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Aug 28, 2012

The Truth about Space Travel is Stranger than Fiction

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, cosmology, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, neuroscience, nuclear weapons, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency, treaties

I have been corresponding with John Hunt and have decided that perhaps it is time to start moving toward forming a group that can accomplish something.

The recent death of Neil Armstrong has people thinking about space. The explosion of a meteor over Britain and the curiosity rover on Mars are also in the news. But there is really nothing new under the sun. There is nothing that will hold people’s attention for very long outside of their own immediate comfort and basic needs. Money is the central idea of our civilization and everything else is soon forgotten. But this idea of money as the center of all activity is a death sentence. Human beings die and species eventually become extinct just as worlds and suns also are destroyed or burn out. Each of us is in the position of a circus freak on death row. Bizarre, self centered, doomed; a cosmic joke. Of all the creatures on this planet, we are the freaks the other creatures would come to mock- if they were like us. If they were supposedly intelligent like us. But are we actually the intelligent ones? The argument can be made that we lack a necessary characteristic to be considered truly intelligent life forms.

Truly intelligent creatures would be struggling with three problems if they found themselves in our situation as human beings on Earth in the first decades of this 21st century;

1. Mortality. With technology possible to delay death and eventually reverse the aging process, intelligent beings would be directing the balance of planetary resources towards conquering “natural” death.

Continue reading “The Truth about Space Travel is Stranger than Fiction” »

Aug 28, 2012

Another Warning from Space

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, defense, engineering, ethics, events, lifeboat, media & arts, military, space, transparency

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/meteor-explodes-…34670.html

What will it take before the public realizes that we are on the endangered species list as long as we have no defense against impacts?

If the “golf ball sized” exploder had been another Tunguska and London was incinerated it might become quite clear that we need to get into space in a big way.

Will it take a major disaster? The unfortunate truth is that a rock or snowball just a little bigger than what might wake the human race up- might also render our species extinct.

Aug 26, 2012

BEO-HSF again

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear weapons, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

This essay was posted last year, removed, and is back with small changes. Enjoy.

I became interested in Beyond Earth Orbit- Human Space Flight by way of a college paper I helped my wife research some years ago. Her project for an ethics class was nuclear weapons. I stumbled upon the book “Project Orion, the true story of the atomic spaceship” by George Dyson and was hooked. I had been a science fiction fan in my youth but like most people I thought space operas were only to be realized in the far future. Project Orion changed my worldview. Since then my made up mind has been unmade several times concerning most of the “common knowledge” floating around about space flight in this 21st century. Much of what is generally believed to be true about our space program is made up of recent hearsay used to hype products that further a business plan. When I read these infomercials endlessly repeated as fact I get pretty upset, mostly because exposing these “facts” as false advertising almost always results in vicious attacks. The private space cult fanatics disgust me and I will not apologize for my hard feelings about these people. They mislead, obfuscate, and insult and dogpile anyone who disagrees with their dogma.

It was a slow step by step process but I came to realize the path to the stars is a narrow one. I found the U.S. space effort, described as being on “the flexible path”, to be going nowhere. There is no Flexible Path. The path to colonizing the solar system is narrow indeed due to the laws of physics and materials science. Science fiction movies have conditioned the public to believe such natural laws can be violated and technology that breaks these laws is possible and immanent. This attitude has led to much waste and many tragedies in the past decades and there is soon to come great disappointment over breakthroughs that are far easier said than done. By way of political contributions and backroom deals, the flexible path scheme came into existence as a way of making money for a small group of investors looking to cash in on public ignorance of technology through influence peddling. It is a convoluted and confusing story and perhaps the best way to make the truth clear is to start at the desired end and work backwards.

Continue reading “BEO-HSF again” »

Aug 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong and the Space Age are Dead

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, events, homo sapiens, human trajectories, media & arts, policy, space

http://news.yahoo.com/neil-armstrong-1st-man-moon-dies-193954975.html

It was said he was the perfect man to be the first to step foot on another world. He never embarrassed his country and was quiet and reserved. One of his least known yet most famous statements among pilots was in answer to a reporters query at a press conference; when asked if there was anything that was personally very important to him that NASA would not let him take to the moon, he answered, “more fuel.”

As it turned out he landed on the moon with a few seconds of fuel to spare after maneuvering clear of a boulder field. His co-pilot, Dr. Rendezvous, had already crashed the computer by turning a radar on early in the descent. He had shown the same nerves of steel during the Gemini program when his capsule continued to accelerate in a spin after a thruster fired and would not shut down. Nearing unconsciousness he worked the problem almost to the bitter end and finally regained control.

Sadly, the same resolve and crystal clear focus was never to be found in America’s space program after Apollo. With no vehicle capable of carrying astronauts into orbit and nothing but budget cuts on the horizon, the U.S. space program has effectively died with it’s greatest hero. No direction, no goal, nothing is foreseen to be accomplished in the coming decades as the political football that is human spaceflight is kicked from administration to administration. The trillion dollar war and piles of rubble on the other side of the world are the grave of the space age. We have only the past and the people who had a mission to remember.

Good luck Neil.

Aug 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong Dead At Age 82

Posted by in categories: human trajectories, space

A symbol of humanity’s reach is no longer with us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/neil-armstrong-dead…30343.html


Aug 25, 2012

GMO Armegeddon part 2

Posted by in category: sustainability

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/USDA-panel-gets-altere…814480.php

It appears that our food supply is or soon will be hopelessly contaminated with genetically modified material. This is bad news.

Aug 24, 2012

How to Build a Spaceship again

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear weapons, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

This essay was originally posted last year and is now back with small changes. Enjoy.

The first decade of the 21st century ended with human space flight nowhere near to fulfilling the predictions made at the beginning of the space age. Not even close. Just as the Vietnam war robbed the space exploration budget, the end of the century found vast public funds, a truly mind boggling amount of treasure, spent on the cold war toys that have yielded guaranteed huge profits for the military industrial complex. Many of these incredibly expensive weapon systems do not work as advertised and very few of them have any application in the present war on terror. 911 did not stop the money flowing to new super fighter planes and missiles designed to shoot down other missiles. The promise of space was in truth sacrificed for the profits of the weapons industry. The expected moon bases and colonies on Mars were never funded and no human being has escaped earth orbit since the last Apollo mission. The underfunded space shuttle completely failed to provide the cheap lift and multi-mission capability that was never really possible to achieve. The showpiece International Space Station is little more than a 100 billion dollar collection of tin cans flying in endless circles.

Over a quarter century wasted and the human race seems in large part to have accepted the end of the space age. Despite a collection of old and new inferior lift vehicles incapable of accelerating a spacecraft to escape velocity, there is endless hype concerning the privatization of space and the bright future these for profit enterprises will bring about. The single point of failure in these schemes is the false miracle of fuel depots in space. These orbital gas stations will supposedly enable all the missions that previously could only be accomplished by a Heavy Lift Vehicles like the Saturn V. Cryo fuel storage and transfer is at this time a myth and has never even been attempted due to the extreme difficulties involved. It is simply a smoke screen to disguise defeat. We are not going anywhere if we stay on this path. The only hope for human space flight is the realization that deep space travel may at any time mean the difference between humankind surviving or disappearing forever. If this truth cannot unlock the vast resources required then we are sealing our collective fate. The Spaceship is the only insurance against extinction. Safeguarding the entire human race is the ultimate military mission, yet is completely ignored by our leaders and the defense industry. The inevitable asteroid or comet impact and the threat of a 100 percent lethal plague are with us right now. We as a species are playing a game of Russian roulette. We truly do not know when, but we know what is coming.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when it is explained that disastrous impacts only occur an average of once every several million years. The key fact never discussed is impacts are random. An impact could occur tomorrow, and again the next day, and it would just be a blip on a curved line representing the immensity of geologic time. No one would be left to exclaim, “WOW! What were the odds of that happening?” In the same way the threat of engineered pathogens is ignored, overlooked, or scoffed at in the hopes it will just go away. Just as there is little than can be done to stop seasonal flu, there is very little that could be done to stop such an airborne plague once it begins. Naturally evolved pathogens always leave a certain percentage of survivors but an engineered virus does not follow that rule. We are led to believe there is no defense, but we are being decieved and there is nothing further from the truth.

Continue reading “How to Build a Spaceship again” »

Aug 24, 2012

The Fermi Paradox and Silent Planets

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, business, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear weapons, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120823150403.htm

In a recent comment John Hunt mentioned the most probable solution to the Fermi Paradox and as more and more planets are discovered this solution becomes ever more troubling.

Whether civilizations are rare due to comet and asteroid impacts- as Ed Lu recently stated was a possibility- or they self-destruct due to technology, the greater danger is found in human complacency and greed. We have the ability right now, perhaps as hundreds or even thousands of other civilizations had, to defend ourselves from the external and internal threats to our survival. Somewhat like salmon swimming upstream, it may not be life itself that is rare- it may be intelligent life that survives for any length of time that is almost non-existent.

The answer is in space. The resources necessary to leave Earth and establish off world colonies are available- but there is no cheap. Space travel is inherently expensive. Yet we spend billions on geopolitical power games threatening other human beings with supersonic fighters and robot missile assassins. The technology to defend civilization as a whole from the plausible threat represented by this “Great Silence” will cost us no more than what we spend on expensive projects like vertical take-off stealth fighters and hyper-velocity naval rail guns. But it is not the easy money of weapons; it is the hard money of vehicles and systems that must work far from Earth that is unattractive to the corporate profit motive.

Atomic spaceships capable of transporting colonists and intercepting impact threats are the prerequisites to safeguarding our species.

Aug 22, 2012

Humanity’s Invention in the Cosmos is Kindness: I request Permission to Save your Lives

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

I know I am not authorized for doing that since you do not know me. But one third of all fundamental scientists in the world (those that deal with chaos and nonlinearity) are on my side. Two thirds (those that deal with quanta and gravitation) do not believe that a chaos theorist has the right to teach them anything. Much as in economics where nonlinearity was a taboo for many decades, in fundamental physics it still is.

So I beg the planet’s general population for mercy: please, forgive the linear community in physics for their not allowing the proof of danger that lies on the table for 4 years to be discussed: such a thing does not occur for the first time in history.

Also, everyone understands that CERN “cannot” update its safety report if doing this would involve discussing a danger that would not permit their experiment to be continued before a counterproof has been found.

All I ever requested is such a counterproof ( http://www.wissensnavigator.com/documents/PetitiontoCERN.pdf ); http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/07/2012759585764599.html ). “Might is might.” Politicians have to rely on might, that is, majority opinion, and Western opinion at that. Scientists’ opinions unfortunately change all the time since new discoveries arise in a point-like fashion and spread slowly.

Continue reading “Humanity’s Invention in the Cosmos is Kindness: I request Permission to Save your Lives” »

Aug 21, 2012

Antimatter Catalyzed Fusion

Posted by in categories: engineering, futurism, media & arts, physics, space

The recent Skeptical Enquirer article linked to this site proclaiming antimatter propulsion as “pseudoscience” was.….wrong.

Antimatter will have to be produced in quantity to be used for propulsion but very small quantities may be all that is required for an interim system using antimatter to ignite fusion reactions.

It may be that some people pushing their own miracle solutions do not like other more practical possibilities.

Unlike any type of gravity manipulation, anti-matter is a fact. Anti-matter catalyzed fusion is a possible method of interstellar propulsion; far more in the realm of possibility than anti-gravity.