Discussion (61)¬

  1. Ladyduck says:

    Perfect! Absolutely spot on. Who would have known that one day I’ll agree with jesus!

  2. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Muslim men should confess
    Why they tell women how to dress
    Muslim women are such a fright
    Bruises, scars Shari’a says it’s all right
    To beat a women to a bloody mess.

  3. jb says:

    The burkini in and of itself is probably harmless, but I think it’s great to see the French — at least some of them — asserting themselves culturally, rather than prostrating themselves before the great altars of tolerance and multiculturalism. If a society has the right to tell people that they can’t walk around naked, it has the right to tell them they can’t walk around with only their eyes showing. You can argue the rules, and some rules are certainly better than others, but every society has a set of rules that say “this is how our people live,” and I see nothing wrong with the French saying “these are our rules, and if you come here you have to live by them”.

  4. Matt says:

    jb, very well said. Oh and author, thank you for an absolute classic.

  5. eoinkenobi says:

    Beautiful! Bravo Author.

  6. Macha says:

    I have some mixed feelings about this issue.

    When I travel around places in Manchester, I see quite a few burka-clad women (sometimes with accompanying females, sometimes following a jeans and trainers wearing male) and I think they look just plain daft. On the whole, they seem to be grudgingly tolerated, but I’d prefer to see them looking less strange.

    However, when I see pictures of armed police officers on the beach in Nice forcing a lone Maghrebi woman to remove a burkini top, it makes feel that something isn’t quite right about our approach.

    It reminds me of the story of tourists in Yorkshire asking some locals about the way to Huddersfield and being told “best not start from here …”

  7. Matt says:

    It strikes me that we musn’t blame Mo’s religion for his outrageous comments. He’s obviously on drugs or mentally disturbed or something. Definitely nothing to do with Islam.

  8. Michael says:

    Thanks for your links Pink Squirrel, they show that around 1900 the west had what amounted to an Islamic attitude on what women should be allowed on the beach. And it took nigh on 50 yrs for beach wear to evolve into the bikini. That’s 2 1/2 generations. To expect Islamic attitudes, no matter how ridiculous, to change in two or three years is a tad unrealistic.

    The French action is unreasonable as well as illiberal; and when they claim to be doing it in the name of secularism one has to ask why, at the same time, they tolerate wayside crosses and shrines dotted all over their countryside.


    But it’s a great cartoon, Author. More power to your elbow!

  9. jean-françois gauthier says:

    michael: algerians i know say that in 1960, women rarely went to the beach veiled in any way, muslim or not. movies like “la goulette”, set in 1967 tunisia, will attest to that. rather, veils, hijabs, niqabs, and other nonsense headgear seems to be on the rise and more en vogue with youger people. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114775/

    macha: i agree. an italian imam (yes, there is such a thing!) highlighted what he felt was selective outrage in europe, tweeting a photograph of veiled nuns walking on the beach there. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/21/where-s-the-outrage-over-nun-beachwear.html

    while i do feel there is a marked difference between contemporary islamic headdress and ageing nuns, i definitely think in does not belong to the legal realm.

    i will offer an opinion entirely unsupported by any fact or research: muslim women wearing ostentatiously religious clothes and veils are in fact not obeying a religion but rather affirming a socio-political choice. of course, this makes their choice fully contradictory, as modesty and ostentation are not compatible, but it also makes it protected speech, however bone-headed.

    why idealistic mulsim youth would turn to medieval beliefs is another matter; i’ve read authors linking this to the failure of left-wing pan-arabism in the 1970’s to inflict any significant pain (other than a couple of mild recessions) or strategic defeat to the western world or israel.

  10. Free Speech says:

    The hijab, burqua, burkini, etc. are all blatant, aggressive statements of Islamic supremacism, straight from Premedievalville.

  11. Amanda Dors says:

    I think you’re unfairly biased towards JC here (subtly racist?). Christianity tells women to obey their husbands and not adorn themselves.

  12. Exactly, Author. Once again you’ve hit the nail on the head, to go full cliche on you.

    Jb, I hear and understand your argument. But I am against society telling people that they can’t walk around naked, and appalled by the prison sentence given to “the naked rambler” for simply doing that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Gough
    So I am also against society dictating what anybody can wear. I don’t see it as the natural and expected roll of society. I see it as an step across the boundary between society and individual rights.

    This issue raised its ugly head during our last Canadian election. Once again, here’s my response: http://www.darwinharmless.com/thoughts_and_comments/?p=1251 I don’t think I can say it any better by restating it here.

  13. Surfstuff55 says:

    In the US, Religious Jewish women manage to cover just about all of their bodies (except for their faces) without resorting to clothing that looks very different than what non-religious women (of any persuasion) wear. If it is truly about modesty, it can be done. When a Religious Moslem woman wears a burka, naqib or even hijab, it is a statement. That statement may be fear of repercussions from the males in her society, or of her desire to conform to medieval norms, but it is a valid statement none the less

  14. dr John de Wipper says:

    If a society has the right to tell people that they can’t walk around naked
    Well, if I/we (me and family) were allowed to go naked whenever we feel the weather allows without being bothered, then I would be very happy to to accept ANYONE dressed ANYWAY.
    But alas, my hopes are not very high on being accepted by the males who force their females to fully cover up.
    (written naked from a nudist resort with limited connectivity, so I hope this entry makes it trough)

  15. Grumpy says:

    Author: Brilliantly wicked and perceptive.

  16. jb says:

    DH & dr John —

    As I said, you can argue the rules. And rules sometimes get changed that way! What I am defending though is a society’s right to have rules. You may see nothing wrong with strolling down the street buck naked, but if other people are offended, their views count too. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether you think their views are irrational — they don’t have to justify their views to you any more than you have to justify yours to them.

    BTW, an interesting case where people did have the right to stroll down the street naked, and then pushed it too far, can be found in San Francisco. I’ll also note that in general movies today are more prudish about nudity than they were 30 years ago. (Which I have to say is unfortunate, as movie stars tend to be exceptionally attractive specimens!)

  17. Satya says:

    This hits the nail on the head! Forcing women to strip down or go home… misogyny is misogyny whatever form it takes. It’s still claiming ownership of the female body and removing agency from women to choose what they want to wear to be comfortable in their own skin.

  18. cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    This just might be the most important scientific discovery in the history of the species:


    it should have been billboarded on huge screens at that trivial sporting event, it should be discussed and praised in the parliaments of Mankind, it should be cause for celebrations and parties globally and it should be the focus of every politician and financier alive.
    We could reach Prox-b by 2060. By 2065 we could know what she’s like. We could orbit the world of another star.
    We could be standing on the world of another star, under the light of a different Sun in the days of our children. Indeed our children could go there.
    Given a little urgency I could visit it.
    This is the most important thing Humanity could be doing and it is being wasted.
    Man could touch the stars in our lifetimes.
    And in the meantime, we have idiotic shites like this polluting the planet and dragging us down into darkness and silence.
    Walking the world of another star or kicking a child for cuddling. The contrast between Reason and Criminally Insane could not be more stark.

    We need to vote in leaders who have the Dream of Stars.
    Before the Proximates come to us.

  19. ve4gap says:


    French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach…

    For some reason I imagine Bill Clinton planing trip to France now. 😉

  20. Reynon says:

    The thing is, while I despise the idea that anyone should feel the need to keep parts or all of their body covered when in public (I am a naturalist, after all), I appreciate that, culturally, it is extremely uncomfortable for most people to do otherwise.
    Most western women feel it extremely necessary to keep their breasts covered.
    Many western women are okay with freeing their nipples but must keep their fannies and bums covered.
    Many women need to wear modest bathers that cover their bellies.
    Many women feel the need to wear skirted bathers to avoid attention on their groin.
    Many women feel the need to wear broad shorts. Or to keep on their sarongs, at least when not actually swimming.
    I, personally, prefer to skip fully nude everywhere but I am so in a minority here. Wish it were otherwise and, maybe, one day it will be a majority. I’d especially like to convince all women they need not cover their hair, their faces, their arms, their legs (at the beach, anyhow). But, far more than that, I want everyone to feel comfortable in and of themselves and not to even notice what other people are doing.
    Also, I recognise that hijab in all its many forms (burqas, niqabs, scarfs, the gorgeous Pakistani version, etc) is a cultural thing and not actually Muslim mandated. Seriously, these forms of dress were around long before the Islamic religion and are not really a part of it. Indeed, the only thing the Quran instructs is that all Muslims should dress modestly which is not particularly different from many other religions and cultures.
    It is also well worth noting that women in Muslim countries have, historically and currently, fought hard to get rid of hijab requirements. It is ironic that it is Muslim women in western countries or in other places where they are in a minority are the ones feeling the need to assert their identity by adopting the hijab. And in these cases it is almost always the women themselves choosing to do so. Being disenfranchised will do that so it is not surprising but it is, in my (failing to be humble) opinion regrettable.
    So, out of respect for cultural differences (if not religious ones), people should be able to dress how they wish if they are not at school or work. But I’d also like to convince everyone to not feel the need to cover up (unless for warmth or protection (from the sun or from prickly bushes, etc)) when in recreational or casual situations. But FORCING anyone to dress a particular way does not help anyone, except bigots.
    One more note…. I am actually quite supportive of a culture that mandates the revealing of faces in public. So bans on niqabs and burqas (ie the ones that cover faces) – or, at least the parts of these that cover faces, in western countries make sense to me. But this also means that young blokes cannot use their hoodies to hide their faces, either.

  21. FreeFox says:

    Have to admit, I’m shocked to find people in the Cock & Bull defending the right of governments to impose such clothing rules. (And JB, I think you’re being disingenuous here. Anti-nudity conventions spring from – antiquated – ideas about having to protect people, mainly women, from anything overtly sexual; they’re basically the remnant of the West’s own Hijab times. There is no comparable socially established need for “protection” from someone in a burka, it’s pure discrimination because the majority doesn’t like it, and in no way different from forcing trans people to wear the style of their assigned gender or keeping them out of bathrooms.)
    As someone living in a country with a bigoted, intolerant government/majority pushing more and more such rules on its population out of conservative, religious reasons, I think the French government just revealed the Western hypocrisy: Pretending to be better while wanting essentially the same.

  22. FreeFox says:

    Just to be clear: I think the Hijab is bollocks, women wearing burkas where they aren’t forced to are idiots, and men who force women to wear burkas (or any hijab) are arseholes. I see nothing good in this tradition whatsoever. And I am all in favour of governments protecting women from being forced to wear anything by their husbands or family. But that does not give any government or moral majority the right to have a say in what people want to wear, no matter how idiotic. (No burkas while driving is okay, because you physically endanger other people when operating a vehicle while visually impaired.)

    Also, nice to find myself once again unexpectedly on your side of an argument, DH. ^_^

  23. PrivateFrazer says:

    I do worry about Sigue Sigue Sputnik who i saw once (the band) in full band outfit at a motorway service station having a sandwich. They wore torn stockings over their heads. I thought it was great. Should they be stopped? SO whayt if its designed to shock or annoy? Should nuns and priests wear their outfits (pretty well the same as Middle Eastern outfits) on the beach? I think folk should be able to wear what they like.

  24. jb says:

    FreeFox — You are still “arguing,” which is fine, as long as you don’t think you have a right to win. Meta-arguing — arguing about which rules are permissible and what form they should take — is still arguing.

    What I am saying is more radical than you may appreciate. I’m saying that the fact that the majority just doesn’t like it when people walk around naked is every bit as legitimate as a basis for rules as the fact that you just don’t like it when people don’t conform to your ideas of “rationality.” It’s all the same, because we all have to live together, and that includes the people you consider irrational.

    Of course there can come a point where disagreement is so extreme that arguing turns into fighting, and things just snap. That’s why I think it is extraordinarily unwise to invite into your society people whose ideas about the right way to live are profoundly different than yours. The governing elites of Europe have been doing exactly this, because their own religion mandates that they do so, but it’s still a really bad idea. (I was not being entirely metaphorical when I referred above to to the “altars” of tolerance and multiculturalism — I believe that in a very real and literal sense such ideas have become a new religion among progressive Westerners, replacing the Christianity they have discarded, but serving precisely the same role psychically).

  25. epeeist says:

    Just one link ve4gap? The Graun seems to have published about 23 articles on the subject, all of which are in favour of the burkini.

    Interesting to note that in the articles which are open to comments the moderators are wielding their axe like there is no tomorrow, I have had a number of comments not just marked as moderated but actually completely disappeared.

    Sad that a supposedly liberal newspaper can’t see that this is entryism from a vile, misogynist religion.

  26. Len says:

    I read a column in a Dutch newspaper a couple of weeks ago that covered this. The column described how a burkini-clad woman was cat-called and whistled away by many people on the beach – including many other women (I forget which beach and which country). When asked why, one of those women said that she was all for tolerance but it’s definitely not a two-way street. If they don’t react to one burkini, then tomorrow there’ll be two, then 5, then 10, 20, … Until the majority of women on the beach are so clothed. And then normal bikini wearers will be intimidated into either conforming to what has become the “norm” on the beach or staying away.

  27. FreeFox says:

    I know, JB. And I am saying that tyranny of a majority is still tyranny. That is why we came up with constitutions, civil liberties, and human rights – to move certain rights outside the realm of mob rule. Fascism always starts with people claiming they are speaking for the majority. And often they do. Look at Brexit. At least Trump seems to have overshot the mark. But more skilled demagogues often don’t. The very religions this site is dedicated to mock are held by the majority in most countries in the world. And if asked, most mobs would take away our right to mock them – because it offends them.
    And yes, I dispute that right. Nobody, not majorities, nor minorities, have the right to take away other people’s liberties because it offends them. Heterosexuals don’t have the right to prevent same sex marriage because it offends them. Christians don’t have the right to prevent atheists to teach their kids in schools because it offends them. Muslims don’t have the right to prevent atheists or apostates to proclaim their views or mock the prophet because it offends them. The Germans didn’t have the right to murder millions because they offended them. And the French do not have the right to prevent women from wearing a burkini because it offends them.

  28. FreeFox says:

    So you don’t misunderstand the radicalism of what I am saying, JB: I think your “cultural protectionism” is not only xenophobic scare-mongering, but EXACTLY the same level of egotistical bigotry as Mo is usually displaying.

    And this is not cultural relativism: Some values are more valuable than others. But the part of Western culture that is worth protecting is not clothing, or language, or food. The values worth protecting are the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly, the right to privacy, due process, and, yes, the freedom of religion (or lack thereof). In other words, the very values you want to take away. Because it offends someone.

  29. pink squirrel says:

    If the nearest star to us also has an inhabitable earthlike planet – what does that say about the frequency of earthlike planets [bearing in mind that the larger gas giants are more likely to be noticed as having greater impact on transit photometry or gravitational influence.
    [agreed – this is far more interesting than what people are forced to wear]

  30. Micky says:

    Freefox – you are dead right.

    I don’t think I have ever seen a burkini but I have seen people fully dressed on the beach, will they be forced to strip?

    Len, I always hate thin end of the wedge arguments.

  31. pink squirrel says:

    Or perhaps what people wear is more important to the small minds
    in the same way that all the tabloids yesterday had headline – ‘5 die in Camber sands’ while the broadsheets headlined – 250 die in italian quake

  32. two cents' worth says:

    France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’État, has overturned the burkini ban. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/26/frances-top-administrative-court-overturns-burkini-ban/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory is a link to an article about this in English, which itself includes a link to an article in Le Monde.

  33. plainsuch says:

    We could reach Prox-b by 2060. By 2065 we could know what she’s like. We could orbit the world of another star.
    We could be standing on the world of another star, under the light of a different Sun in the days of our children. Indeed our children could go there.
    Given a little urgency I could visit it.
    This is the most important thing Humanity could be doing and it is being wasted.

    It’s straight out of a science fiction story. In the year 2065 the message comes back from Proxima Centauri; the planet is too hot, too humid and the atmospheric oxygen levels are too low. It cannot support life as we know it. But there is no one here to receive the message. Global warming has killed off most of the photo-synthesizers. hence Earth is too hot, too humid and the atmospheric oxygen levels are too low to support human life.

    The most important thing Humanity could be doing is taking care of the only planet we have.

  34. plainsuch says:

    I had to look up ‘burkini’. It sounds exactly like something dermatologists would invent for protection from UV rays. The sunscreen lotions aren’t as great as they are supposed to be and most people don’t use them properly. I predict that, somewhere, soon, the rule will be that everybody has to wear one as a public health measure.

  35. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Plainsuch, citation, please? It sounds like an interesting SF story.
    Using extensive research over decades, I decided that 0.1 C would be about the fastest we could send a manned craft in the next decade or so. That would give her a 40-year transit to Prox-B. Given a landing, or orbit in the 2060 timeframe the signal “Prox-b is lovely, wish you were still alive.” would reach Home-base in about 2065 or so.
    It’s a moving target. If we start now, we could, theoretically, orbit and land, perhaps even colonise by “2060”, Terran local time. What that would be 4 light-years away is anyone’s guess as simultaneity seems to be an illusion. If we delay starting to build “The Blue Dragon”, the first manned, human-built interstellar vessel, the dates obvious slip.

    I think the dates will slip into a nebulous non-future called “never”.

    And, yes, 0.1 C is feasible and doable even with today’s technologies. We’d probably have to built the ship in lunar orbit, or out of a near-Earth asteroid because it would take Orion engines and no-one sane would let nuclear rockets lift off of an inhabited planet.
    I might but I have a small crazy streak and there are bits of Earth I wouldn’t particularly miss.

    A tenth-lightspeed ship has been possible since 1945. The technology is there, all it needs is funding, political will and some engineering.
    Oh, and lunatics to man the thing.
    I know of at east one who would volunteer.

    It is NOT Science Fiction any more than brewing meat in vats, diamond teeth, cable television or hand-held telephones are. It is solid, practical, bloody expensive engineering.
    Starting today, we could hear back in about 2064-2065.

    Can you imagine any politician supporting the idea?

    A church could afford it. A church like LDS could start by building a base on the Moon, with satellite (funny?) sites on Farside for science work, but I truly can’t picture any high-ranking priest selling the idea to his flock or even to the finance committees.

    Prox-b will never happen.

    Pink Squirrel, “habitable” is another moveable feast. By strict standards, Earth isn’t truly a habitable planet. Not by non-technological, naked humans, not over most of the surface, yet there are quite o lot of human-like things wandering about.
    With an air-supported plastic dome – double-walled with sealant between for micro-punctures – Mars, the Moon, Mercury, Pluto and most of the moons of the other planets are easily habitable. It takes a bit of effort but New York takes a bit of effort to live in, too.
    With more effort, the Gas Giants are habitable. Again, in domed cities, this time floating in the “thin” upper atmosphere. More tech and some alteration to the human structure would be needed but as elephants and Antarctica show those are trivial.
    Prox-b is habitable, if she truly exists and isn’t a phantom of systematic errors in the instrumentation of Astronomers. She may not be Nice or Easter Island but any culture that could get there could land and colonise.
    Even a tidally-locked planet with extreme seismicity is prime real estate.

    The colonists may have to fight back the Proximate lifeforms for a while but humans have been doing that on this world for some years. They are quite good at it.

    It’s a pity we’ll never see it happen.
    We would rather squabble about whether my big imaginary daddy in the clouds can beat up your imaginary big daddy on a mountain.

    I will vote for, campaign for, support and even send money to the election fund of any politician that supports the Flight of the “Blue Dragon” as a priority mission.
    I won’t even care if he’s a theist doing it for the glory of Daddy.
    So long as I get to go …

  36. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Some typo’s gremlinned their way into that last post.
    “… the dates obviousLY slip…”, “… have to builD it …”, “… quite A lot of …”.

    Why “The Blue Dragon“? Why not? It’s a lovely and unusual name for a ship and it could catch the attention of a certain large country whose people like dragons and who might help with the finances.
    And what else would one call a Starship driven by nuclear fire?

  37. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Before anyone objects: hot hydrogen floats in cooler hydrogen, purer hydrogen would tend to give a little more lift if embedded in Jovian “airs”. Anything providing lift can support a city, complete with farms and zoos if sufficient money is available.
    And Jovian worlds have loads of room for experimentation.
    Loads and loads and oodles of room.
    Jupiter is a big place.
    Power? Jovian lightning storms are not going to run out of that any time soon.
    Metals for construction? Gas Giants usually come with many, many little moons. It is a known fact that ours do. Should those not suffice, straining the clouds or even ram-mining the deeper layers are just more engineering.
    Starting today, we could populate Jupiter’s moons by 2030 or so and the planet itself a decade later.
    The engineering is trivial. The money we currently have. All we’d need is some sane politicians with vision.

    Anyone know of any?

    The question of whether women should be allowed to wear what they wish is petty and inane. The answer is obviously “yes”.
    I don’t see any great clamour to ask female police officers or soldiers to strip because their uniforms make people feel offended or afraid. Nor do I see massive Internet campaigns to force Judges to remove their idiotic, pre-historic, paternalistic, patriarchical wigs and robes, nor to empower us to rip off the hated suits of financiers and bankers.
    Many uniforms are “offensive”. The uniform of the Muslim Female Army may be so, too, but it is their uniform and they have the same right to wear it as do German soldiers.
    Considering the Muslim black-sack as mere clothing, not as the uniform of a slowly infiltrating enemy army, the women have so much right to wear it as they do to go naked or wear Notting Hill Carnival costumes.
    If they want to look like lumps of rags and stink of sweat, more power to them. It certainly decreases the number of lustful thought I would have about them.
    It is sort of like encountering a fat guy in the seat next to you on a train. Offensive, perhaps, but not really the business of any law enforcement organisation.
    Anyway, the things under all of that saggy, black sacking are probably ugly.
    So keeping them covered is a mercy to the rest of us.

    But one does wonder how the men pick them out in a crowd? How do you know that the one you’re taking home is yours?
    And do all dates in Muslimland count as “blind” dates? Considering the covering power of some of that sacking, the men could be dating men or even Aliens – or, worst of all, unbelievers – and never really know it.
    Which does help explain why they are all nuts.
    In a heavy, black sack no one knows you’re a dog.

  38. pink squirrel says:

    Prox b is possible a sit does not need a single fast vessel
    all that is required is to build a string of habitat bases across the Kuiper belt
    comets can be used to re-fuel and re-supply
    our oort cloud extends out to about a light year or so
    the same must be true of the oort cloud of centaurus
    the space between likely also has debris which can be used for ‘osland hopping’
    each habitat consolidating it status and population before the next one is started
    we would get there
    of course if we could build such viable and sustainable space habitat then the only reason to go to other stars is to increase the amount of nuclear fusion energy readily available- a sufficient reason in itself as even if we build a dyson sphere – two of them would still increase the amount available

  39. jb says:

    Cis-Martian LunchHunter —

    According to Wikipedia, the surface gravity of Jupiter — i.e., the gravity one would feel on a platform suspended in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere — is 2.528 times that of Earth.


  40. pink squirrel says:

    There is also the small problem of the massive levels of radiation caused by jupiter’s magnetic field which make for the most radioactive region in the entire solar system

  41. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Pink Squirrel, plantigrades, cockroaches and other bugs are immune to radiation. The genes that cause this are recombinable.

    jb, 2g, 5g, 165g, it doesn’t matter. Elephants mass more than two humans each yet they manage to stand, even run in a one gee field. Humans massing 400 kg can, barely, do likewise. Make humans just a little stronger and 2g isn’t noticeable.

    Once the money is found everything else is just trivial engineering. If we can build Tokyo, building Tycho Base and Ganymede City are just work.

    The problem with offworld activity has never been the difficulties, it has only ever been the perception of them. Yes, the start up would cost money but all that money is spent on Earth. Until there were thousands of people living and dying off-planet absolutely nothing would be spent any where but here.
    Getting off-planet would enrich the world. All of the worlds.

    It’s a shame we’d rather cower in fear of the thundergods.
    And waste millennia and millions of man-years of effort on their temples.

  42. helenahandbasket says:

    Can we all have a round of applause for Nassar Ben Houdja on this one, please? In fact–isn’t that limerick an inspiration for a strip of its own?

  43. plainsuch says:

    Whether an exoplanet is more like Venus or more like Earth is a matter of pure speculation.
    Whether a message could get back in precisely the year 2065 is a matter of pure speculation.
    Whether the Earth itself will be inhabitable in precisely the year 2065 is a matter of pure speculation.

    But it’s clear that if present trends continue humans will wreck this planet long before there is anywhere else to live.

  44. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Plainsuch, I would give you a rousing round of applause but I can’t modem it to you so please consider it done.
    We can de-Venus a Cytherean world and de-Mars and Arean one. Again, that is mere engineering. If Proxima has a world it will have rocks and snowballs. In this cosmos that is almost a given. With mass, stellar power and intelligence anything can be built.

    On the subject of wrecking Homeworld we have the idealistic, possibly idiotic notion that should we set ourselves the goal, before this decade is through of building the “Blue Dragon” and setting her on her way to Proxima we just might start meme where everyone on the planet sees Earth as valuable and worth protecting – something like a Starship.
    Building a Starship is the sort of massive project that could unite the species, at least in the one thought that preserving Earth’s habitability is worth doing.
    If we built a volleyball court into the rotating section, and varied the fake “gee force”, we could even get the sporty types interested.

    I know, it’s not happening, it never will but it’s a nice vision.

    And “2065” was a guess. No one really knows what interstellar communications and Relativity do when they meet. No one has tried it. We really should.
    2065 was also a highly optimistic estimate based on the entire planet supporting the project.
    The odds on that are not high.

  45. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Umm… I think this is the wrong forum for me and my Starship.

  46. pink squirrel says:

    why al the focus on planet dwelling? – if we obtain the tech to get there then we would have achieved the tech to no longer need planets

  47. Freefox, “Also, nice to find myself once again unexpectedly on your side of an argument, DH. ^_^” I have always felt that our values are very similar. It’s only your insistence that there is validity to religious belief that I have argued with.

    Have a pint on me, mate.

  48. FreeFox says:

    Cheers, DH. ^_^

    @Cis-Martian LunchHunter:
    I think this is the wrong forum for me and my Starship.
    Maybe that is because in the Cock&Bull we try to work mostly fact based, not faith based. (And yes, that is coming from a theist here.) And while your enthusiasm and optimism is commendable, your visions could do with a bit of research. I am a big proponent of planetary (and eventually maybe galactic) colonialism, but things simply aren’t quite as “if we all wish for it enough it will magically happen” as you put it. To name just three examples from your many, long posts: There is a reason why we have no land animals larger than the elephant, and that there was a limit to the size sauropods could achieve. And when you look at the feet of an elephant, you will see that they are structured very differently from those of humans. As is the entire circulatory system. Humans suffering from gigantism have much shorter lifespans, because their hearts and skeletons cannot actually support such a size. You will never see a human the size of an elephant, not without substantially changing the structure. G forces cannot simply be laughed off, the way you do. No biological life form we know could survive at in the gravity of Jupiter. Also, while some insects and some bacteria are a lot more resistant to radiation, none are immune to it. Again, we know of know life that could survive the radiation of Jupiter. I’m not saying, that given time and research we couldn’t design something, but it is simply factually untrue that we anything close to necessary technology for such an endeavour today.
    We cannot even solve the problems posed by Venus’s atmosphere (pressure, heat, corrosiveness) at the moment, nor those of Mars (mainly radiation, also self-enclosed, endlessly self-sustaining biospheres). As for terraforming Mars (which clearly would be the easiest project of all extraterrestrial bodies that we know of), any current plan that we can come up with (which we still would have to develop the technology for) would take centuries to implement before Mars could support a complex, earth-like biosphere.
    And last, there is nothing mysterious about relativistic effects since Einstein. We know pretty much exactly what happens. The GPS technology in your phone needs to be able to calculate those effects to an extremely high accuracy to function. So, when you say things like No one really knows what interstellar communications and Relativity do when they meet. No one has tried it., you expose your daydreams as just that. Ill researched and not fact-based.
    Do your research (on scientific sites, not magical-thinking-based futurist sites – those are great for inspiration, but useless for execution), and you will find the Cock & Bull a much more receptive audience. ^_^

  49. pink squirrel says:

    there is another way we could settle on proxima
    the current idea is too use a light sail to send a 1 gram probe
    in which case -once the laser is built [ and who controls it?- best place is far side of moon where it cant be aimed at earth] then it could send other payloads
    so – self organising nano bots which can build the habitation and once they are built- our own panspermia comprised of fertilised human zygotes can be sent
    [ of course there are technical/practical problems with this – but send enough and some would get there]

  50. Jim Baerg says:

    FreeFox: “We cannot even solve the problems posed by Venus’s atmosphere (pressure, heat, corrosiveness) at the moment”
    Actually here is an outside the box solution for most of those problems.

    For any off earth bases I would start with the Moon though. Three days rather than many months to send emergency supplies is a big advantage while we are learning how to live off earth.

  51. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    Freefox, you are, of course, totally correct, I am an abysmally ignorant savage who has never done any research, has never worked in any scientific field and who utterly believes in the ghods of the engine. Everything I have glened from real, practising engineers, biologists and systems designers over many decades is false to fact and mere fairy tales.
    Your little book offers much better engineering and biological systems advice than three hundred years of global effort.
    That is obvious and I truly, deeply apologise fr suggesting otherwise.
    As a completely useless and deeply uneducated blob of witless slime I will naturally and humbly apologise for doubting your massively superior intellect and wisdom and I will withdraw and leave you the floor.
    Or echo chamber.

    You are right, everyone else is wrong, there is no point in dreaming or trying.
    I think I mentioned that above.

  52. FreeFox says:

    Yup. See you on Mars. With actual science. ^_^

  53. Cis-Martian LunchHunter says:

    I would have mentioned that in elevators, cars, buses, trains, rockets, centrifuges and many other machines biological lifeforms survive many more than two times the gravity of Earth. Even frail, fragile humans have been known to live through the catastrophic decelerations of a motorised vehicle.
    But, of course, that’s against Jehovah’s Law so it must be some sort of illusion. Freefox is always right. He must be. He has gods on his side. I only have millions of tests on the subject done every day globally, so I obviously lack any great weight of evidence.

    On the subject of simultaneity, we’ve sort of tested it out to wherever the Pioneers and Voyagers have reached but that is not a huge chunk of the cosmos. Assuming that the entire universe works exactly as it does in Eden is a religious position. Freefox’s preferred mode of non-thought. Magical, peasant thinking.
    It possibly does, and it certainly looks like a good bet that it mostly does and the Principle of Mediocrity insists that it does but until we poke our fingers into the wall-socket we have no idea what it tastes like.
    Well, no idea save those in a poorly translated collection of folk tales from pre-history. Which is all the knowledge we ever need or could ever want, so again, Freefox, you are most absolutely correct and I should never have doubted you.
    Have a nice life.
    I’ll shut up, now and leave it to the experts who know everything.

  54. pink squirrel says:

    a brief moment of high gravity in a vehicle accident is no the same as continuous gravity
    however that need not apply – if the gravity of a planet is 2g then there must exist a higher altitude where it is only 1 g – if the dirigible based settlement was built to float at that altitude then the problem would be eliminated

  55. jb says:

    I think Mr. LunchHunter’s biggest problem is his amazingly expansive understanding of the word “trivial.” I looked it up, and no, it does not mean “somebody with a degree once speculated that in theory it might be possible.”

    In theory it might be possible — no, it definitely would be possible! — to breed a race of squat, thick-boned, muscle-bound dwarfs who could function effectively under 2.5 gees (and no, that value doesn’t drop noticeably until you are well out of the atmosphere). My wild-ass guess is that, barring some sort of indistinguishable-from-magic new genetic technology, it would take between 5,000 and 500,000 years. (I can explain that guess if anyone is interested).

    But why? What could possibly justify such a monumental effort to colonize the vast, dimly lit, gassy desert that is Jupiter’s atmosphere? Such a colony could never be self-sustaining. It would always be totally dependent on raw materials imported from outside, which it would never be able to pay for. The business plan seems to be:

    Step 1: Colonize Jupiter.
    Step 2: ?
    Step 3: PROFIT!!!

    Human beings have never colonized anywhere unless there was some profit in it. Hell, we never even colonized Antarctica, and that’s on Earth! Just because it sounds cool doesn’t mean it’s worth doing. The fundamental problem really is that there is nothing of any value in Jupiter’s atmosphere, other than maybe helium. And if we ever do have the technology to profitably suck helium up out of Jupiter’s deep, deep gravity well, you can be certain we will have the technology to do it without using specially bred on-site human labor.

    The whole idea just reeks of naive science fiction. I use to read a lot of that sort of thing as a kid, but the older I got, and the more science I learned, the more it became clear to me that most science fiction writers didn’t actually know what they were talking about. I’m betting Mr. LunchHunter has read a lot of science fiction. (Am I right?)

  56. pink squirrel says:

    nothing of any value in Jupiter’s atmosphere, other than maybe helium
    that and hydrogen for power plants
    the main use of jovians would be as a fuel and power resource not living space
    their vast magnetic fields could generate a large amount of electricity which if channelled usefully could supply a good portion of our energy needs
    step 1 – build power plant around jovians
    step 2 harvest energy and resources
    step 3 lots of PROFIT !!!

  57. jb says:

    pink squirrel — There is no shortage of hydrogen on Earth. We have oceans of it! 🙂 And I’d be interested in hearing about even a theoretical method of extracting useful amounts of energy from Jupiter’s magnetic field and sending it where it was needed. Link?

    More to the point, I still don’t see any requirement or justification for people living permanently on platforms suspended in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The main reason I bothered to comment on this idea is that it is such a classic example of naive science fiction thinking: it sounds really cool, like something the human race ought to do if it can only find the courage; yet it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Much of what Mr. LunchHunter has to say reads like that; I only picked on the “floating domed cities” idea because it was the lowest hanging fruit. I don’t have the time or interest to argue all of it, but if you can make someone understand that one particular idea that he has enthusiastically endorsed is in fact fantastically silly, perhaps he will find the wisdom to have second thoughts about the soundness of his own judgement, and reconsider his enthusiasm for the rest of the program.

  58. Walter says:

    Hey, most Moslems aren’t terrorists; they just want to be left alone to oppress their women in peace.

  59. Walter says:

    RE: Jupiter colonization

    The Ort cloud is much more promising in regards to resources. PROVIDED, we ever solve nuclear fusion. Just as a hint, the method that most researchers are working on releases most of its energy in fast neutrons. Wonderful, the worst form of energy as they are hard to shield and make everything radioactive and cause weakness by shattering crystal structures.

    Just peachy. In addition to not colonizing Antartica we have not established colonies on the continental shelf.


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