Saturday, September 24, 2011

Colonizing The Moon

Heat moon dust to 1500 deg Farenheit, and this is what you get, drinking water


A relatively simple device like a Fresnel lens may be able to get hot enough to turn Moon dust into water.

Workable/Pliable Zone – This zone is between 1250 degrees Fahrenheit and 1350 degrees Fahrenheit. During this zone the glass will begin to act somewhat like taffy as it slumps and moves as gravity pulls on the pliable glass.

How To Make Butternut Squash Ravioli

Say what?
Karen Bukholt describes how to make this dish

How To Make Butternut Squash Ravioli from Karen Bukolt on UnleashVideo

Carnival of Space 216

NextBigFuture's link to the carnival to Vintage Space

Here's something:
Could laser propulsion open up space? 
  1. Question: Have you ever considered using microwaves instead of lasers? My colleague Kevin Parkin has been advocating using microwaves ... millimeter wave systems are extremely sensitive to atmospheric moisture. So you would need to build such a transmitter on a tall mountain.  [comment: or maybe on the Moon!]
  2. So using laser power to power spacecraft anywhere near Earth may one day be feasible. [ comment: interesting]
  3. Modern lasers have lifetimes measured in decades

EPA to property owner: 'Your land is our land'

World Net Daily

Perhaps people will question this, but here goes.  Many years ago, the EPA tried to push a rule on Houston that would have banned traffic in the city.  Well, anybody who knows Houston knows you can't do that.  So, they backed off.   That was a city against the Feds.

In this case, an individual is being bullied by the government, and now they have to go to court in order to defend their rights.  How does an individual get their rights defended when going up against the powerful state?

There seems to be so many people who want to sick the government on somebody for something.  It would be well if everyone could keep this story in mind if you find yourself in a position in which could be analogous in some way to this.

This man does not belong in public service

But he was appointed by Obama as his manufacturing czar. This video clarifies Obama's attitude for anyone who didn't quite get it.

He says he agrees with Mao
We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.
I got this from Ann Barnhardt's website.  I can't agree totally with her.  But this guy definitely should not be in public service in this country, and a lot of the stuff that has happened in recent years is just plain unacceptable.

If you dare to read what she says, you just might be put off by it.  I recall that there were those who wanted to put Bush on trial.  I think to put a President on trial is a very serious matter.  She is convinced of his guilt, but I am not so sure.  I think that Obama is mistaken, but being wrong about something doesn't make you evil.  It all depends on how he makes his choices.  When he does that, and if he is truly evil, then we will know.  Until then, watch.

When this guy in the video made his statement, he wasn't in office yet.  He wasn't in a position of responsibility, as far as I know.  He most likely was not in the Bush administration, as this was 2008.  Some people, I suppose, won't ever cut anybody any slack.



LENR, is it plausible? IV

A quickie post here.  A simple observation that may be of interest.  With respect to neutrons, the Widom Larsen theory requires a prodigious number of them in order for their theory to work.  Contrast this with how the fission process gets its neutrons.  Since fissionable materials release more neutrons than they absorb, it doesn't take as many in order to get fission going, and to keep it going.  On the other hand, by producing neutrons on a one to one basis, such as the case appears to be with Widom Larsen, you don't get quite so many.  But you need a lot, a whole lot.

In case you are not familiar, protons gets converted to neutrons in Widom Larsen's theory.  It 's a one to one process, not two, three or more to one as indicated above.  Therefore, the production of a sufficient number of neutrons for useful energy could be a problem.

Skylon spaceplane

NextBigFuture post on Feb 7 , 2011

This looks like a promising SSTO concept. It really looks like a flyable rocket. It combines rocketry with jet engines in an all-in-one package, which confers reusability and fast turnaround potential via mass reduction. Mass is your number one enemy in getting to orbit. The more mass, the more propellant needed.  Since propellant itself has mass, this increases the mass penalty even further, and so on.

Consider the now retired Space Shuttle: it's liftoff mass was 4.47 million pounds, with a payload capacity of 53000 pounds.  The the liftoff mass to payload mass ratio was 83 to 1.  On the other hand, the proposed Skylon does much better - 23 to 1.

The Skylon people hope it can be reused up to 200 times.  Presumably, since it will take off and land like a plane, it should have a fast turnaround time.  Thus, it promises to fulfill what Elon Musk of SpaceX once described as the Holy Grail of rocketry.

I will study the pdf file about it and report more on this as I learn more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You don't really want to see this

If you watch it anyway, don't go bellyaching to me

Missed Connections Live - Hey Beautiful Lady from Melissa on UnleashVideo

Upcoming Rossi Energy Catalyzer Tests and more product information

Upcoming Rossi Energy Catalyzer Tests and more product information

The comments are ridiculous. Don't bother reading them.

I Gotta Get That Woman

You ever had anyone you couldn't get out of your head? Well, then you may be able to relate to this song by James R. Stout.

Maybe the best thing to do is just find someone new.

Catchy tune, eh?

LENR, is it plausible? III

I hope that it isn't. Because if it is plausible, then we may have a problem. I'd rather not explain that, it is much more preferable for this to be cold fusion. Cold fusion would be the type of energy solution that everyone wishes for.  Clean and safe.  A happy ending. Hopefully, we will all live happily ever after.

If this seems like snark, I assure you that it isn't.

If I am right, Widom Larsen isn't plausible at all. But, there is a high probability that I am wrong. At any rate, you can't get energy from Widom Larsen by using nickel. That is not plausible.

Therefore, it doesn't make sense for Rossi to use Vanadium. I don't think that is happening. I should not have written that.

Not that Vanadium wouldn't work for LENR. If Widom Larsen is correct, then it might work for Vanadium. I don't think that I would be happy to hear if it did work, though.

General Impression of the Republican Presidential Debate

I agree that Perry stumbled a bit. He looked a bit inarticulate at times.  As a candidate, that is going to hurt him, as the comparison with Bush will be harder for him to shake and bake his way out.  In addition, he is relying too much on the job creation in Texas claim.  Perry likes to return fire, but that may not always help him, because he only looks combative, which makes him look like just another bull in the china shop.  Policy wise, he took a beating on immigration.  In general, being the front runner has made him a target, and he has not handled it as well as he could have.

As I wrote before, never underestimate the power of incompetence. Last debate, a mistake tripped up Bachmann. The power of incompetence may decide this nomination battle.

Analyzing it in that fashion, it looks like Romney came out on top.  Romney didn't make any mistakes that I can recall.  He handled all the questions competently and defended himself when he had to with respect to Romneycare.  He has differentiated himself on that issue.  With respect to that, he may be defusing it as a problem for his candidacy. As contrasted with Perry, when the heat was put on him, he has not burned himself in the kitchen.

But he has some new cooks crowding him.  Cain, Huntsman, Johnson, and Gingrich all looked like they cook up some competition for him.  Even Bachmann may be recovering a bit from her fall.

If there are more debates, the field will settle out and the leader will emerge.  But it is still too early to pick from this menu.  Not everybody trusts Romney, but people will hold their noses and vote for him if necessary.  If not the nominee, questions about Perry may still need to be answered.  It looks like the other candidates will get their chance to provide an answer, because everybody still looks like the Galloping Gourmet.

Republican Presidential Debate pt.9

Here's one that is general enough for a broad audience- it comes down to this: Why vote Republican?

Republican Presidential Debate pt.1

Reviews are not good for Perry. I'll be watching this for the next hour or so.

Courtesy Right Speak.

LENR, is it plausible? part II

From Widom-Larsen's paper
For our example,let us suppose that an initial concentration of lithium very near a suitable metallic hydride surface is employed to impose a substantial chemical potential difference across the hydride surface. In such a case, the existence of weak interaction produced surface neutrons allows for the following chain of reactions

63Li+n→73Li ,
73Li+n→83Li ,
83Li →84Be+ e−+¯╬Że ,
84Be →42He+42He . (30)

It appears that if the catalyst in Rossi's black box is lithium, then we may have a plausible scenario for energy production.  This scenario ends up with the appearance of deuterium fusion, but is not.  It provides a plausible scenario for the appearance of cold fusion, but would actually be LENR.

The production of slow neutrons is no small feat.  Presumably, the suitable metallic hydride somehow enables this production.

However, one of the reaction products in the above chain is helium.  No helium production has been reported in the E-cat.

Let's return to vanadium.   Let's look at its concentration in nature, its proclivity toward neutron absorption, and the energy production from beta decay:
Almost all vanadium naturally found is vanadium 51, it tends to be a good neutron absorber

It isn't too expensive, nor too rare to find

vanadium neutron absorption leads to chromium transmutation, with stable isotopes, chromium is not a good neutron absorber

A respectable amount of energy is formed
 The amount of energy formed from this is not as large as lithium.  Is there an advantage?  I could look into that later.  As for now, you can have more than one option for LENR.  But I still don't think this explains Rossi's E-cat.

One possibility is that he does use vanadium, and that is his secret.  Why?  Could it explain other anomalies in the reporting of the E-cat?  If helium is formed, the gas has to be vented.  Perhaps Rossi doesn't want that to happen, as it may give up the game.  If chromium is formed, it is a solid, and won't need to be vented.  But it can be detected when examining the "ash".  What if Rossi is hiding the real ash, and substituting fake ash so as to preserve his secret?  If chromium is being produced by the E-cat, that could be a way to hide the secret.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

LENR, is it plausible?

I am going to guess maybe not.  Not that I am an expert.  Call me an armchair type of guy who tends to spout off on subjects with not enough training to be an authority.  But, I'll try to back it up with some info that supports my view.

As I wrote before, it seems doubtful that LENR theory, according to Widom Larsen, explains nickel hydrogen systems.  If the E-cat works, it will be a cold fusion device, not a LENR device.

Widom Larsen requires the absorption of neutrons- thus it needs a neutron source and a likely candidate for absorption.  Also, when the absorption occurs, it should have a short half life, so that the energy will be released soon so that it can be useful.  If it takes years, and doesn't yield all that much energy, it won't do you much good.   For example, let's look at iron.  Here's virtual all of the isotopes of iron in nature:

As you can see from this table, this just about covers all of the iron that you'll find
2nd column from left is concentration in nature, this represents over 99% of iron isotopes

 You'll also want to note the second from the right column and compare that to the right column.  If the number in the second column is bigger than the right most column, it is not likely to absorb a neutron.  Since 28 is much bigger than 1.28, it doesn't seem to be an inviting target for neutrons.

Now, in Fe54, those two numbers are about equal, an absorption seems possible.  But if it occurs, it has a half life of over 2 years.  And the energy release seen below is not impressive:

So, I think you may want to rule out iron and hydrogen too.  I covered nickel previously.  One possibility may be vanadium.  I'll check that in a future post.

Blue Origin's pedigree, second stage recovery IV

The title may appear to be an oxymoron, but stick with me.

I'll start with the present and work backwards in time.  Blue Origin is developing the New Shepard, which is a suborbital craft.  It appears to be designed for space tourism, not for space exploration.  Perhaps at some point, there may be more ambitious projects for this concept, but this is all I know for now.

The New Shepard is based upon the DC-X design.  It was developed in conjunction with Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative , and subsequently transferred to NASA in the Clinton era.  This craft was intended to start with suborbital flights and then orbital flights as experience and knowledge was gained.  It was intended to be a SSTO project, which had its roots in some research done in the Apollo Era, looking forward to post Apollo, now known as the Shuttle Era.

The DC-X really didn't get that far in achieving its goals.  But let's look at its origins, as we continue going back into time.   A European variant of an integral Single Stage to Orbit design, called BETA, was itself a consequence of a design that didn't get off the drawing boards.

The BETA concept is characterized by the following features:
  1. A short conical body (small length/diameter ratio, low c.g.) with heat-shield for re-entry
  2. Use of the heat-shield as a plug-nozzle for performance increase
  3.  A propulsion system consisting of 12 or more single high-pressure LH2/ LOX engines arranged around the central plug-nozzle (heat-shield)
  4.  6 retractable legs for the final vertical landing phase.  
The author (Dietrich E Koelle?) came to the following conclusions:
  1. The development of a single stage ballistic space shuttle is feasible with the present technology.
  2. The transportation cost Earth-to-Orbit can be reduced to some 200 $/kg or less.  
  3. The single-stage concept allows new possibilities for launch ranges since no
    danger by expendable parts or stages has to be expected. This means that launches from and landings within Europe would be feasible.
  4.  The BETA Concept seems to be a solution for specific European requirements since there is no manned space flight programme, there does not exist the 500 km/550 space station target orbit, and there is no requirement for a large cross range capability.

"From the very principle the BETA Concept seems to be the final solution for the space transportation problem since it combines operational simplicity with lowest cost both for development and specific payload cost."

But it wasn't implemented.

But where did the BETA come from?  It was an updated version of Douglas SASSTO, from the Apollo Era.

The SASSTO was intended to put a small capsule into orbit by using ideas from S-IVB upper stage of the Apollo Era Saturn rocket.

Alright, now note this:
Bono noticed that the S-IVB stage, then just starting to be used operationally, was very close to being able to reach orbit on its own if launched from the ground. Intrigued, Bono started looking at what missions a small S-IVB-based SSTO could accomplish, realizing that it would be able to launch a manned Gemini capsule if it was equipped with some upgrades, notably an aerospike engine that would improve the specific impulse and provide altitude compensation.[2] He called the design "SASSTO", short for "Saturn Application Single-Stage To Orbit". [comment: emphasis mine, quite impressive that this rocket existed almost half a century ago.]
It appears that a renewed effort at an SSTO could achieve the results desired.  The inflatable heat shield could be used in place of aerospike engines, if these are too difficult to perfect.  They may even be used as a safety margin, since the mass of such a device should be small.

A second stage recovery wouldn't be necessary if there's no second stage.  You will need a powerful enough rocket to get to space, plus solve the knotty problem of finding a way to get back without destroying the rocket on reentry.  That's a technical problem that may be solvable.

Blue Origin may not be interested in tackling this problem, but somebody may be able to.  Anybody listening?

Yahoo Breakout: Bernanke Will Never Give Up

Alan Blinder

Nobody seems to like this new Fed policy.   Markets are way down.

What does it mean?  Let me take a stab at it.  With the Fed driving down interest rates in the future, it is making room for more Quantitative easing.  The Quantitative easing will go all along the yield curve.  Once the rates start to rise on the short term, that will make it easier and cheaper to buy it back later.

If this is permanent, and no more QE's , then it will be deflationary.  But that is not likely, in my opinion.  The government just can't permit that.

This is just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.  The dollar doesn't get more valuable simply because of a shift in interest rates.

The presumption is the same faulty one we've witnessed all along: the government believes it can manage the economy.  Actually, it the government should just get out of the way.  Although the Fed is not the government, it is closely tied to the government.  The Fed relies upon the government for its power.  If they don't please the government, they will be called to account.

This is a bluff.  I don't see that anyone should buy bonds just because the government is doing it.

Hybrid cars may have a useful lesson to teach, second stage recovery III

Hybrid cars use regenerative braking in order to recharge their batteries. Could this principle have other applications? With respect to making rockets fully reusable, could the heat energy from reentry be used for some useful purpose? The idea I had, which may or may not be practical, is to use that heat in an active cooling system.

How would this work? Here are a couple ideas in the roughest form. I haven't had time to refine this, so please excuse this if it is impractical or full of errors. I wrote it last night just prior to retiring for the evening.

I wonder what would happen if you were to somehow use the heat of reentry for thrust. Set up a heat exchanger and run some reaction mass through the heat exchanger and send the hot gas out a nozzle for thrust. Would that be feasible?

Another idea:

Let's say that you want to harvest the heat generated by reentry for running a cryogenic cooler which in turn cools the heat shield. The heat shield provides energy for a Stirling engine, which is attached to another Stirling engine in reverse.

A Stirling engine in reverse is a cryogenic device, which can take the hot side of the energy generator and make it cold again. The cold side feeds back into the energy generator's cold side. This will cycle back and forth synergistically providing cooling to the shield, while the shield provides energy for the cooler.

It occurred to me that you could use this on the way up as well. For example, the rocket nozzle needs to be cooled down. Let's say you want to condense some oxygen out of the atmosphere on the way up. You can attach this system to the cooling system of the nozzle so as use that heat for the generation of oxygen by condensation from the cryocooler. The oxygen can be used for thrusting on the way down, or on the way up.

I am spending some time reading up on the subject. On the subject of reentry during the Apollo Era, I found that the space capsules were designed to produce what is called a "bow shock", which deflected some of the energy away from the craft. It also produced a lot of drag, which was needed to slow down the capsule.

With respect to the idea mentioned above, there has been some study on the concept.  This has led me to a discussion of aerospike engines, but how did I get here?  What does that have to do with reentry?  Puzzling.

I will stop this post here.  Too much detail needs to be mastered.  Frankly, I don't know what I'm doing, so maybe it is best to stop posting about this for now.  Perhaps, after awhile, I will return to it.


Inflatable heat shields are an intriguing possibility.  I'll have to return to this later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Skynet, anyone?

Breakthrough: proton-based chips that communicate directly with living things

Their ultimate goal: create devices that can communicate directly with living things — eventually even control them — a “first step toward ‘bionanoprotonics‘.”

Okay, that last link needs explaining:  I tweeted "Skynet, anyone" and linked to one of my posts, which is the same one I linked above.

This time, I will show a video of the Borg, from Star Trek.

Graphene-Based Supercapacitors

with energy density of nickel hydride batteries (NextBigFuture)

Among the many industrial applications of capacitors, the new capacitors developed in this research offer promises as power sources for electric and hybrid vehicles, which require high energy density.

If this holds up, you can forget about hybrids. Capacitors have an infinite number of charge/discharge cycles and can be charged/discharged fast. The key may be in figuring out how to exploit this capability.

The Story Of: The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre 1 (of 6)

This is a movie documentary which consists of six parts.

I was actually looking for a particular scene in the movie, but I couldn't find it. In that scene, the old man, played by John Huston's father, Walter Huston, reacted to the loss of his treasure with a sense of humor. The movie had some pearls of wisdom like that during its length. That's what made it such a compelling story. Yet, for all the wisdom, it wasn't a box office success.

Wisdom may not be popular, but it is necessary.

Although I didn't find what I was looking for in the series, it is worth watching if you have the time.

Interesting that I would like the story despite the fact that the author was anti capitalist. I think those people lose the real significance of anything worth knowing.

The book was even darker than the movie. People at the time didn't like the darkness. I don't know what that means, but there it is.

Andrea Rossi's 'E-cat' nuclear reactor: a video FAQ

This is the video I was watching on Josephson's site, which I mentioned in a previous post.

Don't download anything from his site, just go to YouTube and watch it there. Or watch here:

Whatever the problem is, it is probably not Josephson's site, but be careful downloading files, just the same.

Second stage recovery, II

Prior to coming across the flyable Saturn V stuff, I was reading up on making the second stage survivable. In order to accomplish that, I checked into some information about the Shuttle's heat protective tiles.

It looks like the mass of the tiles was such that it could be added to a second stage so that it doesn't burn up on reentry. The second part is to assure it isn't damaged as it contacts the water. Of course, there would be parachutes in order to slow down the impact, but even so, the impact may be significant enough to cause damage. So far, I've haven't checked any further on that possibility.

Kitco Audio: Big Al and James Turk say "Gold Has To Go Up"

Some say here that gold's going up, others say gold's going down. Which way will it go? That's what makes a market. If we all knew the future, everybody would be buyers or sellers. You need both to make a market.

Flyback version of the Saturn rocket

When I saw this, I was surprised, to say the least.  Something that I've written about here several times, was actually considered during the Apollo Era.   A bit reassuring that, even though the idea wasn't mine, that it could be feasible after all.  If flyback version of the Saturn first stage is feasible, surely a smaller version is just as feasible, if not more.

Here are other links to more information on the proposition.  A picture down below:
Flyable rocket, first stage of the Saturn rocket in the Apollo Era
 More pics below:

The above schematics were of an early Shuttle concept using Saturn V rocketry.  The Saturn V was discontinued.  It looks like this design may have given a faster turnaround than the SRB's, because of the ability to flyback, and to be refueled quickly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

American Idol

I watched this show for one season, and it was the season that Carrie Underwood won. Here she is with Bo Bice, the runner up, singing Up Where We Belong.

Thanks for coming by and have a great evening.

There Is No Market For Space Tourism?

via Transterrestrial Musings and

If only someone would figure out how to make human spaceflight work like the airlines (keep them flying), you'd have an entirely new industry.  But that means you will to make money off it, which is a no-no amongst the left.

E-cat and Wikipedia

I am not that familiar with how articles are produced on Wikipedia.  I do use it a lot though, so going through this article is something of an education.

First thing I noticed is that the article's editor(s) are under sanction.  Then I came across this:
Abd placed under involuntary mentorship

Who's Abd?  When I clicked on his name, it said Abd was banned.  Not much info there.  But there's an explanation of what the discipline entails.  Rather than repeat it here, you can read it through it, if you wish.

Articles of Steven Krivit may have had something to do with status of the E-cat on Wikipedia.  Especially since it was a critical review.  Some reassurance may be taken from this:
Krivit is not a reliable source -- see my comments in the section above 'Levi strongly denies'. --Brian Josephson (talk) 17:20, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
One more little snippet here:
This page was last modified on 14 September 2011 at 23:51.
The story continues.


I don't know how this happened, so let me just explain it briefly.  I went to Brian Josephson's site and watched the video there.  There were some links to download some files that I thought I may share here.  I downloaded one of them, but my computer wouldn't play it.  So, I clicked on the "open files" by using the internet, and one of the files that could open it was called Free File Open or something like that.  I started to install it, and the virus protection software I had flagged it as a trojan.  I had it removed immmediately and I'm in process of scrubbing all references to it from that computer.  I am using another computer now while that is in process.  Needless to say, do not use this Free File Open program.  It may be infected with a really bad virus.

I took down the link above to Josephson's site.  He will have to track down the problem on his end, in case he learns anything about this.

Hour by Hour video of the lunar phases so far in 2011

The moon appears to "wobble" in this video. The description calls this a "libration".
When a month is compressed into 12 seconds, as it is in this animation, our changing view of the Moon makes it look like it's wobbling. This wobble is called libration.

Learn something new every day.

Wolfbracker's shoutout on the Xtranormal contest

This is the one I was looking for yesterday. He put the shoutout in another video.

Wolfbracker Shoutout for Xtranormal contest:

This was the video he entered in the contest:

Tea Party gives thumbs down to SLS

Houston Gets It

That bit of a mind experiment with the Ares I doesn't seem to work either unless you find a lot of customers. Sure, you can probably get your launch costs down to the price of a Soyuz, but in order to do that, you are still going to have to spend big bucks for all those launches.  To do what?  Better figure that one out.

Carnival of Space 215 post at NextBigFuture

Advanced Fusion Reactors for Space Propulsion and Power Systems

I thought this looked familiar.

I checked out the pdf file referenced at the NBF link above.  Perhaps there's an advantage of using this as opposed to DPF as pursued by Erick Lerner.  Lerner's device isn't being produced for space propulsion, so far as I know, but it looks like it could be easily adapted to that.

What's the advantage?  A quick skim of the pdf finds this:
Alternative means of triggering the p-11B reaction may provide a lower overall propulsion plant size and mass. 

Question:  Can this be adapted for energy production, as opposed to using Lerner's technique?

Answer: Yes.
Energetic alpha particle “exhaust” momentum can be used directly to produce high ISP thrust and also offers the possibility of direct power conversion into electricity. 

It may not matter if Lerner beats them to the punch.


Cops: Lynn driver killed by runaway tire on I-93

Having put a million miles (or more) on the roads, this kind of thing has almost happened to me a couple times. On 6/6/06, a wheel came off a car and went flying over my head and landed behind me.  Not a lucky day, just check the date.  Another time, an eighteen wheeler lost something and it went bouncing along the freeway right in front of me.  Fortunately, I wasn't too close to avoid it.  Stuff happens.

Sounds like one of our debates

Two chat bots try to have a conversation. It goes nowhere, like our national conversation.

Space Colonies - Retro Idea - Suddenly Hip Again

Not likely to happen, as long as the current mindset prevails. It is interesting to look back at what people were thinking in the seventies. Seems quaint.

SLS, but not Aries I

Houston Chronicle: A new era of space exploration | John Culberson - U.S. House of Representatives

I suppose it is asking too much to design a rocket that is fully reusable based upon an existing design that was canceled recently.

Frankly, if the country needs a jobs program, something like the SLS could be helpful. It would require a much bigger budget for NASA, however.   Support for that doesn't appear to be guaranteed.  If push comes to shove, this SLS may never fly.  It too may be canceled.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Second stage recovery

The SRBs from the Shuttle could be recovered.  What about a second stage?  Is it possible to do that?   The goal would be to make a second stage that can get to orbit and be recoverable after completing its mission.  It would be stacked on top a solid rocket booster, with a recoverable oribiter stacked on top of it.

Let's leave speculation about the design for another discussion, and consider the logistics of recovering it after its mission.

The Falcon 9 second stage can get to orbit.  Now, suppose you could get it back in good shape.  The location for splashdown would most likely have to be a long way from any land mass.  Presumably, it would splash down in the Pacific.

The great distances would cause a delay.  If you want a fast turnaround, this is a problem.  How to overcome the vast distance back to Florida?

Idea: Put a rocket inside one of these planes. Why? To speed up processing. It may need to splash down in the Pacific, be transported by boat which docks at the nearest island with a suitable airport. The rocket is loaded in the plane and sent back to Florida and unloaded and processed for the next launch.

Boeing 747 Large Cargo
Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy

It says on the link that the Pregnant Guppy actually transported the Saturn second stage rocket.  The S-IV second stage dimensions were 40 feet long by 18 feet in diameter.  The last stage of this rocket, which was never flown, was the Centaur.  But the Centaur stage was the Earth Departure Stage.  The second stage, presumably, could get you to orbit.  (cross your fingers, there)

You might need to work on the size of the rocket, but since this kind of thing has been done before, it isn't out of the question.

Update 9/20/11:

This is actually an interesting subject.  I've been reading about it this morning.  It so happens that the Ares I second stage has a design very similar to the Saturn second stage mentioned.  However, it is an expendable design.

Secondly, the cost of an Ares I is high, but can come down if there were more launches.  The cost of launches can be brought down to a comparable cost of the Soyuz, which we are renting from the Russians.  If you were to make the Ares fully reusable, frequent launches would be desirable.

Instead of a capsule on top, try putting a Dream Chaser on top.  It may look something like this:

Dream Chaser on top of an Atlas 
 An Atlas V and an Ares I have about the same payload capacities.  But the Ares I could be partly reusable and ultimately, it may be possible to make it fully reusable, if the second stage can be made to be recoverable.

There is surplus cargo capacity, so that there is more mass capacity for extra hardware in order to make this happen.

The first launches could use expendable second stage.  Development can continue so as to make it fully reusable and then you can proceed to make the turnaround go faster.

Assorted Posts from my YouTube Subscriptions

I've been neglecting my YouTube site lately. Amazing how I still get views of my videos there. Maybe I should pay more attention, huh?

Here's some recent videos of my subscriptions. There are many more, but these are the ones I'll put up because they'll take up a lot of resources. Need to limit these, a bit.

Rhett and Link auctioning off stuff in NC for permanent move to California

Dan Rojas
Melting Cans with the Sun Solar Fresnel Lens Solar Death Ray

Banana Hobby
Sky Surfing over Laguna Beach California! Aerial View in HD!

TBone Pearson
This Week in Webseries - Episode 5 - Rich Mbariket

Caryl Cake
Stiletto Stamina // 'Mirrorball Swing' Debut Mini-Album // Teaser 3#


Room for one more. Here's shout out #10 from Wolfbracker


I was in #3 of this series, here's the link to it.

Check out the Moon video

Assorted political stories

Snobbery 101: Back to Those Old College Grades - By Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner - National Review Online

Putting the Jobs Cart Before the Growth Horse

Obama's urgent jobs plan: Right now, 'right now' means sometime next month maybe

Ralph Nader praises Sarah Palin

Has Obama just thrown a monkeywrench into the recently negotiated budget deal?

Obama defends new taxes: ‘This is not class warfare, it’s math’ - The Hill's On The Money

President Obama defended his proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy Monday and promised to veto any deficit-reduction plan from Congress that cuts entitlement programs but doesn’t raise taxes on the wealthy.  [emphasis added, Comment:  But that agreement had a trigger provision that kicked in if an agreement can't be reached in the new Supercommittee.  If an agreement is not reached, entitlements will be cut, along with defense spending.  Is he saying that he will veto that?  If he does, he will violate the agreement he has just made with the Republicans.] 
This President has a history of breaking promises.  That will be quite a spectacle if he violates an agreement that he just made after all the time it took in order to reach it.

Ed Morrissey: Obama’s already starting to isolate himself on economic policy.  He is starting to look like a lonely man.
Also: He issued this warning in a sad attempt to impress a few people on the Left.

If that's true, then he's not only incompetent, but immature.  This is kid's stuff.

Update II:

Question: Why does Obama need $1.5 Trillion in tax hikes to pay for a $450 Billion "jobs" bill?

Answer!  Gentlemen o' fortune be needin' them doubloons for their mateys and to keelhaul scallywags, arr.

Netflix's Reed Hastings apologizes

Netflix is spinning off its DVD division, now known as "Quikster". Funny name.

E-Cat runs in self-sustained mode during test

Power turned off for thirty minutes, but it is still going strong

Talk like a Pirate Day

Never heard of it before, so I started to look into it. There's a website here to show you how to talk like a pirate.

Ahoy thar! A wee lass who lookin' to join me crew, arr.  She can look here for some mateys.

By the Powers!  Loaded to the Gunwales down below:


I'm going to use this post to promote my Facebook page. See the badge on the left sidebar. If you don't join with me maties, you will have to walk the plank, arr.

Why the Announced Test at Uppsala Should Show if Rossi’s E-Cat Claims Are Valid

 E-cat World

  • Being a physicist I consider the announced test of Andrea Rossis E-Cat at Uppsala as one of the most important of all the series of tests we have been seen so far.
  • would consider this type of test as a very rigorous and would be extremely pleased seeing a positive result.

    Dr. Johannes Hagel, Physicist
    Neuss, Germany

Comment: The methodology is such that steam will not be produced. Heat production will be measured before the conversion to steam can take place. Presumably, the chance for controversy will be less.

Let us hope so.

Daily Ticker: The Coming Collapse

Interview with Yaron Brook

The collapse may or may not happen today, but it will happen in the next forty years, he says.

This is not likely to be popular, but a good scary story can get interest.

Chris Laird- Been in hospital recently

He is also raising prices and I don't know if I'll resubscribe.  Why?  No money coming in.  This blog hasn't raised a single penny in over a year now.  Sorry, but times are tough.

He sent an email recently which included a draft of his latest newsletter.  I realize it isn't exactly fair for me to put it up here, but on the other hand, it doesn't have a copyright notice on it, and it is an email.  In case you are not familiar with his work, here is a free sample:

9 18 11  Well now. What a week this last one was.

First, gold settled in ranges around 1700 to 1800 USD. The USD held its ground, and settled near the former critical level of 77 on the USDX (US dollar index heavily Euro weighted, the Yen is part of that index too but much less than the Euro). Gold should not hit $2000 – if it does we need to calibrate new highs into gold’s future. Gold is at risk of a major sell down right now (due to market sell off risks gold sells off because it’s so liquid and there is a lot of leverage in the metals).

The Yen and USD are still linked directly more or less and the BOJ and Fed have the USD backed up. Between the two the USD should not suffer any real crisis for now (meaning rest of year for 2011). I have always treated the USD and Yen as sister currencies.

The last time there was any big USD and Yen problems the BOJ jumped in and single handedly supported the USD in End of year 2004 and early 2005, and at that time Buffet and others were short the USD. They got hammered.

This is now similar and the ECB is on the USD side even, or you can say that last week the major central banks with a lot of pull have defended the USD and also the USD has rallying strength left in it. The US stocks and gold are inverse to the USD mostly. When the US stocks and some of the Asian markets rallied a bit last week, the USD would drop but it barely fell below the key level I said several months ago which was 77 on the USDX.

We were tracking the USDX at around 82, and it held admirably for months near 82. Now the new key level is 77. Even if the USD drops to 76, I will feel its being well defended. If it drops near the 75 level or lower we need to watch the USD and other central banks to see who is defending and who is fighting the USD> No I can’t explain all this in one newsletter but basically, the USD is being defended to the last, and recent USD activity last week indicates to me the USD is safe till the end of the year. Right now the USD is 76.62 and rallied .36 on Friday. Not bad considering the central banks are still trying to save the Euro last week which is fine but Germany is getting angry about having to back the Club med nations.

And Italy and Spain are in target sights for more speculator activity testing weakness in the CDS markets. What that means is the EU situation is now in a critical stage and pressure is mounting across all the EU.

The UK is defending its pound, and that’s a good thing, IE they are somewhat insulated from the Euro problem. So far. Of course they have their own budget messes and a worsening economy so they are also under immense pressures.

I get the impression the central banks are working like hell to prevent another world bank crisis like 2008 especially, but the game is getting very dangerous and we are looking at a 55% probability of a Euro crisis by end of year 2011. IE another 2008 scenario. It’s not a 65% risk so far, and when I have said that before, it happens – so far, so I suspect the Euro situation is very dangerous.

Germany is right to stand alone against all this and Merkel has huge pressure on her.

I hope Germany does not just bail out everyone, because really who is being bailed out is not the Euro but rather the corruption in the banking sectors around the world, sans the US Fed and no I do not believe Bernanke is a devil nor Geithner.

That’s heresy to the gold bug community but I don’t care. Gold holding well too.

So gold, oil and the USD are holding up well. Japan has special trouble with the Yen since the markets are overdosed on their zero interest rate money which is the Yen carry trade, where cheap Yen loans are borrowed by hedge funds etc. and even people (Japanese house wives) and risked in the stock markets. So the Yen has a structural problem of wanting to rally every time the markets crash.

Japan is having its own manifestation of this Euro crisis in that the Yen carry wants to unwind every time a global stock sells off appears.

This will be a shorter NL than usual – I have already said what I wanted to say here so far mostly. When the Yen rallies their manufactures have price problems and take big losses quarterly. Like the auto sector.

Like it or not their cheap money is now coming home to roost in a rallying yen scenario. So Japan has to go deeper and deeper into the cheap money scenario now every time there is a world stock sell off. And we’re having one now for several months.

I called the TSX in trouble near April 25 with that stellar call (several weeks later) and the TSX fell from the 14000 level to now12200s.

That is a resource related sell down.

Or deleveraging.

Resources are in trouble a bit. Be careful of them for now. I expect further carnage in resources. The CAD and AUD should be weakening vs. the USD in coming months. That does not mean the USD cannot fall further.

This is a draft of the 9-18-2011 newsletter coming out tomorrow. - Chris




Chris has always been apocalyptic in his writings.  When I first subscribed, I thought that he was a bit off, but his stuff seems to be correct.  If you aren't hip to this, you are late to the game.  There may be some time left, but the time is dwindling fast.

Incidentally, this is why I suggest an aggressive energy and space program.  If you want a real jobs program, that should be it.  But this administration and other governments the world over seem to be on this suicidal path of what Al Fin describes as an energy starvation policy.  This might as well be an Armageddon Policy for what it will mean for the world.

Think about it.


Although this is a free sample, be reminded that this is a fee based subscription.  If you want to subscribe, go to the products page and click on the Prudent Squirrel link, or Chris Laird.  Who knows?  People might actually read this and go there.

The Horserace for September 15, 2011

The state of the Republican nomination according to Erick Erickson of RedState.
  • Bachmann: She’s fallen below Newt Gingrich in some polls. That latest might have been fatal.
  • Cain: The campaign has not gotten traction.
  • Gingrich: ...Newt is resigned to defeat, but wants to make sure the GOP wins.
  • Huntsman: His campaign seems aimless and accidental
  • Paul: He will not be the nominee.
  • Perry: Suddenly this race is his to lose.
  • Romney: the field consolidated, Romney would poll worse and worse
  • Santorum: Rick Santorum is Admiral Stockdale. He will not be the nominee.

Paul would be intriguing, but he goes off on these tangents sometimes.  Seeming to blame America for 911 is too much.  I agree, we spend too much money on wars and such.  But I am for a strong defense.  Paul can excite a small fringe, but that is about it.

Romney looks the part, but is he for real?  Nobody really believes in the guy because he seems to be artificial. What is Romney all about?

Bachmann would also be interesting.  But she has the "crazy" factor going against her.  I suspect too many people would write her off as a nutcase.  She didn't help herself by attaching herself to the HPV issue.

Cain started out anti Muslim, then seemed to change.  You shouldn't appear to be like a feather in the wind.

Huntsman has been identified too much to the left.

Gingrich is an enigma.  Personality seems to be his big problem.

Santorum lost big time in a reelection campaign for Senate.  He looks like a loser.  Too bad.

Perry seems to win by default.  If doesn't make too big of a mistake anywhere, he will probably win.  Otherwise, it may fall to Romney.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Never underestimate the power of incompetence

I'm adapting that line from the Star Wars movie, when Darth Vader says "don't underestimate the power of the force".  Everyone likes to think things happen for reasons that have nothing to do with themselves, but this is a mistake.  It always happens that way.  Therefore, if you don't get the results you want, it is not because of evil or luck.  No, it is because you screwed up somehow.

Examples?  Let's take a look at politics.  Republicans like to blame the bias of the media for their lack of success.   But Ronald Reagan managed to be pretty successful politically even with the news media arrayed against him.  Reagan's enemies were not as competent as he was.  Those at the time liked to attribute Reagan's success to "luck", but if the success lasts a long time, it isn't luck.

The media is just as biased now as ever, but is there anyone on the Republican side as good as Reagan?  Looks like Perry may shoot himself in the foot a little too often.  Also, he couldn't reply as well as he could have when the liberal leaning question came about capital punishment.  Ron Paul?  He really stepped in it during the last debate.  He let the hypothetical question get the better of him.  If the Republicans lose this election, when they should win it, should not be attributed to anything but incompetence.

For Obama isn't exactly the picture of competence himself.  If the Republicans can't beat this guy, they don't deserve to win.

Not that Obama lacks any competence.  But his competence seems to come from running for office.  His governing style doesn't look like the picture of virtuosity.  You can't ask for a worse job of managing economic matters.  If you were to base his chances on the basis of managing the economy, he is in a lot of trouble.  It doesn't help him when he keeps blaming others for what is, in truth, his own fault.  But I don't see Republicans pointing this out enough.

This doesn't inspire much confidence.  Whoever wins may be the one who least weakly limps into office.  It won't come from a commanding performance in the election, unless something changes.  One would hope that if a change does come, the governing in the future will be better than the electioneering in the present.

Why things don't work anymore

The Cloward-Piven Strategy, Part I: Manufactured Crisis

This is the first of a seven part series.  Key quote:
When things go bad all the time, despite the best efforts of all involved, I suggest to you something else is at work — something deeper, more malevolent.

I submit to you that it is not a mistake, the failure is deliberate!
Is it deliberate?  Maybe.  That presumes competence, which may not be a valid presumption.


Carnival of Nuclear Energy 70

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 70

Brian Wang's address is wrong, to go to the carnival click here.  Looks like a good link in the comments section too.

Let’s Argue About The Right Things

Paul D. Spudis

  • “debate” has focused on either or both of two points: what rocket to build and where to go, and not on sustainability
  •  the real debate is not about launch vehicles or spacecraft or even destinations; it is about the long-term – the paradigm or template of space operations
  • debate about what to build, where to go and how to do it must be formulated towards attainment of Mars
  • If our goal is to “sail on the ocean of space,” we need a navy. 
  • Reliable and frequent access to the entire Solar System, not one or two destinations, should be our ultimate goal
  • We have been arguing about the wrong things.
  • A cost-effective, sustainable human spaceflight program must be incremental and cumulative

We should concentrate first upon cost effective means to LEO before we do anything else.  The way towards that near term goal would be to make a fully reusable launch system with a fast turnaround time.  This is what Jeff Greason and Elon Musk have as goals.  Musk says fast turnaround time is the "holy grail".  Why isn't this national space policy?  The government, for its part, seems to have given up on the project.  Progress was made with the Shuttle program, but reusability doesn't appear to be the goal anymore.  The goal now seems to be relegated only to the reuse the components that made up the Shuttle.  The goal should be more ambitious than that.

Flags and footprints are for ego trippers.  Affordable access to space is for the money grippers.  (That's co opting a phrase from Winning Through Intimidation, a book by Robert Ringer.)

Nickel hydrogen fusion

Does the fusion of nickel and hydrogen produce energy, or does it consume energy?

The question arises since that fusion in stars stops at iron.  Heavier elements are formed in a different way.  So, in that case, why is it an advantage to fuse iron?  A little thought may give some insight into a possible answer for that.  In a star, the possibility of fusion with hydrogen can no longer exist.  That's because all of the hydrogen was  fused long before this point.  Therefore, the most likely form of  fusion is with iron and another heavier element than hydrogen.  Fusion stops when there is nothing left but iron.  Since fusion of iron with iron isn't exothermic, fusion can't continue.  The star dies.

Fusion of hydrogen with itself is exothermic, of course.  But what about with iron?  Is that exothermic, or endothermic?  This may be a question for someone more knowledgeable than myself, but I attempted to find out  anyway.  How?  By calculating mass defects for the proposed isotopes with a fusion of hydrogen.  Take a proton, which is a hydrogen nucleus, and calculate what the mass would be if it were not lost.  The difference in mass between the actual new isotope after the fusion and what the two element's mass was before the fusion gives the mass defect.  Presumably, if mass was lost in the fusion, it had to go somewhere, right?  It so happens that it does.  Therefore, it must be exothermic, since mass was lost in its formation.

The energy gained from the mass lost is calculated from the famous equation E=mc squared.

The amount of energy does not detract from the subsequent energy gained from the decay of the unstable copper isotopes back into nickel.  Because this results in a further loss of mass, which implies another exothermic reaction.  Therefore, there are two energy productions: first from the fusion itself, and then from the subsequent beta decay.

I did this calculation with nickel 58 and hydrogen fusion.  I did away with my work, so I can't show it here.  If you wish, you can calculate it yourself.  It is a straightforward calculation.  Although I could be incorrect, I presume the fusions of other heavier isotopes of nickel proceed in the same fashion: as exothermic dual reactions, as with this example.