Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow day

I was planning on cleaning out my Jimmy in preparation for leaving tomorrow, but not while it's snowing. Actually, I'm not in a hurry for anything. It's just that tomorrow is my pay day.

I was hoping to get a loan, but that fell through. So next month it's the dollar menu or less for the entire month... I'm hoping it will not be for two.

I got to move my truck for my brother to get his truck past mine... back later. ... I'm back. That's one thing I'm not going to miss. We've got space to pack 20 cars in the front, but no matter where I park someone will ask me to move my Jimmy. Usually the moment I've found some comfort.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Re: ARM. This is just too funny...

Or sad.

Redirecting an asteroid is not top priority of the Asteroid Redirect Mission? In three days they are suppose to announce option A or B. Option C is much lower cost and less risky: They take a rock from earth to lunar orbit. The problem with that is it removes the smoke and mirrors surrounding the rocket to nowhere... SLS.

As predicted it seems Mars One is going to fall short on funding (See here and here.) They haven't started their reality show yet which is supposed to start this year. The 2018 (aprox. $400m) mission needs to begin now to be ready for launch. This is the least risky mission since it uses a proven lander based on Phoenix. If they don't do this by 2018 they flush away a lot of credibility they may never get back.

This is what Inspiration Mars did by going begging to the government. If they had based their mission on 13 tons lifted by Falcon Heavy with a Dragon return vehicle, they could have done the whole thing for the $200m they already had. What a wasted opportunity! It would have also demonstrated the feasibility of parts of my plan. 2 days to road trip...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our village idiot in chief

Did President Obama really say, "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding?"

What a [evil] Moron!

Does he know why Jefferson had a Koran and why it came from England? Does he know why the marines sing about the shores of Tripoli?
"Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding. Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America.  The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s.  America’s first mosque -- this was an interesting fact -- was in North Dakota."
So the late 1800's, when railroads were being built in this country, were our founding years?

We believe in tolerance. Don't reinterpret our history for us with your lies Mr. President.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Altered plan

I was going to go to phoenix first. Spending a few weeks getting laughed out of lawyers offices, but I located a friend from a decade ago working in Seattle that I definitely need to visit as well as others in WA. So I'm going to Sacramento first (I hear they have lawyers there as well) see some family and head up I-5 from there. One more week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Final 100

Selected by Mars One.

Penny auctions

Imagine they didn't exist and I came up with the idea. You'd laugh at me and perhaps tell me they'd be illegal. Think about how they work. Every bid cost 60 cents to raise the bid one penny. Let's say you won an auction for $20 on an item worth $100, good deal right? Yeah, for the company that got 2000 x 0.60 + 20 or $1220 for a $100 item (and free shipping!!!)

I just saw a commercial for LMT. Last Minute Travel offers advanced purchase rates for last minute purchases. How do they do that? Probably by buying blocks of tickets in advance and reselling them. If so, that's a nutty idea too, but they seem to make it work, since they can afford late night TV commercials?

Each would seem to have failure modes which they usually avoid (a single penny bid that wins, the travel ticket you choose didn't have a bulk purchase) that they would still have to honor.

Well my latest nutty idea is to sell mars by the hectare. Ridiculous, right? The first problem is liquidity (if you think I haven't considered other problems as well including legality, you'd be wrong.). If I set up an exchange starting with a sell order for 10 billion hectares, in a normal bid/ask nobody that buys hectares could sell them until all 10 billion were first sold. So we fix that with a market maker. We buy some of those hectares at a higher unit cost, bypassing the 10b sell order.

That introduces other problems such as gaming the system and fairness. But I have solutions for that as well that include visibility of the issue so nobody is treated unfairly. In part by published execution order rules that work the same for everybody. First order executed is by lowest unit price (excluding $1 for liquidity buys), then lowest unit quantity, then first order timestamp. Along with that is liquidity buys are random throughout the month so nobody can take advantage over anybody else.

So the first timestamped sell 1 unit @ $2 goes first. Each person can only have one order at a time. Double your money guaranteed if your sell order is unchanged long enough. That's better than some lottery ticket that guarantees you nothing.

Obviously, if only one person used the system they'd get all the liquidity buy profits, but competition would be the norm so those profits would be fairly distributed among everyone that participated. Over time those liquidity purchases would grow as more people participated and I would no longer need to prime the pump at my own personal loss.

Taking a personal loss is a crazy idea, right? Hey, if I could avoid it and still make this work I would. It's not the only personal cost either... not even close to the biggest. But my goal is to make colonization possible even at a significant personal cost. I would not go forward with this if my lawyer had said it can't work. Now all I have to do is get a lawyer to work for me on the details.

Some may be thinking the SEC would get involved and shut me down, but think about this... they don't shut down game sites that sell virtual coins and this isn't really any different (except the players of this game actually profit.)

So laugh all you like... then wonder why you didn't do this? Seven more days and counting...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Growth of the trust

Ok, suppose I've set up the Mars Colony Trust I've described. How might it go? Think of kickstarter but not requiring a funding goal...

10 billion hectares are for sale at $1 each. One person opens an account for $10 and purchases 10 hectares. They add a $2 sell order for 10 hectares. Evergreen account report...
Trust amount: $10. Members: 1. Payout: Zero
Sell 9,999,999,990 @ $1.
Sell 10 @ $2.

I buy those 10 hectares and issue a check...
Trust amount: $10. Members: 2. Payout: $20.
Sell 9,999,999,990 @ $1.

The person gets the check and cashes it. "Holy crap, is this for real? I just doubled my money?" but being cautious they only buy another 10 hectares but also get a bit greedy...
Trust amount: $20. Members: 2. Payout: $20.
Sell 9,999,999,980 @ $1.
Sell 10 @ $3.

I'm not buying at $3 because I know: Sell 1 @ $1,000,000 comes next, so the order sits for a while until they change it to $2 and I buy and issue a check...
Trust amount: $20. Members: 2. Payout: $40.
Sell 9,999,999,980 @ $1.

When they cash that next check they think they've got it figured so they buy 100 hectares adding another sell order...
Trust amount: $120. Members: 2. Payout: $40.
Sell 9,999,999,880 @ $1.
Sell 100 @ $2.

I've only got $60 left in my monthly budget and issue the check...
Trust amount: $120. Members: 2. Payout: $100.
Sell 9,999,999,880 @ $1.
Sell 70 @ $2.

Now they're mad. They invested $120 and only got $100 back. They don't even notice these are no fee transactions as they would be with any online stock broker. Now a new month comes...
Trust amount: $120. Members: 2. Payout: $200.
Sell 9,999,999,880 @ $1.
Sell 20 @ $2.

The trust hasn't earned any interest because $1000 increments will be invested at a time and even if we'd have had that an investment month had not yet passed. Meanwhile two more people stick their toes in the water...
Trust amount: $140. Members: 4. Payout: $200.
Sell 9,999,999,860 @ $1.
Sell 20 @ $2.
2 x Sell 10 @ $2.

Now the end of the month is a bit away but I'm acting like a market maker to provide liquidity at this early stage of the game (until interest earnings can take the pressure off me) so I decide to go ahead and buy those orders...
Trust amount: $140. Members: 4. Payout: $280.
Sell 9,999,999,860 @ $1.

Since I bought all hectares the issue of order execution order didn't come up. Normally, first timestamp goes first, but in the early stages it's too easy to game the system. Sell huge amount @ $2 with the earliest timestamp means nobody else can play until all of huge amount is sold. Giving priority to smaller trades solves that.

What kind of monthly interest will $1000 @ 5% annual produce? Should I invest $1000 in the trust before opening it to the public? $25,000 would be better, but I can't swing that. Basically I'm giving away free money, my own, until enough money is in the trust.

5% / 12 isn't right, but just for giggles that would be $4 per $1,000 per month (2 extra hectares bought from what I'd be budgeting.) Hmm... that would mean $50k @ 5% for 100 hectares per month at $2? How long would that take? Depends on the assumption. If only one person spent $50 a month to get my $100 it would take 84 years. If more compete for my $100 it would take less. Much less if presented right. The fact is everyone would doubled their money until the trust is fully funded and then a normal market takes over. $2 a hectare seems cheap.

Definitely got to talk with the lawyers about this. Roadtrip in 9 days. First stop Phoenix.

Update: Gaming the system.

Suppose they understand that smaller orders execute first so they try repeating a Sell 1 @ $2 until they get all my money for that month? Not going to work. Each person will only get one order at a time and changing an order changes the timestamp. But also I can wait until others put in the same order. Then all will go in timestamp order and I wait again for multiple orders. They can game, but I do not have to go along with it.

Revised funding section

See the revision here.

This was the old version...
No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

We've already identified our goal, $10 billion. Some billionaires have already indicated a willingness to contribute as much as a billion themselves with nothing back but the knowledge that they've made colonization possible, but we can do better than that. We sell mars!

Mars has 144 million square kilometers of potential real estate. That's 14.4 billion hectares, so 10 billion hectares at $1 each would do it. We set up a trust that anyone can contribute to. The colonist will buy land from the trust for their use on mars by the square meter. A hectare has 10,000 sq. meters. So just 10 cents a sq. meter would be $999 profit per hectare to the trust contributors. We choose the lucky winner by lottery. The more hectares you buy, the better your chances. Unlike a normal lottery every hectare is an eventual winner.

The more colonists that migrate the more the land will appreciate. Once living on mars is demonstrated and every colonist arrives a millionaire the pace should pick up. Land is limited so everyone (or their heirs) is guaranteed to eventually make a profit.

Furthermore, unspent interest each year could also purchase hectares at $1000 each (about $20k is all that is required to prime the pump for an annual winner. $240k gives us monthly winners.) So assume we've accumulated a million dollars earning 5% or $50,000 annually. That would trigger 50 lottery winners. The property would remain in the trust (not specific to any location) and would not participate in the lottery. It could be sold to speculators after all $1 hectares are sold.

Once the $10b is fully funded, we allow speculators on earth to buy land from the trust at a penny a square meter with a lottery determining who gets the $100 (Or we just set up a bid/ask market place.)

Update: Checking the Red Lander wikipedia page I had to revise the lander specs because it was 1,500 kg heavier with 1,500 kg less payload than I was using.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Risk Mitigation

My mission tab post is too long so I'm going to link it to this post.

The intent here is to identify all potential risks with solutions.

In transit risks...

  • Radiation: The docking chambers will be lined with consumables (food and water) waste (solid and liquid) and the best light mass radiation shielding we come up with.
  • Gravity: They will survive 8 months and recover once on mars. They will exercise enroute.
  • Linking: If they don't for any reason, they still have no delay local communications and can reach mars safely.
  • Landing: A standard lander, tested before any humans use them and limited to just two crew per landing spreads the risk.

Martian colony risks...

  1. Failure of resupply.
    1. Do not depend on it. Life support is essential so the colonists musts be able to provide this for themselves.
    2. Non essential items are just that. No sense obsessing. They will build up capabilities in time. As long as they have the power to create more power they should be fine.
  2. Radiation.
    1. Awareness is the primary mitigation.
  3. Gravity.
    1. Don't create bogymen. We go, we find out, we fix.
  4. Dust.
    1. Wash.
  5. Dust storms.
    1. Do not rely on solar panels.
    2. Over abundance of energy sources and storage.
    3. Methane engine power generators.
    4. Nuclear.
  6. Environmental controls failures.
    1. Do not put eggs in one basket.
    2. Each habitat designed to fail gracefully with time to fix.
  7. Toxic soil.
    1. Wash.
    2. Stay predominantly in shirtsleeve environment.
    3. Many large malls and mansions.
  8. Too much/too little X.
    1. Adjust X. Humans do that where robots can't. This is the problem with simulations.
  9. We need...
    1. This is called opportunity in a free enterprise society.
  10. Your turn...
    1. It's important to identify as many risks as we can before we go. I will add them here as I come across them.

To be continued...