Sunday, March 26, 2017

NASA missions

In a country that plays "Star Trek" on TV for fifty years, and flocks to "Star Wars" movies, there are probably votes to be had from space exploration.  Perhaps as many votes as the greenies have for shutting stuff down.  As long as we are funding NASA we ought to ask them to do something for the money.  The last eight years under Obama have been uninspiring.  NASA got it's funding every year and produced little to nothing.  They did manage to spend all the money though.
 Four NASA missions for the future occur to me. 
1.  The Obama mission, draw your pay and do nothing.
2.  The return to the Moon mission.  This is clearly doable, we did it back in the '70s.  Question:  What could we accomplish?  Setting up a permanent moonbase is surely possible, but what would it do?  Mining, manufacturing, hydroponic farming?  Astronomical observatory?  I read as much science fiction as anyone, but I think a permanent moonbase might turn out like the International Space Station, cool, but what does it do? 
3.  The Mars mission.  This could be a toughie.  The flight to the Moon is a matter of days, round trip to Mars is a couple of years.  The lunar mission can carry enough air, water, food, and fuel to last the trip.  A two year Mars mission would have to recycle air and everything else, and grow food in flight.  This means a bigger ship, more equipment and gear,  much higher standards of air tightness.  Plus make a jet landing on Mars, a blastoff back to orbit, and have enough fuel for the return to earth.  None of this is impossible, but it's harder.  The payoff?  It's a first, it will go down in the history books, and we might discover life on Mars.  Even some fossil bacteria would be exciting. 
4.   The asteroid mission.  Fly to the asteroid belt and match orbits with a medium size asteroid.  This is actually easier than the Mars mission.  It doesn't have to land and blast off again which simplifies things a lot.  The time to fly out and back is a little longer than going to Mars, but not that much longer.  Scientific payoff might be high, examination of the asteroid might give important clues to the origin of the Solar system.  And it would be a first, go into the history books. 
   It would pay Trump politically to pick one and get cracking on it.  Long as we are funding NASA we might as well have 'em do something to earn their pay.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

So what does Trump and the GOP do now?

Should they try another Obamacare repeal and replace?  Maybe this time telling us who gets gov'mint subsidies and how much?  What will it take to get the "Freedom Caucus" on board?  Are they actually responsible legislators or do they just enjoy gumming things up?  We never did hear just what they wanted that they were not getting.
Should they press on to a tax reform bill?  And just what will get reformed?  Lower top bracket rates? Lower all rates, close some loopholes? Simplify the 1040 so it doesn't take a week to fill out?  Make health insurance payments deductible?  Some thing else?  Is there anything  the Republicans can agree on? 
   How about a federal law to allow any insurance company, located in any state, to sell health insurance policies in every state, without requiring they file paperwork with the state regulators.  Could they even get some Democrats on board with this one?
   How about a law allowing duty free import of medicine from any reasonable first world country, e.g. Canada.  Big Pharma hates the idea, but it would lower medicine prices, a lot. 
   How about a law limiting FDA medicine approval to a safety check only.  Any medicine that doesn't harm patients gets approved.  Let the doctors and the insurance companies decide if the medicine is effective.  Insurance companies can refuse to pay for quack remedies, and doctors will refuse to prescribe them.  We don't need years and years of FDA paperwork proving whether the medicine works or not. 
   How about a law declaring that manufacture, sale, or prescription of and FDA approved medicine is NEVER malpractice.  The lawyers hate this, but it would do a small bit to reduce the malpractice problem. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

RINO's rule

The RINO's like Obamacare.  After a whole bunch of happy talk about repeal and replace, the RINO's had the votes to retain Obamacare, and they used them, successfully so far.  The Ryan bill to replace Obamacare was withdrawn from the floor of the house today, presumably 'cause they lacked the votes to pass it.
 Thanks RINOs.   We need to publish the names of House RINOs and find better people to fill their seats in 2018. 
  And we need to know the names of all the members of the "Freedom Caucus"  aka RINO headquarters.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Should health insurance pay for...

Used to be, you could buy low cost but effective health insurance.  "Major medical" or "Hospitalization only" coverage.  You paid the ordinary stuff, yearly physicals, colonoscopies, prescription drugs, children's doctor visits, etc, yourself.  The insurance paid for the biggies, operations and the like.  Such a policy was cheap, $3000 a year.  Compared to the covers-everything family policy that cost $12000 a year.  If you and your family were in decent health (the usual case) you could cover the ordinary stuff and still have a lot of money left over at the end of the year. 
   Obamacare outlawed major medical policies.  The medics loved that.  They could proceed with all sorts of expensive procedures without patients objecting to them, because "it's all paid for".  The insurance companies sent Harry and Louise on vacation.  Chiropractors loved this.  Obamacare policies have to have pregnancy coverage even for men, let alone women past child bearing age.  No wonder heath insurance premiums have soared under Obamacare. 
   Now that the heat is on, and the MSM is finally talking about the contents of Ryan's health insurance bill, we find that Ryan's bill does nothing to drop all the cost enhancing " essential health benefits" from Obamacare.  At first the excuse was "Senate rules".   "Reconciliation" a Senate rule that Harry Reid slipped in to get the budget approved some years ago, allows a bill to pass the Senate on simple majority (51 votes) but "reconciliation" could only be used for "budget matters".  No reduction of "essential health benefits", that's not budgetary.  Or is it? Today the Wall St Journal is suggesting that they could indeed repeal the costly "essential health benefits" in the Ryan bill and still get itl thru the Senate on "reconciliation".
   Let's hear it for "Senate Rules".  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Advertisers object to Google and Facebook content

According to the Wall St Journal, HSBC Holdings and L'Oreal reduced spending with Google because Google was serving their ads on controversial websites, or worse, on U-tube videos made by terrorist groups such as Islamic State and a violent pro-Nazi group.  This made the Journal's front page.  Google promises to move the ads away from the objectionable content.  But Pivotal Research Group stock guru
Brian Wieser has downgraded Google stock from buy to hold.
   Question for Google:  Why are you allowing posts so raunchy, and from crazy extremist groups, on your platform at all?  No newspaper or commercial radio or TV station would carry slime like this, why should Google?  If it's offending advertisers, it's gotta be really bad.  Advertisers are happy to snuggle up to all sorts of repulsive things and people if only it gets their ads out.  The stuff has to be really bad before advertisers care.
   All those "self radicalized" terrorists, (Pulse nightclub shooter in Miami, Nidal Hassan, and plenty more) claim they joined ISIS or Al Quada and went on to real terrorism after watching extremist rants and videos on the internet.  Google should not be aiding and abetting Islamist terrorists. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Windows 10 weirdnesses

All of a sudden I found a new program that called itself TiWorker, which I had never heard of before, was active and sucking up 24% of CPU time.  Arrgh.
   So I Googled on it and found quite a bit of discussion.  Not all of it consistent.  The least harmful suggestion was to bring up Windows Control Panel, select "Troubleshooting"  Then select "System and Security" and under that, Run Maintenance Tasks".   The only task that showed was "System Maintenance.  I ran it, and TiWorker disappeared, back to where ever it came from.  System Maintenance didn't brag about what it was doing, but it ran fast and whatever it did made TiWorker go away and stop eating 24% of my CPU.
   Your mileage may vary.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Water Vapor is a bigger deal than Carbon Dioxide

The greenies have been crying for years about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.  They say that CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" which absorbs the infrared heat the earth is trying to radiate into space, thus warming the earth and the root cause of GLOBAL WARMING.  Analysis of ancient air bubbles trapped in arctic icecaps shows the CO2 content in ancient times was around 300 parts per million (PPM)  Analysis of modern air shows a CO2 level of 400 PPM.  A 25% increase, which the greenies say will lead to the heat death of the earth day after tomorrow.  Or sooner. 
   The greenies claim that the CO2 increase comes from burning coal starting with the industrial revolution (1750 or so) and burning oil starting with the development of the automobile (1900 or so).  To halt the CO2 growth the greenies want to put us all back in to a Hiawatha lifestyle,  no cars, no oil furnaces, no electricity after dark, and a bunch of other uncomfortable ideas.  Gotta save the world you know.
   In actual fact, the air is also full of water vapor.  Which is as strong a greenhouse gas as CO2.  And there is a lot of it.  About 11,000 PPM give or take a scosh.   It varies from time to time as we all know, some days are very humid others are bone dry.  Take 50% relative humidity at 20 C as representative.  An increase of 100 PPM of CO2  compared with 11,000 PPM of H2O isn't going to matter for world temperature. 
  The greenies are getting all hot a bothered by a 1% increase in greenhouse gas in the air. 
Relax people, we can drive our cars, travel by air, light our furnaces, and generate electricity and the planet will be just fine.