The End Of Rockets?

No, Futurism:

All that essential, but not actually useful, extra weight jacks up the cost of a mission. Falcon Heavy launches cost $1.2 million USD per ton of payload. Again, that’s a crazy improvement from earlier missions, but that many zeros on a space mission mean these launches will stay out-of-reach for consumers or smaller companies.

No one outside of SpaceX knows what Falcon Heavy costs (and that depends on whether you mean average cost or marginal cost).

And then there is the environmental cost. These souped-up rockets use more fuel, and Falcon rockets rely on what’s basically kerosene and oxygen. Per launch, the carbon these missions spew isn’t that much. But if space flight frequency reaches the twice a month threshold that SpaceX is aiming for, experts think the overall carbon output could reach 4,400 tons a year. If every private space company chimes in with their own launch emissions, that number could climb dramatically.

Not everyone uses kerosene. Blue Origin (and ULA) plan to use liquid natural gas (mostly methane), which has much lower carbon content. And they both plan LOX/LH2 upper stages, whose exhaust is water. And even at a hundred times that amount, it would continue to be dwarfed by the airline industry.

There are also all the potential atmospheric impacts that we don’t understand very well. Burning rocket fuel emits soot and a chemical called alumina, and scientists have started to study how these molecules break down our ozone layer, something we’ve been working hard to restore over several decades.

Again, not all rocket fuel. Methane will produce almost no soot, and hydrogen none. And only solid rockets emit alumina, and only ULA plans to use them (OK, well, NASA will have them on SLS, if it ever flies, but it will hardly ever fly).

No, it will be a long time, if ever, before we need space elevators, even if they’re technical feasible and practical.

Missile Defense And Launch Costs

I did a thread on Twitter this morning.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Trump’s missile-defense strategy.

As I noted above, if the space segment is now feasible, it’s despite, not because of government launch policy for the past three decades (except possibly for COTS).

Toxic Anti-Masculinity

Thoughts on the need for both masculinity and femininity from a (female) psychotherapist.

And Kurt Schlichter writes that we need to retoxify it.

[Update a while later]

Heh. Least masculine society in human history is concerned about “toxic masculinity.”

And this will be fun: Harvard could be sued under Title IX for calling traditional masculinity “harmful.”

The State Of The Union

is off.

Good. Just send a letter. I’ll be happy if there’s never another speech; there is nothing requiring it in the Constitution. If he wants to address the nation, he can do it from the Oval Office again.

[Friday-morning update]

Take this SOTU and shove it.

One way you can tell that SOTUs as they’ve been done for the last century are a terrible idea is that Woodrow Wilson started this execrable circus. Unfortunately, Trump will almost certainly not take the advice. It would be behavior (and an expression of beliefs) far too Reaganesque.


[Update a few minutes later]

26 of 45 presidents didn’t give a SOTU speech.


Thoughts on their attempt to get woke, go broke:

Gillette has learned that in [current year], it’s not enough for a company to make a product that people want. It’s not enough to make them feel inadequate about themselves, and then sell them the supposed cure for that inadequacy. Consumers, men in particular, must be made to feel worthless. They have to be reminded that their needs and desires are wrong under any circumstances, that their instincts are loathsome, that their very existence is a malignancy, and that they’re responsible for all the world’s ills whether they want to admit it or not.

Now give them your money, you piece of garbage.

There are a lot of alternatives.

[Update a few minutes later]

Wow, they’ve even turned Piers Morgan into a men-rights activist.

[Wednesday-morning update]

The toxic mission to re-engineer men.

[Late-morning update]

More thoughts from Lileks:

The first half of the ad is stupid – all these guys staring in the mirror, wondering “Am I a straw man who actually laughed at that ‘Married with Children’ episode in 1999?” The clueless, fatal association of grilling with indifferent lunkhead men, the sort of detail that could only come from men who write long essays for Medium about how they feel alienated from grilling and always get nervous sweat when they have to go to a backyard party, because there are like, these dudes, standing over the fire? And it’s so, like, primal? god none of these people ever listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me you can just tell but I guess I can stand here and joke while I drink this beer because airquotes it’s what guys do airquotes

Here’s the thing, though. I am not completely outraged. Take care of your kids, set a good example, don’t catcall – sure. Yes. Men who do these things will surely agree. Men who do not are unlikely to be moved to behave otherwise. But men who do these things already will not find the commercial supportive; they’re more likely to be irritated that someone presumes they have to be told these things.


[Friday-morning update]

Some razor advice from Stephen Green.


Politicians, And Lies

Thoughts from Neo-Neocon.

The word “lie” is bandied about with far too much abandon. A broken promise is not a lie, nor is making a false statement, if one believes it to be true.

Trump seems to be indifferent to the truth value of what he says, simply saying whatever seems useful to his needs at the time. But as she points out, Obama’s lies (and they were that) were much more consequential.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!