Humanity

Duizend jaar oude organisaties, hun geheimen

De RK kerk, de Genda Shigyō Papiermakerij en de Staffelter Hof zijn alle meer dan duizend jaar oude organisaties. Wat is hun geheim?

De rooms-katholieke kerk bestaat al bijna tweeduizend jaar. Wat is het geheim van meer dan duizend jaar oude organisaties? Bron: Wikimedia Commons

Instituten waren en zijn essentieel voor het functioneren van de menselijke beschaving. Het waren kloosters die als centra van kennis de Europeanen door de donkere Middeleeuwen loodsten. Willen we een toekomstige periode van barbarij enigszins heelhuids doorkomen, dan is het nuttig om een organisatie achter de hand te hebben die duizenden jaren kan blijven functioneren zonder dat deze uiteenvalt. En voor de Long Now Clock, die zo’n tienduizend jaar lang de tijd aangeeft, is het natuurlijk wel handig als er generaties van klokkenmakers zijn die de klok netjes onderhouden. Bijvoorbeeld, omdat ze deel uit maken van een duizend jaar oude organisatie.

Duizend jaar oude organisaties

Dit verklaart de interesse van de Long Now Foundation voor de geheimen van meer dan duizend jaar oude organisaties. Zouden we net als Hari Seldon in de Foundation-SF reeks van Isaac Asimov, een organisatie op kunnen richten die over het voortbestaan van de aarde en de mensheid waakt? Die als een soort modern klooster de kennis van nu beschermen tegen verlies, zonder uit elkaar te vallen?

Uit het eerste onderzoek van de Foundation blijken al enkele gemeenschappelijke patronen. Zo zijn de organisaties vrijwel altijd klein. Er werken niet meer dan driehonderd mensen. Vaak richten ze zich op een niche-activiteit, dikwijls het produceren van alcoholische dranken als wijn of whiskey. Tradities spelen een belangrijke rol en vormen de voornaamste bestaansreden van de organisatie. Winst maken is vooral nodig om te overleven.

In onderstaande lange verkenning gaat de Long Now Foundation dieper in op deze vraag.

Sources

The data of long lived organisations – Long Now Foundation blog, 2021

Hyperinflatie, onzin of mogelijk al onderweg?

Veel kleine beleggers, crypto-bezitters en huizenbezitters kloppen zichzelf op de schouders vanwege hun sprookjesachtige rendementen. De werkelijkheid is wat minder florissant. Volgens sommigen dreigt hyperinflatie.

Economische relativiteitstheorie

We zijn gewend om de waarde van alles in geld uit te drukken. Euro’s, in ons geval, of Usaanse dollars aan de overkant van de grote plas. Dus als de prijs van iets in euro’s uitgedrukt stijgt, is dat een waardestijging. De vraag is, of dat terecht is. Zimbabwanen kunnen daar over meepraten. Zo is, uitgedrukt in Zimbabwaanse dollars, in 2008 de economie van Zimbabwe fabelachtig hard gegroeid. Een brood kostte een paar biljoen Zimbabwaanse dollars.

Was het slim om een bakkerij te beginnen in Harare in 2008? Niet bepaald. Met dit geld kon je als Zimbabwaan namelijk niet veel meer dan een sigaret rollen, of het vuurtje onder je kookpot met een armoedige maaltijd aanmaken. Alhoewel dit hoogste biljet ooit uitgegeven, nu curiositeitswaarde heeft en gewild is onder verzamelaars. Dit verschijnsel noemen economen hyperinflatie. De oorzaak van hyperinflatie is altijd de uitgever van het geld, meestal de overheid of centrale bank. Zo devalueerde de sestertie in het Romeinse Rijk, omdat de keizer steeds meer zilver verving door koper.

Op een gegeven moment was elke Zimbabwaan multimiljardair met dit biljet van 100 biljoen. Erg blij waren ze niet met deze hyperinflatie. Copyright: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe/Munthandel Oost Brabant. Source

Geld: geen erts maar vertrouwen

Geld is niet meer dan een ruilmiddel, een rekenformule. Zoals het voorbeeld van Zimbabwe (en Duitsland in de twintiger jaren, en Hongarije vlak na de oorlog, China vlak voor de communistische machtsovername, enzovoort, enzovoort) laat zien, is de waarde van geld niet absoluut. En is het voor een overheid in nood erg verleidelijk om de binnenlandse geldkraan flink open te draaien. Om geld bij te drukken hoef je namelijk geen belasting te heffen. Geld bijdrukken is een sluipende vorm van belastingheffing. Immers, hoe meer geld er is in verhouding, hoe minder het waard wordt. Dus met jouw bankbiljet kan je dan minder kopen. Met inflatie belast je iedereen, ook de vrek die zijn spaarcentjes onder zijn hoofdkussen heeft verstopt.

Gaan de Eurozone en de USA de hyperinflatie van Zimbabwe volgen?

Het monetaire beleid van de Europese Centrale Bank is roekeloos. Op dit moment kent de ECB een negatieve rente. Dat wil zeggen, dat je geld toe krijgt als je euro’s leent van de ECB. Zakenbanken doen dat dan ook grif, en kopen daarmee aandelen en grondstoffen. En onroerend goed, vooral woonhuizen. Door de toenemende vraag wegens dit goedkope geld, stijgen hiervan de prijzen. Wat superwinsten voor de rijken oplevert. Immers, ze verdienen zowel aan de koerswinst, als aan de negatieve rente. Kassa!

Dit verklaart ook, waarom aandelenkoersen en de vermogens van multimiljardairs pijlsnel stijgen. Dit ging een tijdje goed. Maar begin 2021 is deze inflatie nu ook de reële economie aan het bereiken. Zo zijn de Nederlandse huizenprijzen in 2020 11,6 procent gestegen in het coronajaar 2020. Let wel, in een jaar waarin de economie fors kromp met 3,8 procent. Ook het voedsel en andere basisbehoeften worden nu duurder als gevolg van de gestegen grondstofprijzen. De energierekening was al enkele jaren aan het stijgen.

Hyperinflatie?

Van steeds meer goederen worden de reële kosten flink hoger. Op zich is het niet erg als de prijzen van luxe-goederen stijgen. In veel opzichten hebben we al meer rijkdom dan goed voor ons is. Vervelend wordt het als eerste levensbehoeften snel duurder worden. Een skivakantie minder, of een paar jaar langer met je meubels doen, is geen ramp. Met een hongerige maag of rillend van de kou naar bed moeten gaan, wel. Laat staan, dat je de ziekenhuisrekeningen van je familie niet meer kan betalen. Helaas is dit het meest waarschijnlijke scenario. Inflatie heeft namelijk de vervelende eigenschap, van de top naar beneden te sijpelen. Uiteindelijk komt de zwarte piet bij de armsten terecht.

Eldorica, more prosperity with less work

The Club of Rome report came out about half a century ago. What if we had listened then? The visionary book Eldorica by the late Jurriaan Andriessen (1951-1991) explores the possibilities.

Consumer society: cheap is expensive

Not only do we consume much more now than, say, a century ago. The stuff we use also lasts much shorter. Compare something as simple as scissors. Good tailor's scissors, from the Swiss brand Victorinox, for example, cost around forty euros, but with careful maintenance, will last a lifetime. A pair of scissors from a Chinese manufacturer that works with razor-thin margins and underpaid employees costs around two euros at the hedge fund firm Action. This may last a few weeks with intensive use.

There may be three times as much raw material in Victorinox scissors as in Action scissors, but this is negligible compared to the raw material in the hundreds of Chinese tailor scissors. What if we bought these quality scissors right away and avoid the clutter of the Action? That would save a lot of environmental pollution, unnecessary work and energy. This is exactly the rationale behind the late Jurriaan Brouwer's utopian society Eldorica.

Eldorica: a luxury car for everyone

In the Netherlands, 400,000 new cars are sold per year, with an average of around 35,000 euros each. These last an average of twenty years. But what if each of these new cars lasted a hundred years, for example because their build quality is five times better? Then we could spend five times as much on this car. In other words, a luxury Rolls Royce or Tesla for everyone. Or, a much lower amount, so that we would have to work less.

This sustainable luxury car for Eldorica consists of the raw materials of the cars, which are driven through in our society. (c) Jurriaan H. Andriessen

Fitness center? No, generate energy yourself

Eldorica is not for lazy people, although you would say that at first glance with a four-hour working week. Because you generate the energy for your household appliances yourself. The exercise bike in Eldorica is there to power your TV set, radio and music system. Our body can generate about two hundred watts of power. So an hour or two of cycling and swinging provides enough energy for an evening of watching TV (Eldorica dates back to before the advent of the personal computer). Everything that can be done by hand is manually operated. That also saves electricity. Cars are only available for longer journeys. There is a covered bicycle for rides up to five kilometers. Aircraft and oil tankers do not occur in Eldorica. Instead, Andriessen imagined zeppelins and computer-controlled sailing ships.

Only those devices that really cannot do without power, such as TVs, work on power in Eldorica. These are charged via crank wheels and an exercise bike. The rest is manually operated. (c) Jurriaan H. Andriessen

Could Eldorica be possible?

In short: yes, if we had a meritocratic and technocratic administration, without incompetent and lying politicians. Admittedly, with a few adjustments - for example, the temporary use of nuclear energy to lay the foundation for a sustainable energy supply cannot be avoided, and solar panels are more practical than his exercise bike power station. And he didn't think about anything as prosaic as heating houses. Or healthcare.

Capitalism will also have to be replaced by a form of managed economy. Eldorica's economic system can be seen as one of a kind luxury techno communism. It is not without reason that Jurriaan Andriessen strongly emphasized a computer-controlled (cybernetic) form of governance.

Unfortunately we can no longer ask Jurriaan himself. He died in a tragic accident in a swimming pool in 1991 at the age of 39. The Jurriaan Andriessen foundation was established in memory. His book Eldorica, a travelogue to a better world (ISBN: 9789027424846) is unfortunately no longer in print, but is still available second-hand. There are also PDF scans of the book in circulation.

More information

Theme website graphic work Jurriaan H. Andriessen and Eldorica
Jurriaan H. Andriessen Foundation

Is that allowed to lie to save the world?

Is it allowed to lie, if you can save the world with this?

Lying very useful in politics

In a democracy, in theory, the population rules. In practice, this is “delegated” to professional politicians, who are elected every four years. Getting your way through is difficult, when stubborn people are constantly getting in the way who think they know better. And besides, often have a different agenda than you. That explains why lies are so popular in democracy. Like magicians, politicians and politicians disguise their real, unpopular intentions. They mask these with noble lies. Because the stupid people cannot handle the truth. Below are some examples of “white lies”, well known from public sources, that turned out to be disastrous.

Greenhouse effect

A good example is the increasingly worse anthropogenic global warming (AGW), popularly called the 'greenhouse effect'. The amount of CO2 in the air has risen sharply in the last two centuries. Namely, from approximately 270 ppm to around 415 ppm in 2021. That is not going in the right direction. After all, more CO2 in the air means warming and rising sea levels. Parts of the tropics can also become uninhabitable due to the high temperatures.

If the temperature remains structurally above 26 degrees, our body will suffer from too much heat during heavy work. This is already a huge problem in, for example, El Salvador [1]. And certainly, if, as expected, the average temperature in the tropics will rise even more. Then the tropics become unlivable even with sufficient drinking and light work. Reason enough, therefore, to tackle the AGW problem. Most Dutch and Belgians would like that too.

Meat is unhealthy for the planet, not for humans

One of the main contributors to this CO2 is livestock farming. It is estimated that about 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions, plus the necessary deforestation, are caused by livestock [2]. In short: it is very useful for the earth if we stop eating meat.

Now the problem is: The argument to save the Earth convinces only a few people to abandon meat. But when people start to believe that eating meat makes eating sick, the number of vegetarians explodes. And there you see, a significant reduction in CO2. This explains why the opinion that meat is unhealthy, and that meat can be easily missed, is predominant in progressive, hip blogs. Because who wouldn't want to save the world with a white lie?

A lie yes indeed. Children need meat to grow better - vegetable protein is much more difficult to digest [3]. So while eating a little less meat is beneficial for adults who eat a lot of meat, growing children certainly need plenty of meat.

The war on dairy

Dairy also suffers this fate. After all, dairy also comes from livestock farming and is therefore CO2 polluting. One kg of protein from dairy is about the same as one kg of protein from meat. Milk was once recommended to prevent osteoporosis, and school milk was something we were proud of. Now even schoolchildren get fake milk like oat milk from their well-meaning, socially conscious parents. Oat milk is widely hyped in hip circles, but is in fact a kind of expensive meal drink. With many empty calories and many and too few nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D [4]. The result: malnutrition in children. Because these types of families also eat little eggs and meat.

Ban curse on soy

In fact, just one plant-based milk substitute comes pretty close to cow's milk. Soymilk. Although the protein from soy is about twenty percent less rich in essential amino acids than that in cow's milk. So you have to use more soy milk to get enough of those amino acids. Yet they do not often choose soy. The soybean has a bad smell to socially conscious people.

Although soy is fine to grow in the Netherlands. Moreover, a higher yield per hectare gives than in Brazil: 3.5-4 tons per hectare with experienced growers [6]. That equates to 1500 kg of soy protein per hectare. Sufficient for a whopping 500,000 liters of soy milk per hectare per year. In other words: we could grow enough soy for the complete milk consumption of the Netherlands, 975 million liters, on an area of 2000 square kilometers (this is approximately the area of the province of Limburg). But soy is wrong. So you can't.

Lying to start wars

In general, wars are a very bad idea. Wars cause a lot of human suffering. And there are many victims, both dead and disabled. Countries are also turning into wasteland. The disruption is ruining the lives of millions of people. So no sensible person can be for war. Yet wars are still the rule. Also wars started by democratic countries.

This is possible because the people are being lied to. Consider the weapons of mass destruction of the then Iraqi dictator Saddam, which later turned out not to exist. On this basis, Saddam's regime was overthrown, which has now been replaced by a pro-Iranian regime. With hundreds of thousands of deaths as a result. But oil profits and those of companies like Halliburton and Raytheon were assured. Interesting detail: the energy content of the depleted uranium munitions thrown on Iraq was sufficient to supply all households in North America for four years. free of electricity to provide.

The masks lie and corona test lie

An example a little closer to home. The way in which the Dutch government tackled the corona crisis was characterized by lie upon lie. For example, the government claimed that there was insufficient testing capacity. And made little move to increase this capacity. The result was that the Dutch corona figures compared favorably with those abroad, such as Germany and Belgium. And the Netherlands was excluded when, for example, flights to Germany and Belgium were stopped. That yielded quite a bit of economic profit. In reality, the excess mortality in 2020 already shows that the Netherlands is at least as badly affected as the neighboring countries: about the same as Belgium and much more severe than Germany. [3]

Mouth masks were not necessary, the government claimed. In the rest of the world, including at the WHO, it was already known in the spring of 2020 that the wearing of mouth masks the best prevention against covid-19 spread. The reason for this lie was to prevent the Dutch from hoarding medical mouth masks. There was a great lack of this in healthcare. If the government had told the truth, then Dutch factories could have switched en masse to indigenous production of face masks, as happened in China, for example. Or we could have collaborated with our Belgian, French and German neighbors.

May lie? The Pinocchio doll's nose became longer when it was lying. Source: Adrian Michael / Wikimedia Commons

Does lying make sense?

From the previous examples we see that lying to the population always has a negative effect. Even if the liar's intentions are noble. Lies destroy credibility and trust, that is, social capital. Keeping up lies requires secrecy and censorship. Lies also cause wrong policies and steer society in the wrong direction. All of this is a high price for a short term benefit.

False is wrong. Joking is never allowed. No, not even to save the world. There is no such thing as white lying. If we are too stupid and cowardly as a species to grasp and act on the truth, we don't deserve to survive.

Sources
1. T. Bodin et al., Intervention to reduce heat stress and improve efficiency among sugarcane workers in El Salvador: Phase 1, Occup Environ Med. 2016 Jun; 73 (6): 409–416.
2. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_full.pdf
3. Meat diets boost kids growth, Nature, 2005
4. Euromomo, Excess deaths (interactive charts)
5. Angelica Sousa and Katrin A Kopf-Bolanz, Nutritional implications of an Increasing Consumption of Non-Dairy Plant-Based Beverages Instead of Cow's Milk in Switzerland, Adv Dairy Res 2017, 5: 4DOI: 10.4172 / 2329-888X.1000197
6. Local soy, WUR Depot

Singleton hypothesis: world government inevitable

According to Nick Bostrom's singleton hypothesis, one great power will eventually emerge that swallows or subdues the rest. Is he right?

Singleton hypothesis

The world is increasingly becoming a “village that encompasses the world”. That's no coincidence, according to the singleton hypothesis. This theory comes from the brain of Nick Bostrom. Bostrom is a philosopher from Oxford University, who previously made a name for himself with his theory about super intelligence. According to this theory, the logical outcome of human evolution is that there is one world government will come [1]. At least one entity that will rule all of humanity. That can be a super intelligence are, but also a mega-corporation or a superstate.

Increasing levels of order

As philosophers often do, Bostrom uses induction and makes an abstraction of it. In concrete terms: he established that in history, people started to live together in ever-increasing relationships. From a handful of hunters and gatherers to states with more than a billion inhabitants. Think of India and China. Or quasi-states like the EU. He continues this trend. He thinks that these enormous states will also merge into one earth-spanning realm.

Or in an artificial intelligence, something like Skynet from the Terminator series. Or in a company such as Tencent in China, which is a bank, social credit rater, shop and social network in one. But then much, much bigger.

Temporary trend of nationalism

Bostrom thinks that the prevailing trend in Western countries of anti-globalism today is temporary. Bostrom looks at timescales spanning centuries. Millennia, even. In the longer term, the outcome is clear, he says. We're heading towards a singleton. Whether we like it or not.

The singleton theory predicts that there will eventually be a world government on Earth. For example a United Nations, but with more power. Source: Converted SVG from wikipedia.org

World government more effective

Bostrom thinks a singleton could turn out well. After all, now there is the threat of nuclear wars. And an arms race. Plus tackling global issues, such as the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, is failing. A world government is nipping an epidemic in the bud and introducing a lockdown. And quickly arranges compensation for the affected area, so that no one has to grumble. Thus the epidemic had been contained. Unless the world government is a totalitarian dictatorship afraid of losing face, of course.

Singleton only for open systems?

Bostrom generalizes from a limited dataset. Namely that of open systems. Most people live in an open system, in which there are plenty of contacts with the rest of the world. In closed systems, such as islands, you see that these usually split up into a few parts. Take for example the Guanches of the Canary Islands and the inhabitants of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. A lonely island in the Pacific. Rapa Nui was completely isolated. The original inhabitants of the island, about the size of Texel, had cut down all the trees. Other islands are more than a thousand kilometers away. When explorers discovered the island, the population had split into different clans. This effect also occurred in the Guanches.

The soil is such a closed system. That is, as long as humans are the predominant species, the earth will likely remain split into a few large blocks. That is, if historical trends are correct. But that's the question. In modern times many trends have been turned upside down.

That would change if an outside threat were discovered. For example aliens, or colonies elsewhere in the solar system. So, as humanity we will not get much further than the United Nations. Unless humanity spreads beyond the Earth. Then a new field is added for quarreling. We humans are, unfortunately, quite stubborn. Hopefully we have learned that we get along more with peace than with war.

Sources
1. Nick Bostrom, What is a singleton? - 2005

Stateless and statelessness, dream or nightmare?

Statelessness is the ideal for the “sovereign man”. But what is that like, living as a stateless person? And do you have a life?

What is statelessness and statelessness?

Nearly every shred of land outside of Antarctica, and much of the sea, has been swallowed up by states. Almost all people are nationals of one or more states. But what if you are not a national of any state? Then you are officially called “stateless”. Statelessness is the modern equivalent of outlaws. Determining how many stateless people there are is difficult. After all, they are nowhere registered as subjects. It is estimated Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion are there such in the world 15 million stateless people and possibly more.

Jurisdiction

States grant rights within their jurisdiction. That is the term for the area in which the laws of the state are valid. Most of the rights that states grant they grant to their nationals. Or to the nationals of other states. That means stateless people have few rights on most of the earth. Indeed, invoking the law means that the state is likely to expel or imprison the stateless person.

How do you become stateless?

According to the UN Declaration UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 15), every human being has the right to a nationality, in other words, can claim subjection to a state. In practice, most states have fairly strict rules for applying for their nationality. People who through no fault of their own find themselves between the loopholes of these rules sometimes lose their nationality. They thus become stateless. A child of two parents of Canadian nationality only, each not born in Canada, is stateless if that child is not born in Canada or another country where the place of birth counts. More examples on Wikipedia.

These Antarctic penguins are stateless. Statelessness is the dream of many a voluntarist. corp2417, NOAA Corps Collection Photographer: Giuseppe Zibordi Credit: Michael Van Woert, NOAA NESDIS, ORA Public Domain

Become stateless voluntarily

There are also people who voluntarily renounce their nationality. For example, if you are a national of Usa, and you don't like Usa at all, you can walk to the local Usanese embassy and renounce your Usan nationality. The writer Glen Lee Roberts, who lives in Paraguay in early 2021, did this and wrote a book about it.

Renunciation of the Dutch nationality is only possible if you already have another nationality, of a country that recognizes the Netherlands. Renunciation of Belgian nationality is comparably difficult without extra nationality. In these cases, the only way to become formally stateless is to first acquire the citizenship of a country that can be renounced without having additional nationality, and then renounce it as well.

Benefits of statelessness

There are also some, albeit limited, benefits to statelessness. This way you can commit crimes with impunity in Antarctica. Namely, the Antarctic Treaty states that the perpetrator of a crime is convicted by his own country. The logical conclusion is that for stateless crimes in Antarctica cannot be prosecuted. So if you want to open a drug lab, host animal pornography or make the entire US Library of Congress collection of e-books downloadable by satellite and you are Rohingya or some other stateless person, Antarctica is a logical choice. If you try that as a Belgian or as a Dutch person, you will be taken away by a bunch of sturdy custodians at Zaventem airport if you miss the stroopwafels or fries from home.

Another advantage: as a stateless person you have no obligations. You are literally an outlaw. No income tax or conscription. Nothing. At least, as long as you don't reside in a state. So do you want to host deep fake porn from powerful people, you totally hate paying all taxes and / or do you want performing really false genetic experiments, then statelessness is a dream come true. This does require a network in the rest of the world. Hardly anyone lives on Antarctica and the high seas, and there are no postal addresses.

What if: aliens actually cooperate with terrestrial governments?

In recent years, more and more footage, as well as reports of eyewitness accounts, of encounters between Usan pilots and unknown flying entities (UFOs), accelerating and changing direction faster than planes with human pilots could survive.

Truth content disputed
These images come from the USAF and the US Army. These institutions fall under the Usaan FOIA (Freedom of Information Act, comparable to the Dutch WOB). While it is not inconceivable that UFOs are a deliberate disinformation campaign by the Pentagon to test prototypes of experimental aircraft undisturbed, these indications are too serious not to investigate. A retired Israeli top official, Prof. Dr. Haim Eshed, wrote a book revealing extensive contacts between a technically advanced non-human species and the Usan government, and with it the Israeli government. It is not said that Eshed's story is correct - commercial interests may be at play (Eshed is an SF and fantasy writer), Eshed is "crazy" [4] or distracted from something - but we take it in this what-if scenario for correct. What are the consequences then?

Rumors of government-alien collaboration remain persistent. What if they are true?
No copyright / image taken from https://pixabay.com/users/comfreak-51581/

Mysterious Galactic Federation
The leaked information from the book, taken from an interview in the Hebrew newspaper Jediot Aharonot [1], is scant. The rest of the YA article is tucked away behind a paywall, but googling the Hebrew title provided a more comprehensive source. [3] According to Eshed, the aliens come from a galactic federation of alien civilizations, roughly comparable to the Federation of Planets in the famous Usan SF franchise Star Trek. These aliens are said to be secretly roaming Earth and working with the Usan government, of which every Usan president is aware. Both would work together on a base on Mars, the headquarters of the aliens in the solar system. Among other things, the aliens would have prevented the outbreak of nuclear war (which has also been reported by other sources) [2]. The aliens would aim to fathom the essence of the universe in conjunction with humanity.

What use can the Earth and humans be for aliens?
Both the earth with her abnormally large moon as the Sun are, physically, unusual but not unique in the known universe. Earth-like exoplanets appear to be common, NASA estimates more than ten billion in the Milky Way alone. There are already 24 "super habitable" exoplanets known that are even more suitable for life than Earth. We know that it is technically feasible to extract helium-3, for example, from gas giants such as Jupiter or, if necessary, from stars. Really advanced civilizations can even use black holes or - possibly - dark matter to generate energy.

The main special element of the earth is its diverse ecosystem and above all the presence of at least one intelligent, or at least: handy species. We are a lush oasis surrounded by dull dead worlds. As a residential area, the earth is not really obvious. A building space cylinder is much easier than traveling to a distant star. Not to mention the many bacteria species here that are constantly looking for food sources. It is interesting to collect DNA from millions of species and to sniff human culture.

And who knows, there may be more to it. The earth may be an important node in a transport network that is invisible to us. Or is an important raw material present here that we do not yet know, or of which we have not yet discovered a useful application.

Why the secrecy?
The existence of life outside of Earth is an idea that has been around for hundreds of years. Giordano Bruno, a contemporary of Galileo, was burned at the stake for it. An Alien Invasion is the chewed plotline of hundreds of wildly popular science fiction books and series, ranging from War of the Worlds to V and Independence Day. Probably most of humanity will breathe a sigh of relief if it turns out that minds infinitely superior to us prevent the best cabinet since World War II and their equally enlightened colleagues in the rest of the world, bringing their unsurpassed talents to the world. create disaster even further. Most people already believe in an unfathomably wise and all-powerful alien called God. In short: if there is to be confidentiality, it probably has another reason. Because where do these aliens come from? And: why do they, with their unimaginably abundant resources, need humanity to do research?

Option 1: The aliens were here much earlier and our ancestors worshiped them as gods. 
God has been mentioned earlier as an all-powerful alien. Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Would an alien land on Earth thousands of years ago, humans would presumably see them as gods. In fact, this is exactly what happened in some cases where Westerners with horses and firearms came into contact with less advanced civilizations in the field of weapons, such as the Aztecs and the Incas. Descriptions in both the Tanakh (Ezekiel) as in the vedic literature from India are very similar to twentieth and twenty-first technology, with Ezekiel. an airplane, in the Vedas a nuclear war and a missile defense system. If this were indeed true, and if the gods were indeed cosmonauts as bar owner Erich von Däniken claimed, literally billions of people would fall from their faith. The social impact would be significant.

Option 2: we live in a simulation.
According to the simulation hypothesis our world is kind of very realistic computer game, a kind of Second Life. God, from an atheist point of view, is then the sysadmin of the simulation that is the universe running on an unimaginably powerful supercomputer somewhere. We are then nothing but a computer program.
The various beliefs such as Christianity and Buddhism are in fact variants of the simulation theory. Indeed, this would come as a huge shock, especially to atheists and agnostics. Depending on what belief the actual simulation corresponds to, this too would have a shock effect on believers with a strongly deviating world view. The aliens wouldn't need our help here. After all, the simulation programmer is omnipotent. The Mars base would not be necessary either.

Option 3: the aliens come from a parallel universe. 
According to the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and some cosmological models, many parallel universes exist next to our own universe. Here the laws of physics are slightly different. The shock of this would be limited. The Celts already believed in parallel worlds. Based on ancient Persian legends and philosophies, the 1001 Night describes subterranean worlds. Heaven and hell, and the various worlds of the Pure Land Buddhism in which you incarnate if you do very well, or very badly, can also be seen as parallel worlds. Parallel universes are a less shocking alternative than the aforementioned possibilities. It is already quite common knowledge among the general public that our universe is probably not the only universe. The conditions for life are very favorable in this universe. There are probably many universes where, for example, stars explode directly or where no atoms exist. So this is certainly a possibility.

Option 4: The aliens' “experiments” are far from harmless and unethical by today's human standards.
Earthlings who claim to have been abducted by aliens say they were involuntarily part of breeding experiments. Indeed, an alien breeding program would be ethically very shocking and make the aliens not very popular among the average Earthling. A breeding program is obviously not feasible for a species that is biologically completely different from humans. For example, there are no known cases where Japanese octopus porn resulted in the birth of a new sea monster. Which brings us to the next option.

Option 5: the aliens are descendants of humans from the distant future and need our DNA. 
Witness accounts typically describe “grays,” humanoid creatures with large eyes and a large head on a spindly body. Compared to our ape-like ancestors, we have a bigger head, bigger eyes and a weaker body. Future human species could look a lot like these grays if these developments continue. It is possible that a calamity arose in the distant future, for example a disease, as a result of which reproduction is no longer possible or man is on the verge of extinction. Indigenous peoples with little genetic variation, descended from the handful of first settlers from Siberia, died like flies from common diseases like the flu or the common cold. Human plant growers are constantly looking for material from crops such as wheat, tomatoes and olives from so-called Vavilov centers. These are places where the most genetic variation can be found. Today's Earth is the Vavilov center of man. Future settlers, like the ancestors of the Indians, will consist of relatively small groups. They may be so genetically homogeneous that their survival is threatened. Harvesting genes on earth is then obvious. Cooperation from a major earthly power, such as the superpower USA, is then useful to cover up incidents.
This scenario assumes time travel. Since time travel produces all kinds of logical paradoxes, these beings would have to come from a parallel timeline. This scenario also assumes a relatively poor knowledge of human biology. Although sub-scenarios are conceivable in which this knowledge has been lost, for example because man has become a machine-like species and then all this biological knowledge has been destroyed by a disaster - we no longer know how Greek fire or (until recently) Roman seawater resistant concrete - these are not very likely. These aliens would then have to switch to low-tech methods such as sex and implantation in surrogate mothers. The strong point of this scenario is that it logically explains alien abductions.

Option 6. The aliens are stranded in the solar system and need Earth help to escape. 
The distances between stars are enormous. The distance to the Alpha Centauri Galaxy, the closest sun-like star, is 4.2 light years, or about 250,000 times the distance between Earth and the sun. Without a warp-like drive, these distances cannot be bridged.

Suppose an astronaut were stranded in Roman times, or in China's Tang Empire about A.D. zero, or among the Maya, and not get sick or killed. Even if he or she had a complete library of all of today's earthly technical knowledge at his or her disposal, and spoke reasonable Latin or Classical, Chinese or Kiche, he would have little use for the primitive wrought iron Roman, Chinese, let alone stone Mayan tools to fix his spaceship. To escape from Earth, he would have to build at least a late twentieth-century civilization to produce all the parts of his spaceship. This would take at least two to three generations, if you take a lot of risk, turn just about all priests into enemies, and have all the cooperation of those in power.

In this case, it is not so much a shock effect, but rather a (justified) fear of the aliens that they will be enslaved and exploited. This scenario would explain why aliens need human help.

A variant is that these aliens are the last survivors of an interstellar war, seeking shelter on a barbaric planet. Sort of like rebels hiding in a tropical rainforest.

Or…
This list is far from exhaustive. What do you think, as readers?

Source
1. The UFOs have asked not to publish that they are here, humanity is not ready yet (translated), Yedioth Aharonot, 2020
2. The UFOs Didn't Come In Peace! Astronaut Sets Record Straight On ET Nuclear War, Huffington Post, 2019
3. Prof. Haim Eshed: “Aliens asked not to publish that they are here (translated), radio2000, 2020
4. David Israel, Former Head of Israel's Space Program: The Aliens Asked Not To Be Revealed, Humanity Not Yet Ready, JweishPress.com, 2020

Is Luxury Communism the Future?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, communism has been languishing. Almost all nominally communist countries, such as Vietnam, Cuba and the People's Republic of China, have become capitalist autocracies or have made room for capitalist initiatives. In short, the defeat of communism seems utterly and definitively, the domain of radicalinsky, forever banished to the scrap heap of history. Is that the role of communism over? On the contrary, says Aaron Bastani, the author of the book Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto.

Communism without workers
Central to the book is the idea that in the future all human work will be taken over by robots, because robots will be able to do everything better and faster than humans. In doing so, he continues the trend that has been going on for decades: the exponential increase in the computing power of computers and the abundant availability of energy and raw materials is reducing the value of raw materials, energy and labor to zero. And with this the cost price.

Life is getting cheaper because of this technological deflation. It is true that there is less and less work, but there is more and more prosperity in an absolute sense. Until now, labor has been the primary means of redistributing wealth. Most people have a job. For this they are paid from the profits that entrepreneurs make or from the taxes paid by entrepreneurs. But what if there are no more jobs soon? Bioj example in 2029, when 1000 euros worth of computers can process more information than the human brain? Then the main redistribution mechanism, wages, disappears. The solution, according to Bastani, is a redistribution of production resources. In other words, phase 5 communism, the classless society in Marxism without phase 4, the dictatorship of the proletariat, having taken place.

The Five Phases of Society According to Marxism
In his book Capital (1867) nineteenth-century German writer and philosopher Karl Marx analyzed the relationship between technology, capital and society. He distinguished five phases in the development of humanity. These are:
1. Hunter-gatherer societies, such as today's Khoisan. These, Marx argued, had a form of communism for a practical reason. In a wandering existence you can never have more than you can carry on your back.

Karl Marx, the founder of the ideas behind Marxism. Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Feudal societies. With the advent of agriculture, it became possible to accumulate wealth and gather armies. In doing so, the ruling class, the nobility, extort peasants and craftsmen through their army, so that they could appropriate the profits. When Marxist-Leninists or Maoists talk about "feudal", they are referring to this type of society. We see a revival of feudal society in societies controlled by the mafia and gangs.
3. Capitalist societies. With the advent of free cities (and before, with trade-based city-states such as Carthage, but they did not fit Marx's “iron historical laws”) and factories, labor becomes a factor independent of land and nobility. In addition to the nobility, a class of well-to-do citizens, the "bourgeois", emerges, employing the "proletariat", the workers, paying meager wages and reinvesting the profits to become even richer. According to Marxism, Western countries are in this phase.
4. Dictatorship of the proletariat. Marx dreamed of a seizure of power by the proletariat, which would lead to an egalitarian society. The proletariat would do this without respect for the bourgeois, in other words a dictatorship of the proletariat would arise. The means of production fall into the hands of the state. This communist ideal was more or less realized at the expense of bloodshed in the former Soviet Union and countries like Cuba and China.
5. Communist society. At some point, machines become so productive that they can produce everything for next to nothing. Anyone can now live a luxury life without having to work. Because the means of production are in the hands of the state, no one is exploited anymore and everyone can share fairly. This ideal has not been achieved in any country, with the possible exception of oil states (temporarily and only for their own population).

As we know a century and a half later, the practice turned out to be unruly. While his economic analysis was broadly correct, he lacked a macchiavellian assessment of human nature in his ideal society (for example, he did not foresee the emergence of the "red nobility" of corrupt party officials and inefficiencies in the planning process) and underestimated nationalism. huge.

The five great crises
According to Aaron Bastani, capitalism has survived fairly unscathed over the past two centuries, but is now facing an existential crisis, due to five developments coming our way simultaneously. These are: climate change, scarcity of resources such as energy, water and raw materials, an aging population, a growing number of “useless” people, called “unnecesarial” by Bastani and, the biggest threat, a new era of machines that will completely replace the production factor of labor by machines, ie capital. Capital that is increasingly unevenly distributed. In countries like the US and the UK, dozens of people have barely enough money in their bank account to survive a month. And a large group of people who have nothing to lose is not conducive to stability.

The choice of poverty for most ...
Capitalism basically performs two tasks: increasing wealth (through efficient production techniques) and redistributing wealth (through wages). Where increasing wealth is increasingly successful, this does not apply to redistribution. After all, work is becoming less and less important. The logical end result will be a world in which a small group of empires own almost everything from asteroid mines that will wipe out Earth's mines with their massive production, to fleets of solar-powered satellites and a monopoly on medical technology for life extension, for example. And the rest of humanity? The least unfavorable outcome is that they will live in tightly ruled slums, with the food coming from 3D printers. After all, this is the most CO2 neutral solution. A world that is very similar to that sketched in the science-fiction film Elysium. More likely that is like all bargaining power of the population will disappear, the world population will be reduced to 500 million people in a completely painless and hygienic way, as the Georgia Guidestones recommend. After all, that is the most efficient and most profitable solution.

In the cinema film Elysium, a wealthy elite lead a life without disease or lack in the space colony of the same name, while the rest of humanity is locked up in poor slums. Luxury communism wants to exist as in Elysium, but for everyone. Source: Edited screenshot of the Elysium trailer

Or for luxury communism
The alternative, says Bastani, is that while we still can, we opt for luxury communism. In other words: distributing the production factors among the population. Asteroids, for example, are not owned by one person or land, but by all of humanity under the Space Treaty. You can also question the privatization of intellectual property. With blanket patents, technical progress in an entire sector can be halted. So viewed in this way, luxury communism is the most logical and also most humane solution. To achieve luxury communism, according to Bastani, and also Visionair.nl, we must opt for enlightened populism. Populism, so denounced by the “progressive” elite, is the only ideology that puts the interests of the population first. And that can save us from an existence like Elysium, where one genetically enhanced upper class lives in mind-boggling luxury and the remaining 99% in dire conditions.

Source:
Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto, 2020

Government forms of the future

The current forms of government, dating from the eighteenth century or earlier, such as autocracy, monarchy and democracy, have the greatest difficulty keeping up with the rapid technological changes.

What the form of government of the future will look like will depend to a very large extent on what the human of the future will look like and how the humanity of the future will be spread over real and virtual worlds. In this video Futurologist Isaac Arthur elaborates on this.

In terms of government, Estonia is one of the few countries to go fast forward towards the future with the e-Estonia project. Source / copyright: e-estonia.com

Startup turns air into flesh

Meat production is extremely harmful to the environment. Still, animal protein is the easiest to digest and protein is essential for humans. A startup has found a solution that sounds almost too good to be true.

The startup Air Protein uses an old NASA technology from the 1960s. This one uses hydrogenotrophic (hydrogen-eating) bacteria that live on molecular hydrogen, H.2. Hydrogen occurs on Earth mainly as part of water, H.2Oh, but there are places on Earth where there is pure hydrogen gas. These bacteria are able to use this hydrogen gas as an energy source and with the help of carbon dioxide and nutrient salts convert it into organic substances, such as proteins. In TED lecture below this technique is explained.

Obviously, the production of hydrogen from water requires energy. The technology is therefore not free. A big advantage is that no soil is needed for livestock and, above all, that the amino acid profile of 'air protein' corresponds almost entirely to that of animal proteins. This makes it a full-fledged meat substitute, although the reddish-brown powder has little resemblance to meat. As an astronaut food and to help malnourished children and adults in the developing world, it is ideal.

Air Protein uses a NASA discovery to produce protein for astronauts. Could this solve world hunger? Source / Copyright: Air Protein

Developing meat substitutes may seem trivial, but it certainly is not. The production of every kilogram of meat costs between three to ten kilograms of animal feed. This makes meat a major burden on the environment. If we eat less meat, less agricultural land is needed and there is more space for nature areas and recreation, for example. We no longer have to be annoyed by the restrictions imposed by nitrogen nuisance.

Source
Air Protein

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