”

Nydwracu crafts a conceptual tool of great value.

Action at Reddit.

William Gibson and Hyperstition (or not): “… was Gibson just a smart reader of the way things were already going, or — as Jack Womack suggested in the afterword to the novel’s 2000 re-issue — has ‘the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?'”

Alain de Benoist interviewed.

Either an extraordinary techno-scientific breakthrough, or not. (This, I’m supremely confident, isn’t.)

Singularity won’t save us (a conclusion I share, for entirely different reasons).

My Russian isn’t good enough to understand what the hell is going on in this, but NYC looks spectacular even when it’s teeming with Slavo-fascists.


August 3, 2014admin 41 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , , ,

2013 Reaction points

Multiply the world population by 365 and it comes out as something significantly north of two trillion human days in which to make things happen. It has impressed me, then, to note that roughly 20% of the last year’s Gross Global Occurrence Volume has taken place in the comments threads of this blog. (I received an activity report from WordPress this evening that suggested I thank VXXC, fotrkd, Spandrell, and Thales in particular for being cranked-up comment monkeys.) Tack on the rest of the reactosphere, and what remains of the planet has been fighting over scraps (which we’ll get to later).

The first — tentative and unconvinced — post here went up in mid-February, so Outside in is a creature of 2013. There’s nothing remotely unusual about that. Other 2013 reactionary monster babies include RadishAnarchopapist and Occam’s Razor (January); Habitable Worlds, The Reactivity Place, and Amos & Gromar (April); More Right (May); Theden (July); Handleshaus and The Legionnaire (August) … which is just to scoop from my regular reading list. The sheer quantity of explicitly reactionary writing has to have surged by at least an order of magnitude this year. This timeline (by Handle) sharpens the contours of the phenomenon (expanded to encompass the burgeoning new genre of excited anti-reactionary push-back). Even if many of the greatest Outer Right blogs preexisted this wave of dark energy, 2013 was surely the year in which Neoreaction really established itself as a thing.

Continue Reading

December 31, 2013admin 19 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , ,

Quote notes (#50)

Some painful comparisons at the Real Clear World blog:

China has officially joined the “Moon Landing Club,” which, until Saturday, was the exclusive domain of the United States and the former Soviet Union. China’s rover will now putter around, doing what such missions are typically designed to do: taking lots of pictures and analyzing lunar dirt, more scientifically referred to as regolith.

It may be tempting for Americans to think, “Been there, done that.” However, China is now envisioning the very same sort of ambitious megaprojects that the U.S. once dreamt of more than 50 years ago, when President John F. Kennedy urged America to “commit itself to achieving the goal … of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” For instance, China hopes to mine the moon for natural resources and to use it as a staging ground for further space exploration, although some believe the former goal is unrealistic because the cost is likely to exceed the value of the materials.

Still, China’s wild-eyed aspirations are inspiring. It should make us yearn for the days when we, too, thought we could do anything. But those days now seem so long ago. Indeed, the latest Rasmussen poll finds that 52 percent of Americans think that our best days are behind us. What happened?

(This happened.)

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds on the potential for lunar property stakes (the 1967 Outer Space Treaty shouldn’t be much of a problem). “If, like me, you’d like to see a gold rush on the moon — or, at least, a Helium-3 rush — then a Chinese claim might be just the thing to get it started.”

December 17, 2013admin 23 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Quote notes (#43)

As a discussion trigger, dedicated to VXXC  (while awaiting something more substantially off-planet):

… we can see that the kind of libertarianism inherent in Planetary Resources is a far cry from the libertarianism of those who wish to see Tennessee opt out of Obamacare. That’s the difference between the Heinleinians and the Calhounians. The Heinleinians are reading technical papers and spreadsheets, not the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

Yet make no mistake—the Planetary Resourcers are fully revolutionary. None of them are interested in waiting around to see what the federal government is willing to do in space—although, in their pragmatism, they are willing to work with NASA. Still, it has surely has crossed the mind of these investors that there’s no EPA in space; indeed, space can be seen as one universe-sized enterprise zone.

The whole article is remarkably original and thought-provoking. (Outside in is sure to return to it when the trends and prospects of libertarianism stray back into the cross-hairs.)

November 17, 2013admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Cosmos