culture war” crams people along an absurd “left-right axis” while ignoring the real fault line... It’s the chasm between those working for an ambitiously better future and those dragging us down into bitter nostalgia, yearning for a golden past that never was. The latter dwell on both ends of the political axis. (Though the infestation is far worse on one side.)
Here are several projects that share the former goal - an eagerness to transform tomorrow! Can we look past the surface politics to see a way forward for some of them?
--The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act. If passed, this act would allow entrepreneurs to crowdfund. That means they could raise money over the Internet through relatively small donations from people they don't know. (This model has been pioneered - for the arts - by Kickstarter, but only for "donations" not for the crowd-sourced buying of actual investment shares.) The bill removes barriers to doing business – but this time for the little guy.
The site is worth visiting, if for no other reason, than to read the quotation from William Faulkner’s Nobel speech: "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail...."
--Not incompatible! Recall the “seasteading” proposals I discussed here, a couple of months back? Pointing out many aspects that no other pundits seem to have mentioned - a few of them critical, but mostly fascinating and several quite supportive! (I portray seasteading in my next novel.)
Well, things appear to be picking up. “Blueseed” is creating a high-tech visa-free entrepreneurship and technology incubator on an ocean vessel in international waters. “Our facilities will be a short ferry ride away from Silicon Valley so that great ideas and talent from around the world can live, work, and play while having convenient access to the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Of course, this is not quite creating a new national sovereignty. A vessel at sea is still subject to many external rules. It will be within the US 200 mile economic and environmental zone, but outside the 12 mile visa/passport/commercial law reach of the US or California. Those entities could make things hard, though, if Blueseed isn’t careful. Blueseed will also be answerable to Panama or Liberia or wherever they register their ship. This might help provoke a long-overdue fresh look at those flags of convenience.
In any event, I wish them luck! It sounds like a fun experiment. It might even make some money while stimulating productive activity. (Still I wonder. Won’t most visitors still have to transit through Bay Area airports? Who would use s ship to visit them, avoiding US customs? A pretty long voyage... to accomplish what? Hey, just askin’.)
--Thinking Big: io9 offers a list of Ten mega construction projects that could save the environment -- and the economy.
These large-scale concepts (not all practical!!) include
- The 'Lunar Ring' of solar panels placed on the moon
- A space elevator to lift cargo into orbit
- The world's first carbon-neutral city
- Geothermal power plants that can extract lithium, zinc and manganese
- One far-out idea: coral-like chemically-engineered structures that would grow, self-repair and respond to the environment.
--Darpa’s Sci-Fi Ambitions:
A few of Darpa's long-range projects include
- Cognitive Computing ( a computer chip that mimics a brain)
- The 100-Year Starship Study
- Synthetic blood
- A Battery-powered human exoskeleton
- Insect cyborgs
- A flying submarine
- Mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
Some of these grand-scale projects have the potential to revolutionize our world. ...
As does great science fiction! See my list of bold, future-oriented fiction -- which challenges us to cast our eyes forward toward ambitious solutions.
Add to that Joe Haldeman’s new novel EARTHBOUND is the final volume in the trilogy that started with MARSBOUND, followed by STARBOUND. Visit Joe's website to learn more about this imaginative series.
== Post-Modernist Hilarity ==
Finally, lest anyone imagine that I think imbecilic anti-science fanaticism exists only on the radical right, let's go back two decades and dig this hilariously apropos 1st paragraph of a book review -- by the philosopher Matthew Cartmill -- of Donna Haraway's book, Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science.
This review appeared in the International Journal of Primatology (Vol. 12, No. 1, 1991):
”This is a book that contradicts itself a hundred times; but that is not a criticism of it, because its author thinks contradictions are a sign of intellectual ferment and vitality. This is a book that systematically distorts and selects historical evidence; but that is not a criticism, because its author thinks that all interpretations are biased, and she regards it as her duty to pick and choose her facts to favor her own brand of politics. This is a book full of vaporous, French-intellectual prose that makes Teilhard de Chardin sound like Ernest Hemingway by comparison; but that is not a criticism, because the author likes that sort of prose and has taken lessons in how to write it, and she thinks that plain, homely speech is part of a conspiracy to oppress the poor. This is a book that clatters around in a dark closet of irrelevancies for 450 pages before it bumps accidentally into its index and stops; but that is not a criticism, either, because its author finds it gratifying and refreshing to bang unrelated facts together as a rebuke to stuffy minds. This book infuriated me; but that is not a defect in it, because it is supposed to infuriate people like me, and the author would have been happier still if I had blown out an artery. In short, this book is flawless, because all its deficiencies are deliberate products of art. Given its assumptions, there is nothing here to criticize. The only course open to a reviewer who dislikes this book as much as I do is to question its author's fundamental assumptions-which are big-ticket items involving the nature and relationships of language, knowledge, and science.”