Saturday, August 4, 2012

Morning Jay: Is Obama's Ad Blitz Moving the Polls?

Morning Jay: Is Obama's Ad Blitz Moving the Polls?

Notes from Underground: Dostoevsky

This began as a type of joke.  With the craziness of the left descending upon us all, it seemed as if the conservatives would have to go Underground.  Voila!  The idea to read the book was born.  So, that is what I'm doing.

But no.  I'm not reading the book. I'm reading the online SparkNotes. No time, you see. Unlike Underground Man, I still have to work for a living. I begin with a bit of lightheartedness in spite of all the craziness surrounding us. Hopefully, I may find something interesting about this so I can write about it.

The Underground Man is a rather tortured person.  I do not relate to that.  Even if I am put in front of a firing squad, I won't be reduced to self-pity.  Even if the world is wrong, it won't upset my inner peace.  So screw it!

Update I:

I found something in common with Underground Man.  He considers himself a man of thought.  So do I.  But he has trouble doing anything with his thoughts.  So do I.

And so I read on.

Update II:

Underground Man has not started or finished anything, and believes he is intelligent because of that.  A rationalization for failure.

Another observation:  a bit about progressivism's belief that a man doesn't know his own true interests.  That gets to the heart of it.  The progressives believe they know your own best interests better than you do yourself.  Megalomania.

Update III:

Underground Man believes that man is inherently irrational.  As for me, I don't care if that is true or not.  In any case, I will follow reason even if it is irrational.  Try figuring that out.

Update IV:

The nature of modern life, which is a culture of interdependency.   One's work is not directly one's own-- alienation.  This reminded me of my post about machines.  Ultimately, we may become totally dependent upon machines.

Update V:

It is getting painful.  Underground Man is rather bookish.  I think that may be true of me too.  Underground Man is ineffectual in society.  Yeah, me too.  Sigh.

Update VI:

The Underground Man abuses people he considers is beneath him.  Sounds like the Chick fil A guy.

Update VII:

Underground Man realizes he's at the bottom of the heap, and it is killing him.  Yep.

Update VIII:

Underground Man is shut into his underground forever.  He cannot escape.  An allegorical tale that is about the rest of us?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sense of Events: The American Totalist party

Sense of Events: The American Totalist party

A Personal Note

The Chick Fil-A post has been on my mind for a lot of today.  Once I got home from work, I watched this thing again.  The girl handled it very well.  The guy was being provocative and was probably hoping for a scene so he could record it.  If there was a scene, he could have used it to make Chick Fil-A look bad.

There was provocation all through that scene.  Watching this, I tried to put myself in the position of that girl, and to tell you the truth, I would have given that guy what he wanted.   I believe I would have argued with him, made the company look bad, and got fired.  Unfortunately, that's how things like this works.  Which is what this guy was after.  Then the company would have had tons of trouble with the government and would have been hassled to no end.  All I'm saying with this post is this kind of thing must stop.

If an employee had done what I might have done in response to this guy, I think the company should stand firm.  But that's not what's been happening for many years now.  This kind of provocation has been going on for years and has been polished to a fine art, as this guy demonstrated.  Just one "mistake" by someone, and a company pays through the nose.  But it shouldn't be that way.  The provocateur should be punished for his troublemaking.  In an earlier day, he might have been.  But after years of playing nice with these people, they have managed to move their agenda so far that this country bears no resemblance to what it once was.  And that is not to the good, in my opinion.

There was a time when the idea of two homosexuals getting married would have been considered a joke.  In my opinion, that was a lot better country than the one we have now.   The truth needs to be said.

As far a "gay" marriage goes, I could care less.  They can do whatever the hell they want with each other.  They can go worship the moon goddess if they want.  I don't care.  They don't get to change the mores and beliefs of others.  That's what it is supposed to mean by being tolerant.  They should practice what they preach.

But once it gets to where a CEO can't say what he believes and these assholes can try to put him out of business, I say it has gone far enough.  Once it goes to the point where someone has to give up their religious beliefs to keep the peace with these assholes, I'd say that it has gone far enough.  The line has to be drawn somewhere.  If you don't stand up to them, they are going to own you.  As long as I'm breathing, they won't own me.

Update Sat. Morn.:

This is still on my mind, but it is time to move on.  One more thing though, before I do.

If there's anything out there in the real world that shows Aesop's wolf and lamb parable, it is that video. The clerk was innocent, but that didn't matter. The incident was a violation of a person. A species of rape, if you ask me. It was evil incarnate. If we had a just government, the man would have been charged with a crime. Instead, he will probably be celebrated by the unjust who inspire this kind of behavior.

Articles: Six Years of 'Bush Country,' Six Years of 'OPRAH Land'

American Thinker

  • Urgent Need for a New Narrative
  • George W. Bush's first six years in office -- called "Bush Country" for short -- when he had a solid, pro-growth Republican Congress to work with, versus
  • the next six years of what we should call the current "OPRAH Land" Economy, which we are now enduring and which will almost surely get "Progressively Worse" if Obama and his "green jobs economy" entourage are re-elected.
  • By this correct depiction of Bush Country versus the OPRAH Land Plantation, the disastrous history of the latter -- i.e., the tax-and-spend "Age of Obama"-- began not three and a half years ago, but fully five and a half long years ago, in January 2007. Thus the six-versus-six comparison set forth

The Obama Economy begins in 2007, not 2009.  We've had nearly six years of "progressivism".

Former Lecturer/Corporate CFO Bullies Chick-fil-A Clerk

Some homosexual activist bullies a clerk.  Proud of yourself, fella?

This is projection. He's condemning hate, but actually acting in a hateful manner himself.

Is this what it is coming to in this country?


Free market wins (this time)

One of the most amazing things to me about the Chick-Fil-A appreciation patronage is that private citizens are waging a free market battle against progressivism. While progressives want to use government to shut down diverse thought, conservatives don't. Conservatives will counter progressive boycotts with massive buying power, as seen yesterday. We don't need regulations or legislation. Conservatives battled progressivism within the private sector over Dan Cathy's free speech and conservatives won. Consider Vante's action another free market move.

But the free market can't win if the socialists take over.  You won't have the freedom to resist.

Chick-fil-A Leaps Into Controversy

wsj online

"No public figure tweeted on Tom Monaghan," says Irv Schenkler of New York University's Stern School of Business. "It's social media that creates a larger ripple of knowledge and adds complexity to who hears what about whom."

He thinks Mr. Cathy, who is trying to expand further into Northern cities, took a risk by stepping into a sensitive social issue.

But why is this controversial?  It must be controversial because so many people have abandoned morality.

The country is being corrupted.  That can explain a lot of things, like the economy.

Va. governor on Chick-Fil-A clash: 'I love chicken'  via Free Republic

the governor continued: "If we start having governments issue permits or zoning changes, or withholding those because of someone's political or religious beliefs, we are going down a very bad road."

This aggressiveness towards a private business is an ominous sign.  McDonnell seems to be pretty good here. (VP?) Yet, the troubling thought is-- why does this company even need to be defended?   What happened to the Bill of Rights?

Are we going to need "straight pride" marches?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Opinion: The media's terrible trip - Rich Lowry -

Opinion: The media's terrible trip - Rich Lowry -

Like I said before, I don't watch the media.  I don't read much of their stuff, either.

The best thing to do is to ignore them.  They are like the goofball who makes funny faces trying to get a rise out of you.

Gary Taubes

Is Taubes one of the snakes that Rossi was referring to?

Taubes has a new book out about dieting and weight loss.  The idea was interesting, but I didn't connect the name to the cold fusion debate that occurred in the eighties.  Looks like he's the same guy who insinuated that John Bockris of Texas A&M  spiked the results with tritium.


I'm having a lot of trouble with my computers this morning.  I'm trying to source material out there on the web and the computer just won't cooperate.  Therefore, my posts are not as thorough as I'd like them to be.

The above post will have to be shortened because of this.  I regret that very much.

Senators call for deficit-reduction presidential debate


Republican senators Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, along with Mark Pryor, a Democrat from Arkansas, and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, sent a letter to the co-chairs of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates Wednesday requesting that the first of the three officially sponsored debates, which will address domestic policy, devote a significant amount of attention to each candidate's plan to reduce the the spiraling deficit.


If Obama is re-elected, the odds will increase for a France style soak-the-rich tax.

If Romney is elected, the odds will increase for a significant reduction in the role of government.

The country is confused on the matter.  I think Obama will try to keep it that way.  Romney's challenge is to clear up the obfuscation.   The outcome of that will possibly determine the outcome of the election.

Was the Agreed Framework such a hot idea?

The Agreed Framework was set up in order to get the North Koreans stop working on making an atomic bomb. The Clinton Administration agreed to build two nuclear reactors for North Korea in exchange for the agreement not to build the nukes. The Bush Administration ended that program on the accusation that the North Koreans were cheating on Uranium enrichment.

Subsequently, the North Koreans tested a bomb and the criticism ensued from the left for this as bad policy. I decided to revisit what one lefty blogger had to say about it.

My reading of  The Mahablog's  series on the issue showed no reason why they would be proliferation resistant other than having inspectors allowed back in the country. This is after the entire brouhaha began with the North Koreans kicking out the inspectors so they could reprocess the spent fuel for its plutonium.  So, what happens after the nuclear power plants get built, and the Norks decide to kick out the inspectors again?

As for the Uranium enrichment for making bombs, well, that's hardly a reason to shut  down the Framework, but keep in mind that the Norks already had the capability to make low enriched Uranium for making their Plutonium.  Once the plants got built, they could kick out the inspectors again and substitute their own fuel rods for the those that were provided before, and continue making Plutonium with the reactors that we built for them.

Not such a hot deal.  The best you get out of it was delaying the Norks from doing what they intended to do in the first place, which was build a bomb.  For this, Clinton pays a heavy price to the Norks.

NASA chief: U.S. won't go it alone on manned Mars mission

NASA chief: U.S. won't go it alone on manned Mars mission –


How might this be accomplished? With a VASIMIR? Let's look at that possibility.

Speculation alert:

In an earlier post, I discussed the possibility of lifting a molten salt nuclear reactor to space.  Although Zubrin says a nuclear reactor would weigh 7000 tons, that may be incorrect.  A 50 MW molten salt reactor may be doable at around 50 tons. If so, some interesting possibilities arise with respect to thermoelectrics.  Here's a couple articles I found on the subject below:

  Next Big Future: Thermoelectric materials produced via microwave in...: Rapid Microwave Synthesis of Indium Filled Skutterudites: An energy efficient route to high performance thermoelectric materials Filled sk...

  Next Big Future: BMW Turbosteamer and Thermoelectric Generator are ...: BMW (Car maker) has a Turbosteamer and Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) projects. They are focused on generating electric current from waste ...

The point in these two articles is that sufficient electricity could be generated from a thermoelectric device to run the VASIMIR.  Franklin Chang Diaz says his VASIMIR could get to Mars with 1 MW solar array, but a nuclear power source could do it faster.

The amount of electricity from theromoelectrics is still too inefficient, but there's no moving parts, and you could generate much more electricity from other means as well.  Even with thermoelectrics, you could generate enough for propulsion.  The rest could be backup and heat management.  Or just make the reactor smaller.  You may not need that much juice.

Assuming that you could do the nuclear reactor, then how do you get there? In a Nautilus-X.


Hook up the nuclear reactor to the VASIMIR and the NAUTILUS, and off you go.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Real Crash is dead ahead as 2008 is forgotten


But it gets worse: Shilling’s bluntly warning: “If we aren’t already in a recession, we’re getting very close.”  ...Bottom line: if you are a risk-taker, maybe you can beat the market to the punch, before The Real Crash overwhelms Wall Street, like it did in 1929 and in 2000 and in 2008. Because next time, even though our too-big-to-manage banks expect they’ll get bailed out, the reality is that they’ll go begging for bail-out billions and Congress won’t do it again, without forcing a newer, tougher Glass-Steagall law on the banks.

 Congress shouldn't have bailed anybody out the first time.  It creates a moral hazard and those who engage in the bad behavior are not held to account.  As a consequence, they'll just do the same stuff all over again.  That's what's been happening.   "If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it."

How does Romney not win Nevada? - Opinion

The sight of Obama's headlights on the horizon ought to make Las Vegans scatter like rabbits. Yet if the election were held today, I am telling you Romney gets his head handed to him. How does that happen?

If he can figure that out, maybe he'll find the key to winning other swing states and the presidency.

Frankly, the polls are probably not capturing the true feelings of the people.  The media is trying to propagandize itself back into power, but propaganda isn't going to be enough.  Hitler couldn't win a majority in Germany when the Nazi's had full power over the propaganda machine.

Have faith.  People are not fooled forever.

Why ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Resonates


When Barack Obama has made an argument for progressive taxation that even Aaron Sorkin finds distasteful, he has erred. That’s not a problem that has anything to do with the president being black.


Obama is doomed.  Doomed, I tell you.

The polls show a close race because they need it to look like a real race so that people will pay attention.

By the way Ted Cruz won yesterday.  I thought so.

Mayhem at GM: What "Success Story"?


Two years later, the Treasury still owns more than 26% of GM. The stock price of the dramatic administration success story is too low to sell without taking gigantic, embarrassing losses.


There's a great idea for turning a phrase in the comments section:  GM didn't fail by itself, it had a lot of help from the government.

The actual comment was:
As Obama would say:

“If you’re unsuccessful like GM, then you obviously didn’t fail by yourself… had a lot of help from the government and unions”


The Obama Administration is rotten to the core.  Trouble is, there's so many people in this country who have been brainwashed into believing that he has succeeded in doing anything helpful at all for this country.  Everything, and I do mean everything has been papered over with debt.  It is all a sham.  GM is a prime example of that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Engineers Unveil First Casimir Chip That Exploits The Vacuum Energy

Technology Review via Instapundit

  • One of the strangest effects to arise from the quantum nature of the universe is the Casimir force.
  • This pushes two parallel conducting plates together when they are just a few dozen nanometres apart. 
  • many engineers hope to exploit the Casimir force
  • But there is a problem: Casimir force experiments are extremely hard to do.
  • Today, Jie Zou at the University of Florida and a few buddies take a big step towards changing this.

The first time I heard of Casmir force was when I read one of  John G. Cramer's  Alternate View columns.  Re-reading that column on Casimir force was bizarre.  He was talking about making a faster than light spacecraft using such a device.  Wild idea.

There may be all kinds of explanations for unusual phenomena that occurs due to quantum effects.  One of these may well unlock the mystery behind the phenomena known as cold fusion.

Blog: 'The entire Obama presidency, in one anecdote'

Blog: 'The entire Obama presidency, in one anecdote'


The objective reality of the market escapes this president and his advisors. He has created a reality where wishful thinking takes precedence over logic which allows him to fiercely believe that all of his alternative energy schemes should produce jobs. [emphasis added]

Didn't Hillary Clinton once say something about Hope not being plan, or something to that effect?

Wishful thinking is Bad Thinking.  There's seems to be a lot of bad thinking in the highest levels of the government.

Next Big Future: VASIMR Plasma Rocket Improved by 10% and Demos Con...

Next Big Future: VASIMR Plasma Rocket Improved by 10% and Demos Con...: Experimental data obtained in June 2012 on Ad Astra’s VX-200 high power VASIMR® engine prototype showed an improvement in efficiency at inte...


From the comment section:

I wrote to Ad Astra some months back and asked if they could use oxygen as a fuel, and the response I got was yes. The microwave heating process works for pretty much anything as long as the frequency is tuned for the fuel chosen.

Seems like the flexibility in fuel use is a plus for this type of propulsion.

It uses less fuel, that's a plus.

The minus appears to be getting rid of all that heat.

Bob Zubrin has been very critical of VASIMR.
No electric propulsion system — neither the inferior VASIMR nor its superior ion-drive competitors — can achieve a quick transit to Mars, because the thrust-to-weight ratio of any realistic power system (even without a payload) is much too low. If generous but potentially realistic numbers are assumed (50 watts per kilogram), Chang Diaz’s hypothetical 200,000-kilowatt nuclear electric spaceship would have a launch mass of 7,700 metric tons, including 4,000 tons of very expensive and very radioactive high-technology reactor system hardware requiring maintenance support from a virtual parallel universe of futuristic orbital infrastructure. Yet it would still get to Mars no quicker than the 6-month transit executed by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft using chemical propulsion in 2001, and which could be readily accomplished by a human crew launched directly to Mars by a heavy-lift booster no more advanced than the (140-ton-to-orbit) Saturn 5 employed to send astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s.

If VASIMR is a hoax, it is just another example of mismanagement of the space program.

I get the feeling that politics is playing too much of a role in space policy.  One administration proposes and develops a technology, then the next administration junks it.  The back and forth between administrations is very damaging towards any long term goal of achieving anything worthwhile in space.


The 50 watt per kilogram mentioned in the Zubrin quote puzzles me.  A 100 MW LFTR is claimed to fit on a flat bed truck.  If that's true, it would unlikely to weigh more than 100,000 lbs, or about 45k kilograms.  Let's just say for the sake of argument that the entire thing, including all fuel and so forth, could give you a 50 MW for 50k kilograms.  That's 1000 watts per kilogram!

Something doesn't square here and I just don't get it.  If you could put up a LFTR in space, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the VASIMR power requirements could be met.  Dissipating the heat is another question.

Monday, July 30, 2012

XRS-2200 Twin Linear Aerospike Engine Test

My profile
Performance:  204420 lbf or 909300N thrust,  isp 339 sea level,   266230lbf or 1184300N thrust, isp 436.5 vacuum 
Picture of My profile at Listal

Here's the story of what happened to the VentureStar.  It could have flown.  The pic above is the test of the new Aerospike engine, which was done this year.  Interest in this may still exist out there.

Looks like it was a decision by Bush or Cheney to cancel the thing, though, back in 2001.

The VentureStar may now be nothing more than a memory, but it nearly became part of NASA, the commercial fleet and indeed even the US Air Force, had it of not been for some controversial key decisions during the construction of the technology demonstrator, the X-33.

  • Testing and construction had been going well during the assembly of the scaled down version of the VentureStar
  • ...Rocketdyne’s decision to use Narloy-Z – a heavy copper alloy – saw changes to the flight control surfaces due of a aft-heavy center of gravity. This would prove to be a major – and defining – problem later in the process. 
  • Yet still, the LH2 tank – a large multi-lobed structure – was to be the single most challenging project for engineers involved in the X-33 program, even if they had been able to use Al-Li alloys.
  • Skunk Works’ designers of the LH2 tank had heard from engineers that storing liquid hydrogen in a pressurized composite (notably material IM7/997-2) tank with the hollow honeycomb walls was simply doomed to failure – but their advice was ignored.
  • engineers – predicting the impending problem – had a solution already at hand...This idea had to be rejected, due to the 500 kg of extra weight being added...already having serious fallout on the design due to the heavy engine ramps [comment see Rockedyne's decision on Narloy-Z above]
  • engineers had already started the process on having their own Al-Li LH2 tank ready for fabrication...Ironically this new tank weighed in less than the composite tank
  • Then the hammer blow...former NASA director Ivan Bekey appeared in front of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics...His testimony...proved to be the final blow for the X-33 VentureStar
  • Each time the Air Force made requests to take the X-33 project as their own, they found the opportunity denied at the highest level of US government.
  • the White House that vetoed any new evaluations of the X-33.
  • But for those that worked on the X-33, the pure complexity of the new system – and the chain reactions felt from issues and bad decisions such as the heavy engine ramps to the resulting need for the low weight of the LH2 tank – to the lack of options open to use a solution for the LH2 tank failures, turned her from a potential leap in space vehicle technology, to one that became a $1.5 billion white elephant to the tax payer.

 A questionable decision given the details above.  It doesn't matter which political party, they are all screw-ups.

First Pisa, now Rome's Colosseum - it's leaning  via Behind The Black

Professor Giorgio Monti, from La Sapienza's construction technology department, warned there may be a crack in the base below the amphitheatre.

"The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre (yard)-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it," he told the newspaper.

Thirteen meters thick?  Man that is impressive.  They built this 2000 years ago, for heavens sake.

The Model T

Here's a video from website. I like this site.

A revolutionary car. Until it was invented, automobiles were too expensive for most people.

By the way:  who invented the Model T?  Most people would say Henry Ford.  What would Obama say?

Maybe he'd say that the government built the roads the Model T travels on, therefore Ford didn't really invent the Model T.  Or some other sort of nonsense.

Aug 3, 1958:Nautilus travels under North Pole

Not yet Aug 3rd, but it is consistent with recent posting.

Some excerpts:
  • The USS Nautilus was constructed under the direction of U.S. Navy Captain Hyman G. Rickover
  • Regarded as a fanatic by his detractors, Rickover succeeded in developing and delivering the world's first nuclear submarine years ahead of schedule.
  • At 11:15 p.m. EDT on August 3, 1958, Commander Anderson announced to his crew: "For the world, our country, and the Navy--the North Pole." 
  • For the command during the historic journey, President Dwight D. Eisenhower decorated Anderson with the Legion of Merit.

Seems like everything is a hustle

Last night, just before retiring, I came across some 911 Truther videos.  At first, I began to believe this stuff, which was probably a danger signal.  It seems to me that there are so many signs of dishonesty out there in the world, so that an attempt to persuade like the Truthers like to do was enough to get me to seriously consider their point of view.  Then I thought, no.  The system hasn't gotten that bad.  Not yet.

It may be a bit naive of me, but I think there's still enough good things.  Some good, some bad.  Maybe it has always been so.  It wasn't such a long time ago that I remember watching an old Dick Van Dyke TV show.  In that episode, there was a pool hall hustler that got Rob Petrie ( Dick Van Dyke) suckered into a game in which he would hustle Petrie for money.

So, back to the real world.  I got to thinking once again about the Truthers.  It could well be nothing but a hustle.  It's just their way of making some money off some marks.  Just follow the money.  Look at where they start asking for money.  It turns out that that is like so many other things in life.  Hustling isn't new.  Heck, I read something in a novel that produced the quote "everything's a hustle".  The setting for the book was in the thirties.  So, that's just to show you that it isn't a new phenomenon.  That's the way to look at things.  Everybody's out there with their hustle to try to get money out of somebody else.  It has always been true.

You know, you can get really paranoid about this stuff.  You start to look for somebody's angle when they come at you with their requests for money.  You get to where you are always expecting to be hustled.  And so you are.  Everywhere you look, there's a hustle.

If you want to think of it on a large scale, you can say the entire society has become a hustle.  Politics is a hustle.  They hustle you for campaign donations.  They hustle you for more taxes.  They hustle you for more social programs.  They hustle you for carbon trading schemes.  It's all a hustle.  Everywhere you look.  The 911 Truthers are hustling you for money somehow.

How to recognize a hustle?  It is a game.  Every game has at its heart a bit of dishonesty.  When it comes to hustling, it is a game of larceny.  The dishonesty is the insincerity of the ideas presented.  They really don't believe the stuff they are telling you, but they need to convince you of it so as to get you to support their idea.  Then comes the grab for your money.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My-Nuke, personal Nuclear Reactor

Remote manipulator arm. Cool.

Nuclear Boy Scout - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! 2 of 2

You have to wonder if the kid actually knew what he was doing in all its significance.

The story shows a bit of ignorance of things nuclear. A little knowledge can be dangerous.

Update: Part one here.

The simpsons - terminator (ENGLISH version)

Been watching Terminator videos.

Review of "SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future"

The author, Richard Martin, writes for Wired magazine.  He began writing about Thorium in 2009.   The book appears to have been published in late spring of 2012. The central theme to the book could be stated as an anti-thesis of the better mousetrap bromide.  He attempts to answer the frequent question-- If it so good, why aren't we doing it already?  The answer is that the better mousetrap doesn't always get the crowd beating their way to your doorstep after all.

Super Fuel is all about energy, our choices, and how they get made.  Thorium has a better "burnup" than Uranium, which means it's a more efficient fuel.  So, how did this not get recognized?  But it did, and the explanation for why this energy wasn't adopted is not so easy to explain.

It's not about ideology- but politics plays a big role.  He goes after the left and the right in this book.  For example, he says renewables just aren't good enough. That may make the left mad.  Then he slams the military industrial complex, which could make the right mad.  But there's plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the political divide.

Just what exactly is Thorium anyway?  It is only one of many radioactive elements just like Uranium.  It just so happens that some of the finest minds of the world who combined for Manhattan Project seemed to like its potential as an energy source.  But, it can't be used for a bomb. With the addition of a neutron, it can be transmuted into an artificial isotope of Uranium.  For that reason, it is said to be fertile- it can be bred.  In this way, it works really well as a "breeder", but not the same kind of "fast-breeder" that has failed in those other designs. It's a different kind of breeder- a thermal breeder.  It works best with a molten-salt liquid-core, instead of the conventional water-cooled, solid-fueled core most often seen today.

How the best minds of the world couldn't convince the government to take this route is a troubling phenomenon.  It seems to come down to the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers of the time. The military needed a quick and dirty way to make submarines that could stay out at sea for very long periods. Hence, the nuclear powered submarine was born and the kind of reactor that filled the need was the water-cooled, solid-fueled type reactor. In short, this kind of reactor "got there firstest with the mostest."

The rivalry between science and the military were personified in two people-- Alvin Weinberg, the innovative scientist, and Admiral Rickover, the father of the atomic sub. The author tells much of the story through these two men. Weinberg loses out because he is seen as a malcontent, who associated with the likes of Ralph Nader. On the other hand, Rickover gave the government, and the military, what it wanted. The rest, as they say, is history.

But now we have the situation as it stands today. The nuclear sub paved the way for conventional water-cooled, solid-fueled reactors. The molten-salt reactor concept was almost lost forever, as it was forgotten about. The eminent generation of nuclear scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project eventually passed away. There was nobody left to continue their work, but notes and books of what they did some forty years before was still available.

Now there's Kirk Sorensen and others who have stepped up to the plate and are trying to redress what has gone wrong. The story is brought up to date to the present time with the present cast of innovator and dreamers.

How to go forward? Martin lays out a way. It is not impossible, but history has shown that the better mousetrap is not always the one that is the most popular at the moment. The warning given by the Thorium advocates is that the we must do it, or allow leadership in energy to pass on to others who will develop Thorium energy instead. The dreamers still believe in America. America was once a place where great things could happen. It remains to be seen if it is still that kind of country.