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+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: FONC: Fundamentals of New Computing -- Alan Kay (Score 2) 274

by Paul Fernhout (#47520095) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

We are faced with a need for significant action and the odds are stacked against us. Invention receives no attention, and innovation (even when incorrectly understood) receives lip service in the press but no current-day vehicle exists to to nurture it. This wiki is an open invitation for talented individuals to pool their energy and collaborate towards fundamentally changing computing.

Over the years many groups have debated how to make progress in computing. There were likely as many opinions as there were people in the debates. Nevertheless personal accounts suggest that initiatives were sometimes reduced to a handful and then pursued with vigour. Consider what could be achieved by following the same pattern today, with the added benefit of doing it as a virtual, distributed team.

Our goal could be to capture the significant ideas and initiatives that we have been exposed to, are aware of, or can discover, distil them into groups, reduce them to a handful of concepts worthy of vigorous exploration, and focus our efforts on these common ideas with the eventual aim of making substantial progress towards finding a common set of fundamentals of new computing.

See also:

A big focus of FONC was in reducing lots of complexity. Smalltalk shows what is possible... But in practice new languages and new standards often just add more complexity to the mix and what we often need are better tools for dealing with complexity. And community and trends mean a lot too, as does hireability and ubiquity and easy installability. So, again, in practice, I'm moving to JavaScript with conceptually simple backends (even in, yikes, PHP) -- inspired in part by Dan Ingall's own work with the Lively Kernel which shows what is possible as near-zero-effort-to-install JavaScript apps.

My own thoughts on FONC from 2010:
"fonc] On inventing the computing microscope/telescope for the dynamic semantic web"
Biology made a lot of progress by inventing the microscope -- and that was done way before it invented genetic engineering, and even before it understood there were bacteria around. :-)

What are our computing microscopes now? What are our computing telescopes? Are debuggers crude computing microscopes? Are class hierarchy browsers and package managers and IDEs and web browsers crude computing telescopes?

Maybe we need to reinvent the computing microscope and computing telescope to help in trying to engineer better digital organisms via FONC? :-) Maybe it is more important to do it first? ...

It's taken a while for me to see this, but, with JavaScript, essentially each web page can be seen like a Smalltalk ObjectMemory (or text-based image like PataPata writes out). While I work towards using the Pointrel System to add triples in a declarative way, in practice, the web of calling cgi scripts at URLs is a lot like message passing (just more like the earlier Smalltalk-72 way without well-defined syntax). So, essentially, a web of HTML pages with JavaScript and CGI on servers is like the Smalltalk system written large. :-) Just in a very ad hoc and inelegant way. :-)


Comment: Re:cause and/or those responsible (Score 0) 665

by jd (#47497503) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Nothing is objectively known about the airliner. Everything, from Ukrainian air traffic control ordering the plane to descend to a dangerous altitude to who detected what, is all supposition and hearsay at this point.

It is my personal suspicion that the Ukrainian authorities were hoping for an accident of this sort and were intent on placing a civilian airliner in as dangerous a position as possible. Whether that was the case for this specific airliner on this specific flight is unclear.

And I'd argue that Korean Airlines 007 is a better example for this reason. The US had been using civilian airliners for spying on Russia for some time and doctored the evidence to remove Russian pilots radioing warnings to the aircraft in order to make the incident more incriminating than it was. Whether that flight was used for spying, was shadowed by such an aircraft, or merely happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, all becomes incidental. The accident was inevitable and the US government of the time was guilty of ensuring civilians would someday die for the benefit of military intelligence. It was merely a matter of which plane would be blown out of the sky and when.

In this case, the Ukranian authorities deliberately downplayed the risk of missile attacks on overflying aircraft and deliberately worked to place aircraft in the most dangerous air corridors that the airlines would permit. That is indisputable. Their opponents were known to be firing on aircraft and had shot several down. When your time to respond is measured in milliseconds, the nearest aircraft identification guide is mere hours away, to paraphrase what Americans often say about cops.

An accident was inevitable. The separatists weren't interested in avoiding one, the Ukrainian authorities certainly weren't. It was merely who would die for someone else's ideals. Whether or not this aircraft was deliberately placed in the path of a SAM battery is unimportant.

Both sides are therefore guilty. Both sides deserve blame.

Comment: Re:String theory is not science (Score 5, Insightful) 147

by jd (#47493105) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

It's testable, it's measurable, it's repeatable, it's capable of prediction. it's either the simplest model that meets these requirements AND produces correct predictions, OR it is not.

Therefore it is science.

Maths is a science, for the reasons given in the first line. Science is a mathematical system, because ultimately there is nothing there, just numbers. (See: Spinons and other quasiparticles.)

Comment: Multiverse theory (Score 5, Informative) 147

by jd (#47493093) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

There are many multiverse theories and they can all be tested.

Many Worlds: The theory that there are no real "probability waves" in QM, merely overlapping realities that diverge at the time the "waveform" collapses.

This is an easy one. Entangled particles operate using the same physics as wormholes. If one of the entangled pair is accelerated to relativistic velocities, say in a particle accelerator, they will not exist in the same relative timeframe. It would seem to follow that if Many Worlds is correct, one of the particles will be entangled with multiple instances of the other particle, which would imply that every state would be seen at the same time. If the options are left spin and right spin, you'd see an aggregate state of no spin even if no spin isn't a physical possibility. And seeing something that doesn't exist either means you're in a Phineas and Ferb cartoon or Many Worlds is correct.

Foam Universe: This is the sort described in the article.

Yes, impact studies are possible, but they're only meaningful if you have enough data and you can't possibly know if you do. You're better off trying to make a universe, preferably a very small one with a quantum black hole at the throat of the bridge linking this universe to that one. What you will observe is energy apparently vanishing, not existing in any form - mass included, then reappearing as the bridge completely collapses.

Orange Slice Universe: This conjectures that multiple, semi-independent, universes formed out of the same big bang and will eventually converge in a big crunch.

It doesn't matter that this universe would expand forever, left to its own devices, because the total mass is the total mass of all the slices. Although they are semi-independent, they interact at the universe-to-universe level. In this scheme, because there's a single entity (albeit partitioned), leptons cannot have just any of the theoretical states. The state space must also be partitioned. Ergo, if you can't create a state for an electron (for example) that it should be able to take, this type of multiverse must exist.

Membrane-based Universe: This postulates that universes are at an interface between a membrane and something else, such as another membrane.

However, membranes intersecting with the universe are supposed to be how leptons are formed, in this theory. The intersection will be governed by the topology of the membranes involved (including the one the universe resides on), which means that lepton behaviour must vary from locality to locality, since the nature of the intersections cannot vary such as to perfectly mirror variations in the shape of the membrane the universe is on. Therefore, all you need to do is demonstrate a result that is perfectly repeatable anywhere on Earth but not, say, at the edge of the solar system.

Comment: Look into adequate vitamin D for joint pain (Score 1) 527

And also eating more vegetables and fruits (such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman's work or Dr. Andrew Weil's work) to reduce inflammation. You might also be sensitive to some compounds in food, such as in the nightshade family (like tomatoes) or possibly other things (food additives, etc.)

If you want true alternatives. gold and guns/ammo won't help. All that can be confiscated.

I collected some better solutions at this link and elsewhere on my site:
"This article explores the issue of a "Jobless Recovery" mainly from a heterodox economic perspective. It emphasizes the implications of ideas by Marshall Brain and others that improvements in robotics, automation, design, and voluntary social networks are fundamentally changing the structure of the economic landscape. It outlines towards the end four major alternatives to mainstream economic practice (a basic income, a gift economy, stronger local subsistence economies, and resource-based planning). These alternatives could be used in combination to address what, even as far back as 1964, has been described as a breaking "income-through-jobs link". This link between jobs and income is breaking because of the declining value of most paid human labor relative to capital investments in automation and better design. Or, as is now the case, the value of paid human labor like at some newspapers or universities is also declining relative to the output of voluntary social networks such as for digital content production (like represented by this document). It is suggested that we will need to fundamentally reevaluate our economic theories and practices to adjust to these new realities emerging from exponential trends in technology and society."

Learning more about health creation for yourself falls in part under subsistence production... And also the gift economy,,,

Comment: Faulty assumption (Score 2) 390

by jd (#47491507) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

Not everyone "gets" that advertising is needed. In fact, click-through revenue is so miniscule that it would be more cost-effective to not saturate the Internet with ads, or indeed have ads on the Internet at all. The Internet had no advertising at all until two Utah lawyers invented spam and made a fortune promoting their book on Internet advertising. That was around 5 years after the Internet was privatized.

Almost no site I give a damn about relies on advertising. As advertising on a site goes up, the time I spend there goes down. When in England, I watch BBC almost exclusively, ITV stuff is relegated to whenever it comes out on DVD. That has been the case for much of my life. When moving to the US, I abandoned television entirely simply because of the adverts.

Linux is one of the top Operating Systems and gained almost all of that reputation and awesomeness before IBM started their TV ads.

So if products don't need advertising, the Internet doesn't need advertising and users hate advertising, then who the hell is this "everyone" who "understands" the need?

Comment: The End of Diabetes by Joel Fuhrman, M.D (Score 1) 253

by Paul Fernhout (#47487407) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

Glad to here about your success story! If you want to take your success to the next level, you may find this of interest:
"This New York Times best seller offers a scientifically proven, practical program to prevent and reverse diabetesâ"without drugs. Diabetes does not have to shorten your life span or result in high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness or other life-threatening ailments. In fact, most type 2 diabetics can get off medication and become 100 percent healthy in just a few simple steps. This book offers no compromises, it is the most aggressive and effective approach to reverse obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease; which typically accompany type 2 diabetes. The information about Type 1 diabetes is simply life saving. It is a must read for every diabetic, as well as any nutritionally-aware person wanting to understand the failure of conventional medical care for diabetic treatments and the "no-brainer" of using nutritional excellence, not drugs."

And see:

The grand parent poster said quadrupling *vegetables* (many of which are leafy greens like Kale) not "complex carbs"... And there are much healthier things to eat than cancer-implicated processed lunchmeat if you want to eat meat...

Also, exercise does not help much with weight loss because it stimulates the appetite, even though exercise in general is good for health...

Also, for yet another different perspective (on how the recommendations decades ago to avoid fat on the theory it made people fat have instead led to an epidemic of obesity and heart disease by leading people to eat too much sugar):

Good luck staying with what is working for you and maybe even going further which might then free up energy for your titanic plans! :-)

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981