Thursday, January 28, 2010

Former Nasa Administrator Speaks About HSF Future

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1264673781201110.xml&coll=1

It would be helpful to read this article above before reading my reply. Then you'll get the context.

All Griffin cares about is government space, which as we all know is run terribly, and cannot fathom the commercial space industry doing anything significant. He's arrogant and short sighted, and has always appeared that way to me with his condescending attitude towards the NewSpace movement.

NASA should have shed LEO operations to commercial space years ago, and the government should have helped commercial space establish itself while in its infancy, then cut it loose to run on its own. This would have saved NASA and the government billions of dollars.

The engineers working at NASA are no different than those working in the private industry or at Universities. To think NASA has a monopoly on all brain power in America is ludicrous, arrogant and insulting to every hard working space visionary who is not part of the government system, but has a true passion for getting humanity fully into space, to work, to play and to grow.

NASA should not be building LEO rockets anymore. Companies can do that, and in fact they do. Boeing, Lockheed, ATK and other contractor companies build the systems that NASA uses, not NASA itself, so the notion that commercial space can't do it is stupid. NASA just sets requirements. They rarely bend metal anymore. And when they do, it should be for behemoth spacecraft that are designed to build Moon bases, conduct Mars trips and facilitate asteroid missions.

Time to grow up, grow out, and commercialize space. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Earth as it is in Heaven

http://www.space.com/news/nasa-budget-billion-boost-sn-100125.html

At what point will humanity realize that science and technological advancement is more important than money? We complain about the environment, we complain about poverty, we complain about hunger, and we cry into the aether that something should be done to help all people of the world, but with a significant divergence from logic, we always go back to cost, money and financing as a bullshit reason for NOT doing the right thing.

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, we now live in a world that is so drastically different than anything in the past, that we cannot possibly use outdated forms of economic controls or reasoning?

For anyone who is religious, I have a question: do you think God cares more about money, or doing the right thing? Is the Almighty hamstrung by finances in Heaven? Do banks, investors and politicians dictate the ongoing operations of the hereafter? At what point did our wallets become more important than our humanity, ESPECIALLY in a world where the human mind and ingenuity has developed technology and systems that can provide a high standard of living for all? Is it not part of the Lord's Prayer to make the Earth as it is in Heaven? WHY ARE WE NOT REALLY TRYING TO DO THAT!!!

This article on Space.com reflects just one more instance of the same nonsense. People like Obama, Bush, and so many others blow smoke up our asses on a regular basis about how they love science, engineering and technology, then when the rubber meets the road, they never deliver what is actually needed. Why? Money. It's ALWAYS money that screws up the advancement of humanity more than it helps us. We're willing to dump hundreds of billions of dollars prolonging wars against elusive and invisible foes, in countries that don't really give a damn about really defeating them, but we're not willing to slightly boost funding for something that ends up being a significant boon to humanity for generations? Really?!

The United States of America is going to fall behind other nations when it comes to space exploration and development, because we are more concerned with social programs, saving banks, and propping up idiotic car companies than we are about driving down a path of advancement, abundance, global cooperation and true freedom. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Appearances - Past, Present and What's Better

I had a great time talking with Mr. Jim Bohannon last night. It is so much easier to discuss the potential of space exploration during a full hour and I'm thankful he gave me that much time. In fact, I'm thankful for all of the great shows that have had me on to discuss this important topic.

However, nothing beats someone getting the book and learning the full details. Then you are armed with knowledge you can share with friends, family, and even those pesky politicians who think they know more than you. If they refuse to understand, then they need to be replaced by people who do value space as a solution for our present and our future.

It's important that the American public become aware of the potential of space, that it is not just a side project, but that it should be our MAIN project...our economic pillar of stability and strength. I only hope all these appearances help drive people for further inquiry, that they get the book and tell others about it, and that this starts shifting public opinion of space. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.

I'm not asking everyone to become space geeks, but I am hoping everyone gives space serious respect for what it can do for our country, and do what they can to make sure we go in that direction. Ad Astra; to the stars. It's our calling, it's our solution, it's our destiny.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Contour Crafting - Amazing Tech We Need Now

http://www.contourcrafting.org/

If there was ever a time when technology like this should be put into full scale use, the time is now. With the recent Haitian disaster, is doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that technology like this can be put to amazing use in rebuilding Haiti at a drastically reduced overall cost.

No, this can't help the rescue and recovery effort, but it can help significantly on rebuilding. However, I must note that this technology was available a few years ago, albeit in its infancy, but available for serious development. There is no reason why we could not have employed its use in fortifying Haiti in advance of this disaster.

People will site money as the problem, but we're having no problem coming up with money now, are we? It seems millions of dollars are available after the fact. Where was this logical investment beforehand? Haiti has a history of major earthquakes every 200 years or so, so it's not a stretch to assume that living in shacks and on unstable landscapes is a sure way to lose large numbers of lives when something like this happens, and it was bound to happen. Sometimes I think the world is an ostrich with its head in the sand. Only when the crap hits the fan do we look around for the source of the smell.

Now we are left scrambling, building up funds through the amazing donations of the American people, even as we ourselves struggle with our own economic woes. Funny thing about America, no matter how much the world bashes us for whatever reason, we always step up to help in significant ways when disasters like this strike anywhere in the world. It just so happens that this time it's in our own back yard.

I advocate that we bring this technology to the public eye, for the rebuilding of Haiti. The costs would be amazingly low compared to any current rebuilding systems. Can you imagine clearing the rubble, possibly recycling it, and then building a fully functional house every 24 hours, one after the other? 7 houses a week by just one system, building solid structures, not shacks, nonstop via a solar powered automated robotic system. Technology put to use at its best when people need it the most! Now imagine several of these bad boys on the ground doing great things.

Contact the media about this technology. Make it public, make it viable, make it happen! Contact Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis and let him know there is support to make his invention mainstream, to help Haiti and help us all. His email is: khoshnev@usc.edu

Don't just sit there with Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. DO SOMETHING! If you can't contribute money, then contribute time and support the development of a technology that drastically reduces construction costs, enables rapid building in short amounts of time, and can make a significant difference in the world we live in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti - The Deaths That Should Not Be

It is eerie to me that I have just concluded my social/technology experiment, only then to have something like the Haitian earthquake occur, which showcases my very point in a way that is so tragic and sad, that if this doesn't give you pause and reason to think about a better way to do things, nothing will.

I am saddened by the events which have rocked, literally, the island country of Haiti. Last night a massive earthquake wreaked havoc on this island, and the death toll will undoubtedly be staggering. What upsets...no...what pisses me off the most is that so many of these deaths could have been prevented.

It's one thing when deaths happen as a result of war, or brutal governments. It's another thing when nature causes deaths as it continues its natural ebb and flow. We have the technology, thanks to science and engineering advancements, to prevent buildings from collapsing during earthquakes. We have the capability to protect infrastructure from hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. In most cases, we have the ability to predict when disasters will happen and brace for them, but more importantly is our ability to protect ourselves from them when they surprise us.

Why then do we not use that technology throughout the world to ensure that, at the least, natural disasters don't claim the lives of innocent men, women and children, or drastically reduce the number of those killed? Because they are poor? Really? Is the value of human life directly dependent on the amount of money someone has? Do any of you seriously believe this to be true? If so, you are not human. There is no reason whatsoever that human life should be lost to natural disaster in a world so full of knowledge, innovation and technology.

For the record, I'm an Atheist. I don't have an attachment to any God, Religion or Doctrine to guide my moral compass, but I sure as hell know what feels right and what is right. Why then, in a world dominated by such religious conviction (no matter the faith), do we even remotely allow things like this to happen, knowing full well we are capable of preventing such catastrophic losses of life? Do you worship God, or "In God We Trust?"

I don't give a damn about cost. I don't care about monetary value or investment return. When did we become a people whose bottom line is more important than doing the right thing? I'm not suggesting people can't play the game to make the best of it, but if any company or business is making billions of dollars in profits AFTER covering all expenses, including reinvestment into itself to make it better, then why can't we press them to make "Earth as it is in Heaven," as the Lords prayer mandates? Why don't we urge people to do the right thing before the disaster happens, and help all impoverished countries protect themselves against the unwavering forces of nature by fortifying their infrastructure on the most basic level?

This is not about giving something to someone who doesn't deserve it. This is about helping to significantly reducing the number of deaths under conditions we have the capability to protect against. It's our duty as humans to use our knowledge, our technology and our compassion to help others before bad things happen, not just afterwords. In your heart, you know this is the right way of thinking. Will your actions and words suggest the same?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Social/Technology Experiment

I love science. I love technology. And I also love experiments. Over the past few weeks, starting on December 21st with my 'Time Must Be Spared For Self Education' article, I have been looking to see what the reactions would be for a topic of this nature; the implementation of what The Venus Project (TVP) has in mind and the ideals it holds for a social structure.

I was interested to see if the conversations would go more towards the social aspect of what's been proposed, or more the technical aspect. After several debates in the comments section of various articles I've posted, I have concluded that the easiest argument revolves around the social construct, specifically the money construct. Now I fully admit, I pushed the money button on purpose, just to see if people would bypass that and go right towards the technology implied. That never really happened and I didn't want to push it that way. I wanted to see if people would push it that way, finding the technology aspect more important than the idea of abolishing money and restructuring our global system accordingly.

I'm a little saddened by this, because I figured the people who visited this blog would be more prone to shift the debate towards the technology and science behind the idea. I was actually hoping to get someone who would ask me to do an article on the technology proposed and how that may work, or how we could start implementing the idea, or build a test city as a research facility.

Clark was the only guy who got close to that line of thought. Thanks Clark. I did enjoy our debate, although I was hoping you'd pull away from the money argument and shift towards the technology bit. You somewhat did that at the end, which is what prompted me to wrap this all up by writing this article. I didn't make it easy for you though, as I flowed with what you wanted, a social/econ debate, but I did throw out technology enough times to see if you'd bite on that. :)

All in all, here's my point: It's easy to get all wrapped up in the social part of TVP. Thinking you can change the world by just talking about it is stupid. I've told them as much. Now, in the long run, I'm in favor of abolishing the monetary system and moving towards a more resource based system. Systems change as needed, and it would be unwise for us as a species to hold on to a system that is outdated. We upgrade things all the time. None of you have 386SX computers with a monochrome green monitor anymore, do you? Of course not. When better systems became available that made things easier, you upgraded. There is no reason why we can't do the same thing with our socioeconomic system.

However, I am a firm believer in the, "Build it and they will come," theory. What we need to do is build a fully functional, self sustaining test facility (town) that accurately models a majority of the aspects of what the RBE (Resource Based Economy) would be like. This is not like the biosphere experiment. It's more dynamic than that, and less isolated. If you take the time to look at how TVP has designed its cities, they make wonderful use of technology as a means to help run the city with extreme efficiency, making life better for every resident. I'm all for that!

Then put webcams all over the place (except in private living areas of course) and show the world how it all works. 24/7/365 live webcasting of something like this, with interviews and streaming shows that educate people as to how things work, would go a long way in opening the eyes of the world to a much better life. Once people see that something like that is possible, then there will be a move to make it happen, town by town, city by city.

So, as you can see, I'm more interested in the science/technology aspect of TVP than the social construct. That will come in time. Try not to get bogged down in the social ideology debates. If you are a fan of science and engineering, and space exploration, the ideas involved in the technical aspect of TVP are very appropriate. What needs to happen now is a serious effort to build the test facility to showcase how the system would work. The fun part is figuring out how to accomplish that.

Friday, January 8, 2010

SpaceX - Falcon 9 2nd Stage Test Fire

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/spacex-rocket-test-100107.html

Well here we go! The main booster test fire went good. The second stage test fire has now gone well. So, add that up and I think we're looking at a great scenario when it comes to the Falcon 9 test launch from the Kennedy Space Center in February. Without a doubt, SpaceX is paving the way for commercial cargo transport. I really don't know what Orbital Sciences is doing, because they haven't made any news rumblings.

Last night I was involved with a panel discussion on China Radio International out of Bejing regarding Space Tourism. You can hear it on the link above. One of the things I stressed towards the end of the show was that it's not just about Virgin Galactic and XCOR's capability to go sub-orbital that helps drive the space tourism industry, but also companies like SpaceX who, if all goes well, will be a major heavy lifter for Commercial Space applications.

You have Bigelow Aerospace who has the capability to build and maintain orbiting hotels, then you have SpaceX with the ability to launch those systems (using Falcon 9 Heavy once it's online), then you have Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, XCOR, et al who will be able to get people to that location -- once they develop that capability beyond sub-orbit. There you have a fully private system providing a destination, resupply and transport capabilities. These next 10 years will be amazing times in our lives.

It seems to me that science and engineering are accomplishing more productive things than governments. Maybe it's time we put scientists and engineers in charge of things, instead of lawyers and bankers. At least then we'd be applying more logic and reason to any issues we face.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Reply to Anonymous

My reply to a comment on my "Money - What is it good for?" article. It was too big to post in the comments, so I decided to make it its own article. You'll have to go to the "Money" article to see the comments that were made, even though I've included the majority of them in the body of this post.
_______________________

Anonymous - I love getting comments from people who don't identify themselves, then attack what I've written. It shows a certain lack of conviction in your statements if you won't step up and identify yourself. Nevertheless, let's proceed.

1. "Brother, if you ain't bustin you own ass to take care of your own family then you must have the luxury of being financially independent."

You are wrong. Did you not read my profile just to the left of this article? I do work hard, every day, to support my family. I struggle with debt, bills and the basics of life just like everyone else, but I should not have too. No one should. If I was financially independent, do you think I'd advocate for the abolition of the Monetary System? That wouldn't make sense, would it?

2. 'freedom shortage'

Are you really free? I live in America too...again, it's on my profile...but am I free to peacefully go where I want, when I want? I would love to see the Grand Canyon, or go to Paris, but I am significantly limited by what I can AFFORD. We are slaves to money. Money holds far too many of us back from being worldly citizens of the Earth, from attaining the highest levels of education, and from being truly free.

3. "Dictators, warlords, elite class of Communism, Marxism does not allow the free distribution of foods to the masses..."

You are absolutely correct that dictators of the past have ruined, abused and destroyed what would otherwise be a perfectly fair and legitimate social construct. The problem has always been the people running the show, not the show itself. With today's technology, people can be removed from the loop, making it completely fair and just for all.

However, money is far worse. How, you may ask? First, I go back to my previous point, that money enslaves us. But let's also look at the fact that money is fake. It's made up out of thin air by governments, ESPECIALLY the United States, but when you borrow it, you are obligated to pay back not just the fake money that was shoved into the system, but also additional money in the form of interest. Where does that come from? And make sure you educate yourself on how the current monetary system works before you say something ill informed.

4. "I don't know what country you're from but America gives more than any other country in the world when it comes to humantarian need."

I'm in Houston...again, on the profile. Yes we do, and I have stated that time and again, but has it really helped? Seriously? With all the "money" we have, why the hell is there a single homeless or hungry person in this nation? It's simple: 's not profitable to build homes for free and provide proper conditions for everyone.

5. "I for one am not guilty because I work and provide for my family."

Nor should you be. We are all products of a system that raises us to do just that, be proper workers for the almighty dollar such that we can afford to live, and maybe have some fun. Some get lucky and acquire great wealth, sometimes for very little work. Some work hard all their life, busting their knuckles, but barely support their families and can't send their kids to college. How is that right?

The system is fundamentally flawed, and it has nothing to do with how hard you work, how much you donate, or how good your intentions are.

6. "You go on this rant about how making money is the problem... so what is the answer? you never told us..."

I'll cover that last, since it's the most important point.

7. "You brag about how great and how far we've come - what do you think got us there? The ability for a free man to own and sell his own production and surplus... using money... money is not a piece of paper - it only represents YOUR OWN LABOR and intellectual property - a God Given Right to utilize the property as you see fit..."

WRONG! What got us here were people like Isaac Newton, who developed advanced math and physics that enabled others to invent technologies to better humanity, all without the desire for monetary gain.

It was people like Galileo, who risked his life against persecution from the CHURCH for believing and proving the Earth rotated around the Sun. Such open minded people...the Church.

Name me any scientist or engineering visionary who became wealthy from their labor? No, it was other people who used those gifts for personal gain, off the backs of others, that have amassed the wealth of the world while screwing many others in the process.

I think our best God Given Right is our ability to want to help others, even without monetary gain. You've shown yourself to be a Church going man, so did God create money, or did man? What's more important, doing the right thing, or holding onto a Monetary System that separates people between the have's and the have not's? We give of ourselves all the time. You yourself mentioned the effort you put into helping others. Why? Do you need money to do that? In fact, you SPENT money to do that. A line in the Lord's Prayer sums this up quite nicely: Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Why are we not striving to make Earth like heaven?

Do we need money to be nice and to do the right thing? I don't think so. Then why do we need money to live, when everything we need can be easily provided for through the proper global use of advanced technology? If you are willing to give to help someone in need, then why can't we use a system that is automatically designed to help everyone live comfortably without stress, strain or anguish?

THE SOLUTION

Back on Monday the 21st of December I posted an article called "Time Must be Spared for Self Education." Here's the direct link:

At the end of that article are several links to videos that explain exactly what the problem is, in greater detail than a post ever would, and also gives the solution, also in greater detail than a post ever would. You really only need to watch the first video to get the point, but the other videos add greatly to the concept. The link is here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261#

The challenge is up to you. Are you willing to spend some time watching the video to learn, or are you just content to rag on me in a blog and not take the time to look at the solution I've given you, the one you asked for? The ball is in your court, brother.

Money - What is it good for?

I think it's time we did some serious thinking about how our world works, the motivations behind it, and why we find ourselves facing so many problems in a world that has plenty, but provides for so few.

Money has existed for at least over 5,000 years, but why? Have you ever stopped to think about why people used money? First, money as paper was created to stand in place of precious metals (gold and silver) as trading items. No more need to carry around heavy gold and silver coins. Just deposit those into a bank and get paper of equal value.

So then why did people need money? It boils down to one simple truth: people needed money to buy things that they could not make or build themselves. Scarcity of resources required a system to be developed to trade those scarce resources. If you had something I needed, but could not get, and I had something you needed, but could not get, the legal way to transact between us would be physically trading items (bartering) or using money. The more "rare" the commodity, the more "value" it had, and eventually money won out over bartering, allowing you to get something you wanted or needed even if you didn't have something viable to trade for.

That makes complete sense in a world where traveling 100 miles was a serious challenge on foot or by horseback. The ability to go get something for yourself, or have it transported with ease, was simply not possible 5,000 years ago. Hell, it wasn't very easy just 200 years ago.

But now we find ourselves living in a world that has been completely transformed due to technological innovation, a lot of which is a direct result of space exploration and development over the past 50 years. Global communication is literally in the palm of your hands, goods are transported routinely every day around the globe with ease, and advances in science and technology give us the ability to create sustainable systems that can provide an abundance of everyday living necessities for the entire world. All this thanks to technology.

Moreover, money today isn't even backed by any tangible object. This is called fiat money. Fiat money is money whose value is not derived from any intrinsic value or guarantee that it can be converted into a valuable commodity (such as gold). In other words, it's just made up out of thin air by governments, and the governments "say" it has value. What kind of system is that?

So then we move to the next most logical step, what is money good for in today's world? Think about it. We have the technology to mass produce food in any location around the world, even the driest deserts (it's called hydroponics). We have the technology to mass produce homes, better ones not made of wood, but made of composite materials that would be so energy efficient it would make your head spin. We have the ability to mass produce clothing and we have the technological ability to transport any and all of this throughout the world in under 24 hours. There is NO MORE scarcity, at all, in the world we live in today. And anyone who says that we have a food shortage, a water shortage, or any shortage of anything is absolutely ignorant and/or lying! Period. So what stops us from doing the logical, humane thing? MONEY!

What used to be a necessary item during a time of scarcity and technological deficiency is now they very reason why people starve around the world, don't have clothes and don't have shelter. Money is now the end-all, be-all of existence. "He" who has the most toys wins. "He" who has the nicest car, biggest house and fattest bank account wins. And if you can't make a profit on it, don't do it. It is simply not profitable to be humane. It requires donations!

So what is more important, money or humanity? I bet most of you instantly thought humanity, because in your heart you know this to be true, but we sure don't act that way, do we? With all the technology we have in the world, and all the abundance we can create, sustain and provide, why do we cling to a system that causes us such stress, anxiety, depression and destruction? How many of you have struggled under the thumb of money? In today's economy, it's probably even more apparent that money is a fickle beast.

Why do we live in a world of such capability, but also such poverty, disease and turmoil? The monetary economic system is an outdated, old world method that needs to be put to rest. There are alternatives to a monetary based system, and there are many more people living in this world without money than there are of those who want to hold onto theirs. Are we going to let the greed of such an insignificant few drive the direction of the entire planet, a direction which is obviously flawed and broken?

Throughout history mankind has developed new and better systems to live under, and now is no different than then. We are fortunate to live in such an age where anything is possible, such as traveling into space, which would have made us Gods just 2,000 years ago. People are fearful of such drastic change, but in light of the obvious truth, how can anyone sit by and continue to let the mess continue?

Consider this: There are children in this world, maybe even in your own city or town, that will grow up to be criminals, not because they are evil, but because they are poor, hungry and distraught. They are products of a system that cares less about them, because it's not profitable to do so. There are children in this world who will die from disease or starvation, and they don't have too, but it is not profitable to help them. There are children in this world that have the minds of geniuses, who would have the ability to solve mankind's greatest problems, but they will never become great, never become visionaries and never harness that potential, because it's not profitable to educate them.

So what's more important, money...or them?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Moon Holes

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/091231-moon-hole-lava-tube.html

I can't help but wonder why we've not sent a satellite with ground penetrating radar to the Moon in an effort to see if there are tunnels under the surface that were created by lava tubes, or whatever else.

The trip is short, the mission simple, and the data would be collected quickly. I haven't found a mission like this for the Moon in the history, unless I simply missed something. I think it would be a good idea to see what nature can provide us, because that would save a LOT of digging and manufacturing time.

Russia to attack Apophis?

http://www.space.com/news/091230-russia-asteroid-apophis.html

Man, this is a time when I wish you could update a book you've written to cover new events. In my book, Turning Point, I talk about Apophis and its 1-in-45,000 chance of hitting the Earth. Of course, soon after I finalize and publish the book, new data comes out making it a 1-in-250,000 chance.

Such is the nature of science and proper data collecting. I'm okay with that. My point is still valid in that we need to make sure we seriously study and come up with legitimate solutions to save our bacon if we spot an asteroid heading for us, when the odds are 1-in-1.

With this in mind, I like what Russia is doing by planning a mission to nudge the orbit of Apophis, or at least test options, despite its ever growing odds of hitting us. Could they make the situation worse if they nudge it the wrong way, sure, but I doubt very seriously they'd be going into this half-cocked and without having all their ducks in a row. Additionally, they've already mentioned that they will invite the United States and other nations to join in the mission. Good. This only helps ensure proper mission planning.

However, leave it the the USA to be slightly arrogant about the idea and thump their chest about the risk of visiting Apophis. That's slightly depressing. I see it this way, if nothing else, we can get some seriously good data from a direct visit and test. Again, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that everything will be planned properly.

And as the Russian Official said at the end of the article...

"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and design a system that would prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said, according to RIA Novosti.