Extending Humanity’s Universal Activities with Extra Terrestrial Flora and Fauna

A series of automated probes to search out planets with the atmospheric possibility of sustaining life, which are then seeded with microbes and… see what happens! Intriguing…

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/09/qa-should-we-seed-life-alien-worlds

What sort of limits controls should be in place for an effort like this?! Obviously it would take millions of years to evolve, but what would be the appropriate mix of lifeforms, and how would they interact with whatever is there already, whether we know it exists or not?

Imagine a series of planets used to create supercultures:-

  • A planet where the fungi are in charge, allowed to roam and grow to their maximum extent like http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141114-the-biggest-organism-in-the-world
  • An ultra brewery planet, where the yeast run the show and compete to make the best real ale lakes – the trappist yeasts evolve the most complex Tripel fermentation processes, and the tactical nuclear penguin yeasts would increase their resistance to alcohol to develop the strongest of all brews. The temperance yeasts see alcohol as the environmental poison that will eventually end the world (a la CO2 here on earth) – Will they develop policies to minimise fermentation or to accept their boozey planet as a lost cause and send a series of automated probes to spray far off planets with yeast cells 😉
  • The ultimate forest planet, with the untamed evolution of trees – giant redwoods, baobabs and unchecked forest fires, droughts and glaciers to keep the whole thing balanced.

As the article points out, the opportunity is there for humanity to start to make Active contributions to the universe, building on millenia of our passive observations of space.

Its such a blend of science, biological engineering and science fiction and art, that I half wonder if this is an elaborate back plot for an old Star Trek series – giving a future Kirk a bunch of exotic worlds to explore – and maybe, just maybe, a great excuse for a new series of Red Dwarf 😀

EU, Russia and Chatham House

Through a paracetamol addled haze, I am watching Sir Andrew Wood (of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House) giving evidence to the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee regarding the EU and Russia.

On homogenisation of the force of application of EU law:

If you start to play by local rules, you will find out just how many local rules there are.

Continue reading “EU, Russia and Chatham House”

José Mujica on the Concept of Freedom

An interview with the President of Uruaguay who has legalised (via a strictly regulated system) use, limited possession and production of marijuana. Ignoring the underlying topic, there is much potential for discussion around the concept of freedom, the implementation of public policy (‘walk slowly’) and an example of a method of regulating a pre-existing (albeit underground / previously illegal) industry.

What is your conception of freedom?

If i have to take a drug in order to be free, I’m screwed. Freedom is here [taps his head]. Otherwise it doesn’t exist. You can’t buy freedom in little jars. That’s a brutal dependency. Then again I’m old… maybe my outlook on life is old fashioned.

José Mujica, President of Uruaguay, 2014

Nick Glegg’s Garden Cities

The latest solution, is an old idea, to build a wave of garden cities:

Well I think if we return to the old tradition, if you like of Ebenezer Howard, Raymond Onwyn, people who built places like this, beautiful green, settled communities, with the right amenities, the right transport links, places where people want to bring up children, where they want to grow old. I think if we do that (with local support) you can actually stop this endless aggravation around urban sprawl, and instead build on a scale which also helps build the number of homes we need.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, BBC Countryfile 11th August 2014

Winston Churchill – Fear No Foe

“We have surmounted all the perils and endured all the agonies of the past. We shall provide against and thus prevail over the dangers and problems of the future, withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain, fear no foe. All will be well. We have, I believe, within us the life-strength and guiding light by which the tormented world around us may find the harbour of safety, after a storm-beaten voyage.”

       —Winston Churchill, Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, 9 November 1954