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Posts Tagged ‘science’


A splutter emanated from the device as data was received.

 “Elizabeth! We’re getting high density yields 300m down from here.”

 “That’s what I like to here. Keep scanning. I’m going to head to the surface and let HQ know. We can have teams down here tomorrow to do deeper sweeps.”

 As Elizabeth moved towards the surface various readouts on her visor began to grow back to life as signal was re-gained. They’d had only been 30 minutes or so into the cave system, but the density of the rock around them clearly so thick in mass that any signal was denied access. Parallel to the tunnels was the city, a new and growing complex that had only existed for a matter of years. The tunnels had only just been discovered in the recent exploration phase once all the critical systems were up and running within the colony.

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I’m currently in the process of re-writing and editing the book I wrote for NaNoWrimo last year. As such, I thought I’d upload it as I went along for you all to comment, enjoy or critique. All feedback/comment is welcomed, and please feel free to share/pass it on!

Shadow

Loitering in orbit over the planet was a single, small ship. All was still. Silence whispered with the galactic winds. The planet below was ignorant to the vessels existence. To Veo, battle cruisers had always seemed cumbersome, and as such an ignorance to his proximity was both vital and amiable. When on contracted missions such as these, his own vessel was much more preferred. Sleek, compact and deadly, many years had been spent by Veo creating his beauty and only true love in the universe. An almost infinite flow of money had allowed him to create the most feared, respected, but most importantly, advanced, vessels within The Company.

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I speak a lot against Trident, and the huge amount of money it’s wasted/ing. At roughly £100bn, here is what I propose to do with the spare cash.

Nationally, I think we should adopt a non-aggressive stance. This is to say that we do not interfere unless necessary in countries that are not our own. E.g Iraq, Afghanistan etc. For instances like Libya, we have commitments to organisations such as the UN (and various others) that can help deal with these issues, and I do not think we should become directly entangled with affairs such as these. The main reason being that it often just ends up causing a much bigger mess than intended. Unless there is a imminent and direct threat to our people then I do not think we should go out searching for a fight. Namely because it just causes further issues with our reputation as a whole, and I can hardly see ‘terrorists’ (whatever you take that to mean) as being particularly warming to us as a nation or indeed stopping attacks if we suddenly invade their domestic countries for whatever reason.

The definition for imminent and direct threat is perhaps vague, but I think common sense has to be applied really. However, I see the occurence of the arms race during the 30’s leading to WW2 as a much more direct threat and in need of an appropriate response than a country the other side of the world. I see a need for armed forces, but a smaller, better equipped is much more necessary and ideal in my view than a bloated and over stretched one, clinging hopelessly on to a fallen empire.

Money saved from schemes such as Trident, as well as money saved by not starting wars (this is not to say ‘cutting’ funding for the military, merely scale back their operations) should be placed into public scientific research. Rather than having military research being conducted and then adopted for social uses, the focus shall be on social uses that can if necessary be adopted for military application. This way, many more people will see the benefit of huge volumes of money being spent into technological advancement, rather than there being a delay. In the event of a war, this increased and widely supported research on technology will be able to give us the edge. Public science adopted for military, rather than military for public.

The wider range of stakeholders this would cause for more ethical and above all more useful and practical research to be carried out. While exoskeletons are useful for the military, they are much more useful to aid disabled people. However, due to mainly being of military origin, it is expensive and hasslesome to re-apply the technology to a public market. This takes time and while the benefit may eventually be gained, would it not be better to have the technology refined by large scale usage that people actually gain befit from rather than have it locked away, with 2 or 3 people using? The benefits of crowdsourcing have been seen, and should be utilised as widely and officially as possible.

A recent article I read on the value of research ties in to this. It’s fairly short and well worth a read.

“Meyer says that US climate programmes have in the past two decades benefited from public investment of more than US$30 billion, but have largely failed to produce information and participation in the forms that policy-makers and the public wanted.

“Instead, researchers and, especially, their funders must embrace the idea that public and stakeholder participation can help to define research priorities. And they must do more to track and communicate all outcomes. Policy-makers need to ensure that those with direct needs for climate-related information — businesses, regional planners, government departments — have a greater say in the kind of services and knowledge that they expect publicly funded researchers to produce, and in assuring the quality and relevance of what is delivered.”

This is not to say that areas that are unpopular should be ignored. Certainly, I imagine the TV would not have been seen as a worthy investment of research funds, and in the same way that arts council funding goes to smaller, innovative projects, I think research budgets should too. For example, if 50 years ago you asked if someone wanted a mobile device that they could display their emotion in only 140 characters, I dare say the answer would be no.

For fear of using a buzz word, I’d like our research to be more democratic. How practical this would be to implement I’m not sure. Nor am I saying that the general public should necessarily control the direction of scientific communities. What I am saying however, is control should be removed from large weapons manufactors and private security firms. These companies can still exist, and I’m sure will do a sterling job in supplying the military where necessary, but they should not influence our social development technologically as much as they do.

Our development as a nation, a society, a people, should be guided by us. While war is necessary at times, it should not be the focus of our technological advancements. I’d much rather see the UK be the leader in scientific advancement and creating the next generation of scientists and engineers to show off to the world than it be seen as a war mongering, grumpy and slowly deflating entity like it is now.

 

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