Here are a few more pix of the successful test of SpaceX’s brand new Falcon Heavy and its payload.
One article pondering how the planned super-heavy lift rocket from SpaceX will open up space travel like the DC-3 did for air travel. The third reuse of a Falcon 9 booster and the 18th recovery of a booster. Also, three articles on SpaceX’s plans for Mars colonization:
In a major speech, Mr. Musk revealed the revised plans for SpaceX’s journey to Mars. The revision I see is a slightly scaled-down interplanetary spacecraft which can be multipurposed for lunar activity, resupplying ISS, or any other mission requiring heavy lift.
The vehicle will have 31 engines instead of the 47 planned a year ago. It will still lift 150 tons into low earth orbit.
Key concepts will be reusability of lift vehicles and in-orbit refueling to get vehicles ready for the interplanetary trip. Concept will be capsules can land vertically and will be able to take off without crew input.
Interplanetary capsule will be designed to have 100 person capacity and will have areas on board for entertainment.
The first trips to Mars could be in 2022 or more likely delayed until 2024. That is only 5 or 7 years from now.
Outlines of the Mars colonization plan are in line with what I’ve read before.
Amazing new services and products arising from the technology revolution are a delight every day. We are all benefiting from astounding stuff. Tons of entertainment options on the ‘net. Astounding capabilities for our smartphones.
The downside is companies that can’t keep up are getting swept away. The people and space involved in old stuff can be reused in new services. That is creative destruction.
5/31/17 – Fortune – RadioShack’s Tweets Offer a Bleak Look Into the Retailer’s Demise – Over Memorial Day weekend, RadioShack had a liquidation sale at over 1,000 of its retail stores. After closing those locations, there will only by 70 corporate owned stores and 500 dealer owned stores left.
Sales dropped from a peak of $6.3B in 1996 to only $3.5B last year, due to the company not being able to counter the shift to on-line sales.
Consider the missed opportunities, from a comment by Stephen Green at Instapundit:
There is a lot of massive disruption from the technology revolution. That is going to continue. What are the threats in your industry and what opportunities might open up?
Consider the turmoil in these industries:
Two shirking industries
5/3/17 – Fast Company – Cord-cutting spikes fivefold in cable TV’s worst quarter ever – Tally of people who cut their cable connection increased by a factor of five in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.
An accelerating number of folks are dumping cable and getting all their entertainment directly from the net. Seems like a person could get whatever entertainment desired from Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, specialized sports services, and dedicated on-line channels.
5/4/17 – Live Science – Hanging Up on Landlines: Most US Homes Are Now Cellphone-Only – Survey by CDC during last half of 2016 shows that 50.8% of US households do not have a landline. Those homes use cellphones only.
That is an increase of 2.8% from the previous year. Over half of houses now are without a landline.
Look at the cellphone-only percentages by various demographics:
It is astounding to ponder the news from the wide open frontier of space. I’m continually amazed by what is happening.
3/7/17 – Space News- NASA seeks information on commercial Mars payload service – NASA issued a Request For Information asking for plans to provide cargo runs to Mars. They are looking for outline of plans in terms of payload mass and weight, nature of vehicle, and timing for start of operations. The RFI indicates 2020 as a start date.
Two companies are described in the article as likely players in Mars cargo runs.
SpaceX would use their new lander Red Dragon as testbed for cargo vehicle. Launch was scheduled for 2018 but has slipped to 2020.
Mars One also has plans for a lander, as an intermediate step for crewed travel. First launch was planned from 2018 but that is now looking like 2022.
3/14 – Behind the Black – SpaceX wins another Air Force launch contract – Ticket price to launch a GPS satellite is $96.5M, up by $14M from the last launch by SpaceX for USAF. Post speculates SpaceX is trying to improve their margin by undercutting ULA less this time around.
Several articles provide an in-depth view of the disruption taking place in several industries due to the IT revolution.
The question to ponder in the back of your mind is what are you going to do when this wave of disruption overturns your industry?
January 2017 – Vanity Fair – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Already Over – Looking for a good article on how technology is going to do to Hollywood what IT has already done to music and publishing? If so, this is what you’ve been looking for.
Check out the article to help understand the massive change surrounding us.
Disruption of music industry
First, music and newspapers. The author saw his first indication the music industry would collapse when he started downloading music. Instead of driving to a store somewhere and spending $20 to get one song he wanted, he could spend a buck and get the song immediately.
Author says the music industry has shrunk by half in the last decade. Remember that is after the first round of disruption hit.
Disruption of newspapers
Next were the newspapers. For a long time, the web part of the New York Times was physically separate from the headquarters. “Banished” is the word the author used. At the same time, startups like Instapundit (yeah Professor Reynolds!) and DailyKos were figuring out how to blog. Then WordPress and Tumblr allowed anyone on the planet to start blogging, and doing so for free.
Author says a lot of people didn’t want to wander over to a newsstand and buy a whole newspaper or magazine when instead they could read the single article they wanted, online, for free.
To illustrate the concept, I’ve never bought a copy of Vanity Fair and doubt I ever will. I certainly didn’t drive over to Barnes & Noble to buy the current edition so I could read this article. A blogger I read (see above!) mentioned it and I clicked over.
The end result of the loss in audience?
SpaceX is planning to use the above equipment to get to Mars, while NASA is planning to recreate the early accomplishments of this equipment:
Consider the contrast between the following two reports.
11/21 – Space.com – Extraterrestrial Gold Rush: What’s Next for the Space Mining Industry? – A conference dived into the issues underlying what will be needed for the space mining industry to thrive.
If you want to take your mind off the depressing news appearing on the front page of every newspaper every day, stretch your brain to consider the idea of mining asteroids for raw materials to build and fuel spaceships.
11/2 – Visual Capitalist – There’s Big Money to Be Made in Asteroid Mining – The theory is that an entire class of asteroids (the X-type) were once a large asteroid which has gone through several collisions which tore off most of the material leaving a very dense core of valuable metals. One particular X-type asteroid is thought to hold more platinum that has been mined from planet Earth throughout all history.
The real payoff would be asteroids out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Resources there are staggering.
Fun articles lately on the wide open frontier of exploring space:
9/29 – Space.com – Feasible or Fantasy? SpaceX’s Mars Plan Draws Expert Reactions – Author pulls in a variety of initial reactions to SpaceX’s outline of how to get colonists to Mars. My summary of comments is the plans have a lot of technological, funding, and timing hurdles to clear. In addition, a lot of work needs to be done to develop how the technological, food sourcing, economic, and energy systems would work on the planet to support long-term residency.
One hurdle has already been cleared – the technology for a soft landing on Mars is already in place as demonstrated by the successful recovery of boosters.
9/29 – Space.com – SpaceX’s Mars Colony Plan: By the Numbers – Tidbits I found interesting:
Concept video from SpaceX:
A colony on Mars is no longer just a silly fantasy. It is now in the range of maybe actually possible.
SpaceX announced the outline of their plans for shuttle runs to Mars in order to populate a self-sustaining colony.
My summary of the concept
Here is my simple summary:
A booster rocket, standing 254 feet tall, will have 42 Raptor engines. The Falcon 9 in testing now is powered by 9 Merlin engines. The Raptor engine is three times as powerful as the Merlin. The booster will have thrust twice that of a Saturn V with ability to lift 300 tons into low-earth orbit.
Ponder the remarkable contrast. We see phenomenal breakthroughs in space exploration almost weekly. On the other hand, the production line for the 747, the plane that opened up world travel to the masses, is slowing down and could be shuttered in a couple of years.
7/26 – Satellite Today – Sky and Space Global Details Vision for 200 Satellite LEO Network – The company, Sky and Space Global, plans to put 200 nanosatellites, or cubesats, into a low Earth orbit to provide a worldwide communications network. It is categorized as narrowband, providing only voice and messaging along with data forwarding.
Company estimates the cost for constellation of 200 satellites will be somewhere in the range of $120M up to $160M.
In my reading and thinking over the years, I have learned anytime Malthusian ideas surface in a discussion those ideas will inevitably be wrong. More often than not, they are immoral as well.
After considering Matt Ridley’s discussion of The Long Shadow of Malthus, I now realize that Malthusian ideas are often evil as well.
This post is a review of Prof. Ridley’s published article. If you want a longer version that shows in more detail the suffering, misery, and needless deaths caused by followers of Malthus, check out chapter 11 of his book, The Evolution of Everything.
The core of this school of thought holds that the planet will not be able to sustain whatever growth in population is taking place at the moment. As a result, it is mandatory that us bright people (that’s you and me) limit the increasing population of those people. As the professor says:
It centres on the question of how to control human population growth and it answers that question by saying we must be cruel to be kind, that ends justify means. It is still around today; and it could not be more wrong.
Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798.
The consequences of his ideas were extended until they
…inadvertently gave birth to a series of heartless policies — the poor laws, the British government’s approach to famine in Ireland and India, social Darwinism, eugenics, the Holocaust, India’s forced sterilisations and China’s one-child policy.
Check out the article for the long shadow.
Here are a few shameful examples of the harm and suffering intentionally created by Malthusian disciples: Read more…
The massive volumes of change you see surrounding you everywhere you look isn’t going to stop. In fact the pace of change is going to increase.
Each of us have a choice. Either figure out how to cope with and embrace the change or ignore it.
The cost of ignoring massive change is that you and your organization will get left behind. That doesn’t just mean you will be a laggard as you continue doing next month what you did last year. Instead that means your organization will radically shrink and before you know it, will disappear.
The downsides are serious. There is an upside and it is exciting.
Four articles I’ve seen lately focus the mind. While these articles are written in either the accounting or church context, they also fully apply in the church and accounting context. They also apply to every individual and organization.
This article will be posted across all my blogs because it applies to all of them.
7/7 – Bill Sheridan at LinkedIn – Embrace change or resist it: Only one option is viable.
The odds are really high that tax preparation will be completely automated in the next two decades. Estimated odds are almost as high that both accounting and auditing will be fully automated.
Consider my business and my core tasks of auditing charities. There is a real possibility those types of audits could be heavily automated in 10 or 15 or 20 years. I am not old enough to bank on retiring before that massive change starts eating away the entire audit profession.
Automation will take over an increasing number of tasks. The world of tax, accounting, and audit will be affected. Mr. Sheridan explains the shelf life of education and experience we have is shrinking.
As the Maryland Association of CPAs routinely points out our learning needs to be greater than the rate of change; L>C is their formula.
We need to figure out how to ‘surf’ the massive waves of changes surrounding us.
This discussion, cross-posted from my other blog Attestation Update, helps all of us get a picture of the massive amounts of change surrounding us and the huge waves of change that are getting closer.
3/24 – Tom Hood on LinkedIn – Why Accountants Must Learn How to Ride These Big Waves of Change – There are massive waves of change on the horizon. Risks of getting drowned are high for accountants and auditors.
We need to understand what those two comments mean and how to cope with the implications. Tom Hood’s article points toward those waves that are soon to crash down on our heads.
It’s a VUCA world
Major changes we are in can be summarized by that phrase: Read more…
One of the major reasons I blog is to learn. Nothing stretches me more than reading a fascinating article and commenting in public on it. Putting my thoughts out on the never-to-go-away Internet requires a very careful reading of articles.
So if you want to stretch your brain too, stay tuned while I comment on Space News’s coverage on January 6 of a press conference: Arianespace Surpassed SpaceX in Commercial Launch Orders in 2015.
The organization’s CEO provided the following count of commercial orders for 2014. I think this is the count of launches into geo-stationary transfer orbit:
Article says that reflects Arianespace catching up with SpaceX.
Here is the count of 2015 contracts for geostationary launches: Read more…