Saturday, October 5, 2013

Strategy for mining an asteroid, part III

Strategy for mining an asteroid, part II

In part 2,  I discussed how to begin construction of the torus.

How much would this thing weigh?  Since it is made of iron, the mass can be calculated based upon the dimensions.  Let's say we want 4 half thicknesses of iron, which should block 15/16ths of the gamma radiation.  The only radiation it wouldn't block at this point would be neutrons.  But there probably isn't any neutron source anywhere, except for the nuclear reactor, which should be shielded anyway.

At this thickness, we have two of the dimensions.  The only one left is how "wide" to make it.  This may not be set in stone, as it may be desirable to change it later.  I ran the numbers on the following dimensions:  2 kilometers in circumference, 10 cm thick, and 100 meters wide.  With these numbers, the calculations are

2000*100*.1 = 20000 cubic meters

Since there are 100 cm in a meter, then 100*100*100 = 1,000,000 cc in 1 cubic meter.

Iron's density is 7.87 g per cc, so 1 cubic meter equals 7.874 million grams.  The nickel, if it is kept, is slightly more dense at 8.91 g per cc.  If there's 90% iron and 10% nickel, the average is  7.97 gm/cc

So, if we were to make it a square torus (?), it would have 4 sides as a square and then connected to each other into a big torus structure.  To finish the structure then, we need 4 * 20000 cubic meters ( from above calculation ) to get 80,000 cubic meters.  Multiply that times 7.97 million and you get the mass of the torus--- 637,600,000,000 grams.  Divide by 1000 to get kilograms which makes it 637,600,000 kg.  Multiply that by 2.2 gives the mass in pounds  ----  1,402,720,000 lbs.  In tons, divide by 2000 which yields 701,360 tons.

Sounds like a lot, but the mass of the asteroid is something like 20 billion tons, so this barely scratches the surface.

Assuming that there's 100 parts per million of platinum, that's 1 pound in 10,000 pounds.  Or 140k pounds of platinum, which at a rough estimate of 1350 per ounce, would be worth---$189,367,200.  Or another calculation yields $245,476,000 based upon the percentage of the asteroid taken.

Would it all be worth it?  You would need a more economical way to mine the thing for the platinum to be worth it alone.  But you could pay the people for their work and for some of the materials and costs of transport, I would think.

A structure that size could house who knows how many people.  The value of that could be hard to calculate.

To compare, an Nimitz class aircraft carrier weighs about 100k tons.  Or about 15% the weight of this thing.  There may be over 5000 personnel onboard one of those vessels.  This is 7 times as massive, and that doesn't count the height inside the torus, which is probably more than the aircraft carrier.  Let's just say 35k people could be housed in the torus.

One hundred thousand dollars per head yields a value of $ 3,500,000,000.  More than the platinum.

This doesn't count the finishing on the inside of the torus.

You might get a nice Battlestar Galactica out of it.


There's some errors in the calculations.  Gasp.

Okay.  Let's just start with the work I did.  Most of it seems to check out in the first part.  But, 2000 meter circumference is too small of a torus ( if you can believe that ).  I forgot to multiply by pi ( 3.14 in order to get circumference of a circle ).  Let's set aside that error, because there's another.

The mass of the asteroid is more precisely 17.6 billion tons.  We're taking 701360 tons divided by 17.6 billion or .4 ten thousandth of the asteroid.  The $7 trillion dollars of platinum written about in John S. Lewis' book was based upon 1996 prices for platinum.  So, that's throwing the calculations off as well.  Prices have gone way up since then.  The asteroid could be worth much, much more.

I'm guesstimating the concentration of platinum as well.  At today's prices and assuming 100 parts per million in the calculations above, 140k pounds of platinum @ $1350 oz equals 140000 * 1350 * 16  equals $3,024,000,000.  That's assuming 100 parts per million of platinum in the asteroid.

Now, going back to the torus, if you make it as big as I anticipated, you can multiply that by 3.14.  Nearly 10 billion dollars worth of platinum.

Also, the thing could house 3.14 times as many people, or 100k people.  Over 10 billion in value for the torus.  A significant difference.

At the end of the day, you will have housing available for 100k people and enough asteroid left to build 20k more toruses just like the one just completed.  But that's getting ahead of ourselves.  We haven't outfitted the thing yet, so it isn't ready for occupancy.


A few adjustments still to be made.  It looks like the number should be 56 parts per million platinum, based upon the numbers I've seen.  That means if we use the first number, that is 2000 meter circumference, then the metal value should be about 1.5 billion dollars.  Maybe it will house up to 35 k people.  The mass would be 700k tons.  It could be spun up at less than 2 RPM to yield 1 g.

Another adjustment would be to shorten the height of the torus so that it isn't 100 meters tall inside.  Perhaps a quarter of that that will do.  That leaves substantial mass to work with to fit the insides of the torus for living compartments.  That would mean 3/16ths of the mass would be used to compartmentalize the interior.  You could possibly cut that even more, if needed.  The goal would be to get the mass as close to that 700k ton number as possible.   This is important for propulsion reasons.

I'll leave the discussion here for the next part of the series.

Next Big Future: Wildcat running robot has reached 16 mph without a...

Next Big Future: Wildcat running robot has reached 16 mph without a...: WildCat is a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain. So far WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain u...


Can it fetch?  Can it roll over and play dead?  Can it catch a frisbee in midair?  Hell, if it could do all that, it may be better than a dog.  Oh?  It's a cat?  Never mind.

Strategy for mining an asteroid, part II

A new series.  Part 1 was here.

In the last post, I considered how to get to the asteroid, how to land, and then how to begin mining operations.

While browsing the web yesterday, it seems that the mining part may be more complex and time consuming than I thought.  You may need a lot of equipment and people.

Well, one of the ideas was to make something out of the iron and nickel.  The latest idea is to make living quarters for more and more people as you go along.

With all that iron and nickel, you can make a huge structure, but at first you only need to have modest quarters so you can get started.  The "mining town" has to grow.  It always must have a beginning.

In the beginning, you can carve out the insides of the asteroid and make the first living quarters out of empty space you dug out inside.  Perhaps you can place a living quarters on the surface with the excess metal that you dig out.  The dugout part will be expanded as you go along.  Living quarters eventually could be placed inside the mine.

As you hollow out the asteroid, more and more people could join in.  While doing this, you can begin construction of the massive torus.  This too will use the excess iron and nickel.  The torus would be about 2 kilometers in diameter.  Once it is completed, it can be spun up so as to create artificial gravity.  Only 1 RPM would be necessary for a structure this big.  The shell of the torus can be as thick as practical in order to shield out radiation.

Some practical considerations.  Number 1:  Where do you place this thing?  Do you build up on top, or how would this be done?  Well, I considered it this way.  Perhaps the "floor" would be on the surface of the asteroid.  You just lay down the floor around the asteroid, so that it will be on the surface.  Then, you can start building up the walls, and finally finishing with the ceiling above.

Such an arrangement may yield an irregularly shaped torus.  This may not be preferable, as it may have some side effects.  It should be nice and round, I would think.  So, at some point, it should leave the surface of the asteroid.  A perfect circular shape may not be possible this way, though.  Another possibility is to build an initial floor for a scaffold before you even begin construction of the torus.  The scaffolding should be extended upward at appropriate distances all around the asteroid so as to achieve that final circular shape which is desired.  Once the scaffolding in place, then you can start getting serious about the torus.

All the while, you will be pulling out the platinum and adding more people and equipment.  The progress will be slow at first, but it will accelerate over time.  Interest will increase as the shipments of platinum increase.  There will be interest in coming there to work and to seek one's fortune.  Trillions of dollars worth of metals is enough fortune for a lot of people.

Hmm.  A lot of people means government.  Well, why not make it the 51st state?  As a joke, you could call it "Elysium".

Part III


The Hollywood Reporter

The critically acclaimed movie was released yesterday, and had a good reception from the public.

I wanted to go, but can't.  Maybe next week.

Before you get too disgusted...

7 insects you will be eating in the future

It just now occurred to me that these may be useful in space.

They don't take up much room, have short life cycles thus not taking too long to grow them, multiply prolifically, and are excellent in nutritional value.  Now if you just get used to the idea.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Skylon. The Key To Economic Access To Space?

Yes, it looks like it could.

Deep Space Industries - Mining The Universe For The Future

A competitor for Planetary Resources.

A spacevidcast show covered the "rivalry".

Planetary Resources Inks 3D Systems Deal, Plans Test Launch From ISS


date:  June 26th, 2013

South Carolina-based 3D Systems is “at the forefront of one of the most rapidly developing technologies on the planet,” says Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources president and chief engineer. “We see a great opportunity in the development of our spacecraft using that technology.”

Yeah.  I'm just catching up to these guys.  This printing technology combined with solar sailing will make these asteroids easily accessible.

Mining asteroids.  Big time stuff.

Asteroid Mining: The Compelling Opportunity by Chris Lewicki

Rollout of Planetary Resources last year.

Polymath: Free your mind, and the rest will follow.

Polymath: Free your mind, and the rest will follow.: Copyright 2013 Robert Clark  The story has been told that when the Native Americans first saw the ships of the Europeans they could not g...

The conclusion you draw is that a Moon base can be sustained on the Moon for what we are currently paying to sustain the ISS.

Whatever the reason for not going back to the Moon, or to develop space, it is not about costs.

via Transterrestrial Musings

Calculator tool for premiums and subsidies under ACA

ACA is ObamaCare.

Got the link to this calculator tool from Free Republic and Confounded Interest

The author calculated it for a 30 year old with 35k income.  He says it's not worth it.

It gives adequate information to me in order to make a decision.  ( I think)

Looks like you buy your policy through a subsidized exchange.  ( Duh.)

Recently I did a post on this.  This is better information than that was.  I think the reason was that I wasn't on the exchanges.  The exchanges seem not to be working.  At least that is what I found when I went there today.

A strategy to mine an asteroid

Currently, I'm looking at another asteroid, which may be harder to get to than 3554 Amun.  It is called 1986 DA, and it appears to be very similar to Amun.  The physical breakdown and mass of the asteroid appears quite similar.  Another $20 trillion asteroid.

It looks to me like you could land on it.  It has a rotation period listed, which indicates a turning speed of about 1 kilometer per hour.  You could match that speed and hover over its surface.  The gravity would be minimal, so you wouldn't fall very rapidly towards the surface.  A brief burst of propellant can keep you hovering while preparations for a firm landing are made.

To land firmly must take into account the lack of gravity.  Things will want to fly off the surface, so care must be taken to keep things firmly planted.  Hence the landing strategy.  I suggest firing hot projectiles that will penetrate the surface for a sufficient distance and then cool down and solidify forming an anchor.  Several of these below the hovering lander should be set before reeling in the tether and securely attaching the lander to the surface.

Once landed, how to begin mining operations?  As mentioned, any movement is likely to want to send you flying off the surface, so a strategy for mining should take that into consideration.  Once again, I suggest making the surface very hot so that it melts, then scoop it up.   While it is cooling and before it cools too much, I'd spin it up.  Platinum is more dense with a higher melting point than nickel and iron, which makes up the majority of the mass of the the asteroid.  The spinning movement will send the platinum to the edges of the vessel.  Skim this off to obtain the platinum.  Before the iron and nickel cools down to solid form, shape the iron and nickel into something useful.  You could use 3D printing for this purpose.

Where to get the energy for this?  You could use nuclear reactors designed for space.  There are those in the 400 kw range that may be sufficient for this purpose.

Would this method work?  Perhaps not.  I've never done this before.  Except something like it in a chemistry lab in high school.  The spinning device acts like a centrifuge.  More massive stuff will go to the edges.  That's how that method works.  Heating metals?  Well, I've seen that on youtube, so it isn't out of the realm to heat up the ore sufficiently for this to work.

Getting to the asteroid would be accomplished with a solar sail.  Perhaps the entire thing could be done unmanned, but it would be cool to do it with a crew.


This will be a new series.  Part II is here.

Senior Admin. Official: 'We Are Winning...It Doesn't Really Matter to Us' When Shutdown Ends

The Weekly Standard


The administration would have to deny this statement, or otherwise, they'd have to own up for the responsibility for the shut down.

If this quote is accurate, this is going to be a war.  So be it, as far as I'm concerned.

Oil giant, developer George Mitchell dies at 94 ( repost )


I'm doing a re-post of this news item from a few months back.  It coincides with the Limits to Growth paradigm and also the space program, in which I've posted frequently upon.

It would have been a good time back at the time of this post to mention Dennis Wingo's piece on Watts Up With That blog, in which he is quite critical of the Limits to Growth paradigm.  He summarizes his piece thusly:
There is a future out there, a glorious one, that while it may not solve all of our problems, it will certainly get us beyond these artificial limits to growth.
We are being held back by this Limits to Growth paradigm.  It is time to consider something new, like off world energy and resource development.


There doesn't have to be limits to growth.  Look at this web page to see why.

Not exactly news since the story was on July 26th.

There's a memorial service about this time as I write this.  It is being held in his hometown of Galveston.  I was in Galveston today.  If it weren't for that, I wouldn't have known.

Mitchell was quite important in these parts.  A few things I didn't know:

  • He was a pioneer of "fracking", which is helping the US reach energy independence
  • He was born in Galveston.  He helped revitalize the city.  He brought back Mardi Gras, a tradition that had faded after World War II
  • He sponsored Dennis Meadows' work, which is connected to the Club of Rome.  He contributed greatly to the concept of sustainable development.

Not that I was completely unfamiliar with the man.  I recognize his picture, of course.

The Club of Rome and Limits to Growth occurred at about the same time that the economic clout of the USA peaked.  A mere coincidence?

Certainly, Mitchell was a giant in his field and a very powerful man.  But the connections to Limits to Growth was not one of his better ideas.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The shut down is the Democrat's fault

The reason for that assertion?  The controversy isn't about funding the government.  The controversy is about ObamaCare.  The GOP is willing to fund the government, but the Democrats are not, unless ObamaCare is funded too.  Therefore, there's no disagreement on funding the government, it's all about ObamaCare.

This isn't even about repealing the law.

The Democrats refuse to negotiate.  They look like petulant, spoiled children.

It's like dealing with a spoiled child.  You have to remain firm.

While we argue over petty matters, look what we are missing

Author John S. Lewis discusses the potential of mining asteroids.

3554 Amun, a $20 trillion dollar rock

You may have heard of this asteroid.

It got my attention when I read Mining The Sky.  John S. Lewis, the author of the book, calculated its value at $20 trillion.  He says that there are more metals on this asteroid alone than what have been mined in the history of mankind.

One detail that escaped me was how easy it may be to get to it.  It is a Near Earth Asteroid, with an orbital period around the sun which is quite similar to the Earth's.  With a space sailing ship, you could get there with no propellant and land there with little propellant.  You could also leave there with little propellant, and return to Earth with no propellant.  It looks ready made for a great big mining and construction project.

The mining project can finance the construction project.  Since it is made mostly of iron and nickel, these metals can be separated from the more valuable platinum group metals (pgm), and then used for the construction project.  The valuables can be sent to Earth to defray the costs of construction of a large torus made of the iron nickel mass left over from the pgm separation.  The large torus can be towed to the Earth Moon Lagrangian Points 4 or 5.  Or make two of them and send one each to each.   Perhaps you could send one to Mars and another to Venus.  Colonies could be started in those places as well.

Once the torus is back near the Earth, it can be pressurized and made habitable.  Perhaps thousands can live in each one of these mini-worlds.  There may be enough metal in the asteroid to make many of these.  That's one way to colonize space and make it financially worthwhile.


The reason for building the massive torus structure on the asteroid?  Well, taking back only a small portion of the mass, which is the precious metals, would entail mining through enormous amounts of mass anyway.  You may as well  "do something" with all that mass.  Most of it is iron and nickel, so the thing you could do is make a structure out of that, hence the torus.

Making the torus itself may be possible with the use of a spider fab type device.  It would simply make it as separate sheets of metal, or all in a single piece.

The spider fab can't make structures this big?  Well, there's an idea out there to make an Arecibo type dish in space, which is 1000 ft in diameter.  I'm thinking that something bigger than that might be built as well.


This is like terraforming an asteroid--- the series I wrote about.


Here's a page from the pdf file linked to up above in green.

It shows the spider fab bot applying a reflective membrane on the Arecibo dish in space.  The same principle can be applied for solar sails and making a torus.

A short musing about the practicality of human spaceflight

SpaceX's recent successful launch is a good thing, but even if ultimately successful, it will still be an expensive proposition to get into space.

Let's say Elon Musk gets the cost of launch down an order of magnitude.  That would mean a Falcon 9 launch of about 5 million bucks.  If you send 6 astronauts into space on his rocket, that would mean about a million apiece.  Not exactly cheap.

What kind of business could you run when it costs a million bucks to send each one of your people into space?

Let's take platinum mining in the asteroid belt.  Lots of platinum there.  If you send miners there, its going to cost a million bucks each for the miners plus their life support and other facilities.  Those won't be cheap, either.  The same cost for setting up those as getting the astronauts into space.  Unless you get all of your building materials from space itself.  If you build a space sail, you can get there with no propellant.  If you recycle everything, you can make your own food and produce your own life support.  That would require energy.  But the initial costs of getting the stuff up there in the first place remains.  Therefore, it pays to keep people up there once they arrive.

A million dollars worth of platinum is 52 pounds.  It would seem that you would need some multiple of this to make it all worthwhile.  After all, the astronaut is going to spend a lot of time up there.  Another portion of it would be to defray costs for his living expenses ( which means the means by which he can live ) and another portion for his own to keep.  Perhaps 3 times the 52 pounds which computes to 156 pounds of platinum per astronaut.  The company would want another 3 for itself.  That's 312 pound each.  Multiplied by 6 astronauts and you get about a thousand pounds of payload on the return.  Would 3 for the company be enough?  Probably not.  There's risk involved, so $3 million profit per mission won't be enough.

There are other costs to consider.  Trying to make a profit off of just one mission will not be enough.  But a series of missions could be used to pay off permanent facilities in space.  The permanent facilities could be the mining ship itself and to fully outfit her with everything needed for propulsion and life support.

For life support, there would be a need for a machine that could recycle everything and the energy to do it.  Since you are using solar energy anyway, there will be plenty of that.

Technically, it looks like it could be feasible.

So, it is all financially feasible?  Once it gets rolling, it will be insurable and it could be financed.  Then you pay the interest and generate the necessary income to pay for the expenses and interest with a reasonable profit.  So far so good.

Then there's taxes.  Perhaps the astronauts wouldn't want to risk their lives for making money if the government takes most of that hard earned money away from them.  Then perhaps, they can start permanent colonies that could trade with the Earth.  They could earn money to pay a rocket company to send their families along after a few profitable trips.

A practical business model?  Perhaps not.  Just running some numbers to see if it all could work.  If people are going to populate space, there will eventually have to be some sort of economic incentive for them to do so.

Shut downs are okay when Democrats do it

Democrats never shut down the government?  They did during the Reagan administration.

In fact, I remember that time.  It was no big deal.  But that was because the Democrats were stopping a Republican president.  It's different somehow, when the shoe is on the other foot.

The whole point here is that the substance of the Democrat's complaint is pure hokum.  They did it.  So now it isn't right nor fair that the GOP is doing it ( if you accept their claims that the GOP really is doing it, which is debatable.)

The Empire Strikes Back

Some say that was the best Star Wars movie.

Whether I think so or not is not the point of this post.

Funny how I started watching it and starting having this foreboding about the future of this country.  Sometimes the subconscious will move you in directions that are quite surprising.  Why watch this movie now?  That's what surprises me.

It is only a movie of course.  But it is about the struggle of freedom over tyranny.  The movie moves towards its most critical point and leaves it there at the end.  That sets up the final movie in the series, where freedom wins in the end.  But that is not the movie I watched, but this one, where the outcome is still uncertain.

I'd say that George Lucas is probably a Democrat.  Quite a number of very rich people are Democrat.  It is a strange phenomenon.  Very rich people are supposed to be Republican, but it doesn't work out that way.

The movie is about the struggle for freedom---the irony being that the writer of the story is one among many who are responsible for the extinguishing of freedom in his own country.  That's what's so strange about it.

Freedom isn't about getting things from the government.  Freedom is about getting a better life for yourself and doing it for yourself.  Someone who does things for you, especially if it is the government, will not be doing these things without a price tag.  The price tag is freedom.

People all over the world came to this country to have the opportunity to better themselves.  They didn't come here to be equal.  You don't better yourself by being equal.  The left wants equality.  What they will deliver is equality, all right.  Things will get equally bad for everybody, but not for themselves.  For that is how it worked in the Soviet Union.

We should not seek equality, but we should seek opportunity.  That's what's being given up.  Or in grave danger of being given up.  The outcome is very much in doubt.

Optimism ebbs and flows

This shut down of the government looked like it would be resolved yesterday.  But that was a hasty judgment.

The House has all it needs to force the Senate to back down.  The President?  Maybe not.  In any case, the President will remain in office for the next 3 years.  The only way to beat his veto is by getting a 2/3 rds majority, which is very unlikely.

So, if Obama wants to drag this on forever, he could.  The Senate probably won't.  The House may lose its nerve and cave in.

Still, the House should fund all departments except that which funds ObamaCare, and let it rip.  It should be obvious who is causing this problem, if it actually is a problem.  A shut down of the government isn't that big of a deal.  It is only a big deal for the politicians.

The thing I worry about is the resolution of the GOP in the House.  They could go wobbly on us for sure.

ObamaCare isn't free, you know.  You people that support this law aren't going to get something for nothing.  But that is how the left will bribe people into falling for it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A way to mine the Moon for water

It is said that the Moon has significant deposit of water in permanently shaded craters at the poles.

How to get at that water?

In the book about Space Sailing, it mentioned that a sail could hover in position, like a polar position vis-a-vis the Moon, or Mars, or what have you.

Now, if you were to deploy a large mirror from the sail, and beam the sunlight down on a portion of the crater's bottom, you could melt that water and collect it.  You could place a dome over that portion of the surface that you want to illuminate.  The transparent dome could allow the sunlight to heat the surface and melt the water.

The water would evaporate in the vacuum, but the pressure would build under the dome until it could support water in liquid form.

That's the theory anyway.

Another thing the government could do...

Get the controversy out of who could mine asteroids and such so that there is no longer any uncertainty about someone's rights in these matters.

I can't think of any barrier to mining asteroids that won't be overcome and soon.

After reading the Space Sailing book, I'd say that the 3D printing technology will enable the large sails to be constructed in space.  These are the most high performance ones and they will work almost throughout the solar system.  That means you could go to a rich source of platinum and mine it, bring it back, and reap the profits.  The profits could be frickin' huge.


No propellant necessary.  Accessibility to all asteroids.  Reusable spacecraft.  The costs should be controllable and the benefits are unlimited.  What company would not want to get in on this type of action?  The only reason not to would be the uncertainty of the legal ramifications of bringing back mined stuff from outer space.

The government could remove that uncertainty and open up the solar system for commercial development.  This could happen in the next decade, if not sooner.

After a bit of research, a conclusion

I've spent the better part of this day researching the effects of ObamaCare in my own situation.  As someone in the working class, I think I can give a verdict on this thing.

  1. It is probably too costly for the government, but for the individual, maybe not too bad
  2. It is too complex while simplicity would have been preferred
  3. On an ideological level, it favors Democrats as it will create a new constituency for them
  4. On an ideological level, it harms the GOP because it causes their potential constituency to drop in number ( see above)
  5. Personally, I don't like being dependent upon the government.  However, my feeling at the moment is if I have to sign up, I probably will
  6. If the GOP wants to win these types of arguments, they'd first better win the shut down fight.  If they lose this, its game over for them.  I'm not sure all of them understand it that way at the moment.
  7. As for winning the argument later on, they'd better find an alternative that's better than what the Democrats have cooked up.  Because the way it looks, it may become a popular program that will force big tax increases later on in order to pay for all this largesse.
The verdict is probably more thumbs up than down personally, more thumbs down than up for the future of the country.

I'm thinking a good system for an individual and for the country would be one that is simple and affordable.  This is neither.  It buys off the individual for their votes at the polls and gives the country a program that will cause great headaches in the future.


Another thought.  You really don't know how it will work out until you go through the process.  From where I'm standing now, it looks like a wash.  But in actual practice, it may be anything but.  Too many uncertainties and questions.  See #2 on the list above.

What are the differences between Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, and others assisting consumers in making health insurance decisions in the ACA's health insurance marketplaces?

What are the differences between Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, and others assisting consumers in making health insurance decisions in the ACA's health insurance marketplaces?

It's so complicated that they need something like this to explain it.  Why not employ the KISS method?  Keep it simple, stupid.

Will you receive an Obamacare subsidy?

Will you receive an Obamacare subsidy?

I'm looking into to this.  This article gives information that will allow one to make a decision on whether or not to buy the insurance or pay the fine.

It doesn't supply enough information, but it does look like the subsidies could be generous.

That might be deceptive, though.  For a low income individual, who may not pay taxes at all, in order to receive the subsidy in any meaningful way, the tax credit will have to be refundable.  That's to say, an income tax refund could pay a substantial portion of their health care insurance premiums.  Is this the case or not?

Also, there's a long gap from the time the premiums are to be paid, and when a low income individual can receive their subsidy.  If tax returns are filed the next year (April 2015), and the premiums are to be paid this year ( beginning on Jan 2014) , how does a poor individual come up with that money during those 15 1/2 months?


It looks like the government will pick up the tab as the subsidy will be paid to the insurance companies, not to YOU.

Obamacare 101: What to know if you opt out of buying health insurance

You will be exempt if your income is too low. It is not specified if that means the AGI on your tax return. If the lowest premium is more thn 8 % of your income (AGI), then you are exempt. I don't think the mandate affects these people.

Obamacare 101: What to know if you opt out of buying health insurance

The Trainwreck Presidency

ObamaCare implementation has been described as a trainwreck, by a Democrat Senator, no less.  How apt is the metaphor if it applies in a general sense to Obama's presidency.

Consider this quote:

Moral legitimacy is what makes honest people obey the law even when they can get away with breaking it. Undermine that and you get a country like, say, Italy, where tax evasion is a national sport.

If by winning the presidential election Obama cheated by using the IRS as a political weapon, and if this destroys the credibility of the IRS, and if this leads to its abolition, then Obama would have presided over the destruction of not the USA as feared, but his own ideology and party.  For the IRS is the enforcement arm of the welfare state.  Remove the IRS and the welfare state is no longer possible.

Maybe the DemocRATS will flee this sinking ship in time to save themselves.

Or maybe the Republicans will save them from themselves and doom the rest of us.

How Obamacare Burns the Ships via Transterrestrial Musings


In 1519, Hernán Corté a near-suicidal display...scuttled his ships (in the legendary retelling, burning them in the harbor), leaving his men no way home but forward. If their venture failed, they would die to the last man. [ note:  Julius Caesar was said to have done the same when he conquered England]


A good metaphor, but the Democrats are not killing themselves, yet...  If they continue to hold firm on their quest to blackmail the GOP into submitting to them, and if the GOP holds firm in refusing to yield, they will lose and they will lose BIG.

Nice write up, by the way.  My complements to the author.

Next Big Future: SpaceX Now Has “All the Pieces” For Truly Reusable...

Next Big Future: SpaceX Now Has “All the Pieces” For Truly Reusable...: A successful flight test of the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket on Sunday demonstrated booster-return capability on a flight to orbit. The technology c...


Looks like great news.

Shutdown Could Last Weeks ( hmm. probably not )



Deceptive title in my opinion.  The shut down won't last that long if it is seen that the Democrats are only interested in saving ObamaCare.  If the following quote is accurate, then we are on the track to a resolution in short order:
On the House floor today, Republicans brought a series of rifle-shot appropriations bills to fund parts of the government...Tomorrow, Republicans will offer the same bills through the normal procedure, which requires only a majority for passage. They are also considering passing full appropriations bills that would fund entire departments, according to Representative Pete Sessions.
I like the "rifle-shot" metaphor.  They are shooting down this ridiculous ObamaCare law with a rifle-shot heard round the world.

I am pleased if this happens.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

At the end of another day

A few scattered thoughts, so let's make a post out of it.  Time is short, and I don't want to spend too much time on any one thing.

  1. I'm somewhat appalled sometimes by my poor writing.  It must be because I get into a big hurry, and fail to proofread.  People judge those things, so that's probably not too good.
  2. About the shut down--- something happened late in the day that gave me a different perspective on the ObamaCare political fight.  Somebody called and wanted to collect on a medical bill in which I supposedly owed for medical services done last year.  It bugged me back then and it still bugs me now and that's why I didn't pay last year.  It leaves something to be desired the way these people run their businesses.  When somebody tells you that a charges are complete with the services rendered and I'm out the door, and yet it turns out otherwise, the charges aren't complete, and they want more money--- it tends to bug me.  With respect to ObamaCare, it wouldn't surprise me that the accumulated experiences like these are what's making for some bad karma.  You know, what goes round comes round.  If they aren't going to act right, there are going to be repercussions.  If ObamaCare survives, they are going to lose something, that's for sure.  It's because of stuff like this, I suspect.
  3. My space sailing book arrived.  I read a little of it before starting this post.  With all this reading on deep subjects, I'm going to be the smartest truck driver in the USA, I do believe.  Too bad that they don't give more money for that.  I could use it to pay my bills.

The Coming Health-Care Battle

Mona Charen, NRO


Obamacare will be said to have failed because private companies put profits ahead of people. The “solution” will be single-payer.

Bingo!  You see, there really isn't that big a difference amongst those in the so-called right wing.  The main difference is when to fight, not over what to fight over.  That difference on timing can be bridged.  The differences between socialism and capitalism cannot.

Free enterprise is better than socialism and is worth defending right now.  For those who prefer free enterprise, and eschew socialism, now is the time.  This may be the last chance, because if the socialists gain power, they won't let go.

Comparison of GOP v Democrats to War philosophy of Sun Tsu

Things are not what they seem.  To me, it seems that the GOP is weak.  The Democrats are appearing strong.  Is this the way it really is, or is it a projection given that is deceptive of the true state of affairs vis-a-vis the two major political parties in the US?

For if this political conflict, if it actually is one, may then be compared to the writings of Sun Tsu and The Art of War.

Sun Tsu said that warfare is all about deception.  If you are strong, then appear weak.  If you are weak, then appear strong.  If you are few in number, appear to be many. And so on.  What we see isn't necessarily what we think we see.  It's all about deceiving the enemy.

Who's the enemy?  Are we the people the enemy, or the two parties enemies of each other?  Quite a question.

Interesting take on government shut down

Government Shutdown: The Next Step In The Collapse Of The Dollar?

Kabuki Theater Begins

That is, the government shut down.

It's all very predictable.  The GOP starts out principled and strong appearing, but have backbones of jelly.  They will fold.  Why they do this is anybody's guess.  Why anybody believes this nonsense is anybody's guess.

If they really meant it this time, I would be impressed.  But they don't.  It's all for show.

We don't need as much government as we have.  It may be better that they shut it all down, but the government has plenty of funds available to it.  Government will go on, you can be assured.  So, it is mostly a tempest in a tea pot.  There have been numerous shut downs in the past.  Some shut downs occur during bad weather.  The world doesn't end.

Conservatives are kidding themselves.  If the leadership really wanted to end Obamacare, they would have done this differently.  They are failing on purpose.  We are being scammed.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Terraforming Mars is a mistake

There was something on Instapundit that discusses the subject.

Perhaps he- and those others who advocate it- don't know that Mars will not keep its terraformed condition any more that it kept it originally.  You see, if Mars was once wet, it means that Mars had an atmosphere that could support water in liquid form.  Furthermore, that implies that the atmosphere was much thicker than now.

So, what happened to it?

There is a theory that Mars lost its atmosphere to the solar wind.  It stripped away the atmosphere and will do so again if it were to return.

It doesn't happen on Earth because Earth has a magnetic field.  Mars does not.   It is rather pointless to terraform Mars unless you can give it a magnetic field strong enough to deflect the solar wind.

Greek left wants to wipe out a rival
Wants to be example for all Europe.


Now that I'm home, I'd like to say a few things more.  Now, I don't know anything about Greek politics nor anything about this group they're targeting.  All I do know is what happens in THIS country, where the so-called right gets accused of all kinds of things, including being "terrorists".

So, if somebody in Greece starts talking about wiping out a group that they don't like, it raises the eyebrows.

In THIS country, the government tax enforcement agency ( IRS ) is playing politics, which is actually ILLEGAL.  You'd think that they were trying to wipe out a political movement in this country ( Tea Party ) because they ( are accused unjustly of ) being "racist".  The Tea Party's big sin is its opposition to Obama.

 Just sayin'.

Also, they are spying upon the public without cause ( under the excuse of fighting terrorism ) which is a practice that can easily be abused just as the IRS is doing.  It is also ILLEGAL under our Constitution in case anyone bothered to notice.  Except that it won't be enforced because nobody seems to care that they are being put under surveillance without cause.  The "cause" could be something other than terrorism, you know.  The IRS wasn't supposed to be doing what it was doing, but they did it.

Evidently those over in THIS country don't seem to grasp that the spying can be turned upon them without just cause, just as the IRS was turned against the Tea Party.   The Tea Party was only exercising their rights under our Constitution.  Actually, there's a law that should protect the Tea Party or any person for that matter from such acts, but of course, it only applies to certain people the powers-that-be don't like and not to others.

3D Printer to ISS

This is a big deal.

Morris says it's suicide, but GOP could be dead either way

That's what occurred to me in a flash.  If you fight, you have a chance to win.  But if you don't fight, you could be dead.  So, either way, you could be dead.  Why not fight and have a chance then?

The assumption is that if you don't fight, you'll live to fight another day.  But this may not happen.  Now is your chance, if you give that up now, you may not get another chance.

The Dems are consolidating their power.  ObamaCare is just another way of cementing their victory in 2008.  That's all it is.  If you allow this, the rest will follow axiomatically.   That's why they are so firm about it.  They know full well that a roll back of ObamaCare will put their plans in jeopardy.  The failure of ObamaCare is their goal.  It is their goal to single payer.  Once ObamaCare fails, do you think that they will say "oh, what the heck, private enterprise was the right way all along"?  Hell no.

You have to stop this now.  Otherwise, the entire structure could fall.

I'll bet a dollar to a donut that most of the GOP could care less.  They are mostly interested in themselves, just as the Democrats.

Looks like the end game

There was a burst of activity here on Saturday because I believed these worthless politicians.  I got scammed.  We are all being scammed.  Truth is taking a back seat to all the deception out there.

Aside from that, there's not much to write about that inspires me.

Spacex had a mostly successful launch.  Orbital Sciences had a successful resupply mission.  Those things are going well.  There appears to be some good things out there.  Is it enough?

Because there is not so good stuff out there too.  It's the attitude that worries me.  I can't quite put my finger on it at the moment.  It seems that something is causing the seams to come apart, and so the entire fabric may be unraveling.  At some point, it will become obvious if it hasn't become so already.  Perhaps the shut down is symbolic of that.

It's an attitude that will lead to chaos.  The chaos won't last forever, but while it happens, changes will occur that are unpredictable at this point.  We won't know what will be on the other side until we get there.  But things are not going to be the same as before.  Something that has gotta give is indeed giving way.


The end game is single payer system.  The Democrats knew in 2009 that they couldn't get it directly, so they have to destroy the private medical care delivery system first.  That's what ObamaCare is for.  That's why the Democrats will defend it so fiercely.  It is their way to power for the next generation or indefinite number of generations.

How can the GOP sit by idly and allow this happen?  How will they explain their failure?

The argument shouldn't be about the shut down.  The argument should be about single payer system or a free market system.  Because that is the choice before us.

Government shutdown: Harry Reid spearheads Democratic strategy

Politico via Free Republic


It appears that Reid wants the shut down because he believes that it will hurt the GOP more.  He may be right.

Why should the GOP want the shut down when it will hurt the GOP?

So, what's the best strategy for the GOP?

You see, that's what I don't understand.  What's in it for the GOP to have a shut down, when it hurts them?  Secondly, why not just avoid the shut down and fund the government separately from  ObamaCare?  This can't be done?  Why not?  I don't understand.

What rule says you can't fund each piece of the government separately?  Why does it have to come all at once?  Maybe I'm missing something.  Or I'm not, and BOTH of these parties want a shut down and to try to blame it on the other party.  The idea isn't to defund ObamaCare, but to win a political game of chicken.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Next Big Future: Roadmap to a Fusion-Driven Rocket with a 90 day tr...

Next Big Future: Roadmap to a Fusion-Driven Rocket with a 90 day tr...: NASA Future in Space Operations - 90-Day Single-Launch to Mars: A Case Study for The Fusion-Driven Rocket John Slough and his team are wo...


Interesting.  It doesn't rely on fusion for electrical production, but for thrust only.  ( Assuming I understand how it works).

Could this be how its done?

The concept seems good, but there may be other ways.

Driverless Cars for the Road Ahead


Oh my!  This stuff is actually going to happen.

Seven years ago, Nissan did a study describing to consumers over-the-horizon features of autonomous cars. "Then it was...'Oh, you mean the car is going to take control? I'm not comfortable with that," said Nissan's Ms. Nguyen. "Now it's almost a complete 180 in attitude

I don't want to be a Luddite here.  I'm all for improvements in technology.  Just not in replacing all functions with computers and technology.  Technology should be dedicated to making us better drivers, not to replacing us completely.  A world of, by, and for the people, not a world by, of, and for the machines.

Scary stuff.

Good God!

Having read a few articles on Slate, I came across this one.  It is about holding off on human exploration of space until some point in the future.

Get this quote:

Rather than make those planets habitable, does it not make sense to purposefully evolve ourselves such that we are habitable in those worlds?
The author mentions that we are most suited for life on Earth.  But we aren't.  Being human, we devised means by which we can live in most of the environments on Earth.  But we aren't suited for any environment in particular.  That's because we are rather vulnerable.  We exist by our creative abilities, not our bodies.  If we existed because of our bodies, we'd have more robust bodies, like the animals have.  The animals are more suited to Earth.  We are suited to whatever place we want to be in, which includes space.

Furthermore, the author speaks well of transhumanism, which makes us into freaks.  We shouldn't tamper with what it means to be human.  Humans should be humans, not freaks.

I hope the author is dead wrong, but I fear that this point of view may have a lot currency amongst some people.  We are going down a bad path, I fear.  In many, many ways.

Finally, you don't go to space just to explore.  If you aren't going there to settle it with people, why go there at all?

What Undercover Boss and The Jetsons Tell Us About the Future of Jobs



An optimistic view of the computerization of the work force.

if there's one thing humans will always be better at than machines, it's being human.

Yeah, but being human won't necessary be what it always been either.  See the Dick Morris interview with Ray Kurzweil.

They are going to turn us into freaks.

Government shutdown: House delays Obamacare as shutdown nears -

Government shutdown: House delays Obamacare as shutdown nears -


Kabuki Theater, I suspect.  The GOP  rank and file are going to regret this.  Who do you follow, the strong horse or the weak one?  Who's strong and who's weak?  Is the Boner the strong horse?  We'll see.

You see, the Boner has just conceded something without getting something in return.  So, what happens if Obama and Reid say no?  Then what?

Here are some scenarios discussed on Free Republic.


All in all, it's a good thing "Tricky Dick" is dead.

Gambian president says gays a threat to human existence



Gambia's president warned the United Nations General Assembly on Friday that gays were a threat to human existence, along with excessive greed and obsession with world domination, and criticized other countries for regarding homosexuality as a human right.

Can't disagree with the Gambian president.  The article mentions that he is Muslim.  Now, I don't agree with Islam, but I think it may be a clue to what's going wrong here.

I got to thinking about things this morning.  It appears that the human race is becoming increasingly unnatural and strange---even shall we say "less human".  Consider this idea of life extension and mind machine integration that was on a Dick Morris interview with Ray Kurweil.

Is a 150 year lifespan such a good thing when women stop having children?  You will have superannuated human populations and no children.  No place for them.  Why develop the minds of children with all that it means in terms of resources and so forth?  Children will be a burden, not a resource.  Lots easier to just live longer and longer so that no children will ever be needed.  A very strange world will arise from this.

Consider how strange the world will become when men become women and women become men.  It's happening.

As for the mind machine integration, we are all going to look like the Borg on Star Trek.  A bunch of very strange beasts.  Very smart, sure, but alive?  Well....