May 27, 2018

Now We're Receiving Lost Transmissions From 1975

This episode of Round Table from 1975 is something of a unicorn. It was thought lost until recently. 


Behold! Two of the great visionaries of the 20th century, Gerard O'Neal and Isaac Asimov discuss space habitats.


Note too, that in the '70s which in which in many ways was a time of vomit and shame culturally, the TV talk shows actually grew braincells rather than destroying them like today.

O'Neal's recollection of why he did this (the abuse his hard science/engineering students were getting by luddites. ) has a sadly contemporary ring.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:53 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Although it is a shame to hear him buy into the Environmentalist conceits that we're A) Overpopulated and b) Polluting the planet to death. But Global Warming hadn't come into the Fad yet.  

Posted by: Mauser at Mon May 28 14:12:15 2018 (Ix1l6)

2 A much more innocent time. Even if we were to build these habitats, the diehards would remain behind to fight over their ancestral lands. They just wouldn't be in a position to threaten as many innocent bystanders anymore. It would be interesting to see how many new ethno- or ideological-states were created when one can simply build new real estate.

Always knew Asimov was rather naive. His zero-sum thinking in this video is on display. Spending more on space wouldn't necessarily have much, if any, impact on military spending.

Still, it was an enjoyable window into the past. I still prefer a ring topology, and I think O'Neill was too narrow in his imagination. A nested-ring (like a roller bearing) design would, I suspect, be scalable far beyond the tensile limits of the material of which the spinning, inner, ring was made. The outer ring (which wouldn't have to spin) could be made arbitrarily thick to support the inner ring. You could get habitats hundreds of miles in diameter.

Assuming I'm not completely off-base anyway. Any engineers in the house?

Posted by: Jabrwok at Mon May 28 19:10:54 2018 (wKZS0)

3 Yeah, unfortunately Asimov completely ignores that if one group spent their money on building in space and another group spent their money on weapons, then the second group would end up with both the weapons and the space construction.
Also, the idea that building space colonies would  eliminate the frictions that cause war completely ignores the wars that happened in the Americas before the continents were settled.  Meaning there was ample opportunity for finding resources and for small groups to go out and build their own colonies.  And yet, we still had wars.

Posted by: StargazerA5 at Tue May 29 18:19:59 2018 (FuETf)

4 Well, once those space habitats start building mobile suits to defend themselves.....  

Posted by: Mauser at Tue May 29 19:27:18 2018 (Ix1l6)

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