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...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's not a closed system.

Thinking it is, is a big part of the problem.

They are going to miss important things no matter how much they plan, so oversupply (especially solar panels.)

How many martians does it take to change a lightbulb? Sorry, they didn't plan for that!

How many martians does it take to heat a habitat? Uh, well, ya see, we ran out of those old kind of light bulbs and don't know how to make more.

Update: Seriously, the MIT report makes me more positive about Mars One...

Issue 1 - insufficient plant production capacity.
Solution - Include: UV plastic so they can greatly expand crop area, live soil (and correct bacteria) to mix with mars soil, 26 months of emergency backup food (25 yr storage.) 8FH provides emergency food for a dozen giving them about a decade to get the food production rate to levels where the issue disappears.

Issue 2 - Crops share volume with crew using existing ISS
Solution - Don't do that. Include soil bacteria to consume excess oxygen.

Issue 3 -  Spares requirement will grow over time.
Solution - No spares. All systems repairable or replaceable using only local resources. 3D printing is not an issue because they will not be doing it in space.

Other issues - FH with lander will not be $300m each. More like under $200m ea.

Mars One overestimates FH launch requirements. They do not require 10 FH for every 4 crew they send. 3 launches are enough with 1 being extra cargo (they could actually get by with just 2.)

That gives them an annual cost of just $200m to $300m after first crew. Not billions as claimed.

Update: FH puts 13,200 kg in mars orbit. Equal to 5,000 kg Dragon v2, 4,000 kg of consumables w/o recycling for 2 crew during transit and 2,000 kg of personal items to land with. 2,000 kg of inflatable volume during trip. Scaleable x 2s to any number they can afford each launch window including spares. During transit they have each other to talk with and no time delays.

Update:  "A very thorough analysis"

I have to take exception to 'thorough.' While the MIT report is commendable and certainly extensive; Thorough implies much more. It's to be hoped that the post report analysis is what is thorough. Being critical of the report should take nothing away from the work that was put into it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Obama's dream plane

It can't fight. We can't blame him for it, but it's the perfect weapon for loving your enemies.

Having 3 seconds of ammo isn't a problem since it's too fat to dogfight anyway. So why worry that it's being shipped unable to fire at all? No sidewinders needed either... did we mention it can't dogfight.

Since it can only fire over the horizon missiles... put those missiles on cheap drones and be done.

Girls killing ISIS

They're winning.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The wrong way to get to mars

75% would double NASA's budget to get us to mars.

While it's good to see the public support, it would be a huge mistake. Their budget is just a tiny part of the overall budget, but they have the ability to waste it on a scale no private company could tolerate. A much better use of the money would be X prizes, which many others have pointed out. That guarantees the money only gets spent with an actual accomplishment and at a cost determined by proper business profit and cost incentives.
Poll respondents said they believe money or political barriers, not motivational or technological shortfalls, will be the biggest barrier to a future Mars mission.
The public gets this exactly right, suggesting that if presented properly, private investment could get the job done.
People like to get things done...
As opposed to the way government goes about it. They don't mind if it takes the time it must. They just get fed up with the wasted time. What could we really do with just one year of NASA's current undoubled ($18B) budget?

Launch system development: $ZERO. SpaceX will have the Falcon Heavy flying this year at zero cost to the taxpayers (NASA will spend $40b on the SLS.) FH will put 13 tons in mars orbit.

Although SpaceX is working on a BFR that will send more for less, again on their own dime, 13 ton is all that is required (costing less than $125m per launch to deliver 2500 kg to the surface of mars.)

125m into 18b is 144 launches.


Any morons out there think we could NOT put a settlement on mars with that?

One FH every 26 months fully supplies 3 mars colonists. The interest on $18b would fully supply a small colony indefinitely and that's if they can't grow any food on mars. In all the  solar system, mars is the second best farming location there is, after earth!

Did you do the math? Assume a billion per year interest on $18b... that's 16 FH launches fully supporting 4 dozen colonists forever.

4 dozen just happens to be how many you need for a full industrial ecology capable of producing anything the earth can design (not as fast at first, but potentially just as diverse.) This is the bootstrap for humanities second great industrial world. This is much more exciting than any exoplanet discovery which is many orders of magnitude more difficult to exploit.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Habitat psychology and construction

This PDF points out the alarming psychological affects on people confined to Isolated and Confined Environments (ICE) such as Mars One proposes and goes on to say,
"The natural desire, typical to most of people, is to stay in a larger environment and to contact with more [than a] few human beings."
Exactly right. I suggest a first crew of twelve instead of four (arriving in stages on 3 to 6 prepositioned landers from a ship in mars orbit.) Also, ownership has a huge positive psychologically effect and allows people to build huge malls and mansions for their mental health.

The landers, which are not built on mars, should only be considered temporary emergency shelters. Mars colonists, immediately after taking care of primary survival needs (local power and water) should make ISRU habitat construction a first priority. Building these insures they can repair them, making life support independent of resupply.

Habitat construction can be considered to have 3 overlapping phases... 1) telerobotic 2) suited 3) unsuited.

Telerobotic construction can begin before or after the first lander arrives from within a closed environment vehicle without a cumbersome spacesuit. It's duration is medium length. It involves preparation before a sealed environment is fully accomplished. The primary action may be trenching. Secondary would be covering the trench possibly over an inflated structure. This 'balloon' may come from earth for practicality of early construction but the goal is to only use local resources. Compressed bricks and loose dirt being the most likely construction materials (combined into vaulted ceilings?) Later, welded sheet iron may become popular.

Suited construction should be of limited short length to transition from phase 1 to 3. The primary objective is turning an unsealed habitat into a large sealed shirtsleeve work space. Plastic airlocks (brought from earth) may be used in early construction. Highway 1 is a sealed tunnel all personal habitats may connect to.

Phase 3 is long duration or more. Once it's safe to work on the interior without a spacesuit, that's what they'll do. Interior walls and floors would be added according to an owner's design preferences. A real toilet, bath and bed will probably be priorities, but getting sealed, privately owned spaces for all, should be a group effort all sign on to. This provides both redundancy and privacy.

Mission planning should have enough food prepositioned on mars before anyone landed so that gardening can be an individual pursuit done in leisure. UV protected plastic (thick enough to hold 10 psi) and live soil should be brought from earth as a starter kit. Enough so each colonist can discover their own green thumb. Seeds need not be restricted to dietary plants.

Mars colonists will endure hardships. People can. But they shouldn't have to endure stupidity imposed upon them. They will be bootstrapping an entire world. How valuable will that world be to mankind when millions live there? How short sighted would it be not to give them liberty right from the start?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


It's supposed to insure a court appearance. I drive the 26 miles to St.Johns (not having slept the night before) where they are holding my brother and arrive before 7 am. They want $1500 to let my brother out. I only have $150. They want $1500. I was told they only needed 10%? That's with a bail bond. St. John's doesn't have any. They want $1500. Where can I get a bail bond? We can't recommend any. We need $1500.

Nearest bail bond is in Pinetop. So I drive another 50 miles to there. They aren't open yet. I fall asleep.

Bail bond for $1500 is $150 plus $50. That works out to about 2000% APR. Plus they want 100% collateral. I don't have that. Looks like he's going to stay a week in jail.

He just spent 3 years in jail for being an alcoholic. They released him knowing he had this warrant which requires them to put him back in jail. What is the logic to that? The warrant was for missing a court ordered class that he missed because he was arrested.

His boss will keep him. He's a good worker. It's just more of life's bullshit. Funny how life's bullshit always seems to involve government?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How was your Superbowl?

My sister was drinking. Does that not tell the whole story? Ok then, details...

Mom 74, step-dad 72, my sister 49, each took Seattle for $5 against my brother and New England. It was a good first half but my sister has a beer driven foul mouth that was pushing all my brothers buttons. After halftime, with the score 17-14 I tried to get her to focus on the game by offering my own $5 on the Patriots. That seemed to work for a few seconds then she got foul mouthed and belligerent with mom.

That was the last straw for my brother so he began yelling at her to respect mom while sis began swinging. That's when mom decided to get between the two. Totally predictable, but now I had to see what I could do. My sisters F-bombs were non stop.

I put my hand on my brothers shoulder and told him to get back, "I would handle it." To my surprise he did just that. I'm very proud of him. Now I just had mom and my sister to deal with. Dad had already gone to bed (he's an early riser.)

Mom was holding my sister down who was swearing and struggling. I leaned down and told her if she didn't calm down I was calling the cops. I told mom to get back and I would take care of it, but of course mom doesn't listen. My sister is swearing at me telling me to get off her when I wasn't touching her as I was standing behind mom.

So I asked my brother to dial 911 and he handed me the phone. I'm trying to talk to the operator giving our address, asking for cops and explain the situation and still involved with trying to get mom to get back as my sister is at full volume.

Eventually I get mom to get back and sis heads for her car out front. Since I'm still on the phone I ask my brother to keep her from drunk driving. When the operator says the police have arrived I think I had the sense to thank her before heading out front where they had my brother arrested and my sister nowhere to be seen.

The cop was alone so I had to wait to explain the situation until others arrived, then they released him, only to arrest him again for a misdemeanor warrant because he missed some required class.

In the morning I will have to drive to St. Johns to get him back from jail. My sister I hope they find and put in jail. If she ever comes back to my parents place I'm calling the cops. She has absolutely no respect for mom. The fault for that they share.

Wasn't it the best superbowl I ever missed?