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projectorion
2005-Sep-04, 10:43 AM
http://www.angelfire.com/stars2/projectorion/expape3.jpg

The Exploratory Ape (http://www.light-science.com/exploratoryape.html)
From Light Science (http://www.light-science.com/exploratoryape.html).

For opportunists life is hard. The animal kingdom is largely divided into those who are specialists and those who explore. Specialists have discovered a niche of their own. They have beaten the competition by taking one narrow path in evolution and excelling in it. It is a simple yet relatively safe existance. As long as the food is available they flourish. The wider world generally has little impact on their lives because they inhabit only a very selective part of it. Koala bears only eat Eucalyptus leaves, Giraffes the higher foliage, Anteaters are self explanatory. Each has gone past the point of 'difficult' return. They are too specialised to alter their food habits quickly should the need arise. Undoing millions of years in evolution is painful and sometimes fails, leading to extinction. Specialisation therefore is a trap. The security of it is illusory because of susceptibility to environmental change.

The way of opportunism is more difficult but those who do follow this wider path are more adaptable. It demands vigilance. Non-specialists can never relax, because nothing in their lives is very certain. Where their next meal may be coming from is a complete mystery. To survive they have to be cunning and alert to the possibilities surrounding them. That requires an intense familiarity with the world they inhabit.

Such familiarity is only obtained by exploration and a good memory to store knowledge gained from past experience. A wariness of all possible danger is essential. This must somehow be balanced against preparedness to take on risks and try new things. They are forever investigating and gambling on their judgement and this is why they have sharper wits than the sedentary specialists.

This deeply ingrained curiosity is most obvious among the Apes and singularly highest in degree among Humans. Our ability to ask questions knows no bounds. Juveniles of all Ape species are more curious and experimental with their surroundings than Adults. This applies to Humans also. However, while the high inquisitiveness of juvenile chimpanzees, for example, diminishes rapidly in the early stages of adulthood, we still retain a large measure of curiosity all the way into full maturity and beyond.

So we are aware that everything unfamiliar is a potential threat yet we are drawn towards the new and strange. How can this possibly work? This contradiction is the secret behind intelligence. Our ability to scrutinise a situation intensely, analyse it from every angle, drawing on past experience for clues and then making a final life risking decision. Opportunists are gamblers but we like to believe the dice are weighted in our favour before taking on too much risk. This is how we grew in smarts and why we became the dominant life form on this planet.

So we learn by first taking calculated risks and exploring everything within our reach. It is those adults whose childlike curiosity burns brightest who provide the inventiveness and daring to progress society. Our biological need to explore will never go away. It is an intrinsic part of what we are and where we came from. When the spirit of adventure dies in our hearts, so will humanity.

Sometimes, we try to suppress our childrens natural urge to explore. We want to keep them safe. Not realising that this inhibits their mental growth by denying them first hand knowledge. Governments are often guilty of the same mistake. Regulating human ingenuity out of society in the interests of keeping us 'safe'.

We need adventure, we hunger for knowledge and we thrive on challenges. Humans are not cattle. So where does this leave us when no obvious frontiers remain? We have to seriously weigh up the risks of opening up a new frontier. It will be the riskiest and most challenging environment we have ever faced but the rewards will be equally high. We will need to be realistic and use the most advanced technologies we have. The most compact and frightening energy sources available. People will die during the colonisation of space no matter how careful we try to be. It's no use trying to kid ourselves about this. In the end, the question isn't whether or not we should use nuclear power to conquer space, it's whether or not we want to remain explorers.

projectorion
2005-Sep-04, 10:44 AM
Yes.

I have permission to post it.

GOURDHEAD
2005-Sep-04, 12:32 PM
In the end, the question isn't whether or not we should use nuclear power to conquer space, it's whether or not we want to remain explorers....or whether we will remain. However, I prefer beamed energy to nuclear power.

projectorion
2005-Sep-04, 01:43 PM
Beamed energy is fantastic. Saves on a lot of mass. Unfortunately I haven't heard much from that direction in a few years. Basically pulsed atmospheric explosions are what you describe. Very rapid but its an externally powered pulse engine very similar to Orion in principle only a lot weaker in thrust.

It's going to take a lot of juice to operate a space launch laser and the largest model I've seen fly was only a few inches long. Ion or laser beams will both overheat and melt the disc in a short time. But assuming we could engineer a way past these challenges, what's next? Seems a slow way to colonise the universe.

I'd combine both compact energy and external to best effect. On leaving the solar system an Orion vehicle could also employ external power. Smart pulse units fired from space stations along the route.

GOURDHEAD
2005-Sep-04, 07:13 PM
Seems a slow way to colonise the universe. Each other method is much slower as argued in http://hometown.aol.com/malcolmbmcneill/InterstellarTransportationExplo.html. You'll need more than an ordinary life jacket to "swim with sharks".

archman
2005-Sep-04, 09:15 PM
P.O., I heartily recommend editing your blog so that remarks about opportunistic and specialized animals are limited to mammals, and I would be careful even with that line. Many of the comments I read as incorrect and/or highly speculative or exaggerative when they are applied in such a broad context. If this had been posted in Nature, you'd have biologists beating down your door screaming for blood... or at least a retraction.

jkmccrann
2005-Nov-01, 04:51 PM
http://www.angelfire.com/stars2/projectorion/expape3.jpg

The Exploratory Ape (http://www.light-science.com/exploratoryape.html)
From Light Science (http://www.light-science.com/exploratoryape.html).

We need adventure, we hunger for knowledge and we thrive on challenges. Humans are not cattle. So where does this leave us when no obvious frontiers remain? We have to seriously weigh up the risks of opening up a new frontier. It will be the riskiest and most challenging environment we have ever faced but the rewards will be equally high. We will need to be realistic and use the most advanced technologies we have. The most compact and frightening energy sources available. People will die during the colonisation of space no matter how careful we try to be. It's no use trying to kid ourselves about this. In the end, the question isn't whether or not we should use nuclear power to conquer space, it's whether or not we want to remain explorers.

I for one hope our quest for knowledge and advancement is never quenched, for that is when we will wither on the vine as a washed-up civilisation.

All aboard the Space Express everyone!!!

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-01, 05:42 PM
I remember Projectorion... odd fellow, to say the least.

jkmccrann
2005-Nov-01, 05:57 PM
I remember Projectorion... odd fellow, to say the least.

Yeah, I saw that he was banned. Is posting to the thread of a banned fellow considered a faux pas?

Or would it just be construed as a poorly thought out attempt at `humor'

::perplexed & thinking::

Wolverine
2005-Nov-02, 09:02 PM
Yeah, I saw that he was banned. Is posting to the thread of a banned fellow considered a faux pas?

Well, it is rather futile since they're not around to respond, among other things.

publiusr
2005-Nov-03, 06:53 PM
I know of two people who use the rather popular "Orion" moniker.

One seems to be a person by the name of Wayne who seems pro-nuclear, and has had problems with some Greens impersonating him some way.

Another pro-nuclear individual is Scott Lowther who has a nice website:
www.up-ship.com

He was known as LEXCORP over at www.starshipmodeler.net

Unlike Wayne--if that is his name, I pull my punches and try not to inflame folks as much. I just have a strange sense of humor.