Space isn’t big enough for: Space

Would you buy a hectare of moon for a single credit?

How about a million hectares for the same price?

There’s a LOT of moon, and that means there could be a lot of moon to sell.

More importantly for our first colonists, however, is the cost of LIVABLE real estate.

You could own the whole moon, but you’re only going to live on a little bit of it.

And since you can’t sleep outside very long, you’re going to need a roof,

and walls,

vacuum seals,

oxygen generators,

carbon dioxide scrubbers,

and, well, you get the picture.  Living on the moon is going to be very expensive.  It’s going to be way more expensive than living in downtown Tokyo, Manhattan, and London combined.

Do you know anyone who lives in those places?  If so, then you know that they also live under the following conditions:

Small rooms, thin walls, annoying neighbors, and lots of rules of things that they can’t do.

So, imagine what we’ve figured out.  The moon, cheapest real estate in the universe, yet has the most expensive livable real estate in the universe.  You’ll live in space, where there is no horizon, yet you’ll be able to reach out and touch both of your walls.

Infinite space, yet no place for claustrophobia.

Who knew?

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Inches

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Long ago, back when caves were considered prime real estate, we measured things using our fingers and feet.

More recently, we started defining the best units to use for learning.  There’s this outfit that helps the whole world get its act together.  They work very slowly, and nothing they do is mandatory.  That’s too bad, because the world has a lot of crazy stuff going on.

The world’s largest economy still uses old measurements based on units that don’t convert easily.  Quick, how many inches in a rod?  How about in a mile?

Do the same thing using the metric system.  Badabing!  Easy peasy.

Guess what?  If you’re an American dreaming of living on the moon, you better pack your undies and your sun-tan lotion (SPF 500!), but leave your feet and inches behind.

There’s not enough room.

 

 

Space isn’t big enough for: French

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As I study French using this great app, I come to a fairly sad realization.

Il n’y a pas de place pour la langue.

Even though space is large, mind-bendingly large, our first colonies aren’t going to be big enough for more than one language.

Imagine there being some kind of emergency, like trying to find the jam in the fridge, and you have to call out without thinking.  What if you used the wrong language?

Alright, maybe looking for jam isn’t the best example.  What if your rocket malfunctions and you need to get help immediately?  Hadn’t everyone better be on the same frequency?  As in knowing how to talk?

Learning french is fun.  The way they organize their thoughts are a bit different from the way us American English people normally do it.  But that’s what makes life here on Earth fun.  If I go to France and order some bread and cheese, but end up with a duck and ketchup, it’s only a moment of embarrassment.

Do the same thing on the moon, and it’s many times worse.  Alright, the bread and cheese example is, cheesy, but you get the picture.  Mistakes on the moon are extremely costly, and speaking more than one language comes with a price.

Sacre bleu!

 

 

 

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Mistakes

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Know of anyone hanging a picture on the wall and puncturing their water pipes?

Or using the toilet and maybe having to yell for toilet paper?  Or maybe the plunger?

Being “only human” means that we know we’re going to make mistakes.

Making a mistake here on planetoid Earth is relatively cheap.  Need the plunger?  Go and get it, take your time.

Now take that toilet and put it on the moon.  Not easy, is it?  Costs quite a bit, doesn’t it?  Maybe there’s only one seat for a whole lot of people.  Better be careful!

Oh oh.  Maybe a bit too much pastrami.  Did I break it?

Better not.  There’s nothing else, nowhere else to go!  Lots of people lining up, and now there no happiness to be had.  What’s going to happen now?

 

That’s only the toilet.

Now, what if you hang that picture, but you put a hole where it shouldn’t be, and you lose your air?  Or if the door doesn’t open right, or if the whole roof is going to fall in?

The kind of little mishaps we shrug off as minor become major mashups when you get up there.  The moon may be smaller than the Earth, and the colony may only have a small number of people, but mistakes would be much more expensive.

So, if you think about moving to the moon sometime, make sure to pack your bandaids and duck tape.  But leave your mistakes behind.

Space isn’t big enough.

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Junk

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You may have heard that space is big.  Space people like to remind us that space is big.

By big they mean really big.

Really very mucho super big.

Big deal.

Someday, if you like to dream, then maybe people will live in space.  Maybe not in space, but on the moon or mars.  Living in space would be hard because you still need to stand on something.

There’s this problem.  We don’t live there.  Yet.

If we’re going to live in space, then someone is going to have to make the first step.

Pretend we’re going to live on the moon.  Is there going to be a cushy sofa in every Lunar Living Room?  Or will the furniture be a bit more, rocky?

There’s going to be a lot of things that will have to be different.  Very different from what we like to see in the movies.

If we study behavior, these are things we should think about before we try Lunar living.

After all, the cost of a ticket to the moon is high, and we have to pack light.  That means we can only take the essentials.

Space just isn’t big enough for junk.

 

 

 

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Utopia

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We think of space as big.  Infinitely big.

For all intents, it is.  Big.

Space is so big, that every single person living on Earth today could have their own habitable planet somewhere in our galaxy.  If having your own planet isn’t utopia, I don’t know what utopia means.

Wait a moment, wait a moment.  There’s a problem.

Getting there is going to be tough.  Very tough.  I don’t think anyone has really thought through how truly terribly roughly tough it’s going to be.  So that’s what this is about.

I like to pretend that someday our descendants will live on the moon and Mars.  However, it’s mighty expensive to get stuff up there.  That means they are going to have to pack their bags very very light.

Not only bags as in real suitcases, but bags as in what they carry mentally.

Mentally?  What is he talking about?  Why would it be expensive to take an idea up to the moon?

It’s not the cost of transport that makes some ideas expensive.  It’s the cost of having the idea once you’re there.  As a quick example, let’s set the wayback machine to when North America was “discovered” by Europeans.

One of the first things the new arrivals did was use their guns.  They used them a lot.  In fact, they pretty much eliminated the bison population, and a whole lot of birds to boot.

Can we agree that the first settlers going to the moon are not going to be shooting off guns?  In fact, they may not even be allowed to take guns.  That’s for another day.

Do you get the idea?  Even an idea can be expensive.  Shooting off guns when you wanted to was a “freedom” of the wild frontier.  Well, space is so much more wild that even guns can’t be allowed.

Here’s where utopia comes in.  We think of utopia as a fun place.  A place where we get our way.

Not for the first settlers of the moon.  Heck, probably not for the first million Lunites.

You see, life is going to be tough, very tough.  Everyone is going to have to work hard, almost all the time.  And there’s going to have to be a tough central authority.

There’s an awful lot of things that can go wrong, no matter how we set up the future.  We’ll be talking about those as we go along.  But for the moment, if you’re thinking of living on the moon, don’t bother packing your Utopia.

Space isn’t big enough.  Not yet.

 

Forgotten Warriors

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Living things behave, because life encompasses everything we do.

A forgotten war hero of WWII

From hugging a newborn to burying Dad.  There’s no good reason to pretend economic behavior is different from psychological behavior.  Not one.  Life isn’t about religion, it’s not about being political.  All these categories are made up so it’s easier for us to apply for grants.

One way to illustrate this is to draw connections between things that seem so different that any similarities must be the work of a crazy man.

Did someone call for a crazy man?  That’s me.

Consider two warriors, different, but similar.

Warrior One.  This is the name of a yoga asana, and my exhibit number one.  The greatest evangelist of yoga in the 20th century was Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.  He spawned a bunch of other yogis, including one who should be more famous, Indra Devi.

The problem with TK is that he wasn’t good at tooting his own horn.  Another problem was that his famous students were better at marketing.  As a result, their names are well-known and TK is forgotten.  That’s too bad.  He made more sense than any of his students.

Warrior Two, also a known asana, and exhibit two.  But in this case, the exhibit has nothing to do with yoga.  Bear with me.  Or more accurately, HellCat with me.  This was an aircraft that fought most of the air battles in the Pacific.  It was produced in the greatest numbers, brought down the most enemy aircraft, and saved the most pilots.  It was an incredible warrior.

Chances are you never heard of the HellCat.  And that’s because newer, prettier aircraft came along and took the final bows.  No one stood up to help us remember the aircraft, the pilots, and even the workers (many of whom were women) who built the HellCat.  It is a forgotten warrior.

Here’s the connection.  Very different disciplines; yoga is selfish, designed to free us from our perception of bodily weakness and develop strength, while the other belongs to the discipline of war.  The first gave us a teacher of great teachers, the other gave us a machine that defended us from those who wanted to impose their will upon ours.

Both worked hard, tirelessly, without concern for their own celebrity or accumulation of wealth.  TK didn’t do it himself, and he wouldn’t let those around him do any marketing either.  The HellCat, as a machine, didn’t have a choice, but the legions of people surrounding it did.  And they chose to let the HellCat have its day, and later, its rest.

As a student of behavior, I’m not arguing that these warriors were good or bad, or even that their impacts were good or bad.  That’s ancient history.

As a student of behavior, what I argue is that we don’t let them be forgotten.

For what they have given us is priceless.

 

How About Coffee?

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Quoting another source semi-verbatim isn’t my style, but with the proper citation and it being only a little bit of quoting, we should be able to swing this by the legal department.  If there’s a problem, please ask nicely and this post can be modified.

But there’s a reason it’s worth quoting, it’s great writing and speaking.  The text is from Piers Bizony‘s book on the making of 2001 A Space Odyssey.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in aviation, space, movies, science fiction, science, anything technical, or anything having to do with behavior.  I fall into 5 of those categories.  You’ll want to buy it because it’s too good to share.

First, paraphrasing only slightly, we have Marvin Minsky, the expert from MIT advising Kubrick who had no problem understanding that the emptiness of 2001’s dialogue was intentional

” … And after the momentous statement that the monolith must have been deliberately buried, one of the astronauts says, “Well, how about a little coffee?”  Kubrick’s idea is that the universe is too majestic for short sighted people.”

Now, here’s the good part where I’m trying to be as faithful to Bizony as I can;  Kubrick’s wife, Christiane, speaking about her husband’s intentions.

“Stanley thought we are always falling behind our scientific and technical achievements.  We are very good at making more and more things – but to do what with?  We haven’t kept up, psychologically and philosophically.  We are not profound.  We are still getting away with the most boring entertainments.  We are shallow, and we know it.  We suffer from it.  The choices we make are not satisfying.  Our sins are all of omission – of not doing the more interesting things that we could do.  There is a lethargy, a lack of energy and concentration that prevents us from reaching the key point where we are as creative and perceptive as we would really wish to be.  We are in the terrible position of being smart enough to know that we are not smart enough.  For instance, we still can’t imagine, “What is God?”  So in 2001 we see fantastic tools of communication.  People can speak over zillions of miles, but nobody has anything to say.  So we pretend.  We live in a little world of nonsense and send each other funny photos and cute stories, with this enormous technology.  “Happy Birthday,” and so on, when nobody seems to care, or react.  It’s very melancholy – although two things we really can do.  War and pornography we’re good at.”

Bizony then distills much of Kubrick’s angst.

 “2001, so optimistic on the surface, is in fact a morally complex movie.  Either we will bore ourselves to death while our machines sneak in through the back door and take over; or else we will blow ourselves to hell, our modern minds still compromised by an instinctive taste for aggression.  It seems we have to keep fighting to survive.  And we have to stop fighting to survive.”

page 421, Piers Bizony, The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, published by Taschen, 2015

PS – For goodness sake, if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, please do both of those first, and as soon as possible.

 

Supply Our Own Light

I study behavior.  I want everyone to study behavior.  It’s necessary for us to succeed as a species.  Strangely enough, Stanley Kubrick said the same thing.

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this, and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, then our existence can have genuine meaning.  However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

Studying the universe in all aspects is also part of behavior.  Our knowledge of the universe, how we go about acquiring and treating that knowledge, and our feelings about the universe are all human behaviors.

One of the most difficult things we must overcome in understanding behavior is detachment, removing ourselves from the equation.  We must have no feelings, no passion for our subject.  Whatever happens, happens.

We know that people mistreat animals, other adults, even children.  Yet as students we must take a deep breath and consider all the possibilities.

We watch as someone rises to power, corrupting government and the economy so that he amasses great wealth in a short period of time, without benefit to society.  We must stand by and learn, knowing that this has happened before.  Like stress in tectonic plates, these will also be relieved someday.

A despot secures his power, removing hard fought liberties from his nation.  We must take a deep breath, re-read our histories, and apply this new knowledge to our preparations for the future.

Kubrick was right, not only for technically conquering the vastness of space, but also for understanding behavior in all its forms.

We must confront the universe without passion, without preconception.  In order to explore the universe of behavior, we need only one thing.

We must supply our own light.

 

****  Boring Notes Follow ****

This quote is from the last few lines of page 508, Piers Bizony, The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, published by Taschen, 2015.  The book doesn’t indicate where Mr. Kubrick’s quote was taken from.

Quoting another source semi-verbatim isn’t my style, but with the proper citation and it being only a little bit of quoting, we should be able to swing this by the legal department.  If there’s a problem, please ask nicely and this post can be modified.

But there’s a reason it’s worth quoting, it’s great writing and speaking.  The text is from Piers Bizony‘s book on the making of 2001 A Space Odyssey.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in aviation, space, movies, science fiction, science, anything technical, or anything having to do with behavior.  I fall into 5 of those categories.  You’ll want to buy it because it’s too good to share.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, please do both of those first, and as soon as possible.

 

Best Aviation Weather app

Hello everyone,

It’s been a long time since I’ve published any thoughts.  I don’t get the sense that they make much difference.

But a week at Oshkosh for Airventure 2016 has thoroughly rejuvenated me as far as getting excited about life.  Writing?  Maybe not so much.  I’ll focus on making money for now.  But at the moment, there’s something you should know.

As a pilot, one of the most important things we learn is that the weather matters.  This may seem trite, but the fact is that most people, and too many pilots, take weather for granted.

We are content to watch the weather-people tell us what the weather is going to be a few weeks out. Maybe we make some plans based on those predictions, maybe we don’t.

What you may not know is that those predictions come from a whole lot of data that the government collects every day, every minute.  Thousands of balloons are sent high up in the air from all around the world, twice a day.  Radar stations send out about a dozen separate beams at different angles, about once every second.  And every airport, marine port, and many other locations are busy collecting a lot of other weather data continuously.

The government headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is in charge of digesting all this data and representing it to us, the general public, commercial customers, and pilots, in forms that we can understand.  The team that works on weather for pilots, for example, only makes predictions out as far as two days – max.

Here’s the fun detail most people don’t realize.  When the weather channel people get the data, they massage it a bit so that it fits their style more comfortably.  Same for your local news station or anyone else for that matter.  One form of that massaging is that your local radar data doesn’t show you a dozen slices of weather – only one.  Another massage is that they stretch out the prediction period from one to two days to almost two weeks!

So if you care about weather, and you want it as pure and clean as organic food, then stop getting it from a processor like your news station.  Go to the source.  Go to NOAA.

Here’s where you can get the app for pilots (sorry, nothing for apple).

     Use this link to spread the word – this is our FREE html web browser version:
     EAsy way to remember – just Google: zoa2  and the first entry will be this webpage for mobile.

Enjoy!