Saturday, April 16, 2011

Always on the lookout for ways to get better

Does this describe my blog?  Does it describe me?  Inquiring minds want to know.  I know that doesn't sound serious, but it is.  That's what the most recent posts have been all about.  Anybody want to respond to that?

Pics are in

From JP Aerospace's latest mission.  I've put an ad up there with it that went along for the ride.  Here's a pic of the ad shortly after launch.

Anybody listening?

I wonder if anybody is listening to this guy? I wasn't, frankly. A lot of what he said was being said on this blog. It may well be that it looks like I am lifting my stuff off what others are saying, but I don't watch FOX or much TV at all.

This is a model that works, I hope

But you need an audience of real people, not bots.  That's what I suspect that I have here.  If not, not much better.  I need some of the real stuff.

Been busy today with real stuff, I hope.  We will see how it plays out in the next week or so.  I'll give it another week.

Where, oh where has my little dog gone

Where, oh where can he be?  Actually, I am checking for bots.  If there's anyone intelligent out there, say something.  I am beginning to wonder.

Something comes to mind here.  It seems so often nowadays, that when you call somebody, you get a machine, not a person.  Maybe we are relying too much upon machines?

Atlas Shrugged

I read this book in 1993. It was a pretty long book as I recall. I read some of Ayn Rand's other books, but this was the first novel. It has been so long that I have forgotten much of the story.

By way of Al Fin's blog, I checked out the SparkNotes to refresh my memory. I've never heard of SparkNotes. I used CliffsNotes back in the old days. When I say old days, I mean back in the old days when books were on paper. In those days, when you said "browse the web", somebody would have said "wtf?".

I think I may have mentioned this before, so, at the risk of repeating myself, I'll mention it again. I first read about Ayn Rand from one of Robert Ringer's books- "Winning Through Intimidation".

The topic of Atlas Shrugged is current with the opening of the new film this past week. My plans are not to go. I know the story. I have the books. But, more than that, I think I have a way for the "strike" to be successful in such a way that the moochers will have to sit up and take notice.

As you may know, I have advocated Space Colonization. That's where the men of the mind can go to start their new society. Leave this rotten, corrupt world behind, and start anew.

It can't be done, you say? Why not? Everything about space lends itself to the object of freedom. How can any government or political entity ever control space? In order to control a territory, it must have limits. But space has no limits, no boundaries. The problems that space presents are the same problems that are on Earth: you have to find a way to survive and prosper.  Those ways can be mastered in space as well as on the ground.  Space beckons.  All that is needed for this is this: for those who can answer the call, to have the courage to answer it.

Political contacts

I said that I don't get out enough. But I do more than I thought. Maybe I don't realize it sometimes.

Going through my junk mail, I notice solicitations from politicians that I have contributed to in the past. I got irritated with the political scene and stopped doing this. But they keep writing. What I could do is to suggest that if they are going to write to me, then they will listen. That's because I have no money to offer right now, but I can offer my thoughts.

Maybe they are only interested in my money, but they aren't going to get that. For one thing, I need it more than they do.

I know this is the easy way out, but it is something. It may not work, but nothing else is. Besides, if they show me that all they want is money, maybe I can just tell them to go take a hike.

Plan for today

I have to improve my results on revenue and pageviews if this blog is ever going to be anything more than a hill of beans.

To that end, I must get into a habit of doing things that I am not doing now.

Number 1) I am not getting out enough. Frankly, it is cheaper to sit around here on the computer all day. But it isn't productive. Seven months of this has not yielded anything. I have to do things differently. This observation isn't even new. On the other hand, I have to keep it realistic. I can't take roadtrips every week. Too expensive.

2) I need to use the phone more. I don't use phones. Again. I like to use email and all these other internet devices, but it keeps people at a distance. I need to get people involved in this somehow. That may mean that I have to bug people, but bugging people is unavoidable.

3) Along the lines I set forth yesterday, the blog may be getting too complex. I need to always remember to keep it simple stupid (KISS).

Three daily goals is enough.

Good morning world

Back at it again, ready to get back to work. First of all, let's get the statistics out of the way:

Time approx 5:00 am
Sitemeter; Fri morning 4442; v. today 4459; 17 down 2 from Thurs
Blogger: Fri 46, up 3 from Thurs; overnight is 20 so far
Nothing to report on bids, nor sales, still zero on revenues, not even a click on Amazon

With respect to Amazon, I am going to look into something I just saw. I may be able to set up a store here, but I think I'd better be careful about that. I have gotten plenty of revenue sources that aren't producing. I added one yesterday for referrals to Uverse, but nobody has inquired about it.

The audience numbers tell me something about the quantity, but not the quality of the pageviews. If I had comments, then I'd know that I had real people coming by, as opposed to bots. Bots aren't good for much except for the appearance of traffic that really doesn't exist. I am keeping this real, therefore without comments, I may have just bots dropping by here. Or lurkers. A lurker isn't necessarily friendly. Lurkers could be anybody who doesn't really want to help this blog, for whatever reason.

So, in sum, I have a small number of pageviews, no revenues, and no comments. This looks pretty grim. Anything positive to report? Well, yesterday, I got one more like for my Facebook page. I noticed that yesterday on Facebook, but not here on my Facebook Badge, which still shows 6.

I guess that since I have a YouTube account, I can report those stats here too. I want a synergy between these sites. This is the place where it is all coordinated, so I guess I'll report that, starting today.

YouTube has 6 subscribers and 10 friends. The channel has had 822 views, with 415 upload views. My channel was created in October 2010. A link to my channel is at the bottom of the page at the video bar.

I am using Twitter as well, but I don't know if am going to report Twitter stats yet. They are similar to these numbers here. The purpose of Twitter is the same as with everything else. But the results have been disappointing.

To recap once again, pageviews, revenues are unchanged from yesterday, and I'm adding reports on YouTube stats. I may report on Twitter stats here, but not yet. I may add another Amazon revenue source. Very slight improvements, but I have to step it up somehow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World after all

It is getting a bit heavy duty into seriousness now.   Time to call it a day.  See ya tomorrow.  It's time for a little entertainment here:

Cold Fusion

This story is going around a bit.  Al Fin and NextBigFuture have reported on it.  I googled it and found this link.

I found the calculations interesting, so I put it up on the sidebar.  I put a 0 next to the two sidebar entries so that I can find them easily.

Since I have no formal training on the physics involved here, I will pass on making any kind of judgment on it.  It would be interesting if you could put one of these devices on machine and have it do work as a demo.  It would have to be a demo that would be so convincing that it could not be denied.  Sort of like the Wright Brothers doing a flight test of the new contraption called an airplane.  Seeing is believing.

I found a YouTube link here.  It is not in English, but has English subtitles.  Another one here.  It isn't in English either, but it does have subtitles.

Here's a story on 60 Minutes.

World's Oldest Man dies

He says his father told him stories about the Civil War. Once you think about it, it is amazing. He said the North and South would never get over it. I think they did.

Life changed a lot during his lifetime. It is hard to imagine a world like the one he lived in. His early years, there weren't many cars.

Yet, all of the progress isn't something that you can take for granted. All of what we take for granted can be taken away in an instant.  Link to video via Instapundit and The Atlantic.

NFL draft

This is a change of pace post.  I like the NFL, so I am going to write about it.  Not exactly on topic, as the blog has been so far, though.  Sorry, but I like it.

We are getting close to the NFL draft, which has always fascinated me.  Well, not always.  Like now, I am not quite so interested as in years past.  Most likely, the labor problems are weighing in on that.

Everyone loves mock drafts, and I have tried this myself, but I think it is a waste of time.  Nobody can predict the future with precision.  Once you get past the first few picks, there's way too many possible variations.  Prediction becomes impossible.

I guess I wrote about this because I wanted to talk about it a bit.  I have a bit of a theory about the draft.  People in the business do, I suppose everyone does.  To me, it is always about value.  My theory is this:  trying to ascertain the future of any professional football player is too risky to spend as much money on them as they do.  If I had any say about it, I would trade down for extra picks.  I would never let myself be in a position to have to pay a player a lot of money just because he got drafted high.

It is a matter of odds.  What are the odds for the player to succeed?  Take Arian Foster of the Houston Texans.  He wasn't even drafted, but he was the leading rusher last year.  The odds are against anything like that happening, but nothing is a sure bet.  Top picks don't always pan out.  But one thing you can count on is that they'll demand a lot of money if they get picked early.  I'd take my chances on good prospects down the list.  That's my draft theory.

AT and T Uverse Rewards Program

I use AT and T Uverse set up as my internet provider.  I wasn't interested in getting their TV service, nor phone service plans, but I know someone who did get the TV service.

To put it frankly, as is my custom, the service had something to be desired in terms of getting it up and running.  They had some kid taking my order over the phone and something didn't get done.  So, I had a phone man come out and he got things squared away.  It has been working flawlessly since.

I am going to pursue the idea as a revenue source.  Maybe it works, who knows?  Anybody who hasn't signed up already can help this blog by letting me refer you for this service.  Anybody who does this through this blog will help support the blog and support The Space Show, as mentioned before in earlier posts.

Let me know in comments if you are interested.


I want to keep things simple, that's the plan today.  KISS as a way of life, so to speak.  Well, this internet service is internet only.  Simple enough.  AT and T charges 35 a month for that.  I would have liked a different plan, but I got roped into this one, somehow.  I've heard of better deals elsewhere.  I've even seen them on the net, as I recall.  My recollection was somewhere along those lines. 

I had broadband connection a couple years ago when I went wireless.  In the meantime, I got rid of my landline phone.  Now the phone is wireless, and now I am back to non-wireless, so to speak, on the internet service.  AT and T talks about wireless, and I have used it on occasion, but it is better when you have an air card.  Then you can get it anywhere they have service.  Hot spots aren't necessarily convenient, hence the aircard.  Costs more, but I want to be online when I want to be.

The idea is to get value, but AT and T will want to sell you a bunch of stuff, so look out for that.  Maybe you want it, maybe not.  From what I saw, I think I'd rather pass on anything but the internet service.  At 35 a month, it may be a bit pricey, but you get wireless access to anyplace in the house.  That works well with my wifi enabled netbook.

I can hook up to four computers to the router/modem that comes with the installation.  As for installation, I had to do that myself.  This was possible in my case, but it may not be in yours.  Ask, and hopefully, you'll get someone on the line who can answer your question correctly.

From what I hear, AT and T pushes the idea that they offer a lot of channels, but many of those are marketing shows that are selling stuff.  ( I forgot the term)  The number of entertainment shows are limited.  The information shows are there, but they are limited as well.  As I have mentioned before, I wouldn't spend the money on TV.  I have NetFlix, that is enough.

You can watch movies on NetFlix with this service.  It gives good value for the money, in my opinion.

There is some papers here that I forgot about when I installed this thing.  I can go back to this for help with wireless access.  They tout it, but I haven't seen it yet.  If you can get it, it would be a good value.  But it isn't
secured, it says.

Short market blurbs

About the Zipcar IPO.  Never heard of a Zipcar.  It looks like an alternative to car rental service.  It may be useful in some applications.  I once got rid of my vehicle in 2004 when I wasn't driving so much.  It costs money to keep a vehicle available.  You have to insure it, maintain it, and what have you.

Inflation news is not good.  People get fooled by the Fed's rationalizations.  Dividing up inflation reporting into core inflation and such is just a rationalization.  Markets are not fooled, gold is up.  The people can be fooled, that is why the government is reporting it this way.

I'm not a buyer of bonds.  I sort of read the article by USNews.  But, I've covered that story already.  After reading the article quickly, I think it a hope piece.  Things need to change before I'd even consider buying bonds.  Until I see that, I wouldn't touch bonds.

Gone With The Wind

For a long time, this was the most successful of all movies.  It may still be, but there have been many other very big films in recent years.  Thus, it may not be seen as all that important now, as it once was.

Which is interesting, in a way.  The movie's setting was the South at the time of the Civil War. ( just in case you didn't know)  By the way, I am mentioning this because I watched the flick again just the other night, and something about it has been sticking in my mind since.

I've mentioned this phenomenon recently.  It does have some connection to a theme in the movie, which is class distinctions.  The Old South was heavily influenced by such notions as class distinctions- such as slaves, white trash, ladies and gentleman.  This is class distinctions between the lowest status class, the slaves, the mass of white folks who weren't slaves, but not rich, and then the aristocracy- ladies and gentlemen.  A lot of this story revolved around these class distinctions and how they gave way-Gone With The Wind- when the South lost the war.

Class distinctions are still with us, apparently.  I can still remember about a dozen years ago now with respect to the Paula Jones-Bill Clinton scandal.  There was talk back then of "trailer park trash", and how pejorative a term that was, and why it was supposed to discredit what was being said from the mere fact of who was saying it.  A class distinction, that.

Well, it sure seems like people never learn.  More than a century after a war that was all about class distinctions, here was some folks in government who felt it necessary to use this supposedly outmoded way of thinking.

I look at that, and then I look at this blog here, and myself.  Some people might look at me and say "dumb redneck".  In fact, you can go to my reviews on Amazon, read through some of the comments there, and find that pejorative label attached to me.  Some hi falooting types think that, just because I am not rich, and not born into wealth, that I must be stupid; and therefore, not worth paying any attention to.

I point to what happened to the South and how it might well happen again.  There was this saying.  Learn from history, or you are doomed to repeat it.  A lot of what is happening in this country right now comes from the high falooting types who don't think they have to listen to the folks back home.  That's how we get trillion dollar deficits.  They think they are so smart that they don't have to listen.  Then, they go mess things up really badly, and because of that, they will suffer, and cause others to suffer.

Is that an accurate analogy?  Could be.

About today's plan, how simple things get complicated

A case in point is this blog.  All along, I wanted it to be self financing.  But that has failed.  Why?  For the same reason that is plaguing NASA.  You start with a simple idea that should be affordable, but complexity is allowed to creep in, and that ruins the plan.

The original idea for this blog was for it to at least make some money off advertising.  That is what AdSense was for.  Since the blog is free, I figured even a little money should keep the blog in the black.  But it didn't turn out that way.  Why?

I asked the blog to do too much.  A simple idea got too complicated because I wanted the blog to not only be profitable, but to support me eventually.  It may never do that.  Besides, I don't have forever in order to get that done.  In short, I became too ambitious.  This reminds me of what we studied while I was still in college.  It was the story about the development of IBM's OS/360.  This operating system became too costly; the reason for that was that it was too ambitious.  An incredible amount of money went into it, but IBM could afford it because they were the kings of the computer world at that time.  I've learned enough from my own experience to know that mistakes can be costly.  Allowing complexity to creep in because of too much ambition is a costly mistake.

NOTE:  A quick scan of the Wikipedia link does not necessarily confirm directly my hypothesis- too much ambition leads to excessive complexity.  But I do recall that discussion somewhere.  It may have been in the classroom.  But this was nearly 30 years ago.  Pardon me, I am relying upon memory.  I think the point is valid, nonetheless.  If nothing else, it is valid in my own situation with respect to this blog.

The answer to this problem is to reduce the ambition.  Lower the horizons a bit.  If the blog is to ever survive, it must stay economical.  The same is true for space travel and colonization. 

Incidentally, that is why I believe JP Aerospace is important as a model.  It is a going concern.  They make money and that is what ensures their survival.  JP is making steady progress to his goal, but it is taking a long time.   Considering how ambitious his ultimate goal is, the ultimate goal may not be reached.  But, it is worthwhile because other things can get achieved along the way.  Besides, he just might succeed after all.

As for NASA, they started out with a simple idea, a reusable spacecraft.  But it became too ambitious a project, and that allowed complexity to creep in.  In the end, it became a remarkably complex and wonderful bit of engineering.  But it also became terribly expensive.  Like IBM's OS/360, it was only affordable because of deep pockets.  But even deep pockets are only so deep.  There are limits that have to be acknowledged.  Going forward, NASA needs to lower its ambitions on what types of spacecraft get engineered.  They should not be too complex, but instead, should be tailored to meet the needs of a particular mission.

In addition, NASA needs to become economical minded.  The nation's pockets aren't so deep anymore.  The focus should be on simplicity.  That's why I suggest the big, dumb rocket to ferry huge amounts of matter into space, but at an affordable cost per pound.  It will be up to others to take advantage of this opportunity.  That's where private enterprise can step in.

Some of this nation's leaders want to lower carbon dioxide emissions and be more green.  Fine.  Here's a way to do it.  Put carbon dioxide on the Moon.  It may sound ridiculous, and it may well be.  But carbon dioxide, even though it may be a problem according to some people, is very useful for life support.  It can be made into rocket fuel and oxygen to breathe.  It gives the chance to practice ISRU for a future Mars mission.  And it may lead to colonization of the Moon for the purposes of setting up an economical rationale for being there. 

There are even more, but let's keep this post simple.  See. I'm doing it again.  It is seductive. 

Good Friday

The day sneaked up on me.  It wasn't until late yesterday that I knew what day today would be.  Okay, I have to make this brief.

Time approx 5:30 am
Yesterdays stats:  Sitemeter @ 4442 , net change =  4442-4423= 19. An improvement over yesterday. Blogger shows 43, which was a drop of 10, since there were 53 yesterday. A bit of a setback. No bids, Amazon had no sales, but it did have a click thanks, that is an improvement. No donations.

All in all, a mixed bag. An improvement here, a setback there. Still, no cash flow. What if there is nothing at the end of the week? I will continue, as long as I can.

This will become a fixture here for now on. These summaries are real world, and that's is what this blog is about. It isn't about daydreams, nor fantasies. I should hope not.

The business yesterday involved the possibility of my going back to work on a real job making some daily bread again. This was always a possibility, but yesterday it almost became a reality. It was out of necessity, not for myself, but to help out someone else. It turned out that my services weren't necessary, so I am on standby, however. I have to treat this as a business day even if I don't work.

That's the reason for the brevity. I have to get ready in case I might be needed.

My daily plan is, if I am not working, is to write about how simple things start to get more complicated. I am going to use some examples from real life to illustrate the point. I think it may be profitable to read this and study it and take it to heart.

Thanks for your attention. I have to get ready for my day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Backassward is not always bad

Nominated for a webby award :  in the one of the five components of the craft of film making known as "Best Editing" shown here in this video

With that I say goodnight all, another great day.

Salt water algae v fresh water algae

Algae can replace 17% of USA oil imports, but they use too much water according to this.  What if you could use sea water, which covers 3/4 of the Earth's surface?  When I realize that, I wonder why they spent so much effort to solve the problem with a resource that is insufficient, such as fresh water?  I mean, why not develop salt water algae strains?  The salt water algae are recently discovered, though.  The difference in genomes is not insignificant.

It has been a long time, but I studied this too.  I remember that algae based diesel fuel cost 25 bucks a gallon several years ago.  If that price has come down a lot, it would be helpful.  But what if you grew algae on the Moon with lunar water, and carbon dioxide brought from the Earth?  The fuel produced there would still be 25 bucks a gallon, but it is produced on the Moon, which makes it a lot cheaper than launching it from Earth.

It looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck

Must be a duck.   So, what's the crazy Texan talking about?  Read this, then think about the word "denial".  Because that's where we are right now.  Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room.   Pretending to solve the problem, and wishing that it would go away if you ignore it does not solve it.  It only gets worse.

It isn't the big, bad, evil "Darth Vader" that is plaguing us, nor does the fault lie in the stars, but within ourselves.

Jay Cost

On the old blog, I wrote some stuff he put out on his old Horserace Blog.  (The link here is to he RealClear Politics site).  He seemed to be right back then, so I pretty much started paying attention to him.  The reason I mention him is that he has a post on The Weekly Standard , which says Obama is not a good politician.  Should this be taken seriously?  I guess that in order to be consistent with what I just said, I would have to.

The Weekly Standard is a right wing outfit.  If he writes for them, he is approaching it from that angle.  People judge you by the company you keep.

There's not a whole lot on him.  When I see that, I can see where I would have a problem.  People will judge you by "who" you are, as opposed to "what" you are saying.  If someone wants to see if they should pay attention to you, you have to pass muster in some way.  It always helps to have some type of cachet, which demonstrates that you are somebody worth listening to. Short of that, it becomes something of an uphill battle. It may takes years of dues paying in order to get to that point.

But, in some cases, being an unknown may be helpful.  Obama was, and it didn't hurt him too much.  He used it as a selling point, as Jay Cost pointed out.

Why mention it here?  I have no cachet, or not much of one.  I have to create one or use the lack of one as a selling point, somehow.

Daily Plan

While I was walking this morning, for exercise, I was thinking about priorities. This is in connection with having a businesslike attitude about what you are doing. Since I'm putting this blog on a business footing, I need to prioritize the agenda, so to speak. So far, I haven't been doing that. But, I know better than that.

As I wrote yesterday, I want to have a daily plan for each day. The trouble with plans is that things have a way of happening. It appears that something has happened, and I am going to need to address that today, and perhaps in the days ahead.

My goal for today was to start to get out more. This business needs somebody out there in the world to know about it. I spend too much time around here, so the plan was to get out more. It so happens that the thing that came up might fit into that plan, but in an unexpected way.

Today's plan is to handle the unexpected thing that came up. It is a personal matter, so it won't be discussed here.


Still handling personal matter.  Today will be light posting until this gets handled.   It is no big deal, actually a small opportunity, so it isn't terrible news or anything like that.

The Morning Summary, April 14, 2011

Yesterdays stats  Sitemeter 11 ( 4412+11= 4423) since 6 am yesterday) ,  Blogger  53 ( from 7pm to 7pm previous day), Blogger so far today 16.   No bids, public nor private.  Amazon commissions this quarter 0, last quarter 0, all time 1 dollar in commission.  No donations.

There appears to have been some improvement in traffic.  But the blog is not generating cash flow, obviously.

I appreciate those who are visiting, thank you.  I will continue to build upon this, and hopefully to get off the near zero mark in cash flow.  If I can't get much sponsorship, I may be able to scrape up enough to buy a bumper sticker for the show and to give it to somebody in order to get the word out.  I have already bought one myself and I have a picture on People for Space Colonization page on Facebook.

I know some drivers who get out and about a lot, so if I were to pass out these bumper stickers, they will have the opportunity to be seen by many people.  That's the idea for today.  If that doesn't work, we try another idea tomorrow.  Or try an idea every day.  How about that?

Of course, I have already pledged to use the funds raised from this blog to support the Space Show in this funds drive, which is already well into it without anything to show.  The deadline for this is Monday, so we need to get moving on this or we will get nothing.

How embarrassing.

If nothing else has been accomplished, at least I have managed to write 709 posts in the last 7 months. If it were a book, it would be getting thick by now.  Blogger offers to print a book out of a blog for 15 bucks or something like that.  That would be vanity for me to only order a copy of my own blog if the blog can't raise money.  I won't be buying a book of this blog for purposes of personal vanity.  However, if someone else would like to help get past that miserable situation, make a request, and I will send you one, provided that you pay for the costs, that is.  I will sign it and send it to you, if you wish.  I will charge shipping and handling, a small charge, which is the usual thing in purchasing books.  The surplus over costs will go to the purchase of a bumper sticker as mentioned, provided that idea actually works.

This Blog has been designed, albeit on an ad hoc basis, to be an information collection point and resource. I include links to pages within the blog, plus navigation aids in getting around the blog with relative ease.  I am constantly working on improving this capacity so that the blog will become ever more useful to readers. Hopefully, that will be an attractive quality over time.

That previous idea is a second idea for the day.  Perhaps it will work, who knows?

It may be useful to point out that I write about markets too.  That is worth something.  If you were following my blog, you wouldn't have sold your gold.  I have been following the gold market for years.  ( This is not a claim as an advisory service!  Do not take this as investment advice.  No claims to that effect are being made, caveat emptor on any investment, even gold. )   I mention the gold market because of my observations about the current situation leads me to believe that gold will continue to be a good hedge against inflation. This is my opinion only. This is a free country.  Free opinions are worth what they cost you.  All the same, if you followed my opinion, and this persuaded you, you would have protected yourself by it.  If I change my opinion about gold, I will mention it here.  So far, no change.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signing off for today

Another busy day.  I'm happy with what I'm doing even if it doesn't pay anything.  Anyway, everybody who came today, thanks.  See ya tomorrow.

Carbon Dioxide electrolysis

This intrigues me enough to want to put it on the sidebar for interesting reading.  Here's the paragraph that got my attention:

Oxygen can be produced by passing CO2 through a zirconia electrolysis cell at 800 to 1000deg C. Twenty to thirty percent of the CO2 dissociates into oxygen and carbon monoxide. Separation is accomplished by electrochemical transport of oxide ion through a membrane. A prototype reactor using this chemistry has been run for over 1000 hours. Using such a scheme, we could bring a small unit to the surface of Mars which would then continuously make oxygen for life support, propellant use, or further processing. The only additional item we would need to supply is the power to run it: a 12kW unit would produce about one metric ton of oxygen per month.

The page doesn't have a date on it.  It does appear to be a Nasa site:  here's the link enclosed in quotation marks  ""

I got the link from a Google Search.

Space Show April 11, 2011

Dr. James Wertz of Microcosm, Inc. is on the show.

I am going to do something a little different this time.  I am going to mark the mp3 file with what was being discussed at the time moment in the recording.

These times seem to fluctuate, times on player inconsistent and therefore estimates, so they are very approximate;  the topic itself is highly condensed.  Hard to find it by using this as a guide, which was my goal, so I probably won't do it this way again.

3:30 Introduction of Dr. James Wertz
5:30 Emphasizing lower costs as agenda, where conference is
10:30 Mon. May 2, what panels about and who is on them, who are speakers
12:30 Full list of papers on website "reinventing"  "USA getting outperformed"
16:30 Dr Space not at conference this year, his engineer's wife in Japan dealing with tsunami issues
19:30 Keynote and lunch speakers Tues, Wed, Thurs- and what is about "focused group"
22:00 Very professional conference, the place to be for networking, "where it is happening"

Some discussion about comparable space capabilities of various countries- USA not always on top.

27:00 "imperative to have this capability" "only forum in this process" "key issue: dramatically expensive"
29:00  break, comment:  Shocking revelation about the expensiveness of USA space assets and what it means.  This has serious consequences not only because of budgetary issues, but performance consequences as well.   After the break, some discussion of books.  "Field has gotten old."  Need for replacement book.
Evidently a new teaching book he's talking about. "Smad book"

32:00  Astronautic book needed and created.  Replacement of old smad book.   Changing way books being used.  Ebooks, etc.  Want combine traditional book with website.  Calculations etc.  Web site references in the book.  Elaborates on features like this.

37:00 Dr. Space recommends a book which available for free.  This must be same  book discussed in an earlier post.  Discusses "John's" book.  Wertz knows him, he says.  Adopted a bunch of teenagers.

40:30 Textbooks on Kindles.  Comment: Chris Laird said no way to this.  Dangerous in a way.  But it is definitely convenient and therefore seductive.

44:30 Books on teaching of astronautics.  How to get these books.

49:30 Continued discussion of books.  And second break.

53:00 Recap of textbook and conference.  Website not there yet.  Discussion swerves into technology. SBIR's.

57:00 Spacecraft discussion.  Small telescopes.  Small thrusters.  Cubesats.  Mentions composites. "Flying propellant tank"  maneuvering capability, modern tech in regards to above.   Two years away from launch.

Mini sprites.

1:01:00 Some joking about the government running up the costs.  Not funny.  Composite tank technology question asked by Dr. Space.  Can use for cryogenics.  Evidently solved this problem.  No expansion or contraction, may be problematic.  Long discussion of composites.  Composites are strong compared to metals and lightweight.

1:07:00 Tank fell at high altitude and still reusable.  Rugged quality.  Discussion of X prize. Sold composite tanks to participant that worked well for them.  Metals v composites and their interfaces.

1:11:00 Can work around interface problems.  Stringers as part of wall of a tank and bolt to them.
How tanks can be used, for example, as a frame to build around.  Discusses how he got into this line of work.

Longhorn days, football.

Starts to wrap up show.  Discussion of lowering of cost of moonbase.  Sounds encouraging.


In connection with what was mentioned on the show and this post , I have gotten the impression that many folks at NASA needs to study up on the KISS principle.  Perhaps the principle has gone out of style.

There is book you can buy off of Amazon with this title, but the reviews are bad.  One said- in connection to software and modern computers being so fast- that the principle is no longer necessary.  This is just sloppy thinking.  It ought to be adhered to on general principles even if it is unnecessary.  I think that's what gets you in trouble eventually.  The thing that is truly unnecessary is the complexity.

Carbon sequestration

A quick and dirty post here.  Here it is:  Use a big, dumb rocket to send carbon dioxide into orbit.  Why?  There has been discussion of processing Martian carbon dioxide into fuel.  ( Carbon monoxide and oxygen).  Why not do this in Earth orbit or in cis lunar space?  It would be a good way to sequester carbon and get fuel into space and to practice these techniques for a future Mars mission.  The big dumb rocket can do it cheaply as possible.  If anything goes wrong, and the carbon dioxide is released, it is no more harmful ( after it is dispersed) than what it is anyway.

Cracking water is very expensive.  This should be cheaper.

The Morning Summary

This will be the new feature that I mentioned yesterday.  I will sum up the progress of the blog in as succinct a manner as I can manage.

Sitemeter stat yesterday 4404  today 4412,  Blogger's pageviews: yesterday 23, which counts up to 7pm local time, since 7pm, it shows 14.    You could say anywhere between 8 and 23 pageviews depending upon what standard is applied.  Not very good.  Nobody left a comment, so there is no public bids.   No private messages, either.  Not good either.

One thing I will not do is kid myself.  Or try not to kid myself.  Or anyone else.  These are ghastly numbers.  No doubt about it.  The big question, and this needs answering, and soon, is how do I do better?

I will add to that a daily plan on what I would like to achieve today.  That will also become a part of the morning summary.  I will write something about the big, dumb rocket concept.  By the way, I use that because it runs counter to conventional wisdom.  The conventional wisdom needs to be challenged, because conventional wisdom is not doing well these days.

I have some other stuff that's getting put off that I will have to attend to.  This is not blog stuff, but I will keep writing, so stay tuned.  It may be lite posting today, but I will check in from time to time to keep things updated.

I may want to do a post on the Space Show.  Dr. Livingston's schedule is light, as I understand, and I am one show behind.  I want to keep up, so I will need to listen to that soon.  That should make for a full day.  Thanks for stopping by.

Update:  a few minutes later

I want to remind myself that JP Aerospace has some pictures of their recent mission, which went well.  I bought some ad space on that mission.  If I can get some decent pictures out of this, I will post them to the picasa web album and post here.

Scratch the picasa web album idea for my paid ads.  Only Friends should see that.  If you want to see them, friend up on Facebook.  I will consider posting decent public photos of the mission.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Making how to videos

I have a long gap in my posting today because I am making these videos.  I realize not everyone knows how to upload videos to a web album.  Or, perhaps not everyone knows what a picasa web album is.  These videos will attempt to get someone started on this without needing to be especially web savvy.  My idea is to follow the Geico commercial slogan "so easy a caveman can do it".  This will depend upon my videos being sufficiently explanatory.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do that.  When I am finished, I will post them all on YouTube, and then link to them from this page.  I won't be putting them up on the public side of YouTube with my other videos.  If you want to see them, you have to come here first.  ( tee hee)

I expect to have this completed by the end of the day.

8 pm approx.

What a nightmare.  Actually, making web albums with Google Picasa is easy, but I managed to get sidetracked on something that wasted hours of my valuable time.  I finished up a total of 9 videos, and I think the last one is the most useful of all because it cuts through all the BS I had to go through in order to get the result I wanted.

If you watch all the videos, you will spend a lot of time on it as I did, but you won't spend as much, and you probably will learn not what to do.  In the end, you will know what to do and how to do it, I think.

This all assumes that you don't know how already.  If you would rather avoid watching the vids, which are very rough, and amateurish (sorry), you can read this:

1) Google "picasa" and click on web albums
2) Create google picasa account
3) You may have to download a software program.  Do that, but don't use it.
4) If you use their software program, God help you.  It will waste a lot of time and not work the way you intend.
5) Instead of using their software, just click on the upload button on the home page.  You can upload files manually one at a time.  This is the easiest part.  The key to remember is that you shouldn't use the software program.  Just you the web page and the upload button on it.  That should be easy enough.

Here are the links to the videos (click on the number in parenthesis) :

1) use google to search for picasa link
2) click on blue button to sign into picasa web album to create an account, if necessary
3)  fill in the form in order to create new account for google picasa web album
4) after creating google account, Download program??  Is it really necessary?  Here's why I wasted time.
5) downloading the executable file, and begin installation, here is where I get bogged down
6) after tech problems, got the run file running and installed, got Picassa software up and running
7) Picassa software scans the computer.  I didn't need nor want this.  Just need to upload 1 file at a time.
8) Still spending time doing what I didn't intend doing.  This software is for scanning computer (see above).
9) Here's where is should have been in the first place.  ( See 4 up above)  You may have to download this file, but don't use it.  Just use the upload button on Picassa web album home page.  The rest is self explanatory.



A link to my YouTube page is here.

Markets Today

Oil is down, Alcoa missed revenue estimates, Goldman Sachs says oil too high.  Japan raised the severity level to as high as it gets for their Fukushima tsunami damaged nuke event.  Bad news all around, markets are having a bad day.

Nobody really knows what drives a market on a given day, but everybody takes a shot at it.  It takes time to sort it all out for its deeper meaning.

As for Japan, they may be able to clean this up with their own robotic technology.  If they can make a lot of robots that can go where people can't and do a lot of things that people do, they may be able to do a lot to clean this up without getting a lot of people sick.  Just an idea.

Going for broke

It would appear to be an old hackneyed phrase.  But it is quite significant in terms of this blog.  It is so significant, that I am going to make a habit of starting each day with a status report on this blog's production.  If my blog can't make it commercially, I lose credibility.  So, I am going to have to do this.  It now goes with the territory. (another apparent hackneyed expression, lol)

How will I do this?  I will use the sitemeter down below to give me some a verifiable performance metric.  I can report that here, or you can see for yourself at the bottom of the page.  I can't do that with all measurables, but I will try to report as many of these as I can.  The site meter says 4404 visitors to this page.

Is that accurate?  It is over a nearly 7 month period.  I think it is about as accurate as Blogger's own stats, which are combined with Sitemeter's contribution ( a recent addition), which is explained here.  The problem is that the two metrics are in conflict.  Blogger reports more pageviews than Sitemeter,  but sometimes it is the other way around.  I started using Sitemeter back in Feb, but it started counting more pageviews than Blogger until I figured out why.  Then, I reset Sitemeter to the Blogger number and began displaying the number on the bottom of this page.  I started that recently.

The numbers still conflict, so I may need to adjust the number in order to get back into some realistic number.

As of this writing, Sitemeter says 4404, Blogger says 4525.  I have Blogger configured not to count my pageviews, but I think it counts some of them anyway.  But Sitemeter appears to be not counting all pageviews, because its number is smaller than Blogger's.  Maybe I should report both.

Sponsors will be displayed on the front page.  I can have a featured sponsor and other sponsors that are not featured with a display on the front page, but on a dedicated page.   A featured sponsor gets a dedicated page, which are limited in availability. The Experimental Page is that page.  By the way, Blogger gives me 10 pages, including the home page.  I have already used about half of these.  Perhaps I can get rid of some of those and make room for more sponsors.  But since I have no sponsors as of this time, there is plenty of room now.  I will leave a products page, because I have already promised this to a few folks.  This will stay as it is as long as the blog is here.  I am going to keep the index for navigation page.

Candidates for removal?  Let's see 1) Little Search Engine that could  2) and the about me page.  There is room in the Profile link page that Blogger supplies, so this is a redundancy that can be eliminated.  The Little Search Engine that could can be combined with the Index page.  That leaves up to six pages for sponsors.

The pricing for Sponsors?  I can offer a featured display for a nominal fee now, with the caveat that prices will be adjusted higher if the readership grows.  The featured page can continue for a limited time in which it will have to be renewed.  Each featured Sponsor will get a dedicated page for no extra charge.  Once the time on the feature ends, the dedicated page will remain for a limited time as well and will expire later.  ( this to be determined on an ad hoc basis)  All sponsors will get on the Products page and continue for as long as the blog does.  This is free.  I have a few of these now and those can be observed by going to the products page.

One of these is Chris Laird, who I mention quite frequently on this blog.  I okayed it with Chris and everybody else on that page.

I can start pricing the sponsorships at a bid, as like an auction.  The price will start at 99 cents.  Anybody who wants to sponsor this page for a week, can make a bid for that starting now.  All bids will be displayed on the status report.  If you want to bid privately, send an me an email.  Or if you want to contribute and get a sponsorship that way, you can.

As of this writing, there are no sponsors because this is brand new.  We will see how it goes.  I will report this on a daily basis here each morning with my first post, along with the latest Blogger stats and Sitemeter stats.  If I have to make adjustments, I will report that at this time.  The navigation label will be put on the sidebar, as this will be a new label entry for the sidebar entry.

I have a video on YouTube that demonstrates how these labels work.  You can access my videos at the bottom of this page.  It is called video bar and it points to my YouTube page.  Look for the video on my YouTube Page.  I will go there and include it in a playlist, if I haven't done that already.



I think the mechanism by which a bid may be placed could be in the form of a comment.  You can do it two ways by making a private offer, or a public bid.  If there was a private offer, it will supercede a bid if it exceeds the bid.  That means, if there was a bidder for the 99 cent minimum and somebody did better privately, that will supercede the bid.  The private offers will posted as the highest bidder, so that anyone bidding can have a shot at winning.

As I mentioned, proceeds for this auction will go to support the Space Show, not me.  This auction will end 1 week from today at the hour of my original post here, which was about an hour ago.

If you like the Space Show, and this blog, please support it by making a bid.  Payment can be by the PayPal button on this page.  I am doing a DBA business arrangement here, so I own the business and will have to pay taxes on it.  Of course, if this business ever amounts to anything, I will want to change that to a non profit corporation.  But there is no justification for that yet.



I have made the changes indicated above, plus I moved Sitemeter's stats up toward the top of the page.

10:00 am

The example slideshow for the sponsors there have actual photos taken by yours truly.  It is in a Picasa Web Album and they are public.  I may have mentioned this before, but will do so again.  All you need is some photos and a product to sell.  These photos were made by a camera phone.  Most camera phones will allow you to email yourself so that you can get your picture out of the phone and into a computer so that it can be transmitted or uploaded to the Picasa Web Album.  All Google asks for is an email address.  It can be any email address, I would imagine.  The Web Album is divided into public and private albums.  The one you need for this application must be public.

Restrictions for the albums: use your common sense.  Porn or violence not acceptable, of course.  Saleable merchandise is.   Suggestions and feedback welcome.

Update: 11:00 approx

I said earlier that this blog hasn't earned a cent.  It has actually earned 1 dollar from an Amazon sale.  But it cannot be collected yet because the sum was too small.  As for anything else, there has been no donations.  The other revenue source, AdSense refused to pay the 180 dollars that they said the blog earned.  It is rather pricey for so few pageviews, but the blog does get pageviews.  And they paid nothing for them at all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Funny vid

What if there was a real colony on Mars and there was a bad guy like Kohagen, who wouldn't give the people air? So, I started looking at YouTube videos of Total Recall. This one was pretty good.

Too bad I didn't study physics

My knowledge of physics consists of a single high school course.  Aside from that, I have no formal schooling on the subject.  So, what comes next may be taken with an extra large grain of salt.

Since I first saw the Dense Plasma Focus concept, I've been intrigued by it as a potential propulsion system.  This interest just increased when I saw this Wikipedia entry on the subject of fusion.  The idea that grabbed me was the caption on the right side of the page which includes this equation:

kinetic E = Δmc2, where Δm is the change in rest mass of particle

This grabbed me because the fusion reaction produces "kinetic" energy.  This is the kind of energy that you want for a propulsion device.  Does this mean anything significant?  Well, I wish I knew, but I don't.  I know that the c squared part of this equation is a very, very large number.  And m, meaning mass is a very small number for a single atom of helium four, pictured with the mentioned caption.  "Mev" means million electron volts, if I am not mistaken.  It must be a lot of energy, because the reaction is far more energetic than fission, which yields plenty of energy itself.

What is the practical effect of the change in delta m?  What velocity does this mean in terms of kinetic energy?  It must be a large number, I would think.  It would seem that if this reaction can be produced with enough mass, then considerable kinetic energy can be formed.  There would be no need to heat up a reaction mass as the kinetic energy thus supplied could be significant enough in its own right to propel a spacecraft.  That is what interests me.

The debt limit fight will be different?

I don't think so.  Logic suggests that if they couldn't handle the easier job, like this last one, they won't be able to handle the tougher one coming up.  They've surrendered already, this game is over.

People love scary stories

It is an observation. Bad news is news, good news is no news. Headlines are made that way. If a cure is found for cancer, it won't be as interesting as the death of a million people. If the choice came between these two stories as top billing, which one do you think would receive it? Is there any doubt?

That's why I am skeptical whenever I hear really scary news, like a EMP device. Not that some wacko may have one of these, and even use it. But the odds of this actually being deployed in any meaningful way seems doubtful. The more likely thing would be for the Koreans to sell the technology to someone else. Or to try to blackmail the USA into paying them not to deploy it. This kind of thing has worked for them before. Why not try it again?

What can you do about such a device if it exists? All things considered, any advanced power can already make one. If someone wants to do this, it is already possible, if I am not mistaken. By Murphy's Law, therefore, if it can exist, it probably already does.

What can you do about it, then? If there are meaningful countermeasures, then that is what should be pursued. Frankly, I don't know enough to know what that might be.  

If, by any chance, this is already covered, it then wouldn't be news anymore, now would it?

Chris Laird alert about books

He says that our books may be tampered with, if we are not careful.  If you allow everything to be put on an ebook basis, they can be tampered with.  Better to have a big, bulky book which cannot be tampered with, than to have an electronic one that can.

Good point.  I don't trust the sons of bitches, either.

Friday's space show, April 8, 2011

Announcement: pay attention to newsletter and schedule, only a few shows in next few weeks.

No bad phone lines anymore, will hang up if line is bad.

Can't do show without contributions, looks like he asks for support on every program
reminder that it costs a lot of money for certain shows. Costs money to produce. Gives it away for free. My reaction: sure, if you got the money. If you don't?????

Has to get tough with listeners who are calling too soon. Introduces guest: Bob Zimmerman. Frequent guest on John Batchelor Show. One of top people he says. Behind the is his website. Bob is politically minded. More inclusive and broad than usual.

He says he likes comments on the website. David mentions SpaceX. Bob talks a bit about it. Falcon heavy 50 tons into LEO. Second most powerful rocket built. Spacex has a timeline and it looks firm.

He will be a leader in everything, says Bob. 1/10th cost of shuttle. Innovations to reduce the cost. How? Use strap ons for more power. Simple and straightforward. Not new technology, strap ons have been around a long time. He is building because the market needs. Makes Constellation more and more unnecessary. NASA can't dictate terms, he is in driving seat. Smart in every way. Consistent with Elon Musk, Bob says.

David asks about press conf. IPO question. David quotes paragraphs
Musk might take public next year, but doesn't want to relinquish control. Goals: to create self sustained colony on Mars.

(My comment) Don't hitch star to Musk. I like going to Mars, but that has to wait until we are ready. Don't always agree with Musk. He uses batteries on Tesla. Not fuel cells. Going to Mars is too ambitious. Zimmerman is gushing over SpaceX. I like what they are doing, but not a Mars mission this way.

(resume) SpaceX is growing company. (comment) Success is coming from competing against a moribund NASA. EZ act to follow.

(resume)SpaceX a threat? Ans: Opinion has changed. Not taken seriously. Now something of a threat. The threat is real, and they have to respond in like kind. Boeing, for example, lived off government all these years. Didn't have to lower costs. Faced with reality that SpaceX may end their business. Other example, ATK.

(comment) A bit of discussion about lower launch costs. What did I just do yesterday? But I didn't listen to this show on Friday. This puts me behind in a way.

ATK resumed: discussion of how ATK has changed. Bob points out that we are entering a period of transition. He says not as bad as Soviet Union. ( comment: we shall see)

Bob compares the old way to the way the old Soviet Union used to do things. Actually, from what I read yesterday, we could learn a lot from the Russians. This is too self congratulatory for what should have been long ago and could still go wrong. Nothing has happened yet. Time to rethink he says. I agree.

First caller "Marshall" asks about costs for getting a man rating. Can Musk get around paperwork requirements? Ans. Not waiting for NASA to tell him, he builds it and offers it to them instead. Put himself in strong position, gives faith he will produce in future.

When NASA shows up with paperwork, won't ignore them, but if NASA tries that, he can shut them up. Example FAA holds back license, like Scaled Composites, everybody sees them as standing in way.

Don't have to beg NASA for approval. Bert Rutan effect. Got ahead of curve, and tamed the bureaucracy. Not waiting for regs.

David: SpaceX is bright side. Asks about gov't shutdown. Shut down the most visible ones that upset the public. Political gamesmanship.

Salaries stop? If shutdown, will not be paid. ( I think they know that they will get paid) People are in pain (part of transition Bob says, you have to find it yourself).

Gov needs to get out of way. Get accused of bad things, but have to face realities that need to transition.

David says he thinks they are letting America down. (So, everything I said earlier in my own blog says the same thing, only he said it first. So it looks like I am parroting him, but I am not. I didn't hear the show.)

Bob says the government is the Emperor with no clothes. (Hah! I did say that before this show.)

NASA's funding is vulnerable because of New Space as well as the political milieu in which it finds itself these days.

Bob: Congress will waste a lot of money because they are still playing politics the same way they have been playing it all along. A political reality that prevents it from actually solving any problems.

Comment: the last election didn't force enough of these guys out. Nothing fundamental has changed. Business is still business as usual. I said this before the election and afterward.

Bob says "we are a democracy, we are in charge". I say really? The government is still doing what it damn well pleases.

David asks about other countries, Bob replies that most countries are still following Soviet style model. Russia is now more private than before, and is getting more money from its government. India is also following the Russian model, he says. China is old Soviet model, and they are not in it for profit. ( This indicates the feeling that they are rolling in dough and don't have to economize. This is what will bite them hard in the ass at some point in the future.)

comment: Bob's analysis of the business may be a little in conflict with what I found yesterday. Russia's success is that they keep it simple. America's problem is that we made our systems too complex and therefore, costly.

Some discussion of ITAR regs.

Bob emphasized transition. Out of control budget. (yes) Decline of manufacturing and growth in public sector. Where does money come from? Going bankrupt. Can't pay for space program if we are bankrupt. (yes) People won't recognize problem (yes Gushes over SpaceX again.)

Observation: He goes on about the transition and how, in his judgment, Obama doesn't want to shrink government, except for NASA. In effect, he wants to end NASA, without ( my comment here: any concern for what that may mean for this country. This is in keeping with a highly negative view of Obama, which appears to be greatly justified. People simply do not get the point here, I suspect.)

David mentions that Bob is Tea Party. Oh well. That pretty much wipes him out for the libs. They won't listen to this guy.

(Me again. Is the Tea Party interested in military spending? They should be. If they want to keep military spending and space programs, they may find that these conflict. Can't fund them both at this level. This is a big, big, issue. They need to get this right, because there isn't enough time.)

break in the program. One hour into it.

James Webb Space Telescope discussion: crowding out other science projects. Started as a 1.5 billion program, now at 6 billion. Originally scheduled for 2011, now 2015. Cost overruns have to come from somewhere. New projects can't start until Webb gets paid for.

Other programs have "died". ( Speculation alert: What if this happened for the same reason everything else does? What if they didn't keep it simple, but insisted upon doing it the most expensive way possible?)

I'm sorry, but the rest of this bores me. And annoys the living crap out of me. It is the same beast in a different costume. The same damned thing. I won't get bogged down discussing the same crap over and over again.

I am going to shut down the rest of the program at this point. This is belaboring the obvious by now.


resume the program

It appears from what Bob says, that the space program will be solidly in the hands of the private sector by the next election. That means that it won't be a political issue.

Question (Rob in Denver) came up about Musk's trying to get to Mars, and he said that he may not have considered it as well as he could have. Bob said he wrote a book about that Leaving Earth. Money not problem, he says, having the will to do it. Baffles him, he says. Can get his book on his website.

In fifties, most big science done by private industry. Musk, he says, doesn't need to know that now. He's getting the ball rolling. Government won't get us there. (I agree)

David says he may forbid emails, because he really wants phone calls.

Discussion about academia. Yawn. Will have to adapt, or go out of business. (true for anyone, anywhere, on any subject)

Comment by John caught my attention: More interest in educational value in a generic
sense than in actually solving a problem, unless moonlighting for a specific industry.

Real world v academia discussion. David is in academia himself, so he speaks from
experience here. Mentioned students activism leading to letters to Congress by graduates and undergrads alike. They can drive the discussion, he says. Ahead of the game. You can sign these letters, Seds letter (, future of human spaceflight.

Bob says universities are too dependent on government funding.

Another example which is analogous to the rocket problem in another post. Water recycling was too heavily engineered v the Russians system. More likely because they wanted to spend a lot of money as opposed to actually solving a problem.

Politics of climate science has warped the science itself. (comment: waste of money,
anyway in my opinion.)

Personal responsibility only process that works, he says. Process is a way to cover
your ass, he says. Needs personal responsibility. Government process is designed so that nobody will take the blame. ( David jokes about hate mail.)


Dr. Livingston is on again this afternoon, but I think I will defer on that broadcast today. I may return to it afterwards, though. The topic isn't that compelling for me, as I am most interested in propulsion, as opposed to guidance. I think guidance and control is definitely important, of course, but propuslion is more high priority for me.

My memory is really short, and so is time

I must be getting old before my time.  I tend to forget things really fast, so I need a system that will help me remember.  In that spirit, I went back to this blog and read what I wrote yesterday.  Everything has a tendency to look different in the morning, so to speak.  When you sleep on something, I guess the old noggin is processing the info in some way and then, by the morning, things may look different.

But this time, no.  I went to bed thinking that things were downright bad, and I still think so.  Re reading the blog doesn't change that impression much, if at all.  Heck, it might even reinforce the notion.

Where do I go from here?  As anyone who reads this knows, I need a way to put this thing on a paying basis so I can keep doing this.  Otherwise, I will have to stop.  This is one thing I began thinking about as soon as I woke up.  After seven months of blogging, this blog has not earned a cent.  This will have to change somehow, because it can't last forever.

Then you've got the national scene and the world scene.  Things look like they can fall apart at any moment, so that is on my mind.  I can write about it here and share my thoughts with anyone who may be interested.  Maybe something good can come from that, or maybe nobody really cares, so it won't matter anyhow.

It is frustrating that nobody seems to care, but it is out of my control.  If I can't control it, I won't worry about it.  If the world wants to fall apart, then it will fall apart.  What I want to do is to make my own part of this world as sane as I can keep it.  That may be a challenge that is too much if the whole world falls apart.

My impression is that people just don't want to face the reality of the situation.  The tendency is to drift without any direction until you are going over the waterfall and then you ask, "why the hell didn't anybody see this coming?"  Reality is biting everybody hard on the ass, but nobody seems to be noticing that their ass has several deep bite marks and is bleeding profusely.  Trillion dollar deficits cannot last.  It will crash the financial system and that is a fact.  The longer this persists, the sooner the inevitable will occur.

Yet, our government does nothing.  What the hell is the matter with these people?  I think that they are in a bubble.   Washington is too detached and out of touch.  If they do understand this, and they are acting this way anyway, then they are screwing everybody with deliberate malice.  So, this is either incompetence or corruption.  Neither is good.  In any case, these people are going to have to go if there is any chance.  Unfortunately, we may not get that chance.

The time to act is now, but all we got is these people, and that is poor material to work with.  Sorry for sounding so negative, but these people in Washington do not impress me.  People out here need to pay attention to these clowns, but nobody seems to be.  When they do pay attention, they listen to these idiotic TV programs that only serve the interests of the clowns in charge.  The media is the establishment and they are in cahoots with the clowns who are causing this mess.

You got to find answers elsewhere.  You can't rely on the establishment who is, bluntly speaking, lying their asses off.  This in service to their own interests and against the interests of everyone else.  Time to call them out and demand answers to these problems right now.

I am finished with this little rant.  Now I got to see if I can stir up something for this blog and for me.  Bills keep coming, you see.


The spinmeisters are out there touting this as a victory.  This only goes to show that these people aren't serious.  There is no victory here.  It's just another retreat.  And they are preparing the way for another one.


I do have stuff to do, but I will continue to post here.  Don't go away.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Should humans attempt to colonize space?

Looks like a modest number of people are participating in this discussion and poll.  Yes 57%, No 43%.

I haven't written a response to that over there, but why not here?

I say yes.  After the big, dumb rocket discussion, I am convinced that large amounts of matter can be sent into orbit with consumables that would support life for some time.  Not only that, but could be expanded over time for as anyone on Earth who wanted to do it.  This would not result in a completely new world immediately, but it would, over time, result in enough matter to sustain a human colony of some size for an indefinite period of time.

How many launches of the big, dumb rocket?  At 550 tons payload per launch, let's say that you were to do as many launches as the Space Shuttle, about 120.  That would result in 550 times 120 tons of matter.  This would result in about 66000 tons of matter, which is about the size of  two World War II aircraft carriers.  Actually, this is not terribly impressive after 120 launches, but the Space Shuttle has managed only a much smaller station, which definitely cannot support itself for long.

The WWII vintage USS Lexington could accomodate 2600 men.  Now, it would be a lot different in space, but it could definitely handle a lot more crew than the space station does now.  The configuration would be different of course.  It's method of providing for itself would be different too.  But something this large could become a base of operations for more significant forays into space.  And these would not require so much support from Earth.

I can envision a system of these stations in space which could become trading outposts between the Earth and the rest of the solar system.  They could produce goods that could be traded with Earth and vice versa.  The system, once deployed, could sustain itself through its own activities. 

I can't prove this, though.  Let's run that one by some experts.  I think that such a system could have a reasonable chance of being self supporting.

This looks interesting

Fuel cells made by United Technology. This looks like an advertisement, though. It was in a Google search which was in an effort to find out if anyone in the world is utilizing the hydrogen from ammonia concept, and to see how many places in the world may be using fuel cells in transportation. It didn't look like very many.

Newsletter - Edition 261 - 10 April 2011 By Christopher Laird

This week's newsletter.  It is subscription based, so if you want the full skinny, you will have to subscribe.

USD and 2012 questions
Metals and USD right now
2012 stuff won’t go away
The USD role in 2012?
US rollover is $3 trillion a year, US fiscal deficit is $2 trillion a year = US debt burden for 2011 of $5 trillion of US bonds??
USD fall by accident or ‘plan’ what is the difference?
Markets in a pickle
Lots of new leaders taking the world stage
What perfect timing! What a ‘coincidence’
US reaching known critical debt level
Combining prophecies creates a psychological mood
But there is another market scenario for Summer too


It is easy to get discouraged by all this, but there is nothing to do but to keep going.

LEO on the cheap

This is a pdf file I am reading right now. It says that launch costs do not have to be as high as they are. This is a 1993 paper, so one wonders why nothing was done about it. But given the fact that the government doesn't really intend to make anything cheaper, then it becomes understandable.

Note:  I'll be updating this as I go along.  I'm just getting started.

Also:  here is the title page, which I hope will reassure readers that the author of this pdf is no amateur.


Update:   12:50pm

I have to mention that I begin reading this with a bias.  I suspect that there is a lot of waste in the government, that the government does not want to economize; but the opposite, and that lower costs are not only possible, but necessary if space travel is to ever become economically feasible.

Update: 12: 55pm

Just finished first chapter.  It is mostly about what, as opposed to how.  Still looking for how to lower costs.

Update: 1:07 pm
Survey of existing launch systems.  Next chapter, new systems ( from viewpoint of 1993)

Update:  1:24pm
Space plane is discussed.  Of course, it never became a commercial vehicle, or much more than an experimental vehicle.  Also, a modernized version of the Sea Dragon is discussed called SEALAR.  It wasn't the Big Dumb Rocket idea, though.  Actually, it was to be a small rocket.  It got dropped by the Navy just before it could do a launch.  Another idea that was discussed was the Taurus, which is still being developed, evidently.  I have heard of it, but it doesn't appear to have been a big success.  Three chapters in, doesn't look like there's anything here yet.

Update: 1:29
Will stop here for a little while.  Be back later.

Update; 1:57 pm

It is getting more into the why of the high costs of launch.  It confirms my suspicion that the US Government doesn't build these things for cost effectiveness.  You couldn't have possibly designed a worse spacecraft for the purposes of economy than the Space Shuttle.  It's is what I thought.  No intention exists to economize.

Update: 2:26 pm

It is getting a bit thick here in the analysis dept. Basically what you need is a simple launch system.  Also, you need to avoid re inventing the wheel.  Launching high value cargo should go into one type of vehicle and low value cargo in another. (that's my opinion)  I'm going to take a break here and resume later.

Update 3:45
I found a passage that is worth quoting, but not now.  Basically, NASA has a bias against producing cheaper technology.  The bias is opposite.  That bias also extends to our culture.  This makes sense to me.  It can be summed up in the phrase, "you get what you pay for".  The fallacy here is that if it is expensive, it must be better.  But if it is too expensive, it isn't going to do anybody any good.

Update 4:45

I've seen enough to reach a conclusion.  The culture has to change.  More expensive does not equal better results.  In fact, it may well be the thing that holds us back.  Rockets are simple, but are made more complex, and more expensive than they have to be.  The solution here may well be a big, dumb rocket to transport consumables, fuel, and low value freight.  The more expensive freight and crew should be on more complex machines that are designed for safety.  You can lose cheap cargo, but not crew, nor expensive machines.

The Shape of Things to Come

This is a reference to a blog series written by Francis Poretto, aka Curmudgeon Emeritus of Eternity Road.  I had a link to his blog on my sidebar, and this post is to inform anyone interested that I have updated the link as a new link to this series.

What he says is fairly similar to what I've been reading from Chris Laird, which I have referenced many times on this blog. It may be similar to what Glenn Beck has been talking about, but I don't watch TV at all, except for sporting events, so I couldn't say about that one.

It may be too silly to think otherwise, but I would rather maintain an optimistic point of view.  If things were really this bad, you might as well go curl up into a light ball as in a fetal position and start sucking your thumb.  It may be impossible to get out of this mess, but it will definitely be impossible if nothing is done and done soon.  He may be right in that it may well be too late already.  Let's keep in mind that as long as we are alive and kicking, hope is still alive.  This might sound a little too pie in the sky, especially these days.

I do believe that solutions can be found.  But the will has to exist to solve our problems.  That is the fact that is in question.  Who will arise to lead the way?

Nerds and Geeks

Got an idea for this post from Glenn Reynold's Instapundit, who mentioned that Neflix is going to make all Star Trek TV shows available for instant streaming.  He called it "nerd heaven".  So, being somewhat of a semanticist (maybe not quiet fanatical about it), I got curious enough to learn the distinction between nerddom and geekdom.

From these two definitions, it appears that a rough estimation could be made here:  better to be a geek than a nerd.  A geek gets it done, a nerd appears to be at the very bottom of the pecking order.  Being a geek earns some status because it implies a certain capability.  Nerds seem to lack everything that could possibly make you cool in some way.  At least a geek can be cool in a certain way at certain times.  There you go, my take on it.  What is yours?

By the way, I like Star Trek, but I wouldn't call myself a "trekkie".  I don't know what that says, but there it is.


It reminds me of my superhero series, Dr. StrangeBrain.  Every superhero has an alter ego- Peter Parker to Spiderman, Clark Kent to Superman, Bruce Wayne to Batman.   The superhero's real identity is just a geek or a nerd ( but maybe not always in the case of Bruce Wayne).  Do I have to tell you who the alter ego to Dr. StrangeBrain is?  I took something of my own experiences and put it into that character.  It wasn't well planned or well done and it is a first story, or first draft, so to speak.

Inasmuch as this is an arts and sciences blog, fictional superheroes fit into the theme of this blog.  This blog has to be about something, after all.  If I may make something of an analogy here without going too far off the deep end?  Here it is: art is the alter ego of science.  Art is Batman; Science is a Moon Shot.  This also fits the theme of the Superhero series, and Dr StrangeBrain.   StrangeBrain is fiction, but my life is real.

Does Dr. StrangeBrain have a song?  The Doors' People are Strange comes to mind.  That amuses me, so I'll make it the Doctor's theme song.  I can relate to that song.