Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kim Johnson - Better Nuclear Energy Through Chemistry

Uploaded by gordonmcdowell on Dec 7, 2011

Note:  I took some liberties with the title.

Here's some bullet points to show how the chemistry works in the Liquid Floride Thorium Reactor (LFTR)

David LeBlanc - Evaluating Molten Salt Reactor Concepts @ TEAC3

Uploaded by gordonmcdowell on Nov 27, 2011

A few bullet points with respect to judging reactor design concepts (click to skip to that part of video):

Charles Holden - Liquid Fueled Thorium Reactor 40 Megawatt Pilot Plant Outline @ TEAC3

Uploaded by gordonmcdowell on Dec 30, 2011

One-World Globalism Run Amuck

Dick Morris TV: History Video!

Greed and The Desire to Acquire: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

By Robert Ringer - Monday, May 14, 2012

Some years ago, Time magazine ran a cover story about greed that stated, “Nature is a zero-sum game, after all. Every buffalo you kill for your family is one less for somebody else’s; every acre of land you occupy elbows out somebody else.”

Ignorant, left-wing college profs have been teaching this kind of gibberish to malleable-minded college kids for centuries, while at the same time shameless and ignorant politicians have been brainwashing the parents of those same children. Sadly, this kind of Marxist rhetoric is precisely what deters the underprivileged from doing the very things they need to do to lift themselves up.

Long before the media invented a kinder, gentler Michelle Obama and created a let’s-pretend project (the “anti–childhood obesity campaign”) for her, she blurted out her now-famous hammer-and-sickle comment, “Someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.” In politically incorrect circles, this is a euphemism for communism.

The idea of being forced to give up some of your pie assumes not only that the size of the pie is fixed, but that there is only one pie, which I like to affectionately refer to as the Michelle Pie. Attention mentally challenged progressives: There is no limit to the number of pies that can be baked.

The only way to stop the entrepreneur from baking more pies is through government force. Lacking that, he will continue to bake more and more pies that he believes people will like — and buy — and everyone will benefit from his “selfish” efforts.

Tinseltown celebs, of course, are also quite vocal when it comes to the class-warfare con, as evidenced by George Clooney’s recent $15 million fundraiser on behalf of Der Fuhrbama. But since they have such large slices of the pie themselves, most people don’t take the showbiz crowd seriously.

In truth, any honest, half-intelligent person in this day and age of highly visible entrepreneurial wealth creation certainly realizes that neither nature nor business nor life itself is a zero-sum game. In every country where the zero-sum game has been played out, the results have been catastrophic.

The list of such countries includes the former Soviet Union, Albania, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, and Mozambique, among others. And everyone on the list has three things in common: torture, suffering, and equal misery for the masses, special treatment for the anointed privileged class, and failed economies.

Unfortunately, Western societies seem intent on following the loud voices of the zero-sum crowd down an egalitarian path that leads to dictatorship. What these envy-driven fools cannot seem to grasp is that those who create wealth almost always do so by creating value for others.

Or, to continue the metaphor, they increase the size of the pie. That’s why the poorest families in the U.S. have the means to buy state-of-the-art television sets, DVD players, video-game consoles, computers, cell phones, and an endless array of other electronic products that are strictly discretionary in nature — i.e., they are not necessities by any stretch of the imagination.

Greed is technically defined as “an excessive desire to acquire more than what one needs or deserves.” But who, other than Michael Moore, has the wisdom, let alone the moral authority, to decide what anyone else needs or deserves?

Since the words “excessive” and “more than what he needs or deserves” are totally subjective, what greed really means is possessing a desire to acquire. And though it may ruffle the feathers of many to hear it, the reality is that all human beings have an unlimited desire to acquire.

One person might desire to acquire power over others by leading or joining a humanitarian crusade. Another person might desire to acquire material wealth by providing products or services that people are willing to purchase from him. And still another individual might desire to acquire the respect of others through artistic endeavors.

In any event, all of these people are “greedy” in the sense that they “desire to acquire.” Thus, ambition is simply “a strong desire to achieve something,” and “acquire” is commonly used as a synonym for “achieve.”

Though the audience was set up to hiss and boo when Gordon Gekko, in the 1987 movie Wall Street, spewed out those now-famous words “Greed is good,” the fact is that he was absolutely right. Or at least conditionally right. Greed is good if it leads to honest wealth creation.

In truth, greed is neither good nor bad; it’s neutral. It is only the methods that a person employs to fulfill his desires that are good or bad. Just as guns don’t kill people, neither does greed, of and by itself, harm anyone. So long as you do not use force or fraud to acquire what you desire, you never need to apologize for being greedy.

Keep all this in mind over the next six months as the Master of Distraction hammers away at the importance of making the “wealthy” pay their “fair share.” It is nothing more than a distraction from his real objective: bringing an end to the last vestiges of liberty that Americans still enjoy.

You have permission to reprint this article so long as you place the following wording at the end of the article:

Copyright © 2012 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.

Deep Ecology


That covers it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Valerie Plame of Plamegate can't hold a candle to this if true

This looks much, much worse.   But nobody will ever know about it because the media isn't interested in anything that would make the Obama administration look bad.

Plamegate was a politicized media event for their buddies in the DNC .  But not this, and guess who gets all of the advantage in both cases?  Hint:  It isn't the Republicans.

Guilt tripping on the AGW merry go round

Another interesting post from the blog recommended by Michael Barone. The post is about a Jewish physicist who is comparing AGW skepticism to holocaust denial. This reminds me of something I posted early on about guilt tripping. It is an emotional manipulation used to provoke the intended reaction. The intended reaction must be the one that Klavan said about how the left just wants you to shut up.

But answering back isn't going anywhere either.  A better solution for the guilt tripping is to ask for their solutions.  And when they propose their solutions, show why yours is better.  The best solution for AGW is to not argue at all, but to replace fossil fuels with the molten salt nuclear reactor- the LFTR.

The guilt trippers and the fear mongers have managed to manipulate everyone into what will be useless argument or a really bad solution.  If carbon dioxide is really that bad for the environment, all of the windmills and solar plants that can be built won't make any difference.  That is because the need for energy is much too great.  Those solutions are not feasible.  The LFTR is.

Kickstarter project

This is the second project that I've backed.  The other is Gordon McDowell's documentary project on Thorium Molten Salt Reactor [LFTR]-The Future of Energy.  Rand Simberg has talked about the excessive risk aversion amongst policy makers. He says the reason for this is that they don't consider space to be very important.  If that was to change, real change in Washington might be possible.  Hopefully, this project can be helpful not only for space, as Simberg suggests, but across the board.  Our society is getting bogged down into too much risk aversion.  Good things don't happen if you curl up into a fetal position.  You have to take risks.

A completely non serious interlude

I like NFL football. From time to time, I go to and check out the goings on in the NFL. But, as I said before, webpages are getting too sucky. It so happens that I can manage to tolerate some of their layout, which includes some of their blogs. One of them is Stephanie Stradley's blog, which has a new post this morning. It is about a superhero film called The Avengers, which I haven't heard of yet.

One of the characters is Iron Man, who I'd be if I was that smart.

I made a superhero series on Extranormal.  Yup, it wasn't very good.  But I try.

Incidentally, that's how I found out about these guys.

Turn! Turn! Turn! Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 MV

Uploaded by mhcaillesrn on Apr 4, 2008

Nothing new under the sun. Everything that is happening has happened before.

Romney To Win Undecideds

Dick Morris

Will Romney exploit the vulnerabilities this poll suggests? Only time will tell.


The title of this post suggests that Romney will win the undecideds, but Morris contradicts that with the above quote from his post.  However, the post also says that Romney should win, for what that's worth.

The Man Without a Country

Sometimes I get the impression that the people who support Obama the most are of the same spirit as the character in that story who denounced the United States- and was banished for life from the same.

That's how a guy like Obama gets elected.  Get that spirit of rejection of one's own country spread around enough, and it may make a majority.

How does Obama eat dog and admit it and still get elected President?  How does Obama have a pastor who denounces the USA in the way that Jeremiah Wright did, and still get elected President?  How does Michelle Obama claim that Obama's home country is Kenya, and not the USA, and Obama still get elected President of the United States?  The way that happens is to convince a majority of this country that it isn't worthy of support, and therefore, must be rejected.

The media wouldn't vet Obama, but made sure Palin was vetted so much that she is ruined politically.  Surely, the irony of that can not be ignored any longer.  But who knows?  Given the overwhelming amount of material out there that show all of these facts, there is still political support for Obama.  And so, I suspect that it may not make much of a difference even with the Breitbart's piece called The Vetting.  After all, the information has been out there.  Is this stuff really new?  No, it isn't really.  But it amounts to an "in your face" moment.

There have been many of these in the last four years.

No, the in your face aspect of this will double back in the same way as it did in the character Philip Nolan, in The Man Without a Country.  He came to regret his denunciation of his own country.  Philip Nolan did an "in your face" denunciation of America in front of the wrong guy.  Yet that story did not lead to the end of the United States- but this kind of spirit on a nationwide scale could.  There are plenty of wrong guys in the world.  If enough people will not support their own country anymore, it will cease to exist- the wrong guys will see to that.  When that happens, those same people may come to regret what they have done in the same way that the Philip Nolan character did.  But by that time, it will have been too late.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wanna be a guitar hero?

Learn how to play "Layla". Here's how:

Metallica - The Unforgiven (The Best Fan Video)

Uploaded by EmptyBottleTherapies on Mar 6, 2011

I've heard this song before, but half of the words were unintelligible, so I include the lyrics below:

{ From: }

New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on, he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is

Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labelled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labell me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

DIY crucible cement bowl parabola mirror-like finish

Published on May 11, 2012 by GREENPOWERSCIENCE

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thorium: A closer look, better answers!

Uploaded by Jkwest2020 on Dec 22, 2010

The key part of the video is here, if you are in a hurry.

Rob_Morse - Thorium Reactors with out Formulas

Uploaded by ThoriumAlliance on Mar 9, 2010

There's no excuse not to do this.

Recycling the “Wastes” of Fission

Extracts from Essay obtained from Energy From Thorium blog

  • Fission processes inevitably generate a variety of fission product elements and a large number of isotopes, most of which are neutron-rich and radioactive.
  • When all of the isotopes of an element reach stability it can logically be asked whether or not they are worth chemical extraction and recycling to other, non-nuclear uses.
  • Xenon has a variety of isotopes but the longest lived one (133) has only a half-life of 5.2 days. Therefore, proceeding on the rule-of-thumb that “ten half-lives and you’re gone” after 50 days of storage the xenon remaining from fission would be essentially non-radioactive
  • Since xenon is a valuable gas, rather than vent the xenon to the atmosphere it can be separated from the krypton by cryogenic distillation and sold. NASA and commercial satellite operators, for instance, use xenon for ion engines for spacecraft.
  • Another valuable material from fission is neodymium.  one of the markets that is in greatest demand for neodymium is the wind turbine market.
  • Neodymium is the third-most-common element generated from fission (by mass) and also achieves nuclear stability relatively quickly; its longest-lived isotope (147) has a half-life of 10.9 days. 
  • But there are other isotopes in the “waste” stream of a fluoride reactor where the radioactive form of the isotope is the desirable and economic product. An example of this case is the life-saving medical isotope molybdenum-99
  • In a fluoride reactor, on the other hand, the fluid nature of the reactor makes it possible to continuously extract Mo-99 along with the other isotopes of molybdenum.
  • Xenon, molybdenum, and neodymium are three of the most common fission products but many others have value too. The fluid nature of the fluoride reactor makes RECYCLING of the so-called waste quite likely to be economically attractive in many circumstances.
What's not to like about the LFTR?  Even much of the waste can be used.


One of the basic principles of the modern environmental movement is the simple mantra to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”.

Sorensen shows how to reduce waste:
1 gigwatt year of electricity can be obtained from 1 ton of thorium as opposed to 300 tons of uranium
The graphic belows shows how thorium is reused continually to breed uranium 233.  All of the thorium is breeded into uranium 233, which is in contrast with naturally mined uranium, which can only fission a tiny portion.
Nothing is wasted, all of the thorium gets converted to uranium, which in turn, gets fully burned.
The recycle part of the question was mentioned above.  So, there you have it.  There's nothing not to like.


Every time I look around, I find something amazing about this LFTR concept.  For example, I already knew that a golf ball size chunk of thorium will produce enough energy for a lifetime-- I knew that.  But what knocked me out was something I saw on this video- the waste produced from this golf ball sized thorium will be the size of a rice grain!  Put that one in you Funk and Wagnalls!  ( old laugh in joke)

Shuttle Launch videos

Here are narrated videos of launches that show where some events of interest occur
This is a reference post for my own information, should it become interesting to view later.

Aeroscraft Technology Animation - NEW VIDEO!

Actually, not exactly new, but less than a year old.

They claim to be able to carry significant amounts of cargo or passengers.

One criticism about airships is that they are hard to control in high winds.  However, if it is able to carry so much cargo and even passengers, this problem appears to have been overcome.

Lockheed has their own version, called the P-791.

The interesting thing about them is that they don't require much infrastructure.   They can land anywhere.  If you can carry passengers as they claim, at the speed they claim, it may be a better alternative than high speed trains.

Has the world become too civilized?

Browsing the web this morning has given me that idea.  So, I will try to explain.

First of all, life in its simplest form means to satisfy the basics of survival- obtaining food and shelter.  In the earliest forms of human organization, people lived in small bands.  They lived off the land, but there was no farming.  Whatever was available is what sustained the population.  This mode of living characterized the way people lived for eons.  But that changed with the invention of agriculture.

Note that agriculture is an abstraction.  It describes the process of producing food by deliberate effort.  This is opposed to actually going out into an area and looking for whatever is there to eat.  So, the invention of agriculture was the first abstraction.  It enabled larger populations to organize themselves into societies, which is another abstraction.

Societies became more complex as they became more productive.  They tend to abstract out more and more functions.  Over time, people stopped doing their own farming and began working for other people for money.  Money itself is an abstraction.  You can't eat it, but you can use it to obtain the necessities of life.  Instead of hunting and gathering food, or growing your own, you now have to work for money in order to obtain these things.  Instead of food and shelter being a necessity of life, now money is.  It has been abstracted out this way, even though by itself, it has no real meaning.  After all, what is money?  It is merely a medium of exchange- an abstraction.

There are those who are known as Luddites, who oppose the trend towards labor saving devices.  These devices deprived them of their opportunity to earn money, which was now the way towards providing for themselves.   It is entirely understandable why this reaction occurred.  Having no other way to support oneself, what is one to do when some machine is now doing something that used to be what you needed to do in order to support yourself?

But the Luddites were largely unsuccessful in stopping the process of industrialization.  Societies were progressing to greater and greater abstraction.  Now we are to the point that one can visualize the possibility of human intelligent robots.  It may be cheaper to employ these robots than it is to hire human beings.  So what happens to the people who no longer have any means of supporting themselves?  That's the question that has occurred to me.  Where does all this end?  Where is all this abstraction taking us?  Is there a point where all the abstraction must come to an end?

Or perhaps another way of organizing people can be found.  Much of our modern politics seems to revolve around money.   What if money no longer means anything?  If the goods and services needed for life are so abundant, what is the need for money?

Perhaps you can't get around the need for money because there is always going to be a lack of something.  Therefore, the need to exchange between peoples for the things that are needed.  Naturally, there are going to be abundance in one area and scarcity in another.  Unless another way is found in order to deal with those types of situations, there's always going to be a need for money.

But it may not be as universal as it is now.

All of this assumes the course of humanity will continue on its present course.  The thing that may upset that is a revolution, which stops the current flow of events, and diverts it into another direction.  Or a war may happen, which could destroy the current order and replace it with another.

Has civilization reached a dead end?  Can there be a civilization which requires little or no money?  How would commerce exist?  How would people support themselves?  How would things get done?

These problems exist now, in my opinion, because of the problems with respect to money.  Many countries are now into printing money in order to pay for government.  But this can't solve any problems.  If it were that easy, we could all quit our jobs and have the government give us all the money we need for whatever we need.  Nobody would need to work anymore.  Everything in a sense, would be free.  But that contradicts Econ 101 which says, "there's no such thing as a free lunch".

New jobs, new industries need to be created.  In so doing, we may very well see another level of abstraction taking hold- and the process continues.  But whatever happens, something has got to give.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


A census of the articles on this subject yields 9 posts on this blog, counting this one.  There's something of interest to report, so hence the post.

Evidently, there's more than one concept out there, as I discovered today from the March 20 Space Show broadcast.   Michael Laine was the guest, and here's his blog.  Evidently, his concept doesn't need the really massive anchor that I discussed in an earlier post.  Not everyone seemed impressed by his ideas, though.

A moonstalk would be quite handy, I would think.  It could give much easier access to the surface, and it might even eliminate the need to use propellants to get to the surface.

It doesn't help with the problem of getting out of the Earth's deep gravity well, but it may give you a destination once you get there.  This is not necessarily a trivial consideration.  For if space access was much cheaper, what would you do, and where would you go?

The Day After Tomorrow

I guess you can call this global warming day on Boots and Oil.  I rented this video too.  Actually, if you take away the global warming as prop, it wasn't all that bad.  It does get mostly bad reviews, from what I read.

Actually, the movie might have been better if it were a series of scenes in which people dealt with dangerous situations that resulted from a global warming related incident.  Let's say a big chunk of ice breaks off from Antartic's ice shelf and causes the world's oceans to rise quickly.  That's generally the idea it starts with, but it gets a lot more complicated after that.

The movie suffers from a believability deficit.  And that pretty much ruins it.  There's a tsnunami that floods New York, but it might have been better if a large piece of offending ice had spawned a tsunami from Greenland's ice sheet.

Some people called this propaganda, most likely because the Vice President in the movie looks like former veep Dick Cheney.  The movie is too dumb for propaganda, though.  Anybody who believes in this stuff as shown in the movie is already a moron.

An Inconvenient Truth

This is the movie by Al Gore.  I've rented it online.  So far, I've watched about 30 minutes..  One thing that struck me-  Al Gore's use of his son as an emotional prop for pushing these ideas.  It is outrageous.  If this is to be about science, it should be only about science.  Think of it this way- if we are to change our ways of life, are we to do it because of what happened to his son?  Does that make any sense at all?  It shouldn't.  I resent it.  I think any thinking person should resent it.

If there's anything else about the movie, I'll update and report it here.


Well, I finished the movie.  At the end, it gives suggestions on what to do about carbon dioxide.  It is more of the same thing- reduce living standards.

Look, if you want to eliminate carbon dioxide completely, and improve living standards at the same time, here's how you can do it.  By the way, the first petition has expired, there's a new one.

And it doesn't mean using mass transit.  That's a bad solution.  I've tried it.

Web pages are getting sucky

Maybe not all of them.  Just some of those that I liked to visit at one time are getting annoying in some respects.  For instance, just before I started writing this post, I was on Instapundit.  Reynolds has a lot of links that I click through and read, but by the time I return to his page, it refreshes.  I hate that.  One thing I really hate is for anything that is automatic on the computer.  I want control, I don't want the machine to control everything.

Another thing that I don't like is that there is a continuing trend towards putting too damn much stuff on a web page.  They should be clean and load quickly.  With more bells and whistles, too much time passes before  all of the preliminaries are completed.  A faster computer would help, but why should anyone be required to keep buying new computers?  An example is the, which has sporting news that I once liked to read about there.  Now, it is totally effed up.  I am thinking of going to other web pages instead for my sporting news.

Even this page is getting a little too complex.  I will try to keep the bells and whistles to a minimum.  That is all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Obama’s Terrible Week

Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!

Morris says there's two kinds of populism- economic and social.  He says the president is giving the impression of being too elitist and will offend the social populism that exists in most of the country.  Ultimately, this could cost him reelection.  There's not enough votes for his economic populism, so the perception of his social elitism will really hurt.

The Long-Term Case for Commodities: “When Push Comes to Shove, They’re Going to Print Money”

The Daily Ticker

The Big Bang

Cosmos, Carl Sagan

Who invented the internet?

This has become something of a joke on Al Gore.  It is an interesting story though, which I am researching now.

My interest in it relates to how I missed this as it was happening.  I've been interested in computers since 1978, long before the internet became popular.  Many people have become filthy rich from computers, yet here I am, toiling in relative obscurity.  Perhaps the study of the history of the thing could reveal how and why I seemed to have missed the boat.

Why should anyone else be interested in this?  Well, I don't know.  If you're interest includes making a ton of money, perhaps you shouldn't be paying attention to me.  On the other hand, perhaps something could be learned from this- it may be profitable to study it.

My first computing device was called a Video Text, and I purchased it in the spring of 1982.  I'm not totally sure, but the internet may have been functioning by that time.  So, I went to the old trusty Wikipedia to get the history of the internet in order to see the timeline.    Here's a quote from the article:
In 1982, the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized and the concept of a world-wide network of fully interconnected TCP/IP networks called the Internet was introduced. Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In December 1974, RFC 675 – Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program, by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal, and Carl Sunshine, used the term internet, as a shorthand for internetworking; later RFCs repeat this use, so the word started out as an adjective rather than the noun it is today.

By the time I got the videotext computer from Radio Shack, the internet was up and running.  Al Gore had nothing to do with this part of the history of the internet.  That's why the joke is on Al.

By 1982, I had finished up my degree in Computer Science, and set out to find a job.  But the Houston job market was really bad and I had no luck.  The purchase of the computer was a way for me to keep a hand in on the computer field.  Little did I know the significance of what was happening.  Behind the scenes a bit, micro computers were finding their way on the market, and a guy named Bill Gates had written some code for the ROM in the Altair computer.  Actually, Gates was on the scene in the mid seventies, so I was already a bit late.  Actually, by 1982, Gates career was well on the way.  At that time, I did talk to somebody about a job using CP/M, which is a forerunner of MSDOS, which is what Gates really rich.

Of course, I understood nothing about the significance of CP/M.  If I had, I might have wanted to kill in order to get that job.  The significance of CP/M became clear when IBM introduced its first PC.  That story is a result of an anti trust lawsuit against IBM, in which IBM agreed to develop an open architecture computer, which led in turn to the PC clone business.  A funny thing, it was called the IBM 5150.  I worked on a desktop computer at IBM NASA in 1979, as a kind of workstudy job.  The name of the computer was quite similar to this name, but the computer was a bit different, to say the least.  Its innards were proprietary, the innards of the PC were not, that's why it is called an open architecture.  It could be built with parts "off the shelf".  Only a small part of the machine was proprietary, but that was soon to be overcome, and the IBM clones were born.  You see, CP/M could run on these machines, and IBM selected Gates, who obtained a cloned copy of CP/M, which became known as MSDOS.

The significance there was that IBM couldn't control the PC market.  That was the intent of the anti trust suit.

The result was a boom in the PC clone business and Gates got rich.  Now there was a large market for PC's and a networking architecture in place waiting to be combined at the right time.  But the IBM PC's and their clones were too unsophisticated.  They needed to grow up.

When I got around to buying my first "real" personal computer, it was about 1984.  I considered buying an IBM PC, but the reason I didn't was because the Apple had better graphics.  That was one of the reasons.  The upshot was that I wasted too much time on something that wasn't going to work out.  That particular line of the Apple didn't work out, but the Macintosh did.  The Macintosh had a graphical user interface.  The IBM PC and the Apple had a "command line" interface, which was not exactly user friendly.  I didn't recognize the significance of the graphical user interface.  A pattern begins to emerge.  I failed to recognize the significance of events as they unfolded.

A better decision would have been to buy a Macintosh.  Subsequently, I understood my mistake as not having bought the PC, but the PC wasn't optimal either.  I was getting further and further behind in terms of staying at the leading edge.

But the graphical user interface of the Macintosh didn't win out.  The reason had a lot to do with the cost of the machine, in my opinion.  The PC clones were driving the cost of the machines down, so their popularity had a chance to grow.  In the meantime, the capabilities of the PC were gaining ground on the Macintosh.  But the PC was always a bit behind in elegance.  Jobs got booted from Apple, so that didn't help.  Gates developed Windows, which supplanted the clunky MSDOS.  Personally, I began to favor the clones because of the open architecture.  I avoided Windows because of the bad things I heard about it.

The time now would be around 1990.  At this time, I was using Prodigy.  I had heard of bulletin boards and such, but didn't visit many of those.  But Prodigy had one and I ran into a guy named Taegan Goddard.  He was interested in people's software, so I replied to him about mine.  He suggested that I try to get published with an outfit where he published his stuff.  I got a little familar with his work and I noticed his use of graphical user interface.  The comparison didn't favor me, as mine didn't have one.  That's what led to the rejection of my software- not user friendly enough.

If I had understood the significance of that, it might have helped.  Evidently, I am a bit thick headed, so I didn't.  User friendliness is absolutely essential in the success of software.  So was the case for the first web browsers that were soon to become available.  If only I understood that.

Another thing I was doing was to become interested in the stock market.  In 1987, I almost became a stock broker.  But there was this stock market crash, and I felt fortunate to not have become part of that.

In the late eighties, Microsoft went public.  Imagine buying a hundred shares of Microsoft just after its IPO.

Crash or no crash, that alone could have made someone a millionaire.  But there's still a missing piece to this puzzle.  What was the catalyst that made the World Wide Web so popular?

There had to be a connection between the internet as it had existed at that point, plus the hardware and software that was now available.  I think that connection was made by Tim Berners-Lee.  Just one more thing needed to complete the picture, a web browser.  That's where Marc Andreessen and the Mosaic browser comes in, and the World Wide Web was off to the races.  But why?  The Mosaic browser was not the first.  But it was the first to include graphics and text simultaneously, or in line with the text.  The graphics capability is what made Mosaic popular, in my opinion.

A good sense for what's popular is another ingredient for success.  It goes with recognizing the significance of events.  There are those who recognized this significance and got very rich.  Those who didn't, did not.

Al Gore couldn't take credit for the World Wide Web.  However, his efforts did help along the way.  The credit for the invention of the web go to many authors, not just one.

Politicians shouldn't take too much credit, but often they do.  But it should be kept in mind that strategic expenditures can make a big difference.  For this, Gore should be given some credit at least.

Incidentally, this is another opportunity for me to say that ideology can make you stupid.  If you think that private enterprise will always do the job, you haven't been paying attention.  On the other hand, the government can't do it either.  No, the best thing for the government is to provide the environment which can allow success to blossom.  If on the one hand, you think that government created the internet, you'd be wrong.  On the other hand, if you claim that government had nothing to do with it, you'd also be wrong.

The key is to recognize the significance of events.  Indiscriminate spending on something will not yield results.  Only intelligent efforts can succeed, as opposed to brute force or thoughtless actions.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Carl Sagan, Cosmos

It's on youtube, for anyone interested in watching the series.  Here's part 1, and from there you can link to the rest.  It's as fascinating to me now as it was back when I first saw it.  I got lost in the episodes, that's where I've been for most of the day.

It gives a sense of perspective.  You can get lost in the day to day stuff, or in this.  Which is better?  Who knows.