Saturday, July 23, 2016

Space Tech: Near-term and far-reaching, including ... Phobos!

Less than a month from now I'll be back on duty with NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program (on the External Council of advisers.) The next NIAC symposium, August 20 in Raleigh NC, is open to the public, by the way. And with that in mind - while seeking escape from loony Earthly politics) let's turn our attention skyward!

Arthur C. Clarke's famous novel, Rendezvous with Rama, depicted an alien starship hurtling through the solar system, which humans mistake for an asteroid, before discovering that it is something much more puzzling...


Now NIAC is working with Made in Space on Project RAMA (Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata). This long-term proposal is looking into the feasibility of turning asteroid fragments into AI-powered spacecraft. These  'flying mining stations' could then be directed to more accessible orbital locations in order to efficiently access the minerals within. For more details, see Made in Space cofounder Jason Dunn's article, How We Want to Turn Asteroids into Spacecraft. 

The Benford boys give an interview about proposals to create starships for interstellar travel, during the lifetimes of some of you. On the podcast show, "From Here to the Stars," Jim Benford explains what kinds of beam-driven sailing vessels might be possible fairly soon. 


Puzzled by the purported "EM Drive"? I'm a skeptic, but some of the ideas proposed - to wriggle around measly quibbles like conservation of momentum - are indeed clever. Guys should write sci fi!


Some bold envisioning from Popular Science's Spaceship Design Contest winners!

The United Arab Emirates plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars. They hope it will be the first probe created by an Islamic country to reach the red planet. They will work together with NASA. 


== Closer to Earth ==


Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Aerospace is building a giant airplane in the Mojave Desert for carrying rockets to 35,000 feet adding to their oomph into space.  It has twin fuselages - most of a 747 would feet in between them - joined across the top by a massive wing, more than 1 hundred meters across.  Howard Hughes eat it.

Two cannibalized 747s make up much of the working portions, including cockpit and engines. Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites has experience with twin fuselaged aircraft. They built for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic the much smaller but also dual-hulled White Knight Two, the mothership used to launch a small suborbital vehicle carrying passengers. With a rocket attached, Allen's aircraft will weigh 1.3 million pounds, equal to a fully loaded giant Airbus A380. Possible rollout next year.

Interesting article on some of NASA’s forthcoming  series of “X-plane” test beds for new aviation technologies.  In June, while participating in NIAC meetings, I also spoke at the DC meeting of the AIAA on a panel about the “Future of Military Aviation,” where I pointed out how many decades it has been since the public got to see something ground-breaking out of any of the top secret "skunk works" research centers.  

Video: ride the SpaceX first stage back down to a barge landing!  Okay coolness just popped up a notch. This time a camera onboard recorded Elon's fourth successful rocket re-landing and the time-lapse video is nothing less than amazing.  

You are a member of a species doing stuff like this! 

After an initial failure, NASA inflated the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, an essential tech for human-crewed spaceflight. And we are on our way to 2016 being as terrific a year for our outward progress as fantastic-2015 was.


The venerable Hubble Space Telescope is doing so well that NASA has extended its science mission until 2021, even after the James Webb Telescope is launched in 2018.

A detailed update on flying cars(!) which seem about to launch (at last) into their golden age. One company – run by the non-Brin other owner of Google – seems to have real legs. 

A fascinating article on how we seem to be creeping ever closer to a dangerous possibility of war in space, as depicted in P.W. Singer and August Cole’s novel Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.  I suspect that one of NASA’s long range programs may be partly inspired by a need for deep protection of assets, out there. 

== Resources from Phobos or the moon? ==

I’ve long believed that the Russians are right about Phobos… that the larger moon of Mars is one of the most valuable sites in the solar system. Ideally situated to serve as a logistics hub for visiting the Red Planet, it would offer a radiation-shielded base for humans and a supply and refueling center.  The capstone would be if Phobos has a lot of volatile deposits – ideally water. If so, then In Situ Resource Utilization or ISRU could multiply its value ten-fold, allowing us to ship Mars landers empty and fuel them with locally made propellants. (After landing, they could then top off from ISRU auto-factories pre-set on the Martian surface.) Eliminating fuel and life support water from the transport loop would make Mars trips viable.

Hence finding out more about Phobos is vital!  Yet, the failure of the Russian GRUNT mission left a void in this department. Are there volatiles? We thought so, when reflectance data suggested Phobos might be a carbonaceous chondritic asteroid, but orbital considerations make that seem almost impossible.  See where it’s now thought the Mars satellites formed from material blown off the planet by some long ago impact which, I fear, might mean they are as dry as our bone-dead moon. Alack.

== We drag $%#! politics into everything... ==


There is a mythology going around that, even if the Republican Party is waging outright war against most kinds of science, at least they like space! Indeed, GOP led Congresses have given NASA small increases, over the years. 

But this is misleading. Both President Bush and the Boehner-Ryan Congresses yanked the money back by commanding earmarks for very specific and spectacularly useless endeavors.

Take the Constellation programa lavish effort to simply re-create Apollo and go back to the moon, achieving no forward-purpose, whatsoever. Since there was no major new funding, this meant stealing from every other realm in NASA, especially technological development programs... the seed corn for our real future in space.  These were slashed ferociously.

When the Obama Administration canceled that loony-lunar boondoggle, it seemed the money might be spent on actual missions to explore the cosmos.  Instead, Congress in 2010 imposed a restoration of core elements of Constellation, called the Space Launch System (SLS), resurrecting many Space Shuttle components for a system without any mission on the near or intermediate horizons. The GOP-run House and Senate have since imposed increases in the SLS budget, mostly at the expense of science missions.  

All of this against a backdrop of success in the Obama endeavor to spin off and commercialize orbital launch services to private companies like SpaceX, which are developing capabilities at a vastly quicker rate.  

So the Senate is telling NASA to hurry up and build a rocket for which it has no real use for human exploration in the 2020s. Unfortunately, once the rocket is built, the expenses don't end. Ground crews must be kept ready, supply lines kept open, and contractors taken care of. These fixed costs can be enormous. For the space shuttle, those costs amounted to about $2.5 billion annually—whether the vehicle flew or not…” reports Eric Berger in Ars Technica.  So much for the  party that opposes government boondoggles.  Though part of it is pure pork: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), wants SLS because it is managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. And MSFC has been Instrumental for 30 years in  systematically preventing humans from getting into space.

== Mining Asteroids ==

Recall I mentioned countries helping companies prepare for the new space gold rush? Luxembourg is partnering with California-based Deep Space Industries to produce a spacecraft that will test many features necessary for asteroid mining. The module, known as Prospector X, will consist of three coupled cube satellites, or cube-sats. (This article is mistaken on the dimensions.) 

And a bigger dog wants this bone, too. “Asteroid mining was taken a step closer to reality last year when President Barack Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law, allowing companies to keep what they take from outer space, and Luxembourg says it plans to enact a similar legal framework.” 


Interesting article about Nathan Myhrvold meddling in asteroid studies... a good read. Once the chief technologist at Microsoft, Dr. Myhrvold claims research from several NASA and other instruments has misjudged the albedo and thus the size of many asteroids. Created quite a stir... and check out the rebuttals.


A new book by Michael K. Shepard, Asteroids: Relics of Ancient Time, delves into the science and importance of asteroids and meteorites, how these relics provide clues to the origins and evolution of the solar system. Shepard looks at the spacecraft that have begun to provide stunning close-up views of asteroids, giving us insight into the valuable minerals that groups such as Planetary ResourcesDeep Space Industries and Made in Space seek to access in the near future. 

June 30 was Asteroid Day - a global awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of monitoring asteroids that could pose potential hazards to Earth. This is the goal of B612's Sentinel Mission - an infrared space telescope that would catalog and track Earth-crossing asteroids. 

And finally...

Much of Mongolia lacks street addresses, so the government commissioned a British startup to overhaul its postal system. What3Words has generated a three word identifier to each 9 square meter plot of the planet. You can locate the White House at Engine.Doors.Cubs. One of the words in my own new address? Spaceship. 

A fascinatingly frank discussion of “periods in space.” 

Oh, that panel on the future of military aviation at the AIAA conference in DC in June? You can watch it here. 

67 comments:

Ioan said...

This is disconcerting

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2016/07/nasas-cheaper-m.html

I mean, this rover would be more expensive than the Red Dragon while reusing the MSL body. I don't know what message this sends for the development of citizen science around Mars? I thought one of NASA's mandates was to bring the cost of sending probes down so that citizen scientists could participate? I mean, it would probably be cheaper to build less complex designs and send them down on the Red Dragon. Is that mission really worth its price tag?

Hollister David said...

Mhyrvold's paper isn't very credible I would agree that his confusing diameter and radius would makes his conclusions questionable.

Occultations of a star are a way to measure asteroids diameter. These support the NEOWISE estimates and trash Mhyvold's conclusions.

David Brin said...

Ioan it is no longer the same lander with the same instruments.

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous comments:

* "He makes it sound as if white American Christians have the backs of the LGBT community against a foreign threat from Islam, rather than that those Republicans (literally) don't know who to root for in that conflict."

I think Trump, or someone in his team, is trying to pull a Duprat.
Fran├žois Duprat was the founder of the french fascist party Front National (yeah, the Le Pens own the party, but Duprat was the brain behind the parasites), himself a raging antisemite and holocaust denier, he's the one who pushed the french far-right toward making anti-migrant rhetorics the core of its platform: his strategy was simple: "Antisemitism has become too politically radioactive to be publicly acknowledged, so let's hide what we think, target populations whose demonizing won't reflexively turn too many people against us, and once we're in power let's drop the mask and resume the slaughter"
Here we'd have "Homophobia has become too politically radioactive to be publicly acknowledged, so let's hide what we think, target populations whose demonizing won't reflexively turn too many people against us, and once we're in power let's drop the mask and resume the slaughter"

David Brin said...

Were you puzzled by Trump's LGBT remark and Ivanka's feminist speech? Actually, I take a less jaundiced view, deeming them to be at least slightly more than perfunctory. Both of them know that their confederate followers love to wrap themselves in "virtue" and to shout: "we're not the bigots, liberals are!" Remember that there’s no evidence this cynical svengali manipulator actually believes any of the racist stuff and it is totally plausible he might backtrack from any polemical device that no longer suits his purpose.

If DT fine tunes the message and narrative, he will be able to shift a number of standard right wing positions, and his followers will lap it up.

Indeed, I long ago (remember?) predicted that pre-nomination candidate Trump would evolve, after nomination, into something else. Pence will allow him to veer toward center in some carefully chosen ways. In fact, there'd be a silver lining to his candidacy for the entire nation, if he - in the debates - suddenly announced "I've studied harder" and then shrugged that he ‘now understands’ climate denialism and supply side 'voodoo economics’ are dumb. Any other candidate who flip-flopped like that would suffer, but not DT.

The dems would be fools not to practice HC's reaction, just in case some zinger surprises like that happen -- and Donald loves surprises! Anyway what has he got to lose? Making the Kochs and Saudis and Murdochians mad at him? This is Trump’s party, now. For now.

Now, I have been forced to backtrack a bit. Ever since I made my prediction -- that DT would do some sudden, surprise veers to the center -- we have seen the primary fact of his personality is not fierce intelligence, but rather emotional, mercurial impulsiveness and utter lack of discipline. For that reason, I have backed off from offering even odds, in betting for a center-veer. It would take laser-like focus, which we now can see he lacks. Still, I offer odds. Certainly SOME judo surprises are in the offing.

That is why I am hoping Hillary Clinton chooses as her debate-prep surrogate opponent...

... Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a man of supreme, caustic wit, a trained actor and someone who could channel the Donald role with ferocity, even having fun with it. Which means he will have to jar and insult and rattle HC and teach her to answer judo with judo. As Designated Trump, Franken will have the role of a lifetime, and it will test HC’s vaunted ability to shrug off almost anything.

Paul SB said...

The idea of sending robots to asteroids to set up engines and extraction facilities, then pilot the asteroids close enough to Earth to make resource extraction economically viable sounds good, but it's going to have to have a lot of built-in redundancies and fail-safes. The consequences of miscalculating an orbital burn could be pretty dire, dire enough that we would want not just watchdogs but watchdog dogs.

Oh, Designated Eeyore checked for 3 Words and got nothing as interesting as spaceship: just socks and stew. How many rpm would we get from Shakespeare's grave if he had to write my life story? Silliness. Sure, you can generate 3 random anythings and locate them on a map, and use computers to backtrack locations, but how is that better than old-fashioned lat/long? Anyone can learn lat/long and find anything anywhere based on those coordinates without having to consult some arbitrary database of names. This one sound like it would be a candidate for an Ignoble Award if that prestigious institution were not limited to calling attention to bad scientific research.

David Brin said...

Paul, some US home lots are large enough to have several 3-word addresses to choose from.

Paul SB said...

Donzel Ion,

At the end of the last thread you quoted a line from Alfred as if it were mine. And if you read the paragraph in which I was resounding to him, you would see that I am in agreement with you. If we go with your 10,000 motorists analogy, as I see it, while that one bastard is blocking off the highway and demanding a toll from everyone else (extracting rent), the other 9,999 will not all have the same opinions or attitudes toward the situation. A good few thousand of them would be convinced that the jerk really does deserve to extract rent from the rest of us, and that any attempt to stop him would also prevent them from trying to do the same, so they scream about freedom while scheming to cheat people with what freedom they have. A huge percentage of the rest will just shrug their shoulders and pay the toll, bitching about the damn government, which wasn't responsible for the toll, but they reflexively blame the government for everything. A smaller fraction will realize that we are all shelling out to benefit someone who has done nothing to deserve it, though very few of those will make any effort to protest that goes beyond complaining about it and forwarding captioned pictures (I refuse to call those /memes/ - they aren't, though they might communicate memes) on Facebook. Meanwhile, several hundred at any given moment are swerving in and out of lines, cutting people off and generally driving like jackasses to get ahead of everyone else. And most are just too busy being racists and sexists to realize who our common enemy is.

Paul SB said...

Dr. Brin,
That would definitely not be my lot. I am trying to come up with a recipe for sock stew, but I really need to focus on writing final exams.

Robert said...

I must admit some amusement to have found a link to Contrary Brin on Facebook from... Jim Wright. Yes, the same Jim Wright who I've been sharing links from on his metaphorical stories on the RNC. While I doubt Mr. Wright will actually post in here... I must admit it tickles me to realize two of my favorite sociopolitical bloggers (with occasional dashes of science) follow one another. Even if only a little. :)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

I do not care for folks using "Drumpf" or "teabaggers" or other nasty derogatorinesses. Still, down here in the comments community under Contrary Brin, am I safe to offer some giggles, just among us? Like tRump Steaks? D(elerium) T(remens)?

Hey don't forget I called for that video that would have satirized "Clinton Bush" And as it turns out, it coulda harmed her more than the self-immolating Jeb.

Look, she is not my favorite. At times I cringe. And why not just cut to the chase and dress better? Away with colors and pastels and just wear a damned (slightly feminised) equivalent of a charcoal suit? Why is this even a topic, with a 70 year old politician? Suit up so we can drop the subject!

Still, the simple fact is this. When she is in the white house, a former senator and secretary of state, battle tested and with a top quality ex-president very nearby for input... and a guy like Kaine in easy reach...and the kind of appointees she'll make? well... that kind of solidity suggests 4 years of sleeping well.

I did not feel that way about Bernie, despite his being almost a perfect clone of my dad. Perhaps in some ways because of that! Oh, BS was better than lots. But please... he'll do more good in the Senate, hollering. And seriously? I just realized, those are Bernie's initials?

Okay, I am punchy. A bee sting has my left hand swollen to Popeye levels! And it's a weekend break between conventions. ooooog

donzelion said...

Paul SB- you read my point exactly, and all the subpoints as well. Which is why I like the model: only one person is truly anti-social, but that's all it takes to bottleneck the freeway for 10,000. And in that crowd, only a handful up front can see the gambit for what it is - and many of those in the back will support the person promising them 'freedom' (who actually oppressed them in the first place by creating the jam).

Better terms than 'we have the market we choose to have' - because we all have to deal with the toll-man.

But I proposed the metaphor also because no one seems to be watching as the Republicans in the Science subommittee have blocked the latest major freeway bill for 13 months. Was trying to get an update from our rep (if youre in Glendora), Judy Chu, on efforts to break the logjam.

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Fisk said...

During the 2013 Australian election, I was amused to see the twitter handles of the two main protagonists were @kruddmp and @tonyabbottmhr

After that, it was rump vs bottom.

Come to think of it, the symmetry is uncanny:

2010: Gillard deposes Rudd. Calls an immediate election and squeaks in with a hung Parliament.
2013: Rudd deposes Gillard, and loses to Abbott
2015 Turnbull deposes Abbott. 2016: Calls a double dissolution, and squeaks in with a near hung Parliament.
2016- Abbott is still there...

My impression is that the shocked reaction to Trump's shindig is on a par with McCain's unveiling of Sarah Palin for running mate. Well, if anyone needs a tonic, I think you'll find this brilliant meld of Chaplin's speech from "The Great Dictator" with the theme from "Inception" should do the trick.

In the spirit of media's need for 'balance', I notice wikileaks has chosen this moment to dump the beans on Hillary's dirty tricks campaign against Sanders. (Letting on that he was *gasp* an Atheist!!) This stuff is hardly inspiring but its existence is a surprise... how?

Sigh. Is there a political equivalent to heat death?

If you want a more grounded approach to depression, try this report on the potential of aspirin instead (wherein the term 'hypothesis' is used meaningfully, so there may be more to it than the usual 5 year forecast)

Laurent Weppe said...

* "The consequences of miscalculating an orbital burn could be pretty dire, dire enough that we would want not just watchdogs but watchdog dogs."

That's why I wonder if putting this asteroids in lunar orbit wouldn't be a better option: if there's a miscalculation, the pebble will fall on the satellite, which could lower the risks and be good PR ("Come on guys! We're not as dumb as the conspiracy nuts and the paraoid claim! We're not setting Earth for disaster, we're putting these on the Moon! Well, Near the moon, but the important thing is, even if we screw up, it won't fall on Earth.")

***

* "I do not care for folks using "Drumpf" or "teabaggers" or other nasty derogatorinesses"

The teabaggers themselves used that word first. So fuck them: they earned that derogatoriness.

***

* "why not just cut to the chase and dress better? Away with colors and pastels and just wear a damned (slightly feminised) equivalent of a charcoal suit??"

Funny family story: when my mother was a schoolmarm who sometimes wore colorful outfits at work, some (very unwise) people tried to pull that bullshit on her, telling her that her clothes didn't fit her job as a highschool headmistress: her typical answer was "Je m'habille comme je veux et je vous emmerde" before throwing out the nag (and by throwing out, I mean dragged by the collar and threw against the nearest wall)

Thus I learned very early an important lesson: if a woman in a position of institutional power wears "non-traditional" outfits, it's most probably because she knows she can kick your ass, so better treat it as a form of aposematism: think of the flamboyant cuttlefish: you really don't want to bite it.

***

* "And seriously? I just realized, those are Bernie's initials?

Mine make up the world Allah. So, for the record, I didn't order any slaughter in Nice, Orlando, Paris, Kabul or whenever.

***

* "Better terms than 'we have the market we choose to have' - because we all have to deal with the toll-man."

Your model isn't a metaphor by the way: when France privatized its highways, investments went down (the private companies which now own the highways tried to hide it by putting the dividends they pay their stockowners in the investment column, because Fuck the Proles), the prices went up, with the highways-owning companies now blackmailing the government, basically telling "If you don't allow us to keep hiking the tolls' prices, we'll let the existing infrastructures degrade".

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

I think Trump, or someone in his team, is trying to pull a Duprat.
Fran├žois Duprat was the founder of the french fascist party Front National
...
Here we'd have "Homophobia has become too politically radioactive to be publicly acknowledged, so let's hide what we think, target populations whose demonizing won't reflexively turn too many people against us, and once we're in power let's drop the mask and resume the slaughter"


I think it's simpler (and more insidious) than that. The right wing isn't trying to pretend to like LGBT people. They're just trying to pretend that the only threat to LBGT people is Mualims, and that since the right-wing also opposes Muslims, they're all in the same big tent.

One of the right-wing talking points about the spate of mass shootings in the US is that "We don't have a gun problem, we have a Muslim problem." They're harped on the one or two times that a shooter has declared affiliation with ISIS to make it sound as if the problem would go away if we get rid of Muslims, even though there were something like 355 mass shootings last year, and as far as I remember, ISIS was responsible for z whole 1 of those.

With that in mind, the shooting at the gay club "Pulse" brought much sympathy for the victims. Since that one was done by a Muslim, Trump is trying to make it sound as if the biggest and only extant threat to the US homosexual population is Muslims, and that he, as a declared enemy of Muslims, would be the protector of LGBT people against this enemy. He even got the Republican National Convention to cheer for such an assertion, which they would not have done without the "against Muslims" part of the assertion.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Oh, BS was better than lots. But please... he'll do more good in the Senate, hollering. And seriously? I just realized, those are Bernie's initials?


Heh.

During the 2008 campaign, I remember someone online referring to the two Democratic candidates by initials as HRC and BHO. It struck me that, even though neither candidate was actually commonly known by their three initials (not the way FDR or JFK or LBJ were), both were easily recognizable because we had reason to be intimately familiar with their middle names. Hillary's generated controversy about whether she had ever taken Bill's last name, and Obama's generated controversy for being a Muslim name with an unfortunate connection to Saddam. Without either of those controversies, we'd probably be as ignorant of those candidates' middle initials as I currently am of Bernie's.

As to the middle part of your comment--yes, it's better to have Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Senate where they can actually wield some power and influence.

Paul SB said...

Laurent & Larry,

On Trump's veer away from traditional Republican homophobia, the main scapegoat he has been going after is much larger, by percentage. Hispanic Americans, who racists frequently call "Mexicans" even though pretty substantial numbers of people from South and Central America get lumped in with them, are an increasingly large and politically active segment of the electorate. Many older right-wingers feel it's safe to rag on Mexicans because they are all illegal so they can't vote. While some of the bogus voter fraud noise is in states with large African-American populations the Republicans want to disenfranchise, much of it also happens in places like Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado & Texas, where you have large Hispanic minorities that the Party wants to disenfranchise.

It's ironic that the Orlando shooting happened on a Latin Night, so most of the victims were Hispanic. We'll probably never know if the shooter planned it that way, or even if he decided to swear allegiance to ISIS so the general public would not dismiss it as a "gay thing."

Ioan said...

To change the conversation, I have a question I've been contemplating.

People say that the current smartphone is as powerful as a desktop was in 2011. Do you agree that it is true? If not, what year?

Jumper said...

Yes, it's true. Processor speed is up a bit 1.4 vs. 1.3, RAM is 4-8 GB and graphics denser.
The users are a different story.

Ioan said...

If it's true, what about the 2013 model? The reason I'm asking this is that I had a conversation with a friend, and we were wondering what the spread is?

The spread is a term we defined as the number of years between the current smartphone and its equivalent desktop.

In our conversation, he pegged the desktop equivalent as being 2011. I think 2013 is more likely. In 2013, the desktop equivalent (according to him) was the 2003 model?

What I'm curious is if this spread is (a) accurate and (b) indicates that the spread has been shrinking?

I know I'm introducing a lot of my own terminology. This is because I don't know the proper terminology for this.

Deuxglass said...

HRC would have made me happy if she had chosen EAW as VP but she decided on TMK instead. I had expected that she would have gone for TEP to get the Hispanic vote but since TMK speaks Spanish I guess that is good enough.

I agree with GDB that NLG would have been the best VP for JDT but he went for a safe one in MRP. RPC would have been a bit better though.

My analysis could be off since my parents did name me DAF so it would be wise for all of you to disregard whatever I say.

Tim H. said...

Bear in mind that a smartphone is running a leaner OS than a desktop, even the Lumia 950, which can run a limited desktop on an external monitor and keyboard, doesn't have the same WIN 10 as a desktop.

Paul SB said...

Deauxglass,

If you had a profile picture, would it bear any resemblance to a black-feathered duck (a.k.a. The Egyptian God of Frustration)?

Dave Cline said...

Hey Dave, I'd like to see NASA build a bevy of these:

https://goo.gl/SM4i3D

It's a slide presentation of the BumbleBot - planetary rover.

Deuxglass said...

Paul SB,

I look more like Hermes without the cool hat.

greg byshenk said...

Regarding the smartphone/desktop question, it is true that smartphones are "catching up", but that is mostly because desktops aren't getting much more powerful. Newer desktops often have much more powerful video than those of X years ago, but the increase in processing power has slowed, largely because desktops don't need to be much more powerful than they are.

If you look at servers, then you can order (pretty much off the shelf from Dell, for example) a server with 72 cores (CPUs), 4 TERAbytes of memory, and 90 Terabytes of SSD(!) disk storage, all in a single 4U (about the size of a large 'desktop') case. And you can get a 'workstation' with 44 cores, 1 terabyte of memory, 14 terabytes of disk storage. But almost no one using a computer has any need of something like that as a 'desktop'. A basic desktop with 4 cores, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 500 gigabyte hard drive will run Windows and all the normal office applications without any trouble.

Paul SB said...

Deuxglass said:

"I look more like Hermes without the cool hat."

Not the Disney version, I hope. And better dressed than your average Archaic kouros. ;]

Ioan said...

greg byshenk,

Could you give me the name of that model? I'd like to check it out.

dennisd said...

@Larry Hart / Laurent / David

I found Trump’s LGBTQ remarks during his RNC speech to be empty and preposterous. Which is to say, typical for most things Trump has to say.

As a gay American I found myself laughing and yelling WTF! when Trump slowly enunciated L-G-B-T-Q in his bizarre offer to protect LGBTQ folk from foreign terrorists. I was perplexed, repulsed, and weirded out by his antics. Why? Because just that week the RNC approved an anti-gay platform that opposes marriage equality, supports religious discrimination laws against LGBTQ people, and objects to gays adopting children.

What’s more, Trump has been telling conservative audiences that he would seek to nullify same-sex marriage by overturning current federal marriage equality laws. Yet here was Trump congratulating himself for saying ‘LGBTQ’ at the RNC. It was ludicrous. There is no substance to his remarks and no accountability for his promises.

Now, if instead Trump had voiced his unconditional support of marriage equality and denounced the anti-gay planks of the RNC platform, I’d applaud him for being a decent human being.

But he didn’t do that. And he won’t. Trump’s campaign has refused to discuss these issues with any of the national LGBTQ organizations. If anyone thinks that Trump or the RNC has moved forward on basic human rights for LGBTQ people then they’ve been had. But that’s to be expected from a fraud and expert con-man.

Robert said...

One thing that has me annoyed is Assange and Wikileaks saying "our next leak will put Hillary Clinton in prison!" They say this now that Clinton is the presumptive nominee for President. Worse, they say this but don't release this information until after the DNC.

This suggests to me that Assange is an Enemy of the State and is trying to get Trump elected. Let us pretend that he isn't blowing smoke and that he does have information that could get Clinton thrown in prison. Why didn't he reveal this data during the primaries when it would have had an impact and could have resulted in Bernie Sanders winning? Did not the American People deserve to have this information?

Assange doesn't think so. What he wants to do is disrupt the American government and get people not to vote. After all, "Clinton is a criminal and should be jailed!" So why vote for her? Why vote at all?

In all likelihood his "leaks" will be much ado about nothing. Despite this, Republicans will crow, the media will lambast Clinton but ultimately never truly accuse her of anything, and democracy in the U.S. will be weakened because of some blowhard who doesn't understand when a woman says "stop" during sex, you fucking stop. (Seriously. If he kept his ego in check then he'd not be a virtual prisoner in an embassy.)

Rob H.

Deuxglass said...

Paul SB,

Yes I look like a Greek God. Beware mortal. Acknowledge my divinity least you suffer the same punishment as Pentheus.

Paul SB said...

Deuxglass,

I, also, look like a god - the Laughing Buddha. I will acknowledge your analogical divinity if you will look that one up and write a brief summary. Hopefully the assignment won't BOAR you too badly...


Dennis D,

Keep spreading the word.

greg byshenk said...

Ioan
I don't have the models in front of me now, but you should be able to find either by going to Dell's website, selecting Servers or Workstations, and then choosing various options from the 'customize' page. Note, though, that for the top end, you will pay a lot: over $50K for the workstation and well over $100K for the server. IIRC, just something like a 22-core processor is something like $7000. But such things have always been expensive; I recall paying about EUR75K for two high-end workstations back in the oughts, and they weren't even brand new.

Deuxglass said...

Paul SB,

On the surface the Laughing Buddha looks like a happy-go-lucky fellow that likes everyone and who is liked by everyone but that is his superficial attribute. Underneath he is much darker because he represents a very powerful force in the world. What he symbolizes is the power of Luck, both good and bad. People instinctively know how their fates can hang on a chance encounter, being at the right place at the right time, a freak accident or a bolt out of the sky. We cannot foresee all and plan for all even if we must try because ultimately we can be undone by something beyond our control. The Laughing Buddha is fat and smiling because people desperately want him to be on their side. They rub his stomach hoping to acquire even just a little bit of that elusive element which is Luck.

Anonymous said...

Hee, hee, hee. Flying cars. Hee. Combining the extreme safety of the private plane (look it up) with the ever-safe car (stroad-infected America somehow manages twice the death rate per person as peer nations) into a Hippogriff of conflicted design goals, what could possibly go wrong? That's right, nothing! With our patented techo-optimist blinkers, you too can boldy relax your buttocks sitting blindly into an ever increasingly brilliant future. (An just a little Carbon burn.) Gosh! Wow! Hey, cue up some Harry Potter, the computer will pilot all that jazz for us. Oh yeah, progress! Meanwhile, the wrist remora nomming your biostats is probably telling you to walk more and car sit less; hopefully your DOT built some sidewalks that are hopefully relatively free of lane departing car sitters? No? Ah, well.

Dave Cline said...

> wrist remora nomming your biostats

Wicked excellent visual. [chin nod, gratuitous squint of the eyes]

raito said...

I'm failing to see how putting an identifier on a piece of ground will help in a place where there are a considerable number of people who aren't tied to a piece of ground. I'm equally failing to see how it would help in densly-populated ares where many people occupy the same piece of ground vertically. And for those who have the space, exactly which piece of ground's identifier is the one to use? Tee one with the mailbox?

I probably need to look up that space mining legislation to see what it actually says. Because simply saying 'you can keep what you can get' gives me some seriously bad vibes, given the history of resource extraction on this planet.

Yes, I'm a member of a species that does stuff like this. And that's great. But what I don't like it that the high end is moving higher faster than the low end, which has gotten pretty stagnant.

AS far as a 'spread' goes, I'm old enough that my idea of a spread is the difference between what you can build vs. what you can buy.

David Brin said...

raito, the Space Treaty's ban on claims of ownership out there was a swift and timely act to prevent a repetition of the behavior of nations during the 16th thru 19th centuries. The russians had already crashed a clumsy nosecone on the moon stuffed with flags and medallions and were making noises about owning it. Our Ranger probes had some symbology when they plummeted. In fact, to this day Russian and Chinese landers have such items and the GRUNT mission to Phobos was (in my opinion) partly colored by such thoughts, before it failed.

Allowing extraction of resources from a commons goes way back. Think of fishing from the open sea. And of course, that leads to many problems of its own.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB: You might be able to make a few bucks channeling the ghosts of authors past. Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter has been done, but that’s not kid’s stuff. Who knows? With a movie deal and a nose for comedy, you might even draw in a former Time Lord. 8)

My disagreement with Duncan isn’t huge. I think we both argue that the majority of people are decent folk, but I argue that management teams are part of that majority most of the time. Like Donzelion argues, it doesn’t take many well poisoners to impact everyone else. I argue that in paying attention to those few, we risk missing the underlying lesson that most of us prefer expression of virtues in our markets as much as we do in other parts of our lives. My personal experience (not enough I admit) is that management is NOT heavy with self-serving bastards. It is heavy with people the petite-bourgeois find difficult to understand. I’m not sure why, but my suspicion is that, on average, people who work management have parents and grandparents who joined the bourgeoisie while the petite-bourgeois are recently joined themselves or in their parent’s generation. The bourgeois clade has been consuming the peasant/proletarian clade for a few generations now, but newer members might not understand how things work and what we value. From a peasant perspective, management DOES contain many self-serving bastards, but they are guilty of applying their rapidly vanishing ethic to a clade that rejects it.

I recall the TED talk and agree there is a role to play for oxytocin, but I suspect that is just a start. I’m more inclined to point to an unspoken code of ethics as the cause for what is going on in the last 10 generations or so. There IS variety among us that is possibly the result of physiological differences, but something weird happened a while back among the Dutch and then the English that shifted everything and I seriously doubt it was physiological.
_____________
I capitalize things like Love and Hope when I am referring to the concepts of love and hope. I’m naming them like we do each other with proper nouns. Imagine picking up a US silver dollar from the 19th century and looking at the face of the person on the obverse. What is her name? Is it liberty or Liberty? I could use quotes or italics or something like that, but I tend to go allegorical and imagine a concept as a person when the concept is complex enough to go beyond that of a meme to become part of what it means to be human. Prudentia. Justitia. Temperantia, and Fortitudo. Do you recognize them? They are the virtues Aristotle described long ago. Christians added three more bringing a transcendent layer to their ethic that Aristotle avoided. Love, Faith, and Hope.

I happen to be an atheist, but I find some value in our older allegorical symbols for representing complex concepts. For example, consider why Prudentia is often depicted holding a hand-mirror and a snake. She represents a kind of practical (vs theoretical) wisdom. The mirror helps recall the past (what is behind her and seen in the mirror of memory) while the snake stands in for Donzelion’s well poisoners.

I especially like some of the older symbols that have fallen from use. Was it 9 muses and 7 Liberal Arts? How about 4 horsemen? Heh. Our languages are crammed full of these dense little nuggests, but what is REALLY interesting is where they are missing or mangled. For example, try translating 'prudence' into Dutch. Try translating 'love' into Greek. There is something important to be learned about a people from these language oddities.

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

I think putting an asteroid, even a small one, in Earth orbit would make many countries nervous because it could easily become a weapon especially if it is under the control of a single country or a private company. A lunar orbit would be fine except for the fact that getting it there would entail moving the asteroid into place and well, accidents could happen. It’s ok for the small asteroids, they can burn up in the atmosphere but when we reach the stage where people can move larger ones then we have a problem and especially when we will have a proliferation of companies moving rocks here and there.

A new Space Treaty will have to be negotiated to allay these justified fears because the stakes are just too high for those below. You couldn’t rely on self-regulation in this case because we just can’t risk a big accident or the actions of an evil-billionaire (yes they do exist)) using blackmail to get what he wants so we need a treaty to set out the rules. Since countries can’t trust each other with something so important, an agency staffed with experts from all areas of the world would have to be set up but there is a problem. Inspections would have to be made of the asteroid mining operations. Their mission would be to make sure that the navigation and propulsion systems are up to date and that they have the necessary backup systems and spare parts. They are there to protect the Earth from accidents or maybe malevolent intent. They would have to be as regulated as are nuclear power plants. Yes, I am afraid to say, bureaucrats will have to go into space.

Now this is where it gets interesting because on Earth, if a bureaucrat finds gross violations, he sends for the cops and shuts down the operation but that isn’t possible in space. The cops are too far away so they have to bring the cops with them. Clearly the bureaucrats and the cop detail can’t just hitch a ride on a supply rocket. They will have to have their own spaceship and the cops will more like a SWAT team trained in zero-g combat. Since they are bureaucrats they will probably want to add other duties such as checking the life support, working conditions, cleanliness of the food services, separate restrooms for transgender miners and so forth. It goes with the mindset. I see them sweeping down on an asteroid mining operation and giving it a thorough going over.

Their prime directive is to prevent an asteroid from falling on the Earth so we have to have another highly important function. What if an asteroid that is being moved has a breakdown in its propulsion system at the wrong moment and its trajectory intersects the Earth? What if a terrorist organization gains control of an asteroid and sets it to hit New York and the delta-V is too high to intercept? Would the spaceship full of bureaucrats just have to watch helplessly as millions die? No because to do its job properly the spaceship would have to be heavily armed with powerful lasers and nuclear-tipped missiles to blow up the wayward asteroid. Now it’s starting to look cool. If I were younger I would sign up for the Space Marines.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: Okay. Let’s consider your road-clearing toll example. It isn’t an analogy for patents, right? Those are supposed to be reviewed by ‘competent’ people and can be challenged in Court. Your example looks more like a ‘capture’ story similar to the historical fencing in of the commons in England. When a common resource is captured, the people who used to make use of it freely suffer, right?

Rent through rule making. Some people are alert enough to potential opportunities and persuasive enough to convince rule makers or rule enforcers to make it stick. I freely admit these things happen. If they fail a future test where we look for the value to all of us, they should be undone. If they don’t, I’m inclined to leave them be and go after worse cheaters. Your road toll example, though, obviously fails the value-add test. The ‘hard work’ done by the person who set it up can’t be distinguished from the hard work done by a thief breaking into my home or the cheat who gets ransomware onto my computer that encrypts my personal stuff and then offers a decryption key at a steep price. What is to be done? Strip the thieves of their ill-gotten gain and punish them too. It might take a while, though. I get it. What is NOT to be done? Try to imagine all the ways these thieves might be able to collect rents and stop them in advance. If we have past examples of temporarily successful attempts, we should prevent those as a matter of prudence. Don’t worry too much about new attempts, though. If 9,999 of those people are basically decent, don’t enforce rules that treat them as the one who isn’t. Let that one reveal himself and then smack him down later.

The political order is a different kind of order than our commercial markets, but I recognize its nature as a market. Winner takes all leads to many bent noses, so I’m inclined to divide the political order as much as I can AND limit its valid scope. We get that through distrust as you say, but I think it unwise to also distrust the commercial markets. They are not the same. Skepticism is in order. Prudentia would teach us caution in handling snakes.

matthew said...

The situation I warned of here about six months ago regarding the popularity of HRC is coming to a head. Trump now leads in three out of four recent polls. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/25/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-poll-numbers

Just a week ago, my reporting that Trump was polling ahead in Florida was ridiculed here as an outlier and not significant. He's still winning there. The rest of the nation is catching up. 538 has redcued its' odds of HRC winning again this morning.

We will see if HRC gets a similar convention bounce. I predict she will not get the expected bounce. Putin and WikiLeaks are seeing to it that HRC is defeated.

Note that the DNC's behavior 1) is not a surprise to anyone that was paying attention to such matters (Bernie was always seen as an unwelcome competitor) and 2) will be a significant force in the election going forward by giving the #BernieorBust folks another grievance to nurse.

HRC will lose this election due to her own tone-deaf campaign. She is busy running to the middle like Bill in 1992 when she needed to run left as hard as she could. Silly Clinton, there *is no middle.* Silly DNC, there is no party where you are going.

The DNC emails and VP pick show that triangulation is alive and... not polling well.


LarryHart said...

dennisd:

If anyone thinks that Trump or the RNC has moved forward on basic human rights for LGBTQ people then they’ve been had. But that’s to be expected

from a fraud and expert con-man.


What he's done, or at least tried to do, is to show empathy with ell-gee-bee-tee-cue people as victims of Radical Islamic Terrorism, as if that's

where the battle lines fall. It's as if Hitler were promising to protect German Jews from Arabs.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

This suggests to me that Assange is an Enemy of the State and is trying to get Trump elected. Let us pretend that he isn't blowing smoke and that

he does have information that could get Clinton thrown in prison. Why didn't he reveal this data during the primaries when it would have had an

impact and could have resulted in Bernie Sanders winning? Did not the American People deserve to have this information?

Assange doesn't think so. What he wants to do is disrupt the American government and get people not to vote. After all, "Clinton is a criminal

and should be jailed!" So why vote for her? Why vote at all?


I haven't had a chance to fully digetst the Assange news, but I do see this blurb:

From today's www.electoral-vote.com

Cybersecurity experts believe that the DNC email leaks came from Russia in an attempt to cause disunity within the Democratic Party in order to

elect Donald Trump, who Vladimir Putin clearly prefers. Putin knows that he can't boss Clinton around but he undoubtedly suspects that Trump will

be a pushover, especially if he allows Trump to build the biggest and fanciest resort hotel in Moscow. Then Putin will be able to retake the

Baltic republics and all of the Ukraine with Trump's blessing.



Can the Democrats and rational-thinking Americans make clear that this is a personal grude of Assange's which is being facilitated by a foreign

enemy? That this is no longer about whether Hillary is trustworthy about her personal behavior, but about whether Trump is trustworthy about

actual policy that he will implement as president? Hillary might disappoint liberals by not being revolutionary enough, but Trump will be

revolutionary in frightening and destructive directions.

I realize that personal egos are involved at this point, and that what I'm about to suggest is not going to happen, but if I were Bernie Sanders,

I would proclaim at the convention that I am closing ranks behind the Democratic Party's nominee in the face of a foreign attacker with ties to

the campaign of the Republican nominee. I would also make it clear that as a Democrat (even a Democraic-leaning independent), it it ridiculous

to the point of insanity to consider Clinton and Trump to be equally anathema to supporters of my (Sanders's) agenda. Hillary would have

differences with us on individual policy positions, but she would mostly sign legislation given by a Democratic congress or veto legislation sent

by a GOP congress, and she'd appoint Supreme Court justices who are not out to undermine the social progress of the recent century. Trump would

do the opposite in all of those things. In this (I would emphasize), he is being aided and abetted by Putin using Julian Assange as a useful

idiot.

This is no time for infighting. We are under fire, and must fire back to win.

LarryHart said...

Ioan:

Could you give me the name of that model? I'd like to check it out.


Melina Trump?

:)

matthew said...

LarryHart - Bernie will say all these things and more. BUT, today when he reiterated his endorsement of HRC, he was roundly booed.

Bernie is the face of dissatisfaction with HRC, but he does not control the movement he made. Look at what happened to Warren when she (tepidly) endorsed HRC - she was immediately branded a sell-out. The same will happen to Bernie.

Assange is getting his cover blown by the pretty clear indication that he is shilling for Putin.

But millions of Bernie voters are waking up to realize that what they liked about their candidate - that he was not involved with the flaming shitshow that is the DNC - is also why their candidate was not able to take the nomination.

In my more conspiracy-minded moments I think that some at the DNC have conspired to make the optics around this election as bad as possible. I've had a very strong dislike of Wassermann-Schultz for many years. At some point such blatant incompetence in the head of a national party starts to look like enemy action.

David Brin said...

Deuxglass it is vital that there be a diversity of strong users of space so that they can keep an effective eye on each other. This is why the Obama plan for bringing in tiny asteroids envisions putting them in lunar orbit.
=
Matthew, if young assholes do to us what the Naderites did to us in 2000, then the conversion of American to uniform insanity will be complete and the revolution will be over.

Alfred Differ said...

The OST ban spoke to sovereign claims, but didn't really address commercial claims. That overlook was supposed to be covered in the later Moon Treaty which the US did not sign.

At present, the US can choose to recognize private ownership claims, but may not back them in the form of a title granted from the sovereign or recognize any other sovereign doing so.

In practice, it is unclear what the US will do with private claims and that is probably just as well. Predicting what sensible property rules will look like for space claims is a job for lawyers in a masturbatory mood. The rest of us have work to do.

@raito: The point of flag displays is to make use of precedent to advance one's claim. We've accepted such displays in the past. Will we in the future? I won't and will campaign against those who say we should. Please show me an intent and capability to develop the asset. I'll pay attention then. 8)

LarryHart said...

matthew:

We will see if HRC gets a similar convention bounce. I predict she will not get the expected bounce. Putin and WikiLeaks are seeing to it that HRC is defeated.


So it seemed this morning. By this evening, I'm becoming more and more confident that the Trump/Putin/Wikileaks axis is so obvious as to make even Republicans think twice about their own candidate.

It's been only 24 hours since the Wikileaks story broke, and of course, emotions run high from the Bernie supporters. There are months before November for people to think about what a President Trump would be like. And not all of those doing the re-thinking are progressive Democrats.

i_/0 said...

"When the Obama Administration canceled that loony-lunar boondoggle...Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), wants SLS because it is managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. And MSFC has been Instrumental for 30 years in systematically preventing humans from getting into space."

Prompts me to ask what military objectives could be achieved with SLS? Seriously, qui bono? One US republican senator benefits? I suspect there's more to it.

Paul SB said...

Deuxglass,

This has been one of the more odd conversations we have had on Brin Blog, especially as you took my old professor joke seriously (though I did not assign page numbers or a citation format).

Indeed, all human symbol systems are full of contradictions, which mostly just tells you that humans are complicated, and have an amazing talent to pretend that neither we nor anything else is. Another aspect of the Laughing Buddha that you missed is that he is portrayed as jocular specifically to put people at ease. He shares much with Ganesh the elephant god of luck in the Hinduism from which Buddhism sprang, and if I am remembering my history correctly, he appears on the scene around the time that Buddhism was just penetrating China (8th C. A.D.), so his attributes were probably intended to make Buddhahood seem more congenial in the effort to win converts. Older images tended to be much more austere, commonly portraying Sakyamuni's emaciated form as he sat under the Bodhi tree (a sacrifice image that might resonate with Western religious thought). This makes me think of the contradiction in Christendom of a male savior for a culture that stereotypes males as selfish and violent, which is why so many turn (in relative disbelief) to the image of his mother. Look at how the Romans changed his name, since his original Hebrew name ended in a vowel, which would make it a woman's name in Latin. Such thunder and does!

But on the other hand, I see a lot less "masculine" bluster and obnoxiousness in the Chinese I have known - those who are genuinely Chinese and not raised here. Mind you, most of the Chinese people I know are older and come from Taiwan rather than the Mainland, so my generalizations might not be worth squat. They are not any less sexist than Western tradition, but perhaps because their sexism is taken for granted and not really challenged, they feel less pressure to express only the negative emotions. I have seen some very compassionate Han men, tender, caring (and not gay, by our stereotypes), but once again, my speculations here might just be my personal experience and not really worth Jacques Merde (in addition to being second-order babble).

LarryHart said...

matthew:

Bernie is the face of dissatisfaction with HRC, but he does not control the movement he made. Look at what happened to Warren when she (tepidly) endorsed HRC - she was immediately branded a sell-out. The same will happen to Bernie.


I voted for Bernie in the primary myself, so I hate to put it this way, but such "supporters" you describe are never going to be satisfied. They'd always be one demand away from desertion. If they think the agenda they want implemented is more likely to happen under President Trump, then really...fuck 'em. And I say that as someone who almost never swears.


Assange is getting his cover blown by the pretty clear indication that he is shilling for Putin.

But...


So one candidate was shown favoritism by her own party, and the other is not only a right-wing fanatic, not only chaos incarnate, but in league with Vladimir Putin. And the two are "just as bad" as each other?


But millions of Bernie voters are waking up to realize that what they liked about their candidate - that he was not involved with the flaming shitshow that is the DNC - is also why their candidate was not able to take the nomination.


What you're saying is that the fact that Bernie isn't a Democrat makes it hard for him to win the Democratic nomination. This is an outrage?


LarryHart said...

Sorry about the weird spacing above. That was me forgetting I had "word wrap" on. If this is any easier to read...

dennisd:

If anyone thinks that Trump or the RNC has moved forward on basic human rights for LGBTQ people then they’ve been had. But that’s to be expected from a fraud and expert con-man.


What he's done, or at least tried to do, is to show empathy with ell-gee-bee-tee-cue people as victims of Radical Islamic Terrorism, as if that's where the battle lines fall. It's as if Hitler were promising to protect German Jews from Arabs.

* * * * *

Robert:

This suggests to me that Assange is an Enemy of the State and is trying to get Trump elected. Let us pretend that he isn't blowing smoke and that he does have information that could get Clinton thrown in prison. Why didn't he reveal this data during the primaries when it would have had an impact and could have resulted in Bernie Sanders winning? Did not the American People deserve to have this information?

Assange doesn't think so. What he wants to do is disrupt the American government and get people not to vote. After all, "Clinton is a criminal and should be jailed!" So why vote for her? Why vote at all?


I haven't had a chance to fully digetst the Assange news, but I do see this blurb:

From today's www.electoral-vote.com

Cybersecurity experts believe that the DNC email leaks came from Russia in an attempt to cause disunity within the Democratic Party in order to elect Donald Trump, who Vladimir Putin clearly prefers. Putin knows that he can't boss Clinton around but he undoubtedly suspects that Trump will be a pushover, especially if he allows Trump to build the biggest and fanciest resort hotel in Moscow. Then Putin will be able to retake the Baltic republics and all of the Ukraine with Trump's blessing.



Can the Democrats and rational-thinking Americans make clear that this is a personal grude of Assange's which is being facilitated by a foreign enemy? That this is no longer about whether Hillary is trustworthy about her personal behavior, but about whether Trump is trustworthy about actual policy that he will implement as president? Hillary might disappoint liberals by not being revolutionary enough, but Trump will be revolutionary in frightening and destructive directions.

I realize that personal egos are involved at this point, and that what I'm about to suggest is not going to happen, but if I were Bernie Sanders, I would proclaim at the convention that I am closing ranks behind the Democratic Party's nominee in the face of a foreign attacker with ties to the campaign of the Republican nominee. I would also make it clear that as a Democrat (even a Democraic-leaning independent), it it ridiculous to the point of insanity to consider Clinton and Trump to be equally anathema to supporters of my (Sanders's) agenda. Hillary would have differences with us on individual policy positions, but she would mostly sign legislation given by a Democratic congress or veto legislation sent by a GOP congress, and she'd appoint Supreme Court justices who are not out to undermine the social progress of the recent century. Trump would do the opposite in all of those things. In this (I would emphasize), he is being aided and abetted by Putin using Julian Assange as a useful idiot.

This is no time for infighting. We are under fire, and must fire back to win.

David Brin said...

Okay okay, Bernites you have grievances. Bargain for some extra cabinet posts. Meanwhile, watch John Oliver's best Trump riff, ever! Then, after watching, go on & tell us how "Clinton is the same." Seriously, EVERYONE watch Oliver's piece! Hilarious yet terrifying. Especially since it isn't just all-republicans declaring that "feelings are more important than facts." Many of those who are setting fire to the DP in Phillie believe it too.

Dig this well. Blue America only wins these recurring phases of our civil war when we are cool, rational, practical. When we let ourselves get as emotional as confederates, then the confederates win. They... are... better... at... it.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-john-oliver-republican-convention-trump-20160725-snap-story.html

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin (re: John Oliver)

I wish I was still in communication with Dave Sim, who insisted that God-fearing conservatives deal in facts, whereas liberals are only concerned with feelings.

LarryHart said...

We haven't even gotten to the speeches by Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders yet.

Just Al Franken, Sarah Silverman, and Corey Booker.

I feel better already. This is not the RNC convention.

Dr Brin, Mr Booker just said "...that we are not a zero-sum nation!" That one's for you.

I'll bet Hillary gets the convention bounce after all. Hopefully, Trump also gets the Putin-opposite-of-bounce.

LarryHart said...

Michelle Obama:

And don't let anyone tell you that this country isn't great...that we have to make America great again.


You go, girl!

Paul SB said...

Larry,
I used to hear the conservatives are about facts, liberals are about feelings (usually expressed as "morals") ruse all the time. But it was obvious to me that conservatives could hardly deal with their hot-tempered emotions, which guided them to be quite selective about their facts. Liberals might express feelings like compassion and moral outrage, while conservatives tended to lack the compassion but have lots of outrage (why Bush's "compassionate conservative" was such a blatant campaign slogan - a.k.a. a lie). I'm betting this is pretty much what you were getting at, but I'm too tired to think right now...

Paul SB said...

Alfred,
Sleepy, so this will be shorter than usual - go ahead and keep capitalizing abstract nouns. Now I know what's behind it, it's no biggie. It just reminded me of some of the weird cults I grew up with. I can see your point about there being a clash of cultures between many of the type who become managers and those who remain eternally their underlings. Your comments are reminiscent of William Foote White. Except insofar as they are all drawn from the same national cultural stock, the cultural divide is really artificial and maintained by the structure of business. And in my own experience, most management has been petty and paranoid, treating good, respect-worthy employees as if they were thieves, as their default assumption set for all. This tends to drive good people away, or it would if the economy was good enough that good people felt they could afford to quit.

As far as writing goes, I gave up trying to make any money off of that, or any other art form, ages ago. I like to joke around is all. If I were serious, I would take classes so I could get good at it. Maybe after I retire.

Didn't somebody do a Shakespearean version of Star Wars? Makes my Shakespearean Winnie-the-Pooh seem rather derivative...

Paul SB said...

"... if young assholes do to us what the Naderites did to us in 2000, then the conversion of American to uniform insanity will be complete and the revolution will be over."

Dr. Brin, I very much doubt that if we end up with Trumpolini on the throne this October, you will give up fighting stupidity, and neither will I, nor a whole lot of reasonable, less-easily duped human beings who dwell in this nation (or others, who are dealing with their own demagogues). It will be like the Bush years yet again, maybe worse, with the Right Wing appointing people to judgeships who will fight tooth and nail against the citizens in favor of big business and big religion. These are not the days when people can vote with their feet, so the decent human beings will be stuck here with two choices: to fight back however they can, or to bury their heads in despair. I choose life.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Paul

"And in my own experience, most management has been petty and paranoid, treating good, respect-worthy employees as if they were thieves, as their default assumption set for all"

There is a very good reason for that
That is how managers are trained!
As an engineer I was exposed to a lot of management training - some of it was very useful
But a core part of management training was "cover your arse" - we were trained to treat our workers as if they were always trying to "pull a fast one"

The training basically said that my "face" as a manager was all important - my employees needs and desires were much less important

donzelion said...

@Paul SB - "the Right Wing appointing people to judgeships who will fight tooth and nail against the citizens in favor of big business and big religion."

At the Supreme Court level, John Roberts has close to a 95% 'conservative' voting record, but he upheld Obamacare, and has made some non-big business rulings. Samuel Alito, not so much. Lower down, things only appear more partisan because most of what happens isn't newsworthy.

"These are not the days when people can vote with their feet,"
They can (and in 2005, I did), but it's a foolish error of youth to do so. America is a great country, and one can seldom build a new home somewhere else. Lost opportunity from chasing things abroad cannot be recovered.

"to fight back however they can, or to bury their heads in despair."
The "however we can" part is really the big question, isn't it? What, if anything, can be done right now? And that question has a lot more to do with the Senate and Congressional races, where much more can be done than in the bigger picture.

(That's why I've been looking at bills the Reps are shutting down - I think it would be awesome if people stuck on a freeway realized every day that their commute is partially a product of Republicans fighting for tollroads and against freeway investment. Let people bicker over trivia - that is time spent torn away from families to serve big business agendas.)

LarryHart said...

matthew:

Just a week ago, my reporting that Trump was polling ahead in Florida was ridiculed here as an outlier and not significant. He's still winning there. The rest of the nation is catching up. 538 has redcued its' odds of HRC winning again this morning.


The Bernie Bros are disappointed, but they've got a few months to contemplate the alternative (Trump). Meanwhile, conservatives who want a strong military and business stability also have a few months to contemplate Trump. Meanwhile, we're in very volatile polling territory right now during the conventions. Let's see what happens after Labor Day, when the political non-junkies start paying attention.

I will tell you what I told my old conservative buddy in 2008 when he jumped all over McCain surpassing Obama in the polls after naming Sarah Palin as his running mate. If either candidate starts to take too big a lead, the news media--who commission many of these polls and report on all of them--will change their focus such that the spread drops closer to zero. They have every vested interest in keeping the election as a nail-biter.

matthew said...

Last night went well for the Democratic convention, I think.
My wife said she wants Michelle Obama to run for President. Al Franken was very effective and Cory Booker did his future prospects some good. Bernie hit the right notes without sounding too subservient. Warren continues to be a very effective attack dog.

On the other hand, new odds from 538 have HRC up by 4. http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

A.F. Rey said...

If either candidate starts to take too big a lead, the news media--who commission many of these polls and report on all of them--will change their focus such that the spread drops closer to zero. They have every vested interest in keeping the election as a nail-biter.

That's an appealing idea, Larry, but probably not true. In the last Presidential election, FiveThirtyEight called the election (90%+ chance for Obama) based on those polls. Not that every news organization believed the polls and their analysis (e.g. Fox News)...

The news organizations may bias their analysis toward a horse race, but overall the polls are fairly accurate--at least in the last few elections.

On the other hand, new odds from 538 have HRC up by 4. http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

Matthew, you might want to take another look at the FiveThirtyEight prediction. It looks more like DT is up by four for the last couple of days. On July 24, it was 58.3% HRC, 41.7% DT. As of July 25, it was 53.7% HRC, 46.1% DT. Hopefully that's just the RNC temporary bump manifesting itself.

David Brin said...

onward


onward