Monday Links 49

Charles Stross: On mistaking a transient state for a permanent one

Astronomers were the first to notice, as Starlink streaks made a mess for ground based telescopes to peer through. But the next issue is metal polution, as re-entering satellites melt and mostly vapourize in the upper atmosphere. 45,000 Starlink 2 satellites would weigh 90,000 tonnes, and with a 10 year life (never mind the 3-5 year current lifespan) they’d be dumping nearly ten thousand tonnes of metal into the upper stratosphere every year, which is probably a Bad Thing and is rightly generating alarm among environmentalists and climate researchers.


Dumping 9000 tons of metal into the upper atmosphere is a linear extrapolation from today’s situation, and does not reflect what’s ultimately going to happen. This is a transient phase—the gold rush, the railroad race—and not the steady state we’re going to end up in once the period of rapid expansion comes to an end.

I’ve been enjoying Dr Katie Mack & John Green’s podcast about the history of the universe. They are three episodes in and have finally got to a timescale beyond the first few seconds. It’t fantastic. Here’s the trailer:

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About Joe Mahoney

Joe is a software engineering leader, programmer, surf life guard, and runner who writes about and curates links covering links covering software engineering and management, career growth, continuous improvement, creativity, and productivity.

Wellington, New Zealand