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Monday, March 14, 2005 

The measurement of a civilization

Before reading further, try to answer the following question: If there were a scoreboard for all of the "advanced" civilizations in the Universe, what would the point system be based off?


The species total wealth, civic nature, military strength? Nope, none of those. Simply put, the only real way to measure advanced civilizations are by their energy production and space travel capabilities. How far they can go, at what speed, dimensional travel, and even time travel. How much, and what type, of energy can be harnessed and used by a civilization. All of those lumped into one make up the determining factor for where a civilization ranks on a Universal scale.

Here are the types of civilizations as put forth by physicist Nikolai Kardashev in 1964:

Type I – a civilization that controls the energy resources of an entire planet. This civilization can control the weather, prevent earthquakes, mine deep in the [home planet's] crust, and harvest the oceans. This civilization has already completed the exploration of its solar system..

Type II – a civilization that harnesses the energy output of a star, and generates about 10 billion times the energy output of a Type I civilization. This does not mean passively[solar panels] harnessing solar energy; this civilization mines the sun. The energy needs of this civilization are so large that it directly consumes the power of the sun to drive its machines. This civilization will begin the colonization of local star systems.

Type III – a civilization that harnesses the energy output of a galaxy, or about 10 billion times the energy output of a Type II civilization.

Folks, if we were to follow the above model (and we should because no one has put forth a better one to this day), this civilization we live in today wouldn't even come close to being a Type 1. In fact, and i'm being serious here, we're much closer to a Type -5 civilization. Of course, this is all under the assumption that we take only the technology that isn't hidden in some secret mountain base or in some power elite's garage and measure it on the scale above.

Alright, now that we've answered the question, we get to ask another one. What in the world is stopping us from climbing that scoreboard at a much quicker pace? Seriously, we've been relegated to land tortoise speed in terms of how fast our space/energy technology has advanced in the view of the public. We're still sending the same tin cans up into space, only now they're held together by something stronger than duct tape. People still huddle around some sort of modern day equivilant to a campfire when cold weather is about. That's a real good achievement, if the people responsible were say, being forced to wear helmets with goofy chin straps as they get shuttled to work on a short yellow school bus every day, considering how much we've progressed with our technology over the past 15 thousand years. Perhaps it's better stated as: how much we have perceived our own technology to progress? Yes, I think I should phrase it that way.

Is it not ludicrous to think that we haven't returned to the Moon, or even set foot on Mars, by now? Or that we have we haven't figured out a way to pull an near infinite amount of energy from the ionosphere? Perhaps even a zero point (vaccum) energy platform? The shocking thing about new technologies, like those which were just mentioned, is that they aren't even close to being far-fetched.

If we look at the rate that our everyday technology (computers, cell phones, digital media, etc) advances, one would have to be an absolute moron to not think that the same rate of development wouldn't apply to new energy sources and space travel. In fact, one could argue that it should move along quicker. Two areas as important as that with no real publically acknowledged advancements, it just doesn't seem like everything being presented to the people of this earth is on the level, now does it?

We can delve into this specific topic later. I just wanted to get the ball rolling and give an idea as to what some of the subject matter posted here shall be in the future. If you don't like this sort of thing, there might be one empty seat on that short bus I was writing about earlier. Better hurry though, I hear those seats fill up fast!

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