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May 19, 2013

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Posted by in categories: business, ethics, existential risks, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, philosophy, sustainability

Medical science has changed humanity. It changed what it means to be human, what it means to live a human life. So many of us reading this (and at least one person writing it) owe their lives to medical advances, without which we would have died.

Live expectancy is now well over double what it was for the Medieval Briton, and knocking hard on triple’s door.

What for the future? Extreme life extension is no more inherently ridiculous than human flight or the ability to speak to a person on the other side of the world. Science isn’t magic – and ageing has proven to be a very knotty problem – but science has overcome knotty problems before.

A genuine way to eliminate or severely curtail the influence of ageing on the human body is not in any sense inherently ridiculous. It is, in practice, extremely difficult, but difficult has a tendency to fall before the march of progress. So let us consider what implications a true and seismic advance in this area would have on the nature of human life.

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Mar 22, 2013

Brian Greene, String Theory & the Gamow Memorial Lectures

Posted by in categories: business, education, particle physics, physics, policy, space

The University of Colorado Boulder holds its annual Gamow Memorial Lecture around this time of the year. This year, Feb 26, 2013, Brian Greene gave the lecture, on multiverses.

His talk was very good. He explained why there are 10500 possible variations to possible universes, and ours was just one of many possible universes, thus the term multiverse.

How interesting. This is an extension of the idea that the Earth or the Sun not being at the center of our Universe.

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Mar 3, 2013

Petition for Americium Emergency Stockpile

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, business, chemistry, counterterrorism, defense, economics, engineering, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, physics, policy, polls, rants, robotics/AI, space, transparency, treaties

I continue to survey the available technology applicable to spaceflight and there is little change.

The remarkable near impact and NEO on the same day seems to fly in the face of the experts quoting a probability of such coincidence being low on the scale of millenium. A recent exchange on a blog has given me the idea that perhaps crude is better. A much faster approach to a nuclear propelled spaceship might be more appropriate.

Unknown to the public there is such a thing as unobtanium. It carries the country name of my birth; Americium.

A certain form of Americium is ideal for a type of nuclear solid fuel rocket. Called a Fission Fragment Rocket, it is straight out of a 1950’s movie with massive thrust at the limit of human G-tolerance. Such a rocket produces large amounts of irradiated material and cannot be fired inside, near, or at the Earth’s magnetic field. The Moon is the place to assemble, test, and launch any nuclear mission.

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Jan 27, 2013

AIAA Rocky Mountain — Sentinel Program

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, business, defense, education, engineering, events, physics, space

For those in Colorado who are interested in attending a talk by John Troeltzsch, Sentinel Ball Program Manager, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. please R.S.V.P Chris Zeller ([email protected]) by Tuesday, 26 February 2013 for badge access. US citizenship required.

6:00 pm Thursday, February 28th 2013
6:00 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Ball Aerospace Boulder Campus RA7 Conference Room
1600 Commerce St
Boulder, CO 80301

It will be good to see you there.

About the Talk:
The inner solar system is populated with a half million asteroids larger than the one that struck Tunguska and yet we’ve identified and mapped only about one percent of these asteroids to date.

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Jan 13, 2013

Water, Bombs, WE CAN GO NOW

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, existential risks, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, policy, space, transparency

I was recently accused on another blog of repeating a defeatist mantra.

My “mantra” has always been WE CAN GO NOW. The solutions are crystal clear to anyone who takes a survey of the available technology. What blinds people is their unwillingness to accept the cost of making it happen.
There is no cheap.

Paul Gilster comments on his blog Centauri Dreams, concerning Radiation, Alzheimer’s Disease and Fermi;

“Neurological damage from human missions to deep space — and the study goes no further than the relatively close Mars — would obviously affect our planning and create serious payload constraints given the need for what might have to be massive shielding.”

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Jan 5, 2013

Gravity Modification – What Is The Record?

Posted by in categories: business, defense, economics, education, lifeboat, particle physics, physics, policy, space, transparency

If, we as a community, are intending to accelerate the development of interstellar travel we have to glower at the record and ask ourselves some tough questions. First, what is the current record of the primary players? Second, why is everyone afraid to try something outside the status quo theories?

At the present time the primary players are associated with the DARPA funded 100-Year Starship Study, as Icarus Interstellar who is cross linked with The Tau Zero Foundation and Centauri Dreams is a team member of the 100YSS. I was surprised to find Jean-Luc Cambier on Tau Zero.

Gary Church recently put the final nail in the Icarus Interstellar‘s dreams to build a rocket ship for interstellar travel. In his post on Lifeboat, Cosmic Ray Gorilla Gary Church says “it is likely such a shield will massive over a thousand tons”. Was he suggesting that the new cost of an interstellar rocket ship is not 3.4x World GDP but 34x or 340x World GDP? Oops!

Let us look at the record. Richard Obousy of Icarus Interstellar and Eric Davis of Institute for Advanced Studies claimed that it was possible, using string theories to travel at not just c, the velocity of light but at 1E32c, or c multiplied by a 1 followed by 32 zeros. However, Lorentz-FitzGerald transformations show that anything with mass cannot travel faster than the velocity of light. Note that Lorentz-FitzGerald is an empirical observation which was incorporated into Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

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Jan 1, 2013

Gravity Modification – What Went Wrong?

Posted by in categories: business, chemistry, defense, education, engineering, physics, policy, scientific freedom, space, transparency

Recently, I met Josh Hopkins of Lockheed’s Advanced Programs, AIAA Rocky Mountain Region’s First Annual Technical Symposium (RMATS), October 26, 2012. Josh was the keynote speaker at this RMATS. Here is his presentation. After his presentation we talked outside the conference hall. I told him about my book, and was surprised when he said that two groups had failed to reproduce Podkletnov’s work. I knew one group had but a second? As we parted we said we’d keep in touch. But you know how life is, it has the habit of getting in the way of exciting research, and we lost touch.

About two weeks ago, I remembered, that Josh had said that he would provide some information on the second group that had failed to reproduce Podkletnov’s work. I sent him an email, and was very pleased to hear back from him and that the group’s finding had been published under the title “Gravity Modification by High-Temperature Semiconductors”. The authors were C. Woods, S. Cooke, J. Helme & C. Caldwell. Their paper was published in the 37th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 8–11 July 2001, Salt Lake City, Utah. I bought a copy for the AIAA archives, and read it, reread it, and reread it.

Then I found a third team they published their lack of findings “Gravity Modification Experiments Using a Rotating Superconducting Disk and Radio Frequency Fields”. The authors were G. Hathaway, B. Cleveland and Y. Bao. Published in Physica C, 2003.

Both papers focused on attempting to build a correct superconducting disc. At least Wood et al said “the tests have not fulfilled the specified conditions for a gravity effect”. The single most difficult thing to do was to build a bilayered superconducting disc. Woods et al tried very hard to do so. Reading through Hathaway et all paper suggest that they too had similar difficulties. Photo shows a sample disc from Woods’ team. Observe the crack in the middle.

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Jan 1, 2013

2012 was Great and may 2013 be Extraordinary

Posted by in categories: business, education, engineering, ethics, fun, human trajectories, lifeboat, media & arts, open access, open source, policy, scientific freedom, space, transparency

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words .….….……May 2013 be EXTRAORDINARY … the best year of your life!!! Simply the best New Year greeting anyone has sent to me. This was from Robert White of Extraordinary People.

This morning I checked the Lifeboat stats for 2012. When I started blogging for Lifeboat at the end of July, we ended July 2012 with 42,771 unique visitors. We closed 2012 with 90,920 unique visitors for the month December. Wow! Our blogging has become more relevant, and more thought provoking. As a community of bloggers (with the exception of one) we have moved away from the 3 Cs of pseudoscience. Clouding the field. Confusing the public’s perception. Chasing away talent.

How did we do this? By backing up our discussions with hard facts, robust debate and real numbers. From years if not decades of investigation in our field of research. By speaking from our own unique experience. By sharing that unique experience with our readers.

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Dec 30, 2012

Gravity Modification – New Tools

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

To understand why gravity modification is not yet a reality, let’s analyze other fundamental discoveries/inventions that changed our civilization or at least the substantially changed the process of discovery. There are several that come to mind, the atomic bomb, heavier than air manned flight, the light bulb, personal computers, and protein folding. There are many other examples but these are sufficient to illustrate what it takes. Before we start, we have to understand four important and related concepts.

(1) Clusters or business clusters, first proposed by Harvard prof. Michael Porter, “a business cluster is a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a particular field. Clusters are considered to increase the productivity with which companies can compete, nationally and globally”. Toyota City which predates Porter’s proposal, comes to mind. China’s 12 new cities come to mind, and yes there are pro and cons.

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Dec 19, 2012

The Fabulous Spaceport Colorado (Part 4)

Posted by in categories: business, economics, engineering, geopolitics, philosophy, policy, space

Last month a colleague of mine and I visited with Dennis Heap, Executive Director of the National Front Range Airport, at Watkins, CO, the location of the future Spaceport Colorado, and Colorado’s contribution to getting into space. Here is Part 4.

In Part 4, I dwell more into the economic concepts necessary for a spaceports’ long term success. The single most important concept one has to understand with any type of port, airport, seaport and spaceports is the concept of the hinterland economy. The hinterland economy is the surrounding local economy that the port services, either by population demographics, commercial & industrial base or transportation hub per its geographic location.

The Sweden-America model, like Westport Malaysia requires that a hinterland economy will eventually be built close to the port. Westport’s then Vice-Chairman of the Board, Gnanalingam (we called him ‘G’) whom I reported to, had the foresight, the influence and the connections within the Malaysian public sector, to encourage the infrastructure development within Pulah Indah and the neighboring locations.

The hinterland is critical to the success of the port. Therefore the key to a port’s success is the clarification of the term ‘local’ in the definition of the concept of the hinterland. When I joined Westport in 1995, a hinterland was defined as within approximately a 15 mile (24 km) radius of the port. In my opinion that was too small a segment of the economy to facilitate the success of Westport. That definition did not match up with Westport’s ambition to be a world class seaport and transshipment hub that could give PSA (Port Authority of Singapore, then largest container port in the world) a run for its money.

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