Saturday, November 26, 2011

Boeing Tapping Heritage Programs for Space Taxi Design

“For this program, we’re going to be pulling heavily off of our human space experience and our commercial aircraft experience to develop a safe, reliable and affordable system,” Chuck Hardison, Boeing’s production and ground systems manager for the CST-100
Comment:  That's a four year lag with no US based manned launches.  Was this necessary?

By the way, I wanted to speculate further on the Quicklaunch system.  An idea came to me to launch carbon into LEO by this method.  It won't melt or present a problem if it gets thermalized.  A rigid tungsten alloy can encapsulate it.  Subsequent missions could be determine if a fuel can be made in space from this carbon and additional fuels sent up by other methods, or by Quicklaunch.  The idea is to practice in situ resourcing.  By using a rather sturdy material, such as carbon, and combining it with hydrogen, one might gain the  benefits of cheaper access to space for the bulk of the material.  Hydrogen, being lighter, should not be as costly to lift in great quantities, should it not be feasible to send it up by Quicklaunch.

Note: Carbon and Tungsten have the highest melting points of all the elements.  It could survive a hot ride up.

Highly efficient oxygen catalyst found

Rechargeable batteries and hydrogen-fuel production could benefit

ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) — A team of researchers at MIT has found one of the most effective catalysts ever discovered for splitting oxygen atoms from water molecules


I found this from the comment section of the Nuclear Ammonia post referred to in an earlier post.  Here's a reference to a pdf file which describes Nuclear Ammonia as a killer app.  The final cost over a 30 year period would not be insubstantial.  However, it should be kept in mind that the cost of what we are doing now may be an order of magnitude higher.  In other words, this would be cost effective, not to mention, cleaner.

The Thorium technology and ammonia ideas are not new.  Thorium fuel cycles were experimented with decades ago.  The same is true of the an ammonia powered auto, in which an updated version can be seen in this video below:

Rossi is not a threat to the 99%, but is a threat to the 1%

Before anybody jumps all over me for the title to this post, let me say straight up that I don't approve of Occupy Wall Street. I know I'm using their terminology and maybe even some of their thinking, and no, I have not turned Commie pinko.

It is a simple observation and logical conclusion based upon fact. Rossi claims he has a cold fusion device that works, but the US Patent Office will not grant a patent to his device or any other cold fusion device. Those are the facts. It is also a fact that the efficacy of the device doesn't matter at all. Cold fusion has been proclaimed to be impossible, no matter what evidence there may be to the contrary.

Cui bono? Who benefits from this? Lets take the two possibilities- that Rossi is a fraud, and the other- Rossi is not a fraud.

Let's take the fraud case first. If Rossi is a fraud and he gets a patent anyway, what happens? He sells a few devices that don't work and everybody will find out that he is a fraud. Who is harmed? There are a few people who can be harmed in this case, but on the whole, only a few people will be harmed. There's a process that may enable them to redress their harms, but let's say that not all harm can be made whole. At the worse, a small minority will be harmed. The amount of harm to each of these people will be relatively small. The device is not terribly expensive. It is true that it isn't cheap either, but at the worse, it won't bankrupt the buyers, in all likelihood. Therefore, the threat to the public is small and manageable.

On the other hand, let's look at the possibility that Rossi is not a fraud. Who benefits? Rossi does of course. But in addition to Rossi, millions, or perhaps even billions of people can benefit from his device. Who is harmed? The people who have a stake in the status quo. Those people are most likely rich and powerful, and will not be happy to have this new competitor who will take a significant amount of market share from them. Their properties will no longer be as valuable. Their harm will be permanent and irreversible in terms of their current situation. The only way for them to benefit is to stop Rossi. Or buy him out. In this case only a few are harmed and a great many people stand to benefit.

The ratio may not be 1% vs the 99%, but the principle is the same. The great majority are being denied an opportunity to better themselves and it is the "powers that be" who stand in the way of progress. The risk is small and the potential benefit is huge. So why not grant a patent?

I leave the answer to that question to you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nuclear Cement

Energy From Thorium

  • In the recent Nuclear Ammonia article post, ammonia was illustrated as a fuel that could propel vehicles in a zero carbon era.
  • Using nuclear heat and power, chemical engineers can design plants to synthesize CHx fuels from any carbon source.
  • Project Green Freedom is conceived by Jeffrey Martin and William Kubic of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The idea is to use a nuclear power plant to provide the energy to synthesize fuel, and use the air flow of the cooling towers as a source for carbon from CO2 that makes up about 0.035% of the atmosphere.
  • The lime cycle has been used to make mortar for construction for millennia.
  • This process is the conception of Darryl Siemer, a retired nuclear chemist from Idaho National Labs. Heat from a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) would be transferred to the kilns to heat the sand and limestone.
  • The process would be carbon neutral, because the fuel synthesized and eventually burned would release CO2 into the atmosphere that would be absorbed by cement hardening as it is used in construction.
Comment:  This reminds me of what I wrote about before.  You can do better than carbon neutral with this, you can go carbon negative if you can recapture the carbon and recycle it.  Thus you will close the carbon cycle and be more efficient in the use of energy as well.

I'll have to look up the post on nuclear ammonia.  I wrote about using ammonia in fuel cells as well.


Here's another video with Kirk Sorensen discussing a lot of the history of nuclear power and Thorium's place in it. He explains what went wrong and how it might be corrected.

The title of it is called "LFTR in 5 Minutes - THORIUM REMIX 2011", but it is about 2 hours long, so watch the first 5 minutes if you are in a hurry. On the other hand, if you have the time, it is well worth watching the entirety of the video.

Subscribed videos 11/25/2011

How To Make a Dragon Puppet

How To Make A Dragon Puppet - Part 2

Solar Thanksgiving Grid Free Cooking

5" Double Cut Saw HARBOR FREIGHT

Conservatism 101 for Those Not Paying Attention

American Thinker

Comment: What about race in politics?  Herman Cain pitches the idea that he can win a lot of the black vote, thus ensuring a victory over Obama.  But what if this is false?  What if the notion that Republicans are all racist and therefore, to vote for them is not in the best interests of a black person?  Then Cain cannot succeed in getting those votes no matter what he says or who he is.  He is cast as a tool of white racism and therefore cannot be trusted.

If things have gotten to that point, and this is not to say one way or another whether or not it has, politics has taken an ugly turn in this country.  It is no longer about ideas, but race.  There can be no good outcome for this mode of thinking.

The big sticking point could be affirmative action.  Affirmative action may have its roots in the belief mentioned above: that any success of one man comes at the expense of another.   That notion can be defeated by wealth creation.  Wealth creation itself can be defeated by those who believe in the zero sum game.  Those who believe in a zero sum game believe in the "share the wealth" schemes of Obama and his ilk.  Affirmative action morphs into the racial spoils system, in which the winner of elections walk off with their spoils of victory.  This has nothing to do with wealth creation, but everything to do with "spreading the wealth around".

Somebody has to articulate the notion that there can be no wealth to spread around unless there's someone to create it.  Otherwise you are left with a continual degrading of human capital until you reach the sad spectacle of nobody knowing anything about the skills necessary to support a high level of cultural development.

You can't reach people unless you can get to their minds.  If their minds are polluted with the us v them mentality of today's Democrat political ideology, there's not much hope for us or them.  Hopefully, Cain is right.  If not, we face a grim future.

The Boron Swan: Unleashing Unexpected Breakthroughs

Uploaded by FocusFusionSociety on Oct 13, 2011

LPP's lead scientist Eric Lerner discusses the need for diversity in clean energy and in particular fusion research, during the lunch panel at the New Jersey Tech Council's Clean Tech Summit, October 4th at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. The panel's full title: "Life After Fukushima -- What happens after a "Black Swan" event? What is the impact of innovative technologies?"

Commet:  The video is short in duration, unfortunately.

The Norquist Myth - Charles Krauthammer

National Review Online

Norquist is the Democrat's bogey man.  How does naming Norquist as the bogey man going to solve the debt problem?  It doesn't because solutions aren't desired.

Rossi will meet with state of Massachussetts for two days

Next Big Future

Comment:  The title of the post may seem misleading, but bear with me.  Check the comment section where Brian Wang (presumably) makes that comment.  I don't see it in the post, but evidently the reference is in the link or somewhere.  You'll have to look for it.  As of this writing, I have not.

CO2 may not warm the planet as much as thought

24 November 2011 - New Scientist

This post is for climate skeptics, but is there one for climate cynics?  I'll go as far as saying the whole proposition is total bunk designed to beat people out of their money.

Speculative post about Spacex's RTLS concept

Elon Musk of SpaceX wants to achieve the Holy Grail of rocketry design- that is, to have a fully reusable rocket with a fast turnaround time - a Return to Launch Site rocket.  With respect to this, I've posted a number of speculative posts on how that problem might be solved.  It so happens that Trent Waddington's most recent post also deals with this very subject.  However, Trent is a bit skeptical about SpaceX's plans. As for me, I want to believe that this is possible, even if I don't really know what the heck I'm talking about.

A few ideas came to me last night, so let's take a look at some of these ideas. Trent refers to the Space Show broadcast when Gary Hudson was a guest- so I gave it a listen. Hudson says that there will be a substantial mass penalty in terms of payload in order to bring about the result that Musk seeks. I'm not so sure that he said that it was an impossible task, only that payload fraction will suffer a significant reduction. So, the question arises, is there any way to minimize this penalty? This was the question that I will explore briefly with this post.

It is useful to take a look at what has been done in the past and see what lessons there were at that time that may be useful in this context.  Let's look at the following screenshot from a video of the X-15, which was launched from a B-52, flew like a rocket and landed like a plane.  The X-15 employed a very simple device which acted as a brake, as it increased drag.   Now, this may be useful in getting something that's going too fast to slow down, or it also may be used for maneuvers, so long as there is enough atmosphere available for aerodynamic purposes.
Very simple braking system is enough to slow down rocket plane, can the technique have more potential capabilities?
In the case of the Falcon 9, it would seem that once you have first stage separation, the first task should be to slow down- a lot.   Gravity will do that, and so will drag.  Can this technique be extended by using the speed brake as a control surface that will simultaneously increase drag while steepening the trajectory?  In such a simple system, gravity and drag becomes a friend, instead of an enemy.

That's the first idea.  The next idea is to borrow a concept from the Skylon.  I realize that Musk is skeptical of air breathers, but once again, we don't have to fight drag, we can use it.  The Skylon proposition uses the air breather on the way up, but why not use it on the way down?  By the way, you don't have to use it on the way up.  Since the rocket can be used however we wish, we can simply do away with drag by using it as a rocket on the way up and an air breather on the way down.  This will save on board mass by using atmospheric oxygen.  This will save us on our mass penalty.  It may even be helpful in another way, since it may also help in slowing down while it increases drag.

If neither of these ideas can be used immediately, another idea is to use an inflatable heat shield.  That can slow down the rocket just after separation.  You may have to discard it quickly once speed is decreased sufficiently.  In such a case as that, some other techniques like those two above can be used in combination with this in order to slow down the spacecraft and get it pointed in the right direction.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Web and Debates Change Rules of Presidential Race

Michael Barone

The old gatekeepers -- local politicos, TV news and newspapers -- are increasingly bypassed.

Good.   I'm glad.  The less influence these people have, the better.

Brain teaser

I saw this Monty Hall paradox on the Ace of Spaces blog, but the answer really bugged me for awhile.  Now I think I can accept the answer as true.  If you aren't familiar, here's the video explaining the problem.


The answer given in the above video didn't satisfy me, so I went on the web to look for an answer that would. I still didn't accept it after reading over many explanations and so forth. But when I read about the option of expanding to 1,000,000 ( 1 million) doors, it then struck me that the answer that I wouldn't accept was true after all.

That's because the probability of getting the correct door out of 1 million doors is 1 in a million. If all the incorrect doors are removed from consideration and then you are asked if you want to switch to the last remaining door, the odds are not 50-50 that the remaining door is the incorrect one and that the one you originally chose was the correct one all along. Since certainly it must true in that case, it must also true in the case of only 3 doors.

Getting to that point was not easy for me to accept.  The truth is really slippery after all.

Happy Thanksgiving

This isn't written with great enthusiasm, as the mood is a bit somber. However, it should be kept in mind, for myself, as well as anyone else who may be reading this, that there are some good things out there to be thankful for.

For myself, that I'm not in front of a firing squad. Yes, this may sound like a joke, but who knows?

Secondly, I'm not on my death bed. At least, I don't think I am, just yet. Since this is looking like a list, let me make put in the appropriate editing:
  1. see above
  2. see above
  3. I'm not in any great pain, but there is a pain in my posterior which comes to my attention from time to time.
  4. There's a roof over my head, food in the kitchen, plenty of water to drink, and plenty of nekkid women to look at on the internet.
  5. Oh, yeah, thanks for the internet.  It needs to get faster though.
  6. Some people actually are planning to get back to the moon and do something there besides take pictures and look cool.
  7. The Constitution of the United States of America still exists, even though that may be the biggest secret in Washington D.C. these days.
  8. There are plenty of buildings around, known as "schools", who ready to be "occupied" by anyone who actually wants to learn something or to teach something useful.   There is also an entity, also known as "the media", which can impart information to the entire world at the blink of an eye.  Now, if only those running it can figure out something worth knowing about and show it to us.  Wouldn't that be nice?
  9. The US Dollar can still buy things, but the Federal Reserve is working on that problem.  Congress is helping the best they can.   To paraphrase what Ronald Reagan once said, the scariest words in the English language are: "we're from the government, and we're here to help you."
  10. Ann Barnhardt is out there.  She is convinced that we are totally screwed, but things could be a lot worse.
That makes me feel much, much better.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shackleton Energy Company

Ted Talk  uploaded by vraptor01 on Oct 27, 2011

Stone should get together with Quicklaunch, he may be able to do it a bit cheaper.


I followed another link acquired from my first post about it.   This lays out the story in much more detail, with several more links to follow in the chain.  The story goes back in time for several years, so this isn't exactly brand new.  No intent here to be critical, just stating the facts as I've found them.

Moxnews taken down

YouTube has shut down Moxnews, which is a shame since they put up valuable videos of the Republican Presidential debates. These could be studied over and over again at ones' leisure and make you less dependent on the talking heads for what to think about the news and the candidates. No doubt, somebody didn't like the idea of people having the information they need in order to make informed decisions on their own, without it being filtered by the "powers that be".

The moxnews website does not blame YouTube, however.
MOX News youtube pages has been taken down because of copyright violation I believe this has been done by a troll NOT FOX News. I could be wrong but that is what I believe at this moment. I have filed counter notification stating I strongly believe this material to be "fair Use" for educational purposes. It takes about 2 weeks for these things to be resolved...

He asks for donations and I can feel for him because I am in the same boat with this blog.  NOBODY supports what I do here.  NOBODY.

I don't think it is because I don't put up anything of value or of interest.  For some reason, it is just not a good way to make money.  As the Moxnews experience shows, you can do something of great value, and still not be supported adequately.  The number of people supporting what he does is shamefully few.  It is a pity.

I also understand that the Space Show is looking for donations.  Evidently, this is a problem out in the interrnet.  If these types of programs go away because of a lack of support, everyone who likes these shows will regret it.  In such a case, we may not deserve anything better than the crap we get from the MSM.

I put up his videos here on this blog, and now I can't.  If he can't get his videos back up there, this resource will be lost.  He hopes to get it back, but that may not happen anyway.  Perhaps he can find another way to do this, if these jerks won't allow it.

If you can, help out with whatever you can manage.  The field should not be left to the big money operators and the people left to their tender mercies.    If you don't want to help with this blog, help with another.  But DO SOMETHING.


Here's the video of the debate in full


Transcript here


If there is any silver lining to some of what I wrote above, with respect to funding this site, is that this site is not for sale.  I think I can honestly say that if a large sum of money was offered to write something false here, I wouldn't write it.   That is amusing, though.  Not that anyone would do that, but the thought is true.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Plan to establish first lunar base and gas stations in space

gizmag  h/t Transterrestrial Musings

Comment:  Amazing talk.  Here's somebody who wants to do it privately and he is raising money.  He wants to do it in seven years.  Wow.

His plan is a lot cheaper than Paul Spudis' plan.  Who wins that race?

Oil and gas wells find new life with geothermal - environment

22 November 2011 - New Scientist  h/t Al Fin Energy

Comment:  These could be like stranded wind- too far away from anywhere that can be useful. It may be useful to use these to make energy on the spot.  That's in contrast to actually trying to plug these into the grid.  However, these may work better that way since it is a predictable and constant source of energy, albeit a modest amount per well.


Toe sucker, Dick Morris

Ok, that's kind of a joke. People are really touchy these days, so who knows how that will be taken.  Limbaugh used that description, now the Democrats are.  So, I guess things are really different now. /sarc

I'm glad too that the Super commitee failed.  At least now there won't be phony spending cuts and a real tax increase.  There will be only phony cuts instead.

Is Climate Change a Ruse?

With respect to the effects of Climate Change policy, "cui bono"? The general public is led to believe that humankind is the beneficiary, but that depends upon the theory being correct.  For the sake of argument, what if that answer cannot be determined with precision?  Once you strip away that alleged benefit, who then benefits?  Clearly, actions such as the XL pipeline decision do not benefit the average motorist in the US.  Any action, such as this one, restricts supply, which in turn, causes prices to rise.  But who benefits from that?  The obvious answer is the oil companies, but is there anyone else?  The proponents of this policy won't tell you the answer to that, they'll focus on the obvious instead, and count on your doing the same.

The left likes to claim that most people are fooled into voting against their own interests.  But if you pay more than you should based upon restricted supplies that their own policies bring about, how is voting for so called green policies in the public's best interest?

In the US, it appears that the entire apparatus of government exists in order to import more oil.  Which is exactly what happens.  If any attempt is made to shorten the supply line, such as a pipeline from Canada, a shriek emanates from the environmentalists, which is enough to persuade this courageous and far sighted president to block the project.   The result is higher prices and more imported oil.  But it doesn't stop there.  After all, long supply lines have to be defended, which require larger military budgets than what otherwise would be the case.  The argument over the military can be morphed into other benefit and social programs, which makes a big military more acceptable to the left.  However, if there is an actual need for military action, it won't be allowed.  On the other hand, if there's a "need" for a meals on wheels program somewhere in the world, well, that's ok.  You get the big military alright, but just don't use it for anything military.   When you do need a military operation, well, just break open the piggy bank and raise taxes.

The same seems to happen in other agencies of the government.  In a high profile type activity, such as space for example, the tendency towards larger and larger budgets can also be seen.  This kind of thing is the way towards these trillion dollar deficits.  Yet these ever increasing budgets don't necessarily lead to more and better results.  Quite the contrary.  The government is now spending as much as ever on the space program, yet it can't get a crew into space.  They have to hire other countries to do that.  Yet, we are told that the country needs a jobs program, while certain left wing politicians like to wail about corporate outsourcing of jobs.  How about looking in the mirror?  Outsourcing launches from foreign countries?  The knee jerk response is to say that they need more funds to solve the problem, but if NASA is any indication, that potential jobs will just get outsourced as well.   If only jobs can get outsourced in DC next Novermber.

Climate change is just a ruse to increase the size of government.  The result is higher prices, which give the government even more opportunities to interfere.  When the increasing interference causes problems to cascade even further, a call will come for an entire industry to be nationalized.  Sounds a bit familiar?  It should.  Obamacare, anyone?  Decades of interference in the medical industry gave the government the excuse to take over that industry.  A possible solution would be to get the government out of everything, yet we are told that if that happens the world will come to an end.  Whose world?  But if things did come to that extraordinary state of affairs, the government would probably find a program to manage it.  If we are "lucky", they'll manage the results of their own cumulative screw ups so badly that they'll destroy everything and then we can start over.

The Doors- 60's rock group

I'm old enough to remember the sixties, in case you were wondering.

I liked their music back then, but they weren't one of my favorites. It seems that I'm becoming a fan now, in my old age. Some of the lyrics are rather puzzling though. Perhaps that's part of the charm. It is mostly about feelings rather than thoughts. If you go and try to figure out the meaning, you never get there. If you do, it is almost like Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, you change it by observing it. Better to not think too much about it and just enjoy it. This song below is perhaps one of the most understandable songs they made. I think I could analyze it here, but that would contradict the thought I just had, now wouldn't it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

E-Cat and cold fusion, open letter to Andrea Rossi

Brian Josephson adds that he doesn't necessarily looks up to Celani's offer (which, for secrecy reasons, doesn't match the refutability standards DECC have indicated), but highlights the matter of the benefit that could follow a scientific test.

- Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize Laureate

I agree that a scientific test would dispel doubts.  It doesn't have to be a threat to Rossi's interests.

NASCAR Crowd Boos Michelle Obama

Somebody is not happy about it. (Read the comments.)

Limbaugh is talking about this amongst other things today. He's going after liberals, which is a good idea. Unfortunately, the liberals have managed to brainwash enough people into thinking the most amazing things. Just read the comments to the video linked at the top of the page ("dividedguy").

George Nield speaking at ISPCS

I found this from the Quicklaunch Facebook Page. I have a question and answer posted there, in case you're interested.

Frankly, I wasn't familiar with the ISPCS!  Helluva note, I tell you.  I've been blogging on this subject for over a year now and my ignorance of this astounds me.

Quicklaunch was at this conference, so I was looking for some videos to put up here of that conference.  I first one I found was of George Nield.  Nield was a guest on the Space Show on several dates listed here.  If you are like me and are amazingly ignorant of a so many things, a great introduction can be had from Dr. Space, as he does an outstanding job of introducing his guests.

It is an interesting talk below and if you have the time, I recommend watching it all the way through.

Incidentally, ISCPC has their own YouTube Channel here.


Robert Bigelow remarks at the conference

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lite blogging for the near future

I've spent so much time on the computer in the last year that I'm starting to see crosswise.  I'm going to be very light on the blogging until further notice.