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Just_An_Author wrote

Eh, I've wanted to see what sort of catapult ammo Billionaires made for a while now. Maybe we could even turn it into some kind of contest, seeing who can build a machine to launch a billionaire the furthest. Bonus points if they get whiplash on launch.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Main issue with free-range cats is that, being completely blunt, they are psychotic murder machines. Yes, they are cute and you probably want to cuddle them (I know this firsthand, having lived with a cat for twelve years). On the other hand, if you simultaneously take care of a cat and allow them to go outside, you are directly facilitating the sort of spree killings that would make the bloodiest of serial killers jealous.

So, you've got to consider knock-on effects with this sort of thing.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Yeah, vat grown meat is a good thing. It's way more resource-efficient than actually raising animals for meat production, and a lot of people just like eating meat. More ethical too, on account of nothing with a brain dying to make the stuff.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Yeah, vat grown meat is a good thing. It's way more resource-efficient than actually raising animals for meat production, and a lot of people just like eating meat. More ethical too, on account of nothing with a brain dying to make the stuff.

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Just_An_Author wrote

My biggest thing is living in a city where most of the places I want to go are in walking distance. Aside from that, I've begun making a point of getting things that are built tough enough to last a good long while. This (theoretically) helps since it slightly reduces the industrial requirement of replacing it, and it also avoids inconvenience associated with things breaking and needing to be fixed or replaced.

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Just_An_Author wrote

My biggest thing is living in a city where most of the places I want to go are in walking distance. Aside from that, I've begun making a point of getting things that are built tough enough to last a good long while. This (theoretically) helps since it slightly reduces the industrial requirement of replacing it, and it also avoids inconvenience associated with things breaking and needing to be fixed or replaced.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Something I would like to point out: Global CO2 levels are around half that of what the dinosaurs had to deal with. The Earth has been through this sort of warm period before, and life has not only survived, but thrived. Further, other means of getting energy that do not release greenhouse gasses are becoming more prevalent at an exponential rate, meaning that the last big greenhouse gas spike will probably be from the methane clathrates in Siberia. It is therefore extremely unlikely that Earth will reach truly uninhabitable temperatures across most of its land area.

Yes, those other means of producing energy DO have byproducts, but those are byproducts that can be dealt with. For instance, the most problematic byproduct of solar panel manufacture (Silicon Tetrachloride) hydrolizes into Silicon Dioxide and Hydrochloric acid. The former can be readily used for glassmaking or other such tasks, while the Hydrochloric Acid is something that can be disposed of in other ways. Seriously, environmental regulation is something that can and has been done before, often getting awesome results in only a couple decades tops.

When this is combined with the fact that humans are really an extremely versatile species, not to mention one that can be quite effective at problem solving, I am quite confident that the majority of sapient beings on Earth will survive the coming century.

Laying all the cards on the table here, here are the biggest problems associated with climate change, along with a reasonably low-tech solution.

1: Equatorial regions getting so hot that the people there literally die

Assuming that this doesn't simply result in an evacuation from the affected regions, it should be pointed out that temperatures will be significantly lower during night time. In addition, shallow subterranean structures tend to stay cooler than structures on the surface, even without energy-hungry active cooling. It's not the greatest of arrangements, but a switch to a nocturnal lifestyle would at least resolve the worst of the heat issues.

2: Sea level rise

The absolute worst-case scenario for total sea level rise is around eighty meters, which still leaves 90% of land area above water. Further, the rate of sea level rise is extremely unlikely to exceed twenty centimeters per year, giving plenty of time for people to move gradually inland.

3: Disruption of agriculture

This is the big one; most drops really aren't built to handle sudden changes in temperature. Fortunately, the equator isn't the only place getting warmer. There's plenty of land area in places like Canada and Russia that is currently too cold for agriculture, but could be put to that purpose as the poles warm. Shipping this food to where it's needed could admittedly be a bit of an issue, but it's one that I'm quite sure is solvable.

On a somewhat more high-tech level, genetic engineering is a thing, and the equipment needed to do it is getting cheaper and easier to get every day. Just make some crops that handle the heat better.

...Sorry if that was somewhat ramble-y.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Possible Side-Effects may include
-Terminal blood addiction
-An aversion to garlic
-A tendency to combust in daylight
-A weakness to holy symbols
-Lack of a reflection
-spontaneously turning into a swarm of bats
-inexplicable urges to sleep in a coffin
-An inability to cross the thresholds of homes uninvited
-Monster hunters attempting to ram a wooden stake through your heart

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Just_An_Author wrote

There's a reason I categorized starlifting as extreme long-term; it's the sort of project that only really makes sense in the far future after all the asteroids and outer planets have been tapped out. Either that, or we're at a point where we either need to cool the sun down or Earth is getting fried.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Your first point is an ideological one that I'm really not sure how to engage with, so I'm going to ignore it for now.

Anyway, regarding Earth ending up as a breadbasket for spacers, that's highly unlikely to happen. Any permanent off-world settlement will need the ability to grow it's own food period, it's simply too much of a logistical hurdle to ship food to Mars for tens of thousands of people. Hence, that's probably not too much of an issue.

Again, I never said that the spacers defending their livelihood with lethal force was good, just that it was likely.

As for destabilising the sun, starlifting is pretty certain not to lead to any major consequences aside from a gradual dimming (this will necessitate modifications to Earth's orbit to keep it in the temperate band, but the laws of physics do not forbid those). Part of this is because it primarily squeezes matter out of the star's poles using intense electromagnetic fields, part of it is because we have literal millions of datapoints regarding what smaller stars look like, and they're generally very well-behaved celestial bodies.

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Just_An_Author wrote

I find this sort of doomsaying annoying. Yes, we're probably headed for a Hothouse Earth scenario, but that is a scenario where life on Earth has been proven to survive before. Seriously, the Dinosaurs lived in a world with twice the atmospheric CO2 of today, and they were fine.

On the other hand, this article offers very little advice for those of us who want to maintain comfortable living conditions for humans despite the probably unavoidable climate shift. Well, aside from 'eliminate inequality' which is kind of the entire point of the Left.

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Just_An_Author wrote

Honestly, I think that the most viable means for large-scale launch capacity from Earth is a hybrid laser launch system. An electromagnetic accelerator gives the spacecraft an initial kick into the air, before a multi-gigawatt laser battery blasts a large block of ablative propellant attached to the back of the ship. This provides more than enough power to shove decently large spacecraft into orbit, after which nuclear-electric drive systems should be more than sufficient to get to nearly anywhere in the solar system.

This system has several advantages over both rockets and space elevators. Compared to rockets, it doesn't necessarily need anywhere near so much excessively combustible propellants, both reducing pollution and making space launches much safer. Compared to space elevators, it doesn't require dubious speculative materials to make a strong enough cable, is a lot less vulnerable to space debris slamming into the cables, and won't have any collateral damage if something breaks. The only things needed are the launch facilities to be built and sufficiently powered.

Anyway, as to the 'right' to disassemble other celestial bodies, if there's nobody living there then they're just inert matter, the same as any other chunk of atoms. True, there might technically not be any need to, but if we wind up with easy enough access to space, people are going to go to space. Maybe only a small percentage of the population at first, true, but it's something of a self-selecting process. Anyway, those people who do go to space are probably going to be rather uncooperative with any attempts to keep them from making use of the resources around them instead of shipping stuff from earth.

Hence, the most likely justification for it will be "my life depends on mining this stuff, and if you try to stop me I will shoot you." Not saying that's a good thing, just saying that it's likely.

As for the externalities of stuff like solar collector manufacture, that's one of the nice things about having lots of space-borne industry. There's a lot of room in space where it's perfectly acceptable to put toxic byproducts, particularly since in most locations there isn't a biosphere that people need to give a shit about. Yeah you'd still need to be careful to keep orbital debris from getting out of hand, but in space free volume is REALLY easy to come by.

In the extreme long term if resources start running low, there's a convenient chunk of matter right in the center of the system that you know as the sun. There are already several theorized ways to remove matter from a star for industrial use, a process which would actually prolong the sun's life. Even if all we could get out of it was Hydrogen (it isn't), with a particle accelerator and enough energy elemental transmutation is absolutely a thing that can be done even with current technology. If we get the hang of nuclear fusion we could even get energy out of it for any element lighter than Iron.

Please note that this isn't even considering possible interstellar resources, since it's hard to say what sorts of technologies will pop up for interstellar travel at this point in time. With relatively sedate (!) nuclear torchships, we're still looking at decades-long travel times between the closest of stars, and starship fuel fractions upwards of 90%. This would needless to say make bulk interstellar shipping a rather unappealing option.