it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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please take me along when you slide on down.

Cavallo Point January 2011 066

So I'm sitting here watching the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge from the porch of the Lodge at Cavallo Point, which is the undisclosed location alluded to earlier. And now I can tell you is that the reason I came here was to participate in a vision/planning session to lay the groundwork for an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting technologies to make it possible to build an interstellar starship within a hundred years.

This is the 100-Year Starship Study* you may have heard of (and heard badly reported and sensationalized by Faux**). There are no plans for the U.S. government to build a starship, and nobody--to my knowledge--is planning on crashing a space ship on Mars and marooning anybody there. What this is is an attempt to design a creditable business model to support technologies and social research in a variety of fields that would be essential to designing a ship that could take humans to the stars--everything from sustainable small biospheres to small group dynamics to photon entanglement to propulsion systems.

It's foundation work, in other words, and it has an enormous variety of other potential payoffs, technological and social. The challenge now is to create a self-sustaining organization that can facilitate that process, and that innovation.

It was an enormous privilege to be here, and not only because I got to meet one of my literary heroes, the delightful Joe Haldeman (just to name one person among an amazing panoply of polymaths in attendance--physicists, visionaries, astronauts).

It's also because the Lodge at the Golden Gate is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and the hotel staff is fantastic, accomodating, psychic, and nearly invisible. It's in part of the old Cavallo Point military installation, the twin of the more famous Presidio across the water. If you've ever wanted to stay in a WWII general's house or hike under the Golden Gate, this place can do that for you.

Also, I personally vouch for the yoga instructor. He nearly killed me.

(I make it sound like I did nothing but play, I realize, but in truth I got here a day early and took advantage of yesterday morning to pack in as much fun as possible.)

*Brought to you by DARPA, the people who invented the internet--and gave it away.

**Centauri Dreams offers an article on it.
Tags: 100-year starship survey, science!, the glamour!, this is for posterity

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