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Why colonizing Mars is a waste of time

Humanity’s problems are not problems of technology they are behavioral.

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In recent times well known figures such as Elon Musk (of Spacex) and the late Prof. Stephen Hawking have made highly publicised comments about space exploration and the necessity for humanity to colonise other planets (such as Mars) in order to ensure human survival in the future.

While such luminaries may well be right in suggesting that humanity is more than able to bring about its own destruction, I do not believe that attempting to populate other environments is the solution to the problem of human survival. Apart from the great challenges that face those attempting such a feat, the fundamental problems of human behaviour are still likely to apply in any locations additional to our own planet.

Before looking at humanity’s innate problems and our struggle to overcome them, let us consider the immensity of any attempt to colonize the Moon or a nearby planet such as Mars. The Moon is much closer to Earth than Mars (240,000 miles as opposed to at least 35 million miles) so it would obviously be easier to try a settlement closer to home first.

Despite its relatively convenient location, the Moon offers much greater challenges than Mars in many respects. For starters the gravity on the Moon is only about 17% of that on Earth, whereas on Mars it’s not far off 40% of that on Earth. The effects of long-term exposure to low gravity are quite serious with loss of bone mass (like osteoporosis), muscle wasting, deterioration of liver function and possible damage to eyesight. So far, the longest anyone has spent in space is 438 days, so it is hard to gauge the negative effects of spending several years or decades in a low gravity situation. Long-term existence in low gravity would undoubtedly make returning to Earth difficult or even impossible and there might also be implications for life expectancy for continual living in a low gravity environment.

Temperature is a significant problem for any would-be colonists, particularly on the Moon, which has no atmosphere. Daytime periods, which last for approximately half of the 28 day lunar cycle, can see surface temperatures of over 120 Celsius. For the other half of the cycle the surface is plunged into darkness and temperatures of around -150 Celsius. Obviously prolonged periods of extreme cold (and darkness) or extreme heat would make creating a stable environment for humans very difficult. Assuming that it could be done, one would still need to provide an environment that is suitable for growing food – with no water, no atmosphere and extended periods of cold and darkness it does not look very feasible.

The situation on Mars does not look quite so bleak, despite the fact that it would currently take at least 150 days to get there. In the Martian summer temperatures at the equator can reach an encouraging 20 Celsius, although generally temperatures only make it above freezing for a very short portion of the year (of 687 days). At night temperatures can plummet to -100 Celsius, even in summer, due to the thinness of the atmosphere. Mercifully the nights are similar in duration to those on Earth as the Martian day is marginally more than on earth and the axis tilt is only 2 degrees higher. Although this is a lot more inviting than the Moon, average temperature is around -55 Celsius and daytime temperatures rarely creep above the freezing point of water.

All this makes creating a human environment difficult, especially given that the Martian year is nearly twice as long as here on Earth and combined with its off-centre elliptical orbit, severely low temperatures outside of summer can be very long lasting. If it’s going to be difficult to keep warm for humans, that could be a more dramatic problem for plant life which we would need to cultivate to feed us. Plants need exposure to sunlight in order to stay alive and so would need to be grown in some kind of greenhouse type structure in order to allow heat and light to reach them. This would not be so great at night unless some form of effective insulation could be provided to stop the contents of the ‘greenhouse’ from freezing.

For any long-term situation on Mars it would be essential for humans to be able to grow their own food. The atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide on Mars which is fine for plants but deadly for humans. Unfortunately, like us, plants need oxygen (albeit a tiny amount), which is sadly lacking on Mars. Apart from the surface being too cold for plants the air pressure is about 100 times lower than on earth, what affect that would have is unknown. Assuming there are no pathogens in the air, external carbon dioxide could be brought into the closed environment but oxygen would need to be brought from earth or extracted from the frozen polar ice. If this could be done and similar air pressure to earth created, in time it should be possible for plants to create a stable ecosystem that provides sufficient oxygen for a human colony although many hundreds of plants or huge amounts of algae would be needed to provide for just one person.

Initially oxygen would have to be brought to the colony or obtained from water by splitting the oxygen from hydrogen and this would not be easy as water is known to exist at the frozen poles.

Growing plants for food and oxygen would be essential for any colony however it’s not going to be simple. Plants would need light but they would also need to be protected from harmful rays (by filters) that penetrate the thin Martian atmosphere. Plants need a growing medium, usually soil, and nutrients but both are rather lacking on Mars. There is no organic soil on Mars, it’s more like sand and although many of the right minerals do exist there, the proportions are tiny compared to what is typical on Earth – artificial fertilizers would be needed.

The soil on Mars is so thin and dry that a huge amount of it ends up as dust in the atmosphere. With rapid temperature changes a great deal of wind is generated, with maximum speeds of around 60mph. Dust storms would be a major problem to overcome on Mars as, on occasion, they engulf almost the whole planet and can last for weeks or even months at a time. High levels of dust in the atmosphere decrease light and heat penetration, just like a volcanic eruption can on Earth. On Earth such incidents are usually localized and short-lived. Severe eruptions in our past caused crop failure and famines on Earth; imagine how a dust storm of months on Mars could impact solar energy production and the photosynthesis of plants.

One particularly important component for survival, that I have barely mentioned yet, is water. The Moon has no water, but there is some present on Mars – in tiny amounts in the atmosphere and as ice at the poles. It would not be possible to transport sufficient water to another planet to provide for a colony so it would need to be separated from any frozen carbon dioxide at the poles and brought to the colony and melted. In the nineteenth century, before refrigeration was invented, huge blocks of ice were transported mostly by ship from northerly regions and sold where-ever people could afford to buy it. So, in theory, ice could be transported from polar regions on Mars to a colony (presumably near the warmer equator) but the logistics of long-distance transportation on a planet with no breathable atmosphere and severe dust storms would not be easy to overcome.

All that I have mentioned so far are just the basic problems of establishing even a tiny community on another world. Assuming that all of the huge problems of creating a workable environment could be overcome we have made no allowance for the inevitable complexities of human existence. Apart from the input of energy of the sun, we live in essentially a closed system that can provide everything that humanity needs to live. We do not need to find, bring or manufacture air, soil, water, plant and animal life in order to survive as it is already here.

Despite having the good fortune to exist on a planet that can provide perfectly for our needs humanity has had and continues to have great difficulty in living in a sustainable way. Humans have an unfortunate tendency to over-consume resources, damage life-sustaining parts of the environment (water, air, soil, other species) and also compete violently with each other and other life forms. In the past we have found that the easiest solution to our problems was to move somewhere else that had not been fully exploited. A small number of isolated communities do continue to live in a sustainable way, but they are under threat from the proliferation of destructive modern living patterns.

Until fairly recently the world seemed like a huge place, inexhaustible and indestructible. However, with a world population of close to 8 billion people and increasing demand for finite resources we are all becoming aware of the dire impact humanity is having on our planet. Of course, the possibility of our destruction is one of the main justifications for attempting to colonize somewhere else.

If we had another Earth to migrate to, it might seem justifiable to move there and start again, although it would not necessarily change the way that we behave – in fact the sudden lack of need to change our ways might ensure that it would not happen. The fact is that we do not have another Earth and trying to create a long-term livable environment somewhere else could prove to be impossible.

Even if it were possible to create a colony on Mars in the decades to come, how many people could it sustain? Without a constant influx of resources to expand a colony of say 100 people, a tiny speck of humanity would be sustainable. The scale of creating a Martian colony of a million people (which is a tiny fraction of humanity) is so daunting that it really is in the realms of science-fiction. Even if such a colony were possible, how would we overcome the continued human tendencies of over-populating, degrading our environment and fighting amongst ourselves? Such behaviour is dangerous for humanity and the world here on Earth, one can only imagine how dangerous it would be for a community in a highly restricted and vulnerable alien environment.

Despite all of the damage that we have done to the planet, which we are only beginning to understand now, we still live on a beautiful and habitable world. Running away to another planet is not going solve the problems of humanity as our fundamental problem is not of technology or resources but of our behaviour. If we insist on trying to colonize Mars or anywhere else we are liable to run into the same problems, created by our behaviour patterns, including our chronic problem of military conflict that shows no sign of ending.

While we are learning that we need to change and learning new and better ways of doing things we still have a very long way to go. What knowledge, energy and resources we have should be concentrated on solving the problems of living here, on this planet that is ideally suited to us. The thought of being stuck here if we do manage to fatally damage Earth is rather terrifying, but perhaps a lack of other viable options might be what saves us. Scientific exploration and expansion of our understanding of the universe is a benefit to humanity, but it should not be used to offer false hope to a species that could be faced with self annihilation. With the possibility of escaping to somewhere else removed we are left with only one realistic option – finding a way out of the mess we have created.

The huge amount of money, time, energy and physical resources that is allocated for or currently being used for space exploration and colonization would be better expended on dealing with the plethora of problems that exist on Earth. We do not yet have the technology to make colonizing Mars or other places a reality, but we do have the technology to fix our problems here on Earth.

The know-how for producing renewable energy has been around for decades and the technology has improved with more and better techniques coming on line in recent years. Nuclear energy is dangerous, potentially explosive and produces huge amounts of radioactive waste – a problem that could haunt us for centuries. This is just one problem that humanity has failed to address properly and is long overdue being solved for the good of future generations. The technology for solving this and much of the pollution problems, including plastic waste, already exists but is very expensive at the moment.

Much of the world’s problems such as environmental degradation, over population and poor resource distribution, economic and physical warfare can be changed simply by changing how we think and do things and don’t necessarily need advanced technology – just the will to do it and allocation of resources. Humanity’s problems are not problems of technology they are behavioral and that is down to our failure to mature as a species. While we continue to put conflict, greed, self-interest and short-term goals above cooperation, consideration and the long-term future of all life, running away to another planet is not going to save us.

You can read more of Luke’s work at lukeeastwood.com.

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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Paul Craig Roberts: The Disintegration of Western Society

Feminists brought this madness onto themselves.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Radical feminists are now being banned by Twitter not because they hate men, which is perfectly OK as far as Twitter is concerned, but because they object to “transwomen.”

What is a “transwoman?” As far as I can understand, a “transwoman” is a male with a penis who declares himself to be a women and demands his right to use women’s toilette facilities along with the women who are using them.

The feminist, Meghan Murphy, twittered a statement and a question:

“Men are not women.”

“How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?”

Twitter described this as “hateful conduct” and banned Meghan Murphy. https://quillette.com/2018/11/28/twitters-trans-activist-decree/

There you have it. Yesterday it was feminists who were exercising their special society-bestowed privileges to censor. Today it is the feminists who are being censored. As this insanity of “Western Civilization” continues, tomorrow it will be the transwomen who are censored and banned.

What precisely is afoot?

My readers, who have partially and some wholly escaped from The Matrix, understand that this is the further fragmentation of American society. Identity Politics has set men, women, blacks, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and white people against one another. Identity Politics is the essence of the Democratic Party and the American liberal/progressive/left. Now, with the creation of “new” but otherwise nonexistent “genders,” although they are honored as real by the controlled whores who masquerade as a “Western media,” we witness radical feminists being silenced by men pretending to be women.

I sympathize with Meghan Murphy, but she brought this on herself and on the rest of us by accepting Identity Politics. Identity Politics gave Meghan a justification for hating men even, as she failed to realize, it provided the basis for moving her into the exploitative class that must be censored.

Where does this end?

It has already gone far enough that the American population is so divided and mutually hostile that there is no restraint by “the American people” on government and the elite oligarchs that rule. “The American people” are no longer a reality but a mythical creature like the unicorn.

The film, The Matrix, is the greatest film of out lifetime. Why? Because it shows that there are two realities. A real one of which only a few people are aware, and a virtual one in which eveyone else lives.

In the United States today, and throughout “Western Brainwashed Civilization,” only a handful of people exist who are capable of differentiating the real from the created reality in which all explanations are controlled and kept as far away from the truth as possible. Everything that every Western government and “news” organization says is a lie to control the explanations that we are fed in order to keep us locked in The Matrix.

The ability to control people’s understandings is so extraordinary that, despite massive evidence to the contrary, Americans believe that Oswald, acting alone, was the best shot in human history and using magic bullets killed President John F. Kenndy; that a handful of Saudi Arabians who demonstratively could not fly airplanes outwitted the American national security state and brought down 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon; that Saddam Hussein had and was going to use on the US “weapons of mass destruction;” that Assad “used chemical weapons” against “his own people;” that Libya’s Gaddifi gave his soldiers Viagra so they could better rape Libyan women; that Russia “invaded Ukraine;” that Trump and Putin stole the presidential election from Hillary.

The construction of a make-believe reality guarantees the US military/security complex’s annual budget of $1,000 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money even as Congress debates cutting Social Security in order to divert more largess to the pockets of the corrupt military/security complex.

Readers ask me what they can do about it. Nothing, except revolt and cleanse the system, precisely as Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said.

Is Thomas Jefferson Alive and Well In Paris?

If this report is correct, pray the revolt spreads to the US.

https://www.infowars.com/video-french-police-remove-helmets-in-solidarity-with-yellow-vest-protesters/

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Google Employees debated burying conservative media in search

Google engineer Scott Byer falsely labeled The Daily Caller and Breitbart as “opinion blogs” and urged his coworkers to reduce their visibility in search results.

The Daily Caller

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Via The Daily Caller


  • Google employees debated whether to bury The Daily Caller and other conservative media outlets in the company’s search function as a response to President Donald Trump’s election
  • “Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years,” one engineer wrote in a thread that included a Google vice president
  • Google employees similarly sought to manipulate search results to combat Trump’s travel ban

Google employees debated whether to bury conservative media outlets in the company’s search function as a response to President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, internal Google communications obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveal.

The Daily Caller and Breitbart were specifically singled out as outlets to potentially bury, the communications reveal.

Trump’s election in 2016 shocked many Google employees, who had been counting on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win.

Communications obtained by TheDCNF show that internal Google discussions went beyond expressing remorse over Clinton’s loss to actually discussing ways Google could prevent Trump from winning again.

“This was an election of false equivalencies, and Google, sadly, had a hand in it,” Google engineer Scott Byer wrote in a Nov. 9, 2016, post reviewed by TheDCNF.

Byer falsely labeled The Daily Caller and Breitbart as “opinion blogs” and urged his coworkers to reduce their visibility in search results.

“How many times did you see the Election now card with items from opinion blogs (Breitbart, Daily Caller) elevated next to legitimate news organizations? That’s something that can and should be fixed,” Byer wrote.

“I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources – because not doing so hides real information under loud noises,” he continued.

“Beyond that, let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years – demographics will be on our side.”

Some of Byer’s colleagues expressed concern that manipulating search results could backfire and suggested alternative measures

One Google engineer, Uri Dekel, identified himself as a Clinton supporter but argued that manipulating search results was the wrong route to take.

“Thinking that Breitbart, Drudge, etc. are not ‘legitimate news sources’ is contrary to the beliefs of a major portion of our user base is partially what got us to this mess. MSNBC is not more legit than Drudge just because Rachel Maddow may be more educated / less deplorable / closer to our views, than, say Sean Hannity,” Dekel wrote in a reply to Byer.

“I follow a lot of right wing folks on social networks you could tell something was brewing. We laughed off Drudge’s Instant Polls and all that stuff, but in the end, people go to those sources because they believe that the media doesn’t do it’s job. I’m a Hillary supporter and let’s admit it, the media avoided dealing with the hard questions and issues, which didn’t pay off. By ranking ‘legitimacy’ you’ll just introduce more conspiracy theories,” Dekel added.

“Too many times, Breitbart is just echoing a demonstrably made up story,” Byer wrote in a reply to his original post. He did not cite any examples.

“That happens at MSNBC, too. I don’t want a political judgement. The desire is to break the myth feedback loop, the false equivalency, instead of the current amplification of it,” Byer added.

“What I believe we can do, technically, that avoids the accusations of conspiracy or bias from people who ultimately have a right and obligation to decide what they want to believe, is to get better at displaying the ‘ripples’ and copy-pasta, to trace information to its source, to link to critiques of those sources, and let people decide what sources they believe,” another Google engineer, Mike Brauwerman, suggested.

“Give people a comprehensive but effectively summarized view of the information, not context-free rage-inducing sound-bytes,” he added.

“We’re working on providing users with context around stories so that they can know the bigger picture,” chimed in David Besbris, vice president of engineering at Google.

“We can play a role in providing the full story and educate them about all sides. This doesn’t have to be filtering and can be useful to everyone,” he wrote.

Other employees similarly advocated providing contextual information about media sources in search results, and the company later did so with a short-lived fact check at the end of 2017.

Not only did the fact-check feature target conservative outlets almost exclusively, it was also blatantly wrong. Google’s fact check repeatedly attributed false claims to those outlets, even though they demonstrably never made those claims.

Google pulled the faulty fact-check program in January, crediting TheDCNF’s investigation for the decision.

A Google spokeswoman said that the conversation did not lead to manipulation of search results for political purposes.

“This post shows that far from suppressing Breitbart and Daily Caller, we surfaced these sites regularly in our products. Furthermore, it shows that we value providing people with the full view on stories from a variety of sources,” the spokeswoman told TheDCNF in an email.

“Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology. Our processes and policies do not allow for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.”

The discussion about whether to bury conservative media outlets isn’t the first evidence that some Google employees have sought to manipulate search results for political ends.

After Trump announced his initial travel ban in January 2017, Google employees discussed ways to manipulate search results in order to push back against the president’s order.

A group of employees brainstormed ways to counter “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc,” as well as “prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino’, etc.”

WATCH:

Trump speculated to The Daily Caller in September that Google and Facebook are trying to affect election outcomes.

“I think they already have,” Trump said, responding to questions about potential election interference by Google and Facebook.

“I mean the true interference in the last election was that — if you look at all, virtually all of those companies are super liberal companies in favor of Hillary Clinton,” he added.

“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter and I’m good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton’s side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side,” Trump continued.

Google this month corrected a “knowledge panel” about a Republican women’s group that labeled them “enablers.”

Google cited Wikipedia for the disparaging description, though a similar change made to Wikipedia’s page for the women’s group was corrected almost immediately. Google left up the digital vandalism for three weeks.

Google apologized in May after search results for the California Republican Party falsely listed “Nazism” as one of the state party’s ideologies.

Then, too, Google blamed manipulation of the party’s Wikipedia page for the inaccurate and disparaging description.

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