What can our workforce do

Somewhere today I read that America has a very fine workforce. So why the hassle about raising the debt ceiling, like the Republicans have done so often in the past, so that that workforce can do their thing so as to contribute to paying off the debt, along with other things, of course, like paying their own bills.

Is it that the phalanx of tea-party Republicans are just a pack of lock-step bullies, mean critters determined to show that they are boss? Determined to wreck America in their irrational greed for power? So brainwashed in their own gutter-level propaganda machine that independent evaluation based on best facts, is not even considered? (I have some obsessive-compulsive tendencies myself, so I can resonate with that. Fortunately at the moment I can keep it at arm's length.)

It seems that way at first. Fanaticism freaking out. Yet ... I wonder. It could be that they and their ultra-wealthy sponsors - and job providers for the loyal voters - believe that even given more time and money, America's workforce is not going to be able to revive the economy, as guided by the Democrats. And thus, raising the debt ceiling again, is a poor investment for the ultra-wealthy, in such eyes.

I, too, wonder about the ability of America's workforce coming to the rescue. For one thing, "workforce" implies another bunch to give them jobs to do. Ignoring for the moment, the hypothesis that this is all part of some long term plan to divvy America up into a few big corporate fifedoms - back to the Middle Ages - this still requires products and services that can be done that are worthwhile and hopefully profitable too, that supply needs of other Americans and also are good for trade to other countries.

What can our workforce do? We have lots of people with degrees in various things - but don't ask them to do something that they crammed to learn just long enough to pass a test in college. Sure, their degree shows they have a bit extra spunk to see the schooling through, and will remember some of what they had been taught, better off than those without a degree. But can an employer count on them to be top-notch workers, dealing with full competency to get the job done, that a company may prosper?

A continuing education system as part of endless on-the-job training could bring those college grads back up to snuff and keep them there, even increasing their useful skills and abilities. And the non-degreed folks, can also have their skill levels similarly increased as time goes on.

This still has a big piece missing in the picture: who is going to create the jobs for the workforce to do? Who is going to figure out what goods and services are needed, both at home and abroad, to put America's workforce into action?

America's human resources, at all levels, is one of its greatest potential resources.

That resource is not stored like money in a bank; its clock is running, used or not. Like a car with its engine running but not in gear, it is still using up its supply of fuel and putting wear on its parts; but not getting anywhere as a result.

Few corporations have the country's wellbeing as part of their bottom line.

So there has to be a greater entity to get all the pieces to work to do the whole national job. People are taught to be competitive, so how can we expect them to suddenly know how to work harmoniously as a whole nation? Or even think of doing it? It sure is not happening now.

Government seems like the ones to be looking out for the whole of the nation's productivity. Maybe a super-corporation with all other business under their command, could look at the state of the nation and direct what needs to be done re goods and services to fill all the cracks; a mega-corporation whose bottom-line is the wellbeing of all American people and the wealth of the nation as a whole.

But I have seen no indication that the privateers have that vision in mind. Not at all; quite the contrary, it has been more like a sports game against rival teams; instead of being one America; winner grabs all, and losers go begging.

Well, I have painted myself into a corner here; a "you can't get there from here" seeming situation.

If Obama and the Democrats got the debt ceiling raised, like their Republican predecessors did so often, will they be able to get American's workforce up and running again and better than before, producing needed goods and services for home and abroad? Will it turn the tide, able to make business loans to get businesses going to hire people, get it all running again?

It ought to be able to do that.

Unless there is a powerful bunch that wants to control all business opportunities, based on some selfish motives; and they sabotage it all, until collapse happens and they are ready to grab the pieces.

Well, time will tell.



It is not jobs we need but instead we need productivity as a nation

I think I see an incorrect piece in the currently ongoing political game going on in DC.

Actually, I have mentioned it before. But I think one side (Obama) does not have the background to comprehend, and the other side (GOP) does not want people to understand the ramifications.

The incorrect piece is "jobs."

The correct piece is "productivity."

"Jobs" is like a horse-drawn cart without the cart. It implies an un-mentioned factor, the ones who control the jobs. And it seems likely that the GOP is financed by those who want to control the jobs and who gets them and doing what as their job; a very influential place to be on into the future.

"Productivity" on the other hand, goes straight to what is needed by the country, instead of what is needed by those who like to push people around.

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Parasites and behavior

OK, one more post for today. Actually one I have thought about off and on, for some time. I see no way of how to make it sound acceptable to others.

But now it fits in with the subject of what people do do.

How to say this is not clear to me. So I will start with some known examples, and extrapolate a little bit.

Research has shown that some parasites cause behavior changes in their invaded hosts.

Such as the fungus that causes an infected ant to climb a tree and bite into a leaf, to die thus clinging there while the fungus multiplies in its body and disperses its spores from up there.

Such as the parasite Toxoplasma gondii that is carried in the cat gut, to be deposited in the ground, where mice encounter it and get the toxoplasma parasite spread into the mouse body and brain, and specifically changes the mouse to change from being afraid upon encountering cat urine smell, to now liking the smell of cat urine, which is used to mark cat territory. No longer being afraid of cats, and enjoying the odor of cat, it soon becomes cat food, and the parasite replenishes itself in the cat gut, repeating the cycle.

Humans handling cat litter often become infected with the Toxoplasma parasite. A large part of humanity is said to carry it. So does it also sometimes alter human thinking too? Recent research has even linked it with serious changes in thinking like schizophrenia, too.

How much of our thinking is influenced by parasites? We think we are so rational, not affected by such tiny things. But, I wonder about that.

Does Candida Albicons contribute to craving for sugar, which the parasite needs for food? Candida is well known for its other debilitating effects; is this part of the mechanism for part of them?

How about Ascaris, from our beloved pet dogs and cats. The flatworm parasite Ascaris infects pigs and people, other mammals. When it finds a path to the brain, such as via damage to the blood-brain barrier, depending on what part of the brain it sets up housekeeping in, does it affect our behavior in specific ways?

And the tobacco mosaic virus, does it play a part in sustaining our addiction to tobacco?

I think that some very interesting findings could come out of quality open-minded research on this subject.

And that might also shed new light on what people do do.

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And more again on what people do do

Puzzling over the current problem of the newly elected congress people acting together to block Obama's efforts to help America recover and prosper again, I just now remembered what is going on there. There is a method to their madness.

The very few ultra-wealthy entities of America got them elected. In a popular vote system, so few people could have little influence, being such a miniscule fraction of the voters. The new GOP congress people that are now deliberately being a stumbling block, sometimes refer to their wealthy sponsors as "job creators." Now, past experience seems to indicate they are not much at job creating, being mostly motivated by chasing whatever makes the most money for the least effort; and all else falls by the wayside, since the wealthy are not responsible - in their minds - for the wellbeing of the whole - being only responsible for their own petty bottom lines.

But now I remember an earlier fracas time, when Obama pointed out that taxing the ultra-wealthy would provide ten times as many new jobs as would the wealthy create by themselves.

Thus the powerful motivation for the voters who put them into congress: by being part of the loyal grassroots of the GOP, they will get preferential acceptance into those 10% new jobs, that are doled out by the ultra-wealthy. Simple as that. Lots easier getting on that bandwagon, than working hard to increase one's competency on jobs.

And in an increasingly scarce job market, the more powerful leverage this is. All the new congress people have to do is hold out, causing America to default and bring chaos, so their ultra-wealthy sponsors can take over America like winnings at the crap table. And divvy it up to the loyal GOPers, leaving out the other 90% of American job seekers. Simple as that.

World, look out, if that happens. There is a huge pile of nukes that come with those winnings of the game players. The craving for "power" historically runs amok, especially when gained unjustly.

Among the forces in this scenario, however, is the strong force of "business as usual" among the big players. For example, like the oil producers: again start making vehicles that consume more gas to make more oil sales and more profit ... not seeing further than that.

And more fundamentally, because, the women will flock to the powerful wealthy, to gain favor for themselves, in the reproduction that provides the next generation.

(And see the scenario happening between the teams of men who are united through a common "religion" to see what happens when they bump into each others' territory.)

--- I'm not so sure I like so much, what people do do.

As I see it at present, the focus on America's goals needs to be on rapidly finding ways to fully utilize the Human Resources potential in America. As I have mentioned in a variety of earlier posts here and my other writings, this needs to be done in a conscious manner, instead of the haphazard one of the above-mentioned scenario. This means including getting me, a retiree, back into the GDP of the nation, even if only in small ways. There is a huge potential for how this can be done. I have frequently proposed the "internet-linked home-sited distributed manufacturing system" as one means for intelligently providing minimum-resource-cost skill expansion, work-related education expansion, and some productivity along with it, that would not have happened otherwise. Establishing the mindset in Americans that their productivity, big and small and diversified, is very important, possibly can be a strong factor in America's recovery.

But so far, this kind of concept is being hidden by the monkeybusiness going on: people trying to be "winners" instead of better producers.

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More on what people DO do

Even as a youth, I sometimes wondered about the thing called "the economy." How did it work. Seemed that the farmer grew corn to feed himself, his livestock, and to feed other folks. The cobbler made shoes not only for himself but for the rest of the townfolks. The baker made bread for himself and other townfolks too. And so forth. Somehow it all went round and round, and worked. Since a cow in the market was not easily immediately divided up into bread and shoes, each thing was first converted to a proportional equivalent, an abstract thing, called "money." Money from a big sale like a cow, could be saved in part and spent in part in other times, too.

Yet also I had learned that there was a bigger cycle involved, of inputs and outputs too, that was actually predecessor to that consumer producer market carousel. It was that solar energy came in, heat energy radiated out, and the whole of earth's living system got powered by what happened in between, to that energy. Solar energy evaporated water from lakes and ocean, to convectively rise up and heated air rose carrying the water, to be blown all over by unequal heating of the air, and deposited up higher, to flow down lower again, stirring things up along the way. Solar energy powered the plants that grew the farmer's corn and other crops. The land supplied essential nutrients to the crops, and the air supplied carbon dioxide from which the plants built themselves, expelling oxygen in the process that we animal life can live. All solar powered.

But people tended to see only the part of it all that was up close: the cobbler only seeing animal hide leather coming in, and hemp for sewing shoes strongly, his skill in making shoes; those resources seemed to appear out of thin air as handed over by trading for money that he got for making shoes.

The part that Mother Nature provided, was only seen as part of dividing up resources by men; the more natural resources one "owned" the more available for processing into money. A big frontier was expanded into, as claims on the local resources grabbed all that was nearby, so one moved out to where Nature was still abundant and free. Eventually nearly all the easily useful natural resources of land and water got claimed; after that it became a trading game of scarcity and hoarding, converting to easy money by those who had taken to that lifestyle, instead of making shoes or growing corn.

And there was another major sub-cycle of all this economy mechanism, and that was human motivation. Life has to reproduce or it vanishes. Women do the major part of this reproduction, gestating and raising family; she seeks to provide for her children, and having a dedicated man to help with that task, or getting included into a harem of a wealthy man, were the options over the millennia. The men, however, took on a different lifestyle, largely oriented to attracting a women or women to him for support, submitting to his reproduction in exchange. The male efforts involved both gaining skills and money and material resources to attract a woman to mate with him; but also the males sometimes squabbled with each other for opportunity to get women, which for some men was easier than gaining skills or resources: disable the other males and the woman have to accept the winner as mate. Groups of males would team up to wipe out individual males by overpowering and disabling them, thus the team of men gained more women and thus reproduced more that way.

And there was yet another major factor in this busy scene, and that was not so visible; but properly understood, could get events to be favorable for those knowledgeable about this factor. Religion would become a means for a team of men - often composed of sons of one dominant savvy man at the start - to have greater effect in their efforts to overwhelm individuals, but eventually teams would expand to border on each other, not so easy to wipe them out and take their women. Religion was a very real part of this busyness, and the mostly invisible mechanisms involving gaining special help from God were an easily kept secret, gaining reproductive advantage for those men. Thus religions became rallying flags for conflicts among the teams of men. The women did not much care which team won them; all they wanted was support in performing their responsibility of bringing forth the next generation, lest the candle of life snuff out - thus they competed amongst themselves to gain the special favor of males who appeared to be in control of resources, and that usually meant control of other men of their team.

[OK enough for now. Maybe more later on the DO do subject.]

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Why are Republicans so against Social Security retirement

Why are Republicans so against Social Security retirement, I have wondered at times. Including at present. Although I have heard intent to dispose of the Social Security retirement system, the "safety net" for so many workers, seems like for many decades, from the Republicans. A consistent pattern.

So, why?

I have not heard any rationale on the subject. Occasional emotionally-laden reasons that do not stand up to scrutiny, but most people only hear the claim if powerful enough, and don't follow up to see if it is credible. It is like, doing one's own evaluation is like disloyalty to the leadership, so don't dare do it, or you may get kicked off the bandwagon.

It is said that the trillion-plus dollars in the Social Security retirement account, is mysteriously wiped out. Like so many corporate retirees retirements vanished some years back, at the start of the crisis. Where did a trillion dollars go? It went to pay for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. How could that be? The money was not there available to pay for being "thrown down ratholes" like that. Seems somebody did not want the money around.

And before the wars, the Republicans were trying to give the trillion dollars to faceless big investors to gamble with. Maybe it is just that a big pile of money is too tempting to leave alone?

Much pondering over this kind of stuff has shifted a bit away from that. I have to gingerly wear my paranoid-cap for awhile, to explore this path, which seems to lead to ... the big game players ... who see a two class system, the owner-managers vs the sheeple ... I mean the workers, the employees. Managers need leverage to force workers to do the dirty work, in this mindset. And retirement preparation funds is a powerful way to coerce a worker to keep on slaving away at a rotten job. If the Social Security safety net is removed from the scene, the workers can easily be terrorized into doing almost anything. Especially at low pay where one cannot save for retirement; or if some money is attempted to be saved up, one's wife may spend every dime one makes, in some cases... and a man desperately needs a wife and she needs to be a happy mate.

I recall several companies I worked for, which had a "retirement" incentive. The total was nowhere enough to be useful to retire with, but it was some hundreds of dollars, enough to attract the worker. And the incentive was that each worker got a hundred dollars a year, say, but was not vested in it immediately. In some cases one needed to work for a couple of years to get 30% vested in that money. If people left before, say, five or ten years full vesting in the retirement money, they forfeited the money that they were not vested in, and the money went to pad the remaining employee's "retirement" accounts. Thus, a significant leverage to keep employees there and working at whatever they were told to do.

If such a system were the only means of retirement savings for a person, it could become a tyrannical means of coercing employees to work ever harder at dirty jobs, effectively no option to go look for a better job. Thus the owner-management could get more work out of the "lazy" workers at low pay, thus reap even more plush lifestyle for themselves; a sweet setup. Worthy of lots of conniving to make happen, by those who are of bully nature and consider themselves superior smart, clever, winners.

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What people do do

In my endless Asperger's effort to understand what people are doing, and why and how, so as to better interact with them, occasionally I get a brief insight of how maybe to approach the task.

But this time it is with a bit of more exasperation than my usual, focusing mostly on the antics and mischief going on over government financing (and thus limiting their ability to do their job well,) monetary hoarding of the nation's wealth by a few expert game players, job enabling efforts, and Norway's version of the mischief drama.

So the thought I had was merely to give the task a title: "What people do do," to illustrate the focus on what they actually do, as contrasted to what they only say they do.

And the double meaning of the title is only partially deliberate. But it illustrates my opinion, at the moment, of much of what has been going on lately.

Yet people also do quite honorable things too, at times. And that title might obscure that civilization-enhancing component field a bit. Thus, just this post. At least for now.




And was earlier recalling, when first getting started this morning and opening bird cage up and starting the computer, that some of the comics I liked especially back when a small child - I learned to read language from comics even before starting kindergarden school, remember - was a comic strip that often had a little drawing of a bird sitting somewhere, and the phrase "This is a Watchbird watching you" and seemed to have no other connection to what was going on in the comic strip. Now I have not one but two Watchbirds looking over my shoulder and making comments about what they see and hear on screen.


We are some smart monkeys!

Writing email this morning to a friend, I wrote:

Saw the email headlines that the Space Shuttle landed safely at Kennedy OK.

Pity Challenger and Columbia did not make it too.

But most of them did.

Lots of memories flooding now into my thoughts, too complex a mix to write here.

Glad the ISS is still up there, reminding humanity of a better way to interact internationally and as nations, than is often otherwise done at present time.

We are some smart monkeys!

But still monkeys at heart.

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Space Day 2011 from here in Ephrata

From here in Ephrata, WA, USA, Space Day 2011 did not exist among locals, as far as I can tell, other than in my own peeks at the news online at times. I did see a graphic artist's rendition of a sort-of-winged shuttle replacement vehicle, to launch atop an Atlas, that looked interesting.

I note in the recent few weeks, I had, for an unknown reason, although now thinking it of interest to the LUF futurists group, dredged up a brief idea I had in the early 1980s, to make routine space access more energy efficient. The basic idea was to devise a means to store the momentum energy of incoming falling spacecraft, and then give it to rising spacecraft. That would reduce the energy that had to be safely eliminated by heat in the atmospheric re-entry, as well as enable rising spacecraft to go further up than possible with just its own rocket propelled energy.

In the past month or so, I put the idea out on a futurist-visionary yahoo group text message limited communication, and found two people responded, one ridiculing it and the other pounding away with numbers, more interested in doing delta-v calculations than I am, and his summary comments strived to say it was useless and a waste of time, each post reply, ignoring when I refuted his prior effort. So I had to shift from qualitative analysis into the left-brained quantitative analysis mode, reviving old struggles of a type I had avoided for awhile. And one thing did come up, quite an astonishing result actually.

I have some of those posts I made copied over in recent posts here. But more recent posts have pointed out that if an orbiting spring in the 110 km high circular orbit were to have ten times the mass of the outgoing spacecraft to give it an 180% boost in velocity relative to the velocity of the orbiting spring, the velocity would take the over 7842 m/s spring orbital velocity and boost it to some 14,116 m/s) Now my error was in thinking of just enough energy added to go into maybe a 200 or 400 km high orbit. But 14,116 m/s is lots more than the 11,178 m/s of Earth's escape velocity, and thus the minimally launched spacecraft is instead punted right out of the Earth's gravitational energy well.

Well, that is not looking useful for Virgin Galactic joyride passengers getting to an orbiting hotel in GEO with little added rocket boost, without modifications. But it does suggest something interesting for inanimate high-g tolerant payloads, such as storing the energy from raw materials sent down from Phobos or an asteroid, and using the energy to punt out supplies back up to them with little energy needed (some needed to make up for losses in the spring.)

The g-loads and length of the spring, and resistance to buckling, and tolerance to trajectory errors, are among things needing to be balanced in such a concept.

Meanwhile, it is back to the drawing board for the short boost into orbit version of the concept.

The member of the visionary ("LUF") group who is interacting with me, clearly only is providing the function of "devils advocate" and not providing ideas for solutions, but is skilled at finding possible weaknesses in fledgling concepts. I think he too was surprised at the conclusion that a velocity over escape velocity would be produced by bouncing off the momentum-storing orbiting spring. But he did not follow up with comments pointing out potential usefulness; just dropping it at the "won't work" stage.

Back in the early 1980's I had thought of the idea, but then did not continue on it, life is busy, no one then to tell it to anyway. And it did not get from ground to space, so was incomplete, and thus seemed not useful enough.

But now, exploring the concept shows potential. If it can store enough energy from a canister falling all the way from Mars or asteroid belt orbits, and use it later to hurl another canister back out to them, now that seems potentially useful to me.

So, even though this Space Day 2011 is seeing the last Space Shuttle flight headed home for its final safe landing, the potentials of space continue to be interesting with new potentials. Despite the shunning of my "KESTS to GEO" concepts, as if they did not exist, by the LUF futurists group.

It is a puzzling world to me, the world of people, that is. Probably I need to add "Motivational Analysis" to Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis, to integrate things useful enough for the world of mankind.

Perhaps the best I can do now is to endeavor to keep it interesting.

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More on orbiting momentum transfer concept

Since posting the immediately previous post here on momentum transfer, I have been having a somewhat spicy post chat with folks at the LUF group. To defend my concept I have had to make it more specific. Here is how it stands right now:

Regarding relative masses, a very heavy platform is going to give the spacecraft maximum push.

A platform of equal mass to the spacecraft simply trades states, the spacecraft taking on orbital velocity and the platform drops like a rock toward the planet.

Something in between seems best to me, for practicality. And for safety if and when the platform takes a dive, for disintegration before reaching ground.

A platform of ten times the spacecraft's mass could even be built and launched in the form of a reentry glider configuration, using a heavy lift conventional launch vehicle to put it into orbit, too.

But in the present context, a simple truss or foamed structure containing the hook and track and long compression springs for this thought experiment.

The major part of the overall energy is input each trip, by the ground-to-intercept with the 110 km high orbiting springy platform. The orbital velocity part is what the concept tries to minimize afterwards. Conserving energy overall, while storing and retrieving energy along the way.

The spacecraft will need to carry fuel and thrusters for some orbital corrections, but not nearly as much as if punching all the way through under its own power, and throwing it all away in hot reentry later.

So. The spacecraft coasts up to 110 km and wonderfully is right there to meet the springy platform as it coasts along in orbit.

The mass of the kilometers long springy platform is ten times the mass of the spacecraft with its payload. The two have a springy collision and the spacecraft bounces forward along the flight path of the platform, at 180% of the velocity of the orbiting platform, which is now going at about 90 percent of what it was going. Platform begins to drop to slightly lower orbit.

Spacecraft takes on an elliptical orbit as a result, going up to about 180 km aphelion where it uses its thrusters to enter circular orbit and match velocities and position with its destination site, perhaps an orbiting inflatable hotel at 180 km.

Am using rough numbers here. If necessary I will go dig to see if I can find my old trusty good slide rule in the boxes in my garage. Or figure out how to do it in Mathematica. Ugh.

After the party is over at the orbiting hotel, the spacecraft casts off, and uses its thrusters, not to do a de-orbit burn, but to put it back into an elliptical orbit that grazes the 100 km orbit where the springy platform is now, and has to be precisely timed so that as the ellipse grazes the platform's path at perihelion it comes in behind at 180% of the velocity when at its upper altitude; it rams the platform's spring from behind; and a bit later for an instant, compresses it to the point they are exactly matched in velocity, which now has boosted the platform part way back up towards its original velocity.

(If it misses at perihelion, the spacecraft continues on around in its elliptical orbit and tweeks its path with thrusters to get it right the next time they meet at perihelion. Thrusters also compensating for the small drag at that altitude, too. Orbital time is on the order of about an hour and a half, before making another try at rendezvous.)

Then the spring decompresses and flings the spacecraft out backwards, at about a relative velocity equal to that of the springy orbiting platform but in the opposite direction. Relative to the planet, that means zero orbital velocity, the state where it found the spacecraft at the top of its parabolic reach originally, and the spacecraft resumes its relatively low energy drop back into dense atmosphere and glides home with some help with its thrusters if necessary.

There was no violation of the laws of conservation of energy along the way; energy was just shared for awhile and then given back again. Timing and positioning relative to the New Mexico Spaceport (or wherever) and the orbiting hotel, is a nightmare for me but likely duck soup for computers.

Chemical thrusters are used with onboard fuel to make up for inefficiencies and orbital tweaks along the way.

Well, the puzzle pieces seem to fit together here for me. Doing the numbers will refine the "abouts."

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Momentum transfer system for space access and return to earth

Momentum transfer system for space access and return to earth.

20110714 JEDCline

I thought of this idea back in the early 1980's, and have mentioned it, and others may have though of similar things too. But here is a description of it; I have not heard of it elsewhere, but not looked for it either.

The purpose is to use some of the energy of spacecraft returning from space down to earth, to give energy to spacecraft heading up to space from earth. To make the process significantly more efficient, useful for routine frequent trips, unlike current one-shot trips.

The concept basically would work as follows. (I hope to make graphics for each of these steps, but first I need to learn how to do better graphics on computer. Unless someone else wants to have a go at doing the graphics, that would be fine too, if coordinating with me on the task.)

A platform is built in low earth orbit, perhaps at 100 Km if it is to be used frequently. The platform is kilometers long, length determined by several factors to be described below. It consists of a guidance track and two sets of large compression springs. An electromagnetic storage system was intended in the earlier version of the concept; but now I think of simplicity mindless functionality as increased reliability. Thus, plain ordinary compressions springs.

In operation, a spacecraft incoming at high velocity towards the Earth, guides itself to land on the back end of the platform, much like an aircraft lands on an aircraft carrier at this point. It snags and drops onto a guiding trackway, and starts compressing the forward set of compression springs.

When the spacecraft and platform have matched velocity (transferring momentum to the platform) the spring then starts decompressing shoving the spacecraft backwards and back off the input end of the platform.

The spacecraft ideally has lost most its forward momentum at this point, dropping like a rock starting from the 110 Km altitude, instead of re-entering like a meteor. Spacecraft vehicle then builds up speed in the drop into the atmosphere, much as a simple winged spacecraft would do, much like vehicles already being tested for commercial parabolic rides for brief trips to space.

This would enable such vehicles to reach orbit and beyond.

Continuing, the way this would work in the upward direction is as follows:

The platform is now at its higher altitude, say 110 km, having absorbed much of the previous incoming spacecraft's momentum energy, increasing the platform's velocity and raising it to a higher altitude, say 110 km.

A winged passenger spacecraft is launched from the ground in a parabolic return to earth trajectory, much as is already being planned for brief passenger rides to space. But this time, near the top of its parabolic trajectory, the spacecraft uses positioning thruster engines to align with the orbiting platform, and gets snagged, same as the incoming spacecraft did earlier. Except this time, it is from the leading end of the orbiting platform. And the other set of compression springs gets compressed as the platform's momentum is transferred to the spacecraft until their velocities are matched. Both are in orbit at about 105km at this point.

The springs, being compressed at this point, then shove the spacecraft forward along the platform's track, decompressing the spring, and flinging the spacecraft out faster than the orbiting platform's velocity.

The platform has thus lost velocity and orbiting altitude, back down to, say, 100 km altitude orbit. The spacecraft, however, has been boosted by the decompressing spring (or electromagnetic equivalent) and is headed up to a higher altitude orbit.

When it or one of its siblings returns from higher orbit, the process is resumed as described at the start of this process, inputting momentum back into the orbiting platform.

The overall result is that a spacecraft vehicle, such as is now planned just for simple parabolic brief rides to 110 km and back down again, can be converted to full orbital capability, and even going to much higher orbits, perhaps to rendezvous with the ISS. Such winged spacecraft can then gently return back to earth the same way, giving up its potential energy to the platform, so that it does not need ablation heat shielding like the Space Shuttle did, nor space capsules do.

It is a far more energy efficient system to get to orbit, than using conventional rocket spacecraft systems as presently planned. But it only works in a routine frequent vehicle access to space and return system, of several trips per week or more.

Jim Cline
Ephrata, WA, 98823

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America doing the Dysfunctional Family number

Even the nation itself, at least in the ongoing spats among our nation's directors, seems to me to be doing the Dysfunctional Family number.

Figuring out why that is going on, might well help us in the future.

(You know the old saying about those who don't learn from their mistakes, get to repeat them until they do?)

Figuring out just how to figure that out, seems like a necessary first step, too. It is that difficult.

And that technique needs to be unbiased, accurate, and insightful, to be useful. Perhaps proposed techniques could be evaluated for functionality along each of those three parameters.


In retrospect, that probably sounded like inviting a big finger-pointing contest - fingers pointing away from themselves. "You dunnit!" kind of stuff. Same old Dysfunctional Family kind of stuff. Useless. Purpose is just for those who are meanest and loudest to get bigger pieces of the apple pie. Hopefully we have matured more than that at this time.

Actually, what I was thinking about was more abstract. Some kind of computer program or several of them combined. Input data running through the three filters "unbiased", "accurate" and "insightful" on the way to being integrated into the whole pattern being assembled.

Puzzling more over how this might be done, I have found some of the Mind Mapping software helpful in putting together more things than my mind can handle by itself at any one time. Much like typing in a word processor, thoughts can be initially put down in approximate order, then go back and fix typos and add and subtract and fill in, getting it to look more and more like what the probable overall pattern will be like. (An example can be found on my page about a book I plan to write someday.)

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Metaphors for the present

There was an almost archetypal story I read about, back half a decade or so ago, that repeatedly seems to me to be an analog of certain events in this country in the past dozen years.

The article was brief and evocative, and seems metaphorical. A somewhat wealthy man had married a beautiful woman, who then did not function as his wife, but went her own way as if not really married to him, not his mate. Eventually he became so frustrated that he decided to start to divorce her; but by then she had cleverly totaled out all his credit cards, bought lots of things putting him into great debt, and essentially made him unable to ever be able to afford another wife. So would he have to keep her even though she did not function as his wife, just as she had planned; or become in great debt and unable to seek a real wife after divorcing her. Quite a predicament.

This archetype seemed to fit so well the predicament of America as of 2008. From having been a wealthy country in 2000, even paying off the national debt and abundant money for social security no problem forseeable, in eight short years America had become quite the opposite: in great debt, committed to two simultaneous horrifically expensive wars in far desert regions, and was now in a presidential election time. Would America keep the wife who had racked up such debt, knowing there was little chance to recover with a new real wife? And who would be so daring as to attempt to lead America to rebuild from the ruin that had been made of the nation? An America that had chickened out in 2004?

Amazingly Barack Obama offered to take on the seemingly impossible job; and more amazingly, America chose to give him the chance to do it. And he has done amazingly well, considering the near impossible circumstances.

From what I know, he has an astonishingly difficult job to do, far worse than most Americans realize. The complexities of all the big players, and the multiple ongoing scenarios playing out both internally and externally ... does America have The Right Stuff anymore? I keep watching for it. And the recent launch of the Atlantis Space Shuttle was an example of that Right Stuff highly visible ... that fortunately worked, too. Yet there are folks who declare that the whole space program is just "pork," unnecessary expense... most likely the same folks who, as kids, put enough quarters into arcade machines to have paid for an even bigger space program.

(Hecklers most likely would quickly seize the metaphor "wife to America" re President Barack Obama, eager to twist meaning away from this post. Obama has been quite a man in office and far more intelligent, compassionate for the American middle class, and making rational decisions even where there is little resources he has to work with; and being opposed by a solid group who dare not think for themselves, but can only act in unity to do the ploys of external selfish manipulators. Good job, Mr. President!)

Another metaphor has come to mind, also just too hard to ignore. (Forgiving people has its limits, it seems sometimes; tomorrow I will be over it; fully complacent again.) Early in my teens, my dad had a job in Mexico, helping to assist Mexico in the struggle to rid the country of cattle's hoof and mouth disease, which was spreading northward and surely would eventually infect America's cattle if it reached there. Another factor was that the Communists were spreading propaganda to the Mexican ranchers that the American doctors were there just to kill their cattle, nothing else. So there were violent lethal conflicts as part of it all. Anyway, living in Mexico then, I became aware of quite different ways of life than in America. One of them was "mordita," which was that to get people to do things, it was expected to give them a bribe. The mordita was over and above their salary; and the amount's establishment and protocol was beyond my ability to comprehend social things. The bribery was not illegal, as it was in the United States; and in fact it was expected standard procedure everywhere. It resembled, to me, the haggling that had to be done to buy anything, quibbling over every price.

My father made it very clear to me that the system of "mordita" bribery was necessary for everyday business including purchase of food and clothing in Mexico; but that it was an illegal offense if done in America.

Thus especially "buying" a politician was just not done, in America. Ever.

But nowadays there seems something like that going on here in America. It has been a subtle changeover, too. I get lots of appeals for money to "help finance politician's campaigns". It works out that I pay money to help get a particular person elected.
Supposedly it goes to pay people to advertise the particular candidate, otherwise, people will not know he/she is running for office.

But that looks an awful lot like mordita, in the overall pattern. It is as if the people who get into office to run our lives, get there as a result of who has the most money put in their pile.

Such a situation is ripe for some of the ultra-wealthy, such skilled business people, to use this as a way to not have to pay taxes for the bounty they have reaped off this country. Taxes needed to support the country so it can continue to be bountiful, particularly regarding human resources. So these competent business people play the "buy the politician" card and guess what happens. I read about it in the news today, more strongly than ever. Bought politicians allowing the ultra-wealthy to not pay appropriate taxes commensurate to the bounty they have reaped off the country.

Back in the 1950's, my better days, such a thing would have gotten an uproar "throw the bums out." People understood what taxes were about, payback to the system that enabled one's wellbeing, so as to keep it going. Back then, people would have seen right through the scam of using big money to get politicos elected that would stop the wealthy from being taxed to support the country that provides their overflowing bounty. But nowadays, people don't seem to notice much. What has happened to people's ability to see the big picture and analyze the pertinent details in it?

I could do some hypothesizing about those causes of American inability to comprehend and seek to cope with the situations; and the causes are multiple, and very worrisome, I think. Largely unseen, and some even deliberately hidden, expecting eventual advantages; but mostly a product of the insufficiently compensated changes to our environment we live in. But this post already has too much grumping and too little solutions.

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Little gold and diamond lapel pin from supervisor

Suddenly now recalling at Shugart job, circa 1982, when I was walking down the hallway, my then-supervisor stopped me and said that there had been a big ceremony meeting in appreciation for long time employees, giving out little gold and diamond lapel pins as part of it; and here is yours for five years service, he said as he handed me a lapel pin and then strode on down past me without another word of explanation, leaving me holding the little pin and wondering why I had not been invited to the ceremony.

The little lapel pin was shiny gold, stamped with a "5" on it, and had a tiny diamond as part of it, kind of pretty. I held it a moment longer there in the hallway, still trying to digest the difference in form of ceremony. Aspergers makes it real hard to figure out people's doings in real-time. Finally I pinned in on my shirt and continued on to where I was going down the hallway, and no further mention of it was ever made.

Usually despite Aspergers, eventually people's doings make a kind of sense to me. But in this case, it still doesn't. Thus this post is my way of dealing with it.

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Another grump and proposal of how to fix things

Reading an online news article about subjects lots of us have long pondered, I felt I just had to do a blog post. Probably assisted by the 1-oz ethanol in beverage that I allow myself per 24 hours, this evening. And the odd feeling at the distant gunshot-like "firecrackers" tonight long after 4th July over, giving the feeling like a pile of poop found in the yard.

Afghanistan, Iraq, religious wars, oil wars, baby boomers retiring and entitlements, and joblessness. National debt racking up, something radical happened after the Clinton administration got replaced. Sure, the other team was up to bat, fair play, and they had a new theory of economics to try, with the noble name of "free enterprise." To me what happened was an immense shell game; but, to my Aspergers social dimwit struggles, nothing very new about that. Still, part of me tries to make sense of it all; and even dares to think of ways to deal with the problem, even knowing from past experience that my ideas are as welcome as a mouse squeek in the land of big pompous players.

Today I again ran across a website that invited ideas for solutions. Limited to 400 characters input field. To vanish into a horde of more familiar ads. So once again I input a compressed version of my idea for putting Americans back to work, even part time from their homes, but not waiting for businesses to make the jobs conventionally.

The idea would enable all the unemployed and underemployed, but more importantly, the retired and handicapped to join in the productivity expansion of the American economy, and do it in the near future, with little cost to the nation.

But it is going to get ignored just as all the years I have been shouting it (squeek) since it is not touting the conventional business way of doing things, enabling an elite to get wealthy by doing the business game with people's lives, as usual. But even such modes would benefit eventually as they get their act together, of course.

So here is what I wrote, in my 400 characters allowed to propose a nation-saving concept:

Title: "Distributed manufacturing from homes to increase skills"

"Distribute the manufacturing of components for medium sized products, done using home-sited tooling that is connected by internet among home computers. This would enable engineering to be exercised by designing those plug-in tooling sets, provide home education on the tooling usage, to get people quickly working part time from home making lower cost products to compete in the worldwide market."

To compress it down to such few characters, I had to delete such benefit descriptions such as it would maintain or increase American worker skills, keep the baby boomers somewhat productive and contributing to the GDP fairly easily, and stimulate the package transportation industry. Make major reductions in commuter costs including time wasted and fuel burned.

But it does not fit well into the model that most of the managers and enterprising business people have been taught of how to do things.

And my email is sprinkled with scam artists pretending to do the idea with no comprehension of what it is about, but skilled at making false impressions, manipulating things by giving it all a bad name.

Well, there is the grouch, the proposed solution, and another dismal grump. Time to press the "post' button and walk away from it. Experience shows it will not be seen by others anyway.

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Public Speaking and Laughter's Effects

I just now had an insight, about my own behavior. It is about laughter's effects.

Some background. Am at the moment doing some proofing on a Laughter Yoga site as a volunteer task; and as part of that I needed to evaluate an associated video. Suddenly it triggered a series of insights into my past, which I will attempt to briefly describe here.

I grew up terrified of public speaking. I knew it was probably a result of when in school at an early age, I was instructed to be one of a series of small boys going out onto a stage, having been given a stick pointer, and point at a projected image on the stage's screen, and say a few sentences which I had been instructed to say. It seemed to go well with the other students as they went up and spoke while pointing at the screen. But when I did it, the audience roared with laughter, and I left mortified, humiliated. I was already the smallest boy in the class, meek as could be, and having to reduce physical activity due to severe asthma; Asperger's also made it hard for me to be accepted into school kid's group games; so this seemed even worse. I still don't know why the laughter, maybe I pointed at the wrong thing on screen. But since I was the only small boy of the group that got the laughter ridiculing for my efforts, and it made no sense to me, from then on I was terrified of getting before a group of people and saying anything.

In fact, eventually it was the last straw triggering my dropping out of college; I had to next take a class in public speaking and I bailed out. It was that severe. 1959.

In 1985, I was a freshly unemployed non-degreed Electronics Design Engineer in Sunnyvale, having been RIF'ed along with many others at Shugart Associates, a disk drive manufacturer; and so I did a process called "Energetics" which was quite a holistic and advanced process for high level folks from many fields, who needed to find employment. It put lots of pressure on me, particularly due to the timing I had not done the prerequisite process called "Actualizations" which was another public-character-forming activity.

One of the later activities in the Energetics growth process was to go out on foot in San Francisco, locate several pre-assigned places of employment, submit a resume and do one's self-recommendation process there, all as practice. I lost sense of time and when I got back to Energetics, they were all as an audience and a stage; I sat down in the back trying to figure out what was going on, when the facilitator called on me to go on stage. He told me to describe my experience that I had just had. So I was on the spot and really slow in figuring out exactly what I needed to do. So I began to tell my story of what had transpired, and what I found coming out was a poker-faced stand-up comedy, to which the audience, my fellow students and the facilitators, were repeatedly roaring with laughter, and I was finding it to be what I wanted to do, an achievement to get them to laugh. When I finished describing my somewhat traumatized travels and doings of the past couple of hours in the City, I got a huge applause as I took my seat again.

I still look back on that experience, and wonder what that was all about.

But now I see it was life-changing for me.

A few months later, I had given up finding a job in the Bay area, was just about ready to leave to go to Los Angeles where I had an offer for a free room to live in while looking for work there. But a message on the answering machine said a talk I had written and sent in to the National Commission on Space had been accepted, and I was to testify before the NCS in a couple of days. So I delayed my exit from the Bay area long enough to return to San Francisco's Academy of Science's Auditorium, to testify.

Not knowing when I would be called to go up to the stage, I arrived early in the morning, sat in the far back, constantly facing my deep mindless almost terrified fears about going on stage and talking. Yet the subject was one that I had very strong feelings about, and I had something important to say.

Finally late in the afternoon, I heard my name called. One of the problems of sitting in the far back is that it is a long walk to the stage up front. I got on stage, wearing my expensive pin striped job interview suit and tie, and pulled out my papers on which my talk was written; I had added more to it in the meantime after submission, and I read it, best I could do. I had written in an amusing incident related to a gyroscope and strength of materials, which the audience obligingly produced lots of cheery laughter about, giving me a feeling of satisfaction. And when I was done the audience gave me a very fine applause. And as I was leaving the stage, one of the Commissioners, Dr Paul Coleman of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, suddenly asked if I would give him the papers I had read from; this was something none of the others had been asked; surprised, I did so; and he told me it would be kept as part of the Congressional Records.

As I walked back to my seat in the far back, two people came out and handed me their business cards, asking me to send a copy of my speech to them. And as I sat down in my seat, one of the space enthusiast group (nickname of "Tee" since his name was too long and hard to pronounce) turned to me and said that I was a master of the understatement. All in all, it was another life-changing event for me. Even though the resulting report of the NCS did not include any of my recommendations for the next 50 years of the American space program.

In the early 1990's I learned that some of the formal space conferences were opening up paper presentation abstract submissions to all people, instead of just to their specific membership. So in early 1995 I found myself once again in front of an audience, this time at Princeton, NJ, presenting a technical paper on my Centristation concept, an automated wet-launch sequential launch and teleoperated docking into the classical wheel-type space station in LEO. There I faced my public speaking fears again; learned from my mistakes. And went on in subsequent years to do a similar thing there and at other space technical conferences, writing and presenting eight technical papers involving unusual space transportation and applications concepts, seven of which resulted in published papers in conference proceedings.

I would not have done any of that, if somehow through Energetics and the National Commission on Space speech experiences, my relationship with laughter had not drastically changed.

And now, I ponder thoughtfully musing to myself, I do Laughter Yoga volunteer work via my home computer and the internet, and also have become a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, at least in theory.

Looking back at it all, maybe it also has to do with my great admiration during my younger years, of the great American comedian, Bob Hope.

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