TED Conversations

Kaleb Roberts

This conversation is closed.

If you could learn one thing, what would it be?

If you could learn to grasp one idea, what would it be? No matter how small and trivial, or giant and ridiculous.. What would you learn? What would you grasp?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 19 2012: This is an excellent question.

    I would like to learn whatever combination of physical sciences and engineering that is necessary to successfully make interstellar and intergalactic travel a reality during a single human lifetime. Being able to learn the mechanism of abiogenesis is a close second, though.

    And you?
    • thumb
      Dec 20 2012: the answer to this question might prove itself depressing. at least, the more i research it, the farther it seems to go in the future.
      • thumb
        Dec 20 2012: So true. I sometimes feel intensely depressed after watching shows like Star Trek because the fictional universe they're written in is so far removed from reality. The fact that space exploration has to compete for resources with trivial things like wars in addition to overcoming technological constraints is very sad indeed.
        • thumb
          Dec 20 2012: well, if we take the enormous waste of resources, it is even more bleak. but alas, even if humanity gits its ass together, interstellar travel still seems utterly impossible with any technology we have. just for an example, assuming some good annihilation engine, which we don't have, and assuming high yield antimatter production, which we don't have, it would need the entire human energy production of 50 years to get enough antimatter to fuel up our vehicle. be honest, we can't spare our entire energy production, so it must take some longer. i believe interstellar travel can be expected not before 100 years in the future, and maybe well over 200.
        • Dec 21 2012: What I keep coming back to with interstellar travel is the "icepick". How can you ever collide even with something as small as a baseball without being destroyed? True, debris is extraordinarily rare, but can you imagine hitting a baseball at 1/2 the speed of light! After all, you would be travelling billions of miles without striking anything of any size.

          Personally, I'd like to know what characteristics a civilization a million years farther "advanced" than we are would look like.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.