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Humans Doomed Without Space Colonies.
October 16, 2001 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Humans Doomed Without Space Colonies. The human race is likely to be wiped out by a doomsday virus before this millennium is out unless it starts to colonize space, top British scientist Stephen Hawking warned on Tuesday.
posted by stbalbach (31 comments total)

 
More discussion on the Yahoo newgroups.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 AM on October 16, 2001


As I read this I'm remembering the stories about how putrid and bacteria laden the Russian space atation was.

Locking people in an air tight, cramped, closed system is probably the best way to make them vulnerable to killer viruses.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:26 AM on October 16, 2001


Don't get me wrong, I love ol' Steve, but the guy has to stick to physics. I don't think this is exactly his area of expertise.
posted by Samsonov14 at 7:32 AM on October 16, 2001


Jeez, a millenium is a pretty long time from now; does he have anything to prevent me from being wiped out in the meantime?
posted by boaz at 7:34 AM on October 16, 2001


Steven is getting to be like Chrisswell. Didn't he predict that robots will kill us all in a hundred years? Next week - we will live on mars in 2001!
posted by tiaka at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2001


I thought that by the end of the millenium, we would all be able to download our consciousness into robots, thus eliminating the need for bodies. Or does he mean that kind of virus?
posted by jpoulos at 8:25 AM on October 16, 2001


Stephen Hawking is British? You sure can't tell by his accent.
posted by adambishop7 at 8:26 AM on October 16, 2001


Sounds like the poor guy's been sitting a little too close to the supercollider.
posted by Foosnark at 8:28 AM on October 16, 2001


I very much agree with Hawking. If you consider the likelihood of asteroids/comets and then add our willingness to destroy each other, I think he is right.

It's unfortunate that we waste our resources in killing our selves.
posted by thekorruptor at 8:28 AM on October 16, 2001


I thought I saw Stephen Hawking trundling down the hall yesterday. He had a toilet plunger taped to the arm of his wheelchair, and that annoying new english-accented voxbox he installed kept screaming "Exterminate!!! Exterminate!!!"

Me, I think they never should have given him that cameo on Star Trek.
posted by Perigee at 8:33 AM on October 16, 2001


Wouldn't it be wiser to spend money researching disease, so that if a super virus comes we can kill it, rather than building all sorts of crap in space? Because, if we make space colonies to survive a super virus, we're assuming everyone left on the earth is dead anyway. Poor earthlings.
posted by Doug at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2001


Holy crap, he's this super-giganto intellect, and he just realized we're doomed?

::breaks out teenage journals, points excitedly::
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:36 AM on October 16, 2001


either biological warfare or an army of cyborgs!
perigee beat me to the voice thing. bah.
posted by asok at 8:40 AM on October 16, 2001


stephen hawking: going psycho or psychohistorian?
posted by kliuless at 9:07 AM on October 16, 2001


This brings to mind Greg Bear's Blood Music wherein a a nerdy genetech creates these intelligent leoukocytes which escape the lab, behave virally and melt all life on North America into a Mandelbrotish matrix of hypercivilizations which finally break on through to the other side, causing the collapse of the local physical universe into 17 or so higher dimensions from the sheer quantum level weight of the trillions of local consciousnesses. It was all very Olaf Stapledon cosmic at the end.
posted by y2karl at 9:28 AM on October 16, 2001


Next up, Francis Crick's exciting new theories about black holes and the dangers they may pose to our civilization!
posted by straight at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2001


Y'all better not be bustin' on ma main man!. 'Cuz that ain't cool.

The man is mutlitalented, I tells ya! Biology, astrophysics, hip hop, social engineering, there's nuttin' he can't do.
posted by Dagobert at 9:56 AM on October 16, 2001


I think Hawking is right. With genetic engineering, nanotech and robotics, we might do ourselves in. But on the upside, space is neat!
posted by spork at 10:00 AM on October 16, 2001


Big Science
Alleluia
Big Science
Yodel ay hee hoo

posted by aflakete at 11:58 AM on October 16, 2001


A Star Trek-style ``warp drive'' might be one way to relieve the tedium of lengthy journeys between stars in spacecraft traveling below the speed of light, Hawking said.


What?
posted by lbergstr at 12:16 PM on October 16, 2001


What?

The Star Trek Warp Drive will save the human race from a doomsday virus set to strike in the next 100 years.
posted by stbalbach at 2:05 PM on October 16, 2001


Ah. Ok then.

Wouldn't that be a great solution to our current problems, though? Rest of the world doesn't like America? Fine, we'll just terraform Mars and move there, taking our marbles with us.

Yeah! That'd show 'em!

sigh

I'm going to spend the rest of my life living with a low-level threat of terrorism, aren't I? Kind of like tinnitus...this white noise, always in the background, that you eventually learn to tune out, but every once in a while...

posted by lbergstr at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2001


Hawking is fucking senile.

If it isn't proclaiming we should alter out DNA because renegade robots are going to take over the earth, what else?

The main thing is that computers are NOT gaining reasoning abilities, because of the inherent fact they can only think in terms of yeses and nos -- 1s and 0s.

Damn bedbug.
posted by trioperative at 2:48 PM on October 16, 2001


stbalbach, a millennium is 1000 years, not a 100
posted by spork at 3:28 PM on October 16, 2001


If we only learned one thing from Stanley Kubric, it is that scientists in wheelchairs are the futures only hope.
posted by fuq at 3:29 PM on October 16, 2001


A mathematician talking about biology is likely to be as expert as a chemist talking about vitamin C. Which is to say: not at all.
posted by Real9 at 3:38 PM on October 16, 2001


If we only learned one thing from Stanley Kubrick, it's that even the smartest people are just taking wild guesses when they try and predict what will happen before the start of the next millennium.

(P.s. I saw the 70 mm print of "2001: A Space Odyssey" last night in Seattle's Cinerama. Oooo, man!)
posted by Shadowkeeper at 3:42 PM on October 16, 2001


[computers] can only think in terms of yeses and nos -- 1s and 0s.

Have you read MeFi recently? People have the same problem.
posted by jpoulos at 4:11 PM on October 16, 2001


Me, I think they never should have given him that cameo on Star Trek.

Maybe, it was the one on the Simpsons--They Saved Lisa's Brain where Lisa joined Mensa. I dimly recall he punched out Skinner at one point.

Next there will be Phone Sex With Dr. Stephen Hawking:

OH. BABY. OH. BABY. MY PROTHESIS IS EXTENDING...
posted by y2karl at 4:16 PM on October 16, 2001


Next there will be Phone Sex With Dr. Stephen Hawking:

I. AM. WEARING. A. WHEEL. CHAIR. AND. NOTHING. ELSE. I. AM. DROOLING. EROTICALLY. OH. YES.
posted by fuq at 12:38 PM on October 17, 2001


Actually Hawking writes in Black Holes and Baby Universes that his voice box has one of those universally "foreign" accents. Brits think his accent is American. Americans think it's British. This pattern seems to hold no matter what country the listener is from.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:16 PM on October 17, 2001


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