SandySandfort on April 08, 2012, 06:41:23 am
What I don`t get is why California?
With Panama on the other hand you could set up on the east coast with most of the Carribean and Atlantic to drop anything into...

Actually no. Check a map.

Only a tiny bit of the Caribbean would be in your downrange and the north (not east) coast (again, check the map) has very primitive infrastructure. The better location would be near Punta Mala in the province of Los Santos. The downrange flies over about 200 miles of the Gulf of Panama, then crosses largely uninhabited jungles in Panama and Colombia.

... and you also get an additional boost from the Earth`s rotation from being nearer the Equator.

Yup. At the latitude of Punta Mala (8.95N), the earth's rotational speed is nearly 99% of that at the equator's 1040 miles per hour.

Plus, in the story the government actually WANTS you there!

Alas, the reality is somewhat less encouraging. A few years ago, I created an Astroturf movement favoring the private development of space in Panama. Here is the placeholder website:

I came up with a funding plan that would be zero cost for Panama and zero or minimal cost to the rocketeers. It would have created a huge income stream for all concerned. My fellow boosters and I got written up in the papers and magazines, we appeared on a a couple of radio programs, had some low-level meetings, but basically could not get the time of day from the Torrijos administration. We haven't even bothered to approach President Martinelli. Oh well, Panama's loss.

BTW, the US rocketeers were just as bad. Most were operating under a cold war mental set and an ignorant "Frito Bandito" caricature of Panama. The only legitimate concern they expressed to me was about ITAR and I think that could have been finessed with the State Department.

Apollo-Soyuz on April 08, 2012, 10:30:40 pm
You make some good points, but at the same time, I think it unlikely that we would limit our oil to Mexico and Canada exclusively, for the same reason people aren't rushing out to buy hybrids--it doesn't make economic sense. 
 To rely exclusively on Canada and Mexico, we would have to more than double what we get from them.  Even if that's feasible, it's not cost-effective. 

My point.  You miss it.

Let's say that we can't get any overseas  imports. Let's say the U-boats keep torpedoing the supertankers.

In this case, we're not importing crude, nor are we exporting Diesel to the European Union (Incidentally the reason why diesel costs more than unleaded nowadays, rather than less. When domestic diesel was not ultra-low sulfur fuel, it could not be sold overseas.)

In this case, we could still meet all of our domestic needs with resources on the North American Continent.

When you see numbers that seem to show that we need to import something like 60% of the oil we consume from overseas, this number ignores the truth of the matter that while we import a shitload of crude, we refine a lot of that crude and then export those finished fuels.

Killydd on April 09, 2012, 12:09:31 am
Perhaps "latest" Ice Age would be the best way to frame my intent there.  Although my recollection of the data is unusually warm and stable for an interglacial, but not off the charts.  If you want "normal" though you have to include ages when, for example, North Africa and the Great Plains were shallow seas. 

While I think that we disagree on the specifics of sustainable growth of wealth, It does appear to me that we both agree that not harming your neighbors is a part of that definition.  At least a part of the disagreement comes from the definition of neighbor though:  I include generations not yet born and also other species in that definition. 

Regarding Venus:  you are forgetting about the effect of albedo.  Venus has nearly double the albedo of Earth, causing much more of the incoming radiation to simply be reflected out to space without heating the planet.  If Earth had a similar albedo(as it has in the past) the temperature would be 40 or 50 degrees cooler.  Another piece of evidence for the warming effect of CO2 is the ice cores.  Atmospheric samples are preserved in the ice caps, and climate modeling indicates that CO2 must have a certain effect if our models are to match historical records, both ice and sediment cores. 

Agreed, California is an odd place to choose as a launch site.  The only benefit to it might be ease of transferring materials. 

SandySandfort on April 09, 2012, 07:55:52 am
Agreed, California is an odd place to choose as a launch site.  The only benefit to it might be ease of transferring materials.  

It was never suggested that BALListic Solutions intended to use California as an orbital launch site. It was chosen as a convenient R&D site with limited, short-range launches.

mellyrn on April 09, 2012, 08:14:42 am
Killydd -- I removed my reply to Talk Amongst Y'selves.

Oneil on April 10, 2012, 03:32:44 am
The motivation for humans to exterminate a animal species can not be rationalized as a force of nature, as it is greed and overindulgence that motivates such outcomes.  What animal exhibits those two traits?  

All of them, as far as I am aware. Though perhaps you are using a non-standard definition of those words.

Mankind is a product, and  part, of nature. Deal with it.

True Man has more than earned title of "Animal" for more reason than to not be categorized as Plant or Mineral.. 
Still, I will try one more pointed example before I return to subject.

Do Wolves kill every Bison within one hundred miles and leave their carcass's to rot just to profit from selling the hides?
Have Sharks walked into a Harp Seal colony and used a wooden club to bludgeon all the seal pups for fur?
Will Dolphins Lie and Cheat to round up every Bluefin Tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, seal them in cans or sell them off for sushi?

There are three kinds of men.
 The one that learns by reading.
  The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
                                                                         by Will Rogers

customdesigned on April 10, 2012, 07:08:26 am
While not on the scale of humans, cats will capture prey and play with it when not hungry, just for the fun of pouncing on the terror stricken little animal.

Here is a conundrum, American settlers collected passenger pigeons for food.  Unlike the buffalo example, the carcasses were completely and efficiently used,  packed in barrels, and eaten during the winter.  Nevertheless, the species became extinct.   Tuna are completely and efficiently used also.  So I don't think "leaving the carcasses to rot" is the root of the problem.

In all the overuse scenarios, the problem is a shared resource.   When there is some way to divide up a resource into private parcels, for example as with lumber companies and forests, then abuse is naturally limited.  Remember in the '90s when Champion paper decided to clear-cut its forests, intending to undercut their competitors and buy out their land?  The competitors held on by the skin of their teeth until Champion ran out of trees.  Then they bought up Champion's timber (now a vast sea of stumps) for pennies on the dollar.  The destruction of one insane company was limited to its own holdings.   

With tuna, any fishing company can "clear cut" the collective resource.   If there was some enforceable way to divide up the tuna, the problem would be solved.   Dividing up the surface area of the ocean is one obvious method.  Fish migrate, but I suspect that natural selection will quickly result in tuna and other creatures preyed on by humans that avoid over-fished areas.   But the world is reluctant to stake off the ocean more than a few hundred miles from shore.  There is a sense of loss - just as there will be when space is roped off into quadrants.

No doubt, I'm missing something, but those are my thoughts.

SandySandfort on April 10, 2012, 08:05:37 am
Do Wolves kill every Bison within one hundred miles and leave their carcass's to rot just to profit from selling the hides?
Have Sharks walked into a Harp Seal colony and used a wooden club to bludgeon all the seal pups for fur?
Will Dolphins Lie and Cheat to round up every Bluefin Tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, seal them in cans or sell them off for sushi?

Ah, I see. Your definitions of "greed" and "overindulgence" were just special pleading. You cherry-picked examples that only Man can commit. However, if you use realistic definitions, then there are plenty of acts that the rest of the animals can commit, that qualify as greed or overindulgence. If you really cannot think of any, let me know and I will give you plenty of examples. Just one for the fun of it, though.

Here in Panama, if I put out a pile of cooked rice for the birds, if more than one shows up, it will spend more time fighting other birds--of its own species--to prevent them from eating, then it does simply eating. There is always way more food than the birds can eat, yet rather than just share it, the they try to keep it all to themselves. Now look up the real definition of "greed." Get it? Animals are greedy. And given they chance, most will over-eat until they founder.

On the other hand, humans share and show compassion--even to other species. Other than in family units, you rarely, if ever, see that in the rest of the animal world.

Killydd on April 10, 2012, 11:20:28 am
There are a number of species, even of ants, that will devestate the local environment if given the chance.  Our only specialty is a wide range and use of tools to greatly increase the speed at which we can do it. 

While your suggestion of dividing the commons does have merit, there are some very real practical problems.  The first is that some animals, especially apex predators, have ranges of thousands of miles.  More if you consider how annual migrations have an effect, such as many whales needing to move from breeding grounds in the tropics to feeding grounds in the polar regions.  The other major problem is that overfishing in even a moderate area can cause problems such as toxic plankton blooms, which will then spread due to ocean currents into your neighbor's area, just as dumping any toxin on land will poison the area downstream. 

These can be taken care of if you, roughly speaking, place sustainable limits on how much can be removed, and actually enforce those limits.  Unfortunately, some people always seek out those loopholes that will let them get even a little more profit, regardless of indirect costs to their neighbors.  And in many cases the timescale needed to recover from the overharvesting that we have already done appears to be on the order of centuries.

mellyrn on April 10, 2012, 11:46:30 am
I'm sure those slaughtered bison were greatly enjoyed by crows, vultures, flies, bacteria, fungi and, ultimately, the grass.  It's not like they went to waste, except from a purely anthropocentric point of view.

Lie and cheat?  An animal researcher told me of witnessing the following -- one lioness lounged up on a small hillock in clear view of a herd of wildebeests, another hid in a kind of ditch, while two more circled around through nearby woods and openly stalked the herd.  With a wary eye on the lounging lioness, the herd stampeded right past the one hiding in the ditch, who leaped out and caught dinner for the gang.  Trickery, yes, and what is lying but verbal trickery?

As for sharing & compassion, I'm not up for special pleading even on that score.  I'll go as far as "unusual" but not "rarely" and certainly not "if ever".  Sharing & compassion are necessary traits in a herd or pack animal, even for ones like tigers that form family units for a while, and it's not a great stretch to imagine them being occasionally "misplaced" onto other critters.  What humans do have, out of this enormous brain, is the possibility of a big picture, and a long-range view.

Oneil on April 10, 2012, 01:11:36 pm
True enough,  I did limit my questions intentionally 
The American Bison has taken since 1884 and a great deal of effort to recover to status of 'Near Threatened.'  Now the majority of these are genetic crossbreeds with domestic cattle.
Harp Seals, The White Coat trade has been boycotted so the pups are safe until they are weaned and harvesting limits have the species numbers up to "Least Concern" status.

Anyone know what The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is?

So why is mankind still allowing fishing for Southern Bluefin Tuna, "Critically Endangered" and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, "Endangered"

I am no activist, no conservationist, I am for a lack of better term a planner.

I plan on having enough to eat tomorrow, for me and the future generations.  It's not about how cute a seal looks or what symbolism the American Buffalo has.

I have eaten buffalo, it's better than beef to be honest.  I bet most of you like to eat Tuna as well.

My long drawn out point is, only mankind, Us, is stupid enough to kill off a sustainable source of food today just so we have enough money to buy a shiny new car, or vacation home we visit two times a year.

I am with Leon and Terry, let's get off this rock before they starve us all.

Andreas on April 11, 2012, 12:11:49 am
My stance is more simple: Don't fuck up complex systems that can bite you in the ass!
CO2 emissions are one thing, but to allow an entire species of animal be hunted into extinction is a MAJOR impact on the complex system that is the biological balance.

Also, personally I think there are enough people around to meet my needs. I don't have to defend my species' right to forage a little more, that's preposterous.
If I have to choose between adding more people or preventing the depletion of stocks of other species, I pick the latter.

I question the sanity of any that would choose otherwise.

myrkul999 on April 11, 2012, 04:06:15 am
My stance is more simple: Don't frack up complex systems that can bite you in the ass!

I agree. But that sword cuts both ways. Should we hunt a species to extinction? No. Should we expend millions of dollars in a vain attempt to defend the status quo and prevent a species' extinction? I say no to that as well. Others may disagree, that's their prerogative.

The environment is a self-correcting system. It will bounce back from anything we do to it, up to and including wholesale nuclear bombardment. Unless we somehow manage to scour the land clean, drain the seas, and blow off the atmosphere, Life has a firm hold on this rock, and won't let go. The only question is, will we be around to see it? So, as I said: Don't muck things up so bad as to harm other humans. Anything less than that, the biosphere will adjust to with hardly a hiccup. In the grand scheme of things, Humans are not hardy creatures. Doses of radiation that can kill us nearly instantly, cockroaches shrug off like water. Temperatures that would sear the flesh from our bones, in acidic environments that would dissolve even those bones, extremophile bacteria not only survive, but thrive. I'm not worried about Gaea, she's one tough broad. I'm worried about us.

NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on April 11, 2012, 01:18:54 pm
I question the sanity of any that would choose otherwise.

I, for one, stand foursquare  in favor of bringing the Guinea Worm  to extinction!

myrkul999 on April 11, 2012, 01:29:41 pm
I question the sanity of any that would choose otherwise.

I, for one, stand foursquare in favor of bringing the Guinea Worm to extinction!

Uh.... Yeah. I'm with you on that one, that is not biological diversity we need. That one can go. (Hyperlink to the Book of Knowledge added for your convenience)