Intensive animal farming, also known as factory farming, is controversial for two reasons. First of all, it has a huge negative impact upon our environment – cattle is, for instance, one of the major sources of methane (a greenhouse gas stronger than carbon dioxide) emission. Second but not least, is the suffering imposed on animals kept as livestock. Though animal slaughter is an unpleasant aspect of livestock farming, the way we keep animals is probably far more cruel than merely killing a sentient being.
In this essay I want to explore a not-too-far future in which technology has reconciled our demand for animal products and animal welfare. Of course, I know that certain animal welfare activists will argue that we should become all vegans in order to put an end to animal suffering. However, I do not believe such strategy will be successful. Too many people like meat and other animal products, while current plant-based alternatives cannot (yet) satisfy this demand.
What are the main animal products we humans consumer? Meat, dairy, eggs and leather. I will discuss each product one by one. Thereafter I will argue that we can return to small scale farms that both respect animal welfare and play an important social function.
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The agricultural section of a Bernal Sphere (source: NASA)
As explained earlier, the name Mordan is derived from a book by Dutch SF author Tais Teng. However, a proper etymology for this name is still lacking. Though I have proposed that “Mordan” might refer to the island of Saint-Martin, I have yet figured out a better and more satisfying etymology. Continue reading Mardonius
Article II-10, paragraph 3 of our draft constitution:
A well protected privacy, being necessary to the security of a free Society, the right of the people to use strong encryption in correspondence shall not be infringed.
The purpose of this clause is to enshrine the right to use of strong encryption and to make laws mandating backdoors in encryption software unconstitutional.
A democratic republic can only survive and flourish if its citizens are well-educated. However, such an educated society can only exist if the overall majority of its citizens has the individual cognitive ability to handle proper education. In other words a democratic republic is only possible as its citizens have a certain degree of general intelligence. Continue reading Lead and choline
Though we are in favor of orbital space settlements instead of surface based ones, it is still interesting to consider other options. Mars is an obvious choice to locate a human outpost, but there arguments in favor of Venus. Here couple of videos explaining the possibilities and benefits of colonies on Venus. Continue reading Venus colonies
In regard with agriculture space settlements will have to deal with two issues. First of all, an independent food supply is essential for the success of any civilization. Secondly, during the early stages of the humanization of space there a shortage of labor will be quite likely. Since we cannot dispense with agriculture, at least not in the long run – as the alternative would be very expensive – space settlers will need to embrace agricultural robots full heartedly. Continue reading Agricultural robots
This video by Care Farming UK explains the concept of care farming.
Researcher in Singapore have succeeded in building a robot, which are able to assemble an IKEA chair. Though the robots are still a bit slower than a human being, this kind of technology is interesting.
As many countries are facing an aging population, automation will be necessary to avoid a labor shortage. Also space settlements will benefit from this technology, as it will allow them to achieve economic independence by reducing the need to import manufactured goods.
Nowadays most plastic made of petroleum (better known as “oil”), but as oil is becoming increasingly scarce alternative sources for the production of plastic is needed. Scientists have succeeded in producing a biodegradable plastic from sugar and carbon dioxide. Continue reading Plastic in the post-oil age
Bamboo is a fast growing plant with various uses. Hence it is a suitable source of timber, paper and textiles for space settlements. Below several videos to explain how bamboo could help space settlers to become self-sufficient. Continue reading Bamboo products