[LMB] Centrifugal gravity, was Re: Cordelia's College sport

Matija Grabnar lmb at matija.com
Sat Jun 19 07:47:17 BST 2021

On 18/06/2021 23:17, Matthew George wrote:
> The technology to cross the American continent had existed since the
> Classical Roman era.  The technology to cross space...

That's a really interesting argument. By the measure by which the 
Classical Roman era had the technology to cross the American continent,  
we already HAVE the technology to cross space. After all, the Voyager 
has left the solar system. Energy wise, once you are in low earth orbit, 
you are halfway to anywhere in the Solar system - so getting to LEO is 
the hardest part. Sure, more speed would be good, and if we want people 
to travel there, life support will have to improve. But none of those 
are fundamentally difficult science questions, just technology 
questions. We have the technology to cross space (within the Solar 
system). But on the other hand, the Romans would be well served by an 
increase of the speed of travel, and in the amount of cargo that could 
be transported, and the cost to do it. But, see, those were problems of 
technology, not fundamental laws of physics. And so are the problems of 
crossing the Solar system.

> Do not confuse technology being commonplace with its being low-tech.  Our
> modern computers are higher-tech than they've ever been, requiring an
> immense mining, refining, and manufacturing base to make and an extensive
> power grid to use.  They would not long survive even a minor disruption of
> society.

So? The Roman cement technology did not survive a minor fall of 
civilization, either. Didn't mean people could no longer live in houses 
(just not as tall houses).

Also didn't mean that a later civilization couldn't develop an 
equivalent technology that gets most of the same results.

And I don't see that point you are making. Yes, the latest chips require 
fabbing facilities that cost billions to build, and highly skilled 
people to run. But you can put together a facility to build late 
90s/early noughties chips for a budget in low tens of millions.

> What has happened on Earth will likely never happen in space.
Hard to do anything with a statement as vague as that. What are you 
talking about?
>    Don't even
> get me started on the idea that increasing funding is all that's needed for
> a technological breakthrough.

Don't even get me started on the argument of we didn't fund it, 
therefore it has not progressed, therefore it is impossible, therefore 
we shouldn't fund it.

Circular argument.

If we were arguing about something traveling faster than light, you 
would have a point. But none of the stuff under the discussion here 
violates the fundamental laws of physics.

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