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The Value of Colonizing Mars

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MisterSwig
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20 hours ago, tadmjones said:

From what I gathered from the link , the cladding would need to be centimeters thick(?) , that'd be a heck of a suit, no ?

And it seemed there are certain properties of the radiation that create secondary particles(?) that are dependent on angles of incidence and shape. I think all and all the engineering should incorporate the value of human creature comfort as foremost , it's a long ride :)

Hmmm perhaps the definition of inside and outside could be tweaked.  All areas that can be designated outside, require minimal maintenance (space walking) could simply be open to vacuum and radiation.  Only areas with continual human presence would be shielded and pressurized.

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On 5/6/2021 at 4:10 PM, MisterSwig said:

Is colonizing Mars a good or bad idea? For whom is it good or bad? Why is it good or bad?

Was colonizing the Americas a good idea? Certainly, it was good for the colonists (or else they wouldn't have come) and not so good for the natives (who'd never been exposed to smallpox before), and I'd argue that the primary beneficiaries of that decision weren't even alive at the time it was made.

 

Without the thirteen colonies there would have been no American revolution, the intellectual products of which are still benefiting almost everyone on Earth.

 

In the long run Bezos' idea is probably closer to the exact shape such colonization will take.

I doubt we'll see much actual terraforming happen once we establish some real space industry. It'd be much simpler, quicker and cheaper to set up rotating orbital habitats for our surplus population to live on, and save the surface of the actual planets for mining and heavy industry. Even without any zoning regulations (which would be ideal) that's simply the most cost-effective solution.

Either scenario would be good for humanity, though; particularly for those countless trillions who haven't been born yet.

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On 5/6/2021 at 5:01 PM, Easy Truth said:

After all, if China or Russia does it, it would be bad for NATO (according to NATO).

Only if China could maintain its authoritarian model over such distances. History suggests otherwise.

That's the beauty of any frontier.

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On 5/7/2021 at 6:56 PM, MisterSwig said:

Yeah, I see another problem with the Everest objection. I doubt they will place the Mars colony on a mountain of rock and ice that gets pummeled by high winds and snowstorms most of the year. They will have to contend with extreme cold though, and of course the oxygen problem.

There was a news story I read about Musk many years ago. Some reporter was being given a tour of the SpaceX factory and asking about Musk's policy of mandatory six-day workweeks, to which he simply laughed "yeah; we've gotten soft".

I could not agree with that more. We, as a society, have gotten very soft and cozy and fat.

But there are still people who would be up for such constant dangers, and they probably would be capable of dealing with most of them.

 

The people who start listing off the hardships of space travel as a valid reason to abandon it, aren't cut out for it. Those who are don't see the hardships as a valid reason not to do it.

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On 5/7/2021 at 6:56 PM, MisterSwig said:

If they rely on ice in the soil, won't they eventually be forced to travel further and further away from the city to mine for ice? At some point each citizen might have to spend all day producing his own water ration.

Certainly, if all Martian trade gets cut off from Earth before any trade develops with the rest of the Solar System.  A goodly chunk of the mass of our solar system is H2O (almost all of which is frozen ice, which only needs a bit of heat).  But yes; in the first few decades after a Martian colony is established, life there will become very difficult if they get cut off from all conceivable ice trade.

On 5/22/2021 at 6:21 PM, happiness said:

I don’t see a great deal of rational value in reaching Mars at this point; we’ll all be long dead before any kind of industrial civilization is possible there.

Imagine if Christopher Columbus had said such a thing!  Or Isaac Newton!!!

"You know, as cool as it is that the same forces which cause apples to fall from trees are also likely responsible for the motions of our moon and all other celestial bodies, what does that do for Medieval Spain or Portugal?"

MMMH.  I'm sure I'll have a word for that attitude by tomorrow morning.  In the meantime let me state my extreme disagreement, and that I think ANY great thinker (not just Ayn Rand but ANY of the greats of the last few centuries) would've found it equally repugnant.

On 5/23/2021 at 10:55 AM, MisterSwig said:

Colonizers might have to live in biodomes for eternity.

Potentially; yes.  Which is why it'd be much more cost-effective to simply use such materials for orbital habitats, where we can directly control the atmospheric content, gravity, and everything else pretty cheaply.  Although I'm sure there will always be the odd billionaire or trillionaire who opts for a true house on Mars or Venus.

On 5/23/2021 at 4:03 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

When could it be possibly rational for you to contribute your money/wealth to something like that?  Does it matter if you have children?  Could it be rational if thinking about a future after you are gone gives you some kind of mental fuel?

PRECISELY SO!

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On 5/22/2021 at 6:21 PM, happiness said:

I don’t see a great deal of rational value in reaching Mars at this point; we’ll all be long dead before any kind of industrial civilization is possible there. I’d have more respect for Musk if he focused on improving life on Earth. Then again, maybe a new age of Colonization and Martian revolution is the future counterpart of the American revolution.

1142382070_MuskQuotes.jpg.7837edfe237ff988176491d8a9040b47.jpg

Quote

We are voyagers summoned by the gods

Of this mighty ocean to come

We take up The Good Challenge

Get ready!

There is land up ahead

A bird in flight to take us there

This beautiful land

The one I've been looking for

We will make our home here

We read the wind and the sky when the sun is high

We sail the length of the seas on the ocean breeze

At night we name every star

We know where we are

We know who we are, who we are

IDK.  I'll actually have a coherent point about that in the morning.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Lyrics
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On 5/22/2021 at 6:21 PM, happiness said:

I’d have more respect for Musk if he focused on improving life on Earth.

Oh, like how?  Like dealing with the alleged climate crisis?  Like dealing with the possibility of sapient AI (even though it's not something most normal people are worried about yet)?  Like lowering the cost of launching mass into orbit to a point where it might be feasible for a regular person, or like creating countless high-paying jobs in the process?

I really don't know if Elon Musk has ever read a word of Ayn Rand's before, and frankly it doesn't matter; he is the closest thing to a living, breathing Hank Rearden as has existed in this century.  And if you truly do have a pro-human mindset fully integrated into your self then you owe that man more respect than you'd give any other person alive today, including both you and I!

 

If you care about human life, and all which makes it possible (let alone worth living) then you owe him an apology for that statement alone.

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It would appear that the next half century will be crucial in determining whether freedom lives anywhere on Earth.

 

It also seems that space technology, and its becoming more ubiquitous and accessible to pioneers, is critical for plan B: any escape from a One World Order to the great free expanse.

 

The next iron curtain that goes up will "surround" Earth itself, and the next space race will be between that curtain and free individual's ability to leave and sustain ourselves elsewhere.

 

So in the sense of mental fuel I get from anticipating the welfare of my children, grandchildren, etc. going to Mars, and all the technology and infrastructure that would entail, for me, is good.  Although I can't vote with my wallet for space tourism (I cannot afford it)... I'd donate a few clicks to and maybe buy some merch from a firm like SpaceX precisely because of this... and maybe Virgin Galactic as well.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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I think every century is crucial in determining an 'aggregate' level of freedom on Earth.

Post industrial revolution and with the emerging digital revolution and the technologies that come from them are what allows for more freedom to be gained and defended.

If off planet colonization ever happens it will most likely have to come from, be seeded by , collective action. The North American colonization was precipitated by wealthy stable regimes working to exploit fertile frontiers. The societies of individuals that recognized their advantage and relative power to break away from their former regimes created the opportunity for freedom to expand.

The amount of consumable capital that will need to be expended in developing frontiers in highly 'in'-fertile frontiers boogles the mind , no ?

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4 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Which is why it'd be much more cost-effective to simply use such materials for orbital habitats, where we can directly control the atmospheric content, gravity, and everything else pretty cheaply.  Although I'm sure there will always be the odd billionaire or trillionaire who opts for a true house on Mars or Venus.

If workers commute daily from orbit to the Martian surface and back and wear protective pressure suits the whole time they're down there, we won't need habitats on Mats at all.  If either of those is not feasible, we'll need some sort of provision for habitable spaces on Mars.

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SL,

Fifty or a hundred or two hundred years from now, supposing higher animal life not wiped out by nuclear exchanges, I do not think it likely at all that the earth would not be still divided into nation states, some at war with other countries or other earthly agencies of violence or in a civil war, and some of the nations still putting up walls to keep people locked in who would otherwise migrate to countries relatively more free for them.

During the first few years of the new century, the 21st Century, you’d hear people say things like “Can you believe this or that horrible thing is still going on in the 21st Century?” Well, yes, a lot of us are not surprised at all. It is true that scientific and technological advances in agriculture and in disease treatment and prevention are gradually making better life possible. And it looks like those advances will continue. But human nature remains basically the same, including criminal acts and wars, lust for power, and desire to be left free of aggressions. It is highly likely that wars will continue, and the world will not be united under one government in the manner of Levin’s This Perfect Day, in which all birthrates, lifespans, education and travel are centrally controlled, all lines and quantities of production and consumption are centrally dictated, and sectarianism does not exist (supposedly).

The world is not going to become so unified in state power to command no one travel to outer space were such migration to become feasible. Leaving aside such a world-wide prohibition, I anyway don’t think at all likely that outer space locations can be colonized such that a colony can become viable independently of earth, parallel the independence Paine urged as viable for the colonies here. Moreover, the population of a space colony would bring with it the human nature, including ideological diversity, it has on earth today.

What knowledge space exploration, manned or unmanned, brings back or arises from the R&D is power for humans on earth, and that’s potential for good here. By space exploration and otherwise, there are tremendous discoveries and inventions that are possible between our time and the great-great grandchildren. But just as computers and robots are servants of human interests, good or bad, space explorations will be servants of human interests on earth. Steps on earth are the spring and end of human “steps that travel unlimited roads.” Those unlimited roads and the freedom necessary to their actualization require ongoing wins of freedom here and there on earth, whose life forms (here) are the center of all known life and its struggles.

Edited by Boydstun
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1 hour ago, Boydstun said:

SL,

Fifty or a hundred or two hundred years from now, supposing higher animal life not wiped out by nuclear exchanges, I do not think it likely at all that the earth would not be still divided into nation states, some at war with other countries or other earthly agencies of violence or in a civil war, and some of the nations still putting up walls to keep people locked in who would otherwise migrate to countries relatively more free for them.

During the first few years of the new century, the 21st Century, you’d hear people say things like “Can you believe this or that horrible thing is still going on in the 21st Century?” Well, yes, a lot of us are not surprised at all. It is true that scientific and technological advances in agriculture and in disease treatment and prevention are gradually making better life possible. And it looks like those advances will continue. But human nature remains basically the same, including criminal acts and wars, lust for power, and desire to be left free of aggressions. It is highly likely that wars will continue, and the world will not be united under one government in the manner of Levin’s This Perfect Day, in which all birthrates, lifespans, education and travel are centrally controlled, all lines and quantities of production and consumption are centrally dictated, and sectarianism does not exist (supposedly).

The world is not going to become so unified in state power to command no one travel to outer space were such migration to become feasible. Leaving aside such a world-wide prohibition, I anyway don’t think at all likely that outer space locations can be colonized such that a colony can become viable independently of earth, parallel the independence Paine urged as viable for the colonies here. Moreover, the population of a space colony would bring with it the human nature, including ideological diversity, it has on earth today.

What knowledge space exploration, manned or unmanned, brings back or arises from the R&D is power for humans on earth, and that’s potential for good here. By space exploration and otherwise, there are tremendous discoveries and inventions that are possible between our time and the great-great grandchildren. But just as computers and robots are servants of human interests, good or bad, space explorations will be servants of human interests on earth. Steps on earth are the spring and end of human “steps that travel unlimited roads.” Those unlimited roads and the freedom necessary to their actualization require ongoing wins of freedom here and there on earth, whose life forms (here) are the center of all known life and its struggles.

The realization

that every individual's contextual surroundings, metaphysically is becoming such that freedom to choose to live outside of a wrong society, outside of its grasping, oppressive, insipid, nanny-tyrant grip...into some pristine environment abundant enough to support a human life... not free from hard work but at least a free one ... is fast disappearing... 

is existentially depressing.

 

A few centuries ago a free man could tell his village he wanted no more... and could leave... and if he ranged far enough, and was ingenious and productive enough, and with perhaps others of his ilk, he could make a living in supporting and sustaining himself and his family, and escape, if at least only for a while.  A totalitarian or a socialist might try to go after him, but perhaps they would stop at only chastising him as he left.  "Don't like it here? Good riddance!"

Now, or very soon, there literally is no where to go

Nowhere to escape the many many hands, in our pockets, bedrooms, education, entertainment, speech, economics...everywhere...   "You'll own nothing... you'll all pay minimum wage and minimum tax or earn a minimum "living salary" have a minimum of health care and you'll love it"...  I am disgusted and outraged beyond description at the insanity, which seems to march incessantly onward... the whole world is going from shirts to shirtsleeves.

 

Instead of escaping our enslavers, instead of walking away peacefully from a fight with our petty screaming redfaced despots next door... who know what's best for us (and them), wielding that all mighty ballot box...

must we choose to fight forever or be enslaved forever?  sigh

 

So really true freedom comes again... when... in a few millenia?  Perhaps never...

 

I know will never see the day where I or my son, or my ancestors live in a truly free society... I will be taxed, redistributed, and redtaped into submission every day of my finite life.

 

Perhaps... there is after all an actual morality in escapism... morality in perhaps living in a video game, or with a belief in the afterlife ... 

if death is all that can ever set me free..

perhaps a morality based on life is profoundly misguided.

 

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On 10/14/2021 at 2:33 PM, Boydstun said:

"Despite the relatively low fluxes of GCR particles, long exposure times to a constant background radiation of GCR can result in a significant radiation dose accumulated during the entire flight, resulting in dangerous biological effects. Shielding from GCR is a challenging task due to the high energies of the particles (Figure 1a). The high kinetic energies result in a high penetration ability and a large amount of energy being deposited in tissues and organs."

Can someone explain to me why galactic radiation has presumably higher energy than solar radiation, when galactic radiation has traveled much further than solar has, before reaching us? What am I missing?

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15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

"Despite the relatively low fluxes of GCR particles, long exposure times to a constant background radiation of GCR can result in a significant radiation dose accumulated during the entire flight, resulting in dangerous biological effects. Shielding from GCR is a challenging task due to the high energies of the particles (Figure 1a). The high kinetic energies result in a high penetration ability and a large amount of energy being deposited in tissues and organs."

Can someone explain to me why galactic radiation has presumably higher energy than solar radiation, when galactic radiation has traveled much further than solar has, before reaching us? What am I missing?

The sun's radiation is statistically typified by its specific nature, size, composition, temperature, etc. limiting the highest energy of the particles it can emit and limiting the probability of those med-high energy particles that it can emit

Other objects and events (some quite exotic) in the galaxy are far larger, more energetic, etc, so those particles are of much higher energy.

Recall photons are quanta of energy, so each photon from a weak gamma ray signal is still a gamma ray photon... just as energetic as any other gamma ray photon.

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22 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Was colonizing the Americas a good idea?

The problem with comparing the colonization of America with Mars is that America was not essentially different from Europe. European explorers had many excellent reasons to expect good things from the new land. Earthlings, however, know that Mars is essentially a barren wasteland. A Mars colony would be an unprecedented drain on Earth's resources. Mars must become self-sustaining very quickly. Otherwise its mere existence will threaten life on Earth.

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15 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The sun's radiation is statistically typified by its specific nature, size, composition, temperature, etc. limiting the highest energy of the particles it can emit and limiting the probability of those med-high energy particles that it can emit

Other objects and events (some quite exotic) in the galaxy are far larger, more energetic, etc, so those particles are of much higher energy.

Recall photons are quanta of energy, so each photon from a weak gamma ray signal is still a gamma ray photon... just as energetic as any other gamma ray photon.

So a giant, galactic star's radiation will hit us with more energy than the sun's, despite having to travel a longer distance, because traveling through space doesn't reduce its energy very much?

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17 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

So a giant, galactic star's radiation will hit us with more energy than the sun's, despite having to travel a longer distance, because traveling through space doesn't reduce its energy very much?

I think the GCR is typified or at least described in terms of high energy nuclei, rather than photons... heavy ions... travelling at incredibly high speeds, almost the speed of light.

Space itself does not impart any drag on a free ion travelling near the speed of light, although a stray atom in space might collide with it.  

https://www.nasa.gov/analogs/nsrl/why-space-radiation-matters

 

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13 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I don’t see a great deal of rational value in reaching Mars at this point; we’ll all be long dead before any kind of industrial civilization is possible there.

 

13 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

MMMH.  I'm sure I'll have a word for that attitude by tomorrow morning.  In the meantime let me state my extreme disagreement, and that I think ANY great thinker (not just Ayn Rand but ANY of the greats of the last few centuries) would've found it equally repugnant.

I still don't have a fully worked out argument about the value of planting trees whose shade we'll never live to sit under. I disagree that there's no profits to be made in space, even today; even purely financial profits (as opposed to spiritual or intellectual ones) - but let's say that was the case.

Was it worthwhile to plant an American flag on the moon? Never mind that it was a government program; let's just think about the act, itself.

 

It didn't generate any revenue, sure. But it was certainly an achievement. It was a concrete demonstration of what mankind can do when we put our collective minds to it; something akin to climbing a mountain, on an individual level.

 

In the long run we will all be dead (as Keynes observed before Fred Kinnen). So what?

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11 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

If workers commute daily from orbit to the Martian surface and back and wear protective pressure suits the whole time they're down there, we won't need habitats on Mats at all.

I don't imagine the day-to-day operations of such heavy industry will require an actual human presence. There will always be unforseen events which require the occasional repairman, but otherwise whatever cannot be fully automated can be done by remote control.

Such repairmen might need to live on the surface or commute from orbit, however; that's true. It just wouldn't be a daily commute.

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10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Otherwise its mere existence will threaten life on Earth.

That's a bit much. It certainly won't be easy, but if the first Martian colony fails I don't see how it could take life on Earth down with it.

10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

The problem with comparing the colonization of America with Mars is that America was not essentially different from Europe. European explorers had many excellent reasons to expect good things from the new land. Earthlings, however, know that Mars is essentially a barren wasteland. A Mars colony would be an unprecedented drain on Earth's resources. Mars must become self-sustaining very quickly.

Firstly, I don't think they're that dissimilar. The American colonies had to become self-sufficient pretty quickly as well, were a drain on their mother country until then (except for the Aztec gold which made it cool to colonize) and many of them actually did fail; killing plenty of colonists. They didn't have to worry about oxygen production (that is a big difference) but that doesn't mean they didn't have to produce, nor that it's an essentially different kind of endeavor.

 

That being said, yes, it will be very difficult. It'll be risky and incredibly expensive for whoever ends up funding it.

So was putting an American flag on the moon.

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There's an anecdote I read once in a book by Robert Zubrin. I'm very unlikely to still have all the details down precisely because it's been a decade since I read it. I really should brush up on it before posting but I do need to sleep at some point; please feel free to help me check these facts in the morning. But the underlying gist of it has never left my brain in the past decade.

 

Also, when I speak of what "The Chinese" think or do I am, of course, referring to their dominant philosophy at that time. It's just shorthand for cultural trends.

 

The gist of it is that China very nearly became the first colonial superpower a century before any European had conceived of such a possibility. There was this massive expedition they launched, consisting of thousands of ships (essentially a floating metropolis) which explored almost the entire coast of Africa and may have even visited North America (maybe?).

And they weren't just exploring. The Chinese have always said that their Emperor is really the Emperor of the whole world. He may allow other rulers to act like they have countries of their own, now and then (mostly out of a sense of pity) but at the end of the day he is the one true King of the world. And this expedition was explaining this to all the exciting new peoples they met throughout the rest of the world.

"Hello! Yes; that's a lovely facial - piercing? It's a very stylish whatever-that-is. Our glorious Emperor thinks you might've forgotten that He is your one true regent, and since it was an honest misunderstanding He is going to forgive ALL of your back taxes! I know; He's wonderful. Anyway, we'd best be going, but we'll be back around next year's tax season!"

And when this fleet finally turned around to head back to China its admiral fully expected to return to all the lands he'd explored to make their inhabitants into proper Chinese subjects. Only the old Emperor had died while the expedition was gone and the new Emperor didn't care for expensive sea voyages; He liked orgies and giant golden statues of Himself. China fell into a period of stagnation and decline, and not long afterwards was totally humiliated in the Opium Wars by those European superpowers who had valued exploration over orgies.

America, just like China at that point in time, pulled together many years ago and created a similar expedition to plant an American flag on the moon. The question is whether the meaning of that flag matters more to us than orgies.

 

Life is motion. Cultures and civilizations which cease to expand cannot simply sit idly; they decline and fall.

And the expanding offshoots which are a civilization's colonies are not just representative of its average mentality; they are self-selecting from the best of the best. The British citizens who lacked the skills or the courage to become colonists simply stayed home; what ended up in America were those who were tough and independent enough to succeed in that environment.

"They do not live their lives 'by your leave'; they hack it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, bearing their children along the way!"

 

I want to live there. I will give my dominant hand to be a member of any extraterrestrial colony, at any time, regardless of what becomes of me afterwards. I guess that's my bias in this conversation, stated as succinctly as I can in under two hours.

I'll have more to say next sol.

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11 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:
22 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Otherwise its mere existence will threaten life on Earth.

That's a bit much. It certainly won't be easy, but if the first Martian colony fails I don't see how it could take life on Earth down with it.

To clarify, I don't mean all of life on Earth would suffer. I mean that to the extent resources from Earth are transferred to the Mars colony, those are resources unavailable for supporting life on Earth. It might not be the most important concern, but some thought should be given to the propriety of sending Earth's valuable materials on a potentially one-way journey to Mars.

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34 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

To clarify, I don't mean all of life on Earth would suffer. I mean that to the extent resources from Earth are transferred to the Mars colony, those are resources unavailable for supporting life on Earth. It might not be the most important concern, but some thought should be given to the propriety of sending Earth's valuable materials on a potentially one-way journey to Mars.

Not to quibble for the sake of quibbling, but you do see the arguments both for and against are here based on collectivist morales? "life on Earth" "Earth's valuable.."

"Hey Hank, I'll trade you Dagny for that metal"

"Um ok deal, If you don't mind , what do you plan to do with it?"

 

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10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I really should brush up on it before posting but I do need to sleep at some point; please feel free to help me check these facts in the morning.

Yeah so the Chinese admiral mentioned was named Zheng He and apparently the discontinuation of his voyages was also related to the Great Wall. They pulled the funding from exploration in order to fund a big, beautiful border wall - and were promptly bent over and spanked by the Portuguese.

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