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SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

Baldrson Fly More Missions and Purchase Launch Services (110 comments)

Necessity and Incentives Opening the Space Frontier
Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Space
by James Bowery, Chairman
Coalition for Science and Commerce
July 31, 1991

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

I am James Bowery, Chairman of the Coalition for Science and Commerce. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to address the subcommittee on the critical and historic topic of commercial incentives to open the space frontier.

The Coalition for Science and Commerce is a grassroots network of citizen activists supporting greater public funding for diversified scientific research and greater private funding for proprietary technology and services. We believe these are mutually reinforcing policies which have been violated to the detriment of civilization. We believe in the constitutional provision of patents of invention and that the principles of free enterprise pertain to intellectual property. We therefore see technology development as a private sector responsibility. We also recognize that scientific knowledge is our common heritage and is therefore a proper function of government. We oppose government programs that remove procurement authority from scientists, supposedly in service of them. Rather we support the inclusion, on a per-grant basis, of all funding needed to purchase the use of needed goods and services, thereby creating a scientist-driven market for commercial high technology and services. We also oppose government subsidy of technology development. Rather we support legislation and policies that motivate the intelligent investment of private risk capital in the creation of commercially viable intellectual property.

In 1990, after a 3 year effort with Congressman Ron Packard (CA) and a bipartisan team of Congressional leaders, we succeeded in passing the Launch Services Purchase Act of 1990, a law which requires NASA to procure launch services in a commercially reasonable manner from the private sector. The lobbying effort for this legislation came totally from taxpaying citizens acting in their home districts without a direct financial stake -- the kind of political intended by our country's founders, but now rarely seen in America.

We ask citizens who work with us for the most valuable thing they can contribute: The voluntary and targeted investment of time, energy and resources in specific issues and positions which they support as taxpaying citizens of the United States. There is no collective action, no slush-fund and no bureaucracy within the Coalition: Only citizens encouraging each other to make the necessary sacrifices to participate in the political process, which is their birthright and duty as Americans. We are working to give interested taxpayers a voice that can be heard above the din of lobbyists who seek ever increasing government funding for their clients.

Introduction

Americans need a frontier, not a program.

Incentives open frontiers, not plans.

If this Subcommittee hears no other message through the barrage of studies, projections and policy recommendations, it must hear this message. A reformed space policy focused on opening the space frontier through commercial incentives will make all the difference to our future as a world, a nation and as individuals.

Americans Need a Frontier

When Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon, we won the "space race" against the Soviets and entered two decades of diminished expectations.

The Apollo program elicited something deep within Americans. Something almost primal. Apollo was President Kennedy's "New Frontier." But when Americans found it was terminated as nothing more than a Cold War contest, we felt betrayed in ways we are still unable to articulate -- betrayed right down to our pioneering souls. The result is that Americans will never again truly believe in government space programs and plans.

Without a frontier, for the past two decades, Americans have operated under the inevitable conclusion that land, raw materials and wealth itself are fundamentally limited and therefore to be hoarded and controlled -- rather than created. Out of this post-Apollo mentality, a deeply rooted cynicism has led young people into careers as lawyers and financial manipulators rather than farmers, inventors and engineers. It has led to an environmental movement which loathes humanity's natural capacity to transform hostile environments with technology. It has led to cartels, wars over energy and a devastatingly expensive arms race. It has led businesses and investors to remain averse to high risk technology development even as they issue billions in high risk debt vehicles for corporate take-overs. It has led to a preference for real estate speculation over job creating investments, making it nearly impossible for most of those born in the mid-to-late baby boom of the 1950s to establish stable careers, homesteads and equity for retirement, even with two incomes.

In short, the lack of a frontier is leading us away from the progressive values of the Age of Enlightenment, upon which our country was founded, and back to the stagnant feudalistic values of the middle ages. We look to the Japanese for cultural leadership. We forget the rule of law and submit to the rule of bureaucracy, both corporate and governmental; for in a world without frontiers, the future belongs to the bureaucrat, not the pioneer.

No where is this failure of vision more apparent than in our space program where the laws of human nature and politics have overcome the laws of nature and the space frontier as in "Take off your engineering hat and put on your management hat."

First Apollo failed us. Then the shuttle raised and dashed our hopes by failing to provide easy access to space. We now look forward to the proposed space station as the last vestige of a dying dream written of by Werner Von Braun in Collier's magazine during the 1950's, even as its costs skyrocket and its capabilities dwindle into a symbolic gesture of lost greatness.

The pioneering of frontiers is antithetical to bureaucracy and politics. The greatest incentive for opening frontiers is to escape from calcifying institutions. We betray our deepest values when we give ownership of our only frontier to such institutions.

Therefore, these hearings on incentives to open the space frontier are among the most hopeful events in recent history. Those responsible for holding these hearings and acting to create pioneering incentives to finally open the space frontier, are to be commended for their insight, courage and leadership. They are earning for themselves and our entire civilization a place of honor in history.

Incentives Open Frontiers

Over the past few years the Coalition has worked with Congressman Ron Packard and a broad spectrum of other Congressional leaders to introduce and pass a bill providing the most significant incentive for opening the space frontier to date: The Launch Services Purchase Act of 1990. Similar to the Kelly Act of 1925, which created incentives for pioneering aviation, the LSPA seeks to synthesize a commercially reasonable market from existing government demand for launch services. Lowering the cost of access to space through incentives for commercial competition is the most important goal in our space policy because launch costs dominate all others.

Although extensively amended from its original language, the LSPA remains a symbol of pioneering spirit, democracy in action and American values in the one place it counts the most: The Space Frontier.

Congressman Bob Walker's Omnibus Space Commercialization Act of 1991 contains two important provisions which will expand and empower the incentives of the LSPA. The first provision is the return of language in the LSPA to cover the Department of Defense as well as NASA, and to cover all space transportation, not just orbital launch. The second is the substantial funding authorization for launch and payload integration service vouchers under the Department of Transportation. The independence of the Department of Transportation's Office of Commercial Space Transportation creates exactly the kind of checks needed to avoid conflicts of interest. Private investors can trust their capital with such carefully constructed incentives.

Another important provision of the Omnibus Space Commercialization Act is the encouragement of many Federal agencies to participate in space activities. Such variety of funding sources further inhibits the politicization of space by replacing political competition for centralized programmatic control with incentives for performance in technical and commercial competition.

These incentives are helping to open the space frontier because they discriminate on the basis of actual achievement rather than political savvy and psychological appeal. By acting as a market instead of a monopsony or as a source of capital, government funding ceases to control or compete with the initiatives of our citizenry. Instead government rewards viable citizen initiatives with the profits needed to further capitalize space services, while punishing failed management and technology with bankruptcy; conditions virtually impossible to replicate within the space paradigm of the past.

Profit and bankruptcy are as essential to technical progress as mutation and selection are to biological evolution. They are the "invisible hand" that guide private investors to create viable solutions to our needs. Just as mutation and selection led life from water onto dry land, so profit and bankruptcy will remove the earthly limits on life and open to life the limitless ecological range of space.

Distribution of funding in peer-reviewed grants to scientists which patronize commercially competitive companies not only utilizes market forces to optimize infrastructure design and operations, but it also spreads space dollars out to all Congressional districts without multi-year authorizations, technical prejudice or political gamesmanship. This apolitical cashflow creates commercial incentives and it builds solid justifications for the use of our space dollars with a hard-core nation-wide constituency.

But robust justifications and hard-core political constituency pale in significance when compared the explosive energy of Americans challenged by the incentives and freedoms of a frontier.

Americans can best be challenged by the following policy measures:

* Distribute space funding to multiple independent agencies for the funding of unsolicited scientific proposals.

* Require that the experiments be designed to fly on existing commercial services.

* Expose the proposals to review by a patent examiner to ensure the work is genuine science, as defined under intellectual property laws, and therefore not in competition with private sector technology development.

* Require that the principle investigator make the primary procurement decisions free from Federal Acquisition Regulations.

* Minimize abuses and avoid multiyear authorization by keeping grants relatively small.

* As commercial companies establish space operations, support their property rights.

Comprehensive legislative language drafted for discussion by Dr. Andrew Cutler details many of the Coalition's ideas on procurement, property rights and transitional policies. This legislative language is available on request.

Stated simply:

Fly lots of scientific missions using commercial services. Base them on fresh ideas. Let unfashionable ideas find funding. Decentralize procurement decisions. Avoid competition with the private sector by focusing on research rather than development. Enforce new property rights in space as they are defined.

Give Americans a challenge and trust them to react with the resourcefulness and courage of our ancestors who risked everything to cross the oceans to settle a hostile continent. We won't disappoint you.

Conclusion

The space frontier is a hostile environment with unlimited potential that demands our best. We can meet such a challenge only with the strength of our traditional American values -- values uniquely adapted to opening frontiers.

This Subcommittee is in a position of great privilege. The next millennium could witness the restoration of Earth's environment and the transformation of space into an new kind of ecological range, virtually limitless in its extent and diversity. Those creating the incentives that open the space frontier now will be responsible for the fulfillment of this vision which appears to be the ultimate destiny of Western Civilization's progressive tradition.

yesterday
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Baldrson Re:More Like Subsidized (533 comments)

No libertarians believe that tort law protects people from negative externalities. Don't waste your energy going after weak arguments that your opponent isn't making.

about two weeks ago
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Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

Baldrson Should have been Ascension Island (151 comments)

While I was VP for Public Affairs at E'Prime Aerospace, we evaluated various sites for establishing a space port to launch our MX-derived rockets. It turned out that the presence of a military air strip at Ascension Island allowed a military jet transport large enough to deliver entire launch vehicles. Of course, the MX system was solid fueled so we didn't have to transport cryogenics long distances, but it would be feasible to set up a LOX facility on the island. There is a particular coastal cliff that is ideal for a launch pad.

about two weeks ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Baldrson Re:Congratulations Vinod Khosla (415 comments)

Meh. Any "Nazi Nazi Nazi" troll that doesn't end with "Jews did 9/11. lol" doesn't even qualify for The Troll Special Olympics.

about three weeks ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Baldrson Congratulations Vinod Khosla (415 comments)

By investing Sun Corporation in making Java the standard programming language of computer science courses in India at the same time that the H-1b program expanded to take over the Fortune 500, Vinod Khosla managed to set the software industry back more than a decade.

about three weeks ago
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15-Year-Old Developing a 3D Printer 10x Faster Than Anything On the Market

Baldrson Bug Exposed In /.'s Collaborative Filter (203 comments)

If there were ever evidence that ./'s collaborative filter system has a bug; this is it. Look through the logs and reverse engineer this exploit.

about three weeks ago
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Polymer-Based Graphene Substitute Is Easy To Mass-Produce

Baldrson So what exactly are the properties? (37 comments)

They don't say it has _all_ the properties of defect-free graphene -- so, what properties are mismatched? Just the important ones?

about three weeks ago
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Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Baldrson Re:Just wait till they start printing AVEs (118 comments)

Look up Carbocrete's properties. While its true it does require some sand, in addition to the CaCO3 and carbon fiber, it requires much less sand than ordinary concrete and no rocks. Moreover, sand is ubiquitous on the ocean floor. A refinement of the calculation would substitute sand dredging for some of the CaCO3 energy use as well as including the energy for the carbon fiber.

about three weeks ago
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Chinese Company '3D-Prints' 10 Buildings In One Day

Baldrson Just wait till they start printing AVEs (118 comments)

The primary cost of building a tropical doldrum Atmospheric Vortex Engine is a huge hollow structure called the "arena" that contains the low pressure created by the vortex. The low pressure is relieved through compact, high speed turbines at the base of the arena. Since the turbines are compact they don't have to be costly and since they are high speed they don't have to be numerous.

What good is a tropical doldrum Atmospheric Vortex Engine?

It can generate its own building material from the ocean and atmosphere -- so if you can print them rapidly you can have rapid doubling time exponential growth in clean baseload electric production that within a decade dwarfs all energy use by civilization.

Oh, and it also provides tropical atoll seasteads sufficient to feed and house the total population of the world.

Seastead this.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Web Language That's Long-Lived, and Not Too Buzzy?

Baldrson What's wrong with node.js again? (536 comments)

Speaking as a die-hard Perl programmer, isn't node.js the obvious answer for those who want "a web language"?

about a month ago
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If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

Baldrson So Either Make Racists Citizens Or Else... (341 comments)

So, let me see if I have this right:

If you don't let more Hispanics in to vote, the Hispanics already here will vote against you.

Why, exactly, should the US increase the racist vote?

about a month ago
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Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

Baldrson Re:Discrimination and the "Free" Market (370 comments)

I didn't specify what kind of "discrimination" I am subject to, but it is more than age. I reiterate, I have no complaints about being discriminated against. Indeed, I wholeheartedly support the right of any private entity to discriminate on any basis whatsoever in its associations whether personal or commercial -- and that includes the right of those who discriminate against me even when I perceive their discrimination to be "unfair".

What I oppose is a system of government that taxes anything but property rights to pay for its primary service: the protection of liquid value of property rights (including collective property such as national territory) beyond those an individual would defend in nature (ie: his homestead including tools of his trade as well as any other capital assets such as land).

about a month ago
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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

Baldrson Floating Atolls (192 comments)

Floating atoll remediation of civilization's environmental footprint would, in addition to permanently rewilding agricultural lands and containing all urban population effluent (including CO2, CH4, N2O and CFC emissions) for 10 billion people at higher than US standard of living, sequester on the order of a teratonne of CO2 from the oceans and atmosphere.

The Seasteading Institute is being left behind by AT Design Office under contract to the Chinese construction firm CCCC, as they proceed with the pilot project to build a 10 square km floating city. What the Seasteading Institute has going for them is their association with Breakout Labs via Peter Thiel, as it supports fluid dynamics research for of the Atmospheric Vortex Engine. Although the AVE would be advantageous even with advanced nuclear technology, any radical reduction (less than 1 cent/kWh) in electric cost -- with or without the AVE -- will suffice to enable the rest of the floating atoll remediation. This is one of a few things that Marshall Savage didn't have the technical chops to address -- the other major things being photobioreactor technology and the notion of atolls unifying beachfront real estate demand with wave break for fragile (hence economic) PBRs.

At this point, it appears to be an entirely feasible economic proposition given the requisite lowering of cost for pollution free electric generation.

If the AVE experiments currently underway attest its economy, the Seasteading Institute can take the floating atoll proposal, package it up the way Mashall Savage should have, and present it to the Chinese. They'll bite.

about a month ago
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Age Discrimination In the Tech Industry

Baldrson Discrimination and the "Free" Market (370 comments)

Speaking as a 60 year old with a killer resume who has been programming for below minimum wage for the last 14 years, largely because of discrimination:

All discrimination should be legal in a truly free market. Unfair discrimination results in a competitive disadvantage that a free market will punish in exact proportion to the degree the discrimination is unfair.

However, we don't have a free market. We have a market that subsidizes wealth. The information technology sector -- in particular -- suffers from the free protection of network effect wealth such as that which built Bill Gates' operating system (hence tightly integrated applications) fortune and which is building Zuckerberg's. Network effect wealth is essentially wealth that accrues to the biggest regardless of whether they're the best or not.

There are those who claim this all evens out in the end due to the higher taxes paid on income, capital gains, value added, sales, etc.

Wrong.

The key to understanding the difference is in comparing the liquidation value of the wealth as opposed to the net present value of the projected profit stream. The liquidation value represents NPV of the projected profit stream adjusted for risk as perceived by risk averse financial institutions, such as pension funds, investment banks (that aren't socializing their risk), etc. On the other hand, that same profit stream, as perceived by gifted technologists and business leaders might be substantially higher because they understand best how to manage the inherent risks.

Where the network effect is the dominant factor in valuing an asset (as it was with MS-DOS the moment IBM started distributing it as the default OS on their 4.77MHz 8088 PC -- or as it is with Facebook as soon as the social status of Harvard was seen as driving the its growth to dominance over prior entrants such as MySpace) there is less difference between the risk averse valuation and the valuation placed on the asset by the "gifted". If, rather than taxing the profit stream, capital gains, value added, sales, etc. the liquidation value were the tax base for civilization, guys like Gates and Zuckerberg would be taxed out of their stranglehold _very_ rapidly, and more competition could enter the field.

Now, would that mean guys like me get to work for above minimum wage?

That I leave to the fair market.

about a month ago
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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

Baldrson The Definition of Skills Shortage (236 comments)

Skills Shortage: The situation in which employers find themselves victimized by price gouging by employees with said skill in the form of demands for higher than minimum wage for temporary employment.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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NASA Langley Study On Cold Fusion's Potential in Aviation

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 5 months ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Perpetually in-flight "skytrains" with which smaller aircraft would temporarily dock to exchange passengers and cargo, ground-effect flying container ships ala the Hughes Spruce Goose (only bigger and not made of spruce) and vertical takeoff and landing supersonic business jets were among among the aircraft potentials of cold fusion technology presented at NASA Langley's ARMD Seedling Seminar, February 25, 2014 in a study titled "Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Aircraft" (Warning: Adobe Connect). One comment heard: "There is a similar initiative in Lockheed/Martin.""
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NYT: Massive Study Questions H-1b Policies

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  1 year,5 days

Baldrson (78598) writes "The New York Times reports: "An LCA is not an actual H1-B application rather an intent to hire an H1-B worker after an unsuccessful domestic search...Within the top 10 jobs, there are an estimated 134% more candidates nationwide than there were positions requested. Additionally, we found that domestic student enrollment in computer and mathematical graduate programs has grown 88% in the last decade, while foreign student enrollment has dwindled 13%. There does not appear to be a sudden mass shortage of educated domestic workers, rather a handful of outsourcing firms who file a majority of the LCAs and are uninterested in domestic candidates. 82% of the positions requested by the top 20 companies were requested by outsourcing firms.""
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Forbes Takes a Second Look At Rossi's E-Cat Cold Fusion Device

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Forbes technology contributor Mark Gibbs reports that: "I haven’t posted about Rossi and his E-Cat since last August simply because there wasn’t much to report other than more of Rossi’s unsupported and infuriating claims ... What everyone wanted was something that Rossi has been promising was about to happen for months: An independent test by third parties who were credible... much to my, and I suspect many other people’s surprise, a report by credible, independent third parties is exactly what we got. Published on May 16, the paper titled “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device” would appear to deliver what we wanted...And now, the big reveal the authors’ conclusions are (again, the emphasis is mine): ' if we consider the whole volume of the reactor core and the most conservative figures on energy production, we still get a value of (7.93 ± 0.8) 102 MJ/Liter that is one order of magnitude higher than any conventional source.'""
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Independent Academic Validation of Industrially Useful Cold Fusion Device

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "An energy revolution has been reported in a joint paper by scientists from Bologna University, Uppsala University and Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, titled "Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder." This is the long-awaited independent validation of the infamous "E-Cat" or "Energy Catalyzer" by controversial inventor Andrea Rossi. Quoting the paper: "Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources.""
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Applied Oceanic Geoengineer Spurs Mass Hysteria Among Political Class

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 2 years ago

Baldrson writes "The UK Guardian via io9 reports that "A massive and illegal geoengineering project has been detected off Canada’s west coast." An Amerindian tribe in the Pacific NW that depends on salmon contracted to have 100 tonnes of iron sulphate spread across a huge area in order to spur plankton growth. The entrepreneur, Russ George, hopes to cash in on the carbon credits and the Amerindian tribe on an increased salmon harvest. This is inducing mass hysteria among the poltical class."
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H-1bs Drive Out Skilled But Not Unskilled

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Baldrson writes "From a Notre Dame press release: "In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame EconomistAbigail Wozniak and Fairfield University's Thomas J. Murray — a former Notre Dame graduate student — found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group's presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave." This, of course, contrasts with pundits such as Tim O'Reilly who claim that US skilled workers enjoy greater economic security from skilled immigrants."
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Quadrotor Construction Swarm

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "In this video teams of quadrotors autonomously build cubic structures from modular parts. Imagine these little guys flying to battery recharge stations, dropping off their discharged batteries and picking up freshly charged batteries. That would take only about 10% off their production time. The battery recharge stations themselves could be autonomously and continuously redistributed to the construction frontier. Autonomous crawlers could weld the positioned joints."
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Falcon 9 Orbits!

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Business Week reports that: "SpaceX’s Falcon 9 took off on its first test flight at about 2:45 p.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It reached the Earth’s orbit about nine minutes later." This is a victory not only for Elon Musk's team, but for advocates of commercial space transportation."
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A Space Solar Power Satellite A Day...

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "I've been following space solar power satellite technology since O'Neill's Stewart Brand days (longer than half of you have been alive) and this is the first time it appears likely to happen in the near future: PowerSat Corporation has filed 2 important patents. One uses the solar array to propel itself from low earth orbit to geostationary orbit. The other one turns a cloud of small geostationary solar power satellites into a huge phased array. The propulsion patent plausibly reduces launch costs by 67%. The satellite cloud microwave phasing patent, however, has a huge hidden benefit that I doubt even Powersat has fully taken into account: industrial learning curve of small launchers. A similar argument has been made before by Autodesk founder, John Walker in "A Rocket A Day keeps the High Costs Away. Basically, if you are going to deploy a system with a large number of repetitions, the total (integral) cost is given by the formula: firstunit*(units^(1-rate))/(1-rate). To replace all fossil fuel baseload generation capacity in the US (250GW) would require 20,000 Falcon 9 HL launches (78Mdollars/15000kg or $5200/kg to geostationary transfer orbit) each of 3 BrightStars (PowerSat's satellite) at nearly 5000kg each. Walk that down down an industrial learning curve at 10% per doubling, the total launch cost of a 250GW cloud would be (1-.67)*1-.67)*5200*3*5000*((200*100)^(1-.1))/(1-.1) = 212G$ or less than a dollar per installed watt of baseload electric generation capacity. Assuming 10% energy loss in transmission to the ground array, each satellite would need to generate around 250GW/(3*5000*200*100)kg/(1-.1) or less than 1kW/kg or 5MW/satellite. At 35% solar conversion efficiency and 1kW/m^2 solar flux most of that would be in a weightless mirror that would have to be about 70m in diameter at 350g/m^2 (5000kg/(5MW/(.35*1kW/m^2))). Weightless mirrors can be very low mass and inexpensive. Looks doable. To pay for the satellite itself let's more than triple the installed cost to $3/W. To understand how big of a deal this is: The other near-term scalable baseload electrical sources are "clean coal" and nuclear power — both of which are, optimistically, at similar capital costs per installed watt."
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Spasim: World's First 3D MOG

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "The first 3D Multiplayer Online Game was published in — 1994? No. 1984? Sorry, Mac. It was 1974 on the same system that Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's current Chief Architect got his start: PLATO IV. It was for up to 32 world-wide users all shooting it up in a space simulation called "Spasim". Watch the video of a recent demonstration running on a CDC Cyber emulated by an AMD64 system."
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Armadillo Aerospace Wins First Lunar Lander Prize

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "By flying a rocket for 90 seconds to a soft landing on another pad, and then relaunching for a similar 90 second flight, John Carmack's rocket company, Armadillo Aerospace has won the first, and smaller, of two prizes in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The first flight was completed this morning but the second flight was delayed until this afternoon due to air traffic conflicts. Carmack and crew have been at this for a number of years with some near misses in prior competitions. This winning flight is welcome good news at a time when many have concerns about a down-turn in commercial space and the likely next President of the United States has recently said of such prizes, "When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win — he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project...""
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Fear and Loathing in AIG's IT Department

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "John Miano of The Programmer's Guild writes: "In the late 1990s the world of computer consulting took me to AIG. Only superlatives can describe what I saw while working at AIG's computer operation. It was the most mismanaged company of any type that I have ever seen...So why are you and I bailing out this company? In a free market, the penalty for mismanagement is going out of business. America owes AIG nothing. AIG has no loyalty to America or the American people. They were willing to replace Americans with foreign workers in a futile attempt to save a few dollars.""
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$1M In Compression Prizes Announced by Ocarina

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "Ocarina, a storage compression company, is offering $1 million in prize increments of $10,000 for each 3% advance in compression on what Ocarina's Chief Scientist, Matt Mahoney, describes as "extremely challenging data". Matt should know, since, in addition to originating a leading class of compression algorithms and maintaining a benchmark list of top compressors, he is on the board of directors of The Hutter Prize for Lossless Compression of Human Knowledge, which stimulated a number of 3% incremental improvements in compressing Wikipedia."
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Machine Super Intelligence Thesis Wins $10k Prize

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has announced Dr. Shane Legg the winner of its $(CDN)10,000 prize for academic achievement in 2008 for his theoretic work relating to "machine super intelligence". In his own words: "My thesis is written and submitted and I will be having my thesis defence in June. The title is 'Machine Super Intelligence' in which I describe Marcus Hutter's AIXI model and study some of its implications, extensions etc." His post-doctoral work is going to be in finance."
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H-1b Visas Not Going to "Best and Brightest

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "Norm Matloff has published a continuation of an earlier study investigating the degree to which H-1b visas have been awarded to talent unavailable in the United States — "the best and the brightest" — as is required by law. Using a market-based analysis derived from salary figures, Matloff concludes: '...the data show dramatically that most foreign workers, the vast majority of whom are from Asia, are in fact not "the best and the brightest."' Moreover, he further concludes that 'Most foreign workers work at or near entry level, described by the Department of Labor in terms akin to apprenticeship. This counters the industry's claim that they hire the workers as key innovators, and again we will see a stark difference between the Asians and Europeans.'"
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Chertoff Recommends Cyber "Manhattan Project&#

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "News.com reports that: "Risks from cyberattacks are increasing and the consequences are so great that the country needs a "Manhattan Project" for network security, Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in a keynote on Tuesday at RSA 2008... The government needs the "best and brightest" from Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the private sector to work on creating an advanced warning system to prevent such cyberattacks." I'm sure all reasonable readers of /. are now asking themselves, "Why don't they just bring in a bunch of Indians, Chinese, and Israelis on H-1B visas?""
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Free Speech Redefined by Canadian Court

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "Saying, essentially, that "If it were free speech then it wouldn't be prohibited!" an Ontario Superior Court has ruled that a dissident must pay damages for calling a lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission "an enemy of free speech". The London Free Press reports that: "Richard Warman, a lawyer who worked as an investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, often filed complaints against "hate speech" sites — complaints that were generally upheld under Canadian speech restrictions. Fromm, a defender of various Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, has been publicly condemning Warman for, among other things, being "an enemy of free speech." Warman sued, claiming that these condemnations are defamatory... Friday, the Ontario Superior Court held for Warman — chiefly on the grounds that because Warman's claims were accepted by the legal system, they couldn't accurately be called an attack on free speech." Additional details of the ruling indicate this centers on the use of internet communication."
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Surfer's Theory of Everything Stuns Physicists

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "The UK Telegraph reports that: A surfer dude named Garrett Lisi has come up with a new theory of everything which physicists are calling "fabulous", "incredibly beautiful", "profound" and "most compelling". Lisi's peer-reviewed paper titled "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" is being published with the New Scientist. The Telegraph article continues: "Lisi is now calculating the masses that the 20 new particles should have, in the hope that they may be spotted when the Large Hadron Collider starts up.""
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Text Compressor 1% Away From AI Threshold

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 7 years ago

Baldrson writes "Alexander Ratushnyak compressed the first 100,000,000 bytes of Wikipedia to a record-small 16,481,655 bytes (including decompression program) thereby, not only winning the second payout of The Hutter Prize for Compression of Human Knowledge but, bringing text compression within 1% of the threshold for artificial intelligence. Achieving 1.319 bits per character, this makes the next winner of the Hutter Prize likely to reach the threshold of human performance (between 0.6 and 1.3 bits per character) estimated by the founder of information theory, Claude Shannon and confirmed by Cover and King in 1978 using text prediction gambling. When the Hutter Prize started, less than a year ago, the best performance was 1.466 bits per character. Alexander Ratushnyak's open-sourced GPL program is called paq8hp12."
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Journals

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Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 7 years ago Alexander Ratushnyak's most recent (09/10/2006) Hutter Prize program purports a nearly 6% increase in compression of the first 100M of Wikipedia over the prize baseline. I've verified this with my own system running his program. If this withstands the 30-day comment period then this represents a very good start for the Hutter Prize, which was active for just a month before this entry. Congratulations are premature as yet but I just wanted to share some of the potentially good news with people. If you have any kind of financial means I really urge you to contribute to this prize fund. It is truly the most crucial technology prize of all due to the fact that it represents a proven sound way of advancing artificial intelligence -- a discipline with the potential to advance all other knowledge.

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"Protestants" fall to less than 50% of the US

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 10 years ago The following article claims that within a year or two the percent of the US population that is "protestant" will have fallen bellow 50% for the first time since Jamestown settlers.

I disagree with this assessment if one is going to call "protestant" those denominations that have been for individual conscience against the imposition of theocracy -- which is its original foundation.

We in the US have been living in a de facto theocracy at least since Brown vs the Board of Education in 1954. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the first time that protestant leadership capitulated, en masse, to a government action which violated freedom of association and hence freedom of religion. (One can easily argue that prior imposition of public education did not so violate the desires of association of the communities in which it was applied, except in principle. School bussing and other follow-ons to the 1954 ruling were clearly taking this theoretic violation to practice in a way that the vast majority disagreed with at that time.) That it was done to the children is even more in line with historic maneuvers of theocracy. The only other contender I can think of is the Telecommunications Act of 1934 when monopoly rights to new broadcast technologies were granted by the government to private concerns -- but that is a bit more problematic as it merely violated freedom of speech, an obviously lesser principle than freedom of religion which entails freedom of speech only to the extent that one is allowed to declare one's independence -- one's secession -- which may, in turn, entail expulsion from the fora of one's former order.

At the present time the war is on between theocracies: Catholic, Islamic and, of course, the currently ruling de facto theocracy of political correctness which is largely a secularized Jewish construction (see Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique"), as was the Telecommunications Act of 1934 in its grant of monopoly rights to the networks (see Neal Gabler's "An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood")

Some people say the US died at earlier points in time -- perhaps. However, the underlying principle of the Declaration of Independence, that every human has a right to "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" is protestant. This established the right of secession as the primordial right over all others -- including the divine right of kings, popes or other potentates. That is the true origin of protestantism, of freedom of religion (to choose the social order in which one invests one's life) and of abolition of slavery.

Such a declaration is anathema to many who otherwise think of themselves as opposed to political correctness. They're just substituting one theocracy for another and they have in common, with political correctness, a slave-making mentality.

July 21, 2004, 12:18AM

Study finds number of Protestants is falling

Soon, less than 50% of Americans will claim the faith

By RICHARD VARA

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

For the first time in U.S. history, the number of Protestants soon will slip below 50 percent of the nation's population, according to a new survey.

"As early as this year and certainly, if the projections hold, within the next two years, the majority of American adults will not be Protestants for the first time since the founding of colonial Jamestown," said Tom W. Smith, director of the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey.

"We were always at least a majority Protestant country, and that is about to change."

The survey, which was released Tuesday, has studied various aspects of American life, including its religious dimension, for 32 years.

From 1972 to 1993, it found that Protestants constituted 63 percent of the national population. But the total declined to 52 percent in 2002.

The study mirrors results from a recent Harris County survey. Protestants decreased from 56 percent in 1994 to 34 percent in 2004, according to the Houston Area Survey directed by Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University sociology professor.

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