Moore added: 'We have found other planets. The next stage is to detect the atmosphere. You can [then] work out if it has oxygen. We would know that supports life so we can look for it.’ But he complained that a lack of funding could prevent British discoveries, warning that the amount the Government had spent on the war in Afghanistan - an estimated £20 billion - could have funded a comprehensive UK space programme.Think. We only have one example of the development of life, which has given us experimental data for the connections between war/peace and technical development. In this experiment it's clear that war and competition are the drivers of development. Organisms or humans who find a cushy well-protected niche don't develop mentally or physically. We only see advancement in the species or the individual when things get somewhat difficult. From this experiment we can deduce that life on other planets would develop the same way. If technology ever led them to a condition of generalized peace and prosperity, their technology would rapidly dissipate, just as ours has done lately. Moore's comparison of the Afghan war with space exploration leads to an interesting conclusion. The war in Afghanistan, unlike most previous wars, has not led to any new developments in science or technology. Why? Partly because it's a luxury war, not motivated by any need for national survival. We won't gain anything by winning because there's no possible way for us to win, and there's no definition of winning. It's just a wildly expensive and deadly sport. And partly because the war is happening at a time when real science and real technology have gone stagnant. Lavish government funding of many branches of science has led those branches to pursue mindless fads and fancies, which serve only to add more power and money to the bureaucrats who supervise the fads and fancies. When science occupies a cushy well-protected niche, it doesn't advance. This elderly astronomer wants us to replace one useless luxury sport (Afghanistan) with another useless luxury sport (Planetary exploration). I can understand the desire to have government support for your own favorite luxury, but it's a poison apple. Government support would eliminate the fun, stop the advancement. Now that spaceflight is increasingly funded by rich patrons, it finally has a chance to get somewhere, and it won't cost the rest of us anything. Good deal all around. Don't fuck it up, you old monocle-wearing Soviet agent!
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.