View 736 Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Thanks to all who have remembered that it’s my birthday, and more thanks to those who used this as an occasion to subscribe or renew.
I used to go to SIGGRAPH fairly regularly and I had sort of planned to get down there this afternoon, but I kept putting things off, and this morning I had an appointment with the dermatologist. I came back with sticking plaster all over my face, and not a lot of energy. Nothing serious, but biopsies on my nose and cheek and while he was in there on my cheek he chopped out whatever was there. The result didn’t leave me with much energy, and tomorrow we have other stuff we have to do. It’s also over 97 degrees outside my back door, and I’m really not up to driving downtown, so I guess I’ll miss SIGGRAPH. Peter Glaskowsky and my son Alex will both be down there, and it would be a good thing to go have dinner with them and find out what all’s going on, but I’m just not up to it. I’ll have to find out another time.
The bill is in for the Occupy Los Angeles demonstration, and it’s about $5 million. The Mayor, meanwhile, is making speeches about how we have to be smarter in city operations and save money, but I don’t think he is counting on this as a good example of that .Even so, I expect we got off easy compared to some cities.
That got me thinking about demonstrations and causes. It’s hard to know precisely what Occupy Los Angeles wanted – they never did get agreement on any statement of demands – but as near as I can tell the major concern of those who chose to speak to reporters was over income inequality. It may be that income inequality is something to be concerned about, but the Occupy Los Angeles people – dubbed “The Occupoopers” by many Los Angeles commentators – did not get many people thinking about that issue.
Apologies. I intended at least one essay today, but the day was devoured by small things. It’s now late, and there’s a lot to do tomorrow. I work bestr when I have routines, and they have all been disrupted.
My congratulations to JPL and the Curiosity crew. We need to know more about Mars. That doesn’t change my mind: the next step in the conquest of space is a permanent base on the Moon, and more experience in exploiting space resources. Of course compared to Mars the Moon seems fairly dull, but getting to Mars will be a lot simpler when we have a Moon Base and a place where we can test NERVA and other nuclear propulsion systems in vacuum with a machine shop and materials handy. Hohmann orbits are not the key to the planets. We need Heinlein’s ‘torchships”, but they turn out to be a great deal more difficult than we believed in that golden age. On the other hand, we have tested NERVA and got exhaust velocities double theoretical maxima of chemical rockets. NERVA and a Moon Base can make possible the kind of asteroid commerce I describe in Birth of Fire, High Justice, Exile and Glory, and other works I did in the 1980’s. I have seen nothing to make those stories obsolete, and the only failures we have had are those of nerve.
We’re still going. It may take longer than I expected, and the language of space doesn’t have to be English. But we’ll go. To the Moon, the asteroids, that planets, and then we’ll learn how to go further. And it’s time for bed.
Once again, my thanks to all those who wished me a happy birthday, and more thanks to those who subscribed or renewed. I’ll be back in action by the end of the week. I even managed several hundred new words on Janissaries yesterday. I’m a year older, but my head is still working, Perhaps a bit more slowly, but it’s still there.
‘At 5:02 p.m., they reset my Twitter password. At 5:00 they used iCloud’s “Find My” tool to remotely wipe my iPhone. At 5:01 they remotely wiped my iPad. At 5:05 they remotely wiped my MacBook. Around this same time, they deleted my Google account.’