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Gideon2
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From:
Insane since: May 2009

IP logged posted posted 06-04-2009 19:44 Edit Quote

I've been coming across this question a lot in my dealings with the world. Not directed to me, but to friends of mine who have 5+ kids. So how much is too much? Is there a "too much?" Why?

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 06-05-2009 10:44 Edit Quote

In our society? Technically 3 is too much, but given the chances any might not meet an average life expectancy, 3 isn't too bad 4 is absolutely too much.

Human overpopulation is probably the worst preventable problem life on this planet will ever face.

(Edited by reisio on 06-05-2009 10:47)

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 06-05-2009 11:04 Edit Quote

I have three children - a 14 year old daughter from my first marriage, and twin boys, 2 years old.

How much is too much? That is actually easy and simple to answer - when you are unable to financially or emotionally support them, then that is too much.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Norway
Insane since: Jun 2002

IP logged posted posted 06-05-2009 11:28 Edit Quote
quote:
How many children will you have?

give me a crystal ball and I'll tell eveyrthing you want about ze future.

kaboi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Nairobi, Kenya
Insane since: Mar 2002

IP logged posted posted 06-30-2009 14:12 Edit Quote

We recently had our 7th child last week!

I told my wife we should probably register a rugby 7 aside team but she says she's not about to stop till we hit no. 10.

I think I need another job or another wife.

How many are enough? When the wife is ready to stop?

hyperbole
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Madison, Indiana
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 06-30-2009 16:07 Edit Quote

poi,
If you have a crystal ball doesn't that mean you won't have any children?

.



-- not necessarily stoned... just beautiful.

der redsplat
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jun 2009

IP logged posted posted 06-30-2009 22:35 Edit Quote
quote:
Human overpopulation is probably the worst preventable problem life on this planet will ever face.


That's not true. It's well known that in rich countries people don't get as much children. In some European countries the population is even decreasing. Therefore I think poverty is a bigger problem than human overpopulation because overpopulation is a impact of provery.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-01-2009 13:55 Edit Quote

I do not think that Human overpopulation is going to be the "worst" preventable problem life on this planet will ever face.

Eventually, the Human Race will expand to the Stars (near planets first).

I think that whatever it is that causes mass extinctions every 64 million years is probably something of a much higher threat - and one that we can probably find a way to prevent.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 07-01-2009 23:13 Edit Quote
quote:
der redsplat said:

quote:

poi said:

quote:How many children will you have? give me a crystal ball and I'll tell eveyrthing you want about ze future.



It's well known that in rich countries people don't get as much children.


...mwha?

quote:
der redsplat said:

In some European countries the population is even decreasing.

...and when another few billion die we'll be close to not being a plague on this planet.

quote:
der redsplat said:

Therefore I think poverty is a bigger problem than human overpopulation because overpopulation is a impact of provery.

You've got it backwards, make sense.

quote:
WebShaman said:

I do not think that Human overpopulation is going to be the "worst" preventable problem life on this planet will ever face. Eventually, the Human Race will expand to the Stars (near planets first).

Maybe, eventually; ATM it probably is the worst preventable problem.

quote:
How many children will you have?

400

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 02:29 Edit Quote

Humans are too great in number, and cannot indefinitely support population growth without some serious changes to lifestyle (on a broad scale, agriculture, logistics, industry, energy efficiency, and so on). As it stands, our food and energy requirements are ridiculous, we produce unimaginable amounts of waste and pollution, all the while a great many starve or die of preventable diseases... and yet we have barely begun to imagine the first steps to changing our ways.

We live a parasitic existence, either ignorant or uncaring in our immense capacity for consumption and waste. We may dream of divinity but, just like any other animal, we feed, we breed, and we shit, and we do it like champions.

I'm not having kids.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 09:15 Edit Quote

You forgot, we reach for the stars.

And succeed.

Eventually our needs will push us out there to stay.

The stars are ours!

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 13:32 Edit Quote

Oscar Wilde said:

quote:
We are all of us lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars



We may look to the stars, but we are currently no closer to attaining them than a monkey is to reaching the moon by climbing a tree.

Besides, we don't succeed without hardship - wars have sparked the greatest advances in medicine and technology, not peaceful endeavour. With ever-increasing population sizes (and densities) there is an ever-increasing need to increase food supplies, deal with mounting waste, and find land to build on. Unfortunately, as is evidenced in the vast numbers of people in poor societies who die for want of a little food or medicine, society is not balanced, and while some of us gorge upon the 'successes' of our respective countries, others reap only the waste and deprivation we leave them.

The only successes we should be concerned with right now are the radical reduction of waste, and efficient energy production and usage. 'Reaching for the stars' is a wasteful and expensive endeavour in itself, that diverts great minds and powerful industries away from the solutions to our current predicament.

It doesn't help that we're all living longer. Medical science seems geared to prolonging life at any cost, despite the inevitable degradation of health that leads to the long-lived becoming a further (and patently begrudged) drain upon society. We pump them full of preservatives, then lock them away somewhere we don't have to look at them - living graveyards full of wasted experience, where a whole generation of learned lessons is forgotten in a haze of prolonged dementia.

Anyway, what use will landing a few astronauts on a distant planet be to the vast hordes of hungry, poisoned humans crawling around in the dust and filth of a dying race? We need to seriously pull up our socks and think about making dramatic changes to the way we live before we can even entertain the idea of surviving into the cosmos.

Einstein's always good for a quote:

quote:
The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.



Einstein truly believed that mankind was capable of amazing feats, but he had little faith in the heart and wisdom of man. How far wrong was he? We are geared toward comfort and accumulation of wealth - oceans and air be damned if we can't have a bigger telly than Mr. Jones!

We show such a great propensity for war. If only we could show the same capacity for truly beneficial advances that we show for sheer mass-homicidal inventiveness, we'd be generating clean energy, producing clean food, recycling every last ounce of waste, and every last man, woman and child would be fed and healthy.

Instead, we encourage ignorant and backward beliefs, build weapons, and shit on our neighbours. We're in the stone age when it comes to advances in society.

Now, I'm no eco-mentalist - I just truly believe that humankind is poisonous to the environment (and to itself) and will continue to be so while it continues to shrug off serious concerns with 'never mind, none of it'll matter when we're flying around in space ships'.

The Earth has no issue - it'll shake us off like a seasonal virus, and the environments we make hostile to our very lives will simply be re-adapted to something less human. The ticker doesn't tick for the Earth, but for our place upon it. We should be worrying about our future as surviving beasts of Earth, not God's emissaries to the stars.

It is estimated that the Sun has ~5bil. years left to shine. In less than 2bil. years, it will have boiled the Earth dry. One way or another, we have a good billion years to worry about jumping ship. Perhaps we should put plans to do so aside until we've figured out a way of surviving the next couple of centuries.

Eventually, at this rate, our needs will push us into a new dark age. The stars will be forgotten in wars over religion, land and wealth, and the human spirit will necessarily be oppressed by those who believe they know best in the fight for survival. If God isn't enough to suppress the will of man, then the fear of terrorism will do. When that fails, perhaps the fear of an extra-terrestrial enemy will help get us under the boot. Whatever it takes to keep us fighting, and to maintain the balance of power and wealth in favour of our beloved malefactors, will be done.

Unless we change substantially, we're doomed to repeat history.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 13:42 Edit Quote

We are now, at this time, capable of reaching the stars.

It is a "mere" matter of will and desire.

Just as the Pioneers of the West who were willing to cross huge divides and long spans of time, so too would we be reduced to doing to reach the nearest stars.

But they ARE presently reachable.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 15:08 Edit Quote

That would be funny if I didn't know you aren't joking.

No, we haven't the technology (not even on the drawing board) to send man to the stars, and it is unlikely that we'll have anything approaching that possibility within our lifetimes.

Yes, given a huge amount of time and expense, we could send a probe that would reach the nearest star in a few lifetimes.

You know no probe built by man has actually left the solar system, right?

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 15:30 Edit Quote

Oh, I know that no man-made object has actually left the solar system.

But that doesn't mean anything.

We do have the technology (and yes, there are many different versions "on the drawing board") to send man to the nearest stars.

And yes, we have already approached such within my lifetime.

Research it.

The big question is the will and the desire to spend the resources required to accomplish such.

So what would it require?

Depending on what sort of system was decided on for repulsion (probably some sort of Atomic drive, I should think), it would probably have to be built in Space itself - meaning that the existing Space Station would have to be accomodated to allow for this - it would definitely need some new modules added to it! Then work crews, along with regular supplies being launched upwards.

It would probably require both the Soviets and the EU, along with NASA to do it (3 launching pads).

It might also require a mining base on the Moon for cheap fuel (the moon has a lot of a very rare isotope on it - He3, I believe it is called, that is perfect for fueling such an atomic drive).

Then the actual habitat must be built (the main obstacle IMHO) that would house a crew for years. It would have to be a pretty good self-sustaining system - recent research and actual practice in this area has demonstrated that such is possible to create with present technology and to maintain.

Now, the real question should be - is it likely to happen?

And that answer is no.

Not yet.

Of course, with the pursuit of the commercialization of Space now underway (companies competing to reach orbit, and the Moon, for example), who knows what will be actually possible in the next 20 years...

If a company does happen to put a space station in orbit, that will change things considerably IMHO.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 16:24 Edit Quote

Likely, no. Possible, perhaps. If likely and possible, probable within the lifetime of your children? An emphatic and resounding no.

We aren't likely to see a base on the moon within your lifetime.

As for research - it's all I do, constantly, and with a passion. I've had wonderful discussions with some very interesting people on the subject - many of them far more qualified than me to make assumptions about space travel - and the conclusion of real scientists in the field is that we will do it... but nobody alive today is going to get a sniff of it. No drawing on the board is anywhere near complete enough to be viable.

In fact, they may as well be drawn in crayon for all they're worth to the space race right now.

'Atomic propulsion'? This isn't Star Trek, so what's the atomic engine driving? Without the advent of some astounding 'warp' technology, you could have all the energy you like, but you would still need a reactive mass to provide motion - and current nuclear technology doesn't come close to being appropriate.

Ion drives already exist... but they provide barely grams of force, to be used over extended periods in order to gently influence the flight path of an extra-terrestrial device.

An anti-matter propulsion engine isn't so far fetched, and at the moment, is the most viable project worthy of further research... but as it stands, the extraordinary technology required to contain and control the appropriate reactions doesn't exist. Even if it did, the reactions would be so 'dirty' that they'd irradiate the engine, the space craft, and any hapless crew aboard.

Smaller anti-matter motors have been proposed using particles that minimise the radiation produced. These still theoretically produce unacceptable levels of radiation, but at least the possibilities are being explored.

The fuel for an anti-matter engine is already being produced. In order to provide what's needed for a single trip to the nearest star, we require several decades and billions and billions of $$$s. It's probably the most expensive process known to man, and a solid contender for most time-consuming.

Even if we had the propulsion technology and the required amount of fuel for a journey into space, these are few among many concerns.

What will the crew eat? They could bring a few thousand tons of food with them, I suppose... um, no. Grow it en-route? Not as feasible as sci-fi movies would have you believe.

We could put them all to sleep so they eat less, I suppose. Still not viable - no technology or drug exists that can induce or maintain 'hyper sleep' (to coin a favourite sci-fi phrase).

What about radiation levels? A few feet of unobtainium should do it, I guess - I mean, we've got the technology to travel hundreds of light years carrying countless tons of food and fuel, so what's a little cosmic wind to our intrepid crew? A few feet of zero-mass, indestructible unobtainium should be more than capable of protecting our crew from the ravages of an extra-solar environment.

I like the comparison to early settlers/pioneers, but unlike those early travelers, our space crew can't drink water from a wild stream and cook some buffalo meat on a nice warm fire. They will be floating in a tin can, surrounded by hostile vacuum, bombarded by radiation, and supplied with only what they were able to carry at launch, or grow from thin air.

To be realistic and practical, it is vaguely possible that we'll see some living thing shot into Mars orbit within our lifetimes. That is, it's vaguely possible, but utterly improbable.

quote:
...who knows what will be actually possible in the next 20 years...



I seem to recall something similar being said around the time of the original moon landings. We were supposed to be settling Mars by the 1990s.

Orbiting Earth is not outer space. Landing on the moon (or even Mars) is not reaching the stars. When Buzz got out of bed and went for piss for the last time before his legendary journey, he had already completed a greater portion of his journey to the moon than a crew reaching the outer limits of our solar system has completed of its journey to the nearest star. That's actually a vast understatement, too.

If we put a man on Mars (not just in orbit) and return him alive within my lifetime, and you're still around to receive payment, I shall publicly eat my favourite black felt fedora and issue a statement of apology for my ignorance. It will still be to interstellar travel what a spit-ball is to landing on the moon though.

I'm not deliberately treading on your dreams, WS - I too have high hopes for man's endeavours in the field of space travel, but I'm just being realistic.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-02-2009 17:55 Edit Quote

Nuclear Propulsion Drives (aka Atomic Drives) already exist and have been used - I believe that the Probe that visited that Comet was using one IIRC.

There is a very good and valid reason to set up mining on the Moon - because as I said, the Moon has plenty of a rare type of isotop of Helium that is very easy to reach - it is on the surface. Very easy is subjective here, because of course one would have to set up a mining platform on the Moon and that would not be easy.

Would it be cost effective? Well, due to the gravity well of Earth being much stronger than the Moon's, it should be.

I think there is incentive enough for the near exploration of the Solar System (especially raw material type of incentive = money). I know there are companies right now with plans on how to get to some of it (like that on the Moon, for instance).

You know, 20 years ago, it was unthinkable that a private company would be able to put a manned craft into orbit. Well, we got that (yeah, so it was only for a little bit, but it succeeded). Next stop will either be the Moon itself (big prize for the first private company to put something on the Moon, btw) or near orbit in the form of a Space Station I think. We already know there are enough peeps with money who will be willing to spend alot to get into Space to make it worthwhile, provided the costs can be brought down, which is why commercializing these things is important (and ongoing).

The problem with the food has already been solved, really. It remains one to get it to a point where it will be possible to put it in a reasonable environment suitable for space travel without exploding a reasonable budget. How do you think they are going to do a manned mission to Mars that will probably take a year (closest point from earth in orbits required, btw)? Food and Water are minor things compared to the air required here - but much of that has already been addressed. Yes, they will be required to grow the food, recycle the air and water. These systems already exist, however, and have been both tested in a lab and in practice (see the various Earth experiments, if you wish).

Radiation is a much better argument here, and one that is hard to deal with. To be honest, I am not up to date on protection systems for such - so I can't tell you. Definitely a risk here. I rather suspect that there will need to be a "safe room" probably of a very thick or resistant material where the crew can hide in the case of a really nasty storm.

As for getting out of the Solar System - I rather suspect that one would use the Slingshot method combined with a Nuclear (Atomic) Drive. Since we have never purposely attempted to find out just how fast we can get something up to speed by Slingshotting them, one has to use math to do some calculations. Not sure how much time such would take to get something up to a fast enough speed to make a near star journey feasible (probably something like 4 - 8 light years distance here).

But of course, we would need to first find a habitable type planet within range first. I think that is holding things up more than anything else. Who cares about reaching another star system in X years except for scientists and kooks like me?

But another inhabitable planet like Earth...I think that would energize things quite a bit! Perhaps the new satelites put into orbit (or the Hubble if it gets fixed up) will find one - who knows? Before, we could only theorize about planets and calculate their existence - now we have physical evidence that they really exist outside of the Solar System. With a bit more refinement, maybe we will soon be at a point where we can "see" earthlike worlds.

BTW - if we do manage to do a manned mission to Mars, I will not require you to eat the hat - instead, you can just join in with me in the celebration

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that such will definitely occur - I think the chance of something along what I am picturing to be remote to none of really happening.

That said, it is possible, and that is my argument here.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 01:57 Edit Quote

We are capable of colonizing other worlds at this point, but I'm not sure how much good that does us without learning how to be responsible. It seems you're basically suggesting the solution is to leave Earth once we've wrought so much havock upon it as to make it impossible for life to exist here in any remotely bearable state. I'd prefer we just stop destroying it, but that's just me.

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 02:44 Edit Quote

Yup - we need to learn to tidy up after ourselves before we go visiting the neighbours.

DL-44
Lunatic (VI) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 05:49 Edit Quote
quote:

White Hawk said:

Besides, we don't succeed without hardship




All I can say is...

Well, no shit!!

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 09:59 Edit Quote
quote:

reisio said:

We are capable of colonizing other worlds at this point, but I'm not sure how much good that does us without learning how to be responsible. It seems you're basically suggesting the solution is to leave Earth once we've wrought so much havock upon it as to make it impossible for life to exist here in any remotely bearable state. I'd prefer we just stop destroying it, but that's just me.



I think you are overestimating the ability of the Human Race here.

I tell you what - find a way to produce clean, cheap energy, enough to satisfy the needs of everyone and I will give you a way to keep the planet in a bearable state.

A huge breakthrough in Fusion, for example.

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 11:02 Edit Quote

We don't have enough to satisfy the needs of everyone... I just got done saying we have too many people, pay attention.

(okay actually we have plenty to literally, technically satisfy the needs of everyone, but not the needs of everyone as defined by themselves, particularly with regards to their preferred lifestyles; and for some reason people don't care for totalitarianism)

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 11:40 Edit Quote

I said find a way to produce clean, cheap energy - you need to pay attention

I am well aware that you said that we have too many people

Provide them all with clean, cheap energy (ideally unlimited and free) and you will soon find that it is much easier to live a clean lifestyle.

Limitations on available energy put limits on what is economically feasible to do - and of course that affects earnings and lifestyles.

As WH said - we don't tend to succeed without hardship, and we do not tend to change without such, either.

It is sort of like "Hey everyone! This is just not working. We need to do something else here."

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 07-03-2009 23:06 Edit Quote

We already have plenty of ways to do that, people just won't accept it because it would require at least at the start a reduction in energy output, or a government without its hands tied.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 07-04-2009 10:22 Edit Quote

No, it would require that those who hold the reins on the Oil Empire (See Hydralic Empires for what I mean here) to let go - and they are not going to without being forced to.

To do that, one will have to offer up a cheap, clean, plentiful energy source that can take the place of Oil.

Something along the lines of easy-to-do Fusion (like Cold Fusion, for example).

And it is not so much that Government has it's hands tied - it is more accurate to say that government is bought out.

The interest groups for Big Oil are among the most powerful lobbies connected to most of the world's governments. Pissing down their necks is pretty much political suicide (we will not talk about the economical results here).

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 07-04-2009 12:53 Edit Quote
quote:
...it is more accurate to say that government is bought out.



Hear-hear!



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