Carl Sagan can change his mind

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion.  — Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP address

Bob Ballard calls for ocean colonization

Most of this video is familiar history to me, but the last 10 minutes held some surprises for me.  First, the U.S. Government is now funding a new ocean Explorer program and dedicated ship, though it’s still poignant that the NASA budget for outer space exploration is 1600 times the NOAA budget for inner space (ocean) exploration.

Ballard's ocean habitat

Second, he posed a question I’ve never heard an ocean leader pose: “Why are we not looking at moving out onto the sea?”  While showing a schematic of a (hypothetical?) ocean habitat in a giant spar buoy, he goes on:

“Why do we have programs to build a habitation on Mars and we have programs to look at colonizing the moon, but we do not have a program looking at how we colonize our own planet?  And the technology is at hand!”

Perhaps it is time to learn how to live in the ocean right here in the Pacific Northwest?  What could we learn if the Salish Sea had a sea floor observatory?  Would it be valuable for research or education to have a human habitat underwater at  the Friday Harbor Labs or Lime Kiln State Park?  Or can the same value be gained through virtual presence: enhancement of the underwater sensors at Race Rocks, the Seahurst Observatory, and the fledgling Ocean Observing Initiative’s Northwest regional expression, like the Venus line.

Inspiration from Obama infomercial

At the end of his 0.5hr piece called “American Stories: American Solutions”, he said some things that are rare to hear from anyone — especially politicians.  It struck me that these should be on the list of things we teach our children, or at least I teach mine.  He said, “I can promise you this:

  • I will always tell you what I think and where I stand;
  • I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face;
  • I will listen to you when we disagree.”

Mantras and manifestos

After a camping trip with Dave and Russ, just learned about Future in Review and it’s mantra from Mark Anderson.  They have a mantra that should be inspirational to all Americans and members of over-consuming societies on the planet:

“It isn’t about problems; it’s about solutions.

It isn’t about tomorrow; it’s about today.

It isn’t about them; it’s about us.”

So, now I am ready to read and think and talk about solutions.  Why is it so hard to find cogent discourse about them?  Is it all happening at conferences like Future in Review, or within the Board rooms of for-profit companies?

Mark mentions Silicon Valley,  Elon Musk, and Vinod Khosla as actively working to derive solutions.  I’ve read their bios and am excited to learn more about them.  In general, the FiRe participants seem like an interesting group and a potential source of truth and optimism…

For the last few years as I’ve mulled over oceanic solutions to global warming and food shortages, I’ve been yearning for an established mechanism for discussing/deriving the solutions that would automatically ensure the embedded intellectual property would be licensed in an open-source spirit.  Perhaps it’s as simple as filing for a patent from within a non-profit organization.  Is there an extant mechanism for individual inventors and innovators?  What shall be the home of our maricultural manifesto?

Perhaps an answer will come as I delve more deeply into this realm of affluent innovators, largely spawned from and empowered by the start-up technology sector.


“To laugh often and much

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends

To appreciate beauty

To find the best in others

To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived

This is to have succeeded.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson