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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
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I would advise caution about accepting this too quickly!

Don't get me wrong; I'm a space geek from way back. In 2013, I sat glued to my PC watching Icarus Interstellar's Starship Congress, especially the third day when Dr. Harold 'Sonny' White and others talked about 'Black Sky' (way beyond Blue Sky) concepts like warp drives.

Dr. White and his Eagleworks Laboratories are the researchers on both his tabletop warp bubble demonstration and 'Q thrusters' like the ones described in the article.

Dr. White's presentation at the Starship Congress:

Here's where I need to advise caution; a lot of people in science remember debacles like:
  • Cold Fusion,
  • The 'discovery' that the force of gravity seemed to be lessened over superconducting magnets, and most recently,
  • The 'discovery' of 'superluminal' neutrinos at CERN
I remember a NASA researcher expressing caution about the superconducting magnet research; she made it completely clear that she wanted to avoid another 'cold fusion.'

In summary, remain skeptical, or at least tentative until this is replicated. I understand that other NASA centers and university labs are working to get independent verification.

There were rallies in support of low-wage workers in Kansas City and 200 other cities today!!!!

There was an estimate of 2000 people marching along KC's Main Street and around the University of Missouri KC Campus. I saw signs supporting fast-food workers, home care workers, adjunct faculty and janitors. The rally speakers included KC's mayor and representatives from faith communities.

There were earlier rallies and protests at fast food outlets around the city:

I'm proud to say I was at the rally and the march. My feet are sore, and I know I'll be really sore and stiff tomorrow morning; but, I'm really glad I was there.

Please post pictures from marches in your city!

You might be a Republican if.........

You think "proletariat" is a type of cheese.

You've named your kids "Deduction one" and "Deduction two"

You've tried to argue that poverty could be abolished if people were just allowed to keep more of their minimum wage.

You've ever referred to someone as "my (insert racial or ethnic minority here) friend"

You've ever tried to prove Jesus was a capitalist and opposed to welfare.

You're a pro-lifer, but support the death penalty.

You think Huey Newton is a cookie.

The only union you support is the Baseball Players, because heck, they're richer than you.

You think you might remember laughing once as a kid.

You once broke loose at a party and removed your neck tie.

You call mall rent-a-cops "jack-booted thugs."

You've ever referred to the moral fiber of something.

You've ever uttered the phrase, "Why don't we just bomb the sons of bitches."

You've ever said, "I can't wait to get into business school."

You've ever called a secretary or waitress "Tootsie."

You answer to "The Man."

You don't think "The Simpsons" is all that funny, but you watch it because that Flanders fellow makes a lot of sense.

You fax the FBI a list of "Commies in my Neighborhood."

You don't let your kids watch Sesame Street because you accuse Bert and Ernie of "sexual deviance."

You scream "Dit-dit-ditto" while making love.

You've argued that art has a "moral foundation set in Western values."

When people say "Marx," you think "Groucho."

You've ever yelled, "Hey hippie, get a haircut."

You think Birkenstock was that radical rock concert in 1969.

You argue that you need 300 handguns, in case a bear ever attacks your home.

Vietnam makes a lot of sense to you.

You point to Hootie and the Blowfish as evidence of the end of racism in America.

You've ever said civil liberties, schmivil schmiberties.

You've ever said "Clean air? Looks clean to me."

You've ever called education a luxury.

Feel free to add your own.................

"If You Have Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome, You Are Not Alone"

I wonder how many people on this forum can relate to this article: Dear Katy Perry: If You Have Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome, You Are Not Alone. Apparently, some Christians are reacting to Perry's half-time performance at the Super Bowl with accusations ranging from lewdness to witchcraft. Patheos blogger Reba Riley empathizes with Katy Perry's journey from evangelical Christianity to......whatever:

Katy: I know you are a former Evangelical Poster Child who, like many of my readers, no longer claims Christianity. I know you’re a pastor’s kid, and that you’ve had to field questions about religion and faith more publically than anyone should. I know you’ve been criticized and damned to hell and felt religious whiplash; I’m pretty darn sure you’ve crashed into religion when you went looking for God, and I know you’ve been judged within an inch of your life.


I’m writing as a friend– a fellow survivor, a wayfarer on the journey, to tell you that you are not alone. There are millions of us suffering from spiritual injuries who are walking our own paths to truth.

Though our stories are different– and only one of us was riding a bad-ass lion in front of the whole world last Sunday!—we have one thing in common: the crashing into religion has left us with spiritual whiplash, broken bones, bruises, welts and lacerations.

I termed these injuries Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome (#PTCS), and I have a teensy, tiny inkling that you know exactly what that phrase means before I even define it.

...........and perhaps some of us have a good idea as well. Here's the video where Reba defines that term with both humor and insight:

Wherever you are on the path today; it is okay. It is enough. You are enough. (Not something we were told very often, right?) Faith is a journey, and the Godiverse will meet you, me—all of us—exactly where we are or aren’t.

I can relate: My grandmother handled my religious upbringing in (shudder!!!!!) the Assembly of God, the same church that Jim and Tammy Bakker belong too. I escaped in my teens, and I've long since forgiven Grandma; but the scars remain. I tell people: "I had my head fucked up by experts!" You would have to have encountered the Assembly of God or similar pentecostal / evangelical churches to understand.

The only time I've attended church in recent decades was with my late sweetheart, Jeanne, who was a devout, if liberal, child of the Catholic church. I actually felt comfortable in church when I was with her; but, I haven't been to church since she died. I really don't think my spiritual path lies with organized religion; although I may accept a friend's invitation to attend a Unitarian / Universalist church.

Can Elon Musk and SpaceX put humans on Mars before NASA?

Space Exploration Technology's founder and CEO, Elon Musk dreams big; he's already established his own electric car company, solar power company and the most successful private launch company in the world. For years, his really big dream has been to put humans on Mars before NASA? NASA's current plans are for a manned mission by 2035; Musk says he can do it by 2026:

Elon Musk, speaking to CNBC about how the future of humankind is rather closely tied to our ability to get off this planet, is “hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years” — with SpaceX rockets and spacecraft, of course. This lines up with some of his previous comments about establishing a Mars colony in the 2020s. Meanwhile, NASA recently announced that it would try to put a human on Mars in 2035 — and only if it can secure the necessary funding and carry out a number of important milestone missions beforehand. Tantalizingly, Musk also spoke about SpaceX going public on the stock market — perhaps to raise the necessary funds to fly (and establish a colony?) on Mars.

Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has long been an advocate of setting up a Mars colony. Way back in early 2012 he said he’d worked out a way of sending an “average person” on a round-trip to Mars for $500,000. His tune seems to be a little more muted now, but his new estimate of 10-12 years — before 2026 — is still fairly optimistic. To get there, SpaceX would probably use the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle (basically the Falcon 9 but with two huge booster rockets stuck onto it), and a variant of the recently announced manned Dragon spaceship. NASA’s Mars mission would use the Orion spacecraft (which is finally almost ready for testing), and the new Space Launch System (which isn’t expected to be ready for a few years yet).

SpaceX is already testing a reusable rocket to make space transport more economical, a must for large scale Mars colonization.

A privately-funded Mars mission is a big order; but, Musk will not have to deal with the 'cost-plus' pricing that makes everything NASA does more expensive:

......prices are expected to rise significantly in the next few years, according to defense department officials. Why? Musk says a lot of the answer is in the government’s traditional “cost-plus” contracting system, which ensures that manufacturers make a profit even if they exceed their advertised prices. “If you were sitting at an executive meeting at Boeing and Lockheed and you came up with some brilliant idea to reduce the cost of Atlas or Delta, you’d be fired,” he says. “Because you’ve got to go report to your shareholders why you made less money. So their incentive is to maximize the cost of a vehicle, right up to the threshold of cancellation.”

Note that bit about "the threshold of cancellation!" Anyone remember what happened to Bush I's Moon-Mars initiative? Projected costs kept going up, until the eyes of Congress glazed over, and the whole project was cancelled.

There are also a series of Supreme Court Decisions expanding corporate and big money rights:

Start back in the 19th Century with Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, where a court clerk's decision began the process of redefining a corporation, an 'artificial person' under US law for over a century, as a person with the same constitutional rights as a 'natural person,' i.e. a citizen.

Another major step was Buckley v. Valeo which equated money in the form of campaign contributions with First Amendment protected free speech.

Since then, the Supreme Court has gone rogue in the words of trial lawyer Steve Justino:

Thom Hartmann calls them “five unelected, unaccountable, Kings in black robes.”

I call them “five results-oriented corporatists, who will twist their legal arguments into any pretzel logic necessary to recognize, and expand, the legal and the Constitutional rights of corporations, and the very wealthy, and, to limit, or take away completely, the legal and Constitutional rights of natural human beings.”

Whatever you call them, it should be clear to any objective observer that the five Justices in the Conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court -- Chief Justice Roberts, and Associate Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito — are arguably the most radical extremists ever to sit on the Supreme Court bench.

All of this led to the horrible Citizens United v. FEC decision in 2010, which removed many limits on campaign spending and led to the creation of the super 'PACs.'

The 2014 McCutcheon v. FEC decision dropped another turd in the punchbowl by removing limits on total campaign spending by large donors; although the $2,600 limit for donations to individual campaigns still remains. Look for a challenge to that last limit in the near future.

More resources can be found on: The Frequently Asked Questions page at Move to Amend.org.

Move to Amend is sponsoring an amendment to the US Constitution: The We the People Amendment, introduced into Congress as House Joint Resolution 29. The We the People Amendment attacks both the concept of corporate personhood and the money-as-speech precedent of Buckly vs. Valeo. Any amendment which attempts to address the Citizens United decision without addressing those precedents will fail.

Amend the Constitution

Get rid of these dangerous precedents:
  • That an artificial person, corporation, PAC, 501-3C, etc, can be considered a person under the law, entitled to the constitutional rights and protections intended for natural persons - i.e. citizens.
  • That money, in the form of campaign contributions, can be considered constitutionally protected Free Speech protected by the First Amendment.

The only proposed Amendment to the Constitution that will accomplish both these ends is the We the People Amendment introduced in Congress as House Joint Resolution 29 on February 14, 2013. The recent Udall Amendment recently rejected by Congress lacked language that would address either the issue of corporate personhood or money as speech.

If you want to learn more go to Move to Amend's website. See if there's an MTA affiliate chapter near you, or start one.

Gloom, despair, agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery!!!!!!

I think this is what a lot of us have been feeling since Tuesday night.......

I was joking about this last night to my friends in the Kansas City Affiliate Chapter of Move to Amend. Which brings me to the crux of this post: We're all depressed right now; but, a lot of us are still fighting.

There are hopeful signs across the country; whenever a resolution to support a real Progressive issue was on the ballot, it won. Resolutions to amend the Constitution to get rid of big money in politics, were on the ballot in Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Florida. No matter how the Senate or gubernatorial contests ran, voters supported amending the constitution by big margins:

In Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Florida, citizens voted overwhelmingly yesterday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and declare that only human beings – not corporations – are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.

Residents in dozens of cities had the opportunity to vote on measures calling for an end to the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech, and in every single town the vote was supportive. Often by an overwhelming margin.


Money in politics affects our lives everyday,” said Donna Richards, a Move to Amend volunteer of of Fond du Lac, WI. “We pay too much for healthcare. Our taxes go towards corporate welfare and wars, instead of education and protecting our environment. Our energy policy is dictated by Big Oil, and we can’t even pass reasonable gun background checks because the gun manufacturers have bought half of Congress. This isn’t what democracy looks like.”


"Nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed," stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. "It is time for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The leadership of both parties need to realize that their voters are clamoring for this amendment, and we are only going to get louder."

Before someone shows up here to whine: "You'll never do this! The rich and powerful will always rule!" I'm going to say: No one in Move to Amend has any illusions about this being easy. A lot of us are older, many of us already believe this probably won't be accomplished in our lifetimes; but, it needs to be done to restore democracy for our younger family and friends.

Please remember: the Constitution has been amended before.

See if there's a Move to Amend affiliate chapter near you and get involved.

A magician and his apprentice making planets, asteroids and comets.

From Io9:

With a wasteland as their canvas, a Master and his Apprentice set about turning rubble into planets and moons, asteroids and comets, spinning them in orbit around a symbolic Sun. So begins Ambition, a short film made by Academy Award-nominated director Tomek Baginksi in collaboration with the European Space Agency.

Produced in Poland and shot on location in Iceland, the film was just screened during the British Film Institute's celebration of "Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder" in London.

At the heart of the film is the Rosetta comet mission, but the ESA says it's a larger tribute to how contemporary space exploration is crucial to searching for clues to our own origins.

Commenting on Ambition, Alastair Reynolds said, "As a science fiction writer, it's hard to think of a more stirring theme than the origin and ultimate destiny of life in the universe."

NASA funds deep sleep research for Mars missions

Remember those cryo-sleep chambers in 2001, the Alien franchise and Avatar? Those may soon become a reality as a way to reduce the costs of sending astronauts to Mars and beyond.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s a quick rundown. Traveling far into space is a tricky endeavor. With existing technology, traveling to a planet like Mars takes about 180 days, for example. Keeping a crew of people alive (and entertained) in space for that long isn’t hard, but it does require a lot of food, water, energy, and other supplies. This makes manned long-distance space travel extremely expensive, since hauling more supplies requires huge amounts of storage space, and thousands of additional dollars just to get it all that stuff into orbit.

In theory, suspended animation would help solve this problem. If astronauts could be placed in a deep sleep during the journey, they would require far fewer resources along the way. Instead, they could just be put to sleep at the beginning and woken back up when they arrive at their destination.

Now, with a manned mission to Mars likely in its sights, NASA has begun to explore the viability of such an idea, and has recently funded a study by Atlanta-based aerospace engineering firm SpaceWorks Enterprises to help work out the kinks in the process.

The bulk of the study revolves around placing humans in torpor — a state in which metabolic and physiological activity is drastically slowed down. To do this, the company has developed a three-stage system. Step one involves sedating the person and using a neuromuscular blockade to prevent movement, whereas step two is to physically lower the person’s body temperature by about 10 degrees farenheit, thereby reducing cellular activity and metabolic rate by around 50 to 70 percent. This is achieved with the help of cooling pads and a nasally-inhaled coolant that lowers the subject’s temperature from the inside out. Then, once in torpor, the subject is hooked into an intravenous drip that supplies their body with all the nutrients needed to keep them alive.

Using these methods, SpaceWorks has reportedly managed to keep a person in stasis for a week — an impressive feat, but even so, there’s still much work to be done before the technology is ready for primetime. In addition to extending the length of the stasis period, the company has a handful of other hurdles to overcome. The potential onset of pneumonia, muscle atrophy, and bone loss have yet to be addressed; and the long term-effects of stasis on human organs is still largely unknown. SpaceWorks still has a long road ahead of it, but with a few more years of research, it’s not unreasonable to think that suspended animation, cryostasis, torpor –whatever you want to call it– might finally bring a manned mission to Mars within reach.

There are some exciting possibilities here for outer-solar system and interstellar missions (ala Avatar)

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