Saturday, February 19, 2011

Posting on space is light

Because of what's happening in Wisconsin.  This is a very, very big deal.  I can't ignore it or downplay it.  If this has the wrong outcome, a lot won't matter any more.  That includes space.  Don't think so?  It may not be, but on the other hand, NASA has done virtually nothing in manned space program since Apollo.  Can we really depend upon NASA for a serious space program anymore?

I am reading ( or was) John M. Logsdon's book which was discussed on the Space Show recently.  I haven't got much to say about it yet.

The Original Boots and Oil Blog

I've brought up the old blog a few times here.  It really wasn't a very big deal.  I kept it up for about 4 months in late 2004 and then gave it up.  One of the differences between that blog and this is that this blog, I really did try to build some audience.  The results though are what's the same.

The funny thing is that I did get better results then than now and that is what's strange.  Perhaps a few things have changed since that time.  One major change has been the rise of social web.  I don't know if Facebook , Twitter and a few others were around back then, but they weren't as big as they are now.  I got started late using Twitter for this blog.  If I had started earlier perhaps it could have been helpful.

I did try to tone down the blog a bit from the last time.  The last blog was much more partisan than this one.  Since 2004, I have become somewhat disillusioned about the Republicans.  I really didn't expect that much from them in 2004, but now they almost look like a non entity to me now.  You might as well call them Donkey light for all the difference that they make.  I never did think that they had much intestinal fortitude though.  That's their main problem.  The donks are definitely more aggressive than the Republicans.  Yeah, and I bet a bunch of them libs are rolling their eyes if they ever read this.  Yet, I can't recall Republicans carrying on the way the Democrats are right now.  Nor as they did during the election controversy in 2000, nor in other things.  The Republicans are much more civilized than they are.  That's their problem.  They need to suck it up against these guys.  They are too soft.

Another thing about these last few years.  Both sides do try to manipulate you with emotions.  The Republicans do that too.  They aren't as aggressive about that as the Democrats, but they do it.  Here's another one that may cause a Dem to roll their eyes.  It's just an act.  Democrats put on their halos and put horns on the Republicans.  When you point out what they do, they claim innocence or throw it right back at you.  It is extremely competitive and when the Republicans try to compete back, well, that's just not fair and that's just not right.  That too is part of the act.  The Republicans being nicer usually back down.  That is a mistake.

Somebody reading this may think this is all partisan.  I don't think so.  I can't think of a more filthy accusation that was ever made than the one after the Giffords shooting.  It looks like a planned strategy and it involves people who are supposed to be giving objective information.  That's another one of their tricks.  If you are unaware of it, you will get taken in.  Even if you are aware of it, you may get taken in anyway, unless you are careful.  An example of this is Krugman.  This guy is as partisan as they come.  He admits being partisan.  He justifies it as a necessity.  But the New York Times puts him in their paper, so that says something about the New York Times.  That paper was once considered the paper of record.  People who read it do not get a balanced view of the situation.  How can that be true now?  Why should they be taken seriously by serious people?  But they are.

I don't think that the lack of readership here is from being a partisan blog.  It hasn't come from a lack of effort.  It hasn't come from a lack of promotion.  I could get suspicious about something, but I won't say that just yet.  But nothing surprises me all that much these days.  Something is wrong out there.  But the people are asleep.  Even if they think they are awake, they may only be partly awake.  Perhaps people prefer to be asleep.  It is easier, that's for sure.  But sleeping isn't a full time job in the real world.  The real world will make you wake up sooner or later.  It's either you wake the hell up or you just might die.  Think about it.


Here's what I'm talking about.  They really do think that they can get their way by pressure tactics.  Well, what good for the goose is good for the gander.  Republicans should organize a recall against Democrats as well.  Maybe just one of these can replace the current bunch who fled to Illinois, they would have a quorum and put everything and I do mean everything on the table.


I've been thinking about this character just now.  Gollum just couldn't give up the ring.  I think of the ring as a metaphor for power.  Indeed, the ring did have great power in that story.  It could make one invisible, for one thing.  Or invincible for those who wanted it for that purpose.

Politicians love that "ring" and like Gollum, don't want to give it up for the power it gives.  In my opinion, that is what's happening now in Wisconsin.  The unions have had that power, but now it is being threatened and they can't stand it.  Like Gollum, in my opinion, they will do just about anything to hold onto it.

Walking out like the Democrats did was at the very least not in the spirit of lawfulness.  I don't know if it is specifically illegal, but it is definitely out of bounds.  The last news I heard was that they wanted to negotiate.  What is there to negotiate?  The right to collectively bargain?  That hasn't been threatened.  All the governor has done up to this point was to cut a few of their benefits.  Therefore, that isn't much of an offer as a bargaining chip.  The union wants an orchard in exchange for an apple, but at least the governor said no to that.

There was more to that video, but it got cut short.  I don't know all of what he said.  But if I could just speculate wildly, or even fantasize a bit about what he could have said, it may sound something like this:
Get back to work and then we negotiate.  If you don't get back to work, your jobs and your collective bargaining rights will go on the table.  If you persist in this activity, the price goes up every day.  If you go back now, you will not see any more cuts this year.  If we can balance the budget, no more cuts in future years.  This is what I can offer today.  If this goes on another day, its going to get worse for you.  That is all.  Take or leave it.

 Of course, he better be ready for a lot of trouble if he did anything like that.  They won't like that little address much at all.  Before you did anything like that, you best be prepared for what may come next.


I don't know if that word even exists.  Maybe I just made it up.  Or heard it somewhere before.  Yeah, that's probably it.  Well, I wanted to discuss the concept in this post.  I probably heard the concept in a special feature that you can listen to while a DVD movie plays.  The makers and actors or whoever is chosen- discuss the movie while it is being played.  One concept in making these movies seems to be the concern as to whether the viewing public will "believe" the movie or the character, or the story.

I wanted to discuss this concept with respect to this blog.  I think I may have a believability issue here with this blog.  People just don't buy into it.  So, it seems I've managed to get a few readers, but these readers are becoming fewer and fewer.  It looks like I'm losing what little audience that I had.  I don't know what is driving this feeling, because I don't think I did anything that should cause it.  In short, I don't think it is me, I think if you leave here, and don't come back, it will more about you than me.

I could continue trying to get people to believe what I'm doing here.  But I said myself that I don't drink the Kool Aid.  I'm don't think I want to sell any either.  But at some point, you have to drink a little of the Kool Aid.  "Man does not live by bread alone."  Something has to drive people onward, even if it is only faith.  I believe in what I'm doing, even if nobody else does.  So, the thing I'm saying in the previous paragraph isn't anything surprising to anyone.  If I don't believe in myself, why continue at all?  I want to continue and I have decided that I will.  That means even if I never get more than just a handful of readers here.

I will continue even if those readers only come here for amusement to laugh at the clown who is producing this nonsense.  By the way, I don't think what I'm producing is nonsense.  That would be from someone who is not friendly who would think of me.  Or someone who thinks what I write isn't worthy of respect.  But should anybody respect what I am writing?  I think I covered that already.  You don't have to believe me, you can believe what I write about.  If I cite credible people, you can believe them even if you think I'm wrong.  I'm often wrong and freely admit it.  But that doesn't come from a lack of confidence in myself.  I think that helps me be more confident.  I don't have to be perfect.  I can feel very comfortable with that.

So if you are my friend and you are reading this, I am grateful.  If you are not my friend, and you are reading this then know this: you can't touch me deep inside.  I've been through enough to know better than to allow something so trivial as a failure such as getting a popular blog going ( which by the way wasn't even my goal) -make me lose faith in what I am doing.  And by losing heart, give up.  I will continue despite your indifference or even outright hostility.  You can take that one to the bank.

Friday, February 18, 2011

ATO Ascender needs no beamed up power

According to the JP Aerospace Forum post, in response to a question on that point, JP said he believed they can get to orbit without beamed power.

I guess that answered a question that I had.  But if it turns out otherwise, this could be an alternative, I suppose.

Vital Signs

Rasmussen Poll:  Country direction Right v Wrong  31% v 64%
Real Clear Politics Poll (RCP average): Congress Approval v Disapproval 25.8% v. 67%
RCP avg., President  49.3% v. 44.4%
Misery Index 10.9 per government statistics, per Shadow Gov't Statistics est 28
Gold 1386.90 @ 1:37pm cst 2/18/11

Take some of this with a grain of salt.  Don't believe Obama has this much support.  Numbers are probably being padded.  Perception is everything.  Likewise for Congress, since it is Republican.  Misery index reflects too low an estimate for inflation and unemployment.  Gold is up today and is in a rally lately.

Alice In Wonderland World of Paul Krugman

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this.  The same guy who thinks we aren't spending enough says the Obamameister is a tightwad, a fiscal hawk.  The same guy presiding over trillion dollars deficits for as far as the eye can see is a fiscal hawk in Krugman's World.  The same guy who wants to interfere with attempts in Wisconsin to rein in spending is a fiscal hawk in Krugman's World.

Bleeding Kansas in Wisconsin

Can't help but make that comparison.

The divisions are running deep.  Perhaps not as deep as then, but it is indeed getting pretty deep.

What could be more anti democratic than card check?  Some are comparing this to the filibuster rules, but the US Senate gets to make its own rules according to the Constitution.  If the legislators are supposed to be in session and are refusing to do their duty which they are bound to do under the law, how can that be compared to the use of the filibuster, which is legal?

Now you get outsiders who are filtering into the state in order to try to overturn the law governing the state.  That looks like trouble to me.  None other than the President of the United States is getting involved in what should be a state matter.  The President swore an oath to support the Constitution which means among his duties is to enforce the rule of law.


This isn't "Bleeding Kansas" yet.  If the events unfold at the rate that they are right now, something has to give.  If the governor gives way, that will set a bad precedent.  If the union gives way, they will be behaving rationally and reasonably. You can't unscramble an egg.  If you break the rule of law, how can you put it back to what it once was?  There is a way for them to get what they want without violating the law.  If they get their way by violating the law, then there is no law, but the law of the jungle.  If that occurs, the rest will follow.  It will be worse than Bleeding Kansas.  The law is everybody's shelter. Tear that down and what is left?

The crowd is often wrong

Or so I thought.  I began to doubt the title of this post after reading this.  Let me explain something here.  My process of thinking.  I started with the proposition in the title of this post, then challenged it by posing the opposite.  The paradox here is that they can both right and both wrong.  How is this?

I'm tempted to jump to conclusions, but rather than doing that, stay with this line of thought and see where it goes.  I've argued against conventional wisdom, for example, only to come around to a different understanding that wasn't far from it.

Anybody is capable of error, and the same goes for crowds.  The crowd is not always right.  Nor is it always wrong.  I'm persuaded that the crowd can be manipulated.  Just read about Hitler and see how he did it.  People would rather be lazy and not think a thing through.  They can also be impulsive and do dangerously destructive things like a lynch mob.  They can also vote for someone who should have never become President, such as Obama.  I write "they", but I do it too.  We are all sinners, you know.

The truth is a slippery thing indeed.  To answer the question above, I would hope that a check can be placed upon crowds before they do something that cannot be changed.  Like killing people.  Or bringing down a government (Egypt anyone?) where something better has not been groomed as its replacement, which opens the door for something much worse.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great news for Houstonians

This will improve mobility on the East side of town.  Very welcome to yours truly, as I have been through that area many times and it is much needed.

What do you make of this?

I get pageviews from google searches.  Every now and then, I check them out to see how they happen to find their way to my blog.  It so happens that one google search did yield a link to my blog, but it had nothing to do with my post at all.  Could it be sabotage?  Or an honest mistake?  It completely misrepresents what the blog post was about.
Glenn Beck may have said something today about not trusting Google.  Is there something going on over at Google that I don't know about?

Update:  This might be what I saw about Glenn Beck.  Looks a little critical of Beck.  I don't know much about Beck, I don't follow him.

Update 2:  There's no way I can figure this one.  Not smart enough.  No one reads this blog anyhow.  The truth of the matter is that I got 9 pageviews according to the Blogger stats page.  That's it.  So if anyone is out there thinking that there anything worth spending the effort on, it is a mystery to me.  But people do strange things.

So here's what I think: it is a computer glitch or somebody is up to something.  If it is a somebody, then whoever it is may be reading or monitoring this blog.  Ok, fine.  If you think it is worth the trouble, be my guest.

That is all.

Beginning to notice something

Some of my embedded videos won't load on the page.  Readers can't click on them if this is happening a lot.  Is this an accident or by design?  If by design, why?

Can we all just get along?

Is it necessary for a group of people to believe in the same things in order to get along?  For example, James Carville and Mary Matalin are married.  But they are quite different politically.  That's one famous example.  Are there others?  I can think of a couple offhand in my own personal experience.  Example one:  when I started the original Boots and Oil blog back in 2004, there was this liberal gal from Canada who liked to comment on the blog.  We got along ok.  We didn't agree, but we didn't fight nor argue, and speaking for myself, I didn't hate her.  Multiple examples exist within my own relations.  We don't always agree politically, but as far as I know, no of them hate my guts for it.  I think I get along with all of them.  Can you think of examples?  I think it should be evident that people don't have to agree all the time just to get along with each other.

A solution for overpopulation?

I liked this so I tweeted it.  I am going to label it as space stuff because this technique will be useful in space colonization as well.

Why don't Americans believe in Global Warming?

Because it is a religion, not a science.  If it was science, then why do you need to believe in it?  Do you ask if someone if they believe in the theory of relativity?  Do you ask someone if they believe in Newton's laws of motion?  I think the answer is that you don't ask these questions because they are absurd.

So why are these questions asked at all?  Questions of religion aren't absurd.  But asking a religious question framed as a scientific question is logically absurd, as I demonstrated above.  It is a question that confuses definitions.  What is science and what is religion?  I think science allows for doubt, while religion does not.  To be properly religious, you must believe.  To be properly scientific you must not.  If you wish to contend that it isn't a matter of belief or religion look at this quote:

One theme from commenters was that they're not concerned about climate change because they don't believe in climate change. This is exactly the view that infuriates some people who do believe in climate change.

But you would expect that reaction from a true believer who has his beliefs challenged by a skeptic.  It has become a moral issue at that point, and the non believer is morally deficient and must be reformed.  Then the Holy Inquisition begins.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fusion news

There some news item that I've seen a couple times today about Iran and fusion.  It made me a bit curious, so I looked around a little on the subject of fusion.

As with almost all of what I write about here, it is from a layman's point of view.   The Iranian fusion story didn't appear significant to me, so I dropped that angle.

But I did keep reading on a little further on the subject of fusion.   What I read confirms me in the opinion that I've stated before on this blog ( I think): and that is this: the government will choose the most expensive way that has the least probability of success in order to solve a problem that doesn't exist.  In terms of fusion research, that is the use of tokomaks in order to produce net energy from fusion.

Tokomaks are but one instance of how the government follows the pattern that I pointed out.  Without the documentation that will doubtlessly show that pattern, I leave it up to the reader to mentally confirm or reject that hypothesis.

Go after the deficit aggressively, or it won't matter

I think the situation requires boldness.  If they won't be bold, they won't be any better than the opposition.

History repeating itself

I remember the seventies, when oil prices were high.  The blame went to OPEC, but the reality is that it was the government, just as Ronald Reagan said.  Why is that so hard to learn?  Supply and demand.  When Obama closes down drilling, why should anybody be surprised that prices go up?  When the Fed floods the markets with easy money, why should anyone be surprised that inflation begins to heat up.  It has all happened before.


Tea anyone?

Obama of Borg, resistance is futile

That gives me an inspiration for a new video. Bwa ha,ha, ha, ha!

The Legend of Atlantis, Part 2

I'm having a metaphorical attack here.  Yeah, this Atlantis thing is rattling inside my cranium.  What does it mean?  What do I mean?  Well, let me give it a shot.

The legend has it that Atlantis sunk into the ocean.  Here's the metaphor:  we, meaning the human race, are sunk in the deep gravity well of Earth.  Can we get out?  Will we be trapped inside this deep gravity well forever? If so, we will then be like Atlantis, even with all our modern technology- we will remained trapped deep down below the ocean, as the Donovan song goes.  Our fate may be sealed up with the fate of the Earth, whatever that might be.

On the other hand, if we escape the gravity well, then what?  A new age of Atlantis?  Will the survivors of our species travel the interplanetary and interstellar reaches of space?  Will new civilizations arise in new worlds -seeded by the lost civilization here on Earth- allowing our species to survive in perpetuity?  Or will we be lost forever in the deep, deep ocean of space and time?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Have these people gone mad?

It isn't very nice to say, I know.  The question should be how can we pay for stuff, not how much can we spend.  Our representatives in Congress want to spend first and ask questions later.  But where's the money coming from?  Higher taxes?  Taxes were cut very recently.  Even if taxes were raised, how does that help?

Congress needs to implement a growth plan.  The only growth they are interested in is growing the budget.  Or growing the tax base.  They should be looking for ways to economize.  Evidently, this is not how things work in Washington.

If the newly elected representatives can't slow down this runaway freight train,  Zimbabwe is our destination indeed.


What if you have an idea that could be really, really big. What do you do with it? Do you put it out here so that anybody could access it? Or do you refuse to disclose it for whatever reason?

Such is the case that I am contemplating now. After several months of writing about this, I may have come up with something that may be significant. At this point, it is only an idea. No, it hasn't been written up here yet. It is unknown to anyone at this moment. If I keep quiet about it, no one will ever know about it.

Now, if I decided to open my mouth and tell about it, who do I tell? If not here, then where and who? Should I demand to be paid for it? I think so. I want to be paid. If what I have is worth something, I think I should be paid for it. But why should anyone think that it would be worth anything? What reason would anyone want to pay me for whatever I know? From my profile, anyone in a position of responsibility would find it hard to believe that I would know anything worth paying for. That could be a reason to keep mum. Nobody will believe me anyway.

Of course, anybody who doesn't know me might think that I am full of it. Or anybody who does know me might think that I am full of it. But anyone who knows me knows that I don't make things up. If I say that I think I've got something, then at the very least, I believe that I've got something. The question then becomes- "Should what I am saying here be taken seriously?" And who would be interested?

You have to ask yourself this question: could it be worth anything, and if so, what do you propose that I do about it? What I am getting at is that somebody has to give me access to someone with decision making power who could be in position to decide whether or not to pay me for this information.

On second thought, there is plenty of reason to doubt that this isn't significant after all. However, I would be interested in discussing this with someone who could decide if it is a good idea. But I won't discuss it here.

Someone might guess, if one is a regular reader here, what I am discussing. But I am pretty sure at this point that the idea isn't posted here. And I am pretty sure that I've not told anyone.

What is Spell Fury?

I've got a link up at the bottom and if you were wondering what it is, here is a little more info

Good lively discussion

Reactions to NASA budget at SpacePolitics.

Day late and a dollar short

I find this the day after St. Valentines Day.  Story of my life.

Sometimes being a friend means to criticize

I gave some negative feedback on this video.  I hope it is taken in the spirit of being helpful, but you never know sometimes.  People might take it differently than what you intend.


That thought came to me just now, and it is shall we say, inspiring me to write about inspiration.  That is recursive, by the way.  I'm betraying my programmer experience.  As a programmer, I have pretty much gotten into the habit of figuring out how to solve problems.  I'm always thinking like that.

Anyway, I googled the definition of inspiration and found this Yahoo page, which asks the question of how do you get your inspiration.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have also have gotten into the habit of knowing what words mean.  Words are the tools of thought.  The better you understand the words you use, the sharper will be your tools of expression.

You see, you need to get across your ideas and the only way sometimes is with words.  If someone doesn't understand you, is it because you fail to communicate what you want to communicate because of your lack of command of the language?

I've been trying to get across some ideas and I don't think I am getting them across to the people who are reading this.  That's because if I did, surely I would be doing better than what I am doing now.  I don't know who is coming here, but I do know that some people are.  Very few of them have left comments, so I don't know what is on their minds.

I can go back to my original inspiration for this blog and keep repeating it over and over.  But what does that accomplish?  Does it solve my problem?  What is my problem?  Obviously, it is what I have written about again and again.  I don't have enough readers.  I want to use this as my means of support, but how do I do this if I have no readers and I get no support?  Not that I want people to pay me.  I figured that an audience alone would be good enough and I would sell advertising.  But Adsense took that away from me, and now I am back to square one with that.

I read once on Eternity Road something that struck me strongly enough so that I remembered it.  Maybe that is what you need sometime.  To get struck down with an idea so strongly that it sticks in your mind forever.  It went something like this ( I can't remember exactly what post it was, so I can't point to it) :  there are 3 ways you can get something from someone 1) they give it to you because they love you, 2) they give it to you in exchange for something else or 3) they take it from you by force.  I'd say the first two are the most constructive ways of getting what you need from people.  The last way is not so good.  We want to avoid the last way if at all possible.

By the way, that last sentence may give the impression that under some situations that I would favor taking what I need by force.  I would answer that by saying that I don't want to have to do that, but if a scenario is of such extremity that you have no choice, what do you do?  That extremity is death.  What would you do if you had to make such a choice?  Hopefully, we can avoid any such scenario if at all possible.  But what if you can't?  What do you do?  As for me, I will leave that for me to know and for you to find out.

You can be my friend or be my enemy.  It is up to you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In situ resourcing

Combine that with this , and you could build what you need where it's needed.  This is contrasted with having to launch a rocket carrying it to where it is needed.  The machine gets taken there and just builds what you need at the location using the materials available at that location.  Saves a lot of mass and makes it easier to do what you want in space.  This assumes that the device can work in space.

May the Force be with you

Looks like a light saber.

A little comic relief

This is a little twisted, but what the heck.

A few comments about the NASA FY 2012 budget request

The following observations are based upon 2011 Budget Authorization  Act

There are several categories listed in the table from this page, among these 9 categories, Space Technology gets a big boost and Space Operations gets a major cut.  The cut for Space Operations comes from the retirement of the Shuttle.  There are some cuts and increases among other categories such as Commercial Spaceflight coming out ahead and Astrophysics taking a cut.

This budget request is not anything dramatic in my opinion.  It is good to see Commercial Spaceflight getting a raise, but I would like to see more aggressive pursuit of this capability.

If true, this would be disappointing

From the Wall Street Journal via Twitter

The White House last year initially proposed NASA spending of more than $1.2 billion annually on commercial spacecraft. Congress later reduced that figure to less than $500 million a year, and the latest budget envision further trims.

Further trims?   Tell me it ain't so.

Economic tweets from Drudge

Another sign of inflation (via Drudge on Twitter).  Also calls by France and IMF for replacement of dollar as reserve currency.  Housing woes continue.

Why you should read this blog, revisited

In spirit of shameless self promotion, I hereby present why you should waste your time here.  Among these reasons are the following:

1.  I predict events well ahead of their happening. For example, I wrote in a letter to the editor posted on the Houston Chronicle that the automobile will lead to the demise of the USA.  Although this has not been borne out, the fact that the USA is "addicted to oil" no doubt is a factor in our current difficulties with the Middle East, with a huge trade deficit, and inflation problems in the past, present, and especially the future.  Any or all of these may at the very least lead to a loss of prestige and world leadership.  At worst, it may confirm my prediction.

2. Gold has skyrocketed in the past decade.  I was on top of this almost from the beginning.  I found Chris Laird this way, and he predicted the recession with uncanny accuracy.  If I didn't know what I knew, I wouldn't have found him, and I would have gotten creamed like a lot of other people did.  Instead, I made money off of it.

3. America has lost its sense of humor.  If somebody doesn't help to get it back who will.  I will try.  Sometimes a sense of humor is all you've got.  That is paraphrasing a line in a movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".  True, it is only a movie, but the it is the fricking truth.

4. Republicans are too chicken hearted. (see review "Wimpiness Trumps All") Democrats are too greedy for power.  Somebody has to speak truth to power.  Who else will do it?

5. Leadership in space could solve these problems.  I, as well as many others, are attempting to point this out.  Failure to listen will be severely punished.

Finally, a sense of humor doesn't mean a thing if you can't laugh at yourself.  That's why I poke fun at myself so I won't take myself too seriously.  That's the best reason of all why you should waste your time here.  After all, I'm doing it.  "If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't be living".  Lighten up, as Rush used to say a lot.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Newsletter - Edition 254 - 13 February 2011 By Christopher Laird

Here's the intro for the latest Chris Laird newsletter released today.  If you want to subscribe, see the link in the products section.  He thinks a tech innovation period will manifest in the next 5 years.

  •    Gold
  •    USD
  •    Euro
  •    China Interest rates
  •    Dow
  •    Tech stocks
  •    Market synchronisation
  •    Food and commodity stocks
  •    S and P
  •    US technical leadership
  •    New Christian Newsletter

Some musings about methanol and fuel cells

Fuel cells are much more efficient than internal combustion engines.  Here's an example.

The EPA rating of the Honda FCX Clarity 60  miles per kg hydrogen.  Now if you were to hydrolyze electrolyze the methanol in order to obtain the hydrogen, how many miles per gallon equivalent would you get?  I came up with about 30 for this car.

An equivalent car with a internal combustion engine running on methanol would be much less mpg than a gasoline powered engine because there is less energy per gallon in methanol than for gasoline.  About 60%, if memory serves.

If an equivalent gas powered car got 30 mpg with gas, then methanol would only be about 18 mpg.  In other words, a little more than half of the efficiency of the hydrogen obtained by hydrolysis of methanol.  Not to mention that methanol is cheaper than gasoline.

Found this on Twitter

I can't embed the code here so I'll link to it.  It is a video performance of a Christmas song.  The thread that explains this post is here.

A trip to the Moon for less than a Shuttle launch

Looking over the Falcon 9 heavy proposed launch system, and the proposed powered down landing capability mentioned earlier on this blog, it may be possible to return to the Moon in a short time at a much cheaper price. It would be interesting if such a mission was undertaken with a goal of determining the feasibility of mining the lunar surface.  This ought to be a high priority.

If fossil fuels are yesterday's energy, then tomorrow's energy had better speed up.  That's because tomorrow's energy might be needed a lot sooner than anyone thinks.  And tomorrow's energy isn't here yet.

Grandpa Jones

I was thinking about him when I had breakfast just now.  I remember him from the 70's comedy show "Hee Haw".  In particular, he would be asked by the audience the question "Hey Grandpa!, what's for supper?".  Then he would talk about what was for supper and the crowd would would yell "Yum!, Yum!".

Well, I just had a tasty little concoction for breakfast.  Would anybody think yummy after this description?  Well, here goes.  I had a substitute scrambled egg on toast sandwich, with melted fat-free cheese sprinkled with imitation bacon bits, plus a slice of low fat turkey, and all seasoned with black pepper.  I thought it wasn't too bad.