W.O.O.D. – 10 October 2017

This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)

Immediate prior one here:
and remains open for threads running there
(at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).

Cannonical list of old ones here: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/w-o-o-d/

So use “Tips” for “Oooh, look at the interesting ponder thing!”
and “W.O.O.D” for “Did you see what just happened?! What did you think about it?”

For this week, I’m going to toss 4 topics in the hopper.

1) North Korea: Is Trump just rattling their cage with his cagey comments, or is something afoot?

2) Starting to see reports of Frost Harvest Failures from Europe / Asia. Wonder how it’s going in other parts of the world like South America and Australia / New Zealand…

3) Is it time to look at LENR again? A couple of stories:


Mizuno Claims Production of Excess Energy that ‘Far Exceeds Input’ in New LENR Experiments
Posted on August 23, 2017
As a result, energy far exceeding input was continuously obtained. In the best results obtained thus far, the output thermal energy is double the input electrical energy, amounting to several hundred watts. The generated thermal energy follows an exponential temperature function. When the reactor temperature is 300°C, the generated energy is 1 kW.

When it’s kw scale and the output is double the input it isn’t subtile details of calorimetry technique… The Japanese are pretty hung up on not ‘losing face’ or being a screw up.

OTOH, I’m not quite able to swallow another “next year” and “no you can’t touch it” from eCat and Rossi:


Rossi: First E-Cat Plants Under Construction, Will Sell Energy, Not Plants.
Posted on September 4, 2017
Frank Acland
September 3, 2017 at 8:55 PM
Dear Andrea,

You say that your the first plants that you sell will be managed directly by you.

a) Can you explain what you mean by that?
b) Have you any agreements to build plants for customers yet?

Andrea Rossi
September 3, 2017 at 9:32 PM
Frank Acland:
a) that we will operate the plant and the Customer will not have access to the reactors
b) yes
Warm Regards,

Frank Acland
September 3, 2017 at 10:50 PM
Dear Andrea,

Very interesting that you have agreements to build plants already.
a) Have you started building them yet?
b) When do you expect to have them completed?
c) Will you be selling the plant, or selling energy with these first plants?

Andrea Rossi
September 4, 2017 at 6:32 AM
Frank Acland:
a) yes
b) confidential
C) energy
Warm Regards,

I’ve reached the “I’ll believe it when the State University has one running the campus and the Ph.D. Physics Department is conducting tours” stage – and even then only when 2 or 3 campuses of different schools are doing it… A decade or two ago I would have said “When he is awarded the Nobel Prize”, but given what they’ve been doing lately, I’m thinking that would indicate it was a put-up-job…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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50 Responses to W.O.O.D. – 10 October 2017

  1. Lionell Griffith says:

    RE: LENR

    Words are cheap. Reports of claims are worthless. The so called experiments are replete with opportunities for error, misinterpretation, and misdirection. Even the experiments that are reported to be successful are not available for close inspection. All we have are reports of claims built up out of cheap words. It has been many decades since the first reports of claims, That is all there still is.

    Where is the working prototype that can be transparently examined? It is going to happen “real soon now” meaning it has yet to get past the cheap words stage. Is there any there, there? Worthy of any degree of anticipation? The probability is indistinguishable from zero. The ONLY evidence that has been provided is “anything is possible”. No, actually anything is not possible. Perpetual motion machines for example. The LENR claims are very like still one more perpetual motion machine that appears plausible if examined only with out of context fantasy but not achievable in this universe. Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    For any who think there is something to it, build it, show us but otherwise keep the cheap word reports of claims to yourself. Don’t promise, DELIVER!

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    From time to time I hear “Fraud” to describe LENR and Rossi’s attempts to commercialize it because we can not pop down to to the local Big Box and purchase a LENR water heater.
    Government regulators will not allow public sale and use of any such device. Anything with “Nuclear” in it’s name requires very tight control of it’s use. This will take a VERY LONG time to reach the general public, these devices can not be sold to, or operated by the public by government dictate!
    As to a con, HENR has been promising positive results for over 50 years. The best results that I know of is 98% output of the total energy input. The projected time to commercial HENR systems is now 50 years in the future. After hundreds of $Billions of public money spent, this is the “Real Fusion”solution to our energy needs?
    Ignore that “Fake Fusion” LENR stuff because these people that have spent a few $millions of their own money, can only claim 2 or 3 times output to input, and after 20 years of effort still haven’t put their product into the market place.
    Fraud indeed! just who is really conducting a con-game here?
    I have been studying fusion for over 60 years, Carrying out HENR is a contradiction of the physics involved. The very event of HENR snuffs out the reaction and causes dangerous un-useful high energy radiations. This may NEVER produce useful results.
    LENR shows promise to provide useful energy production as well as solving the problem of passivizing the radioactivity of waste materials that result from Fission reactors. Government regulation is a greater road block here rather then the physics involved…pg

  3. Tregonsee says:

    When I was finishing my physics doctorate in nuclear fusion around 1980, Pons and Fleischmann were just becoming famous, or notorious. My view of conventional fusion techniques was so poor that I moved to another, related area. A decision which I have never regretted. However, I did keep in touch with former colleagues. About the only thing I ever heard about Cold Fusion was the joke that they were buying Mason jars, just in case. 35 years later, a lot of genuinely important physics has been learned about HENR, and perhaps about LENR. When ITER comes on line, and a big if, the results are judged on engineering rather than wish, it may well be found that while you can produce power that way, it is just too marginal to be practical. As for LENR, there seems to be something there, which is important from a physics standpoint. From an engineering standpoint, there are just too many signs that one should be very careful about accepting claims without better proof than has been given.

  4. bruce says:

    If you factor in the energy necessary to prepare the elements? Nano sizing, cleaning, mining the material, preparing the the chambers, I hope it comes out positive returns.

  5. Lionell Griffith says:

    PG: Anything with “Nuclear” in it’s name requires very tight control of it’s use.

    It still doesn’t prohibit a demonstration of a Cold Fusion reactor from being produced and be made available for transparent close inspection. It should be possible to show E Out > E In reliably and on command. Such does not yet exist. All we have had from the Cold Fusion crowed are piles of reports filled with cheap words, diagrams, and charts with promises it is going to happen “real soon now”. There is no evident proof of concept. it is vapor wear until proven otherwise.

    Hot Fusion reactors are approaching Break Even but it appears it is like approaching the speed of light. The closer you get, the more it costs to get still closer. Break Even is promised to happen real soon now but Break Even doesn’t pay the bills.

    The really hard part with Hot Fusion is creating a controlled reaction. We have had H bombs for a long time that give a really big bang with slightly better than order of magnitude control but nothing that can give us so much as a warm glow of extra energy in a usefully controlled way. So controlled Hot Fusion is not vaporware but it is very hard to see the difference.

    I don’t have to be able to buy a Cold Fusion reactor at Walmart but I do have to see one at work and be able to verify it is legitimate before I will be convinced it can happen. The way I see it now, betting that it is going to happen is rather like betting on a horse with a bad case of heaves and two broken legs to win the next Kentucky Derby. The only sure thing is most if not all your money will end up in someone else’s pocket.

  6. philjourdan says:

    Ok #4 – Weinstein.

    First, I do not believe any of these democrats about their “shock” about the letch. The Godfather was written almost 50 years ago! And it was old then! So I have no respect for any of them. They got what they wanted from him – big careers. Save us your faux outrage.

    But why now? I feel like the Guild in Dune. I see plots within plots within plots. And yes, I see the invisible hand of Donald Trump. It is definitely a boon to him, but I think we have only seen the edge of this “scandal”. It has quieted many of the Hollywood mouths, even when they try to bring up the tape! But this is too big to be ONLY that. So I will just wait and see what else pops out of this. I think we have only seen the opening gambit. The main game has not started yet.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes as this story develops, it will completely destroy the moral authority (as if they ever had any) of the Hollywood A list actors to chide Trump about his actions. They will be shown to be total hypocrites as the world learns he just talked about what Hollywood stars and groupies would allow powerful people to do, yet they were actually doing it or witnesses to that sort of behavior and never said a word to protect their careers. Clearly an open secret in the industry.

    There is a video of Scarlett Johansson allowing herself to be fondled on camera by Ryan Seacrest during a TV interview, and all she does is smile giggle a bit and stand there, completely acquiescing to the groping. The hosts joke about her having her breast squeezed repeatedly and that it was okay because the man doing it was gay.

    This was a joke to everyone involved but is clearly proves what Trump said that starlets and groupies will let rich powerful men do absolutely anything.

    There are many stories out there about how the casting couch is a lot more than a couch and young actresses will do literally anything to get parts. Unfortunately the media and the industry have a code of Career Omerta about this sort of institutionalized assault culture in the form of blacklisting anyone who says anything. Much like Bill Cosby everyone knows it is going on but no one is willing to sacrifice multi million dollar movie parts to say anything publicly.

  8. jim2 says:

    We were discussing temperature and heat measurements the other day. This instrument has actually been used to study some of the cold fusion claims and came up with zilch. (I’m not sure why drug links are in there ??)



    Some experiments:


    More experiments:


  9. jim2 says:

    Don’t forget Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein.

  10. philjourdan says:

    Another hint of what is up with Weinstein (plans within plans within plans). http://www.breitbart.com/news/rose-mcgowans-twitter-account-suspended-there-are-powerful-forces-at-work/

    Now, even the left is getting bitten by the big 3. Will they learn to NOT trust “big brother” (whether he wears a fed uniform or a Google one)? Or will they meekly go along?

    This onion is worth the peel!

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    Item on how North Korea has broken through into production self sufficiency with key enabling technology of CNC machines. By cloning purchased machines it has learned how to build its own, which enable them to manufacture at home prohibited technology which is very difficult to buy on the open market. Like The Red Chinese of the Korean war vintage made complete from the ground up knock offs of US jeeps complete with hood emblems North Korea has lifted itself by its boot straps with the aid of blackmarket equipment to achieve near manufacturing parity with other industrial nations.


  12. E.M.Smith says:


    I always wondered why the embargoed folks didn’t just make their own. It isn’t like CNC is new or exotic. Just machine tools and computer attached to drive motors. Easier than disk drives…


    Nothing like watching The Most Left eat their own … makes for entertaining irony ;-)


    I’ve often said doing calorimetry correctly is very very hard. It is my core complaint about Global Warmers. They do it very very wrong.

  13. Another Ian says:


    A bit hard to hook it up in one of these

    Parr automatic adiabatic calorimeter

  14. jim2 says:

    @ Another Ian says:Parr automatic adiabatic calorimeter

    I’ve used one of those. Long, long, time ago …

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think this should be filed under – I could have told you that before the law was passed.
    Study finds mandatory background check laws on all gun sales have little if any affect on the number of background checks actually run. In short they are a complete waste of time and money.


  16. Lionell Griffith says:

    “In short they are a complete waste of time and money.”

    Which supports my contention that is exactly what the intended result was in the first place. The failure of the law to “work” will lead to more demands for laws that themselves won’t “work”. Repeatedly, until martial law is declared followed by the collapse of the society.

    The goal of ALL such laws is the ultimate takeover of every aspect of the citizens lives by the increasingly empowered government. The final outcome of which will be the society collapses into a pile of rubble. It is not “for the children”, it is not “for the poor and disadvantaged”, it is not for “the public interest”, it is for only and exactly the destruction of the good BECAUSE it is good.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Power hates competition. All power acts to consolidate to itself and remove the power from others. The whole “gun laws” mess is just one example. The end state is Tyranny and Supreme Central Authority, that lasts until it collapses from lack of maintenance by the rabble…

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    Trump gets his victory on immigration ban through Supreme Court decision that dismisses as moot and vacates earlier lower court rulings on the case.



  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmmm do it yourself medicines?
    The Linux effect is now about to change modern medicine (although might take several decades)
    (this site has a pop up which disappeared for me on reloading the page)

  20. jim2 says:

    No, I missed the “automatic.” I used a manual bomb calorimeter.

  21. Another Ian says:

    jim2 says:
    13 October 2017 at 11:14 pm

    No, I missed the “automatic.” I used a manual bomb calorimeter.

    Jim, they were nice gear even back in BC when I used one

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    I’d agree with that. Trump is very tactical. Having identified the obstuctionist targets, he looked at methods, then resources, and Bannon moved out to be a rebel underground loyal to the king… atticking the swamp from befind…


    Folks have always made their own medicines, thus my copy of an 1800s pharmacopia and several herbal remedy books. What that guy is doing is just extending it to kitchen science for synthetic drugs. That the last half century or so the FDA has acted to suppress what people have always done has slowed it, but not stopped it.

    I’m all for DIY anything. I’m presently making DIY antidepressant – hard cider :-)

    I was going to make a still, then I learned to do freeze separation and it was moot. I did develop the acetone THC extraction technique (about 45 years ago…). Chemistry is your friend ;-)

    If times demanded it, I could easily start making DIY aspirin and penicillin. I’ve used blue cheese to cure things like sore throats. The penicillin is destroyed in the stomach, but soaks in through the mucous membranes. So just slowly let bits of blue dissolve in the mouth and under the tongue all day. Aqueous extractions are trivial (I make one each morning from coffee :-) and since csmelia are a tea plant, extracting caffeine would be simple. I already have the plant. (Made tea from it once. Workable, but uninspired flavor).

    That said, his bioreactor looks more gimic than functional to me. Metal lid band in a reaction space is not a good idea. I hope that was really the shadow of something else. Personally, I’d go for a fish tank heater and glass bowl aquarium or 1/2 gallon canning jar with plastic plug… or mayo jar with plastic lid (temperatures permitting). Though I did make biodiesel in a quart canning jar…

    The idea that chemistry is to become the exclusive domain of drug and chemical companies is offensive. Far beyond a “micro-aggression”.

  23. jim2 says:

    How’s that coal-burning car workin’ out for ya there Elon?

    “PALO ALTO – Tesla fired hundreds of workers this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers, even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line.”


  24. You may have fun watching Hillary Clinton talking about how bad it is having someone in the White House who preys on women. She’s of course talking about Weinstein….

  25. p.g.sharrow says:

    It seems that H1b visa and workman’s comp.figures heavily in this realignment Ah la Disneyland. Only foreign workers need apply and the laid off have to train their replacements…pg

  26. jim2 says:

    pgs – Elon is behind on sales of the new vehicle. He gets paid by taxpayers to turn out his rubbish. Still, not saying he won’t use foreign labor. In a just nation, he would be in prison.

  27. p.g.sharrow says:

    jim2; I think you are right. Musk has mortgaged the farm, all it’s production for the next hundred years, eaten the seed corn and after screwing his suppliers and customers is starting on his employees. I wonder just how long he can keep up the appearance of success before his Ponzi collapses. Textbook MBA operation built on government largess and snakeoil…pg

  28. Another Ian says:

    The kawphy spelling comes to mind


    And in this era of genderbending will IH collectors have to censor the badges on the IH Transtar line?

  29. Another Ian says:

    “Report: FBI Uncovers Confirmation of Hillary Clinton’s Corrupt Uranium Deal with Russia”


    Been a suspicion that Trump knows of Napoleon’s comment about not correcting the errors of your opponents. And as to where the ends of the rope might be.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    Per Tesla:

    The entire Tesla Strategy (and Solar City and batteries and … ) rests on the foundation of Musk’s Mars Fixation.

    He has said he wanted to set up a Mars Colony since way young. It was a passion for him. What do you need in a Mars Colony?

    1) Solar Power. There isn’t a lot of oil and coal up there. So solar collectors.

    2) Electricity Storage. Between dust storms and night there’s gotta be a way to keep the lights on, the air clean, and the sewage pumped. Thus the battery program.

    3) Electric Vehicles. Can’t get around Mars on a combustion engine. What you gonna combust with what air.?

    4) Getting There. Need to be able to land your big ‘ol ship packed with people and supplies, and that isn’t going to happen with ‘chutes and rubber bags. Thus his rocket design with powered landing.

    5) OPM. To make all this happen, you need a LOT of Other People’s Money. Thus the move into lots of Government Subsidy Programs. (Getting them created if not already available). From cars to solar panels to batteries to even his Rockets. Get Uncle Sugar lined up to pay for it (and hide a lot of the R&D for a Mars Colony from close connection to a Mars Colony…) By the time he’s ready to launch, most of his R&D, tooling, and facilities will all be sunk cost from other “programs”.

    All we need to know now is what “venture” he will be rolling out that is a drop in replacement for a Mars Habitat and Mars Greenhouses…

    So from his point of view, any and all waypoint technologies (like Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy) are just disposable R&D steps toward the final machine. If they can be used to suck down subsidy money or get “customer” payments, so much the better.

    That said:

    With the Key Money Laundry of the Democrats out of power and with a hard headed penny pinching businessman in place; I suspect Herr Musk is wondering when the subsidy gravy train will be shut off and figuring out where he’s going to kill production costs to preserve progress to The Dream…

    At least, that’s what it looks like to me.

    Per Weinstein:

    Well, it’s fun to watch The Left get caught up in their own Political Traps. They thought that by defining things like “elevator eyes” (looking from head to toe) and saying “nice hair” as “sexual harassment” they would catch lots of Evil Republican Men. Both those things were explicitly called out in the Managers & The Law classes Apple required us all to attend. What they missed was that conservative guys are not as prone to “abuses” as the Liberals Of Hollywood… It was even emphasized that even if you are NOT at work, and run into one of your employees at a bar, and say “Hey, wanna dance?”, that being “off duty” doesn’t matter. Furthermore, even if the opposite number says “Sure, I’d love to dance!” – that doesn’t matter as it is considered under color of authority.

    So yeah, if ‘ol Harvey even said “Nice hair” or when casting for a part of a dancer said “lets see your legs and how you dance” he is technically committing “Sexual Harassment” under California law and case precedents.

    Now don’t get me wrong: Near as I can tell ‘ol Harvey was a stellar example of a sexual predator using power to coerce “favors”. I’m not defending him. What I am saying is that I’d expect pretty much 100% of anyone he “looked at” for casting could file a “valid” sexual harassment case given the rules in California. (Even if you are not in a boss / subordinate relationship and are neutral parties in terms of ‘power’, AND BOTH have agreed to a voluntary sexual relationship, under some circumstances if you fail to (for example) ask permission to move from kissing to caressing or ‘petting’ you are guilty. EVERY STEP is to be formally declared and permission asked. “May I hold your hand?”, “May I kiss you?”, “May I stroke your hair?”, etc. etc. No Joke.

    Similarly “rape” has been redefined to include all sorts of not-quite-sex. I can’t keep track of the edge cases (and don’t need to anymore). So those who accused him of “rape” may in fact have said “SURE, you can have sex with me”, but FELT like it wasn’t fully voluntary. Or even just changed their mind at the half way point… so if might have been consensual right up until the point she decided she’d rather be doing her hair, then it became “rape”…

    All those from formal legal training for managers on the topic.

    Given all that, I simply now never look below the chin (not hard as I lip read to assist my hearing most of the time, and NEVER EVER say anything at all about anything on, about, or near the person. Hair, clothes, shoes, makeup, height, weight, complexion, “partners”, preferences, what is someone’s favorite color, weekend plans, you name it. Any gals wondering why they get no interest from anyone at work need look no further than the law. Start talking about what you like to do on weekends, or worse, flirt even a little bit, I’ll suddenly have Things To Do elsewhere.

    BTW, this is NOT paranoia. It saved my bacon at one job. A “young hubulette” (local jargon for nubile young thing who knows it and works it) came in with midriff showing. Tight top, tight pants. She posed and wiggled such that anyone NOT fully up on things would have at minimum looked at her hips / waist. I stayed fixed gaze at her eyes. She was one of my employees and I’d just taken over the department a week before. LATER I found out she had a lawsuit against one of my other employees who was counter suing. Both or sexual harassment. I would rather have liked it IF I’d been briefed on this before the fact… I was gone from there in about 4 weeks and glad to be out of it. I’m pretty sure if I’d said anything like “Um, that top and midriff showing are not appropriate for the workplace” I’d have been off to HR for having “looked her over”. (Lucky for me I have excellent peripheral vision ;-)

    So ‘ol Harvey arranging meetings in hotel rooms? Making passes? Heck, even just looking ’em over at the office? 100% convicted under California Law. I’m surprised it took this long.

    Love the picture of Humma, Harvey, and Ms. Clinton all rubbing each others … presence…

    The SDA cartoon sums it up nicely too! The donkey has jus the right look ;-)

    That Ms. Clinton and The Dims can’t wrap their head around the idea that she was a Very Bad Candidate and they blew an election that was theirs for the taking if they had run damn near anyone else (including the Socialist Bernie! – heck, I might have even voted for him over Trump given the press at the time.), well, it’s just precious. “Bless their little hearts…” (Southern /Sarc;)

    Until they get back in touch with folks who get a W2 each year and not a pile of 1099s and portfolio analysis, they will continue to walk in the desert…

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    That makes sense, I have been of the opinion for a long time that his real goal was space travel but had not made the specific mars connection.

    I suspect the hypertube project is part of the puzzle as well. Given dust storms on Mars, travel between settlements would be greatly facilitated by hypertube connections. The livable atmospheres needed in the capsules with a near vacuum in the tube like on a space craft will challenge technology for maintaining breathable atmospheres in small spaces, sealing and all that sort of hardware needed to make the hypertubes viable. Throw in the space capsule and you have a second habitable atmosphere project to share the load with, and both of those projects are probably good prospects for supplementary funding by Government.

    The nice thing about the hypertubes is he can sell that technology world wide so can milk dozens of government fund streams to keep the projects afloat.

    He has talked about Mars habitats recently. It appears he favors underground habitats rather than large above surface habitats. If so the tunneling technology would fit in well with hypertube needs if he builds sub surface hypertube networks here on earth, he can sort out his tunneling technology here.



  32. E.M.Smith says:

    Gee… looks like the key hot property that was accusing O’Reily of bad conduct has a prior arrest for making false accusations to the police:


    A 2015 arrest by Detroit police of a key accuser of Bill O’Reilly for giving a false report of a crime has raised serious doubts as to her credibility.

    In April, O’Reilly was fired from Fox News shortly after Perquita Burgess claimed the host made sexually suggestive comments to her, including calling her “hot chocolate.”
    A Detroit Police report dated Feb. 11, 2015, documents Burgess’s arrest on charges of making a false report and obstructing a court order.

    According to the police document, Burgess called authorities and alleged her boyfriend had struck her in the face with a gun. Police said when they arrived at the scene Burgess “appeared intoxicated.”

    The arresting officer stated: “I asked Ms. Burgess where the gun was that she was struck with in the face, she replied there is no gun. I again asked her where the gun was, and if she had been assaulted. Ms. Burgess stated there was no gun, and he didn’t assault me!”

    The boyfriend told police she had threatened him, saying she would call “the cops saying you hit me with a gun!”

    According to the police document, Burgess was arrested for filing a false felony report and for violating a personal protection order.

    Why I think even cads like Weinstein ought not to have punative measures taken (such as being fired, having the Academy toss him out, etc.) until such time as some charge has been proven. It is WAY too easy to have someone just accuse and cause harm, when it’s all just a fabrication or set-up. Innocent until PROVEN guilty.

    (Though I wouldn’t let my daughter work there until the trial was over ;-)

  33. Another Ian says:

    “(Though I wouldn’t let my daughter work there until the trial was over ;-)”

    IIRC. Wouldn’t that be another difference between you and Obama?

  34. Another Ian says:

    Re Another Ian says:
    17 October 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Rephrased by Kate

    “When The Democrats Do It, That Means That It’s Not Illegal”


  35. A C Osborn says:

    E.M.Smith says 17 October 2017 at 11:08 pm Re Tesla & Mars.
    Surely Mini Nukes is the way to go for powering any kind of undrground city and transportation systems?
    I can’t see any kind of Solar/Battery power solutions for those kind of loads.
    Ok for low load single vehicles as Mars rovers have shown.

  36. p.g.sharrow says:

    If Musk thinks that a Mars settlement is viable and can be solar powered he has never done the numbers. Of course as he has always been rich so He has no real concept of the cost of the wealth needed. Even the richest country in the world could not afford this project. AC Osborn is correct, only a Nuc power plant could provide enough power for this proposed boondoggle, and for what? There is nothing on Mars that we know of that is worth that kind of cost..pg

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m certain that the best power solution for Mars is a tiny nuke. Just the same, what will be politically acceptable is a large solar array and lots of dust removal… and occasional replacement.

    As per Mars Colony viability:

    I think it is viable, though I also think a lunar colony is more viable.


    Well, “cost to orbit”. Currently about $10,000 a pound. Maybe, if really done well, they can get that down to about $2000 or maybe even $1000. We’re talking about the price of silver. That makes even dirt valuable.

    So what can you make “up there” that pays off? Things that would otherwise be launched from Earth. All sorts of satellites (those solar panels making more sense now?) and things like spaceships (tubular or otherwise… that Tubular One (or whatever it’s named) train making more sense now?). Air and water. (Those air and water makers on Mars making more sense now?…) Rocket fuel. Insulation. Etc. etc.

    When you are paid $1000 / pound for spun rock and LOX, it isn’t as hard to make a profit.

    Then also note that assembled in low gravity with a soft launch, the whole structure can be lighter anyway as it doesn’t need to stand up to 3 Gs plus shaking.

    I suspect it will take a decade or so before actual products at a profit are made. Initial uses being government subsidized “R&D” (i.e. playing by ‘scientists’). But pretty soon you will find an offer to “refuel” satellites on orbit thus saving the $Billions to launch a new one (after all, we have the fuel being made and we’re in the area…). Then offers to attach solar panels to a stub sent up from Earth when you fuel it. Eventually getting to “just send up the instruments and we’ll wrap it in structure”. Titanium and Aluminum easy to come by on the Moon and in most rocks. Same thing for thermal shielding. Cost of high tech gold layered ultralight fabric vs rock wool installed on orbit from low cost lunar spinner.

    IMHO, it’s all about weight and comparative difficulty to manufacture. Things easily made on orbit or on Luna or Mars and with a significant weight component are advantaged by lift costs. Small light complex things like computer chips, or fancy hard to make materials (think 36 layer sandwich of mylar, metals, and more but only 1 mm thick) will be best sent up.

    People, long term, need dirt to hide under in solar storms (or just generally), plus some gravity or the metabolic changes are too much. So Luna and Mars both have an advantage for the people parts. Plus, things like making a melt of ore work better with some gravity… Mars has much more CO2 and Ice from which to make water, air, and fuels.

    Biggest issues I see with making Mars long term habitable are mostly the risks from things like dust storms, dust everywhere in general (silicosis is not your friend) and life for decades at fractional G; plus the psychological issues of spending 99.9%+ of your time underground in a cave. Oh, and during the start-up phase, getting enough variety of needed talents available. Doctors, Dentists, Botanists, Metallurgists, etc. etc. You need a LOT of people to make even a tiny town “go”. I’d say somewhere around single digits 1000s. (Folks will NOT want to be told “We could cure this on Earth, but not here” or “Well, a CAT scan would tell us in an hour, but I’m going to need to cut you open”. So the mass to stabile is larger than folks typically think. At $10,000 / pound to orbit, deorbiting a 200 lb person for a kidney stone lithotripsy then re-orbiting is a $2,000,000 kidney stone… Now look at the size of even small town hospitals…)

    So a rapid rise to “a few thousand” would be needed to get out of the “just visiting – services back on Earth” hole. If he can’t ramp to that inside a couple of years, it’s going to wither and die. $2 Million / head x 2000 heads is “only” $4 Billion for getting the staff up there. Figure about $8-32 Billion for the support gear for the folks (allowing that they will make some chunk of it up there). Heck, that’s less than one Jet Fighter Program the Pentagon throws away just before they are ready to deliver the first batch post prototype… ;sarc/

    So yeah: Hard. Requires massive money only Government Subsidy is likely to have. Highly risky. Lots of folks going to die in the process one way or another. Economics sketchy until shown to work / worked out. But I’d go…

  38. Another Ian says:

    “Most Depressing Thing I Read Today
    October 18, 2017, 10:29 am

    On the Dell web site, at the head of a no-export agreement I had to sign:

    The U.S. government views exporting as a privilege, not a right.

    Of course, my home state of Arizona considers every commercial transaction to be a privilege, not a right.”


  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    I happen to be in the process of reading a book titled:

    “The Chinese Invasion Threat”
    Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia
    (Ian Easton)
    (c) 2017

    This book details Chinese war planning documents and comments their Military have made about their intent to take back Taiwan by force if necessary by approximately 2020
    Details are extracted from both public and restricted Chinese Language documents. The book gives a very good detailed analysis of this objective which has been openly discussed by Chinese military and other information sources since 1949. Their current military build up efforts are well along toward that goal as they build the means to be dominant in the area between their continental coast and key islands like Kinmen (formerly known as Quemoy) and the Matsu island group

    As mentioned in the above linked article their military build up efforts clearly point to acquiring the means to conduct an amphibious invasion of Taiwan and associated key islands.

    Very good read (easy to follow well written) and stunning in its implications.

    It is interesting to observe that North Korea is useful toward that objective as a major distraction and possibly a diversion of military resources if it went hot at the right time.

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