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Just the right amount of crazy

Posted October 3, 2014 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Great profile of Elon Musk at, who is all I have instead of Steve Jobs now. A long piece, worth a weekend read, focussing on Space X and his plans for colonising Mars to secure the future of humanity in the face of the Great Filter, which gets a mention by Barnes in the thread on War Dogs.

‘It’s funny,’ he told me. ‘Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth’s surface. They say things like, “Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around.” They imply that humanity and civilisation are less good than their absence. But I’m not in that school,’ he said. ‘I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future.’?


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.’

6 Responses to ‘Just the right amount of crazy’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted October 4, 2014
Elon Musk is the closest we have to Tony Stark. Also I think I have read
"there was a black leather couch and a large desk, empty but for a few wine bottles and awards." as a description of you when some jurono's have come to interview Birmo.

and for whatever reasons he offers I am just happy that someone is building a space program and a colony on mars will help. I also want to see orbiting space colonies like those proposed by Gerard K O'Neils high frontier, though I recognize that we can't yet build self sustaining enclosed systems on earth so building them in space still presents a technical challenge.

I think Elon Musk's proposal is a more sensible use of resources than trying to bomb people into changing their minds.

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ShaneAlpha has opinions thus...

Posted October 4, 2014
Still the same problem we've always had.
Getting out of the gravity well.

Bring the cost of that down to something reasonable, tear up the worst parts of the U.N. Outer Space Treaty and we might have a chance.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted October 5, 2014
Elon Musk. The early 21st century's Howard Hughes.

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TheWah mumbles...

Posted October 5, 2014
Every time any of my work colleagues read a story about Musk they send it to me. My ManCrush for Elon is known far and wide

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted October 5, 2014
As Steve Jobs was to JB, so Elon Musk is to me. Only WITH ROCKETS.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 5, 2014

Haven't read article yet, been de-nailing all day.

Part B of my recent USA mission was to attend a 40th in Pasadena. Home to a sizable chunk of Caltech (from whence JPL was banned.) At said 40th, towards the bleary part of the evening I spoke with a Perth chap currently doing orbital math @ Caltech. He said:

Part of the problem is "acceptable loss." For a national program like NASA, invested with national pride, One loss from 100 launches is unacceptable. This leads public servants to lean towards belt & braces style of decision making, with redundancies on backups. A extravagantly cautious approach.

In a private operation, shit happens.

This dude is entirely confident that the Private Sector will be the ion drive that gets us off planet. But that Why (ROI) will influence the hows & wheres. For instance Humans will certainly work in a commercial space environment, for longer and longer spells as the century progresses, but permanent colonies are probably not on the immediate horizon. The company town is dead, Fly in Fly out is the go. Just ask central QLD.

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