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Notes From an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back by Mark O'Connell
Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Carrington event, clean water, Colonization of Mars, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Donner party, Elon Musk, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-work, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the built environment, yield curve
Next you moved on to seasteading, the libertarian ideal of constructing man-made islands in international waters. On these floating utopian micro-states, wealthy tech innovators would be free to go about their business without interference from democratic governments. (Thiel was an early investor in, and advocate of, the seasteading movement, though his interest has waned in recent years.) Then you mined the moon for its ore and other resources, before moving on to colonize Mars. This last level of the game reflected the current preferred futurist fantasy, most famously advanced by Thiel’s former PayPal colleague Elon Musk, with his dream of fleeing a dying planet Earth for privately owned colonies on Mars. The influence of The Sovereign Individual was all over the show. It was a detailed mapping of a possible future, in all its highly sophisticated barbarism.
Together they ascend the elevator up the launch tower to where the space shuttles once began their trajectory into space, and he explains to the boy that in years past this was exactly how the astronauts themselves would have ascended before launching. As Musk and his son look out over the Kennedy Space Center, the green swampland, the Atlantic Ocean beyond, the billionaire speaks in voice-over of his company’s mission to colonize Mars, and of how it had always seemed to him that we should have gone there by now, that we somehow lost our way. “And now,” he says, “we’re going to get back there.” The series ends with a scene of the first successful launch of SpaceX’s reusable rocket, a crucial aspect of the company’s plan for establishing a colony on Mars. There is the sublime vision of the rocket, spreading its dorsal fins, positioning itself upright over the landing pad, coming to a miraculous rest amid a great torrent of flames.
There were numerous talks on the kinds of difficulties colonists might face on Mars, from natural disasters to teenage delinquency to the lack of a clearly defined legal regime for recognizing property rights in space under current US and international law. There was a talk by a Lutheran bishop entitled “Is Mars Exploration Virtuous?” (Given that the Lutheran bishop was also a founding member of the Mars Society, I felt confident in predicting that the answer would be yes.) All these questions were in themselves interesting, but what I really wanted to know was where this fixation on colonizing Mars arose from, what it revealed about our relationship with the future of our own planet. I had long been of the opinion that there was no more lurid symptom of our current cultural malaise than the notion that we needed a “backup planet” for humanity. Although its advocates spoke of it as a manifestation of an indomitable spirit of exploration and adventure, it seemed to me to represent something like the opposite: an absolute surrender to an exhaustion in the bones of civilization.
The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment
Creating an operating SFS system with provide you with plenty of heritage and operational experience for the design of the BFS. Think about it. All the best, Robert Let's hope he listens. COLONIZING MARS We hold it in our power to begin the world anew. —Thomas Paine, 1776 The question of colonizing Mars is not fundamentally one of transportation. If we were to use the Starship or a comparable vehicle to launch habitats carrying settlers to Mars on one-way trips, firing them off at the same rate we launched the space shuttle when it was in its prime, we could populate Mars at a rate comparable to that which the British colonized North America in the 1600s—and at much lower expense relative to our resources. No, the problem of colonizing Mars is not moving large numbers to the Red Planet, but the ability to transform Martian materials into resources to support an expanding population once they are there.
Kenneth Chang, “Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX's Ambition into Orbit,” New York Times, February 6, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/science/falcon-heavy-spacex-launch.html (accessed October 14, 2018). 6. Noah Robischon and Elizabeth Segran, “Elon Musk's Mars Mission Revealed: SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System,” Fast Company, September 27, 2016, https://www.fastcompany.com/3064139/elon-musks-mars-mission-revealed-spacexs-interplanetary-transport-system (accessed October 14, 2018). 7. Robert Zubrin, “Colonizing Mars: A Critique of the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System,” New Atlantis, October 21, 2016, https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/colonizing-mars (accessed October 14, 2018). 8. Adam Baidawi and Kenneth Chang, “Elon Musk's Mars Vision: A One-Size-Fits-All Rocket. A Very Big One,” New York Times, September 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/science/elon-musk-mars.html (accessed October 14, 2018). 9. Carol Stoker and Carter Emmart, Strategies for Mars (San Diego: Univelt, 1996); Robert Zubrin, From Imagination to Reality: Mars Exploration Studies of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (San Diego: Univelt, 1997). 10.
Furthermore, by designing the mission to stage off the Falcon Heavy second stage after a ∆V equivalent to translunar injection, the entire launch system would be reusable and able to support powerful payload deliveries to the moon as well. (See plate 6.) But Falcon Heavy is by no means the limit to SpaceX's ambitions. In remarks at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, on September 29, 2016, SpaceX president Elon Musk revealed to great fanfare his company's plans for an Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).6 According to Musk, the ITS would enable the colonization of Mars by the rapid delivery of a million people in groups of a hundred passengers per flight, as well as large-scale human exploration missions to other bodies, such as Jupiter's moon Europa. Figure 4.1. Mission sequence chart for the “Dragon Direct” plan. Every two years, three Falcon Heavies are launched, sending an ascent vehicle, an Earth Return Vehicle, and a piloted habitat. Inflatable hab modules are used to add ample living space to the Dragon capsules.
The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Burning Man, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, obamacare, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, private space industry, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, X Prize, zero-sum game
NASA officials knew not too many people were in the market to lease a fixer-upper launchpad, but they had their eye on one possible tenant: an eccentric billionaire who had started a space company from scratch with absolutely no experience with rockets, but talked about colonizing Mars—a wild card named Elon Musk, who was now on an improbable, but epic, roll. THE FALCON 9 had flown successfully. And SpaceX was moving ahead with developing a more robust version of its Dragon spacecraft that would carry astronauts, not just cargo. It was talking about building an even bigger rocket, called the Falcon Heavy, which would allow it to pursue Musk’s original goal of colonizing Mars. Musk even put a price tag on it, telling the BBC, “Land on Mars, a round-trip ticket—half a million dollars. It can be done.” In May 2012, the company was aiming for yet another major milestone when it flew its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.
MUSK BEGAN THINKING seriously about that question, and the probability of an “eventual extinction event,” as he called it. The solution: Find another planet to live on. Make humans a multiplanet species, and create a backup hard drive for the human race there, just in case Earth crashes like a faulty computer. The atmosphere on Venus is too acidic. Mercury is too close to the sun. The best bet, he thought, is to colonize Mars. One night he was driving home from a party on Long Island to New York City with his college friend Adeo Ressi. It was late, and people were asleep in the backseat. But the two friends were deep in an animated discussion. “We were both interested in space, but we dismissed it as soon as it came up. ‘Oh, that’s too expensive and complicated.’” Ressi told Esquire. “Then two miles would go by.
This was Musk’s opportunity to show off what his little startup had accomplished—to NASA; to the congressional staffers clamoring for free drinks; to the press, eager for a glimpse—even if it had yet to fly. But it could fly. It would fly. And its presence on the curb created a stark juxtaposition that was clear and calculated. Inside the museum was NASA’s grand past—the lunar lander, the Mercury capsule, the echoes of Apollo enshrined alongside the orphaned dreams it had spawned. Outside was the man who would create a new future—cheap, reliable spaceflight, all with the goal of one day colonizing Mars—a promise as improbable as the young eccentric making it. He wasn’t just selling his rocket, but what it represented—the crazy idea that a small startup could succeed in space. Beal had gotten further than many had thought, and he’d put a nice dent in the wall that kept untraditional players out of the space business. But if Musk was going to avoid Beal’s fate, he didn’t just have to build reliable rockets—he had to upend the industry’s entrenched hierarchy.
Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin
Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, gravity well, Johannes Kepler, Kevin Kelly, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, planetary scale, skunkworks, spice trade, telerobotics, uranium enrichment
As we will see, the government may do this, or perhaps it will be done by opening base cargo deliveries from Earth to private competition, but it will be done. It will become ever cheaper to go to Mars, and ever cheaper to maintain people once they are there. As more people steadily arrive and stay longer before they leave, the population of the base will come to resemble a town—and will actually grow into one. The colonization of Mars will then begin. 8: THE COLONIZATION OF MARS This proposition being made publike and coming to the scanning of all, it raised many variable opinions amongst men, and caused many fears & doubts amongst themselves. Some, from their reasons & hops conceived, laboured to stirr up & incourage the rest to undertake and prosecute the same; others, againe, out of their fears, objected against it, & sought to diverte from it, aledging many things, and those neither unreasonable nor unprobable; as that it was a great designe, and subjecte to many unconceivable perills & dangers...
And while I rise from my own globe to others And penetrate even further through the eternal field, That which others saw from afar, I leave far behind me. —Giordano Bruno “On the Infinite Universe and Worlds,” 1584 CONTENTS Foreword by Arthur C. Clarke Preface 1 Mars Direct 2 From Kepler to the Space Age 3 Finding a Plan 4 Getting There 5 Killing the Dragons, Avoiding the Sirens 6 Exploring Mars 7 Building the Base on Mars 8 The Colonization of Mars 9 Terrraforming Mars 10 The View from Earth Epilogue: The Significance of the Martian Frontier Special Addendum Glossary Notes References Index FOREWORD The planet Mars is where the action will be in the next century. It is the only world in the solar system on which there is a strong probability of finding Life Past, and perhaps even Life Present. Also, we can reach it—and survive on it—with technologies which are available today, or which we can acquire in the very near future.
While the initial exploration phase can be accomplished with small crews of just four members each operating out of Spartan base camps spread over vast areas of the Martian surface, building a base will require a division of labor entailing a larger number of people, perhaps on the order of fifty individuals, equipped with a wide variety of equipment and substantial sources of power. In short, the purpose of the base-building period is to develop a mastery of those techniques required on Mars to produce food, clothing, shelter, and everything else needed to make colonizing the Red Planet possible. FOUNDING THE BASE Under the Mars Direct plan, crews open new territories on Mars every other year to exploration and possible settlement. Eventually, one of these outposts will be considered the best location for the first permanent Mars base. Once that location is identified, all new crews will land their spacecraft at the designated site. In the Mars Direct plan, the habitat used to house the crew on the outbound leg of the mission is landed and left behind on the planet.
Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz
Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, business climate, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, multiplanetary species, mutually assured destruction, new economy, nuclear paranoia, paypal mafia, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pets.com, planetary scale, private space industry, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize, Y2K
Wells’s War of the Worlds that depicted a coalition of Belle Époque scientists led by Thomas Edison, Lord Kelvin, and Wilhelm Röntgen leading an international space invasion force. Red Mars imagined interplanetary adventurers departing in 2026. That seemed like a reasonable goal to Musk and Zubrin. If that sounds crazy now, think of how it would have sounded before Musk had ever launched a rocket. The first obstacle to colonizing Mars is paying for the trip. Immediately after the Apollo program, NASA envisioned putting humans on Mars, but the expense proved too daunting for Richard Nixon to sign off on that vision. By the turn of the century, fixed budgets and a calcified bureaucracy prevented the US space agency from expanding its human space programs beyond building the ISS, a task begun in 1998 and largely completed in 2011.
A former girlfriend told reporters in the nineties that his business success was driven by his desire to go to the stars himself; according to Stone, Bezos’s high school valedictory address had proposed the idea of “saving humanity by creating permanent human colonies in orbiting space stations while turning the planet into an enormous nature preserve.” You get the idea. The vision that captivated Bezos still drives him now. It is a different strain of space economic utopianism than the one that drives those who propose colonizing Mars, and it holds itself out as the more pragmatic approach. In this narrative, kick-started by Gerard O’Neill’s 1976 book The High Frontier, the fragility of the human species on earth is intimately connected to industrialization—the way the massive use of fossil fuels to drive the economy has altered the ecosystem. Instead of taking humans away from the planet and into space, why shouldn’t the space industry develop the ability to put heavy industry up there in the cosmos?
In general, SpaceX did not believe patents would be useful for protecting its intellectual property; Musk saw them mostly as a way of telling competitors—especially those outside the United States—exactly what he had done that was so unique. Blue, on the other hand, seemed to love patents. One of the public signs of Blue’s reemergence after 2010 was a proliferation of patent filings on exactly the kind of components needed for reusable rockets—steerable engines, methods for lightweight construction, and guidance techniques. Just as lifting the heavy equipment needed to colonize Mars motivated SpaceX’s desire for reusable rockets, it was equally important to Bezos’s goal of shifting industrial capacity into orbit, followed by human civilization writ large. Bezos holds numerous patents related to Amazon’s marketplace and subscription services, but he has put his name on only one of Blue’s: “Sea landing of space launch vehicles and associated systems and methods.” The patent is for a reusable space vehicle taking off over the ocean, launching its cargo, then turning its engine back on to descend onto a floating platform.
Space 2.0 by Rod Pyle
additive manufacturing, air freight, barriers to entry, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, mouse model, risk-adjusted returns, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, telerobotics, trade route, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Y Combinator
Mars remains Musk’s dream, but the moon will probably be a first stop. Financial realities will impact the choice, but there’s more to it than that for Musk and SpaceX. “There’s a business case for Mars at the projected cost for our new system,” Shotwell explains. “That said, even if there were no business benefit, I think we’d still do this. This has always been Elon’s drive; this is why he founded the company.” His vision is to colonize Mars, hopefully at a profit. “Like the East India Trading Company of the seventeenth century, if you build it, the money will come. [If ] you go and explore . . . you will find your wealth, you will find the business case,” Shotwell says. But clearly, if the US government will work in collaboration with SpaceX to send payloads and people to the moon as Musk continues Mars-related research and development, SpaceX will gladly oblige.
The Planetary Society website: www.planetary.org/explore/projects/laser-bees. Accessed October 20, 2017. CHAPTER 16: SETTLING THE FINAL FRONTIER 136Spudis, Paul. “Why We Go to the Moon.” Air & Space/Smithsonian, October 17, 2017. 137Shukman, David. “Humans at risk of lethal ‘own goal.’” BBC News, January 19, 2016. 138Interview with the author, June 2017. 139For a full transcript of the speech, see: Mosher, Dave. “Here’s Elon Musk’s complete, sweeping vision on colonizing Mars to save humanity.” Business Insider, September 29, 2016. 140Ibid. 141Davenport, Christian. “Jeff Bezos on nuclear reactors in space, the lack of bacon on Mars and humanity’s destiny in the solar system.” Washington Post, September 15, 2016. 142Interview with the author, November 2016. 143“NASA’s Griffin: ‘Humans Will Colonize the Solar System.’ ” Washington Post, September 25, 2005. 144“Summary of H.R. 4752—Space Exploration, Development and Settlement Act of 2016.” www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4752.
., 179 medical research, 27–28, 72–76 Mercury program, 2, 18, 19, 43, 44, 53, 59, 137, 178 Mercury Redstone 3 (MR-3), 43, 44 Merlin engine, 126, 128, 131 metamaterials, 107 Meyerson, Rob, 137–141, 139 microgravity, 82, 292 Microsoft, 102, 107 militarization of space, 170, 170–171 Mir space station, 2, 44, 46–47, 48, 54, 73, 166, 166–167, 184–185 Mitchell, Edgar, 32, 33 Mojave, California, 94 Mojave Airport, 94 Mojave Desert, 98, 111 Mojave Spaceport, 94–95 MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission), 177, 177, 178 moon (Earth’s), 20, 158, 161 bases on, 247 as candidate for human spaceflight, 62 capsules orbiting near, 55 collecting resources from, 205, 206, 218 as destination, 60 exposure to radiation on, 83 first humans on the, xiii–xiv galactic radiation on, 84 and Gateway, 242 landing on, 247 manufacturing on, 247 mining on, 88, 89, 247 north pole of, 62 as objective for SpaceX, 125 orbiting of, 59, 59, 60 orbit of, during SELENE mission, 175 and Orion capsules, 52 outpost on, 237 as short-term goal for space travel, 172 space settlements on, 242–245 storage depots on, 221 surface of, 60 travel to, 66 water ice on, 206 Moon Express, 211, 218, 220 Moon First advocates, 62 moons (in general) of Mars, 60, 175 Saturn’s moon Titan, 170 “Moon Village,” 65, 173, 242, 243 Moscow, Russia, 28, 79 MOXIE (Mars OXygen In-situ utilization Experiment), 239, 239 Mueller, Rob, 251 Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, 2 Murray, Bruce, 265 muscle mass, reduction in, 73 Musk, Elon “billionaires’ club” and, 151, 154 Charles Bolden and, 116 on colonizing Mars, 34–35 and creation of SpaceX, 115–119 on doing something that is important, 1 Falcon rockets and, 255–257, 259–261 and international space agencies, 181 Steve Jurvetson and, 158, 159 lunar base supported by, 244 on moving humans to space, 236 prediction of launch prices by, 148 and reusability, 39 and SpaceX, 7, 118, 123–126 Tesla roadster, 260–261 mutual funds, for private investors, 154 Myhrvold, Nathan, 107 N N1 booster, 43 N1 moon rocket, 185 NAFCOM (NASA Air Force Costing Methodology), 215 NanoRacks, 105, 105–106, 154, 157, 198 nanosats, 103 NASA. see National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA Air Force Costing Methodology (NAFCOM), 215 NASA Ames Research Park, 106 NASDA (National Space Development Agency), 174 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 290. see also Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) asteroid detection systems, 224 and Bigelow Aerospace, 54 budget of, 26–27, 178 Bill Clinton’s changes to, 167 Commercial Crew Program, 135 and cost of launching water into orbit, 88, 89 and crewed landings, 247 and Dream Chaser, 52, 52 and European Space Agency, 170 and Falcon Heavy launch, 257 history of, 1–13 and human spaceflight missions, 61, 65 legal constraints around, 168–170 Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway, 60 mapping of asteroids by, 224, 226, 227 medical professionals from, 73–74 MR-3 flight timeline from, 44 National Space Council and, 213, 214 partnerships with, 9, 129–130, 140–141, 153, 158, 174, 175, 177, 178, 179, 247 and permanent space settlement, 237–239 psychologists/psychiatrists working at, 77–78 and public-private partnerships, 209–211 safety regulations at, 99–100, 107 simulations created by, 78 and SLS/Orion, 52, 53, 55 and spaceflight-capable nuclear reactors, 90 space infrastructure and, 209–217 Space Portal, 199 and space race, 42–44 and space settlements, 237–239, 241–244 and SpaceX Dragon, 50, 50 sponsored events for start-ups, 156 study of space colonies by, 236 study of space radiation by, 84 use of robotics by, 239 US workforce and spending by, 29–30 National Aeronautics and Space Council, 213, 214 National Defense Authorization Act (2016), 119 nationalism, 163–164 National Laboratory, 216 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 235 National Space Council defined, 290 NASA and, 65, 213, 214 Scott Pace and, 171, 198, 237 reactivation of, 10, 10 rules of the new, 218, 220 National Space Development Agency (NASDA), 174 National Space Society, 266 defined, 291 founding of, 264–265 International Space Development Conference, 35, 36 Bruce Pittman and, 199 Space Settlement Summit, 204 George Whitesides and, 97 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 99 Navy, 76, 77 near Earth objects (NEO), 290 New Armstrong, 51 New Glenn, 51, 136, 136–139, 244, 245, 290–291 New Horizons Pluto mission, 132 New Line 1 vehicle, 194 New Shepard, 51, 51, 136–139, 137, 139, 290–291 NewSpace, 137, 152, 291 new space race, 135–148 Blue Origin and, 135–141 United Launch Alliance and, 141–148 New Zealand, 104 normal bone density, 72 North Korea, 180 Northrop Grumman Corporation, 102, 121, 152, 154 Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, 12, 102, 152, 174 Northwestern University, 125 Norway, 153 NSS (National Space Society), 291 NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), 99 nuclear reactors, for spaceflight, 90 O Obama, Barack, 6, 9, 56–57, 219, 226 “offshoring,” 178 OffWorld, 250 O’Neill, Gerard, 240–241, 250, 265, 269 O’Neill space cylinders, 240–241, 241 One Space, 194 OneWeb, 131 Orbital ATK, 12, 102, 103, 152, 153, 154 orbital refueling depot, 205 Orbital Sciences, 152, 158 orbiting stations, 63–64, 71–72 ore, from asteroids, 64 organizations, space-related, 266–271 Orion, 291 Altair and, 8 capsule, 78 for deep-space exploration, 53 as government spaceflight, 246 rendezvous with asteroid, 56–57 Soyuz and, 186 and Space Launch System, 9, 10, 52, 55, 246, 249 Outer Space Treaty (1967), 165, 165, 218, 219 outposts, 237–238 overview effect, 32, 32 Oxford University, 235 ozone layer, 228 P Pace, Scott, 171–172, 196, 198, 214, 237 Paleogene era, 223 partial-gravity environments, 22, 81 Passengers (movie), 81 passive radiation shielding, 90 payloads, 119, 126, 194, 259, 261, 291.
Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist by Michael Shermer
Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Chelsea Manning, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, creative destruction, dark matter, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, gun show loophole, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, McMansion, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moral panic, More Guns, Less Crime, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, positional goods, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yogi Berra
It is when people are judged not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin – or by their gender chromosomal constitution, or by whom they prefer to share a bed with, or by what accent they speak with, or by which political or religious affiliation they identify with – that freedom falls and liberty is lost. Chapter 14 Governing Mars Lessons for the Red Planet from Experiments in Governing the Blue Planet Preamble I originally penned this essay in the summer of 2018, stimulated by a Twitter exchange I had with Elon Musk, itself triggered by the SpaceX CEO’s previously announced decision to colonize Mars. This led me to wonder if this visionary had given any thought to what sort of government he would set up on the Red Planet, and if he already had a team of social scientists working on the problem or whether he was just going to wing it when they got there. Surely not, but what source for research would a team of social engineers (let’s call them) working at SpaceX (or NASA, since it too plans to send people to Mars in the coming decades) access?
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1804, “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth.”5 * * * A number of scientists and science fiction writers have made the analogy of Europeans colonizing the Americas in discussions of establishing colonies on other worlds, but this only goes so far given the fact that those incipient settlers at least had air to breath, water to drink, and plenty of potential food on the hoof, in the ground, and in oceans, lakes, and rivers. The lack of these basic commodities generates additional problems for the political governance of Mars – there’s no air, food, or (that we know of yet) water there! As well, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that the USA signed prohibits anyone from “owning” Mars. What would be the incentive to colonize Mars if there’s no guarantee that the work you do to live there would result in any type of ownership? Although working the land and air to produce resources is not directly proscribed by the treaty, doing so in a manner that doesn’t lead to tyranny is another matter entirely. These and related problems were addressed by the University of Edinburgh astrophysicist Charles S. Cockell in a series of meetings with scientists and scholars from varied fields in two conference proceedings titled Human Governance Beyond Earth and The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth.
Cockell in a series of meetings with scientists and scholars from varied fields in two conference proceedings titled Human Governance Beyond Earth and The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth. To learn more about what to do when the most basic necessities of life – oxygen, water, and food – are under the control of one company (SpaceX?) or one government (the US of Mars?), I spoke with Dr. Cockell by Skype, starting with the observation that Earthlings colonizing Mars will be nothing like Europeans colonizing North America.6 “Space is an inherently tyranny-prone environment,” Cockell told me. “You are living in an environment where the oxygen you breathe is being produced by a machine.” On Earth, he notes, governments can rob their people of food and water, “but they can’t take away your air, so you can run off into a forest and plan revolution, and you can get your friends together and you can try to overthrow a government.”
Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra
A computer that would have filled an entire room in the 1970s now fits in your pocket and packs far more computing punch. But rocket technology bucks Moore’s law. “We sleep easy knowing that next year’s software will be better than this year’s,” Musk explains, but “rockets’ [cost] actually gets progressively worse every year.”2 Musk wasn’t the first to spot this trend. But he was among the first to do something about it. He launched SpaceX—short for Space Exploration Technologies—with the audacious goal of colonizing Mars and making humanity a multiplanetary species. But Musk’s deep pockets weren’t enough to buy rockets on the American or the Russian market. He pitched venture capitalists, but they were a hard bunch to convince. “Space is pretty far out of the comfort zone of just about every VC on Earth,” Musk explained. He refused to let his friends invest, because he believed the company had only a 10 percent chance of success.
If the company’s aim were to simply put satellites into Earth orbit, there would have been no reason to do things differently. The company would have relied on the same technology that NASA had been using since the 1960s. There’s little reason to reduce the cost of rocket launches by a factor of ten, as SpaceX is on its way to doing, unless you’re aiming for a moonshot. The bold ambition of colonizing Mars forced SpaceX to employ first-principles thinking and transform the status quo. The political strategists James Carville and Paul Begala tell a story about the choice a lion faces in deciding to hunt for a mouse or an antelope. “A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse,” they explain. “But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself.”
The speaker ended up blazing the engineering trail for her. Now, more than three decades later, Shotwell is at the top of the engineering game, responsible for the day-to-day operations of SpaceX. Among other things, she serves as “the bridge between Elon and the staff,” SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann says.75 “Elon says let’s go to Mars and she says, ‘OK, what do we need to actually get to Mars?’” To finance the company’s unconventional dream of colonizing Mars, Shotwell travels the globe, pursuing conventional opportunities for taking commercial payloads into orbit. While SpaceX was still in its infancy, she managed to win contracts worth billions of dollars from satellite operators. These contracts continue to pay the bills as SpaceX works toward its moonshot of taking humans to Mars. But another important question remains: Even if we manage to get to Mars, how will we settle there?
Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar
The saga, he said, served as inspiration for his investment in Tesla. * * * Musk has characterized his companies as moral missions as much as businesses. He didn’t start Tesla or SpaceX to make money, he has said, but because he believed the world needed them. The future for humans on Earth would be terrible if we didn’t switch to sustainable energy, and without electric cars, the peril from climate change would be unimaginable. His goal to colonize Mars is also motivated in part by a moral impulse. In the case of an extinction event, which could be brought on by anything from runaway climate change to rogue artificial intelligence, we’d all be homeless. “I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multiplanetary,” he has said, “in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen.”
It is impossible not to wonder about his stores of energy and ability to focus on the momentous challenges ahead. Not only is he calling the shots at Tesla, but he’s also running SpaceX, a $20 billion enterprise with more than a few ambitions of its own, which include sending astronauts to the International Space Station, a space Internet subdivision, driving the development of cheap reusable rockets, and, ultimately, colonizing Mars. As if he were somehow bored by this trifling workload, Musk has also taken on a host of other side projects, such as Neuralink, a brain-computer interface start-up he cofounded, the Boring Company, which plans to make tunnels for cars, and the Hyperloop, another of his pet interests. Can he do it all? The job juggling certainly comes with pressures. On July 30, 2017, Musk published a series of tweets that almost amounted to a psychological confessional.
Exoplanets by Donald Goldsmith
Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, dark matter, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, megastructure, Pluto: dwarf planet, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking
To those who find these notions entirely fanciful, we cite the statement that Stephen Hawking made in 2016: “Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years. By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the h uman race.”17 Looking toward the comparatively near future, Hawking stated that if humanity hopes to avoid extinction, we must plan to become a multiplanet species within the next century, presumably by colonizing Mars.18 To this apocalyptic vision, the physicist Freeman Dyson offers a single word of judgment: “rubbish!”19 The author concurs in the view that if we cannot solve our problems here on Earth, outer space offers no likelier avenues to long-term success. Exoplanets’ hypothesized benefit as future abodes for humanity brings a more immediate boon: They allow us to plunge enjoyably into the deep end of the pool of speculation.
The Truth B ehind Title IV of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015,” available at http://deepspaceindustries.com/is-asteroid-mining-legal/. 17. Peter Holley, “Stephen Hawking Just Gave Humanity a Due Date for Finding Another Planet,” Washington Post, November 17, 2016. 18. Sara Fecht, “Stephen Hawking Says We Have 100 Years to Colonize a New Planet—Or Die. Can We Do It?,” Popular Science, May 4, 2017, available at http://www.popsci.com/stephen-hawking-human -extinction-colonize-mars. 19. Freeman Dyson interview, May 8, 2017. 242 FURTHER R EADING Batygin, Konstantin, Gregory Laughlin, and Alessandro Morbidelli. “Born of Chaos: New Evidence Suggests the Solar System’s Early Eras Were Defined by Wandering Worlds and Staggering Displays of Interplanetary Destruction.” Scientific American 314, no. 5 (May 2016): 28–37. Boss, Alan. The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets.
The Buddha and the Badass: The Secret Spiritual Art of Succeeding at Work by Vishen Lakhiani
Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, performance metric, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, web application, white picket fence
A Massive Transformational Purpose is simply far more thrilling to work on. Your MTP is the massive change you want to bring to the world to make it better off. In some business books this is referred to as the BHAG (pronounced B-HAG), or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” I consider these the same thing. Your MTP is an overriding, empowering goal that your organization is pushing for. Elon Musk’s MTP is to colonize Mars. Bill Gates’s MTP back when Microsoft started was to put a computer on every desk in the world. Google’s MTP is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Mindvalley’s MTP is to create the greatest rise in human consciousness our species has ever experienced. The MTP has to be something that is challenging and hard to do. You’re not meant to know the answers immediately.
It became 90 percent of our revenue. These were bold goals. And I had no idea if we’d get there. But by thinking bold and speaking of the future as if it’s inevitable you move faster than if you choose to play small and be stuck in the present. The takeaway? Speak not of what you’re doing now, but what you plan to do. Remember, when explaining SpaceX Elon Musk spoke about his future plans of colonizing Mars even though they were a decade or more ahead. This ability to speak boldly and envision the future helped him attract the best minds on the planet to figure out the how for him. To effectively articulate your ten-years-ahead vision, you need to play a little mental game and ask yourself: “If I magnify my company a thousand times, what would it look like?” If I take Mindvalley where we are today and I magnify it a thousand times we would have one billion people globally studying transformational education, and learning how to be healthier, wiser, and more spiritual.
This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook by Extinction Rebellion
3D printing, autonomous vehicles, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, feminist movement, full employment, gig economy, global pandemic, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, mass immigration, Peter Thiel, place-making, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, Sam Altman, smart grid, supply-chain management, the scientific method, union organizing, urban sprawl, wealth creators
The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed in time. That’s when it hit me: at least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion.
Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey
3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra
The Urge to Explore Epic animal migrations are driven by climate, the availability of food, or mating, and almost all animal migrations are seasonal. Humans are the only species that moves systematically and purposefully over very large distances, in multigenerational migrations, for reasons not tied to the availability of resources. The itch that led our ancestors to risk everything to travel in small boats across large bodies of water like the Pacific Ocean is related to the drive that will one day lead us to colonize Mars. Its origins lie in a mixture of culture and genetics. Behavioral psychologist Alison Gopnik has observed that humans are unique in the way they connect play and imagination. Mammal species can be playful when they’re young, but the play is quickly channeled into practicing skills such as hunting and fighting, which are needed as an adult. Human children spend a proportionally longer time in a world where their development is sheltered and facilitated by adults.6 We play, according to Gopnik, by creating hypothetical scenarios that allow us to test hypotheses—acting in effect like miniature scientists.
Even in the twenty-first century, the stains of this brutal history persist. Space is a new resource. The people who leave Earth won’t be taking land from anyone.16 Eventually, they’ll have to make everything they need to survive and prosper. They will create their own wealth. It will be hard to hold them to any Earth-centric legal framework if they want to be independent. Colonization implies replacement and growth. A Mars colony can be augmented by new arrivals, but a healthy, normal culture centers on the family unit. There will be sex and there will be babies. Sex in space hasn’t progressed beyond snickering and titillation. It’s the stuff of urban, orbital legend. Every couple of years, NASA and its Russian counterpart wearily deny that astronauts have had sex. The astronauts themselves stay tight-lipped.
Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand
Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog
It is the job of slow-but-steady governance and culture to set the goals of solving these problems and to maintain the constancy and patience required to see them through (that is not our current model of governance). Restorative goals such as these are the most important, but they do have a negative cast. Could their accomplishment be aided by also engaging some positive goals that operate at the same pace? Colonizing Mars has this quality. Building a 10,000-Year Clock/Library might. Assembling a universal virtual-reality world on the Net feels like an achievable great work. Success in mapping the human genome should encourage the related ambition of inventorying all the species on Earth and mapping their genomes. Filling in all the gaps and blanks in the total human family tree would be a vivid experience of the Long Us.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
The inhabitants of a Mars colony will need water to drink and wash, to grow crops, and to convert into rocket fuel, which can be made by splitting water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. This, together with the search for extraterrestrial life (which is also assumed to depend on water), explains why so much effort is being put into locating and understanding the distribution of water on other bodies in the solar system. Some scientists even believe that colonizing Mars is necessary to ensure the continued survival of humanity. Only by becoming a "multiplanetary species," they argue, can we truly guard against the possibility of being wiped out by war, disease, or a mass extinction caused by an asteroid or comet crashing into the Earth. But that will depend on finding supplies of water on other worlds. Water was the first drink to steer the course of human history; now, after ten thousand years, it seems to be back in the driving seat.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer
artificial general intelligence, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, Colonization of Mars, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global village, Google Glasses, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, income inequality, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, PageRank, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, yellow journalism
One of its subsidiaries claims to counter political extremism; another launches balloons to transmit the Internet to far corners of the globe. The alphabet was one of humanity’s greatest innovations, the sort of everlasting achievement that the company intends to foment again and again. Bluster pours forth from the tech elite, and much of the world tends to look at their lengthy inventory of grandiose projects as vanity. If Jeff Bezos wants to launch rockets into space, then Elon Musk will do him one better and colonize Mars. But Silicon Valley is hardly distinguished by the hegemonic egos of its leaders, especially relative to finance or media. What makes Big Tech different is that it pursues these projects with a theological sense of conviction—which makes its efforts both wondrous and dangerous. At the epicenter of Google’s bulging portfolio is one master project: The company wants to create machines that replicate the human brain, and then advance beyond.
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku
agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize
Scientists have also looked into the possibility of building solar satellites surrounding the planet, reflecting sunlight onto Mars. Solar satellites by themselves might be able to heat the Martian surface above freezing. Once this happens and the permafrost begins to melt, the planet would naturally continue to warm on its own. ECONOMIC BENEFIT? One should have no illusions that we will benefit immediately from an economic bonanza by colonizing the moon and Mars. When Columbus sailed to the New World in 1492, he opened the door to a historic economic windfall. Soon, the conquistadors were sending back huge quantities of gold that they plundered from Native Americans, and settlers were sending valuable raw materials and crops back to the Old World. The cost of sending expeditions to the New World was more than offset by the fabulous fortunes that could be made.
Human nature has not changed much in the past 100,000 years, except now we have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons to settle old scores. However, once we make the transition to a Type I civilization, we will have many centuries to settle our differences. As we saw in earlier chapters, space colonies will continue to be extremely expensive into the future, so it is unlikely that a significant fraction of the world’s population will leave to colonize Mars or the asteroid belt. Until radically new rocket designs bring down the cost or until the space elevator is built, space travel will continue to be the province of governments and the wealthy. For the majority of the earth’s population, this means that they will remain on the planet as we attain Type I status. This also means that we will have centuries to work out our differences as a Type I civilization.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize
See also: Ian Allen, “Jeff Bezos Wants Us All to Leave Earth—for Good,” Wired, October 15, 2018, https://www.wired.com/story/jeff-bezos-blue-origin/. “The Earth is the gem”: Loren Grush, “Jeff Bezos: ‘I Don’t Want a Plan B for Earth,’ ” Verge, June 1, 2016. See: https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/1/11830206/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-save-earth-code-conference-interview. Elon Musk doesn’t disagree: Dave Mosher, “Here’s Elon Musk’s Complete, Sweeping Vision on Colonizing Mars to Save Humanity,” Business Insider, September 29, 2016. See: https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-mars-speech-transcript-2016-9. “Mars Oasis”: Chris Anderson, “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars,” Wired, September 21, 2012. See: https://www.wired.com/2012/10/ff-elon-musk-qa/. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002: Michael Sheetz, “The Rise of Spacex and the Future Of Elon Musk’s Mars Dream,” CNBC, March 20, 2019.
The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton
Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus
But as someone writing about science at the time, and with a pretty high tolerance – to be honest, appetite – for the far out, I found that throughout the 1990s I was able to abuse the generosity of various editors to get to scientific meetings on subjects quite as far out as geoengineering: the threat which asteroids posed to the Earth, and techniques for reducing it; the challenge of interstellar, as opposed to merely interplanetary, space missions; the possibility of colonizing Mars. Indeed, there were even meetings on ways in which, subsequent to such colonization, the Martian climate might be engineered to human advantage, using tailored aerosols and greenhouse gases to warm and thicken the atmosphere to the point where water might flow. Such ‘terraforming’ owes an obvious debt to Lowell – except that where Lowell saw Martians solemnly trying to postpone their planet’s inevitable demise, the terraformers were imagining ways to bring a dead-already world to life.
Ideas about the terraforming of Mars made the cover of the prestigious journal Nature in 1992 – but from 1991 to 2001 it published not a single scientific article mentioning climate geoengineering. What distinguished geoengineering from those other ideas was that it had to do with something that actually mattered. There were no asteroids on impact courses that the Earth needed to worry about, and no planets around alien stars with a pressing need for probing. The colonization and terraforming of Mars could wait for another day, or decade, or century. But from the late 1980s on there was widespread agreement that the climate had already changed, and that the risks posed by further change needed addressing forthwith. This sense of urgency, rather than encouraging a debate on geoengineering, suppressed it. The world turned its back on playful speculations about the future to focus on the situation at hand, and climate moved with precipitate speed from being not seen as an issue at all to being a problem for which there was a recognized response laid down in international law.
The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator
Apple, a company that has been accused of cheating the US government out of $44 billion in tax revenue between 2009 and 2012,82 is building a Norman Foster–designed $5 billion Silicon Valley headquarters that will feature a 2.8-million-square-foot circular, four-story building containing a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 3,000-seat café, and office space for 13,000 employees.83 Before he died, Steve Jobs described Foster’s design for the new building as looking a “little like a spaceship.” Elon Musk should take note. After all, what’s the point of colonizing Mars when Martian architecture is already colonizing the Bay Area? And then there’s “the largest open office space in the world,”84 which Mark Zuckerberg has hired Frank Gehry to build for Facebook’s 3,400 employees. Zuckerberg’s new office resembles Facebook itself: an intensely opaque, secretive company that has built its multibillion-dollar brand upon the lies of transparency and openness. This building might be internally “open,” but—like the new Google or Apple corporate city-states dotting the Silicon Valley landscape—it will be firmly shut off from the outside world.
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
At that time, the book said, some of the very elderly—men and women born in the nineteenth century, old enough to remember a world before automobiles and television—had been reluctant to believe the news. Words that would have made only fairy-tale sense in their childhood ("two men walked on the moon tonight") were being offered as statements of fact. And they couldn't accept it. It confounded their sense of what was reasonable and what was absurd. Now it was my turn. We're going to terraform and colonize Mars, said my friend Jason, and he wasn't delusional… or at least no more delusional than the dozens of smart and powerful people who apparently shared his conviction. So the proposition was serious; it must already have been, at some bureaucratic level, a work in progress. I took a walk around the grounds after dinner while there was still a little daylight. Mike the yard guy had done a decent job.
In the end I wrote her a prescription for an alternative anxiolytic—essentially, Xanax with a different molecular side chain—hoping the new brand name, if not the drug itself, would have a useful effect. Mrs. Tuckman left the office mollified, clutching the script in her hand like a sacred scroll. I felt useless and vaguely fraudulent. But Mrs. Tuckman's condition was far from unique. The whole world was reeling with anxiety. What had once looked like our best shot at a survivable future, the terraforming and colonization of Mars, had ended in impotence and uncertainty. Which left us no future but the Spin. The global economy had begun to oscillate, consumers and nations accumulating debt loads they expected never to have to repay, while creditors hoarded funds and interest rates spiked. Extreme religiosity and brutal criminality had increased in tandem, at home and abroad. The effects were especially devastating in third world nations, where collapsing currencies and recurrent famine helped revive slumbering.
Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal
3D printing, Alexander Shulgin, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, high batting average, hive mind, Hyperloop, impulse control, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning
Hsieh has taken ideas pioneered at Burning Man and is attempting to reinvent the culture of a Fortune 500 company and to reinvigorate (to the tune of $350 million) a blighted urban core. That’s structural change in the real world, with all the risks and complications it entails. Musk’s projects too, aren’t without their complications. But reinventing transportation and pioneering a new energy grid (to say nothing of his efforts to colonize Mars) are wicked enough problems that they’ve stymied all prior efforts to solve them. What these examples make clear is that the perspective provided by nonordinary consciousness and culture offers a different path forward—a way to reconsider intractable challenges with fresh eyes. All of these practical applications have, in turn, inspired the Burning Man organization itself. “A few years ago, we attended the event to speak at their annual TEDx series and then got invited to a small salon hosted by Danger Ranger.
Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki
"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor
, a planet where everything from drinking water to seeds and soil will have to be carted from home, a planet we can send people to, but can’t bring them back from. Christy tells me about her motivations. First off, is, of course, the chance to go into space. Ever since Christy met Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar in grade school, she’s dreamed of being an astronaut. “In my elementary school year book, I said I wanted to colonize the moon. That’s not going to happen, but Mars will be just fine.” But beyond the personal fulfillment of her dreams, what good will the trip do for the world at large? Christy talks about the insurance policy element of the plan. If things don’t work out on Earth, at least there will be people off planet to carry on the species. She describes herself as an environmentalist and says that she has “a bit of a state-of-the-Earth complex.”
° ° ° ° ° ° There are two, or maybe three, ways we are trying to escape the future by actively attempting to break out of the perplexingly infinite loop of our new era. The first exit plan is the now mainstream option most of us are caught up in. And that’s to believe in bringing our quest for future to its conclusion by actually reaching the promised end-of-future. Call it the Trees-on-Mars option. Mars is just one of many symbolic stand-ins. It’s a metaphor for the singular moment of arrival when we all will live happily (for)ever after—on colonized Mars, or downloaded into computers, or even on an Earth transformed by platoons of robot servants who do all the work, anticipate our every need and are powered by rechargeable solar batteries. Mars and its many incarnations are the pop/consumer spectacle merging with the forever promise of techno-science that now dominates how we think about the world around us. Christy Foley’s ambition is a stark reminder of how chasing the future has now become utterly mainstream.
WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make a Living, and Change the World by Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson, Marc Kielburger, Sir Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, blood diamonds, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, energy transition, family office, future of work, global village, inventory management, James Dyson, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, pre–internet, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, working poor, Y Combinator
Companies will have to adapt to these new motivations that have employees using their day jobs to support causes, or risk losing top talent—and a huge customer base. CEOs today want to be seen as titans of business, but also as champions of social causes in their communities and among their peers. And increasingly, business people want to create companies that do good. Elon Musk could have sat on his PayPal fortune and never been heard from again. But he wanted to change the world for the better—and so we have Tesla and SolarCity and talks of colonizing Mars. Bill Gates could still be rolling out Windows updates, but instead we have the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Most Connected Time in History The past four decades have seen unprecedented leaps forward in the dissemination and availability of information. CNN, the first network to run a 24-hour news cycle, launched in 1980. Now we have FOX, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and countless other networks bombarding us with an endless stream of problems from around the globe.
Amazon: How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer Will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce by Natalie Berg, Miya Knights
3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business intelligence, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, computer vision, connected car, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Elon Musk, gig economy, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, market fragmentation, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, QR code, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, remote working, sensor fusion, sharing economy, Skype, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, trade route, underbanked, urban planning, white picket fence
Meanwhile, now-defunct department stores (BHS sites, for example) are being reincarnated not only as fitness centres but also bowling alleys, crazy golf centres, cinemas and even an art gallery. And if Elon Musk has his way, his Tesla supercharger stations across the US will feature upmarket convenience stores alongside climbing walls, outdoor cinemas and 1950s-style drive-in restaurants with waiting staff on roller skates – giving customers something to do during the 30 minutes it takes to recharge their vehicles.18 It’s not quite colonizing Mars, but it’s certainly blurring the lines between retail and entertainment. Meanwhile, some retail companies are turning to virtual reality to create playful and immersive instore experiences. North Face ran a campaign allowing its shoppers to don a virtual headset and tour Yosemite National Park and the Moab desert alongside professional athletes and, in 2017, Topshop turned its store windows into an interactive pool scene and let shoppers ride a virtual water slide around Oxford Street.
Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies
active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
There will be ultraprivileged elites who seek (and largely manage) to hoard the resources and benefits of scientific progress, in the form of greater protection from natural disasters, insulation from political upheavals and longer, healthier lives. The new generation of Napoleonic high-tech entrepreneurs may attain their dreams of living to 150 or 200 or longer. These ‘founders’ may build empires that outlive them. Some may manage to colonize Mars, as Elon Musk insists they must. If this is the future of progress, then it cannot be something that includes most people, and much of its impetus is to escape the fate that awaits the rest of us. Libertarian dreams ultimately mean divorcing scientific from social progress. What does hope look like, once divested of some constantly moving frontier of technological control over nature, and ever more personal vitality for a minority?
The Martian by Andy Weir
Just like the days back on Hermes, I get data dumps. Of course, they relay e-mail from friends and family, but NASA also sends along choice messages from the public. I’ve gotten e-mail from rock stars, athletes, actors and actresses, and even the President. One of them was from my alma mater, the University of Chicago. They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially “colonized” it. So technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong! But my favorite e-mail was the one from my mother. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Thank God you’re alive, stay strong, don’t die, your father says hello, etc. I read it fifty times in a row. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mama’s boy or anything. I’m a full-grown man who only occasionally wears diapers (you have to in an EVA suit). It’s totally manly and normal for me to cling to a letter from my mom.
Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar
"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
Thiel says he finds the general population’s acceptance of the prospect of death “pathological,” and, along with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Google’s Sergey Brin, has spent millions supporting “life extension” research dedicated to “ending aging forever.”9 This, I suppose, is only slightly more ambitious a goal than those of his PayPal partner Elon Musk, also the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, who envisions supersonic commuter travel and colonizing Mars in the not too distant future (though how he’ll fund it is anyone’s guess, since he keeps tanking the price of Tesla’s stock with his security-law-violating tweets, whiskey-and-cannabis-induced rants, and false claims about the company’s financial profile). You could argue that all of this is simply part of the “think different” mind-set, one that is necessary for entrepreneurship and radical change.
Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again by Eric Topol
23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, blockchain, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, digital twin, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Google Glasses, ImageNet competition, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nudge unit, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, text mining, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population
Many experts take the opposite point of view, including Alan Bundy of the University of Edinburgh74 or Yann LeCun (“there would be no Ex Machina or Terminator scenarios, because robots would not be built with human drives—hunger, power, reproduction, self-preservation”).75 Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, LeCun’s employer, Mark Zuckerberg, isn’t worried either, writing on Facebook, “Some people fear-monger about how A.I. is a huge danger, but that seems far-fetched to me and much less likely than disasters due to widespread disease, violence, etc.”76 Some AI experts have even dramatically changed their views, like Stuart Russell of UC Berkeley.77 There’s no shortage of futurologists weighing in, one way or another, or even both ways, and even taking each other on.78 I especially got a kick out of the AI and Mars connection, setting up disparate views between Andrew Ng and Elon Musk. Ng said, “Fearing a rise of killer robots is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars before we populate it,”79 whereas Musk has said that the potential rise of killer robots was one reason we needed to colonize Mars—so that we’ll have a bolt-hole if AI goes rogue and turns on humanity.80 Musk’s deep concerns prompted him and Sam Altman to found a billion-dollar nonprofit institute called OpenAI with the aim of working for safer AI. In addition, he gave $10 million to the Future of Life Institute, in part to construct worst-case scenarios so that they can be anticipated and avoided.81 Max Tegmark, the MIT physicist who directs that institute, convened an international group of AI experts to forecast when we might see artificial general intelligence.
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper
4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buy and hold, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks
Investors and entrepreneurs were cooking up ever more ambitious schemes involving virtual reality, drones, and artificial intelligence, alongside more quotidian projects, like remaking public transportation and the hotel industry. The PayPal founders were among the most ambitious, with Thiel advocating for floating structures where people could live outside the jurisdiction of any national government. Elon Musk, an early PayPal employee and founder of SpaceX, was aiming for the colonization of Mars. If there was ever a time that Silicon Valley believed it could revive the long-deferred dream of reinventing money, this was it. A virtual currency that rose above national borders fitted right in with an industry that saw itself destined to change the face of everyday life. CHAPTER 19 March 2013 At the same time that Bitcoin’s reputation was getting a makeover in Silicon Valley, the physical infrastructure of the Bitcoin network was also undergoing an extensive transformation.
CHAPTER 18 186“PayPal will give citizens worldwide more”: Eric Jackson, PayPal Wars (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2004). 187Thiel advocating for floating structures: “Peter Thiel Offers $100,000 in Matching Donations to TSI, Makes Grant of $250,000,” Sea-steading Institute, February 10, 2010, http://www.seasteading. org/2010/02/peter-thiel-offers-100000-matching-donations-tsi-makes-grant-250000/. 187aiming for the colonization of Mars: Adam Mann, “Elon Musk Wants to Build 80,000-Person Mars Colony,” Wired, November 26, 2012, http://www.wired.com/2012/11/elon-musk-mars-colony/. CHAPTER 19 190In June 2012 the founders announced: BFL (Butterfly Labs) to BTCF, June 16, 2012. 190a young Chinese immigrant in New York, Yifu Guo, announced: ngzhang to BTCF, September 17, 2012. 191that power doubled again in just one month after Yifu’s machines: Historical data on the hashing power available at https://blockchain.info/charts/hash-rate. 195“This is a dark day for Bitcoin”: “Breaking: The Blockchain Has Forked,” Bitcoin Trader, March 11, 2013, http://www.thebitcointrader .com/2013/03/breaking-blockchain-has-forked.html. 196“clarify the applicability of the regulations implementing”: The FinCen guidance is available at http://fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html.
Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day
Companies and entrepreneurs that are showing the way include: IBM, which in 2014 announced a five-year plan to bet 10 percent of its net income on post-silicon computer chips;30 Google (Alphabet), whose recent long-term bets include a new quantum artificial intelligence lab, self-driving cars and research into anti-aging drugs;31 and Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal whose moon shots include SpaceX (a space transport firm whose eventual goal is to colonize Mars) and Tesla (whose diverse aims include the mass-market adoption of electric cars, household battery packs to store renewable energy, and a 600-mile-per-hour hyperloop to transport people between Los Angeles and San Francisco). Dare citizens to fail Academic researchers and think tanks debate endlessly how to make public taxes, laws and regulations better. In truth, there is no one right answer.
Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce
addicted to oil, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, financial independence, flex fuel, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Yom Kippur War
And as part of its continuing attacks on foreign oil in general, and the Saudis in particular, the group has gone out of its way to try to convince citizens that corn ethanol is a force for good. For instance, in a May 6, 2008, editorial in the Chicago Tribune, titled “Food vs. Fuel, a Global Myth,” Set America Free founder, Gal Luft, and his fellow traveler, Robert Zubrin, a vituperative ideologue who advocates colonizing Mars, declared that “farm commodity prices have almost no effect on retail prices.” The two went on to claim that if only more automobiles were manufactured as “flex fuel”—that is, able to burn fuel mixtures containing 85 percent ethanol—then oil would have to compete for its share of the motor fuel market against alcohol fuels made from food crops, weeds, crop residue, and other materials. That competition, they insist, would help reduce terrorism by bankrupting the petrostates.
The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel
"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra
Undoubtedly, many of the coming innovations in big data, the Internet of Things, machine intelligence, robotics, and more should be commended, yet they fail to impress, at least our technology-frustrated generation. Perhaps this is to rain on the parade, but for someone who grew up in the wake of Apollo’s moon landing, Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the original Star Trek series, all that stuff seems a bit dull. What happened to the space race? Humans have yet to colonize Mars. Antigravity is still a dream. Teleportation of complex matters remains a theory. Doc Brown’s flying car in Back to the Future II took him and Marty McFly to October 21, 2015, but today’s world is far less exciting than the one imagined in the movie. We do not get around in flying cars. Nor do we have home fusion reactors or hoverboards. At the time in the 1990s when Star Trek’s futuristic Eugenics Wars were supposed to have ended, the real world was worrying about a cloned Scottish sheep called Dolly.
Building Habitats on the Moon: Engineering Approaches to Lunar Settlements by Haym Benaroya
3D printing, biofilm, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, carbon-based life, centre right, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, data acquisition, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, gravity well, inventory management, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, performance metric, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, stochastic process, telepresence, telerobotics, the scientific method, urban planning, X Prize, zero-sum game
Prime Obsession:: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics by John Derbyshire
Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Colonization of Mars, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Turing machine, Turing test
A thing that nonmathematical readers want to know, a question that is always asked when mathematicians address lay audiences, is, What use is it? Suppose the RH were proved true, or false. What prac- EITHER IT’S TRUE, OR ELSE IT ISN’T 359 tical consequences would follow? Would our health, our convenience, our safety be improved? Would new devices be invented? Would we travel faster? Have more devastating weapons? Colonize Mars? I had better unmask myself at this point as a pure mathematician sans mélange, having no interest in such questions at all. Most mathematicians—and most theoretical physicists, too—are motivated not by any thought of advancing the health or convenience of the human race, but by the sheer joy of discovery and the challenge of tackling difficult problems. Mathematicians are generally pleased when their work turns out to have some practical result (at any rate if the result is peaceful), but they rarely think about such things in their working lives.
Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta
23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game
“Larry can be a little raw, but never unkind,” said Megan Smith, vice president of new business development. A part of the rawness is due to the fact that they are geeks, more comfortable staring at a computer screen than schmoozing, and too zealously impatient to waste time. Page is more reclusive, and odder. He was once asked at a dinner, according to a dinner guest, “What’s the most important thing the government should be doing?” “Colonize Mars!” Page said. Most of the dinner guests nodded as if he had said something profound. Page can be almost monklike. He ruthlessly guards his time, and can treat those who ask him to make a speech or meet reporters as if they were thieves trying to steal his time. A longtime Google employee describes Page this way: “Larry is like a wall. He analyzes everything. He asks, ‘Is this the most efficient way to do this?’
Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram
addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons
Only paired with energy storage—which Tesla Motors conveniently sold in the form of EVs and home batteries—could solar power actually meet most of a household’s energy needs. Confident in this logic, Musk shrugged off the opposition to his merger plans. He’d heard this type of criticism many times before. For a man who thinks decades and centuries ahead, Musk was never likely to be fazed by day-trader hysterics. In addition to plotting a transformation of the world’s energy systems, he has set his sights on building reusable launch vehicles and spacecraft to colonize Mars. What sets him apart from other dreamers is an intimate familiarity with the details of his various ventures—from personally leading the investigation into faulty tanks of supercooled propellant that caused a SpaceX rocket to explode in 2016 to insisting on the specifications of retractable door handles on Tesla EVs to minimize their aerodynamic drag.4 This approach has led to astounding results.
A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horwitz
airport security, Atahualpa, back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, trade route, urban renewal
This uplifting narrative isn’t altogether true to the Jamestown and Plymouth settlers. But it’s even further removed from their forgotten English predecessors: a motley crew of slave traders, tourists, castaways, and Tudor knights more akin to conquistadors than to hungry Virginians or pious Pilgrims. In 1558, when Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, the notion that England was to rule North America would have seem as farfetched as present-day New Zealand colonizing Mars. Elizabeth’s island realm of only three million people didn’t yet include Scotland, much less a global empire. England had just lost Calais, its last toehold on the European continent, and had no presence at all in North America, apart from cod-fishing boats off Canada. England also had a long record of futility when it came to exploring the New World. In 1496, four years after Columbus’s first sail, another Italian navigator, John Cabot, won a license from King Henry VII to “seeke out, discover and finde” new lands.
The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski
Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carbon footprint, central bank independence, Colonization of Mars, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, corporate raider, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Elon Musk, G4S, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linear programming, liquidity trap, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, post scarcity, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing
Today, if we are to be honest, we must recognize that due to the vast costs associated with a viable Mars colony such as the one proposed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX (even if the cost of escaping Earth’s gravity is significantly reduced, for instance, through the use of reusable rockets), there still has to be a profitable commodity resulting from that colony that can be sold back on Earth. If there is one, bully for him. If not, his investors will quickly abandon him. So the colonization of Mars will be a public-sector endeavor or it will not happen. But for many progressives, the story of logistics and planning seems musty and old. Are there not fresh arguments required to convince that barricades must be mounted, forgotten stories of wretched oppression yet to be recounted? It is true that there is little drama or romance to the story of planning—few riveting tales of selfless heroism, brave suffering or righteous fury (although there are not a few episodes of heartbreaking defeat, failure and ruin).
The City and the Stars / The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke
They don’t believe it’s possible— or, granted the possibility, don’t think it’s worth while. You’ll often see articles pointing out that Mars will always be a drag on the home planet, because of the tremendous natural difficulties under which you’re laboring.” “What about the analogy between Mars and the American colonies?” “It can’t be pressed too far. After all, men could breathe the air and find food to eat when they got to America!” “That’s true, but though the problem of colonizing Mars is so much more difficult, we’ve got enormously greater powers at our control. Given time and material, we can make this a world as good to live on as Earth. Even now, you won’t find many of our people who want to go back. They know the importance of what they’re doing. Earth may not need Mars yet, but one day it will.” “I wish I could believe that,” said Gibson, a little unhappily. He pointed to the rich green tide of vegetation that lapped, like a hungry sea, against the almost invisible dome of the city, at the great plain that hurried so swiftly over the edge of the curiously close horizon, and at the scarlet hills within whose arms the city lay.
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen
business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional
A year later X-com merged with Cofinity, along with its online bank subsidiary, PayPal. Under Musk’s leadership, PayPal grew dramatically until it was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in stock. He then invested in the company that would become Tesla, a manufacturer of electronic vehicles. Musk is also the founder of SpaceX, an aerospace company pursuing innovations to pave the way for space tourism, as well as for exploration and colonization of Mars. Pierre Omidyar b. 1967, France eBay, Omidyar Network Born in France, Pierre Omidyar moved to the United States as a child. He attended Tufts University in Boston, and worked for Claris, a subsidiary of Apple, before starting Ink Development Corporation, a retail business that also engaged in Internet sales. The company was bought by Apple in 1996 under the name eShop. Omidyar had by then already launched eBay as an auction service built into his personal Web site.
Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys: 50th Anniversary Edition by Michael Collins, Charles A. Lindbergh
But NASA it is, and today, for the first time since the days of Wernher von Braun, two names are recognizable in the world of spaceflight: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. They seem to be able to do things faster and cheaper than the government, and a generation that never knew Apollo is awakening to the prospect of further space exploration. Musk is a billionaire, and Bezos is the richest person on the planet. Musk is specializing in reusable rockets, but ultimately wants to colonize Mars, starting as early as 2020 with the unmanned Blue Dragon, and then with an expedition crew of one hundred. (In my Mars book, I thought a crew of six might be more practical.) At any rate, it’s nice to know that exploration has some solid backing, and that private funds are now in the game alongside NASA’s annual $20 billion or so in taxpayers’ money. NASA says people on Mars is a possibility in the 2030s.
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss
23andMe, A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, dematerialisation, don't be evil, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Google Hangouts, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, helicopter parent, high net worth, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, index fund, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, non-fiction novel, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Turing machine, uber lyft, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
Listening to their stories, I pulled out a scrap of paper and jotted down my answer to her question. In this book, at its core, I want to convey the following: Success, however you define it, is achievable if you collect the right field-tested beliefs and habits. Someone else has done your version of “success” before, and often, many have done something similar. “But,” you might ask, “what about a first, like colonizing Mars?” There are still recipes. Look at empire building of other types, look at the biggest decisions in the life of Robert Moses (read The Power Broker), or simply find someone who stepped up to do great things that were deemed impossible at the time (e.g., Walt Disney). There is shared DNA you can borrow. The superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximized 1 or 2 strengths.
Voyage by Stephen Baxter
The MEM is standing here on the flats north of Mangala Vallis. It’s a late-fall morning — we’re only about eighty days away from the winter solstice, here in the northern hemisphere of Mars. The sky is uniformly ocher. The dust suffuses everything with a pale, salmon hue. The red planet isn’t really so red: the dominant color is a moderate yellow-brown, reflected from the land. There’s no green, or blue, anywhere. If humans ever colonize Mars for good — no, make that when — we’ll have to invent a lot of new words for shades of brown. “I’m almost on the Martian equator. To give you some reference, the great Tharsis Bulge, with its three huge shield volcanoes, is a couple of thousand miles to the east of me; and Olympus Mons, the greatest volcano in the Solar System, is about the same distance to the north. But I can’t see the volcanoes, or the Bulge, from here; although this is a small world, Martian features are too huge, overwhelming on a human scale.
(President Nixon’s initiating memo was similar to that reproduced in the novel — but without the handwritten addendum…) Post-Apollo planning for space entered its most crucial months. And gradually, over this period, NASA lost the case for Mars. To space proponents in 1969, technical logic appeared to indicate a building from the achievements of Apollo to a progressive colonization of the Solar System, including missions to Mars. But the political logic differed. The Apollo era — when the efforts of half a million Americans had been devoted to spaceflight — had been born out of an extraordinary set of circumstances, which were not repeated in 1969. Just a week after Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering first spaceflight in April 1961, President Kennedy sent a memo to Vice President Johnson asking for options: “Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets by putting a laboratory in space, or by a trip around the Moon, or by a rocket to land on the Moon, or by a rocket to go to the Moon and back with a man.
Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World by Oliver Morton
Colonization of Mars, computer age, double entry bookkeeping, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, nuclear winter, planetary scale, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, sexual politics, the scientific method, trade route, undersea cable, V2 rocket, Works Progress Administration
Thomas Paine, who had run NASA from 1968 to 1970, was convinced to give a keynote address at the second of the Case for Mars meetings: The man who had celebrated the “squares” of Apollo was delighted by the longhairs of Boulder and their dreams of living off the Martian land. The Underground was invited to Washington to present its case. Meyer remembers overhearing the head of manned space flight lean over and whisper to a colleague, “I had no idea this was going on. We’ve got to look into this.” NASA did look into it. Paine wrote a much-discussed report, “Pioneering the Space Frontier,” that called for the exploration and colonization of Mars, among other things. It attracted the interest of the White House. In 1989, on the twentieth anniversary of the first Apollo landing, George Bush the Elder called for a return to the moon and an outpost on Mars. But the president’s enthusiasm got little further than Spiro Agnew’s had twenty years before. NASA came up with a spectacularly complicated and ornate plan that included more or less everything its engineers had ever wanted to do and was perhaps ten times costlier than it could have been, which left the idea—for which the president had done little to prepare Congress—dead in the water.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, post-work, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
Listening to their stories, I pulled out a scrap of paper and jotted down my answer to her question. In this book, at its core, I want to convey the following: Success, however you define it, is achievable if you collect the right field-tested beliefs and habits. Someone else has done your version of “success” before, and often, many have done something similar. “But,” you might ask, “what about a first, like colonizing Mars?” There are still recipes. Look at empire building of other types, look at the biggest decisions in the life of Robert Moses (read The Power Broker), or simply find someone who stepped up to do great things that were deemed impossible at the time (e.g., Walt Disney). There is shared DNA you can borrow. The superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximized 1 or 2 strengths.
Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity From Politicians by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman
3D printing, access to a mobile phone, addicted to oil, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Celtic Tiger, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Dean Kamen, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, financial intermediation, Gini coefficient, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, paypal mafia, peak oil, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, stem cell, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, undersea cable, young professional
Chris Muglia says that when key aspects of construction become an information technology, and every module design is tested at sea, improved on computer, and emailed to a floating 3-D printer, Peter Thiel’s vision of “atoms” become “bits” will unleash exponential progress and rapidly drop the price of seasteads. How cheap could this get? Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as Space X, is an aerospace manufacturer that builds and launches space rockets, founded in 2002 by Peter Thiel’s cofounder at PayPal, Elon Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla Motors. Elon’s goal is to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. “SpaceX is already 3-D printing essential elements of its rockets rather than purchasing machined parts from a contractor,” says Chris. “SpaceX launches cargo into space at a much lower launch cost than the incumbent players. How? Elon Musk reasons from first principles. Begin with what is known to be true and eliminate assumptions—especially those coming from long-established industries.
The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron by Rebecca Winters Keegan
Cameron, as he would then confess, is one of the wackos. At the time he addressed the convention, he was planning a fictional 3-D IMAX film and a five-hour TV miniseries meant to depict as accurately as possible the first human journey to Mars. Earlier that year, NASA had launched two probes to Mars, stoking interest in and enthusiasm about the planet, and Cameron had begun to see the human colonization of Mars as our species’ best plan B should Earth become uninhabitable. He had read astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin’s 1996 pro-terraforming tract, The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must, and hired Zubrin as a consultant on his Mars movie. Cameron’s picture was about a group of explorers who travel to the red planet, establish a settlement there, get in a jam, and use their wits and grit to get out of it.
Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
anthropic principle, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, different worldview, epigenetics, gravity well, James Watt: steam engine, land tenure, new economy, phenotype, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
And the Chinese have been doing this for centuries. The longevity treatment only reinforced what they had already been doing.” “So Mars has less to fear from them than Jackie thinks.” “Well, they still want to send up emigrants, that’s part of the overall strategy. And resistance to the one-child rule has been stronger in some Catholic and Muslim countries, and several of those nations would like to colonize Mars as if it were empty. The threat shifts now, from India and China to the Philippines, Brazil, Pakistan.” “Hmm,” Zo said. Talk of immigration always made her feel oppressed. Threatened by lemmings. “What about the exmetas?” “The old Group of Eleven is rebanding in support of the strongest of the old metanats. They will be looking for places to develop. They’re much weaker than before the flood, but they still have a lot of influence in America, Russia, Europe, South America.
Moon Rush: The New Space Race by Leonard David
agricultural Revolution, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, multiplanetary species, out of africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics
Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian
Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cepheid variable, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, demographic transition, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, nuclear winter, planetary scale, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, Yogi Berra
(Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, 2012), 22. 7. Jan Zalasiewicz and Colin Waters, “The Anthropocene,” in The Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Environmental Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 4–5. Chapter 12. Where Is It All Going? 1. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy—Red Mars (1993), Green Mars (1994), Blue Mars (1996)—offers a rich and vivid science-fictional account of what the colonization of Mars might look like. 2. Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968), 46. 3. J. S. Mill, “Of the ‘Stationary State,’ ” in The Principles of Political Economy, Google Books, http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/het/mill/book4/bk4ch06. 4. Johan Rockström et al., “A Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” Nature 461 (September 24, 2009): 472–75; updated in Will Steffen et al., “Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet,” Science (January 2015): 1–15. 5.
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben
23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve
“There’s nothing cooler than that,” especially given that CIMON has also been trained to eventually spy on its crewmates, examining “group effects that can develop over a long period of time in small teams and that may arise during long-term missions.”8 * * * Getting people to the moon was incredibly hard, and the moon is 250,000 miles away. But let’s say we cross the 50 million miles to Mars—then what? To survive, you’d need to go underground. But to what end? You can go underground on Earth if you want. And the multibillion-dollar attempts at building a “biosphere” here on our home planet (where building supplies arrived on a truck) ended in abject failure. Kim Stanley Robinson wrote the greatest novels about the colonization of Mars, a trilogy that dates back a quarter century. Now, says their author, he thinks the whole thing would be a mistake. “It creates a moral hazard,” he says. People imagine that if we mess up the Earth, we can “always go to Mars or the stars. It’s pernicious.”9 In fact, it’s worse than that. It distracts us from the almost unbearable beauty of the planet we already inhabit. In a more recent novel, Aurora, Robinson describes a failed mission from Earth to colonize a planet (failed for all the reasons of distance and human frailty I’ve already described).
Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland
business cycle, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor
Rather than the “obsessive search for a simple, single-shot solution to all our ills”19 that characterizes the Imagination of classic utopian texts, more recent utopian thought and fiction acknowledge and emphasize Fancy and the plurality of possible utopias instead. Friedman, for example, depicts a plethora of distinct utopian societies scattered across the globe, each embodying its own unique set of ideals uncontaminated by contact with the others.20 Robinson’s sprawling novels, similarly, portray a wide range of different utopian experiments and communities in the course of his account of the colonization of Mars.21 The significance of this recent direction taken in utopian thought and fiction is the departure from singularity and total ity that had seemed inherent in, if not indeed definitive of, the genre: the plurality of utopian impulses and ideals defies the singular perfection of utopia. From here it is but one step—albeit a significant one—to the vo cation of affirmative nomadology to detect and reinforce utopian ideals in actually existing institutions of whatever scale, from neighborhoods to virtual Internet communities to production cooperatives to far-flung global trade arrangements.22 The utopian character of these institutions remains completely distinct from any singular utopia conceived as a total, self-contained community, for they are interwoven transversally with one another and constitute something like a meshwork rather than a unified whole.
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin
"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War
Cocconi took the idea of the EV1 and turned it into an electric supercar called the tzero. It could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a blazing 4.1 seconds. In 2003 Cocconi came into contact with two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs straight out of the dot-com boom. One of them, Elon Musk, was a cofounders of PayPal. After selling it to eBay, Musk launched SpaceX, a commercial space shuttle business, which Musk intended to be a way station to his larger ambition—enabling people to colonize Mars. The other entrepreneur, Martin Eberhard, offered Cocconi $150,000 in investment for him to experiment with a different kind of battery: a pack composed of lithium-ion batteries, lots and lots of lithium-ion batteries. Cocconi took the money, made the modification, and the car hit 60 miles per hour in only 3.6 seconds.13 Not long after, Eberhard and Musk joined forces and together licensed Cocconi’s technology.
The New Gold Rush: The Riches of Space Beckon! by Joseph N. Pelton
3D printing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, global pandemic, Google Earth, gravity well, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, life extension, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, megastructure, new economy, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-industrial society, private space industry, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, Tim Cook: Apple, Tunguska event, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, X Prize
In the next 80 years there will be more people to feed, house, educate, receive health care, police, entertain, and help recover from disasters than ever before in the history of humankind. Technology and specifically space technology can help respond to these challenges. Yet without an agreed global pathway to a sustainable future and a solid plan for coping with the limits to growth the long-term prospects for Earthlings are bleak. It may take decades—maybe even centuries—to devise the technology to create space systems that can colonize the Moon or Mars and to protect us from major cosmic hazards , but the time to start is now. It could take humans millenniums to build capabilities to go to other star systems with any hope of long-term survival . Fortunately we do not have to solve all the challenges at once. Realizing the wealth of resources in the skies can and should help us to start to develop and execute some very long-term plans .
Likewise those that are fearful of technological advance, and wish to retain traditional or totalitarian forms of leadership and governance, will seek to forestall not only the technology but also the cultural, social and religious changes that are implied with this sweeping evolution of human history. But massive and revolutionary technological change will be hard to resist. In the space arena, the possibilities of rapid change to support space mining, solar power satellites, space colonization or even terraforming of the Moon and Mars may all accelerate rapidly. In short, the shift to a space-based economy of the future will be driven by Earth-based changes known most succinctly as the Singularity . What was uneconomic or unthinkable just decades ago, may suddenly become technologically and economically feasible at a very accelerated pace. Ultimately there is a clash on a global scale between Western technological advance, summed up as the coming Singularity, and cultural resisters represented by some terrorist groups.
The Planets by Dava Sobel
Astrobiologists insist that life on Mars, like the once-plentiful water on Mars, could simply have gone underground to avoid these dangers, and may yet be discovered, extant or extinct, through diligent pursuit. Astronomers agree, asserting that even if Mars ultimately proves void of life, its unique environment will continue to lure robotic and human explorers to its frozen shores. Some visionaries see in Mars a potential homestead on a high frontier, awaiting colonization.* Scientifically feasible programs for “terraforming” Mars to enhance its Earthly likeness propose the fabrication of suitable habitats by, for example, heating the Martian south pole with huge space-based mirrors that would focus and magnify the Sun’s light, forcing the residual polar cap of carbon dioxide to sublime like a geyser of greenhouse gas. In the ensuing warmth, pure drinking water might pour from the ice at the north pole, or be mined from the abundant buried permafrost or chemically extracted from select areas of the planet’s hardened crust.
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, double helix, East Village, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, horn antenna, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index card, Jacques de Vaucanson, Kowloon Walled City, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, urban sprawl, Vesna Vulović, white picket fence, wikimedia commons, working poor
Pascal Lee in 1997. Working with NASA, Lee and a team of about 30 researchers make yearly summer visits to the spot, conducting field tests to help plan for Mars expeditions. Using a tent city as base camp, the scientists drive all-terrain vehicles to simulate rovers, operate automated drills to look for water, take walks in spacesuit prototypes, and conduct mapping tests using robots. Though human colonization of Mars is still but a distant dream, the Haughton crater experiments offer a practical look into how we might get there. New research projects take place every summer, and the eventual goal is for Red Planet–bound astronauts to use the crater as a training ground before blasting off to Mars for real. Interstate 40, Exit 233. 75.198235 89.851182 The Mars-like landscape of Haughton Crater is an ideal place to train astronauts for a Red Planet mission.
Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin, Leonard David
Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, Elon Musk, gravity well, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Ronald Reagan, telepresence, telerobotics, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, X Prize
Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler
Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, private space industry, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
I’ve said for a long time, the very first trillionaire on Earth will be the person who figures out how to mine an asteroid and open up that supermarket.” But gold in ’dem hills isn’t the only thing fueling our space rock fire. In the past few years, for reasons ranging from “because it’s what’s next” to “because it’s the only way to guarantee the survival of the species,” NASA has firmly committed itself to establishing off-world colonies. While colonizing either the Moon or Mars seems the next logical step, most feel that we should learn to crawl before we walk. “Visiting an asteroid is a fantastic stepping stone to Mars,” says Derek Sears, professor of space and planetary science at the University of Arkansas. “You can test out the hardware and the human behavior.” Human behavior is key. A trip to Mars will take three years. Space flight is extremely punishing, both physically and mentally, so no one has any idea how humans would fare over that duration.
Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings
addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway
Mercury astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the planet, predicted that within a century we would have linked atomic power plants to “anti-gravity devices,” fundamentally rewriting the laws of physics and revolutionizing life and transportation on Earth and in the heavens alike. Another Mercury astronaut, Scott Carpenter, expressed his hope that the anti-gravity “scheme” would help humans colonize the Moon, the Martian moon Phobos, and Mars. The prominent astronomer Fred Whipple suggested that Earth’s population would have stabilized at 100 billion, and that planetary-scale engineering of Mars would have altered the Red Planet’s climate to allow its 700,000 inhabitants to be self-sufficient. The director of NASA’s Office of Manned Space Flight, Dyer Brainerd Holmes, suggested that in 2063 crewed vehicles would be reaching “velocities approaching the speed of light,” and that society would be debating whether to send humans to nearby stars.
Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar
That is not to say that we should be satisfied with just having less bias, there’s still a lot of work to do and we should keep on working to reduce that bias. MARTIN FORD: What about the concern that a superintelligent system might someday break free of our control and pose a genuine threat to humanity? ANDREW NG: I’ve said before that worrying about AGI evil killer robots today is like worrying about overpopulation on the planet Mars. A century from now I hope that we will have colonized the planet Mars. By that time, it may well be overpopulated and polluted, and we might even have children dying on Mars from pollution. It’s not that I’m heartless and don’t care about those dying children—I would love to find a solution to that, but we haven’t even landed on the planet yet, so I find it difficult to productively work on that problem. MARTIN FORD: You don’t think then that there’s any realistic fear of what people call the “fast takeoff” scenario, where an AGI system goes through a recursive self-improvement cycle and rapidly becomes superintelligent?
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, digital map, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, microbiome, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, selection bias, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise
Martians by Kim Stanley Robinson
“He certainly seems to be enjoying himself,” Roger says out loud, and Arthur laughs. “That Dougal!” he cries. “What a Brit he is. You know climbers are the same everywhere. I come all the way to Mars and find just the people you'd expect to find on Ben Nevis. 'Course it stands to reason, doesn't it? That New Scotland school and all.” It is true; from the very start of the colonization, British climbers have been coming to Mars in search of new climbs, and many of them have stayed. “And I'll tell you,” Arthur continues, “those guys are never happier than when it's blowing force ten and dumping snow by the dump truck. Or not snow, actually. More like sleet, that's what they want. One degree rain, or wet snow. Perfect. And you know why they want it? So they can come back in at the end of the day and say, 'Bloody desperate out today, eh mate?'
The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector
biofilm, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, David Strachan, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Steve Jobs, twin studies
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
” — The Orlando Sentinel “The best pure science fiction novel I have read in years, a book so full of credible human drama, technological savvy, breathtaking planetary scope, stunning historical sweep, and hard-nosed spiritual uplift that I regard it as the prologue of a brand-new Martian Chronicles.” — Michael Bishop, Science Fiction Age “If Red Mars were a movie, it would feature a cast of charismatic stars . . . big special effects and set-pieces, and a literate script full of intrigue, romance, and high adventure . . . Fortunately, it is a novel, and as fully-imagined a science fiction novel as any I can think of.” — Locus “This epic tale of colonization, settlement, and revolution on Mars is a people story despite lots of technical detail: it is impossible to stop reading.” — The Philadelphia Press “Splendid characters in a brilliantly realized and utterly convincing setting . . . For power, scope, depth, and detail, no other Martian epic comes close. . . . An intricate and fascinating mosaic of science and politics, love and betrayal, survival and discovery, murder and revolution
What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman
agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, global pandemic, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
back-to-the-land, clean water, Colonization of Mars, cryptocurrency, dark matter, friendly fire, gravity well, hive mind, low earth orbit, mandelbrot fractal, megastructure, random walk, risk tolerance, Vernor Vinge
Oelert (2122) confirms that the majority of local superluminal matter exists in a vast halo around the Milky Way. Several more extra-solar colonies follow. First on Shin-Zar. Then on Eidolon. Some of the cities/outposts are funded by corporations. Some by nations back on Earth. Either way, colonies are highly dependent on supplies from Sol to begin with, and most of the colonists end up deep in debt after buying the various pieces of equipment they need. 2154–2230: Weyland colonized. Numenism founded on Mars by Sal Horker II circa 2165–2179 (est.). As they grow, colonies begin to assert their independence from Earth and Sol. Clashes between local factions (e.g., the Unrest on Shin-Zar). Relations with Earth grow fractious. Venus tries and fails to win its independence in the Zahn Offensive. Ruslan colonized. 2230: Kira Navárez is born. 2234–2237: Discovery of the Great Beacon on Talos VII by Captain Idris and the crew of the SLV Adamura.
Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, East Village, global village, Haight Ashbury, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of writing, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, social intelligence, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game
Daniele Petrucci in Bologna and other scientists in the United States and the Soviet Union, makes it possible for women to have babies without the discomfort of pregnancy. The potential applications of such discoveries raise memories of Brave New World and Astounding Science Fiction. Thus Dr. Hafez, in a sweep of his imagination, suggests that fertilized human eggs might be useful in the colonization of the planets. Instead of shipping adults to Mars, we could ship a shoebox full of such cells and grow them into an entire citysize population of humans. "When you consider how much it costs in fuel to lift every pound off the launch pad," Dr. Hafez observes, "why send full-grown men and women aboard space ships? Instead, why not ship tiny embryos, in the care of a competent biologist ... We miniaturize other spacecraft components.
Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Carolyn McCarthy, Kevin Raub
California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Colonization of Mars, East Village, haute cuisine, Kickstarter, land reform, low cost airline, mass immigration, New Urbanism, off grid, place-making, QR code, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, white picket fence
Spain by Lonely Planet Publications, Damien Simonis
Atahualpa, business process, call centre, centre right, Colonization of Mars, discovery of the americas, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, G4S, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, intermodal, Islamic Golden Age, land reform, large denomination, low cost airline, place-making, Skype, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent, young professional
Hotel Los Ángeles (96 680 74 33; Calle Los Ángeles 3; s €27-43, d €50-76; ) This is another pleasant, informal, family-owned hotel. The fifth- and sixth-floor rooms have large balconies at no extra cost. The family also runs Pensión and Restaurante del Mar, slightly cheaper and just down the road at Calle Pintor Lozano 5, where guests staying at the Los Ángeles eat. Hotel Colón (96 585 04 12; www.hotelcolon.net; Paseo de Colón 3; s €38-62, d €48-96; mid-Mar–Oct; ) Conveniently positioned where the old town meets Playa del Poniente, the Colón is great value outside high season. Half-board is only €4 more than B&B, though don’t expect fine cuisine. West-facing rooms have great views of Playa del Poniente. Hotel La Santa Faç (96 585 40 63; www.santafazhotel.com in Spanish; Calle Santa Faç 18; s/d/tr €50/85/125; Apr-Oct; ) This long-established hotel, sandwiched between two streets in the old quarter, is friendly and full of character.