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Projects enduring multiple generations

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:09 pm
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Projects enduring multiple generations 
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Post Projects enduring multiple generations   Posted on: Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:09 pm
There is a thought or question the article "Aliens Apart" ( www.space.com/searchforlife/071206-seti ... apart.html ) is causing me - but which was fragmentally thinking about several times ago already.

The article says
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More generally, we seldom begin any well-defined project that lasts more than two or three generations. The builders of medieval cathedrals were willing to spend that kind of time to complete their gothic edifices, and those who bury time capsules are occasionally willing to let a hundred years pass before the canisters are dug up. But what about a project that takes several centuries, and possibly millennia? Who's willing to do that?
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What are we missing at present to controll, keep and maintain such a project that would endure up to hunredes or even thousands of generations?

What kinds of methods and techniques might be required to enable such projects? Beyond PCs, Internet, Number Crunches and Supercomputers?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:53 pm
Perhaps we change the rules and make the generations longer?

http://io9.com/345728/geneticists-disco ... -800-years

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There is now a way to extend the lifespan of organisms so that humans could conceivably live to be 800 years old. In an amazing development, scientists at the University of Southern California have announced that they've extended the lifespan of yeast bacteria tenfold

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:45 pm
You would need a legal structure that kept out of the way and was difficult to change.

In the U.S. something like a black prject created by a constitutional amendment or something. Apollo took a presidential martydom.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:48 pm
Or an isolated environment, operated by machines. Think intergalactic voyage.

For it to be plausible here on Earth, or in any environment with humans, we would need a lot more stability than what today's technological and political turmoil offer. If we can't even predict what will happen 15 years into the future, how can we make plans to last 100 times that?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:33 pm
We already have space projects "enduring multiple generations". For example Voyager 1+2 and Pioneer 10+11 are (or were for those who are no longer transmitting today) already that long underway that their original constructors are dead or retired.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:35 am
Or get the Rothschilds to build it.

According to myth, it took Noah 100 years to build his ark.

One way to maintain a long construction process is to have it wholey owned by a wealthy family.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:29 am
I do hope that was a joke @idiom ;)

Problem nowadays is government and lack of societal cohesion. Plus, every single person has a different 'best interest' and different things he or she (dis)likes.

So yes, expanding life to biological immortallity is one way to do it. Or maybe as the old family businesses did it. Create offspring and train them in every which way as your follow-up.

But then again, old rules don't apply in an ever renewing world.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:19 am
Hello, Minthos,

knowledge about what will happen in 100 years or a million years is not required to do and control projects lasting lots of generations because it is possible already to consider alternative scenarios. In Enterprise Economics there are principles and methods to plan even for times not known much about.

Another point is that I don't apply the term "project" for construction only - the term has a wider meaning. For example when all construction of a probe and its insturments is done and ready and the probe has been launched into interplanetary space the interplanetary research project it's doing isn't termineated yet - it's just starting to be done. In other words - missions are project.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:39 am
Once the thing is operating it is easy to keep operating because of the perceived investment. Witness the ISS and the Shuttle.

However a lot of projects have been abandoned at 95% completetion.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:06 pm
In principle ther were no real projects yet that lasted several generations. A generation seriously at work lasts no longer than 50 years in Germany which is the time between leaving school and retiring from having to work all day.

So a project lasting several generations would last significantly longer than 50 years - 100 years at two generations, 150 years at three generations and so on.

The Voyager project lasts 30 years up to now - and I am not that sure if it really fits into what I have in mind here.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:41 pm
The United States of America is one project that has lasted over many generations. The University of Texas is another that comes to mind right away. There are a lot of projects that have been in progress all over the world for generations guy's

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:27 am
I don't know that we could build Cathederals today. We would build them a lot faster, the literal cathederals.

But there are few people willing to embark on a project they know they will not see completed.

Terraforming Mars springs to mind. 700 years from now a Terraformed Mars would be an amazing return on investment.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:39 am
Ideals are the driving force for generational projects not Ideas. With a sufficent Ideal funding is less important because the hearts and minds come together in Ideals. I hate to bring Hitler into this but his Ideal was quite powerful. And Kenedy had an Ideal as well about going to the moon. A visonary with a compelling enough Ideal and the drive to present it and enough ability to transmit it from the proper platform could do almost anything.

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