A certain number of people like hunters and ranchers use guns for utilitarian purposes. These kinds of guns last forever, since they are usually kept locked away unused.
That leave's "gun culture" as the only market for new guns -- people who already own multiple guns. A lot of the people who participate in that culture probably shouldn't own any guns and might not be given permits in places like Switzerland.
This huge market, driven entirely by gun culture, also makes it easy for mass murderers and violent criminals to obtain these weapons.
Most UFO theories tend to be lacking in imagination. Any beings able to travel between the stars, or even from the outer reaches of our own solar system, are not going to be zipping about in the equivalent of the Jetson family car.
I've personally had some "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," half of them I attribute to my own mental illness, which sometimes includes hallucinations mostly auditory but sometimes visual, especially when I'm not sleeping enough.
Sometimes I've seen stuff that is later explained. I once happened upon a very early pre-dawn test flight of a stealth fighter back when I was prone to running long distances and minor trespasses.
That first encounter registered in my head as another UFO until the aircraft was publicized. I had a few drone aircraft register as UFOs as well. Military things like this, before they were commonplace:
These things look like they are zipping around at incredible speeds if you misjudge the distance. When I saw them they were probably looking at me.
Meh, that's just Hunter. He's crazy and mostly harmless.
The true interstellar visitors don't need spaceships. They already permeate everything, shifting their awareness around according to their incomprehensible whims.
On the macro-scales of the three dimensional universe we live in, faster-than-light travel is simply impossible.
That's a good thing.
There are many other species out there just like us. They don't play well with others.
The speed of light and all the ways to die in space keep us very well quarantined.
Maybe we could train an army of specialists to refurbish and modernize these cities with high speed internet, excellent public transportation, and carbon-free power sources.
Then we could offer them up for homestead, with free water and utilities for a year, no rent or mortgage for two, first dibs to the people actually doing the reconstruction.
Those who don't make the transition to self-sufficiency in two to five years would be offered more conventional publicly subsidized housing and other opportunities.
All the resources required to do this, money and manpower, could be diverted from our overheated military budget.
I don't think it would take a great fraction of those resources to nearly eliminate homelessness and wage slavery in the U.S.A., and it would also create a more welcoming environment for immigrants and refugees whom we need to prevent demographic senescence.
That probably sounds too much like communism to some people. It's actually an investment in our future.
Libertarians like to believe such progress can be accomplished by the "invisible hand of the free market," but it's not happening. Gentrification is not the same thing. For every "winner" in the gentrification game there are more losers -- mostly lower income people who are driven away by high rents and evictions.
He pretty much personifies the lucrative (for him anyways...) kind of false optimism that will destroy what's left of the natural world as we know it. I'm pretty sure he's an apartheid asshole as well.
If we believe wind turbines and solar panels and batteries and electric cars are going to "save the world," we are only deluding ourselves. These will only prolong our dependence on fossil fuels, especially natural gas. In fact, an expansion of these technologies to more humans will only increase the environmental footprint of humanity at large.
Seeing wind turbines on hillsides or at sea, and acres of solar panels growing like cancers on previously undeveloped land, does not give me the warm fuzzies. And there's no way in hell this planet can sustainably support an automobile for every adult human, whether it's electric or not.
Human space exploration does not make me optimistic. I'm fairly certain natural humans won't ever have a significant presence in space beyond low earth orbit. We're just too damned fragile. There have been spectacular advances in computers and robotics since we last sent men to the moon so there's no good reason to send human explorers out into space any more -- it's a waste of resources and humans will only get in the way of actual science.
Robotics make me optimistic.
If we natural humans don't destroy our twenty first world civilization, then it will be our intellectual offspring who colonize this solar system; engineered beings who can safely walk naked on the surface of Mars, or fix a problem on the exterior of a spaceship wearing minimal protective clothing... like putting on a coat before going out into frosty weather, no space suit required. Breathing? What's that?
There are things that make me optimistic. The political and economic empowerment of women, easy access to birth control, and realistic sex education will halt human population growth in its tracks. That's a demonstrated fact.
It delights me every time I hear in ordinary conversation a woman talking about her wife, or a man about his husband.
Durable plastic pipe and sophisticated water treatment systems could bring clean water and indoor plumbing to everyone on earth. Modern treatment plants can turn sewage into irrigation water, or even back into tap water. The sewage that goes down the drain in my house irrigates crops, and some of it gets turned back into tap water. I don't have to feel guilty about my flush toilet. My shits not getting dumped directly into some river or contaminating the groundwater my neighbor drinks.
Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly sophisticated, both in their own right and with the greater availability of products that mimic meat and dairy products. It won't be long now before the most popular and least expensive burger in your favorite fast food place is vegan, the same as the milk you pour on your breakfast cereal. Unless you want to pay extra for the "real thing" which, hopefully, won't be some animal tortured in a factory farm and processed by abused workers.
I think everyone in the world deserves a reliable, affordable, supply of electricity. The way to accomplish that is with nuclear power, which is an established seventy year old technology far less dangerous, kilowatt hour for kilowatt hour, than any fossil fuel. Unlike complicated "renewable" energy schemes, the components of a modern electrical grid are mostly made of iron, aluminum and concrete. These materials last a long time and iron and aluminum are easily recycled when they are no longer serviceable, in a way that the components of various "renewable energy" schemes are not, everything from wind turbine blades, electronic waste, and lithium batteries.
I think small modular nuclear reactors built in factories and shipped to places that need electric power have a very promising future. I like living in a nation that never abandoned this line of research so we won't be dependent on Russia or China for this technology when it becomes clear to the majority of us here in the U.S.A. that the fossil fuel industry must be shut down.
There's no point to being an "optimist" or a "pessimist" if you don't have any clear vision of a viable and sustainable future.
Personally, I seek to crush the optimism of anti-intellectual intolerant religions, climate change deniers, racists, homophobes, libertarian twits, etc.
I'm some kind of Luddite so my opposition to nuclear power was because it works, not because I fear any sort of nuclear wastes or accidents. Fossil fuel wastes and accidents are clearly worse in every measurable way.
Nobody freaks out when a gas explosion levels an entire hotel or neighborhood, the kinds of accidents that happen fairly frequently. But some people are still freaking out about Fukushima, an accident that was caused by a giant tsunami and not any ordinary negligence. The non-nuclear toxins spilled by the tsunami certainly had larger environmental impacts than the nuclear loss of cooling accident, and the death toll of the tsunami itself was unimaginably worse.
"Peak Oil" didn't make me fearful, it made me optimistic that we humans might be forced to live within our means. But that was proven wrong. It's now clear there's enough natural gas in the ground to destroy the natural world as we know it, yet people still think it's a relatively "clean" source of backup power for their renewable energy follies. They say it's "better than coal" and other such nonsense, which is like arguing about the best way to execute prisoners. We're all prisoners.
In recent years I began to think about how dependent we all are on high density energy sources. Even the poorest person living in a slum, someone who can't afford shoes let alone a bicycle, is dependent on high density energy sources for their food and probably their water too, no matter how wretched the quality of that food or water is.
For now most of that high density energy is supplied by fossil fuels. If we don't quit fossil fuels as soon as possible very bad things are going to happen, worse than are happening now.
Nuclear power is the only energy resource capable of displacing fossil fuels entirely.
Watching energy data almost obsessively, all of it readily available on the internet on sites such as CASIO, it's become clear to me that aggressive renewable energy schemes in places like California, Denmark, and Germany have failed, and they won't "save the world." At this assertion affluent renewable energy enthusiasts (who tend to be quite wealthy by world standards) will wave their arms and say something about batteries and other fanciful forms of storage that simply don't exist, and cannot exist, at the necessary scale. Nobody is going to give that guy who can't afford shoes or a bicycle a Tesla Powerwall. But maybe everyone can have safe shelter, clean water, and reliable electricity.
The other argument is that "Perfect is the enemy of good." The problem is hybrid gas/renewable energy systems are not good. If they are widely adopted around the world they will only prolong our dependence on natural gas and probably increase per capita environmental footprints and greenhouse gas emissions as well.
An electric power grid is made out of iron and aluminum. It doesn't require any exotic materials. The dreaded wastes of nuclear power plants, unlike fossil fuels, can be captured and contained indefinitely. There's no energy source capable of supporting all the world's cities and agricultural industries that has a smaller environmental footprint than nuclear power.
There's only one earth and one species of humans who have migrated by land and by sea throughout human history, populating all the continents and major islands except Antarctica thousands of years ago.
All the other concerns about birth rates are based on racism, nationalism, or religion, as expressed by people who believe in some sort of cultural purity, a sort of purity that has never existed even in places like North Korea where dissent is severely punished.
I'd flippantly say the ruling class is fearful of low birth rates because it reduces the number of naive young people they can exploit.
It would be a good thing if human population growth was zero or slightly negative. We humans are exceeding the carrying capacity of our environment.
We can achieve zero population growth by the political and economic empowerment of women, easy access to birth control, and realistic sex education. It's not a coincidence that these are the progressive goals that "conservatives" of many different nationalities and religions oppose.
Profile InformationName: Hunter
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,963
About hunterI'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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