[[ This file from Adra, http://www.mhada.info ]]

==== Flash! ====

Recent news, observations, and Adra updates. By,

Martha Adams

[[ Return to Adra's Top topics list. ]]

[] 2012 Feb 22. I've started a cycle of work to review Adra's structure, making it more the same throughout. This begins as I finish moving my workplace out of Cygwin Linux running in Microsoft Windows, into a Slackware Linux environment. When I have reviewed Adra and spiffed it up a little, I'll move on to a next work cycle of major updating and development of Adra's content.

[] 2012 Feb 14. My observations from last November look all too true today. Our Democrat President has seemed, all thru his term, subtle and Republican; and only as election time approaches, does he move -- a little -- on the corrections his convincing PR spoke of before his election in 2008. His old/new objectives that he advocates now, timed to political opportunism, do not connect appropriately and by need, to America's long term future. Which our President, among all of us, is best placed and should be looking and planning most for. In the mean time, history repeats itself as Obama sharply reduces all space work -- to "save money."

[] 2011 Nov 27. Edit, refresh, update, restructure Adra's files. As I look at my work here, I see lots of opportunity for improvement. In the mean time, affairs in Washington seem to be moving from bad to worse, as the assaults upon the public good from the Republicans, are only weakly resisted by the Democrats. Further, events renew the question, "Are those two political parties, actually two separate parties; or do those both work from the same one unelected, secret, and abundantly financed back-office group?"

[] 2011 Aug 30. Edit and refresh Adra files. Updating and new work for 'Culture, Economics, and Politics.'

[] 2011 Jly 07. What to believe? See, The Economist, 2011 July 2-8, several pieces.

News out of Washington is likely to feature large PR elements, so as the Shuttle is terminated without any followup program, it's well to look for other fact and opinion. If you listen to our politicians and to those hired to speak (nicely) of them, America in space is appropriate and healthy.

Never mind the curious idea that seven or more trillions of dollars over ten years and ongoing now; or more yet into other Middle East wars and into upsets elsewhere, is good somehow. As vs around half a trillion dollars over thirty years for the Shuttle in space, said to be a killing and pointless expense. Never mind the breaking up and dissipation of what was the Shuttle's industrial base (and before that, Constellation and Apollo and ...). Never mind the educated and skilled workers, tested and practiced in the demanding space environment, out jobhunting now with an eye to restarting new careers somewhere else. Never mind....

[] 2011 Jun 10. Update Redux node.

[] 2011 May 10. Redux node is about complete.

[] 2011 Mar 06. Adra's top node updated.

[] 2011 Feb 17. Writing and updates including Political and Redux (which is much more developed now).

It's troubling to watch current television news and see "Made in America" guns and tanks and tear gas grenades so busy in the unrest there. (Those "friendly" governments over there don't look too great, either. Is "Birds of a feather, flock together," telling us something?) If the money that made all that military hardware had rather, gone up to space and built settlements there, today's world would be something else entirely. And our today's children could look ahead to far better lives than they will, in fact, see in their time.

[] 2010 Dec 03. Recent news has me thinking about the immense practical difference between a dream and an objective. And about how very easily, the one gets confused with the other. It's a major part of how, as a country, we suckered-in ourselves to today's potentially deadly American Problem.

Which American Problem is in part, America's huge military, whose cost exceeds the combined military costs of the next fourteen countries in a ranked list.[mil] (Those fourteen include Russia and China.)

But another part of the American Problem is a disparate lot of people and money hustling each one after their own individual vision of doing something Out There, off-Terra. They are chasing their private dreams, that's what that finally amounts to. Other possibility exists. If you imagine yourself two centuries from now (assuming today's state of things doesn't get to where it seems to be going), and you look around at how things are there, what might you see?

You might see our local Solar System with people all across it: industry, culture, communication; an immense social network. And you might see Terra with frontiers again to absorb its young peoples ambitions and future possibility, relaxed away from today's intense and bitter zero-sum conflicts. Which are taking us to a future most of us don't want[ftr] and which certainly won't be any one or another of the simplified and unchanging utopias, without any science and technology, that our religious ideologs imagine.

(I'm no candidate for such a fate! I think that in far less than the projected eternity in such a place, I'd feel it was a well made hell.)

I think there's a plausible future for us, for our today's Terra. We can see it from here. That is where we are going, if we go anywhere Out There. (I think if we don't go Out There, we get near-total Terran systems crash and human die-off.) So if we can usefully see where we are going, why not narrow-down from all those disparate activities and focus on getting there? Why not move on from dreams and set ourselves to an objective? After all, it worked for Apollo.

Options exist right now to do that. These options are easily graded to all ages of people, from kindergarten to post-retired. We could be doing a lot of computer simulations and gaming to identify the principal possibilities and risks to build communities and a culture Out There. And these activities would develop a social base of people who know something useful of the practical problems to it. This is the same idea Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society has been doing in recent years with his analog Mars settlements. This idea expands easily. It could even restore America from its present status as a troublesome and offensive dead-weight to world affairs, to world leader again.

[] 2010 Nov 10. Adra's top page is much improved now; with smaller changes down thru Adra. I have lately checked-out several Web sites and I see that frequently, they just aren't very readable. (Examples: small gray text on black background; or, an extremely ornamental font.) I think that having something to say, I want to avoid placing complexity and meaningless decoration between my message and the reader. I've thought upon this topic and I've arrived at some ideas.

I apply some of those ideas here. My new node, 'Redux,' sets out some of how I made Adra and why I do it the way I do it. 'Redux' is in construction now, with completion and improvement to follow over time.

[] 2010 Oct 24. Set1 Settlements topic is expanded into five: Set0 -- Set4, but the Set1 topic is not changed. Also, copy editing around Adra. This world is changing (I did not say 'improving') which calls for updating here.

[] 2010 Sep 06. Copy editing. New files posted into the Politics and Political Action section. (Still draft.)

[] 2010 Apr 28. Copy editing. Start Politics and Political Action section (it's draft now).

[] 2010 Apr 07. Updates, especially to Brass Tacks / Tripod.

[] 2010 Mar 14. Updates to editing, content, formatting.

[] 2010 Jan 30. Updated: in Brass Tacks, Settlements; this Flash page. And. At this writing, it appears NASA must terminate its Ares and Constellation work, and also end projects toward re-establishing a Lunar connection. But (in some circles) joy, Joy! More money for wars.

[] 2010 Jan 25. Updated: Quotes, adding one based upon a Herbert Stein comment; added a book pointer to my Brass Tacks: Tripod piece.

[] 2010 January 11. Updated: 50-min Settlements Architecture talk for upcoming Arisia Con.

[] 2010 January 08. Updated: Adra top; this Flash; Cons, esp. re upcoming Arisia Con in January.

[] 2009 December 10. Both Augustine reports, separated about two decades in time, point to the same central problem about money for NASA. Namely, goals are set and then too little money is provided against costs to reach those goals.

I think this ongoing systemic problem tells us something. We, well, some of us, are working to bring humans into space. This outward advance, once well begun, seems deliberately terminated. Why is that? In my piece I discuss what I see behind the public and published reality. I once believed the physics, engineering, and cost to get up out of our gravity well was our hardest obstacle. Today, I think differently. See my "Golden Tripod" here in Adra.

[] 2009 November 17. Did Augustine 2 (2009 October) miss something? They discuss a local, a Terra orbiting space station's great value for space work. But their projections seem to exclude today's ISS which is out there now. I think there's a place in the future for today's ISS, given some corrected details. I discuss that in "The ISS?"

[] 2009 October 29. Whoever is thinking about off-Terra settlements wants to study the two Augustine Reports closely. They are a compact introduction to what's going on that (hopefully) will eventually get us humans off Terra. Be Reminded! That in studying a document such as this, what's not there requires as much attention as what is, but it's harder to read. Notable in this second Augustine Report is nowhere does it reach more definitely into the future than to mention "...charting a path for human expansion into the solar system," page 33. Nor does it touch on reasons for America's erratic and shambling movement into an expectable future.

These omissions are not a failure of the people who wrote the Augustine Reports. Their duty was to describe, at a level of great abstraction, what is today and something of how we came here. Not where to go in the future. I think they did that very well indeed. Today, whoever might attempt useful contribution to achieving off-Terra settlements, wants detailed understanding of the concise summaries that are the Augustine Reports. (Among other works. I'm developing Adra materials about that.)

Now it comes: How are we going to fill in the blanks? The future? As I look back at the Settlements Program I briefly outlined in my Brass Tacks INGD series, I don't see need yet to update it.

[] 2009 October 25. The Augustine Commission's Report Preface contains a few words about their lack of bias. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Because, there were no science fiction writers there. Science fiction is the literature of speculation about reality and the future. The Augustine Committee may be Wheels when in their offices, but here, they were in deeply over their heads. They needed those people who really do divergent thinking. Outside the box. Who do it the hard way: they write salable science fiction from what they think. Without this necessary resource the Augustine Commission's report is thus, much less than it might have been.

I think I'll soon be writing a Brass Tacks piece on this topic.

And, I propose that asap, we need several of our best hard science fiction authors to meet and fill in the misperceptions and large blanks left in the Augustine Commission's Report.

[] 2009 Oct 23. The large and Final Augustine Report was released yesterday to the public. There are now two Augustine Reports out there: Summary (2009 Sep) and Final (2009 Oct / yesterday). They can be downloaded as pdf files:

The Summary:


The Final:


These *.pdf files are very readable using Adobe's reader. Suggestions: 1) Choose the 'Continuous' View option; 2) Choose a larger than default page print size; and 3) Track interesting page numbers and use 'Shift-Ctl-n' to get there.

A version of the Summary (September) appears early in the Final Report.

Be Reminded the Commission's Report does not set policy. It is a large significant Work directed to bureaucratic and other circles. It is 'expert' (in a bureaucratic sense) and its perceptions of style and fact will be with us for decades to come. That is, it will become history and it will be referenced many times in coming decades. To understand this Work in its implied perspectives and to say anything useful about it, read, think, read again; repeat cycle as required. Hop to it!

[] 2009 Oct 19. I've been thinking about Adra's Topics area, which contains among other things some talks I've done or have been thinking about. Now I'm developing new materials for it.

[] 2009 Oct 06. OK on the Augustine "summary", how about the Report? Tongue hanging out gets kind of dry after a while. When is someone in Washington going to officially say something?

While we're waiting for some resolution to appear, let's consider two relevant matters: 1) Good news generally travels fast. 2) It's mighty interesting to compare costs of an American space settlements program, vs the money magnitudes getting heaved out of Washington to support two questionable wars; many banks; assorted businesses "too big to fail;" etc etc. One must ask, have those people in Washington even noticed Out There with all its immense future potential, actually exists?

[] 2009 Sep 19. Thanks to PK for clueing me in to an uncommonly large, useful, graphic, and information-packed Web site. I'm saying this is a great piece of work. Much more nice to look at than my Adra. See,


From here, click on 'Atomic Rocket.' At page bottom, click on 'So You Wanna Build A Rocket.'

Which will certainly evoke your sense of wonder. As well as provide valuable history and engineering information. This is a #1 Tier, Must-Visit Web site.

[] 2009 Sep 18. Re the Augustine Commission's work. See the recently published cyberspace text,


It's by Paul Spudis from Digg, dated 2009 Sep 15. It is one of the many Augustine Commission oriented pieces that I look for during this 2009 Fall season.

This is a detail, but I think it's potentially a large detail. Word constructions carry background. For example, look at the phrase here in Spudis, "...the Moon" and ask yourself, how would the message be different if he had said, "...Luna"? ??

[] 2009 Sep 12. This week, the Augustine Commission has released an "Executive Summary" of their coming report. "Hopeful" detail noted: "Return to the Moon before this century is out...."

This Summary offers no change in bureaucratic thinking to date of space as a vaguely perceived, insignificant region for "exploration" to no particular objective. I recognized no discussion about America exporting settlements with their cultural, industrial and business ecologies. Or about the extended future (there is talk the ISS could be discarded as soon as 2015). None of Zubrin's excellent testimony at Augustine (and all the other work that he has done) gets any mention at all.

[] 2009 Sep 10. Added new topic area 'Flash!' into Adra.

=== Notes, Resources, and Pointers ===

[mil] American Military and "Security" blackholes.

America's acknowledged military spending roughly equals the combined totals of China, France, UK and Russia, plus that of ten additional countries. This spending, reduced by one-half, would still generously exceed that of China, France, UK and Russia combined. See, http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending.

Not discussed here but very near to 'Military' in its character, staffing, and consequences, is 'Security.' For both, their money costs seem to rise very easily but only extreme forces and measures lower those costs. As vs 'Space' and related matters, which seem little recognized despite their immense future significance, and are easily thrown away. Politicians make lousy engineers! And if they actually get something right, that's an accident.

[ftr] About that Future....

This prospect is very visible to those thinking about the future, and some of them have published writings about it. Classics. See: George Orwell, 1984; Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (and movie by same name); Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Gladiator-At-Law; Harry Harrison, Make Room, Make Room (which became the movie Soylent Green). See also, and certainly not least, books by: James Bamford, The Puzzle Factory; Bruce Sterling, The Hacker Crackdown; Cory Doctorow, Little Brother. Among many works by these and others.

How our American future can go wrong is old news, emphasized by current events in Washington and lately, by Wikileaks materials released to the public. (We need Wikileaks, and others like them, vs the corruption that always develops under secrecy!)

Does it occur to anybody in Washington, that their business is to manage America toward an uncertain and challenging future, not to compete as a noisy rabble around a feeding trough of money, narrow religious ideology, and ephemeral personal power?

[[ Return to Adra's Top topics list. ]]

=========================== EOF ===========================