What this scientist thinks of NASA’s 2035 mission to Mars…

The 2035 Mars space mission is said to cost an estimated US$1.5 trillion.


What are my thoughts on this? That sounds like an aweful lot of money to me — to keep four to six people alive on another planet— in my view it’s money that could be put to far better things, like keeping 7 or 8 billion alive on this one.

To put things into perspective, it’s the equivalent of spending 94% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product… for what? A dozen or so people to have the trip of a lifetime… at the most? That’s one hell of an expensive postcard!

If I personally had US$1.5 trillion dollars to play with and I wanted to ENSURE the future surivial of the human race, why, do you know what I’d do? I’d buy up all the wilderness areas up in poorer countries. I’d abandon that silly space mission. That’s what I’d do. And this is coming from someone that liked reading Carl Sagan’s cosmos… [Read more…]

“There are no accidents”

We assume that true “randomness” exists. But is there really such a thing as a purely random event or thing?

I think we only use the word random to describe things that we can’t fully explain. I think that the events which first appear to be random are actually be very structured and organised. It’s easier to say “it’s entirely random” than to explain the myriad of intricacies of any particular system…

Picture several hundred people moving at a train station or crossing a busy intersection. At first glance it looks purely random. But there is really nothing random about it. Each of the people has a distinct set of reasons for being there. Maybe some of them are going to work, or coming home from night shift or meeting a friend for a coffee. They are doing what people do: shopping, socialising, travelling, working, playing, walking, seeing, doing and a multitude of other things that other people do to make themselves feel happy. None of that is random.

“There are no accidents” — Master Oogway

[Read more…]

High definition destruction

It always amazes me how all of these latest technologies showcase *nature*. I find that quite ironic. I find it ironic because we get the copper and other elements that are contained within electronics from mines. And it is frequently places like the forests in Papua New Guinea that are mined to get these elements.

What is the point of high-definition television, holograms, visual special effects, if we are just going to watch the destruction of nature in ever-greater detail? Or fake representations of nature? I can go outside and see it in higher definition than any screen will be able to display. It’s called “atomic resolution”. I.e. real life.

I don’t understand people. Watching nature makes us happy. As we distance ourselves further and further from nature, we think that we can live separate from it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yet most of us carry on our daily lives almost in fear of the natural. We go on poisoning it. Controlling it. Dominating it.

What is the point of faster or more comfortable airlines if the destinations are not as pristine as they used to be?

What is the point of creating high definition televisions, sharper lenses and ever-more megapixels, if we’re only going to witness the destruction of nature in ever-greater detail and clarity?

A common observation is that nature provides much inspiration even for 3D models. So I encourage people to donate to environmental charities instead of buying the latest technologies all the time. Half the reason we are in so much shit with the planet is because we have forgotten how to give back to nature. We are always taking and never giving back. So I encourage you to stand up, speak up . That way, you might *truly* feel better about ourselves, our civilisation, instead of feeling this ‘guilt’ for what we are doing.

The truth is, unfortunately we do not value nature as much as we should. We do not see the work that it does for us. Trees create oxygen for us for free. If we had to extract our own oxygen from carbon dioxide, how much do you think that would cost us?

 

The whaling debate

I think part of the trouble is that migratory species of animals do not ‘belong’ to any one individual country. Countries will always have differences of opinion; therefore all migratory species should be off-limits to hunters.

Whales don’t technically belong to Iceland, Australia, New Zealand or anyone else. And that’s just one of the reasons that they should be spared… because if Icelandic whalers can claim that the whales are ‘theirs’ to do with as they please, then Tongans too can claim that whales are born in Tongan waters and are therefore more ‘Tongan’ than ‘Icelandic’.

I’ve noticed that Icelanders keep referring to chickens, goats, cows and pigs. But none of those animals really migrate, do they? No. They do not cross vast oceans from one side of the planet to the other. Here’s my second point and it doesn’t have anything to do with factory farming, killing chickens, fish, goats, cows or pigs. Let’s forget Iceland for a moment for this analogy to be a bit more objective…

Can you see how if any country (X) started to hunt Japanese cranes in ‘Japanese’ air space that that would annoy Japan? As you know, migratory cranes are endangered. They are also very special to Japanese people in their culture and believed to bring good luck. They have a tradition of folding 1000 cranes. Now just imagine that country X goes there and kills a lot of them. The poor birds take a long time to die and suffer immensely at the time of death. Now imagine that ALL the other countries were totally against country X hunting cranes but they still kept doing it. And now just imagine that country X says to Japan: “no, but it’s okay, we’re hunting them sustainably, we only catch 333 per year.” [Read more…]