On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 7:50 PM, Lawrence Crowell <
goldenfieldquaterni...@gmail.com> wrote:

​> ​
> *The Dyson sphere is in my opinion one of the dumbest ideas around.*
>

Freeman Dyson
​ is not generally regarded as a stupid man.​


> ​>* ​*
> *Maybe I will qualify that, a solid shell enclosing a star is stupid.*


​Dyson calculated that there was enough matter in the solar system to make
a non-rotating sphere around the sun with a of 93 million mile radius about
3 meters thick. Perhaps you think he said biological humans were suposed to
live on that sphere but he did not, if he had that would indeed have been
stupid for a number of reasons including the fact that by the time it is
built there will no longer be biological humans. A Dyson sphere is just
 a energy collecting device.


*​> ​Gauss told us why. Integrate the gravitational field across a Gaussian
> surface inside your Dyson sphere. What you get is the mass of the star. The
> Dyson sphere does not contribute; it is completely gravitationally
> decoupled from the star.*



​
​
I fail to see why a device would need to be gravitationally coupled to a
star to collect solar energy from that star, in the case of the sun the
energy collected would be
​ ​
385
​ ​
yottawatts, a
​ ​
yottawatt
​ ​
is 10^24 watts.
​ ​
Some
​ ​
have
​ ​
said
​ ​
that instead of a non-rotating Dyson sphere ET might prefer
​ ​
to build
​ ​
trillions of
​
separately
​ ​
orbiting
​solar ​
energy collectors and make a Dyson swarm, but at a distance the two
​ ​
things
​ ​
would look very
​ ​
similar
​. ​

​>* ​*
> *I suspect if there is intelligent life in other corners of the universe
> they probably do not assume control of that much matter and energy. I
> question whether space colonization is really practical. It certainly can't
> be practical if there is no economic justification for it.*


​
Economics will be quite different in the future,
​ ​
once Nanotechnology has been perfected its difficult to imagine something
that
​would be​
 possible to do but very expensive to do.



> * ​> ​We can do loads of science in space with out a single astronaut. *
>

​Absolutely, and do it better! But in a century few humans will be
biological.   .​


> ​> *​*
> *Here I am just talking about the moon and maybe rotating cylindrical
> habitats fashioned from nearby asteroids.*
>

​That has nothing to do with Dyson spheres or anything I'm talking about. ​


​> ​
> *Traversing interstellar distances and building mega structures is may
> orders of magnitude beyond anything we might fashion in the coming 50 or
> 100 years. *
>

​
The universe is 13.8 billion years old and the last star won't burn out for
another 10 trillion years and you think the fact that we can't do something
for 50 years has cosmological implications?

​>
> *I suspect any possible ET on the other side of the Virgo cluster might
> not be that more energetically powerful than we are. Even if they are very
> advanced I suspect limits to growth*
>

​
That could be true only if there is some new law of physics that we know
nothing about that prevents it because unlike time machines or faster than
light travel no new science is needed to make Drexler style Nanotechnology
a reality, it just needs greatly improved technology.
All it would take is the
​ ​
engineering
​ ​
ability to move things with atomic precision,
​ ​
and we know
​ ​
something like
​ i​
t can be done
​ ​
in principle
​ ​
because we have a existence example, life. Admittedly it's
​ ​
very
​ ​
crude version of Drexler style
​ ​
Nanotechnology but it's about as good as you could hope for considering it
was invented by random mutation and natural selection. And life was good
enough to manufacture me, every atom that's in me today came from last
years potatoes, and life was good enough to manufacture last years potatoes
from nothing but water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the air and a few
trace elements from the soil.  Not bad but I have a hunch intelligence can
do
better, one hell of a lot better, and just a few weeks ago there was a
report that makes me think my hunch is correct; somebody made a
25-nanometer-long robotic arm with precise nanoscale movement that is at
least five orders of magnitude faster than anything made before:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/remote-controlled-dna-nanorobots-could-lead-to-the-first-nanorobotic-production-factory



> ​> ​
> *We humans are still drunk with our sense of power in the fossil fuel age.
> If very advanced IGUS do evolve they might not become these galactic
> engineers, but may more in a way like an assembly of philosophers who are
> at peace with the biota on their home planet.*


​If ET wants to make new philosophic discoveries that needs brainpower, and
a Dyson sphere produces a lot of power; information is physical and it
takes energy to manipulate it, but yes, what you say above is
 a very real danger, if ET exists he
​ must be​
a lotus eater with no intellectual curiosity
​ ​
about
​ ​
the universe he lives in.
​ ​
And it's not like it would
​be ​
difficult
​ or expensive to learn more​
,  ET doesn't even need to travel to the stars, ET just needs to send
one Von Neumann probe to one star.
​ ​
Even assuming ET can't send space probes any faster than we can ( a
ridiculously conservative assumption) then almost instantly from a cosmic
perspective (less than 50 million years) the entire Galaxy would be
unrecognizable. It's not as if this would take some huge commitment on the
part of ET's civilization, in fact even a individual could easily do it. If
Von Neumann probes are possible at all, and I can't think why they wouldn't
be, then they're going to be dirt cheap, you buying a bag of peanuts would
be a greater drag on your financial resources. Even if many or even most
ETs think that sending out a
​ ​V
on Neumann probe would be a bad idea there will always be somebody who
disagrees. And it only takes one.

​Although
 I hope not
​,​

​turning into a navel gazer ​
may be the fate of any
​ ​
intelligent conscious
​being ​
if it had full access to its emotional control panel. Regardless of how
well our life is going who among us would for eternity opt out of becoming
just a little bit happier if all it took was turning a knob? And after you
turn it a little bit and see how much better you feel why not turn it
again, perhaps a little more this time. Maybe drug addiction is the first
signs of that very dangerous positive feedback loop. During most of human
existence this was a non-issue but then about 8000 BC alcoholic beverages
were invented, but they were so dilute you'd really have to work at it to
get into trouble. Then about 500 years ago distilled alcoholic beverages
were invented and it became much easier to become a alcoholic. Today we
have many drugs that are far more powerful than alcohol. What happens if
this trend continues exponentially?

Perhaps a
​n​
eternal orgasm will become more important than consuming more and more
energy, and more important than anything else, and more important than
everything else put together. Perhaps the world
​doesn't​
 end in a bang or a whimper but
​with ​
a
​mown​
 of mindless pleasure.
​

John K Clark​


​

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