20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:08 pm

`20171202 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 25 Paragraph 1

Section: The best way for the world to end

In this section, Dr. Dartnell narrows the range of possible futures for which “The Knowledge” might be most helpful.

The paragraph that begins: “The problem is ...” reminds the reader that there is a risk that in the event of a global catastrophe, human survivors might revert to a “hunter-gatherer lifestyle”.

While “The Knowledge” will attempt to find a remedy for this risk through conventional means, I am interested in building upon Dr. Dartnell's careful exposition to try to work out how this risk can be mitigated by carrying our already sophisticated technology just a BIT further, so that a comparatively small community can sustain what we consider in 2017 to be comfortable living at a first world level.

As I have said before in this thread, reaching this goal would help communities who would set out to not only survive but thrive in locations away from Earth.

The key (as I am seeing the future now) is advancement of 3D Printing to approach the performance anticipated by “Star Trek”'s replicating machine, but I do not anticipate the speed of assembly of atoms one at a time to proceed more rapidly than nature shows us today, in living structures which assemble themselves an atom at a time. Nature can assemble an apple over the course of a few weeks, and an oak tree over several decades. Nature certainly uses parallel processing, and I would expect practical atom assemblers to do the same.

There appeared in a recent news item in the Internet feed to the effect that researchers at an academic institution have experimented with use of multiple laser beams to achieve much faster “assembly” speeds than has been achieved with a single laser beam. The medium is a transparent fluid capable of fusing into a solid under the influence of a laser beam of sufficient strength. The breakthrough demonstrated by the research team is to employ multiple lasers at a strength less that that needed to fuse the liquid material. The combination of multiple under-strength laser beams is able to fuse the material. I would guess that similar ingenuity will permit faster assembly of individual atoms than Nature demonstrates, but there is a distinct advantage to a slower assembly speed.

Thus, as the future is revealing itself to me right now, there would be an opportunity for citizens of a comparatively small community to own “manufacturing” facilities capable of assembling a complex electronic object such as a smart phone, or a simple tool such as a wrench, or a batch of useful material such as thread for weaving or metal thread for electronic wiring. The programming of these machines would be comparable in style to programming for 3D printers today, but (I admit) far more challenging. Thus, there would be plenty of opportunity for some members of the community to specialize in programming, while others specialize in producing particular kinds of objects or materials.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:22 am

`20171209 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 25 Paragraph 2

Section: The best way for the world to end

In this section, Dr. Dartnell narrows the range of possible futures for which “The Knowledge” might be most helpful.

In Paragraph 2, I find a useful estimate of 10,000 people for a potentially viable community. While Dr. Dartnell's scenario is for a recovery after a global disaster, I remain most interested in the relatively near term outlook for a community on Mars or the Moon. At the same time, it seems to me worth considering how a test community might be established on Earth, to simulate life in an environment remote from Earth, by limiting trade to information.

As Edward B. Lerner imagines in his series “InterstellarNet” it is quite reasonable to suppose there will be a thriving commerce of information between planet based communities and those located in other situations that make sense to the inhabitants.

Dr. Dartnell proposes a population of 10,000 for his scenario. I estimate that 100,000 is a more realistic population if the goal is to attempt to reproduce a “first world” environment for citizens, because of the immensity of knowledge and skill we take for granted in our multi-billion person world, and even then the “veneer of civilization” would be thin.

I note with interest Dr. Dartnell's caveat in Paragraph 2, that the 10,000 he proposes would need to be able to “work peacefully together”.

Human nature being what it is, I find this to be a significant qualification.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:19 pm

20171216 Reference #1 Page 26 Paragraph 1

The title of this section is: "Recolonization by Nature"

I looked in the table of contents and references, and did not find the History Channel videos listed, and the Forum software refuses to search for "common words" like history or channel.

It is possible someone has already posted about the series "Life After People"

I've had a chance to see a number of the videos. Apparently they are available at http://www.history.com.

A Google search for "life-after-people" turned up a Wikipedia article and citations for a TV movie of 2008, and the TV series of 2009.

***
The current issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is the November/December 2017 issue, Volume CXXXVII Nos. 11 & 12

The issue contains a novella by author Catherine Wells.

The story has an apocalypse theme, which is compatible (in my view at least) with Dr. Dartnell's project.

Ms. Wells provides an interesting juxtaposition of two quite dissimilar human cultures which have survived a global catastrophe in the vicinity of Kitt Peak in Arizona, of what would have been the United States some time before the story unfolds.

A group of scientists and technicians are clustered around the Kitt Peak observatory complex, although the observing mission has long ago ended, and the survivors are occupied trying to preserve what high technology they have, and to re-create some they do not, such as medicines.

A group of people who might be Native Americans are residing in an area at a lower elevation. The group is reduced from 4,000 to just about 50 people, after a flood event, and the survivors are committed to living off the land as their ancestors did.

The story brings the two groups together, and sets up the possibility of a follow up story if Ms. Wells is so inclined, or it sets up an opportunity for the reader to exercise imagination on how a follow up might develop.

Dr. Dartnell does not attempt to discuss issues of leadership of human groups, or details of how decisions would be made about division of labor and concentration of skill sets, so it is good to see Ms. Well take on these challenges.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:37 am

20171223 Reference #1 Page 26 Paragraph 2

The title of this section is: "Recolonization by Nature"

This thread is building upon the foundation provided by "The Knowledge". In this paragraph, it seems to me that Dr. Dartnell is creating a vision of a scenario which might be most likely in a temperate climate. The extent of natural growth is likely to be greater in tropical environments and less in dry or cold. The extent of natural recovery from human insult is evident in the cities created by the Inca in South America, and of their neighbor cultures of the time, whose remnants are still being discovered with such tools as space satellites.

On the other hand, structures made of fired brick are likely to persist for centuries in desert regions.

Science fiction writers have on more than one occasion blended observations into their stories about times after humans have come and gone, that areas where pavement is covered over with detritus are never-the-less distinguishable because roots cannot push through certain materials, so that patterns of light vegetation can be discerned from above.

In our own time, satellite instruments are still finding evidence of long ago forgotten roads and settlements where temporary human habitation has caused permanent changes in vegetation.

(th)
Last edited by tahanson43206 on Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:37 pm

`20171230 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 27 Paragraph 2

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews changes that might occur in a temperate climate.

The paragraph that begins: “And while nature is ...”

reminds the reader of deterioration that is likely in urban landscapes in temperate zones.

The changes foreseeable in tropical climates will be even more pronounced.

The impact of climate change already set in motion will have a bearing on the rate and the type of deterioration.

***
Reference #3 was added to this thread, because Author James Bessen is discussing knowledge as a factor in economics.

At numerous points in his book, Mr. Bessen points out the importance of knowledge acquired through on-the-job experience.

It is only AFTER all the trial and error of invention that formal courses can be prepared and offered to accelerate the pace of distribution of knowledge.

The experience of the hypothetical reader of Dr. Dartnell's handbook will be almost ENTIRELY learning by doing, given the important but skeletal hints that will allow that reader to skip centuries of slow progress documented in "The Knowledge"

***
Update for Knowledge Thread:

Elsewhere in the Knowledge Forum, Dr. Dartnell encourages mention of other authors who explore apocalypse themes.

In the December 2012 issue of Analog Science Fact and Fiction (Vol CXXXII Nol. 12), author Shane Tourtellotte imagines a scene involving Kitt Peak, in Arizona. The title of this story is “From an Antique Land”, and the setting is some decades after the dissolution of the world as we know it.

The author paints a picture of people surviving with a moderate level of comfort, which they have apparently achieved through hard work and using their wits, and despite hints of human conflict on the larger stage.

Visitors to a settlement arrive in a horse drawn wagon convoy which includes equipment capable of making vacuum tubes. The complement of the visiting entourage includes a woman who can make vacuum tubes, and a blacksmith.

It seems to me a stretch to be able to make vacuum tubes using equipment that can be carried around in a wagon, but I'll be watching for signs Dr. Dartnell has foreseen this possibility as this second, much slower trip through “The Knowledge” progresses.

On the other hand, if civilization had progressed sufficiently before whatever catastrophe the author has set as the backdrop for the story, there might be an early matter assembler carted around in the wagon. My guess is that the author is confident the tools and materials needed to make vacuum tubes could be transported in a wagon, and that the energy supply available in the American desert would be sufficient.

As it happens, the expedition does not reach Kitt Peak, but the possibility is left open for a follow up at some future time.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:58 pm

20180106 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 28 Paragraph 10

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews changes that might occur in a temperate climate.

The paragraph that begins: “A modern city ...”

reminds the reader of the probable consequences of fire that would likely occur in cities.

In the event that a person reads this work after a global calamity such as Dr. Dartnell describes, such a person would have plenty of real world experience to compare to the forecast.

As an eternal optimist, I can imagine such a reader absorbing insights about how to protect any assets that might remain in place. The time frame involved is certainly a consideration. If centuries have passed as Dr. Dartnell suggests later on in this section, any buildings still standing may well illustrate superior design, construction and material, or perhaps just dumb luck.

In Reference #3, Mr. Bessen's Introduction includes this summary statement, on page 3;

Begin Quotation:
In particular, I argue that developing the knowledge and skills needed to implement new technologies on a large scale is a difficult social problem that takes a long time to resolve.
End Quotation.

I am interested in Mr. Bessen's writing both because I've been thinking about the challenges facing the population for which Dr. Dartnell wrote “The Knowledge”, and the challenges facing a community that might attempt to not only survive but prosper in a location away from Earth. Beyond those two scenarios, however, are the many communities right here on Earth in 2018 which are attempting to survive, let alone prosper, for which Mr. Bessen's observations might be helpful.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:10 pm

20180113 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 27 Paragraph 2

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures. In recent days, in early 2018, heavy rains have caused mudslides in areas of the State of California where severe wildfires had destroyed vegetation that had been holding soil in place.

The paragraph that begins: “Fire will wreak ...” considers how water can and does act to weaken built structures.


Reference #2 Chapter 10:

Title: Conclusion
Subtitle: Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie (Quotation from William Shakespeare)

In this chapter, Mr. Beattie brings his discussion full circle, by considering Argentina in the context of the DOHA talks of 2008, organized by the World Trade Organization. In particular, he points out the power of agricultural lobbies in various countries to block progress toward lowering trade barriers.

On page 298, Mr. Beattie opens a paragraph in which he attempts to summarize all the lessons that might be learned from the book, with the words:
Begin Quotation:
But certain basic ideas command wide acceptance.
End Quotation.

In the last line of the chapter and of the book Mr. Beattie says:
Begin Quotation:
The experience of history should lead us to hope and strive to make the world better, not to despair and resign ourselves to fate.
End Quotation.

This sentiment seems (to me) a good match with the overall theme of “The Knowledge”. While Dr. Dartnell has kept his focus upon physical principles worthy of preservation over the long term, Mr. Beattie makes a valuable contribution by considering the behavior of groups of people, and by pointing out both positive and negative consequences of various policies and behaviors.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:09 pm

20180120 This is a stub for a weekly update.
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