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.
8/30/17 – Wall Street Journal- Buzz Kill for Pot Farmers: Lower Prices– Estimates are the increasingly legal cannabis business has industry wide revenue of somewhere around $6B of sales a year compared to the tobacco industry with $119B annual sales.
According to companies who track such things, the prices for legal marijuana have been dropping.
A retail company in Seattle offers the pricing of one specific brand as an indicator. It is currently going for $10 a gram now compared to $15 a gram two years ago (9/15), which is a one-third drop.
The sad tale of Ross Ulbricht and his on-line drug bazaar called Silk Road is a good study of the outer limits of how far rationalization can carry a person.
It is also a frightening illustration of Jeremiah 17:9. From the New International Version, ponder:
The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Considering the tale of Silk Road is useful for accountants wanting to learn about the outer fringe of the internet and he investigative power of the federal government, believers who would like an illustration of the frightening level of deceit that lives in the human heart, and anyone else wanting to learn more about the dark worlds that normal people will never see.
If you have previously been following the Silk Road story, you will enjoy the book. It reads like a good detective novel, except it is all true.
The book describes the mutual low opinion held of other federal agencies by the staff of most of the federal agencies that had a part in the investigation. This is not the first time I’ve read of those attitudes or heard of poor cooperation across agencies.
Lack of technical discussion
A couple of the reviews at Amazon indicate there is minimal technical detail in the book. That is absolutely the case.
So as a result of running the drug bazaar called Silk Road, where did Ross Ulbricht wind up with his efforts to forcibly legalize drugs and simultaneously remove God from His throne and take over the throne for himself?
What did he get for his efforts? The feds claim he had tens of millions of dollars in his personal accounts.
You might want to read part four before diving into this wrap-up of the rationalization discussion.
How can body organs be okay?
Shall we extend this discussion into body organs?
I suppose there might be some way for informed consent to be given in a situation where a body organ is extracted and sold on the Dark Web. I can’t get my brain around it, but I suppose there might be some possible way to do so that would be consistent with libertarian concepts.
I have a real problem with thinking that organ providers in China gave informed consent.
Maybe I’m missing the boat or maybe just can’t stretch my brain far enough, but I don’t see how libertarian concepts can be used to justify the sale of either hand grenades, rocket launchers, or livers & kidneys. That seems to be a rationalization to do what you otherwise feel like doing.
How did Dread Pirate Roberts get to the point where he allowed the sale of every imaginable drug, various explosives, and a range of body parts on the site he created and ran? How did he get to the place of hiring and paying for five assassinations?
The book provides insight to the shifting rationalizations. Journey with me as we explore in-depth how rationalization played out in this situation.
An undercover fed pretending to be a big time drug dealer was in contact with DPR. So during their conversations, DPR happened to complain that someone had ripped him off. This undercover cop offered to send some of his goons over to rough up the guy. DPR agreed to have his correspondent get some of his guys over there to work over the double-crosser.
So Carl Force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Shaun Bridges of the United States Secret Service pretended to torture this guy for DPR’s benefit by actually torturing the guy, taking pictures as they repeatedly dunked his involuntarily cooperating head in a bathtub full of water.
His girlfriend came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior later in the book, well after they broke up. (Based on a few ways that the description of her conversion and faith are described, I will make a wild guess the author of the book is not a believer).
At one point when they got back together for a while, his girlfriend persuaded him to attend worship at what appears to be a charismatic congregation that operated without a formal pastoral leadership structure.
After the worship she asked him what he thought about the morals that were discussed during the worship service.
What is the relative moral ranking of people selling the following illegal products:
Harvested body parts
Early in the growth of the Silk Road, which was a hidden place on the internet where you could buy anything you wanted, and I mean aaaaanything imaginable, a debate emerged about the outer limit of products that would be allowed on the site.
The website was set up and run by Ross Ulbricht. Ultimately the feds busted him, his senior staff, and another couple hundred people who worked for Silk Road or sold stuff there.
I read but did not keep track of a WSJ article describing e-commerce companies moving into otherwise dead shopping malls and converting them into fulfillment centers. Sounds like a good way to recycle vacated malls.
Some other articles on the deteriorating retail market. Also, an explanation why sales of vinyl records have slowed.
The systemic academic failure at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has been out of the news for a while because the NCAA has been taking their time addressing the cheating. Oh, also because UNC appears to be stonewalling, according to the following article.
It is possible that after six years of the scandal there might actually be some closure in August after an NCAA hearing.
You can find my previous posts on this self-induced fiasco here.
7/31/17 – The Virginian-Pilot – UNC’s arrogance over academic scandal has tainted the school’s once-great image – Article provides a good recap of the scandal. From ‘93 through ’11 there were 3,100 students who took special classes which neither required attendance not taking notes nor homework nor quizzes. A non-academic administrator graded the term papers, assuming the frequently plagiarized (per the article) term papers were actually written by the students. The term papers averaged an A-minus grade. Over half of the students were athletes.