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Back at the hangar a week after my one flight at the controls of a “jet aircraft”, I wandered over and popped open one of the panels on the R66, to check something. I couldn’t recall if it had a muffler. It doesn’t. But then, does any jet aircraft? Probably not: the fuel isn’t exploding […]

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But before getting into the ones that actually have to do with mRNA vaccines themselves, I’d like to get two things out of the way. One, I just realized that Gil Scott-Heron’s Tuskegee #626 is an example, maybe the only one, of a rap limerick. Tuskegee 6-2-6/Scientists getting their kicks/When deadly disease/Can do what it […]

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The rest of you have to pack your bags and leave. And both the crew at the National Review and The New Republic knew it many years ago when they universally praised the book War Against the Weak. Eugenics wasn’t invented in Germany, it was invented in America. I’ve included the documentary trailer (released in 2009) […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Sustainable Phase in Space

 

Space has been through several periods of rapid growth alternating with stagnation. Sputnik I through Apollo 11 was a rocket ride, figuratively as well as literally. The rest of the 1970s was flat, followed by growth spurts and flat spells during the Shuttle and ISS programs. Since the Shuttle stopped flying, until this year space seemed stuck on stop. Suddenly things are moving again, rapidly.

“America’s New Destiny in Space” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds explains what is happening and why. He asserts we are entering the third and greatest phase of space exploration and development. Today’s apparent sudden space growth spurt is not really sudden. It began nearly a decade ago, around the time the Shuttle program ended

Reynolds identifies trends. He divides space development into three phases. The visionary phase (as imagined by Verne, Tsiolkovsky, and Goddard) defined space’s potential. This was followed by the command-economy phase (run by government space agencies like NASA and Kosmicheskaya). This phase provided massive muscle growth in space. Yet like a muscle-builder on steroids, command-economy spaceflight ultimately yielded sterility and lacked flexibility. The sustainable phase (SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, et. al.) is the payoff. This phase is where spaceflight that generates enough economic value to pay its own way. Reynolds asserts we have entered the sustainable phase.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. George Will on the Discovery of DNA

 

A couple of years ago, George Will wrote an opinion piece on the importance of pure science. He took his topic from a recent book by Robbert Dijkgraaf, the current director of the Institute for Advanced Study, in which he reprinted Abraham Flexner’s famous essay on pure scientific research (The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge) and included an essay of his own, a plea for improved funding of pure research (engaging essays both, and worth reading).

The thing that most struck me about Mr. Will’s opinion piece, which he gleaned from a very brief comment to the same effect by Dijkgraaf, is that he considered as the most important discovery due to pure scientific research, with no thought for the utility of the discovery, the 1953 discovery by Watson and Crick of the double-helical structure of DNA and the genetic code.

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Maybe I should keep visiting Brazil after all. My learning-curve asymptote ain’t gettin’ any higher (to resort to one of the many folksy locutions that solidify my reputation as a man of the people); nevertheless, the country provokes useful thought in unrelated areas. On my last trip, as I was grimly driving in both rain […]

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The following was written a decade ago (2010). Embryonic stem cell research has mostly been relegated to a scientific backwater, with less controversial means available for similar research. Never the less, the discussion provides something of a reminder of where we’ve been. In my view, the Status of Humans in America has subsequently worsened, but […]

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(The Implicate Order)…”could equally well be called Idealism, Spirit, Consciousness. The separation of the two–matter and spirit–is an abstraction. The ground is always one.” David Bohm “A philosopher who regards ignorance of a scientific theory as insufficient reason for not writing about it cannot be accused of complete lack of creativity.” Charles Dunbar Broad Preview Open

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The paperback edition of my book was released in May. With Covit, marketing it has been challenging. Thus, I’ve been appearing on podcasts. The most recent one was released yesterday. The University of Nebraska Press has announced that its 50% off sale runs through the end of October. Here are a few pertinent pictures. Preview […]

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In photos of the California wildfires, I am amazed at the sight of large (airliner sized) jet aircraft to drop fire retardant. I understand that large commercial jet aircraft such as the DC-10 have a major advantage of high carrying capacity. But jet aircraft have to fly at a relatively high speed, as compared to […]

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A family history of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), consistent weight gain, and a very high triglycerides to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio (TG:HDL) motivated me to research obesity and T2D. What follows is a brief and almost certainly over-simplified summary of what I have found. Normally, our body is very good at balancing energy, feeling hungry […]

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It was my intention to post a picture of myself in a helicopter, flying it solo. But that hasn’t happened, and it may not happen anytime soon. I have learned that while a certain amount of soloing is ordinarily required before a student pilot can take his checkride, this is not (or no longer) the […]

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No, not 2020. This study says 536 was the worst year ever. Global climate change was unbearable. A volcano blotted out the sun and brought summertime snow to China. My question is, if it happens next month, what could we do to mitigate the problems? People have played this game with global warming: “how could […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Archie McPhee Odd Candy Taste Test

 

This last Sunday, Eustace C. Scrubb posted about his foray into the strange world of Archie McPhee. He posted several rather odd flavors of candy cane that one can find at Archie McPhee. Now, I have long been a connoisseur of Archie McPhee’s fine offerings of useless crap and odd foods. I once gave my brother a yodeling pickle (wearing lederhosen, no less) from Archie McPhee.¹ It is a place where one will not find items in good taste. Occasionally, they do offer things that taste good, but kale-flavored candy canes may not be in that category.

Still, I am a man of adventure. I decided to take the challenge and try some of the offerings. Most of the flavors of candy canes also come as hard candies in tins. This offers several advantages, but the main one is that they are individually-wrapped, bite-sized pieces. Candy canes, even for a mouth the size of mine, do not tend to be bite-sized. I ordered five flavors of their candies.

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I like to think that we’ll be allowed to: that Wu’Flumania was so embarrassing there will be no urge to relive it. But I’m probably wrong, once again. More likely, Wu’Flumania will become legend, because the sacrifices were too great to ignore and they must have been heroic and wise because the alternative – admitting […]

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Fascinating video regarding the future of the earth, our solar system and the entire universe. Seven billion years from now, as the sun undergoes super expansion, the earth will be consumed.Or so it is explained in this video that compresses the major happenings from 2019 to the End of Time into a quick 30 minutes. […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Does Techno-Optimism Have a Place in US politics?

 

The Alphabet Inc. campus, also known as Googleplex, Mountain View, CA.
Nuclear war theorist Herman Kahn provided at least partial inspiration for film director Stanley Kubrick’s maniacal Dr. Strangelove. (The character’s accent, at least, was likely based on that of German emigres Henry Kissinger or Wehrner Von Braun.) Kubrick had read Kahn’s 1960 treatise “On Thermonuclear War” and met with him several times when planning the 1964 black comedy. That unforgettable cinematic depiction and interpretation of Khan-ism — a nuclear conflict between the US and USSR was not “unthinkable” — if not necessarily the man himself, helped cement Kahn’s historical reputation as a dangerous Cold Warrior.

But the 1970s detente era saw the second act of Kahn’s career, that of a futurist. At the very time the professional long-term forecasting industry was taking a pessimistic turn fueled by environmental catastrophism, this thinker of dark, unthinkable thoughts stood out as a sunny purveyor of techno-capitalist optimism. Rather than a few minutes before nuclear midnight, dawn was always just breaking in a world of abundance led by a recharged Reaganite America, a view he distilled in his 1983 book, “The Coming Boom.” (Liberals were dismissive and, it turns out, wrong. The period from 1983 through 2007 has been called The Long Boom because of its strong and steady economic growth. It was also the period that saw the rise of Silicon Valley as the nation’s and world’s tech core.)