Friday, March 21, 2008

Thinking Wa-a-a-y Ahead

I love it when people go and look beyond what to make for dinner, local council elections, presidential elections, how to make more money, whether to beat the dog and stuff like that. When they look at the big picture—and I mean...

The Big Picture

And far ahead. Like billions of years.

I like it even more, and it encourages me in a strange kind of way, that someone actually seems to care!

Like it appears is the case for some of the personages spoken about in this article, which—even though it does come from the NYT—I'd recommend for your reading pleasure. It's all about the ultimate destruction of the Earth by being scorched and subsequently swallowed by an ever-brightening and expanding sun—all of which may happen far, far (like a few billion years 'far') earlier than had been calculated in the past.

Donner und Blitzen! And there I thought we more than ten billion years left on the clock. But now it looks more like less than five before everything goes crispier than burnt toast.

And there are people right now worried about Global Warming?

Sorry, that should be GLOBAL WARMING!

Well, here's a newsflash for the GWFs. According to the article, it is inevitable that, and I quote verbatim...

Over the coming eons, life on Earth will become muggier and more uncomfortable and finally impossible.

I know, I know, it's 'eons'. So it won't happen overnight, folks, but it will happen; human-created Greenhouse Effect or not. The universe and the sun doesn't give a shit. They're gonna do what they gonna do anyway, and never mind industrial emissions targets and Kyoto Protocol.

But, but, but... Here's the silver lining, and I'm all for that as everybody who knows me knows, and it's this:

Dr. Smith called the new result “a touch depressing” in a series of e-mail messages. But “looked at another way,” he added, “it is an incentive to do something about finding ways to leave our planet and colonize other areas in the galaxy.”

Yay! Go, Dr. Smith! I'm all on your side here. Never mind ridiculous propositions about shifting the Earth's orbit out a few million miles and other super-large-scale engineering solutions that are only going to postpone the inevitable for a little while. Ultimately, when the sun shrinks and gets colder, we'll only end up having to shift it back. Serious business, this planet shifting.

Shifting shmifting. If we plan on doing to serious long-term planning—and I'm talking about Serious Long Term Planning; like over a serious number of billions of years beyond the demise of the sun—then the space-going option is our only ticket to survival. Distribute your eggs over as many baskets as possible, so if that goes to the dogs—mixing metaphors, I know!—there are others left over. When they give you cash-out at the checkout, always ask for 2 20s and a 10, never for a 50; and don't put all the cash into your wallet either. Elementary paranoia. Just like trying not to sit with your back to a door.

If you think I was being jocose; well, you're half-right. There was a bit of tongue-in-cheek and all that; especially with the billion-year issues these guys seem to be having.

On the other hand though, I wasn't joking at all. There are two major things we should really and truly pay attention to and a major effort on: (a) trying to extend the human lifespan to 'indefinite' levels, and (b) getting our asses our into space a.s.a.p. and on a large scale.

I know, I know: all that money expended when there are people needing our help and injustice and horrible things abound and so on and so forth. Not being flippant here at all, but that's the ballpark from which the major objections to this are coming. And I see the point. I really do.

But, you see, it's like this: There are things we can do something about and those we can't.

We can stop death-by-aging and associated diseases. Give me a couple of billion €—not US$, because that currency is going down the drain fast—and I'll put together a programme that'll do that job in 5-10 years max. So might Aubrey de Grey, but I think I'd be much more likely to get it right and done on or before schedule.

We can solve the problems standing in our way to serious large-scale space exploration. That'll take more than a few billion, but then again, doing this particular more-than-one-basket thing isn't going to come cheap. But no matter the cost, it's going to be a bargain. And. yes, once I've project-managed the longevity enterprise, I wouldn't mind getting started on STFF. That's Space, The Final Frontier for those who need to be told.

And, no, I don't regard either of these enterprises as 'optional'. Of course, it all depends on what you want, as I may have mentioned in the previous blog. As far as I'm concerned, I do want the species to survive as a species; because by and large they're good to have around. And it would be a great added attraction if survival extended to the personal realm, too.

Maybe some folks don't actually want this, or maybe they don't want it enough, or maybe they want it but refuse to acknowledge it. Tomato, tomato. If you don't want personal survival then why do you struggle to remain alive? I daresay that all readers of this blog do want to live and not die. And few of those who continue to read this blog after having found out about my predilections with regards to LTUAE—that would be Life, The Universe And Everything—probably also share with me a 'wanting' for the species to survive, and never mind sizzling and fizzling stars and all that jazz.

So, then what's the problem? Let's do it, huh? Like, let's get started tomorrow. That would be good.

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