Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sabre/X-33/X-37C Technical and Business Analysis

Speculation alert

This is a show your work type post.  I created a spreadsheet with some annotations that shows some of the technical and business analysis of a proposed launch system.

This is a continuation of the series.  Last post here.




In case you can't read this very well, there's no obvious show stoppers here.

The system would consist of a 747 with an X-33 mounted on top of it.  Inside the X-33 will be an X-37C on a nuclear thermal rocket stack that will take a payload of 17k pounds to orbit.

The 747 will carry the X-33 like the Space Shuttle.  It will release the X-33 at 30k feet.  The X-33 will fire up to 85k feet using the airbreather mode of the SABRE engines being developed for the Skylon.   Once it gets to 85k feet and Mach 5.5, the SABRE will convert to converntional rocket mode and continue up to about Mach 10 and the Karman line ( edge of space ).  At that point, it will release the X-37 C/NTR stack which then go on to orbit.

The 747 will return to base.  The X-33 can return to base after delivering the X-37C to the Karman line.  The X-37C can return like a mini-Shuttle.  The only part that may not be re-usable is the fuel tank for the NTR.   I think that may be able to be thermally prepared to survive re-entry and fitted with landing gear so that it can land.  The nuclear core will be dropped into the ocean and recovered according to method mentioned in the book by James Dewar.

All parts have been developed at some level already.  It probably won't take that much more money to fully develop this system.

Of course, I could be just talking out my ass again.  But what if I'm right?

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A Grim Warning



Guest Post: Violence In The Face Of Tyranny Is Often Necessary


X37-C plus Stratolauncher plus NTR upper stage ends "Pony Express" Era of Spaceflight

I'll make a series out of this one.  The first was the X-37C post, made on September 11th.  The second post was a brief followup last month.

An idea for this post came from how the XCOR's Lynx will get to the Karman line.  It will fire its engines and get only to Mach 3, and then drift upwards to the Karman line before returning to the ground.  The idea here is to get to the Karman line with some momentum and let the NTR do the rest of the lifting to orbit.

It has occurred to me that the mass of the X-37C is close to the mass envisioned in James Dewar's book "The Nuclear Rocket".  Let's say we want to replace his idea of using solid rocket boosters to be launched from a cargo plane--- with a launch from a Stratolauncher and an airbreather engine like the SABRE engine being developed for the Skylon SSTO.

This warrants another speculation alert, of course.

Dewar wanted his package to mass out at 91k lbs.  Presumably, this would be a 17k pound payload into orbit.  That's pretty close to the X-37C's mass.  I didn't see any provision in Dewar's concept that would save the hydrogen tank.  We should want to be able to do that.

The SABRE engines wouldn't be required to go to orbit, so we could economize on mass there by making that booster smaller.  It won't be needing oxygen tanks since it is only going to be used in its airbreathing mode.  The Stratolauncher helps save mass here too, because it imparts the first 30k feet of altitude to the orbiter.

Instead of going to orbit, the SABRE engines would separate at Mach 5.5 and 85k altitude, thus imparting momentum to the 91k mass of Dewar's NTR module.  The module would drift upwards to the Karman line or possibly well below it and then light up the nuke booster.  The SABRE powered booster would do a RTLS (return to launch site ).  The 91k NTR's mass could probably be increased, since the airbreathing booster would not have to carry oxygen.  The downside is that the NTR would be losing momentum as it waits for the nukes to warm up.

You could play around with the masses in order to optimize the design so that it will make it all fully reusable with a fast turnaround.  For example, instead of a "cocoon" that enables the nuclear core to be fished out of the ocean, some landing gear could be supplied so that it can land like a plane.  Also, the tank could be made into a lifting body shape and designed so as to survive a reentry.  If more mass is needed, you may have some margin in the concept for that.  Up to 500k pounds could be lifted by the Stratolauncher.

I'm thinking that it should be optimized so that that you don't have to use onboard oxygen for the first stage ascent.  The SABRE provides that capability.  The second stage on up to orbit would use the higher ISP capability of a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR)--- up to 1000 ISP.

Hopefully, there is a design that would enable all these advantages to be incorporated in a practical design that could be fully reusable and with a fast turnaround.  The launch costs could be brought down so as to make space more accessible.  That's what James Dewar believes the NTR can do.  Dewar compared the chemical rocket to the "Pony Express".  A nuclear rocket could take us to the next level.

Update:

Running the numbers seems to confirm that this could work.  As for the rest, it would have to fit under the wing of the Stratolauncher and it would have to pass through all the red tape.

Update:

The entire mass of the thing except the X37-C and booster, could fit on a X33 airframe.  You'd have to mate the NTR booster on to that, but if you could, the thing would mass at less than the X33 launcher originally planned.

The X33 failed because of the large hydrogen tanks, but those would be much reduced by an airbreathing engine for most of the trip.  The X33 was a demonstrator only, not designed for orbital velocity, but suborbital velocities and altitude mentioned here.

The X33 would have to be redesigned for this, though.  The imagination runs a bit too freely, perhaps.

Update:

After crunching the numbers even further, I am beginning to wonder if you even need the Stratolauncher.  You may be able to use a 747 in the same way that it was used to transport the Shuttle.  In addition, all of the fuel should fit inside the X-33 fuselage so that it can be made into a cargo holder for the NTR.  This configuration would allow the same X-33 airframe to house the NTR/X-37C and be lifted by a 747.  A minimum of new stuff would have to be invented.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

A Milestone to Celebrate: I Have Closed All My Businesses in Ventura County, California

Coyote Blog

California is raising minimum wages over the next 2 years by $2.

According to Parker over at Parapundit, this is a good thing because it will accelerate "gentrification".  Given what the author of this Coyote blog piece says, it probably won't produce the outcome that Parker thinks.  It is so anti-growth that even the upper classes will start to suffer for it.  If the upper classes start to suffer, they may change their iddy biddy minds about where they are going with this kind of stuff.


"Ship of Fools"

watts up with that

Looks like a little prevention could have avoided this mishap.  They look like a bunch of knuckleheads.


Click to hear Doors song "Ship of Fools"

Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free.

Forbes via Instapundit

At the time of the Texas Revolution, the Mexican dictator Santa Ana, said something quite similar about his own people.  Well, at least Santa Ana was actually a Mexican after all.  Who knows about this Obama character.

Can people be trusted with their own self-governance, or must the human race require a dictator to tell us what to do and what to think?


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ronald Reagan: "The Government is the Problem" v The Left: "The White Man is the Problem."

Here's the evidence that the left thinks that the white man is the problem. ( as if you needed any further evidence).

Here's what Reagan said in his first inaugural.


THE ROMAN EMPIRE - JULIUS CAESAR

Been watching videos like this all day.  It is supposed to be a work day, but there is no work.  People still taking a holiday.  I'll put this one up because it is the most interesting so far.

Update:

What makes it interesting is how the Republic fell and the Empire began.  It has some startling similarities to our current situation.
  • Professional standing army---the Founding Fathers were suspicious of this.
  • Loyalties to leaders as opposed to loyalties to the nation as a whole.
  • Leaders who served their own interests and ambitions, as opposed to serving their country.
  • Large diverse population of various creeds, as opposed to a single language, culture, and religion.
  • The rise or the expectation of the rise of a "messiah" or "führer" who will lead the nation to glory.
The nation as we have known it is at risk, no doubt about it.





SLS mission idea

speculation alert

There were several posts here on the subject of re-using the big external tanks that the shuttle system used.  Since the SLS will be shuttle derived, the same proposition could exist.  Nobody at NASA is thinking about this, I'm sure.

I recall that the shuttle launch system accelerated the external tank to near orbital velocity.  Now, if you were to lighten up the payload, the same amount of fuel could get to orbit.  That means you have a big external tank up there.  What could you do with it?

One idea I just came up with is to make a fuel depot out of it.  You could convert the hydrogen tank to methane, and keep the oxygen part of the tank as is.  The new methane tank will be too big, perhaps.  Maybe you could flip them.  That is, use the big hydrogen tanks for oxygen and the smaller oxygen tanks for methane.

You'd probably want to ditch the engines.  I figure that you could ditch them and replace them with a fueling interface.  The fueling interface will facilitate re-filling the big tanks and using the big tanks to re-fuel spacecraft.

After ditching the engines, you'd reconnect the plumbing to the interface.  It just occurred to me that this would probably be easier said than done.

Anyway, the original configuration routed the fuel to the engines, so the plumbing should be re-usable.  You may not want any of the original pumps.  These would have to be bypassed if they cannot be ditched.  Perhaps a little engineering before launch would allow connections to be made that would be relatively simple.  In fact, this may be necessary as a spacewalk by an astronaut for this type of task cannot be allowed to be too challenging.

So, the interface plus the tank itself would be all that is launched.  In practice, the launch would take place.  The engines and other hardware would also be ditched.  Then the fuel interface would be installed.  After installation, it could allow docking a refilling the big tanks or spacecraft.

Thorough testing should determine operational status.  After this is determined, you have to decide where to put it.  It could be towed to EML-2, where it could be used a fuel depot for trips to Deimos and Mars.  Oxygen can be brought from the Earth and the lunar surface, whichever is easier.  It may be easier to bring oxygen from the moon because of the shallower gravity well.  But bringing it from the moon would require a launch from the surface.  Perhaps a loxleo system would be easier so that it can be brought from the Earth.

Since the major part of the mass of a methane/lox system is oxygen, it may pay off not sending it very far.  Thus, for the Earth to EML-2 leg of a journey, you'd just use loxleo oxygen.  For the EML-2 leg to Deimos, you just use lunar oxygen.  For the leg to the surface of Mars from Deimos, you'd use the oxygen and methane obtained from Deimos.  To get back to Deimos from Mars, use the Martian atmosphere and methane from water and carbon dioxide on Mars.  Reversing the steps gets you back to Earth.


Six harsh truths

cracked via Instapundit

Interesting read.  This may not be in agreement with what folks think, but I can't help but to contrast that with the Parapundit post yesterday.  That post by Parker made me react negatively because this dude is assuming that there's a superior position due to heredity.  He's saying you're born with your gifts and that's that.

To the contrary, I was thinking that a lot of life is determined by attitude.  In fact, in my own life, attitude made a difference between just getting by and doing a great job.  I get the impression from Parker that he thinks that your genes and chromosomes matter more than anything else, and that seemed to me that he was saying that this also trumps attitude.  My reaction is negative for that reason.  You can have plenty of ability, but that won't matter if the attitude is wrong.

Attitude seems to me to be what the cracked piece is about.


Skip mining asteroids or the moon

Mine the Martian moon, Deimos, instead.

Deimos is positioned perfectly for such a purpose.  It has a relatively low delta-v requirement from the Earth--- lower than a lunar landing--- and has a potentially large source of water and carbon.

That is a thought.  When you make methane out of mostly carbon sources, you will need twice as much water.  That's because methane has 4 hydrogen atoms per molecule, while water has only 2.  Plus, you need 4 oxygen atoms to burn the methane, so you will need 4 molecules of water that produces two molecules of methane.  That's more methane than you need.  Why produce the excess methane?  You have to unless you have an oxygen source.  If there's plenty of carbon dioxide on Deimos, then that could be the source.  But if there's just a lot of elemental carbon around, you are going to wind up producing an excess of methane.  That excess can be exported back to the Earth-Moon system.

Since both the Moon and the Earth have large sources of oxygen available, you just put those two sources together for a fuel transportation system.  From the Earth, a LOXLEO system obtains the oxygen.  From the lunar surface, you can obtain plenty of oxygen.

The excess methane from Mars can be sent back by ion propulsion.  Methane makes up only 1/5 of the reaction mass, so this is a big advantage.  Thus, a relatively small mass of methane can be sent from Mars that will enable landings on the Moon, and transits back to Earth.  From the Earth, the oxygen obtained from the upper atmosphere will allow transits back to the Moon, and from there to Deimos.

Once you arrive at Deimos, you have an excess source of methane which can be used for powered landings on the Martian surface.  Furthermore, you can make methane on the Martian surface.  No need to carry along so much fuel.  That should simplify transits to Mars.

Bringing an asteroid back to the Moon appealed to me, but it seems like a very time consuming project.  It may save a lot of time just to mine Deimos instead.  You would have to confirm that you can do this, though.  As far as I know, there are no plans to do this.

A launch window opens every two years between the Earth and Mars.  However, you can keep the pipeline flowing, the missions can be executed each time a window opens.  You wait for fuel, then when it arrives, take off for the Mars system.  You could do it on a regular basis without the need to launch anything but a crew from the surface of the Earth.

In addition, you could start a lunar colony with your access to the Moon.  The Moon has water sources, so you could grow food on the Moon, and that would be another thing that wouldn't need to bring from Earth.

The same thing could be done on Mars.  So, there's two things you could do to simplify missions to Mars.

Update:

I was for the mission to bring an asteroid back to the Moon and studying it for the possible purposes of mining it for water.   Instead of doing that, you can go to Deimos instead, and do the same thing there.  It is like an asteroid, and it could be the key to opening up colonization of Mars.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

ParaPundit: Will Boeing Union Vote For Faster Gentrification?

ParaPundit: Will Boeing Union Vote For Faster Gentrification?

Parker seems to be the type of writer that I don't like---an elitist who wears it like a badge of honor.  Could it be that he is what he claims?  He is smarter than I am?  He got the 2008 election right.  I figured that there was no way that America would elect a guy named Barack Hussein Obama.  But they did --- twice.

If Parker is right, things are going to get ugly.  It's going to resemble the world depicted in the movie Elysium.


Toward a New Macroeconomics, Part One

askblog via Coyote Blog

Interesting macro economic model.

It is divided into four quadrants.

Each quadrant is a description of events occurring under that economy.  The events are divided into creativity and destruction.  The intersection of events in the table defines the economy.  The highest growth quadrant is the one with the highest destruction and the highest creativity.  The lowest growth quadrant is the with the lowest destruction and the lowest creativity.

Guess who is sneaking into that latter category?  And who is already there?

China isn't in the highest growth quadrant according to the Coyote Blog, interestingly enough.  But they are closer to it than we are.

The majority in this country believe we are on the wrong track.  Yet they vote for Big Government Liberalism that guarantees that we stay there.  Go figure.

It might help if the GOP would make an argument, but they won't even try.  They just assure us if we vote for them, that things will get better.  It isn't a convincing argument.

Update:

I need to expand upon this line of reasoning because it isn't enough to just put this out there.

As anyone would note who reads this blog will know that I advocate for the molten salt reactor, amongst some other things.

The reason?  It is cheaper than coal.  Why is this important?

I've studied the three greatest titans of American industry---Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford.  Each of them share a common purpose:  Cutting costs to a minimum.  This is a principle worth following in macroeconomics.  If you have a technology that results in the cheapest cost, you'd better use it.  The risk if you do otherwise will be the kind of economic stagnation that we now suffer under.

Sure, fracking is a good thing.  But it isn't good enough because it isn't cheap enough.

I pushed an idea that will make both work synergistically for making transportation fuels at the cheapest possible price.

It entails a destruction of a sort---which is the way we do things now.  We import oil and put them into low efficiency automobiles.  This results in a high cost solution for personal transportation.

If you replace gas powered autos with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; produce the hydrogen from abundant gas from fracking; and remove the carbon from the hydrogen- you then can have a system that can replace the costly system we have now with an efficient and clean one that will be a boon to the economy.

Talking about creative destruction.  We have all these technologies within reach.  All it takes is for a little imagination and a little guts.


Trends to Watch For in 2014



The Trends To Watch For In 2014


It's about indefinite detention or suspension of habeas corpus

New Hampshire Moves Toward Nullifying NDAA

Somebody rightly commented that it was poorly written because it didn't get to reason why for six paragraphs.  It's the suspension of habeas corpus (my words ) in the National Defense Authorization Act.  The Congress passed this crap and this president signed it into law.  Yeah, when Bush was president, the Democrats were screaming about this, but now there are so quiet about it.

A further comment is that it shows how these CongressCritters fool the public.  Who would be against the National Defense Authorization Act?  All they have to do is give a bill a fancy schmancy sounding name and that will fool people.  You have to dig deeper and most people don't have the time, or won't take the time to study these things as they come down the pike.


Passing it along...

News from the Energy From Thorium site.

Lotto run

Just went out and got a lottery ticket.  Yes, I know it is pitiful to think that you can win one of these things.  As Flip Wilson once said, 'you can't win if you don't put a coin into the slot'.  That's true even if the slot machine is a one armed bandit.  Sometimes, you can win.

If I win the lottery, I intend to do something with it.  That's the point.  Better to have a plan that has a better than zero chance than no plan at all, which has zero chance for sure.

"I'm sick and tired of waking up sick and tired".

Update:

Better get used to it.  I didn't win, of course.


Benghazi whitewash

Checking out a little of what written about it in the New York Times through a second hand source that will remain unnamed.  There's several things about Benghazi that cannot be whitewashed, though the left will try

  1. Even if the video was a motive for the attacks, there is no reason for the US to apologize nor to explain it away.  The attacks were absolutely unacceptable.  If the militants are offended, that's their problem, not ours.  It's our right in our country.  We cannot allow militants to dictate what we do in our own country.  Besides, the video is just an excuse for an attack.  You don't allow the enemy to make excuses like that, and thus validate them in any way.
  2. The administration lied about the attacks as having been caused by that video.  Whether it was a motivation or not is irrelevant.  The video didn't cause the attacks.  The attackers caused the attacks.
  3. There was no excuse for not coming to the aid of the consulate while being attacked.  The refusal to supply aid and then to lie about it afterwards were political calculations.  No whitewash can cover up this fact.
  4. Even a response that originated in the US could have gotten there in the time period involved.  A B1 bomber could get there in six hours.  Even if that is too late, some type of retribution would have been better than nothing at all.
  5. The administration promised to get to the bottom of this.  But they haven't arrested anybody, nor has anything been done about it to my knowledge.
The left needs to whitewash the attacks and the failure of this administration to respond.  They need to avoid the political damage, so naturally they will have to continue to whitewash what happened.  It worked in 2012, it cannot be allowed to work again.


A little blog housekeeping

Finally got around to it.  The book reviews were reworked and placed at the bottom of the left sidebar.  I added a video for the Reid Reasor campaign for the Senate.

By the way, Happy New Year.

Whoop-de-doo.

Update:

I placed the Reasor video near the top.  I'm getting a bit more activist here.  Tired of the same old shit.


Gold sees biggest annual loss in 3 decades

cnbc via Free Republic

Gold's loss of luster in 2013 solidified Tuesday as the precious metal settled 28 percent lower for the year at $1,202.30 an ounce, its worst annual fall since 1981

There's a significant difference between policies in 1981 and now.  In 1981, there was a tightening in monetary policy that quenched inflation.  With receding inflationary threats, gold retreated from its highs back then.  The opposite situation prevails now, with interest rates and monetary stimulus fighting off the threat of deflation.

There was no bubble during the inflationary years of the seventies.  But there is a bubble now.  In order to fight deflation, the Fed is creating asset bubbles.  These assets appear to be more appealing now that equities are booming.  Hence, the loss of interest in gold.  But is the boom for real, or is it all just a bubble?

A bubble, I say.  So far, the policy makers can claim that there's no inflation.  But there's plenty of asset inflation.  This is misinterpreted as prosperity.  What happens when that inflationary monster does appear?  It must for it always does.  In this instance, the asset inflation may ignite inflation in the real economy.

The only way that the inflationary monster doesn't appear is if the deflationary monster cannot be tamed.  In that case, the monetary stimulus will become permanent.  The evidence shows that this may not be the case.

Thus, the Fed is on a horn of a dilemma.  It cannot give up monetary stimulus until the economy responds.  But when (or if) it responds, it will then have to hit the brakes--- for once the economy starts growing in earnest, inflationary pressures will mount.  Given all the monetary stimulus that will have preceded it, how can they be sure that the inflationary pressures won't be significant?  If they are significant, and I think they cannot fail to be, gold will once again regain its luster.

VISIONARY VOICES | Greening the New Industrial Revolution

VISIONARY VOICES | Greening the New Industrial Revolution

The writer is Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The author doesn't say how you can achieve this.  If I may be so bold, the way you do this is with cheap, abundant energy.  This would be from molten-salt reactors using the Thorium fuel cycle.  It is abundant and it is cheaper than coal.  Once you get energy cheap enough and abundant enough, you can recycle everything because it would be cheaper to recycle it than to mine it.


Chinese Tycoon Wants to Buy New York Times

Breitbart

quote ( of the New Year ):

“If I acquire the Times, the paper will only report the truth and must verify all information,” Chen told Reuters.

Picture the extraordinary irony of that.  A Chinese tycoon ( from a Communist led government ) will buy an American ( formerly known as the newspaper of record ) newspaper ( from a supposedly capitalist country ) and "only report the truth".  You can't make this shit up.  Truth is truly stranger than fiction.




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Plasma gasification explained

I was wondering if this process would work with methane gas.  The goal would be to cause the carbon to precipitate out leaving hydrogen gas.



Israel to land unmanned craft on moon

It will hitch a ride on a commercial rocket and then fly on to moon and land.  It will weigh only 330 pounds.  Most likely, the propulsion system to get there will be an ion system.  If it is successful, they will win the Lunar X prize.



Thermal decomposition of methane using a LFTR?

Last night, I posted a pdf file that described the use of concentrated solar power to strip away carbon from methane, which leaves hydrogen.

The weakness in that approach is the use of solar energy.  It isn't reliable.

Now, if you were to use a LFTR to split methane instead of water, the hydrogen should be cheaper.  That's my guess at the moment.  I don't know exactly.

Anyway, with the hydrogen, you can make ammonia, and ship it to the final distribution point.  From that point, it is put into final form as cryogenic hydrogen and sold to the end user.  Preferably, the costs should be low enough in order to make a decent profit.

Who would buy it?  I'm thinking owners of fuel cell vehicles.  Not only that, but owners of really economical fuel cell vehicles.  If you were to modify the Urbee vehicle to use hydrogen, the cost per mile could be brought down to reasonable levels even if the final price is 9 bucks per kilogram.

There's the two stumbling blocks, though.  One, to get LFTRs built. Two, to get Urbees built.

These two techs could be killer apps, but they need backing.  Here's the big chance for the climate changers to prove that they aren't just a lot of hot air.

The fuel cells already exist and can be mass produced for a reasonable price.  I've been over that several times.

There's no stumbling block here but money and government red tape.  Ooops!  Don't want to underestimate the red tape.  If you get rid of the red tape, you may get the money.

Update:

I've run some numbers and they work.  You can make money doing this, but you need to get past those stumbling blocks.


Blog: What the media isn't telling you about that ice-bound ship

American Thinker

What they aren't telling you is that the ice wasn't there a 100 years ago and that there is a video of it.  This is in contradiction to the alarmism of the climate changers.

Just to throw my own two cents in here:  the climate changers don't want to solve any problems.  They want two things: 1) to punish everybody and 2) to make money punishing everybody.


Bentsen-Quayle debate as template for GOP failure and what to do about it


The Bentsen-Quayle debate in 1988 has become something of a legend.  But it is more than that.  It is the very model of the GOP's failure to respond effectively to the Democrat's pretensions.  To summarize, what did Bentsen achieve in that debate?  He marginalized conservatism and the GOP itself.  He made it appear weak and stupid, while making Quayle appear the same.  This perceived weakness became a liability for President George Herbert Walker Bush as time wore on.  That liability wasn't unique, nor new to Quayle or the GOP, but has been part of the their problem all along.

To recap what Benstsen did specifically:

  • He insulted Quayle personally--- implied that he was inferior---"You're no Jack Kennedy".
  • Then he stared down Quayle as Quayle attempted to stand up for himself.  Quayle couldn't look him in the eye.
  • Then Bensten claimed the comparison wasn't apt because of what Quayle stood for.
The consequences were a big advantage for Democrats even if they didn't win that election.  How?
  • It reinforced a pattern of the GOP's giving in to their premises.  Quayle not only countenanced the insult, but he allowed the GOP to be insulted as well.  That had to hurt on a psychological level.
  • It reinforced and reestablished history.  Nixon was bounced even though he was a fighter---Goldwater lost in a big landslide.  The GOP learned not to challenge the left out of fear of the big loss.  
It appears to the GOP that the best way to deal with the left is to give in to them.  Fighting them only makes things worse.  The GOP ends up accepting all the left's premises and caves in again and again.

Ronald Reagan was the only GOP figure that has done well in challenging the left, but even he didn't win a complete victory.  What he did manage to win has been lost already and things are worse today than ever before.

How to fight the left?

It isn't enough to look good on TV as Reagan did.  Their has to be an intellectual foundation for the challenge and besides that, there needs to be an emotional toughness that you just don't see enough of from the GOP.  The emotional weakness could be seen with Quayle.  It isn't unique to him.

When you see Quayle failing to meet the glowering gaze of Bentsen, you can't help but walk away with the feeling that the GOP thinks of itself as inferior.  But the Democrats don't think that way of themselves.  If you don't respect yourself, why should anybody else?  Did Quayle really believe himself to be inferior to Kennedy and what Kennedy stood for?  There was an opportunity to answer Bentsen there, but Quayle missed it.

Why did Quayle miss that opportunity?  He wasn't prepared.  Quayle was warned not to make comparisons with Kennedy, but that preparation wasn't good enough.  There should have been some practice on how to recover from that eventuality if it were to occur.  The media set up Quayle for the thrashing when they asked the same question four different times.  This gave Bentsen his opening, so you cannot put all the blame on Quayle.  I mean the guy had his hands full taking on the media as well as his opponent.  He needed better preparation so as to avoid the debacle that occurred.

Could it be that the GOP just needs to do a better job of presenting itself?  It may have made a difference in that debate.  It may make a difference now.

For example, let's start with the pretensions of the glowering Bentsen.  Was Kennedy really better than Quayle?  Wasn't Kennedy a lot of hype with that Camelot BS?  Kennedy certainly had his good points, but he didn't last, did he?  As for the effect upon the country, by 1968, the country was in a mess.  That has to be some reflection upon Kennedy and the Democrats who were running the country.  Bentsen opened up a weakness that could have been an opportunity for Quayle.  Quayle, if he had been prepared for this, could have pounced.  It was an opportunity missed.  It is the type of weakness that hounds the GOP to this very day.  If the GOP cannot or will not respond to the pretensions of the left, where does that lead them but to the permanent status of a junior partner.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Thermal decomposition of methane

An experiment was done in which concentrated solar energy is used to split methane into hydrogen and carbon black (pdf).


We propose an alternate strategy using highly concentrated
sunlight as the energy source that does not result in an increase of environmental liability.  Indeed, it represents a route for utilizing current natural gas reserves that fixes carbon as well as increasing the energy content of the fuel.


This could be the cheapest way to obtain hydrogen for fuel cells.




New way of landing a spacecraft

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/130908-NASAs-Upcoming-Super-Bot-Ball-Might-Drop-Onto-Saturns-Titan

It could be attempted with a landing on the Saturn moon Titan.

If computers are as smart as people, then what?

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/science/brainlike-computers-learning-from-experience.html?ref=science&_r=0&

Like Scarlett O'Hara, they'll think about that tomorrow.

Gun rights to survive a bit longer

Dick Morris says that the arms control treaty sign by the Secretary of State John Kerry has been defunded for the next year. While this is good news for the guns rights people, should be kept in mind that the treaty is still in effect. It hasn't been ratified and it can't be ratified, but that won't stop the Democrats for wanting to implement it anyway So, they will just block the ratification of the Treaty, which will have to force of law even though it isn't ratified. So we just barely dodged that bullet. But the gun is still loaded as long as Obama is in the White House.

Red, blue states move in opposite directions in a new era of single-party control

Washington Post

In a red state such as Texas, government exists mostly to get out of the way of the private sector while holding to traditional social values. In blue states such as California and Maryland, government takes more from taxpayers, particularly the wealthy, to spend on domestic priorities while advancing a cultural agenda that reflects the country’s growing diversity. [emphasis added]

"Diversity" is a euphemism for racism.  The Democrats play the race card, which in the larger picture is the identity card, of which includes the claims of injustice due to race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic inequality.  The GOP has no answer for this except denial, which redounds to the benefits of Democrats.  As long as the Democrats can slice and dice the country into smaller and smaller subgroups, based upon some alleged grievance, they can succeed in their attempts at division and conquest.

If Democrats succeed ultimately, they will have a new problem.  They won't have the white man to kick around anymore.

Update a little bit later:

As I saw in Reid Reasor's video, you can boil down the Democrat's ideology thusly:  The White Man Is The Problem.  Well, if you get rid of the white man, you still got your problems.  African countries got rid of white men and look what good it did for them.


Late start again

Time is a bit short, so I have to make a quickie post.  By the way, that's the nature of this business.  You have to post something every day.  It gets to be a grind sometimes because there are other things to do, like sleep!

Anyway, I was thinking again about that problem of getting back to the moon, since China is likely to go there.  There doesn't appear to be that much interest in going back there here in America.  However, that may be a mistake.  Or is it?  I think it is if China means to dominate space.  If they dominate it sufficiently, we may not be able to do it even if we want to.  So, we'd better get moving.

The latest idea is to bring an asteroid to the moon and mine it for water and carbon so as to make rocket fuel.

What if there isn't any carbon dioxide on an asteroid?  What if it is just elemental carbon?

You can take elemental carbon and use hot carbon dioxide to make carbon monoxide.  Then, oxidize the carbon monoxide to make more carbon dioxide.  Once you have carbon dioxide and hydrogen, you can then make methane and lox.

Why not just make hydrogen and oxygen?  That's because hydrogen is deeply cryogenic and is a pain in the neck to store for long periods.  For this reason, Elon Musk is going to use methane lox engines in the future.

The long range goal is to go to Mars, where there's plenty of carbon dioxide and water.  You'd better learn to make fuel, or be forced to take it with you.

Carbon dioxide may not always be handy, thus the need to convert carbon back to carbon dioxide.

All of these chemical reactions are going to require energy, so you will need a nuclear reactor.

Anyway, the trip to Mars is going to take a lot of fuel.  Which means you must find a way to get fuel up cheaply by lowering launch costs, or you must use in-situ resourcing and fuel depots, or perhaps both techniques.  If none of this is done, you must use heavy lift vehicles to bring along all that will be needed.

Heavy lift is the brute force way of doing things, but even brute force has its limits.  You can make these rockets just so big.  Big rockets cost big money.

One of the proposed Mars missions requires seven heavy lift launches.  If you don't use nuclear thermal engines, it would require up to fifteen.  No wonder Constellation got canceled.  People may shrink in horror at such a proposition.

It would seem that in-situ resourcing and reusable rockets are the way to go.  But if China pushes things, we may be tempted to go back to the old, big, dumb rockets.  That's would be a mistake.

One way or another, we are going to have to meet the challenge that China is offering.  Or forfeit the position of leadership in space.  Something needs to be decided and soon.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

I know how this guy must feel

It's kinda like a broken record around here.  For three years, I've pounded away at the keyboard and tried to build up an audience here.  But the blog remains rather obscure.  I've tried all kinds of ways to promote it too.  It's really tough.

I can't put my finger on why it is so tough.  Maybe you have to kiss the ring of somebody powerful who will pull the strings you need in order to move up.

Whatever the reason, it is a tough slog.  So, what happens when a guy runs for Senate against an incumbent that most people have some sort of problem with, but don't know quite what to do about it.  I'm referring to Senator Cornyn of Texas.  He's got a big warchest and a big name.  How can anybody unknown defeat this guy?

I was reminded how soon the primary is here in Texas when I read this Free Republic article.  It was written by Steve Stockman, one of Cornyn's opponents.  He has several opponents, but Stockman may well be the best known.  Somebody in the comment section gave a list of all the candidates and links to each of their sites.  So, I went over there and started doing a bit of research.

Realistically, it going to be Stockman v. Cornyn, and Cornyn has the inside track.  But I've made up my mind that I'm not going to vote for Cornyn like some trained monkey.

I came across somebody who impresses me.  But he has no name.  He is a Tea Party guy.  His name is Reid Reasor.  Based on what "ve seen so far, I think I may vote for him in the primary.  Trouble is, nobody is watching his videos.  You see, no big name, no big bucks, nobody knows who you are, and you are nowhere.  I know exactly how that feels.

Hopefully, there will be enough votes against Cornyn to force a runoff.  If that happens, I hope it is somebody we can be proud of to represent us in the Senate.  Cornyn has to go.








If You Think Being Ruled by Obama Is Bad, Try Being Ruled by the Chinese

Breitbart via Free Republic

Excellent article.  Couldn't agree more.  But it is a voice crying in the wildnerness.  This country is asleep and maybe it isn't going to wake up at all.


Feds Say Just One Car Out of 100 Will Be Electric in 2040

wired via Instapundit

Didn't I cover this before?  I did! I did! ( in my tweety bird imitation ).

Could it be that the tech needed to make this work already exists?  I think that it is possible, maybe even likely.  If the government says this tech won't exist, it must certainly be because the government doesn't want it to exist.

I'd like to put that to the test, but I need money.  You can't get financing for something like this, so it may take my winning the lottery in order to get the cash.  I played it last night, but it didn't work as usual.


Eric Davis on Warp-Drives and FTL

From the description section of the youtube page:

Dr. Eric Davis is leveraging the emerging models of String and Brane Theory for applied-physics work in Faster-Than-Light Travel, Antigravity, and extracting Zero-Point Energy. Davis begins his first presentation by tackling the subject of travel through traversable wormholes in a paper entitled "Experimental Concepts for Generating Negative Energy in the Laboratory" with co-author Hal Puthoff, which offers insight into the negative-energy density required to create wormholes large enough to allow passage for communications-signals, human beings, and spacecraft. His second presentation at the conference focused on the subject of experimentally testing a method for extracting Zero-Point Energy by using a Casimir plate-system to extract electrical energy from the ground-potential states of hydrogen atoms, entitled "Studying the Quantum Vacuum Field". Davis final presentation was entitled, "The Alcubierre Warp Drive in Higher Dimensional Spacetime", in which he partnered with NASA's Harold White to consider the concept of FTL Warp-Drives in a Brane-Theory model of physics. Conceptually, he argues that when the Alcubierre drive is operational it creates an FTL manifold around itself by shifting into higher-dimensional spacetime, offering an interesting array of future propulsion possibilities.



Question: Can you follow this description? To me, it's like reading a foreign language in which you can recognize the words, but not really get the full meaning because you lack familiarity.

Here's the vid: