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How important is the X-Prize?

Posted by: dolby_uk - Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:48 am
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How important is the X-Prize? 
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Post How important is the X-Prize?   Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 8:48 am
Quote from another thread in the X-Prize Launches forum.

borussell wrote:
Horray for all humans. This is how we should be spending our energy. Congrats to all involved for setting such a good example to the rest of the world!


Can I be a "devil's advocate"?

I've just spent 45 minutes defending the X-Prize to a colleague who was of the opinion that there are much more important things to be spending money on, like researching illness cures, and environmental issues, and helping the poor etc.

I defended the X-Prize on the grounds that it doesn't have to be exclusive, that man has a sense of adventure and that we also have a responsibility to others in this world, and to the environment, etc.

How important a priority should spending on private spaceflight be? Why aren't these richer people also offering prizes for the first environmentally-clean automobile engine, or prizes for the first cure to serious illnesses, etc.

I know that there are tonnes of people on here who see spaceflight as really important, and I may be shot down in flames, but I'd be interested in peoples' opinions.

~Dan


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:24 am
First of all your friend is a blind cripple, stop poking him with a stick, it's not nice.

Second of all, if SS1 (and it's ilk) were generated by taxpayer money then your friend might have a point (weak though it would be). It wasn't, he doesn't.

Thirdly, the direction that researchers take should be governed by their own desires and curiosity, that goes for those who want to fund it too.

Finally, I do research on cancer, I stuggle constantly to get the funds I need for it, but I'm not going to decry as waste the direction a rich man chooses to pour his funds into as long as it appeals to his sense of wonder. There are thousands of wealthy benefactors in activity today paying for all kinds of different research ... your colleague hasn't bothered to look ... so pay him no mind.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:22 am
Hello, dolby_uk,

each individual man only will give something of his own only for things and ideas he cosiders to be worth to give his own for it.

And this necessaryly has to be so and shouldn't be changed no way and never. The reason is that nobody knows what OBJECTIVELY is really worth to give someone's own for it - each man is judging SUBJECTIVELY.

Concerning your points the richer people don't consider clean automobiles or first cures worth any prize today. But is that different if you look at those people not being rich? I never met one. The problem is that your collegue like others only is starring at the rich ones and claims that they should assist those goals he himself SUBJECTIVELY is considering worth the wealth of those OTHERS.

In fact it's a quite difficult philosophical problem.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:53 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The reason is that nobody knows what OBJECTIVELY is really worth to give someone's own for it - each man is judging SUBJECTIVELY.


Thanks for the reply guys. I guess that's the real deal isn't it. Is there an objective measure of what's worth someone's time?

By the way, in my opinion, the concept of the X-Prize is a much better way of going about it rather than saying "the government should do something". Inspire people, rather than bringing bureaucracy into things. And this way it doesn't spend taxpayers money that could be spent on such things like hospitals too for the general population. :)

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 6:13 pm
How about how we're trying to jump-start an entire new industry. An industry that will create new scientific advances (just look at all the great stuff we got from the 50's-60's as a result of the needs of the space race). Or how it has the potential to generate new jobs, create new wealth (opening up new areas for mining/etc.), and while you can outsource lots of labor to other countries, a lot of what is involved with space travel is intellectual, and will thus could help our economy in a time when it is needed.

Plus, if you look at the long term - Age of Discovery w/ ships, the 1800's and railroads, the 1900's and planes, the world is getting smaller. Each advance in transportation brings us closer together as a global community, and if space travel is privatized, it has the potential to unite the globe.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:02 pm
I'm hoping that rather then uniting the globe, it will be the first step in giving us some much needed elbow room. I imagine a world where one day xenophobib religious luddites won't feel the need to be violent to prove a point. They'll just pack up and go.

Maybe I am hoping for too much from humanity, but it's nice to dream. Xprize is a link in the chain.


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Post Worth   Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:52 pm
Many people in this country have a tendency to equate value with money. This is obviously a myopic view of things.

SpaceShipOne, presumably developed with about $27 million of private funding from philanthropist/investor Paul Allen, is valuable for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons or big picture in scale, others more mundane. Here's one of each.

First, we live during a transition between a time when life evolved only on the planet (planetary evolution - the Phanerozoic Eon) and during a time when life will evolve on Earth AND points beyond (extraplanetary evolution - the Astrazoic Eon?). Gagarin, Armstrong, ISS Expedition Crew One, Yang Lewei, and Melvill are playing key roles in the migration of life into space. Indeed, so are the hundreds of thousands of people since Tsiolkovsky (one might argue Jules Verne) who have recognized the potential our species will realize in space. Our magnificent creations on Earth during the past 10,000 years or so will pale in comparison to the millennia that lie ahead among the nine planets of the Solar System. In fact, when I look up into the night sky, it occurs to me that our greatest days lie ahead.

On the more mundane side, Scaled Composites and the Ansari X Prize in general represent a laboratory of innovation integral to a free market system dependent on ideas. The United States and other free nations depend on these new ideas to survive. Those who do not innovate in an effort to be a step ahead of the world we create and the hurdles nature throws at them will perish. Most seeking to make a business of space adventure travel will fail. Failure as majority is true of most business sectors in a free market system. It's just that in the clothing industry, when 3/4 of the companies fail, it isn't big news (except for those who lose a job). But in the space industry, with so few players, the impression is that space markets are a dud. Not so. It takes courage, vision, and determination to open doors others think should remain closed, or can't be open at all.

Besides which, we need to get out of the habit of trading one important thing for another. In this country, indeed the world, we must strive to do all those things worth doing, from feeding and educating our children to establishing commerce in space. To borrow and modify something President Kennedy said, we must do all those things, not only because they are hard, but because we feel, deep inside, that we should.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:09 pm
bad_astra wrote:
I imagine a world where one day xenophobib religious luddites won't feel the need to be violent to prove a point. They'll just pack up and go.


Just in case anyone elses vocab is as bad as mine.

dictionary.com wrote:
xen·o·phobe

A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.


Lud·dite

(1) Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment. [pete note: sounds like American politics at the moment]

(2) One who opposes technical or technological change.




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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:42 pm
'scuse my spellin'


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 03, 2004 7:58 am
Hello, dolby-uk,

it's impossible to find an objective measure to decide what' worth someones own because of the nature and the meaning of "worth, value".

To consider or to "feel"(!) something worth someone's own is of psychological nature but objective measures and measurement is NOT of psychological nature but of scientific nature. So Philosphics is involved and required.

It's quite difficult but we will run just straight into debates concerning Liberalism (Hobbes, Nozick, Smith etc.) versus Totalitarism/Ideologies as supression of judgments of worthyness by one other judgeement of worthyness by using huge power. The great cruel example is the early Sovietunion assisted by Leo Trotzki who based his doings on "scientific jdgements of worthyness" which have been stated to be possible by the Marxian "Philosophy"

The disacussion could trun to be quite dangerous and awfully minded.



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Post Re: How important is the X-Prize?   Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:19 am
dolby_uk wrote:
Why aren't these richer people also offering prizes for the first environmentally-clean automobile engine, or prizes for the first cure to serious illnesses, etc.
~Dan


To prove that people involved with the X Prize are also involved in more "grounded" research:

http://www.xprizenews.org/index.php?p=528

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:55 am
Hmmm...
Good question.

I'd like to take the perspective of the early space flights.
Why is it good to go to the moon? They might have asked.
Well they might have answered, "There is no good."
But now through the process of hindsight we can see what good became of the First Flights into space.











The list continues. It's the striving for things that are currently unattainable that leads to new invention. If we can access space more readily we might be able to take cancer patients into space to observe the effects, That might lead to a cure.

i know my spelling isn't all that good. But that's how i see it.

~Neo


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