Saturday, June 2, 2012

Experiment: Added Translation Capability to Blog

This will be tried for awhile in order to see how it goes.  If there are no problems, it will stay.

The translation button is at the bottom of the page.  For quick access, press Ctrl-F and type "Translate" into the text box.  Then click on "find next".  This will take you quickly to the bottom of the page.  Another way is to press Ctrl-End.  Once you arrive at the bottom of the page, look for the translate button and click on it. You will see a list of the available languages and will be able to choose the one desired.  Press Ctrl-home to get back to the top of the page.


EGO OUT: ANSWERING TO RUBY CARAT”S “WHAT IF?” QUESTION: Ruby Carat is a really nice lady & editor- she has not ignored-as-usual my idea regarding the alternative utopistically positive optimist hi...

Don’t aspire to achieve success, be envious of it

Let's all aspire to mediocrity so that nobody's feelings ever get hurt.  Life will become a paradise on Earth.  /sarc

Free Falling: Man Plans Record-Breaking 120,000-Foot Jump


We got some daredevils out there.

The Bernie Madoff of Information

Klavan On The Culture

Klavan's little screed nails it as far as I'm concerned.

Here's the problem:  even though the left is only a small minority, they are able to cobble together majorities because they con enough people into thinking they can deliver the goods.  But all the while, they are actively de-constructing the engine of economic growth which is needed to deliver these goodies.  If enough people can be convinced that the left is the problem and not the solution, they can be foiled in their attempt to sabotage America.

I know that sounds pretty harsh, but how can it be seen any other way?  To them, America is a bad place, and they are the only ones who can redeem it.  But redeem it from what?  The left's criticisms are at the very heart of what makes the country great.  Destroy that and you destroy all that is good.  That's what they are doing, and they are doing it in the name of goodness.  This makes them blind to what they are doing because it is based not upon logic, reason, and evidence.  It is based upon what they believe.  Show them anything that conflicts with this, and it will throw them into a rage.  They are so confident in their own righteousness that they will never be reachable.

Instead, you have to be able to reach others.  If there's any hope for this country, the others must step forward.  The left knows this, that's why they want those who disagree with them to be shut down.  The left can't afford these others to wake up and smell the rotten eggs the left is laying.

But it isn't just the left.  Installing a "right" wing government isn't any better if those people act the same way.

A renewal can't be based upon faith, but upon reason.  This is what is being lost in the cacophony of today's discourse.

John S. Lewis on the Space Show recently

Depressing stuff just keeps popping up on the radar.  How many people in this country know who John Lewis is?  But he is known in China.  He is going to do commentary on the upcoming Chinese launch to their space station.  China is serious about space.  America is serious about building windmills using Chinese rare earth metals.

America spent over 100 billion dollars on the ISS, but can't send astronauts directly to it.  For awhile last year, it was a distinct possibility that it would have to be abandoned.  If it was to be abandoned, SpaceX's recent accomplishment would not have been possible.  We were lucky.  But we won't be lucky forever.

How many people care?   The number appears distressingly small.

General Thoughts on TEAC4

Aren't any.  Funny thing is that there's not much news out there about the conference.  Was there a news embargo, or was it a matter of little interest?

I did find a twitter thread on the conference.  But nothing much was reported there.

It should have had a writer blogging the event.  Somebody should have been there.  I couldn't go.

I'm curious about some things
  1.  Fluid reactors in outer space? Is it practical?
  2.  100 MW plant fits on an 18 wheeler.  I calculated 16k could be served by it.  Is that accurate? 
  3.  Could chemical power be inherently dirty?  That is, given the rather concentrated power of nuclear.  The presumption is that nuclear is more dirty than chemical.


I found something about TEAC4 on Facebook.   Anybody not on Facebook might know nothing about the conference.  It does have 8000 likes, but 8000 isn't that big of a community.

    Next Big Future: Lawrenceville Plasma Physics has a collaboration d...

    Next Big Future: Lawrenceville Plasma Physics has a collaboration d...: Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. (LPP), a research firm in Middlesex, NJ, announced today that they had signed a contract on May 20 with ...


    Very lively debate on the comment thread if you're interested.

    Bottom line with me is that I don't trust Iran.


    One bit of info here, the Iranians seem to be more serious about this than we are.  Collaborating with them doesn't seem to be a great advantage for the Iranians.  It may be more of an advantage to us.

    This would shock me, except I am not longer shocked by anything in our culture.  It is rapidly declining.

    The Cars-Drive

    Uploaded by Ryder276 on Mar 17, 2009

    The song seems to me to be about a girl with a problem, and who is in denial about it. But it goes deeper than that, I think. It could be about anybody who has a problem and is in denial about it. At some point, that problem could drive away the one person who can help you. Then where will you be?

    I think this song is metaphorical about all of us. Something's wrong, but who is going to pick us up when we fall?

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Disappointing jobs report

    The big news today was the weak job report.  Gold jumped 4%.  Stocks fell hard.

    Democrats blame austerity, but what austerity?  Here's what I think-- it isn't how much, but how much is spent on productive investments.  If the government spends as much money on space as it did during Apollo, but getting little done, then something must be wrong, don't you think?  If the government spends billions on unproductive fusion research like the tokomaks, but overlooks fission research completed forty years ago, something's wrong, don't you think?

    The problem isn't how much is being spent, but how it is being spent.  It's being wasted.

    Another problem is that there is no need to spend hundreds of billions each year on imported oil.  We've got the capability to end that dependence.

    We should also cap military spending and military adventures.  Let the world take care of itself for awhile.

    Those are the obvious things.  But not so obvious as to why they aren't being done.

    Thorium Energy: Dream or Reality?

    Thorium Conference underway in Chicago--May 31, June 1
    A dream can be said to be alive, but in a subconscious state.  The awareness of something such as this is there, but the interest appears to be a bit weak.  Thus, the metaphor.

    What could wake people up to this?

    It isn't super easy to find news about this event.  I wonder how it is going.  I just assumed that it was going well and maybe it is, but where's the news?

    The more science you know, the less worried you are about climate  h/t Behind the Black

    • A US government-funded survey has found that Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more sceptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens.
    • in a just-published US National Science Foundation-funded study, participants' science knowledge and numeracy was tested and compared with levels of concern regarding climate change. The soft-studies profs were amazed, however, to find that as one moves up the scale of science knowledge and numeracy, people become more sceptical, not less.
    • Thus it is, according to the assembled profs, that the US government should seek to fund a communication strategy on climate change which is not focused on sound scientific information.

    Whoa!  An appeal for action based upon scientific information is to be made on the basis of a lack of scientific information!  If this isn't Orwellian doublespeak, there ain't no such thing.

    The United States has been said to be the Nation of the Enlightenment.   If so, what happens to it if these new Orwellians start acting like a reincarnation of the Grand Inquisition?  The same thing that happened to Galileo, that's what.

    Global Warming theory is being admitted here as being nothing more than a new religion.  But it is being sold as a scientific idea.  That should be repellent, but who knows these days.

    SpaceX concludes successful flight

    What does it all mean?  Rand Simberg has some thoughts.


    Caves on the moon.  Could they also be ice traps?  A great opportunity could be waiting for someone to take advantage.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    'I Authored 700 Papers. Did I Read Them All ? No.'

    science 2.0  h/t Behind the Black

    • Measuring the value and the impact of a scientist on her field of research using as data her scientific papers, the number of citations these papers got, and the prestige of the scientific journals where these were published is no easy matter.
    • No, I cannot even say I read all of them; perhaps I read a third. If this coming clean with my true contribution to papers I signed shocks you, please consider: I did not ask to sign those papers -it is automatic !
    • the few honest scientists who stick to the idea of only signing papers to which they feel they gave a contribution would quickly end up at the bottom of the list of any scientometric index, being surpassed by the less upright ones.

    Again, I point to Bronowski's warning.  You need integrity in order to have a scientific civilization.

    Extend The Bush Tax Cuts

    Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!


    He makes some good arguments in his video.

    Opposition to the Bush Tax Cuts is ideological.  The cuts themselves were not because the tax cuts were for everybody- not just the rich.  The Democrats want to exclude the rich.  The rich are not guilty of anything just because they are rich.  It all depends upon how someone gets rich.  If someone gets rich by doing wrong, then you can punish the offender.  It is stupid and unjust to punish someone who has done nothing wrong.

    Doodle Bug and Ying Yang

    The post about the duality of man got me to thinking about ying yang.  It is said that ying yang are complementary.  Posing the question of whether reason and faith are part of this duality brought me to the Doodle Bug story I remember reading about.

    The Doodle Bug was an invention to help find oil deposits.  The inventor became discouraged and refused to believe that what his Doodle Bug was telling him.  It was telling him that there was a rich oil deposit right under his feet.  He gave up and it was later discovered that the oil really was there.  The author of that story believes it was a negative attitude that caused him to fail to believe what his instrument was telling him.

    Reason enabled him to invent the Doodle Bug.  Faith turning negative is what caused him no longer to trust it.  He refused to believe, you see.  Perhaps this isn't correct in terms of ying yang, but I'd say that the opposite of faith is not the lack of faith.  If he got curious about why his Doodle Bug was giving him readings that he found puzzling, he could have investigated that circumstance.  In any event, he had to make a decision.  His decision was not to believe.

    Motivation is what moves people.  He had to have been motivated not to look for causes and effects.  That is how he made the faulty choice.  Hill calls it a negative attitude.  In any event, it is a decision.  To believe or not to believe- that was the question.

    So, I'm trying to reason that reason and faith are ying and yang.  You have to decide what you are going to believe.  In the end, what you believe has to be a matter of what you can't see or perceive and what you do about that.  You can keep looking or you can give up.  That's the decision.  Hill calls that your attitude- you have a negative attitude or a positive attitude.  You can choose your attitude.  The use of reason can lead you to an answer to a question.  Faith assumes it.  There has to be an assumption with faith.  You can start with an assumption and test it.  That's reason.  So, perhaps reason and faith can complement each other.  But that would also have to be assumed.

    Ying yang is like in and out.  Faith is inward.  Reason is outward.  Reason tests in order to find the truth.  Faith assumes what the truth is.  But faith can be wrong.  By faith, I mean belief.  It doesn't have to be about religion.  In this context, it is only about what you choose to believe about something.  It could be what you believe about your own invention like the Doodle Bug.

    In the case of Galileo and the Catholic Church, it was believed that the Earth was at the center.  But Galileo reasoned otherwise.  Faith alone did not reach the correct answer to that question.  But Galileo needed some kind of faith in order to look for and test for the answers.  And he found it.  It is ying and yang after all.

    Now let's see if there's any reaction to this.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    Amazing energy density of thorium

    It has been said that a golf ball size chunk of thorium has enough energy for a person's lifetime.  How much matter is in this golf ball sized chunk?  It looks like it displaces about 50 ml of water.  That measurement is by volume.  How about by mass?  Looking up the density on the Wikipedia yields a mass of a little over a pound.  About 1.2 lbs.  Or 585 grams.  A pretty small mass for such a prodigious amount of energy.

    Now, if an average person lives for 80 years, each year would require 50 ml divided by 80 years.  This yields only .625 ml or 7.3125 grams per year.  A trifling amount.  For reference, about 30 gm equals an ounce.  As you can see, it isn't much.

    Most of the waste has a short half life and will decay to stability in 10 years or so.  Maybe an eighth of the original volume will require long term storage of about 300 years.  ( I'm relying on memory and I'm guessing on some of this, so it may be off just a little --- in any case, it can't be more than what you start with, which isn't much) So, one eighth of this already small number yields less than 1 gram per year that will have to be stored long term.  After 30 years, there will be about an ounce of the stuff.  Not very much.

    This entire exercise is to show how little waste is being produced in a LFTR.  Given the fact that it produces so much energy, the cost and inconvenience of storing such small amounts of waste should be considered well worth it.

    Full Metal Jacket Peace

    "Private Joker educates the Colonel"

    Private Joker explains the duality of man.

    If faith (one amongst many attributes) is one side of the duality, what is the other? Is it reason?

    Create enough confusion and you can win

    I've been reading about this story for a few days now and I still don't get it.  Somehow, we are told it is a first amendment issue, but then other details get thrown into the mix.

    When the excrement flies, you want to keep some distance from it.  All the same, the controversy becomes a story in itself, but what the heck is the story?  How close can you get to it and not have the excrement land on you?

    At the bottom of it, a judge doesn't know how the internet works, and a guy gets arrested.  The guy who got arrested seems to have lost because the judge doesn't understand the key facts of the matter, or so it seems.  Or did he get arrested for something else?  It isn't clear to me.  And I don't have enough time to sort this out.

    The judge might have gotten something right when he said something to the effect that the two guys ought to just go slug it out somewhere.  But that may be missing the point.  It isn't against the law to just write about something that is a matter of public record.  Like I said, this is confusing.

    I remember what Robert Ringer wrote in his book Winning Through Intimidation.  He said something to the effect that if you lose your case in the jungle, you lose your case period.  The legal system is something to be avoided if at all possible.  The worrisome thing here is that the most innocent of things- like blogging- could land you in the brig.  Then the legal system has you and what have you done to warrant this?  That's not supposed to happen in America.


    A related post here.  Which reminds me of a couple things:  1) Hitler liked to brag about how he prevented others from speaking 2) the post about the left's tactic of shut up.

    Plenty of facts and evidence to back it all up.  But that may not matter anymore.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Does truth matter anymore?

    When faith trumps reason, logic, and evidence- truth goes out the window.  The kind of world that results from that is a horror show.

    It is worth quoting The Ascent of Man directly:
    The division between him and the authority [ The Inquisition] was absolute.  They believed that faith should dominate.  And Galileo believed that truth should persuade.

    This is so crucial to the times, I think.  No evidence is accepted on the issues of the day because the truth doesn't matter anymore.  The only thing that matters anymore is who has the power.

    If I am right about this, we are living in dangerous times.  This cannot end well.  It will result in violence or surrender.  Neither of these possible outcomes is good.

    Anarchists attack science

    nature h/t Behind the Black

    The group targeted Adinolfi because he is a “sorcerer of the atom”, it wrote. “Adinolfi knows well that it is only a matter of time before a European Fukushima kills on our continent.”

    “Science in centuries past promised us a golden age, but it is pushing us towards self-destruction and total slavery,” the letter continues. “With this action of ours, we return to you a tiny part of the suffering that you, man of science, are pouring into this world.” 


    What did I say in my last post?  These people think science is the problem.  Their "solution" is to go back to a world in which people live like the beasts.   What kind of solution is that?  It is no solution at all.  It is not defending life, it is promoting death.

    Bronowski's Warning

    A Clip from the Ascent of Man, Episode 13.

    The warning is about the retreat from knowledge.  He says Western Civilization is giving up.  But this series was first aired over 40 years ago- just before his death.  How has that played out in the intervening time since his death?

    Knowledge seems to continue in certain areas and decline in others.  One example of advancement is the internet and computers.

    But the decline is seen elsewhere in space exploration and nuclear energy.  There are those who may argue if this is really a decline.  It may not be, if aneutronic fusion is perfected.  But that is a gamble.  If that gamble doesn't pay off, the West will have put all of its eggs in a barren basket.  If fusion cannot be perfected, what about fission energy?  It looks like this has definitely fallen out of favor, but what if that judgment has been premature?  If so, this is a retreat, which is not based upon scientific evidence.  It will have been a self inflicted injury.

    The other sign of decline is in the slow advancement, if not outright abandonment of the exploration of space.  This too could be a premature judgment.  For the value of space exploration could be in finding those things that are claimed to be in short supply on Earth- unlimited resources.  It will have been a self imposed limitation, which is supposedly based upon the notion of limits to growth.  But what if that is incorrect?  What if the limits are only those that we impose upon ourselves?  What if you could settle space, which according to some claims, could hold orders of magnitude more people, with a civilization comparable to what exists now in only advanced nations of the world?

    So the decline of the West may occur because of premature judgments.  The judgments in turn, are not necessarily based upon knowledge, but a belief in something that is not knowledge.  It could be a belief that science is the cause of trouble, not a solution for the troubles of humanity.  Is science the problem or the solution?  The answer to that depends upon a vision for humanity.  If humanity is to be remain locked upon this Earth, then limitations will be imposed that will avoid the solutions that science can provide.  The decline will continue.  As Bronowski says, the advance of man will continue, but by others instead.  As for myself, I'm not so sure.  If the West doesn't do it, it may never be done at all.

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    The Weinberg Foundation Launch - Q&A Highlights / House of Lords

    Uploaded by WeinbergFoundation on Oct 6, 2011

    quote from the description of the video on YouTube:
    8th Sept 2011 - Over 80 individuals including parliamentarians, nuclear and energy specialists, climate change advocates and media gathered at the The House of Lords for the launch of the Weinberg Foundation, a new organisation promoting a safe, clean energy future with thorium energy. Here are the highlights from the dynamic Q &A about Thorium energy that followed the opening presentation.

    If you don't know who Alvin Weinberg was, start here.  Not to mention that I found this video via the Weinberg Foundation as you can see above.  It is also a good source for information as you may gather.

    I learned about the Weinberg Foundation from the Thorium Energy Alliance website.  The link to the Foundation can be found on the left margin.  You can still go to the conference which will be on the 31st, which is only a few days from now.  They also accept sponsorships on that site.  If you don't have any money to spare, sign a White House petition here.

    MSNBC Flack Can't Deal With the Concept of "Hero" on Memorial Day


    It looks like this guy is trying to impress everybody with how compassionate and concerned he is. /sarc

    What does the word "hero" mean? Well, let's look it up. I don't see anything there glorifying war.

    Doesn't hero mean giving yourself up for something bigger than self? If you look at it at that way, then it isn't too hard how it can be seen to be a difficult concept for liberals.

    Before anyone cries foul, it is these guys who encourage people to "vote their own interests". But no man is an island, everything one man does affects everyone else. This is not to suggest one should follow a purely selfish or selfless life strategy. But generally speaking, someone who gives much of himself or herself is more admired than someone who is only out for themselves. For a liberal to say "vote your interest" to say he has a hard time understanding heroism is not so hard to understand in those terms.

    Another shot at the liberals here: when they ask for sacrifice, it is you other people who are expected to sacrifice, not themselves. They want all the prizes for themselves. Funny how it always comes back to benefiting themselves first.

    What Do SpaceX and Tesla Have in Common?


    What could a rocket company and an electric carmaker possibly have in common? At first glance, perhaps not much, unless the companies are SpaceX and Tesla Motors, which were both co-founded by the serial entrepreneur Elon Musk.

    Comment: ( mild speculation alert)

    I've been working on an economic analysis of Musk's car.  It doesn't make sense to buy one of these from an economic point of view.  You could buy one based upon its performance.  Electric cars are superior in acceleration.  You could buy it for its cleanliness- no carbon emissions.  But you would not buy it for economic reasons- solar isn't cheap enough and neither are batteries.

    By the way, I wrote an series of posts on fuel cell powered cars.  (check the label at the bottom of this post) These would work provided that they last long enough and prices go up for fossil fuels.  However, if prices can come down for fuel cells and hydrogen fuel, these can be made to work.  But you could also say the same for batteries in the battery powered car like the Tesla.

    I would favor a hybrid electric design that uses a combination of batteries, ultracapacitors, and fuel cells.  Each would complement the other.  Even so, the economics may not be there yet, but wait for developments.  Something like this could happen some day.

    Obama’s Fatal Weakness In Dem Primaries

    Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!


    Morris may be a wee bit partisan, so the ideology can make you stupid factor may be kicking in.  In other words, I wouldn't take great comfort from this, but it is useful as a counter to the propaganda coming from the other side.  What I mean by "other side" is the media.  They'll be quiet as a church mouse when it comes to any news that might hurt their guy.

    Krugman attacks!

    Kyle Smith:  h/t Instapundit

    The nation’s most dangerous economist, Paul Krugman, releases another book with his only idea for Dems — spend more money  [ emphasis added]

    • The Nobel committee is not infallible (the guy who invented the lobotomy and declared it “always safe” got a Nobel), but even if it was, Krugman’s award was not for political philosophy but for an arcane point of technical analysis, and even if it were for political philosophy, many economists with the opposite philosophy (Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, Friedrich Hayek) have also won the Nobel.
    • Krugman “writes with more vitriol than I find attractive,” writes Harvard economist and fellow Times columnist Greg Mankiw. He treats anyone who disagrees as “a mendacious idiot,” writes George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok. “Krugman should stop bullying people,” wrote columnist Michael Kinsley.
    • Rugy had produced a chart showing that there haven’t been big government cutbacks in Europe. (Krugman didn’t link to it). To call the chart a blockbuster is to understate the case. It showed that France, Italy, Spain, the UK and Greece are all spending about the same as they were a couple of years ago and far more than they were spending five years ago.
    • Rugy’s whole point — European austerity has consisted mainly of tax hikes, not spending cuts).
    • For Krugman to be wrong about such a prominent subject matters: He not only has a lot of readers; some of them actually hold positions in government. They assume that King Krug can’t be wrong about anything.[emphasis added]
    • Krugman’s problem, as he reminds us in “End This Depression Now!” is that he is a fanatic in the grip of a religion called “Keynesianism” which says you should borrow and spend your way out of a recession.  [emphasis added]
    • When Harvard Professor Mankiw doubted the Obama administration’s projection of 15.6% real growth between 2008 and 2013, Krugman accused him of “deliberate obtuseness” in a post titled “Roots of Evil.” Mankiw offered to wager on the matter but got no response. That was smart: The economy will have to catch fire and grow at about 7% between now and the end of 2013 for the Obama projection to come true.

    What makes Krugman dangerous?  You'd have to watch The Ascent of Man series mentioned in the previous post to really get a sense of what's going wrong with Krugman.  It is this "push button" certainty of his that is so dangerous.  People crave certainty, but such is an illusion, as Bronowski points out.  As I have observed and pointed out on this blog, ideology can make you stupid.

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Jacob Bronowski- The Ascent of Man series

    h/t Behind the Black with respect to the post Modern intellectualism. Lie to the Public

    How Galileo got into trouble with the Church: The Ascent of Man, part 6

    Compare that with modern day liberalism's Political Correctness.  Moral:  don't contradict the powers that be.  But the powers that be aren't necessarily correct.