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Has a fucking hilarious picture that you fucking have to see. Made my fucking day.
I wonder what this kind of treatment is doing to the kids. Do kids growing up these days feel more excluded from society?
Speaking practically, any real Mars program will start small with the people living in a pressurized, heated chamber. Either that, or you'd need to start the terraforming a century before anyone arrives. Another thing to consider, since we are discussing KSR's books, is the safety aspect. Killing off an entire colony is as easy as ripping a hole in the tent covering it, or attacking the equivalent weak point of an underground structure. When you're dealing with humans, conflict is always a possibility. Especially as the colonization advances and you have thousands of people aligned with different groups. Having a breathable atmosphere is a godsend when war turns you into a refugee, or your colony has some technical or natural disaster that puts it out of commission.
My counter-anecdote involves the puck mouse-era iMac from 1998 or 99. It shipped without a floppy drive. Floppies were still the primary way to move data from one box to another. CD burners were still a few hundred dollars, and unreliable, not to mention the cost of -RW discs. (Not that the iMac had a burner anyway.) Home networking wasn't a thing yet, beyond 1 computer connecting to dialup. So, that computer needed an external floppy drive for me to do my homework on it. The hard disk ended up dying after less than a year, probably due to the high temps inside the case - apparently they thought it was a good idea to leave out the case fan, even though you had G3-era hardware and a CRT packed inside. Apple has a long history of making that particular design mistake, going way back to the Apple III and as recently as a few years ago in the Macbook Air. Maybe they should have tried to "Think Different"?