The fractal nature of reality suggests some easy goal lines for our systems and behaviors to outline around, to some extent for energy usage minimization in our travels through the cosmos (not getting suckered into gravity traps (blue dots *ahem*)) and to some other extent more for practicality (what else are you going to do). I was toying around again with some fundamental problems when I came to the conclusion that material separation processes suck. The fact that our machines and systems require a certain percent purity of material input means that there's this dependency on material resources which ends up causing difficulties, in terms of acquisition and in terms of processing, etc. etc. How does the biosphere do it? It has this very massive long tail of bacterial and minimal prokaryotic processes that carry out photosynthesis for the capture of photons into hydrocarbons, and then those other processes that bring new elements and materials into the biosphere from solid rock, such as the trillions of bacteria living under the crust of the planet's surface. In truth it's much more than a few trillion, I've seen estimates that the number of organisms living in solid rock is in fact greater than the number living on the other side of the surface (starward). I would doubt that it's greater than the number living in the oceans. Anyway, because of this very long tail, we're able to enjoy heavily selected material resources, it's how we have agriculture and it's how we can accumulate necessary dietary substenance, or in if you want to be more quantificious there's the nutritional requirements that are packaged for the IV patients that are on life support in hospitals, which is much more detailed and accurate than just blindly shoving food down your throat (also more chemically accurate). So, the fact that the we have to process specific material inputs, which can in fact vary over a wide range, basically renders us dependent on that long tail of biological processes. That's simply not a good system design because you don't have that guarantee of stability. I put some thought into this and realized that the function looks sigmoid. There's the nearly exponential concavity going up, but then a plateau as the long tail (more like a large surface batting at food) consumes the available resources; it's here why I went back to check my archives to go looking for Jef's email regarding the possibly staggard, fractal look of the universe. I was going to see if the concepts involved would match up and make sense for the functionality of being able to use those plateaus as springboards to the greater fractal element at the larger scale. The typical hierarchical spiell: planet, star system, star cluster, arm, galaxy, galaxy cluster, supercluster, filament, etc. This would, in effect, necessitate a cyclic competent approach to matter/energy/information processing that would seem like a nomadic "gearing up" for transitions to the larger fractal context (perhaps the perceived oil crisis, as many call it, is an example of a planetary plateau due to the weird choices we made regarding social structure and material distributivity etc.). In essence this is KK's self-accelerating feedback cycles (the plateauing cycles). His application is a little less specific (plateau-jumping for material resources), but probably valid. And within each of these staggard contexts there's the opportunity for personal growth, whatever strategy your body is built on will somehow play a role in whether or not the 'cycle' (towards gearing up to colonize the larger context, or the beginnings of it) will succeed. In the future it would be nice if there are multiple processes trying out their own different staggard approaches with their own strategies. For now we have what we have, but trying out different strategies couldn't hurt too much - let them optimize themselves - so one could imagine that an approach to colonizing a star system could be baseline described, but variations are clearly possible, such as completely organic/biological approaches, or completely robotic/automated approaches to accessing all of the materials and energy and running programs. One important advantage of this perspective on things is that when you begin the journey of those cycles you can clearly assess material/energy constraints and know when to stop breeding and reproducing -- and to actually take responsibility for your subset of the process of life as designer/programmer.