Monthly Archives: December 2015

Alternative 3 Called, Wants Its Premise Back

Amazingly, this is not from the Grauniad, the usual home of this category of envy-driven drivel. Unsurprisingly, it’s in Newsweak: ‘Star Wars’ Class Wars: Is Mars the Escape Hatch for the 1 Percent?

The world sucks right now. Terrorism. Climate change. Political acrimony. Nonstop Justin Bieber songs.

2011 is on line two…says it’s calling about its pop-culture references.

It’s nice to know Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have a plan. They will help the richest people in the world go to Mars and start over, leaving the other 99 percent to suffer on a dying, warring planet…

His goal, which he believes is achievable, is to get Mars up to a population of 1 million, which Musk says “is the critical threshold for us as a civilization to not join the potentially large number of one-planet dead civilizations out there.”

And that comment gets to the point about who goes and why. Some will go to seek opportunity, but the quiet assumption is that many will go out of self-preservation. The sad calculus is that the Mars business looks better the worse things get on Earth. And if that’s the case, it’s actually not like moving from Europe to the American colonies in 1700, when things were OK in Europe. It sounds more like escaping a ravaged land to go somewhere safe and start over.

Who will do that? The cost of the flight and setting up on another planet will hover well past the means of almost anyone but the superrich. Where will these wealthy people come from? Most of the space travel companies so far are American. What if those companies take mostly Americans? Will we start a human colony on Mars or an American colony?

It could be worse. It could be a Belgian colony.

What Kevin Maney and other puerile class-warrior types like him never seem to consider as a possibility is that people want to leave Earth not to escape Earth’s problems, but to escape Kevin Maney and other puerile class-warrior types like him.

If Kevin Maney et al were intellectually consistent, they’d actually encourage the superrich evil greedy 1% to leave Earth post haste, as these are the same superrich evil greedy 1% who the same class-warrior types demonize elsewhere as responsible for the very destruction from which these private space colonization efforts are purportedly being organized to escape. The fact that instead they cast aspersions on such efforts, and in some cases demand these efforts to be blocked altogether, suggests that deep down they know that they are incapable of running the place any better than those whose wealth and influence they envy and must therefore stop them from leaving.

Which astute readers will recognize as the premise not of Alternative 3, but Atlas Shrugged.

 

 

The Aliens are Coming! Again…

Fans of big budget, cheesy Sci-Fi will be glad to learn that the first trailer is out for Independence Day: Resurgence.  It’s due in theaters June 2016, and picks up 20 years after the initial attack.  My personal hope is for something more serious than the original.  Roland Emmerich returns to direct, although he and Dean Devlin only get a character credit.  The screenplay is by Carter Blanchard,  James A Woods and Nicholas Wright, all with paper-thin writing credits so it’s hard to know what to expect.

Anyway, the official site has some interesting backstory details that had me intrigued.  First is the alternate timeline.  Picking up in 1996, and anticipating an eventual return by the invaders, the surviving Earthlings have adopted the aliens’ technology and have been preparing.  Apparently we have a Moon base and also bases on Mars and Saturn’s moon Rhea.

Additionally, there is also a reference to the impact of alien technology on consumer gadgets.  That sounded particularly intriguing at first, until I read the details that mention “breakout consumer products that were inspired by alien weaponry – including the touchscreen smartphone, bladeless fans, drones, and airport security scanners”.  OK, that’s as stupid as it is disappointing.

Still, I’ll try to reserve judgment for the final product.  As much as I am hoping for more realistic science fiction like what we were recently treated to with The Martian, I don’t mind the occasional alien shoot-em-up.

Life Imitates Art: Smartphones to AI

According to a new study of 100,000 consumers, mobile technology is expected to be replaced by artificial intelligence

Smartphones to die out ‘within five years’, says new study

It may be a little ahead of schedule (MAs in the Ares universe don’t really become a thing until around 2045, when they emerge from the portabilization of simulacrum intelligence technology developed in the 2020s as search aids for the increasingly garbage-ridden internet), but not far off what we imagined…before the iPhone was even announced.