December 30, 2009

Red Moon

Russia wants to go to Apophis and change it's course in order to prevent the asteroid from hitting the Earth.

Anatoly Perminov, rocket scientist. Quite accomplished and credentialed. But it seems that he's spinning a party line. Why can he not quote his source? Where is his refutation of the NASA figures for collision? Who made the observations he's going off of? Why bring up such sentiment as

"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people"?

Why should we pay? Who should pay? According to Perminov, Russia will create the plan, and then invite other nations to participate. Of course, since the system won't be built at that point, it's likely that part of the deal is that you have to pay to play.

Why is he spinning? Well, maybe intercepting and changing the trajectory of Apophis is not the primary goal. It may be just a cover for something else involving long term space travel and complex maneuvers. Is it possible that Russia is aiming for the Moon? After all, America beat them to the Moon forty years ago, and now there are other nations poised to. Russia did not like being beat by America, and likely does not want to be beat again, especially as China is one of the most likely to go to the Moon next. But Russia cannot come right out and say, we're off to the Moon. As it is, those nations eyeing the Moon do not have the goal a high priority. But if Russia announces that it's headed for the Moon, then some countries and China certainly would rev up their space program.

Why should we pay? Everyone, ostensibly because we are all facing imminent threat, and the time to act is now. Of course, we're not really facing any sort of threat and we will know long before the event that we will be struck. But it does not seem that we will be paying for a preventative, life saving mission. It sounds like we will be financing Russia's politically motivated moon shot.

Why demand that Russia come up with the plan and then we follow it? If the ultimate goal is the Moon yet Russia's stated goal is changing the trajectory of Apophis, then Russia will have inevitable contradictions in priorities. Russia may push an engine that is better suited for a Human moon shot, or a guidance system that that can also guide you to a moon landing, and if other nations are in on the planning stage then the best systems for the stated mission will be used. Russia must tailor the plan to their ultimate goals and then hide that within the plan that gets presented to other nations. I'm sure that they would have areas that they're willing to compromise with, so they can be seen to "show willing" but it they will not change certain parts of the plan for baffling reasons. If no one signs up, then they do it anyway, but if they can they will dupe other people into financing them.

Russia is going to make a play for the Moon, and is hiding it's attempts under the shroud of Apophis, and hopes that other nations will buy into their plan.

Popular Mechanics

But we should not ignore this threat. Minor though it is, it's consequences are deadly. As NASA plans, we should monitor the situation, possibly sending a radio transmitter to the asteroid. We have plenty of time to avoid catastrophe, and we need time to gather more information. We do not want to accidentally be the cause of our own demise. NASA claims that we will know by 2014 what the asteroid will do. That still leaves us twelve years to do something about it before the 2026 deadline. If we could go to the Moon in eight and a half years, certainly we can send a robot to bump into a rock in twelve.


December 28, 2009


I ran across an article in "teachers at work" talking about how to use threes effectively in your writing. This made me think about another quirky thing about the mind, that is, how we have the minor pentatonic scale seemingly hardwired into the brain.

Three is very significant in music. From the standpoint of chords, it is the third that is the biggest determinent in the sound of the chords. Change from major seventh to minor seventh, and the change is subtle. Change the third and the change is drastic. It is the third that separates a major from a minor. And you use thirds to build larger chords. Start with a major third, you set the stage for any other notes that you place on top of it. If you then add a minor third to the previous two notes (first and third) you come to the fifth note in the scale that your chord is built from. These three notes, first, third and fifth, form your fundamental chords. So again we find three. Not only is three fundamental in the 'tone' of the chord, it is with three that you build your fundamental chords, and three notes make up a fundamental chord.

It is not only three that seems to get so much unconscious attention. There are other significant numbers to be found in the psyche, as it is so in music. The root, the essential determiner for a scale. The third, the primary determinant for a chord. The fifth, the note that works well with just about anything. Speaking of five, the minor pentatonic scale seems to be ingrained in the Human mind. If you go to the World Science Festival website and check out the video entitled "The power of the pentatonic scale" you will see what I mean.

So I suppose this raises the question, why are certain numbers hardwired into the mind?


October 26, 2009

Star Wars was an awesome movie

If we really wish to enter the space age, it must be us as HUMANITY. We enter space as one race. That will never happened if we weaponize space.

I'll start with Wikipedia, as they're generally unbiased.

The military does have some non-weapon uses in space, reconnaissance, especially for nuclear arms de-proliferation,and GPS. Having a global communications network is a must, and not for purely military reasons. There are commercial interests, such as UPS knowing exactly where your package is, especially in the age of But weapons in space are not a feasible option. Space is not the "ultimate high ground" because any one else can launch weapons into space. We can never hope to prevent all launches by other nations, or hope to maintain space superiority as all our budget will go towards funding maintenance, repair and replacement of our weapons platforms, which all will be outweighed by the massive expense of preventing other nations from gaining access to space. A thing which will be made difficult as those other nations have just as much a right to space as we do. Some of the weapons being researched are downright scary, considering enemy nations could put up similar weapons.

Not very informative, unfortunately, but it's hard to find an unbiased view of such projects. So in order to fill in some of the information gaps, I have three links to biased yet informative articles.

There is no need for a strong military presence in space. There are few nations at the moment who could attack is in a manner that would justify such defenses. Except, if it's a weapon, it's not defensive. Since the weapon can strike any point on the Earth, it is most certainly an offensive weapon. It's only use would be to prosecute a war far from U.S. soil, to attack enemy positions. But some would say that the only defense is a good offense. This may be true in football, or individual battles and skirmishes. But a permanent, unilateral foreign policy of full readiness for war with any nation on the planet is a policy that ultimately fails.

What would happen to a society that had weapons pointing at everyone, including its allies? That society would soon have no allies, and would be the enemy of every other nation. There is no nation on Earth, nor has there ever been, that could withstand and defeat the might of the entire rest of the world. No nation would feel secure when another nation has such power, and one of the few options available at that point would be to attempt to create a similar power (look at the proliferation of nuclear weapons. After the U.S. and U.S.S.R. attained them, [Britain just wants everyone to forget that they have nuclear weapons as well, so let's not mention it, ok?] every nation cowered in terror from the threat of obliviation. Those having or seeking nuclear weapons now are a product of that first division. Those newer nuclear nations either toadied to or tried to emulate one nation or the other, or they chafed under the enforced nuclear rule, and so sought out their own nuclear weapons.). But this would be seen as an act of aggression, and thus the one nation could and would use such a project as an excuse to use military force against the offending nation. The nation that first controls space must rule all of the world, or fear that its own strategies will be used against it. Global unity will never be achieved by hegemony or use of force. Humanity will not survive without global unity.

When you tell one populace that they cannot do what you are doing, that populace tends to get a little steamed. When you use lethal action to enforce your position, when you dominate a society, that society fights back. Look at slavery in The United Stated Of America. Or the French revolution. Or every POW camp escape. The only way the U.S. can hope to never use weapons in space once they have them is to deny all other nations access to space, and this will have to be done by force, for no nation will take that lying down. And it is too late to even attempt such a thing. And yes, those nations will use space based weapons to harm us, but that will be because we will have done so to them. If the U.S. puts one weapon into space, the U.S. must become a tyrant to the rest of the world, an untenable position. Or the U.S. must remove all such weapons and impede no one in their efforts to peacefully use space for the benefit of all mankind.

If any nation attempts to weaponize space, then they have cast a net over the Earth, trapping all of its inhabitants to its surface. We are already far too violent to share such cramped quarters, especially with our growing numbers. Add to that the threat of death from the heavens, and the stress of being prohibited to peaceful action and national growth, and Humanity will have encapsulated itself in a pressure cooker. Such heat, intensity and pressure will inevitably lead to Humanity's self destruction.

Finally, all people have equal right to space. When Yuri Gagarin first entered space, he entered it as an envoy of mankind. When Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the Moon, he was an ambassador of Humanity. All people have equal claim on the bounty of space, and no one has the right to deny any one
else of the peaceful use of space.

I have viewed the issue dispassionately, listening to arguments from both sides. I have created my own arguments and counter-arguments. I can see no logic or rationale that justifies the weaponization of space. But I feel that these peoplecan put my case far more eloquently than I can.

If we wish to enter, habitate, and use space to our benefit, we must enter space as Humanity. If we are to enter space, we must do so as one race. Or we enter space not at all.

On a related note, I saw this advertisement recently for It showed a faceless person in black battle gear handing you a gun. The company advertised that, "We need SWAT, FBI agents, DEA and secret service. Click here to get free information on how to join law enforcement". So the basic message is, "Learn the intricacies of justice! MIGHT IS RIGHT!"