Saturday, February 15, 2014

GOP always loses these kind of fights

There's a reason.  They accept the premises of their adversary.  The kind of fight I'm referring to is the debt battle, which was discussed in a recent Ace of Spades post.  Consider when Ronald Reagan was President.  Back then, the Senate and the Presidency was controlled by the GOP, and the House was controlled by the Democrats.  This is the reverse of the situation today.

You'd think Reagan won all those fights now wouldn't you?  But he didn't.  He compromised because "he had to".  Yet, Obama doesn't think he has to, and his supposed opponents, the GOP, agree when they let Obama have whatever he wants.  When Obama won't compromise, that's a victory for the Democrats.  Reagan did compromise, which is also a victory for the Democrats.  Then there should be no surprise that the march is continually towards the left when you declare unilateral disarmament before you start your war.

The so-called right is so brainwashed that they fight on the terms that their opponents set for them.  They may not even know that they are doing it.  Their acceptance of the premises of the left is so deeply rooted that they can't step outside of it and see what they are doing.

The offending quote on Ace

Charles is correct that defeating the debt ceiling hike was a losing game for the GOP. That’s why I opposed pretending to use it last fall. --- Drew M.

This is wrong as I have noted for these reasons:

  1. They are assuming that they are going to lose the battle even before they start. 
  2. They are basing an electoral strategy of winning back the Senate based upon ObamaCare, when there's reason to believe that it won't be the savior of the GOP.
  3. The claim that there is no alternative but to cave in to the Democrats because of the threat of a default is also wrong because they could demonstrate that this is not true either.  Default is a weapon that the Democrats are using.  Why should the GOP concede that this is a weapon that only the Democrats can use?  Why must it inevitably lead to conclusion that the GOP can't fight this?
It's all in their heads.  They can't win because they are addicted to losing, I suppose.  Whatever they do, it must always fail.  So why bother trying?  When it does fail, they'll just blame the low information voters.

Why relying on the ObamaCare rollout troubles is a political mistake

Something I recall seeing somewhere, but didn't make a note of it.  Anyway, ObamaCare meets with low approval ratings overall, but individual items included on the bill are popular.  Now it seems that this is a bit of a contradiction, wouldn't you say?  It may explain why the issue didn't work for Romney, and why relying upon it solely right now is a mistake.

The point should be whether or not you are opposed to it on principle, or whether or not you just interested in the politics of the moment.  For these folks, all that matters is right now.  If their polls suffer right now, they feel this is something that they cannot bear.  Hence, the excuse for inaction in the here and now, because they may feel a bit of angst when the polls start to suffer a bit because of their principled stand.

Even that may not explain completely their lack of meaningful action.  I'm referring to those Senators who refused to back the filibuster of the debt bill just recently.  In particular, Senator Cornyn of Texas who faces a primary challenge in early March.  Early voting begins next week.

For Cornyn and his buddies, he'd rather face the wrath of his Tea Party opponents now, than have to face the wrath of the general electorate in November.  Cornyn probably figures people will forget about this by November.  Also,  that no opposition can be mounted in time to keep him from winning the nomination outright in just a few weeks.

The urgency is there for his opposition.  The time is now.  Otherwise, this fragile approach may be the one that gets the nod only to disappoint in November.  Cornyn and his buddies need to get a strong message right now because right now is all that his opposition has got.  Right now is all Cornyn has too.  If he and his buddies skate on this, they'll skate all the way though November.  The RINOS will skate, and so will the Democrats most likely.

The suddenness of collapse should be no surprise

Via Instapundit, I found this interesting essay by Richard Fernandez, formerly of the Belmont Club.

What it says, basically, that societal decay is like boil-a-frog.  It creeps up on you, and before you know it, you're cooked.

Brazil is becoming Argentina, Argentina is becoming Venezuela, and Venezuela is becoming Zimbabwe.”---James Eccleton

 What are we becoming?  Maybe the European Union, but that faces the Atlantic, which is what faces those countries in the above quote.  To contrast that with the US and the Pacific facing countries in Latin America, which embrace free trade.

Or maybe right wing v. left wing politics.  Or, if you follow what Reagan said---freedom v. tyranny.  Freedom means telling the truth, or the ability to tell the truth and not have the government punish you for it.  Then the frog might understand that he is being boiled, and will have the chance to jump out.

Maybe Limbaugh can watch this clip and learn something

Limbaugh says he doesn't know what to do.  Should he talk to the Godfather?

Let's discuss economics

Especially since it is a topic nobody's interested in.  I'm referring to the Townhall article by Larry Kudlow titled "Janet Yellen's Problem".  It seemed more interesting to me than just about anything else this morning, but nobody else is interested.  Just one comment on Free Republic, and just one click on the reaction bar at the bottom of the Townhall article as "smart".

How do you react to the lack of interest?  Just that I don't run with crowds, the crowds are usually wrong, especially about economics.  This is no exception.

The thrust of Kudlow's argument is that the administration doesn't have a growth policy in effect.  The administration is depending totally upon government spending and monetary stimulus in order to grow the economy, which isn't going to work, and hasn't worked, and has never worked in history.  Yet, these leftists have conned millions into thinking that it will work this time.

Once again, I explain my usage of the term "left".  It is the term that the left applies to themselves when they aren't trying to fool everybody.  Thus, conservatives should never refer to themselves as being "right", as they are following the premises of the left.  That is to say, the debate should be framed as Ronald Reagan framed it---freedom v. tyranny.  Now, if Rush Limbaugh and those like him on the so-called "right" would just stop referring to themselves as being on the so-called "right", he may get a clue about what to do about Obama.  Ah yes.  Rush said he didn't know what to do about Obama.  Rush can't be a leader if he admits that he doesn't know what to do.  But I digress.

This chart, on Zero Hedge, caught my eye this morning.  What does it say?  It may help to annotate it with historical guideposts, so I tried that.  It may give us a clue about what is happening right now.
I circled some dates I see as significant
1968:  GDP per capita in terms of gold reached its all-time peak.
1971:  Nixon takes US off the gold standard.  Molten-salt reactor technology shelved and forgotten about.
1980:  Volker conquers inflation with very high interest rates, Reagan gets elected.  Reagan ends price controls on energy production.
1992:  Bush defeated, Clinton assumes Presidency.  Dot com  boom shortly follows. ( Growth driver of world wide web begins with invention of web browser in 1993 or so. )
2007:  Beginning of Great Recession.  ( Dot com boom long ago gone bust, housing bubble collapses ).

Note that the velocity of money ( in the black dashed trend line ) is at an all-time low.  Also, the velocity of money was much greater than the GDP rate of growth in the nineties during the dot com boom.  Note also that the green GDP trend line and the black dashed velocity of money growth line crossed during the Great Recession and now are BOTH heading downward.  That's a unique situation that hasn't occurred in the last 50 years of this chart.

What does this mean?  Since 1968, this country has adopted the leftist attitude of limited growth.  It was interrupted in the Reagan years, but never did end completely.  This is reflected in slower growth rates which is reflected in the chart as lower velocity of money and lower GDP growth rates.  As Kudlow pointed out, there's a limited growth policy in this administration.  It is entirely consistent with the leftist viewpoint.  The left has no hope if the economy is growing.  Only when the economy stagnates do they have the hope of pushing their class warfare ideology.

The cure for leftism is a growth policy.  The trick is how do you do that?  It won't come from just mere tax cuts.  That also invites the left wing attack of favoring the rich.  You need growth drivers, like the world wide web of the nineties.  Clinton got away with raising taxes because of the world wide web.  Growth drivers may mean more in terms of economic growth than cutting tax rates.

May I suggest a couple things?  Actually, I already have made it many times on this blog.  Let's grow the energy sector with new innovations, and let's conquer space.

But that sort of thing isn't what attracts people's interest.  The political combat does.  Limbaugh offers that and gets the audience.  I try to suggest solutions and nobody's interested.  Nuff said.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Calm Before The Storm

Something is going to happen.  Looking around at all the news, it is hard to see how things can continue like this for much longer.

  • Europe is considering confiscating private savings.  That banking problem hasn't gone away.
  • Japan may be slipping into nationalism.
  • Venezuela and Argentina fall deeper into leftist pathology.
  • Washington pretends that it is influencing Iran about its nuke intentions, but Iran thumbs its nose at Washington.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is getting worried.  Pakistan has offered them nuclear technology.
  • Russia is getting a new foothold in Egypt.  The last time this happened, Egypt attacked Israel.
  • Obama acts like a King, and his followers applaud.
  • Instead of confronting Obama, the GOP writes him a blank check.
  • The Federal Reserve has pumped up the stock market, but there's nowhere to go now without going into a frenzy of speculation.  How can it go up any further?  But the Fed won't let it go down, so money will continue to be easy for the near future.
  • Things are looking like the 70's all over again.  Solar farm fries birds.  We've seen this before.  All of this has been tried before.  Windmills, solar farms.  It doesn't work.  Nationalism and potential war overseas.  It doesn't work.  Resort to monetary debasement.  Doesn't work.
People seem desperate and are flailing around trying stuff that doesn't work and won't work this time either.

The last time it looked like this, Ronald Reagan became President.  There may not be a White Knight this time.  Buckle yourself in, as this may get to be a hairy ride.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Articles: Memo to Conservatives: Republicans Aren't Your Friends

Articles: Memo to Conservatives: Republicans Aren't Your Friends

No kidding.  I would have never guessed.  /sarc

Rush Limbaugh on Levin's call for an Article V convention

A constitutional convention to get the government back into control.

Phoney excuses

Why the default claim is false. If Obama can make changes to Obamacare  on his own authority, then why can 't he make sure that the debt is paid as it should be in order to avoid default? This president is taking a lot of authority for what he does, but then he would have to reverse himself to say that he doesn't have the authority to pay what has to be paid in order to avoid default. Therefore, there can be no default unless Obama wanted one.

Politics Schmolitics

What is politics schmolitics? A good example would be what Sen John Cornyn just did with the cloture vote on the debt bill.

Also, this is why Ann Barnhardt is wrong

She says the Republic is already dead.

No.  It isn't dead until people KNOW what the truth is, and refuse to do anything about it.  When that happens, then it is truly dead.

Cornyn lied about his vote on the debt deal.  If he has to lie, then he must understand that the truth does not favor him.  The presence of lies indicates the importance of truth.  This means that people DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH.

When Barnhardt refuses to address this, she is aiding the lie.  Anybody who isn't screaming from the housetops and KNOWS about this, is aiding the lie to survive.

Evidently she KNOWS or she wouldn't have declared the Republic dead.  But if she doesn't KNOW, then she is WRONG by definition.  The Republic is not dead yet.

Polls say constantly that people worry about debt

If you vote for McConnell and Cornyn, you will no longer be able to say that.  When you have the opportunity to do something, then you must do it.  Otherwise, stop bitching.

Look, people have to pay attention.  When you get guys like that who continually cast meaningless votes like they did, after having failed to do something when it counted, you have to send them packing.  They have betrayed what they claim that they stand for.

If those on the GOP side have to have cloture explained to them, they cannot bitch about LIVs. either.  That's the vote that counted, and Cornyn & Co.  failed to come through on that vote.

Incidentally, their excuse is a possible default.  That's another lie.  There won't be a default unless the Democrats want one.  If you need to have that explained to you, then you are a LIV and stop bitching about LIVs.

This is why we have our problems

Truth cannot be found.  If it is spoken, it is ignored.  Just like this blog.

The biggest liars are the ones who complain about the lies of others.

If you are going to complain about Low Information Voters, then how do you explain what is happening with McConnell, Cornyn, and Boehner?  They are the leaders and they are lying their asses off.  How do you have any credibility about truth when you tolerate this?  If you won't hold them responsible for their lies, then you have no credibility yourselves.

Check out the so-called conservative blogs and let's see how many are willing to make these guys pay for what they just did.  I can pretty much guarantee you that they will be back on the team and cheering on these guys because "they are on our side".


GOP's electoral prospects may be fading

The claims that the GOP will take the Senate may be exaggerated.  If you can't win Kentucky, how do you win the rest of the Senate races you have to win?

Anyway, this article here says McConnell of Kentucky is behind in the polls to the Democrat.  But McConnell is said to be ahead of Bevin, who is challenging him in the primary.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, has been running even or ahead of him in polls, but he's still got a hefty lead over Republican challenger Matt Bevin---Atlantic

How can this be?  The GOP has to win a net 6 seats to get control back, but that may be slipping away.  The debt vote shows how things are slipping.  Just two years ago, the GOP was willing to stake at least a little in getting the debt under control.  Now they are writing blank checks.  How can Bevin be behind after this fiasco?

The filibuster back in October is blamed for this in some quarters.  Really???

Just as I suspected, the troubled ObamaCare rollout isn't going to be the political bonanza claimed that it would be.  Enough people are going to sign up so that it may just become a problem for the GOP politically.  Yet the GOP leadership is basing their whole electoral strategy upon this.

That's what's wrong with the Cornyn vote.  He claims to be against the debt increase, but he paves the way for it just the same.  Phoney baloney political posturing.  What good does it do to win when you do nothing with the office?

The Texas primary is next month, but is anybody paying attention?  The mudslinging from the Cornyn campaign is mentioned in the article, but is that important compared to this?  Both these guys, Cornyn and McConnell are at the top of the GOP leadership in the Senate.  How do they get to be heavy favorites in their races after this nonsense?  What are people thinking?


You cannot blame Low Information Voters for voting for Obama when your own won't look at stuff like this.  Whoever says LIVs are responsible and doesn't look at this is kidding themselves and their audience.  If you can't or won't see that you are being played by the likes of McConnell and Cornyn, how can you have any credibility about so-called LIVs?  Physician, heal thyself.

And what about truth?  There are those who complain about not getting the truth in the Obama interview with O'Reilly.  Yeah?  How about getting some truth from the leadership of the GOP?  If you can't get the truth out of them, how in the world are you ever going to get the truth out of Obama?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cruz's demand ensnares GOP leaders on debt vote |

Cruz's demand ensnares GOP leaders on debt vote |

Cornball Cornyn voted to end 60 vote rule and then voted against the bill.  Same old schtick from Cornball.  It was a cosmetic vote that is intended to fool people.   Cornball won't do anything when something needs to be done.

Is the GOP Already Dead?

American Thinker

The article exhorts the GOP to articulate truth, for the truth always has a chance.

They just need to get a pair.

John Boehner, Eunuch

American Thinker

The Boner is a Eunuch.  heh.

He's Obama's babe.  His backside is so big that Evel Knievel can do wheelies in it.

Claim of greater than breakeven

But not close to a commercial device.

Not only stupid party, but wimpy party

Democrats willing to bite the bullet. Republicans probably willing to take the bullet in the brain rather than actually do anything. Going all way back to 1960s, LBJ cited to sacrifice the south in favor of civil rights legislation. Assuming I got my history right. I think there are willing to do the same kind of things today. Take Obamacare for example. I think the Democrats knew that Obamacare would be a pain in the neck for the first few years of its existence. But in the long run they see this as a boon to their party. In other words in at least two historical examples Democrats were willing to take risks do their electoral futures in order to prevail in the long run. The GOP in contrast refuses to even to take the slightest risk that any perceived opposition could cost them votes. It is a weakness that could be fatal to the long term interests of the party.

Spin, spin, spin

The political world is spinning like crazy.  And the politicians in DC think that it spins around them.

The debt limit spin needs to be dissected like a frog in a lab in order to see what's going on in there.  Let's get beyond the spin, shall we?

The Democrats want to blame the poor economy on GOP obstruction.  They want to blame everybody and everything else for the failure of their program.  So, the weak economy is the fault of the GOP's obstruction on the debt issue in 2011.  Obama got "burned" for negotiating with the GOP, so the lesson learned was not to negotiate at all.

The crucial point about this outcome, should it happen, is that it will be the direct result of the decision by Dems — in the last two debt limit fights — to refuse to negotiate with Republicans. That was a major course correction on Obama’s part in which he learned in office from failure. After getting badly burned in the 2011 debt limit showdown — which left us saddled with the austerity that continues to hold back the recovery---Greg Sargent

The truth is that the GOP got little in exchange for their obstruction--neither in 2011 nor in 2013.  They only thing the GOP got was sequestration, and they just gave that up too.  Bascially, Obama is getting what he wants.  Hard to see how it can be the GOP's fault for anything.  They aren't even making much of a dent in spending at all.

The GOP establishment is rolling the dice.  They expect the recovery to still be weak and ObamaCare to be an issue come the fall elections.  They don't want the Democratic rhetoric to gain any traction.  They don't want to be blamed for the failure of this regime any more than what they are going to get blamed for anyway.


Also, there would not have been any default unless the Democrats wanted one.   They want to blame the GOP for that if it were to happen, just like they want to blame the GOP for the shutdown.  The Dems are just as much to blame for the shutdown as the GOP.  It takes two to fight.

The Dems shut down the government in their budget battles with Reagan.  It wasn't such a bad thing back then.  The thing to know about the Democrats is that they would default if it came to that.  The GOP won't and they just proved it again.  Reagan negotiated, Obama didn't.

The Dems are more ruthless than the GOP, there's no question about it.

Looks like the debt limit increase is being spun as a Tea Party surrender

At least based upon this article.  It is a liberal point of view, doubtless.

How many in the GOP voted for this?  Was it 28?  Looks like most of the GOP caucus didn't want this.

The real pattern here is that the soft patch in the party, the "squishes" caved in again.  Instead of attributing this turn of events to them as it should be, the liberals would have everyone believe that the Tea Partiers were the ones that caved.

The shutdown demonstrated that the Tea Partiers are, for the most part, delusional rather than irrational: They can be forced to reconsider a particular tactic if you persuade them it’s politically catastrophic.--- Noam Schieber

The Establishment wing of the GOP wants to play with the ObamaCare bad rollout meme.  They seem to believe that they can ride this to victory in the fall.  It's the typical thing amongst them.  They are mostly interested in the politics of a thing instead of the practical matter of governance.  Instead of repealing the statute, as they may have been able to do if they hung together during the shutdown, they want to use the issue instead.  The truth of the matter is that the debt is out of control, just as the rest of Washington is out of control.  So, they are following a theory that general disenchantment with ObamaCare and the lackluster economy will reap big dividends at the polls.  They are fearful of doing anything that may upset what they believe is a shoo-in race to victory in the fall.  They are playing it safe, just as Romney did.  They may be wrong.  In fact, they are probably wrong.

What this sets up is a confrontation within the GOP.  It's between the Establishment and the Tea Party.  We'll see how it goes in the primaries.  If the Establishment holds on for another election cycle, and the election goes badly again, the Tea Partiers are going to have a field day by 2016.  There will be hell to pay.

Romney and the Establishment are the bean baggers here.  Not the Tea Party.

What NASA thinks it takes to go to Mars

Consulting the tables I constructed with respect to masses that can be delivered based upon delta v and isp, and given that it will take up to 10 launches that can place 290k lbs per launch into LEO, my calculations show that NASA wants to put at 700k lbs into LMO.  Of that amount, perhaps all of that will have to land on the surface.  Hard to say what good leaving anything in orbit will do.

If I am not mistaken, 700k lbs is more than the mass of the entire ISS.  What in the world is the need for such a large amount of mass?  Are all of the astronauts to get their own Mercedes Benz and luxury suites on the surface of Mars?  It just seems like a helluva lot to me.  Even if you use a completely powered landing and no aerobraking, that will still land 388k lbs on the surface.  Or they can land half, and use the other half to get back.  That would leave 350k in orbit, and land the rest.  That would mean at least 160k lbs on the surface.  They could probably do better than that with aerobraking.

To get back would only require getting to orbit and then docking with the mass that is still in orbit that will take you home.  Only about 20k fuel would be needed to orbit a 20k lb return craft.  That leaves 120k for surface activities.  True, they'll have to stay on the surface for a year, but really, is this necessary?  

Zubrin ideas don't call for that much mass.

They will need a way to get back.  Either they make their own fuel on the surface of Mars, or carry it all with them.  Maybe carrying along the fuel is what they have in mind.  Maybe they think that is less risk.  But the 350k still in orbit will certainly be enough to get home.   You could ditch that last return to orbit craft once you are back in Mars orbit.  Using liquid hydrogen rockets, you'd still be able to get back to Earth's orbit and leave nearly 100k in mass in Earth's orbit before reentry.  Again, is this necessary?

There may be some details I'm missing somewhere.  If I'm missing it, so is Zubrin.  Zubrin's ideas didn't call for 10 big rocket launches.

What's the deal here?  Are they putting so much safety into it that they are going to minimize the risk to the point where everything has a backup and there may even be backups to backups.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

To asteroid, not to asteroid, that is the question

I've been back and forth on this question, hence the Hamlet reference.  Okay, so now it is starting to look good.  At first, I thought it bad, then I thought it good, then bad again.  Now good again.

What I like about it now?

Let's say you can find an asteroid that masses at 500k pounds.  If it is 1/3 water by mass, that's about 170 k pounds of water that can be mined from it.  Since water is 1/9 th hydrogen by mass, the water can then be mined further for 18519 lbs of water.  Assuming that it has plenty of carbon, you can make 74074 lbs of methane.  Now with the oxygen obtained from the water, and some from Loxleo from Earth, you can make
370370 lbs of fuel.  Since you will require about 50% fuel to go to Deimos using a methane lox engine means that you can carry along 370k lbs of mass to Mars.

Would that be enough for a mission?  Maybe not, if it takes a million per astronaut.  But maybe it wouldn't if you play your cards right.  But if there's no way around that problem, this won't be enough.

Anyway, the way they figure that is by starting from Earth.  From Earth, you have to overcome a lot and that is where the majority of your fuel use will occur.  The space shuttle used 3.8 million pounds of fuel just to get to orbit.  Over half a million pounds for each of the 7 astronauts.

The main idea is to use atmospheric oxygen from the edge of space plus the asteroidal mass for reaction mass so that less will be lifted off the surface of the Earth.

If you still use a half million to get the astronauts into low earth orbit, then the you will be a little short using the above method.  Unless some way is found to reduce the amount of mass needed, you are going to need more asteroids.

Hmm.  Maybe its running bad again.

Market action 2/11/14

Just a short post to acknowledge that my prediction that a market top had been reached recently is going to be torched.  It looks like the market will make a new high, but how much farther up from there, who knows.

The market does what it does.  I tried predicting it before, but it often doesn't cooperate.  Looks like another one of those times.

Is Tesla really worth more than KIA?

This is the kind of thing you saw during the dot com bubble.

Staying the course on Fed policy

Better than even chance taper continues.

Yellen sounds dovish tone

Not much mentioned about taper.

Markets expect dovish stance on taper

Yellen goes to Congress for semi annual testimony.

It would seem to yours truly that a slow down in the taper is unwarranted.

Methane/lox engine to gather hydrogen from Moon for Mars trip

quick and dirty speculative post about how to get to Mars with the least amount of help from Earth:

What about that idea of using a methane/lox engine to shuttle an empty tank from L2 down the surface, and bring back hydrogen for an NTR engine?

For every 100k pounds of wet mass to Mars, you need about 20k pounds of hydrogen for the trip.  The goal is to get that 20k pounds from the Moon using Methane delivered from the Earth.  Eventually, you'll be making methane, and you won't even need fuel from Earth at all.

For every 20k pounds of cargo from the surface of the moon, you need 44% of the wet mass to get it to EML-2 when using a methane lox engine.

Lets say the hydrogen tank weighs 10k pounds.  That's 30k that has to go the surface.  Add another 10k for the engine and return oxygen and methane.  ( that might be wrong )  So, you need probably around 30k for the fuel to get to the surface.  You are bringing back 50k, so you need about 50k fuel from the surface.  Eighty percent of that is oxygen from the moon.  So, that leaves 10k for the methane.  The numbers will have to be adjusted because that is too much fuel being used.

Or use a smaller tank and more trips.

Let's say 4 trips to get all of our hydrogen.  That's 5k on each trip.  Let's say the tank weighs 3k.  That's 8k that has to go back up.  Double that for the methane/lox engines and such.  That's 16 k for the trip up, so you need 16 k ( or less since it is 44%)  fuel for the trip up.  An empty tank releases 5k for the trip down.  The trip up requires 3.2k of methane, leaving some balance for the trip down.  The trip down need 11k for fuel, of which 2.2k is methane.  So, you are using about 5.4k lbs of methane to deliver 5k pounds of hydrogen.  But the 5k pounds of hydrogen in the NTR goes twice as much in delta v, so its like doubling your propulsion capacity.

I'm guessing that it is worth doing.

Loxleo could supply oxygen for the trip down, a lunar base could supply oxygen and hydrogen for the trip back up with the hydrogen for the trip to Mars.

Tacking Toward the Moon

spudislunarresources blog

Spudis says it better than I can, so I'll quote him
 We know that a Mars mission staged entirely from Earth would require an enormous amount of mass to be launched; using a super heavy lift vehicle (such as the Ares V of the cancelled Constellation project), it would require between six and twelve launches to mount a single human Mars mission. Getting “millions” of colonists to the Red Planet on this basis would be cumbersome, to say the least.---Paul Spudis

But getting only part of the propellant you need, like oxygen from the Earth's upper atmosphere, can be cheaper than getting it all from the Moon.  It costs fuel to deliver mass, so the less mass you have to deliver, the less fuel that it would take.  Let's say you get your hydrogen from the Moon, and your oxygen from the Earth.  Then, as a practical matter, it takes nothing from the Earth to get fuel to a Gateway at EML-2.   If you bring back carbon from Mars, you can make methane, and that will work with Musk's engines.  Or you could just mine the hydrogen from the Moon for a NTR rocket at EML-2, and cut your fuel budget even further.    What this means in terms of significance, is that much more mass can be devoted to the mission than for fuel.

But the main point should be well-taken that to stage from Earth is a "cumbersome" project "to say the least".

Where O'Reilly goofed in Obama Interview

Conservatives need to firm up their jaw.  All you have to do in order to see the problem is to watch the Quayle-Bentsen debate in 1988.  It's a long term problem and it doesn't seem to go away.  The guy on the left says something, and the guy on the so-called right is like a deer in the headlights---struck dumb.

It continued with the O'Reilly interview, when Obama claimed that there wasn't a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS.  If so, why does Lois Lerner take the Fifth?  Instead of asking this question, O'Reilly lets it slide.  Thus he enables the lie to take hold, and gives it legitimacy.  This is the kind of thing that Solzhenitsyn warned about.  Angelo Codevilla, in his latest piece, Live Not by Lies, quotes him on this crucial point:
“the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.” The lies that hold up corrupt regimes, he noted, like infections, “can exist only in a living organism.” Hence whoever will live in freedom “will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.”---Live Not by Lies
 There is an infection all right.  If you check out Barnhardt again, you see a career military man give it all up because he saw something that wasn't right.  He says that all too many people think that whatever the government does is legal.

I had a similar thought recently to what that military man said in that piece.  People are confusing the office holder with the office.  The Constitution is sovereign, not the office holders who hold the office that the Constitution and the laws that were created under it made possible.  By criticizing office holders, we are not committing treason.  But rather, the office holders are the ones committing treason by failing to honor the oath by which made their office possible.  "The King can do no wrong" is worthy only of a King, of which the Constitution expressly forbids.  All men are subject to the law in a Republic.  "No man is above the law" we were told during the Watergate Crisis.  Somehow, that only applies to Republicans.

Asked what kind of government they created at the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin replied "A republic, if you can keep it."  Perhaps this is how republics are lost.


Gingrich made the same kind of mistake in his debate for the GOP against Romney.  Romney just flat out lied when he said that a moon base would cost a trillion dollars.  I pointed that out, and besides me, Spudis had an estimate from NASA at Marshall that a lunar refueling station would cost less than a $100 billion.

It's not a partisan thing necessarily. It's a preparation thing.  If Gingrich had been better prepared, he could have knocked down what Romney said.  Instead, Romney made Gingrich look foolish.  Gingrich lost the debate, but we all lose when a lie is allowed to become the established wisdom.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Loxleo may make more sense than a lunar base mining oxygen

The reason is that for a Loxleo device, the oxygen is already in space.  This allows a tug with high ISP ion engine to deliver it to the Lagrange point for a reasonable cost in propellant.  You could launch from the moon's surface, but I suspect that the construction job would be more difficult and expensive than a construction site in LEO.

With a Loxleo device, you could do away with 80% of the mass that has to be lifted from the Earth's surface.  The remaining 20% would be methane.  Both will travel together on the tug to EML-2 gateway for the purpose of providing reaction mass for eventual trip to the Mars system.  For every 100k lbs of fuel located there at the gateway, and used from the gateway, a little more than half that in mass can be powered to the Mars system.  Therefore, to deliver 50k to Mars, you'd only need to launch 20k in mass, plus the mass the tug used in getting the fuel there.  The tug shouldn't use much since it is a high ISP engine.  ( about 5% of the mass)

If you save the mass launched from the ground, this means fewer launches in total.

Now, if you tried locating it on the Moon's surface, you'd have to build a device that can get the oxygen to the Lagrange point from the surface.  To land there using a spacecraft will defeat the entire purpose.  You use up as much fuel to get to the surface as you could bring back from the surface.  Therefore, you must build something like a gas gun or a mass driver on the lunar surface.  This may prove to be difficult and expensive.  Easier to just get the gas from the upper atmosphere of the Earth and transporting it there with a high efficiency ion engine.

NASA is now accepting applications from companies that want to mine the moon

It's kinda dumb to look for rare earths there when there are plenty down here.  What they should be doing is mining for oxygen.  Would that be included?  The article doesn't say.

Initial proposals are due tomorrow for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program (CATALYST). One or more private companies will win a contract to build prospecting robots, the first step toward mining the moon.

The contract will be a "no funds exchanged" Space Agreement Act, which means the government will not be directly funding the effort, but will receive NASA support.---
Adrianne Jefferies

From what I read, it doesn't look significant at all.

Market action today


The Dow put in a doji pattern, which in Japanese candlestick analysis, implies indecision.  So, the market doesn't know which way it wants to go.  If it goes lower, that could be bad news for bulls.  Higher, could mean trouble for bears.

Oil hit a hundred a barrel.  Gold was up slightly.

My prediction of a significant market decline hasn't been snuffed yet, nor proven yet.  Still waiting.  The employment numbers were actually fairly decent, relatively speaking.  I didn't think a recession was in the wings.  Inflation?  Officially no, but unofficially, the inflation rate is probably a lot higher than what is being reported.  At some point, the smoke and mirrors won't be able to hide the truth, especially if inflation picks up.  That would be good for gold, bad for interest rates ( bonds ).

Go to Mars on a Bigelow spacehab

Way speculative post here, so be forewarned.  This is a quickie post and I don't have access to my spreadsheet at the moment.

Anyway, it'll be on a BA-2100 to be exact.

Here's how to do it.  Launch the space hab with a big ass rocket like the fully tricked out SLS.  Or you could use a SpaceX big ass rocket Musk is talking about that could lift 220k lbs or more into orbit.  Going along for the ride will be a VASIMR propulsion system.  These two will dock and then the VASIMR will tow the sucker on out to the EML-2 Lagrange point.  A second big ass rocket will do the same trick, but this time with a propulsion system for the trip to Mars, with some supplies.  The propulsion system would be like the SIVB of the Apollo days in terms of weight and so forth.  You could add a system that will make fuel on Mars with its lander. The third launch will take a crew directly to EML-2 where they will rendezvous, and then take off for Deimos.  The third launch could also be a big ass rocket that would carry everything the first two didn't.

All of this would work better with a NTR, but even a Methane/Lox system might work.  With an NTR, you may even put mining equipment on Deimos in advance of a trip back home.  Half the crew would be working up on Deimos setting up the mining equipment.  The other half would be on the surface of Mars setting up mining equipment for the trip back to Deimos and the way home.

The BA 2100 will hold up to 16 crewmembers.  You could pare that down, if that's too many.

Everything is horsefeathers

Or so it seems sometimes.  As I wrote before, I like to hold donkey barbeques.  So the latest one is for Ann Barnhardt.

Lots of the time, I agree with what she writes.  But the latest is just a full barreled assault against anybody and everybody about everything.  We are all going to hell and we all deserve it, she seems to say.

Well, I say phooey.  Horsefeathers.  She likes to talk religion, I see.

One reason I got turned off on religion was because of my experience in a church when I was very young.  It was a real fire and brimstone type sermon from a preacher that maybe a little kid shouldn't be hearing.  Perhaps someone old enough to know the ways of the world would relate to it, but not a little kid. I turned atheist, or so I thought.  Whatever.  I didn't trust religion from that point on.  That's what she reminded me of when I read her piece.

Later on in my life, I had a change of heart.  But all of that takes time.  So it is with most people I suspect.  Most people are just doing what I was doing.  Living their lives according to their own interests, experiences, and beliefs.  But down deeper, people are trustful that somebody is in charge and is taking care of matters.  That's what it is to be a mere sheepster.

But what if nobody really is taking care of matters?

The vast majority of people are just sheep in that way.  The sheep are at the mercy of the wolves.  Perhaps there are some who will put themselves between the wolves and the sheep.  If there are any to blame, we don't have enough of those.  There are those who could step forward, but won't.  If we are to fail as a civilization, it is because we don't have enough of those who will.  Sheep won't be- nor can't be- anything but sheep.  To blame sheep for their slaughter is unjust.  It is also a cop-out for those who might make a difference, but won't.

I get a lot of that kind of cop-out crap from so-called right wing sites.  They all want to blame the sheep.  The low information voters.  But the real problem is that none of them want to step up to the plate and actually do something themselves.

As for the Roman Empire, which she mentions, it appears to have been pretty much the same thing I write here.  Nobody would do anything, and those who tried were destroyed.  In the end, there wasn't enough who cared enough to make a difference.  Most of the people of that time who could have done something probably did nothing, in my opinion.  So Rome went to hell.  That's probably what did it.

If we are to fail as a civilization, that's what will happen here too.  It's all about leadership.  Who will stand between the sheep and the wolves?  It won't be those who blame the sheep, I suspect.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fun day, little writing

Looks like I'm doing nothing.  But I'm reading a lot.  I've written about Belbruno before, so I will relate a little about that with this post.

Belbruno worked with the Japanese in saving one of their space probes.  He managed to get their probe into a useful location without using much propellant, since none was available.  The alternative was a failed mission.  The Japanese were desperate for help, and Belbruno saved the mission for them.

People may not believe this, but there is a way that you could move objects around in outer space without using that much energy.  The trick is that it takes a lot of time.  But you don't have to put people on one of these low energy trajectories.  Just put some useful stuff on it and use it when you need it.

Now, if you were to take a large mass, and move it into position so that it can facilitate high energy transfers, then you would really have something.  High energy transfers could transport people in comfort and safety, provided that you had sufficient mass.

Bringing sufficient mass to bear upon the problem isn't going to be easy using conventional methods.

You can overpower a problem with brute force, or you can finesse it.  This approach is a finesse approach.  What Elon Musk seems to be talking about is a brute force approach with a massively huge rocket.

Now Musk could use his massive rocket to deliver something that could be placed into low orbit, and then pushed by a low energy propulsion device through one of these Belbruno type trajectories.  That something could be a refueling station complete with fuel ready to be used.  Musk could place it there while waiting for a launch window to open up.  It may take two years to get it to a Lagrange point using a Belbruno type trajectory, but that is how long a launch window takes to open up for a Mars mission.

Neat how that could work.  Launch your refueling station 2 years from the next window, and then launch the crewed mission to catch up with it when the launch window opens up in 2 years as is the case on any trip to Mars.  More mass can be delivered that way than in waiting for the launch window and launching it all in one fell swoop.

Magnet motors and the like

Pesn has a number of these stories rattling around.  They look like perpetual motion machines, which are not possible.  But what about all these stories?  Could a number of people have stumbled across something that is truly revolutionary?

I'm still following this story that I first ran across maybe a couple weeks ago.  That's the one with the plane that flies around using one of these perpetual motion machines.  If it truly flies on its own, how do you explain it?  It's going to rock the world if it really works.

Donkey barbeques, so much fun.

"What's a donkey barbeque?"--- I asked of an elderly supervisor at a bank once upon a time.  She had told me that they just had one, so I was a little curious about what it was.  Well, it's a polite way of saying they had an ass chewing.

It turns out that ass chewing is something I like to do so much.  I'm always holding a donkey barbeque on this here blog on a nearly daily basis.  I rip everybody, including the great Elon Musk.  Mighty Quinn, my ass!

Donkey barbeques can be held for yours truly too.  Today's barbeque is about a chart that was too damned busy.  Let's make it a bit simpler that even a caveman can get it.  We all like to dumb things down these days.  I don't know why I can't get in on the act.

Below is the chart that shows various isp combos for a given delta v, which is to Earth orbit.  Everybody, including caveman, are probably familiar with how these work.  The following chart can show you why they have to use "stages" for rockets.  The delta v requirement is just too doggone tough to make in one single stage.

So, let's look at this chart again and see what we can see from it.  For example, to launch from the ground to orbit using a rocket with 300 isp will require that you use 96% of the mass as fuel.  That pretty much rules out getting to orbit because you need rocket engines and tanks and what have you.  That may take up more than 10% of the launch mass, and you don't even have that much to spare.

Going down the color code isp list, we find methane/lox next at 380 isp.  But even that one doesn't get it below 90%.  Liquid hydrogen at 450 fares a little better, but comes in at over 88%.  That doesn't leave hardly anything for cargo at all.  Plus, you don't get 450 at sea level anyway.

Now, if you go to nuclear thermal, you get 62%.  That might be possible except for one thing.  Nuclear reactors are heavy and their thrust to weight ratios aren't good enough.

An ion engine doesn't have the thrust either.  They are restricted to deep space.

Fusion engines could definitely do it at a gaudy 1 million isp.  The fuel required for orbit is less than 1%.  Only problem is, they don't exist.

Now, that's what I was chewing on Musk's ass about yesterday.  A trip to Mars isn't going to be as challenging in delta v as getting to orbit, but it is still a challenge.  You will need 78% fuel to get to Mars orbit from Earth orbit.  If you take 10% for engines and whatnot, you'll only have 12% for everything else.  Not much margin for a trip that will take months.  It's not impossible, but getting large numbers of people all of the way to Mars requires a bit more cleverness that Musk is showing lately.  But he's clever enough to figure it out.

I hope by simplifying the charts that this is more clear than I made it yesterday.  Now, if you go to a Lagrange point, and refuel there, and from there to Deimos, Musk will be required to devote no worse than 61% for fuel, and that is for the short haul from Earth to the Lagrange point.  People may find inconvenience for a short time to be bearable.  For the longer haul to Deimos, he will be required to devote only 44% for fuel.  That's almost half of his mass will be available for his passengers.  It's still a tough haul, but he could make it, and not have his passengers in revolt.

He does even better with nuclear thermal for the long haul.  This will bring the mass available for his passengers up to 70% or so.  Not exactly an easy trip, but much more comfortable than 12%.

Einstein said that if you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it.  Six year old or caveman, maybe this explanation might do it.  Now if Musk can get it, we may get somewhere.


Let's look at an example, the Space Shuttle.  The boosters helped get the Shuttle to orbit by supplying up to 83% of its thrust at liftoff, but only fired for about 2 minutes out of the 8 minutes needed to get to orbit.  The  boosters may have separated at about 2200 meter/sec, leaving 7300 meters/sec to get to orbit.  This shaved the necessary mass for fuel for a liquid hydrogen liquid oxygen engine from 88% to about 82%.  Since the Shuttle massed at the pad at 4.4 million pounds, this enabled them to bring 6% more to orbit.  Let's say that's about the weight of the Shuttle itself at about 260k lbs.  The boosters enabled the Shuttle to get to orbit.  Duh.   That's how staging works, basically.

Can the cave man get it now?  Or am I still not 'splaining good enough'ski?

Interesting to note also that drag and gravity losses add about 1600 meters sec to the orbital velocity.  If you get around that problem, you can ( almost ) do away with the boosters entirely.  But that is a different discussion.


Playing around with the Shuttle numbers, if you were to fire up an NTR instead of the SSME's of the Shuttle at SRB separation, you could put over 900k lbs in orbit.  Of course, that would have been impossible for a number of reasons, but the point should be well taken.  By lessening the delta v and increasing the ISP, you can drastically increase the amount of mass that arrives at a destination.

Of course, there are people at these organizations that do this for a living who know this stuff backwards and forwards.  But who else except somebody like me who can and will put that information in front of you?  Won't it make a difference in how you see things?

For example, the Shuttle is probably seen as the ultimate, but it is nowhere near what we can do.  Now, if only we can be allowed to do it.