Space Colonization Wiki
Forums: Index > Watercooler > Admin Talk

This wiki is a disgrace to space enthusiasts, astronomers, and people who just plain love thinking about colonizing space. The next time I get some free time from doing homework and studying for Pre-Calculus, Honors Civics & Economics, AP Earth Science, and AP Psychology, there will be some MAJOR changes and improvements to this wiki. Many articles are horrifically short, lack depth and detail, and are just plain hurting for information. Other articles that are critical to the subject of colonizing space are gruesomely absent. I demand to know who the administrators are on this wiki. I expect a response to this post soon (within 3 weeks), otherwise I will contact the community staff on the Central Wikia and request to adopt this poor wiki. Then, I'll get some of my friends and we can set to work. --XSuperGamerTalk 15:38, September 5, 2010 (UTC)

Hello XSuperGamer, my name is Keith. I am the administrator for this wiki, and also the person who requested it's creation on June the 30th 2008 for this reason. At the beginning of July 2008, the community approved the idea and the wiki was created.

The original premise for the wiki was to create a central forum on the internet where anybody can contribute to the growing knowledge base in the field of space colonization and especially space solar power, either through encyclopaedic reference material or, and this is important, their own ideas for advances that they have not managed to get into the public domain yet for whatever reason. Having a central forum like this would allow all sectors of society to contribute what they know best, which is the best solution to any problem because as we know, colonizing space means colonizing with all sectors of society, and we need ALL their knowledge in contributory fields that we can't even imagine yet, AND we need that number of contributors, without whom any effort to colonize space will not reach critical mass. Further, the wiki was to encourage a more populist approach to spreading information about the precariousness of human existence, in an effort to engage more people in these subjects through more popular media such as the arts.

However, a couple of months after the creation of the wiki, and with me still basically the only contributor to it and just learning how to even use one properly, Google announced Project 10 to the 100 where they asked the world for all their ideas on how to tackle the major problems facing the human race, offering $10 million in prize money to start the five best ideas (this money would go to the idea, not the person). In case you haven't heard of Project 10 to the 100 I will describe it for you here, followed by the submission I made to them (about open sourcing the entire field of colonizing space) and what it means, their response to the suggestion, and finally why the wiki is in the state that it is.

From the Project 10 to the 100 website:

Project 10 to the 100
How it works
Project 10 to the 100 (pronounced "Project 10 to the 100th") is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. Here's how to join in.
1. Send us your idea by October 20th 2008.
Sorry, the submission deadline has passed. But you can still help us change the world.
2. Public voting took place from September 24 through October 8, 2009.
3. We'll help bring these ideas to life.
We're committing $10 million to implement these projects, and our goal is to help as many people as possible. So remember, money may provide a jumpstart, but the idea is the thing. Learn more about how the winning ideas will be implemented.
Good luck, and may those who help the most win.

Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don't fit into any category at all.

Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea's impact last?

Why this project?
Never in history have so many people had so much information, so many tools at their disposal, so many ways of making good ideas come to life. Yet at the same time, so many people, of all walks of life, could use so much help, in both little ways and big.
In the midst of this, new studies are reinforcing the simple wisdom that beyond a certain very basic level of material wealth, the only thing that increases individual happiness over time is helping other people.
In other words, helping helps everybody, helper and helped alike.
The question is: what would help? And help most?
At Google, we don't believe we have the answers, but we do believe the answers are out there. Maybe in a lab, or a company, or a university -- but maybe not.
Maybe the answer that helps somebody is in your head, in something you've observed, some notion that you've been fiddling with, some small connection you've noticed, some old thing you have seen with new eyes.
We've narrowed 154,000 submissions down to 16 top ideas. The public voting period is now over, but please visit again soon. We'll announce the winning big ideas in the near future.
And may those who help the most win.

As you can see, Google were trying to crowd-source the solutions to the most taxing problems the human race is facing now.

Here is my submission to Project 10 to the 100. Bear in mind that Google originally asked for submissions to be split into sections of only a couple of paragraphs each. This is the version without those breaks, and it is not written exactly the way it is on the front page of this wiki:

Fossil and nuclear fuels are running out, and they cause pollution problems in any case. Climate change (anthropogenic or otherwise) is already causing the human race serious problems. Further, there are a multitude of actual or possible extinction events just queuing up to exterminate the human race.
And we still have all our eggs in this one little basket called planet Earth.
We need more baskets.
The only way we can get the human race established in local space before all our cheap energy has run out is if many more people than are currently employed by the space agencies of the world, people from many different backgrounds, can come together to work on space colonization projects in concert; maximizing the use of our Earthbound energy resources while we still have them.
Once we have established (or at least begun to seriously establish) the human race in local space, we will have unrestricted access to solar power that can be transmitted back to Earth, and which will last for the safe remainder of the Sun’s lifetime. Further, with extraterrestrial colonies in local space, if something bad happens to one of our baskets, there will still be a human civilization that can continue to evolve elsewhere.
This idea [that I submitted to Project 10 to the 100] is to provide a central forum that is continually advertised through many different media where people can contribute their services and work-time to space colonization subjects that interest them, and further, to provide organisational tools that will allow people to meet in the real world to begin constructing the machines that we will need if the colonization of space is to succeed while we are at what may be the only stage of evolution where we have that capability.
This is Open Source at its best.
A central forum on the Internet must be provided and advertised where everyone, including the public and the space agencies of the world can begin working together on projects related to space colonization.
What is needed is for a substantial number of the public, many of whom would be willing to work in factory jobs manufacturing the machines we will need, or on the scientific side of things, to be informed about and invited to that central forum, where they can learn and make their contribution.
The optimal outcome would be the creation of the central online forum, with a knowledge framework in place from the scientific community so that the public can jump right in when they learn about its existence and start to make their contribution.
The natural conclusion to this should be an open source workforce of 1% of the world's internet-connected public (which is measured in millions) or more starting to contribute their knowledge, skills and work-time to designing, building and operating the machines we will need to colonize space and make use of the resources there, thus dealing with the problems mentioned above.
The resultant use of solar energy should be made available free of charge to anyone who has made a verifiable contribution to the Open Source Space Colonization project.

Google gave everybody the opportunity to provide a link to a 30 second video clip on Youtube that supported their submission. I could not create anything in the short submission time available (which was about one week) before the deadline that did not seem cheesy or inappropriate, so I left that blank. But they also offered participants the chance to put in a link to a website that supported their argument, so I naturally used the Space Colonization Wiki as the reference point, knowing that someone or some people from Google would be reading the website soon. The whole purpose of the wiki changed at that point and became a way of communicating (in)directly with Google. Indeed, I actually created a page on the wiki (now deleted as I will describe further down) dedicated to Project 10 to the 100, the text of which I include for you here:

The Open Source Space Colonization project is an idea created by Keith Chrystie BSc in June 2008 that seeks to massively increase the workforce dedicated to the survival of the human race through the colonization of local space. It is a product of the realization that the era of cheap non-renewable energy, whether that be fossil or nuclear fuel, will come to an end within a generation, and that the unrestricted access to solar energy that will come along with any major space colonization initiative will be able to provide all the energy the human race could possibly need for many millions of years, as well as going a long way to guaranteeing the future of human evolution.
This article, as the complete description of open source space colonization, has been delayed due to an entry for this project into the Google 10 to the 100th Power prize competition for the next big idea on how to help the greatest number of people in the world having been made. If this project makes it to the final shortlist of that competition, then the very definition of open source space colonization must be created and worked upon by the community at large. The general public will be able to vote on the final shortlist of 100 ideas, from January 27, 2009.

As you can see from my submission, the idea was to create a CENTRAL (operable globally as Google does now) online forum that would be well-managed by one or more of the top technology companies in the world, where both the professional organisations AND the public could crowd-source the solutions to the technical problems facing any colonization and space solar power effort, which is very much a reflection of Google's own idea of crowd-sourcing the solutions to the global problems they listed. Specifically, the intention was to use cloud-computing to move already existing software such as CAD programs and engineering software like SolidWorks into the cloud, and turn them into a new type of content management system whereby anybody can make modifications to the design and testing (simulation) of devices through a web-browser, and where those who are not recognised experts in the fields in which they contribute must have their work checked by the people who have more experience, and they in turn must have their work checked by the recognised experts higher up the pyramid just as with a standard content management system. The use of the expert software would be governed so that it would only be used for what it was intended, and not individuals' own projects; and the offer to the companies that create and sell this software would of course be the free advertising to what would now be a much larger number of possible customers. The sell to everyone else who does the work would be the free electricity that would come from contributing especially to the space solar power project, but also to colonization projects in general.

thumb|300px|right| Inventor, entrepreneur and visionary Ray Kurzweil explains in abundant, grounded detail why, by the 2020s, we will have reverse-engineered the human brain and nanobots will be operating your consciousness. Much like wikis have grown from being just simple hypertext systems to later including pictures, sound and nowadays embedded video, the type of content management system being described here extends that idea into the future whereby design software is embedded as a part of the system in something like Mediawiki. That is only my interpretation of the accelerating pace of technological change (and it is only one part of my interpretation). There are others of course, and so I have included Dr. Raymond Kurzweil's speech at TED talks here as a supporting video for describing the situation in a more competent manner.

You can see Google's response to my suggestion here.

The original idea from Google was to collect all the ideas submitted to them, and then allow the public to read the best ideas and vote upon their favourites. This would have meant that each of those ideas would get at least some exposure to the public, and of course the generally favoured ideas would slowly make their way to the top of the pile. All the ideas were to be released and voting was to have taken place on them from January the 27th 2009. Google frustrated the community on that date by announcing that they had received over 154,000 ideas and were still working through them, and that they would be ready on March the 17th 2009. March the 17th arrived and the community was further frustrated by the announcement that Google was still working on the problem and would announce in the future when voting could take place (note the lack of a definite date here). Here is the text from their website at that time:

Thank you to everyone who submitted an idea. We received over 150,000!
Due to the enthusiastic response we received, it's taking us longer than we expected to review all the ideas. Check back later, or sign-up to receive an email update when we've announced the top ideas.

At this point people had already started to write about their frustration with the project on various blogs and news sites (one example here), but this message really started an online push from contributors to try and get Google to hurry things up and be more definite about timings and explanations for what exactly was going on. Some people started separate websites where people could resubmit their ideas in full view of the public. Others, like some internet technology reporters, wrote to Google directly to little avail (there is so much information available about this if you just search for Project 10 to the 100). At this time I was getting frustrated too, but not wanting to upset Google I decided to write just a little more on the wiki, aimed directly at Google (who I was hoping were still checking the website now and again). Of course, this distorted the wiki even more from the original premise but, seeing as there were so few people reading it anyway I thought that for the time being, it wouldn't matter so long as Google got the message.

Later did in fact arrive on the 24th of September, 2009; and it arrived with a thump. No longer was it the case that the individual ideas would be voted upon. Instead, Google had collated the ideas and created a set of 16 general themes (instead of the original 100 first-finalist ideas) on which the public could vote. I voted, of course, and I am sure that others would have done so too. How many voters there were is something only Google knows. At this point I thought it unlikely that Google would release the individual ideas for public consumption any time soon, so I deleted the Project 10 to the 100 page on the Space Colonization Wiki, citing the reason that it was no longer required, and decided to leave the wiki in its current state in the hopes that, as it appears so high in search listings for the phrase "Space Colonization" on many search engines (often half-way up the first page not including Google's personalised search which has a tendency to follow you around), it might attract the attention of competent contributors from elsewhere. What each contributor to Project 10 to the 100 now knows is that voting on these themes finished on October the 8th, 2009, and that Google will announce the winning ideas in the near future (note the lack of a date again). Further, as none of the original ideas has been released for public consumption, the project has left quite a frustrated community in its wake, and one Space Colonization Wiki left in the state you just found it in.

If you re-read the text from the Project 10 to the 100 page that I created and then deleted on this wiki, you will notice that because I had managed to get this idea across to a highly competent organisation due to my project submission, it was then not my place to decide how such a project might form, it is the place of the open source community itself to decide how such a thing should be defined and then worked upon. So I and the wiki quite literally got stuck between a rock (Google) and a hard place (the initial premise of the wiki). That premise still stands and so any and all contributions from yourself and your friends are encouraged because, as the wiki grows with more and better information, the core concept of actually open sourcing the entire field of space colonization in the real world will have a better chance of "going viral", hopefully to the point where the larger organisations notice what is happening and begin to delegate some of their tasks to the community, thus speeding the entire operation. Without that, we are faced with a Sisyphean task that will simply take too long.

If you are truly able to make the valuable contributions that your intervention suggests, please bear in mind that wikis are global forms of communication, and while I spelled "colonization" with a 'z', that was because I, as a fully qualified research psychologist, believe that the whole of the open source space colonization project needs American muscle to get started and continue, so I wanted the American spelling to be the one that shows up on search engine listings. I am, however, British. I therefore use the valid British spellings of words, as do many other countries in the world. Keith 22:53, September 14, 2010 (UTC)

I am terribly, terribly sorry for my vicious remarks. I was completely unaware of the actual purpose of the wiki and its original intent. I am a high school student, and a teenager, and at times I tend to act on impulse. That is why I said what I said. To be honest, not many of my friends really care about space colonization, and those that do don't have much motivation. So they might not make much of a contribution to this wiki.

I now see that since you are a psychologist, you may not have much time on your hands to make improvements to the wiki. As I have 2 Advanced Placement classes (one of which is ironically Psychology, and the other is Earth Science), and Honors classes, I don't have much time on my hands either. A nice Facebook page might help us gain support and get more members involved. We still need more more ways to let the world know about us though.

If we can manage to gain more support, I hope you will become more active here. By the way, since I am an American, I use American spelling. Is that acceptable? --XSuperGamerTalk 19:58, September 25, 2010 (UTC)

Post Script:

  1. My name is Tyler.
  2. Your e-mail address would be helpful
  3. Even though Google has let you down, that does not mean your project is a failure. On the contrary, it reinforces the idea that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. This means that if we want people to see the glorious light of truth, we have to get out there ourselves and make a difference. "Getting out there and making a difference" requires money. Many other organizations trying to promote their cause have discovered this.
  4. We have to gain the global support of the people, and of the governments of different countries.
  5. I fear that many people will never care, and will merely think that colonizing space is crazy, unnecessary, or stupid. Until something BAD happens.
  6. If we can't gain government support, then we'll just have go raise money and attempt to colonize space ourselves. This is not a realistic goal.
  7. It could be that governments all around the world are already aware that we "need more baskets", but it's just not feasible. Barbara Ward once said:

"Remedies are well understood; the problem is to make these remedies socially, economically and politically acceptable." However, she was talking about environmental problems. But the quotation likely is applicable to other types of problems as well.

I mean, yeah we need more baskets, but such an undertaking would require massive amounts of energy, resources, and money that governments might not want to spend.

These expenses are outweighed by necessity. We have to leave the nest one day. No matter what the cost, getting off Earth and establishing a presence elsewhere is essential to the long-term survival of the human race. --XSuperGamerTalk 22:01, September 25, 2010 (UTC)

Hi Tyler. Don't worry about your slightly bumpy entry to the Space Colonization Wiki. Now that you understand what it is for you are a most welcome addition, and a timely one too because two days ago Google finally announced the winners of the Project 10 to the 100 competition. Now that I have closure on the whole issue, knowing that Google will not release any of the original ideas for public consumption, I can get back to what I had originally intended for this wiki, which was to try to get the concept of open sourcing the entire field of space colonization to go viral. I, of course, wish the winners of Project 10 to the 100 well, and hope that they can help the greatest number of people possible with the money that Google has now devoted to those ideas. My personal opinion though is that those ideas do not reach as far as Google had originally intended, and so I want to get the idea out that there are greater problems facing the human race over the coming century than can be solved by the winners of the competition that will likely only be solved by moving into local space and making use of the (especially energy) resources there. In case you didn't see this piece of news lately, the much renowned professor Stephen Hawking recently revised his estimate of when humans need to really start colonizing space from within 1000 years to within 100 years because of our exponentially increasing population and related use of the Earth's finite resources (see here).

As for a Facebook page, there is a nascent Space Colonization page (here) with just a few (216 as of today) people who like the page. Their aim is to make that Facebook page the best collection of shared knowledge on the topic. I have already joined and suggested that the Space Colonization Wiki should be the official page for contributions. Their page, however, is taking quite some time to even start. Ours already exists. We could conceivably start a separate Facebook page that is not as general as the one that already exists, but is instead designed around the theme of space solar power or Space Colonization in popular media. What do you think?

As for spellings, any spelling in any language or dialect is absolutely fine so long as it is correct. The reason I made my point to you is that you corrected my British spelling of "globalisation" to the American "globalization" on the All our eggs in one basket page, which was unnecessary because my spelling was the accurate one for my dialect of English.

If you would like to email me directly then go to my user page, and on the left of the screen you will see the option to "E-mail this user". Select that option, and any message you send to me will include your email address so that I can reply directly to you with mine. I will not broadcast your email address in public, and would appreciate the same courtesy as I already get enough spam from my EFPSA and BPS days.

Thanks for your words of comfort about the project as a whole. I know that right now it seems an unimaginably large task, but each and every task ever completed in the history of the human race had to start with the first step. That's where we are right now, but with the accelerating pace of technological and humanistic change hopefully on our side (before we really start running out of cheap energy later this century), we can begin to take each of the next steps more quickly than the last. That is the value of open source as described by Clay Shirky, Yochai Benkler and many other prominent scientists in the videos that now reside on this wiki.

Oh, and by the way, you are absolutely correct that governments do not want to spend the required amount of money (and resources) on colonizing space, even knowing that their successors would gain a far greater return from such an investment in the future and that the whole human race would benefit in terms of energy and safety. That is because the governments of most civilised countries in the world change on a reasonably regular basis, and therefore while they are in power must focus on the immediate, without serious consideration for the distant future. The main role of government is to govern the present, finding ways to manage the status quo while still ensuring profitability and growth at an industry standard three percent per annum. It is the role of scientists and interested individuals (and sometimes large organisations) to think about and design the future. It is from there that the innovation and work will come and only later will governments step in to manage the process. The problem is that these are disparate sectors of society, which is why a central forum needs to exist so that they can all communicate with one another about the subject. That's where the whole new concept of open sourcing a project has recently taken off, and in the near future will be the de facto method of solving problems, building hardware and conducting business. That is, indeed, why I named this the "Open Source" space colonization project.

Many thanks for your most recent edits. From your previous edits your to do list is excellent, and so I think a more visible link to that on the front page of the wiki would be a good way forward. Keith 22:47, September 26, 2010 (UTC)

Thank you sir. In my opinion, the Facebook page may be best used as a way to make the general public aware that colonizing space is necessary. Or your idea.

On the subject of not broadcasting my email in public... I might need to get that fixed.

If project ITER and project DEMO are successful, wouldn't that provide us with a cheap source of energy? However, the day that fusion becomes economical is far off and it might not be a good idea to wait that long.

Thank you for your statements about government and my to-do list. It certainly gave me a confidence boost, as I am often unsure whether or not my ideas are correct. I'll probably put a link to the to-do list on the front page soon.

When I first came here, I noticed that there was no article about the O'Neill Cylinder. Was that overlooked, or did you just not think the Island Three to be feasible, economically or otherwise?

Also, it might be a good idea to move this forum to a more appropriate title. XSuperGamerTalk 16:07, September 27, 2010 (UTC)

RE: fusion on Earth. My personal opinion is that the laws of thermodynamics are unlikely to be broken. That being the case, fusion on Earth will never reach a break-even point either in terms of energy released from fuel or financially. But in any case what's the point? We have a perfectly functioning, almost 100 percent efficient nuclear fusion reactor at the centre of our solar system. All we have to do is collect the energy from it with technology that we currently have available. And more to the point, our population and use of resources are growing exponentially, so fusion on Earth could never cope with the demands of future generations, who would need to tap energy directly from the sun at some point anyway. That being the case, we should just miss out the middle stages and start heading towards becoming a type II civilisation.

As for the O'Neill Cylinder, anything obviously missing like that has simply been overlooked. Whether a technology is useful, or fit-for-purpose, or not, a discussion about it on the Space Colonization Wiki must exist so that others can inform themselves about it, and/or modify it so that it can work in the future.Keith 13:16, October 6, 2010 (UTC)