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Visible Minorities to be majority in 25 years


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Housing prices are determined by what people can afford to pay. If interest rates go down - prices go up. If two people work - prices go up. If mortgage interest is made tax deductible - prices go up.

Here is one reference that talks about this problem.

Definitely, it is simple economics. That looks like an interesting book there, I've definitely seen this argument before in other writings as well.

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Also I never said corporations are evil... but the fact remains that the productivity of workers has gone through the roof in recent decades, but inflation adjusted wages have been comparativly stagnant, and workers recieve a smaller portion of our GDP than ever before.

There was been a steady shift in what gets rewarded in our society away from labor/work towards investment/ownership.

If that is the case, I'm sure much of it has to do simply with the fact that a lot more wealth is created these days through the use of machine labor rather than human labor. 50 years ago a company may have been paying thousands of assembly line workers to build X cars a day, for example. Today, those same X cars require far far fewer workers, and much of the job is done by robots, automated assembly lines, etc. Thus, the person who owns or invests in that company gets to tap into the output of all that automated production, while the worker still gets paid just for what he has done, which is less of the overall job than ever before.

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but the fact remains that the productivity of workers has gone through the roof in recent decades, but inflation adjusted wages have been comparativly stagnant, and workers recieve a smaller portion of our GDP than ever before.
Productivity = output/costs. That means the productivity gains are likely due to the stagnant wage market and increasing wages will cause a drop in productivity.
There was been a steady shift in what gets rewarded in our society away from labor/work towards investment/ownership.
It is supply and demand. There is surplus of labour available in the world but a relative shortage of capital that can be invested. This means wages go down and return on capital goes up. There is nothing that can be down about this until the excess labour in China and India is absorbed into a modern economy.
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Yes, I am most certainly "implying" that. A declining population is a prelude to extinction.

So what? If a population chooses to extinguish itself by not replicating itself, why should you object? Furthermore, if you do object, you do have recourse: Spread your seed (and pay for it).

This is the enviro-suicidal viewpoint that I loathe utterly. First, the planet can sustain many more people than it presently has, through the use of technology. Secondly, we are not permanently limited to just this one planet. Third, letting advanced Western societies and populations die out while third world populations grow faster than ever would not address the issue you see, even if it really was an issue.

I have serious doubts on how much more population the planet can sustain indefinitely. Further, even if the planet can sustain more people, what does that mean to the quality of life for the people on the planet. Does "sustain" to you mean being kept alive, or do you mean having access to adequate resources to have a comfortable existance. No doubt as the population increases we are squeezed into smaller and smaller living quarters and rationed fewer and fewer resources. You believe that we are not permanantly linked to one planet? Maybe, maybe not, but until it is proved that we can easily and economically transport to other planets and can sucessfully sustain life there, that suggestion seems me an illogical one to pin the hopes on for human growth.

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Daycare at workplaces only helps in years 1-4. As soon as the kids need to be in school there is a need for after school care at the schools.

Sure. I'm for that too. I didn't suggest that daycare at workplaces is the be all and end all, just that it would help. I agree that after-school care for younger kids would also help and I'm for that too.

The best solution is a system that encourages one parent to fore go the income and take care of their own kids

I think a mix of policies and programs would be necessary as you can't say "the best" system is equally the best for everyone.

The point is we, as a society, have to make the decision to do that, and so far there's no indication we're willing to forego our bigger TV sets and shiny new SUVs in order to help people raise children.

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Ultimately it is about lifestyle choices. Families that have one parent stay home reduce their expectations in terms housing/vehicles/vacations. That is why I see subsidied daycare as nothing but a wealth transfer from people that are willing to reduce their expectations to raise their kids to those that refuse to reduce their expections.

There is always going to be some of that in any program. I'm paying money for the increased health care costs of people who deliberately abuse their bodies. Why should I? I'm paying pogey to people who were too lazy to get a proper education or learn a valued job skill. Why should I? Any program which gives money to people will reward both the deserving and the undeserving. There's really no getting around it. The best one can say about subsidizing day care is that it's good for society as a whole to have affordable daycare - or some alternative, such as subsidizing people to stay home.

And it's more likely to be a wealth transfer tax from people who aren't having kids, or are having 1 kid say, because they don't WANT to make sacrifices, to those who have three or four.

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I have serious doubts on how much more population the planet can sustain indefinitely. Further, even if the planet can sustain more people, what does that mean to the quality of life for the people on the planet. Does "sustain" to you mean being kept alive, or do you mean having access to adequate resources to have a comfortable existance. No doubt as the population increases we are squeezed into smaller and smaller living quarters and rationed fewer and fewer resources.

A fallacy, resources are not some pre-set, limited, quantity, that must be "rationed" between members of a population. Resources are created through work and ingenuity and the use of technology. Resources that we did not even know existed several decades or centuries ago now fuel major parts of our society. As progress continues, so to will new resources be discovered and utilized. For one, we are not using even a tiny fraction of the energy deposited on the Earth constantly by the Sun. The total energy usage of human civilization equates to approximately 0.012% of the energy deposited on Earth by the Sun. Secondly, there are other energy sources which could provide even more energy to our civilization, as needed. Given enough energy, any other necessary resources can be synthesized.

You believe that we are not permanantly linked to one planet? Maybe, maybe not, but until it is proved that we can easily and economically transport to other planets and can sucessfully sustain life there, that suggestion seems me an illogical one to pin the hopes on for human growth.

Us expanding beyond this planet and colonizing other places is no less inevitable than the Europeans sailing across the sea to America.

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Third, letting advanced Western societies and populations die out while third world populations grow faster than ever would not address the issue you see, even if it really was an issue.
Advanced western societies will not die out. Their composition will simply shift from one of largely white to a mixture of different races. 100 years from now the population will likely look a lot like what the Hispanic population looks like today. The only thing we need to worry about is ensuring that the immigrants we bring here share the our values and that requires we be a lot more selective about the countries we allow immigrants from. Edited by TimG
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Us expanding beyond this planet and colonizing other places is no less inevitable than the Europeans sailing across the sea to America.
Ok. Why don't you dig up some stats on the cost of sending a ship across the Atlantic in the 1600s to the cost of launching a shuttle today. I suspect the cost difference after adjusting for inflation is at least an order of magnitude more.

The other problem is time. It took a month or so to cross the Atlantic. It would take decades to reach the nearest star (assuming it had a habitable planet). This means there is no room for trial-and-error learning.

Then you have the disease problem. i.e. even if another earth-like planet could be found it is quite likely that the various microbes would be lethal to humans.

The only way humans will get into space is if they figure out a way to build self-sustaining space craft that will simply orbit the sun or sit on the surface of uninhabital planets like Mars.

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A fallacy, resources are not some pre-set, limited, quantity, that must be "rationed" between members of a population. Resources are created through work and ingenuity and the use of technology. Resources that we did not even know existed several decades or centuries ago now fuel major parts of our society. As progress continues, so to will new resources be discovered and utilized. For one, we are not using even a tiny fraction of the energy deposited on the Earth constantly by the Sun. The total energy usage of human civilization equates to approximately 0.012% of the energy deposited on Earth by the Sun. Secondly, there are other energy sources which could provide even more energy to our civilization, as needed. Given enough energy, any other necessary resources can be synthesized.

No. Not all resources are unlimited. Are you planning on making more land?

Since you are convinced that a magical supply of resources are available, why not wait until they are PROVED available before encouraging reproduction. I assure you that even if we do nothing to encourage population growth, it will be a LONG, LONG time before our population dwindles to zero.

Us expanding beyond this planet and colonizing other places is no less inevitable than the Europeans sailing across the sea to America.

You saying so, doesn't make it so. Is your view of human evolution that we trash this planet, then move on to the next one, indefinitely?

----------------------------

You avoid answering the fundamental question, If a population will itself into non-existance, why should you object?

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Ok. Why don't you dig up some stats on the cost of sending a ship across the Atlantic in the 1600s to the cost of launching a shuttle today. I suspect the cost difference after adjusting for inflation is at least an order of magnitude more.

Major expeditions across the Atlantic in the late 1400s and 1500s when they were first beginning, cost just as much if not more relative to the available economic output of the nations that sponsored them than space exploration does today. Look up the stats yourself.

The other problem is time. It took a month or so to cross the Atlantic.

Yes, it took a few months for some of those first expeditions. Quite comparable with the timescale that it would take to reach Mars.

It would take decades to reach the nearest star (assuming it had a habitable planet). This means there is no room for trial-and-error learning.

Of course there is room for trial and error. Unlike the early days of the colonization of the Americas, we can now send out robotic probes to explore, study, and prepare for the eventual coming of humans. Furthermore, going to other star systems is not yet needed when we have not even begun to use a minute fraction of the resources available in the solar system.

Then you have the disease problem. i.e. even if another earth-like planet could be found it is quite likely that the various microbes would be lethal to humans.

You are making a lot of assumptions here about the exobiology... many of which are likely false.

The only way humans will get into space is if they figure out a way to build self-sustaining space craft that will simply orbit the sun or sit on the surface of uninhabital planets like Mars.

Mars may be uninhabitable in the sense that you cannot live on its surface unprotected, but it has all the resources that are needed for technological human civilization, living in pressurized habitats. This is also true of many of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And, as you said it yourself, orbiting colonies are also an option, they can extract resources from asteroids and comets without having to fly into and out of gravity wells. Furthermore, in the long term, terraforming offers the prospect of turning several of the bodies in the solar system into habitable bodies.

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No. Not all resources are unlimited. Are you planning on making more land?

People are already making more land all around the world. Filling in the coasts along seas and oceans to expand cities is a practice that has been going on for a long time. Furthermore, there are vast tracts of land that are not in use. Third, we can build vertically (both up and down) many times more than we have been doing so far.

Since you are convinced that a magical supply of resources are available, why not wait until they are PROVED available before encouraging reproduction. I assure you that even if we do nothing to encourage population growth, it will be a LONG, LONG time before our population dwindles to zero.

The discovery of new resources, and progress in general, happens a lot quicker when fueled by necessity.

You saying so, doesn't make it so. Is your view of human evolution that we trash this planet, then move on to the next one, indefinitely?

No, my view of human evolution is that our population continues to grow over countless millenia, both on Earth and on billions of other worlds that we settle throughout the galaxy, as we expand outward at a speed growing ever closer to the speed of light. My prediction is that unless we destroy ourselves or encounter alien intelligences that thwart our expansion, the human-machine civilization will span the entirety of our galaxy within 200,000 years.

You avoid answering the fundamental question, If a population will itself into non-existance, why should you object?

It should be obvious, because I am a member of that population, and do not want myself or my descendants to cease to exist.

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Major expeditions across the Atlantic in the late 1400s and 1500s when they were first beginning, cost just as much if not more relative to the available economic output of the nations that sponsored them than space exploration does today.
So where are the analyses that support this claim?
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People are already making more land all around the world. Filling in the coasts along seas and oceans to expand cities is a practice that has been going on for a long time. Furthermore, there are vast tracts of land that are not in use. Third, we can build vertically (both up and down) many times more than we have been doing so far.

Again, what this shows is that we are being crammed into existing space. Being packed into tighter and tighter spaces is not my definition of being "sustained", and if it is yours, it is not the kind of existance I would want for myself nor for my decendants.

The discovery of new resources, and progress in general, happens a lot quicker when fueled by necessity.

Ah, so your solution is to create a miserable overcrowded existance so the inhabitants have no choice but to innovate or perish? Sounds like a great plan.

No, my view of human evolution is that our population continues to grow over countless millenia, both on Earth and on billions of other worlds that we settle throughout the galaxy, as we expand outward at a speed growing ever closer to the speed of light. My prediction is that unless we destroy ourselves or encounter alien intelligences that thwart our expansion, the human-machine civilization will span the entirety of our galaxy within 200,000 years.

It sounds remarkably like an infestation, with the only real difference between any other infestation by an unwanted pest is the species involved and the scale of the destruction.

It should be obvious, because I am a member of that population, and do not want myself or my descendants to cease to exist.

It is not obvious, because I too am a member and I don't share that POV. I am indifferent as to whether or not the human race continues to exist.

Well, as I've said you are not being forced to cease to exist nor are your descendants. You are free to procreate to the extent of your ability to support that procreation. Why interfere with the choice of others NOT to procreate or ask them to financially support your choice?

Edited by Renegade
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Im not sure thats necessarily true. 20 years ago a family with a single income lived pretty well, could afford to eat, own a home, etc. The problem is that workers are getting an ever shrinking slice of the pie and we have become corporate bitches to the point where now almost our entire lives revolve around earning an income, which has not even come close to keeping up with our record productivity as workers.

I would personally like to live in a country where it was possible for a family of four to live comfortably on one income.

I most definitely feel the same way as you regarding this issue. This to me this is the biggest underlying reason for population declines in developed nations and even though I am all for progression to have every person capable of holding a job actually working is a pipe dream. We don't consume now everything that is produced. 2 separate issues but they do overlap. A better landscape in my mind includes one parent at home and one working.

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The other problem is time. It took a month or so to cross the Atlantic. It would take decades to reach the nearest star (assuming it had a habitable planet). This means there is no room for trial-and-error learning.

Decades. Try tens of thousands of years with current technology just to reach Alpha Centauri, a mere 4.2 light year hop. We do not have the means of generating the power to reach relativistic speeds that would make the nearest stars reachable even in a few centuries. Even if we master speeds that are relativistic fractions of the speed of light, that still means neighboring stars would decades or centuries away, enough perhaps for colonization, but that would not duplicate the key aspects that made the Age of Colonization successful, namely trade with the mother countries, which began happening as the colonies grew larger and created surpluses of various goods.

Let's say, somehow, we manage to build space craft that can move at 10% of C (a fantastical speed really). That still means the nearest stars with potentially habitable planets are still sixty or seventy years travel. Even communication would be a stilted affair, someone living on a planet in the Alpha Centauri would have a four year delay between sending a message and getting a response. The costs and energies required to actually send back raw or manufactured products to Earth, to create that necessary cycle of trade that made the colonies in the Americas so successful, would be extremely difficult to sustain.

Such colonies would serve but one purpose, the more altruistic purpose of seeding humans elsewhere. Those colonists would have to be, much more so than any European colony in the Americas ever was, self-sufficient. There could be no regular shipments of new supplies, no easy communication (16th century postal delivery between a colony and the mother country would be an unimaginable luxury in such a situation), indeed no meaningful links with Earth at all. It would be a colonization wholly different, and it's hard to imagine anyone, even if we got to that level of technology, investing the kinds of money involved to produce such ships.

Of course, if we discover some meaningful way to travel faster than light, well, that would be a game changer, but barring that I think it will be many generations before we send humans to the stars. Heck, we have to first find something approaching a habitable world first, though that technology will probably be in our hands within the next decade or so. But finding a world with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and oceans 100 lightyears away doesn't make going there any simpler or more likely.

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I most definitely feel the same way as you regarding this issue. This to me this is the biggest underlying reason for population declines in developed nations and even though I am all for progression to have every person capable of holding a job actually working is a pipe dream. We don't consume now everything that is produced. 2 separate issues but they do overlap. A better landscape in my mind includes one parent at home and one working.

But this trend predates the entry of women in the workforce. The slowing of population growth certainly began in Western Europe and in particular England prior to the 20th century, several centuries prior to it. You see the smaller family units in England with the Puritans, for instance, way back in the 17th century, and you can pretty much trace the nuclear family back to that period. Maybe women in the workforce has accelerated the process, but realistically, the smaller family units going back to at least the Industrial Revolution is generally recognized as one of the major social changes that lead to the creation of the Middle Class. People with fewer children were more able to accumulate a savings, to buy property and consumer goods, and that was in full swing by the end of the 18th century, a long time before women entered the workforce in a major way during WWI and WWII.

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Such colonies would serve but one purpose, the more altruistic purpose of seeding humans elsewhere. Those colonists would have to be, much more so than any European colony in the Americas ever was, self-sufficient.
A self contained society living for generations in a space ship would likely adapt to life on the ship and no longer be able or willing to set foot on a planet when they did get there.
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Decades. Try tens of thousands of years with current technology just to reach Alpha Centauri, a mere 4.2 light year hop. We do not have the means of generating the power to reach relativistic speeds that would make the nearest stars reachable even in a few centuries. Even if we master speeds that are relativistic fractions of the speed of light, that still means neighboring stars would decades or centuries away, enough perhaps for colonization, but that would not duplicate the key aspects that made the Age of Colonization successful, namely trade with the mother countries, which began happening as the colonies grew larger and created surpluses of various goods.

Current technologies are not the end all of technology, and current limitations are not set in stone. Not long ago, it was thought impossible to fly. Not much later, it was thought impossible to cross the sound barrier. Now, both are routine.

To reach low relativistic speeds, a fusion power source is all that is required. This technology already exists, in the form of thermonuclear weapons. Harnessing it for use in propulsion is a matter of engineering, in fact, precisely the type of engineering I am working on.

To achieve high relativistic speeds (90-99% of c), the only currently known energy source that could viably allow this is antimatter. Current technology makes the production of antimatter prohibitively expensive, but there is continued and accelerating progress in the field of antimatter production and storage. Who is to say that in a few decades or centuries antimatter spaceships will not be a reality?

Let's say, somehow, we manage to build space craft that can move at 10% of C (a fantastical speed really). That still means the nearest stars with potentially habitable planets are still sixty or seventy years travel.

You are more or less correct for the 10% of C case. But consider instead a craft that can move at 99% of C. This craft has a time dilation factor of ~7. Let's say this craft is traveling to a star system 20 light years away. From the Earth's point of view, the journey takes 20.2 years at the 99% C velocity. But from the point of view of an observer aboard the spacecraft, the journey takes only 2.9 years due to the time dilation. That is already quite a reasonable timespan for a crew and colonists to go on a journey, and the time dilation factor only grows more rapidly as one approaches the speed of light. From the point of a space craft's crew, a 100 light year journey at 0.99999c would take only 5 months.

Can we achieve these velocities? Not today, not with the technology that we can build. But already the technology that could provide high relativistic velocities can be remotely envisioned. And if it can be envisioned, and it does not violate the laws of physics, history tells us it will one day be achieved.

By the way, your 10% C spacecraft can already be designed in quite some detail. It can be propelled by a fission-electric rocket or a nuclear pulse detonation engine, though with a very tiny payload fraction.

Even communication would be a stilted affair, someone living on a planet in the Alpha Centauri would have a four year delay between sending a message and getting a response. The costs and energies required to actually send back raw or manufactured products to Earth, to create that necessary cycle of trade that made the colonies in the Americas so successful, would be extremely difficult to sustain.

True, besides the raw communication of pure information, the colonies would have to be more or less self sufficient. But consider that a vast portion of our economy is already concerned simply with the transfer of information. The production of physical goods constitutes a shrinking portion of our economy, and by the time we have the technology to launch us on interstellar journeys, synthesis of physical goods will be so simple that the mere notion of interstellar transport of such goods would seem ludicrous.

Such colonies would serve but one purpose, the more altruistic purpose of seeding humans elsewhere. Those colonists would have to be, much more so than any European colony in the Americas ever was, self-sufficient. There could be no regular shipments of new supplies, no easy communication (16th century postal delivery between a colony and the mother country would be an unimaginable luxury in such a situation), indeed no meaningful links with Earth at all. It would be a colonization wholly different, and it's hard to imagine anyone, even if we got to that level of technology, investing the kinds of money involved to produce such ships.

Of course it would be different, but it would serve the greatest purpose of all, to assure the continued survival of the human civilization. Like I said, shipment of physical supplies would be irrelevant by that point. A spacecraft with a large fission and fusion reactor onboard can, in principle, synthesize any materials that it could possibly need, through a process of artificial nucleosynthesis, a technique which we already have some experience with. All it would need is base material like hydrogen, easily gathered from gas giants or stars in any solar system, or even from the tenuous interstellar medium as the vessel travels through it at a high velocity.

Of course, if we discover some meaningful way to travel faster than light, well, that would be a game changer, but barring that I think it will be many generations before we send humans to the stars. Heck, we have to first find something approaching a habitable world first, though that technology will probably be in our hands within the next decade or so. But finding a world with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and oceans 100 lightyears away doesn't make going there any simpler or more likely.

I agree it will be "many generations", as in, perhaps a century or two (though the concept of generations will have little meaning by then). Traveling faster than light would certainly solve many issues. There are some intriguing hints in the fields of general relativity, cosmology, and quantum mechanics that such travel, or at least communication may be possible. For example, space can be curved, as it is near massive objects. Such curvature can be exploited by a sufficiently advanced civilization. From constructing artificial wormholes linking distant points with much shorter passages through space, to the use of Alcubierre warp drives, to other possibilities that we have yet to imagine. Of course at this stage these are basically science fiction even if there are some inklings of such possibilities in real science.

But the beauty of it is, faster than light travel it is not required. Even without FTL, after the first interstellar colonies are sent out, continued expansion is inevitable. After a world is first settled by humans, it would likely take less than a thousand years before that world has its own civilization of billions of entities, ready to send out its own colonies. Our interstellar civilization could follow such a pattern of exponential growth, with progressive waves of colonies sending out their own colony ships, until we inhabit the whole galaxy. And by that time of course we will have technologies that will allow us to attempt intergalactic travel.

Edited by Bonam
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Of course, my personal reason for limiting population is I like elbow room (sic). I have lived in densely populated countries and it is not pleasant. IOW, the argument about whether we can support an endlessly increasing population is less important that the question of why would we want to?

Edited by TimG
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A self contained society living for generations in a space ship would likely adapt to life on the ship and no longer be able or willing to set foot on a planet when they did get there.

A human colony sent to another star system at non-relativistic velocities would not possibly work this way. The mass and cost of a generation ship would be overwhelmingly immense compared to any other colonization scheme. There are much more effective ways to deliver a human colony to another world. For example, humans preserved in cryonic sleep, a technology whose problems will likely be resolved in the next few decades. Another option is simply to send frozen human embryos or DNA, to be placed in artificial maturation chambers and attended by robotic servants, which would teach the first generation of humans thus created what they need to know to create their society.

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How many non-japanese are in Japan (second largest economy in the world)? How many non-chinese is China taking in (with its red hot economy)?

The population of Japan is four times the population of Canada, but Japan is just a small island not larger than a province of Canada and almost without any natural resources.

China is as big as Canada, but its population is 40 times more than Canadian.

If Canada had 1.4 billion population, I doubt there would still have many immigrants coming regardless how hot its economy is.

In fact China had begun to grant permanent residency to foreigners since 2004.

Interview: How to get a China green card

Shanghai expat Sam Flemming, CEO of an internet consulting firm here in China, recently became the first person we knew to get a green card! While the China "green card" system has been in place since around the turn of the century, the rules for obtaining permanent residency were loosened early last year.

If you came my home town Beijng, you would find there are a lot of white and black guys lounging around in the downtown and most of them are not tourists. Of course, it seems no one applies P.R.China citizenship, because no one knows the use of a citizenship without the right to vote. :P

Edited by xul
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To reach low relativistic speeds, a fusion power source is all that is required. This technology already exists, in the form of thermonuclear weapons. Harnessing it for use in propulsion is a matter of engineering, in fact, precisely the type of engineering I am working on.

We do not have fusion reactors capable of the kind of propulsion you're talking about. Such reactors are certainly foreseeable at some not so far-off point. Other technologies, like the Bussard ramjet, may also become a reality within the coming decades, but are still essentially on-paper designs with a good deal of technical work and innovation to bring them online. But low relativistic speeds are still not going to deliver you the necessary speeds to duplicate the colonization-trade loop that existed, particularly by the end of the 16th century (and earlier if you count the Spaniards pumping gold out of Central and South America and all the fishing that went on).

To achieve high relativistic speeds (90-99% of c), the only currently known energy source that could viably allow this is antimatter. Current technology makes the production of antimatter prohibitively expensive, but there is continued and accelerating progress in the field of antimatter production and storage. Who is to say that in a few decades or centuries antimatter spaceships will not be a reality?

Now you get dangerously close to invoking magic here. The amount of energy to even propel a few grams of matter to .9c and above is astronomical. Frankly, even .1c is pure science fiction right now, it will take innovations in production of energy far beyond anything we have right now, and from what I can tell most researchers feel that it borders almost on magic to think we will be doing that any time in the foreseeable future. By comparison, the innovations necessary to change the coast-hugging seacraft the Portuguese had been using to go down the African coast and up into the Indian Ocean are modest. We're talking about some sort of energy production process capable of moving very large (thousands, tens of thousands of tons) of mass at speeds that represent a substantial fraction of c. I'm almost with Larry Niven on this one, something like a Bussard ramjet would probably be the way to go, though its usefulness is greatly dependent on a number of assumptions which are not easily answerable at this point.

You are more or less correct for the 10% of C case. But consider instead a craft that can move at 99% of C. This craft has a time dilation factor of ~7. Let's say this craft is traveling to a star system 20 light years away. From the Earth's point of view, the journey takes 20.2 years at the 99% C velocity. But from the point of view of an observer aboard the spacecraft, the journey takes only 2.9 years due to the time dilation. That is already quite a reasonable timespan for a crew and colonists to go on a journey, and the time dilation factor only grows more rapidly as one approaches the speed of light. From the point of a space craft's crew, a 100 light year journey at 0.99999c would take only 5 months.

The reason to get to a healthy fraction of c is as much dilation effects as it is the length of time. But to be perfectly blunt, I think 99% of c is all but impossible. It's science fiction bordering on magic. As I said above even .1c is a pretty incredible speed that would require some pretty amazing energy production methods, but considering the physical constraints that going to very large fractions of the speed of light impose, I find it unlikely. Besides, if we could, in a self-contained reactor of some kind, produce that kind of energy, we'd probably be very far along to creating the sorts of exotic matter necessary for hypothetical stable wormholes, so wasting it on making a spaceship go really really fast would seem pretty frivolous. But when invoking technologies that border on magical by our own physics allows for all sorts of "predictions".

Of course it would be different, but it would serve the greatest purpose of all, to assure the continued survival of the human civilization. Like I said, shipment of physical supplies would be irrelevant by that point. A spacecraft with a large fission and fusion reactor onboard can, in principle, synthesize any materials that it could possibly need, through a process of artificial nucleosynthesis, a technique which we already have some experience with. All it would need is base material like hydrogen, easily gathered from gas giants or stars in any solar system, or even from the tenuous interstellar medium as the vessel travels through it at a high velocity.

And again you dip into almost magical fields. yes, in theory, but in reality the fine control and energies required are far beyond our reach, and one wonders if we reach that point that we might find more interesting uses than making ships go really really fast.

I agree it will be "many generations", as in, perhaps a century or two. Traveling faster than light would certainly solve many issues. There are some intriguing hints in the fields of general relativity, cosmology, and quantum mechanics that such travel, or at least communication may be possible. For example, space can be curved, as it is near massive objects. Such curvature can be exploited by a sufficiently advanced civilization. From constructing artificial wormholes linking distant points with much shorter passages through space, to the use of Alcubierre warp drives, to other possibilities that we have yet to imagine. Of course at this stage these are basically science fiction even if there are some inklings of such possibilities in real science.

Most physicists tend to view these as interesting abstract solutions that might not having anything to do with reality. We have a long way to go before we can determine whether any of these hypothetical solutions to GR problems actually represent real physical solutions. The same goes with more exotic solutions that stem out of potential unions of GR and QM (like gravity drives).

But the beauty of it is, faster than light travel it is not required. Even without FTL, after the first interstellar colonies are sent out, continued expansion is inevitable. After a world is first settled by humans, it would likely take less than a thousand years before that world has its own civilization of billions of entities, ready to send out its own colonies. Our interstellar civilization could follow such a pattern of exponential growth, with progressive waves of colonies sending out their own colony ships, until we inhabit the whole galaxy. And by that time of course we will have technologies that will allow us to attempt intergalactic travel.

Or alternatively none of the solutions ever pan out; there is no more reason to assume that any of the obnoxious restraints that our understandings of the laws of physics seem to put on travel will ever in fact be solvable. I'm not trying to sound pessimistic. I'd love for their to be an easy to go to the stars, but the general consensus right now seems to be that making even modest amounts of normal matter move at substantial fractions of the speed of light would require amounts of energy far beyond any reasonable capability even in the medium term. Obviously you can never really project the future direction of technological advancement (it only really becomes obvious in retrospect), but even creating fusion reactors of even modest efficiency has proven a far more complex problem than at first envisioned, and for no lack of funding, and it seems to me that getting not just modestly efficient fusion working is important, you would need wildly efficient fusion. As to anti-matter reactors, that seems really sciency-fictiony at the moment, producing anti-matter in any quantity itself be a tricky problem with no obvious solution.

But ask me again in 200 years and I'm sure I'll look as dumb as the guy who said "Who will ever need more than 640k?"

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But ask me again in 200 years and I'm sure I'll look as dumb as the guy who said "Who will ever need more than 640k?"
I can't find the calculations now but it would apparenly take 5 million years for a species to visit all stars in the galaxy with slow space ships. It follows that if it were possible then at least one species would have found earth in the last 1 billion years yet we have no evidence unless we presume that they died out or that we are the offspring of that species. Edited by TimG
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But this trend predates the entry of women in the workforce. The slowing of population growth certainly began in Western Europe and in particular England prior to the 20th century, several centuries prior to it. You see the smaller family units in England with the Puritans, for instance, way back in the 17th century, and you can pretty much trace the nuclear family back to that period. Maybe women in the workforce has accelerated the process, but realistically, the smaller family units going back to at least the Industrial Revolution is generally recognized as one of the major social changes that lead to the creation of the Middle Class. People with fewer children were more able to accumulate a savings, to buy property and consumer goods, and that was in full swing by the end of the 18th century, a long time before women entered the workforce in a major way during WWI and WWII.

Hi, ok I can agree with this and thank-you for expanding my understanding of this situation. I had not thought of what created the middle class and how it affected this situation. Makes sense what you say about it. Basically it all boils down to standard of living be it monetary standard or personal freedom standard or religious standard. I wonder if general abstinence was also a part of the reason for Puritans to have smaller families.

I have to wonder if in part Harper's stance on abortion has to do with the declining population issues. IMO if it is, it would be a very poor example of a remedy. No better than a religious reasoning for being anti-abortion.

What a crazy world eh?

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