The Shkadov Thruster: stripmine Mercury, turn the product into a vast mirror belting one side of the sun, wait 200 million years, and the entire solar system is transported a hundred light years away. I came across this while reading a consideration of free-floating planets as interstellar arks, which caught my eye because I remembered being amused by THE WANDERING EARTH.
The piece includes one of my favourite observations about a Type 3 civilisation – and I am using this excuse to see if I can get Quotebacks working here:
In 2020, Valentin Ivanov (ESO Paranal) and colleagues proposed a modification to the Kardashev scale based on how a civilization integrates with its environment (citation below). The authors offered a set of classes. Class 0 is a civilization that uses the environment without substantially changing it. Class 1 modifies its environment to fit its needs, while Class 2 modifies itself to fit its environment. A Class 3 civilization under this scheme would be maddeningly difficult to find because it is indistinguishable from its environment.
(That only took fifteen minutes to figure out, bloody hell… I’m sure Quotebacks and WordPress used to play more nicely together, but I found the “insert HTML workaround)
“In 2011, the Boston-based artist Yu-Wen Wu looked up how she might walk from Beantown to Taiwan, to visit her ailing grandmother. She had looked up airline tickets, but they were astronomical. At the time Google Maps was still in its infancy, and so the site compiled and returned detailed results about how she could walk the continental U.S. and then kayak from the West Coast to Hawai’i on to Japan and finally to Taipei. (Google now will say it can’t find the route.) The 11,749-mile journey was estimated to take about 155 days and 5 hours. Wu saved these directions as a PDF and has now translated them into the format of a landscape scroll…“
You barely glimpse the heighliners, the vast container spaceships that famously travel without moving in the new film version of DUNE.
On rewatching the film, I noted that we barely see inside spaceships either, and it started to feel like a choice, so I went hunting. And sure enough, the director had a plan:
I tried to keep all the space-travelling as mysterious as possible, like almost bringing some kind of mysticism or sacred relationship with that part of the movie. Everything involving space is just evocated and very mysterious…
I insisted that we will never go inside the spaceships. Dune is really a project that was, for me, focusing entirely on Arrakis and the Fremen planet, and focusing on the ecosystem of the planet. It’s a story that is very grounded. It’s not a story about space-travelling. It’s so [much] more beautiful when we don’t see.