Saturday, March 19, 2011

Garden Party

Not a productive day writing for this blog.  Yet, I've got an audience here and I guess I am expected to produce something.  Earlier today, I went over to Facebook and noticed an old friend had written something that reminded me of a popular song in the early seventies.

It was written by Ricky Nelson, of Ozzie and Harriet fame.  The song was called "Garden Party".  The song is about what is popular and what isn't, and how, as an artist, do you respond to that?  Nelson's response was that you can't please everyone, so you've just got to please yourself.  Popularity can be an ephemeral thing.  Perhaps it's like what was once said that everyone is famous for about 15 minutes.  I don't remember who said that, it just seems to go with the thought.

Well, let's take inventory of what I want to do here.  I want to advance some ideas somehow, which will lead to solutions to certain problems that we are facing.  At the core of this is the energy problem.  This is so much a key to everything.  If you solve that, everything else seems to fall into place.  For instance, if you had fusion power, you can do single stage to orbit.  If you had single stage to orbit, space travel gets economical.  If space travel gets economical, everything opens up.  Not to mention that fusion power will also solve a lot of problems on the ground.  For example, if you had cheap abundant energy, you could desalinate water and make the deserts bloom.  If it sounds pie in the sky, it's only because fusion power doesn't yet exist.

 Another thing is fuel cells.  If you had space colonization, you can get platinum group metals.  Those could help with cost of fuel cells which in turn helps solve the liquid fuel problem.  This in turn solves a lot of economic and political problems.  If, If, If.  But it all starts with energy.  With it, you can do anything.  Without it, you can't do much.

So, I went on my Space Colonization page on Facebook and made a short note.  I said if I had 100k people liking my page, you could tell your local congresscritter about it, and it just might get his attention.  If you had his attention, maybe he would support funding fusion research at NASA.  This was discontinued years ago.  Why?  Because the tokomak research was said to be the most promising.   Why?  Because the tokomak people manage to get the most money.  Kind of a circular argument.  Fund them because they get the money.  Not fund them because tokomaks are better per se, just better at getting money.  Why are they better at getting money?  Because they are better at getting money.  Not solving problems, just getting money.

Here I am, six months into this, and I can't buy a readership.  Yet, if I am right about this stuff, it is worth more than can be imagined.  Can you explain people?  I can't.  It wouldn't take much just to get some funding for this program, but its like pulling teeth just to get some people to do anything about it.  I'd like to get funding for NASA to take up the proposition that Focus Fusion can be used as a means of propulsion.

It is said that Ricky Nelson wrote "Garden Party" in response to getting booed at by the crowd at Madison Square Garden.  They didn't seem to like what he was singing.  Well, popularity isn't everything, even though it may seem that way sometimes.  In case of politics, popularity is everything.  Without it, you can do nothing. You need people in order to move the politicians.  I may as well be Ricky Nelson getting booed off the stage as far as these ideas are concerned.  It doesn't make them bad ideas, though.

Elon Musk on why space colonization is important

From the post about the 3 inventions that will change the world.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More about the Dismal Science

Here is a Wikidpedia entry on the "Dismal Science", aka Economics.    I mention it in connection to the post about Michael C. Ruppert.  Everything the guy says about collapse is true in a finite world.  But what if that assumption is swept away by a new assumption: that the world is part of the universe which is infinite.  There are no limits except those that are self imposed.  If people want to put those self imposing limits on themselves, then they will be relegated to the dismal reality of that.  The world as a finite place is a dismal world after all.

What happened to the Ford HySeries?

This looks like a viable option based upon what I wrote recently about the 2 dollar per kg hydrogen from ammonia electrolysis concept.  This vehicle was first built back in 2007, but nothing seems to be happening on it.  What gives?

I went to Ford's Facebook site, but there's nothing there about it.  Did they give up on it?  Do they know that it is possible to produce hydrogen from ammonia at reasonable prices?  Or is there simply a lack of interest in the cars?  If so, why?  Is it on the basis of price?


Here's an article with a little more information.  The idea that these cars should cost millions of dollars is absurd.  Any prototype will cost more.  If mass produced, they may be comparable to a Chevy Volt, or Nissan Leaf.

Here's a Popular Mechanics video on it.

Airships to Orbit, An Impossible Dream?

I first wrote about this back in January, after reading about it on Al Fin's blog.  It may seem a bit impractical, and may never work.  I started following this though, because it was one way to space that would not depend on the government.  Given my low opinion of politicians and the skepticism about the government's ability or desire to do anything useful, except to enrich themselves at our expense, this approach appealed to me.

But it is taking a long time.  From what I've heard, JP has turned down investors.  It's understandable.  I could see how he could lose his dream if someone powerful took it away from him.  But on the other hand, he may never realize his dream at the rate he is going.  He needs to find a way to finance this thing on a larger scale, in my opinion.  That would entail certain risks, as mentioned.

With the events in the world scene going the way they are, there may be an opportunity for him.  If, for example, the Middle East becomes too unstable to continue supplying oil to an energy hungry world, there would have to be an alternative to air travel.  It would become too expensive to pay for jet fuel since its availability may not be what it has been in the past.  What could be a better alternative than airships?  They can get airborne and they can move long distances.  This was demonstrated decades ago.

The thing that's missing here is an ability to go the distances without using a lot of fuel.  And to get there fast.  Could his airships do this?  Maybe no one knows for sure right now, but it may be useful if we can find out.  It would stand to reason though, if he wants to get to space, he will have to be able to go plenty fast.  If he has a way of doing that, why not employ those means to commercial air travel?  If he had a commercial air travel business set up, he could fund his research to take his airship to orbit concept into space.

If I am right about this, and I  usually am right about things, it may well become a necessity.  An impossible dream may have to become reality if we are to continue enjoying the same standard of living that we have today.

Michael Savage is right

I listened to his radio show a few times, but not on a regular basis.  He seems rather over the top, but one thing he has a habit of saying is that liberalism is a mental disorder.  Based upon what Robert Reich just accused Gov Walker of Wisconsin of doing, the evidence is plain to see.

As I have written before, the coup is coming from the left, not from Walker.  Here is Reich accusing Walker of what he and the rest of the left is doing themselves.  I think the term for this is called projection.  He warns protesters not to get violent, for it will give Gov. Walker the excuse for a coup.

But it’s critically important at this stage that Walker’s opponents maintain the self-discipline they have shown until this critical point. Walker would like nothing better than disorder to break out in Madison. Like the leader of any coup d’etat, he wants to show the public his strong-arm methods are made necessary by adversaries whose behavior can be characterized on the media as even more extreme.

So, the exercise of legal authority by Walker in putting down violence is somehow an extralegal coup, while the violence and disorder is not?  The pot calling the kettle black, anyone?  Why the necessity to warn against violence?  Isn't it true that the protesters are over the top and the ones who are in the wrong, and Reich knows it?  If he doesn't, isn't he a bit "mental" at this stage?  If he does know, then he's a liar, isn't he?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today's Superhero Adventure

Dr StrangeBrain is slowly discovering his superhero powers!  He discovers LameBrain's plot to take over the world!  Will he find the answer in time?

Michael C. Ruppert

Subject of 2009 documentary film "Collapse"

Impression: looks from this like he is a major league kook or crank

About documentary I viewed on Netflix:

A lot of it is what I am writing here.  He presents a comprehensive view of an impending collapse.  That contrasts with my own point of view in which I am stressing solutions to problems as opposed to actually wringing one's hands in despair over them.

Most of what I write about is "how do we get out of this mess".  He compares today's society with the passengers on the Titanic and their reactions to a catastrophe.  He says there are three kinds of people: 1) those who try to deal with the situation 2) those who recognize the problem, but do nothing, but only frequent the bars and get drunk and 3)those who refuse to recognize the problem and believe the "Titanic is unsinkable".

Most people today seem to be of the third type the Titanic is unsinkable.  Catastrophe can't or won't happen. 

I am of the type that says let's build some lifeboats.

This does not mean that I endorse this film or agree with everything in it but it does seem to coincide in many ways the views I've expressed here.

Why do you suppose this blog has not gotten popular? Is it because most people are incapable of facing the truth?  No matter what you say, they are not going to listen.  They think I'm wrong, but it is they who are wrong. 

So, why should I worry about them.  They are going to die if they don't wake the eff up.  If they won't wake up, that's too effing bad for them.

Here is another observation about this film.  He seems to belong to the political class that likes to call itself "progressive". Well, I have a pretty dim view of so called progressives.  One thing you don't do if you have an energy problem is to block access to the only energy we have.  Until alternatives are available, blocking access to energy is just plain nuts.

No matter which way you turn, these guys don't want energy that actually works.  They want solar and wind, which can best be only a tiny part of a solution.  No nuclear, no coal, no oil.  Even though they will end up getting people killed because of this, they seem to believe this is the way to go.

Actually, I think the progressives are more like the bunch that wants to hang out in the bars, get drunk, and wait to die.

The conservatives are the ones who don't believe the ship can sink.  According to this view, all we have to do is to believe in the system, and everything will be fine.  Here's a clue to what I think:  I don't believe in systems as ends in themselves.  There is no substitute for the ability to reason.  Systems don't reason, people do.  If people believe too much in a system, it is because they are too mentally lazy to deal with the problems.

I think our politicians are failing us because they are too much into systems and refuse to think.

Here's something that will probably turn people off.  It is about religions:

View about religions:  religion is that point where the
rational mind shuts down and becomes, for the want of a
better term: stupid.   People become stupid when they
stop looking for truth.  Religion claims to be the whole
truth and one need not look any further for it.  But that
is where religion fails.  Religion succeeds when it provides
a shelter against the unknown and at the time, unknowable,
but it also becomes a barrier against the finding the
unknown and stretching the limits of human reasoning.

That's where we are with our politics.  A belief in systems as opposed to using your own mind to deal with reality as it is.  This failure is what will lead to an unhappy end unless enough people wake the eff up.


This Ruppert fellow seems to follow Law of Scarcity  which I wrote about before.  I would pose the following Law of Abundance, which sit in direct contradiction to the Law of Scarcity.  The Law of Abundance says that there's another way to resolve differences over the what appears to be in short supply.  That is by working together to produce abundance for all, there is no need to destroy others in order to have more for yourself.  There exists enough in the universe for everyone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In situ hydrogen production from ammonia

Further reflection on this idea seems to rule it out unless a plentiful source of platinum becomes available.  An alternative to this would be to produce the hydrogen at the refueling station.  This increases the costs per kilogram because the need to put it into a form that it can be stored, such as high pressure or cryogenics.

The estimate for in situ hydrogen from ammonia was about 2 dollars per kg.  Now if you were to compress it or cryogenically store it, that would at least double the price, I guesstimate.  Even then, it would still be relatively cheap because of the high efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells. 

The final hurdle would be to get the price of fuel cells down.  This would be accomplished by the economies of scale that would come from mass acceptance of this mode of energy production.  That hurdle could be overcome by having organizations with large fleets agree to purchase fuel cell vehicles of this type.  That could be a problem.  As in many cases, if enough people in leadership stepped up to the plate and committed to this, it just might be doable.

This could be what I've been looking for

Here's a movie about electric cars. I would be most curious to see how these guys plan on doing it. After all, that's what I've been writing about quite a bit lately.
Saw this first at Instapundit.

Doc still has a lot to learn

My latest video is up.

The main character, Dr. StrangeBrain gets his name from Dr. Strangelove. But that is probably where the similarities will end. Here's a video from part of that movie.

Electrolyzing Ammonia for Hydrogen Fuels Continued

As I mentioned earlier, I purchased a pdf file which studies the concept in detail.  Here is the money quote from the study:

According to scale-up calculations, using an in situ ammonia
electrolyzer on board will allow a HFCV to travel 483 km between
refueling by storing 203 L of aqueous ammonia. At 0.36 US$ kg−1
of ammonia, the cost of producing hydrogen on board is 2.02 US$

The price is right for the hydrogen, but there's a problem.

The sticking point in my opinion, is the cost of the electrolyzer itself.  It is estimated from the paper that an appropriate sized electrolyzer will cost over 32000 dollars at then platinum prices that were half of today's price.  It is quite clear to me that the price of platinum and platinum group metals will have to come down somehow, or some other way must be found.  One way to lower the price of platinum is to mine a lot more of it.  Thus a source of abundant platinum must be found.  That source can come from outer space.

There may be a way to reduce these numbers, but it is clear that the numbers don't work without more platinum.  That is my opinion.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Superhero amnesia

Our Superhero doesn't remember who he is! What evil has caused this??????

Market action today

Gold is being clobbered as is oil.  The Nikkei has crashed.  Bonds are dong well. 

It looks like the same stuff we saw in 2008 initially.  Once the panic hits, people rush into bonds and into the dollar.  But, as time goes on, the dynamic will change a bit. 

If it is anything like 2008, gold will bounce back strongly.  The thing to watch here is how do the Japanese finance their rebuilding efforts?  They are holding a lot of US paper.  I would think that could be vulnerable.  I wouldn't be a buyer of bonds right now, regardless of what's going on today.

Oil may not bounce back as strongly, at least at first.  This earthquake aftermath will put a crimp into the world economy.  Japan is pretty important country, so they influence the big picture.  They are offline right now, but once they come back online, they will still need energy.  This isn't a permanent scenario, so I wouldn't expect this to be a permanent situation with respect to oil.  Demand will return, and with it, prices.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Something's not right

Looking over today's news and recollection of the most recent news gives me the kind of dread expressed in Second Coming .  Mostly, I fear that people have abandoned all sense of reason.  In such a circumstance were to become the norm, something dire must occur to break the impasse.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Better to be lucky than good

My latest Xtranormal video. Matches my mood lately.


Now, here's a superhero for you!

Newsletter - Edition 258 - 13 March 2011 By Christopher Laird

Here's a portion of Chris Laird's latest newsletter available at, subscription required.

Japan situation very unpredictable
Prophesy and today’s events
Commodity markets definitely follow religious issues in the ME for example
Japan Tsunami and markets

This is good

At NextBigFuture, someone is using their bean.  It may be better to move things as they are than trying to reshape them into something else.  He also links to an article that shows how to make Igloos.  In situ resourcing, anyone?

Why fuel cells?

Why not just burn hydrocarbons as has been the case since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?  One may ask that question if the need to obtain hydrogen cheaply seems to lead you back to hydrocarbons in fossil fuels.

It seems that hydrogen fuel cells are more efficient in terms of energy use.  A fuel cell powered auto can get 60 miles to a kilogram of hydrogen.  If the cost of a kilogram of hydrogen is twice that of a gallon of gas, it can still be economically competitive.  Most cars get less than 30 miles a gallon for gas, thus the comparison. 

It turns out that a kilogram of hydrogen produced from ammonia is less than a dollar per kilogram.  Now, if ammonia can be synthesized from hydrocarbon feedstocks, the end cost of a kilogram of hydrogen could be competitive with traditional fuels such as gasoline.  Let's say that refineries can shift production from gasoline to ammonia.  The crude oil would go further economically if the price of a kilogram of hydrogen can be held under twice that of a gallon of gasoline.  The cheaper the production, the greater the benefit.

Not being an expert in the matter, it appears that this isn't out of the realm of feasibility.


It also came to mind that natural gas is cheaper than oil these days.  One could use the hydrogen in natural gas to synthesize ammonia.  The chances that one could come up with a liquid fuel that is cheaper than gasoline and will go twice as far should not be too difficult to imagine.

As for the price of fuel cells, which are not cheap, these can also come down if the economies of scale can be applied.  This will occur if popular acceptance reaches a sufficient number to begin large scale manufacturing.  In addition, if an extraterrestrial source of platinum group metals is found, the price of could be further reduced.


I bought the pdf and read it.  The cost of hydrogen from this method is about 2 dollars per kg.  That was a few years ago, but it was in a time of high fuel prices, so the comparison may still be good.  If so, that would mean about 1 dollar per gallon equivalent assuming the 60 mp kg  holds up for this configuration.   The analysis shows a considerable expense in setting up an electrolyzer.  One would presume that if these were mass produced along with the fuel cells, the costs could be brought down to economic viability.  This is my guesstimate at the moment.  If there are other factors that aren't being considered here, I am unaware of them.

So, why not do this?   It was done in the case of the Tesla Roadster, where a battery powered car was produced.  Perhaps it would take a similar effort by someone who could pull off the same feat with hydrogen fuel cells.  If you used the same approach, with a high end vehicle, such as a luxury car, you could get a foot in the door, so to speak.

Comment upon ammonia electrolysis proposition

There are a few interesting things on the subject if you google it.  There was this one website with a pdf file, but they wanted you to pay for viewing it.  It is understandable, that if one has an interesting idea, to keep it somewhat under wraps.  But in doing so, information gets harder to access.  This appears to be a promising idea, but there's not a whole lot that can be done about it if it is kept a secret.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Space Show Today

I am preparing to live blog the show today.  In preparation for it, I've been googling some info about his guest, Dr. David DeVorkin.   He is the senior curator of history of astronomy and the space sciences at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  

As I write, it should be starting a little over 30 minutes from now.  I will post this, and continue blogging on this post during the broadcast.  Looks like I've got things set up nicely, so I will wait until then. 

While I was waiting, I watched the latest of tbonepearson's latest videos.  "Mass Stupidity".  It looks a little like a James Bond / Austin Powers type spy comedy thing.

.Update:  When I post this, the show will be just starting.

Announcements etc.  usual intro stuff.  Newsletter goes out Sunday evenings Pacific time.  Subscribe to email version.  Reminder that it is a nonprofit, depends on contributions.  Mentions blog and so forth.  Introduces guest, Dr David DeVorkin.    Goes over his resume and gives a very good introduction on his guest.

Mentions other guests had mentioned him.  Day in history, the discovery of Pluto on this day in 1930.  Used this day, founder and director Percival Lowell.   Named for a god.  Asked about history of astronomy in USA.  Answers that it began with founders: Jefferson and Adams and founding fathers as emerging nation believed US should be up to date in the sciences.  Smithsonian was formed by Joseph Henry.  Astronomy important in US history.  US built largest telescope many times.  In 20th Century, distinguished by building largest telescopes in world.  

Asked about study of astromony in colleges.  Answer that practical elements of astronomy and for polite education in school.  Some promoted astronomy some did not.  Astronomy not always high priority as with core sciences though.

Question from email:  astronomy theme in old westerns.  Speed of light "Bonanza" tv show and the Dr recalls this.  Mentions name of who did this???   Won Nobel Prize for this, measurments of quantity.  First American to win Nobel Prize.  

Ask can pinpoint when astronomy became mainstream.  Never been touted as mainstream.  Something of a cultural enrichment.  It has become a full physical science in 20th century.  Mathematics used to calculate motions of heavenly bodies.  Astronomer became physicists.  See extremes in phenomena not observable on Earth.  The attractions are the extremes.  Can test physics and see how it works and the reality of the universe.  

Physics of how stars form.  What are conditions that form stars?  Are planets the natural result of the formation of stars?  Important question with regard to our existernce.

Linda in Oregon asks where the first observatory.  Williams College in Massachussetts.  Many had scopes, but this may have been first permanent facility.  As a teaching observatory, still functional.  

Email question by Ben in Denver:  In Mexico and Central American, many observatories existed.  Were any structures built by Native Americans?  Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, no real roads.  Use 4 wheeler to get in.  The way structures were built that were aligned to important astronomical dates.  Every culture seems to do this.  Stonehenge in England and other places in Europe.    The high latitude civilizations have polar structures, those who were equatorial would align differently.  Astronomical element exists in all cultures.

Those who didn't have permanent structures as the Plains Indians, would still have connection to astronomy.

Question from Dallas  most popular exhibits?  Answer: hard to collect sample from so many visitors (millions).
3000 4000 per day walking through there.  Did they come for that unless they ask.  Don't have wherewithal to do that.  People seem interested.  23 galleries in Museum plus large exhibition hall.  Goes through some of these here.  Hubble space telescope.   Viking Mars lander.  Apollo gallery see moon rocks.  Aviation half, space other half.  Everybody want to see Apollo capsules and shuttle.  Spirit of St. Louis.

Science fiction museums: what do kids say?  Don't know difference between science fiction and reality.  Blurring of reality.  Anything to judge awareness of reality?  Answer:  Don't do that.  Had a section where one side fact and one side fiction in terms of spaceflight.  Don't know if study ever made.  Is there a way to do this with visitors.  Not limited to kids, he observes.  

NASA tv seems too boring to what comes out of media these days.  Good stuff does exists and even makes it into movies ( I noticed this in a Star Trek movie First Contact)


Caller on hold:  John in Atlanta.  Asks if he knew about astronomy.  John asks about dark matter.  Answer: said the fraction is changing daily.  The type of matter we are made of proton, neutron, electron and so forth.  Haven't discovered all black holes.  Massive component not made of matter we used to but of other stuff.  The Hadron Collider in Switzerland to question to what produces mass- question not explained yet.  Certain type of particle that hasn't been observed.  Higgs boson postulated.  Start thinking about dark matter in early nineties.  We know we don't know much.  Properties we aren't familar with.  Percentage of 70 percent range included dark matter difficult to imagine that black holes can make up deficit.

Scientists think there is dark matter.  Ans.  certain parameters relationship.  Predicts things.  Physics out of whack.  

John says something about galaxies- ans general view is that black hole in center of galaxies.  How galaxies are formed.  Various scenarios being looked.  Is more matter in there?  At center or at edges?  Neutrinos have different rest massess.

Dark energy brought up.  Cosmo constant.  (Einstein)  Ans in finding univ is accelerate give rise something there causing repulsive action called dark energy.  Does fit cosmo constant.   constant had to put in to make things work.  Fudge factor to give leeway.  

Einstein blunder fail to predict expanding universe?  Fascination with way science worked in the way to raise issues and define problems and solving them.

From Tina in New Mexico  starting college; says terrible at math but wants to study astromony.  Familar with that what would she be missing?   Ans:  doesn't know, purely descriptive course very interesting, could be doing math in spite of oneself.  Learned trig upon comics, interest in it makes interest in math- the interest can spawn interest in math.  Worry about math later.

David says if taught well, it will open doors.  Don't be scared because of math.  Discussion of comics and such.

Caller Richard from Montana:  explore relationship between NASA and Dept of Defense.  Article had signed off on new architecture.  Another had DOD had veto power over use of tech.  Is this true and if true could have done it faster?   Ans: will speculate, some knowledge.  NASA partly built by military.  No question without military, wouldn't have space program.  In case of veto power, if some evidence for that it is maiinly in area of remote sensing.  Could not use optical systems beyond classified area.  Some of these went into Hubble telescope so that it could point precisely.  Says it not limiting, but synergistic.  The economy that drove us in space was political, now that cold war over what reason to go to space.  But do they command political will and clout to sustain it?  No idea if new tech has been hindered.  He thinks that it doesn't.  Optics are one example.


Continue discussion of what is in Smithsonian besides gallery, have public observatory and planetarium.  Brought a telescope.  Thousands of people have wandered in a asked what is this?  World class in astronomy.  Have observatories all over world.  Exhibits, museums.  Has telescope at Vassar on display. 

One entry price is free.  Don't need ticket, but special events.  Planetariarm free, museum free.  Mostly free.  Location name?  private donor;  big stuff out there.  shuttle, sr71, concorde, windchimes first generation satellites, hundreds of large objects.  Restoration facitlion.  Imax theater.  Near Dulles Airport.  All interpretvie gallery at mall.  Displays at ?? not interpretive.  Put in light labelling.  Electronic hopefully will browse to access more information.  Check out all the airplanes and such.

Moving out there:  very difficult to move infrastructure.  Archives are packed up waiting on funding.  Plans are to move everything out there.  Museum in three places.

Asked about Shuttle Discovery.  Waiting for official announcement.

Question of day:  Paul in LA when will Smithsonian devote space to New Space/ Commercial because this is the future.  He says Spacex is there.  He said it flew right into the museum.  Went in pretty fast.  How do exhibits:  very expensive.  Very labor intensive.  Starts with proposal.  Example is Apollo, still working on it.

Have to be very careful cuz is representative of country.  Want to avoid politics.  

Enola Gay controversy.

Wanda in OK City, how does Smithsonian treat Pluto?  Some treat it differently.  Got rid of Pluto as a planet.  He was disappointed.  He wanted to keep it there, but explain change in status.  Exciting to know what Pluto really is.   He abstained on Pluto decision.  He agreed to decision, but worried about reaction.  Can't let people make just any decision because it would get out of hand.  Now have an official way to define a planet.

Put a condolence card signed by all the other planets.  "Gonna to miss you"  Treat now in a left handed by eliminating it.  No money to do more extensively.  Privately funded.  

How long to do cutting edge stuff?  Not long on stuff.  A full exhibit could take five or ten years.  Takes a lot of money.  a five thousand sq. foot is  two and half million or more.  Everything since 1990 is privately funding.  Not federal money, grants and contracts with other fed agencies.  Another form of private money he says.

Don in Tuscon.  Where do USA stand to other countries?  We rank pretty high and are leaders in most areas.  In space, we are.  The Europeans have done good work with consortia, with ESA and other facilities.  Fully competitive and cooperative together in a synergistic ways.  Other countries do amazing work.  In original dominance, USA weakened somewhat, but still top ranked.

Strong educational foundation.  The place to come for cutting edge education.

Gonna quit here, but show is still ongoing.  Only a few minutes left.

Have to comment that this makes you want to visit the Smithsonian, or it does make me want to.   I noticed this about the Space Show before.  It really does fire up your enthusiasm.

State of the blog

Whatever it takes to make it in the blogosphere, I don't seem to have found it yet.  But I am looking.  And looking hard.  Maybe it's time to step back and look at things now that I've been blogging regularly for about six months now.

First, I should mention how I got where I am right now.  My own status, as it is.  I've already mentioned that I had a blog before, back in 2004.  Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but it may be worth repeating.  Back then, I was trying to trade in the markets for a living.  I've attempted that several times since the late nineties.  None of these attempts have been successful.  After the attempt in 2004, I decided not to trade so much as to invest.  That strategy seems to have worked better than actively "day trading".   But it isn't enough to retire on.  I am 55 years old and I am of modest means.

I have worked at pretty much low level jobs my whole life.  Not that I've haven't had ambition, but none of it ever worked out.  Basically, I'm just a blue collar guy.  Most of my adult life, I've been a truck driver.  A delivery guy.  I know this isn't impressive to read, but that's the way it is.

A little over six months ago, things were not so hot on the job.  The company I was with decided to make things tougher on the drivers and finally they just went too far for me.  I left.  By the way, it isn't like I don't have any sympathy for the union people in Wisconsin.  The problem I have is the way they went about it.

I have written about most of this stuff from time to time on this blog.  But this is the most comprehensive I've been since I started. 

In the end, you have to decide on what you want.  I did that here, I think.  But it may well be worth repeating.  I'd like to make this my job now.  But in order to make it my job, it has to pull in some money, and it isn't doing that.  So, I have to find a way.  That first means getting an audience.  If I had that, I may be able to get the other.  But this has proven to be a hard nut to crack.  People are just not coming here.  What do I need to do?  Believe me, I've been thinking about constantly.

I've done some significant things ( I think) in the last six months.  I've covered a lot of ground.  Both literally and figuratively.  I will continue in some capacity here regardless of how it may go in terms of commercialization of this blog.  But, if I have to go back to driving, I won't be able to do as much as I've been doing.  I would hate to have to do that, but one does what one must.

People think this may be about me, but it isn't.  The things I write about here should be of interest to a lot of people.  I am critical of politicians, so I think I should make it clear that I am not interested in being one of those people myself.  One might get the impression that I want a political career.  I've thought about that, and I don't want that.  Instead of a political career, I would want to do the thing that the media is supposed to be doing.  The media should be the tribune for the people. 

In case you aren't familiar, the tribune of ancient Roman times, guarded the interest of the common folk or plebeian class against the interests of the patricians.  One of their powers was to be able to intervene legally on behalf of plebeians.  Not that I am seeking that, but, instead,  to be able to write about things and be supported in it, I believe that I can provide some means by which the common interest can be advanced.  It is not being supported very well right now, in my opinion.  There is a need for this.
That is what I would like to do.  I regret very much that nobody seems to be interested in it.   Hopefully, that can change.  I am hopeful and will continue to work toward that end.  But it is discouraging at times.