Saturday, August 13, 2011

Looking to the future

- "To make mankind great again, push to Mars" - an update from the new Mars Society meeting. I think getting to Mars isn't going to be elusive for very long, and it's likely going to be accomplished by Elon Musk. This isn't like interstellar travel. While there are a lot of risks involved, it's not like the technology to do this is beyond our capability. The bigger question mark for me is what happens after man walks on Mars. Is there going to be a colonization effort or not?

- Daron Acemoglu has a good post focusing our attention on growth in the midst of all these cyclical concerns. A lot of the attention has been on what Acemoglu says about patents but there are other good things in there too.

- This week I read a fun Paul Krugman article from 1996 called "White Collar Turns Blue", which is written as if he were looking back on the late 20th century from the vantage point of 2096. There's lots of good material in there on labor market trends especially.


  1. There will be a colonization effort if there is a reason for one; currently there is no reason for one. I compare trying to colonize Mars not to the effort to colonize the Americas by Europeans (which is the model that everyone who likes the idea uses - because the colonization was "successful" fairly quickly) but to the effort scratch out colonies in sub-Saharan Africa prior to the advent of quinine. Or alternatively the effort by Vikings to colonize North America. People are always looking to past successes and not failures when it comes to space exploration; that makes it sound like boosterism to me, and not some sort of reasoned plan.

  2. Instead of going to Mars, we could prepare for a non-existent alien threat:

    Dennis Baker


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