The History of Interplanetary Colonization

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Forget star travel! Let’s get busy and really have some fun with our own back yard first!

One of my earliest introductions to how this would work comes from Robert Heinlein’s wonderful books ‘Red Planet’ (1949), ‘Between Planets‘ (1951) and ‘The Rolling Stones‘ (1952) and ‘Have Spacesuit. Will Travel’ (1958). Heinlein’s universe consisted of very large colonies on Mars and Venus, and settlements on Ceres, and Titan and the Galilean moons of Jupiter especially Ganymede. These were traditional domed communities that had matured into major settlements of upwards of 100,000 or more people. ‘Red Planet’ is set some time in the 21st century, with a major equatorial settlement and outlier colonies, and the beginnings of the terraforming process to make the Martian atmosphere breathable. Other stories like ‘Podkayne of Mars’ (1962) take place in the equivalent of 150,000-ton ocean liners (e.g. Queen Elisabeth II) in space that never touch down on a planet but where people are shuttled back and forth on self-propelled, aerodynamic ships. These leviathans maintain a constant acceleration of 0.1Gs so

Spaceship from the movie ‘First Spaceship on Venus’ (1960)

interplanetary travel takes about a few weeks to get from Mars to Earth, and the ships rotate to —> Read More Here

Commercial DNA Testing May Cause Harm, Scientific Studies Show (if You Read Through to the Study Limitations at the End)

A year after the US Food and Drug Administration urged 23andMe to stop the marketing of its personal genome test in the United States, the world’s largest direct-to-consumer genetics company relaunched the test in Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Find out how your genetics relate to things like abnormal blood clotting, cystic fibrosis or response to certain medications.” [italics added] “Keep in mind that many conditions and traits are influenced by multiple factors. Our reports are intended for informational purposes only and do not diagnose disease or illness.”

The UK website of 23andMe opens with clarifying statements about how the company wants us to see their renewed test. “The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency … has determined that we’re not a medical product, more an information product,” says 23andMe’s CEO Anne Wojcicki in The Guardian.

As it seems, 23andMe has relaunched its DNA test as the information service it was in the beginning: a service that offers a personalized exploration about what science knows about your genes, how they relate to your health and what they tell about your characteristics and traits. Yet, the test itself has not been scaled back to —> Read More Here

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