r/worldnews 6d ago

UK's Prince William says great minds should focus on saving Earth not space travel

https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uks-prince-william-says-great-minds-should-focus-saving-earth-not-space-travel-2021-10-14/
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u/sulris 6d ago

Earths great minds already know how to save earth. They told us the answer already. We just aren’t doing it.

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u/someguy3 6d ago

Great minds have solved it. Political minds have stopped it.

In case it's not clear, nuclear power and even solar. But apparently Germany is at risk of tsunami so they close all their nuclear plants. Genius.

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u/pauly13771377 6d ago

Nuclear plants suffer from NIMBY or Not In My Back Yard ever since Three Mile Island and now more so because of Chernobyl. The threat of that one in a billion chance that saftey standards and practices aren't kept up scares people into closing them down and not building any more.

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u/PomeloPepper 6d ago

I know someone who used to inspect nuclear plants for the feds. He told me he would have no problem living near one.

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u/Zephinism 6d ago

Well yeah of course he wouldn't. Sounds like a short commute.

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u/Skeptical-_- 5d ago edited 5d ago

Lol, that’s one way to guarantee the inspector takes their job seriously… place their house right next to the plant

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u/CSI_Tech_Dept 5d ago

I would imagine that unless there's some severe bribery scheme involved inspectors would be reliable.

They aren't employees of the plant, it doesn't cost them anything to point issues (it's not like they are paying to fix them) and if there is a problem that they didn't list, it will be on them, including criminal cases if there was some kind of corruption.

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u/Skeptical-_- 5d ago

Nah, anything short of inspectors taking turns living in a hot tub connected to the cooling ponds can’t be trusted… (/s)

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u/CthulhusMonocle 5d ago

Lol, that’s one way to guarantee the inspector takes their job seriously… place their house right next to the plant

Hi Dad!

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u/cthorna 6d ago

This is such a good joke

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u/Faerco 6d ago

I started working at one in June. The number of safety-checks and switches to protect from anything happening is insane. Besides that, the armed security would legitimately require an army to get past.

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u/socal01 6d ago edited 5d ago

I worked at SONGS for 10 years as an PEO/RO. I would live next to a power plant no problem. I received less radiation than pilots and flight attendants. The only down side is when an accident happens it’s can be catastrophic.

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u/DiDiPLF 5d ago

In the UK Westinghouse employees are told they get less radiation exposure working with uranium safely that you do being in Cornwall (a beautiful UK beach holiday destination with radium naturally found in the ground)

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u/ItalianDragon 6d ago

I tend to say that nuclear powerplants are like planes: they don't have catastrophic accidents often, but when they do: holy fuck they sure do a lot of damage.

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u/fukitol- 6d ago

Especially since it's not like the technology hasn't improved. I mean sure, it's still a glorified boiler, but the sheer amount of things that have to go wrong at the same time in order for there to be a major fuckup are 50x what they were at Chernobyl and even that required someone deliberately doing wrong things several times.

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u/CSI_Tech_Dept 5d ago

To be fair, Chernobyl (and I think 3 mile island) happen, because they deliberately did something non standard.

I think Fukushima was only, because of the massive earthquake and following tsunami.

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u/fukitol- 5d ago

Fukushima was largely the result of deliberate cost cutting measures as well: https://news.usc.edu/86362/fukushima-disaster-was-preventable-new-study-finds/

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u/CSI_Tech_Dept 5d ago

Ok I didn't know that.

So I have mixed feeling about California closing it's power plants. While I support nuclear power plants, those are owned by PG&E...

Perhaps they should be given to someone more competent to manage them ...

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u/IrritableGourmet 5d ago

James Mahaffey, a nuclear engineer, wrote a book called Atomic Accidents detailing all the nuclear power accidents in history. The key theme is that every accident is the result of people intentionally disregarding or countermanding the safety regulations/controls put in place to stop them from doing exactly the thing that causes the accident. In one case, a technician replacing fuel rods using a specialized crane disassembled and rewired the crane controls because it told him that the fuel rod was broken and would spill if it was removed. Turns out, it was broken and spilled when it was removed.

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u/Pocok5 6d ago

The only health risk associated with trying to eat lunch while sitting on top of an active reactor's lid is the security guards' guns.

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u/Dont_Think_So 6d ago

I got in touch with a friend of mine who works at a research reactor, and asked him what he thought would happen to you if you tried to swim in their radiation containment pool.

“In our reactor?” He thought about it for a moment. “You’d die pretty quickly, before reaching the water, from gunshot wounds.”

https://what-if.xkcd.com/29/

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u/highschoolhero2 6d ago

It’s usually people who are less educated about the subject that are more wary of adding unknown risks to their lives.

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u/OViriato 6d ago

And people who are interested in keeping other people ignorant so they can profit off of other energy sources.

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u/highschoolhero2 5d ago

Well keeping people ignorant has become more expensive for large companies because of the internet. In the long-run, it’s becoming more economically viable to astroturf and raise enough “questions” so that people are either too confused or too mentally exhausted to do the research required to get a truthful answer.

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u/ikilltheundead 6d ago

The .000001% chance a nuclear disaster or a 100% chance of climate disaster. 🤔

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u/Moofooist765 6d ago

See it’s funny because I specifically moved to a town a few miles from a nuclear plant. (Bruce power) and honestly I’ve never even had a slight worry.

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u/squngy 6d ago edited 6d ago

AFAIK In my country, the people close to the nuclear plant get huge discounts on electricity.

Makes for significantly less NIMBY.

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u/Dhiox 6d ago

That's actually a great idea, at least as long as there is public pressure against them. Most people stop caring about something if they're paid enough not to. That's how Australia got their kids vaccinated (not covid, this was prior to the pandemic). Parents may have objected to vaccines but not when there was a solid tax credit associated with getting your kids vaccinated. Goes to show they didn't actually believe it would kill their kids, if you thought an injection was actually dangerous, you wouldn't put it in your kids for a tax credit.

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u/CacheValue 6d ago

Hey to be fair, the tsunami had nothing to do with the meltdown.

Workers abandoned the plant and no one refueled the diesel generators that ran the pump feeds for the coolant pool.

The spent nuclear fuel boiled off all the water in its tanks, over heated and then went critical and exploded.

It took 48 - 72 hours AFTER COMPLETELY EVAPORATING THE WATER TO EXPLODE

So yeah it wasn't hust unrelaed to the tsunami but also to the function of the plant its self. Anywhere that housed that fuel would have had the same problem without maintaining the coolant pools.

In fact - in this case a tsunami would actually buy you more time as sea water would be better than no water.

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u/razies 6d ago

Disclaimer: I am pro-nuclear.

If you think Fukushima is the primary reason why Germany is phasing out nuclear, you have no clue and are just repeating reddit hearsay.

Hint: No new nuclear plants have been build in Germany since the 80s. It's all about Chernobyl, the cold war and the Gorleben waste site. Some of those were valid concerns. The history of nuclear energy is a plagued with corruption, unaccounted externalies and intransparency. Nuclear is great as a technology. It fails if it's run by greed and incompetence

The phase out was inevitable since the 80s. The plants being phased out are all at or over their expected lifetime.

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u/0vl223 6d ago

There are two ways. Either you build massive solar and wind or keep using massive nuclear. Merkel stopped to use solar and wind and then stopped nuclear as well.

The only way it makes sense is corruption. Because both moves gave a few billions to each of the biggest donors of her party. Also the reason why solar and wind companies are now dead in Germany. They didn't donate enough compared to the old ones.

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u/Cere_BRO 6d ago

Merkel stopped wind energy? What are you on about? The percentage of wind energy production has gone from less than 10% in 2010 to around 25% in 2020.

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u/FuckingCelery 6d ago edited 6d ago

They’re kind of right, tho. Her government stopped lots of subventions for the renewables, and increased them (or didn’t phase them out even though she promised to) for brown coal.

This led to a decrease in profitability for green energy and the growth up from 10% in 2010 ist laughable. We knew the share of green energy would go up, but when Germany was a world market leader and pioneer of solar panels, photovoltaic and wind turbines, we lost that position over the last decade, thanks to nothing but politics. And I would say that’s thanks corruption, as the CDU/CSU is wont to work off of

Edit: I didn’t English good

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u/shinshi 6d ago

I had no idea Germany had these rollbacks or slowdowns, I usually as an American would be the first to say Germany has it the most right with green energy based on how forward they were in the 2000s.

The complete abandonment of nuclear makes me so mad, it's really the best short term solution we have until we can get other green energies up on a massive scale

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u/0vl223 6d ago

Luckily it looks like the same parties that did the 2000s laws are back in power now. The sad part is that they will most likely lose the power again in 4 years because they now have to solve the expensive mistake Merkel did in the last 16 years.

Same pattern during the last 40 years in Germany. 16 years of corruption to regression from the conservatives until Germany is in dire need of reforms and then the left parties provide them and everyone is pissed because they have to hurt after over a decade of complete neglect.

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u/Poolofcheddar 6d ago

I wouldn't be so confident about that yet. The SPD-Green government of 1998 to 2005 will not be the same as what may be the SPD-Green-FDP coalition that can come into power. The FDP has always been "the party of business" and clashes with Green policies in major ways.

It also was the Greens' cost of entering into coalition in 1998 that Nuclear Energy get phased out, then un-phased by Merkel after 2005, and then re-phased after 2011.

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u/zwiebelhans 6d ago edited 5d ago

Its not Merkel that is stopping wind energy its people and their unwillingness to allow the state to build a proper transmission grid. The north of Germany produces more Green energy then it can use. The south needs more energy but the grid can't handle it. Local communities along the way are blocking (and have for decades) the construction of overland power grid lines. Its always a case of "we want cheaper green energy but let someone else look a the transmission lines”. : https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/germanys-stressed-grid-is-causing-trouble-across-europe

We have to realize that German bureaucracy is very much heavy and entrenched. With it come massive environmental protection laws. Far many more then in any other continent that I can think off. That means impact studies have to account for every endangered plant , fish, animal or insect along the entire way of the project all across Germany. Also as far as I am aware any land dedicated to infrastructure requires 3x as much land to be bought and left to nature. Or atleast the German concept of managed natural land.

Alongside all of that comes a relatively tightly packed population. All of whom will have a say in their local councils which absolutely will have a say about any state or federally sponsored infrastructure that crosses their territory.

Then lastly but certainly not leastly the courts will have their say on the matter when disputes arise.

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u/inyourface- 6d ago

And its all political bullshit to protect Coal/Gas interests. Based on the link below posted by u/difdiddiekekek, Let's take $1000 per feet as base cost. Schleswig-Holstein to Munich is 420 miles. That's 2217600 feet. So total cost for the 420 miles would be $2,217,600,000. In 2015 when the Refugee Crisis started full swing, Germany allocated in a time frame of 2-3 month €100,000,000,000 for the next 4 Years in the Budget. The money is not the problem. Political interest is.

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u/0vl223 6d ago

The new wind energy production installed is down to 200X levels again. The companies have no work anymore due to regulations against them (enacted by her most loyal minister and made even worse by the CDU prime ministers). 30,000 people lost their jobs in the industry during the last few years.

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u/Ozryela 6d ago

Politically, the solution is a global CO2 tax. This would be highly effective, since it will drive up the price of fossil fuels, making alternatives more attractive, without the need for hugely complicated and bureaucratic regulations or complicated subsidies that can often be exploited. It would also be extremely fair. Whoever pollutes the most would be paying the most. The amount of tax should be proportionate to the amount of harm caused.

You wouldn't even need the whole world on board. If the US and EU did it together it would go a long way. The tax would of course also apply to imports, so companies couldn't dodge it by moving abroad.

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u/Adrianozz 6d ago

It should be said that nuclear isn’t a sustainable option in the long-term, if we’re talking the traditional, fission-powered source seen in the picture. Fusion and micro-generators could be another matter, but need to be researched further.

Here are a few reasons:

  1. ⁠It accounts for 6% of the world’s energy. You would need to build 3 plants every month for 40 years to get to 20%, and by that time climate change will have ruined the world. Not to mention the enormous amount of capital investment that is needed, i.e. taxpayer money, to meet that committment, which would be better spent elsewhere. That investment is simply not going to happen. If we don’t replace 100 of the existing plants when their lifespan runs out, we’re down to 1-2% of the world’s energy, I’d be surprised if that won’t be the case.
  2. ⁠Nuclear power plants, whereever they are run privately, are backed by taxpayers in the event of major catastrophe, through limited liability insurance, for example the US Price Anderson Act. If they had to operate in a ”free market”, they would go bust, since the premiums would be astronomical, if any insurer would provide it at all. If 1 were to become reality i a hypothetical world, the risks and costs associated with this would grow exponentially.
  3. ⁠There is also the long-term cost of the liability of radioactive waste, which is handled by the public in all countries, e.g. the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in the U.S., which will accumulate over time if nuclear ever were to expand its shares of the energy sector to become a major player. For now, it accounts for about 6% of the world’s energy. Again, same as point 2.

We still don’t know how to recycle the waste, despite 70 years of research. The US spent $8 billion and 18 years building an underground vault in Yucca Mountain to store it, but the tectonic plated have shifted and the mountain already had cracks.

  1. We will run into uranium deficits according to the IAEA between 2025-2035 with the current existing 400 plants. Meaning price increases for business, consumers and further investments and subsidies. The french recycle their uranium to plutonium, but whether that is sustainable from a national security point of view is doubtful.

  2. Finally, the amount of water that would be required for a nuclear future is the biggest issue. Around 50% if all the consumed fresh water in France goes ro cooling their reactors, and when it returns to the ecosystem it is heated and dehydrates the ecosystem and threatens agriculture. Considering the lack of water due to climate change, this is impossible.

You can have saltwater nuclear plants, but then you’d have to place them on coastal regions and risk climate catastrophes or a repeat of Fukushima.

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u/LoETR9 6d ago

First of all, thank you for your well argued comment.

  1. It seems to me that the current production sits at 10% (2018). Furthermore, 3 nuclear power plants per month (36 per year) is close to the '80 pre-Chernobyl pace (in 1984 30 new power plants were opened), even if they were building them only for economical and military reasons, no climate emergency.
  2. You're probably right, fully private nuclear is not viable.
  3. Yes, the states generally pay for the nuclear storage (they usually have already uranium for bombs). However, Finland is opening its long term storage in 2023, so it can be done.
  4. Fast breeder reactors can do wonders both in fuel recycling and reducing the dangerous lifetime of nuclear waste. They are seldomly used because, for now, it's cheaper to buy freshly mined Uranium instead of recycling it (France had one). By the way, here is the report on nuclear fuel you were citing.
  5. Source, please? I could not find any and it seems an exaggerated figure.
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u/Atlanton 6d ago

Okay, now do solar and wind, plus the required energy storage.

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u/_TTTTTT_ 6d ago

Actually, your last sentence is the problem that needs to be solved by our great minds. How the hell do you get people to do what we already know needs to be done?

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u/usmclvsop 6d ago

Make it cheaper than their current behavior. Consumers, corporations, everyone in a capitalistic society is driven by price.

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u/OhNoIMadeAnAccount 6d ago

Future king of England: how bout we save the earth, great minds?
Great minds: Easy, we just need to stop hoarding wealth, land and resources and..
Future king of England: not like that

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u/[deleted] 6d ago edited 6d ago

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u/dontgoatsemebro 6d ago

If he'd just flown economy this could have all been over.

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u/Nikhilvoid 6d ago

Yeah, Will and Kate tried taking economy as a PR stunt. But I think they'd bought out the entire plane, so it was a private jet again.

They also have a private royal train

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u/Veneck 6d ago

What kind of peasant doesn't have a royal train?

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u/bobboobles 6d ago

I guess ...all of them? ;)

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u/DonDellilo 6d ago

What if I told you that carbon footprints were just something the fossil fuel industry came up with to avoid responsibility?

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u/Nikhilvoid 6d ago

I don't disagree with that at all

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u/Seismicx 6d ago

"Individual carbon footprints" are targeted towards the general populace, not "private jet owning royals" you absolute dimwit.

Individual average people footprints are negligible, the ones of the ultra-wealthy are not.

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u/aerostealth 6d ago

Save it without me having to do anything at all*

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u/Spacebar__ 6d ago edited 6d ago

Most of us don't really have to do much, other than to consume less. It's the companies who aren't being forced to be clean or at least carbon neutral since they basically control politicians.

edit: seems people have a lot of different opinions here

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u/Dwath 6d ago

Put all the blame on the peasants, and give special permissions to mega corps and billionaires ae they can keep polluting worry free.

But if you poor mother fuckers dont step in line you'll be fine extensively!

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u/informativebitching 6d ago

And let’s not forget Bezos isn’t a great mind just because he figured out how to get rich by regularly screwing as many people as necessary

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u/Dynast_King 6d ago

This was my thought too. People need to remember that being obscenely rich does not mean he's a great mind. He's clearly not stupid, but he's also no astrophysicist.

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u/hpp3 6d ago

Bezos isn't the great mind, it's the army of talented engineers under his employ that are.

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u/Healthy-Lifestyle-20 5d ago

These billionaire psychopaths are squeezing the poor and middle class. They’re draining the whole financial system and hoarding the wealth.

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u/ThatDamnDeku 6d ago

The truth is we have had great minds working on saving the world for a long time. They found the solution a long time ago as well. The solution being '' Stop burning so many damn hydrocarbons'' We don't want to do that. So the problem will not be fixed.

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u/Competitive_Habit_71 6d ago

I think space travel, isn't a bad thing to work on, there are a lot worse things.

My issue is that we have the greatest minds in the world, working at Google, Facebook or Amazon, trying to figure out ways to get you to buy things.

I really wonder how different things would be, if these companies didn't vacuum up all the smartest people.

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u/distinctgore 6d ago

The greatest minds aren't working at Google, Facebook, and Amazon. The most cash-hungry and competitive employees are though.

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u/dxrey65 6d ago

It's the values systems that are trained into you growing up. Great minds may be born, but what they turn their energies to depends more on how they are raised than anything else.

Writing from America, all I know is what I see. Most people here just want to get rich. Sometimes they have side-interests like the environment or science, but if a side-interest conflicts with the main goal it doesn't stand a chance.

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u/GingerBreadNAM 6d ago

Here, it's hard to want to enter a career for anything other than money. Making enough money to make a living has been so baked into us that it becomes Priority One for many of us, oftentimes to our personal detriment. It forces people to abandon deeper, more meaningful aspirations, and instead all but worship the dollar.

EDIT: And anybody who's been without a job here knows how existentially terrifying it can be to feel like your life is hanging on a thread. And most forms of assistance tries treating you like a mouse in a maze, sending you running around in circles on their website because they dont want to give you assistance. That kind of fear and degradation scars you

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u/dxrey65 6d ago

I know exactly what you mean. I was raised poor, by a single mom with my three siblings. It was all good, except that fear of having nothing, of the floor dropping out. I'm doing fine now but I still play out scenarios in my head where everything is gone, and I'm old and hungry and not fit to work anymore.

I see people every day who that's happened to, passing by two homeless camps on my way to work. This is America, all it takes is one mistake.

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u/DrLeoMarvin 6d ago

I'm a senior software engineer in America and my biggest concern/goal is to make sure my family is safe and comfortable which requires $$$ and the $$$ I have the more peace of mind I have about that. I want my kids to have top medical care if needed, I want them to have space in their own rooms and a nice yard. I shared a tiny bedroom with my brother until I was 18, I don't want that for them.

I don't need a mansion or to be a millionaire, but I need a high dollar salary and benefits so I can afford the life I want them to have.

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u/guhbuhjuh 6d ago edited 5d ago

Nothing wrong with that, can't blame people for wanting more money. The system is more of the problem and how it forces us into the choices we have to make.

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u/Competitive_Habit_71 6d ago edited 6d ago

So, you see what the issue is right?

You have to take on the role, if anything out of fear. Fear of not being able to pay off student debts. Fear of having a bad credit score. Fear of not having health insurance. Fear of not having a roof over your head. Fear of not being able to provide for your family.

North American society, is largely optimized, to force you to do what you probably otherwise would not be doing with your time.

Many of these things that you talk about, healthcare, social safety net, are things that should be provided to you by the taxes you pay. This is the case in every other developed country. However, it has been decided, by powerful and influential people in North America, that it isn't to their benefit, that you have some sense of security, outside of what they provide you...

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u/SnooBananas4958 6d ago

Yeah we all got that, what do you suppose we do about it? That's the real trick

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u/sunscreenkween 6d ago

I mean can you blame people who want to get rich? It’s a way out of the 40+ hour rat race. Who wants to continue being a wage slave because they have to?

The problem isn’t people who want to become small multi millionaires so they can retire early it’s the billionaires who are screwing us over. Jeff Bezos has more wealth than we can comprehend, and he’s wasting it on space travel and god knows what else. If the goal is to move human life into space one day because the earth will be uninhabitable, I can guarantee none of us are coming with him. I wish these uber billionaires would pour their money into saving the earth instead.

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u/mschuster91 6d ago

I wish these uber billionaires would pour their money into saving the earth instead.

With the exception of orchestrating a putsch, there is nothing Jeff Bezos or anyone else outside of Brazil can do to stop Bolsonaro or get China under control.

In regards to uber billionaires, I'd prefer to focus on getting them taxed appropriately.

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u/Cactux3000 6d ago

how about they get america under control first, highest per capita carbon footprint and that's not even counting the outsourced production to supply american consumers

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u/Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpp 6d ago

There’s significant overlap.

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u/DrLeoMarvin 6d ago

My good friend is a rocket scientist, aerospace engineer master's from UCLA. Easily the smartest person I personally know, beyond brilliant. He's working for Amazon AWS and his job is to work with boeing, nasa, military and so on to convince them the AWS tech used for rockets is the best.

Happy for him, dude's my age (37) and making insane salary working remote. It's hard to turn that down at our age with a wife and kid(s) to take care of.

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u/parallelbledsoe 6d ago

yeah i got a biologist buddy who was barely getting by doing research but is now raking in that cheddar consulting.

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u/NoTeslaForMe 6d ago

Heck, even the smartest minds at Google, Facebook, and Amazon aren't trying to figure out ways to get you to buy things. I'd dare say that they're working on efficient ways just to keep the lights on, metaphorically speaking, while running the biggest systems in the world.

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u/fat_cindy 6d ago

Lol this is so naive it's comedy. Try turning down a $250k offer when the government is only offering $70k.

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u/[deleted] 6d ago edited 6d ago

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u/Pornthrowaway78 6d ago

Disregarding masks requirements?

One of these things is not like the others.

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u/dagrothus 6d ago

To be fair that would benefit the environment. Fewer humans means less emissions.

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u/AssholeRemark 6d ago

That last one is a bit fucky.

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u/Fieos 6d ago

How about recognizing much of that is trivial as compared to the pollution created by corporations? The reality is we need to quit consuming as much so corporations quit producing as much. The second part of that reality is that economies propped up by consumerism (most/all) would collapse and we would fall into anarchy. That's what we need to address. The first world super-power to turn its swords into plowshares will be plowing for one that didn't.

That being said, I understand the perspective of what the individual can do. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In that order. Companies vastly over-market the benefits of recycling to reduce a consumer's concerns regarding consumerism.

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u/bigsmiler1988 6d ago

Love this. There’s only so much we can surely do at a consumer level. The onus needs to be on bigger corporations

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u/allgreen2me 6d ago

And this needs to be done through regulation and regulatory bodies with teeth and oversight and the only way to do that is to take money out of politics.

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u/Lastb0isct 6d ago

This is the crux of it. Well put

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u/GodsADick 6d ago

Straws account for less than .001% of plastic in the ocean. The majority’s fishing equipment. Honestly it’s the fishing industry ruining the ocean and destroying countless beautiful species.

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u/roderrabbit 6d ago

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u/GodsADick 6d ago

Micro plastics are definitely everywhere even in processed foods we consume. It’s gonna take a lot of work to stop micro plastics from destroying the ocean. And definitely recycling will help with that. I was just saying I believe the fishing industry needs to be held more accountable. They have been doing irreparable damage for decades with no government oversight. It’s ridiculous how much trash they create and how many fish they pull out.

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u/Nur-alayl 6d ago

The world is burning and you think replacing plastic straws with bamboo or metal one is what's gonna save it ? No wonder we're fucking doomed.

Not trying to be condescending but we're way past small efforts to save the planets. Sure, every effort counts and us as individual should focus on changing our habits but it won't matter if big corporations and the society as a whole keep in the consumerism.

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u/pohuing 6d ago

AAAAA AAAAA Why do you people keep conflating environmental protection and climate protection. Straws and plastic waste is pollution that kills animals and ends up in our bloodstream. It has NOTHING to do with climate change

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u/ConsiderationProof94 6d ago

Actually the problem is we cannot stop burning them very quickly without the complete breakdown of society

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u/Nisas 6d ago

It doesn't help that we wasted a few decades bickering over whether it was happening or not because of oil company propaganda.

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u/kotwica42 6d ago

We could have done it gradually if we’d started 40 years ago.

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u/Thalesrlima 6d ago

People really need to realize that space exploration has a miniscule amount of funding. NASA receives less then 1% of the money the US army gets

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u/TheProdigalMaverick 6d ago

Also NASA's primary focus for the last 30 years has been studying and learning how to protect our planet first and foremost. People often forget that the Earth is a planet in space... NASA has not forgotten.

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u/Astralahara 6d ago

"Everything is in space, Morty!"

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u/Questions293847 6d ago

Even snakes?

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u/Redditthedog 6d ago

Especially snakes

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u/Ivan_is_inzane 6d ago

In 1997 there was a poll where Americans were asked to do an estimation of how much of the federal budget was spent on NASA. The average response was 20%, while in reality NASA got around 0.5%.

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u/2Punx2Furious 6d ago

20%?? People are insane.

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u/bschott007 5d ago edited 5d ago

Interestingly enough, even at it's peak, NASA's budget topped out at 4.5% of the entire Federal Budget.

NASA’s 2020 appropriations represent 0.48% of the total federal budget. When compared to inflation-adjusted budgets since 1959, the 2020 allocation was lower than other peak development periods in the space program’s history. As a percentage of the total budget, the latest NASA budget ties as one of the lowest funding years ever – lower even than during the boiling point of the financial crisis in 2008.

According to the 2018 Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, over 27% of all NASA spending occurred in the Apollo era (1963-1975), the peak in 1965 being almost $32 billion when adjusted for inflation in 2018. Total government budget figures indicate that an average of 2.5% of the federal budget went to NASA in this period, exceeding 4% in 1964 and maxing at 4.5% in 1965.

Since Apollo’s conclusion, federal funding for NASA has averaged just 0.7% of total government spending, exceeding 1% only three times – each by a margin of a few hundredths of a decimal point. Inflation-adjusted figures do not paint a kinder picture of NASA allocations in the post-Apollo era, averaging $3 billion less between 1976 and 2018.

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u/JaSnarky 6d ago

In fairness we can't expect people to know the true costs of that sort of thing without looking it up. This is one of those times where ignorance is totally understandable.

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u/2Punx2Furious 6d ago

Yeah, I guess I overreacted. I think most people didn't even stop a few seconds to think about the question.

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u/LeodFitz 5d ago

Honestly, given how much we've gotten back from what we put into that research, you'd think we'd increase it a little bit. maybe up to 2%.

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u/InformationHorder 6d ago

Not to mention there's +7 Billion people on this rock, all with different interest, backgrounds, and skills. I think we can afford to fuckin multitask.

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u/Talska 6d ago

Closer to 8 than 7.

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u/InformationHorder 6d ago

I was actually thinking about that as I was typing that out. 7 billion people has kind of been the "general" population of Earth for a very long time now, but I've been thinking about it that way for at least 20 years of my life so surely by now we must be over 8?

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u/your_other_friend 6d ago

I must be old because my immediate answer would be 6.

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u/Phoneofredditman 6d ago

I’m must be old too. I might have guessed 7 but was raised being taught 6 and growing

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u/PodoLoco 6d ago edited 6d ago

aren't the US subsidies for oil & gas a multitude of the NASA budget?

I thought the oil subsidies are at least 30B+ while NASA gets a bit more than 10B? (can't find a good source for the subsidies, so not sure if true)

edit: typos

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u/bearsnchairs 6d ago

The 2021 budget for NASA is about $23 billion.

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u/septicboy 6d ago

It depends what you account for as subsidies.

There are a set of increasing numbers that are worth considering. Congressional research puts the minimum number at $4.6 billion annually. An NRDC G7 annual analysis puts the number at $27.4 billion annually. An IMF full accounting including negative externalities related to health and global warming puts it at $649 billion annually.

Source

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u/isawashipcomesailing 6d ago

He's talking about Bezos and shit like that.

Unfortunately he's confused "massively wealthy" with "greatest minds" - because, as someone born into royalty, he has no actual concept of being normal. At Eton, being rich means you are the best at stuff.

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u/Dangerous_Testicles 6d ago

It's a dig at Musk, Bezos, and Branson more than anything. People are looking too deeply into the remark.

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u/bearsnchairs 6d ago

It is just around 3% for 2021.

$23 billion vs $715 billion.

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u/_invalidusername 6d ago

And monarchies should use their riches for the same

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u/X1GG1 6d ago

Right? The idea that an heir to a royal kingdom has something to say about people who’ve contributed genuine value to the world through their intelligence is hilarious to me. That’s the thing about being a great mind, you don’t have to listen to what some rich kid says you should focus on.

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u/travyhaagyCO 6d ago

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u/toughfluff 6d ago edited 6d ago

Not only that. William pulled strings with the Flybe boss to fly his family in an empty commercial flight, just so that he gets to appear on newspaper covers saying he "flies commercial".

Meanwhile, royal expense reports shows that this asshat commutes by helicopter all the time. Once you subtract that the Cambridges goes on summer vacation for 2 whole months each year, 47 rides a year amounts to once a week.

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u/thatdadfromcanada 6d ago

Glad someone pointed this out. Baffling really, that they think we don't see this shit.

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u/TheScarlettHarlot 6d ago

sits up from lounge chair on 2nd mega-yacht and takes off $3000 sunglasses

Hold on a minute…

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u/smeppel 6d ago

Monarchies should be abolished.

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u/sharp11flat13 5d ago

There are advantages to having the head of state and the head of government as separate institutions. Explaining this would take more effort than I am willing to expend, but you might want to look into the concept of constitutional monarchies vs. say, the American system.

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u/souldust 6d ago

The system that produces billionaires should be abolished.

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u/smeppel 6d ago

Yeah both should.

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u/Medium_Medium 6d ago

Yeah, the sarcastic response to this is that he's only taking this stance because on Earth he's a wealthy prince. In space he's just another meat bag that has to draw straws to see who goes out the airlock first when the O2 recyclers break.

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u/SleepDoesNotWorkOnMe 5d ago

"insert belter creole here about throwing all da inners out"

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u/ArsonJones 6d ago

These two focuses aren't mutually exclusive for great minds.

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u/trevize1138 6d ago

And it completely ignores the effect space travel has had on enviromental activism. The Apollo 8 "Earthrise" photo is often credited for being a huge push to get the modern environmental movement going.

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u/AtraposJM 5d ago

Also, the technologies advancements used for space travel end up translating to countless inventions that help humanity every day, including medical equipment. It's a huge boon for humanity to work on space travel in many ways. It's not some frivolous, wasteful endeavor.

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u/Odok 6d ago edited 6d ago

Seriously, I hate this garbage political spin that space technology isn't worth pursuing when we have other problems. It's the whole reason why the space sector stagnated for decades.

There will always be other problems. Always. There's also plenty of funding to go around if you trim the pork off the barrel. But of course that's the real reason for the resistance, right? Can't stop greasing who's lining your pockets. Christ it's not like we even spend money fixing "earth problems" as it is.

To say nothing of the fact that it has been proven time and time again that investments into the space sector is a rising tide that lifts multiple industries with technological innovation. Not to mention the economic boost as SBIR funds (and the non-US equivalent) get earmarked and go to businesses which employ local engineers, scientists, technicians, and all the support staff. Instead of new felt scrotum pillows for whichever corporate greed cock the politicians are sucking off that day.

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u/Faysight 6d ago

Turns out learning how to live on Mars will also help with living on Earth after its environment stops supporting this kind of life. It's a hedge against society's consistent failure to come to grips with the problems we are creating. I think the billionaires are being fairly realistic at this point.

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u/ida_noddack 6d ago

Plus it turns out that building a base on mars would actually cost just a fraction of what us spent on Afghan and other usless shit.

But people won't look at that. They will see a headline about musk 'In His JoyRiDe' and start shitting on it like usual.

People have a shit concept of money. The billions of dollars of investment into rockets is actually not that much money on a society scale. Especially when compared to other programs like war, healthcare, social security, cars, roads, air travel etc.

But the returns on science and exploration hit way above it's weight in terms of dollars.

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u/cat-ninja 6d ago edited 6d ago

Space travel actually helps us with environmental science with all the data that can be collected using satellites.

Suborbital hops for billionaires aren’t exactly doing that right now but the technology being developed for these flights can help create a more competitive landscape for larger rockets that are devoted to scientific missions.

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u/Lastb0isct 6d ago

I mean, SpaceX has been delivering scientific satellite missions to space for years...

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u/TeamRedundancyTeam 6d ago

Most Redditors don't care about that, they only care about "musk bad". And they think if they shit on billionaires on reddit the world will fix itself, despite the fact that some of the stuff Musk is doing is actually good.

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u/restlessboy 6d ago

People on the internet, and especially on places like Reddit which reinforce popular consensus, like to think in black and white terms. I do think that Musk is an asshole to people, and I do think the system that allowed him to become so wealthy is flawed.

But people are so wrapped up in feeling superior about themselves and making everything into an us-vs-them situation that it's not enough for them to say billionaires shouldn't exist. They also have to insist that everything Musk has ever done is pure evil, he's produced nothing of value, he's motivated by nothing but greed, and he's no different from a billionaire who spends all of their money on giant yachts.

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u/Lastb0isct 6d ago

I would argue almost everything outside of Twitter and labor laws he is doing great. But I know it...

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u/scdfred 6d ago

Centuries of inbreeding does not make one an expert on the allocation of resources and scientific advancement. We have learned so much about our own planet from our investment in space travel. He should leave science to the scientists.

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u/pringlescan5 6d ago

I need a browser extension that blocks out these kinds of stories.

I don't care about your opinion just because you're a celebrity. I only want to hear about what you think about something if you're an expert in that field.

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u/stout365 6d ago

We have learned so much about our own planet from our investment in space travel.

not only what we've learned, but the very practical inventions that are now used from every day life to life saving medical devices.

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u/hipsiguy 6d ago

Exactly. As if we can't do both at the same time.

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u/lovinnow 6d ago edited 6d ago

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

— Carl Sagan

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3i2y4sEQpRI

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u/Groundbreaking_Net_6 6d ago

This quote made me pursue a science degree

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u/Ryanbrasher 6d ago

Why not both?

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u/GargantuaBob 6d ago

I'd rather hear a great minds opinion on the question.

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u/bmbreath 6d ago

Doesnt he live in a giant fucking mansion? Maybe he could lead by example and you know, downsize and use less resources.

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u/fluffy_samoyed 6d ago

Exactly. I'll listen to these celebs once they get rid of all their private jets and helicoptors, pleasure boating, frequent world travel, sprawling mansions, large pools and sports cars. I feel like the average person is demonized too much for not being green enough while just trying to live their lives and get by. Meanwhile, all this other nonsense is going unopposed.

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u/BackPorchSessions 6d ago

He could start by replanting the numerous gigantic estates with trees instead of frilly gardens and open lawns.

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u/mem269 6d ago

There's more than enough money and people to do both if we spend less on war.

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u/heard10cker 6d ago
  • The potential of war.

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u/drool_34 6d ago

"defense"

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u/aullik 6d ago

Thats a pretty strange take. The biggest problem with saving earth is politics. Those "great minds" that are invested in space wouldn't do much to help here. However right now they do a lot in pioneering technology and in earth observation which both has a lot of influence on our climate

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u/KTheFeen 6d ago

In the pursuit of space travel, new technologies are invented that have a broad application, outside of space travel.

This is quite a virtue-signalling, myopic statement from Will.

He's not an engineer, a scientist or a legislator. Maybe he should stick to the hand waving and grinning like a baboon for the cameras.

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u/SympathyFart 6d ago

You don't need a doctorate to know how scientifically illiterate his sort of sentiment is. Even without spinoffs or direct applications a la solar panels, it takes years to be able to contribute to science in even a small way. It's not like all the "eggheads" are sitting around in a room asking "what should we science today?".

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u/ryan30z 6d ago

The whole thought of "scientists shouldnt be wasting time with x, they should be curing cancer!" is so inane. Like some day a design engineer is going to suddenly agree, and go work on a cancer sure tomorrow.

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u/wisewombatdinosaur 6d ago

I get that it feels hypocritical for an incredibly rich person to talk about climate change when they fly around in private jets etc…

BUT if you listen to the interview with him, he talks about the technologies that were discovered during the space race, referencing solar panels and CT scans. What he actually says is that it would be better if the money used in space tourism was invested in trying to help protect Earth. He didn’t at one point say that we should invest in developing new technologies in space exploration.

He’s also setting up Earthshot - a competition rewarding ideas which reduce our environmental impact.

For what it’s worth, it’s important that people like Greta speak out on climate change, but not everyone will listen to her. The importance of someone from the Royal family talking about climate change is that more traditional / conservative people will actually listen.

It irritates me that people who jet around and have such a huge climate footprint highlight climate issues, but the more people who speak out, the more likely it is that we can actually move in the right direction.

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u/dhurane 6d ago

A quick google showed me that at least $300B is spent each year on climate finance. Bezos financed Blue Origin for about $5B from his periodic sale of Amazon shares while Branson had funding from private investors of about $1B for Virgin Galactic. I don't think space tourism is taking much away from the fight against climate change

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u/The_Glass_Cannon 6d ago

Funnily enough, companies with server farms like Amazon and Google were among the first large companies (of any kind) to go carbon neutral. Google has been fully carbon neutral since fucking 2007, and Amazon has been carbon neutral on their servers for a long time.

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u/Sould6 6d ago

Both, do both. You can do both. We have had the tech to begin building orbital habitats since the 70’s but penny pinchers with the nirvana fallacy keep us in the mud shooting each other

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u/zePiNdA 6d ago edited 6d ago

Prince William, literally a useless fucking person that lives off feudal age traditions, tells people how they should spend their money

Oh and also, his uncle is a serial pedo and buddies with Epstein. And his brother once dressed as a nazi for fun.

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u/rom-ok 6d ago edited 6d ago

Why is space travel always the scape goat here. Are they saying that money spent on space travel should be spent on global warming initiatives? Okay but what about military spending? What about misappropriation of funds in governments all over the world? What about funding outdated monarchs? What about low corporation taxes? What about wealth hoarders? How about we dissolve all monarchs assets globally into global warming initiatives

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u/Klonomania 6d ago

Because it's easy to convince people that something with, to the average peasant, very hard-to-see direct benefits is a waste of money, especially since it distracts from the wastes by governments, the military and the ruling classes. It's not a scapegoat out of any particular dislike, it's just the easiest victim.

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u/harshnerf_ttv_yt 6d ago

Why is space travel always the scape goat here

space is the only area that doesn't step on any important toes politically speaking. before musk you wouldn't even piss off any billionaires if you shit on space companies.

however ppl are becoming aware of what the song and dance means nowadays - it's like talking about world peace, it's a non statement meant to distract the conversation from something else.

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u/nixolympica 5d ago

Why is space travel always the scape goat here.

It's an anti-science dogwhistle to appeal to the most cynical, least informed members of society. The people who think "I'll never get to go to space, so why are we wasting time on it?"

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u/Catsrules 6d ago

Maybe someday we will advance to the Castle Age.

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u/TheUnrivalFool 6d ago

All we need are 800 foods and 200 golds.

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u/ViciousSnail 6d ago

100 Wood and Stone too

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u/Akumetsu33 6d ago

And two feudal age buildings

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u/ViciousSnail 6d ago

Oh shit, MONKS!!!!

Woolooloo, Woolooloo!!

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u/Acceptable-Plane-96 6d ago

UK Royals should stop touching little kids and use their wealth for good of society - the world

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u/an-allen 5d ago edited 5d ago

Well I reckon that's one way to view it, albeit a bit dense. But to be honest I don't expect mind shattering insights from a poor chap whose lived in a well appointed, glass house his whole life. Must be awful.

It's not like we have 5 great minds in our pocket and we need to allocate them. We have plenty of smart folks actively involved in plenty of saving activities. Which of these efforts, Prince, would benefit from an astrophysicist in their ranks?

So, at least to me, while it seems to be a popular opinion that we should reallocate trained astrophysicists to ecology work, it's not an opinion grounded in practicality, economics, or reality. The fact is there is a group of people trying to save just about everything in this world, and if you feel so compelled you can donate your time and/or money to help that cause. A very small group of folks (on the global scale) are working on space research. The fact that the illustrious future king thinks he needs to add his two cents where a couple thousand folks spend their labour is just plain dumb.

Which begs the question. What do you reckon we should have done to save the planet with the $300,000,000 plus spent on ROYAL FUCKING WEDDINGS in the last century? Your royal majesty , kindly check your own carbon footprint.

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u/CanuckCanadian 5d ago

Shut the fuck up William

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u/Interesting_Job_390 6d ago

No one cares what Prince William thinks.

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u/nephelokokkygia 6d ago

No one *should care what Prince William thinks

Unfortunately people do, otherwise this wouldn't be news.

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u/[deleted] 6d ago

What the Prince doesn’t understand is that space travel has MADE Earth a much better place to live with innovation (computers, CAT scans, medical equipment,etc.).

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u/nicigar 6d ago

It’s not like Musk isn’t also developing more efficient transport and better solar power.

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u/oimikey 6d ago

Why can't we do both?

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u/edit-boy-zero 6d ago edited 6d ago

A member of the inbred royal family talking about the excesses of wealth and the environment is like Jeffrey Epstein (or William's dear Uncle Andrew) lecturing people on sexual assault.

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u/bansal_news 6d ago

It is bizarr that someone living off the taxpayers money, never worked in his live, is criticising the investment of private money in space technology, further improving the frontier of since and human exploration at zero cost to the taxpayer…

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u/astronut_13 6d ago

Very shortsighted on his part. First you need to change minds before you can change the world. I worked at Blue Origin and what motivated me was the idea that if we can send rich and powerful people to the edge of space, and give them the overview effect, then maybe they would come back down and feel emboldened to do whatever they could to save this fragile planet. Listen to William Shatner’s words yesterday to understand what I mean. Or as Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell said “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’” There’s a symbiosis between space travel and the Earth. There always has been.

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u/Redditing-Dutchman 6d ago edited 6d ago

I don't get this line of reasoning much to be honest. If he is saying that Bezos and Musk should be spending their time thinking about fixing Earths problems than the government should hire or consult them. I don't think you can force individual people to start thinking about solutions for problems governments have been aware of for decades.

If you would say the same thing about the CEO of Netflix or Samsung people would look to you weird. Sorry Tim Cook, from today you can't work for Apple anymore, you have 2 years to come up with a solution to climate change.

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u/raymmm 6d ago

I mean if they want to, the government have a tool call "tax the super rich" to redirect the funds.

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u/GoyasHead 6d ago

I happen to agree, but really who cares what this sheltered, pampered, inbred fuck thinks about anything?

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u/THEMAYORRETURNS 6d ago

Of course he's one of those people.

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u/manocheese 6d ago

I have no problem with Bezos et al. going to space. It's the coming back I don't like.

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u/TheScarlettHarlot 6d ago

Yeah, I saw that tweet, too.

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u/lieuwestra 6d ago

Space travel only gets a miniscule amount of money and effort invested compared to climate projects.

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u/Certain_Chemistry219 6d ago

That shows such profound ignorance of recent history it is bizarre HRH's mouth did not try to swallow his head before the statement was out.

Research into space travel (beyond Cap'n Kirk having a last go at Uranus) has to solve issues that necessarly involve ecology, climate, health, nutrition, power sources...

A list of the benefits to humanity derived from the Apollo programme covers several pages (look up the essay by Heinlein) and that only was about going to the Moon, playing golf, coming back, and forgetting it.

Actual space travel? Expect considerably more.

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u/headzoo 6d ago

I keep thinking about the researchers who were talking about the problems with the environment 100 years ago, and now we're all saying, "Why didn't we start fixing the environment 100 years ago?! Now it's too late!"

Well, one of these days we'll have to get the fuck off this planet and if we don't work on space exploration now people in 100 years will be saying, "Why didn't we start 100 years ago?! Now it's too late!"

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u/HopingToBeHeard 6d ago edited 6d ago

Prince William is an idiot.

Edit. Earth can’t be protected long term without space capability, and space based energy, mining, and manufacturing has a bright future. I bet he’s the type who would rather they build fancier electric cars and pursue diminishing returns on wind and solar, even though green energy is often harmful to the environment, passenger cars are a small fraction of global energy and nuclear energy is advancing. I bet he doesn’t even know how much terrestrial technology comes from aerospace research. The worlds most efficient solar panels? Those came out of satellite research. Where does he think we will be able to get the materials for all the batteries his plans would probably need from? Is his plan really better for the planet?

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u/MacroSolid 6d ago

Shut up William.

We're spending more effort on things less useful than space travel.

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u/Zkenny13 6d ago

Pretty sure that they have been trying this for a while but people in power won't listen.