Saturday, April 28, 2012

Historic Naysayers

Copied from a comment here.
• “I think there’s a world market for about 5 computers.”
( Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM, circa 1948 )
• “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
( Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977 )
• "Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become
a practical proposition."
( Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962 )
• "There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States."
( T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961
(the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965)
• Space travel is bunk."
( Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957
(two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth)
• "To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth--all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances."
( Lee deForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957 )
• Space travel is utter bilge."
( Dr. Richard van der Reit Wooley, UK space advisor to the government, 1956
(Sputnik orbited the Earth the following year)
• "Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at
a plywood box every night."
( Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946 )
• "That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done [research on]... The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives."
( William D. Leahy, U.S. Admiral, advising President Truman on atomic weaponry, 1944 )
• "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
( H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, maker of silent movies, 1927 )
• "The radio craze will die out in time."
( Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1922 )
• "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."
( New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921
(note that the day after Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, the New York
Times printed a short boxed item on page 2. It read in full:
"Errata: It has now been conclusively demonstrated that a rocket ship can
travel through the vacuum of space. The Times sincerely regrets the error.")
• "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
( Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1904(?)
• "The horse is here to stay, the automobile is only a fad."
( Advice of President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for
Henry Ford, 1903
(Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later
for $12.5 million)
• "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
( Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889
(Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power)
• "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
( Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859 )
• "What, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense."
( Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800s )

Changing the economics of space flight

The planetary resources news release says...
Additionally, water-rich NEAs will serve as “stepping stones” for deep space exploration, providing space-sourced fuel and water to orbiting depots. Accessing water resources in space will revolutionize exploration and make space travel dramatically more economical.
To send a dozen astronauts to the surface of mars could cost about $2b to $3b. The cost of fuel for this mission coming from earth would be from $1.2b to $2b. Although it would cost more to get asteroid water in position, once there you've reduced mission cost by at least half. That asteroid would probably have enough water for thousands of missions. Including oxygen (the heaviest component) bound in it's rocks which mining operations to extract the metal would release. Update: How about more than 200 times the rocket fuel required to launch all the rockets ever launched in human history.

Expect planetary resources to put together a list of rocks that includes the delta-V to get them to lunar orbit. The lowest hanging fruit would be the rock with the lowest delta-V although composition will affect the choice. Then they attach a high efficient engine on it and spend a few years bringing it to the moon. We may not have to go that far to get one.

The techniques they learn on an asteroid in lunar orbit to refuel a ship bound for mars can then be used at Phobos and Deimos to send it back to earth. This would be a huge game changer for the future of space travel and lowered costs. It may be a while before they grab this $20Trillion rock.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Starting from simple terms

It's not about the paper. It's about the community.

Title is ownership. Unclaimed land may be claimed in a reasonable manner. A claim, all by itself, is title. Unclaimed land remains unclaimed when a claim is unreasonable. A reasonable claim is one that can be defended by a community. Lawyers are not the arbitrators of reasonable. Force should not be the arbitrator of reasonable. This is why [local] community is important.

A deed is a conveyance of title (to buyer from seller, or a gift) and is often just for title to a part of something owned.

Neither a deed or a title is a piece of paper. Paper is just a convenient way of recording them.

A chain of title is used to confirm title. It is a record of title and deeds from the first claim.

Sovereignty has nothing to do with it other than most claims are originally made by sovereigns.

The OST prohibits sovereigns from making claims. We'll see how long that lasts.

Not keeping to simple terms just causes confusion. Some would attempt to destroy these simple truths...

I think the Outer Space Treaty should stay as it is. In my view it is a brilliant document. …there is a treaty signed by sovereign States [the OST] which prohibits appropriation by the state, and hence by its subjects, and that there is nothing they can do to argue around that.
We aren’t subjects in this country, lady! The part I put in bold is pure assertion. Why make it? Because they still hold that Socialist/Marxist dream of utopia and see the OST as its foundation. A dream that only brings poverty and death where ever it's tried.

We can only hope the prohibition of state claims can last long enough for private claims to take hold. It has a slim chance. That chance becomes much stronger if a community binds itself with a settlement charter.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Control and ownership

Thomas has taken on the thankless task of illustrating the difference between ownership and control and why the latter is better to this poor slow fella.
First case – you have a warranty deed to an acre of law in Pima County Arizona. And to keep it simple you also have the water rights, mineral rights, oil and gas rights and alternative energy rights to it. Now you may own it but do you really control it? If you want to drill a while, build a house or expand it, or run a business you will need to get a permit from Pima County to do so. Pima County also charges you a tax each year for the land and if you don’t pay they will take ownership of it. The State of Arizona and the U.S. government may also take the land if you don’t pay your state and federal taxes. And the County, State and Federal government may ALL use the Constitutional concept of Eminent Domain if they feel the public would be served by putting it to another use then the one you are using it for. Yep, you own that acre of land under Real Property Laws, but those laws don’t give you much control.
You may be surprised to find that I substantially agree. However, this is not because ownership is a bad thing, but because as our founders pointed out: with property taxes you don't really own it. Ownership is by definition control. If you don't control it, you don't own it.
Now let’s look at Rand’s plan in case two. The transportation corporation gets a land grant twice the size of Texas around their spaceport so if you want to locate with a few hundred kilometers of it you will have to buy the land from them. Odds are, being a profit maximizing corporation you will have to pay separately for the mineral, water and energy rights to it as well as for the deed. And again, being a good profit maximizing corporation their lawyers will probably include clauses that allow them to take back the land in a form of corporate Eminent Domain if they feel they have a better use of it or you do something they don’t like on it. And since there is no government sovereignty you will have little recourse but to git when they tell you to get. Sound like a great plan doesn’t it. Again, you have a piece of paper that you paid for giving you title, but your control is limited.
This is a big problem, not just for claims the size of Alaska. The other day I decided to draw a proportional map using my hybrid plan of 1000:1 company to individual claim. The same problem exists for this substantial smaller ratio. Even at 100:1 it's a problem. I'm still thinking this problem through. It has multiple facets. My original settlement plan didn't have this problem.

As for eminent domain (and any tax by any name) this is why I continue to push for 'absolute and total ownership' where we get away from the fiction of 'public rights' to control private property.

Update: I missed Thomas' sleight of hand above, but George caught it. Scroll down to Romper Room.
Now look at the current state of affairs – Case 3. If you build a facility or mine on an acre of the Moon or Mars you don’t have title to the land, but neither does anyone else since land titles are not allowed. But since you were first you something more valuable, control, since any trespassers would be causing inference by definition. And if you want to expand, drill for water, mine resources you just go ahead. Your only limitation with be the laws of the country of record for Registration of your settlement (which would be legally considered a space object). But if you don’t like your current country of Registration you just change it by “selling” your settlement to another corporation you set up in another country with more favorable laws. And if you want to expand to the next acre of land you just have to eyeball it to see if anyone has made use of it. If not, its yours to expand on to. And if some megacorporation or government wants to get your land for a “better” use? Well they are out of luck. Since there is no land title and no sovereignty there is no legal means for them to do so, other then buying your facilities at YOUR price. Of course they could try a hostile take over, but you would have not only the legal right to resist but the ability to sue them in court on Earth under Article IX. In short, although you don’t have title under the current legal system you have something far more valuable – complete control of the land your facility or mine is on.
Control is an illusion here as well. You're just putting your faith in a different set of papers. One's that are mostly outside of your control. With deeds, not only are you more in control, but others share your goal and will assist in your defense. They have a legally binding document and aligned interests that assures this.
So tell me. Which of the three models is more favorable to lunar development? The Arizona one where you have title by very limited control. Rand’s model where again you have title by limited control or the current one, where you have no title but complete control?
I fear your argument might win on the moon. It is too damned close allowing the busybodies more effective involvement. It's not a sure thing but I can't see the world politic not doing what they always do.

This is one of the main reasons I advocate for mars. Being more difficult to initially develop is a feature (not a bug.) This means it will necessarily require more control locally. Unless governments choose to wipe them out completely I don't see how they could win against thousands that claim and defend their right to ownership.
Again, you need to move beyond placing you faith in a piece of paper that says you own a piece of land but doesn’t give you real control over it. I will take the control any day over a piece of paper that the government or a mega corporation may nullify at any time.
Ultimately, no paper of any kind determines ownership. Defense of ownership is always required even to the point of your life. The whole point of any legal argument is to avoid the force argument. Traditionally, this is what deeds (and community... not something to ignore) give you.

Ownership is by definition control. It's not about the papers. It's not me putting faith in those papers.

With no sovereign, for the first time in human history we have a chance to see what real ownership is.

Update: Again, George says it best, "It’s the deed and the car title that make them capital. In the third world the lack of legal deeds and title keeps everyone in poverty." He also adds to that, that public recording of deeds and titles is for the prevention of fraud.

Monday, April 23, 2012

West validated

Certain people want to marginalize Allen West. But the facts are on his side.

Feed this monster

Elite repubs vs. the freshmen: With trillions in debt the elites consider this a problem...
“To me $100 billion isn’t the ceiling; it’s the floor,” the freshman said.
With another freshman saying,
“I will hold you accountable to the promises that you made.”
Hopefully, voters will agree this next election. Then there's this whopper...
Mr. Obama was trying to reach across the aisle to get things done.
In an article about Obama abusing his executive powers.

There seems to be more to the SS scandal. 11 SS and 21 hookers: Bill Maher says, "You do the math." Apparently Grassley has.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is questioning the U.S. Secret Service about possible involvement of White House staff in the Colombian prostitution scandal.
The tea party seems to be working more effectively behind the scenes to get more freshman elected. They've had some success in Utah lately. Let's see them label Mia Love a racist.

Ron Paul has a good summary:
“In our early history, we had a major undertaking overthrowing an empire,” Paul said. “And in some ways that is what we are doing now.”
Feed that monster!

Update: a freshman in action.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Think like a spacer

Thomas keeps saying this. I look forward to real spacers showing us how that works exactly. These guys might become them. There's quite a difference between a place like mars or even the moon and all those millions of much smaller rocks.

From everything Thomas says I get the impression that thinking like a spacer is limited to thinking about mining. That seems pretty closed minded to me. Modern life is based on industry. Things people make that others buy. To me, thinking like a spacer would be more about changing perspective because of the unique physical environment of low g. Things aren't all going to work the way we expect. Which means changing the way we make things and what we make.

Property rights (focusing on real estate) seem essential to me regarding a place like mars. Asteroids are more like space ships. Find one the right size and hollow it out. Everything's moving, but the surface of a planet has an entirely different feel to it compared to a Winnebago.

So back to those guys. What does Planetary Resources plan? We could start with Chris Lewicki.

His bio includes, [he] has authored papers on small satellites, satellite ground stations, asteroid lander mission architecture, asteroid sample acquisition technology...

So first you send a robot to a low delta-V asteroid that isn't too large and bring back a sample. Then you bring back the asteroid itself to earth orbit if the sample looks good. Then what?

What's the real objective? Is it possibly not directly about mining? I notice a lot of tourist inclinations in the other people involved. What if it's more about show and tell than mining? If you bring back a good sized rock and put it into orbit... would people be interested in examining that rock close up? It's one thing to spend millions to spend a few weeks of weightlessness in a tin can. It would be another to get your own piece of an asteroid to bring back to earth with you? How much are these little pieces of the moon going for these days?

Update: via RandI wasn't far off. They bring an asteroid to lunar orbit and let others mine it.

Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

I humbly submit

Please see the revised document.

Beyond Earth
A Settlement Charter

Be it known, unclaimed land exists in the universe and the members of this legally binding agreement will make reasonable individual claims by possession of this property and defend those claims. The members of this agreement are those that make a claim in accordance with its terms.

We imperfect humans desire freedom including the freedom to live where we may. We claim certain natural rights of life, liberty and property and the responsibility to defend those rights.

The terms of this charter are that members may make a single individual claim in an orderly manner from a registry of claims that shall be established. These claims will be made by possession (physical presence) in front of two witnesses. Individual claims shall be one square kilometer in area and separated from other claims by a perimeter road. Individuals shall have absolute property rights to this claim (including all mineral rights) and can sell or lease it in whole or in parts, developed or undeveloped, as soon as the claim is registered. Any part sold must transfer all property rights and have access to the perimeter road either directly or by road within the property. A road must be of reasonable width as determined by the local community.

In addition to individual claims, a company claim of 1000 square kilometers that must not surround any individual claim or deny passage across the company claim, may be made for every individual person that is provided free transportation by the company so the individual may possess and has registered their own individual claim. The company claim must identify the unique individual claim that authorizes the company claim. A company may make multiple claims under this provision.

Freedom requires consent. Consent must be true and not a fiction imposed by others. Absolute property rights means that no others may impose a tax (by any name) on a property owner without their true consent or with threat of force. Where true consent exists, services may be provided for a fee upon property owners by contract. The service contract and fees must have terms for dissolution.

Property may not be taken from its owner (including those that inherit) by force or threat of force.

All members, by their honor, agree to join in defense of this charter against any attack.

Update: To avoid some of the problems that might arise from a 1000 sq. km. company claim; We might add the provision that only one sq. km. of the 1000 can be claimed at a time (with the perimeter road requirement) and the next one sq. km. from the 1000 allotment can be claimed only after the first is entirely sold. So if a company brings a dozen people to mars and they all make their claims, the company would be able to claim 12000 sq. km. but only one sq. km. at a time.

If the company wants to develop land, they would buy it from a colonist (in order to continue making their own claims.) Buying from a colonist could include swapping land with the colonist or colonists. If the colonist wants more land, they would buy it from the company or other colonists. This would help to mitigate the problem of land being taken out of use for a long periods of time or communities being isolated by vast areas of undeveloped property.

Now suppose you need more than one sq. km. for a development? In that case the part of the perimeter road between two adjacent areas just becomes part of that property. Internal roads can follow whatever pattern makes sense and allows subplots access to the remaining perimeter road of the combined regions.

Update 2: Some have said a one square kilometer individual claim is too much because a community need to be close enough to each other for mutual support. The value of land will vary depending on its location so some claims are worth more than others. That's true. However, nothing prevents members of a community from swapping some land so they can live closer together. The reason for a good sized claim is because these pioneers are risking their lives so should be rewarded with a big enough claim to provide them with a lifetime of income with careful management. One use of their claim would be to divide it up into 27 (100m x 320m) sections separated by roads which could further be divided into 16 (40m x 50m) subplots (432, fewer if bigger) each with a minimum of 40m frontage on roads, that could then be developed (or not) and sold to provide a lifetime of income. How much income depends on what the market will bear over time. Suppose it cost $50k to develop (with material and labor) a piece of property and you can get 5% profit on average. $2500 x 432 provides over a million dollars of lifetime income and that's if you choose not to work to earn more. You have other options as well. You don't have to sell it off a half acre at a time. You could cover it with solar panels and sell off the power to other colonists. You could rent out farmland or apartment spaces. Economics offers lots of options when you have assets to work with.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Five in the bullpen

Get some idea of Dragon production.

It takes leadership

Public vs. Private

Regarding self sufficiency

Scroll down to see Thomas' argument that a colony will take a long time to become self sufficient.

It turns out that others are addressing this argument (although in a communistic manner.) It's all about the industrial ecology. Yes, fully modern technology will take a while. That's not the same as self sufficiency. To be self sufficient requires both materials and skills. The first colonists should have hands on training with a set of interrelated tools. Mars provides all the materials. Not everything on this list is required for self sufficiency. It should be adapted for mars.

The first dozen colonists should have experience making the entire tool set. This makes them capable of creating everything from tractors to electronics from local resources. They won't have the time, but the second arrival of three dozen will give them the helping hands.

There's no such thing as 100% self sufficient. No man is an island. But 99% and the assistance of an extreme minority of people back on earth will be plenty. I expect job openings for non essential skills will be abundant for some time with great incentives for some earthlings to make it happen.

Interrelated Tools

They will be able to get the minerals they need from the soil beneath their feet and the air around them. This includes aluminum, steel, copper, fuel and plastic. It also includes all essential life support.

Given a starter set of machine tools they will be able to make everything they need including fully replacing all of their machine tools.

They will have these skills before launching from earth. It will just be a matter of learning from experience on their new world which they will be fully committed to doing.

The minerals they need are abundant and easily found in there new home. It will take them almost no time at all to become self sufficient with very few people required. More people will just make it easier.

What is the minimum number of people required for self sufficiency? One, like my brother.

Update: my brother once went to a job interview in southern California. The man showed him an intricately made machine part and asked my brother if he could make something like that.

My brothers truthful and honest answer? "I made that one." If only he wasn't a complete jerk. Just add alcohol. He will be spending the next three or four years in prison. During that time he will be making amazing working models using ice cream sticks and underware. Just like his last stay in prison.

The charter is the law.

A private settlement charter is legally binding on it's members. Since these member are settlers on a new world, no nation has jurisdiction over them. If this means renouncing citizenship, so be it. These are colonists for goodness sake and by historical accident nations have signed a treaty saying they can't assert sovereignty over these new lands. This is an opportunity for freedom humans have never before had. They should take advantage of it.

So far I've been emphasizing the land claims aspect of the charter, but it is much more than that. Yes, it outlines the orderly making of claims. That is essential. However, it's central purpose is to establish a law which no nation to date has ever established. The absolute ownership of all property. This means there is no public good that takes away this absolute right to property. No eminent domain.

Those who have just had a heart attack, take a moment to breath.

By establishing this charter, mars will be the only planet in the solar system with intelligent life. The simple act of establishing absolute inalienable ownership rights will be: Private stupidity will be the law of the land. Public stupidity will be outlawed.

Private stupidity is an extension of creative destruction. Those so endowed will perish eventually.

If somebody imports the only chickens to mars they can charge a million dollars per egg. It's their property. If somebody wants to buy those eggs at that price, so be it. What they can't do is decide it's the public's right to steal those eggs. Even if the argument is survival. In some cases the pressure on 'the stupid' may become overwhelming which is why the settlement charter should be explicit so that nobody can reinterpret the 'public good' into the document. There will be no welfare state.

What about public services? Every public service on earth is in some cases also handled privately quite well. This completely avoids the creation of out of control government.

Now back to orderly claims.

My original plan only had individuals getting claims. I envisioned they would start from the first claim and make claims adjacent to the original so that a rough circle of claims would probably be made. It would have a means of determining precedent so arguments would be minimal and easily resolved.

Now the new plan includes 1000 sq. km. for the transportation company for each colonist delivered. If they deliver 20 colonists, they get 20,000 sq. km. This creates some new problems and consequences that need to be mitigated. Again, the charter must specify an orderly way of going about this. First I think it should disallow company claims that surround any private claims. Second it should specify rules that allow others to cross the territory easily. Greater minds than mine can figure out the other details. However, they absolutely own that property. Since it's suppose to be to mitigate their cost of transportation, it's assumed they will sell most of it off, but that is not required. They have the same rights as every other member of the charter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Barack broke law doing it

Eating dog is illegal in Indonesia!

Follow the fun.

Update: So now it's down to Dog in a Crate, or Dog on a Plate?

Martian Musings

In a few years SpaceX will have the Falcon Heavy and a Dragon lander. The lander will be able to put about ten tons on the martian surface. The Bigelow BA330 already exists with life support for six. The FH upper stage can provide thrust for the BA330 to reach mars orbit which requires about six FH fuel payloads.

Suppose they (colonists and transportation company) agree to a charter. By providing free rides to colonists, the company gets 1000 sq. km. for each person they get to the martian surface. Each individual person arriving on mars agrees to make a single one sq. km. claim and no more.

The first mission to mars: 12 colonist / researchers.

Two dragon landers are sent to mars. One takes ten tons of supplies to the surface with a navigation beacon. The other is fueled and empty in mars orbit. Cost 2 x $250m. = $500m. Two BA330 (each with a dragon lander attached) are sent to mars orbit each with six crew and tethered for artificial gravity. Cost 2 x $900m  = $1.8 billion. Total mission cost $2.3b.

If they have no trouble collecting the dragon lander in orbit, they go four at a time to the surface. Otherwise they go six at a time in just the two landers they brought with them (and a bit less of the supplies they brought with them.)

The colonist get a free ride and one sq. km. The company providing the free ride gets 12000 sq. km. for $2.3b or almost $200k per sq. km. to break even. This first mission is obviously not for the money. This first dozen colonist prepare the way for the next mission arrival by first getting power and water ISRU.

The second mission: 36 colonists / industrialists (chemists, machinists, etc.)

Two more BA330 are put into orbit and fueled. Life support is upgraded so that 18 crew go in each. Six landers will be waiting in mars orbit for their arrival. Cost $1.5b (6 landers) + $1.8b = $3.3b. for which the transportation company gets 36000 sq. km. So now break even is about $100k per sq. km.

This is better, but $5.6b to put four dozen settlers on mars is a big investment. What happens from here? These 36 will specialize in farming ISRU and industrial development. They will provide welcome hands to reduce the workload on the first dozen. We shall see how the 4 dz. do. We help them as we can. They will be preparing habitats to sell to the colonists that follow in what ever time it takes. The third mission may be ten years after the first.

Third mission: 49 Farmers and ranchers.

Bigelow will create a module bigger than the BA330 but smaller than the BA2100 which can be put in orbit by the FH. It will cost about $200m and have life support for 49. It will require about ten ($1b) FH fueling missions. 7 ($700m) landers will go along. Total cost to mars surface, $1.9b. Break even for transportation, about $40k per sq. km.

What's happening during the decades following that first mission?

Later missions bring more colonists as SpaceX works toward it's goal of $500k/person to mars bringing it's break even to $500 per sq. km. The colonists going to mars get a free ride and each claim a single sq. km. per the terms of the charter; however, they also will purchase a habitat prepared for them by an earlier colonist. Say the seller charges $20k over cost (costs which rolls over with every sale for the construction of more habitats.) They have over 400 plots to sell giving them a lifetime income, just from their one claim, of over $8m. While people on earth may purchase land from the transport companies (or plots from the colonists) as the cost goes from $40k to $500/sq. km. colonists themselves may reinvest their sales profits by buying some land from the transport company to increase their lifetime earnings to over $8m.

Colonists could build this tractor on mars

West will not be silenced

Cries of McCarthyism will not work anymore since history has shown Joe was right.

How about the 'just pay your taxes' rule?

Only the IRS can fire it's federal employees for not paying taxes.

Obama wants slaves?

Isn't that what Rev. Wright taught Barack for twenty years? America was built on the backs of slaves. Tell us, Mr. Prez...

How did state socialism build America? The pretend president.

I hope this guy is right.

77 cents for every $1

How to lie? Use statistics.

If the title was true the solution is simple. Only hire woman and out compete those hiring men.

But it isn't really true. It's bait and switch.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fast and Furious not "botched"

It was a calculated and lethal decision to purposely place thousand of guns into the hands of ruthless criminals.

Emphasis mine.

Operation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history. A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

Moment of truth

Israel soon to attack Iran. We shall see what the fallout will be.

First in will probably be the UAVs: Hermes, Heron, and Eitan.

Amazon's ebook strategy

I comment on this post...

Boycotts and courts are not the answer.

The answer is age old. It's called competition. The barriers to entry are not too high (a well done website.) But you do have to become competitive. Which means...

What does Amazon do right? First it's a brand. To compete, you need to develop a brand (which will not happen over night.)

Then realize you have two sets of customers: authors and readers. What do each need and want?

Readers need to be able to find what they want which includes easy purchase of a reader device. No-DRM. Reader reviews and suggestions. They want to download, read and share without the need to become a tech. wizard.

Authors need editing, cover design, publicity, etc., without a large upfront cost. Let the author set the price of his work and give a flat commission to the brand (20%?)

Keep it simple for everybody. Compete.

Update: I'd suggest the publishers in this story and others get together now and start to establish a competitive brand. They wouldn't have to give up any of their current business, they could run the website in parallel.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Common heritage nonsense

...first specifically enunciated in international law in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

In other words, just making stuff up. Private property is the solution.

What does protected from exploitation mean? Why would you have to protect something from an owner? If they manage it badly some other owner will get their chance until eventually it is managed better.

Under private ownership, it is the owner who suffers if mismanaged. As it should be. Central control doesn't work.

No kidding

They needed a study?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Things to take to mars

Once I came across this website I realize my brother would make a better martian than me. He has the skills to build everything on this list (alt. list) and then some. Low tech is the answer, until enough people arrive to produce high tech.

One of the arguments against mars colonies is it would take too many people to support life. However, my brother is the counter argument. Add a few other people with complementary skills and you don't need many at all. The reason for more is many hands make light work, not because it can't be done.

Update: Assume everybody specializes in making one thing. How many people do you need? About four dozen. Which happens to be the total I recommend by the second mars missions. Happy coincidence!

I should have mentioned the interlinked product ecology is important.

Aluminum without bauxite.
Dandelion rubber.
Steel from dirt. Easier on mars because of iron in soil and carbon in air.
Microwave steel might be better still?

The vision on mars is for underground shirtsleeve workplace Replabs.
We're not leaving out electronics. Some software to go with that.

I think I'm in love

Sheila Blair has the solution...

For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them. 
So why not let everyone participate?

Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest. The more conservative among us can take that money and buy 10-year Treasury bonds. At the current 2 percent annual interest rate, we can pocket a nice $200,000 a year to live on. The more adventuresome can buy 10-year Greek debt at 21 percent, for an annual income of $2.1 million. Or if Greece is a little too risky for you, go with Portugal, at about 12 percent, or $1.2 million dollars a year. (No sense in getting greedy.) 

Think of what we can do with all that money. We can pay off our underwater mortgages and replenish our retirement accounts without spending one day schlepping into the office. With a few quick keystrokes, we’ll be golden for the next 10 years. 

Of course, we will have to persuade Congress to pass a law authorizing all this Fed lending, but that shouldn’t be hard. Congress is really good at spending money, so long as lawmakers don’t have to come up with a way to pay for it. Just look at the way the Democrats agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts if the Republicans agreed to cut Social Security taxes and extend unemployment benefits. Who says bipartisanship is dead? 

And while that deal blew bigger holes in the deficit, my proposal won’t cost taxpayers anything because the Fed is just going to print the money. All we need is about $1,200 trillion, or $10 million for 120 million households. We will all cross our hearts and promise to pay the money back in full after 10 years so the Fed won’t lose any dough. It can hold our Portuguese debt as collateral just to make sure. 

Because we will be making money in basically the same way as hedge fund managers, we should have to pay only 15 percent in taxes, just like they do. And since we will be earning money through investments, not work, we won’t have to pay Social Security taxes or Medicare premiums. That means no more money will go into these programs, but so what? No one will need them anymore, with all the cash we’ll be raking in thanks to our cheap loans from the Fed.
I think she's on to something. Where do I get my $10m/ten yr. interest free loan?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jack Tramiel passes

One of my two heroes has died.

Many years ago, a partner and I were going to make video game kits based on the Atari ST motherboard. I thought it was an inexpensive clean design and I had it working with the cheap color monitors we used in coin-op video games. Then someone showed my partner the Amiga and that ended our partnership.

I owned one of the first C64s (3 digits in the serial number) for which I payed about $1200 (with only a tape drive.) They sold 8 million that year and the price soon went under $200. Update: This is one of those cases in my life that I knew something before others did. Unlike the Coleco Adam, which I knew would be a bomb even though all the computer mags were touting it. I knew the C64 would be big before it came out while the mags hardly took notice. They considered the Atari 800 a better deal.

I love the deal Jack made when buying Atari. They would pay the big bills and he would pay the little ones. So he bundled all the little bills to meet the big bill threshold. Atari hollered, but paid.

Afterward they called Commodore, C-Company and Atari, A-Company.

Update: This was the other one. I have no heroes left.

CNN is less biased than FOX

This year, says Newt.

The news does have a horse race mentality and wants to pick an early winner. They are pretty shallow.
Tea Partiers were actually learning about the Declaration of Independence. They wanted to talk about the Federalist Papers.
Something schools avoid teaching students. Which is why we now have a president that doesn't believe in "Truth, Justice and the American way." Get Newt a cape!
Gingrich said that Rick Santorum’s exit from the race on Tuesday had given him hope of doing “much better” in places like Delaware, North Carolina, and Louisiana -- a state that already held its primary but is still in the midst of its delegate-awarding process.
The problem is some of those that would have gone to Rick will split and go to Mitt getting him closer to the 1144 goal. The media has put enormous pressure on Rick, Newt and Ron to get out to the race. That's not their business. They aren't supposed to be taking sides. Acknowledging that Mitt is ahead is fine. Badgering the others is not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

being a Communist in Congress

Ya know, if it quacks like a duck?... Allen West says it like it is...

“I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” he said in the video.

After a long pause West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, adds, ”They actually don’t hide it. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”
But the communists defend them by saying...
“We are supposed to live in a political democracy,” he [Libero Della Piana, a vice-chairman of the national Communist Party] said. “I didn’t know that being a Communist in Congress was off-limits or out of bounds."
This is just too funny. It's basically an admission that Rep. West is right.

In other news, "Game Change" is "deliberately misleading." I'm shocked. Does this mean the lying "progressive" [but I repeat myself] hyena's will stop baying?

Zimmerman case closed

This sums it up.

Except for the pending waste of time and money trial.

Politics or justice? Pick one.

IRS vs. Tea Party

The IRS is used to winning. They do not realize who they're tangling with.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hybrid Settlement Plan

I like the idea that those taking the risks should get the rewards. But there just can't be a fast enough rate of new colonists to make my initial plan work. Which means the risk is just too high to get any banks to finance new colonists. So perhaps we can shift the burden.

I still want to see every individual going to mars getting a claim. Actually, I'd like to see them get a sq. km. claim when they land and a new one sq. km. claim every two years they live on mars. The transport company gets a 1000 sq. km. claim for every colonist with supplies they deliver to the surface of mars. The colonist picks and pays for their own supplies (1000 kg?) but the transport company pays for the delivery to the surface with the colonist.

Each sq. km. is surrounded and separated by a perimeter road. Each claim is theirs and they can sell it off as they like but I've determined they can get 86.4% utilization and a minimum of 40m of frontage road for each of 432 plots of 2000 sq. m. each (40m x 50m) which could each have a 40m Zubrin hobby farm (feeds two.)

So the first company to deliver 12 researchers gets a claim of 12000 sq. km. When they follow that with 3 dozen more they get an additional claim of 36000 sq. km. Follow that a few years later with a hundred colonists and they get another 100,000 sq. km. claim.

This would insure the colonists share in the wealth and also have no transportation costs that would prohibit them from arriving in the first place. This also takes off the pressure of having to have a specific rate of colonists to support the initial colonists and all those that follow.

Update: So if this transport company delivers Elon's 10k colonists with supplies to the surface of mars they would claim 10,000,000 sq. km. which is actually more than the settlement initiative would offer them. But they wouldn't be able to completely take some prized region. Other companies would have a chance to compete for those during the same time.

Santorum quits?

Does this mean Romney will get his 1144 before the convention?

What do Ron and Newt think?

Wait a moment, he actually didn't say quit... "he said simply he will suspend his campaign"

Update: Newt has already said he will stay in no matter what and now Ron says pretty much the same.

What's wrong with the Space Settlement Prize Act

It has a noble purpose.
The Space Settlement Prize Act is a draft law proposed by The Space Settlement Institute that would create, at no cost to taxpayers, a multi-billion dollar incentive for private companies to finance and build permanent settlements on the Moon and/or Mars. Included in the legislation is the requirement that these companies build an Earth-Moon or Earth-Mars space line open to all paying passengers.
I fully support the goals I've highlighted. However, I have a number of concerns regarding the details of the act and the results it would promote or might produce. I am also thrilled that Rand has written an article that seems to be really taking the discussion of ET property rights to a wider audience.

Part of the problem comes from how you argue law: Civil, Common or Natural. Some ways put sovereigns in the drivers seat where others kind of don't. I'm not a lawyer so I see things a bit simpler.

Unclaimed land is claimed; then you defend that claim.

Title is then legal recognition that ownership exists. You mitigate conflict by having people agree to terms. This is one of the noble goals of the Space Settlement Initiative.

The first problem: How large a claim the U.S. should recognize would be up to Congress to decide.

I completely disagree. I understand the motive which is to mitigate disputes, but there's a better way that doesn't hand this authority over to congress which already assumes too much power in our lives. The proper role of congress would be to recognize claims made under a separate authority closer to the actions. That authority would be the claimers themselves under a settlement charter which limits the method and size of claims to a small reasonable amount per individual (by actual possession of simply putting a boot on the ground of a previous registered plot) which still provides enough wealth so they may easily engage in productive economic activity for their entire life. These pioneers are risking their lives and should have just compensation.

The settlement initiative turns this incentive on it's head by making settlers pay a company for pieces of it's huge unreasonable claim (which many see as a land grant, again putting nations in charge where they aught not be.)

Then in section five of the prize it creates unnecessary obligations on the claimant to arrange for transportation. Again, I understand the noble goal but there is a better way. Let the people going buy their own ticket from any company willing to provide that transport. It's known as free enterprise.

This ticket can be financed by banks (another of those free enterprise concepts) simply by making the individuals single claims large enough that they can sell portions (developed and undeveloped) over time to cover finance payments.

But would banks actually be willing to finance? Absolutely if they see a profit that more than covers their risks.

One possibility is to let colonists make additional claims under conditions that limit those additional claim but does ensure on time payments to the financing banks. I may have more to say on that in another post.

Update: As noted, I'm not a lawyer. But it would move my proposal forward if I did have a Settlement Charter written by a lawyer so others can pick it apart. This poor boy will look into that (and hopes he doesn't get laughed out of too many offices in the process.) Any lawyer willing to offer this poor boy some help?

Update: This article asks...
What if the first time a Chinese probe lands on the moon, the moon could be claimed by the 'Great Wall Company,' owned by the People’s Liberation Army? The United States would then be left to argue that our law should be followed, but the Chinese law shouldn’t. That’s precisely the kind of territorial jockeying the Outer Space Treaty was intended to prevent.
The problem is the OST's solution is trying to prevent any private property. The Settlement Charter acknowledges this problem by ignoring it. You make claim; you defend claim. One defense is simply to not acknowledge other sovereign claims. There is so much land and so little capability today of getting there that no nation is going to go to war over it any time soon. So let free enterprise do it's thing and win. "We win; they lose" should be the motto backed up by thousand of independent souls.

Then let all nations of the earth decide if they will recognize those titles or not. We could encourage them to do so after establishing the fact of colonization.

Update: Settlement Charter.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The real delegate count

According to this article...

Romney – 571
Santorum – 342
Newt – 158
Paul - 91

The race is only half over. Don't buy the media lies.

Update: None of which matters if we are taken over by a totalitarian.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ETerra nullius: The blitz

ETerra nullius: extraterrestrial land belongs to no person.

In Blitzkrieg, or lightning war, you bypass the strong points. Those that want property rights in space should do the same. Everything natural in space is unclaimed. In the past, governments with their military might have done most of the land claiming, after which they make grants to some new title holders. The OST prevents signatory governments from making such claims. Government can not own it so they can't grant it or sell it to anybody. People should organize themselves and do what, by a quirk of history, is denied to governments.

For perhaps the first time in human history, we do not have to be slaves to any government because of the opportunity space gives us. It may require giving up citizenship. It should involve members of humanity to agree to a settlement charter that gives them legal protection of property rights.

The legal precedent is that unclaimed land is claimed by possession, whether done by a country or an individual. If a single individual does this, the country of their citizenry can just say "no, you simple fool. We declare your property rights null and void." You don't have to accept this.

This is where the blitz comes in. Write a settlement charter where all members agree in writing to accept a single reasonable claim in an organized manner. Then start taking possession. Don't try to fight in the courts at first... bypass those points because it's unlikely you would win. Build a society and then dare any government to take it away from you. They will lose.

Gaslight Technology (G.T.)

We have a can't do problem in modern society. So you can imagine the reaction I get when I say with confidence that living on mars just requires gaslight technology (G.T.) like when the Brooklyn bridge was built in 1883.

Human exhaled breath is poisonous to humans. Think about that! On earth the air we breath is scrubbed by nature. On mars we'd have to depend on machines not breaking down. Sounds like a can't do situation right? No, it isn't and it doesn't require high technology to fix. What you want is dependability. We are talking about basic chemistry. Chemistry of the gaslight era.

Wikipedia tells me that CO2 scrubbing usually involve using a variant of the Kraft process which was patented in 1884. It can't be too hard, they built their own from scraps on Apollo 13. Or they could just grow lots of plants. But what is required first is a can do attitude.

So breathing on mars requires G.T. Ok, what else? How about electricity?

Now that sounds like something that requires modern technology right? It does. Modern technology of the 1820s. You need to turn an electric generator. You can make one yourself from a tin can and some wire. The ones on mars where lives depend on them will be more like scaled up versions of the alternator or starter motor in your car. Solar panels, batteries and nuclear power while not G.T. (batteries are pre-GT) can be constructed on mars using local materials and just G.T.

And so it goes for every other requirement for life on mars. A luxurious shirtsleeve life in your own well lit (we could use, uh, gaslights or that modern 1800/1879 invention) underground mansions where you meet with friends at the huge industrial mall, school, sports and entertainment center.

Did I forget fuel for engines? You get that out of the martian air. That's a modern invention!

[I just had a power outage and my computer shut down. I didn't lose any of the above. Yes, I'm a fan of modern technology as well.]

Enough said. Getting to mars may take all our ingenuity. Living on mars we will find something we seem to have lost today...

The Can Do Spirit
 (this is why we need frontiers)

...and the liberty of ownership.

Update: You might want an 1881 household encyclopedia (PDF).
For example, how to make glass.

Update: Did I forget to mention steam engines? They turn generators to produce electricity. Today most of our electricity comes from steam turbines, but the older engines still work fine and would not be difficult for martians to make. Turbines require a higher level of technology (1884 10hp, easily scaled up to 50 mW) but in time are also within martian reach.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Absolutely YES!

I never thought I'd see this. Sarah says her rogue pick is Allen West!

It would take a miracle (please continue to hold out from the media pressure: Rick, Newt and Ron) but my president team pick is...

Palin/West 2012

Nikki agrees. Herman Cain as well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Space Homesteads: Numbers and Risk

Settlement into our solar system has the potential of creating an economic expansion the world has never before seen. While nobody has found the magic bullet that makes space development work beyond earth orbit (yet) real estate alone might be enough to provide that foundation. Mars, the nearest analogy to earth in our solar system with all the raw materials for an industrial society, has 144 million square kilometers of claimable land. No government owns it, has any authority over it, or has the right to grant it to others; but they can recognize reasonable claims by possession which is the legal precedent.

A settlement charter [revised] creates a legally enforceable contract for it's members. The more members the easier it will be to defend from outside legal attacks. I think a single square kilometer claim to any individual by possession creates a foundation for societal wealth on this new world, but perhaps I'm wrong about the right size of a claim. So let's pick some numbers.

It's important that the claim have enough value that banks are willing to take the risk of financing colonists (see my reply to this). This means some precursor events must occur. First a small group of people must go to mars and show that it is possible to live off the land there. After fifty years of humans in space, we know we could support a small group indefinitely, but settlers will need to know they can get all the requirements for life (food, water, air, power, etc.) from local resources.

Elon Musk thinks he can get the cost per person to the surface of mars down to half a million dollars. Assume he's off by ten and it actually costs $5m per person to the surface of mars with a couple of years of supplies.

$5m is a lot of money, but banks could and would finance the trip to mars for healthy, able bodied persons if their risk was covered by a good return. Let's assume the settlement charter allows each individual to make a one time claim of 3 sq. km. (3 million sq. m.) A mortgage loan with an obligation of selling 2 million sq. m. over 20 yrs would not be unprecedented. The bank would get the unsold property should the borrower default which they could then develop themselves with local contractors. So break even would be $2.50 per sq. m. ($5m/2m sq. m.) What profit would tip the balance so banks would take the risk? I don't know, but for the sake of argument let's say it's ten times break even, or $25 per sq. m.

The colonist can develop various sized plots for resale and has an obligation to pay the bank $25k for every 1000 sq. m. of plots sold (of the first two thirds of their property.) So for every colonist the bank provides a mortgage to, which cover transportation costs and supplies for a new life, the bank makes a $45m dollar profit over 20 yrs. An average of over $2m a year from a $5m total investment.

The colonist, if they do nothing else but develop land, gets a lifetime of income. The local economy gets a boost as the material and labor cost of development is rolled over on each newly developed plot (for these calculations we assume the $5m includes enough extra to grease the wheels of development.)

The colonist will want to take enough resources to get a good start on a new life but they don't have to make a down payment on the bank loan. You won't have to be rich to start a new life on mars. Any healthy young person will be able to go. The bank will get their down payment from the habitat sold to the new colonist (waiting for them when they land) by a colonist already on mars.

Down the line, martian babies put the economy into turbo boost mode.

Not everyone has to join this settlement charter. The members can go about their business and pretty much ignore any other group. The pace of growth, which is positively enforced for all involved, will ensure they have an advantage over any other groups that don't appreciate the power of liberty and ownership.


Not as I've described above. The reason is we can't send enough colonists so that each existing colonist will have the dozen or so buyers they need every year to satisfy the loan terms. But we can modify the terms so that it can work.

As described above, the colonists would probably have enough buyers over the twenty years to provide them with a good income, but in the end would default with the bank getting title to the remainder of their property. This is not the intention of the above plan.

To fix it, we enlist the buying power of those that will never get the chance to actually go to mars. Since they can't go to mars, they can't claim land by possession. But they can buy land from those that have claimed some. Since this is in addition to the mortgage obligation of the colonist, we can lower the banks return to just double, or $5/sq. m. for this unimproved land, all of which goes to the bank to satisfy the borrowers obligation of selling two of their three sq. km. This could result in the bank being paid off long before the 20 year mortgage is up. The bank would have the money to provide a settlement loan for two more colonists. The borrower would own their property with no more liens.

This isn't just a novelty purchase. The settlement charter says that property rights are absolute and total. Nobody can take it away from you or tax it away from you. You have to agree to any use of that land including payment for that use. It's yours until you voluntarily sell it.

The one thing we absolutely need is a can do attitude.

Update: via Mrmandias we have this interesting discussion. My main problem with the discussion is they turn the history of law on its head by talking about govt. land grants. The govt. can not grant any land; THEY DO NOT OWN IT. It's all unclaimed property. Individuals, especially legally through a settlement charter they all agree to, can make small reasonable claims and have those claims held up in court because they are made in the only legal way... by possession.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Media has an agenda

Party elders are discussing ways to help characterize Mr. Romney as the presumptive nominee — perhaps by the end of April — well before he reaches the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.
Unnamed party elders eh? Rick, Newt and Ron are not buying it.