Saturday, February 5, 2011

About Hate

I was reading something on ThinkProgress site which accused Rush Limbaugh of
doing Hate Radio. It brought to mind something I was thinking about recently
in reference to hate, so I thought I would blog some thoughts about the

It is interesting that this site accuses Limbaugh of hate radio. When I
went to the comment section, I didn't see comments reflective of anything
like understanding or peaceable disagreement. What I saw was exactly what
was being condemned by the use of the term. Does that make ThinkProgress a
hate site?

I guess it all depends. Whatever gins up a feeling inside of you just might
be called hateful. But does that make it a hate site? Hatred is a choice.
You don't have to hate anybody. What you choose to hate is your own business.
Likewise, you can't blame nor control what anybody else feels or does either.
It is interesting that that ThinkProgress seems to be trying to hold Limbaugh
responsible for what someone else may be feeling.

This is not to deny that someone may try to incite a feeling in another person.

Yet, Limbaugh doesn't rely upon emotion. He has even downgraded that, and
at the same time, he claims that those on the left rely upon this. But can
you hate for logical reasons? Let's examine that one. Let's say you can
give a hundred reasons why someone is bad. Each of those reasons have rock
solid evidence and reasoning behind it. But should that be a reason to
hate? No. I think you would, if you were to rely on reason, that in order
to incite hatred by reason, you would have to use reason why someone should
be hated. I have never heard anything like that from Limbaugh.

I do not trust ideology because there is a tendency to treat people who don't
agree as the other. This occurs so frequently that I wonder if the entire
population is being influenced to mistrust and to "hate" each other. By
doing so, an entire population can be ruled over by the divide and conquer

Limbaugh does tend towards ideology. He does go after the other, who he
calls liberals and moderates. If you want to consider that as hate, then
there it is. But those like ThinkProgress are no better. They use terms
that identify the other as well.

How do you avoid clumping people up as the other, thus dehumanizing them?
It is not easy. People like fellowship. To be part of something bigger
than themselves. It is in so doing that is easy to clump anyone outside
of this as the other. You can't tell people not to join up with what they
believe in. So, it is something of a dilemma.

I think that in order to avoid hatred, you have to subscribe to the ethics
of non hatred. The ethics of non hatred means that you recognize that hatred
is your own responsibility and no one can make you hate anybody else, no
matter what they may do to you or say to you.

If there is an ethic of non hatred, is there a corresponding ethic of hatred?
I don't know. To have an ethic, it implies a choice. If you have no choice,
how can there be an ethic to violate or adhere to? To hate another, one
has to say that they have no choice but to hate. How can that be ethical?

If an ethic of hatred exists, would it have anything to do with reason?
No, I dont' think so.

The ethics of hatred implies that reason has nothing to do with hatred.
For if it did, reason would advocate hatred if the logic and evidence
supported it. If we examine it closely, reason could never advocate hatred.
Reason can only advocate self preservation if it is to remain reason. If
it goes beyond that, it stops being reason.

In addition, I think there is always that something more that you don't
know about. Whatever appears hateful may have some mitigating circumstance
about it. Therefore, I think to hate means to close one's mind to the
truth. The truth is that the one who is hating may be mistaken. If one
believes in following the path of reason, one cannot have an ethic of
hatred, but the opposite.

Another thought comes to mind. Who is to police ethics of non hatred?
I think the answer is you have to do it for yourself. Only you know if
you hate or not. I don't think it would be wise to leave that in the
hands of others, especially an authority figure.

Palin's speech

The Republicans are looking for a new Reagan, but I don't think they've found one.  Not that I found anything wrong with the speech, but it isn't much more than a luandry list of what everybody already knows.  It may be unfair as well, that image matters too.  Presentation matters.  Appearance and demeanor matters.  I don't think she quite has it.  I'm sorry to say it, but she doesn't measure up to that standard.  It was an ordinary performance in honor of an extraodinary man.  A pity, not a triumph.

About using Focus Fusion for propulsion

Since I saw Trent Waddington's post on his blog about this idea, I can't seem to stop thinking about it.

Here's why I like it:  It transmutes electric energy directly into propulsion.  I think it can do this at a much higher rate than say VASIMR's approach.  The reason:  it uses fusion energy to heat the plasma.  That makes it much hotter and more energetic and much more efficient.  It should deliver more ISP (assuming that I am right about that) and possibly much more thrust.

VASIMR's plasma is heated up to 1 million degrees.  The plasma coming out of this thing is at 1 billion degrees.  A thousand times hotter.  

The major problem is that it may generate so much heat that it may melt everything, which is not what we want.  If there is a way to solve that problem, you may be able to run the thing continuously producing thrust at high efficiencies in terms of the power use ( in starting up the fusion) and the propellant use ( which is being fused together, it doesn't take much matter in order to create large amounts of energy ).

The trick is to control the heat and the plasma.  VASIMR does it with magnets.  I don't know if it can be done the same way here, or even if it is necessary.

Cross posted on Facebook.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bring back the Shuttle?

I found out about this from Selenian Boondocks.  Is it retired or not?  It is almost like Dracula.  Maybe to kill it requires a wooden stake.  Not that I want to see it die, but in today's political environment, how does it survive?

I wrote a lot about recycling the external tanks, but that isn't going to happen.  Safety concerns are already high enough.  To keep the ET's in orbit would just increase concerns even further.  So, there's really nothing here to support.  It costs too much for today's poltical climate.  Even if the politics were favorable, it is still a high cost proposition.  The only thing that makes it more interesting to me is if the ET's were recycled.  I've batted the idea around here and elsewhere though.  There's not much interest in the idea.

The government should commit itself to one course of action and stick with it.  I think the probability of success may be higher if the shuttle is retired.  Let the commercial option carry the load in the future.  I think it is the best shot we have.   It just won't do to have the shuttle re retired in the near future because of another budget crunch.

By the way, I just listened to the Space Show broadcast mentioned at Selenian Boondocks.  Now I am familiar with Altius.  My education continues.

JP Aerospace in the News

On their blog, they have a YouTube video up.  I did a video response to it on YouTube using one of my own videos.

I guess I could have use my last video, but that was supposed to be humor.  You can take your pick here. We aim to provide a choice and to please.

Another Politics Schmolitics moment

I found this link on Instapundit this morning.  Hilarious.  It takes two to tango.  If the Democrats in the Senate won't dance, then why do they claim the Republicans won't?  It's a game of chicken.  Who will blink first?  The Democrats won this battle in 1995.  How will it turn out this time?  If the Republicans chicken out again, they might as well give up any pretense of being an opposition party.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Focus Fusion Google Tech Talk: Eric Lerner of Focus Fusion Society

Aside from the talk being pretty technical and all, I did get an impression of what the major problem might be with this thing. The electrodes could wear out too fast for it to produce much power. He did mention that erosion was a technical problem. I think that it may be THE problem with this thing.

As for using it as a propulsion device, the same applies if the electrodes wear out before much thrust is generated. Given that the electrodes are in contact with very hot plasma, it would appear that there isn't much you can do about it except to slow down the reaction and hope the electrodes don't get too hot. If a way can be found to cool down the electrode, more use could be made of it before it wears out. But it will wear out.


A few more musings on this subject before I leave it:

The use of Beryllium for the center electrode should help with corrosion. It has a higher melting point and is "transparent" to Xrays. Don't know what that means, but there it is.

It would be really cool if this thing could be put on a small craft and could power it up into space. But it needs to be in a vacuum chamber. There's really no point in reheating anything. If you put it in a vacuum chamber, it would just heat it up inside. Even if you cool the chamber down, you are just redoing what you've already done as far as I can tell. The plasma needs to go straight out the nozzle. To tell the truth, I don't know if that's feasible, even in space.

Now if you could direct it in a controllable fashion, then what? What do you need to keep the plasma output under control? Does that impact the whole idea of using instability, as opposed to controlling it?

Controlling the instability leads to complexity. Then you have to manage complexity.

I still like the idea, though. But I have no idea at all if it could ever work.

Really hate to say this

But I think I've been scammed.  As anyone who may have visited this blog before and is reading this now may notice, I don't have any Google ads anymore.  The people running this thing claim that there was some invalid clicks from my page and they aren't going to pay for them.

Well, la dee freaking da.  I've done over 400 posts here now.  If they really think that I've done all this just to get the lousy penny ante commissions they claim to pay, they are stupid beyond belief.  Yes, it would have been nice to get some money for the ads, but they decide to PAY NOTHING.  They got the ads and the pageviews, but they won't pay.  Because they claim that I'm trying to scam them!!!!  Unbelievable!  It was a scam all along.  These guys don't pay anybody anything, most likely.  They just collect the ad fees from advertisers.  There's no recourse and who's gonna sue over a few bucks?  Crooks.

No.  They will say that I was dishonest.  Oh, yeah.  Go ahead.  Try it.  Make my day.  I will sue for that.  And if Google wants to do anything about this, go ahead, make my day.  This reflects badly on them.  Not me.

Focus Fusion

A short video on Focus Fusion. I don't understand the concept myself yet. But I do know that fusion produces a lot of heat. If you produce a lot of heat, you can use this for spacecraft propulsion.

Update: 12:45pm cst

Okay, I'm an ignoramus when it comes to rocket science.  So, I'm spending time reading up on this stuff and trying to understand it.  I came across this, and it just blew me away.  Could this be true?   I'm trying to figure out what kind of thrust you can get from a kilowatt hour of electricity.  (which is about 10 cents worth at current market prices).  In order to use this page, look up kilowatt hour on the left column, and then newton meter on the right.  The result is 3600000.  That seems way too high.  If this is correct, then the current methods of propulsion are extremely inefficient, to say the least.  But I am an ignoramus.  What do I know?

QuantumG's Blog: Making Fusion Rockets Relevant

QuantumG's Blog: Making Fusion Rockets Relevant

Interesting post- How to repeal ObamaCare

I found this via a comment to a Transterrestrial Musings post about how to repeal Obamacare.  For those who do not want to go through all the links provided, the comment proposes a "public option" to fund health care.  The link provided in the comment pointed to this proposition which was made originally in 2009.  So, when it was written, Obamacare hadn't passed yet.  Now that Obamacare has passed, and has received mostly negative reviews, this proposal could be considered as an alternative.  As an alternative, it could get Democratic support, I would imagine.  But could it pass muster with Republicans?  Putting another way, if you had to name your poison, would you take this, or the current brand?

This isn't necessarily a socialist single payer system.  It allows the government to fund health care and people would have the power to choose how to spend the money on their own health care.  My quick read of it leaves the impression that it is a very simple streamlined system.  The objection to it could be ideological, though.  It may be denounced as socialism.  But, I wouldn't agree with that assessment.  It wouldn't have the government running it, only paying for it.  There are pitfalls to that too, but what are the alternatives?  The alternatives aren't good.

Another alternative is a Constitutional Convention.  That would be the nuclear option because who knows where it could end up.  The government, by demanding that everyone buy insurance, has pretty much forced the issue.  Now we are obliged to deal with this.  So, how will this be done?

NASA finds Earth sized planet

I guess all we need now is figure out how to make a warp drive work and we can go there.  NASA spends a lot of money on projects like these, but they will never yield any practical knowledge of any kind.  On the other hand, there are projects that are screaming for attention, but will never see a dime.  This is our government at work.  Spending money like mad to accomplish nothing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Was TARP a good idea?

All those bailouts of the banks are not popular these days.  I don't recall if there were back in 2008 either.  But people justified it on the belief that it averted financial catastrophe.  Yet, Iceland refused to do anything comparable but life goes on.  Was TARP a mistake?

The Hindenberg

I was thinking about this early today with respect to the method in which JP Aerospace wants to get to orbit. The Hindenberg was a huge airship, over 800 feet long.  That's what I was thinking about.  JP's idea of using large "V" shaped airships will be even bigger than this.  I think he wants to use 900 foot long airships.

As with the Hindenberg, these should carry a lot of freight.  But these won't be the airships that get to space. The ones that will go will be the real monsters.  Over a mile long.  But these will never land on the ground. They will dock to a permanent Dark Sky Station (DSS) which will float at 170k feet in the sky.  The Airship to Orbit, or ATO, will depart from the DSS and return there after completing a mission.

JP's airships will use hydrogen, just as with the Hindenberg.  Should there be concern about this?  The cause of the Hindenberg disaster has not been completely resolved.  I have heard that the hydrogen lifting gas was not the culprit, though.

Control of airships may be dicey, especially at take off and landing.  Would it be better to have some sort of protected area that gives shelter from wind?  Launching and landing in a big Meteor Crater is way of avoiding wind.  It is always calm at the bottom of the crater.

Maneuvering the airships is also tricky.  I do not think it has any control surfaces as does a plane.  It moves the air inside the ship around in order to facilitate movement.  One thing I wondered is if it is feasible to have the ATO do an orbit around the DSS.  If the orbit is really large, say 200 miles from the DSS, it could stay within range of an energy source that can be beamed to it.  That would come in handy in attempting to get to orbit.  At least you wouldn't have to devote mass for lots of solar panels to power the thing to orbit.

The ATO could do a corkscrew type ascent while orbiting the DSS.  Once it gets high enough, the rest of the trip to orbit could be a more standard rocket trajectory.  The difference is that the launch point is much higher. Right on the edge of space, as a matter of fact.  It is a this point that aerodynamic lift is lost, but drag could still be a problem.

It is not so much mass that is a concern, but its sheer size that could be a hindrance in getting to space.  Such a large craft can generate a lot of friction at high velocities.   I would hypothesize that you may want to shrink the size of the craft to a much smaller size once you stop getting aerodynamic lift and air drag becomes a problem.  Solar panels can get in the way.  But a small, compact, heat exchanger could transfer the energy provided from the DSS into thrust to move the craft into an upward trajectory, similar to the one proposed by Parkin in his doctoral thesis.  Parkin's concept avoids the hardest acceleration while in the lower atmosphere.
That concept may be feasible in this context as well.

Another idea that I got, which would eliminate some mass, would be to use the surrounding atmosphere as reaction mass.  The air would be drawn into the heat exchanger, then the heated air would be expelled out, giving thrust.  Proceeding in this manner would eliminate the need to carry reaction mass for part of the trip to space.  This would be useful at lower altitudes.  At some point, you would have to rely upon on board reaction mass.

But in the end, how big can the craft get before it becomes unmanageable?  JP has two major issues to solve. Size is relevant to the issues of air drag and energy.  You need a way to get energy to the airship, but solar energy takes up a lot of surface area which may cause a problem with air drag at higher velocities.  The beamed propulsion concept may help solve both problems.  You can keep the solar panels to a minimum and still have an energy source which can get you to orbit.

Update 3:45 cst

I thought it may be useful to see some illustrations of JP Aerospace's concept.    Here is the first stage of his 3 stage concept.  It takes off from Earth and goes to the Dark Sky Station

Source: Floating to Space DVD
 After it takes off, it rendezvous with the Dark Sky Station (the airship is circled) look how big the DSS, the ATO is on the left.  Keep in mind each side of the "V" is over 1 mile long.

Source: Floating to Space DVD
 And finally the ATO in orbit:

Source: Floating to Space DVD

Post #400

Hurray!  That's a lot of writing, I tell you.  But, I've got problems to deal with.  Just a few minutes ago, the power went off.  It hasn't come back on fast, which indicates there may be a problem.  I may want to check that out soon.  While this was happening, I read a really interesting article about the Egyptian situation in the American Thinker, which is actually a pretty good site.  My last post criticized them a bit, but my standards on that subject are high.  I expect better.

Update:  a few moments later

Just wanted to add that this article leaves me with a question.  Why the big hurry to ditch Mubarak?  Obama seems to be trying to push him out the door.  Why not let the dust settle and see what the situation is afterwards before things get done that can't be reversed?

Also:  Where the hell are the Republicans on this?  Shouldn't any potential presidential candidates have something to say if they think that Obama is making a big mistake?  Do they agree with what he is doing?  If they don't say something now, they may not get another chance.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stuck on Stupid

That's a phrase that got popularized during the Iraq War.  When it comes to analysis of the Energy Problem, I think we may all be stuck on stupid.  This country imports way, way too much oil.  With current events unfolding in Egypt, the consequences of stupidity could be mind boggling.

I hate to do this, because I tend to sympathize with these guys, but this post is stuck on stupid.  The only way that it isn't SOS is if you can put one of these in a car.  Because that is where they are needed.  It doesn't help much that they have efficiencies that are much higher than most heat engines and appear to rival fuel cells.  The advantage of fuel cells is that they be fit into cars.  And as I've pointed out in an earlier post, it is feasible to make them run on methanol.

You see, that is where the problem comes in.  How to power our automobile fleet. The current system requires gasoline, which requires oil.  And we import a lot of this.  Burning natural gas in a turbine does nothing to address this problem.

Making methanol with natural gas is cheap.  Transporting the methanol is cheap.  Electrolyzing it is cheap. The expensive part is putting them in a car.  Fuel cells require expensive catalysts.  There may be other reasons for this expensive price of over 100k dollars for this car, but I suspect the major roadblock is the cost of the platinum in the fuel cells.  The other part is the cost of the hydrogen.

My understanding is that a major cost of hydrogen is getting it compressed or liquified.  If this can be bypassed, by electrolysis, then it should become much cheaper.  That would leave the major stumbling block the cost and availability of platinum and platinum group catalysts.  This is why I am in favor of mining it from asteroids.  You solve the metals problem, you solve the hydrogen problem and ultimately the energy problem.

Another way to solve the catalyst problem is to find a cheaper one!  Now, if this idea works, then you won't need platinum, nor platinum group metals which are expensive.  Wish I could remember where I saw this, as it was posted on another blog.   Sorry I can't give a hat tip for this one.

An Important Public Service Announcement

Larry wants to demonstrate his latest technology for getting to the Moon.

My gut feeling about Egypt

I am suspicious.  These mass movements can lead to unpredictable and uncontrollable results.  It may mask itself as a democratic movement only to hide the real culprit which could be an unfriendly plot.  It is not as if I want to support an unacceptable regime, if that be the case.  But what replaces it?  What comes after?  In my opinion, that is the real question.  Simply replacing Mubarak doesn't solve anything.  The only motivation could be to get rid of someone who is friendly toward the US and Israel.  Therefore, I am suspicious.

Democracy is not respected by dictators.  Take a look at Mugabe in Zimbabwe.  He loses an election and remains in power anyway.  Democracy only becomes the excuse.  The path to power.  Once obtained, it is never relinquished.   Take a look at Hitler.  He rose to power by means of democratic institutions.  Once in power, he plunged the world into war.  Look at Castro in Cuba.  He says he's not a communist, but once in power, he becomes one.  Another modern day example is Chavez in Venezuela.  He wants to be president for life.  That doesn't sound like democracy does it?  But that is how he got into power in the first place.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mea culpa

For not paying more attention to these sooner.

Is IEC fusion that close?  Somebody seems to think so.

I need to hire this guy

Combinations, Part 2

I first wrote about Parkin's microwave thruster here.  To recap briefly, it uses microwave energy to heat the reaction mass which provides thrust to send the rocket into orbit.  It differs from chemical rockets in that it doesn't use combustion to achieve thrust.  The necessary energy will come from a base station on the ground and this will provide the energy to get to orbit.

My proposed combination follows:   But what if you could place the base station in one of JP Aerospaces' proposed Dark Sky Stations?  It would provide energy to lift the airship nearly vertical until it is out of the atmosphere.  Then, without the friction caused by the massive size of the airship, it could then fire an onboard rocket and achieve orbital speed before it re enters the atmosphere.

In practice, the Airship To Orbit (ATO) vehicle will leave the Dark Sky Station (DSS) as currently envisioned.  But it would have to stay within reach of the energy source of the DSS in order for this to work.

Once it reaches it's limit of acceleration and altitude, the DSS then fires its beam and this will give thrust to the ATO causing it to rise nearly vertically.  This is the trajectory proposed by Parkin and for the same reason.  But Parkin wants out of the atmosphere because he wants to impart massive forward acceleration in order to get to orbital velocity within 200 miles of the range of the microwave source.  But to avoid massive g forces in that trajectory, just raise the airship even higher in order to get potential energy that can be translated into forward speed to orbit.  While falling back to earth, apply rocket power to counter the gravity of the earth and using that energy in the fall combined with the onboard rocket's energy will hopefully impart sufficient energy to get to orbit.

Parkin proposed a range of 200 miles for his microwave energy source.  If you could add that much altitude to the ATO, it would have the 200 miles plus the 30 miles or so of the DSS giving a final altitude of 230 or so miles before it started falling back.  If possible, forward thrust could also be supplied as in the Parkin model trajectory, but without the significant g forces.  The goal is to use this for manned launches.  Parkins model trajectory has too much g forces for humans to be onboard.  This proposition would use the same conceptual trajectory, but in a novel way in order to achieve orbital velocities without excessive g forces.

I don't live and die by popularity

Lately, I've made a few posts that amount to expressing the desire for my blog to be more popular.  But if it never does, that's fine.  I don't care that much.  I care, but not that much.  The thing is, I don't count on somebody else to deliver to me what I need.  I go out and get it.  It turns out that if I don't get popular, it won't be any big tragedy.  I'm used to it.

So, it kinda looks like the more that I want popularity, the more it seems to get withheld.  Well, screw that.  I can almost see what's going on there.  If they think they've got you, then they've really got you.  That doesn't happen here.  I've always been my own man.  I will do some little things to be popular, but I won't sell out and do anything to get a page hit.

To be frank, lots of times I thought of giving up this blog.  It needs to make money in order for me to spend my time on it.  And popularity is the only way for it to make money.  That's what you call a paradox.  I guess then, I have to accept the probability that this blog won't make money because it won't be popular.  Does that mean I quit?  No, not yet.  There's another thing.  I'm just cussed enough to continue despite the lack of success.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Newsletter - Edition 252 - 30 January 2011 By Christopher Laird

Here's the outline of his latest newletter.  Most of it is about Egypt.

  Chaos in Egypt
  Bearish Stocks
  Monday opening
  Food crisis doesn’t help
  Gold USD Euro

Tingly Wingly Man

With all apologies to Donovan, I offer this parody of Chris Matthews.  It could be performed and recorded if I can make a deal, but I don't know if the deal is possible.  Copyright issues and such.  I used to do these parodies on my old blog back in 2004.  But none of those actually got put to music.  Just let your imagination fill in the blanks.

Tingly Wingly Man

Groan with a snark in my last tweet
I open my eyes to take a leak
To turn on the tube on TV
Amazed with 'Bam foolery.

'Twas then when the Tingly Wingly Man
Came singing songs Zero
then when the Tingly Wingly Man
Came singing songs Zero

Tingly wingly, Tingly tingly, tingly tingly, tingling his leg.
Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly tingly, tingling his leg.
Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly tingly, Tingling his leg.

Blistering tea bags attack
Unrelenting gives no slack
Down with all modernity
Crying no civility

'Tis then when the Tingly Wingly Man
Came singing songs Zero
then when the Tingly Wingly Man
Came singing songs Zero

Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly tingling his leg.
Tingly-wingly, Tingly-wingly, Tingly-wingly, Tingly wingly pulling leg.
Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly tingly, Tingly tingling his leg.

[instrumental interlude]

Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly, wingly Tingly tingling his leg.
Here comes the phony bloney man singing songs Zero,
phony-bloney, phony-bloney,phony-bloney, bloney his leg
Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly his leg.
Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly, Tingly wingly his leg.

Light activity today

It has been seldom that I've gone this long in the day without posting anything.  Not that I haven't been busy.  I've been experimenting a bit with a few things on the web.  Most of this has to do with "Tbone Pearson" which I first mentioned here.

He has a Wikpedia page about him.  He seems to be a pioneer in the art of the webseries.  Frankly, I hadn't heard of this before, but I can certainly see the concept behind it.

While I was fooling around with this, I found an interesting rendition of "Crazy", originally done by Patsy Cline.  This cover was done by one of TBones internet friends, Sarah Lacroix. I gave it a thumbs up in the comments section.