Friday, June 15, 2018

Space Marvels - near and far

Lift your gaze.  Our ructions down here are mere blips and bumps on the road skyward.

The 2018 NIAC Awards were announced a short time ago. Fascinating projects, just this side of science fiction! I’ll I grilled many of these researchers and NIAC fellows in DC, at NASA HQ, just last week. Think about attending the NIAC Symposium in Boston, this September.

Wonderful and wonder-filled and beautiful illustrations, by James Vaughn, depict near and farther-future missions in space. You'll be glad you looked! Vaughn does not have a book yet, but there is a site for prints and posters.

And real-life images are even better! Mike Ravine, the camera guy for the Juno spacecraft, just sent around a link for pics from Juno's latest overflight of the Great Red Spot last month on its twelfth perijove pass.  And here’s another higher res version to make you go wow!

How awful that so many of our fellow citizens are never exposed to these wonders, in order to feel thrilled to be members of a civilization that does things like this!  We must do something about that. You can shake your friends and relatives awake to marvel.  In fact... it's your duty.

Mike adds: A bit of background on this.  Because Junocam was put on the Juno Mission for public outreach, not science, we don’t have much funding to support data processing. So, that data are released to a public website a day or so after we get it down, and a small bunch of amateur image processors start grinding on it.  And they post their work back on the same website.  There’s quite a bit of variability to the product that comes out of this process, but a couple of these guys do a really nice job."

Isn’t that wonderful?  Taxpayers insisted that the science probe carry a camera. And what a camera! And citizens are the ones processing these images. This is ours. And what greater proof do you need, that we are the very opposite of decadent.

== A lunar orbital gateway ==
NASA hopes to start to build a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, for astronauts and research, launching the first element of the Gateway – its power and propulsion module – into space in 2022.  This concept offers a rare overlap-consensus amid the bitter, politically-partisan divide over where human expeditions should go next. 

Sure, everyone talks about Mars as the alluring strategic goal (though the president proclaims he's the first to think of it.) But most scientists agree with the the tech-investors who want to mine asteroids along the way, because of the vast wealth that could be extracted from them, while learning how to exploit the Martian moon, Phobos. The Obama Administration supported that path... 

...and hence asteroids are dismissed by uniform Republican catechism, declaring instead that we should join all the Apollo wannabes out there -- nations and zillionaires eager to plant dusty footprints yet again on an almost completely useless, barren, lunar plain.

(NASA has cancelled a mission to assay the resources that may be available to humans on the moon, despite President Donald Trump's administration making it a priority to send humans back there.  There’s an explanation, but you wouldn’t believe it, if I told you.)

The lunar orbital station offers a way to service both goals. Asteroidal samples acquired by robots could be studied and processed there, while we learn much about distance-survival methods.  Meanwhile, we could run a hotel and charge all the wannabes eager to get down to the moon, for reasons of national pride, or tourism.  There are several other uses for such a station, that I won't go into, here.

What does all this mean? That our civil servants are moving us forward, even when their political overlords are out of their cotton-pickin' minds.

A fascinating perusal of the business landscape for space launch services, and why SpaceX may already have won.

== Extending our reach ==

The first-ever affordable luxury space hotel may be launched in 2021.   A 12-day stay aboard Aurora Station will start at $9.5 million. From 2001 through 2009, seven private citizens took a total of eight trips to the International Space Station (ISS), paying an estimated $20 million to $40 million each. Um, an optimistic schedule, methinks.  Still, I forecast a burgeoning amateur space boom, in EXISTENCE

“Several other companies, including Axiom Space and Bigelow Aerospace, also aim to launch commercial space stations to Earth orbit in the next few years to meet anticipated demand from space tourists, national governments, researchers and private industry.”  And yes, there should be a hotel orbiting above the Moon!

The RemoveDebris space robot has a net, a harpoon and a dragsail on-board. To be launched from the Space Station, it will hunt large items of orbiting junk, glom onto them and use the drag sail to de-orbit the debris.  Not quite as elegant as the method I portray in the first chapter of EXISTENCE… but progress, nonetheless.

The Google Lunar X-Prize was a formidable challenge. Of 30 original applicants – private consortiums, not governments, hoping to land a useful rover on the Moon – five remained, claiming to be almost ready when the extended deadline expired.  Now the X Prize Foundation has started a new challenge, giving them another chance… so far without a big sponsor.  Anyone out there eager to step up?  

Mind you, I’d love to be proved wrong in my impression (shared by Andy Weir) that for at least a generation the Moon’s surface will be a dusty wasteland, useless for anything but tourism.  

Chasing New Horizons: The Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto, written by the mission director Alan Stern, along with astrobiologist David Grinspoon (author of Earth in Human Hands), has just been published. A fascinating tale of teams of competent humans striving (on a shoestring) to achieve the impossible, extending our awareness to the edge of interstellar space.

Half a dozen volunteers spent 6 months living in a dome on the high-barren flanks of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, as part of a NASA mission to study human factors in dealing with such an extended period of cramped isolation.

A meteor that exploded in 2008 over the Nubian Desert contained embedded diamonds that, in turn, offered trapped substances that could only have been formed at super high pressures, deep inside a planet that “probably met its end in the demolition derby of the early solar system, but the scale of the object (or objects) was still unknown until the inclusions were described.”

Planetary scientists still aren't sure exactly where the parent body that broke apart into ureilites formed in the solar system, or how it was ultimately destroyed.

A new “kilopower” nuclear power system that could enable long-duration crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond recently passed an extensive operating test in the Nevada desert, performing well under a variety of challenging conditions.

And this just in: Supermassive black hole violently swallows star, and researchers watch. Kewl!  Or hot.


donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: I've always wondered why Lamar Smith (and to a lesser extent, Charles Bolden) (both GOP/TX) was so 'unimpressed' with the 'Asteroid Redirect Mission.' The only statement by Smith I can find is this one:

Searching through your archives, I find a rebuttal to a different point raised by Smith about shutting down peer-review research in favor of more opaque research ( - but nothing about that claim. Is there some rebuttal you'd endorse that goes point by point?

Anonymous said...

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Peskov, a sick misogynist, like Putin, is the right hand of Vladimir Putin both are about to turn the Russian soccer world cup into the biggest prostitution event of the century, as there are rumors that he is urging Russian women to have sex with foreigners.
Poor Russian girls, for they are forced by the KGB and by the Russian mafia to prostitute themselves "in the name of the mother country and to obtain riches for the feudal lords of Russia.


Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Rep Lamar Smith was posturing a bit in that article from 2013. For something a little more recent on how he sees things related to space and space resources, just look up HR 2809.

Anonymous said...

Now, Republican Jeff Sessions says immigrant children should be separated from their parents and placed in concentration camps, because "God ordains it."
What other lies will the fundamentalist Republicans say in the future? What Donald Trump is the son of God? Now the great clown will call himself a deity?


Anonymous said...

Ups. Sorry, the previous link was in Spanish. This is in English:


Anonymous said...

If they are going to leave the international space station. NASA could take some engines from the international space station; modules; comunication system; guidance systems and a pair of antennas, to build a ship that can travel to the asteroid belt. Only build the drilling and sample capture module and place it in front of the makeshift ship. (It will be necessary to refuel the tanks of the engines that are used) I think that in the international space station is everything necessary to build an improvised ship. It is not even necessary to warn the great clown. After all, the station was going to be abandoned, right?
Another option is to take advantage of the non-reusable sections of the lunar project and place an extra tank of fuel in advance; navigation systems, the folding antenna and the module for drilling and collecting samples. And, taking into account that it would not be an official mission, they could take risks and use a solar sail.


Anonymous said...

Scientists are already planning to send settlers to Proxima B:

However, as I recall, recently, proxima-centauri launched a deadly solar flare; which could indicate that the new settlers could be unexpectedly turned into barbecue:


Anonymous said...

And now, welcome to the beginning of the Borg hive:


Alfred Differ said...

Is it time for a battle of the URL's? Heh.

The ABBA one caught my attention with the cutesy title, but held it with the imaging technique.

There is even a neat line in there about how researchers first reacted to seeing images of the polymers they had synthesized. It's a very human response. 8)

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:

I imagine that these polymer cables can only conduct low voltages.
I suppose, if we use those wires in the brain, the immune system will attack the wires.
But if the cables were graphite, maybe they could work well.


Jon S. said...

That's not a "plan", Luis - someone just wanted to run some numbers on the minimum number of people who could be sent out on a generation ship with any expectation of survival of the ship for a several-century voyage. They picked Proxima Centauri largely to point up why they were thinking of generation ships at all - it's the nearest star to the Sun, yet even with advances in rocketry to accelerate to 1% of lightspeed, faster than any rocket has yet gone, it would still take over 400 years to get there.

(I know, to most of us that's really elementary, but you'd be surprised how many people outside the SF community don't understand why you'd want to build a generation ship.)

Oh, for those who don't want to hunt it down, the number was 98. That's the bare minimum to provide four centuries' worth of viable crewmembers.

Alfred Differ said...

pfft. 98? Genetic viability is only part of the problem. Too few people will mean a number of things about our civilization will be forgotten by the children who get there. You need moderately sized communities if you want to send what we actually are, but they'll change over a few centuries. Send a liberal community now and you'll probably have a feudal one when it gets there.

I never understood the genetic concerns for a generational ship. Obviously one must send a large 'library' of genetic material including all the little critters that live on us and activate our immune systems. Forget any of it and the out-bound crew will be off-plan pretty quick. There is nothing quite like being attacked by your own immune system to change the way you behave.

Anonymous said...

Hello, compatriot "Jon S."
To know what could happen in a world ship, when some things go wrong, we can observe those countries with inept leaders, like Venezuela; Cuba or Mexico.

Venezuela: Hunger.
Mexico: Empowerment of criminal mafias.
North Korea: Hunger and fascism to a brutal extreme.
Cuba: Hunger; poverty.

And if everything goes really bad ... The possibility of survival in a state of panic and violence of the crew + a state of egotism "Two scoops" of the officers of the ship is equivalent to: zero.
Mexico is like a world ship adrift, with officers totally corrupted. But the real fault of what happens in Mexico, rests on the actions of the pimps who protect and support the fascist leaders. All for a pair of croquettes complemented with vitamins and an anti flea collar. Or for 30 silver coins.

Winter 7

donzelion said...

Alfred: Granted, my cite was to a 2013 article, and last I checked, the 'Asteroid Recovery Mission' was sidelined; the press treatment of the time presented a 'Smith hates Obama so much he'll kill any project' - but there's also a 'dual asteroid recovery' project in the formative stages, so I've no idea where everything actually lays. I wondered if pork was a better explanation (Orion = more budget = more jobs), but mostly, who the experts are that were engaged on both sides of the story, and where the refutations lay.

For this 2018 bill, I believe I've heard similar measures discussed, but it seems fairly unlikely that anyone could do asteroid recovery but NASA in the immediate future. SpaceX can launch, but this is a whole different order of capability that for now, and for the next 5 years or so, is probably out of reach of any company.

Acacia H. said...

Interesting tidbit I read... it seems the time medications are taken influence their toxicity and effectiveness. For instance, taking a megadose early in the day is not nearly as dangerous as one taken at night. In fact, gene expression for different proteins shuts down in the morning. (This might even explain why grapes are dangerous for some dogs but not others - it may be when they eat them in the day that determines if they pass harmlessly or are a threat to the kidneys.)


As for an alliance between Bezos and Musk... I doubt it. Bezos started his rocket company as a lark and I think to compete against Musk. His rockets are for show and sure he reused it multiple times... but it never did any genuine work. It was a rich man's folly. He did it rather than doing something constructive like giving his workers proper living wages or paying taxes so low-income people can have housing.

Musk? Musk had a vision and a dream. He is achieving it. He built a rocket that maybe didn't land before Bezos' rocket did, and wasn't reused as often as Bezos' was, but his rockets do real work. He has a vision of going to Mars and his entire building of SpaceX is to reach out to that dream... and in doing so, innovate and change how we go to space.

So... no. I don't see the two working together because Bezos is doing this as a dick-waving contest while Musk is doing real work. And sure, Musk is a flawed human and he's done some idiotic things in the past... but he's not one of the bastards that deserves to go through the guillotine when the poor finally get sick and tired of the rich being bastards. Bezos is.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

Sending machines to the asteroid belt is currently more a matter of faith.
There are many millionaires who have enough money to launch missions to the asteroid belt. Quite simply, most think it's crazy. As for the few millionaires who know that, yes it is possible to win amazing amounts of money in the asteroid belt; Of those few, most do not want to risk millions of dollars in an extremely risky adventure. So only the most loquitos millionaires interested in the belt, only they will be the first to get drunk on ¡Richest; power;!

-Yes, ¡Banana!


LarryHart said...

The Mule (not Donald Trump but the actual character in "Second Foundation") channels locumranch:

"Are you trying to talk yourself into courage," inquired the Mule contemptuously, "or are you trying to impress me? For the Second Foundation, Seldon's Plan, the Second Empire all impresses me not the least, nor touches any spring of compassion, sympathy, responsibility, nor any other source of emotional aid you may be trying to tap in me.


"And will you correct things now?" The Mule's thin lips curled, his mind pulsing with hate: "What will you do? Fatten me? Restore me to a masculine vigor? Take away from my past the long childhood in an alien environment. Do you regret my sufferings? Do you regret my unhappiness? I have no sorrow for what I did in my necessity. Let the Galaxy protect itself as best it can, since it stirred not a whit for my protection when I needed it."

David Brin said...

Rob H. Jeff Bezos looks likely to become a major partner to the Lockheed-Martin launch consortium as they desperately seek a way to compete with Elon.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | for the next 5 years or so

I'd agree, but I don't think NASA can do it in that time frame either.

Stretch it to 10 years or so and I suspect it will actually be a team that gets there and back.
Something like a private-public partnership.

Stretch it to 15 years and I think it will be privately dominated, though not a huge activity.

donzelion said...

Alfred: how to phrase that wager? A bottle of Dom Perignon says that in 15 years, say as of July 1, 2033, NASA will have brought back more asteroid samples than the private sector? A reasonable wager, or do I mis-state the terms? Must we measure relative capital contributions, or add some other qualifier? ;-)

That is a water I'd gladly place, save for the problem of needing to find a trusted escrow agent, and a liquor of your preference.

Anonymous said...

Mexico has just defeated Germany in the soccer world cup.


Ioan said...

Sorry to hijack this thread. I don't come here as often, and I missed the discussion on North Korea. My personal opinion is that Kim is after something none of you mentioned: he wants to be China.

China's surveillance state has shown that authoritarianism and economic development are not incompatible. If he can get North Korea to develop to China's current level, that will be a huge win for him. I remember predicting this on Charles Stross' blog last year when North Korea started testing ICBMs: this is what they were after.

My view on the resulting deal.

1. NK eliminates its ICBM's, but keeps their space program
2. I think that he'll want to keep enough nukes to hit both Beijing and Seoul. His tubes can't hit Beijing. He may want to retain the ability to hit Tokyo as well? Remember, Kim is just as afraid of being removed by China as by the US

Anonymous said...

If North Korea continues to develop rockets; It does not matter if they do not have a nuclear charge. I remember that innumerable satellites have been launched in nuclear ballistic missiles that were removed from service. Similarly, any rocket that can carry a satellite charge can also be quickly modified to carry a head with multiple nuclear warheads.
Allowing North Korea to continue perfecting its rockets would be a serious mistake.


Anonymous said...

Winter's note: I mean that many ballistic missiles from the United States were used later to launch American satellites. (In fact, the first American in space climbed aboard a modified missile)


LarryHart said...

To all the guys here who have reproduced, Happy Father's Day.

Anonymous said...

The new companies in the Silicon Valley do not always end in a fairy tale.
Being bold does not always end well.
Sometimes, princesses go to prison:


Anonymous said...

Mexican beer is not "light", so it hits hard.
Celebrating with two beers the victory of mexico against germany .... And ... walk up !; Yeeepa; yepaaaaa and up!
  And that beer hits harder if you never drink ... Oooo .... With beer the universe looks different ... A universe of colorssssss.


Anonymous said...

Officer's Diary Winter. Date: Sunday, June 17, 2050.
Our ship, the "Midas" has been parked at the Brádbury station for more than a month. The belt miners have finished loading the ship's holds with almost pure copper ore. 3000 tons in total and some tons of diverse minerals of great value.
We are supposed to stay one more month to contribute to the construction of the new sections of the mining station. But the leader of the miners of the asteroid belt (nicknamed Loccumranch) seems to be upsetting the miners and has called the strike. The dining area has been burned down and Loccumranch is distributing red caps to all the miners.
Loccumranch demands that we allow them to place an evangelical temple, because they were ordered by the high priest Ted Cruz.
In view of the situation, I suggested to Captain Brin that we let go of the moorings and return to Earth. But the captain wants to talk to the miners to reach an agreement.

TUESDAY 19. Feeling that evangelical fundamentalists were up to something, I slipped down the station's ducts to the union offices to hear what they were planning. Incredible, there were rats in the pipelines; One has bit me. I managed to get to the union pipeline grate. I was right. The temple is a mere excuse. They seem to be furious because they can not tolerate more than rationing food. They plan to storm the Midas and loot our food reserves. I must return quickly and alert the captain.

Wednesday 20. It did not help to tell the captain. The miners had already soldered the mooring anchors to the Midas structure. When they knew we were trying to escape, they launched themselves on the ship and took it, but it seems that they have changed their plans. Now, all the miners have boarded the ship, filled it with the rest of the provisions of the Brádbury station and have sailed with us to the land. Again I have hidden in the ducts and I have spied on the grid of the main dining hall, which they are using as an operations center when they do not use the bridge. I have learned that loccumranch has told the miners that the end of the world is approaching and that it is vital that we all return to the earth.

Thursday 21. I managed to sneak into a quarter of the engineering section, there the chief engineers, Mr. Dieffer, navigation and the machine manager, Mr. Caincross, informed me that Loccumrancha entered the navigation computer and programmed the navigation orders, to then place a guard in front of all the computers in the engine room and the bridge.
Friday the 22nd. I have slipped into a computer terminal that is in the astronomical observation room. I managed to find out that the ship has been programmed to accelerate at maximum speed towards Earth, without braking option. It seems that the Confederates want the end of the world to happen. Dieffer; Caincros and I managed to free the captain and escape to the pipelines. We have decided to divert the ship to save the Earth.

Saturday 23. We made a mistake. We sneaked into the kitchen and took provisions. We were very hungry and ate avidly. Dieffer slipped into the ducts and returned. He says he has seen a lot of dead in the corridors; but there are no signs of violence.
The signs of intoxication came too late. It is a paralyzing poison. Before he was totally paralyzed, he sent this report to earth by a small transmitter, hoping that on earth they can do something. We and the rest of the ship are lost.

And in that way. A beautiful blue planet, ceased to exist.


yana said...

I like these "space news roundup" posts the best.

Alfred Differ said:

"Send a liberal community now and you'll probably have a feudal one when it gets there."

Felt guilty laughing at that, because it's tragically true, but thanks for the laugh anyway. The mechanism is blatant: the preened progeny of the Captain and Officers will eventually turn the positions into hereditary ranks, enforcing priviledge always with just a touch more violence than the predictable reactions from pluralists among the new proles.

Interesting note, this will not be possible to prevent with software loaded at launch. Psychohistory does not in fact exist. But we know how people are people, so we can tell it'll happen, but nothing can be done about it. This is interesting, because it carves a big hole into theories about AI singularity here at home. If China hands state planning over to AI, then the rest of us might be darned glad that there's such a high firewall between the Middle Kingdom Net and the Internet. There is no analogy between wetware and software, and a simple reason why.

Computer science is decades deep into a war against all error, but that's what 'living' intelligence does best, it screws up and has a context to not only recover from error but to innovate from the act of fixing errors. Yes, there's plenty research now into fuzz-ifying software logic to better emulate mammalian thought, but the physical basis is still transistors which are a Moore's Corollary: each 18-month generation is manufactured more competently than the last.

Neurons leak all over the place. They sometimes fire for no other reason than a buildup of leaked chems from nearby botchy dendrites. AI will not be possible until some faulty genius invents a truly dirty transistor, then another flawed mind figures out the thresh-hold between recoverable error and fatal error. Using clean-room IC chips, that thresh-hold is known. We'll need someone to find where it lays when using sketchy IC arrays of dirty transistors, with a really filthy I/O bus.

Anonymous said...


¿Something like this? :

Sir Winter7

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Yana
For an idea how to fix that generation ship problem

More simply you would have two different societies a transit society that would keep flying for ever and a settler society that would jump ship when possible

yana said...

"Something like this"

Naw, not at all. The Paderborn paper is all about managing error by predicting it, but only via self-fulfilling predictions. They pick N=768 which is absurdly low, then congratulate themselves for accommodating an error which they already knew about. Look what happens in Fig 5 when N=1536! The paper's about saving money on juice, look at III:A "low precision can be beneficial for over-all performance or the energy efficiency," but they're not really making strides in machine learning, only making machines potentially consume less electricity while learning.

Here's where we really diverge: "depending on the underlying compute platform." I'm talking about a platform unlike what they're using. Then it plows right into: "results obtained using approximation can be refined into a precise solution in very few additional iterations." So it's the Monte Carlo Method, just a bit more useful. Sorry, but you're not going to be able to meet an AI by greeting it as a product of managed error.

The interesting thing about AI's will be that different error systems will be what makes them have different personalities, in the older sense of the word, the Greek for "speak through." I predict that the more contrived the mechanism for introducing an AI's error, the more we'll come to know that personality as an "asshole".

yana said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Haha, "managed feudalism" is not the answer, but makes a good 'young boy adventure' story. Even if you choose the brightest and most stoic scientific leaders for the "managers," their offspring will, as people are people, find a way to convert that upbringing into something new. In short, they'll rebel, either by mixing with the "settlers" or calcifying their elite role into a religion, where all bets on stoicism lose.

In Harrison's time it seemed inevitable that genetics promised behavior modification. In 1969 a lot of things seemed simpler. Brin went on that line with Glory Season, but with a couple decades more of reading up on the interplay of genes and minds, he wrote up the effects of gene-mod as far more subtle than Harrison.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Yana
Captive Universe was a lot more than "managed feudalism" - basically "subhuman intelligence" in both of the villages with only a "hybrid" attaining "human" intelligence

Nothing to do with "managed feudalism"

And I am not at all sure that modern genetics has shown that it is impossible - we would need to find two genes that were both required for full intelligence

Maybe it would be easier to do that with chemicals? - something in the food to depress intelligence

yana said...

Duncan Cairncross:
"we would need to find two genes that were both required for full intelligence"

Oh boy, here we diverge. You say full, and i say "how full?" What is full, and what does it look like at launchtime, and what does it look like once the "managerial" caste has transitioned into priesthood? Certainly, those would be two separate definitions, no matter how many shades "full" takes on over the shadow of a few centuries.

duncan cairncross said...

Rather than talking about "full" you should be thinking about the other state
As a general rule it's easier to break something than it is to improve it

So how low can we go and still have "people" who can survive?

With robotic attendants and a chemical rather than genetic intelligence reducer we could have the "crew" living like pampered pets for generations before making the change at the destination

Alfred Differ said...

@yana | Enforcing privilege, use of coercion, and out-breeding the lower rank males should be factored into any simulation. It won't just be accidents killing crew. It won't just be random mixing producing off-spring. In our current population the male/female ratio of non-breeders is somewhere between 3 and 4. We survive that (and survived worse) by having a lot of us around and many sneaky males and females.

I remember a story of a generation ship where they made the crew dumb-ass animals for the flight and then turned intelligence back on at the end. At the time I gave some thought to the idea. Today, I think it would deliver animals of human intelligence who likely wouldn't give a damn about all the colonization education they were expected to re-absorb. The civilization layer would not arrive on that distant shore, so they'd have to build one. I think it likely they'd choose their own way. Wouldn't we? The attractor would likely make it feudal, though.

I still like stories where people think about these problems, but I've come around to the idea that we'd have to send tens or hundreds of thousands of us at a minimum. Even that might not work because the end of trade with Earth would impoverish them. Civilization on the colony ship would likely collapse.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | You are suggesting something in the neighborhood of a $200 bet that matures roughly when I reach 70? I could go for that.

What happens if no one gets out there by then, though? What if they are out there, but no one has returned anything yet?
I consider both a distinct possibility.

sociotard said...

Biologist borrows from animals to make "wish list" body . . . and then 3d prints it. Evidently part of a tv show.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Winter7: You could slowly get the ISS (or the non-Russian segments) up to a higher orbit. More than that would probably tear the thing apart.

As for generation ships, Heinlein wrote the very first generation-ship story -- and it indeed had a social collapse. Having a fully active metabolism in a sealed seed or spore for any serious duration of time is a mug's game; evolution figured that out long, long ago. To build STL seedships, we will have to figure out how to put not just ourselves, but our entire surrounding ecosystem in some sort of self-unpacking metastable hibernation state. I suspect uterine replicators as well as hibernation and AI will be required for a successful STL colony effort.

If we get warp drive of any sort, of course all bets are off.

loan: "He wants to be China." In an ideal world, of course a dictator wants a thriving economy plus unquestioned obedience. As the Forbidden City could tell him, that's easier said than done.

Alfred Differ said...

Okay. I freaked a bit with the baby in a pouch thing. 8)

Those legs aren't anywhere sturdy enough
... and she needs a tail to make those work properly
... not a horse tail... a working tail with muscle.

Those big eyes are sooooo predictable, though.

locumranch said...

A Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, Luxury Hotels in Space & Greed for asteroid wealth as our primary motivator: These are all intellectually bankrupt substitutes for Manifest Destiny.

Most human beings will never EVER leave our gravity well, even in the best case scenario of replicator & warp drive technology, and the most humanity (in general) can hope for is the off-sourcing our intellectual & biological patterns.

From Heinlein's 'Orphans of the Sky' to Delaney's 'Ballad of Beta-2', the Generation Ship idea has become increasingly ludicrous in view of the entropic impermanence of human civilisation as illustrated by the West's ongoing cultural collapse.

'Cold Sleep' would represent a partial solution, allowing a few humans to remain in storage during shipment, allowing any would-be colonist to preserve their cultural & intellectual identity during transit.

And, assuming a 'man factory' of some sort capable of growing new humans from seed stock with some sort of rapid educational technology akin to Gould's 'Helm' or Brunner's 'eptification', we could then strike out for Mars tomorrow & the stars the day after, remembering always that these are one-way trips that profit only our posterity but never ourselves.

Que Sera Sera.


Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | ...the most humanity (in general) can hope for is...


Why are you assuming one way trips?
Why are you assuming they won't keep interacting with those of us who don't leave?
{Interaction as in trade and not just talk}

David Brin said...

Sociotard, that link failed.

locum is back on vitamins. Though as usual, substituting absolutely dogmatic assertions for any semblance of envidence-based argument.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

Your least-favorite conservative, George Will was on Bill Maher's show last weekend. He claims that a case will likely be made to the Supreme Court that Meuller's appointment is unconstitutional, because he was not appointed by the president nor confirmed by the Senate. And that any investigations, indictments, or convictions that come from the Mueller investigation will be vacated as "fruits of the poisonous tree".

Just to be even more depressing, he threw in that he's not a climate denier--he knows the planet is warming--he just doesn't think we can do anything to stop it.

Anonymous said...

Haaaaaa My suspicions that Donald Trump is a Sith Lord have been confirmed. Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a space army. (Yes, that's right, I'm not kidding, read the link)
If we had any hope of escaping the tyranny of the oligarchs somewhere in space, that hope has been destroyed. (We have to get the plans of the death star of Donald Trump) (And we will have to build a fleet of X wings to place them in the rebel base in the Dagoba system)

The total dementia of Donald Trump is becoming more and more evident.


Anonymous said...

“Most human beings will never EVER leave our gravity well, even in the best case scenario of replicator & warp drive technology, and the most humanity (in general) can hope for is the off-sourcing our intellectual & biological patterns”.

Maybe you're wrong If the messages sent to other civilizations by the METI institute manage to reach a brutal and very advanced civilization in technology, then, they will come for us to sell us as slaves or as pets or as valuable material to create crafts for the worlds of the galactic center. In that way, All humans will leave our world. We would all be kidnapped by aliens smarter and wicked than us ... Maybe by the Borg.... (Hooo, how cute is 7 out of nine) (I would like 7 out of nine to assimilate)


Anonymous said...

Catfish N. Cod:
You could slowly get the ISS (or the non-Russian segments) up to a higher orbit. More than that would probably tear the thing apart.

As we could join the modules linearly, forming three lines of modules. We tied the modules with belts, placing foam rubber between the three bundles of modules and then placed at one end the rocket engines and fuel tanks. (And I know it would work)


sociotard said...

sociotard said...

great, the preview function isn't working either.

lets try with the http

sociotard said...

yep. a href with just the link didn't work. It needed the http, which didn't even get copied. weird.

Tony Fisk said...

The main creepy bit is the baby's head sticking out of a pouch. Looks a bit tacked on.

I wonder if they'll consider re-jigging the pharyngeal nerve while they're at it? The respiratory/digestive cross-over? Swapping the capillary/retinal layers in the eye?

duncan cairncross said...

I looked at that "improved body" and thought

What in hell is he trying to do?

Struck me as like a kid playing with a potato head

LarryHart said...


yep. a href with just the link didn't work. It needed the http, which didn't even get copied. weird.

If you do a mouse-over on your first link, it actually points to

which explains why it doesn't work. Somehow, blogger presumed that the link began with this site itself.

LarryHart said...

With the latest outrage of a border policy, I hope it is finally clear that President Snow is both un-American and evil. That goes for Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller. That goes for the Republican Party which won't do anything to rein in his excesses. That goes for the Supreme Court which declares that gerrymandering and voter suppression is perfectly fine as long as the perpetrators are Republicans. That goes for Trump's brownshirt supporters who compel cowardice in any potential opposition. That goes for FOX Propaganda which convinces half the country that there is any positive correlation between the lying lies that come out of the Bloviator In Chief's mouth and actual reality.


LarryHart said...

Paul Krugman tells us what we already know but don't want to admit:


But what does American goodness — all too often honored in the breach, but still real — have to do with American power, let alone world trade? The answer is that for 70 years, American goodness and American greatness went hand in hand. Our ideals, and the fact that other countries knew we held those ideals, made us a different kind of great power, one that inspired trust.

The Pax Americana was a sort of empire; certainly America was for a long time very much first among equals. But it was by historical standards a remarkably benign empire, held together by soft power and respect rather than force.


In fact, the modern world trading system was largely the brainchild not of economists or business interests, but of Cordell Hull, F.D.R.’s long-serving secretary of state, who believed that “prosperous trade among nations” was an essential element in building an “enduring peace.” So you want to think of the postwar creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as part of the same strategy that more or less simultaneously gave rise to the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO.

So all the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.


So Trump isn’t making America great again; he’s trashing the things that made us great, turning us into just another bully — one whose bullying will be far less effective than he imagines.

LarryHart said...

Got to love the snark (emphasis mine) :\

Sessions' response to the situation was to ask whether Americans want to be "a country of laws, or whether we want to be a country without borders." He also said that the people comparing him to the Nazis, because both used Romans 13 to justify obeisance to government policy, are completely off the mark. Why? Because the Nazis were trying to keep Jews in the country, while he is trying to keep immigrants out. Straw men around the world were embarrassed that the Attorney General of the United States should make such a flimsy argument.

LarryHart said...

It's probably obvious that I'm in a pissy mood this morning.

That's not entirely the fault of national politics, but they don't help.

Please ignore or pay attention as you will.

Tim H. said...

Where to start? I don't think "Herr Drumph!" really measures up to NAZIs, though many in the administration seems want to be NAZIs* when they grow up... They must realize there's only so many ways for authoritarians to look tough, and the NAZIs tried most of them seventy five years ago, and it's really disturbing how many Americans are okay with this. Perhaps more disturbing to think about the kinship some Americans felt towards the NAZIs until war was declared.

*Capitalized because it's a German acronym.

LarryHart said...

Tim H:

and it's really disturbing how many Americans are okay with this.

That disturbs me more than the actions of the leadership itself.

Perhaps more disturbing to think about the kinship some Americans felt towards the NAZIs until war was declared.

My dad grew up in a German neighborhood in the 1930s. He's told of a classmate in elementary school who bragged that when Hitler came over here, they were going to get rid of all the Jews. When my dad pointed out that he (my dad) was Jewish, the other kid had an "aha" moment of embarrassment about the subject matter. This story had an unusual ending in that the other kid turned around and became a good friend to my dad--they were still in touch in the 1980s when my whole family visited his family in Virginia. Sadly, the country as a whole seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Treebeard said...

The Italian Prime Minister had a great line recently, talking to a German NGO that was criticizing Italy's refusal to take in migrant ships:

"We are the bosses in our own home, the good times for you are REALLY OVER, understood?"

A simple assertion of will and power over your own territory; this is really what it's about. You want to change the demographics of our society or erase our borders for your own agenda; we say NO, and we have men with guns willing to enforce the matter. End of discussion.

BTW, Laura Bush is a joke; how many Iraqi children died due to her hubby's disastrous Iraq invasion? Where was her humanitarian concern then? Why was most of the American liberal establishment so quiet about that outrage, compared to their constant hysteria over minor outrages from Trump?

LarryHart said...

BTW, while this still isn't a great day, my mood has improved a bit since this morning. Can't go into any more detail in case my wife is reading this. :)

LarryHart said...


Why was most of the American liberal establishment so quiet about that outrage [Gulf War II]

Are you freakin' kidding me? Just because the news media didn't pay attention to us didn't mean we weren't complaining about that war before it became fashionable to do so. Bill Maher had already lost his ABC show for daring to distinguish between terrorists and cowards, and Phil Donohue was removed from NBC precisely because he didn't fall in line to the drumbeat of that particular war.

If you mean that Dem politicians (Hillary) were on board for the war, yes, they misread the public mood and thought that an anti-war vote was political suicide. That came back to bite a lot of them later on when the war became unpopular. Bernie Sanders gained street cred for having voted against it, as did Barack Obama for not yet having been in the Senate to vote for it at the time.

donzelion said...

Alfred Differ: "You are suggesting something in the neighborhood of a $200 bet that matures roughly when I reach 70? I could go for that."
Hmmm...ok. Guess we'll need to stick around for the next 15 years or so to hold each other accountable to the terms.

"What happens if no one gets out there by then, though? What if they are out there, but no one has returned anything yet?"
No winner then. We'd have to split the tab.

Honestly, the term that troubles me the most is trying to measure the relative contributions of capital to the endeavor: how can anyone say that a 'private' project is actually private if a major source of its funding came from profits obtained by performing public launches? If the technology underpinning it was developed by public sources, then licensed at a loss, or turned into a subsidy? In many private projects, a public funder puts in 5% of the money by one means or another, but that initial seed funding (and the vetting it reflects) enables attracting the remaining 95%...

LOL, these are the distractions I look up to, when looking away from this week's main task: organizing resistance to family separations at the border. Back to work...

LarryHart said...


...this week's main task: organizing resistance to family separations at the border. Back to work...

Thank you for your service.

locumranch said...

Larry_H & his emotionally irrational 'outrage' about separating parents from their children -- which, btw, is the legal US & international standard-of-care when it comes to EVERY incarcerated adult male, most incarcerated adult females & MOST divorced law-obedient males -- represents typical progressive hypocrisy with a capital 'H'.

That whole 'think of the children' argument falls increasingly flat & ineffective, now that western childlessness exceeds 25% for adult western males (and approaches 25% for adult western women) in the US, the EU & Japan.

What do you mean by 'Our Posterity' & 'Our Future', you sillies?

Like May, Macron, Merkel & many other western leaders, the childless western adults amongst us don't give 2 poops about OUR posterity, OUR future, OUR debts & OUR climate, and this is increasingly expressed in our politics at home & abroad.

The Childless 'We' want OUR I-phones, OUR internet, OUR luxuries & OUR modern conveniences RIGHT NOW, and damn the long-term costs, because YOUR future & that of YOUR children can take a running jump at itself.


It is equally telling, Alfred, that you ASSUME that long-term space travel is a 2-way trip when I do not. You can read up on the devastating effects of prolonged weightless here:

matthew said...

Treebeard can take his "will and power" and his "men with guns" and shove them up his ass. I'm tired of treating this Nazi piece of crap like his opinion makes a difference in the world.

Yo, ent, see you on the battlefield, asshole. I sincerely doubt you'd show up, you pathetic coward.

locumranch said...

How droll: A reciprocity-hating matthew (who gives zero shits about treebeard's opinion) thinks treebeard should prioritise matthew's opinion.


Alfred Differ said...

@Donzelion | Don’t let us distract you from your work. I’d buy bottle whether I won or lost a bet on that alone. A lot of us are frustrated in not knowing what to do about the mess, so any work you can do to resist gets at least my verbal support. If there is something we can do to help, just speak up.

When it comes to public and private efforts, I tend to look at who is making the crucial decisions and less at who is making money from what source. If you buy a spacecraft from me and operate it to achieve your mission, you are the decision maker. If you buy a ticket to ride on a spacecraft I build and operate at a profit, then I’m essentially building a bus or taxi and I’m the decision maker. NASA deep space missions currently tend to have them buying hardware and making decisions, so they’d count on the public side of the bet. SpaceX is going to be something of a mix because they re-use the bus. Their longer range plans, though, involve what we currently call deep space and they will be the decision makers.

My prediction is that there is money to be made out there past cis-lunar space and the only realistic way to finance the endeavors will be through private sources that extend the economic zone of humanity. There is a perfectly good role for NASA/NACA in doing the research that we need done, but humanity will be a space-faring race when our commercial markets are extended. Extending the science market isn’t enough. Commerce requires that engineers be employed BY commercial entities.

Now… back to work for you. Space will manage itself for a while, but we need sane markets on the ground and that doesn’t involve space projects.

LarryHart said...


That whole 'think of the children' argument falls increasingly flat & ineffective, now that western childlessness exceeds 25% for adult western males (and approaches 25% for adult western women) in the US, the EU & Japan.

So you're arguing what--that we're abusing all of those non-existent children in some sort of equivalence with your abuse of actual ones?

Or that those children's suffering would be lessened in effect if we'd just make so many more that we'd render them insignificant?

Or that 25% of eight billion is less than 90% of the one billion of a century ago?

No, I'm sure it's actually something even stupider than I could possibly imagine.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | I’ve been involved in the ‘space’ community for quite a while. I’m well aware of what weightlessness does to us. You are missing the point, though, in focusing on people. Trade involves goods and services. Of course people who go up there for long periods won’t be in good shape to come back down. Their goods and services are a different matter. TRADE is the thing that will be 2-way and the people doing it can get awful close to Earth without having to deal with 1g gravity fields.

I point these things out to people because only rarely in human history have we colonized a distant shore successfully and not swapped spit with the homeland. We CAN colonize distant shores in giant leaps, but we usually prefer small steps and maintenance of trade relationships. Humans have been a trading species for a damn long time, so it is part of us. It should be in your dictionary for ‘human’. We weren’t just bands of kin roaming about the Earth. We were bands of kin swapping possible mates, techniques, goods & services, and even weird ideas. We were bands of bands of bands of… and we still are even though we’ve learned to domestic things that used to try to kill us.

Humans trade.

Space humans will trade too.

Alfred Differ said...

@treebeard | That member states of the EU disagree enough to be nationalists is nothing new. They have a rather fragile relationship especially when it comes time to determine national expenditures.

If you argue that extends to the relationship between US States, you are going to get responses like the one matthew offers. We’ve already fought that war. If we have to fight it again, it will be ugly and deadly, but with a similar outcome.

Laura Bush’s concerns are not a joke and you are trying to evade that fact with a distraction. America’s ‘Union’ supporters were partially asleep then, but Two Scoops is doing a very good job of waking them up because his outrages aren’t minor.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | He's making this case...

If we don't care enough to have children of our own, we don't really care about children in general.

On this subject, he probably can't see straight. He has at least one, has obviously been stripped by a family court, and concludes the society doesn't really care about children. He obviously lost a fight he cared not to lose because he cares about his kid. One way to cope with that loss is to blame everyone of the pain inflicted by a few because those few used an institution supported by many.

That's my guess. Your mileage may vary.

I shall now retire my psychiatrist hat for the day to avoid accusations of practicing medicine without a license or even meeting the patient. 8)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@LarryHart | He's making this case...

If we don't care enough to have children of our own, we don't really care about children in general.

Except that we (you and I) do have children.

"There, I've run rings around you logic'ly."

Even so, the premise is faulty. I'm arguing as someone who self-evidently does care about the suffering of children--sees that as an evil that ups the ante from even the ridiculously treasonous actions President Snow has already inflicted upon us. Attempts to prove that I must not care about children make as much sense as proofs that bees can't fly.

My wife was the one who wanted children, and while I'm glad in hindsight, I would have happily remained childless if it were left entirely up to me. Not because I don't like children, but because I like them too much. I didn't want a child because I was afraid of failing her as a parent. I really shouldn't even be allowed to have pets, because I suffer too much on their behalf. So the notion that alternate-me doesn't care about children because he doesn't have any would simply have been (charitably) mistaken, to the point of diametric opposition to reality.

All of which is beside the point, that Trump has gone from merely deplorable to indefensible, and that anyone who attempts to defend this policy is an enemy of humanity. I already suspected loc proudly belonged in that category, but it's nice to have a full confession anyway.

john fremont said...

And how many conservatives would brook no dissent from the Bush administration back then?

locumranch said...

Only the most self-deluded hypocrite who accepts & condones the routine separation of minor children from incarcerated US citizen lawbreakers would reject & condemn the routine separation of minor children from incarcerated non-citizen lawbreakers.

Preferential Justice is the mantra of the privileged progressive who demands one legal standard for the male, the majority identity group & the US citizen and another 'more humane one' for the female, the minority identity group & the undocumented alien.

Like 'Animal Farm', it appears that some animals are 'more equal' than others in the progressive lexicon, as exemplified by matthew's stated willingness to indulge in genocide against against any other potentially genocidal identity group.

It's called 'sexism', 'racism' and 'classism' when you have different legal standards for different identity groups.

Enjoy the equality & reciprocity for which you wished.


duncan cairncross said...

Hi donzelion
If the technology underpinning it was developed by public sources, then licensed at a loss, or turned into a subsidy? In many private projects, a public funder puts in 5% of the money by one means or another, but that initial seed funding (and the vetting it reflects) enables attracting the remaining 95%...

I would say that almost EVERY advancement has come that way - everything from new drugs to new technology is first funded to a "working model" level by the public dollar before being "given" to the private sector to run with and to make money

Of the 210 new drugs approved from 2010 -2016 - 210 of them had been researched using public dollar

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | You are looking right at the forest and seeing the tree in front of you.

We usually don't incarcerate people for small shit.
YOUR boy has decided this isn't small shit.

He is wrong about that, but more importantly, he is demonstrating once again he cannot distinguish between actual threats and imagined threats.

At the risk of blowing up the emotions involved here, this really DOES connect to what the Nazi's believed. What they did to individual Jews was bad enough. That they actually perceived the Jewish People as an existential threat was the real insanity. Strong defensive actions against a real threat can be justified. Seeing your neighbors who mostly want to get along AS the threat is an epic failure as an adult member of our civilization.

Incarcerating people who want to come here, whether it is to get away from dangers in the home land or because they want to pursue opportunity here, does NOT make someone a threat. When they are joined by many of their neighbors, that does NOT make them an existential threat.

Your boy is engaged in an EPIC failure as a human being.

TheMadLibrarian said...

I have sworn mighty oaths not to engage with the wood chip or the ranch place when they are using blatant pretzel-logic, but it is very hard not to go for that volleyball floating lob.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

At the risk of blowing up the emotions involved here, ...

They're already plenty stirred up. I actually expected more resistance to my stance of "That's all I can stands! I can't stands no more!" today. I mean, I've never liked Trump, never accepted his legitimacy, and always considered him un-American, but this immigration policy takes it to a whole new level, exacerbated by his ridiculous attempts to blame the problem on Democrats.

The thing is, I don't think anyone can pretend to stay out of the fray and conduct business as usual any longer. If you accept Trump as normal, then you are part of the problem, and I give you no more consideration than I'd give a NAZI fifth columnist during WWII.

Your boy is engaged in an EPIC failure as a human being.

I couldn't agree more.

locumranch said...

Alfred denies reality & says "We usually don't incarcerate people for small shit".

Yes, we do. Talk to Donzelion. We incarcerate people for drink driving, operating a motor vehicle without proper licensure, vagrancy, public indecency, unpaid parking tickets, nuisance communications, contempt of court, tax evasion, lacking the financial wherewithal to pay child support & marijuana possession.

Illegal Immigration, aka 'Improper entry by alien', is an imprisonable offence covered by U.S. Code, Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, § 1325, subsection (a) which stipulates that "Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both".

That's the LAW, as detailed above, regardless of your hurt FEELZ, moral outrage & disagreement.

Now, you can try to CHANGE this law if you so wish, according to due legislative process, but your reckless attempts at nullification may have the unexpected consequence of encouraging others to nullify all those laws that they believe disagreeable or immoral.

Enjoy the equality, reciprocity & due legal process for which you wished.


David Brin said...

The ent can be so pathetic. "My side committed both utter lies and betrayals of America tantamount to treason while committing war crimes. So, naturally, I do not use this fact to reduce the credibility of my cheating, lying confederacy. No, because the other side accepted GW Bush's word, as president... all those crimes are the democrats' fault and LIBERALS are the ones discredited!

Squirming, writhing illogic, part of the war on all facts.

LarryHart said...


"Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers,...

These people are presenting themselves to proper immigration officers for the purpose of seeking asylum. You sound like those self-righteous pricks who white-splain to black people that they simply need to protest peacefully instead of violently and to do whatever a police officer tells them to, despite the self-evident fact that Colin Kapernick is persecuted for protesting peacefully, and that a policeman orders a black man to produce his driver's license and then shoots him when he follows directions by reaching for it.

But this legalistic debate is beside the point. You, sir, are arguing that you are justified in being an asshole. The point is that you are being an asshole. On purpose, and with malice aforethought. And I'm out of fucks to give as to why you're an asshole.

Enjoy the lack of respect and consideration for which you wished.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Drunk driving is not a small thing. It can easily be seen as manslaughter. Any fool who kills someone that way who winds up with me on their jury is going to get a smack down. Probably. I'll listen carefully, but it's not a small thing.

The rest of your list is distraction bait, so I'll stop with one.

As for nullification, DO remember you are speaking to a Libertarian. I might not mind that as much as you think. There are reasonable procedures for avoiding that particular nuclear option, but they usually require that the majority have their way sometimes and not have their way other times. It can get messy, so I'll reserve judgement for each individual situation.

Respect for 'The Rule of Law' is not the same as respect 'for laws and rules.'
Quite different.

Alfred Differ said...

Do 'they'…
have exclusive access to truth,
isolate believers from family and friends,
oppose independent thinking… especially criticism,
and instill fear among believers of being ostracized?

If so, 'they' are a Cult.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is terrible to discover that Donald Trump and the extreme right in the United States follow the same agenda as the German NAZI party.
Imagine that everything was the other way around. If the super volcano in Yellowstone Park explodes and the Americans who survived enter massively illegally into Mexican territory. What will locumranch feel, if they deport him and deliver his children to a family of strangers? What thoughts would cross in the mind of locumranch?
Possibly, he would be very worried, because his children were handed over to strangers who simply "were available."
It is well known that many American families who are dysfunctional and therefore bankrupt offer themselves to take care of orphans and enter similar state programs, in order to receive the checks that the government grants them to defray the expenses of the child. (and it is clear that many times, these children will not see a penny of that money and suffer all kinds of abuses, from physical attacks, slavery and rape) Hence, the immigrant of the future, locumranch if you have good reason to worry, because governments never fully investigate families that offer to take care of orphans and children who come from broken families.
Many, many in Mexico are furious at what Donald Trump is doing. But the Americans can be calm. I know the entrepreneurs of Mexico well. They love money more than honor. There will be no reprisals of any kind.
Moving on to another issue.
Donald Trump has just started the arms race in space. Undoubtedly, that was the order he received from the Russians at the meeting in the East. How do the Russians benefit? Well, like this:
If the Americans break the treaties that prohibit militarization in space, the Russians can use that as an excuse to put all kinds of lethal weapons into space. And we must take into account, that certain types of weapons can be as lethal as a tactical nuclear weapon if they are used from space.
Vladimir Putin knows that Americans will not be willing to place even a fifth of the military equipment that the Russians can launch into space.
Putin is still toasting champagne with the KGB officers, because the agenda of Russia in the White House is amazing. (Hooo, how easy it is to deceive millions of innocent citizens)


Acacia H. said...

Yes, and there are LGBT+ families available that would gladly take in foster children - especially LGBT+ foster children - but are refused because? They're LGBT+ and considered predators by far too many people in government. Despite the fact that LGBT+ children are SAFER with others of their own kind (who are not looking to have sex with children), the government would rather force those children to be among people who may very well hate and abuse them for being LGBT+. Absolute brilliance. Oh wait, I mean idiocy.

Rob H.

Twominds said...

"Yes, we do. Talk to Donzelion. We incarcerate people for drink driving, operating a motor vehicle without proper licensure, vagrancy, public indecency, unpaid parking tickets, nuisance communications, contempt of court, tax evasion, lacking the financial wherewithal to pay child support & marijuana possession."

From a Dutch point of view, yes you do. Most of that would be punishable with fines or conditional jail (jail time that will not be served immediately but come on top of the sentence, if the perpetrator makes a next offence, a kind of "last warning", I don't know if your system has that) at least the first time, instead of years behind bars. I consider that an abomination.

So, Locumranch, the thing to do would be reform your justice system, if you're so concerned about the effects on the inmate's children. Not meting it out to yet another group. Maybe it would help you finding focus if you'd imagine your own child(ren) in wire cages?

So, are you going to report here on your efforts and successes in that reform so less children will suffer what you so righteously call out?


Pity, but completely expected.

Jon S. said...

"You, sir, are arguing that you are justified in being an asshole. The point is that you are being an asshole. On purpose, and with malice aforethought. And I'm out of fucks to give as to why you're an asshole."

Would you mind if I steal this phrase? It encapsulates so nicely things I've spent entire paragraphs saying.

LarryHart said...


Search above for the word "Mule". Loc wants everyone to be treated like we treat assholes in the name of equality. He's willingly taken sides in support of enemies of America and of humanity, so what more is there to know?

"I do not hear the words of traitors."

LarryHart said...

@Jon S,

Feel free. :)

locumranch said...

How typical.

I defend my position with undeniable legal statute, only to have reality deniers like Larry_H & Jon_S equate factual accuracy with being an 'asshole'.

I provide additional evidence of man's ongoing inhumanity to man, only to labelled 'inhumane' by those like Alfred & Twominds who deny human nature while condoning hypocrisy.

And, then we have the likes of Robert who claim LGBT equivalency while ignoring the 2 to 3 times higher rates of LGBT intimate partner violence & sexual assault as compared to heterosexual rates:

Where are these 'fact-users' of which David speaks?

What are Alfred's 4 characteristics of the Cult again?

To claim exclusive access to truth;
TO isolate believers from family and friends;
TO oppose independent thinking & reject criticism; and
TO instill fear among believers of being ostracized.

It sounds like he's describing the cults of progress, political correctness & climate change.


Darrell E said...

So. Now that some governors are refusing to send National Guard units to the border and some are recalling units they've previously sent, anyone want to lay odds on if Trump will assert Federal control over the National Guards? Are the wheels about to fly off yet?

LarryHart said...


I do not hear the words of traitors.

LarryHart said...

Darrell E:

Are the wheels about to fly off yet?

I can't take credit for this, as it's a line from Dave Sim:

"Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is the best way to demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off."

LarryHart said...

Wheels falling off...

So far, Donald Trump has survived every (self-inflicted) crisis with flying colors. His approval rating is up and no problem seems to stick to him (and to think they called John Gotti "Teflon Don"). But it is just possible that ripping children from their parents could be Trump's "Katrina moment," that is, the tipping point when everything starts to go downhill. When supporters as staunch as Franklin Graham and Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci start leveling criticism at the President, it is beginning to get serious. The Mooch said you can't simultaneously maintain that:

+ Family separation isn't happening
+ It is intentional and being used as a deterrent
+ The Bible says it is OK
+ It is the Democrats' fault

The Koch network also opposes Trump on this one, and has made clear that anti-immigrant candidates won't get their support in the midterms. The Wall Street Journal, which has been pretty reliably pro-Trump, is warning that if the GOP doesn't get this straightened out promptly, it could cost them both the House and the Senate. Fox News hasn't really flipped yet, but they are barely covering this story, as if it might just go away if they ignore it long enough.

The problem for Fox, Trump, and the GOP is that it's not going away. The thing that sunk George W. Bush (other than his not bothering to visit the site of the hurricane so that he could attend John McCain's birthday party in sunny Arizona) was the set of photos from the flooded areas. Photos (and videos) make a bigger impression than words, and images of terrified toddlers being ripped from their mothers are powerful. Even more so in campaign ads with the caption "Your congressman refused to vote to stop this."

The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. CNN has a story from an Arizona shelter worker who quit his job after being instructed to separate petrified siblings who were hugging each other in a shelter, crying for their mother. Do Republicans really want him to be making ads for the Democrats in the fall?

Michael Avenatti, not one to hide from the media, also got into the act. He has taken on clients who have been separated from their children at the border. Yesterday, he shared a letter from a mother whose six-year-old son was taken from her 2 weeks ago. She is terrified. Avenatti is a smart cookie. Many people don't like porn stars (like his other client, Stormy Daniels, nee Stephanie Clifford) or their lawyers, but doing work (presumably pro bono) for frightened mothers whose children have been taken from them could change some people's minds about him and his motives.

Lloyd Flack said...

Tell me Locum, who can tell you that you are wrong on matters of fact and have you change your mind? Why do you give greater credence to those who support your politics but lack relevant expertise than to those with the relevant expertise who bring you politically unwelcome news. Why do you assume that the facts of nature will be the ones convenient for your ideology?
Where is your error correction mechanism?

Darrell E said...

Damn if we aren't living in interesting times. You know, as in the alleged old Chinese proverb sense.

LarryHart said...

Republican cheating as a winning strategy...


But like creationism, the myth of noncitizen voting won’t die. The Republican Party has decided it is better off restricting access to the ballot than working to broaden its support among minority and young voters — the very people that laws like the one in Kansas tend to shut out.

A few days after the trial, Mr. Kobach said that he had encouraged President Trump to add a question about citizenship to the United States census.

Meddling with the census in this way will lead to the undercounting of Latinos and Asian-Americans, according to census officials and lawsuits challenging the citizenship question. That, in turn, will reduce the representation of minorities in Congress, which will mean that fewer Democrats will be elected. When one door closes to Republican efforts to retain political control, another one opens.

JPinOR said...

Speaking of interesting times..
Locumranch mentioned this, as if it were true: "the West's ongoing cultural collapse"

Locumranch, I wonder if you can pick a date where "the West's" culture reached a peak, and then after that date began a "collapse". Does a collapse have specific, identifiable traits? Please share your view of why our culture is collapsing; I need to know what else I should be worrying about.

Anonymous said...

I think we should listen to the wisdom of the elders who in the past witnessed how the horror began:


donzelion said...

Alfred: "Don’t let us distract you from your work."
You're not. I come here for a few reasons, one of which includes honoring our host's routine call to 'look up and gaze with wonder.' I may come across as critical, but on the whole, that love for something bigger than us keeps bringing me back, and usually, driving me on.

For immigration matters, my friends put out a call for troops, I've answered, and for the moment, await my marching orders and cases.

One group I know well in SoCal is Public Counsel; they've been at this and many other parts of the good fight for years, and have excellent but utterly overwhelmed staff. They specialize in equipping corporate/commercial attorneys like me to dabble in occasional cases in other fields like this. Whatever counsel your company uses, you might ask if they've heard of Public Counsel (you might look into them yourself first)...a simple question, with no promise or commitment, could lead them to find out more (if they do not know about them), to tout their preexisting preferred orgs they work with (if they have any), or to increase contributions. Law firms tend to be exceptionally responsive to subtle hints and suggestions like this when dropped by clients, even if when initially asked, they feign ignorance or lack of time.

donzelion said...

Locum & Alfred: "We usually don't incarcerate people for small shit".

Gentlemen: you are both right, but in different ways. In America, we usually do NOT incarcerate people for 'small shit' - most people charged with a first offense DUI will not serve jail time - but it's almost always a possibility. The problem is most acute in districts with elected judges where imposing fines and penalties on unpaid tickets converts a $300 fine into a $6000 penalty...and that's not uncommon anywhere.

But the reason it doesn't happen often has more to do with prosecutorial discretion. For example, in many states, speeding can be charged with a fine and/or a jail term, yet very few people ever get sent to jail for speeding tickets (though it happens...). This isn't because prosecutors fail to follow the law, but because they have discretion about what law to charge a person with violating - they could bring a criminal charge, but instead bring a civil infraction and reserve criminal charges only for cases where a 'more serious' underlying offense is suspected.

BTW, this exact issue arose in the oral proceedings for Maslenjak v. United States (2017) - Trump's lawyers asserted that since it's a crime to lie on the forms one submits during naturalization proceedings, and since the forms require disclosing EVERY legal violation a person has committed or might have committed, the Justice Department could revoke citizenship for anyone who failed to list even minor infractions - including failure to disclose a speeding ticket! The judges found this ridiculous. Trump/Sessions followed up with the present crisis...

LarryHart said...

I'm not a Christian, but I thought Jesus said something about removing the Constitutional violations from your own eye before worrying about the traffic tickets of your neighbor.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "The problem for Fox, Trump, and the GOP is that it's not going away."

Oh, they have ways to make this 'go away' - it's not hard to ban photos and videos of children being ripped from parents, and ensure that there are no cameras that they don't control recording anything, and then saturate the public mindspace with images of 'happy children' playing video games in detention facilities.

To the extent Nielsen deserves any credit whatsoever, it's for refusing to produce such false and misleading far. I expect that to start popping up quite soon though.

The other way to stop it is to simply detain family units together, process asylum claims in 10 days (these claims normally take months/years to complete the process - but there are ways to hide the 'shortcuts')...then deport immediately through hidden planes, buses, etc.
There's ample history of that happening, and to the extent Bush Jr. was deemed 'effective,' it's because he could show the bus loads dumping folks back over the border (even if the people who got deported just came back once more).

"Photos (and videos) make a bigger impression than words, and images of terrified toddlers being ripped from their mothers are powerful."
Two can play at this game, and bear in mind, they own the media (all of it, even NPR). The only power in the photos, videos, and audio recordings is what we give them.

"Even more so in campaign ads with the caption "Your congressman refused to vote to stop this."
And now you know why so many of their congressmen are retiring this year...esp. in 'swing' districts facing hard fights. These images don't actually hurt the Republicans among their base - many are calling for this sort of treatment or worse. Katrina hurt Bush, and hurt Republicans, because Dems organized around it in fury - but that fury broke quickly - it's a storm they expect to ride out, and probably can ride out after a setback or two - unless we actually unite and build something able to endure.

donzelion said...

Twominds: "the thing to do would be reform your justice system"

LOL, trying! It's harder than you'd think, though the issues aren't uniquely American - in many countries, there's a fight to change justice from 'simple legal rules binding everyone' to an 'us/them' structure that hurts certain people (who look different, pray different, etc.) but not others.

Locum has been misled into believing that minorities get BETTER treatment in the justice system here when they invoke their status as minorities - the facts say exactly the opposite, yet simply collecting these facts makes him believe they're getting special protection, creating new grounds for disregarding the facts (and disdain those who bring them as whiny, feelzy types who don't understand the law). It's a persistent problem that blocks reform where it is most needed.

"Maybe it would help you finding focus if you'd imagine your own child(ren) in wire cages?"
Simply raising that possibility horrifies all good people (and most Americans are still very good people) - but there's a variety of responses available to horror: some will act to change what they see - others will push away whatever is horrifying and deny it. We are no better or worse at this than anybody else in the world, but we do have powerful means of hiding our own failures from ourselves.

Again, it comes down to the balance of the cameras: for every NGO, activist, and reporter who snaps a photo of kids in cages, they can produce a thousand that show them 'happy' and 'safe' - all paid for and promoted through their own networks. There is a choice to be made even as to what one wishes to see.

Berial said...

I've not been to Balloon Juice in quite some time, but this seems to be a pretty good idea.

Ignore the Sideshow, Focus on the Main Event: Where are the Toddlers? Where are the Girls?

The poster notes that agencies are typically underfunded intentionally so that they will fail at their jobs are especially hit hard when floods like this happen to them. How are these agencies keeping up with children that may not know how to spell their names? With kids that aren't even speaking yet? And when you want to get sinister 'the girls'.

This is a mess of the President's own making and I don't think that he or his team are capable of 'fixing' this.

Twominds said...

I was specifically addressing Locumranch spurious anxiousness about the children of inmates, wanting to see what he'd done to better that situation.

I have no illusion that this is a quick or easy thing at all, and I didn't want to imply that.

About photos of 'happy and safe' children in those centers, if what Slate writes about Fox News silence on the topic, there aren't many pictures yet, or they'd use it.
I expect pictures of children in other situations that match the needed visuals to be used soon.

LarryHart said...


Locum has been misled into believing that minorities get BETTER treatment in the justice system here when they invoke their status as minorities - the facts say exactly the opposite

Locum thinks that white Christianists losing special status and being treated the same as anyone else counts as discrimination against that identity group.

bear in mind, they own the media (all of it, even NPR). The only power in the photos, videos, and audio recordings is what we give them.

While I agree with most of the pessimism you expressed in that posting, on this one I'm not sure you're right. Trump got where he is in part by bypassing traditional media and using internet-based social media and communication tools. And as you say, two can play at that game. And the younger citizens are better at it.

Treebeard said...

matthew, did you ever step back and think how funny it is that someone can use thoughts to peck symbols at a keyboard that trigger emotional responses in the brains of other people far away that they've never met--to the point that they challenge you to battle? I do enjoy this telepathy; it's the closest thing I have to psionic powers and I'm not going to let them go to waste. See, it doesn't matter if you're in the stone age or the information age, or how elaborate your rationalist and legalist constructs are: the mind-fucking sorcerers will always find a way to get in people's heads. And now our wonderful technologies have enabled mind-fucking on a never before seen scale, to the point that we now have a troll for a president. But no worries, it's all part of the great upward surge of civilization, science and progress.

BTW, where is this battlefield you speak of?

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "bear in mind, they own the media (all of it, even NPR). The only power in the photos, videos, and audio recordings is what we give them."

I hadn't meant that as a pessimistic statement, so much as a brutal, factual observation...we confer meaning upon what we see. The images have no greater or lesser power than what we deem appropriate. And even choosing to see at all is a choice too difficult for many to make...

"And as you say, two can play at that game. And the younger citizens are better at it."
We'll have to see. So far, younger citizens are having enough trouble figuring out how to vote. Until they do, they're still losing the game. We really need them to step in and step up.

locumranch said...

I appreciate that Donzelion, our now militant legal expert, confirms the legality (if not the morality) of separating incarcerated adults from their children, but I'd prefer if he did not put words into my mouth.

I have never said, nor will I ever say, "that minorities get BETTER treatment in the justice system here when they invoke their status as minorities", although I have frequently expressed the sentiment that progressives appear unduly invested in 'The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed' fallacy.

Most conservatives usually argue the opposite:

That the civil rights movement, along with various state & federal subsidies designed to create a fair-level-open-equal post-racial utopia, actually brought about a virtual holocaust of minority fatherlessness, single motherhood, dependency, poverty, criminality & social corruption that worsens with every passing day.

And then there's the calculated racism of Lyndon Johnson & his 'Great Society', now on display for all to see, at least according to this article by MSNBC:

But that's okay, says MSNBC, because we all know that hardcore racial purists like LBJ & Margaret Sanger 'meant well', much in the same way that the DNC 'meant well' by conspiring against Bernie Sanders in the last US Presidential Primary Election.

Finally, JPinOR asks about the identifying characteristics of the West's ongoing collapse, the pertinent factors (according to Edward Gibbon) being (1) the marginalisation of the citizen resulting in their apathy & disinvestment, (2) a corrupt leadership that uses 'bread & circuses' to purchase temporary political support, (3) deficit spending, financial inflation & currency debasement, (4) unrestricted migration & barbarian invasions, (5) a reliance on a disinterested mercenary military, and (6) the loss of religious & racial commonality.

Even while ongoing, a cultural collapse (as mentioned in Asimov's 'Foundation') is a slow-motion catastrophe, taking up to hundreds of years as in the case of Ancient Rome, rotting a culture from the inside to the outside, allowing the population to adjust to this perverse new normal ever so gradually, in the manner that one can boil a lively but clueless frog in a shallow open pot.


rewinn said...

"Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?" -- Hamlet

I venture to assert without fear of plausible contradiction that we have all committed misdemeanours. Yes, even you. Yet we do not expect our children to be abused for this.

The argument that we should abuse children because their parents are accused of misdemeanour border crossing (not proven in trial, merely accused) is plain and simply an argument in favor of child abuse. Not all who make it are child abusers, but all are in favor of child abuse.

I feel we can and should do better than that. As The Bard recommends:

"Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty"

donzelion said...

Twominds: "About photos of 'happy and safe' children in those centers, if what Slate writes about Fox News silence on the topic, there aren't many pictures yet, or they'd use it."

Trump doesn't NEED any photos of smiling immigrant children today. He will in September/October. For Trump, it's a simple matter of letting folks march, laugh at them, then simply refrain from actively and wickedly creating a problem for a few weeks while manufacturing the appearance of a solution to the very problem he created - just in time for the election.

The game plan is transparently simple:

(1) Trump's team creates a problem (imminent war with NK, child separation, etc.). This gets a huge outcry of opposition from all the usual suspects...
(2) Trump's team 'fixes' the problem they created (a 'summit with NK,' a photo of a child being reunited with parents...)
(3) Media magnifies that, and a few detractors/critics get lost in the noise

The truth is that family detention has long been a problem, but one that was generally mitigated by letting immigrants take out bonds so that they could place their children with family members while they fought the charges in court. Since Jennings v. Rodriguez (Feb 2018) however, Trump's team gets to decide whether to permit any bond hearing to happen or not. They can manufacture and then mitigate problems to their heart's content.

Twominds said...

You may be right donzelion. It's still hard for me to think cynically/strategically like that.

donzelion said...

Locum: "I have never said, nor will I ever say, "that minorities get BETTER treatment in the justice system"

You did say:

"...I plan to invoke the progressive dictum that holds minorities as blameless, powerless & lacking in privilege, so we may receive the special protections & reparations necessary to guarantee competition on a fair-open-equal-level political playing field instead of on one unfairly dominated by a progressive majority."

Either such 'special protections & reparations' exist, or they do not. If they do exist, they will exist within the justice system: in America, it is simply impossible for them to actually manifest in the real world without being tested in the legal one. So, either you don't believe that they exist at all (in which case, why did you even bother discussing them? we might as well fight over how long fairy wings need to be for them to fly) - or you do believe they exist - within the justice system - even if that's not the precise wording you used.

Be that as it may: the fact is, immigrant groups are getting abused at our borders, and dickering over these logical necessities is not fixing the problem. So, back to work for me.

A.F. Rey said...

The game plan is transparently simple:

(1) Trump's team creates a problem (imminent war with NK, child separation, etc.). This gets a huge outcry of opposition from all the usual suspects...
(2) Trump's team 'fixes' the problem they created (a 'summit with NK,' a photo of a child being reunited with parents...)
(3) Media magnifies that, and a few detractors/critics get lost in the noise.

If that were so, donzelion, then you'd expect Trump just to write out an order that ends the separations, just like that, and we know he'd never do--

Oh, nevermind. :)

Larry Hart said...


but I'd prefer if he did not put words into my mouth.

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!

Hey, dude. Enjoy the equality & reciprocity for which you wished.

Ok, I do not hear the words of traitors unless they're funny.

donzelion said...

TwoMinds: "About photos of 'happy and safe' children in those centers, if what Slate writes about Fox News silence on the topic, there aren't many pictures yet, or they'd use it."

Forgot to mention that they already are. Fox has NOT exactly been silent.

Laura Ingraham's 'summer camp or boarding school' statement is a few weeks/months ahead of where they prefer to take this early trial balloon, so that when she speaks about this again in late summer, she can refer to "as I've said repeatedly about this..." (The other flip effort will be pointing at immigrant kids with parents engaged in sex trafficking, and claim that Dems want to reunite those kids with those parents...that takes advance prep to set the foundation though...).

David Brin said...



donzelion said...

AF Rey: "If that were so, donzelion, then you'd expect Trump just to write out an order that ends the separations, just like that, and we know he'd never do--Oh, nevermind. :)"

LOL, re-read the order. If you are predisposed to believe Trump, then it 'proves' everything he wants to claim. If you are not, then it proves nothing. But the wording doesn't end the separations "except where available resources and law" permit: meaning, this is an 'order' to 'do what you please but try not to make me look bad.' And nothing more.

LarryHart said...

Randall Winn:

The argument that we should abuse children because their parents are accused of misdemeanour border crossing (not proven in trial, merely accused) is plain and simply an argument in favor of child abuse. Not all who make it are child abusers, but all are in favor of child abuse.

I'd say all are aiding and abetting child abuse.

LarryHart said...

sorry, I missed an...onward!