Saturday, February 16, 2013

Economics, What's That?

With the rapid advent of 3D-printing people are starting to be open to thinking through the obvious consequences.  Let's try it.

If you hang out with plants and help them then you are a Grower.

If you are making something with your hands that involves protons and neutrons then you are an Artisan.

If you are making something that can be transmitted through photons and electrons then you are a Designer.

If you are helping people to feel better then you are a Healer.

If you are helping people to grow then you are a Teacher.

I think that just leaves Artist and Scientist?  I'm going to say that both of those roles are concomitant of the others to a greater or lesser degree per ones own personal tastes and nature.
  • Grower
  • Artisan
  • Designer
  • Healer
  • Teacher
  • Artist
  • Scientist 
Every other role will be eliminated or fulfilled by machinery.  Go take out the phone book, if you still have one.  Flip though it and see what I mean, nearly everybody in there is about to made obsolete by automation.

As for the structure of the economy I foresee three "levels" or "strata".

The first layer is made up of locally grown and consumed food and other wholesome organic products.  We'll soon come to our senses and stop messing around with GMO's and other insane techno-fetishes (or we'll all die. It's that simple and stark.)  On the primary physical level we'll live quite close to the way our "stone-age" ancestors did (and no, billions will not have to perish to let it happen) only with nice houses.

That original organic economy will form the basis or substratum for the other two layers.

There will be an "information" layer where most economic activity takes place that involves people creating wealth in digital form.  More than enough has been said about that.

The last layer is relatively sparse and consists of whatever physical transactions are needed to support the two other layers but that are not strictly "of them", meaning non-purely-digital and not ecological or organic.  This involves things like extracting particular elements from the Earth for specific experiments and projects.

My Favorite Superpower

Look, I don't make a big deal about this. In fact, normally I wouldn't mention it.  (It's a bit like having a third nipple: not really embarrassing but one doesn't tend to brag about it.)

The fact of the matter is that I have super-powers. Now, what do I mean by that? Am I being metaphorical, or telling a story for some fictive purpose perhaps, or do I really mean that I have "magical" powers?

It is the latter. I really do have "magical" powers.  I can fly, teleport, turn invisible, all that shit.  I'm immune to poison, disease, fire, cold. I don't need to eat or drink or even breath. I can dissolve my body and re-materialize it, etc., etc., yadda yadda.

Now, none of this matters. The only important thing to know about these "powers" is that they are a distraction.

That is so important that I'll repeat it: Magic powers are a distraction, leave them alone, never-you-mind.

As a side-effect of spiritual attainment you do actually develop crazy cool powers, traditionally called "Siddhis", but they are just another part of Maya (illusion) to be overcome!

And besides, they aren't useful for anything!

(Did you see the movie "Loopers"?  Some people in the future develop telekinesis but all they can do is levitate quarters and such. It's pretty funny.  This is sort of like that but not really.)

What do you think, that I fly through the air down to the corner store to get milk?  People would go ape-shit.

No. I never use any of my super-special mystic abilities.  Except one.

Out of all the fantastic amazing things that my attainment permits me to do, all the wonderful magical powers and fantastic journeys I might undergo, I stay here on Earth and do just one thing, use just one "power".


Friday, February 15, 2013

Inside and Outside

I originally thought of this as part of a fictional "Future History" that I've been toying with for years.  I don't know if I'll ever get to making anything with the stories but I thought this concept was worth enough on it's own to merit a blog post.

This is fictional, obviously, but I see it as very likely and even perhaps inevitable.

In the future (goes this story idea) the surface of the Earth has been divided into two kinds of zones or areas: "Inside" and "Outside".

Inside: Artificial, Safe, Immortal

There is a single city but it's discontinuous, not connected. It's like islands and archipelagos of built area embedded in a "sea" of wild land and water.  The city is ultra-tech, nano and beyond.  People there do not age, or age and rejuvenate as they please.  All the transhumanist techno-utopian dreams are come to fruition within the City.  Barring accidents you live as long as you want and it is Christmas every single day.

Outside: Real, Dangerous, Reproductive

The rest of the world is one giant Nature reserve. All of the oceans and the great majority of the land masses are kept in a Natural state and evolution is permitted to continue without interference from our human institutions within the City.  People live Outside too, in tribes and homesteads, and although there is first aid and basic medicine and surgery, they voluntarily endure the "slings and barbs of outrageous fortune".  Transhuman modifications and forms are not "worn" Outside.  This is also where all new people are conceived, gestated, and born. If you want to have a baby and raise a child you have to go Outside.

This is Humanity's grand compromise with our technology.  In order to maintain a normative baseline, a "control group", for our wild forays into the Transhuman realms Inside we have to permit our own natural evolution to proceed Outside.


I hadn't figured out what form it would take (it's an ongoing story idea I'm still playing with) but there would be some sort of "intake" or "graduation" process for bringing new humans into the City for the first time.  I have no idea, I'm just mentioning it. ^_^

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"You Can Be What You Won't"

I realized I can state my case succinctly and directly because you and I are sentient: you're at least as intelligent and moral as I, and you are self-reflective and exercise some volitional control over your emotional responses, yes?

So:  I will never deliberately harm you or yours, nor do I expect that you would ever seek to harm me or mine.

If ever our interests were to conflict we, being two sentient beings committed to peace and capable of reasonable discourse, would come together and find some reasonable compromise.

Further, if that were somehow impossible I expect we would engage in that polite rivalry proper to sentient beings as to who would be privileged to make the greater sacrifice for whom.

Real humans, sentient humans, aren't mean or even inconsiderate to each other.  They don't fight because fighting is futile.

Above a certain level of intelligence conflict ceases.

And humans are above that level.

That is why I give people such a hard time about being such asshats: I know they could be better than they are.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pausing the Dendrite Network

I'm "pausing" on the Dendrite Network.  I really think it is a great idea but I don't need it personally and so far I am having little luck getting any "traction" with it.

The idea is simple and I've written it up extensively on this blog, and the code is hosted on GitHub for anyone to read, use, and modify.  I will almost certainly maintain the domain and demo server, seems a shame not to, but I'm not going to work on it or try to promote it anymore, at least for a while.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Carrying Things Through the Atmosphere (this is not a Laden Swallow Joke)

If you want to carry things through the atmosphere you need to be light and have a great deal of resistance to air vertically while having little resistance to air horizontally.

Create three kinds of components:
  1. Sails - equilateral triangles of lightweight material.
  2. Tethers - long bits of light, strong line or rope.
  3. Struts - hollow tubes containing controls and sensors, as well as some way of controlling air pressure, preferably using the Magnus effect but it could be propellers or fans.
  1. Build feed lines to construct and feed components to an assembly area at the rate of three struts, three tethers and two sails per time unit.
  2. The struts are placed into a jig that holds them in the correct arrangement.
  3. Sails and tethers are clipped onto the struts forming a triangular tensgresity prism.
  4. The electronics are activated and perform self-test, on green light the kite is launched directly into operational service. It will not touch the ground during its operational lifetime.
  1. The kite-swarm can link together to create kites of great size and lifting capability.
  2. Individual long tethers from each kite are clustered and attached to loads in distributed placement.
  3. There is no theoretical limit to the size of the kite, and therefore the size of the load that may be lifted. Physical limits apply.