Saturday, September 14, 2013

The NRA: How Price-Fixing Perpetuated the Great Depression

The Freeman


The article recounts the history of the Depression Era program that engaged in price fixing.  It was based upon a theory that higher wages and higher prices would stimulate the economy.  It didn't work like the boosters thought it would.  The policies stifled innovation.


It is my contention that this policy still exists and is in operation today.  I think it explains why the molten-salt reactor won't be adopted, or any other innovative energy source won't be implemented.  Lower prices are not in the interests of powerful economic forces, hence the reluctance to innovate.  If there's too much innovation in a field of endeavor, it will invariably lead to lower prices.

I believe that lower energy prices will enable a lot of good things to happen for the economy.  It is rather curious to me that a way towards lower energy prices has been available for all these years, but is being constantly set aside for questionable reasons.

I also believe that the conquest of space will open up vast resources, which will enable prices for these commodities to be a lot lower than they are now.  But this progress is being held up for questionable reasons as well.  For instance, if the space budget was as big as it was in the sixties, it would rival national defense as a priority.  What would you rather do, go to war, or prevent war by ending scarcity?  Space has the promise of doing that.

Next Big Future: How many jobs are most endangered by new technolog...

Next Big Future: How many jobs are most endangered by new technolog...: A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology attempts to quantify what jobs are must vulner...


Yeah, and one of the jobs that are endangered is MINE, which is in trucking.

I have to tell you that this kind of thing focuses the mind.  The working man doesn't have a friend in Washington DC.  That fact is becoming quite clear with the so-called immigration reform.  The whole point of "immigration reform" is to drive down labor costs.  It is a type of manipulative surplus working in tanden with a manipulative scarcity.  It is playing hell with the ordinary common working man.  We need less manipulation and more truth.

People on the right and on the left are shouting slogans at each other and not thinking.  People on the right will say things like "creative destruction!".  The truth is that the common people get screwed when their jobs go away.  People on the left will say "Limits to Growth!".  Once again, the truth is that the common people are screwed when prices are kept too high because of the artificial scarcity, or manipulative surplus.  Free markets my ass!

There was a comment after the story that mentioned Limits to Growth.  I think this indicates how well people are being brainwashed.  Another mentioned the creative destructive mindset.  I don't think either are right.  Those at the top are winning too often and those at the bottom are losing too often.  It is a rigged game.

Markets are rigged so that prices can be held high.  Cutting back on labor kepts labor prices low.  Those at the bottom are catching at both ends.

There needs to be a new party because the current political structure does not work anymore.  You can tell by the arguments.   The arguments are just manipulations by the string pullers.

ELVIS PRESLEY - Blue Suede Shoes (Comeback 68')

That gal who can't find a husband needs a guy with this kind of attitude.  "You can do anything, but stay off my blue suede shoes."

Or The Fabulous Thunderbirds-Tuff Enuff

I'm single at 50. Why? Men hate me being brainier than them, says KATE MULVEY

Daily Mail via Instapundit


Reynolds seems to disagree, but I'm not so sure.  There's something that rings true about it.

If she's at fault for something, it is probably a bit of anti male bias.  Any time a woman starts talking about the "fragile male ego", there's something going on there.

Frankly, everybody likes to feel important.  If she believes that men's egos are fragile, she probably projects that feeling and she'll be resented for it.  It is only natural.  She probably doesn't like guys that much.

She can't play up to a guy that she doesn't respect.  She won't and any guy will be able to detect it.

Guys like women who have some common sense and will recognize this.  These women may seem "dull" to her, but they have more common sense that she will ever know.  That's what rings true about what she says.  The thing is this: she wants to outclass the men she knows.  Down deep, she really doesn't like us very much.

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Upgraded Falcon 9 rocket clears major prelaunch test

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Upgraded Falcon 9 rocket clears major prelaunch test

Keep up with the updates on this story at the Behind the Black blog.  That's where I got this link.

A case for negotiating with the North Koreans ( repost)


This post dates back to April this year when the new N. Korean leader was making a few waves.  With respect to the ideas below that responds to what was happening at the time, I'm not suggesting that the Agreed Framework was a good deal.  However, the deal I've mentioned below seems like a good way to test the new technology and let the Norks in on it.  You won't get these anti-nukes interested over here, but their cousins in the peacenik movement might like it.  Anyway, the repost is below:

This is probably not likely to be popular with conservatives.  However, the alternative is war, or at least the increased risk of war.

It may seem a bit far-fetched, but not impossible, for the North Koreans to have an EMP weapon.  This a very dangerous risk for the United States to ignore.  Even if the North Koreans don't have one of these, how will we know for sure until it is too late?  By that time, millions of lives could be lost, and that could only be the beginning.  Things only can get worse from that point on.

Negotiation isn't surrender.  It is a recognition of realities.  An EMP type weapon would not have to be big.  It just has to be big enough to cause a lot of damage, and such a weapon is possible.  That's the reality.  You could not afford to risk having one of these get through the missile defense.  An all-out total destruction response only devastates North Korea.  If they were crazy enough, they could attack and count on help to rebuild what's left of their country.  North Korea is small.  The USA is big.  It would be a lot easier to rebuild North Korea than to rebuild the United States.  All all-out exchange doesn't do as much damage and it would be a bad deal for us.  It would be the end of the USA as a world power.  North Korea could recover much more quickly.

It would make sense to find out what the North Koreans want, and what they are willing to give in exchange.

The Clinton Administration had an agreement in effect at that time.  It was called the Agreed Framework.  The Bush Administration decided that the cost of that deal was too high.  They objected to the nuclear power plant that was to be built for the North Koreans on the grounds that the spent fuel could be reprocessed into weapons.

Going down this path again is probably a non-starter.  But what if you could offer something better?  We don't have one of these now, but we did have a lab-tested molten-salt reactor over 40 years ago.  Why not commercialize this technology and offer it to the North Koreans instead?  Maybe they'd refuse, maybe they wouldn't.  Why not try it?

It could save us an unnecessary war.  Besides, we could use the technology ourselves.

It has several advantages that conventional technologies don't have.  It is proliferation-resistant.  Making bombs with these reactors is unlikely.  It is easier to make a bomb the old-fashioned way.  So, why even make the attempt?  Secondly, it is cleaner than conventional nuclear plants by a factor of hundreds.  Thirdly, the energy produced can be as cheap as coal.  Not to mention that it is inherently safe to operate---meltdowns are impossible.  What's not to like?

If the North Koreans don't like this idea, you can rest assured that the reason would be that they would prefer the conventional nukes because the spent fuel can be reprocessed.  The molten-salt reactor doesn't have to do any reprocessing to the waste.  There's very little of it in comparison with conventional nukes and what little of it there is cannot be used for bombs.

A refusal of this offer could mean that the North Koreans would prefer war.  The conclusion would be inescapable.  However, if they took this offer, it would be a real step for peace.

Ronald Reagan in Space

President Reagan built up the defense industry.  We need another President like him who will build up the space capabilities of the nation.  We need a Reagan in Space.

Or a Kennedy will do just nicely, thank you very much.

It would be desirable to bring back the VentureStar SSTO program provided that a deal with the Brits on the SABRE engine can be arranged.  Put this new engine on the the new version of the X-33 and try it out.  It would be like Reagan bringing back the B1 Bomber.

The EU doesn't want to spring for the cash for the airframe of the Skylon.  Here's a chance for Uncle Sam to get in on the action.  The airframe for the X-33 could be restarted and then mated with the new engine once it became available.  Older engines will test the airframe at first as originally planned.

I figure that if enough mass can be saved on the X-33, they could make it a small 2 man craft that could get to orbit.  About 5k pounds will do the trick, I'd say.

Reagan won the Cold War.  Kennedy won the Space Race.  Perhaps we can conquer space in the next 10 years with a fully reusable single stage to orbit vehicle with a fast turnaround.

The X-33 program only cost a billion.  Bringing it back won't bust the budget, but it would require a bit more money for NASA.

X-37C: Gotta have it

Why do we need this spaceplane?  NOT to go to the ISS.  To establish a space industry.  You can get up to 6 in a passenger mode, and it will fit on an Atlas V.  What about a Falcon 9?  As they are similar platforms.

The crew of 6 can stay at a Bigelow spachab.  It would be interesting to see how long somebody could stay  up in space with recycling of almost everything.  This could be practice for a Mars mission as well as tourism.

If the Falcon 9 can become reusable, the cost would be less than $10 million per crew member.  Decrease the launch costs by an order of magnitude, and it is down to $1 million.  Space manufacturing could be next.

Is the Skylon scalable?

Just 23 pounds for each pound of cargo.  For comparison, the Shuttle took 84 pounds for each pound of cargo.

What if you wanted a specialized vehicle, that was reusable, and only delivered a crew of 2 to LEO?  The Shuttle was reusable, but it only came in 1 size.  If it were scalable, and if you could use that number of 84 pounds per pound, and if you could use the number of 7000 pounds for the crew compartment as cargo, then it would take 590,000 pounds of mini Shuttle to get to LEO.

But we cannot do that with the Shuttle.  It is history.  But what about the Skylon?   Could you scale it down from the current planned size that is slated to carry up to 33,000 pounds to LEO?  If so, it would mean a bird that would only mass at 161,000 pounds.  The current planned size at 23 pounds for each of the 33,000 pounds gives a bird of 760,000 pounds,

Even if the Skylon required more mass at lower capacities, it could do better than the Shuttle, one would think.  That would mean less than 590,000 pounds at liftoff.

A comparison with another craft, the VentureStar, suggests that it may not be scalable to smaller sizes.  The scaled down version of the VentureStar, the X-33, could not reach orbit at all, and massed at 285,000 pounds.  It could only get about half the velocity needed for orbit and zero payload.  However, the fully configured VentureStar was better at payload fraction, taking only 49 pounds to LEO v 84 to LEO for the Shuttle.

The Skylon will have limited scalability, as with any launch platform.  Less mass means less fuel, but the hardware doesn't change.  If you could change it to a smaller version, would it be worth it?

I suppose the answer should be one goal at a time.  The VentureStar may have flown, but was canceled.  The cancellation may have been politically motivated.  Composite tanks failure was the reason given, but it sounded to me to be more like an excuse.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flying frog caught in spacecraft launch photo

No word on what happened to the critter.  It may have croaked, you might say.

Discombobulated posting

Many apologies for the posting lately.  Now, I've done it again.  I've mixed up my blogs.  I've done some brainstorming on the Skylon on both blogs now.

It can be a series, but to follow it, you have to follow both blogs.

If you following the twitter feed on the sidebar on both blogs, it should be easier to follow.

I've had some personal issues lately.  That is an explanation for the mixed up state of affairs.  I'm very sorry about any confusion that may have been caused.

If this can clear things up a bit, I intend to use both blogs for the near term.  It is easier to post certain things on Blogger than Wordpress.  That accounts for some of it.  The other part is that I'm changing a few things here at home, and that accounts for some of the confusion.

I'll collect all of the links to the series of posts and include it on one post.  Promise.

Bait and switch politics

Something smells about the Syria coverage.  Take a look at Instapundit.  He's got a meter for each post that tells how popular it is.  The posts that are critical of Obama's Syria policies are the most popular now.  The one about the IRS scandal is not.

Remember all of Obama's scandals?  Chances are that the popularity indicator is showing the effect of the Syria coverage, which has taken the scandals off the news radar.  But it turns out that there's still news being made, but everybody is still focused on Syria.

Obama has gotten what he wanted, which was to get the 'phony' scandals off the news.  The Syria coverage seems bad for Obama, but he seems to have gotten at least this one thing he had to have wanted out of it.  As for his seemingly failed policies regarding Syria, he can spin that to make it seem successful, while ramping up the politics of it.  It trivializes the real governance types of problems, as with the scandals, while ginning up the false narrative of hyper partisanship.  The false narrative will be that the criticism of the Syria policy objective that can be spun as a success- he did get the situation he claimed he wanted with respect to the use of WMD.  The real problem is that the scandals have not been redressed.  The IRS is still engaged in partisan politics because they are still harassing conservatives.  Nothing is being done about this.

We are being scammed.  But who's responsible for this?  Has Obama really outsmarted everybody this badly?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brainstorming a bit more about Skylon

Speculation alert:

It doesn't look like the Skylon will fit on a Stratolaunch---or Big Bird.  Can we make it smaller and lighter?

Size may be a problem because of the hydrogen tanks.  Since hydrogen is the least dense of all elements, it requires a lot of volume.  It is going to be a problem if size needs to be minimized.

Mass may be minimized more if nuclear thermal is used.  But that presents a whole new ballgame with respect to problems.  Mostly of the political variety.  However, there are technical problems-  as with shielding.

So, I wonder if there would be a way to put a couple of nuclear thermal engines on the wings, which would be next to the SABRE engines.  Perhaps extend the wing out a bit, and place them on pylons on the end of the wing.

It would be preferable to put mass between the passengers and the reactor, of course.  That's the reason for the wing placement on the outside of the SABRE engines.

Extending the wing a bit in order to accomodate an NTR would add mass, so it may not be worth it.  It may also affect how the Skylon flies, so that may not be as safe as we'd like.

Running through the rocket equation looks like a possible savings of mass.  Is it worth it?  Not enough time to tell.

Another possibility is placing the X-37C in the cargo bay.  Question: will it fit?  A quick perusal suggests that it can.  The foregoing discussion and this implies that the basic configuration of the Skylon wouldn't change too much.  But it has to get smaller, or it won't fit on the Big Bird.  Looking for a mass of about 2/3 of the original Skylon configuration.

What you may accomplish is to increase dry mass and decrease the amount of propellant needed to reach orbit.  This can reduce the size of the hydrogen tanks and allow for a smaller bird to fit under the Big Bird.  It would still use the conventional rocket mode of the SABRE engines, but for a shorter duration, thus saving reaction mass.  The NTR would do the final thrust to orbit.  The higher ISP of the NTR will use less hydrogen and no oxygen.

The downside could mean a significant redesign of the Skylon airframe.  Hopefully, not too much, though.

The insincerity of Obama

Obama copies Bush,  Washington Times


The piece complains about Obama copying Bush.  But there is something deeper.

As I have written before, Obama is an insincere man.  The scope of his insincerity can be seen throughout this episode.  Now, he invokes American exceptionalism after having denounced it.  One wonders if the only reason he brought up the subject of Syria and the alleged use of gas on their people, was to exploit it for political reasons.  That is what he did with American exceptionalism.  That is what he did by bringing up the subject of the use of WMD, and the use of force.

He doesn't care about what he claims to care about.  It is more about serving his own interests more than in serving the greater good.  It was a  Macchiavellian move.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Posting from a new device

Not as easy to use as it should be.  Don't know how I got rid of the touch screen.  This itty bitty keyboard isn't so easy to use either.

Well, it has been a busy day with a couple of purchases that cost me more than I wanted to spend and this thing not being the panacea that I hoped for.

Didn't comment on Obama's decision.  At least there has been no blunder into war.

The markets took it well.  Dow is up, gold is down.  I keep looking for the market to correct, but here it is, going up again.  Nobody seems to be concerned about how things are developing on a longer term basis.   The news today seems good enough for some irrational exurberance.


The X-37C is a crewed version of the X-37B, which flew successfully a couple of times.

The crewed model is said to be up to 80% bigger than the current one, which masses at 11k pounds.  If it can be kept within those parameters ( by mass ), then it may be possible to mate this with a rocket and launch it on a StratoLauncher, as envisioned in the prior post.

The original goal for the StratoLaunch was for 500k pounds to be strapped on the Big Bird ( birdzilla ) that would taxi down the runway and take off like a conventional airplane.  The spacecraft would be attached to the wing structure.

I think such a configuration could fit under the wing.  The Dragon capsule originally planned ( and scrapped ) is 12 feet in diameter.  This X-37B model is a bit smaller, but a bigger one hopefully won't be too fat.

If the weight and sizes can be kept in check, then it could all be feasible.  The key is the SABRE engines would have to be imported into the design so as to achieve the payload fraction needed for this design.  The booster would also be reusable, which means that the lifting body concept must also be employed for it.

After lifting the X37-C to orbit, the lifting body booster would do a once around the earth and then land like an aircraft.

Total wet mass could be comparable to the Falcon 5 configuration originally planned for the StratoLaunch.

If mass cannot be minimized enough, perhaps an airbreather booster could be employed to get it up to a first stage altitude where it could be released, then the airbreather could land.  The StratoLaunch can position it so that it has minimum need for propellant for a glide back home.

The X-37C is not considered as a prospect for the StratoLaunch at the current time, so I could be just talking out the wazoo again.  Also, an airbreathing rocket like the SABRE is not being developed in the USA, as far as I know.  There is another airbreather, but I don't like it.  But it may work for getting the bird up to near orbital velocity, while the final burn is performed by the orbiter, like the Shuttle did.  A conventional rocket like Musk's is probably the best bet.

Frankly, I'd like to see an airbreather used on the first stage at least.  This saves mass while gaining altitude and velocity.  The second stage may be expendable, or an attempt at reuse could be employed eventually.

You could use an airbreather SABRE powered first stage, a SpaceX type reusable second stage, plus a Gemini type capsule which would be under 10k pounds.

Thus, this requires a belated speculation alert.

Launch concept from SSTO ideas

Would it be worth it to make the smallest possible spacecraft that can take a couple of astronauts to orbit?

The question comes from the fact that cargo gets added to the spacecraft, and that invariably makes the rocket big.  Considering that the payload fraction tends to be only 1%, then every pound adds 100 pounds to the wet mass on the launch pad.

If you keep everything as small as possible, a rocket's size can be minimized.  Secondly, if you can make use of what's available, like the atmosphere, you can increase payload fraction.  Take Skylon as an example.  The payload fraction there is 23 pounds for every pound to orbit.  Could that be improved upon?

What about an engine with airbreathing capability that gets dropped from a plane, and then proceeds to orbit?  It can be a dual capability type engine like the SABRE, which will go to conventional mode at sufficient velocity.

Dropping from the plane removes the need for landing gear.  The capsule will splash down, or land on the ground.  The rocket taking the capsule to space can be reusable, returning to base after achieving orbital velocity.  It would be preferable to return to base as a glider, like the shuttle.  It would do a once around the earth, then land.  The capsule would be released.  It would have to circularize its orbit on its own.

Such a configuration wouldn't be SSTO.  It could possible be fully reusable.  That's the goal.  It seems to me that to do that may be simplified if the payload mass is kept to a minimum.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Syria, America and Putins bluff: Stratfor

Syria, America and Putin

Strikes me as posturing.  A game that could swerve out of control.

US Gas Ready for World Domination

US Gas Ready for World Domination

The one good thing that the US economy has going for it, and the greenies would like to kill it if they could.

Commenting policies revisited

Comments are welcome.  But keep it nice.  Please read the comment rules on the sidebar.

I had a comment that looked inflammatory.  I deleted it.

This blog is not about starting verbal fights with anyone.   It is about solutions to our common problems.

Using Hydroponic Green Forage to Reduce Feed Costs in Natural Pork Production / North Central SARE From the Field / From the Field / Learning Center / SARE Nationwide - SARE

Using Hydroponic Green Forage to Reduce Feed Costs in Natural Pork Production / North Central SARE From the Field / From the Field / Learning Center / SARE Nationwide - SARE


Raised wheat to feed hogs via hydroponics.  Was quite productive, too.  Space settlement applications?

Parting Ways With the American People | Online Library of Law and Liberty

Parting Ways With the American People | Online Library of Law and Liberty


It does look strange for the GOP establishment to help a president who did so much to undermine Bush.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The party of hawks turns dovish on Syria



Probably written by a Democrat.  It is the ironies of all ironies that this charge gets made by someone on the left.  Obama made his bones by opposing Bush on Iraq, now the left criticizes Bush supporters for not supporting Obama in an aggressive war.  Somehow it is supposed to be different this time.

John S Lewis : Exploring the Moon: The Next Ten Years

John S Lewis : Exploring the Moon: The Next Ten Years:           It has been nearly 40 years since human exploration of the Solar System ended with the return of Apollo 17 to Earth.   Space ex...


Exploration and colonization will proceed with or without the US.

Solutions: Fixing The Economy And The Financial System

Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!


Morris favors the gold standard.  How can this be implemented?  The devil is in the details.