Grump 20070922

I had recently gotten a card from an old friend, who was at one of my favorite places at the time. The card triggered some stuff in me, so I copy part of my reply, to the blog here:

Thank you very much for the cute card from the Museum. I easily recalled the place where one looks down at a nose cone in the Space Museum (unless they have rearranged it again) where you said you were writing. The appropriateness of the dino Corythosaurus on the card also in context with Space Museum recalled my worries that if we (mankind) did not quickly get with the GEO large scale access ASAP we would continue dooming our supportive environment and go the way of the dinos, extinct but by our own lack of group wisdom, not waiting for a big meteor to blast the world to do it.

We are accumulating knowledge rapidly and some see the warning signs of ongoing collapse. I still try to think of some way that a government which is built on the economic theory that profitable business is the only guideline, so as to avoid the tendency of slothful living which "socialized" government supposedly promotes, can do the job. Limited to only that which produces profit quickly cannot go for the whole picture, but only go for the little pieces that can provide them easy money quickly. Thus big holes appear in the overall picture, accumulating such as depletion of fisheries of the world and acceleration of global warming's ecosystem rapid changes, which eventually do affect the business opportunities, of course. Can't do big fishing business when fish are depleted, some species gone extinct already too, for example. Oh well the fishery corporation can just go find some other way to make money. Right, sure it can, on and on, depleting as it goes. As if big Mother Nature was able to continue cleaning up after us, and ever re-stocking provisions abundantly as before; we have grown up, gotten too big for Mother Nature to be able to do that without help, lots of help from us now.

I had always theorized that government is supposed to provide the "big picture" coordination and filling in where quick profitable business agglomeration can't get the larger needs done.

The sufficient access to nearby orbital space had the potential to provide the breakthrough that prevents civilization from continuing to exist in a "closed ecosystem" and if done quickly enough before the biodiversity of species is unable to sustain the recycling that the world of nature is built upon, had a good chance of solving the problem; the tether "space elevator" and the hoop "space escalator" concepts are the only potential ways to have that sufficient access that I know of at this point. A huge fleet of nuclear powered launch vehicle freighters no matter how many using available ores for fuel source, even with breeder reactors, could provide the access in adequate amounts, even if the nuclear contamination risks were somehow solved. In 2002 Edward's tether space elevator was claimed to be do-able using billionaire private investment. Maybe the war profits have made some new billionaires that could do that investment, although I am not sure Edward's concept is anywhere near the optimum one. And for either the linear elevator or the hoop escalator to be built, there needs to be heavy decisions re the existing satellites below GEO, where most of private investment and military satellites are located; a matter of giving up short term profit for huge later profit, something that only governments can provide the padding to pass through.

I did my part, providing integrated concepts for both space tethers and hoop escalator space access do-able with materials and technology near at hand, over the past three decades; but the academic folk and the business folk (and just the ego folk) only played games with me, as if it were rivalry and competition that were what was being done, their big-picture facility seemed to be missing, or something. I even endured playing their conference-paper-presentation sport in effort to get them to pay attention, enduring it five conferences, getting basically only the "how dare you "nobody" come barging in here!" overall reaction, no thanks whatsoever for attempting to save their future; and no offers to discuss the concepts with me.

Well, it is said that "trying" does not count unless it achieves success.

So your dino card written overlooking a nose cone stirred up some frustrations I have, besides the memories of interesting things there at the museum.

The nose cone itself sports the evidence of the problem: the ablation of the heat shield on underside of nose cone, was caused by enormous energies being thrown away as heat during re-entry, huge waste of energy. Energy given back by returning spacecraft needs to be returned to the transportation system; rocketry cannot do that. Some forms of tether elevators and the hoop-shaped space escalators can reclaim much of the energy when supported vehicles are coming back to earth, making the energy system start looking reasonable for long term profitable usage.

In a world where people are barraged constantly by ads, probably they will just think this is just another ad, too. That could explain part of the usual response, the nothingness along with a generous supply of banana peels strewn along my path in front of me.

Jim Cline


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