Saturday, September 3, 2011

Belarus Hyperinflation Update

Food Runs Out As Friendly Foreigners Take Advantage Of The "Favorable" Exchange Rate Arb

  • We fully expect the exchange rate a year from today to be several million percent higher, as the ghost of Weimar and all other failed Keynesian experiments moves in to haunt this former Soviet satellite country.
  • If only these people had known in advance what happens when a deranged Keynesian madman is in charge of it all...
Calling Paul Krugman....   Calling Paul Krugman....  Calling Paul Krugman...

That's bad

No, that's good.

Sarah Palin’s speech to the Iowa Tea Party

She proposed an elimination of ALL corporate taxes

Liberals will love that idea. /sarc


Was that a scary movie or not?  Here's the part where the chief says that you need a bigger boat

frickin HUGE shark
I like to imagine how movies end differently.  I found this site and this is how it might have ended differently

Afterburner: The Truth Is Out There

What is truth?

It isn't a new question. 

FuturePundit: Food Challenge For Mars Mission

FuturePundit: Food Challenge For Mars Mission

ISS in trouble?

Spacex mission could be delayed but Cautious Optimism that Russia can get a mission to keep Crew in Space Station

This could mean a potential loss of the ISS.   Let us hope that is not the case.

Morning Summary, 8/3

Good morning.

It appears that I have reached a snag in my armchair physics studies. It will take a long time to study it all in order to be able to understand it properly. After spending some time on it this morning, the significance of my lack of understanding was becoming more clear to me.

After reaching my age, I have noticed a tendency of mine- many times than what I care to remember- to take on more than I can chew. And here I am, having done it again.

With respect to "cold fusion", it is enough for me to say that I understand it to be incorrect use of language.  I respect language enough to want to make that distinction.  Cold, in this sense, means low energy.  Fusion in this sense, means strong nuclear force.  Putting those terms together appears oxymoronic.  In order to bring about fusion, one needs high energy to overcome the Coulomb barrier and bring the strong nuclear force into play.  Therefore, it would seem to be a contradiction in terms.  Hence, the confusion of cold fusion.

Low energy nuclear reactions seem to be the more correct term.  It is not fusion, it is not overcoming the Coulomb barrier, it does not invoke the strong nuclear force.  It invokes the weak nuclear force instead.  The forces in the Standard Model of Particle Physics are:  strong, weak, and electromagnetic.  Strong and weak nuclear forces are substantially different from each other.  For example, the Coulomb barrier implies electromagnetic force.   Likewise, weak nuclear force involves beta decay; not fusion, nor fission.  Fusion and fission belong to the strong nuclear force.  Beta decays do not make bombs.  But they can be used to make energy.

It has taken me awhile to get to this point.  But I haven't got a lot of time.  Let's just leave it at this point.  I think I've got it now- so as to understand these most basic points.  No need to pass myself off as an expert.  Let that distinction be made clear.  I am just an ordinary guy trying to understand a difficult subject.  And write about it as best I can.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What is this?!

iPad head girl. Can she see with that on? Evidently. She is reading a book too. But it looks like she may not be noticing all the people gawking at her.

Well, that's all for today. Thanks for coming by and have a great evening.

Amateur hour physics

aka armchair physics.  I want to understand this Widom Larsen theory better.  To do that, I need to understand something that I don't right now.  I will work through the following.  Anybody who knows better, let me know, if you wish to comment.

beta decay:
n0 → p+ + e− + νe, more easily read by the following: neutron → proton + electron + electron antineutrino
Beta decay happens naturally, as single neutrons are unstable and will decay in a few minutes.

This experiment reversed this process in order to prove the existence of the antineutrino:
νe + p → n + e+ ; or more easily read as above: electron antineutrino + proton → neutron + positron

Note: a positron is positively charged antimatter version of an electron.  The experiment required an electron neutrino source to bombard the protons and produce the expected results.

I'm trying to understand how a proton can become a neutron since protons have 2 up quarks and a down quark and neutrons have 2 down quarks and an up quark.  Therefore, to go from a proton to a neutron, one up quark has to be converted into a down quark.

Since a down quark has more mass than an up quark, the bombardment of the proton by the electron antineutrino must add mass so that the up quark becomes a down quark and causes the proton to become a neutron.  But the newly formed neutron has more mass than the proton and the positron has the same mass as an electron.  Where does the extra mass come from?  It must come from the antineutrino, but it has low mass.  WTF?

I know antineutrinos have low mass, and they travel at near the speed of light.  Since velocity adds mass, then the antineutrinos bombarding the protons are adding the necessary mass.  That's what I think is happening.

Now, the Widom Larsen theory has electrons combining with protons to form neutrons.  Not the same as above.  Electrons have mass and are not traveling at near light speed.  The electron adds mass.  Somehow, the up quark will combine??? with the electron to form the down quark ( with a heavier mass) and turn the proton into a neutron.

This doesn't happen naturally, or we'd have a universe filled with neutrons.  It needs some help to bring about this result.

The Widom Larsen theory attempts to explain how this can happen within the context of low energy nuclear reactions.

Google Moon

Like Google Earth, there is Google Moon.  You can see the Apollo landing sites here.  But not in great detail.

I wanted to see more detail, but this was good enough for my purposes.  My purpose was to check out the idea that you could drive across the lunar surface from the poles to the equator.  That seems doubtful to me now because of the ruggedness of the lunar landscape.

The rovers on the latter missions covered some distance, it appears.  The distance between the poles and the equator would be in at least 1500 miles or so.  The surface would have to be relatively level to make that long of a trip.  That doesn't exist on the Earth either, but the Moon is even more rugged than that.  Plus, whatever conveyance you have will not be up to the journey, most likely.


By the way, here's a video of a mission to produce a 3D map of the lunar surface. It doesn't give that much detail though.

Yahoo Daily Ticker: As Economy Falters, The White House Is Up for Grabs, Says Politico’s Burns

  • poll ratings not good
  • economy match ups not good for Obama
  • Does Romney have what it takes to get nomination?
  • Is it a Perry Romney race now? (looks like it)
  • No predictions being made- question is whether Perry can hold up to scrutiny

Video: Why are tar sands evil, again?

Nine out of every 10 calories you eat come from fossil fuels. If it wasn't for fossil fuels, the machinery to harvest crops and to bring them to market could not work. You can't feed a world with animal power. Can't be done. So, to say that oil is evil is to say that most people alive today are evil because they must eat.

No? How else do you propose to feed people then? Windmills and solar power? Not enough energy there. For if there was enough, it would certainly be done. It can't be done because the need is too great.

The only other alternative is nuclear, which is probably considered even more evil by these people. Evidently, they are ignorant, or suicidal. Either way, they are not worth listening to.

Web Series Today: Model Ball

Interesting choice of words, that. Model ball? Think about it. Anyway, here's the video

Destination: Moon or Asteroid? Part III: Resource Utilization Considerations

The Once and Future Moon, Paul Spudis

The verdict is Moon First.   I agree.   So, how do we do this?

Here's a start:

EML1 Building by QuantumG

Comex Gold Extends Already Sharp Gains in Wake of Very Weak U.S. Jobs Report


The key non-farm payrolls figure came in at zero growth during August, while the consensus was for growth of 80,000. The July non-farm jobs figure was also revised downward.

Very volatile trading continues.  Dow is way down, gold is way up.


Ultra low momentum neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions on metallic hydride surfaces

via New Energy Times ( Widom-Larsen )

If low energy neutrons can be detected, does that prove the Widom Larsen theory?  After all, where do they come from?  I scanned the file and looked for evidence of such an observation.  A few excerpts from the file:

  • These will rarely be experimentally
    detected. In this regard, ultra low momentum
    neutrons may produce “neutron rich” nuclei in substantial
    quantities. These neutrons can yield interesting reaction
    sequences [19, 20]. Other examples are discussed below in
    the concluding section.
  • In summary, weak interactions can produce neutrons
    and neutrinos via the capture by protons of heavy electrons.
    The collective motions of the surface metallic hydride
    protons produce the oscillating electric fields that
    renormalize the electron self energy, adding significantly to
    the effective mass.
Along with the slow neutrons, you may want to find heavy electrons.
  • laser light fields can “dress” an electron in
    a non-perturbation theoretical fashion with an additional
    mass as in (5). Such mass modifications must be applied
    to electrons and positrons when pairs can in principle be
    blasted out of the vacuum [9, 10] employing colliding laser
    beams. The mass growth in the theory appears in a classic
    treatise on quantum electrodynamics [8]. 
  • The classical equation (21) holds true in the fully quantum
    mechanical theory if the electron density ˜n represents the
    electron density at the proton position [ comment: emphasis in the original] 
 One explanation applies the analogy of a single goose flying through an atmospheric disturbance as opposed to a flock of geese.  The flock has a better chance of making it through.  Think of it as a flock of electrons trying to get to the proton in order to form the low energy neutron.

There may be a problem verifying this.  How do you observe neutrons of this type that are rarely observed.  And how do you find the heavy electrons?  It may not be easy, but it doesn't say it is impossible.

    Word clouds

    I want to experiment with tag clouds. Just for comparison, I did a tag cloud on a number of web pages, just to see what they would look like. But I didn't get that much from it, actually. Then an idea struck me to try to get a feel for an essay by doing a word cloud analysis of it. For example, you can take an interview or an essay, like Limbaugh did with Dick Cheney. What did that word cloud look like? Let's take a look:

    created at

    Now compare this with Krugman's editorial
    created at

    I see more fear words in Krugman's essay.  Rush's interview seemed to have more thought words.

    Quantum Processor Hooks Up with Quantum Memory

    Quantum Processor Hooks Up with Quantum Memory

    Rossi Energy Catalyzer will be tested at NASA starting September 3, 2011

    Rossi Energy Catalyzer will be tested at NASA starting September 3, 2011

    More here.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

    Is there a stairway to heaven, or is it all a hopeless dream? Something to think over. Thanks for coming by and have a great evening.

    Nasa Return on Investment Report

    Got this link from SpaceXer's tweet.

    • The C2 Falcon 9 launch vehicle is currently at Pad 40, Cape Canaveral, and is undergoing final preparation for the mission. The integrated Dragon spacecraft is preparing for electromagnetic compatibility and thermal vacuum testing to verify the spacecraft's compatibility with ISS environments. The Dragon spacecraft is planned to be shipped from SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility to Cape Canaveral in September.
    • Each of NASA’s CCDev2 partners (Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, and SpaceX) has expanded their partnership with NASA through Reimbursable Space Act Agreements (SAAs). 
    • Under a new agreement established last month, NASA and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) will share personnel, infrastructure and information to accelerate the potential use of the Atlas V as part of a commercial crew transportation system. 

    Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster videos

    Solid Rocket Booster Splashdown

    Shuttle's Boosters Recovered in HD

    Discovery recovered Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Retrieval Ship Liberty Star [HD]

    Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters on Florida East Coast Railway 5/27/10

    Destination: Moon or Asteroid? Part II: Scientific Considerations

    Destination: Moon or Asteroid? Part II: Scientific Considerations

    Part II of a three part series.

    Many body effects, many theories

    Is it time to throw away the gasoline cans because of the energy revolution?  We are still waiting.  Seems like everyone is looking for the one single answer that fits all observations.

    excerpts from

    • What fuels the E-Cat? Rossi states that he uses micrometer grain
      sized nickel dust enriched to contain more of two useful isotopes,
      N-62 and N-64. 
    • The nickel is then processed to increase the number of
      surface tubercles (protrusions) to provide greater area for heat
      producing reactions with hydrogen gas under pressure. A secret
      catalyst is added to break apart the molecular hydrogen gas (H2) into
      atomic hydrogen (H1).
    • To make it simple, what happens is that nickel has a
      particularity that protons spread from it's surface with extreme
      efficiency very close to the nucleus, even if repelled by the so
      called coulomb barrier forces. When we inject protons of hydrogen at
      high pressures and temperatures, they go pretty close to the nucleus
      of the nickel. At those points we have nuclear effects that produce
      gamma rays which add more energy. We increase the pressure leading to
      extremely high pressures... similar to ones that happen inside White
      Dwarf stars. In that situation the so called Gamow Factor, which is a
      probabilistic calculation of the coulomb repelling forces, is
      overcome. At that point enough energy is produced to make it worth
      being recorded." - Andrea Rossi

    It can be recalled that the phenomenon LENR or "cold fusion", is a surface phenomenon.   Rossi's quote above fits with idea of maximizing the surface area.   Maximize the surface area, maximize the effect.

    BECNF theory posits that there is a many body effect on the surfaces.  Same with Widom Larsen's theory- relying upon the actions of quasiparticles on surfaces, which corresponds somewhat with BECNF theory.  

    There are many theories about "cold fusion".  It has been said that there are too many.  So, I pose the question, as I heard Edmund Storms posed in a similar vein, what if there is more than one way to skin the nuclear cat?  Many body effects, too many causes?  [ those last questions may be too cute, sorry]

    The Daily Ticker: "NEVER Buy Treasuries...

    I agree. The point is to buy low and sell high. How do Treasuries get any more expensive from here? The only reason to buy is to protect capital, but if they sell off, you will lose anyway. They are too expensive. If you buy, you may buy high and sell low. Too much risk of a downturn.

    Widom Larsen Theory LENRs . . . Energy Revolution? with Lewis Larsen President of Lattice Energy

    excerpts:  (video is about an hour long)
    • strong v weak interactions
    • strong interactions are related to weapons programs
    • weak interactions weren't considered useful for bombs, nor for power generation
    • "cold fusion" was thought to be another strong interaction, but it isn't
    • "cold fusion" isn't fusion
    • Fleischmann and Pons didn't have a theory to explain the phenomenon
    • explains theory - no new physics, existing physics put together in a novel way
    • weak interactions produce neutrinos- nature produces them all the time
    • collective effects
    • in a chemical cell, ie battery, run a current through it, will cause weak interactions
    • saturate metal with hydrogen, drops appear on surface, in this droplets a coupling occurs, protons and electrons combine ; [comment: beta decay results and produces the energy]
    • no gamma rays- don't need shielding and containment
    • like a battery, but lasts a long time, portable products can be made
    • more you make of these, the cheaper they get, like PC's [ comment: comparison with Moore's Law]
    • use variety of fuels, will cause energy to become cheap and affordable
    • discussion of benefits of cheap energy
    • Nasa studying it- physics are correct, a matter of engineering now
    • interdisciplinary theory partly responsible for nonacceptance, but no flaws found yet
    • sometimes effects are not understood at first, Faraday example
    • stop at 35 minutes, but there's more.  I'm stopping to post this.  You need to listen to this.

    Widom Larsen and BECNF -comparison and contrast

    Widom Larsen Theory and Zawodny at NASA Aviation Unleashed

    Comment: The significant thing about Widom Larsen is that it requires no new physics. No need to overcome the Coulomb barrier, as neutrons are formed, which are captured by the nucleus. It is pointed out that this could not be fusion, since it isn't a proton which is entering a nucleus of an atom, but a neutron instead. Beta decay will account for subsequent transmutations.

    This theory does not explain the E-cat.  It will require electric input to allow the electrons to merge with the protons forming the neutrons.  So far as I know, the E-cat is requiring only heat. 

    Krivit on Widom Larsen  theory .

    Krivit gives a simpler explanation of Widom Larsen.

    The key point is that it is different from BECNF in that it doesn't overcome the Coulomb barrier as BECNF does.  Therefore, it would seem that the burden of scientific proof is higher for BECNF.  Yet, Rossi's device is said to be operational.  As far as I know, there is no device yet that employs the principles of Widom Larsen.

    There are some similarities with the BECNF theory covered here previously. (see label on left sidebar for a list of these posts)   Both theories posit that quasiparticles allow unusual events to occur.

    In the case of Widom Larsen, low energy neutrons are formed.  The neutrons can be absorbed by nickel nucleii and release energy due to beta decay.

    In the case of BECNF, the Coulomb barrier gets suppressed by the Bose Einstein condensation.  This allows close enough proximity of ordinarily repelling like electrical charges- protons and nickel nucleii- so that they can fuse and release energy.

    These unusual events lead to the production of heat which explains the "cold fusion" phenomenon.  It is important to clarify though, that Widom Larsen theory is definitely not fusion.

    Both theories rely on the many body theories of quantum mechanics.  

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Bill Withers - Just the two of us

    Today was a day to reassess the situation based upon some new information. Can't tell yet how this will make a difference, but it is always possible a little tweak here, or a little tweak there may do it. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Until then, thanks for coming by, and have a great evening.

    New Blogger Interface

    For the last hour or two, I've been experimenting with the new Blogger interface.  This interface is optional for now, but it looks like the Google folks want the bloggers to use this new interface.  So, what does it all mean?

    There's good news and bad.  Which one first?  Let's take the bad.  Actually, it isn't really all that bad in my own case, but I can see where I'd be upset if the situation was a bit different.  The difference is this:  you can't market Amazon's books like you used to.  Before this change, you could include links to Amazon's books and products and hope to get a commission from it.  In my case, it didn't matter.  Nobody ever seemed to click on the ads anyhow.  Still, I'd like the opportunity, and now that is gone.

    The good news and it isn't all that good, is that I can more easily see what works and what doesn't.  Google is now reporting views for posts.  I looked through them and there's substantial amount of new information being given there.  Nice to know.  But, it doesn't tell me all that much.  I know what is working.  Perhaps I didn't know enough about what wasn't working, though.

    So, based upon a short amount of time that I've worked with it, it seems that I'll know how to post more interesting stuff for my readers.  Unfortunately, this won't do anything towards helping the blog actually make money.  Not that this was going to ever occur anyway.  At least before, I had some slight hope for that.  Oh, well.

    FLORIDA SPACErePORT: A chronicle of development in the space industry

    report for August 31, 2011

    Yahoo Finance: Did Bonds Just Peak?

    When it comes to U.S. Treasury bonds, did that just happen?

    Does a wild bear scat in the woods?

    Bill Gross, the bond guy, regrets his bearishness on bonds now that they are rallying. Does the following quote mean that Gross is now the last bear to turn bullish?  Here's the bromide:
    They say the time to sell is when the last bear turns bullish. 

    I've been saying it for months now.  Don't buy bonds.  I wouldn't buy stocks either.

    Space on Private space station cargo ship arrives at launch site

    The full story here.

    Destination: Moon or Asteroid?

    Part I: Operational Considerations by Paul Spudis

    • they do not have significant gravity fields of their own, so missions to them do not “land” 
    • Although there are several thousand NEOs, few of them are possible destinations for human missions.
    • On a NEO mission, a broken system must be both fixable and fixed by the crew.
    • Astronauts in low Earth orbit are largely protected from radiation because they orbit beneath the van Allen radiation belts, which protect life on the Earth. On the Moon, we can use regolith to shield crew but for now, such mass is not available to astronauts traveling in deep space.
    • Is it worth it? [comment: asteroid trip] That will be the subject of my next post. 


    I do not favor a trip to an asteroid first.  To the moon first, I say.  Instead of flags and footprints, we should settle it.  If this can't be done on the moon, where can it be done at all?

    Thinking big

    In previous posts, I discussed how to make a lunar colony self supporting. After all, it makes little sense to spend a lot of money just to subsidize an uneconomical activity. We do that pretty well already right here on the ground.

    So, just exactly what can a lunar colony produce for the Earth?

    It struck me that a big energy project could be built on the moon and beam the energy back to Earth. Yes, I've discussed this before. I ruled it out, now I am thinking it over again.  It occurred to me that the basic infrastructure would enable additional infrastructure to be built, which could earn an income.

    I think I ruled it out previously because energy is only worth about 40 bucks per megawatt hour, at wholesale rates. So, let's see. If a gigawatt plant running continuously, should be able to produce 40,000 dollars in income per hour. That's 350 million dollars of output per year. If it lasted 30 years, it would generate 10,512,000,000 ( 10.5 billion) in revenues. If one plant could be built thusly, it would need to be considerably less than this cost in order for it to be profitable.

    A lunar water cracking facility was priced at 88 billion or so.  It would not appear to be profitable, if the projects were comparable in complexity and cost.  But, let me forge ahead anyway.  Note: All of this is speculative, as I don't have the details of an actual design.

    Could you build such a structure on the moon? It would be large, I would think. For such a project would require a large workforce and a considerable amount of material being put into position in order to bring this facility into being.

    You would need to supply the fuel from the moon. You probably want to build it out of materials readily at hand on the lunar surface. This would require mining facilities. It would be a complex undertaking. Impossible? Perhaps.

    Now, if you were to build some supporting infrastructure first, this may be a bit more feasible.  I covered that in a previous post.

    You do not need water for a LFTR.  It is an inherently safe design and may not need much in the way of operational costs to run it.

    How big would a LFTR design need to be?  Hard to say.  From the link above, it would take 1 ton of thorium per year to run it.  That means 30 tons of thorium need to be mined and processed on the moon.  Thirty tons sounds like a lot, but is only slightly less than twice what the lunar landers weighed on the launch pad during the Apollo era.

    It would not require heavy shielding nor containment facilities, as it would not be under pressure.  So, the construction should be simpler than with a uranium fueled reactor.  If it would be possible to make it as simple as possible, it would help matters a lot.  Don't know if it needs to be covered, because I don't know if the salts would evaporate in the lunar vacuum.  If it does evaporate, then it will have to be fully enclosed.  That would make it more complex.

    It is an ambitious project, but if you are going to do something, why not think big and go all the way?

    Ethical oil

    Low Cost Hydrogen from Electrochemical Reforming

    This reminds me of what I posted earlier about methanol to hydrogen using electrolysis.

    Zero Hedge: How The Economy Quietly Entered A Recession On Friday

    And Why The GDP Predicts A Sub-Zero Nonfarm Payroll Number

    • the YoY change in real GDP, which is now at 1.5%, is a slam dunk indicator of recession
    • every time real YoY GDP has dropped below 1.5%, this has led to a negative nonfarm payroll number
    • every manufacturing index for the month of August has missed expectations
    • the collapse in real-time economic data (such as ISM, German IFO, etc.) over the past three months is the sharpest of the last two decades

    And Obama wants to block energy production.  Go figure.  He's got a bigger problem than climate change.

    Plastic money is foolproof?

    Plastic $100 bill meant to be foolproof - Canada -

    My old man said that "locks are for honest people". This seems almost oxymoronic, but a little thinking answers the conundrum. What locks offer is a feeling of security for the honest people, but aren't a hindrance to a determined crook. The same goes with supposedly foolproof currency. You may feel more secure using it, but that doesn't mean that it can't be beaten. A determined crook can beat it. And that doesn't even count the crooks in government who debase whatever value contained in their currency.

    Who owns the media?

    Who controls what we see and hear? For better or worse, they influence what we think.

    Ownership Chart: The Big Six

    Something's not passing the smell test

    I'm not a "birther". Never have been, never even considered it. I've even gone on this blog being critical about those who are. But then there's this video, and it raises certain questions.

    Given that the media is into this censorship of anything that hurts Democrats and is so whole heartedly leftist and won't report facts, and justifies itself in reporting fiction as fact- fake but real- it starts to get suspicious when something like this pops up and nothing comes of it.

    I'm not a birther. But I am definitely suspicious of the media. That's been true for a long, long time.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    The Obama Effect

    The Obama Effect - JPost - Opinion - Op-Eds

    This is not one of the keys mentioned in an earlier post today?

    That's all for today.  Have a great evening.

    ISS at risk?

    NASA assessing procedures to leave space station vacant which brings increased risk of space station loss

    To lose the ISS after spending all that money would be a colossal failure. It just goes to show that you can't trust the government to always get it right, regardless of how much some true believers want to believe in it.

    Never-Wrong Pundit?

    Never-Wrong Pundit Picks Obama to Win in 2012 - Washington Whispers (

    There's always a first time. Some of these keys favor what I'd call an instigation factor. The media can hype up a scandal or play one down. In that case, scandals are ones that the left always can win with. He gave Obama a military success for Osama bin Laden, but that was too minor to count. He gave Obama the policy change, even though the changes are unpopular.

    I suspect this is being cited as a way to prepare the battle space. We are being manipulated into thinking his reelection is inevitable. Think Dewey v Truman. There's always a first time.

    Would this work on a flying rocket?

    World's first polyurethane blade reinforced with carbon nanotubes is lighter and stronger and eight times tougher

    The article on NextBigFuture is about using these for windmills, but could there be another application for them? It is stronger than carbon fiber.

    In a comparison of reinforcing materials, the researchers found carbon nanotubes are lighter per unit of volume than carbon fiber and aluminum and had more than 5 times the tensile strength of carbon fiber and more than 60 times that of aluminum.

    Just when I thought that the flying rocket idea was impractical.

    'Suitcase' Nuclear Reactors to Power Mars Colonies

    Discovery News

    • "The reactor itself may be about 1 feet wide by 2 feet high, about the size of a carry-on suitcase. There are no cooling towers. A fission power system is a compact, reliable, safe system that may be critical to the establishment of outposts or habitats on other planets. Fission power technology can be applied on Earth's Moon, on Mars, or wherever NASA sees the need for continuous power."
    • First Mars Astronauts May Grow Their Own Food 
    • fission reactors would be desirable because they deliver more energy. And although solar arrays will undoubtedly have a role to play, fission reactors will be the premier energy source for the immediate future.
    • A fission power system on the Moon could generate 40 kilowatts or more of electric power, approximately the same amount of energy needed to power eight houses on Earth."
    • the biggest hurdle facing space fission power won't be the viability of its technology, but the bad press nuclear power receives, on Earth and in space.
    Yes, nukes get bad press, but why do people pay attention to the media?  Why not ignore these bozos?

    A Premature Celebration in Libya

    A Premature Celebration in Libya

    What comes after the Shuttle?

    big think

    Nothing big from NASA, but other players may step up and do some big stuff.

    NBC's Lauer playing gotcha games

    NBC's Lauer to Cheney: You're the 'Most Divisive Political Figure in This Country in a Century'

    The network also showed this protest sign for viewers to see. Evidently, Lauer wants to score some political points for his favorite political party which is having a hard time at the moment.

    Torture is a loaded word.  Considered in the context in which it occurred, it would seem that this is a bit overstated use of the term.  It has been said that no rights are absolute.  Rights have to be balanced against other rights.  That would include the right of the innocent to be safe and secure within one's own home.

    It is the government's responsibility to secure the nation against terroristic threats of the kind that destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, and killed 3000 people.

    The number two man in charge was waterboarded for the purpose of obtaining information that could forestall any attacks of a similar kind.  It would not seem too unreasonable to suggest that a waterboarding can be justified if it meant saving thousands of lives in a similar attack elsewhere.  In short, one does not expect to be waterboarded.  But on the other hand, one does not expect to be killed for doing nothing but minding your own business.  To be waterboarded for the purpose of saving lives does not seem too draconian a step to take in order to prevent such a situation.

    Waterboarding is not fatal.  It doesn't leave scars.  It isn't unpleasant for that long.  A tough guy like KSM should be able to handle it.  If not, he should get into another line of business.  I would think that others like him may be dissuaded from attempting any future attacks of the kind KSM masterminded if he knew that there was a high degree of probability that he would be captured and subjected to this type of treatment.  That alone would make the practice acceptable.

    The rest of the point Lauer is trying to make would be purely hypothetical.  He was talking to Cheney about the past.  All Cheney would say is that to his knowledge, no such event happened while he was in office. Therefore, the question was hypothetical.  If Lauer wanted an answer to that question , he should ask Obama.

    This was a cheap attempt to gain a political point.  He wanted to get Cheney to admit to torture and to say that it was wrong, and therefore, he, Cheney was wrong.  Within the context of what happened during those years, it is not so clear that it was wrong.  Something had to be done, and this was as good as anything else that could have been done.  Would Lauer have preferred that another attack occurred?

    Space Tethers and Space Elevators, Revisited

    Let us now return to the book by van Pelt.  From page 171
    According to Pearson, an already existing fiber material called M5 would be sufficiently strong to build a lunar space elevator [ comment: Moonstalk].  His calculations show that a cable with a lifting capacity of 200 kg (440 lbs) would have a mass of only 6800 kg (15000 lbs).
     The spool of cable would be large, however.  It could be a problem with its size- you have to fit it in a cargo area that would be compatible with an available launch configuration.  Since you need 38,000 miles or so of cable, the spool will be large.

    The cable would be deployed from L1 until it reaches the surface.  From there, it would be anchored down and further strengthened so that it can carry heavier payloads.    With a lifting capacity of only 200 kg, this would indicate a need for heavier payloads.   It may take multiple cables for that purpose, if that is the idea.  It doesn't appear that passengers will be able to use the Moonstalks.  They may be very useful in delivering cargo cheaply and efficiently, however.

    A couple of Moonstalks, on each of L1 and L2 Lagrange points, would simplify transit between the surface and into space.

    In order to colonize the moon, there will need to be some economic reason for its existence.  In other words, how do you make money from this enterprise?  If income isn't feasible, then how might you save money?

    One thing is clear:  getting stuff from the lunar surface and back into low Earth orbit should be cheaper than getting it from the ground into LEO.  A Moonstalk would make it even more affordable.

    One possibility would be solar panels which could be assembled and put into GEO.  Once there, it can generate electricity and beam it back toward the ground.  The panels can be manufactured on the lunar surface and sent up piece by piece to a station at the L1 Lagrange point.

    Or, power could be supplied to spacecraft traversing Cis Lunar space.  This would defray expenses in traveling from the Earth and back.

    If operating costs were to be diminished enough, small amounts of goods transported from the lunar surface could make the entire enterprise self sufficient.

    What goods, though?  Some have suggested using lunar water as a fuel supply.  This could make a mission to Mars much cheaper.  The fuel could be transported from the poles to the Moonstalk, and from there onward to the Lagrange point.  It would fuel the spacecraft at that point for its journey to Mars.

    Furthermore, lunar water could be useful in growing food.  Not only food to sustain a crew on the moon, but food for Mars missions.  A substantial portion of food supplies from the moon could save a lot of money for Mars missions.

    A more ambitious possibility is manufacturing stuff for use in space.  Let's say you could build rocket engines and launch them from the lunar surface.  Or build them piece by piece, send them up the Moonstalk, and assemble them at a Lagrange point.  Together with being supplied by lunar fuel, a lot of the cost of the Martian expedition could be taken care of by the lunar colony itself.

    Update:  11/21/2011

    In reference to the need for an anchor in space of over 6000 tons, the following source is cited.

    Denominators Matter! What the Price of Gold Tells Us About the Value of Other Assets

    Value Restoration Project


    • Denominators allow us to assign meaning to price.
    • Adjusting prices for inflation, purchasing power, and a stable unit of measurement is the topic at hand.
    • One of the most challenging financial concepts to truly understand is the real return of a given asset.
    • the relatively contained monthly inflation rates, most often between 0 and 1%, adding up to a significant rise in overall prices of nearly 1,600% since 1940.
    • In Zimbabwe, for the 12 month period ending in June 2008, the Stock Exchange Industrial Index went from 15,000 to just under 6,000,000,000,000 and continued rising to more than 9,688,095,700,000 by October, a gain of more than 538,000,000%!
    • The fact that denominators matter does not tell us which ones we should pay attention to and what they are telling us. 
    • Gains made on the back of a depreciating unit of measurement are ultimately unsustainable or result in little true wealth creation for investors who earn, save, invest, and spend in that currency.
    • This means any additional gains in the market carry heightened risk
    • Current politics suggest that a highly interventionist policy will continue.
    • However, we must also give weight to the possibility of a truly deflationary environment taking hold.
    • With the tug of war between inflationary policies and deflationary structural forces, a combination of nominal and real price declines seems plausible.
     Gold is not in a bubble then.  As shown above, there are three possiblilities: strong inflation, strong deflation, or mild inflation or deflation.  In any case, value won't return to the market until the multiple of gold is much lower than now.  Even at 1800, the multiple to the Dow is between 6 and 7.  At market bottoms, this would have to come down to 2 or 3.  That means either a Dow around 2000-4000, or gold around 10,000.  It seems hard to believe, but that is what history suggests.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Clockwork Orange (video)

    There are so many clips of this movie, but few are available for embedding. When you eliminate all of those that are too raunchy to be shown to a polite audience, there aren't many left. This was one, and it is still not very nice. It is quite an experience to watch this film.

    It interested me in terms of the idea of brainwashing. Mind control. That is the main idea of the movie. Does a man have a free will, or is he just a product of his environment? In this movie, Alex's very nature is made into the very opposite of what he was previously. It was in an effort to reform him from his antisocial ways.

    The film raises other questions that may be food for thought. For if man can be manipulated thusly, how can there be any notions of religion? This question is also raised in the film. For the basis of religion is choice. If there is no choice, there can be no evil. For evil requires the power to choose between good and evil. If no choice can be made, how can there be any morality?

    Thanks for coming by and have a great evening. If that's possible.

    Krivit Focardi interview

    It has been awhile since I posted on this subject. This reminds me of the Levi interview, which I wrote about previously. Is there anything new? I watched the first video of the three part series and have found nothing new, so far.

    It looks like the other two videos can be accessed from YouTube easily enough. I'll watch those, but if they are anything like this, there's nothing new here.

    It is doubtful that Krivit got aggressive in his questioning in these videos. If he did, he will look bad. Obviously, Focardi is an elderly man. No need to push him too hard. Besides, it is really hard to see how Focardi would try to fool anybody.

    I will post this, and then watch the other two. If anything comes up worth mentioning, I will update this post.

    Building a more efficient nuclear fission reactor

    Building a more efficient nuclear fission reactor

    One of the commenters on this post said that LFTRs are safer. To me, it doesn't matter so much as the fact that, at the moment, we seem to be stymied on actually doing what is necessary to make this country self sufficient in energy. Whatever it takes, I say.

    The Elements of a Space Exploration Infrastructure, revisited
    One element in the last post was the Moonstalk, which would extend from the lunar surface to the Lagrange points L1 and L2.   Since that last post,  I have learned about LFTRs, which could supply power from the lunar surface up to L1 and back down again toward the surface.  This would enable a base to operate anywhere on the surface on the moon even while it is in the lunar night, which lasts two weeks.

    How?  There would be a LFTR at the polar region, which would beam microwave energy toward L1.  The L1 base would then convert that into electricity and back into microwave energy to beam back down to the surface.  The surface base would then collect the energy and use it.

    The L1 base could also beam energy to geostationary bases which could do the same toward the Earth, but not toward the surface, but towards collectors on VASIMR powered craft.  These craft could go to L1 or to other Lagrange points in order to supply them or to crew them.

    Meanwhile, back at the lunar base, which is being powered from the L1 base, will be building a Moonstalk infrastructure from the surface up toward L1.  Eventually, the two will be linked, so as to enable a crew and cargo easy access from the surface to L1 and indirectly, back to Earth.

    Transportation from L1 to the pole regions could be accomplished either by linking up to the L1 station, or by using Space Cannons to launch cargo back and forth.

    To start, you would need a base on L1.

    From L1, you would travel back and forth to the pole region selected and build a Moonbase there.

    You would begin to exploit the materials available there to support the Moonbase and to build a LFTR on the moon.  Once the LFTR is built, begin building a microwave transmitter for the Moonbase and a receiver and transmitter for the L1 station.

    After this is accomplished you will need one more receiver for the ground where you will begin building a Moonstalk.

    You will also need transmitter/receivers for the geostationary units orbiting the Earth.  These will be used to supply energy for the VASIMRs, which will be bringing supplies and crew back and forth between the Earth and L1.

    Prior to that, you will be using conventional rocketry.

    Once the VASIMRs are going, propellant needs will be vastly reduced.  VASIMR missions could also bring materials from the Earth, which will serve as an anchor for the Moonstalk.  Also, materials can be brought up from the lunar surface as well.  Once the Moonstalk is built, the final piece is to connect all the pieces together with the Space Cannon.

    Once all this is in place, you can start building your second Moonstalk at L2, on the back side of the moon.

    You could also build a nuclear thermal powered rocket which would never land on any planetary surface.  It could dock at L2 only, so as to always be away from the Earth, and never pose any radiation hazard towards Earth.

    L2 is the gateway to the solar system.  Once you have L2 constructed and the nuclear thermal rocket constructed, plus all the other materials in place, you will need only incidental support from the Earth.  The moon could supply most of its own needs, plus it could begin to support the outward push to the planets.

    Put a bug in your tank

    Bug turns newspaper into fuel

    That title was a turn of phrase obtained from an old Exxon commercial. I mean to tell you, it is indeed an old commercial. That's where the Exxon tiger came from, I think. The slogan went "Put a tiger in your tank."

    Here's the commercial on YouTube

    "Esso" mean Standard Oil, JD Rockefeller's old company. If memory serves, there was some other critter known as a bee, which was associated with the company. It was the "Esso bee". Very cute.

    Oh, the agony of being an artist

    People are biased against creative ideas

    People may well be biased, but everybody seems to be attracted to a new model of what already exists. Especially if it is improved. It can be marketed as such, but if it is marketed as such, it had better deliver.

    On the other hand, this could explain many a frustration. At least, if you are the creative type, you know it isn't you. You don't have to smell your underarms or check the mirror and make sure there isn't a booger hanging out of your nose.

    Project Apollo

    This is most, if not all, of President Kennedy's Moon Speech before Congress in 1961.

    Moon Challenge

    I put it up here because I want to draw attention to part of what he said in reference to the Project Rover.

    Project Rover

    There has been opposition to nuclear thermal rockets launching from the Earth. But what if you launched it from the moon instead? You could obtain plenty of thorium for a LFTR type reactor that would supply the energy necessary for propulsion to far off regions of space, such as Mars.

    There is a known location near the lunar north pole which may be combined with the water which may also be obtained, which would greatly diminish the amount of matter necessary to be lifted off the Earth's surface for such a journey.

    A thorium powered rocket may even be able to launch directly from the lunar surface. It may be able to land as well. Should that be the case, it would not be necessary to have it land anywhere on Earth, or involve the Earth's biosphere at all. That should relieve opposition to the proposition to the use of nuclear thermal rockets.

    Reusable Rockets, Part 5, I think

    That's amusing.  I don't even know how many of these posts I have.  No matter.  This is just for kicks.  Not like I am actually going to make money off this, you know.

    Anyway, the last post, ( I think), I mentioned that you could use inflatable wings.  But what if you don't want to do that, or if it is impractical?  Now that could be a problem, because the Falcon 9 doesn't have enough capacity to add a lot of hardware.  Hardware weighs a lot and that is penalized very heavily when you are talking about getting to space.  So, that leads me to the next brainstorm.  Yuk, yuk.

    You see, SpaceX has come out with the idea of the Falcon 9 Heavy.   So, the idea came to me, why not use its capacity for lift as capacity for all this needed hardware that will make it reusable and that quick turnaround?  You may want to save some fuel too, for maneuvering back toward the launch site.

    But, you may protest, wouldn't this mean that you could carry less into orbit?  But of course it would.  On the other hand, with a fast turnaround, you could make the trip more often.  With a reusable and refittable flying rocket, you could have a goal of launching every week for each rocket.  If you had a fleet of these, you could conceivably launch every day!

    NASA Collaborates on Cargo Airship Workshop in Alaska


    • The two-day Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop in Anchorage, Alaska will kick off today, Aug. 24, 2011.
    • Airship experts will describe both the possibilities heavy lift airship transport offers, and the challenges of developing practical and cost effective airship systems

    Obviously, this event has come and gone. I just became aware of it this morning. But, it was worth mentioning because I've written about airships in connection to the Deltoid Pumpkinseed project in the seventies, and JP Aerospace.

    Why should global warming be a moral issue?

    With Governor Perry's recent statements indicating his doubt in the global warming hypothesis, the subject has been coming back into the news. It is of interest to me, not because I believe in it, but because I think the argument itself is getting to be a problem. I think the argument is a distraction.

    What we need are solutions to our energy problem, not the incessant arguments about whether or not global warming is real or not. But, we are stuck with the arguments for now, so let us take a look at it once again.

    Let's start with this, as it seems to be getting down to the heart of the matter. It is about the morality of the issue itself.

    Thorstenson: Why Did Global Warming Become a Moral Matter?
    • "Well, it does not take complicated logic to conclude that if global warming is indeed a moral matter and if it is true that you cannot legislate morality, then it should hold that you cannot legislate global warming."
    • "Morality tells them "what to make of the facts"."
    • "Whether a claimed fact is indeed true should be a purely intellectual question, rather than a moral one."
    • "Apparently it is now the duty of "good" people to reject these opinions on this "moral" basis and without regard to whether they are factually true or false."
    • "Things claimed as facts which are "good" (in this moral sense) should be embraced and those which are "bad" (in this same moral sense) should be discarded, not because they are factually false, but because they are "immoral"."
    • "The liberals always claimed that such behavior - allowing moral considerations to trump factual ones - was the ultimate evil. But apparently, even this "ultimate evil" becomes "acceptable strategy" if the cause is justified."
    What it comes down to is this:  an argument that the left wishes to win in order to enact their policy preferences, which are:
    "the childish games of useless treaties, carbon credits, windmills and fluorescent light bulbs"
    So, we are to believe in global warming because it is moral and this will allow the politicians force us to buy these silly bulbs and pay these higher taxes.  It seems absurd on its face, but they are not giving up.  No, sir.  How are they going to make us do what they want us to do?

    The following stories is how the political game is being played:  Gore: Global warming skeptics are this generation’s racists
    • "One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore."
    • "The former vice president recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner."
    • "“We have to win the conversation on climate,” Gore added." [ comment:  Gore equates scientific skepticism  with ugly name calling, which, by the way, is exactly what he is doing himself.  He wants "climate deniers" to be seen the same way as people who use the "N word". ]
    • "“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said."[ comment: Why is it not slander then, to accuse people who disagree on a scientific basis, of being morally bad people?  Why is calling someone names not an attack on their integrity?
    Isn't it all about politics and winning the political game?  Since when did political disagreement become verboten in this country anyway?   Shouldn't we encourage dissent, as opposed to censorship, which seems to be Gore's modus operandi?  Isn't science open and free, as opposed to being closed to discussion and enshrouded in ritualistic, unquestioning obedience to authority?

    Not only are Republicans evil, they are against science too!  They refuse to believe in this global warming theory, which shouldn't even be a matter of belief.  After all, it is science.  Science should not expect us to believe, like a Christian who is expected to believe in the Virgin Mary and the Resurrection.  But isn't that what is expected from the populace these days?  Just take a look at Krugman's latest: Republicans Against Science
    •    'But what really got peoples’ attention was what he said about climate change" 
    • "That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”" [ comment: Vile?]  
    • "Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt."[ comment:  Witch hunt?  Who's trying to do that?  All those who want to stop this rush into bad policy are doing is questioning the theory, now Krugman is talking witch hunts?]
    • "And the deepening anti-intellectualism of the political right, both within and beyond the G.O.P., extends far beyond the issue of climate change." [ comment: once again, we must obey our masters and not question them in any way.  Otherwise, we are manifestly stupid, ignorant, and anti scientific.]
    And the pièce de résistance, Krugman deals us an intellectual warning of great portent, one in which must inspire us all to great fear:
    But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.
     Shouldn't someone like Krugman be using an appeal to our reason, not an appeal to our emotions?  It is ironic for him to conclude in just a manner.


    Here's some more thoughts on the subject

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Do it yourself project

    Gee, I feel like a dirty old man.  I can talk about it, but I can't do it myself.  Anyway, here's an interesting video in which it looks quite interesting, but I am not, er, equipped to handle the project myself.

    Thanks for coming by and have a great evening.

    "Random Task" busted

    Gets convicted of a sex crime.   Oh, behave!

    Not to be confused with this guy.

    Interstellar flights in Worldships

    Carnival of Space 212

    Late, but that is better than never. Finding this post, I mean.

    Douglas: A Hurricane of Hype

    Paul Douglas. Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist, with over 30 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas continues to seek out new ways to expand on new media and almost limitless on-line opportunities. As Founder and CEO of Broadcast Weather, Douglas and a team of meteorologists are producing and disseminating daily weather feeds for web sites, cable channels, and TV broadcasters.

    The hype is just for ratings.  Isn't there something more important than just ratings?  How about some integrity, people?

    What's disappointing about this is that people take this hype seriously.

    Underpublicized threat deep in White House

    FBI: Penetration by radical agents worse than thought

    The likely response to this?  If you read this, repeat this, or simply ask a question about it, you will be branded as a right wing xenophobic Islamophobic extremist.

    We have a President who is acting like a Muslim.  Questions should be asked- but they won't be.

    Army of Davids

    Somehow, I don't see that book as being very descriptive of what I've encountered here as a blogger.

    Well, actually, I haven't read the book, , so perhaps it is unfair for me to criticize it.

    Just saying though.  It seems that people still follow the leader.  The leadership is a bit of a Goliath himself.   As far as bloggers go, Instapundit is definitely a Goliath.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Ultra-Fast Internet - ya don't say?

    Google Brings Ultra-Fast Internet To Homes Near Stanford

    I was expecting developments like this much sooner. I wonder what the heck happened?