Saturday, February 12, 2011

Very interesting

But not for the reasons given on this Facebook page.

His claims may be extravagant, but the idea may have an application for hydrolyzing methanol.  It takes much less energy to do methanol as opposed to water.

The problem with using this in an internal combustion engine is that hydrogen is destructive to metal.  It makes metal brittle.  You need a special type of metal to withstand what hydrogen will do to it.  So, this contraption will ruin your engine.  Let's assume though, that it can produce significant amounts of hydrogen.  Enough say for a hydrogen fuel cell.  If you grasp this idea, then you can see what I am talking about.  Or do you?

His claim is that it improves gas mileage.  No doubt that hydrogen will burn in an internal combustion engine.  Ford and BMW have experimented with the idea.  I have my doubts that this idea from the Facebook page will work because the hydrolysis of water is very energy intensive.  If it were that easy, Ford and BMW would be selling hydrogen powered cars right now.

Methanol is different.  Not only that, direct methanol fuel cells can provide the energy to hydrolyze the methanol that is converted to carbon dioxide and hydrogen.  If hydrogen can be electrolyzed fast enough to feed the hydrogen to the fuel cell in order to produce power for the car, then you don't need to store much of it onboard.  It becomes much cheaper this way because to store hydrogen requires cryogenics or a very high pressure tank.   This is not convenient.  Thus if you can hydrolyze fast enough, you've solved that problem.

The next problem is to get the platinum group metals to use as catalysts.  Hence, the need to mine them from somewhere.  I say you can mine them in outer space.

Moon Treaty

I can't believe that anyone would take this seriously.  How do you enforce a treaty that regulates the behavior of only one nation who has ever put people on it?  How do you restrict any human activity that does not exist?  Is the aim to make sure that it never happens?  Evidently that is the case.  Here is one of the provisions of the treaty

Requires all resource extraction and allocation be made by an international regime.
 Good lord.  Why would you want to bring lawyers into this?  Not many countries have ratified it, so it means little.  But there is an Outer Space Treaty, if you can believe that.  I suppose space exploration by anybody in the world is everybody's business.  I guess they pretty much smashed up any idea of ever getting off this planet by doing something like this.  It doesn't expressly forbid it, but it does make it more complicated than what it has to be.  Indeed, how the hell is anyone going to know or care what the heck goes on in space?

Common heritage of all mankind?   How lovely that sounds.  But it is deeply flawed.  If nobody owns something, there nobody will care for it.  That's why you abandon the idea of the commons.  It's why communism doesn't work.  Why did our government ever agree to this nonsense?

Donald Trump

Says what the rest of the world thinks of our leaders

"The United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world he stated," stated Trump criticizing China for devaluating its currency and OPEC nations for raising gas prices. "They view our leaders as weak and ineffective." he added.

 Emphasis added, and amen to that.

Weirded out

According to the pageview stats, my blog is losing popularity.  That's pretty hard to believe because it wasn't popular in the first place.  It's amusing to me actually.  I think the blog is better than ever, but for the people who should agree, they think otherwise.  Very amusing, actually.  Not that I care that much about it, but it is kinda weird.

Maybe people don't like good stuff.  Maybe they prefer crap.  I don't know.  It seems like our culture is turning to crap because that is all people are interested in.  I know that to tell people that they are wrong is bad form, but really.  If people are going to stick their noses in the crapper, they better to be prepared to stink.  When it comes to the way things are going, I think things stink these days.  All I am doing is to try to take away the some of the stink, but evidently people prefer the stench.

I wrote that I didn't want my blog to suck.  But I don't think it sucks.  I never did think that it sucked.  But I was keeping an open mind to show that I wanted to improve my blog so that it wouldn't suck.  But to tell other people that they are the ones who suck- it's not a good idea.  Then, they will definitely think you suck.  No, now I am thinking that the world out there sucks.  Fine with me.  The world has always sucked.  I still believe that conditions are getting better, but the world is challenging my belief about that lately.

Something else occurred to me.  I might have something good here even though it may be very small.  For those who do appreciate my blog, thank you.  I don't want to be ungrateful.  But for the rest who don't, well, to borrow a phrase: "kiss my grits."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Space Show Today

Just finished listening in.  Don't usually listen, which is unfortunate since I write so much about the subject.  The show is a really good resource to go to in order to learn what happening in space.

Today's guest was John Logsdon.  Most of what I heard was about the race to the moon.  In order to discuss this in depth, I will have to listen to it again.  If there was anything that I had a question about (but didn't ask) is that he may have said something to the effect that no imperative exists as it did in the sixties.  If he did say that, I would have to disagree.  If there is an imperative for this country today, it is to solve its energy problem, and as I have stated before, the answer to this could be in space.

If that isn't an imperative, then there could never be one.

Update: 30 min later

I decided to order a copy of his book that they discussed.  I will get it on Tuesday.  Look for my discussion of the book at that time.

The President and Mrs. Palin "debate" on the subject of space

My latest Xtranormal video.  It is not really a debate.  The intent is humor.  The humor here is a bit understated, because I didn't want this to get too slapstick.  You have to listen close.

Can inflation be contained?

It is inevitable that when the economy begins to recover that inflation pressures will begin.  To combat this, a central bank must tighten up monetary policy to control the inflationary pressures.

Inasmuch as the Fed has been following a very loose monetary policy for some time now, one can only wonder if a tipping point has been reached even before a real recovery has begun.  That's what's driving policy debate now.

The government followed a very aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus that appears to have been mostly ineffective.  Those in the Krugman camp argue that it wasn't enough.  Those who won the last election disagree.  It is my opinion that the current group will be able to moderate inflationary pressures somewhat, but they may be too late to prevent a new outbreak of inflation.  When that occurs, we will be in a new situation.

Once the inflationary genie is out of the bottle, inflation expectations will begin to drive things.  We have seen it all before.  It happened in the seventies.  But this time is different in that the paper money regime itself will be the one giving way.  In the seventies, it was the opposite.  Gold was disengaged from monetary policy and monetary policy relied completely on the fiat money regime that we have now.  Something gave way then, something must give way now.  This time it may well be the fiat money regime and some type of gold backed system will emerge.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Does innovation work this way?

We may be ready to find out.  It was my understanding that the creative genius was a solitary affair, not a collective one.   That's why just throwing a lot of money around won't necessarily give you the results you seek. Not saying that it can't happen.  Just saying that the creative impulse can't be willed into existence.  I think our problems in this country are not with the lack of good ideas, but with the lack of vision to implement them.  If it is the destiny of China to out pace the rest of the world in technological virtuosity, it may be well to observe that the greatest strokes of genius came from individuals.  If they are to achieve that, or for that matter, anyone is to achieve that, the creative genius must be unleashed.  This does not appear to be the case with these propositions.

How to not suck

I wish I knew.  If I could find a way to get more pageviews, I would do it.  But not for the popularity alone.  And not even for popularity itself.  Funny how that works.  I am in a business that is dependent upon popularity, but I don't necessarily want to be popular per se.

That last thought may be a clue.  hint hint

Anyway, if the thought occurred to me that if you aren't getting pageviews, your page must suck.  Well, I don't want my page to suck, so how do I avoid it.  Here's a possible insight.  I haven't even read it all yet, but one thought jumped into my head after reading it for a little while. The article is advertersing and people hate it on the web.  I know because I hate it too.  Maybe not "hate"  that is a taboo word these days.   We all want to be touchy feely and not use such mean words.  But I digress.

I've come to the quick opinion that too many ads make your website suck.  So, having Adsense boot me off their program may not have been a bad deal after all.  Basically, Adsense sucks.   But still I want to able to generate revenue from this blog without having to beg for donations.  Begging for donations is the really big suck.  How to get pageviews and ad clicks for revenue and not suck?  A 64k dollar question, that.

So, here's a policy to avoid suckiness when I put in an ad.  The only advertiser I can use now is Amazon.  If I sneak in an Amazon link, you may decide that my blog sucks.  So, if I put any Amazon ad that is embedded in the text as a link will for now on be in italics, ok?  For now on, ads are in italics.  Here's a test to see if it works.   Yes, it appears to work.  Now if you see a link in italics, you know it's an ad.  Hopefully, this will help me in avoiding your thinking that my blog sucks. 

If I think up any more ideas, I post it.  Really, I don't want to have a blog that sucks.

I participated in this poll

You can too right here. I posted my vote and comment on Facebook.

Mining asteroids, revisited

In light of the new information that I've come across, it may be time to revisit this topic.  In the discussion, which was about 3 weeks ago, I wondered if the mission costs could be reduced and the yields increased.  The purpose of those two price points is to bring it into profitability.  The thought also occurred to me is what if it is true?  What if the costs are always going to be too high to achieve profitability?  I will return to this question later in this brief write up.

One of the baseline assumptions is that the mass of the mining device will be kept under 2000 kg.  One way to lower costs is to make the entire mission dependent upon not increasing that number by very much.  If you did, you can use a smaller, less expensive propulsion method.

It would also pay to be able to make multiple missions with only this one device.  In other words, don't assume a one off mission, but a series of missions.  If each mission can return with an average of 40 million dollars worth of cargo, then the payoff could come after a certain number of missions.

The third way would be in increasing yield.  It would make sense that after a number of missions, a learning curve would favor greater efficiency.  Experience should yield better results.

Now if the costs of the baseline of 600 million can't be brought down that much and if the yield can be brought up, what then?  Is it worth it to subsidize the costs of the mission for the sake of its other benefits?  Is it in the interest of the people to bring back platinum and platinum group metals if bringing them back will provide a new energy source?  What if this energy source was worth more in cost savings than the market value of the metals themselves?

I think the answer to these question is so what, yes, yes, yes.  The answer to that last question is: the market value of platinum is not nearly the value that could be added by having it.  In other words, it would be worth it to subsidize it.  It wouldn't even be necessary for the government to do this.  Private industry could do this in order to bring an automobile to market which would be clean, efficient, and cost effective to own and operate.  That is the promise of this approach, in my opinion.

Update: about 9 am cst

I've been playing around with the idea of using advanced propulsion for the spacecraft to take the mining equipment to an asteroid.   If we assume a total mass of less than 3000 kg, it would arrive at an asteroid in several months. 

Also, I checked out a Falcon 9 rocket's lift capacity.  It could hold 3 such devices along with their propulsion and so forth.  The cost to launch a Falcon 9 is 50 million.  That brings the launch cost for each mining spacecraft down to 17 million or so.  Once the other costs are figured in, just one Falcon mission that launches 3 of these mining missions reaches profitable stage.  If the mining craft can be reused over and over again, it will become very profitable over time. 

How to get the platinum back to Earth?  Pay a manned mission to bring it back when they go back home.  This would help the manned space missions by being able to defray some of their own costs.

Chris Laird has issued a crash alert

That is a part of his subscription based service.  If you want to read about it, subscribe to his newsletter.  The link is in the products page.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About Monday's Space Show

After listening to the show, which lasted about an hour and a half, there was only one caller.  That was the case even though Dr Livingston was giving away a set of books to the first 3 callers.  Not that there weren't any listeners.   They just weren't calling in.

Secondly, the show was a bit of a downer in a way.  It was the sad story of how the culture of this country has become more entitlement oriented.  Everybody wants the government to give them a handout.  Actually, I have read a couple of Napoleon Hill's books, so this material wasn't new to me.  But the show seemed more about the shortcomings of today's culture than what the book was about.  If this is really true, no wonder we are in such a mess.  But just one thing.  Back in the late seventies, New York City had some fiscal problems and they were able to get it straightened out.  That's because the government back then didn't bail them out.  Now, if enough people in this country decide that this is going to stop, then things will get straightened out.  At least, I hope it will.

Thirdly, its about age.  It's never too late to learn about this stuff.   Even though I've read the books, I am still learning new things all the time myself.  So anyone can pick up this book and use it to improve their lives.  Heck, Col. Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken on his social security check.  It is never too late to start anew.  That is, as long as your still breathing.

SpaceX's Dragon: Not your Daddy's spacecraft

Long term plans for the Spacex's Dragon capsule is for it to do a powered down landing. If I heard the video right, it could land on the Moon. Now, if it could do that and get back into lunar orbit and then back to Earth, that would indeed be something. Hat tip: QuantumG

How money can be saved

Don't spend money at NASA on climate change.


 I'm glad to see that this is getting some traction in some quarters.  Bob Zubrin says Soaring Oil Price Threatens U.S. Economy.

 Incidentally, this is the very reason I advocate mining space for platinum group metals that are useful in catalysts for fuel cells.  I think this will be a big help in reducing costs to the US economy of oil imports, which are a major drag on economic growth.

IEC Fusion propulsion

Looking over that Powerpoint file mentioned yesterday, it looks like there is one in which enough information can be gathered in order to make an guesstimate on what it would take to achieve escape velocity.  It is a the same basic concept as polywell fusion, but probably not a polywell design.  Instead it confines the electrons like the polywell does, as far as I can tell.  Instead of making electricity, it appears to make thrust.  Here's a screenshot of the powerpoint on it.

source: via twitter!/LPPX

Amateur alert:  figures may be not be exact.  Fiddling around with this, it looks like an array of 5 of these could propel 30000 kg dry mass out of Earth orbit in less than 300 days.  Not fast enough for a manned mission, but perhaps useful to deliver cargo back and forth between the Earth and Moon.  Modest amount of propellant would be needed.  Assuming the thing had a long service life, it may be feasible as a space truck to deliver commercial cargo to and from the Moon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why a Constitutional Convention may be necessary

All you have to do is to read this.  Is there any doubt that if you had another liberal on the court that they would approve ObamaCare as constitutional?  There is no way to reign in the government but by taking some power away from them.  Not only the court, but all of the Federal government.  There's no stopping these people other than a concon.  This is the one way that it can be done and that there wouldn't be a darn thing they could do about it to stop it.

What made President Reagan so great is that he always understood something like this.  These people in Washington just don't get it.  For instance, in one State of the Union, President Reagan noted that the first three words in the Constitution illustrate what makes America unique.  "We the People" tell the government what it can do, not the other way around, he said.  That's what these jokers don't understand.  And it is also something that people are going to have to remind them of again and again until they do get it.

Another point here.  Recently, there came into being the phrase "don't touch my junk".  It appears that the government is getting into the habit of touching things that they should leave alone.

Nobody hates polar bears

I had this thought recently after that post on hate recently.  If you were to do a poll on the feelings toward polar bears, people might even say that they love them.  But there's one thing about polar bears that is being overlooked perhaps. If given the opportunity, they will put you on their menu.  They are big, powerful animals and they are very dangerous. Yet, even though people have been killed by polar bears, and people are aware of this I am sure, they do not hate polar bears.

Why is this?  Before attempting to answer that, let's take a look at another hypothetical poll.  You could ask this in a poll:  Do you hate Rush Limbaugh?  I would bet that if the poll respondents were honest, there would be a great number of those who would say that yes, they do hate Rush Limbaugh.  For his own part, Rush says he's a harmless little fuzzball.  Whether or not you believe this, it must be admitted that he probably hasn't killed anybody and eaten them lately.

So, I think the answer must be that polar bears are a part of nature.  They are amoral.  There is no moral knowledge involved here.  The polar bears just do what nature has made them.  If you are smart, you stay away from them.  Or if you must, you take plenty of precautions, because you know what to expect.  People, on the other hand, do have a moral knowledge.  A man should know better than to kill another person, and God forbid, eat them.  But it has happened before.  Yet, if you ask if people hate cannibals, they may say "no"!  Could it be because those who do this are not morally aware and in a state of nature themselves?

So, why do people hate other people?  The worse that another person can do is to kill you.  Yet if a polar bear killed someone close to you, you don't hate them for it.  Or you don't hate a polar bear because he would kill you if he got the chance.

It is all a matter of choice.  You choose what to believe in.  If Rush clears contradicts what you choose to believe in, you can handle this one of two ways.  You can graciously accept his choices and move on.  Or you could believe that he is evil.  If you believe he is evil, the next step would be to hate him.  I think that is how it works.  But whatever you believe is what you choose to believe.  You also choose not to hate anybody, despite the fact that the individual may be of such a character that it incites hatred in those who are susceptible to it.

There's reason no reason behind hatred unless there something else at work.

Should anybody be worried about this?

Just saw this story a minute ago.  NASA says the Apophis asteroid won't hit, but the Russians say it just might. Who's right?  It will be a bad day if it does.

It is an arts and sciences blog

So, this belongs here.  Besides, Travis is family. Embedded via obtained through BigPapaLeather (see Products link on this page)  on Facebook and YouTube.

Epiphany time?

I wrote about open source a while back and the idea of using that concept not only for software development in the case of Linux, but also for space colonization.   It appears to me now that there's just as strong a tendency to keep one's mouth shut about all intellectual property, not about just software.  Now I understand the motivation behind this, maybe even the necessity for it.  While at the same time I see this, I can also see the advantage of openly sharing information.  In the vernacular, it means getting the message out.  How do you do that sometimes when the interest in it doesn't exist?  Or it doesn't appear to exist?  Or if it exists, the community refuses to discuss it for the reason given above?  It seems to be a problem.  Or is it just my problem?

Here's another video on DPF

I just found this one. It appears to have more info on how it will convert the beam into electricity. The audio didn't work, so I'm guessing about that one.  I found another link to using this concept for space propulsion, but it looks like a powerpoint file and my computer can't deal with that.  This may be easily correctable, though.

Here is a screenshot of the powerpoint file that I was referring to earlier. This is not exactly what I had in mind. What I had in mind would be much smaller. This does give an idea of what the this method of propulsion could do.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dense Plasma Focus revisited

I knew I got the idea from somewhere.  It appears that I got the idea of using this as propulsion from watching the video I posted here previously.  Now, let's look at some screen shots of this video in order to show what I saw ( or think I saw).

The top video screen shot is of a "powerful" beam emanating from the plasmoid inside the electrode pictured.
The two pics below are of the plasmoid, with two beams of opposite electrical charge which emanate from the plasmoid in opposite directions.

Focus Fusion Society
The bottom pic here shows a positively charged beam emanating from the plasmoid where the fusion has taken place.  Now, the thing I saw was that this positively charged beam can possibly be utilized as a reaction mass for thrust.  It would have velocity and mass.  The electrons wouldn't have much mass and couldn't supply much in the way of mass, but the postively charged ions could.

Now if you could fire enough of these beams out the back of a nozzle and do it concurrently with producing energy from fusion, the yield in thrust might be sufficient to propel a spacecraft.  (That is the idea I got from this)  The video said the beam lasts " a few millionnths of a second".  If you had sufficient number of these electrodes which ionize the hydrogen and create the plasmoids where the fusion takes place, you could possibly have a continuous firing without melting the electrodes.  If so, it is a question of how much matter gets expelled and its velocity in determining thrust.  My hunch is that it may be of sufficient velocity and mass that it can be useful for thrust.

Time to move on

Funny how that seems to resonate.  Anyway, here's the latest video.

Newsletter - Edition 253 - 06 February 2011 By Christopher Laird

Here's the topics covered in the current newsletter.  It is mostly about "end-times" stuff.   Prophecies and so forth.  With the current situation in Egypt, I would agree that it certainly appears that the current order is crumbling and is going to be replaced with something else.  I would also agree that the government is handling it badly, as usual.  Thirdly, I would agree that it is strange that the markets are not going crazy right now.

As usual, anybody who wants to read more can find the link in my products page.  It is subscription based, so it isn't free.  He does free public articles which can also be found on Kitco.  

Middle East, prophetic implications
Now a few prophesy related comments on this new situation.
A really weird development
But lets get back to some comments on markets

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Haste makes waste

That's really true, and I've got a strong tendency to rush things sometimes.  It often results in having to redo things that didn't get done right the first time.  What makes me mention this is my reaction about the Adsense Google account thing and my harsh criticism of them for the way they handled it.  I'm still critical, but if I had been a bit more careful, I think I would have written it differently.  If I had been even more careful, the whole problem might have been avoided in the first place.  Yet, in spite of my error in response to this, I still say those guys make it almost impossible to make their program work.  I could go into the reasons why, but I won't.  Let's just say that in order to stay out of hot water with their program, I would never have a prayer of getting the blog going.  Now that statement is almost a week afterward, so I have gotten over being mad about it.  It is a reasoned response and a fair one.


While I am at it, I should also make a correction about the Focus Fusion as propulsion post.  I said I liked it for certain reasons which I don't know for a fact to be true.  I made that claim a litle too fast without the adequate understanding that I should have had before making the claim.  The fact is, I don't know if that is true or that Focus Fusion could work as a means of propulsion for a spacecraft.  To much haste to post and now I have to correct it.  Sorry.

Palin should not run for President in 2012

I know this may seem unfair, and it probably is.  But it is reality.  She has been damaged too much for now and she needs time to rebuild that if it is possible for her to rebuild it.  It was never possible for Dan Quayle.  Once Quayle got blasted in that debate, it was over for him. It was unfair how Quayle got treated, but it stuck because he couldn't find a way to overcome it. Palin has been unfairly treated just as Quayle was and I think the comparison is valid.

That's reason number one.  Number two, I have already mentioned.  I don't think she's that good.  She's not Reagan.  I have reasons for believing this based upon my understanding of Reagan, and why he was great.  It won't necessarily jibe with what others may say.  In fact, I am sure that there are a lot of conservatives who think I'm way off for putting it this way.  Having said that, it doesn't mean she can't be an effective candidate and a good President.  But she needs time.  She can't overcome everything thrown against her this fast.  She may not be able to recover from it all.  From what I can tell so far, she's going to need time because she's just not in the same league as Reagan.

Thirdly, she is still young. She has time to build a loyal following and she has already managed to accomplish a lot of that.  But she needs to broaden her appeal.  Her critics have managed to define her and her challenge is to redefine herself so that the popular perception of her changes.  This is possible, but I haven't seen it so far.
The speech she gave in tribute to Reagan didn't do it.