Rolling the Dice With Our Planet
Nate Lewis: There are two differences at least that I see between the asteroid problem as you’ve posed it and the climate change problem. First is the fact that you can’t see carbon dioxide. It’s a colorless, non-toxic to humans at some concentration, gas. On the other hand, how would you feel if everybody on the freeway, every mile they drove, stopped, opened their windows and dumped out a pound of trash? That’s exactly what we do, it’s just you can’t see that pound of carbon dioxide trash that comes out of everybody’s tailpipe on average every single mile we drive.
The second thing is that if the asteroid were absolutely hitting the earth, we would probably really respond, but there’s some probability that it may get by and then we always have to understand the cost benefit analysis of do we act or not. The same thing is true with carbon dioxide emissions. We don’t absolutely know what levels of carbon dioxide are, or are not “safe.” And so we get into an actually, in my opinion, a very inappropriate discussion of whether or not we should take action or not. The real issue is not whether we can prove that climate change will or will not occur within 10 or 20 or 30 years. The real issue is that we don’t really know for sure, but we only get to do this experiment once. And if we get into a situation that we don’t like, we can’t do anything about changing it back to where it was. This is not a situation of sound science. It is all about rolling the dice once with the one planet that we have.
The real issue is not whether we can prove that climate change will or will not occur within 30 years. It’s that we don’t really know for sure, but we only get to do this experiment once.
- Human beings are psychologically hardwired to fear differences
- Several recent studies show evidence that digital spaces exacerbate the psychology which contributes to tribalism
- Shared experiences of awe, such as space travel, or even simple shared meals, have surprising effectives for uniting opposing groups
The $100-million startup is moving ahead with an audacious vision for space exploration.
- The Breakthrough Starshot initiative was co-founded by Stephen Hawking.
- The project raised $100 million and is moving ahead with extensive research.
- The goal of Starshot is to send tiny "StarChip" spacecraft to explore neighboring star systems.
On Friday, NASA's InSight Mars lander captured and transmitted historic audio from the red planet.
- The audio captured by the lander is of Martian winds blowing at an estimated 10 to 15 mph.
- It was taken by the InSight Mars lander, which is designed to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky planets, and possibly discover liquid water on Mars.
- Microphones are essentially an "extra sense" that scientists can use during experiments on other planets.
Astronauts will be able to harvest the Moon's natural resources to sustain human life.
- NASA's Michelle Thaller walks us through what it will take to sustain human life on the surface of the Moon.
- One way would be to run a very strong electrical current through water, separating it into hydrogen and oxygen. It's how astronauts on the International Space Station currently harvest oxygen to breathe.
- There's already evidence of ice at the Moon's poles, likely thanks to billions of years of asteroid and comet collisions. All we have to do is harvest it. People on the future Moon base could also use those ice repositories to make liquid rocket fuel.
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