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Comment Re: Police? (Score 1) 370

I am reminded of the 70s movie The Jerk, where Steve Martin's character Navin R. Johnson becomes all excited when his name is put in the phone book for the first time. He exclaims "I'm somebody now!" The next scene shows a crazed psychopath picking out his name at random from the phone book to hunt and kill him.

The big difference between the 70s and now is that because of the internet, we are able to perform many of our social interactions anonymously. This simply was not an option in the 70s. Let's face it, with all this anonymous communications, people are more willing to perform actions that will make them enemies, because they don't see any consequences to themselves for their actions. Unfortunately, the big danger from this is that it could potentially lead to the end of the anonymous internet. A large percent of the population don't post anything anonymously (posting primarily on Facebook), and wouldn't care if all internet communications could be traced to their source. If the internet becomes "too scary", you could potentially see an end to anonymity.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

I'm still partial to the Dark Forest solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Personally I think that technological civilizations are rare enough that the first one would develop at least a few million years before the second one in a galaxy. So the first one would dominate any following species and take control the entire galaxy before the Dark Forrest situation occurred.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 0) 365

So, is this evidence of the Great Filter - ?

In fact, the discovery of ET would be bad news. Refer to Nick Boström's "Why I hope The Serch For Extraterrestrial Inteligence Finds Nothing".

I agree. I hope we are the first technological species in our galaxy. Even at sub-light speeds a species could colonize the entire Milky Way in less than 5 million years, so chances are the first technological species will own the galaxy. Any other species will not have control over their fate.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

We can get some idea of the likelihood of some stages by looking at how long in took for them to occur on earth. For instance, it took about 1 billion years for life to form on earth, but after that it took an additional 3 billion years before the Cambrian Explosion, where we saw significant diversification of complicated lifeforms. That 3 billion year gap allows time for all sorts of global cataclysms--we had one that nearly wiped out life during the snowball earth. After the Cambrian Explosion it took a mere half billion years to reach technological intelligence.

Comment Re:Water as rocket fuel (Score 1) 131

Um, no. Water as rocket fuel is separating out water into H and O, turning them into liquid, and burning them as rocket fuel.

Or you can separate the H and O and super-heat the H to a fusion reaction. Or you could pass the water through a hot nuclear core so it shoots out the nozzle at high speed (although in that case it is technically a propellant, not fuel.)

Comment Re:Ecosystems are *Really* *Hard* (Score 1) 147

>We don't know how to make real dirt on mars Bones, waste, excrements, and waste products. Buried and flipped. Maybe some bacteria. That isn't the issue. The issue will be how many years it will take to get the unfertile mars land into something fertile, and how good that dirt will be for growing stuff.

The other pitfall is that we are growing a new microbiological sphere. Which means we can fuck it up really really bad, meaning that the bacteria isn't good for human life.

So, how many humans do we have to send to Mars before there is a pile of corpses large enough to fertilize one hectare of potatoes?

Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.