Aaaargh! "if we redirected our entire global military spending into research"
<##>Cathartic rant follows – proceed to next
Every time an article discussing a scientific achievement, like this one, is published some delusional posts “I can't help wondering where humanity would be (figuratively and literally) if we redirected our entire global military spending into research,” or some such rot.
Rockets were a great lark at the park on Sunday afternoons for Wernher in the ‘20s. But it took successive military paymasters with blank cheques, specific goals, and a willingness to sacrifice as many lives as necessary to achieve his impossible dream of pushing an object into space.
Enrique had a blast playing with atoms under the bleachers in the ‘30s as well. But who developed those ideas into the practical nuclear engine (see SSN-571). What kind of effort did that take? How much did it cost? Who else would/could have done it? How long would that have taken?
And Alan had some impressive notes on napkins regarding computational possibilities. Yet the first computers weren’t built to calculate protein folds, but rather artillery trajectories.
Who else had the drive, skill, and resources to deliver the Space Shuttle, the Internet, the Super Computer (there’s a reason HAL is from Urbana)?
It’s the primitive instincts and vices (survival, security, envy, greed, lust, etc) that usually spur humans to achieve. They are what drive us to labor for what seems impossible, to struggle against the inevitable defeats along the way, to sacrifice even life itself in the name of progress. A simple reality recognized by literary observers from Homer to Roddenberry (watch “This side of Paradise” sometime). It’s also something that has motivated the intellectual giants of humanity. Da Vinci didn’t design the tank as a method to travel in comfort, and Newton didn’t obsess about alchemy in the name of altruism.
Which all means that the answer to your answer is, still on the earth throwing bottle rockets out of bi-planes! Who do you think ultimately pays for this kind of reasearch? And if the military weren't willing to force that expenditure, the money wouldn't go to research, numpty. It would have gone to providing clean water in Africa, or some such project - Which maybe where it should have gone...
So put some water on the jos stick, accept the reality of the human condition, and fill out that application for BAE. Even you may have some small part to contribute to the advancement of mankind.
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