kajarainbow: (Anisha)
Planetes is one of the most romantic very, very hard science-fiction things I've read, and one of the most people-centered. I find it interesting because it's all about personal, human reactions to the terrifying vastness and hazard of space. Makes the point that humans can't conquer space, too, just learn to live and hopefully thrive in it.

And it makes a strong case for space exploration. I'm all for that (there're a lot of genuine benefits to be gained), but I'm not sure our current model is the best. There's been a lot of politics in the history of NASA. It was formed to serve our government, and it still gets used for political agenda. And our Space Shuttle isn't even the best model of launch, its design came from bureaucratic reasons.

Frankly, I have the most hope for commercial efforts. Pure profit motivations might have their own limits in terms of goods without immediate financial return, but they sure do get things done a heck of a lot better than bureaucratic inertia. And we have companies all excited about space, heh. Quarterly profits might be the trend, but there're always some long-term thinking people.

And in the Planetes manga, it was governments who started a war filling orbits with debris bad enough to ground many spacecrafts for an indefinite period. For short-term political gain. Hard to see companies doing that. On the other hand, companies have a lot of consolidated power to pursue selfish agendas with. Sometimes those selfish agendas're widely beneficial (the company provides something that widely improves lives all around and makes a profit from it, too), sometimes narrowly beneficial and widely harmful (much what gets lobbied to government, etc.). The same forces are true for government, actually.

This has slid sideways onto other tangents tangled up in all kinds of issues associated with government and commercial motives. But those are issues inherent to funding, which is inherent to any large enough effort. Sigh.

Post-in-a-capsule: Space good. Money/power greed that helps everyone good, greed that hurts most people bad.
kajarainbow: (Default)
I have this friend. Now, the thing is, one thing that often annoys me about him? How whenever science finds something that's already obvious to him, he belittles this and wonders why they bothered. They bother because obviousness (or lack of it) is a poor guide to truth. Seriously, I can't even begin to count the numbers of times common sense have been proven absolutely wrong (but to confound things, it's sometimes right, too, heh). I like cold empiricism because looking at things without assumptions, or attempting to, and prodding at them and attempting to record the results as precisely as possible has historically proven a very useful guide to truth.

I've been taking somewhat of an interest in what is often called the "dismal science": economics. It's clock-full with this sort of things, all sorts of things that only make sense if one drops the preconceptions of ones upbringing and look at how the numbers tend to work out. Lots of very complicated issues. And, now, this is the sort of case I'm talking about. Ripple effects, unexpected consequences to even benevolent actions. A non-economics example: giving energy food bars to highly starved people and ending up hurting them because they can't handle the sheer amount of calories in their states. Yet another: everyone lending lots of something to a charity, burdening them with the costs of managing particular supplies way in excess of what they need. Like too much X and not enough Y.

I no longer trust good intentions as enough in themselves. I've increasingly come to see careful examination of action-and-consequence as an important, even crucial part of morality. Not that I would consider people evil for simply being mistaken, heh. It takes willful wrongness to earn that,, and I wouldn't toss the word out lightly. But this is why people who stick to rigid closed-mindedness bother and even alarm me: in my eyes, they lack an important part of morality. Evaluation, consideration, then decision.

I'm still trying to work out what I think about this whole economics thing. I've also learned some things from psychology and from anthropology, though I'm still a dabbler at best in all those fields. In many ways, I live to learn.


kajarainbow: (Default)

September 2018

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