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Web Video / Isaac Arthur

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"Or in short form, welcome to SFIA, where we´ll cheerfully discuss how to use hydrogen bombs to save the environment"— Issac Arthur, "Climate Change Mitigation: Near Term Solutions"

Isaac Arthur is a producer of Web Videos centered around science and futurism, looking into how to apply real-world science into various science fiction tropes and ideas.

Check him out here.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Isaac constantly stresses the importance of keeping AI dumb, for fear of a Robot War. Remember, "Keep it simple, keep it dumb, or you'll be under Skynet's thumb."
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  • Atlantis Is Boring: In "Colonizing the Oceans", Isaac Arthur points out that not many people would willingly want to live in settlements on the ocean floor. However, he does find some reasons for such a colony to exist. Among these are mineral extraction, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, prisons, escape from the culture of the surface, wanting to get as far away from others as possible while remaining on Earth, and being protected from solar flares.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Discussed here. While he at first states how this trope is respectable in principal, he deconstructs it by describing how in practice it is heartless and impractical. He considers it heartless because it forces advanced observers to watch primitive aliens die of natural disasters and diseases instead of saving them. He considers this policy impractical because it would be impossible for an egalitarian society to enforce because it would only take one person disagreeing with it to break this policy. One person, or one group of people, could take a ship to the primitive aliens and give them a Technology Uplift and since this is a life-or-death issue some would be willing to even if it was a capitol offense in their society.
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  • Ancient Aliens: Discussed in Ancient Aliens.
  • Arcology: Discussed here.
  • Artificial Gravity: In his episode on megastructures in space, Isaac discusses how space stations of the future might generate this via centrifugal force.
  • Asteroid Mining: Isaac often suggests mining asteroids and even planets to build spaceships and rotating habitats.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most of the structures and projects Isaac talks about, including the ridiculously ambitious ones, can be built without any particularly advanced technology. Stopping the Global Warming, Terraforming Venus, launching interstellar spaceships and even moving entire stars can be done with nothing more than regular mirrors — though admittedly, you need a lot of these.
  • City Planet: Discussed here. He gives a discussion about how such places would likely be fairly spacious if the land was used correctly, and the biggest limiting factor would be heat, not living space.
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  • Dyson Sphere: Discussed in multiple videos. He also talks about the differences and practicalities of the Dyson Sphere, Dyson Ring and Dyson Swarm.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Isaac suffers from rhotacism, which can make him sometimes hard to understand, especially for people who aren't native speakers of English. Fortunately, he is aware of this, and has subtitles available for all of his videos. He even lampshades by including a picture of Elmer Fudd with the invitation to turn on the subtitles.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Isaac does not believe this is possible, but that hasn't stopped him from discussing it.
  • Fermi Paradox: Discussed in several videos, along with various solutions for it.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Has a video discussing the evacuation of Earth, and what sort of disaster would prompt it, that a civilisation capable of evacuating Earth couldn't avoid or deflect.
  • Human Popsicle: In Sleeper Ships.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: While Isaac points out some issues immortality could cause, he ultimately sees nothing wrong with living forever and doesn't believe he would ever get bored with life, even if he got to live for millenia.
  • Natural End of Time: "Civilizations At The End Of Time" explore how civilizations might survive past the point of star formation ending and the universe not being able to create life naturally anymore.
  • Self-Deprecation: In his video on City Planets (see above), he refers to a Terran Cloud or Planet Cloud, and makes it clear he prefers the term without an "R". Also, the invitation to turn on subtitles includes a picture of Elmer Fudd.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Frequently discussed and gives ideas on how to avert it.
  • Starfish Aliens
  • Stock Footage: As animation is not Isaac's specialty, expect a lot of this in his videos.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Isaac explains that one requires medical nanotech in order to survive the damage caused by cryogenic freezing.
  • Running Gag: See Rule #1 below.
  • Rule #1: Played with. Arthur often discusses military and warfare, and brings up "rules of combat" when doing so. Reflecting his experience in the US Army, every rule is Rule #1.
  • Technology Uplift: Gives a video discussing the morality of it.
  • Time Abyss: The Civilizations at the End of Time series discusses civilisations living on timescales which can only be made sense of in scientific notation.
  • You Are Not Ready: Arthur considers this a Kick the Dog moment for Sufficiently Advanced Alien, especially if they say it after criticizing humans for hurting their environment. He compares it to western person going to a poor sub-saharan village, criticizing them for drinking contaminated water, and refusing to share filtration technology with them.
  • Uplifted Animal: Gives a video discussing the morality of it.
  • World Shapes: He has episodes discussing how both toroidal and disk-shaped planets could be built and inhabited.

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