Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cooperation or Competition

Sam Dinkin thinks (via transterrestrial) that getting spacefaring underway takes cooperation and the bickering should stop.

It's a good article, but I can't say that I agree. My take is that the bickering is mostly noise. The real issue is economics (which I have some thoughts on.) So how do I think spacefaring will get underway? It's already underway in that private companies are taking a crack at it. They are spending real money on precursor projects that are in the chain of events leading directly to a spacefaring civilization. It will have arrived when people live in communities that are mostly independant of the Earth. I see people living on Luna, Mars and in freefall... no need to bicker about that.

He also says something I strongly agree with, "Instead of constantly seeking the optimal in technology and space policy, we can make do with the commercially viable." Yes, it's all about the commercially viable which makes the bickering irrelevant. The whole point about space is that it's the new high seas, government will matter less than the captain you're riding with or the community your living with.


Economic development is done by speculators. Down the road from where I live is a retirement community called Sun City. It's a planned community where lots of electric golf carts ply the road. Even the grocery store has parking slots sized for the carts. One day some developer is going to create a planned community on the near side of the moon (one-sixth gravity may have advantages when they fall and can't get up?) It may cost a lot to buy a property and get there, but living there can be cheap as long a abundant energy to grow food and recycle water exists. They'll still use their golf carts! I expect with economy of scale it'll cost no more than 20 million for two people to get transportation to an apartment which includes an annuity to provide for all their basic needs until they expire. Lot's of people will be able and willing to do that. Probably within the next 20 years.

Orbital Habitats

While lagrange points are fine and dandy, orbits around the Earth and Moon have economic purpose. If Earth orbit is half way to anywhere, then that's where the gas pump (refueling depot) is going to be. In Moon orbit will be shuttle service to the surface and back. I believe ships in general will be simpler and more specific than most people imagine. Today we think of ships like the space shuttle that are launched and return to Earth. But general use ships are not going to land in any gravity well. Once launched they will spend the rest of their existance in orbit (or transfer orbits.) Either they will carry a smaller ship for landing and ascent like the old lunar module without leaving pieces of itself behind or they will dock at a station that provides a permanent service to do that like for Luna City or Mars Spaceport.

Most ships on the seas are private or corporate owned and it will be no different in space. People will live on ships they own that provide charter services, sort of a long term roving bed and breakfast with solar sails (governments may have a monopoly on the fast nuclear drives for the forseeable future.)

New Earth: Mars

Mars will have the fastest growing community for the next hundred years because the resources to grow exist in one place. Once established no launches required and no years of waiting, just farm it or go dig it up. Zubrin's 'Case for Mars' sums it up this way, 'There will be a "triangle trade," with Earth supplying high technology manufactured goods to Mars, Mars supplying low technology manufactured goods and food staples to the asteroid belt and possibly the Moon as well, and the asteroids and Moon sending metals and possibly helium-3 to Earth.'

How much will you pay for this asteroid?

Asteroid miners, the stuff of pulp science fiction. What kind of person will spend a fortune and a good part of their life to hit paydirt? This one is a bit harder to imagine, but it would seem to be required if "triangle trade" is going to be a reality. I don't know.

Regarding the title of this post. Obviously some cooperation is going to be required, but economic vitality requires friendly competition. Economics is about self interest as a driving force. This can be and generally is a good thing. Some see this new frontier as a new wild west, but space is a big place with plenty of room to grow. The next few hundred years should be exciting.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

House democrats 'are gutless traitors'

According to Ann's reasoned voice. Yes, it's over the top. Some democrats are not traitors, just those that open their trap giving aid and comfort to the enemy, demand we bring home the troops, then voted not to.

I say it's time we got the Senate on record too!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Iran again

Iran trying to develop nuclear-tipped missiles. I repeat, are we just going to wait?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Parting Company with Libertarians

It's the drugs. The idea that drugs only hurt the people that use them is false. Perhaps a good Libertarian wouldn't be affected by a sibling that overdosed or drove a car into a building because they were drunk, but it does seem to affect most families negatively.

I tend to think of myself as a capitalist without capital, but this said I'm something else.

I'm not a big fan of preemptive laws... Laws designed to babysit people because they might do something wrong. On the other hand, I wish citizenship meant something and that harmful acts of one citizen against another should have the possibity of revoking citizenship. Violent acts (beyond bare hands and yelling) by non-citizens against anybody should result in immediate deportation. My wife is a legal immigrant. Immigration is part of what makes this country great. I just think it should be controlled more than it is (some would say it's anarchy now.)

I don't care who hates America, as long as they don't cause destruction in America.

I believe in freedom of speech... even lying, hate filled speech against one's own country which is deplorable. But when you repeat a seditious lie for mass consumption, you should be putting your citizenship at risk at the very least.

It's tough when somebody tries to put you into a box... me, I like to think I'm a rabid, whacko, extremist, with a love for people and truth. I think the bad guys need to be marginalized if not destroyed. I find I don't love the bad guys much.

Update: What an incoherent rant. I must have been on drugs. About time I read this guys book.

See the Invisible

It's a neat trick and Russ does it all the time. Here's a great example.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What am I?

Here's a test that says...

You are a

Social Liberal
(60% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(68% permissive)

You are best described as a:



Here's an insight via Rand.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Calling Bruce Willis

I just reread this article which I've posted on before. It strikes me that this is the movie that needs to be made. How about it Bruce?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Iran da' Bomb

If they have parts of the bomb and intend to wipe countries off the map... Isn't it about time to do something about it?

Are any of the guys that worked with the Afghan's rested and ready to go?

What's the Public Opinion?

Earlier today I was at the MVD (what they call it in AZ which sounds strange to California ears that expect it to be DMV) and had a conversation with an idiotarian. 'Bush lied (= Hitler)', 'We need to pull out of Iraq now', yada, yada.

After about 20 minutes the quiet older lady sitting near him, that looked like the cookie baking kind, had had about enough when he started talking about Viet Nam. 'You don't know what you're talking about' she said, a conclusion I'd reached after only a few moments of talking our conversation. She then said to me she thought he was just too young to understand. I think, sometimes we strangers are just too kind to the idiots. I'm kind of tired making excuses for them, but that's what gentle society does.

The interesting thing is I saw heads nodding all around and nobody seemed to support the guys blather. You might think that half the countries gone mad supporting the extreme left views, but I found this reaction quite encouraging.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's been done!

Isn't this pretty much just this?

Does the truth matter?

Some things are life and death issues. Popularity is not one of them. It's articles like this that make me really love Ann.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Will they be held accountable?

A great post and good comments with just a twist of lime.

If the battle is for hearts and minds then it's time to take the battle to the enemy. People need to call the media on their sedition and make it long, loud and clear. The war needs to be fought on all fronts.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I Stand in Support...

...of the Plame Game Rule.

The CIA is supposed to spy on foreign governments, gathering intelligence for our government. It's part of the art of war necessary to keep us safe. The agency should respect the office of the president regardless of the party in office. It should respect the citizens of this country.

Give 'em hell, Zell!