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  #16  
Old 04-20-2011, 12:37 AM
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Even if they stop growing and level off immediately today, adjusted for inflation, an operation would still be very hard to pay for entirely on your own.
I wasn't talking about Jake paying for it on his own - I was talking about the US military paying for it, so they don't lose him and waste all the money they've already poured into his training.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:23 PM
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He's just expendable, he wasn't a high rank or anything.
There is absolutely no reason why in the future, in worse economic circumstances, benefits might be reduced or eliminated instead of increased as they have through recent history. 20 billion does not necessarily mean free healthcare, as population growth is exponential and it would be possible to maintain 20 billion with even a high mortality rate if reproduction rates were moderately high.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:59 PM
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Yeah, I think this is just a case of YMMV
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  #19  
Old 04-21-2011, 11:58 PM
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Generally I think the level of technology is not realistic because I think if the economy goes bad and really "all green is gone", the challenges would be incredible and colorful displays would be of less concern. I mean, where do they want to get their food from and such. The current trends will end in disaster if nothing changes fundamentally.

BUT assuming that it somehow goes on until that time I could imagine that these technologies would exist. Some might then exist for a long time and not be new to the people there but still in use.
You can see some sort of cyborgs in the CE, but not a lot of biotech stuff (like implanting some stem cells or such to fix a spine). What really bugged me A LOT is that they simply used regular 2010 lab equipment in their labs. Seriously - we even have more sophisticated things in the present day space station and at least miniaturization would be something I would expect to be of high value when setting up a "Hells Gate". I recognized a dozen of the machines in the labs there from the lab I am working in here, there was at least a titration machine and I think I spotted an ion chromatography. They used regular pipettes (and Grace mistreats them - "ouch"), probably Eppendorfs and Schott glass bottles alongside 3-D videoscreens. I think that was unrealistic and probably was done for convenience and for recognizability ("ah there are pipettes, this is a bio-lab").
What I find completely unrealistic is that whole spaceship with the mining operation. There is NO WAY a spaceship can reach Alpha centauri in that short time without some "Star Trek Tech". And there is NO WAY it would pay off to send huge trucks and heavy duty machines for open pit mining through space. If a civilization can build that kind of spaceship, they can probably also build some smarter machines, that dig tunnels to extract ore, use some kind of new materials like carbon fibres or whatever instead of steel monster trucks probably driven with gasoline or diesel fuel (which by that time has to be a rare commodity). That does not really make sense.

But I think the point was to draw a visual comparison to our times, to our labs on Earth, to the open pit mining and heavy machines digging them right here.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:38 AM
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Just because you want to abandon things doesn't mean people automatically will in the future
Their food is mostly algae, as mentioned in several sources.

There's no mention of how the process of fixing the spine is done - it certainly never says not stem cells or similar - just that not any random person can afford it, which rules out exactly nothing.
Grace does use the micropipette wrongly, but there's no reason to think that the basic form of the equipment would change for the sake of it (after all, it hasn't significantly in all the time it has existed), although their actual capabilities would presumably be far higher.

The ISV reaches Alpha Centauri A in 6 years, which is completely possible, the distance is only 4.4 light years - it does 0.75c (3/4 speed of light), with a 6 month acceleration/deceleration phase at each end (antimatter engines at Pandora and beamed power at Earth), while due to time dilation, the actual length experiences for the ship and crew is 5.75 years. Everything is accurate and was checked, it is all very well documented in the survival guide and other sources.
Most of the equipment was built on Pandora form blueprints - the ISV only has the capacity of a very larger transport aircraft (think An-225), so could not fit more than maybe 2-3 helicopters or most of a truck and nothing else as cargo. Developing new processes doesn't any make sense for a company that exists purely to make the biggest financial gain as fast as possible.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
And there is NO WAY it would pay off to send huge trucks and heavy duty machines for open pit mining through space. If a civilization can build that kind of spaceship, they can probably also build some smarter machines, that dig tunnels to extract ore, use some kind of new materials like carbon fibres or whatever instead of steel monster trucks probably driven with gasoline or diesel fuel (which by that time has to be a rare commodity). That does not really make sense.
Sometimes new technology isn't always better. It may be the future but is it really any cheaper to build and maintain a custom (not assembly line manufactured) robot that can do the job that a human can? Also big mining equipment would never be shipped completely but rather disassembled in parts. Some very basic components could even be manufactured at the base. And who is not to say that the quality of steel in the future is not any better than today? Improved techniques could lead to stronger and vastly cheaper steel.


------------------------------------

What we have to remember is that there is a huge gap between what we "can do" and what "are doing."

As of now we can definitely build a spaceship capable of interstellar travel similar to an ISV but it would take a almost all if not a great a portion of the world's GDP just to construct it. That the Earth of 2154 can do this in an economically profitable fashion says a lot of about the humans capability.

We can definitely build something like an amp suite with today's tech but think about how much it would cost. There is also a huge gap between capability. To make something is one thing. To make something durable and robust is another. We are definitely NOT capable of making anything like an AMP suit that could take the slightest beating from an enemy rocket/missile (or a thanator).

At the same time, we should not become too lofty in our visions. According to people living decades ago, we should have two legged robots everywhere serving our needs. They thought that we should only have to push a few buttons to have everything we wanted to eat delivered to us. Everyone was supposed to own a jetpack to commute to work. Where are all of these things? We can do these things but they aren't practical. If you come to think about it, the way that the average person lives today isn't that technologically advanced. We can all point to great achievements such as the space program, giant aircraft carriers, complex AI robots, etc but do you really see those every day? The average person's experience is quite more menial with simple wooden desks, tin cans, advertising billboards with plaster, a toothbrush, a traffic jam filled commute to work, etc.

In short, its far too easy to overestimate the technological world of the future. All too often practical economics, lack of political will (in some cases, complete political dysfunction), basic human inefficiency, and easily missed opportunities can really set things back.



I sure wish that I could travel to the bottom of the ocean whenever I wanted to.

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  #22  
Old 04-22-2011, 12:23 PM
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Sometimes new technology isn't always better. It may be the future but is it really any cheaper to build and maintain a custom (not assembly line manufactured) robot that can do the job that a human can? Also big mining equipment would never be shipped completely but rather disassembled in parts. Some very basic components could even be manufactured at the base. And who is not to say that the quality of steel in the future is not any better than today? Improved techniques could lead to stronger and vastly cheaper steel.
Well, the steel trucks were pretty trashed by the NA'Vi
It is a good point that humans are probably cheaper than robots - I am not sure if that is always so - after all they do have their amp suits and all that. But I was not saying that the humans would be replaced by humanoid robots. I was more thinking of mining robots. Anyways - the explanation that the machines are all manufactured on site can explain why they do what they do. That of course implies that a settlement was set up that has to be a lot larger than what we see in the movie, with mines for coal and iron ore to make steel and manufacturing plants to process the steel and make trucks and helicopers from it. That has to be quite a large city, I would say. Though maybe that is where the robots come in after all.

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Just because you want to abandon things doesn't mean people automatically will in the future
Oh it is not that I necessarily WANT to "abandon" all things, but that the way things are going now, we just will do so involuntarily, because the **** will hit the fan eventually - just that if that happens "there will be no green"

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Their food is mostly algae, as mentioned in several sources.
That cannot feed the world. And it cannot keep the planet alive. What is described in the movie really is a dying planet, but actually it should be dead long ago. What I mean is that on the path from now to an Earth we see in Avatar there are several points that IMO would lead to a collapse or deep recession that would not allow such projects or even the flashy colorful city that we saw. If a world is stuggling with climate change, all land plants disappearing, the oceans dying, the economy collapsing - the money and resources available will have to go towards just keeping things going - I cannot imagine what effort it would take to change from corn and grain agriculture to algae food globally.

I think overall that it is possible that on some specific path such a future is possible, but it would mean very specific and odd decisions and event to preceed it.

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The ISV reaches Alpha Centauri A in 6 years, which is completely possible, the distance is only 4.4 light years - it does 0.75c (3/4 speed of light), with a 6 month acceleration/deceleration phase at each end
Ok, so they have antimatter, probably nuclear fusion and all that and still cannot save their planet? Odd.
Anyways - What accelleration does 0.75c translate to if it is to be done within 6 months? Can humans or the equipment stand that structurally? What amount of energy would it take to bring a ship of that size with all the cargo, people, engines,... to that speed? How can that much energy be created. Is that feasible? How do they get around the problem of interstellar dust and particles after clearing the solar system - things that hit you with 0.75c do punch quite some holes...

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Developing new processes doesn't any make sense for a company that exists purely to make the biggest financial gain as fast as possible.
Well, if the new processes require less investment then they do - at least that is the argument of people who want to ramp up industrialization and technology today - that newer processes are more efficient and in the end cheaper. If that would be true, one would say that in 100 years time, there should be way more efficient processes in place. Or maybe it is not so true, which is what I usually say and things will not get all better all the time...
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  #23  
Old 04-22-2011, 01:18 PM
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Oh it is not that I necessarily WANT to "abandon" all things, but that the way things are going now, we just will do so involuntarily, because the **** will hit the fan eventually - just that if that happens "there will be no green"
Nonononono, we will either change voluntarily or involuntarily, or we let the **** hit the fan, and try and pick up (and survive) the remains. Our history is full of ultimatums.

Well, first steps are always the hardest, so we damn well better start soon.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:15 PM
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Well, yes, that are the choices, Advent. But I see very little evidence that any voluntary change is going to happen anytime close to what is needed. In fact, 20 years ago, I was visiting lectures on hydrogen fueled cars, electric cars, global warming and alternative means of running energy generation. Back then, a usual statement was "we need to move NOW - we have to move away from carbon emissions, oil driven cars, coal and all fossil fuels. And it has to be done NOW to avert climate catastrophe". Some moderate ones said, it would have to be done in 20 years. What happened? ZIP! We are here now, 20 years later, electricity is mostly made by coal, solar and wind are 1 or 2 % of the total energy used, people are still talking about electric cars and hydrogen, they are still not used widely, there is still a debate on climate change itself, the global climate got 1° warmer and the scientists say "we need to move NOW - we have to move away from carbon emissions, oil driven cars, coal and all fossil fuels. And it has to be done NOW to avert climate catastrophe".
That was 20 years, almost half my life and the time from Commodore C64 to quad-core gigahertz computers with 3D screens coming soon. What's wrong with that picture?!?

Forgive me for being so sinister, but the development of these 20 years do not give me much hope in terms of "voluntary changes" on a scale near close enough to avert this. And going back 20 years more to the 1970ies you find the same situation again, with the same statements from scientists "we need to do something NOW,....blahblah"

So I guess the **** will hit the fan and when it is about an inch fromt he fan, people will panic and try to change something last minute and maybe they get something, most likely not and then the task will be how to prevent the **** from flying too far and how to get it back again...
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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  #25  
Old 04-23-2011, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
Well, the steel trucks were pretty trashed by the NA'Vi
It is a good point that humans are probably cheaper than robots - I am not sure if that is always so - after all they do have their amp suits and all that. But I was not saying that the humans would be replaced by humanoid robots. I was more thinking of mining robots. Anyways - the explanation that the machines are all manufactured on site can explain why they do what they do. That of course implies that a settlement was set up that has to be a lot larger than what we see in the movie, with mines for coal and iron ore to make steel and manufacturing plants to process the steel and make trucks and helicopers from it. That has to be quite a large city, I would say. Though maybe that is where the robots come in after all.
there are no robots. The manufacturing is done through processes that exist in concept today such as stereolithography.

Quote:
That cannot feed the world. And it cannot keep the planet alive. What is described in the movie really is a dying planet, but actually it should be dead long ago. What I mean is that on the path from now to an Earth we see in Avatar there are several points that IMO would lead to a collapse or deep recession that would not allow such projects or even the flashy colorful city that we saw. If a world is stuggling with climate change, all land plants disappearing, the oceans dying, the economy collapsing - the money and resources available will have to go towards just keeping things going - I cannot imagine what effort it would take to change from corn and grain agriculture to algae food globally.
Why not? The point is that the vast majority of the sea is used for algae production - that is, with the right infrastructure, easy and cheap to do so, particularly if the land becomes unsuitable for agriculture.

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Ok, so they have antimatter, probably nuclear fusion and all that and still cannot save their planet? Odd.
That makes no point either way.
Quote:
Anyways - What accelleration does 0.75c translate to if it is to be done within 6 months? Can humans or the equipment stand that structurally? What amount of energy would it take to bring a ship of that size with all the cargo, people, engines,... to that speed? How can that much energy be created. Is that feasible? How do they get around the problem of interstellar dust and particles after clearing the solar system - things that hit you with 0.75c do punch quite some holes...
14.26m/s^2, so yes. Of course, most of the ISV has no gravity anyway, just two centrifuges which house crew modules. There is no mass figure for the ISV, but is is well within the capabilities of such an engine system since the actual cargo space is minimal and the structure is composed primarily of nanotubes, with the majority of the structural bulk being radiator systems. There is a shield that is intended to protect against any dust that can theoretically be encountered - a micrometeor can still destroy the ISV, but that is such a small chance as to be negligible - space is big, and empty.
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The shield is in multiple layers, spaced one hundred meters apart. Impact of a debris grain (traveling at a relative speed of 0.7C) with the first layer of the shield causes vaporization into a plasma. The spray of plasma particles strikes the second layer, and the impacts cause spalling from the back of the second layer. These particles are stopped by the third layer. A fourth layer acts as a backup in the unlikely event that something gets past the third layer. Once cruise speed is reached, this shield is detached and moved by small thrusters thousands of miles in front of the ship to improve survivability if a larger particle of debris is encountered.
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Well, if the new processes require less investment then they do - at least that is the argument of people who want to ramp up industrialization and technology today - that newer processes are more efficient and in the end cheaper.
True for many, but not for developing a new one for its own sake.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:31 AM
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Forgive me for being so sinister, but the development of these 20 years do not give me much hope in terms of "voluntary changes" on a scale near close enough to avert this. And going back 20 years more to the 1970ies you find the same situation again, with the same statements from scientists "we need to do something NOW,....blahblah"

So I guess the **** will hit the fan and when it is about an inch fromt he fan, people will panic and try to change something last minute and maybe they get something, most likely not and then the task will be how to prevent the **** from flying too far and how to get it back again...
As pessimistic as it sounds, what you say is probably true. Even if we were to stop all emissions today, the Earth would still continue to warm quite some time. That carbon dioxide/methane/other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will stay up there for a while. The effect compounds over time and it will come to bite us in the somewhat distant future unfortunately .
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:22 PM
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As pessimistic as it sounds, what you say is probably true.
Doesn't sound pessimistic to me. But Realistic. <not sure what smiley to insert>
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
Forgive me for being so sinister, but the development of these 20 years do not give me much hope in terms of "voluntary changes" on a scale near close enough to avert this. And going back 20 years more to the 1970ies you find the same situation again, with the same statements from scientists "we need to do something NOW,....blahblah"

So I guess the **** will hit the fan and when it is about an inch fromt he fan, people will panic and try to change something last minute and maybe they get something, most likely not and then the task will be how to prevent the **** from flying too far and how to get it back again...
Well, here's to hoping Humanity can get things done. And, if not, I've got a feeling nature's got a trick up her sleeve to clean things up. Us included.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:47 PM
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Well, here's to hoping Humanity can get things done. And, if not, I've got a feeling nature's got a trick up her sleeve to clean things up. Us included.
It's fascinating how the ecosystem has been compensating a lot of what humanity's done to it. The most efficient trick would be to "clean" humans off the planet lol. We'll see ..
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:36 PM
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It's a system of homeostasis as when a balance is changed, a new equilibrium occurs somewhere barring extreme rapid changes - the question is what the limits of it are, and that's why Earth in Avatar is the way it is.
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