Month: January 2014

The Dark Side of Private Space Programs

I am not opposed to private firms helping us get into space. I totally understand that private companies and start-ups can bring new, imaginative, and innovative ideas to the table – and that we should absolutely listen to those ideas if we’re going to do this thing the right way. But their fervor to “control the market” is a bit much for me to handle. Just because it’s not on Earth doesn’t mean that all humans – not just the rich white privileged ones – shouldn’t have some say in the role we as a species will play in the future of our off-world experiences. The proponents of privatized space flight say it’s more efficient and doesn’t take money away from taxpayers. But, in reality, these are just convenient, conservative lines being fed to us so that one agenda – profit-making – becomes paramount. The only way to ensure that humanity’s best interests are considered in space travel is through democracy. And as we know, corporations are naturally undemocratic entities. Is that the future we want for space exploration? It’s not the future that I want to see. Anyway, in the article, they articulate all of the reasons why this is terrible much more eloquently than I do.

Let’s talk about the dark side of private space programs.

What Ender’s Game Gets Right About Communicating With Aliens

Great article for anyone hoping to step beyond the obvious fallacy of humanoid aliens and their impeccable knowledge of English (often even nailing our accents perfectly). As a writer, I think this is a legitimate way to let yourself off the hook from developing fake languages too. Our language abilities are a specific function, an accident really, of our evolutionary development. Anything else in the universe that has developed language skills has almost certainly done so in totally separate means, perhaps not even by using oxygen. Chemical reactions releasing pheromones, “facial”/sign language systems, and yes maybe even a little telepathy are all totally on the table. But vocal fold vibration probably isn’t.

What Ender’s Game Gets Right About Communicating With Aliens – Wired Science.