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Oct 20, 2012

The Kline Directive: Theoretical-Empirical Relationship (Part 3)

Posted by in categories: cosmology, defense, education, engineering, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, space

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing. 2. Safety Awareness. 3. Economic Viability. 4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. 5. Technological Feasibility.

In Part 1, we learned that Einstein was phenomenally successful because his work was deeply meshed with the experimental evidence of the day. In Part 2, we learned that to be successful at developing new useful theories and discovering new fundamental properties of Nature that will bring forth new interstellar travel technologies, we need to avoid hypotheses that are not grounded in experimental data, as these are purely mathematical conjectures.

In my book on gravity modification I classified physics hypotheses and theories into 3 categories, as follows:

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Oct 20, 2012

The Kline Directive: Theoretical-Empirical Relationship (Part 2)

Posted by in categories: cosmology, defense, engineering, philosophy, physics, policy, scientific freedom, space

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing. 2. Safety Awareness. 3. Economic Viability. 4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. 5. Technological Feasibility.

From Part 1 … “that mathematics has become so sophisticated and so very successful that it can now be used to prove anything and everything, and therefore, the loss of certainty that mathematics will provide reasonability in guidance and correctness in answers to our questions in the sciences”.

We need to note that there are several different relationships between the mathematics of physics and the physics of the real world.

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Oct 17, 2012

The Kline Directive: Theoretical-Empirical Relationship (Part 1)

Posted by in categories: business, cosmology, defense, economics, education, engineering, events, finance, human trajectories, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing. 2. Safety Awareness. 3. Economic Viability. 4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. 5. Technological Feasibility.

In Part 1 of this post I will explore Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. Not theoretical relationships, not empirical relationships but theoretical-empirical relationships. To do this let us remind ourselves what the late Prof. Morris Kline was getting at in his book Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, that mathematics has become so sophisticated and so very successful that it can now be used to prove anything and everything, and therefore, the loss of certainty that mathematics will provide reasonability in guidance and correctness in answers to our questions in the sciences.

History of science shows that all three giants of science of their times, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton & Christiaan Huygens believed that light traveled in aether medium, but by the end of the 19th century there was enough experimental evidence to show aether could not be a valid concept. The primary experiment that changed our understanding of aether was the Michelson–Morley experiment of 1887, which once and for all proved that aether did not have the correct properties as the medium in which light travels.

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Oct 14, 2012

The Kline Directive: Economic Viability

Posted by in categories: business, complex systems, defense, economics, education, engineering, finance, military, nuclear weapons, philosophy, physics, policy, scientific freedom, space, sustainability

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing. 2. Safety Awareness. 3. Economic Viability. 4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. 5. Technological Feasibility.

In this post I will explore Economic Viability. I have proposed the Interstellar Challenge Matrix (ICM) to guide us through the issues so that we can arrive at interstellar travel sooner, rather than later. Let us review the costs estimates of the various star drives just to reach the velocity of 0.1c, as detailed in previous blog posts:

Interstellar Challenge Matrix (Partial Matrix)

Propulsion Mechanism Legal? Costs Estimates
Conventional Fuel Rockets: Yes Greater than US$1.19E+14
Antimatter Propulsion: Do Not Know. Between US$1.25E+20 and US$6.25E+21
Atomic Bomb Pulse Detonation: Illegal. This technology was illegal as of 1963 per Partial Test Ban Treaty Between $2.6E12 and $25.6E12 . These are Project Orion original costs converted back to 2012 dollar. Requires anywhere between 300,000 and 30,000,000 bombs!!
Time Travel: Do Not Know. Requires Exotic Matter, therefore greater than antimatter propulsion costs of US$1.25E+20
Quantum Foam Based Propulsion: Do Not Know. Requires Exotic Matter, therefore greater than antimatter propulsion costs of US$1.25E+20
Small Black Hole Propulsion: Most Probably Illegal in the Future Using CERN to estimate. At least US$9E+9 per annual budget. CERN was founded 58 years ago in 1954. Therefore a guestimate of the total expenditure required to reach its current technological standing is US$1.4E11.

Note Atomic Bomb numbers were updated on 10/18/2012 after Robert Steinhaus commented that costs estimates “are excessively high and unrealistic”. I researched the topic and found Project Orion details the costs, of $2.6E12 to $25.6E12, which are worse than my estimates.

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Oct 10, 2012

The Kline Directive: Legal Standing

Posted by in categories: business, complex systems, defense, economics, engineering, ethics, finance, philosophy, physics, policy, space

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts:

1. Legal Standing. 2. Safety Awareness. 3. Economic Viability. 4. Theoretical-Empirical Relationship. 5. Technological Feasibility.

In this post I will explore Legal Standing.

With respect to space exploration, the first person I know of who pushed the limits of the law is Mr. Gregory W. Nemitz of The Eros Project. He started this project in March 2000. As a US taxpayer, Nemitz made the claim that he is the Owner of Asteroid 433, Eros, and published his claim about 11 months prior to NASA landing its “NEAR Shoemaker” spacecraft on this asteroid.

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Oct 9, 2012

The Kline Directive: Introduction

Posted by in categories: business, complex systems, defense, economics, engineering, ethics, finance, philosophy, physics, policy, space

Science and engineering are hard to do. If it wasn’t we would have a space bridge from here to the Moon by now. If you don’t have the real world practical experience doing either science or engineering you won’t understand this, or the effort and resources companies like Boeing, Lockheed, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences Corp, Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic, and the Ad Astra Rocket Company have put into their innovations and products to get to where they are, today.

If we are to achieve interstellar travel, we have to be bold.
We have to explore what others have not.
We have to seek what others will not.
We have to change what others dare not.

The dictionary definition of a directive is, an instruction or order, tending to direct or directing, and indicating direction.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, US Department of Defense 2005, provides three similar meanings,

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Oct 1, 2012

Debunking Antimatter Rockets for Interstellar Travel

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, physics, policy, space

Previous Post in this Debunking Series.

Why is it necessary to debunk bad or unrealistic technologies? If don’t we live in a dream world idealized by theoretical engineering that has no hope of ever becoming financially feasible. What a waste of money, human resources and talent. I’d rather we know now upfront and channel our energies to finding feasible engineering and financial solutions. Wouldn’t you?

We did the math required to figure out the cost of antimatter fuel one would require just to reach 0.1c and then cost at that velocity, never mind about reaching Alpha Centauri.

Table 2: Antimatter Rocket Fuel Costs to Alpha Centuariat 0.1c (in metric tons)
Source of Estimates Amount of Antimatter Required Maximum Velocity

Spacecraft Mass

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Oct 1, 2012

Debunking Conventional Rocket Interstellar Travel Once And For All

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, physics, policy, space

Previous Post in this Debunking Series.

Why is it necessary to debunk bad or unrealistic technologies? If don’t we live in a dream world idealized by theoretical engineering that has no hope of ever becoming financially feasible. What a waste of money, human resources and talent. I’d rather we know now upfront and channel our energies to finding feasible engineering and financial solutions. Wouldn’t you?

We did the math required to figure out how much fuel one would require just to reach 0.1c and then cost at that velocity until you reach Alpha Centauri and reverse thrust to orbit the star.

Table 1: Conventional Rocket Fuel Costs to travel to Alpha Centauri at 0.1c
Maximum Velocity (km/s)

1980’s cost ($/lb)

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Oct 1, 2012

Liquor & Glass — Sellafield/BNFL Keeping a Lid on It

Posted by in categories: engineering, ethics, nuclear energy, policy, sustainability, transparency

Fukushima reawakened the world to the dangers of nuclear power, and reading back over Fearing Sellafield (2003) by Colum Kenny recently, I reflect back on how deflective and dishonest industry can be to steer clear of critical opinion. Seeing parallels suggested in other industries today, I wonder if much has really changed.

Highly Active Liquor (HAL) produced by the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel at Sellafield, reached a level of 1,500 cubic meters in storage at its peak circa 2001, the capacity of a 50 meter Olympic swimming pool. Particularly unstable, a disruption to electricity & water coolant could result in such liquor boiling, overloading the ventilation filtration systems and leading to a nuclear accident. Containing about 80 times the amount released during the 1986 Chernobyl accident according to a report for the European Parliament at that time, we are rather fortunate such a serious accident never occurred. This analysis was provided by what became known as The WISE Report — so called due to associated with the World Information Service on Energy (WISE) in Paris. In response BNFL set out to reduce this liquor to a solid form known as ‘glass’ — borosilicate glass — much safer than when kept in liquid form, and put in storage — though much of it still remains to be vitrified.

In 2000/2001, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) of the HSE published a number of reports on aspects of Sellafield that led to causes of concern. One report in particular entitled ‘an investigation into the falsification of pellet diameter data in the MOX demonstration facility at the BNFL Sellafield site and the effect of this on the safety of MOX fuel in use’ suggested deliberate dishonesty in keeping records. BNFL subsequently complied with most of these recommendations.

Authors of the WISE report however still had concerns regarding increases in levels in certain sea discharges and aerial releases, and inconsistent with the UK’s obligations under the OSPAR Convention. It stated that the deposition of plutonium within 20km of Sellafield attributable to aerial emissions has been estimated at 160–280 billion becquerels — several times the plutonium fallout from all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, and that 250kg-500kg of plutonium from Sellafield has been absorbed as sediments on the bed of the Irish sea ‘representing a long-term regional hazard of largely unknown proportions’. The report had been treated with caution by the European Commission and conveniently dismissed by the National Radiological Protection Board in the UK by claiming that some of the conclusions drawn in the report were based on ‘lacking objectivity’. It seems that governments are always bent towards safeguarding industry first, leaving environmental concerns and the health of our Mother Ship as a secondary issue.

Sep 29, 2012

Debunking Time Travel (Looper)

Posted by in categories: media & arts, physics, policy, space

Previous Post in this Debunking Series.

I just watched Looper the movie. It is such a good movie and a great story. But then I’m biased. Anything with Bruce Willis is a great movie. Bruce Willis is getting older, which reminds me so am I!

For those who have not watched Looper I won’t give the story away … Looper is a must watch for science fiction fans. And there were other great movies and episodes about time travel. The three Back to the Future, and the Star Trek episodes, for starters.

That was the good news, and now for the bad news. Time travel is impossible. The mathematics behind time travel is excellent, but the physics is not. In contemporary physics, the mechanism of time travel requires wormholes. You get into a wormhole on one side and you pop out the other side either in the future or in the past, depending on what the wormhole was designed to do.

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