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Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12 September 5, 2012

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Open Lines, Tuesday, 9-4-12


Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  Life outside the solar system, Philadelphia light pollution, ion propulsion, U.S. economy, NASA, space program funding.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  As Open Lines started, I put two discussion topics on the table.  These two topics focused on the Republican party platform & its space policy plus the reaction to it by various sectors of the space community, specifically NewSpace.  The second topic I mentioned was the state of the U.S. economy & how it impacts NASA & space funding.  My theory was & is that it does impact the state of NASA funding & what happens in the private sector but I asked others who have economic experience & knowledge to tell me why so many talk space policy without factoring in our domestic as well as economic condition.  When I opened up the phone line, the first caller was Wade Hobbs who talked about life having developed elsewhere in the solar system, mainly in the oceans of Europa.  He said his theory offered statistical proof of life in Jupiter’s moon Europa & he pointed us toward his Kindle book, “Question Answered.”  If you purchase his book using this URL, Amazon will donate to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/Question-Answered-ebook/dp/B008ZFZ05W/ref=onegiantlea20.  He explained his theory & invited comments & questions.  His email address is w_hobbs@mail.com.  Our second caller was Ed Murray who called our attention to a light pollution public art project scheduled soon for Philadelphia.  The project, Open Air” by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer of Canada & approved by the Art Association of Philadelphia is described here:  www.knightarts.org/community/philadelphia/preparing-for-open-air-in-philadelphia.  Many in the astronomy & Dark Skies fields are objecting to the project which will last nearly two months & probably blot out most of the Philadelphia night sky.  Ed & others are seeking ideas & help to minimize the project or cancel it.  They have sought help from the International Dark Skies organization & others.  If this project interests you, follow up on the suggestions offered on the blog by Ed & others which detail their concerns about the project.

In our second segment, John from Atlanta called in to discuss ion propulsion & fuel plus he wanted to address the economic issues I raised in the introduction to tonight’s program.  Regarding the economic issues, John suggested we were still not so bad where the economy would start to impact NASA funding but if thing worsen, it is likely that NASA & all space funding will be impacted.  John & I went back & forth for several minutes discussing the economic situation, the national debt, space & more, both from the U.S. domestic perspective as well as the global perspective. We talked about the total budget going to NASA being so small as a factor.  John & I talked about the Republican platform suggestion that despite the language, commercial crew to the ISS would continue.  John suggested an early down select to SpaceX but I advocated for at least another round of competition with Sierra Nevada & Boeing, possibly others too.  Our final call was from Tim who talked about ion propulsion & space nuclear propulsion.  He introduced the idea of carbon nano tubes for use in rocket materials & I suggested that was way out in the future.  Tim also suggested the private sector bypass NASA & do its “own thing.”

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  If you want to email any of the callers, send your note to me & I will forward it.



1. Joe - September 5, 2012

I don’t see any problem with the national debt constantly hanging over our heads. Germany built all of this debt and their monetary system collapsed. Guess what, Germans today are just like us. They have money, houses, cars, etc. They got over it by changing the monetary system and issuing new currency and commanding everyone to use it because that is what a government is. A government is the one that prints the money and gets people working to earn it. They raise taxes on those who make too much money too fast because if everyone was rich, no one would work.

All countries go through this in some form and fashion. People survive and find a way to make new money after losing it through credit default, inflation, bad investments. In all cases, when economic collapse occurs, inflation saves the smart people willing to take the huge risk and the debt increases yet even more. You are smart when you buy low and sell high. You are dumb if you buy high and sell low. By definition, the rich smart people take the dumb poorer people’s money in one form or another.

For example, try to name just one dumb rich person. If you said “George W. Bush”, you simply don’t realize he stole enough money to make him rich by just acting dumb in public. You make your judgment based on public information. You have no clue what goes on behind closed doors. Don’t feel bad because no one does.

The truth is the national debt burden has been like that throughout my life. You are exposed to it at an early age. It becomes second nature after you mature. You accept it. Some complain but naysayers never get out of their hole. No matter what, it is greater than it was in the past and it constantly gets bigger because of any number of excuses from talking heads on TV screens. This direction gives ambitious people the desire to make more money and work smarter, more focused, and harder than less ambitious people.

It is a scare tactic that simply happens. It successfully keeps most middle income people in perpetual middle income bracket their whole lives. If they made more money than they currently do, there would be no middle income bracket. It is part of the facts of life and how the concept of money really works.

As long as this constantly increasing burden is hung over the masses, the masses will never take any big financial risks. They will continue their engrained behavior of buying and holding stocks and bonds a little at a time for years and years until one day they get side-swiped like what happened on March 2, 2009.

The stock market, made up mainly of the masses incremental buy and hold US stocks through mutual funds managed by huge financial institutions, gets 57% of the value sucked out in 1.4 years. There are only three types of middle income people that experienced that event. One is those who sold some or all of their stock along the way to the bottom. Another is sadly those who sold some or all of their stock at the bottom. And some who never sold anything or bought some. The majority of that value lost by middle income people went to high income people, i.e.,, those willing to take huge financial risks at a critical time to become rich.

If you think this is all ludicrous, absurd, and ridiculous, then you are setting yourself up to become one of the three types of middle income bracket people that incrementally invest in stocks and bonds. Only smart rich people can see this concept as a real belief.

When the national debt makes you angry yet you do not stop buying and holding stocks when the debt is higher than in the past, just imagine how angry you are going to get when the stock market goes the other direction and forces your emotions to take over and sell at a big loss to avoid further losses.

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