Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Krugman, Hawking, and Exoplanets

What do these three things have in common? They all pertain to one of my favorite things to think about: getting the hell off this rock.

The first link is to an article by Paul Krugman about how we're running out of resources. He considers the situation from a largely economics-based point of view (which makes sense, given his interests). Here's the last paragraph and change:

But rich countries will face steady pressure on their economies from rising resource prices, making it harder to raise their standard of living. And some poor countries will find themselves living dangerously close to the edge — or over it.

Don’t look now, but the good times may have just stopped rolling.

The second link is to an article from New Scientist magazine about Stephen Hawking's views on human space exploration. And now for the obligatory image of Dr. Hawking that must accompany any mention of his name...

Hawking argues that it is absolutely critical for mankind to expand beyond its current Earthly constraints. His reason for making this assertion is enormously compelling in spite of its straightforward nature:

The renowned University of Cambridge physicist has previously spoken in favor of colonizing space as an insurance policy against the possibility of humanity being wiped out by catastrophes like nuclear war and climate change. He argues that humanity should eventually expand to other solar systems.

A legitimate worry.

End of the World

Or maybe less so...

Pacman Hay

At any rate, the last link is to a website you'll want to keep your eyes on if you, too, want to spread humanity out into the stars.

If, after reading the above linked articles, you think we shouldn't be investing heavily in interplanetary and interstellar technologies, you've got a xenocidal streak in you and you're focusing it on your own species. Not the smartest move, if you ask me.

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