In This Far Reaching Foray Into The Millennia Long Relationship Between Science And Military Power, Acclaimed Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson And Co Author Avis Lang Examine How The Methods And Tools Of Astrophysics Have Been Enlisted In The Service Of War Spanning Early Celestial Navigation To Satellite Enabled Warfare, Accessory To War Is A Richly Researched And Provocative Examination Of The Intersection Of Science, Technology, Industry, And Power That Will Introduce Tyson S Millions Of Fans To Yet Another Dimension Of How The Universe Has Shaped Our Lives And Our World An alternate and, arguably, better title for this could be THE HISTORY OF ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN LESS OF A HURRY, and it s just as fascinating and richly observed as Mr Degrasse Tyson s slimmer volume from last year Unfortunately, there s also a very long section in the middle that feels like an exhaustive attempt to find every UN declaration ever made about the use of outer space, and it really bogs down what has, up until that point, been a rollicking adventure through the ages It s a good read, but not one that I think I ll be going back to in the years to come It is undeniably successful at making you marvel at the universe, though, and there were prolonged sections where I read with wonder at the people and ideas contained within. Many significant advances in our understanding of the cosmos are by products of government investment in the apparatus of warfare, and many innovative instruments of destruction are by products of advances in astrophysics Neil deGrasse Tyson expands on this statement by leaps and bounds in his book Accessory to War The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military With almost 600 pages and nearly 19 hours via audio, Accessory to War is a mixture of science, history, education, and thought provoking contradictions and perspective At times fascinating and at other times dry as a bone, I admit to needing several breaks during my reading experience However, Tyson has a way of helping the common non scientist, like me, learn about and understand subjects that may feel otherwise quite intimidating Tyson begins this book with emotion and ends on a chapter filled with hope, both which I loved The lengthy middle may be hit or miss for some but like he says in his first chapter, It s better to see than not to see It s better to know than not to know, better to understand than not to understand Overall, Accessory to War offers an important learning opportunity that should be considered My favorite quote Though smitten by the cosmos, we have no choice but to embrace it from multiple degrees of separation when we want to know the motions of a star, we examine not the star itself, not an image of the star, not even the spectrum derived from the light recorded in an image of the star, but rather shifts in the patterns in the spectrum derived from the light recorded in an image of the star A convoluted consummation.So astrophysicists have learned to be lateral thinkers, to come up with indirect solutions True, scientists in general are skillful problem solvers Physicists can build a better vacuum chamber or a bigger particle accelerator Chemists can purify their ingredients, change the temperature, try out a novel catalyst Biologists can experiment on organisms born and bred in the lab Physicians can question their patients Animal behaviorists can spend hours watching clans of their favorite creatures Geologists can scrutinize a hillside ravine or dig up sample rocks But astrophysicists need to find another way, never forgetting that we re the passive party in a singularly one sided relationship The dawn of the emergence the United States Space Force and similar programs of other states of the scientific military astrophysical complex of the space industry.Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review Just if you might be interested.It does not matter if a military doctrine is defensive and deterrent or offensive Both variants have immense escalation potential.Economic constraints decide on the research priorities And the entire annual budget for astrophysics is enough to cover the defense budget for a few days in most states Given a choice, many researchers will opt for a pact with the military Better to research with martial focus, than not at all And the technologies, machines and research priorities are identical to some extent From there onwards, either telescopes or missile launchers will be installedIt is ambivalent, as military and research live in a millennia long, very child rich, marriage of convenience Before astrophysics, it was alchemy, metallurgy, mechanics, pyrotechnics, etc On the positive side, many civilian applications only grew out of warlike uses Conversely, research results can always be perverted Given the influence that has had and will have on human history, one cannot draw a moral or ethical dividing line It is about designing the economic, military and social mechanisms with the lowest possible escalation potential in the future.A thought experiment Suppose that without the martial mentality of humankind, less research would have been done Although fewer people died by other peoples hands, the medical and technological advances were also abducted for millennia As a result, millions of people than through all wars together died Even worse, humanity was not prepared for an external threat of a natural or extraterrestrial kind Is war technology unquestionably evil or good or is it too complicated for a clear point of view Research can and will always be adapted for military purposes This could sometimes lead to work on military applications instead of basic research That despite the availability of the technologies, these are primarily used for threatening gestures in the solar system rather than actively exploring space Like the backlog of the peaceful use of many technologies on earth Military secrecy and monopolies will keep insights and new devices under lock and key for a long time.In the longer term, such as millennia or tens of thousands of years, man made weapons will become less of an issue Instead, the technical possibilities to directly manipulate space physics become the ultimate weapons of mass destruction One could distract asteroids and meteors and manipulate magnetic fields and gravity Open gates to the hearts of the suns and let the resulting beam move over planets as a sterilization laser Build a black hole bomb in millions of years.Or, alternatively, beforehand the point will be reached at which humankind will be able to control and generate all energies That s the crucial question for a new balance of power If the technology is available to everyone, no one has it because of the MAD doctrine If, on the other hand, only the manipulation of space physics for war use is the most reliable weapon, the party with the most resources will be the most powerful Instead of uranium, steel and essential chemicals, the number of available space resources will determine the luck of the war.At the very least, the miniaturization of some hypothetical weapons stands in the way of the mass boundaries necessary for their functioning Supernovae, black holes, negative mass or antigravity, for example By contrast, antimatter, gravitational weapons and consorts may have the same coming future problems as dirty bombs and ABC weapons today Technology advances And it has always been one of the first applications for smaller states to adapt them to protect themselves.Air superiority is one of the critical military factors, if not the key factor par excellence The dominance over space and the atmosphere goes far beyond that In conventional aerial combat, the opponent still has an approximate chance on the euphemism of a fair fight with the same technique On the other hand, if a party has a monopoly on orbital bombardments, nothing can be done against it They can permanently prevent the deployment of enemy troops in space Make a restrictive dungeon out of the Earth, or any other colonized the planet, and monopolize the exploration and conquest of space With only colonial born citizens who do not even have any attachment to their origins.Die Morgend mmerung der Weltraumtruppen United States Space Force und hnliche Programme anderer Staaten des wissenschaftlich milit risch astrophyikalischen Komplexes der Weltraumindustrie.Egal, ob die milit rische Doktrin auf Defensive und Abschreckung oder Offensive setzt Beide Varianten haben immenses Eskalationspotential konomische Zw nge entscheiden ber die Forschungsschwerpunkte Und das gesamte Jahresbudget f r Astrophysik reicht in den meisten Staaten f r ein paar Tage zur Deckung des Verteidigungsbudgets Vor die Wahl gestellt, werden sich viele Forscher f r einen Pakt mit dem Milit r entscheiden Lieber, auch mit kriegerischem Fokus, forschen als gar nicht Und die Technologien, Maschinen und Forschungsschwerpunkte sind bis zu einem gewissen Punkt identisch Ab da werden entweder zur Erforschung Teleskope oder zur Vernichtung Raketenabschussvorrichtungen installiert.Es ist ambivalent, da Milit r und Forschung in einer Jahrtausende w hrenden, sehr kinderreichen, Zweckehe leben Vor der Astrophysik waren es Alchemie, Metallurgie, Mechanik, Pyrotechnik, etc Positiv kann man sehen, dass viele zivile Anwendungen erst aus kriegerischen Anwendungen wuchsen Umgekehrt lassen sich Forschungsergebnisse immer pervertieren Angesicht der Einfl sse, die das auf die Menschheitsgeschichte hatte und haben wird, kann man keine moralische oder ethische Trennlinie ziehen Es geht eher darum, die wirtschaftlichen, milit rischen und gesellschaftlichen Mechanismen in Zukunft auf m glichst geringes Eskalationspotential hin zu konzipieren Ein Gedankenexperiment Angenommen, ohne die kriegerische Mentalit t des Menschen w re weniger Forschung betrieben worden Es starben zwar weniger Menschen durch andere Menschen, aber die medizinischen und technologischen Fortschritte wurden auch um Jahrtausende verschleppt Dadurch starben Millionen Menschen mehr als durch alle Kriege zusammen Noch schlimmer, die Menschheit war f r eine externe Bedrohung nat rlicher oder extraterrestrischer Art nicht ger stet Ist Kriegstechnik demnach definitiv b se oder gut oder ist es zu kompliziert f r einen klaren Standpunkt Forschung kann und wird immer f r milit rische Zwecke adaptiert werden Was mitunter dazu f hren k nnte, dass anstatt Grundlagenforschung zu betreiben, an milit rischen Anwendungen gearbeitet wird Dass trotz der zur Verf gung stehenden Technologien diese prim r als Drohgeb rden im Sonnensystem herum stehen, anstatt aktiv den Weltraum zu erforschen Etwa so wie der R ckstand der friedlichen Nutzung vieler Technologien auf der Erde Durch milit rische Geheimhaltung und Monopole werden die Erkenntnisse und neuen Ger te lange unter Verschluss bleiben.Auf noch l ngere Sicht, wie etwa Jahrtausende oder Zehntausende Jahre, werden die von Menschen gemachten Waffen zum geringeren Problem werden Stattdessen werden die technischen M glichkeiten, die Raumphysik direkt zu manipulieren, zu den ultimativen Massenvernichtungswaffen aufsteigen Man k nnte Asteroiden und Meteore ablenken und Magnetfelder und die Gravitation manipulieren Tore zu den Herzen von Sonnen ffnen und den daraus hervor schie enden Strahl als Sterilisierungslaser ber Planeten fahren lassen In Millionen Jahren eine Schwarze Loch Bombe bauen Oder es wird alternativ vorher der Punkt erreicht sein, an dem der Mensch f hig sein wird, alle Energien zu beherrschen und zu erzeugen Das ist die entscheidende Frage f r ein neues Gleichgewicht des Schreckens Wenn die Technologie allen zur Verf gung steht, besitzt sie keiner Ist hingegen nur die Manipulation der Raumphysik zur Kriegsnutzung die st rkste Waffe, wird die Partei mit den meisten Ressourcen die m chtigste sein Statt Uran, Stahl und Schl sselchemikalien werden die Menge an nutzbaren Raumk rpern ber das Kriegsgl ck entscheiden.Zumindest steht einer Miniaturisierung von manchen hypothetischen Waffen die f r deren Funktionieren n tigen Massengrenzen im Weg Supernovae, schwarze L cher, negative Masse beziehungsweise Antigravitation etwa Bei Antimaterie, Gravitationswaffen und Konsorten hingegen k nnte das gleiche Problem auftreten wie heute mit schmutzigen Bomben und ABC Waffen Technologie schreitet voran Und es war schon immer einer der ersten Einsatzbereiche f r wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse, sie f r den Krieg zu adaptieren Luft berlegenheit ist einer der milit rischen Schl sselfaktoren, wenn nicht der Schl sselfaktor schlechthin Die Dominanz ber den Weltraum und die Atmosph re geht noch weit dar ber hinaus Bei konventionellem Luftkampf hat der Gegner bei gleicher Technik noch eine ann hernde Chance auf den Euphemismus eines fairen Kampfes Hat eine Partei hingegen das Monopol auf orbitale Bombardements, ist ihr nichts mehr entgegen zu setzen Sie kann die Stationierung von feindlichen Truppen im Weltraum permanent verhindern Aus der Erde, oder einem anderen kolonialisierten Planeten, einen einschr nkenden Kerker machen und die Erschlie ung und Eroberung des Weltraums monopolisieren Im Endstadium mit nur mehr in Kolonien geborenen B rgern, die nicht einmal mehr eine Bindung an ihren Ursprung haben. I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley For anyone interested in the linkage between the missions of science and warfighting, this book is for you I feel like I can tell the pages written by Dr Tyson, and those written by Avis Lang That may sound negative, but it s not I think the humor and perspective of Dr Tyson comes through with the contrast Anyone interested in the early days of space both military and civil should give this a read for a sort of intro to the subject That aside, the book doesn t paint a poignant picture of the military as I expected It s not pro war, and not 100% anti military either Unless you are Aunt Melissa, that is Overall a good read that I felt compelled to read whenever I had time to do so Will buy this when out in paperback to have at home for sure. After wading through the pages of medieval history, old rudimentary inventions like longitude, and the CNN opinion like pages of anger at the American military, you got like five pages on the actual weapons of space and some information about a space war.The advertising and naming of this book was a smoke screen It was 50% venting about how terrible we are as humans because we engage in war and spend money on it which if you look at history, at least 50% of all nations energy went towards fighting whether they were hunter gathers or nations like Egypt Once you have something, even if it s a horse or bread, just look at Gengis Khan s rise to power, someone else will want it and the second 50% was describing how lucky we are that we spend money on war so we can advance our scientific research and pour money towards scientists.If I wanted to read a book defaming America s military history, I would I didn t want to read that here I wanted a factual scientific read without snide adjectives and random quotes, sometimes without even names from who said them, siding with the I hate America rhetoric I hate hypocrisy Look Tyson and Lang, if you hate what America is doing, leave It s that simple Take a stand Instead you go on every talk show possible and use America to line your own pockets Its also incredibly naive to think that if we didn t spend money on our military that we would still be as safe as we are now There is a reason Americans listen to traffic lights, that the police answer when you call, that you can walk down the street without being bombed We have never seen war like other countries have After the thirty years war a poem called the Widow was popular It featured a woman, prematurely aged by war who lost her husband and children and home to it and now begged on the side of the road.We have never experienced that horror So no, Tyson and Lang, I will not be joining you on your military witch hunt. Very informative Somewhat entertaining. Dry, nerdy, and straight up my alley Not written for those with only a casual interest, this book reads like an academic dissertation with classic Neil deGrasse Tyson elan Compared to the fluffy, broad strokes of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Accessory to War is chock full of factoids as well as space, science, and political jargon.I wrote my MA thesis on international outer space law and the militarization of outer space with a focus on the US, China, and Russia all topics this book focuses on, as well as the history and development of space use and cooperation between science and the military Important reading, the astrostrategic importance of controlling the ultimate high ground is clearly stressed As the Chinese defence white paper of 2015 notes, whoever controls space will control the earth Accessory to War dovetailed perfectly with The Making of the Atomic Bomb, both sobering in their message humans have the power to destroy the world, what are we doing to keep that power in check We re already making an absolute mess of outer space, it is amazing sad that humans can enter the vast void of space and clog up low earth orbit it with trash That s right, space trash is a huge problem.Full review to come Scientists urge to collaborate transcends religion, culture, and politics, because in space there is no religion, culture, or politics only the receding boundary of our ignorance and the advancing frontier of our cosmic discovery. More promising in the title than the content delivered I heard Dr Tyson talking about his book on Joe Rogan s podcast and decided to read the book Unfortunately NdGT was entertaining and informative in those 2 hours of interview than in this book, which focused on geopolitics than it did on the connections between science, military, and astrophysics More like an infield hit off the dirt than the double off the wall that I was hoping for. A detailed account of the impact of specific sciences on military advancement and the resulting outcomes Heavy on the military angle for those who think this is going to be another popular physics book This is not a deep dive into the theory of various physics and engineering disciplines, but instead a meshing of where funding comes from, politics, how projects are prioritized, what this prioritization does to science advancement on the global scale, how current events shape the ideals of the next generation of scientists, and how discovery builds overtime I m too young to remember the anti war sentiments that surrounded Vietnam, which so greatly impacted Neil, but some of my earliest memories of school are also the result of politics at the time I remember having special drills during the cold war Filing out into the hallways with my 5 or 6 year old classmates to line against the specially painted marks in the hall with our hands over our heads, or alarms sounding and getting under our desks in the same position This is geared to those readers who enjoy military history and strategy, with a new spin on how the machines of war are developed I listened to this as an audiobook and that is definitely a regret While it was well done in this format, I kept finding myself wanting to look up some of the specific things he mentioned, but laziness and desire to continue the story prevented this from actually occuring I was particularly interested in the around the end of WWII and Cold War era Other areas that were less modern or were just less interesting to me in general it would have been nice to skim instead of slogging through for fear of missing something due to media choice I plan on purchasing the ebook and rereading the sections that were most interesting to me mainly for the potential references to other source material. I enjoyed this book and I m still confused as to why the title is The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military when it was like Space and the Military Overall, I can see the relationship, but specifically, I mostly didn t see the relationship because it felt like astrophysics itself was barely explained However, I am not an astrophysicist and possess a bare minimum of scientific knowledge and in all honesty I m operating at about 3% of the brain capacity of Neil deGrasse Tyson, so Otherwise, this was an interesting book, and timely, considering it was released hot on the heels of the whole Space Force farce However, after reading this book and before reading it also , I m not convinced Space Force is a bad idea, per se, it just seems like a bloated bid for Trump American Superiority rather than a legitimate and respectable enterprise under our current president The creation of an American Space Force would have to proceed with a sensitivity that Trump simply cannot muster.As dependent as we are on space all that stuff floating around up there is important , there needs to be some sort of protection But to what extent should that protection extend Should we strive for a peaceful, cooperative space or defensive space It s hard to say since we as citizens of Earth and also its countries rely so heavily societally and militarily on our space assets Accessory to War doesn t provide the answers to militarized space, but it does offer a lot of thoughts, ideas, and repercussions to digest.
- 592 pages
- Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
- 08 March 2018 Neil deGrasse Tyson