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NERVA and man in space; Trump and the Marshall

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

 

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

 

John Glenn must surely have wondered, as all the astronauts weathered into geezers, how a great nation grew so impoverished in spirit.

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I knew from high school that I would live to see the first man land on the moon. I did not expect to see the last one.

Finally, some good news:

 

The return of NERVA?

<http://newatlas.com/nasa-atomic-rocket/50857/>

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Roland Dobbins

I learned about NERVA at Boeing in the late 50’s, and used NEWRVA type devices in most of my early science fiction in which several stories were laid in the 2020 time frame.

 

According to Wikipedia:

[snip} NASA plans for NERVA included a visit to Mars by 1978 and a permanent lunar base by 1981.[4][5] NERVA rockets would be used for nuclear “tugs” designed to take payloads from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to larger orbits as a component of the later-named Space Transportation System, resupply several space stations in various orbits around the Earth and Moon, and support a permanent lunar base. The NERVA rocket would also be a nuclear-powered upper stage for the Saturn rocket (the Saturn S-N), which would allow the upgraded Saturn to launch much larger payloads of up to 340,000 lb. (150,000 kg) to LEO. [snip]

 

This is more or less as I remember it.  Of course, the Mars mission killed the NERVA program. Instead of making a flying NERVA an X program useful for any space mission, the development scientists at NASA, having won the Moon Race when General Phillips was imposed on them as project manager, tried for another Great Mission – Mars – and since NERVA moved a Mars mission from pipedream to possible – if expensive – status, NERVA had to go.

Most of my brief experience with NERVA comes from having chased a well known movie starlet out of the house of a reluctant Congressional candidate. As you’d suspect, a story goes with that. In 1969 I was co-manager of the Sam Yorty for Mayor (of LA) campaign. Haig Kehiyan was the other co-manager. Then the Congressional District that included Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank became vacant, and was to be filled in the same election as the mayor race. Haig and I decided that I would manage  part of that campaign, since he had been hired for the Mayor’s race. 

The best Republican candidate in the District was a young, unmarried stockbroker who happened to be Barry Goldwater, Jr.  I was appointed to go out and inform young Goldwater that he really had to run for that seat; the Party needed him, and his father approved. When I got to his house – not a block away from Warner Brothers Studio – he was entertaining a well known starlet, daughter of an even more famous star. I had to ask her to let us have some time for something confidential. She was gracious about it; and fortunately since I had the express direction from his father to talk him into running for Congress, young Barry was polite, if a bit miffed. After he was an unmarried stockbroker living a block from Warner Brothers…

Anyway, he won the seat, and ended up on the Space Committee, where he fought a losing battle with his colleagues to keep NERVA alive, given the success of the program. I was in those days enthusiastic about the Mars program, but it was clear that could not be saved; but it was still possible to save NERVA, which didn’t cost all that much. Mars was estimated at $7.5 billion, and included NERVA as well as all the other hardware.

 

NERVA was a nuclear rocket; that alone made it a target for the frantic anti-nuclear crowd. It would never have enough thrust to lift its own weight – it would never launch from Earth. What it would do was open up the solar system: it had higher ISP, potentially higher by a factor of more than 3, than any chemical rocket. The only thing more efficient was  the tiny thrust ion drives. It already had demonstrated sea level thrust with an exhaust velocity twice as high as the best chemical rockets, giving it a vacuum ISP of three times better; and this was tested, not theoretical. Given experience with NERVA I make no doubt we could do much better.

 

Low thrust but higher Specific Impulse—ISP.  ISP is measured in “seconds”, but it is not a time; it is pounds of thrust per pound of fuel per second; a measure of efficiency . A LOX-Hydrogen engine can theoretically get an ISP of 450 although I know of none that have achieved that. The space shuttle solid boosters consistently delivered about 250. The tested ISP of the unfinished NERVA project ran 850 in vacuum, and more was thought fairly easy to obtain.

With NERVA a manned mission to Mars in months was possible. It was also ideal for a lunar base. NERVA would never land on Earth or the Moon, but would ferry materials between Earth orbit and Lunar orbit, then come back for more. It was, I believed then and still do, the key to man’s exploitation of the solar system. Alas, Congress in its wisdom zeroed out NERVA in 1972; but young Barry fought a noble fight to retain it.

I’m pleased to see that someone at NASA has finally realized that if we’re to have man in deep space, we need fuel efficiency to get him there.

(As of now, the Wikipedia entry on Lunar Bases is fairly sound and informative. )https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon#Moon_Capital

 

bubbles

 

Trumps Fire and Fury vs. Colin Powell

So Colin Powell said that if North Korea *used* nuclear weapons against us, we would destroy them.
Trump said that if North Korea *made further threats against the US*, fire and fury would descend on them.
There is a big difference between actually using nuclear weapons against the US versus issuing blustery threats against the US. The former demands an obvious response. The latter? Are we really going to attack North Korea, likely go to war, because Trump doesn’t like hearing these threats (which North Korea has been issuing for a long time)?
The problem with Trump’s blustery retort is that North Korea almost immediately made further threats against the US, and no Fire or Fury was forthcoming. Let’s save the threats of apocalypse for the situation it would actually be used, which is in the event of an actual attack on the US or it’s allies.

Charles

Perhaps; but then few before have specifically threatened a US territory and US citizens with plausible nuclear destruction. Guamians are US citizens, all of them; if Kim Jong Un had specifically threatened Studio City, I would not be offended if the President promised fire and sword – or fire and fury – retaliation. But then I live in Studio City. I have not heard the complaints from Guam; perhaps I missed them? At what point do threats become warnings to be acted on?

Your mileage may vary, but I would rather my enemies wondered how far they could go with nuclear threats. I note China has voted for, rather than vetoed, international sanctions. I probably would run the White House differently from the way Mr. Trump does, but then I will never be President.

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Another view.

 

Leftist Lunacy on Kim

What planet is the left living on? When was the last time we launched missiles toward other countries, routinely threatened to reduce other countries to ashes, and publicized plans to menace other countries to name a few things?

<.>

Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who also serves as the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, cautioned against President Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea at the Netroots Nation conference on Friday, initially saying that the foreign leader was acting more responsibly than Trump. He later said he regretted the remarks.

</>

http://www.thedailybeast.com/ellison-kim-jong-un-acting-more-responsible-than-trump

Democrats like Rep. Ellison demonstrate why the left cannot be taken seriously and cannot be trusted. What in the hell is wrong with this clown? They want to take the White House in 2020 with this anti-American rhetoric at a time when Trump’s poll numbers are up presumably because he’s handling this crisis in this way? Contrast that with how Clinton and Obama handled North Korea; in fact, North Korea is likely a problem today largely because of their lacks of policy on this matter.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

 

We have certainly tried the soft diplomatic approach for a long time; in the case of April Glaspie with Saddam Hussein, the result cost us several trillion dollars and far too many casualties.

 

Next will the Marshall threaten San Francisco?

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What is an American City Worth?

http://www.gingrichproductions.com/2017/08/what-is-an-american-city-worth/?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=5b3cf41775-nk-threat_2017_08_11&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-5b3cf41775-51726965

 

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Newt Gingrich

What is an American city worth?

On September 11, 2001, we were deeply moved by the deaths of 2,996 people and the wounding of another 6,000.

In reaction to that shocking day, we launched a series of wars which have gone on for nearly 16 years, have cost more than $5 trillion, and have left more than 4,000 Americans dead and more than 50,000 severely wounded.

That has been the cost of an attack by 19 terrorists using commercial airliners as weapons.

Now consider the human cost of losing one American city to a nuclear strike.

I chose only one city to make a point about our current lack of seriousness in dealing with the spread of nuclear weapons to more and more unstable and dangerous countries.

The Los Angeles Times reported on, August 16, 2006, that a nuclear attack on the Port of Long Beach would “have catastrophic consequences for the United States,” resulting in the instant deaths of 60,000 people and irradiation of another 150,000. Additionally, the paper reported the economic loss would be ten times that of the September 11th terrorist attack in New York City. The paper cited a report by the RAND Corporation’s Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy, which the article’s author wrote presented “a terrifying picture not only of the possibility of such an attack but of its immediate and long-term effects on Southern California, the nation, and the global economy.”

The Long Beach estimate was for a 10-kiloton device – that’s half the size of the “Fat Man” bomb dropped on Nagasaki and two-thirds the size of “Little Boy,” which was dropped on Hiroshima. [snip]

Kim Jong Un may think it interesting to threaten to use nuclear weapons on American Guam. Clearly Mr. Trump does not.

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Taking the earth’s temperature

An important point taken from Figure 4 is that only 7.9% of US instruments are accurate to <1 degree Celsius.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/12/uncovered-decades-old-report-showing-climate-data-was-bad/

Richard White

Del Valle, Texas

I’ve talked about this enough, I suppose; but getting temperature to a fraction of a degree is expensive, and seldom done for any reason other than medical. Modern medical thermometers use thermistors, and are calibrated once at manufacture; how reliable their 1/10 degree measurements after years of use is questionable, but I understand that in critical situations they merely throw the old one away. I haven’t consistently had 98.6 temperatures since the days of the hand-shaken tiny glass mercury thermometers.

It seems to vary between 98.0 and 99.0, and no one seems disturbed about that.

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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Nuclear War? Fire and Fury? We seem to have lost the Fourth amendment, but who cares?

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

 

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

 

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey

bubbles

 

Colin Powell Says U.S. Should Destroy North Korean Regime If It Uses Nuclear Weapons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7g_8mxaLvQ

Published on Apr 18, 2013

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday (April 18) said that he would recommend the U.S. destroy the North Korean regime should Pyongyang ever attempt to use nuclear weapons.

 

Which is essentially what President Trump said, albeit Mr. Trump is both more emotional and graphic; perhaps it takes that. But his threat of fire and fury is no less threatening than the Secretary of State informing them calmly that we will turn North Korea into a parking lot. President Trump got a lot more headlines. And now he is saying that perhaps he was not tough enough; he wants Marshall Kim Jong Un – the title that Chairman Kim prefers – to understand that the first use of nuclear weapons moves us into the realm of Full Destruction rather quickly. I suspect he also wants Marshall Kim’s immediate subordinates to understand that as well. I certainly hope they got the message.

I recall, as many younger readers will not, the panic that the Cuban Missile Crisis brought about during the Kennedy administration. I lived in Seattle and worked in Strategic Analysis at the time. We had access to information about strategic weapons, ours and the Soviet Union’s, and and thus knew of their destructive capabilities – and the rather large numbers of them both sides had (or the Russians could have had; threat assessment is usually not done by assuming the other side is incompetent or incapable with evidence we did not have).

My house was in the north part of Seattle, the Green Lake district, and was tens of miles distant from Boeing, at that time the main and perhaps only strategic target in Seattle; given reasonable Soviet missile accuracy we were unlikely to be affected by blast damage. Prevailing winds tend to be from the west, and Boeing Plant Two the main war plant is a bit east of Green Lake, but our house was within the predictable fallout area. So, for several days, my college roommate and I filled bags of dirt and constructed a makeshift fallout shelter in the Basement; we did not disturb the upstairs rooms where Roberta and our first born were, but the plan was to cover the floor up there with books, of which we had many, if we actually had to fear fallout

It wasn’t much of a fallout shelter, but it would have to do. Fortunately the crisis was averted; Khrushchev withdrew his nuclear tipped missiles from Cuba, the Navy withdrew its blockade, and the Cuban people remained in the Soviet orbit but not as a missile base. Without Cuban missiles, bombardment of the southern US from Russia was more difficult. That was not comforting in Seattle, which is far north, far west, and close to the sea where Soviet submarines might or might not have the ability to launch ballistic missiles at that time, but they certainly could and did carry cruise missiles they could launch at sea. They had demonstrated that.

But the crisis went away. I became much more interested in survival techniques, even had a column in Survive Magazine. And in1964 moved to San Bernardino which was not a counterforce target, although it was downwind from Los Angeles which was certainly a countervalue target.

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The current events are not quite so threatening to the United States. Marshall Kim might have the capability of taking out some American countervalue targets. Guam is at risk, as is all of Japan and South Korea, but Hawaii is questionably in range as is Alaska. Nuclear destruction of any part of the US proper would, I think, not be appealing to the Marshall; surely he understands that whatever the US did in retaliation, his own death would be certain, and Pyongyang would not have one stone left on another within hours of the first nuclear explosion. Colin Powell actually threatened more to the Marshall’s father – parking lot was the image he used, and for the whole country, not just Pyongyang.

The people in Guam are concerned that we might not wreak similar vengeance if North Korea destroyed a military asset there. President Trump has assured them we will. He may have been overly dramatic as his critics have said, but the soft language of Diplomacy seems ineffective with Marshall Kim.

We avoided nuclear events during the Cold War. The Russians tried to impress us with Tsar Bomba, but while the weapon worked – it was the largest nuclear event known for billions of years, exceeded in power only by meteoric bombardment – strategic analysts discounted it as undeliverable. By the time technology advanced enough to make such a monster deliverable, the era of MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction, ended with the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War.

At the time we thought there would never be another MAD period. We were wrong. An era of diplomacy has brought about a nuclear power which can pluck out our beard and blow it in our faces; and do it with impunity because the Marshall has NUKES. What messages that delivers to would be emulators of the Marshall I leave to the reader to imagine. I expect Khadafy wished he had bought nukes rather than Finlandized to the United States.

It is a time for concern, but I am not going to go out and dig to build a fallout shelter. Anyway I don’t have a basement, and my survival company dissolved many years ago.

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Fourth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

 

Apparently the Fourth Amendment no longer applies if you engage in foreign commerce, have foreign bank accounts, or have worked for Donald Trump. All or any of those are now probable cause for a special prosecutor. I would like to know whose oath supports the warrant.

 

FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home

http://www.breitbart.com/news/fbi-agents-searched-former-trump-campaign-chairs-home/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=daily&utm_content=links&utm_campaign=20170809

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI agents served a search warrant at the home of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Manafort’s spokesman said Wednesday.

Spokesman Jason Maloni says that Manafort cooperated with the agents as he has “consistently” done.

Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for that country’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating Manafort as part of his probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates.

Manafort has denied any wrongdoing. He has also cooperated with congressional committees investigating the election interference. Manafort has turned over documents to the intelligence and judiciary committees in the Senate. Manafort led the Trump campaign for several months.

The FBI search was first reported Wednesday by The Washington Post, which said it occurred July 26.

 

Has anyone actually seen the warrant? What actual crime is alleged that allows this search and seizure? Does anyone care?

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You Are Mentioned on SurvivalBlog.com

Dr. Pournelle:
Your birthday was mentioned today on http://www.survivalblog.com:
https://survivalblog.com/preparedness-notes-monday-august-07-2017/
The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is also the Editors’ Quote of the Day:
https://survivalblog.com/editors-quote-day-89/
Happy Birthday!! Keep up the great work.

 

Michael

 

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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