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Comment Ruining the copyrights to all songs (Score 1) 178 178

A few years ago there was a legal decision that you could not copyright a score that was the output of an algorithm. Pi is the output of an algorithm. If you code a song's score into a string of digits, and go searching for that sting in pi, you are sure to find it. Ergo, no song can be copyrighted.

Comment Re:Copyright and cryonics (Score 1) 111 111

Alas, you never have mod points when you need them.

I think I was the one who turned Steve on cryonics. Alcor was raided a few years before SJG and we sued the county under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act over email in the computers they took. Didn't go to a trial because Riverside county knew they would lose and just paid up. When Steve was raided I sent him the legal research and legal papers we had from that case. His lawyers used it, and Steve wanted to know what Alcor did.

My that was a long time ago.

I don't know if there is a game in this, but recently a new solution to energy, carbon and climate has developed. It's mainly based around the Skylon SSTO. Looks like that will get the cost down to where power satellites undercut coal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... I wonder if Steve or anyone could figure out how to make a game out of this solution?

Comment Think of blackmail possiblities (Score 1) 173 173

Between the questions they ask on SF86 and the medical records that someone grabbed recently . . .

I don't see how anyone could fill out that form without missing something that could be exposed in medical records or a little PI work. Then they are threatened with exposing their error and 5 years in jail.http://yro.slashdot.org/story/15/06/12/2210230/sf86-data-captured-in-opm-hack#

Comment Re:Whats so repugnant? (Score 1) 183 183

Judge Robert H. Wallerstein, an unknown number of prosecutors in the Riverside DA's office, the cult's lawyers and perhaps the Riverside Sheriff's Department were engaged in a criminal conspiracy to entrap. Seven years after it happened, it came to light that the judge had been in on an attempt to entrap me for "failure to appear" on an indictment they tried to keep secret by not sending a notice to appear to me or my lawyer. Wallerstein signed an arrest warrant for the "crime" of failure to appear prior to when I did in fact show up. The arrest warrant was never made part of the court record, but the Sheriff's office kept a copy of it which they filed in Arizona when I was arrested there.

Copy here: http://www.operatingthetan.com...

The cult's lawyers went to a huge effort in an unrelated case to have me in a deposition later the same day as the notice to appear. I believe I would have been arrested on camera at the deposition if the cult's lawyers had not screwed up by assumed something I put in a filing in the bankruptcy case to mean I knew about the notice to appear when I didn't.

If you wonder why I say something that could be considered to slander the judge (if it were not true), he is long dead, and there are a ton of legal precedents that you can't slander the dead. My lawyer and I would have tried to recuse Wallerstein had we known he had been engaged in a criminal conspiracy against me 7 months before the trial.

Comment No good choices (Score 1) 298 298

A solution by 2100 is about what I expect from the political world, i.e., put it off far beyond their term in office. Good reason actually. The existing renewable "solutions" are so expensive that coming down hard on carbon (that's coal for electrical generation and oil for transport) would kill the economy, the government that tried it would be replaced and the new government would repudiate the policies.

What's needed is a renewable energy source that's cheaper than coal. Then carbon emissions would fall fast and the economy would boom.

I can't say we have a solution yet, but we might have one. Here is a proposal to build solar power plants where the Sun shines close to 99% of the time. This video of transporting parts to GEO and building a thermal power satellite was recently made public. It was in a contest, but a team supported by the Chinese government won.


3000 of these could entirely replace the three cubic miles of oil (equivalent) of fossil fuel the human race uses each year. By the early 2030s if we got on it soon.

Cheaper than coal or oil too. Because Skylon is a UK project, the UK has the lead in fixing energy, carbon, climate and the difficult economic times due to expensive energy. Japan is paying close attention and actually spending serious money on power satellite development.

The most serious current problem is the NOx generated by vehicle reentry. Some atmospheric chemists are looking into the problem to see how much damage the traffic would cause to ozone.

Comment Stopping the slide (Score 1) 293 293

There is a simple and relatively cheap way to stop the ice from sliding off into the ocean. It's well understood and has been used in large numbers for 40 years.

I refer to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline supports. There is a picture here of one of the thermal diodes that keep the permafrost frozen under the line. They are dirt simple, a pipe with a few gallons of ammonia or propane.


Far as I know, nobody has yet studied what it would cost or how to pay for it, but enough of them would freeze the glaciers to bedrock.

Comment Re:Honestly (Score 1) 587 587

The problem is science.

No space station? Well that's because people wrote those books, and books on moon colonies or terraforming Mars when they weren't really aware of how much effort it took just to get rockets off the ground. People thought going to Mars would be as easy as driving your car to Vegas, and over time people slowly became aware that it wasn't, and science wouldn't create any magical thing that would make it so.

I think you may be confusing science and engineering/economics. "Rocket science" has been around 202 years according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... It's not as expensive to get into orbit as you think. If you just consider the energy it's around $2 a kg to GEO.

By combining Reaction Engines' Skylon and a method the microwave guru Bill Brown proposed, I think it is possible to get the cost down to less than $200/kg to GEO at a flight rate commensurate with the cargo requirements of a power satellite project. At that transport cost, energy from space can undercut electrical energy from coal--if you can get the mass of a 5 GW power satellite under 32,500 tons. Preprint here https://drive.google.com/file/... The one on getting the mass of a thermal power satellite down to where the project makes sense will be out in a few weeks.

But mostly you are right. I remember one place where Heinlein mentioned that "he and Ginny spent three solid days calculating on big sheets of butcher paper some of the Hohmann transfer orbits he was writing about . . ." Nowadays, you can run this off in half an hour with Excel (half hour to write, less than a ms to run) but how many of the current crop of writers would do even that?

Comment Re:No they don't (Score 1) 226 226

Maury, if you want to attack a kind of renewable energy, you should pick a better way. It's cost rather than any other factor that makes the difference.

If you use levelized cost of electric power for electrical from space it turns out that the cost depends entirely on the capital investment since there is no fuel.

Capital investment depends on the cost to buy the parts and the shipping to get them to GEO. Cost of parts, including the rectenna is about $1100 per kW. This is based on steam turbines, which are about three times as efficient as current low cost PV. Analysis of the mass indicates they will mass about 6.5 kg/kW. That includes the concentrators, boilers, turbines, condenser/radiators, the transmitter and a frame to hold it all together.

This paper (preprint, but it's been published) https://drive.google.com/file/... shows how a substantial parts flow to GEO would cost less than $200/kg. That makes the whole thing come in at less than $2400/kW or 3 cents per kWh.

Coal costs 4 cents per kWh, so power from space (if this analysis is correct) would undercut coal.

Fastest this could happen is 2023 assuming Reaction Engines delivers as promised in 2021. On the kind of fast growth you would expect from something making a very high level of profit, power from space would completely displace more expensive fossil fuels by the early 2030s.

If you think that's a good idea, you might want to analyze power satellites from the end point of producing power for less than electricity from coal.

Comment Re:Instilling values more important (Score 1) 698 698

I know it is off topic for your request, but if you have money well beyond what your wife and daughter need, you might consider cryonics. There are two companies out there, Alcor and CI. CI is lower cost, Alcor froze Hal Finney last year.

It may be a long shot, but in your condition, there are not many options--especially if you want a chance to see how your daughter does.

The last person I helped process for Alcor, Dr. Jim Stevenson, died of pancreatic cancer.

Comment Re:Um, duh? (Score 1) 224 224

"But putting the collectors in space will be stupid and uneconomic for the foreseeable future."

Maybe and then again, maybe not.

I don't think there is any point in making the investment for power satellites unless the cost of power produced from them is less than that from coal.

If you can get the cost of power down to $2400/kW, then the cost of power gets down to 3 cents, undercutting coal at 4 cents per kWh.

The cost of the parts and the rectenna is expected to be around $1100/kW. That leaves $1300/kW for transport. I *think* the mass of a kW reference to the ground will stay under 6.5 kg/kW (a thermal, not a PV design). That means the cost to lift large amounts of cargo to GEO can't exceed $200/kg.

Reaction Engines thinks Skylon will put cargo in LEO for $120/kg, leaving $80/kg for the cost of the LEO to GEO leg. That can't be done with chemical propulsion, but it looks like a ground powered arcjet tug that moves about 15,000 tons at a time could get the cost down to perhaps $65/kg. The arcjets exhaust velocity for this cost is around 25 km/s.

There is an IEEE paper that goes into the details here https://drive.google.com/file/...

Comment One time pad (Score 1) 93 93

"End-to-end encryption is easy - you just need to send a courier with a one time pad."

Key management is a PITA. Still, making pairs of DVDs filled with random noise isn't that hard. If you seal them with glitter nail polish and send a picture of the sealing back, then you and the recipient can be fairly sure it wasn't intercepted and copied.

USB sticks are larger, but you need to completely erase the USB or DVD after copying to disk. Then the program needs to enforce that used blocks on the disk are erased.

Phil Z and one other name in the crypto biz thinks this is unneeded.

It doesn't work well for encrypting pirated movies, but for most stuff it's really secure.

Comment Re:BLINDED BY SCIENCE !! (Score 1) 315 315

A simple thought experiment will tell you that if this thing works as stated, it's a source of free energy. I was amused by a post from a power satellite fan saying that the thing could be used to get parts from LEO to GEO to make power satellites economical.

It might make stuff cheaper to move in space, but the near free energy these things can generate eliminates the market for energy from space.

6.023 x 10 to the 23rd power alligator pears = Avocado's number